Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Garages Are the Best Things In Wintertime

There's not much else to say about this.  We have a garage with a garage door and security system, and it's keeping our cars free from snow and ice this winter.  It's incredible!!

Next year, K plans to run electricity to it, and she'll need to use an AC unit in there come summer.  We have some small finishing to do-- more painting on the trim, etc.  Little things that won't be a total pain to do when it's nice outside, and now that we're not rushing to complete it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sooo Close...

We're just SOOOO close!  Tonight we stopped because it was almost too dark to see what we were doing, but also because we got far enough that K just needs to stand on the scaffolding to do what's left in the middle and top. Tonight, I was up and down ladders on both sides, holding the siding and helping measure.  She thinks she will be able to finish the rest of the siding tomorrow.

And then we'll just have the aluminum for the soffit to finish this week.  We should be able to pass our inspection just fine.  And we'll add our address numbers to the front.    

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Three Walls... And Apple Crisp

Three walls completed, as of today!  K worked her butt off all day today and got the 2 sides done-- siding and soffits.  So great!

When I got home today, we worked on the siding for the gable on the front.  We got a few more of the long rows up, along with the tricky first parts of the angle on top.  Then it got too dark and we had to stop.

Tonight I made a couple pans of apple crisp.  It turned out so good!  Tastes like fall.
It's totally vegan and really healthy, too, because I subbed organic coconut oil for the butter.  YUM!

The finished product...  And my breakfast tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wood Pile Party

We got our woodpile taken care of-- finally!  The only thing remaining is the main part of the root system.

On Friday, G came over and helped us build the platform for the wood pile.  We reused all the wood in the platform-- palettes and a big stack of pressure-treated wood salvaged from an old patio.  All free, and all saved from the landfill.

G!  What a pro!

Salvaged wood

On Saturday, we had our Wood Pile Emergency party.  We had put out an S.O.S. to our friends, asking for a hand in splitting and stacking all of the wood.  And they totally came through!  We had a bunch of friends sorting through the pile, running the wood-splitter, making a million trips with the wheelbarrows, and stacking wood for hours.

We paid them for their services with beer, pizza, heartfelt thank-yous, and a life-time supply of firewood.

Supplies for the party!

We rented a wood-splitter for the day, and it helped a lot.  We were able to split up the large logs into manageable pieces.  And it was really fun.  A couple of our buddies wanted to try their hand at the splitter, too, and they had a blast.

K used her chainsaw quite a bit, too-- which she was not sad about!  Lots of long branches to chop up.

We worked ALL day on Saturday.  I hurt my hand from the repetitive motions, which was not helpful when I was at my photography gig that night! 

Then K and I kept at it on Sunday, but had a lot less to do.  She was determined to get it all done by the time she needed to return the wood-splitter, and she totally did it.  We also realized that the wood-splitter can go vertically, too.  I don't know if that really made it easier, though...  When it's horizontal you need to hoist the logs up onto the platform.  And when it's vertical, you don't have to lift the logs as high, but you need to bend down each time to place them.    Whatever...  It was a lot of work either way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Laboring on Labor Day

National holiday?  Nope, no day of rest for the builders working on their own home. 

Not a huge day for us today, but kept plugging away.  K and I installed the trim on the corners, around the garage door, and at the top of the wall.  We got a lot of the j-channel installed for the soffits, too.

Scaffolding is set up in the front now

I love how the light looks, coming out under the eaves!  For now...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pictures from Yesterday

Worked on the garage again today, but not NEARLY as long as we did yesterday.  It's starting to feel like the home-stretch, and we are so thankful for that.

Here are the photos from last night, although I stopped taking pictures once it got late.  Was just way too tired to think about it...


The first great thing that happened yesterday was that we picked up a couple of shoplights and K installed them right when we got back from the Home Depot.  They make a huge difference inside the garage.

Placing the loft door

Before I got home, K had installed all the floor in our loft area.  We're going to use the space in the trusses for storage, so she put a plywood floor down.  We'll be able to enter the upper area from inside the garage, and we'll also have a door on the front of the garage to put long items and materials through.

House wrappers

Then we put up Tyvek on the remaining space on the front of the garage.  Some fun-sounding Spanish-speaking festival was going on somewhere close by in the neighborhood, so we could hear all this upbeat Spanish music and a really excited announcer.  At about 7:00, however, the recorded music switched over to live music, and the singer was... probably not someone who should be singing anywhere other than karaoke at the NE Palace.  Not a great voice, and really off key!  Yikes!  After about an hour of that, K grabbed the radio so we could drown him out with The Current.

Finished house-wrap

The last thing we worked on was installing the spring system so that we can actually open the garage door.  K says it weighs like 500 pounds, so ever since it was installed, the door has stayed down.   K had watched a video on how to do this spring thing, and said it seemed really easy.  Yeah... sure.  It took hours.  Plus we were both really tired and couldn't really wrap our heads around anything logical.  At least, not quickly. 

However, when we were listening to the radio, they said that storms were expected to blow in around midnight, bringing high winds and possibly large hail.  So we were on a mission.  To get that door functioning well enough that we could get the truck pulled into the garage, and out again in the morning.

Starting the spring install

And that's the last photo I took.  The rain actually blew in at just after 9:00pm.  Crazy amount of rain, it seemed.  It just kept on pouring for at least a couple hours.  And by midnight, it seemed that the worst of the storm had passed (with no hail), but we kept working on the door system until 1-ish when we got it done.

And then passed out until late this morning.  Had to be done!

Garage - SO Close!

At 1 am this morning, the new Dodge Ram went to sleep in the new garage for the first time.  The big garage door is functioning, after a lot of futzing and tweaking.  This evening, the radio was reporting expected storms around midnight tonight, which would include high winds and large hail.  Since the door was already on and we had the hardware here, we shifted gears from Tyvek and siding prep, to making that garage door functional.  The idea that we could save the new truck from "large hail," by putting it in the garage tonight, was an actual possibility for the first time.

And then the storm hit at just past 9:00 pm, so who knows if we'll get anything that bad tonight.  At this point in the night, it doesn't seem so.

The next time K says, "It'll take like 10 minutes-- the video looks really easy," -- I WON'T believe her!  We were out there for hours installing those springs, and then she worked on them for close to an hour when I went inside for a break.

My shift today: 3:30 pm - 1:10 am.   K's shift: even longer-- don't know what time she started outside, but she had all of the plywood floor installed in the loft when I got home at 2:30 today.

We're exhausted and feeling optimistic again.  We're SOOOO close to being done!  Finally!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Garage Windows

The installation of all the garage windows is complete today!  K installed the four windows on the sides of the garage.  G came over to help, too, and we pre-made all the boxes for the windows, so the process went really quickly.  Then trimmed them out, and they look great and they work!  It's a good feeling getting these big steps finished.

Installing window #5

Windows and trim on the side walls

I was taking the pictures on my phone today, instead of my good camera, and when I looked at them on my computer I saw that my phone had done something really funny!  --  I took quite a few pictures of K installing that same window, because the delay on my new phone is really bad and I kept missing her.  And when I looked at my online backup, I saw that my phone had decided to turn this series of photos into an animated GIF!  Ha ha!!

K in action!  Speedy window installer!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Garage Doors

Time to post some exciting pictures!  I had very little to do with the progress today-- K and her brother installed the big garage door today, and I helped K lift the utility door in place.  And they got a bunch of siding done this week, too.

Garage door from the inside

Both sides of the garage look like this now!

At night -- it's starting to look more complete!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Garage Windows and Siding - Day 492

So many days into this project and I've lost count.  And I haven't even been involved in the majority of them.  K has been knocking it out with her brother, our friends and by herself.  And sometimes with me. 

We've gotten a lot completed, but there are so many steps in the whole process that we just have a lot left to go.

A couple weeks ago, K and our buddy G installed the three windows on the back wall.  At the last minute, K decided to not install the salvaged 1950s windows that we've been storing in our back yard for the past year.  Those windows are double-paned, which is good, but they also don't open and she thought she would have a lot more work framing them in.  I told her to do what she needed to do, so she bought six basement egress-style windows from the Home Depot.  Mid-priced, standard-sized, with screens.  She did need to frame in the openings quite a bit, as the new windows were smaller than the ones we had planned.

She did also get to use one salvaged window-- a great crank-open window, which she turned on its side.  It's a lot bigger than the others, and it looks fantastic.

K and G were out there all day, and they didn't even make me come help.  I just refilled water bottles and went on a sub run.  Lucky me!

CUties!!  I love this picture.

So, forward to the present.  On Friday, we worked on the siding in the back from 6:30-11pm.  We brought some lights outside to keep going, but it was tricky.  No pictures from that night, because I wanted to hurry and just get inside.

On Saturday, we went out there at about noon, and worked until 8:30pm.  We made pretty good progress on the siding, considering I'm a newbie at this.

I also tried to keep up on caulking the seams and any nail holes that were too deep.

Nail hole
Caulking all the holes

It was a long day.  Our friend, G, came over again to help us for a while, and so did one of our neighbors.  It was nice to have the help!

By the end of the day, this is about where we were in the progress.  All in between the windows.  Nice, short pieces.  It feels like it goes up quickly, but it really takes time to get it right.

On Sunday, we were out there for another 7 or 8 hours, I forget.  It started raining quite a bit around 7:00 or so, but we kept going whenever it slowed.  I was cutting the metal soffit material and she installed it, and we both kept going with the siding up onto the gable.

We had to raise the scaffolding higher to reach the top of the gable and the soffit, so I was standing up there with my head leaning against the eaves!

Too tall!  Bumping against the roof.

Tall scaffolding

K putting in the soffit covering

Lots of progress!  Feels good!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Garage Shingles

A few days ago, K decided it would be a much better use of her time to hire a crew to shingle the roof of our garage.  She's so busy with work, and she figured it would take much longer for just her and her brother to finish the roof than it would take for a crew to just knock it out.  And it would cost about $1200 more, from the bids she was getting.

I agreed.  If it was actually going to save us money in the long run, AND save her a ton of headache and time-- it was completely a no-brainer.

I headed out in the morning to go to the farmers market, and then hung out for the day with my bestie and her kids, and by the time I got home...  they were done. Amazing.

Love it!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy Garden - Part 1

My raised-bed garden was finally discovered a couple weeks ago by the rabbits.  I'm pretty sure I know exactly who the culprit is, actually-- an adorable baby bunny that I've seen in our yard a lot lately.

One day, my radish plants were just GONE.  Like the seeds had never sprouted.  And the next day, a bunch of my carrot tops were whacked off.  And I've heard that bunnies like bell pepper plants, so while I'd been thinking that my pepper seeds never sprouted-- I bet they did sprout and the bunny just got them before I could see them!  Sassy bunnies.

So K helped me make a plywood wall around the garden, pretty late in the evening, a couple weeks ago.  It totally worked at keeping the bunnies out!  But it was also difficult for me to move around in there, and I had to climb over the wall to get in.  And for some reason, the bugs just LOVED being in there!  Maybe because the walls blocked the wind, it was just so buggy in there.  I got bit up every time I watered my garden or picked anything.

Temporary keep-out-rabbits garden fence

I wanted a trellis to run diagonally from my garden to the fence, for my cucumbers and zucchinis to climb up.  The zucchinis are so nuts now that it might be too late, but the cucumbers are just starting to reach out like crazy, so the timing is perfect.  K figured out how to make a fantastic trellis for me, and I helped.  While we were at it, we replaced the plywood walls with chicken wire over a new fence.  It was a lot of work, and we did it on a stupidly hot and humid day, so it was crazy.

Trellis frame

Trellis in place

I'll post some pictures soon of the finished fence.  We completed it pretty late, and we were both sweaty, ravenous, and bug-bitten.

Here's the latest view of the garage:

The next step is to finish the roof.  All the sheeting is up there, and most of the tar paper.  K needs to decide if she's going to have her usual roofing company do the job, or if she's going to do it herself.  Of course, it will be a lot cheaper for us to do it ourselves (and she's roofed a ton of things before, so this will be easy for her.)  But the time will be the deciding factor, I'm sure.  She's working on a big kitchen remodel right now, and finishing up a smaller one in the first couple days of this week.  And after those, she has a very elaborate addition project lined up.  So she's booked for quite a while.  Not sure when we'll be able to knock out the roof-- but once we do, there is a lot more that can be done with the roof in place.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekend Love

We made it all the way to July 5th without putting in our A/C window units!  (On the first floor, that is -- I've had one up in my office for a month or so.  It's much hotter up there!)  It's supposed to be really hot and humid tomorrow, so K wanted to get an A/C into the kitchen and into the bedroom.  We want to get a new central air unit, but we're taking things one thing at a time.  The garage comes first.

The first morning glory bloomed on our trellis the other day.  They're such a gorgeous purple, and I can't wait until they all start blooming!  Each plant is loaded with buds right now, so they should be going nuts very soon.

Did a little yard work this evening-- mowed the lawn, pulled weeds, trimmed a tree along the street, etc.  And I put mulch around the rose bushes in the front yard flower beds.  They look so much nicer-- I wish I'd thought of it sooner!  One of the rose bushes has been spreading and blooming like crazy, and the other bush isn't.  Hopefully it's just taking its time-- those suckers were not cheap!

We also got a bummer letter today from the City of Minneapolis.  Honestly, I've been a fan of the City offices ever since we bought the house.  They fixed a couple things in the alley when we asked, and they've been helpful every time we've called.  But today there was a letter telling us that we have less than 2 weeks to move our huge wood pile because it's a "nuisance."  The pile of wood is from that giant elm that we took down so that we could build the garage.  Our plan all along was to build a nice platform/rack right behind the garage, split all the logs, and stack them up so we'll have firewood for years to come.  But we've got to finish the garage first...  Otherwise we're just moving the wood twice, and that's nuts-- there is so much of it!

The thing that really sucks about this is that the only reason that wood pile is visible right now, is that the wooden fence is not up on one side of the yard-- and that's because a few of the posts were so rotten that they only stayed up for a year after we bought the house.  We've had an orange plastic snow fence tacked up since then, so our yard looks pretty trashy from that side.  You can see right in and can see our piles of materials and supplies-- pavers, siding, insulating blankets, windows, gutters etc.  It doesn't look pretty, I totally admit it, and I think it every time I view the yard from that angle.

And once the garage is finished, ALL of this will be fixed in a relatively short time, so this is really frustrating!  The windows have already been taken into the garage to be used in there.  When the siding on the garage is complete, it will be easier to organize all that wood right behind the garage and out of sight.  And with the work space set up, it will be easier to build a new fence, like we've been planning.  So...  I don't know.  Grrr.  We're trying, Minneapolis!!  We really are!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Garage Framing - Day 6

A couple things were done on the garage today -- K was at a job for part of the day and I was at a meeting, so K's brother kept on with the process.  He added braces to the bottoms of the trusses and kept going with the sheeting on the walls.

Bracing on the trusses

Sheeting on most of the walls

I think they have another job to get to tomorrow, so it may be a couple days before they're back on the garage.  But I think there are just a few things they need to do before we'll get the inspection on the framing.  Yay, progress!!