Week of Steve has the opposite problem now

I just said we’d had time to write but no time to do any projects in the last few weeks with the baby and no grandparents around the house, so the blog had been laying fallow. Now I’ve got the opposite problem with everyone gone entirely! I’m doing so much work in every available moment that I don’t have any time to write about it!

Rachel is in Atlanta with Lily and I’m trying to knock out some long-neglected projects in the meantime, but I’ve only got limited time before my bachelorhood ends on Friday morning. She left last Friday and I took the day off, which gave me most of three days on the weekend, and then every night after work this week. I forgot the Braves were coming to town and grudgingly decided to skip all three games in favor of doing work, but my pal Rob called with an offer too good to pass up last night: diamond club tickets behind home plate. Heck, it comes with free dinner and beer, so I’d at least be stopping to eat at home anyway, right? So I went to the game last night and left in the sixth inning and came home and worked until about 1:30.

I sat down at work yesterday and wrote out every individual task that I need to do before the end of Thursday night — not just the projects, but each step I need to complete. It gave me a bit of pause about going to the game but I figured as long as I could leave early and still take care of the “Tuesday” list I’d be in good shape for the week.

Here’s my progress and jobs for the week:

Case and trim the interior windows on the sleeping porch downstairs. Paint the trim.

Ah yes, this is almost finished, though the pictures are to come. The biggest challenge with the trim was finding pieces that would match the trim in the rest of the house, but that’s going to be a separate post detailing how I managed to make that happen without having to get custom millwork.

Before:

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Case and trim the interior sleeping porch windows upstairs. Paint.

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I’m hopefully going to knock this one out tonight. It’s going to take twice as long as downstairs did with six windows, but hopefully the learning curve from the first attempt downstairs will help me out here. And unlike downstairs, the windows themselves need to be primed and painted, which is going to take a bit of time. That’ll be last on the agenda, because I can conceivably do that any night after work after my ladies are back in the house.

Install shoe moulding in the downstairs sleeping porch.

Finished this last night. And did I put a simple task on my “Tuesday” list just so I could cross it off and feel more accomplished? Definitely.

Finish stripping all of the wallpaper in my closet, patch the plaster, skim and paint and build all new shelving from scratch.

After a brutal few days sweating to death standing next to a hot light with the closet door shut to keep dust from flying all over our bedroom, I’m halfway done with this. I’ve gotten all the wallpaper scraped off the wall, removed the expansion tank from the closet, patched all the plaster, caulked the gaps in the corners, and hopefully will get to prime and paint it all tonight so it’ll be ready for the shelving on Thursday night.

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Removing that expansion tank was a bear. We first discovered it during our home inspection, and having never really lived in a house with a boiler other than a couple rentals here in DC, I had no idea what it was at the time, though I assumed it had something to do with the radiators. I’m almost positive it hasn’t been used since the coal-fired boiler was removed in the 1950’s or so. The pipe going up to it from the basement is disconnected near the boiler and the 3-inch boiler “send” pipe has a branch that’s long since capped off. I assume that back in the days using coal that the expansion tank for the hot water was more necessary due to the inability to control the temperature of the water as closely as with a gas-fired system.

In any case, it was coming out once I confirmed that we didn’t need it any longer. You can see that it occupies a bit of space in the side of the closet that would be perfect for a series of shelves, with a pipe coming out of the floor and continuing into the attic (and ultimately into the roof sheathing!) The top of the pipe had apparently leaked through the years, or else was the source of a roof leak, because the metal was stained up at the top and the plaster ceiling was almost completely destroyed from water damage around the pipe.

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The pipe in the attic went up into the roof sheathing for some reason that I still can’t determine for certain. I went up on the roof just to make double sure it didn’t poke out as an exhaust somewhere, but I didn’t see anything and it’s all been covered by the new roof. Unfortunately, the pipe runs through the attic in an area away from where I installed the floor, so I had to put on my fancy coverall suit and climb on to the joists and lay on my stomach and go to work with the hacksaw on the pipe. That was hard work! I was sweating like a dog and contorted in a position where it was hard to get leverage and my arm would go dead after about 10 seconds of sawing, but after about 10 minutes, I finally had it cut.

Victory!

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I’ve finished repairing all the plaster, though I had to force myself to lower my standards a bit rather than going back with a second skim or patch coat in places — it’s a closet, and no one is ever going to see a slight edge of mud that wasn’t sanded perfectly without tons of light and all the clothes removed. All that’s needed is a coat of primer and paint before I can build the closet shelves.

Swap out the shite Lowe’s fans in nursery and second bedroom for two of the fantastic Hunter fans I found for the living room and upstairs porch.

UPS tried to deliver these yesterday, but I wasn’t home and he needed a signature, so I’m hoping that they’ll show up today. Will be last on the list for Thursday.

Finish sanding and prime/paint the spindles on the stairway.

Back when we stripped and stained the mahogany railing, we left the cheap pine spindles bare to paint white since they won’t take a stain very well. Finishing this would be relatively quick and easy (and dust-free!), but my floor guy didn’t quite get them sanded all the way smooth, so I’ll have to spend some time sanding before I can get to the painting. I think I’ll take this up later tonight since it doesn’t make any noise and do all the hammering and nail gunning early.

Rip off the ogee baseboard caps that are slathered with paint and the remnants of an embedded telephone wire, replace with new ones.

I’ve already emoved the old baseboard caps and sanded down the bottom of the wall smooth and put a light skimcoat there to smooth out the surface and get rid of the line where the top of the old caps ended. I finished sanding and painting it late Monday and I’m ready to put the new ogee trim caps on tonight. They’re already painted, so I’ll just have to fill nail holes and touch up once I do that. Before and after sanding and paint, below.

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Paint the yellow dormers and top fascia on the front of the house white to match the porch.

I don’t think there’s any possible way I’ll get to this. With two nights remaining after work and a dozen projects left on the docket, it’s going to have to wait. Which means Rachel will be around to call the hospital when I fall off the roof, so that’s good. (Awaiting the email from my mother now….)

‘Bout time to head home and get to work!

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