24 January 2020
The septic engineer showed up yesterday to gather more samples, and proceeded to spend the next five hours digging holes all over the disposal field trying to find something usable. The problem: it would appear the fill material was contaminated with clay. The solution: if the second set of samples does not yield acceptable test results, one more test will be performed in situ. And if that fails... the system may need to be torn out and rebuilt. The only bright side to it is that it won't cost me a dime, just a whole lot of stress and inordinate delays—this could push the compliance approval from the Health Department well into spring, and (more worrying) test the patience of the Township.
22 January 2020
A tiny accomplishment for today: I added a shelf at the end of the breakfast bar to help little baby Pris (who can't jump as far as her big brothers) get up to the counter. The wood isn't finished yet because the cabinet to which it's attached isn't finished, either; it will all come in due course. No, my cats aren't spoiled, not one bit...
But then, in the "Well, that sucks" news category, I've just learned that one of my septic field fill tests for the County Health Department has failed (not surprising, really, since the system has been in use for eight months now). However, the engineers are confident they can collect a different sample and get the test to pass. Basically this just means another two weeks have been added to a process that's approaching the one-year anniversary.
21 January 2020
Although it nearly crippled me, I managed to get most of the trash and recyclables out of the garage and down to the recycling center. The garage is still an embarrassment, but much less of one. Hopefully when help arrives on Thursday, we can put a bigger dent in that mess. Meanwhile, as promised, here's a night shot of the bookcase:
20 January 2020
Despite still not feeling well, I forced myself to accomplish something (I thought would be) low-impact that turned out to be a major undertaking: I installed the lights in the bookcase. This involved 30 strip lights, 128 wire connections, and almost 10 hours of labor, much of it stooped over. Ouch! The photo doesn't do it justice—I'll take another after dark.
And, of course, my kids helped...
Still to do: install trim strips in front of the above-eye-level lights, and fill in all of the screw holes in the woodwork.
17 January 2020
Refrigerator is on order, with an expected delivery date of 2 February.
14 January 2020
Feeling under the weather, I've been doing more appliance research.
13 January 2020
Today I tore out my brand new cooktop. Why? Well, for starters, the opening was made for a different unit altogether, so the Gasland didn't fit perfectly. But I also noticed that I could improve the installation by removing a few tiles to allow the unit to sit almost perfectly flush with the countertop. So, I made a small mess and re-installed it in about an hour; all that's needed now is a little grout-matched caulk along the edges. The "built-in" look is subtle, but a definite improvement.
Meanwhile, the cooktop has seen quite a lot of use over the past week, and it doesn't appear this trend will change. It's already been responsible for breakfasts, lunches and dinners for myself every day and for guests nearly as often. I'm getting fat...
10 January 2020
I almost made it through the day without accomplishing anything, but with the arrival of some cheap digital temperature sensors, I was able to assemble a long-planned display for the heat pump to help me—or, more importantly, an HVAC technician—evaluate the system's performance. The displays show the air temp in and out, plus the refrigerant temp. Everything is mounted to the inside of the air handler access door in the laundry, so it becomes visible when the door is opened. How do I shut it off? I simply pull one of the batteries.
9 January 2020
The septic engineers finally made it out to dig up some semi-frozen fill from the disposal field. That's step one of five. Step two is to run the tests (2-3 weeks); step three, compile the report and submit it to the County Health Department (1-2 weeks); step four, wait for the Health Department's approval (??? weeks); step five, get the Township out for their TCO inspection (??? days). Who knows, maybe I'll get my TCO by the one-year anniversary of the application? Anyone willing to place bets? Meanwhile, the last of the sheetrock was moved down into the studio, where it'll be installed—someday.
7 January 2020
The very last of the sheetrock I need was delivered this morning—while I was making breakfast for company, no less. They dropped the 22 sheets in the middle of the driveway, and with a threat of rain in the afternoon, I had to move it all onto the front porch myself, one sheet at a time—after a while, I was beginning to feel a bit like Sisyphus; plus, I'm still suffering from a pinched nerve, so it'll take a few days for me to recover. It won't get moved inside until help arrives on Thursday.
6 January 2020
It's cooktop day! Hooray, now I can finally start cooking! The unit dropped right into place and was connected in about three minutes. Not bad for around $350. And I wasted no time to put it to use.
4 January 2020
Appliance research has continued and, as detailed on the appliances page, I've made some fairly big changes in my choices, resulting in significant cost savings: I've reduced the total cost by nearly two-thirds since the last round of revisions. In other news, I've completed the first leg of the Catwalk Railroad (it was about all I could do with a pinched nerve in my neck). This is one of two bridges on the Low Line:
3 January 2020
Cooktop is on order; should be here next Monday. Meanwhile, I've still been researching wall ovens, and things have gotten much more complicated; see the new section on the appliances page. Meanwhile, the septic engineers may be out late next week, assuming the weather cooperates, so my TCO application is on track to take a year start to finish.
1 January 2020
The entire first day of 2020 was spent researching kitchen appliances. I wasn't happy about having to spend over eight thousand for everything, so I started digging. I also got a little more creative: for instance, the combination wall oven I'd originally selected was twenty-two hundred on its own. So, I priced out separate wall oven and microwave units, and was able to cut the price down by half (but there's always another kind of cost: I'll need to completely reframe the wall oven area, which includes rebuilding two cabinets). I also learned that several off-brand cooktops were a small fraction of the cost of name-brand units, and they got better reviews to boot. All told, I was able to reduce the total cost of the whole lot by nearly half—and I'm not done digging yet.
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