Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Finally, a posting...

Well it's been a while since I posted again. I've just been too busy to even think about writing here.

I was really hoping to kick butt this weekend on working on the house, I feel like it was more the other way around, the house kicked my butt. I took Wednesday off to work on the yard before the impending snow of Thursday. I spent the day moving dirt, lots of dirt. I shoveled and raked about 10 yards of it around until I was satisfied with the grade of the yard. Then it snowed.

Got about 3-4" of it here, but it melted off about 2 days later, so no real big deal. However our prospects for laying sod this fall vanished with that cold snap. So now were stuck with a yard full of black dirt for the winter. We got another warm spell yesterday, so I took the afternoon off and spread straw over the dirt to prevent erosion, and then installed a silt fence along the road. That may sound easy enough, but lemme tell ya, digging a trench and pounding in silt fencing in the rain at night in a complete mud bog isn't much fun. The dirt was completely saturated from the snowmelt, so with every step I sunk in about 6". yuk.

Hopefully the dirt will stay in our yard now though once spring comes and we get real snow melt. We'll definelty have some re-grading to do though as the dirt will undoubtedly slump down to the bottom of the hill.

Thursday was turkey day, and my Brother's in-laws were kind enough to invite us over for dinner. That was great, Mike (Katherine's Dad) is one heck of a chef. Thanks for the invite Tharps! At that point our kitchen was still covered in plastic since we were still painting the ceiling, so cooking was out for us.

Friday was the first time I can remember spending the entire day shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Sadly enough that was not our plan, I had hoped to starting laying the subflooring. But we needed some supplies and once we had shot the whole morning/early afternoon getting the sink base cabinet and light fixtures for the bathroom, we decided to just get the flooring, paint and a few other items and kill the rest of the day shopping. It sucked. I hate shopping, always have. I used to not mind shopping for home improvement stuff, but this year has pretty much jaded me to that too.

Saturday I finally got to do some work, but we didn't really get into our stride until the afternoon. Beth worked on painting while I worked on subflooring. By Sunday, I had all 18 sheets of subfloor installed. That part actually went far better than I expected, the hardest part was carrying each sheet upstairs once I cut it in the garage. After that was down I started on the bathroom, installing what I could before the flooring goes in.

Here's the laundry sink base installed, with the sink just sitting on top. The washer water connections are inside the sink base, so I had to do some plumbing once I got the base installed. Just have to cut the countertop to length and install the sink in it, then this part will be good to go.

As I mentioned, I installed the light fixtures too. Those don't lend themselves to good photos with the lights on, guess I should have just taken the picture with the light off... As with most of this project, nothing went smooth. I check the electrical prior to wiring up the ceiling light to make sure the wires weren't live. To my surprise, they were, and the switch didn't work. Well, after about 2 hours of bangin' my head against the wall trying to find the problem I finally used a different tester and it worked fine. Turns out my meter had broken and was giving false readings. sigh. Then the exhaust fan wouldn't work. This one wasn't a bad meter, it was a bad motor in the fan. That really pissed me off since I know it worked before the sheet rock was installed, I tested it. I had to go back up in the attic and remove it, bench tested it and sure enough, the motor was bad. Back to Menards for a new one, then back up in the attic to re-install it. again, sigh....

The one light that worked with no glitches was the hall light. Looks nice too. This one is a fine Ikea product. I find it amazing that they can offer products even cheaper than the cheap crap at Menards, and amazingly enough it's actually slightly (just slightly) better construction. I mean really, all this stuff at every home-improvement store is made-in-China-crap, but Ikea's crap is slightly less crappy (how many times can you say crap in one sentence?). You can see some of Beth's paint work too, the hall is a nice taupe (I have no idea if I'm spelling that right) color, the bath is a blue-violet-gray kinda thing that looks swell, and the main room will be a rusty-dark-orangish color.

You can tell a woman now lives in the house which I once lived in alone. There are colors on the walls. If you've ever been in our house, you might find it humorous that the old part is basically all beige, and the new part is basically all colors. Guess it's that venus-mars thing, but I don't mind, the colors are definitely more interesting. I was just too cheap and lazy to repaint the all-beige color scheme the house had when I bought it. Slowly but surly the old part of the house is getting more colors too.

And finally, here's the main room. Hasn't been painted yet, but I'm sure it's next up. The color swatch on the wall is the main suspect in hunt for colors. The ceiling is finally painted to a respectable finish after three tries (don't ask, it just didn't work out). The recessed lighting looks good, and the subfloor is all down in here. We actually just ordered the hardwood that will extend from the kitchen into part of this room last night. We'll probably be getting the carpet on order as soon as the painting is done (and once we figure out how to pay for it!). I'm pretty excited at how much it is coming together, but to be honest, I had hoped to have all the flooring in by now and the bathroom put together. Oh well, I guess schedules exist to be missed (at least in my case).

I'll try to get a picture of the finished retaining wall if I'm ever home during daylight hours and not swamped with work (doubtful).

Not much shop progress to report. I've got a handful of frames ready for painting, so I guess I better get a paint set-up together soon so I can spray again. I did get my phase converter wired up for the horizontal mill, so the motor works now. But I'm waiting for the drive belt to come before I can try it out. Did some other machining work on the vertical mill, it's great. A world of difference from the table-top in terms of stability. I do still miss the geared head on my old one, as speed changes were quicker, but I'll live.

I guess I did slip in a couple of quick repairs on stuff, and I'm putting the finishing touches on that nature bike, but that's about it. No riding whatso ever, that sucks, but the weather hasn't been great for that either. The good news is, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the remodeling project. Once the interior is livable, I shouldn't have to work on this every night and every weekend, I might even have a life again. Maybe.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The next day...

Alright, I think I have this new blog thing working out now. I did a little more formatting this morning and it seems good enough to run with it.

This weekend we were out east. I had to travel for work last week, so I finally convinced Beth to come out to New York for the weekend (she had never been there). She had been quite resistant at first, as she had lots of pre-concieved notions of what it would be like, but I think once she got there she had a good time.

And she got to meet the one and only Large Fella on a bike, and his family, what more could you ask for! We spent Friday night at the Cutshall residence, staying up waaaaay too late chatting. And Scott, I did actually enjoy the food, that cold stuff you got was something new to me, and I loved it. The chicken was all good, the only thing I was unsure of was whatever that deep-fried thing was (the stuff Chloe loves).

We were hoping to see the Ryan Adams / Willie Nelson concert Thursday night, but ended up just seeing the Willie part thanks to the shopping season traffic heading into Manhattan. We arrived just in time to hear Ryan's last song as we were making out way to the auditorium. bummer. Willie was good to see, but we really were there for Ryan. The Willie freaks in attendance were annoying as hell. The guy next to me began our conversation with " your timing couldn't be better" as we sat down just as the roadies packed up Ryan's gear. He couldn't understand that we really came for the opener, Willie was a sideshow. The couple in front of us refused to sit still and must have found every possible way to block our view. Oh well, Willie was good, and impressive for a 72 year old performer.

Got back to town Sunday, just in time to spend the day painting the ceiling of the new space. Primed just about everything, and last night we put the second coat on the ceilings. It's starting to look like a real room out there. I'll try to get some pictures today.

I also spent the last two afternoons modifying the steps I had made out on the retaining wall. I figured out a better way to shape the exposed ends, so I rebuilt the main set. Unfortunately the modification invoves adding a split block each end, so I spent quite a few hours this week already splitting concrete blocks with a hammer and chisel. Talk about feeling like Fred Flintstone, try sitting in your front yard beating on chunks-o-concrete with a big hammer. But they're nearly done now and looking fantastic, sometimes it's good to be anal.

I'm off for the rest of the week, staying home to work on the house over the holiday. With a little luck, I hope to get in some flooring and start making the bathroom into a bathroom.

Somewhere amid hauling waaaay too much concrete block with it, my trailer started making some pretty bad noises lately. So since I only spent the last two nights working on retaining wall and painting the interior, I decided to sneak in repacking the bearings on the trailer last night too. By then I was on a roll so I also wired up the new front lights outside the garage and installed the lights inside the garage. Whew, it's been a busy week and it's only Wednesday morning!

Well, I've got lots to do, so I better get crackin'


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Welcome to the new Bob Brown Cycles Blog. Let's hope this one works out better than the last one.

I decided to move over to blogger after Fortune City decided to shut down it's blog service. I'm really not that upset since their software was pretty bad and they tended to fill my blog with ads. Hopefully the registration function will now work for you all as well. It seemed that about 5% of the people who tried to register with my old blog (to leave comments and be notified of new postings) actually were successful.

If you tried to register on the old one but didn't have any luck, I urge you to try it here, I think you'll have better results. I'm going to leave this pretty open, so anyone will be able to leave comments. I will be moderating though should any spam type stuff show up. If that doesn't work out, then I'll switch it over to only registered members being able to comment. Once nice thing, comments should show up right on the main page with the blog entry, no more clicking hyperlinks to see comments.

Blogger doesn't seem to have the photo album features that Fortune city had, but I didn't use that too much. I'll stick to posting pictures right on the blog rather than in an album. Not too much of a loss there.

Unfortunately due to Fortune City's sucky-ness, their software doesn't export the date from my old blog in a very user friendly format. Basicaly it's un-importable into any other blog software. However all is not lost. I've taken the HTML coding from the old blog entries and imported them into large postings here as an archive. So You will see in the recent postings link on the lower right that there are postings titled "August 2005 archive" and such. That post contains all the postings from the entire month of August. Most of the pictures survived, but not all. It's a little bit of an akward archive, but it's much better than nothing.

Well, I think I'll just start off with that. If you had a shortcut to the old blog, I recommend updating it to this address, as the old service will be shut off at the end of November.

So once again, welcome,