Wednesday, October 16, 2013

After I finished the garage roof I had another project to start; the kitchen remodel.  I've learned to be suspicious when a task looks simple.  The task was to remove the old cabinets and drop the ceiling to 93 inches and lay down a new floor. 

We have been living without a kitchen for well over six-weeks now because it got complicated.  Taking out the old ceiling I found buried electrical junction boxes that couldn't be covered up and all the wiring was 14-2, so I ripped out the walls to replace all the wiring with 12-2 and added more receptacles and some for the under-counter lighting.  The problem with taking out the walls was I found two layers of sheetrock covering shiplap. 

Like the garage roof joists, the wall joists were varied in spacing from 12 inches to 26 inches apart so the room needed to be reframed.  The former sink had feed pipes and drain running through the floor so that needed to be rerouted through the walls. 

During the reconstruction we used a folding table as our food prep area with a microwave and a toaster oven on it.  I put the sink from the laundry room in the kitchen so we’d have a sink.  I must say that I really missed having a dish washer.

Finally after several weeks of a big mess in progress it got even messier with the dry wall and mud and sanding, but I finally finished painting and laying the new floor on Sunday.  The cabinets were installed on Monday and Tuesday.  I was able to install the dish washer a few hours after the installation was done.  Tonight I will install the water line to the ice maker in the fridge.  After that I will install the under-counter lights and the above stove microwave and then the new light fixtures.  

The counter will be installed on the 31st and then I’ll move onto the next project.

It’s a good feeling knowing that civilization is returning to the house, one day and one piece at a time.  By the way, the photo above is what our recycled glass counter top will look like.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The BMW That Broke My Heart

It was a nice car.  It was a 528i that was intended to be my wife’s car, but she just couldn’t love it so it fell upon me to host this machine.  Sure it had quirks that I fixed as soon as they popped up, but one day it started to over-heat.  I did something counter intuitive to get it to cool down.  I raced the engine and the temperature came down.

Eventually a pattern developed where the temp would inch up and just before the red-line was reached the temp would go down.  There was air in the coolant line.  Now with BMWs you don’t just pour coolant into the reservoir. You have to jack up the front end and bleed the air out of the system as you add coolant.  I would do this and all would be good for a couple of days and then it would happen again.

I replaced every hose, the radiator, the thermostat, the heater core, the fan clutch and then it still overheated.  I replaced the head gasket.  And it overheated again.

The only thing I could figure that there was a crack in the block, probably in a cylinder since coolant never leaked out; air just got in and the only place it could get in with more pressure than the coolant was through the cylinder.

I was going to replace the engine, but then the transmission light came on.  So here I was, stuck with this lemon.  It was great to drive when it was drivable, but it was so unreliable and expensive to constantly have it in the shop.  We decided to trade it in.  Fortunately it was drivable to a dealership.  I made a full disclosure of all the problems with it, but they wanted it anyway and gave us 1/10 of what we had into it.  That was worth it, just to get it out of my life for good.

We replaced the BMW with a Mini Cooper, which is ironically made by BMW. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Yeah, I'm Still Here

Just too busy and uninspired to write, but here’s the beginning of the run-down since my last post. 

The heat stroke I suffered had residual effects for weeks.  I was only able to put in a few hours a day working around the house.  My task was to remove the roof over my garage.  That garage roof leaked since I purchased the house.  It has a flat roof with a very slight pitch.  Years ago I tried fixing it with several layers of fibered roof coating, but that didn't work.  Then I tried a corrugated metal roof and that didn't work either.  Finally I ripped it all off to the rafters and put down new sheathing. 

Funny thing is that the original builders, who I believe also built the garage/ now rest rooms at the Astoria column because the buildings are identical…anyway the builders gestimated their distances.  Some joists were 16 inches apart, some were 20, 17, 26, 15 inches apart.  This means every sheet of ply wood had to be cut.  It was a mess.

We hired professional roofers to do the garage roof and to put a metal roof on the house.  I was tired of the constant wind damage.  Comp roofing just can’t stand up to the winds we now get since the area was clear cut.  Hiring a local roofer was a bit of an ordeal.  I called several local roofers for estimates.  Talked to many of them and they never showed up to give me an estimate.  I asked “g” and he suggested a semi-local company and they actually came out and put in a bid.  Just to keep it all on the up and up I also called a roofer from Portland who did a metal roof for my father-in-law. They came in with a bid that was 2/3 the price of the quasi local company and they threw in new gutters and leaders.  This crew was great, they kept things neat and clean and replaced some rotten 5/4 tongue and groove wood that is our living room ceiling. They put new insulation foam panels above that so our living room now has an r-factor.  They reflashed everything including the five skylights and kept me posted on everything as they went along. 

It will be nice to never have to go on a roof again.  With a 40 year guarantee this roof will out-live me.  More on the other projects soon…