News Archive: December 2019

29 December 2019

My little girl Pris isn't a jumper like her brothers. That's when I realized she'd never make it into the cubby I built across from the bookcase. So, I built a ground-level cubby into the space at the end of the floating breakfast bar, where it's anchored into the kitchen cabinets. The space is too cramped and awkward to use as a cabinet (below left), but it was perfect for a new kitty cubby (below right), which I cobbled together from leftover lumber. Yep, I'm a Sucker for my cats, and that's with a capital S.

27 December 2019

The past several days have been devoted to getting my kids settled in. It started out pretty rocky, but it's improved quickly, I'm relieved to say. To help get them used to life in their new home, I went about my normal routine of building stuff, albeit as quietly as possible for the time being, and I finished the woodwork on the bookcase. Now all that's left to do is install the strip lights.

Later, "Uncle Glenn," close friend and frequent visitor, stopped by to meet the family. Amazingly they took to Glenn very quickly, which came as a huge relief. Roy was the first to introduce himself; then came Zack (seen above getting some attention), and then Pris finally paid him a tenuous visit. This has been a good prelude to the parties to come next week.

23 December 2019

The bad news today is that the septic engineers never came to collect the fill samples, and I've no idea when they will. The good news is that the third round of compounding at the bottom of The Grand Gallery was done early this morning; then primer was on by late morning (below left); the finish color by mid-afternoon (below right); and the "kitty stairway" by evening (bottom). I confess the grey wall paint is way, waaay bluer than I'd expected or preferred, but I think I can live with it—for now, at least. After a mad day of cleaning tomorrow, I'll be ready for my kids!

22 December 2019

The second coat of compound is on at the bottom of The Grand Gallery, but it will need a third before I can start painting.

21 December 2019

Working on the kitty cubby over the refrigerator got me in the mood to finish some living area walls. So, I started compounding the wall around the cubby, and I even went out and got a gallon of finish paint. Once the wall is done, I can install the three small shelves that will serve as a "kitty stairway." Incidentally, I also compounded the wall around the bookcase while I was at it, so I can apply the trim and check that off the list as well.

20 December 2019

Not much to report for the last few days—mostly I've been gathering more firewood, although I did manage to finish off the kitty cubby over the refrigerator using the carpet left over from finishing their condo on 17 December. Plus, I liked the carpet enough to get some for myself, for next to the bed. Hey, it was cheap.

17 December 2019

The kitty condo I'd built on the first of December was carpeted this morning (before, left; after, right). I wish I was a kitty—it looks so inviting, especially given the view! But since the stained woodwork in Kitty Central still has a fair bit of drying left to do, move-in day is still a ways off. I spent most of the rest of the day cutting up firewood in preparation for the big cold snap coming later this week.

16 December 2019

Kitty Central is done, officially making it the first totally finished room in the house (assuming one ignores the unfinished window box, which I won't work on until spring). After installing all of the trim, I used leftover lumber to make a backsplash around the feeding station. Now I just have to finish their condo in the living room with carpet, and also thoroughly clean the house, and then maybe I can pull the trigger...

15 December 2019

Installed about half the trim in Kitty Central before I ran out of steam—lots of stooping and crouching and fitting and fussing is tough on the old body. But that means it'll be an easy job to wrap up tomorrow.

14 December 2019

Kitty Central floor has been grouted, and I'm off to get lumber for the trim.

13 December 2019

Kitty Central progress continues with floor tiling. This is the same tile I'd used in the closet/laundry, and will also use in the pantry.

12 December 2019

It's back to work on Kitty Central, starting with the litter box and enclosure. Their big new litter box is sold as a concrete mixing tub, but happens to be just the right size and shape (and is quite similar to what they're using now). I surrounded the pan with 1x12 shelving lumber to act as a "backsplash" to protect the walls. At the bottom right of the image is a small shelf that provides a step in case a cat doesn't want to jump the full height to reach the box, which is located at "back saver" height for me.

11 December 2019

The property model is done—and finally out of my system—so I'm moving on to more pressing matters. First up: totally finish Kitty Central. I'd originally planned on getting my kids moved in after Thanksgiving, but later decided it would be better for them to not have to endure further work done on their dedicated space while they were using it.

10 December 2019

Still pretty much out of it from the virus infection, so I continued working on the property model. The first of multiple coats of paint is on; its job is to seal the Foamcore paper surface to prevent it from swelling and warping from the heavy latex paint to come. I also finished off the wooden frame.

9 December 2019

Day two of work on the property model: gaps and flaws are filled in, and it's ready for the final coat(s) of paint. The model car is posed just as a size reference, although I'm tempted to add it permanently.

8 December 2019

As I've been battling a nasty viral infection lately, I needed a low-impact, fun distraction. So, I fabricated a 1:160 scale model of my home's foundation for the property model I've been building on and off over the last four years. Eventually, all of the gaps and flaws will be filled in, and everything will be painted white.

6 December 2019

The septic engineers and I are hammering out an agreement whereby they wrap up this whole mess, and I pay them monthly for the next several months; otherwise, it'll never get done (and I believe the driver for the agreement is that all of the work they've done to date, which is not insignificant, will go unpaid unless they make me happy). So far they seem receptive to the idea, but I've yet to see it in writing. And, of course, things came to a head on a Friday, with no resolution, so I'm stuck biting my nails for a few days, as per usual...

5 December 2019

The fate of my septic system approval—and hence my TCO—is now entirely in the hands of the septic engineers, which is rather unsettling. To distract myself from the gnawing anxiety, I had a little fun: I installed rope lights under my bed platform and the kitchen island. It's something I'd always wanted to do, and what better time? Silly, I know—even stupid, perhaps—but ask me if I care. Yeah, all I need now is a disco ball...

4 December 2019

I've been in touch with the County Health Department, and they not only deny having approved the septic system, but they lay the blame for the current standoff squarely on the engineers for failing to perform all of the required testing when the system was first completed. And that, in turn, was due to the departure of the engineer in charge of my system in the middle of the job. Bottom line: there's no escape; I will have to pony up the funds to have this properly wrapped up. *Sigh*

Meanwhile, on the "good news" side (such as it is), the glass shelf for my coffee table arrived, so I can declare that project 100% complete. Woo-hoo.

3 December 2019

Today I received some crushing news. The County Health Department refuses to budge from their demands for new permeability tests, despite the fact they'd already approved the septic system four years ago. And I've just received an estimate from the engineers for performing the new tests and wrapping up the paperwork: between two and three thousand. It'll take me months to accumulate that much money, which pushes the TCO well into 2020. And here I thought, once the commercial property debacle was finally over, I was all done with nonsense like this. Silly me.

2 December 2019

After touching up the compounding in Kitty Central first thing this morning, I finished painting the whole room by the afternoon. White is the final color, as it will be for the pantry, laundry and coat closet.

1 December 2019

Trying desperately to get back into things, but it's been a challenge. I decided my cats are a good motivator, so I'm working to complete Kitty Central, starting with the wall compounding. Useless trivia: this will be the first room in the house to have all of the walls totally finished.

While the compound was drying, I built a kitty condo; I just need to get a small carpet remnant to cover the platforms. As a bonus, except for the posts, all of the wood—which is 1-inch-thick birch plywood—was free! There's a fabrication shop nearby, and once in a while they'll place leftover materials along the street for anyone to take. Recently I just happened to time it right and scored a carload full of beautiful birch ply, some of which will be useful for cabinetry and other projects, and the rest will become firewood.

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