Sunday, December 03, 2006

Week #21: Nov 27 - Dec 3

The electrician wasn't able to finish everything over the weekend. I had to call the building dept. first thing Monday morning and ask them to cancel the electrical inspection. Unfortunately, the building dept. said they would also have to cancel framing, plumbing and mechanical as well. Apparently, they like to do one big rough-in inspection for all trades. On the other hand, they said they could still inspect gas rough-in. Now I'm really confused. Are all cities like this?

So here I was hoping to get the whole rough-in inspection and I ended up with just gas rough-in and exterior lath. We didn't even pass the gas rough-in because the gas pipe going into the house has to be X inches to the right of the city riser. The plumber will have to come back and run a short length of pipe on the outside so it's in the right position.

We decided to demo the stucco around the garage door. (More demoing!! When will it ever end?). Why? Because I realized the old stucco mold wasn't going to match the rest of the new 2x4 trim. It's a minor detail, but one of those things I was afraid I would be kicking myself later for not doing now, especially since it's all visible from the street. In fact, there are a couple of other places in the back of the house where we kept the old trim. It's not visible from the street so we just left it. I'll admit it. We're not purists.

On Friday, the additional siding + the primed 2x4 trim got delivered. That meant Steve could get to work on trimming the front door and garage door. Plus, the lumberyard FINALLY picked up and took back the extra framing beams we didn't end up using. I don't know why it took them over a month to coordinate that; I was starting to think they weren't going to take the stuff back.

Today, Sunday, I went over to HD and FINALLY picked up my special order tile. They've been holding it for us since Oct. 1st. I don't know why it took me so long to do that - oh wait a minute, yes I do. We're not ready for tiling so where am I going to store 4 short pallets of tile???? Unfortunately, I had no choice as this was the 3rd time they called to ask - actually the 3rd time they demanded- we come and get it. I was a bit concerned about loading it all into our minivan, not so much volume-wise, but weight-wise, and actually thought we might have to make more than one run. In the end though, we managed to get the whole order into the van with a manageable amount of sagging on the back end. I just drove in the slow lane and avoided bumps. But here's the most amazing part of the story........HD actually got the tile order right! I counted all the boxes and they were all there. Although, I haven't actually opened some of the trim boxes to see if they really gave me 55 pieces of round black liner, etc. Hmmmm......

More discouraging news on the inspection front. I talked to Clint, the electrician, hoping that maybe next week we would be ready for the big inspection. Nope, wasn't going to happen. Still had another weekend's worth of work. I'm wondering now if we'll even get inspected before Xmas. Oh well, what can you do? As I've said, fortunately for us, time is not really costing us additional money, since we're living rent free with the parents. But it would be nice to be back in our house, so the kids don't have the long commute to school.

Tristan made a big run to the dump this weekend. Our neighbor, Bob, jokes that we're the only people to have ever done this big a remodel without a dumpster. Well, we couldn't do it without Bob! He let's us borrow his pickup truck for these dump runs!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Week #20: Nov 20 - 26

WHOA!!! I'm caught up on my blog!!!! I must really be re-energized.

The handyman was back again this week to work on installing the fire-rated door, cladding the front post and installing the front porch beadboard ceiling. It's been really fun, i.e., challenging and a learning experience, figuring out how to dress up the front post. I wanted to beef up the 4x4 and also hide the metal brackets that tie it into the slab and header. It was a 3-way pow-wow with Steve, Bob and myself. Throw in the guy at Bruce Bauer and we found a solution!

We'll add the bottom part of the trim later. Our top priority was to get everything stucco-related done.

That leads me to my new strategy. From now on, I'm just going to call the next sub in line and give him a start date. Then tell all the other subs what the drop dead date is and watch them scramble. Well, at least that's how it worked with the stucco job. I called the stucco sub Wed morning and said, "I'm ready for papering and lathing. When can I get on your schedule?" He said, "OK, I'll meet you at the house in 20 minutes and then tomorrow my guys will start." Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! I was incredulous. Your crew is going to work on Thanksgiving Day?? "Oh yeah, they want to make money." And here I thought nothing would happen during the holidays. Maybe I can get a lot done during Christmas - New Year???

Well, after that conversation, I got on the horn with the window guy. "Oh yeah," he said. He was also going to be at our house on Thanksgiving Day, finishing up stuff so the stucco guy could do his thing. Or I'm thinking, it's going to be more difficult for him to install any remaining windows, trim, drip caps, etc., after the house has been papered and wired. So there's his motivation.

And now with the impending arrival of the stucco crew, the handyman finished cladding the post and installing the beadboard (which we bought, primed and ripped to size).

We're ready for stucco! And here's what it looks like after papering and lathing:

Sooo, I also went ahead and scheduled our rough-in inspections: framing, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, plus added paper/lath. THIS IS THE BIG ONE! Tuesday AM, November 28. Hopefully, there won't be any major issues, but just in case, my plan is to forewarn the subs and ask them to block out some time Tues PM to come and take care of any problems.
I would really like to be drywalled by Xmas so we can start some finish work then. Especially since it sounds like people might be interested in working during the holidays! Me and Tristan included!

Week #19: Nov 13 - 19

Sigh. Not a lot of work got done the last 2 1/2 weeks. Mostly because we had no power.

We finally got back on the grid on Tuesday. It took another week after we passed inspection to have utilities come out and reconnect us. I guess that's how long it takes to process "paperwork". During the blackout period, we "borrowed" power from our kind neighbor, Bob. I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again, he's been a great neighbor to have on this project!

You know what's interesting about getting a new electrical starts at zero!!

I hired a handyman to help us get thru a few punchlist items. And here I thought punchlists happened at the end of a project. No siree. Here was our mid-way punchlist:

- Misc blocking, including 12"h all around shower stalls for hot-mopping
- Install 3 bathroom fans, duct to outside
- Replace, repair, plus new 2nd floor siding
- Install/trim 2 ext man doors
- Plumber: install all new gas lines, outdoor hosebib, icemaker water line
- Beef up front 4x4 post, plus add decorative trim
- Install beadboard ceiling over front porch
- Remove old baseboards/trim
- Add 2x4 cleats for attic plywood
- Record where all blocking is before drywall goes up
- Wrap old plenum with metal duct tape
- Vacuum, clean all walls before drywalled in
- Demo stucco around garage door
- Sawzall ceiling joist

So now with power, things are starting to roll again. The plumber came out and in 2 days installed all of the new gas lines, the outdoor hosebib, plus the soft roll for the icemaker. Plumbing rough-in is done!

The new handyman installed the front door (had to do a lot of adjustments to the opening which was not framed plumb or square), plus installed siding along the gable part of the new entry.

The electrician came over the weekend and we reviewed all the kitchen wiring, outlets, appliances. He says he's going to finish everything by next weekend.

I got myself some new toys: a 12" Bosch compound miter saw, a circular saw and a Makita cordless driver/drill. All the guys were oohing and ahhing over the Bosch. I thought to myself, aha, so this is what it must feel like to tool around town in a Porsche or strut your stuff in a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Meanwhile, I'm really enjoying cross-cutting 2x4s like they're a stick of butter.

Tristan and I got a lot accomplished over the weekend. To date, we've DIY'd the following:
- Installed 3 bathroom fans
- Installed membrane and sheet metal to waterproof sheathing
- Demo'd trim, baseboards; toilet and tile in BA
- Primed beadboard, ripped panel to size
- Finished blocking for showers, heat registers, towel bars
- Dug out dirt around house
- Cut down wisteria vine
- Removed ceiling joist, old 2x4s in BA

Could it be I'm getting my 2nd wind????

Week #18: Nov 6 - 12

Spending a lot of time finding the materials req'd to waterproof the sheathing. Inspector says must use Grace Ice and Water shield. I check Grace's corporate website to find out who carries it. First of all, according to their website, the Ice and Water shield is for roof applications. For vertical, wall applications, Grace Vycor 40 is used. After calling 6 or 7 stores, finally find one in Newark that carries the product. Also trying to find a sheet metal fabrication shop to make the "special" L-shaped 26 gauge galvanized sheet metal needed to go over the Grace Vycor 40.

Finally, inspection for service panel passes. But not without a parting comment from the inspector "Why did he (the electrician) do it like that? Now, we'll have to send out the utility crew again at the end of the project to disconnect and reconnect. You're costing us money. That's why we want people to put up temporary power poles." Yeah, and at a cost of $900 in city and permit fees, that's why I didn't want to put up a temporary power pole.

The inspector and his protege also questioned my use of the Vycor 40. I had the pleasure of sharing my new found knowledge with them.

Week 17: Oct 30 - Nov 5

Electrician replaced the service panel with new 200A one. Called to have utilities come and reconnect the power. They told me they didn't have the paperwork. I said "What paperwork?" They said the paperwork saying the inspector signed off on it. Huh???? Another "Ooops, I didn't know about that" moment. Apparently I had to call the building dept. and schedule an inspection first.

The inspector came the next day; unfortunately it was you-know-who. along with his protege', I mean the rookie inspector. He actually had a few words of praise for the electrician's work, but didn't pass the inspection because the service panel amperage was 200A and the temporary construction outlets had a 100A fuse (hope I got that correct). Plus, he found additional busy work for us to do - waterproof a section of our exterior sheathing because the grade was too high.

The electrician came out the next day to fix the "problem", but I was unable to get a re-inspection this week. Will have to wait till Monday next week.

Meanwhile, I worked on demo'ing all the remaining trim and baseboard around the house. In hindsight, I should have had the demo contractor demo everything, but at the time, I thought I would try to salvage as much of the house and minimize new work. Live and learn. Next time, let's tear the whole house down!

That's kinda indicative of how I'm feeling right now about the remodel. Nothing's happening; we're bogged down; this is going on forever; it'll never be finished. I need a second wind!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Week #16: 10/23 - 10/29

Framer is on vacation - nice and quiet
Louie-HVAC work; borrowed his power drill and connected the bathroom fan ducts to the roof jack opening. Strapped the ducts, taped them with metal foil tape. Crouched on the ceiling joists in order to connect the Master BA fan.
Went up to SF and bought front door and all other interior doors.
Checked out the vacpans.
Plumber installed bathtub.
Got other plumbing quotes after getting the change order from my plumber.
Starting to have the difficult "money" conversations with the subs.
Cut down the wisteria vine so Ed can come and demo the deck. Before:After:Scheduled the city utilities to disconnect our power so Clint could upgrade the service panel.
Like my new abbreviated, no nonsense style?
Sorry, barely enough time to sleep, brush my teeth, take a shower!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Week #15: 10/16 - 10/22

Kinda a slow week at the house in terms of work being done: a little bit of blocking left, moving some ceiling joists so we can center recessed cans.

I spent a lot of my time this week researching and shopping for appliances, vacpans, front doors, and.... a porta potty! Yeah, had to bite the bullet and get rid of our lovely 50's pink toilet. As you may recall, I had saved it from the wrecking crew so we could use it as our on-site WC. But the plumber is now ready to install the bathtub and move the toilet drain so it's time to say good-bye. Tristan and I removed it ourselves. (We're getting real handy! What else can we do to save a few bucks????)

Well, I went to the salvage yard and found this beautiful front door, only $700.

Unfortunately, because we can't use the sidelights (our entry isn't wide enough), it's not worth trying to separate just the door. We'd have to rehang, redo the threshold and sill. In the end, I found a new door that was cheaper and style-wise, fit our farmhouse-look better.

I also found a guy who'll install a front door for $1k. I just about gagged, coughed and sputtered when he told me that. I think I'll keep looking.

I think we might have found someone to take our backyard deck/balcony. We need to get rid of it before stucco work begins. Another Craigslist posting! Now if only someone would take our concrete rubble......

Week #14: 10/9 - 10/15

Met with the cabinetmaker for 2 1/2 hours Monday morning. Crazy, optimistic me - I thought we would get thru all the cabinet designs during that time. We barely made it thru the kitchen. That still leaves the laundry room, entertainement wall unit, window seat, Master BA storage cab, Kids' BA vanity. I don't even want to think how many more hours are needed.

Tristan and I installed the bathroom fans over the weekend. Sounds easy, right? Well, we were struggling mightily with the first one, just trying to screw in the screws. We started with a screwdriver. That was getting us nowhere fast. Then we unlocked the tool box and used one of the framing crew's power screwdrivers. Still having problems driving the screw in. We blamed it on the old, hardened wood. Then Clint, the electrician, showed up. He climbs up the ladder and single-handedly drives the screw in while also holding up the fan. Whereas, Tristan and I had to have one person hold the fan, while the other one tried in vain to drive in the screw. Clint said "Hope you guys weren't at it too long."

But I saw a couple of tricks Clint used like using this sleeve on the bit to hold the screw in place when first drilling it in. Voila!! Tristan and I pounded out the other two in no time at all. We even installed one of them sideways in the skylight shaft.

After giving us some pointers on the bathroom fans, Clint went back to his electrical work and installed the new subpanel:

as well as several of the recessed cans:

He could also start to run some of the wires now that the roof was on:

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Week #13: 10/2 - 10/8

It didn't rain last night, but it looks like rain tomorrow.
Fortunately, our roof is sheathed and papered so we can sleep tonight.

We got on the roofer's schedule over two weeks ago; of course at the time, we had no idea that rain was on its way. It's actually kinda early in the year for rain. Anyways, around the neighborhood, you can see lots of contractors putting up tarps on roofless remodels.

But because we're now ready to shingle, I'm scrambling around trying to get everyone to put their holes thru the roof.. Things like vent stacks, fan ducts, dryer vents. I think Tristan and I may install the bathroom fans ourselves. I forgot to include them in the HVAC bid, and at this point I don't feel like a change order and having to pay extra for it.

I can't remember if I mentioned it earlier, but I've added a couple of skylights. One in the Master BR, another in the TV room and a third in the kitchen. The house got much darker after the roof sheathing went on!!! But everyone's been telling me things will feel brighter once the drywall gets installed. Sure hope so.

Speaking of drywall, once that gets installed (ages away), we can install cabinets. So I actually had the cabinetmaker come out and take measurements now that the major framing is complete. We won't need cabinets for awhile, but wanted to get that process started to give me plenty of time to design and then also manufacture.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Roof

Roofing started!! Weather forecast calls for showers tomorrow. The crew managed to sheath quite a bit in one day, but not everything got covered, so I sure hope it's just a drizzle, if that.

Lugging plywood up and above the Master BA:

The next day, the roofing supply house delivered the shingles using a big boom and conveyor belt:

The guy on the roof got a workout picking off the bundles of shingles and running up the roof to place them on the ridgelines.

Now we're all ready for the roofing crew to come back tomorrow and lay down the felt paper and then the actual roof shingles.

Week 12: 9/25 - 10/1

Our primary goal this week was to finish all framing related to the roof. The roofer is scheduled to start sheathing on SUNDAY, 10/1.

Shed roof for the window seat and exterior door:

Roof framing for new mudroom:

Roof and overhang for new entry and porch:

Framing for skylights in Master BA:

and skylight in BR #3 (added at the last minute):

They also installed starter boards and 1x4s on all the new roofs.

Testing out a new paint color (top one):

Week 11: 9/18 - 9/24

This week at the house:

1. Louie the HVAC guy came and re-hooked the upstairs furnace. We had to disconnect and slide the furnace over so we could raise the roof in the extended bathroom. The framing crew has been really great about doing extra stuff that technically is not their responsibility.

2. Bill and his son are continuing to install windows and trimming the outside. I'm not sure I like this window:

I love the way it looks, but it only vents 3/8". Based on what the salesperson described, I thought it was going to be 2-3" (remember my post about the new and great venting picture window?). Going back and forth on whether I should take these out and replace with a window that ventilates better.

3. The framers are continuing work on supporting the Great Room ceiling.

Have had to start getting new quotes on stucco, drywall and insulation. I feel like our project has changed a bit since May/June when I first got quotes. Having a hard time finding stucco contractors, so I've resorted to driving around the neighborhood looking for houses in mid-construction. I write down the GC ph#, then call them and ask who their stucco sub is! I've been so pleasantly surprised at how helpful they are. They don't know me from Jack, but they return my calls and gladly provide advice and information.

One guy I contacted was the architect/owner of a neighborhood house I had watched being constructed. They're pretty much done, but I drove over thinking maybe they still had a sign out with the GC and/or architect info. Instead, I ended up talking to the moving crew for the Pottery Barn photo shoot that was taking place at the house! These guys were incredibly helpful as well and without hesitating went into the house to ask the name of the owner/architect. Once I was armed with that information, it was simple getting his work#. He called the next day and left me a msg with the name of his GC. Called his GC and we had a 20 minute conversation about modern architecture as well as of course getting the stucco sub info!

Meanwhile, taking kids to school and karate and gymnastics and planning a birthday party!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I saw the Light

Since the electrician started putting up boxes, I've had to pull out my lighting binder and refresh my memory about lighting design - where to put lights, what kind of lights to use and how many. There really is so much to know in order to do "thoughtful" lighting design as opposed to the "Swiss cheese" method of dotting the ceiling with recessed cans. I felt pretty good about our design, which I worked on and refined using Randall Whitehead's books plus the awesome online services of the GardenWeb Home Forums.

Still, I wanted a real person to walk the space and critique the design. So I hired this local lighting expert for an hour consultation. He wasn't cheap, but I think he was worth it. I say I think, because I have to wait and see the end result. It's like the windows. In my mind, I was thinking they would look a certain way, but to actually see them for real, in situ....well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Wanting to get the most out of our hour, I of course, prepared a list of questions and issues that I wanted him to address. Which he did!! Things like actual sconce height and placement; 3 or 4 MR16s for our dining table?; do I need additional lighting in the entry?; how do we do cove lighting in the kitchen?; more wall sconces in the LR?

He also tried to align the recessed cans along common lines so it would look more orderly. He pointed out that the actual placement would depend on the locations of the ceiling and floor joists and I should probably place paper furiture templates on the floor to make sure the cans were centered correctly. Duh, I hadn't even thought of that!
He even gave us a basic exterior lighting design!

So, armed with all this knowledge, I found myself admiring the very dramatic lighting in the Cheescake Factory bathroom. They had wall sconces flanking the vanity mirror for ambient light and as a decorative light fixture. Everything else was recessed. I loved the MR16s above each sink. I wonder if I can incorporate that into our Guest BA??? I've made so many changes to our lighting plan, I wouldn't blame my electrician if he started charging me for them!

More Week 10: 9/11 - 9/17

This was an exciting week!
Window installation started, wahoo! Bill and his son started upstairs so as to not get in the way of the framing crew who were working downstairs. A nice bit of parallel processing.
I love our new windows!!! They even make our existing wood siding look better :-)
It is really looking like a farmhouse! So exciting and satisfying to see reality match up with one's design vision.

Other things that happened this week:
1. Nailed up exterior plywood sheathing:
You can see the tight nailing pattern (called a nailing schedule). One of the things the inspector will check during rough framing inspection.

2. Beefed up the Great Room ceiling joists by removing the old 2x6s and replacing with new 4x10s (non-red beams). The ceiling joists actually do not support any of the 2nd floor load. The only weight on them is the ceiling drywall. But since the span is so long (20'), you need bigger beams so there's no sagging over time. The beams with red ends are the old existing floor joists that actually carry the 2nd floor load. You can also see the added metal straps which provide some protection against shear forces.

3. Put up the HUGE parallam which also supports some of the 2nd floor load as well as the ceiling joists in the front of the house.

All this structural work allowed the crew to remove almost all of the temporary supports, plus the last remaining bit of original load bearing wall. Now the room is completely open!

4. Framed the roof for the window seat:

Despite all the work that got done this week, we still probably have another 2 wks of framing. Still need to frame the roofs for the new entry and laundry/mudroom; need to add blocking between the studs; frame the Master BA skylight.

My homework assignment this week is to draw up the framing details for the area behind the fireplace, the mudroom niche and the Guest BA storage niche.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Week 10

A continuation of last week - namely, still feeling crazed and maniacal with all the decisions, purchases, research, follow-up.

Started researching cupolas and weathervanes. Realized they don't have to be installed in conjunction with the roof. Therefore, they go to the end of the priority line.

Next on the desperate list: a fire-rated door. Discovered the kind I want (single panel from Tru-Stile) has a 5-6 week leadtime. Aaaack! Guess I shoulda ordered that awhile ago. But I needed to have the jamb depth and that required cutting thru the wall to determine the stucco depth. Hmmm, I'm sure that's going to back up my schedule somehow, somewhere.

Now that we're getting close to finishing the framing, it's time to schedule the roofer to come back and put up the plywood sheathing, followed by an inspection, before he can actually shingle the roof. So I got on his docket for the week of 10/2, but that also means I need to finalize my roof color choice. I already picked out the brand and style a month or two ago (thank goodness). So this week I called up the roofing supply company to get a list of addresses of houses that have the brand/style/color roof I'm considering. I drove around and checked them out. Here are the two options we're considering:

You know what - either one will probably be fine. And you know what - here's what I've decided about all these choices and decisions that have to be made. You spend all this time agonizing over them and a year from now, you won't even notice. That's my new attitude after only 2 1/2 months of remodeling :-)

For example, my framer asked me this week whether I wanted to have the Great Room ceiling a bit higher than in the kitchen. I said "I really don't have an opinion either way." Translation: "I'm too tired to think this thru and make a good decision." I need to make sure I get a second wind when it comes time to choose all the finish materials, colors and styles.

(BTW, we decided to keep the ceiling height uniform through out the space. I think the framer unilaterally arrived at that decision, because I was just too dazed at that point.)

I laid out the bathroom tile samples in each of the bathrooms just to check the scale and make sure it looked ok. Of course, now I'm vacillating between 4x4 or 6x6 for the Master BA floor border. But everything else looks good!

Even the HVAC guy showed up this week! I called him Wed am; he showed up 2 hrs later. His crew worked on repositioning the upstairs furnace. If you recall, we had to move it in order to raise the upstairs BA ceiling to 8'. I really hope they know what they're doing. Of all my subs, they inspire the least confidence. I was really hoping to get the father-in-law. Instead, I got the son-in-law. Please God!......

The most exciting news of the week came from my window installer. They're coming on Friday to start installing the windows!!! I got my first shipment of windows on Thursday; then Fri am, I'll be getting a second shipment which will be the bulk of the windows. Even the Marvin windows showed up this week. I just need to get down to the warehouse and pick them up. I can't wait to see the windows installed. They always say windows are like the eyes of the house and thru them you can see its true soul!

Week 8: 8/28 - 9/3

Summary of events:

Framing continued:
Door from laundry/mudroom to garage:
They didn't break thru the wall for security reasons, but they did cut out a small section so we could determine jamb depth for the fire-rated door that will go here:

More framing, fireplace opening:

new doorway into upstairs BR;
expanded upstairs BA:
The HVAC crew came this week and removed the old furnace:And the electrician worked on Saturday placing the blue electrical boxes:
Luckily, I just happened to be in the neighborhood dropping our daughter off at a playdate. I was able to go over the placement of the electrical boxes and have some moved to better locations.

Week 9: 9/4 - 9/10

More framing this week:

Changed upstairs door to window opening:

Framed upstairs chase for fireplace venting duct:

Duct in place, strapped to framing members:

Working on the front kitchen wall:
Building the wall in a horizontal position:

Lifted into place:

With Labor Day on Monday, plus a school holiday on Tuesday, this week felt short and harried. I felt like a had a 2-3 wk reprieve from manic decision making, but now that the electrician has started his rough-in, I'm again feeling the pressure. This means I have to finalize locations for all outlets and switches. This means thinking about tile and beadboard wainscot and making sure switches don't fall in the middle - half on the wainscot, half on the wall.

This means reviewing all my recessed lighting calcs and making sure I'm ordering the right cans. They have to be installed before the drywall goes up. Fortunately, decisions about lamps (aka lightbulbs) and trim can be made later. And what about wall sconce heights? And outdoor lighting needs? And vac-pans?

This week, the electrician started running wires. That really means the boxes have to be in the right location!

Then there's the bathroom tile designs. HD is having a sale on special order tile and I'm planning on using a majority of Daltile which can be special ordered thru HD. So I spent 3 hours at HD identifying 13 different tile SKUs and model #s and sat there, watching and waiting while the sales associate entered my order into the system. Yeah, customer service is definitely not a HD forte, but I figure we'll save almost $1000, so I'll suck it up.

I also did just enough research on engineered flooring so I could determine floor thickness (3/4" for Kahrs). That affected the fireplace installation which took place on Wednesday.

We needed to make sure the fireplace is flush with the finished floor; if it's below, we won't be able to open the bottom panel.

I don't know whether to be excited or annoyed when a sub shows up unannounced. I guess both. The plumbing crew, Billy plus two other guys, made a surprise appearance on Wednesday. They installed 3 more valves: Guest BA shower and wall-mounted faucet, plus the Kids' BA tub/shower valve.

Plus they started running the copper supply lines. Unfortunately, they also had to reroute some of the vent stacks because of recessed medicine cabinets. That was my mistake in not letting them know beforehand. Another mistake on my part: I ordered a 32" wide bathtub! I can't believe that one happened. It's replacing a 30" bathtub in the Kids' BA upstairs. That means the drain line is off 1" and will have to be moved. Aaaack! That one really slipped my mind.

The upstairs BA is turning out to be as much work as the other BAs, even though we kept two of the fixtures in the same place. We've had to move the furnace in the attic in order to raise the ceiling up to 8'. Even though the toilet is technically in the same place, the plumber will have to move the drain line because for some strange reason the existing drain is more than 12" from the wall. I realize now that I could have just as easily installed another wall-mounted toilet upstairs, but I've already bought a regular floor mounted toilet and I'm loathe to eat the cost.

OK, this week's most exciting event was a flood due to a huge blast of water out of the newly installed tub valve. The water supply had been shut off during the day while the plumbers were working, but at the end of the day, they decided to open the line and "check" their work. As soon as they turned on the main water line, you could hear water pouring out somewhere inside the house. They quickly shut off the water and it was pretty obvious what had happened. Someone didn't tighten the tub valve enough and it shot off as soon as the water was turned on. The blast drenched the upstairs bath as well as rained down onto the first floor hallway. They had to sweep out the water, then dry floor and walls with rags.