day off today. got much
of the sheathing up in the garage. should be done after a few more hours
of work. we also took two truckloads of dirt out of the backyard and to
terry's house. terry is our garbage collector and he saw the truck full
of dirt and asked if we were getting rid of it. we said yes and he asked
if we wanted to take it to his house. that worked out well for us because
the other guy i wanted to give it to gave me a wrong number so all i had
was his address and i didn't want to just dump it in front of his house.
we still have 2-3 truckloads of dirt left, but we got a good area cleared
now so that's nice.
yesterday was another run
day for me. this was the second time i've run in probably 10 years and
it went pretty well. ran about 2 miles and then rested by walking for about
3 minutes. then ran another mile at a pretty good clip. definitely felt
like the old track/cross-country days. it's amazing how quickly it comes
back to you. the smell and the feel never leave you. need to continue to
work on my base for at least a couple months before training can get more
been exceptionally busy
the last week or so.
decided on a whim to go
to la on tuesday so i left after work and then returned here on friday.
while i was there i picked up a couch, some wood, and some wine boxes from
my grandma and dad. the wood and boxes are for garage projects. couch is
now in the living room, sold our little black one.
also went to two nice hardware
stores - anawalt lumber and koontz hardware. both great in their own way.
also went to the apple
pan which is a well-known burger joint on pico. still holding it down after
like 90 years, still selling good quality burgers on paper plates. had
some apple pie afterwards too. good place. of course i also went to rocco's
in topanga which is my favorite restaurant anywhere. also went to pinkberry
finally. good if you like tarty frozen yogurt, i don't. one is going to
open on telegraph soon i think. all berkeley needs is another freaking
frozen yogurt place. jeesh. also went to a place called millions of milkshakes.
good but not amazing. soft serve ice cream is inferior, but still tasty.
best soft serve i've ever had was the maple soft serve dipped in maple
sugar that we had in vermont at morse
march madness has been
good this time around. good upsets and some solid games. the xavier/ksu
game was memorable. 2ot and lots of big shots made.
today they hauled away
the last of the garage debris so they're done with their part. i need to
sheath the interior with plywood then i can finish the electrical. rough
electrical is done so that's good. i definitely enjoy electrical more than
any other phase of construction. framing is fun and feels like you're getting
a lot done, but electrical is even better. plumbing can be good when it
goes well, but it usually doesn't go great for me.
also need to rip off roof,
put on new roofing, cut out bad part of the slab, pour new slab, and then
start installing all the interior stuff (shelving, workbenches, etc.).
it would be great to have a week off to work on these things, but that's
not happening any time soon.
saturday i worked on the
sunday i woke up on the
early side and ran a couple miles with meryl. first time in many years
that i've done any running and it went fairly well. calves are a bit sore
today. i'm training for a run that her family is doing and they invited
me. it's a 52 mile relay, but i'll only be doing like 6-8 miles of that
because i only have 5 months to train.
went to the alumni house
to install toilets. installed three new toilets, fourth toilet won't fit
because of some questionable plumbing. also had the fantasy baseball draft
and some basketball games going on that day.
internet isn't working
very well lately. not sure if it's the browser or the internet provider
or the wiring. lame.
rated about 6,000 songs
in my library so far. 27,000+ to go. hope to be done by this time next
memory is total shit the
last couple years. really need to find a solution to this or i'm going
to be a pathetic old man who can't remember to clean the spit off my chin.
got about 8 artichokes
growing on our artichoke plant. i honestly didn't think it would produce
anything because it just seemed out of control (5 feet tall and about 8
feet wide). when lettuce bolts it stops producing good stuff, but i guess
having a big plant isn't a bad thing with artichokes. it seemingly happened
overnight. meryl noticed it yesterday and it was a nice surprise. we may
have some homegrown artichoke in a week or two. we hope to plant tomato
and other plants in the next week.
allergy medicine seems
to have done the trick. i use the fluticasone nasal spray and it works
great so far.
work started on installing
the header today. first they stripped some of the shoring that was keeping
the pressure off the new foundation, but now the foundation is carrying
most of the load. they took off the garage doors and started to install
the header. now that most of the shoring is off the walls we can get started
on nailing up the electrical boxes and sistering the 2x4s to the 2x3 studs.
i'm hoping everything on their end will be done by the end of next week.
we still haven't gotten
rid of all the dirt that is in the backyard so it's quite a mess, we'll
see how that pans out. we might end up having to haul it away on our own,
but that's going to take several trips because the truck can only handle
about 1,000 lbs at a time and we have probably 6 loads worth of work. we'll
see how that goes. maybe if we stretch it out over the course of the next
couple weeks it won't be so bad. will need to find a place that handles
dirt on the cheap.
march madness has been
good so far. watched a decent amount of the evening games yesterday. washington
pulled out a victory. i had marquette winning that one. as usual my bracket
doesn't look very good. i don't take enough risks on the lower seeds so
i tend to be in the middle of the pack.
i honestly don't know how
i'd vote on the healthcare bill if i were in congress. it feels to me like
the biggest reason to vote for it at this point is to stick it to the republicans
and that's a shitty reason to vote for something so big. over time the
bill has gotten less and less to my liking (never even discussed single
payer, dropped public option a few months ago, seems to cover fewer and
fewer people each time, there seems to be more provisions for the votes
of individual congressmen, etc.). it's just a mess and it's difficult to
keep up with what the bill actually is anymore. then there's the fact that
the dems are going to use reconciliation or deem and pass. the whole thing
is just out of control. i had hoped that obama would help change some of
these rules so they don't get used against him and the dems after they
lose the majority in 2010 or 2012, instead they're just getting as much
as they can while they're in power. unfortunately they seem to be getting
the worst of both worlds: compromising on the bill by taking out key provisions
like the public option and leaving many things off the table because of
meetings with big pharma, but also using questionable tactics like
deem and pass or reconciliation. unless someone is willing to put their
foot down while they are in power this is just going to continually get
worse and worse and devolve into continuous tit for tat b.s. the system
is corrupted. the people gave the dems a chance and this is what they came
up with? it's pathetic, but i'd almost vote for it just because i don't
want to see the republicans win. them winning this battle could almost
be as bad as us going down this spiral of tit for tat lawmaking. i'm almost
to the point where i say we should scrap the whole thing and start over.
not the healthcare bill, the constitution.
busy as usual these days.
it has annoyed me for many
years how media outlets will write a headline like this: "tiger woods has
sex with little girls, says source." they lead with the claim and then
cite the source. to me it should read: "source says tiger woods has sex
with little girls." it's not always bad stuff that they put this way, but
when it's not a fact it seems to me that they should emphasize the source
first and then the accusation or whatever it is, not vise versa.
concrete pour went pretty
well. it was messy because the pump doesn't have a shutoff at the spout,
rather you have to press a button and that turns off the pump remotely.
seems to me as though it would be better to have a valve at the spout,
i know that's how some places do it. they're finishing it up right now.
there wasn't enough to fully fill in the trench, but most of it is filled
in so that works for me.
the actual pour is fairly
stressful because there are overage charges if you spend too much time
pumping. they only give you 4 minutes per yard of concrete so you have
to get it all out as quickly as possible. then they clean up and you trowel
the edges and clean-up. once they leave the stress is gone because you
don't have the noise of the pump and the truck and you're off the clock
at that point.
forms are done and ready
for concrete. truck should be here in the next two hours, though they haven't
called yet to tell me they are on their way. hopefully it goes well and
we have enough leftover to fill in the trench from the electrical dig.
we'll see. it'll take about 4-5 days before they can take the supports
off the building and let it fully rest on the new foundation.
haven't done much today.
mostly waiting for the concrete and wasting time. haven't been overly productive
while the garage has been getting work done on it. without having clean
access to my tools and having them out where i can work without having
to worry about dust issues, it's been difficult. trying to get things ready
so that the garage can move quickly once they are done with their end of
latest issue with the garage
is uncertainty about how to address the slab floor. our plan for right
now is to cut off the back third where it's really badly cracked and re-pour
that ourselves. the rest we will either leave as-is or grind down in areas
and then put an epoxy over it to mask the many imperfections. a whole new
slab would probably be $1000 assuming we subbed out the finishing and hauling
away of concrete.
the healthcare thing seems
inevitable at this point. not sure what kind of beast we're going to end
up with, but it seems as though something will happen. republicans seem
to be wearing down and obama really needs it to pass at this point. i hate
having to wait so long before we can really judge the impact of these things.
we don't fully know the impact of clinton and bush yet, much less obama.
it's like a story that takes years to unfold, but by the time the questions
have been answered i've already forgotten all the key elements of the question
i had in the first place. same goes for the nfl and nba drafts, though
the results happen a bit faster and are more clearly defined.
once in a while i'll check
the old updates. here's one from 3/30/09:
"yesterday jon came over
and helped with the garage project. problem: garage has three cross beams/joists
running from opposing top plates, all three have fallen off the top plate
on one side or the other. south wall is about 4 inches out of plumb. north
wall about 2 inches out of plumb. south wall is partially off the foundation.
solution: i rigged up a 4x4 in the middle of the garage and 2 2x8s on the
south wall. using two come-alongs we pulled on the wall. doing this we
were able to get the bottom of the south wall back on the foundation. replaced
part of the mudsill and attached it to the foundation and rest of the south
wall. we were unable to get the top of the wall any significant amount
closer to the north wall. after jon left i extended the cross beams by
sistering a 2x4 to them. this sistered 2x4 now rests on the top plate on
all three beams. they're attached to the top plates using hurricane ties.
overall it was a mixed results type of day. i really would have liked to
get the south wall within 2 inches of plumb, but that was not to be. even
if i had adopted the word for word plan of the engineer i don't think that
the come alongs would have had enough power to move the wall. the wall
itself isn't the problem, it's more that in trying to move it we were trying
to move the entire roof and west wall that became a problem. the good news
is that the band-aid that we applied should make the structure a little
more stout. it's now at least partially attached to the foundation and
the cross beams are holding the roof together a lot more than they were
when they were dangling in the middle of the garage. ultimately this project
is probably going to require a professional to lift the building, replace
the slab foundation, and straighten it. no idea how much that would cost
or if there is an easier way to get: 1) the building straight 2) a new
foundation (which is badly cracked and not at all flat/level)."
looks like it'll be a year
later that that problem finally gets solved and yes it took a professional
and yest they had to lift the building. funny to see how expectations change
and how my idea of a productive day has changed. learned a lot in that
really looking forward
to them being done with the structure so we can move onto the roof and
electrical. pretty much settled on the shop lights i want. meryl and i
will figure out the layout this weekend. that'll include the tools and
storage as well as the electrical outlets.
four cop cars and a helicopter
showed up at the end of the block last week. arrested some guy on the front
lawn of a house on the end of the block and seemed to be all. not sure
about the story, but they had him on his stomach and all that so it would
appear he didn't want to go.
garage is making progress,
but it's been a little slow. doing the rebar and setting the mudsill took
longer than i thought. they will form up and pour concrete on monday. taking
that day off instead of wednesday so i can be around.
on thursday i finished
the electrical rough-in. hurt my back that day so that sucked. when meryl
came home she helped me feed the wire into the conduit. went fairly well.
after they pour the foundation they'll replace the header and set the beam.
then we should be ready to go on the roof and electrical.
today i filled in the electrical
trench with dirt and hopefully we have enough leftover concrete after the
foundation to pour some in the trench. it doesn't need to look great or
anything, but i'd rather have the top two inches filled with concrete than
with just dirt or left open. in a year we'll probably redo the entire driveway,
though, so it's not like we're looking for perfection at this point.
also drove in the ground
rod for the garage subpanel. even with the rotohammer that took a while
and i ended up resorting to the sledgehammer to get the last few inches
trying to take it somewhat
easy this weekend because my back wasn't feeling so great after thursday.
i think that it didn't heal 100% after i hurt it a while back.
haven't been shot at this
week or anything so that's nice.
guys couldn't work today
because they had another job to button up. should be here tomorrow though
to form up the foundation. i'm hoping that will only take a day and that
we can pour on friday. that would give it a couple days to cure and then
hopefully they could take off the forms on monday. we're also going to
have them put up the beam and header because they work well and have reasonable
rates. it'll also allow me time to work on the electrical and get ready
to have the roofing underway. if all goes well we could start the roofing
next weekend, but that depends upon a lot of things - the weather, the
schedule for the guys doing the structure, the availability of the roofing
from home depot, and the schedule for the guy whose help i plan on getting
for the roof. i'm also hoping that the roofing only takes three days. one
for tear off, one for prep and tar paper and one for roofing and finishing
touches. haven't quite decided what we're doing about the downspouts (or
lack thereof) and the shed (which we'd have to build or buy for our gardening
tomorrow's goals are to
help them do everything they need to do to get the forms set and also to
get the electrical conduit roughed it and ready for the pour. pretty sure
i have everything i need.
hope to make a trip down
to la at some point as well.
updated movies and pictures
dug out the foundation
for the garage today. meryl was here for about an hour to help then her
stepbrother came by for a few hours and we also hired rafael (who did our
art room stucco patch) to help. it went well. took about 4 hours which
was about 2 hours less than i thought it was going to take. about 3 yards
of dirt we took out from under the garage. at this point the garage is
completely lifted off the ground, it's pretty cool. took today and tomorrow
off. hopefully we'll run the electrical conduit tomorrow which will go
through the foundation and up and into the interior of the garage. that
would be even better than the original plan which was to run an LB in through
the exterior of the wall. this is cleaner and has less of a chance of leaking.
if we get the forms up and the conduit in tomorrow i'll be happy. that
would mean the concrete would go in on thursday which would be great.
the updated pictures page
should be online by the end of the night.
haven't had much time lately.
did my aa picks
garage is lifted, but they
still have some work to do before it'll be time to dig out the foundation.
hope to do that on tuesday if i can get the time off.
mostly worked in the back
this weekend. finishing up the drainage and whatnot.
first garage guy is here
today, others will arrive shortly. seems nice, hope they get a lot done
today in spite of the rain issues.
the drainage that we installed
on the side of the house seems to be keeping that area relatively mud free
so that's a good thing.
would have liked to see
more of the health care reform meeting on cspan, but only watched the stuff
covered by the daily show. at one point mccain talks about a b.s. amendment
that would have excluded floridians from some provisions of the bill because
it was politically expedient and would have gained some votes. he mentioned
this fully expecting excuses and push back from obama. instead obama replied
"i think you make a valid point." mccain's first response was reflexive
in that he started to argue with obama about the point, but after a few
seconds he realized that obama had conceded the point and he stopped and
just shut up. he was so geared up for a confrontation that he didn't even
hear obama's reply. this is a microcosm for the entire approach by the
republicans on this issue. got a good amount done around the house over
the weekend. saturday i cleaned up the rest of the garage. took all the
shelves off the wall as well as the work benches that lined the north wall.
now the walls are completely empty.
after the garage i tackled
some of the flooding problems we've had. i bought a pump the other day
and rigged it up to pump out all the water from the trench we dug the other
day. i also pumped out the water which had gathered underneath the house
on the west side crawl space. it was an annoying job because i was muddy
the entire time. i also took out meryl's afci breaker and replaced it with
a normal breaker because her afci trips with her computer and the iron
and other things. it can be very annoying. customer service is something
i appreciate more and more as i get older. as i try to fix, rather than
replace, things i'm finding that customer service is a valuable component
of a company's product. i've been having trouble with cutler-hammer afci
breakers tripping when i plug in certain devices so i called them up today
and the tech is sending me a device that should cut down the noise on the
line and hopefully solve the problem. this was free of charge and he also
asked that i call him back because he was interested in finding out how
it worked for me. this shows that he's interested in improving the quality
of the product and his customer service. i can appreciate both of those
yesterday we decided, somewhat
on a whim, to solve the drainage issues we've been having on the north
side of the house. the problems are: the neighbor has a cement driveway
and all the water from her side drains to our side, there are three downspouts
on the north side that dump the roof runoff onto the north side strip,
and of course there's the usual amount of rain that it would normally get
as well. all this accumulates on the side of the house and sits there until
it can work its way down and (eventually) that ends up in a low spot under
the west side of the house. so we drew up a plan to run perforated pipe
on the north side of the house and have it drain to the backyard. we went
to home depot, bought the pipe, 9 cubic feet of gravel, and hired a laborer
named george (or jorge; he called himself george, but when i asked he said
jorge or george was fine). he helped a bunch and did a great job of digging
the trench along the side of the house. while he did that meryl and i relocated
the birds of paradise because that's where our dry well was going to be
located. after relocating the birds of paradise we got started on digging
the dry wells. we didn't actually buy a drywell system, instead we bought
two garbage cans and drilled holes in them. it should be strong enough
(they're located in an area that doesn't really get foot traffic), it's
cheaper, and it's better than filling the holes with gravel because it
allows for more space for water. i hope it works. meryl made two more trips
to HD for a total of 1 cubic yard of gravel. it was a lot of work shoveling
the dirt from the side of the house to the back of the house and then shoveling
the gravel from the truck to the back of the house to the side of the house
(using buckets because the wheelbarrow couldn't back there once the trench
had been dug. jorge helped a bunch, it would have been hellish without
him. meryl is finishing up some of the final touches on the trench today
and it should all be done on wednesday.
when digging the trench
we came across a rusted metal pipe about 1.5" in diameter. we determined
that it had to be either water or gas supply, but it was on a side of the
building that didn't make much sense for either. it was right next to the
fireplace so i guess that it was a gas line, but the fireplace doesn't
look like it ever had gas piped in or a valve to control gas. i called
811 to see what they could do, but they require 2 days notice and make
a point to say that you're supposed to call before you dig. i knew you
were supposed to call before you dig, but i really had no idea that there
would be anything there and we were digging by hand so it's not like we
were likely to do damage to anything. the guy on the phone said that the
law requires you to call before you dig anywhere on your property. i asked
"even 6 inches?" he said "anymore than 1cm down and you're required to
call." "even for planting a flower?" "yes." so my first thought was that's
fucking silly and my second thought was why the hell does the law specify
1 cm? are we in freaking france or something? for crying out loud, if you're
going to be a fascist and make me call you to plant a daisy, at least use
the standard system of measurement. earlier today meryl heard a noise while
at home. turns that a couple of idiots were driving after each other shooting
at one another. i swear, this stuff gets better everyday. idiots stopping
in the middle of the highway, people pissing on the side of the street,
people stealing my bike and breaking into my truck for $4 in change, people
getting arrested in front of whole foods market with guns drawn, and now
a shooting right in front of our house. awesome.
while we were doing this
we also watched/listened to the hockey game. we watched the first period
while we ate lunch. then we listened to the second period and first half
of the third period while we worked. then we stopped and watched the second
half of the third period and overtime. exciting game. i'm happy about the
way we performed. i'm not as crushed by our defeat as a canadian would
have been so i guess it's okay that we lost. would have been nice to win,
but they wanted it more so i'm okay with it. we showed them that we deserve
respect by beating them once and then taking them to OT the second time.
overall the canadians had
a very respectable showing in the olympics so they should be happy about
that. we also did very well including some really unexpected medals in
the nordic events. curling was a blast to watch as usual. winter isn't
as good as summer, but the olympics are always great. now it's time for
continuing the thoughts
that began here,
today there was a shooting on our block. apparently a couple guys were
chasing each other in their cars and then shooting at one another. cops
were on our block picking up shell casings when meryl came outside. that's
always a good sign. also forgot to mention in that same vein that in the
last month two houses on our street have been broken into and robbed during
the day. we'll see how much better this can get. i guess the next step
is for us to get robbed and/or shot at so hopefully this is just a fluke,
but, to recap the last couple weeks i have witnessed or lived/worked near
the following: two separate instances of psychos getting out of their vehicles
in the middle of a highway, two robberies, one armed stand-off with police,
one minor riot, one construction disaster that could have killed anyone