Homestead

Guinness Anticipation

The past couple of weeks have seen great advances in the technology in my home, as well as a lightening of the proverbial wallet. A new furnace was installed to replace the 1980s version that was still spitting dust around the basement. Furthermore, two days were set aside to have all but one of the windows replaced with some that are actually sealed.

Comfort will come in the winter, when I can stand in the kitchen and not feel cold radiating from the wall of glass. I definitely wasn't comfortable when I opened by credit card bill.

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Why?

Senseless

While starting my morning commute I noticed that someone had decided to decorate my fence with some spray paint. I first spotted the line on the gate by the shop, it's nebulous head making me wonder what was around the corner. I was sure one happy camper on the way to work today.

Speculation has ruled my mind today, trying to determine why someone would do this sort of thing. A prepubescent neanderthal that happened to walk by my house with a can of paint? Maybe an individual packing around a childish grudge and a mind so small that they can't grasp the futility of the act? I can be pretty sure it's not a property owning and tax paying Canadian.

Needless to say, I'm not excited about the work that has to be done in getting it off. I though of trying a paint thinner to see if I could essentially wash it off. Examining the carnage this evening, I found that the paint had worked it's way into the grain of the wood already. The stain that I used to make a beautiful wood grained fence offered no resistance to what likely is not a water based paint. It's going to be sanding and more staining in my future, because I don't really want to paint over the fence and hide the wood. Although that may change once I get to working on it.

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Breaking Radio Silence

2007-10-01 at 16-42-24

It has been an abnormally long duration since my last imprint on the internet. To be fair, I did write about the first four days of our trip to Europe about a month after it happened. It's been a cascade of procrastination, a chain of 'I do not want to do that until I finish...'es that seemed to feed on itself. I've been picking at it like a knot and although it's loosening, the twine is spun pretty tight, but I found enough slack to sit down and write.

A lot of the work that I've been getting completed, is not the end of the road, but a first step towards a journey. An initial trip to Graham Auctions resulted in a little bit over 600 square feet of oak flooring. Excited as a school boy, I scrambled to get it home and started to research into how I would best install it.

Hindsight has usually shown that working out how to do something before you buy the materials results in a much higher success rate in getting what you want. Turns out installing solid hardwood below grade is a big no-no, unless you go through the steps of creating a moisture sealed sub floor. It is just as expensive as it sounds, and it takes away three inches of height in a basement that is already short. I'm happy that I managed to get the hardwood I wanted for upstairs, but the deal was a little out of order and I was still short something for downstairs.

Another trip to the auction house and I have a garage full of flooring. Now plans are for the living room, kitchen, hallway and computer room upstairs to use the actual wood, and having a dark walnut click together laminate in the basement. The coverage of the basement is going to include everything but the bathroom and laundry room. Again, another tile in the procrastination mosaic is placed.

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Shower tear down and build up

Goofin'

Adventure once again struck the Bermuda household, and between a busted laptop, a motorcycle needing wheels, building new websites and household maintenance, I've been busy. But, again, when am I not?

This latest adventure started when my glorious mother came down for a quick visit, some shopping and a delivery of Alberta's finest Angus beef. Early in the morning I was having my shower, and my ma was in the washroom downstairs doing whatever it is that mothers do in the washroom. After I was dried and ready for action she told me, in a rather matter of fact way, that I had a leak. I believe she said that water was pouring from the ceiling but I don't want to misquote. I trudged downstairs and sure enough there was still some water leaking from the ceiling into the bathtub downstairs.

Awsome.

I debated for a while, but in the end couldn't nail down where it was coming from, and I needed to get to work. I was graced with visions of busted copper pipe, leaking faucets and walls filled with green and black mold all day until I returned to determine to what extent I was going to have to destroy my house before putting it all back together again. The difficulty is that I either needed to pull tiles off one wall, then regrout, or cut holes in a finished wall. Since drywall and mudding is much easier than waiting for grout to dry and cure, I went with the drywall approach. I knew that as Murphy was handing me my saw, I would be cutting a hole in the wall about as far away from the leak as possible. I decided to cut just a little above the faucet on the other side, and with several careful measurements, I plunged my screwdriver into the drywall to get the party started.

It doesn't take long to chew through drywall, and very quickly I had a 1 foot square hole into which I could look for my plumbing demon. With flashlight in hand, and water flowing on the other side, I peered into the hole, braced for the worst. Was I ever surprised to find out that everything on the other side of the hold was bone dry.

Something wasn't right, and I went downstairs, and sure enough there is still water coming from the ceiling. Back to the bathroom, I had to proceed with the other option, and I pulled a tile off the wall below the top of the tub, and could see a small trickle of water flowing down next to the tub, right towards the floor. Where was that water coming from?

I started inspecting the silicon connecting the tub to the tile, and it appeared to fine. I sprayed water straight into the bottom of the tub, and the water slowed and eventually stopped. I was on to something, but what? After some more shower head inspections, I finally stumbled upon what was causing the water in the basement.

The cracks in the grout were the culprit. My bathroom is against an outer wall, and when in the shower you can gaze out the window to watch the traffic going by. The cool window, hot water, and poorly sanded grout all colluded to hairline cracks in the tiling under the window. Cracks so fine you'd have to carefully look at the grout to even find them. Could that much water be coming from the cracks? As it turns out it, yes.

Because the tile is sealed to the tub by silicon. The water that made it past the tile was stopping at the cement board and then gravitating towards the tub. Once it hit the tub it out start to pool, kinda like a 1/8 thick tank or water, and start filling up and overcoming the grout in neighbouring tiles. Slowly the water level would rise, and eventually would make it to the low end of the tub, where it would run down the side between the tile and the cement board. Once the cement board ended, it would pool on the floor under the floor tiles and eventually penetrate to the ceiling below. I looked at the tile, and realized that I would have to grind out all the grout, and then re-grout, cure and seal every spot where there was the slightest hint of a crack. I was looking at a front end load of a labour with over a week of waiting, spritzing and sponging until I could use my shower again.

And, was I ever excited that I didn't have to do any plumbing.

Over two days I spent many, many hours grinding out grout with my dremel (they even have a bit for it). Following was a cleanup of epic proportions before we could head to Rona and pick up the much needed supplies. We stocked up on some high sand grout in hopes that it would better survive the bigger crack; that is what it is intended for, after all. It didn't even take a half an hour to complete the grouting, but then we started the constant spritzing to ensure that it would not dry to fast and crack. We religiously sprayed the grout and examined it to validate that no cracks were forming, and after many moons of spray bottle madness we had well cured, non-cracked grout. Next we started sealing, and again we went with a high gloss in the shower, and a matte finish on the floor. Apply, dry, apply, dry, apply, dry, etc. Our last application of sealant went on Wednesday night, and this morning was the first time in over two weeks that I could use the shower upstairs. It was glorious.

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A Night in Passing

20070616-131750-Edit

The candle has definitely been burned at both ends, and it also spent some time in the oven so it barely looks like it's former self.. This morning the radio buzzed the sleep from me, and as I lay in bed contemplating a smash of the snooze, or actually liberating myself from my bed, I could not help but listen to the radio personalities chatter. Today is the first day of Summer.

Five months, twenty days and (for me) eight and a half hours into this year and I can't believe that it's summer already. We've almost reached the half way point of the year. These thoughts rolled over my foggy mind, and I couldn't help but wonder where the year has been going.

A lot has been going on, as usual. My certificate cource is completed, and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking to manage time limited endeavor to create a unique product, service or result. I learned a load from the various instructors that I had during the five and a half months it took to complete. Some of the ideas have even followed me back to the work place, and I am definitely better armed with the vocabulary to speak with other Project Managers.

Landing on the same weekend was the Company Picnic at the Zoo, as well as my Mother's trek to southern Alberta. Ma made the voyage to bring down a share of some AAA beef. The meat hasn't even spent a week in the freezer here, but already it more proved its worth. A little worry was dancing in my brain when I knew that the Mother unit was coming into town. Usually when she resides in the house, some sort of project manages to make itself happen. Bathrooms get renovated, fences get replaced, and entire buildings get painted when she's in town. Even though her generosity keeps everything moving, and more than lessens the burden of whatever we are doing, inevitably her visits cost a lot of money. Mother nature decided to throw some rain our way, so we our activities were limited to some much needed yard work, and a pile of shopping. We hit a great deal of stores down in the furniture district, until finally settling on a five piece dinette set. The dinette set is much needed, because the one I have currently is a more dangerous trap than a tree full of ninjas. The legs barely hold the top above the ground, and perhaps now my Uncle can eat dinner without running the risk of bodily harm. An evening of movies, popcorn and some chit chat even managed to find it's way into this visit, proving that we can have a visit, and just relax. Ma, I'm so proud of you.

Up coming in the next while is some camping for the weekend, some dreaded plumbing to fix a long time leak, and a pile of one-on-one meetings to straighten out some business. That stampede is coming to town again, and I'm sure the world will just zip on by until I wake up one morning and wonder what happened to July.

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