Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Projects Update
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Good progress on most of our home-improvement projects.

Hardwood floor: complete. All baseboard trim complete as well. For that, we borrowed a powered nailgun, and yikes but they're fun to use (especially compared to nailing in those little brads by hand without leaving hammer marks in the wood). Makes me want to go around replacing all the trim in the house. Surprisingly, they use chemical explosive cartridges to drive the nails in, so they leave a bit of odor in the air (like an old cap gun). I had assumed they operated only mechanically.

Tile entryway: tiles laid, still not sure whether the bonding agent has set. Will give it a few more days to dry, then apply the grout. Very strange that it's taking so long in this environment.

Dishwasher: delivered and installed. Works nice, very quiet. A bit more expensive than anticipated because modern building codes require something called an air gap (to prevent backflow and engine burnout), so that had to be installed as well, and it took the place of our sink dishsoap dispenser, which made us a little sad.

Media room carpet: ordered. Installation to be arranged, once the carpet arrives from the factory. Anticipating this will happen in late October.

Wall oven: arrived Monday. Saved a decent chunk of change by ordering it online, however it turns out that we think it best to have an electrician hook it up, and that's going to cost a couple hundred bucks more because, again, modern codes require a junction box that our house lacks. Oh well, at least it will be done right. Yesterday we built the support for it (we took out a double oven so this new single once requires runners on the side of the empty space where the other one was).

Kitchen tile floor: waiting for wall oven installation so not applying undue pressure on new tiles during that process. May lay backer board today, but that might lead to too much dirt tracking in the rest of the house. Will probably lay tile right before heading east, so that it has a long time to set while we're gone, and prove minimally disruptive to kitchen use.

Yard wall part 1: decided not to apply stained glass, but instead simply paint the top stucco layer using stencils. This will look more like a frieze (and require a lot less work), which was my first choice. We changed our mind when we discovered they make exterior paints for stucco. The biggest problem in this respect is that the stucco has to cure for a month, so we'll have an unpainted wall for a while, but it still should look a heckuva lot better than the plain cinder blocks we have now.

Yard wall part 2: we started applying the base coat of stucco yesterday, after painting on a bonding chemical to make it stick to the wall better. Unfortunately, we apparently underordered the raw stucco. By a lot. We thought we'd need eight bags for the entire yard wall, but we've used almost that many just on the west wall. At this point we've got to decide whether to have Lowe's deliver more (and thus wait for that), or get some fifteen additional 80-pound bags home in our car.

Waiting means not getting the walls done during my leave. Hauling home that much weight means a lot of hard-on-the-back manual labor, and multiple trips to the store. But at least we'd have it. Not sure where our calculations went wrong.

At least we'll get our money's worth from the powered cement mixer we bought for this project. Having to mix all that stucco by hand would NOT be fun. Hey, had to buy at least one new power tool for all this work, right?

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