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Absolute Paint

Posted on November 30th, 2018

Dave!When it comes to working on my home, painting is easily the chore I loathe the most. But I don't really have much choice. I had to put a second coat of paint on the wall I repaired two days ago, and decided to take the opportunity to do some touch-up throughout the house. I had some nail holes to fill, a scrape to repair, and a small tomato sauce stain on my kitchen wall to cover up. Oh... and one more thing as well.

When I put up the cat trees in front of two of my windows, I didn't want the cats getting caught up in the blinds, so I removed them. It was then I discovered that the painters didn't bother to take them down when they painted. Which means the only window insets that got fully painted were the ones upstairs (because I removed those). All of them downstairs window insets were left in place. Which makes absolutely no sense at all. But that's pretty much par for the course with the contractor I hired, so I'm not surprised.

When it comes to painting, there is one rule that is absolute...

If you spend the time to mask and cover everything, you won't spill a drop and won't accidentally get paint where you shouldn't. If you don't spend the time to mask and cover, you will get paint on all the things you don't want paint to get on.

Every time I risk not masking, I regret it. This time I masked everything except the wall with the scrape behind my front door. Sure enough, I splattered paint all over my baseboard and my floor.

Will I ever learn?

Probably not.

Which is why loathe painting so much.

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Re-Remodeling

Posted on November 28th, 2018

Dave!When I bought my home, there was a lot of remodeling that needed to be done so that my mom would be safe living here. She couldn't walk on carpet very well, so I had to replace all the flooring with hardwood. She couldn't use the showers because there was a lip she'd trip over, so I had to put in a zero-entry pan. I had to remodel the stairwell railing so she wouldn't fall down the stairs. It went on and on. And that's not even touching on some of the cosmetic things I wanted to change (the sponge-painted accent walls had to go).

When it came time to hire a contractor, I had to be sure they were available ASAP and would do high-quality work. I ended up going with one of the most expensive options, but I felt I'd get what I paid for. My mom's safety was worth more than money.

After the work was completed, I was fairly happy with everything. I ended up being more expensive than quoted... took longer than quoted... and was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done... but it's all good.

Then I started living with it and noticing things.

Fixtures were crooked. Workmanship was shoddy. Paint bled onto my floors. And these were not isolated incidents... they were everywhere. I paid a premium price for shitty work.

Which meant I had to remodel my remodel. I started with the horrific job they did on my "California corners" on my baseboards. Instead of being sanded smooth, they just painted over their shitty mis-matched bullshit...

Remodel Wall Sag

Then back in August I saw that the paint was sagging off the wall of my guest bathroom...

Remodel Wall Sag

Upon inspection I noticed that the texture which was still stuck to the wall was applied badly. They didn't bother to sand down the patchwork they applied after ripping the mirror off the wall...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Not only that, but they didn't bother to match the texture that was already on the wall. There are no less than six texture patterns across the whole bathroom along with ugly smooth spots where they didn't apply texture at all...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

This is infuriating.

Everything is so messed up that the only realistic way to fix it is to scrape everything off, sand it all smooth, then start over from scratch.

I don't have time for that right now, so I started removing the texture that was sagging. The reason it was sagging is that they didn't sand off the paint from the previous texture, so the new texture couldn't stick to it...

Remodel Wall Scrape

And then something horrible started happening. The patch material that they used where the mirror used to be (and didn't sand down) was starting to turn to power. The texture would peel off the wall with the slightest scrape of my putty knife...

Remodel Wall Scraped

Even worse? As you can see, chunks of the patchwork was falling out of the wall as well.

What a fucking joke. My contractor's team did the shittiest job possible and apparently didn't give a crap that it would fall apart within two years. Some of the repairs were so badly applied that I had to cut them out of the wall so it would flatten out.

After scraping practically the entire wall and sanding around the area that fell off, I was ready to tape off everything and re-texture...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Despite coming from a can, the new texture went up easy. I dare say that my effort matched the walls better than the various textures my contractor used...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

After painting, the wall looked far from perfect... but at least it wasn't sagging and flaking any more...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Maybe next Summer I'll be able to take a week off work, pull out the fixtures and furniture, strip everything down, then do a proper repair. In the meanwhile, this will have to do.

I remain dumbfounded that people don't seem to take pride in their workmanship or build anything to last anymore. The only way to make sure of anything now is to do it yourself.

   

Holy Grout!

Posted on July 23rd, 2018

Dave!Apparently "white" as a description is variable. In the case of the grout I bought for my cat feeding station, "white" was actually "light gray." Since this is entirely what I didn't want, I had to make yet another trip to Home Depot in order to try a different brand of "white."

Second time was a charm, because I ended up getting exactly what I wanted...

Cat Feeding Station!

Since this will eventually match what I want for my kitchen remodel, it was important to get exactly what I wanted... a clean, sleek, simple look where the tile was more of a suggestion. That way it's not boring and flat, but also not something which calls too much attention to itself.

Anyway...

Overall, I'm very happy with how everything turned out. Sure there are some minor details I'd do differently now that I've learned so much... but that's the way it goes. My only other option is to never try to build anything, never learn anything, and never accomplish anything.

So next up?

I'd love to hop on my laundry room remodel right away. That would put one step closer to remodeling my kitchen... but I've got other projects I need to knock off my list first.

But eventually... one day...

   

Construction Time Again

Posted on April 2nd, 2018

Dave!A while back I decided I wanted to build a pergola over the section of my patio which isn't already occupied by my catio enclosure. Initially I had the idea of fitting a cat-run on the outer edges, but ultimately decided that wouldn't work because it obstructed too much of my view. Instead I think I want something much more simple and open. I also like the idea of having a porch swing on one end and a low-fence creating a barrier at the back. That way I could put a small table and a couple chairs up against it...

Pergola Plan

Pergola Plan

Pergola Plan

I also like the idea of having a cat-run extending from the catio to a viewing platform on top of the pergola for Jake and Jenny. By making it fit between the slats, I could easily remove it if I ever wanted to...

Pergola Plan

And so... I'm making a parts list and saving my money for the materials needed. It shouldn't take too long to get it put together once I've cut all the pieces, probably just a three-day weekend.

Can't wait for wood-shop season to begin.

   

Bullet Sunday 540

Posted on February 11th, 2018

Dave!Spring is just around the corner... so better prepare yourself, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Priced to Move! And... Blade Runner 2049 just dropped to $15 on iTunes. Knew it wouldn't stay at $20 forever given how badly they need to make up for the poor box office showing. Such a shame. I loved this movie. Yes, it ran a bit too long in parts and was in desperate need of further editing, but it ultimately pays off I think. Beautiful film...

Blade Runner 2049 Poster

The sound mix on Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best I've ever heard. Completely immersive, and all channels are beautifully distinct or blended as required. My cats are more than a little confused by the effectiveness of the spatial sound.

   
• No! Got a call from the Democratic party this past week wanting donations. My response? "Democrats representing my state are running off lobbyist money and obviously don't need my help. Why don't you go ask Patty Murray's Big Pharma friends for money and leave me the hell out of it. Take me off your call list and never, EVER call me for money again." Hopefully that will scare them off, just like I've already scared off the Republicans. Since I am not party-affiliated and vote for /donate to both of them, I have double the bullshit to deal with. I will never allow a political party to send my money to corrupt assholes in the pocket of lobbyists... from now on, I donate to specific candidates I feel are worth it. Not that there's many of them left.

   
• Good! Despite the fast that The Good Doctor was created by David Shore, I held off watching it because I have a friend whose son is autistic, and I don't like the idea of the struggles that autistic persons go through being exploited for entertainment. Then this past week I finally decided to take a look and was just amazed...

The Good Doctor Poster

It's a very good show and didn't seem exploitative at all. I binged all 14 episodes I had. If you're not watching and like medical dramas, it's worth a look.

   
• Bio! And speaking of good television shows... iTunes has a free preview of A.P. Bio which stars Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and That 80's Show) as a teacher who is stuck in Ohio once his Harvard dream job passes him by. The result is actually funny... but also smart and even touching...

These things always look so stupid. When they turn out to be more than that, it's such a pleasant surprise. Patton Oswald is just the icing on the cake.

   
• Jones! And it seems as though Netflix will be keeping my monthly fee for.a while longer... new Jessica Jones is coming next month...

It's been revealed that Disney has no plans to take over the Netflix Marvel shows and move them to their new streaming service. Thankfully. Don't fix what's not broken. The Netflix shows are mostly awesome, unlike the ABC Television shows which suck ass.

   
• Unmolded! When I had my home renovated, I hired a fairly pricey contractor because I didn't want crap falling apart after a year. For the most part, I think it was a smart move... though there are some details of their work that pisses me off. Primary of which is the shitty molding installation.

My home has rounded "California Corners" which I hate hate hate. Mostly I just don't like how they look. But also because it made finding molding so difficult that I had to have it all custom made to get the clean and simple look I wanted. It was more money than I wanted to pay, but whatever.

Except... the installation was shitty. The corners were just slapped on there with no attempt made to blend the seams. I caught some of them before painting and sanded them a bit, but most of them had already been done and looked like this...

California Corner Molding Fix

What chaps my ass is that it would have taken minutes to fix this before painting. But, since it wasn't fixed, that means I have to spend considerable more time sanding them out while making sure I'm not damaging the wall or floor...

California Corner Molding Fix

California Corner Molding Fix

But the result is worth it. I'm just one more coat of leveling paint (after the first coat dries) to the seamless molding I should have had from the beginning...

California Corner Molding Fix

One down, eight to go.

   
Until next Bullet Sunday, enjoy winter's last gasp...

   

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Posted on January 22nd, 2018

Dave!I always make fun of the people who say "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" when they see their finished home revealed at the end of Fixer Upper (the home renovation show on HGTV). I mean, who says that? It's like, the stupidest thing you could say. YES, WE ARE KIDDING YOU! THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE!

Then just now I was unloading a box of cat stuff from Chewy. The cats were obsessed with the shipping box... until I opened the cupboard where the cat food is. Then they abandon the box come ripping into the kitchen like they're going to be fed dinner... an hour and a half early! It was then I found myself saying "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" — And then I realized either A) I watch way too much Fixer Upper, or B) People actually say that, and I should probably apologize to all the people on TV I've made fun of.

Fixxer Upper Promo Shot

 
It's probably a combination of both those things. My television is tuned to HGTV 90% of the time. I've seen every episode of Fixer Upper eleventy-billion times. I have all the clients memorized. It only stands to reason that the stupid crap people say on these shows is going to get embedded in my brain.

In many ways, watching shows like Fixer Upper is torture this time of year. I want nothing more than to clear out my garage and set up my wood shop so I can get started on all the projects I've dreamed up for my home this year... but that has to wait until Spring when I won't have to worry about my car being piled over with snow.

The last thing I want to do is walk outside in the morning, find an avalance on my car, and find myself screaming "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???"

   

Undesirable Upkeep

Posted on January 17th, 2018

Dave!Buying a home is much like attaching a boat anchor to your neck and jumping into an ocean of debt. Eventually you'll drown, but for as long as you can manage to keep your head above water, it's nice. I like having a place of my own that I can remodel as I want, design as I want, and otherwise make it mine.

Along with the debt, there's a never-ending (and ever-expanding) list of things to do. Things to clean. Things to repair. Things to change. The number of things on my list is overwhelming. Rather than let it drive me insane, I decided to focus on attacking just one thing every day... no matter how small. Fix a hole in the wall. Put together a piece of IKEA that's been sitting in the garage. Clean out under the sink. That kind of thing.

Today's task was removing the plastic stuck behind my appliance handles.

The former owner of my home kept it clean, but there were a lot of changes I wanted to make. One of them was to buy all new stainless steel appliances. In order to protect the stainless steel finish, everything arrives covered with plastic. Which would be fine... except it's not stuck to the appliances, it's screwed into the appliances. Which means you can't just rip it off. But that's exactly what the installers do. And so you're left with jagged ugly plastic screwed behind all the handles. To get it out of there, you have to remove the handles.

Which is easier said than done.

Every handle has a different kind of "hidden screw" head. Even handles on the same appliance can be different.

Which meant I had to go out and buy a full set of screwdriver bits so I could figure out how to unscrew star screws, hex screws, and other weird-ass screws. Which I found at Home Depot yesterday. Eventually I managed to find the bits that worked perfectly, but I've already lost two of them somewhere.

Adding "Find missing screw bits" to my ever-growing list.

   

Fix Me Up

Posted on January 2nd, 2018

Dave!I went into work today and lasted longer than I thought I would, cashing out at 3:15. I tried to work when I got home but was feeling awful, and it was easier to watch HGTV and veg out on home renovation shows... then dream about the snow melting in the Spring so I can set up a wood shop in my garage again.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of my all-time favorite home renovation show, Fixer Upper (despite some caveats) have decided to stop doing the show after this fifth and final season.

I'm way more upset about this than I should be.

But nobody else even comes close to making a show that matches my creative aesthetic like this one... and I watch all the home reno shows.

And now I'm tired of writing. Just leave me to die here in a pile of mucus while you go on to live out the New Year. Shoo. Just go now.

   

Paint by Wumbers

Posted on October 18th, 2017

Dave!Painters were hired to paint my home, which has been ongoing for the past week... off and on. When I bought the place it was about ten years overdue, and the paint rubs off if you run your hand over it. So... very happy we managed to find a painter before winter arrived. Not so happy about the $2,550 it costs for my share of the bill, but dems da breaks when you're a homeowner.

My cats spent most of their time observing all the activity from out in their catio.

Until it was time to paint the catio.

In order to not have to pay anything additional for my addition, I ended up spending two days masking off the catio for ten minutes of painting...

Catio Masked Up

Amazingly enough, ripping the masking off wasn't the piece of cake I thought it would be. Since I had to mask both sides at the same time, I had masking tape sticking to masking tape, which is not easy to pull apart. Something I hadn't thought of when I started this.

But...

It's all over. And the catio matches my condo exactly now, which is pretty great for an OCD brain like mine.

My cats don't seem to notice.

   

Closet Space

Posted on June 12th, 2017

Dave!Ask anybody who knows me... I am most definitely not into clothes.

But I do want to wear nice clothes, so I save my money all year long and purchase everything on Black Friday. This is essentially doubling my buying power, even though any summer clothes I get will be "last year's models" by the time I end up wearing them. Oh well, because: affordable clothes. Which I hate shopping for. And the only thing I hate more than shopping for clothes? Finding a way to organize them in my closet.

When I moved into my new home one of the first things I looked at was the closets. Since the place was built in 1997, I was hoping it was "modern" enough to have smart closet spaces. But it didn't. Same old rod with a shelf on it that I had in my last place. This means all my shirts will end up scattered around while my suits hang in the corner and all my jeans get stacked on the shelf. Again.

Such a waste of space.

So I looked into some of those "closet organizer" websites where you can custom design exactly what you need. For me, this is rather simple...

  • A central shelving unit to organize my growing collection of denim.
  • Separated spaces for my shirts and suits.
  • Space for my dirty clothes hampers, which I am tired of tripping on.

This ends up looking something like this...

Expensive Closet Organizer!

There are several problems here...

  • I'd have to toss out the rod on the bottom right to make room for the hampers.
  • The shelves are those wimpy "peg & hole" kind, which I hate. I am not even sure that they would support the weight of denim jeans stacked six high.
  • There is wasted space under the shelves where I would rather have more shelves!
  • The pieces hang on the wall, which seems dicey as hell.
  • The don't let you fill in all available space.
  • It's not real wood, so the quality will suck.
  • FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN DOLLARS FOR THIS PIECE OF SHIT? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?!??

And so, I added "Closet Organizer" to my list of woodworking projects. Then, a couple weeks ago I sketched out what I needed, headed to Home Depot for lumber, then worked on the thing whenever I had a spare moment. It turned out amazingly awesome in every way...

Dave's Home-Built Closet Organizer!

Features...

  • Solid wood and built like a tank.
  • Shelf supports for extra strength... won't collapse even when packed with heavy jeans.
  • Plenty of space for my 36-pair denim collection (biggest Black Friday savings).
  • Still room in the header for blankets, pillows, and storage.
  • Brushed stainless steel rods and hardware to match my ceiling fan.
  • Separate spaces for suits, shirts, and T-shirts.
  • Room for easy-access laundry hampers.
  • Beautifully constructed! Does not look like a cheap piece of crap.
  • $189 in materials. LESS THAN HALF THE COST OF THE SHITTY ONLINE ALTERNATIVE!

Well, it's kinda half the cost of the shitty online alternative. I ended up buying a biscuit cutter to join boards together, which added a $100 expense to the project that I wasn't anticipating. Even so... I still saved around $125 AND I've got a biscuit cutter than I'm sure to use on many future projects!

Oh... I think the cats like it too...

Jenny Investigates My Closet Organizer!

So... all in all a fantastic investment of my time. And I had fun building it to boot... almost no swearing!

On to the next project, whatever that will be.

   

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