News Archive: July 2019

31 July 2019

I'm closing out the month with a rant. Upon receipt my final Certificate of Occupancy, I'm obligated to pay a $1,656 COAH fee. What is COAH, you ask? It's the Council on Affordable Housing, a New Jersey organization (sometimes reported as "defunct" but still very much alive) created solely to extort funds from those who dare to build "non-affordable" homes, in order to compensate for their municipality's inability—or unwillingness—to meet certain (arbitrary) guidelines to provide "affordable" housing. In other words, I'm being held responsible for a lack of cheap homes in this area. Right, like that's my fault? The good news is, it's only due upon receipt of the final CO, so my home may not be completely done for a very long time indeed, since I'm not aware of a time limit on a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.

30 July 2019

Wrapped up the headboard and platform. I'd originally planned to add drawers under the small extensions at either end, but after having slept here since early May, I've nixed the idea... for now. I may add them in the future, but that's if I decide they'd serve a purpose; right now I don't see much benefit to having them.

29 July 2019

I've called the County Health Department about the final well and septic inspection for the fourth time now in three weeks. I asked when they'd be out, and they said within three business days. The first time I called, they said the next day, but they never showed. (They'd also told the well driller that the well head inspection would happen within five business days, and they arrived four weeks later.) So, I honestly have no clue when—or even if—they'll be out this time. This is getting really old. But I have no alternative other than to just suck it up and keep dealing with it, since I can't get a TCO without their blessing.

28 July 2019

Switched gears today and built the headboard—I was tired of my pillows sitting up against insulation. It's about 75% done; just a bit of trim left to do. It also served as a test-bed (no pun intended) for wood assembly and finishing techniques I'll use on just about everything else I make, in particular the bookcase.

27 July 2019

With an angry knee, it was a low-key day: I only finished the other two handrails in The Grand Gallery.

26 July 2019

When I went shopping for the materials I needed to make the other pair of handrails in The Grand Gallery, the construction technique I used (black iron pipe parts) inspired a way to make a clothes hanger rod for the closet/laundry. Now, the joke is on whoever gets my house after I'm gone if they decide to remove it, because they'll find there's no way to do so without tearing the bookcase apart. And since the bookcase will be mostly glued together, well, good luck with that!

25 July 2019

I've been assessing the damage from the storm that knocked out power on Tuesday night. In addition to a near miss with the cabin, many Mountain Laurel bushes have been crushed by dead limbs—sadly the same bushes that were whacked by the Nor'easter last year. Meanwhile, my helpers applied more stain to the fascia.

23 & 24 July 2019

While the power was out for over two days, I continued work on the house, mostly taping sheetrock joints that never seem to end. I also did a whole bunch of random little things, like starting to wire the bookcase lights, setting up the driveway sensor in its new spot, shimming the picture window frames so they can be rocked, installing a cell phone signal booster, and putting up the coat closet bar. Meanwhile, my helper is applying stain to the fascia so I can finally put up gutters, which should eliminate the acute soil erosion taking place due to the frequent heavy downpours we've been having.

22 July 2019

With the house 98% rocked (and all out of new rock for the moment), I continued with the seemingly endless task of taping all of the sheetrock joints. I also worked on the permanent office desk, which is actually the temporary one I built back in early February, trimmed to fit and solidly installed—all it needs is a hardwood veneer. It worked perfectly; why reinvent the wheel?

21 July 2019

With the surprise visit of my helper, I was able to finish rocking The Grand Gallery. In fact, except for the studio, half of the garage, and the picture window frames, the whole house is now sheetrocked, including the area around the bookcase.

20 July 2019

Continued work on The Grand Gallery, which is slow-going due to the complex-shaped pieces of 12-foot sheetrock required. I got another handrail up, but ran out of materials to make the other two, and I wasn't going out in this heat; the other two can wait. I also finished the office.

19 July 2019

Once I had enough rock up to permanently install a handrail in The Grand Gallery, it took the better part of the day to design and make one. But now the other three will take a fraction of the time.

18 July 2019

The 11-hour power outage on 12 July got me thinking... I'd hooked up a small genny to the refrigerator, which was the only thing that concerned me with a long-term outage. But it was rather inconvenient running an extension cord from the porch down to the kitchen, and when I finally have a "real" refrigerator, it'll be a royal pain pulling it out to hook it up to the extension. So, this morning I ordered a small power transfer switch online, which I'll install in the garage by the main breaker box (that wall hasn't been rocked yet, so it'll be a snap to do). Then I'll install a power inlet connector on the outside wall near the garage side door, so I can just jack in the genny outside. It'll be a simple and painless way to keep the fridge running in the future. Meanwhile, my helper and I continued rocking the interior, with the The Grand Gallery now about half-done.

17 July 2019

Given the three-digit heatwave bearing down on us, the morning was devoted to moving the AC out of the cabin and into the camper to keep my kids cool. Then it was back to rocking: with Kitty Central finished (below left), I continued with my office (below right), which is now about half done.

16 July 2019

While the world swelters outside, I'm stayin' in the cool and rockin' like a fool. The laundry (below left) and pantry (below right) are now done.

15 July 2019

Received another shipment of sheetrock this morning—enough to totally finish the living space, as well as a good bit of the rest of the house (Lowe's had a sale: $10 a sheet!). As soon as I get certain doors installed—namely the garage and studiomy kitties can finally move in with me!

14 July 2019

Continued with the sheetrock taping. Just my luck: I got a 100-foot roll of special corner bead for 45° angles (of which I have plenty). Guess how much I need? 100 feet, 22 inches. Tell me I have to buy another 100-foot roll just for the last 22 inches...!

13 July 2019

Very low-key day: mostly just taped sheetrock joints—there are sooo many! Also measured my future bookcase (outlined in yellow, below) to determine what wood I'll need to buy... and what I can and can't afford.

12 July 2019

One of my helpers kindly loaned me his father's tile saw for as long as I need it, on the condition of replacing the blade. Upon seeing the state of the tool, however, it turned into a total rebuild, right down to the last nut, bolt and screw. Nevertheless, for the cost of a blade (~$60) and a day's work, it's still a bargain considering the price of a new tile saw. It'll see quite a lot of use as well, since I've got quite a lot of tiling to do.

10 July 2019

While my helper finished clearing the septic disposal field, I finished preparing the space for the dryer, then installed it. Still no word from the Health Department on when they intend to show up.

9 July 2019

No sign of the Health Department, so I've no idea when they'll actually show up. Otherwise, not much accomplished today other than cleaning, although it's always good to be "forced" to tidy up once in a while—if nothing else, I get to (re)organize my tools.

8 July 2019

Continued work on the dryer side of the laundry. Also finished the bookcase framing (the horizontal 2x6 will support a clothes rack). Meanwhile, I received a clean bill of health from the water testing service, so I'm all set for a final Health Department inspection—which, if all goes well, will happen tomorrow morning. TCO, here I come...

7 July 2019

After slapping on a couple quick coats of paint, I was ready to position the washer in its final resting place, clearing the way to finish the dryer install.

6 July 2019

Since an extreme heat advisory, as well as several cloudbursts, precluded doing anything outside, work on the laundry continued, which involved the very first wall compounding and tiling I've done on my house. Given that most of what I'm doing will be hidden behind the washer and dryer, it serves as the perfect way to dust off some rather rusty old skills. To save time, I grouted the tile immediately after laying it, which ordinarily isn't done, but in this case it won't make any difference. Next up will be some painting, and that'll be a first, too.

5 July 2019

With the delivery of my new-new dryer today, I've been focusing on finishing enough of the laundry to install it and the washer only once. I got some super-cheap floor tile that I'll use for the platform; the rest is just a matter of quick-and-dirty finish work. Besides, it's pouring rain, so no outdoor work today (or tomorrow, it seems).

4 July 2019

My helper spent some of Independence Day clearing the brush around the deck area to improve its appearance—it was looking shabby and abandoned—while I applied corner bead to all of the window openings and dotted other i's around the living space.

3 July 2019

Despite the oppressive heat and humidity, my helper and I worked outside, preparing the septic field area for the County Health Department inspection. There was a remarkable number of trees and other large plants growing there, all of which had to be cleared out. Below, Katie (a.k.a. Mommy) observes our progress.

2 July 2019

The kitchen and most of the rest of the living level are rocked. It's down to the bookcase, which I have to start in order to finish the laundry. Meanwhile, the water testing company was out to gather samples for the re-test, which should be done by Friday or next Monday.

1 July 2019

Errand day: picked up some framing lumber to start on the bookcase, which is physically part of the laundry, so I have no choice but to begin building it. I also got a 3-way switch to replace a defective one (well, I had to get two, as the original style was discontinued, and there would otherwise have been a mismatched pair in one box). And finally, I ordered the water re-test, which will be taken tomorrow. Meanwhile, I got a bit more sheetrock work done on the laundry and kitchen.

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