Eric: July 2008 Archives

Day 27

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Today I worked on cleaning up the house. I have almost finished removing the old grout from the walls. I have a few more rows to go on the second floor wall but I am waiting on the permits to see how high we can make the second floor ceiling. I do not want to clean more rows that will be exposed.

I swept both floors and took the piles of plaster and dust and carried it to the back yard. Unfortunately I cannot put this plaster stuff in the dirt dumpster or I could get ride of it with the basement slab. But I have to wait and get a regular dumpster for it.

I have to say tho, there was a lot of dust in the air when I was done. But it looks better now that there is not crap all over the place.

Day 26

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Day 25 was pretty boring and I just dug out more buckets, so no post for it.

Well, I have finished the basement for now. All the old concrete slab is out and the floor is fairly level. Now I need to decide (or more accurately, find out) how far down we can dig the basement. Total bucket count is 308

This will probably wait tho until we have found a contractor. We have met with 6 contractors and they all seem good right now. We are just waiting on estimates from each.

Day, what is it? Twenty Four?

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Well, we met with a contractor this morning. R&D. I hope they are reasonable.

I also dug out more of our basement. I removed 3 piles :) Yay! and 78 buckets. That brings the total to 214 plus what ever Meredith, Daryl and Tom helped me with.

Craig - Buckets 214
Kristen - Buckets 0

Yay I'm winning at something!

This is the dumpster. it was empty when I started.
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Contractor Woes

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So this past week has been a little crazy. We found out that our contractor, which we had been planning on working with since we bought our house, decided that he did not like the banks draw schedule and is going to pull out of the deal.

This is annoying on several levels. Not only does this mean, a few weeks before we were to begin, I have to find another contractor, but I have to find a contractor that will work with our bank and with our pre-assigned budget.

It is annoying that he had 2 months to look over the draw schedule and now he gets cold feet. He is also annoying because he was supposed to talk to the bank and work it out but apparently he never called them back (I know this because I spoke to the bank) before he decided to pull out. Maybe this is a sign that we should not be using him anyway. The first thing was that he lied about having his license. When the bank asked for it, it was still be "approved" by the DC permitting office. So that was a delay.

It also annoys me that the bank is basically holding our loan hostage. They don't want to give out any (well less than 4%) starting funds for us to begin. How are we supposed to pay for things when everyone in the industry wants 30% down?

Anyway, I have started the whole contractor searching thing again and have a few leads.

Testing the New moveable type

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I just upgraded my moveableType blogging system to 4.12. This is quite an upgrade since I was using 2.66 :)

My old host, Xian, was getting ride of his hosting services so I had to change over to a new host. While doing this, I had to reinstall moveableType anyway, so I though, why not upgrade. So far it seems to be working well. I have not had a large amount of time to play with it yet so I will let you know as more comes of it.

Day twenty to twenty-three

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Ok, so I have been a little slow at adding entries about the house. Mostly because I have been doing the same repetitive tasks over and over and over and over....

So to recap what has happened in the past week. I have completed 9 feet of the second story wall. That is 36 rows of brick. I decided to wait on the last 8 rows because I am not 100% sure that we will be able to make the 2nd story 11 feet. Also it has been freakin hot (like 95 deg) and I am working right under the metal roof which makes it even hotter.

I have about half of the basement leveled. There is about 3 days left to remove all the dirt and the old concrete slab and make the floor at least level. We then have to determine if we can dig down and make the basement ceiling higher.

So I am now working on finding brick and actually re-pointing the exposed walls. They make this new grout that comes in the tubes that caulk comes in, so that is probably the way I am going to go because it seems a lot easier than mixing and troweling the old way.

Here are a few more pictures from the basement.
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Day Nineteen

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Went back today after a break on Sunday (I was pretty exhausted after digging all day on Saturday). I did some more work on the upstairs wall. I have finished 20 rows out of 44, so I am about 1/2 way there.

We have decided on 11' ceilings on the 2nd floor due to some requirements with the building codes. Actually I am kind of glad, I don't have to do another foot. So Now I have about 5' done.

Kristen thinks it is weird that I count all my tasks. I don't know, it make them seem easier if I know how much I have to do and how much I have done. For example, it seemed easier today to work on the wall, knowing that I have only 24 rows left, and I can do about 4 rows an evening, so it will take me about 6 more evenings to finish.

I also dug some more in the basement. I dug 41, 5 gallon buckets. Who needs a gym membership? You just need to carry 5 gallons of dirt and concrete (I cannot spell concrete for the life of me, I always misspell it and have to have spell check get it), then throw it into a dumpster.

I think after this week, I should have the basement at least flat, all the old concrete slab taken out. Then we have to decide if/how much we are going to dig out. The current ceiling is at 7' which is legal for a rental but it is low. We would like to have it 8' but I don't know if we can due to the foundation of the house (we don't want to go too deep and have to spend a lot on a new foundation).

We are also almost done with our architect plans. She said she will be finishing them up this week. Then we can finally apply for our plans.

Day Eighteen

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Today I had some people over to help with digging out the basement. I have to give a big thanks to Meredith, Daryle, and Tom.

We got a large section of the dirt out. It is kinda hard to see the pictures because I do not have a flash for my Iphone.

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Here you can kind of see the basement

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Here are the 5 gallon buckets we used to carry the dirt to the dumpster.

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The dumpster after the day.


Day Seventeen

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Today I did not really work because I was waiting forever for a dumpster to put the dirt in from our basement.

It took about a hour for the guys to show up, then we had to maneuver the dumpster into our back yard. This was complicated by the fact that the neighbor parked their car (albeit in their lot) in a horrible spot that did not give the truck much room.

When I asked them if they could move it for a few minutes, they said that it was their fathers and he was away on vacation. He also did not leave the keys so it was stuck there :(.

Anyway, after I took apart some of our backyard fence, and the dumpster truck broke off part of the post (It was buried in concert in the ground and I was not digging it out), he managed to Austin Powers the dumpster in the yard. I have to give him kudos for that, he did about a 40 point turn to get it in there.

Day Fifteen, Sixteen

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I could not find any brick to replace the first floor wall (I will have to keep looking) so I decided to start on the second floor wall. It is very similar to the first floor except that I only need to do about half of it.

I started Stage one of removing the plaster. It took me about 5 hours. It was not so bad mostly because a large section of it had already been removed. Also it seemed to come off in bigger chunks. I don't know why.

After that, on Sunday, I started Stage two, removing the morter and grout. I have completed about 1/4 of the wall, so it is coming. My arms feel like jelly after 3 long days pounding brick. It was a good thing for the long 4th of July weekend because I got a lot of work done, but on the other hand, I am really tired and sore for this coming week. Oh well.

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The second floor wall before any work has been done.

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The wall after the plaster has been removed and some of the grout removed.


Day Thirteen, Fourteen

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I am finally done with stage two of the first floor wall. Stage one was to remove the plaster, stage to was to remove the morter and grout between the bricks to I can re-point it.

Man that took a long time but I think I will look very nice when it is finished. I now have moved to stage three which is replacing any broken bricks or cracks in the wall.

Then stage four is to power wash the wall to clean it up.

Then on to stage five which is re-pointing the brick.

And lastly stage six is sealing the brick.

Architectural Plans

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We got our architectural plans back today! Yay, now we just have to get our permits. There were some issues with the plans that we are trying to fix before we turn them in, but over all, they look pretty good.

DC License and Tags

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Ok, so the beginning of this week, I did not work on the house at all because I spent my time obtaining licenses and tags for our car. It has been a process.

First, you have to get an emissions inspections. Normally not such a big deal, you just take your car into the service center and they give you a sticker. Well, our check engine light has been on for about 2 years. This made us fail the test. We brought it in to be fixed. The day before the emissions test, it came back on. Well I though, because we spent over $750 we can just waive the test (according to the DC website). No, no, no. Apparently our error is one of the few that cannot be waived. Sigh.

So after 3 more trips to the shop, and $2000 later. I finally had the check engine light off. I brought it into the service center and apparently, there was still an issue with the computer. It was registering an error but it did not know which one, so it did not display it. Of course it caused us to fail the test. Luckily I was able to convince the guy that it was not the same error and we should be granted the waiver.

Next step was to get all the paper work for the tags and my license. So early on Tuesday, I went to the DMV. I got there about 30 mins before they opened and there was already about 40 people in line. As I work my way through the line, I realize I do not have my Soc. Security card. So off I go to Kinkos to print out my W-2 and paystubs for verification. I am so glad that NAHB has this information online. I had to do some photo shopping because my pay stub only had an xxx-xx-xxxx for my number and it needed to show it. So after I photoshopped my number in, printed them out, I was back in line at the DMV.

So I get called about a hour later, sit down with my stuff. The lady I had was actually really nice, I have to say, because she let me call Kristen and get a copy of her drivers license and permission to get a new title and have her fax it over. She also allowed my to get a new title with a lien still showing on the old one (we had the lien removed, I just forgot the paper to prove it).

After all that, I was give two brand new tags, got my picture taken and was on my way.

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