Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hey dude, what you got planned for the weekend?

  • 7:00 PM Paint moldings (second coat).

  • 9:00 AM Oil change for Jeep Wrangler.
  • 9:30 AM Change mower blades.
  • 10:00 AM Install moldings.
  • 2:00 PM Caulk chair rail.
  • 3:00 PM Move bedroom furniture back to bedroom.
  • 4:00 PM Move computer and office equipment to office.
  • 7:00 PM Work on rebuilding gate for friend.


  • 9:00 AM Touch up paint moldings.
  • 5:00 PM Reinstall vinyl soffits.
  • 7:00 PM Cut grass.
  • 8:00 PM Install edging.
  • whenever Work on friend's table parts (dowels, glue, stripping).

Think I'll get it all done? Not likely. But it's something to go by.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Images of Texas

Texas pet carrier:

Texas bass boat:

Just kidding around y'all!!


Improvised bushhogging:
Looked at the lawnmower. No branches stuck, and both blades moved freely. Then I started it and engaged the blades. Metal on metal screeching sound. NOW I knew what it was. When I was bushhogging I had the mower deck set a little too low and plowed into some hard brush stump. That bent a part of the leading edge of the deck, allowing the blade on that side to contact the deck. I could clearly see it now that I knew of it. So, a little time with a hammer, whacking away at it, and it allowed the blade to swing by. Soon I will be replacing the blades so I will remove the deck and do a more thorough job of straightening out that bent part.

Soffit covering:
There is still a gap at the top of the wall after installing new insulation and the plywood soffit. I may spray Great Stuff in there to seal it all up, then once done I will install the vinyl to finish up the job.

I have finished off the trailer load of mulch I got in early spring. It went a long way, but didn't do EVERYTHING in the front yard. Will get another load next spring.

Hedge trimming:
I finally used a new hedge trimming attachment for my Ryobi line trimmer. It works well, though it is all a little heavy. Trimmed up a Rhododendron and azalea that had gotten quite big. Then I weeded and mulched and made that area look great. Still have plenty of use for that attachment in the next few weeks.

Hole filling:
I heard that they GIVE away dirt at the local quarry. My neighbor is using my trailer for mulch, but when he is done I will get a load of dirt and fill holes and depressions around the yard. Want to fix up the bumpy ride on the riding lawnmower.

Brush killing:
I had sprayed Round-up in the weedy area of the backyard. It did a great job, but not thorough. Time to mix up some more and go at it. I like the idea of not providing hiding areas for critters.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bedroom nearly done.

The bedroom has been painted completely. Here is a picture before removing the masking tape for the bottom.

It needs chair rail and shoe moldings, paint on the window, a new window shade, and a minor touchup here and there. I think I can finish it this weekend.

Here is a picture with just the upper part painted:

and here is how it looked before (imagine it without the masking blue.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Am I done painting? Probably not.

The bedroom walls look spectacular. All they need are the chair rail and shoe moldings and a little bit of touch up here and there. (Yes, and paint the window and get a nice window shade. Details details.)

I got an email from my mom asking if I'm going to paint the master bathroom to match. Gee, I never thought of that. I am told it will look dumb if I don't. That would require getting more paint and doing more painting. The bathroom is currently semigloss and the bedroom walls are flat. I like the idea of semigloss in the bathroom, so I would need to get a half gallon of each color, then add chair rail. Not an enviable job. And to make it look good the chair rail should extend behind the commode, which would probably require removing the commode temporarily.

I think I'll put this off for a while and "eventually" do it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Soffit closed up

I didn't want to spend about $40 on a roll of insulation to patch up just a couple of feet of empty joist space. So I spent about $18 on a sheet of 2 inch thick styrofoam. I cut 4 pieces to fit, wedged them in place and added a couple of nails underneath to hold them in place. Then I screwed the plywood soffit back in place.

That will keep the birds from building nests, but there is still a gap between the soffit and the brick. I am still trying to figure out how to fill that gap before reinstalling the vinyl soffit pieces. No hurry now, and I have a full can of RAID should I see any bugs flying around there.

Prep time is SO important

I've been working on painting my bedroom. I hate painting. This time I decided to mask all the baseboards and casings before painting to minimize touchups. It took extra time...maybe an hour longr than I would have taken. But the outcome is so worth it. As I peeled away masking the crisp edges came through. It saved me days of extra work peeling caulk, flaky paint, touching up walls, touching up baseboards, and recaulking. Taking an extra hour up front saved me about 10 hours in the end.

The bedroom is looking spectacular! The top and bottom have been painted. I need to touch up here and there, paint and install the new chair rail and shoe moldings, paint the window (which is still puke green from when I bought the house 15 years ago!!!) and get a new window shade. Might not finish that all this week and I have my son this weekend, so it might be middle of next week when it gets finished.

Will post pictures soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Weekend progress.

Office/music room:
Done, finished, finito, finis, fin! Hooray. Finished paint touch up and caulking.

Haven't looked at lawnmower. Will likely do it tomorrow.

New project:
Started on redoing the master bedroom. I moved my bed and end tables into the office temporarily. Removed everything from the walls. Dusted the crown moldings and casing and vacuumed. Masked the walls and painted the upper part of the room. The walls were sky blue. Now the upper part will be a medium gray and the lower will be dark blue. Between these I will add white chair rail.



Friday, June 17, 2005

Update on projects.

Office/music room update:
I am so close to finishing EVERYTHING. There is only ONE minor thing left...caulk the baseboard/wall joints.

As soon as that is finished I will move my bedroom furniture in there and redo my bedroom. Two tones of paint and adding chair rail and shoe molding...just like the office. But THIS time I will take a little more prep time and hopefully not cause myself unnecessary work. Plus there is no work to do inside the closet, no buying and painting new doors, etc. It SHOULD be quick and painless (1 week max...fingers crossed).

The back is looking better. After almost 2 weeks of RoundUp killing things down I went even deeper with the lawnmower. I think I got something stuck between the blades and haven't looked underneath yet. Hopefully, it will only be a minor task this weekend.

Bee removal:
This weekend I will start closing up the soffit where the bees were. Yesterday I removed a couple of vinyl panels and the piece of plywood which the guys left hanging. From the street you can't even tell that anything was done now. I need to put in a couple short pieces of insulation, reattach the plywood with screws, stuff a little foam into the crack between the brick and plywood, nail on the vinyl retaining channel, and pop in the vinyl panels. Sounds like a lot, but the whole thing should only take an hour or so.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Plans for the weekend

I have my son this weekend. We might get to see a baseball game and fireworks tonight, if it doesn't rain.

Then over the rest of the weekend we will assemble his bamboo windchime and put the first coat of finish paint on "the big cabinet". He wants to see "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" so we will go to a matinee on Sunday.

In the evenings I intend to cut the grass, finish the wall touchup paint, start the baseboard touchup paint and who knows what else.

Paint touchup update

Spent a little time doing the paint touchup on the bottom of a wall/top of a baseboard. I discovered that there is an order to follow...wall first, baseboard second. The reason is that the "pulling away" of the paint edging tool still allows a tiny amount of wall paint to get onto the top of the baseboard. So that would need covering. The pulling away wouldn't affect the wall when touching up the baseboard. I practiced with about 4 feet of wall space. Now I have 3 and a half walls to do. It's easy but very dull, so I keep putting it off.

Today I went home during lunch break and did the first coat of paint on the vertical surfaces. Took a little over a half hour, so now I have an idea how long it will take to finish this job. When I stepped back to look, I was pleased.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


A friend of mine told me "You have to watch 'Alias'!" and later "The cliffhanger finales of seasons 2 and 4 will make you crap your pants."

I had never seen a single episode, but wanted to join Netflix. So I did and put the Season 1 series of "Alias" on my queue. I was hooked after the first show. Tonight, disc 2 of season 1 is supposed to be in my mailbox. 4 episodes. Guess what I'll be doing tonight.

Maybe I'd better prepare by getting the econo-pack of toilet paper at Sam's. For those of you investors, buy stock in Scott tissue.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Who ya gonna call? Bee busters!

On Saturday I was awakened early by a phone call from Jeff, who said that he and Robert would come over in an hour to remove the bees. An hour later they were here.

Here they are getting ready.

Jeff is older and retired and is teaching Robert the business. Robert needs the bees, so is doing the work for free. Here is Robert after removing the vinyl soffit. He is starting to pry open the plywood.

After doing that Robert removed the insulation that was in the way, exposing the nest.

Robert then dropped the nest into a hive box and used what they call a bee brush to try to force any flying bees into the box. Both he and Jeff say this just makes the bees mad, and anyone can see that by this picture.

They packed up and took the bees. Thanks were given from both them and me. Robert said he will bring back a jar of honey from these fellows when it is! I was walking around taking several pictures. Got approached a few times by bees, but did not get stung once.

Elsewhere in the yard, the unnamed rose is in bloom. See how pretty?

And a closeup of one:

That's pretty much it for the weekend. Getting over a head cold and I didn't feel like doing much else except reading and napping.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Improvised "bushhog"

One of the nice things about a riding lawnmower is that the blades are not "direct drive" meaning that they are not directly hooked up to the shaft coming from the engine. The engine turns a pulley, a belt connects that to another set of pulleys, and the blades are attached to these. What that means is that if you hit something hard, like a tree stump you will not likely bend the shaft of the motor, though you may "booger up" a blade.

So I got to thinking the other day. My blades could use replacing so RUINING them is no big deal...why not see if I could "bushhog" that brush in the backyard. And I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went. I turned areas that look like this:

into areas that look like this:

Granted, this is not a before and after...just representative photos. The trick, now, is to keep all the brush and weeds down. That requires RoundUp, which has been sprayed, raking (later when everything dies), and sowing grass seed. Good healthy grass keeps weeds out, or only requires spot treatments.

I would love to have the whole backyard looking nice by this time next year.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

1 step back for 2 forward

Sometimes you gotta take a step backward in order to take 2 forward. When I look at the room I just painted it looks nice at a casual glance. But when I look at the baseboards I am not happy. Generally, you paint the wall, then the baseboards, then caulk between. But this is paint over paint. I'm not happy with the lack of crispness between the wall and baseboard. And trying to touch it up was a disaster because the caulk joint prohibits putting a straightedge in place at just the right angle.

So, now I am removing the caulk. It is not difficult, but it causes a problem. Paint peels away from the wall because it had solidified over the caulk. As I pull the caulk away it is making the bottom 1-2 inches of wall look like crap. But it comes off, and that is what's important. Touch up paint will be easy once this is done, and recaulking will make it all look PERFECT.

The thing I don't like is having to sit and bend over to do this. After an hour my back was sore, and I was only about 1/3rd done. I figure 2 more evenings of caulk removal, 2 evenings of touch up painting, and 1 evening of recaulking. Then the room will be DONE!

Don't call me a perfectionist, though. There are other things that could be done if I wanted to be really picky. But after this the room will look very very good.