Craft Room Project: Blocked Access Done

It is a little bit of a Frankenstein job using materials I already had on hand, but it should work. The small area that was open from the cat room to under the stairs is now blocked off.

Under Stair Access Before
Under Stair Access Before

I was so focused on getting it done that I spaced taking a good after photo before I put everything back, so I was only able to a photo of one small section. That section is how I did all 3 of the sections and the angled piece to the right just had a smaller piece nailed over it.

Under Stair Access Blocked
Under Stair Access Blocked

Once the door is on the storage area, they will no longer be able to access that space. Hopefully, I managed to rig this enough that the cats can’t still push through, but they really shouldn’t be able to. Granted, our introverted kitty, Midnight, is going to be royally pissed at us as this was her favorite place. She is also the most destructive of the two, so if either one of them can, it will be her.

I also did an initial clean up job, getting most of the drywall dust off the floor and walls. I will need to do a major wipe down and mopping before I can paint or put the floor down, but it is one step closer to being ready for me to get busy.

I had a major moment of being absolutely freaked out that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to building the cabinets. I realized that the few test runs I’ve done with the circular saw were with thicker material. I realized when cutting the pieces for this that the thinner stuff I’m going to need for my cabinet doors is going to be a nightmare because it is incredibly difficult to keep the saw completely straight. It isn’t horrible, but it wasn’t completely straight and means that my cuts are not going to be nearly as clean as I’d hoped.

I mentioned it to Hubby and, as much as I hate it, I’m going to have to look at table saws. I haven’t a clue where the damn thing is going to go if I do get it, but I don’t think I can pull this off without it.

One plus side? My new speakers sound phenomenal in the space. Now I REALLY want to get in there and work!

Revisiting Icicles 2018

Today I’ll be working on doing some clean up in the new space (SO much drywall dust!!) and making an attempt to close of the section under the lower landing on the stairs from the cat room.

Of course, I’ve gotten so used to the cats being shut in a room during the day, I didn’t even think when I went to check progress yesterday and left the basement door open. And also of course, our introverted kitty snuck down and immediately wiggled her way into that space and hid.

Everyone attempted to coax her out, but she refused, so we had to leave the basement door open, hoping she would eventually come out to eat or use the litter box that is still in another room. It took several hours, but she finally came back upstairs. Now I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The closer this gets to being done, the more antsy I get to start working on something creative. It is kind of driving me nuts at the moment. I know that doing all the parts I need to do – the painting, floor, and cabinets – is going to help with that, but I don’t think it is going to soothe it enough. Even more so now that I have stuff to go in that space, like my amazing new speakers for my computer that Hubby got me for my birthday.

I’m seriously considering taking them down there while I work today, just because. That and neither one of the kids have classes today so I won’t get scolded for turning it up too loud!

Gift From Mother Nature

As much as I’ve complained this winter about not getting much snow, I’m going to take the timing of this as a gift. We aren’t supposed to get much and we are hovering on the edge of blizzard conditions with the wind, but it is snow, so I’m happy.

Though I will say that it is not at all uncommon to see snow on this day. I can remember numerous birthdays where there was so much snow on the ground, plans had to be canceled. I used to hate having a birthday this time of year, but this year, I’m gladly sitting here where it is warm and watching the snow blow around.

It may be the only peace I get for much of the day, so I’m taking it.

The drywall guys are supposed to be back today to do some more sanding and cleanup of what they did yesterday, so I’m not actually going to get my day free from people tromping in and out of the house. While they did fix and clean up most of the areas I pointed out, the existing area they were supposed to fix is still a long way from where I think it should be, but I’m done with them. Once everything is done and it is back on me, I’ll clean it up myself before I paint.

But that isn’t today. Today, I’m going to watch the snow and, later, indulge in some amazing creme brulee.

Craft Room Project: Drywall Done? Um… No.

I just want to be DONE!

Again, this crew didn’t bother to show up until nearly 11 am (because of course we were not given a frickin’ time) and were only here for about 45 minutes.

I was extremely leery when they said they were done. I had reason to be. While they did caulk up the worst of the bigger cracks, that was ALL they did. We still have a lot of really ugly areas that they didn’t even bother to touch.

Rough Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Upper Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Upper Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed

You can see how messy it still is. These aren’t the only areas in the original drywall job that I’d asked to be cleaned up that still aren’t fixed, just the worst ones. There are also several really sloppy areas that they did that also didn’t get cleaned up. Looks like one entire area got missed in the sanding. I don’t see how anyone can look at any of this and think it is okay and paint ready.

Narrow Wall Not Sanded
Narrow Wall Not Sanded

To spike my level of frustration up into nearly pissed off is the mess they left behind. Yes, drywall and sanding is a horrific mess (as you can  see in the foot prints in the above photo). I’ve been completely prepared for that from the start of this project, but I kind of expected at least a token effort to clean up after themselves. I certainly didn’t expect an massive pile of crap to be left in our cat room.

Trash Pile
Trash Pile

Or that they’d leave stuff they actually work with behind, though I really shouldn’t be shocked by the random bits of trash (again, more than what I’ve posted here). I’m sick of my house being used as any of these guys’ personal trash can.

More equipment Left Behind
More equipment Left Behind

Needless to say, I was on the phone with the main guy at the company. Turns out, this is a thing, leaving all the crap behind. So much so, that that they actually have a guy that comes around behind them and picks it all up. That would have been something that would have been nice to know instead of, “Hey! Were done!” and then practically leaving rubber on the street in their effort to get out.

Even that really isn’t enough. The big pile simply shouldn’t be a thing at all as we can’t get to our breaker box right now without feeling like you are playing a game of twister. This is a huge problem as I have got to access this area before they do the doors to close off the remaining opening that us under the lower landing of the stairs to keep the cats out.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I had really, REALLY hoped to have all of this done by then. That isn’t going to happen. I’m apparently not even getting my doors in until TUESDAY. Seriously?! You have known about this project since before Thanksgiving and you wait until you need to actually install them before you order them?! And I have to wait, AGAIN, for you to finish your damn job?!

So, no. I’m not a happy camper today. Originally, I was told someone would be out tomorrow to do the clean up, but then he called back and said someone would be out this afternoon. But of course, I can’t get a frickin’ time.

At least this means I don’t have to be up at the ass crack of dawn on my birthday and no one is going to be in and out of my house for the day. So, I guess that is  a positive, right?

Craft Room Project: Too Much To Ask

It is apparently asking way too much of anyone from this company to communicate or actually do their jobs.

As part of the contract for work getting done, I’d asked for any cracks and dings and flaws in the already existing walls going down the stairs to be repaired and made ready for paint. I clarified this with the drywall guy when he showed up the first day. I was assured it was getting done.

It wasn’t done by the time the guys left yesterday, so when the main guy showed up to spray the texture on the ceiling, I asked again and was again assured it would be taken care of.

When the guys hauled some equipment up from the basement just before 1 (only about a hour after they’d been here working for those 2), I assumed they were just heading out to lunch and would be back. Especially because the stairs had only gotten a couple of small fixes filled, but the major crack and one of my bigger issues was STILL not done. I look up a few minutes later and their van was gone, though nothing had been said at all to me.

When 2:30 rolled around and no one was back, I sent a message to the main guy. He called me back and I explained that the area in question was still not done, that there were a few other areas of concern, and questioned if they were done for the day.

Apparently they are.

Four times. I have mentioned or asked about this 4 different times now. How frickin’ hard is it to simply follow instructions?!

They will be back again tomorrow to sand an finish the remaining issues, though the plan for the cracks are caulking and I’m not loving that solution. For that, it really does need to be nearly perfect and I don’t trust they they will do it that well. The whole point was to make those areas look better, not just a different kind of bad. And with caulk, you can’t sand it if it’s bad.

It is looking like at least tomorrow at the earliest before they finish, assuming no major repair requiring another round of mud and sanding. I still haven’t heard from the guy in charge of everything else as to when they will be here for the doors, which is their final piece.

So much for them being done by Wednesday. Damn, do I want them done and gone!

But, hey! I have texture on the ceiling and they got in all of maybe 3 hours of work total today. SO much progress, right?

 

Craft Room Project: Mudding Almost Done

So, so, SO close!

Pretty much everything is now taped and mudded. The corners are all in and the issues I had at the end of the day yesterday were all taken care of. I do have one issue they need to address as they haven’t done any fixing of the cracks on the existing wall going down the stairs. I’m really hoping that doesn’t cause a delay as that mud takes time to dry.

At this point, there will be some touch ups of what they did today and then sanding. They are supposed to spray the ceiling with texture tomorrow. After those things are done, the drywall guys are done and all that is left is moving our existing door and installing the new ones.

Finished Drywall: Fixed Join Between New and Old Wall
Finished Drywall: Fixed Join Between New and Old Wall
Finished Drywall: Access Opening Cut Out
Finished Drywall: Access Opening Cut Out
Finished Drywall: Back Corner
Finished Drywall: Back Corner

Craft Room Project: Drywall, Taping, & Mudding

After a late start (because of course they didn’t show up on time and didn’t let us know) of nearly 11 am, we got the remaining drywall installed and they started the taping and mudding of the seams, screws and any “oops” places along the way.

I had pretty high hopes to see more done, including the corners in place, but with the late start and them still bugging out at around 3:30, they only put in about 4 hours of work, so not as much got done as I’d expected. There are a couple of places that I need to get some clarification on, like the fact they covered my access opening in the new wall. It is easy enough to cut out, but it seems odd that it isn’t already.

There is also a really weird sort of “jog” between new wall and old that really shouldn’t exist. It should match up evenly and be smooth, but for some reason, they didn’t make that happen. The top sticks out farther than the bottom and creates a gap. I don’t know if this was a framing issue or what, but there isn’t an excuse for that. You can’t see it well, but it is in the first photo below near the top where there is an obvious change in color from the small wall over the door into the cat room and the wall next to the stairs.

Finished Drywall: Entrance to "Cat Room"
Finished Drywall: Entrance to “Cat Room”
Finished Drywall: Back Wall & Recessed Shelf Space
Finished Drywall: Back Wall & Recessed Shelf Space
Finished Drywall: Closet & Storage Space
Finished Drywall: Closet & Storage Space

I’m really trying hard to not be cranky about little shit, because if it bothers me bad enough, I can fix most of it. As long as they take care of the parts I can’t do, then I need to be okay with it. I’m also keeping the calm with the mantra of “Only 2 more days! Only 2 more days!”

It is incredible to see walls that are so close to being ready for paint. That part makes me very happy.

More Frozen Fog Spikes

Today starts MC’s second semester in college. While almost all of his classes are from home, he is going to be spending a large chunk of time almost every day at the school for his eSports practice.

It does make me nervous, but there are protocols in place. Everyone on the team had to take a Covid test before they could participate and they have the space in their gaming zone for plenty of spacing and distancing.

The amount of time he has to be there for practice also means that he won’t be home at dinner time most of the week. While that isn’t different than when he was on campus last semester, it is still going to feel a little weird. It is also throwing one hell of a wrench in the car situation as there are conflicts between when he needs it and when BG needs it for dance. It is possible I’m going to have to go back to taking her and sitting in the car for the entire time she’s there.

It may be that things get a little crazy around here until we can settle into a new routine. At least the contractors should be done this week, removing that mess and stress from the mix.

3 days.

I’m counting.

And planning.

Craft Room Project: Start Of Drywall

There was some back and forth and a little confusion yesterday about when the drywall guys would start. We got a text yesterday afternoon asking if they could come today.

It was a really difficult decision. I really, REALLY want them done, but I also desperately needed a day away, so did Hubby. We talked about it and the headache with corralling the cats and all the mess and went with “get it done ASAP” so they started today.

Drywall on Back Wall And Ceiling
Drywall on Back Wall And Ceiling

We had a crew of 4 different guys working. They were here for about 5 hours and got the ceiling (except the dropped section around the duct work), the entire back wall, and a start on the inside of the new closet finished, so they are moving quickly.

Drywall On Ceiling and Start of Closet
Drywall On Ceiling and Start of Closet

There was some talk of them working again tomorrow, which I really wanted to avoid because of that much needed break and the cats, but in the end, they opted to wait to do more until Monday. This guy says everything, including doors, will most likely be done by Wednesday.

As desparate as I am for them to be completely done and gone, I’m also exhausted. It is incredibly stressful having all these people in and out of my house, worrying about the cats, having to get up at ungodly hours when I’m so NOT a morning person at all after getting little sleep because I’m worrying about the project getting done and making sure something doesn’t get messed up, stressing over what idiotic or stupid thing might happen next, and, more and more, worrying about how with each new person that walks through the door, it is one more potential point of exposure. So I am glad they won’t be back tomorrow and I have a full day and night’s rest away from that stress.

My poor cats are going to hate all of us by the time it is all said and done. Their litter box space is down there and having to shuffle it back and forth to the spaces they have to get confined to is stressing them both out. With all the mess from the drywall dust, we’ve decided to keep them completely out of the basement until all of this is done. They currently have free reign of the rest of the house, but both are confused and not happy they can’t get downstairs, especially our introverted kitty that likes to hide out down there.

And drywall dust is the worst crap ever, by the way. It is nasty. It gets everywhere and is hard to clean up. I’ve dealt with it before and I’ve not been looking forward to this part of the project because of that. Really for the first time since this project started, I’m incredibly grateful that they laid down floor protection before they started because my entry floor would be a disaster right now.

But… approximately 3 more days and I can be done with all of that! And it is looking frickin’ awesome!

I have 3 days to decide my first steps, but I’m leaning towards paint first. At the very least, painting the ceiling, which isn’t going to be fun. The fact that I’m actually at the point where I can start working on specific plans for my parts of the room is amazing.

Craft Room Project: Electrical Complete

We passed the rough in inspection and the electrical has been completed so I now have both lights and power in the new room.

Recessed Shelf Corner of Room With Lights
Recessed Shelf Corner of Room With Lights

The lights that are currently in place are only temporary. My fixtures will go up once the drywall is done, which is supposed to start on Monday. The one sad thing is that means the one guy we’ve actually liked working here is done with his part and we will be dealing with yet another crew for the remaining pieces.

Under Stair Storage and Basement Access With Lighting
Under Stair Storage and Basement Access With Lighting

By my calculations, the drywall will take maybe 2 or 3 days and then the doors have to be installed, which is about another day. So it is quite possible that by Thursday of next week, I’ll be done with contractors in and out of my house and the rest of the work is down to me.

I cannot wait to get started!

 

Broken Frozen Soap Bubble

This one is actually from a couple of years ago. I had really thought this was from last year, but I was shocked to realize it was back another year. I have this in the rotation of background images on my computer and I saw it pop up the other day. It is one of my favorites from that particular attempt to do frozen bubbles. I’m hoping to get a chance to try these out again this year if the weather cooperates.

Yesterday, they got all the electrical in place. The only thing left is to have the electrician do the main connections and work out the specifics of connecting the three way switches, which is happening today.

I’m also supposed to get the rough in inspection done today! I was told that the city is being wonky about showing up though, so it might not actually happen. Fingers crossed that there are no hiccups on that front.

By the end of the day today, if the inspection happens, all the electrical will be done and we will be ready for drywall. As of right now, that is scheduled to start on Monday and won’t take but a couple of days, so I’m in final countdown mode to the end of the contractor part of this project.

I wasn’t able to get any photos of the progress because there is no power in the space, which means no lighting. Not that there really is a whole lot to see, but having lights in there made a world of difference and I can’t wait to have my lights in place instead of the temporary ones they’ve got now.

Craft Room Project: Outlets!

Outlets! I see outlets!

Okay, I’m such a dork. When I saw the boxes go up on the framework, I just got stupidly happy. No wiring. No actual outlets or switches. Just empty boxes. And I was giddy.

Imagine how much worse I got when I saw outlets in place and wires running through the studs.

It really doesn’t look like much got done today, but my guy was here all day and this was some huge progress. We spent probably an hour or so this morning going through the entire layout and marking placement of each and every piece to make sure it was exactly where it needed to go. It is a little tedious, but it is also kind of fun to put these suckers exactly where you want them.

Do you have any idea how cool it is to know that you picked out the location of every single electrical outlet in your house? Or how annoying it is to realize way too late that you screwed up or should have done something different? Ever grumbled at whatever idiot put an outlet THERE instead of there? Well, I’m that idiot in this house. All the placement issues or successes are mine. All of that is going to be an even bigger deal in my craft room, so in the months or years to come when I complain about the brainlessness of of outlet locations in that room, feel free to remind me of this post.

All the boxes are in place. Two of the walls are almost completely wired (as in wires in place, not hooked up to power) with their outlets in place and another one is started. There is still a whole lot of wire that needs to be pulled into place, but it is starting to take even more defined shape. I did realize I forgot to place a switch for the closet light (see? brainlessness strikes already), so he will have to add one more box, but it is so awesome to see.

Also, today was absolutely, positively dull on the drama front and I absolutely loved it! It was a VERY good day.

Craft Room Project: Framing Done!

It is a stark comparison of what got done in slightly over half a work day today vs. what had been done in the three-ish days the other crew was here. It is kind of shocking.

Framed Entrance to New Craft Room From The Other Side of Basement
Framed Entrance to New Craft Room From The Other Side of Basement

We found out why we only had one guy today. It’s because the other guy just flat out didn’t show up to work. Apparently he had a buddy working at the company and he got let go. Our guy is assuming that this guy just decided to leave as well.

Built Out Wall On Outside Of Storage Space
Built Out Wall On Outside Of Storage Space

The really bad thing about the second guy not showing? This was our guy’s first day back after abdominal surgery and he really needed the help today. He ended up leaving after he got the framing done because he was in too much pain to start working on pulling the wires, so only managed a little over a half day’s work. I really feel bad for the guy and it was obvious he was miserable.

I can probably say part of that pain was caused when he had to do some straightening of the framework for the doorway under the large beam, something that was required because the other crew didn’t get it right. It’s fixed now, but that is some serious stress on abdominal muscles that have suffered that kind of trauma, even 3 weeks post op.

Build Out Around Beam And Wiring
Build Out Around Beam And Wiring

Beyond the straightening, he did the build out around the wires along the large beam.

Duct Work Framing And Build Out For Wiring On Small Beam
Duct Work Framing And Build Out For Wiring On Small Beam

He fixed/finished the build out for the wires on the shorter beam.

Duct Work Framing Inside New Closet
Duct Work Framing Inside New Closet

And he finished wrapping the duct work inside the new closet space. There is a chance that there is one more board that needs to be put in place, but I’ll confirm that tomorrow. That said, the framing is finished.

Tomorrow, I’ll go through the electrical layout with him, marking where all the new outlets and switches go, where the new lights go and where I’m moving the central light. He will be running all the wires, but we still have to have their electrician do any hook ups and whatever else needs to be done at the electrical box to support all of that. I’m not certain of the time frame to get that done, but I’m hoping only a couple of days.

There will be a potential lag between that getting finished and starting the drywall because the electrical has to be inspected before they can move on. I’ve been told that right now, getting an inspector out is really spotty on how soon they can show up.

I’ve got to say, it was a HUGE relief having our original guy back out here today. It was amazingly quiet, even with the sawing and banging and low volume music.

Today was progress. Mostly stress free, positive progress. Definitely the way to get this project going again.

 

Frozen Fog Spikes

The frozen fog yesterday was absolutely stunning. I was very limited on my time because by the time I got my camera and got out there, the wind was picking up and starting to knock all the spikes off of everything. At one point, it looked like it was snowing with how much was falling. I did manage to get in quite a few really good shots, so it was a successful little outing.

I was beginning to think that I was going to get a shot at two days of frozen fog to take photos of, but even though we had fog again last night, it wasn’t quite cold enough to freeze it and coat everything this morning.

That’s probably a good thing since we are back to having contractors working on my craft room today. The main guy from the original crew is here, but he’s by himself. He also wasn’t aware that the main guy told us that he’d be the one running the wiring. So… yeah. I’m ready to be done with that part of this project. The upside is that he will most likely be done with the remaining framing today.

At least I got some pretty pictures!