Craft Room Project: Update – I Think?

Today is one of those totally mixed, “I have no fickin’ clue how I feel” kind of days.

It started with another text, no phone call, informing me that a couple of guys would be out to finish up the framing. No time frame, just that they would be here. I asked for an ETA and was told 20- 30 minutes.

Yeah. Thanks for the heads up that I specifically asked you for. It is beyond obvious that you are not a cat person and have no clue what it means to try and get a cat somewhere they don’t want to go. Shockingly, our difficult kitty was oddly cooperative this morning, so that was a bonus as we were resigned to leaving her hiding in the basement and keeping our fingers crossed she didn’t decide to bolt up the stairs during one of the many trips up and down and out the door while it was open. We managed to get her safely closed up in her designated room before anyone showed.

On the one hand I should be grateful that there are people here and working. Mostly. I think. I cannot even begin to predict how much they will get done as the one guy has been on the phone pretty much the entire time he’s been here and the other guy was gone for an hour and a half on a supply run.

They also had to call in our other guy, who apparently hasn’t actually had his surgery yet (though I know he cannot work in his condition), to come out and walk them through exactly what needs to be done because apparently what I attempted to walk them through on wasn’t enough. Granted, I couldn’t give them door sizes that still need to be framed, but I’d thought the guys had noted that on the floor when they marked all this out. I’m not feeling that these guys are swimming in the deep end of gene pool and have a bad feeling these are the same guys our guy was complaining about messing up their previous job.

I felt horrible that they had to drag the other guy in, he looked like he was in a whole hell of a lot of pain. I am grateful that he was willing to come out and make sure they did the job right, but I still felt awful for him.

When they took off for lunch after they’d been here for a few hours, I went to check progress and honestly couldn’t see that they’d done much at all. It is a little concerning, but I’ll take slow if it means it is accurate. I just don’t have the confidence that these guys are going to do as good of a job or as accurate as the previous guys.

I am massively relieved that the part that had the most critical measurement is already done and it can’t be messed up.

When It Was Sunny And Bright

And we have a no show, no call day with the contractors!

Sure, the guy said probably and about, nothing definite, but for fucks sakes, can you NOT pick up a damn phone and give me an idea of when I’m actually going to be able to expect someone to show up?! Seriously? Am I just asking too much here?

FYI… doing any kind of a construction project around the holidays is probably NOT a good idea if you want to maintain a cheerful attitude for the season. I’m going to just go look at some pretty pictures in the hopes that it puts me in a better mood.

Bug Bitten

I’m taking advantage of what might be my last no contractor day before Christmas that isn’t a weekend and getting the last little bit of needed shopping done today. I’d rather not, but there are a few things I need to get that aren’t easy to order and that Hubby can’t get for me, so I’m making what will hopefully be a very quick run.

How sad is it that even though the head guy at the contracting company said two days when I talked to him the other day, that I can’t actually count on that? I did ask him specifically to keep me updated on the timing because of needing to contain the cats, so we will see if I actually hear anything today or not.

MC has two finals left, one tomorrow and one Saturday, and he is done with his first semester of college. We are STILL waiting to hear if he is allowed to live off campus next semester, which is beyond frustrating.

Fun fact? eSports, even though it is all computer games and doesn’t require any kind of fitness ability at all, still requires you get a physical before being able to participate. I now have to help MC navigate that process because it seems to be a little bit complicated for something that should be simple.

They also have a few interesting rules about participating as a team member. One is that you are required to spend so much time each week doing actual physical activity. I think it is a great requirement, I just think it is kind of funny, and not entirely surprising, that they have to have that rule.

I do wonder if those requirements get waived for someone that has physical limitations. I’d think the world of eSports would be ideal for those that aren’t able to participate in physical sports.

This photo reminds me of how my brain feels most days. Full of holes. I’ve joked for years that it is a swiss cheese brain because I tend to forget stuff all the time. This week, I got to learn that I can turn a white boxed cake mix into chocolate, because apparently I had one of those moments. I’d asked Hubby to pick up the white mix at the store even thought I KNEW I was using it for my chocolate cupcakes. Imagine my shock when I pull it out to make them and realize what I’d done. At least I learned a nifty new trick!

I’m having way too many of those swiss cheese moments lately.

Craft Room Project: Officially In Limbo

It appears that our head guy working on the framing for the craft room did require emergency surgery at some point over the weekend and isn’t able to work at the moment. I wish him an easy and full recovery.

How did I learn this do you ask?

It certainly wasn’t because someone picked up the phone at any point over the weekend or even this morning to inform me that no one would be here to work. It was because I had to call to find out what was going on. After we’d locked the cats up and gotten up at ass crack of dawn again and waited for well over an hour past his normal start time with no one showing up.

This is not the guy’s fault that he ended up in the hospital. I feel horrible for him. I’m pissed that the company didn’t have the basic understanding of customer service to make a simple phone call and let us know.

I get it. They are now scrambling to rework their schedules and crews because our guy is absolutely going to be down for the count for quite some time. It is going to take some time to work those issues out. They still should have informed us that we wouldn’t have someone coming even if they didn’t have any kind of idea as to when they would have someone available again. You cannot tell me they didn’t know their guy wasn’t going to be able to work today until after he was supposed to be here today.

I’ve got to say, I’ve been extremely unhappy with the communication aspect from this company and their lack of respect for their customer’s time. Yes, I’m having them build a craft room. No, they aren’t even doing the full thing, stopping when they get the drywall done. Yes, that may seem frivolous and unimportant in comparison to a bathroom or kitchen remodel that will make their portfolio all pretty, but it is still a job that I’m paying to get done and deserves the same kind of priority consideration as any other job. I’m really not happy that this isn’t being treated as such.

When I spoke with the guy about where we are in the project, I suggested that enough of the framing had been done that the wiring could be run as it is apparently done by another guy, but he was insistent that every last bit of framing was done before they even considered starting that portion. I do know enough about framing and wiring to know that this is a preference thing and not a requirement, so I was not very happy with this response because it means there will be zero progress until someone can finish the framing.

It also means that we are officially sitting in limbo. I was told that they would know more soon about when they can get back to this and I should get a call either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

One of the things we were hoping to get out of this outside of this project was a potential contractor for what we know will be a rework of our bathroom at a much later date. If I had to make that decision right now, based on how this has gone so far, I’d be hard pressed to give the job to this company.

 

It’s A Cranky Pants Day

I think that most people have certain expectations when they hire someone to do a job.

For a contracting job like this craft room, it can be expected that your life is going to be at least somewhat interrupted and inconvenient for the duration. That people will be going in and out and making noise. That there will be messes. That the people involved provide some basic courtesy and respect for you and your property. That the company treat your job seriously and give it priority when it is being worked on. That plans are followed and what you asked for and got a bid for is what you receive.

Over my years of being a home owner I’ve had a range of projects where contractors were needed.  These expectations are all pretty standard and, for the most part, every company I’ve ever worked with did a decent enough job to mostly meet those expectations. I’m not being overly picky or unreasonable about most of them anyway.

So far, this crew has done a pretty great job in almost all of those areas. The one that has been a problem, and is the fault of the company, not the crew, is the giving our job priority. For the second day in a row, our crew has gotten pulled to go do something on another project.

Now, I’m flexible and understanding. Yesterday was about going back to a previous job and fixing something, so no big deal. I do understand and wasn’t too bothered by it. When they showed up this morning and told me they were getting pulled again, I joked with the guy about going to the same problem job (he is chatty so I got to hear about some of the issues and how bad they were), but no. This time it was a different job and I was really NOT happy.

There are multiple issues that I have with this and it really kind of ticked me off. One is minor, but annoying, and that is the fact that I was up, yet again, at the ass crack of dawn so they could get started. They showed up ready to work when they get the call to go to the other job. If they had been told yesterday before they left here (and I think it was a possibility), they could have just let me know they’d start later like they did the day before and I could have stayed the hell in bed. But no. They didn’t get notified until they were about ready to walk in the house and I was already up.

Another issue is the fact that this company seems to make it clear that our job isn’t a priority for them. I don’t think I’ve worked with a company before that didn’t have the policy of “once we are there, we stay there until the job is completely done” kind of thing. I’d never really understood why they all stressed this until this project. Now I know why that is so important and I value that even more now than ever. It is extremely frustrating to feel like your project is the bottom of the priority ladder. Now I’m wondering how long this project is going to drag out because other people get to butt in on the time the guys need to finish.

Either that or, and this is becoming a concern, that the work they are doing is problematic enough to require regular call backs to previous jobs to fix the problems they created. It definitely doesn’t reflect all that well on the company with either option.

The other, and this one really pisses me off, is the exponential exposure risk these guys are bringing with them. I have been so extremely careful since spring to protect my family and myself that it bothers me to no end that someone else’s lack of concern, after I emphatically let them know that I am at high risk, may negate all that hard work. The back and forth and in and out here and at multiple other job sites, pushes my comfort level a bit too far.

I understood I was taking a risk having people in my house working. I’ve done everything I can to reduce that risk as much as possible. I wear a mask the entire time they are working and I stay upstairs unless they need something. I was okay with that when I thought they were going to be here for the duration of this project, but I really don’t like this 2 out of the 3 work days they’ve had so far being pulled to different locations.

Another piece added to this exposure risk issue is the fact that apparently the electrician lives part time in Florida and has been there for the last week or so. This is something I was not made aware of before this whole project got started. I do not like the fact that I wasn’t given all the information I needed to be able to make an informed decision.

To add to the cluster this day has apparently become, my guys showed back up as I was writing this only to inform me that the head guy was headed to the hospital because he thought he had an appendicitis. The other guy that has been working with him is brand spanking new and can’t do the work, so we are on complete hold.

I feel absolutely horrible for the guy because those are miserable. I hate it that he feels so crappy. I absolutely want the guy to go and get it taken care of. You cannot be expected to do a job under those circumstances.

As sympathetic and understanding as I am, I also expect the company to make contact with me outside of the guy coming and talking to me himself to give me an idea of plans moving forward. At this point, I don’t even know if they have anyone outside of the guy that has been doing the work that is capable of finishing this project. For all I know, I’m in permanent limbo.

There are so many different possible outcomes going on here. If the guy does in fact have an appendicitis and gets surgery, then he is out of commission for a while. Is our project on hold until he can work again? Or, he doesn’t and it is something else that they send him home with meds of some sort and he is back to work on Monday. After having spent a significant amount of time in a hospital. Amping up my already huge concerns about exposure risk.

The day started with me in an awkward and unhappy position and is now in limbo mode. This company has already make it clear that they aren’t overly concerned with exposure risks, either to their people or their clients (though the guys do wear masks unless they are working alone in the basement with the door shut), so I have no doubt they fully intend to send our guy back the second he is able to work and is most likely their plan. I would hope they’d actually call me and tell me that. Or anything at this point would be nice.

Craft Room Project: Construction Day 2

Day two of construction was good. The guys had no problems fixing the issue with the one wall, but it took a bulk of their time here working on that piece.

It looks like with the adjustments (and so glad I caught them when I did), I’ll end up with the finished space being as close to perfect as possible as far as measurements go to fit my counter tops. Massive yay in my book.

Recessed Shelf Area and Build Ou
Recessed Shelf Area and Build Out

I took the above shot at a sharper angle so you can see the depth that section of wall and the recessed shelf area is going to have. Seriously, the guys did it exactly as I asked. You can also see my new exhaust fan at the top.

New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening
New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening

The only other bit they were able to get done was the new wall that finishes off what gets closed in. They still have to create the header around that beam and create the surround for the opening to the rest of the basement.

They also have another small space that they will need to cut out and frame in on the new wall that looks like it got overlooked. I have an access opening planned for the lower left portion of that wall to give me access to the lower corner cabinet that is going to go in the craft room.

The original estimate was that the framing would be finished by Friday, but with the rework of the recess and build out, it looks like that is going to stretch into Monday now. It was sounding like we might have had a pause in the work at that point waiting for the electrician to come start their part, but with the expected framing finish being on Monday, I’m hoping there won’t be much of a gap.

It is really starting to look like a room now!

Craft Room Project: Construction Day 1

I’m calling yesterday day 1 of construction because they didn’t start actually building anything until yesterday. The day before was doing a lot of measuring and laying out of walls, but no visible progress.

Yesterday was a whole lot of visible.

We now have the framing in place for a new doorway into the “cat room” storage space. This is the home of the litter boxes and the source for one of my biggest peeves in the basement: kitty litter dust. Not the actual litter pieces, but the dust it produces ends up on EVERYTHING. The hope is that with a door there, one with a cat door, will help to keep that problem to a minimum.

Wall Framing And New Doorway
Wall Framing And New Doorway

They also got the framing done for the entire back 2 walls. Except… I’m probably going to piss them off today because one of those sections is supposed to have been built out (not sure if they were still planning on doing that) and then had the frame work for some recessed shelves that isn’t there.

Back Corner Wall Framing
Back Corner Wall Framing

 

The section in question is from the pipe to about the corner. That whole section is supposed to be built out to sit about 11 inches from the concrete wall. I need that to be precise because I already have my counter tops. Having that measurement off will make my life extremely difficult when the guys are done if it isn’t accurate.

They have a late start today because they had to go fix something on a previous job, so the head guy is probably not going to be too thrilled when he shows up today and I have to tell him they are probably going to have to redo a whole section.

I’ll take credit for part of this as I don’t think I was very clear when we were talking about the recessed area. I didn’t actually get this piece addressed fully in walking through the layout originally because we got stopped at that point and were supposed to resume the next day, but the guys doing the work never asked again for specifics on that wall before starting. That and I think that my original plan wasn’t going to work exactly the way I’d laid it out and needs to be tweaked, though I probably would have caught on to that if we’d gotten to go over the details of that part before they started building that wall. So the miss on the recessed portion is understandable. The miss on the build out, something that got brought up several times, isn’t so much.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the guys and the work they are doing. That may change depending on how they respond to fixing that wall. The head guy seems personable enough to take it in stride, but you never know.

Fingers crossed it goes well today. I’m just giddy about seeing any kind of progress that I can’t help but be excited, even with this little bump.

It’s Starting!

I was up at the ass crack of dawn today.

Why?

Because my contractors are coming out today to start on my craft room!

I’ll be flat out exhausted by this afternoon, but it is well worth it. I’m not sure my kids are going to agree as we’ve realized we might run into some logistical issues. Noise is going to be a big one for pretty much everyone because Hubby, MC and BG all are doing video meetings.

Another one I’m going to need to discuss with the contractors is potential power outages. They will be adding electrical so the power will go down at some point, but I have no clue when or how long. My fingers are crossed for this week as MC has tests next week.

The photo is of the current unfinished state of the stairs going to the basement. I still haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to do any flooring on the stairs as that isn’t part of what the contractors are going to do. I might want to get on that.

Home For The Holidays

I was given this year’s nutcracker last night! Hubby had started giving them to me early so I could enjoy them the whole season. Some years I get them earlier than others because he cannot stand to hang on to it after he gets it. This showed up on the porch yesterday afternoon and it was sitting in my spot at the table for dinner last night. I loved what he picked for the theme this year.

So much is going to be different this holiday season, but I’m good with that.

I won’t be doing bake sale baking this year because there won’t be a bake sale. The organizers are still taking donations to be able to support the families they provide for through the holidays, but no one is in the office right now, so a bake sale isn’t feasible. Instead, we are going to donate what they normally make off my baked goodies to help make up the difference of what they’d get from the sale.

We are also holing up and not leaving again after this week. I have one more errand I have to take care of, then I’m going to do my best to not leave the house again until after the first of the year. Hubby will still take care of our essential shopping, but I won’t be leaving. I’m not taking any chances with a lowered or suppressed immune system.

We got all the pieces I need for my craft room project yesterday to paint the walls and install the floor. I figure that after the contractors are done, that is about all I’d be able to get done until after the first of the year and will keep me from needing to leave to get any supplies.

I have my fingers crossed that our local government actually implements the health department recommendations of no gatherings larger than 10 as that will mean I don’t have to make the decision to keep BG from participating in her Christmas dance performances. The studio has put us in another awkward position as parents because they said they were going to make masks optional for the performances. They are live streaming them instead of having families come to the studio, but I think making it mask optional is recklessly stupid and I’m leaning towards keeping BG out because of that (and many other factors as well).

The last piece that is up in the air on our total stay at home for the holidays plan is what MC’s school is going to do. We know that they are not required to come back to campus after the Thanksgiving break, but they still have not answered questions about his requirements to live on campus next semester, so I have no clue if we are moving him out of the dorms in the next couple of weeks or not.

Staying home also means no big meal with Hubby’s dad and sister. For either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We haven’t seen either one of them since February other than Hubby taking care of a few critical appointments with my FIL, but we are all in agreement that we need to do this.

I am planning on fixing a full Thanksgiving dinner to take out and drop off with them the day before. The whole family will go, but we will only stay outside and just long enough to drop it off and leave. I will probably also do something similar for Christmas. At least he will get a nice, home cooked meal that way even if we can’t spend any time together. That is the best we can do right now. It helps to make sure that EVERYONE is still around for next holiday season.

And just to give you a visual reminder….

Intubation Graphic
Intubation Graphic

 

Craft Room Project: HVAC & Wall Drawings

Today was a rather productive day. And kind of exciting as well.

I now have the HVAC installed in the new space! Damn, but that was LOUD! I’m so glad that neither Hubby nor BG had meetings going on at the time because it really wouldn’t have been possible.

I also completed the bulk of my drawing on the walls fun. It is really rough, but mostly accurate. I ran into a couple of issues that I had to correct, which was the whole point of the exercise, to make sure my designs would work and to help me with the final layout of outlets and lighting.

Back Wall Layout
Back Wall Layout
Workbench Wall
Workbench Wall

Above are the designs for my back wall and my workbench wall (where most of the cabinet work is going). Below is the design drawn in place on the walls. As you can see, it is really messy, but it does allow me to see that my design is going to work as I’ve laid it out.

Cabinet Design Drawn Out On Walls
Cabinet Design Drawn Out On Walls

I also had to do some very basic outlining on the floor, though it is almost impossible to see in the photo. This is because I don’t have a wall to draw on there. This was mostly so I could mark placement for the outlets on this wall. Or at least have reference points to where they will eventually go (on the left side of the below photo).

Portion Of Back Wall And Floor
Portion Of Back Wall And Floor

This is the layout for the currently non-existant wall. This is the partial wall that will remain open to the rest of the basement.

Left Work Table Wall
Left Work Table Wall

The flat designs aren’t great to be able to tell exactly what I have going on, but it does give an idea.

Being able to walk down the stairs and see this as a mostly life size design I can walk through is amazing. I’m thrilled that the HVAC pieces are done. Now it is down to waiting on my contractor. The only thing I have left to do before they start is to finalize my lighting and possibly get them purchased. The rest of my part now has to wait until I have electrical and walls in place.

Golden Orange

My next stage in the craft room project is to get that space cleared out completely so it is ready to go for when the contractor starts.

This is one of those easier said than done projects because that means I have to find space to put everything. Space that still allows for the contractor to work, doesn’t block any access to our storage (I have to do all my holiday decorating around the time this is getting started, SO fun! Not) and, as I’ve been so clearly informed, I don’t block BG’s practice floor. A floor that takes up a considerable amount of space. Space I’m not allowed to use.

I have so far figured out where to put the majority of the larger pieces and have gotten them moved. All I have left is to empty out the two cabinets I have and get those moved. I’m not looking forward to those as they are both crammed full and are heavy and awkward to try and move.

Once I have all of that out of the space, I’m going to start drawing on the walls.

Okay, that isn’t going to be as fun as it sounds as I’m just going to try and draw the basic layout I have planned for my cabinets on the two existing walls so I can mark where I need my outlets and to make sure my layout is going to work the way I’ve gotten it drawn.

I’m hoping that exercise will also help me to plan out the finer details I need to work on the interior designs of those cabinets.

Just to give  you an idea of what I’m working with here, these are my before pictures.

Craft Room: Before #2
Craft Room: Before #2
Craft Room: Before #1
Craft Room: Before #1

The storage area stuff isn’t going to be dealt with until I’m pulling out the holiday decorations. Then I have to make sure that everything that is there is still under the stairs section so it can get enclosed. Every single thing else has to come out and I’m down to just the white and gray cabinets. And waiting for the contractor to start around Thanksgiving.

Baby steps of progress.

Garage Workbench: Done!

This is SO not pretty, but… it wasn’t intended to be. I also didn’t get any before pics because that whole thing was a disaster before I started working on this and I wasn’t going to share the nasty.

Anyway!

The two cabinets were originally separate and on crappy plastic legs. They are now connected and have locking wheels.

The benchtop is my old jewelry bench, which is getting built new when I redo the craft space. I made some major modifications, taking down the short tool walls and extended the surface so that there would be a full overhang of the cabinets underneath. The surface is attached to the cabinets so the whole thing can easily be moved when I need to do a bigger project (like the cabinets).

While it is kind of ugly because I really only used scraps or repurposed stuff I already had with the exception of the wheels, it was the absolute perfect project to test out all of my new tools except my router. I think I have a decent handle on most of them now. Even the nail guns!

I has nail gun. I. am. BADASS!! 🤣🤣

Chunky Snowflake

This snowflake was a little different than the typical ones you see in detail that are intricate and delicate. It has that distinct outer shape, but lacks the inner delicacies. It hadn’t melted, so it wasn’t that it had lost it shape that way. It was probably because this was a more wet, sticky snow, but I thought it was interesting. Normally when you can pick out the snowflakes individually, there are always the tiny details.

Yesterday, my goal was to get started on some of the pre-projects I needed to get done before anything happens on the craft room. The big one being getting a comfortably usable workspace set up in the garage for me to be able to work on the cabinets.

The plan there was to add wheels to a couple of smaller cabinets I already have in the garage and attach my current workbench top to them both creating a movable, sturdy workbench. So far, I’ve got the wheels on, which was much easier and also much harder than I anticipated, but it is done. Today, I have to work on setting the top and figuring out how to secure it.

The other piece I needed to get done yesterday was getting my HVAC people out to do the ventilation in the new space. The plan for them is to add new vents and a return to where that room is going, creating a new zone and then to add an exhaust fan.

I call my guy to let him know we were ready to move forward and I find out he is sick. With THE sick, apparently. Of course, I scrambled to double and triple check my calendar to see when he was out to give me my bid. Thankfully, it was out of the danger time frame, but it still made me pause and really think about all of this.

I know that doing this adds another risk point for us. That piece really concerns me. My bronchitis is settling in nice and nasty already, so the idea of getting hit with ANYTHING else is kind of terrifying, let alone getting Covid-19. It is why we still pretty much keep things to Hubby taking care of the essential only, with the very rare other (even then it is very low risk/low contact) when I go out.

For a long time, it has sort of felt like we are living in a bubble because the numbers around us where I live have stayed really low. In comparison, we are still extremely low. Areas around us are much higher, but not quite to the point where hospitals are getting overwhelmed, though they are being watched closely as we are starting to see those numbers climb.

I know I fall into the extremely cautious category of personalities, but this concerns me. I have no way of ensuring that the people coming into my house are practicing safe measures outside of my house and that bothers me. Yes, they will be wearing masks or they can leave. I will be wearing a mask at all times when anyone else is in my house even if they aren’t in the same space. Both Hubby and BG will be around, but work in their own office or room and I’ll make sure they don’t come out without a mask on as well. Same goes for MC if he is home.

That is my current plan anyway. We do have an air scrubber (UV light) as part of our HVAC system which, theoretically, should help. I also plan to be ridiculous on cleaning surfaces. I just wonder if this is the best move right now.

I’m already worried about BG getting exposed through dance because of the number of different school districts represented in the students. I’m less worried about MC at college because almost all of his stuff is online and he is only out of his room for classes maybe a couple of hours a week.

Right now, I’m going to cautiously move forward, but I will be keeping a close eye on everything. Especially if this isn’t getting started until after Thanksgiving.

Snowy Rose

It feels like we should be getting ready to put up (or already have up) Christmas decorations, not that we are only a couple of days away from Halloween.

Not only did we get snow the other day (just enough to coat everything), but it stayed cold enough for it to hang around. Now we are supposed to get a mix of nasty today. Depending on how quickly we warm up, that mix may actually mean ice.

And with this oh, so wonderful blast of winter, came my equally wonderful annual bronchitis. This is going to be such a lovely winter! It is going to be epically entertaining to see how well I can operate power tools while in the middle of a coughing fit.

At least I’ll have a project to work on during the nasty. I confirmed the go ahead on the bid from this contractor to start on the craft room project. I’m sure I’ll have a contract to sign and other little side things before they can start work, but just being able to say “Let’s do this” made me giddy.

I have a smallish project in the garage to get that space more usable for a workspace while I’m doing the cabinets that I have to get done soon. Once that is done, I’m back to playing and honing my tool skills so I’m ready to go.

Hubby is going to be mad at me when I steal his little space heater so I can actually work in that cold garage. Poor guy is just going to have to layer up in the one room in our house that is surrounded by exterior walls and has a crappy window that doesn’t do squat for the insulation in that room.

See what happens when you steal my office? I get a new room and you get to be cold. Ha!

 

 

Curled Leaf

Today is sunny and warm and I had a bid in my inbox this morning!

It is still a little higher than I had anticipated, but it really isn’t totally unreasonable. There are some things I need to get clarified before I can decide for sure to move forward as that may impact the final number, but at this point I’m extremely hopeful.

Progress! Maybe.

Nature’s Flower Arrangement

The cranky pants might make it back out today.

This is always a possibility anyway when it is cold and dreary like it is today, but even more so because I STILL haven’t heard back on the last contractor bid, even though I sent a follow up email a couple of days ago to try and get a time frame to expect the estimate.

I really hate it, but I think I’m going to have to seriously consider going the route of having only the HVAC and electric done and being forced to do all the framing and drywall myself. It’s funny, really. I’m totally okay with breaking out ALL the different power tools and doing more detailed, complicated work like building frickin’ cabinets, but I hate the idea of doing the framing and drywall work.

It is all just so frustrating.

 

Craft Room Project: First Router Attempt

While this so isn’t perfect, it absolutely blew apart my expectations for my first ever attempt at using not just a router, but bits that are apparently on the finicky side to use. I’m actually really happy with this little mess! (Sorry for the less than stellar photos, I just nabbed them quickly with my phone and didn’t realize how bad they were until I got them loaded!)

The first thing I attempted was cutting the tongue portion of what would become a tongue and groove join. This after more than an hour reading the directions and figuring out the basics of attaching the bit and adjusting depth and all the other VERY different nuances of using a router than any other power tool I’ve used so far.

First Attempt: Tongue Cut
First Attempt: Tongue Cut

As you can see, this is really wrong as that tongue isn’t supposed to be wedge shaped. I was working on figuring out how to keep the router flat on such a narrow piece of wood and obviously failed on that pass. I was still thrilled that it came even close to what I knew it was supposed to look like.

The second one of these came out much better, but was still not perfect.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut

It isn’t supposed to have that angled divot in it.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut - Placement Goof
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut – Placement Goof

I’m totally okay with not perfect at this point. The tool is doing what it is supposed to do and the tongue piece itself came out wonderfully. The problems with this cut can be solved with a little practice and I’m good with playing some more.

The other part of this join, the groove, was surprisingly easy and came out mostly clean.

First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint
First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint

Part of why I’m surprised this came out as cleanly as it did was the fact that the router tended to hit in places and jerk a little. I think those were places where there were knots in the wood. This was probably close to a 3 foot long cut and it only had one noticeable wobble in the groove.

Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove
Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove

Considering this was the first time attempting this, I’m thrilled as this was the piece I was most concerned about being able to pull off.

The true test of how well this little play session was is seeing if those pieces actually fit together. And yes. Yes they did!

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove

It was such a nice, snug fit, I wasn’t certain when I first tried it that it was going to work. Then it just snugged in perfectly.

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove - Close Fit
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove – Close Fit

The above picture makes me excessively happy in that it not only fit together, but it LINED UP! The surfaces of both pieces hit at the same spot. Sure, the edge of the one is a little rough, but a little sandpaper or a file will fix that completely.

Being able to pull these cuts off is a critical piece to building the cabinet doors. If I couldn’t pull this off, then I was going to have to look into a much more expensive option of getting a table saw and special blades. I’m almost certain after this experiment that I’ll be good with that I currently have.

The cool thing about this is even if it isn’t perfect, I’m still probably going to be good. I’m going to paint the cabinets, so any small things can either be fixed with wood filler or I might even leave some of the imperfections and keep these looking a little more rustic. The wood I use on the cabinets is also going to be a much better quality than what I used here. It will probably cut more cleanly than these did because of that.

I still need to practice more and try and work out some of the kinks to make sure the cuts are cleaner than what I got today, but this was a promising start.

Next up to test out and play with will be the nail guns. I think that all the playing I need to do to get ready for the cabinets is going to be its own project. I have enough wood, I think I’m going to build a small storage box for outside. If it is ugly, that’s perfectly fine, but it will give me the practice with all the new tools that I need.

I’m so happy with how everything worked out today!

Now I just REALLY need to hear back from this last company on a bid. I sent an email yesterday, so hopefully that will get a response soon.

Mum Petals In Black & White

It is on the colder, drearier side today as we are well on our way to seeing the end of the nice weather. We do still have a day or to this week that might allow me to open my windows again, but those will most likely be the last.

It will be a good time to be in the garage starting to play. I have some practicing to do, playing with all my new tools so by the time I actually start working on building cabinets, I actually know what the hell I’m doing.

I’m still on the fence about buying a table saw as it is really expensive and I think I can get away with a circular saw that is much less expensive and will most likely be used more after this project is done than a table saw would. There are certain things I need to be able to do that a table saw is apparently the best tool for the job. It can be done using a router (which I have), but it is supposedly a little harder.

I have ordered the router bit I need (could not find it locally) and it should be here today. My goal is to play around with it using some of the wood scraps I have from previous projects to see exactly how difficult that may be to work with to get the desired result.

It’s exciting because it feels like I’m moving forward and making progress even if what I’m doing is just messing around.

Now, if I could just get the bid back from the last guy, I’d actually know what was going to happen and when, or (and I REALLY don’t want to go this route) I start looking into electricians and figuring out how the hell I’m going to frame this damn thing myself.

Contractor Search: Color Me Surprised

To be completely honest, after the mess this has been from the start and the number of no shows or no call-backs I’ve had, I’m actually really surprised the guy showed up for today’s appointment. And on time.

Even more surprising, especially after that questionable first phone conversation, he seems to be a decent guy. Knowing how I felt about this guy after that call, I really didn’t expect this appointment to go well, but it really did.

I don’t have numbers yet, so I’m not jumping ahead of the game yet, but I liked what this guy had to say today. I like their process. I like the fact he didn’t try to pressure me in any direction and just took what I asked for and got the clarifications he needed and left it at that. It was kind of refreshing, actually.

I also adore the fact that they are only about 3 weeks out on their lead time as opposed to not being able to start until January like the last company is.

It is still going to come down to numbers, but today left me more hopeful than I’ve been about this project after all the bumps and sticker shock so far.

Meandering Path

We went for a walk and a drive around this weekend. The hope was that the trees were in full color and to get some photos. Of course, where I live, we don’t really get a “full color” like you’d see in other areas. We sort of get stages.

One week may be the yellow trees. Another week or two later, after those leaves have already fallen, you might get a red or an orange popping up here and there (though we don’t have a lot of those). It just seems like we can’t manage to get all the colors to line up at the same time, though every once in a great while, the trees will put on an amazing show, but it may only last for a day or two.

Right now, we are still way more green than I expected based on the trees in my neighborhood. There are some yellows that are already quickly turning to brown and the rare splash of orange peeking through, but not much else.

It was still nice to get out. I managed to, of course, get some photos of the kids being the absolute goofballs they are. I’d wanted some nice shots, but I’m just going to be grateful that both of them still want to go and do those things with us.

Today I’ve got Misogyny guy coming out to give me a bid. I honestly don’t know what I’m hoping for at this point. I do really want to get at least one more figure for how much this plan might cost me. I’d kind of love for that whole conversation to have just been an honest mistake and the guy is a decent guy that I’d consider working with. Based on the luck I’ve had so far, I’m not holding my breath for it.

I can dream, though, right?

Contractor Search: First Bid – Sticker Shock

I have gotten my first rough estimate to finish my craft room space and… I’m kind of speechless.

Hubby and I did our research, so we had a kind of broad price range to expect this project to come in around, or at least a close ballpark figure. Remember, I’m supposed to be doing a large portion of the work myself, some of the big expense portions if you consider the cabinet work.

The number I was given today? It was 4 times higher than I’d really kind of hoped, but maybe only about 3 times higher than the top of what I expected. That wasn’t including the VERY high estimate I got from our HVAC people to take care of the ventilation portion of the project (again, wasn’t expecting that cost, though I will note part of their estimate included things I did not ask for, so this number isn’t completely accurate).

I’m so shocked and discouraged right now it isn’t even funny.

I know that a portion of this, the electrical, is going to be kind of a beast because we are going to have to expand our panel to accommodate the new load. I fully expect this piece to be on the bigger end, but… just wow! Not even CLOSE to what I was figuring.

What makes it even harder to swallow is the fact that this bid was from the only company that I have liked so far. Partly because the others haven’t even bothered to return calls. Or show up. What is left in my line up is Misogyny Guy and two other companies that haven’t returned calls to even set up appointments yet. I never heard a word from No Show Guy.

I have no clue what I’m going to do from here. One option is to have an electrician come in and take care of that part, but still do everything else myself. I’ve not done any framing before, but been around projects that have had it done, so I understand some basic (though probably not nearly enough). I’ve helped with drywall in the past, but not done it all by myself. What parts I did, I really disliked and is why I wanted to hire out that part.

I really need at least one other number before I can make any decisions, but there is a very real chance that this project, that I’ve already bought stuff for, may not get done. Or at least, not done in the way I want it. I may have to completely rethink my plans.

Not feeling overly happy today.