Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Getting Better All the Time...

Those of you who know what a crappy singer I am will be relieved that you can't hear me warbling...okay, screeching that old Beatles song...But it's an apt theme for the progress with our remodel.

As of today, the oak hardwood floors are finished, and look gleamingly gorgeous. The Spousal Unit and I expanded the painting portion of the project plan.. Alliteratively... and the new color schemes, coupled with fresh, white ceilings, gives the place a whole new look. Even the trailer is beginning to feel like "home".

Of course, we are buying some nice new furniture pieces to replace some of the "eclectic" stuff, and revising what will go up on the walls once we move back in next week. But hey, it's only money!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Remodel Hell Continues!

Last night was our first in the 17' trailer, and it was almost our last. The Spousal Unit (SU) is definitely not suited for the small RV lifestyle. She prefers the bedroom to be as dark as Carlsbad Cavern, without the lights. Between the twin skylights, a couple of missing slats on the window blinds, and the high-intensity street light on the corner, SU wasn't a happy camper...literally. Naturally it was too cold, this being "summer" in Washington State. So, SU wound up sleeping like a baby; Waking up every hour and crying!
I found the experience comparable to sleeping in a "Wet CHU" (Containerized Housing Unit, equipped with a bathroom), so was very comfortable. I made the mistake of mentioning that to the SU, which scored me zero sympathy points.
Our contractor and his crew showed up on time this morning, ready to remove the rest of the carpet, the interior doors, and trim, in advance of the floor installation team who hit the ground tomorrow. During the walk-through, we discovered that an old leak in the siding had rotted away a portion of the subfloor and footer, and covered the insulation with mold. Yet another benefit of hiring a general contractor to do the entire remodel is that it took him just a couple of hours to completely repair the damage, while his crew completed the removal job. Of course, the new drywall will need to be painted, which of course led to our decision to have the bedrooms/office repainted in complementary colors...they were last painted in 1990. Yep, we are definitely experiencing the remodel phenomenon known as "Project Creep".
Wednesday, 20 July:
I returned to work, leaving the SU to greet the hardwood floor installation crew. Telephonic reports during the day confirmed that these guys were all-star caliber craftsmen. The floor looks great...and they are due to finish by Friday. We celebrated our anniversary and the remodel progress by going out to dinner at Hunan Garden, which virtually assures that we'll shatter the previous family record for number of days in a month eating out in a restaurant by this Friday. (Sigh)

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Deployment is Great Prep for Home Remodeling!

I am sitting in the bare bones computer room, blogging as a team of Haz-Mat specialists are tearing up the carpet in the dining room and hallway. They are removing the 1970's vintage vinyl flooring, which is impregnated with asbestos, in addition to being truly ugly. (By the way, I exercised great self-restraint this morning by NOT referring to them as the "Master-Abaters".  Since they are all large dudes, wielding sharp implements, that was a wise choice on a number of levels.) While my beloved Spousal Unit is experiencing a fair degree of stress associated with having our relatively placid lives disrupted, I have found that the tempo is somewhat akin to life during deployment. Well, except for the rocket and mortar attacks, convoys, and helicopter flights, and mess hall food, and walking several hundred meters to the latrine and shower trailer...anyway, by comparison, this is a breeze! By the way, it's 8:30 p.m. in Baghdad, and it is still 100 degrees, while the temperature here is...65 degrees! Much more comfortable...
My spousal unit and I decided about a year ago to have the 20-year old carpet replaced with hardwood floors pretty much throughout the house. We did a lot of research and discussion, and let the idea percolate for nine months...though I doubt that "gestation period" was conscious! After first deciding on bamboo, we finally settled on solid oak, and expanded the project to replacing all of the cheap, hollow-core interior doors and trim with solid hardwood versions, and scrapping the yellow formica kitchen countertop and chipped yellow sink for a nice Corian deck and heavy-duty stainless steel sink. Angie's List yielded a good contractor, the estimate was within our budget.

Once we got the schedules finalized, the odious task of moving most of our belongings from the house to the garage was next on the agenda. This is where being blessed by having some of the best friends/colleagues ever really saved our butts. Last Saturday, these valiant warriors of amateur furniture relocation showed up and we completed the mission by noon...Yep, three hours of hard work, followed by an hour of pizza and beer "after action review" yielded a cleared house. We owe them BIG TIME.

I purchased one of those inflatable queen-sized mattresses with the integrated electric pump, and we spent the rest of the weekend camping out in the empty house, watching TV, eating left-over pizza, and mentally getting ready for the actual kick-off this morning. Spousal Unit packed up the pups and headed out for a day-long exile, while I remain on-site to handle questions. So far, so good! Another friend will be hauling out the 15' trailer I rented from Ft Lewis Recreation Services this evening, which will be parked next to the house and serving as our residence for the next two weeks. Our general contractor just called to confirm he, and a gigunda trash dumpster, will be arriving sometime tomorrow, and the flooring subcontractor starts on Wednesday. If all goes according to plan (and doesn't it always?), we'll be ready to move all our stuff back in the house in 14 days, and resume life in a very different looking home.
I'll post a progress report mid-project, and a final report once everything is back to "new normal".
(Postscript: The asbestos abatement foreman just advised that there's hazmat vinyl under the newer vinyl in the kitchen...we thought that had been removed when the new stuff was installed...good thing they discovered that while the job is in progress, so it can be removed for just a relatively small added cost. Otherwise, the wood floor install would have come to a crashing halt day after tomorrow! Semper Gumby!)