Archive for the ‘House Rebuilding’ Category

Finally…A Shower!

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

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Let’s see… we started work on this shower back in, ummm, 2005, I think. Back in the day, the shower was in what was the “hot tub room”. Those “in the know” know what happened to THAT room and the hot tub that was in it. Two words: Dorothy Sawsall. Don’t ask.

But I digress… back a half decade ago we started to “finish” the shower stall. It’s around 8 feet long by 3 feet wide. A couple of years ago Dorothy did an amazing tile job in there. And there it sat. We did have a funky shower-ish thing surrounding the 2nd story bathtub, but that went away when we replaced the plumbing. If I wanted to have a shower I’d finally have to get around to finished the work down there. Dorothy had done her part…now it was my turn.

The big problem was that the trim ring didn’t sit well on the new wall, and there were some big gaps. I pulled off the faucet head, removed the crescent retaining spring, and removed the handle. That let me pull of the trim ring. Next I got a hunk of sheet rubber and fitted around the parts so that no water could get into the wall around the faucet cylinder. Lots of Silicone Rubber made sure of that. Next the trim ring went on. Move silicone goop. Finally it was time to put the faucet cylinder and handle set back together.

Oh Joy.

The retaining ring just wouldn’t go in. It had two little holes that looked like they fit a Special Tool. Only one place to look for that: Seven Corner’s Hardware in Saint Paul. And, indeed, they had the tool. For $50. *gack* I finally decided that I could probably do the job with a bent-tip needle nose, so I got one of those. With some tweeking, and more than one coarse word, I finally got the ring back in. A little more silicone rubber to hold it in, more on the cap, and the faucet was done.

After 12 hours it was all cured and I had a shower this morning. I like a tub for soaking…but I really like a good, hot, shower.

About that photo. It’s a mosaic created with Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor, “ICE”. It’s a freebie download and does an AMAZING job.

Mabel Has Left the Building

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Old Mabel bid us adieu this morning. Truth be told, she’s been fading pretty steadily ever since The Event. From the end of March through the beginning of October Mabel lived up in the office with me during the reconstruction. I think the strain of her calm life being shattered by a crazy person destroying her house followed by a half year of living in the garage just broke her spirit. When she was up here with me I made sure I spent at least a half hour each and every day holding her. I think, though, she missed her real home and missed her fans. And in the end, just faded away.

Though you wouldn’t know it from pictures taken over the last couple of weeks, Mabel was once known as the “Ten Tonne Kitty”. She rivaled, maybe even surpassed, the bulk of Ernie the Monstocat. This picture is one of Mabel looking at her “twin” in the Pioneer Press’s “Bulletin Board”.

If you go way back to Christmas of 2005 you get a pretty good idea of how Mabel looked at the peak of her massiveness.

So what was Mabel like?

She was mellow. Very, very, very mellow. And she thrived on attention. If there was a room-full of people at a party she’d gravitate to that room and somehow manage to end up in the middle a circle of five or six people, every one of them vying to pet her. She loved teenagers, and they loved her. And she could purr. Good Ghu how she could purr!

Even at the end she was still purring, though her deep rumble had turned more into a Tribble’s trill.

I, Dorothy, the kids, our friends, all of us are going to miss Mabel. Her end was peaceful. About four or five days ago she just stopped eating. She was tired, and I think she just decided she’d been around long enough.

Last night I brought her up to my room. Ever since Mabel and I moved in with Dorothy, my old kitty would climb the long steps up to the third floor and hop into bed. If was nice falling asleep to her purr.

She was quiet as I laid her down next to me. I scratched her head, and heard a quiet little trill from her. This morning she was still breathing, but not really moving. By ten, she was gone. ‘bye Mabel. I’ll miss you.

And the Final Number Is…

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011


The last check just came in from the insurance company. The amount The Dot and I are getting comes to around $108,000. This doesn’t count what the insurance company has paid the apartment, the mitigation crew, and a host of others. When you count that, the total damages probably came to around $150,000. Pretty amazing for just three days of a tub running. If there hadn’t been that little dip in the second floor, and the water had flooded over ALL the second floor, it would have been over $200,000. We’ve kicked in some of our money from the re-financing, and the house is looking pretty amazing. I hope the 2110 residents appreciate the work we did in 2010!

Dorothy is about 2/3 up the stairwell with the amazingly pain-in-the-posterior red wallpaper. With any luck, that’ll be all done in time for this weekend’s party (You ARE invited if you are reading this!) I’m getting ready to paint the basement rock & glass room.

It’s been a long journey…and we really appreciate all the support we’ve gotten.

It’s All in the Details

Friday, December 31st, 2010

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I am in awe of the detail work that Dorothy does whilst wallpapering! She cuts that sheet, gets it wet, then hangs it up carefully matching the patterns. Then comes the fun part. Using a razor blade she cuts ever-so-carefully around the wood trim. When she’s done you’d swear that she popped the trim, put up the paper, and put the trim back. There IS a good reason she won’t let me help!

Annual 12th Night Party

Want to see it all for yourself? Consider this your Official Invitation to our Nth annual 12th Night Party! See the giant 12 foot Christmas tree! Marvel at the Amazing mini-village! Gasp at the fantastic wallpaper! Come on over to our house on the evening of Saturday the 8th of January.

Pop me an email at: gary (at) fusedlight (dot) com . (That little obfuscation is to try and confuse the spammers. I figure YOU can figure it out, right?) Be there, or be square!

It’s The Annual Twins Cookie Bake!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


The twins from next door (not to be confused with the Twins over in Minneapolis) are over for the annual bake-cookies-with-Dorothy event. It’s pretty amazing how much they’ve grown since last Christmas:

And, of course, what would Christmas baking in our kitchen be without a Bullseye Glass official apron. It’s so nice to see those aprons back in the kitchen they belong in. They were a little bit of home during the Babylon Captivity. It’s good to be back!

Raindrops Keep Falling …

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Is there no rest for the wicked? Last night at dinner Dorothy noticed a stain on her New Beautiful Wallpaper right next to the window. Alex took a look and said it appeared that the water came through on the window sill. Nothing was damp, and I figured that it was probably some ice melting on the window. Wrong.

This morning while I was having breakfast I heard an ominous “drip, drip, drip…”. I went over to the window and water was coming down from the top, falling on to the sill, and, indeed, draining off to the right on to the wallpaper. I popped a towel on the sill to catch the drip and went upstairs. Nothing there. Up to the third floor. Looking out the window I could see that a big hunk of flashing had come off the the tippy-top eave of the house. The combination of an ice dam (guessing here) and the last few day’s above-freezing temperatures have probably channeled a little stream of water through the opening where the flashing was. I gave the good news to Dorothy. Bad move: I didn’t bring her a cup of coffee when I spread the sad tidings.

OBC has been called and will, hopefully, fix things. I’m looking forward to Saturday when the temperatures plummet. That, at least, should solidify the dripping water.

This has been one hell of a year for our old house!

Family Room In Progress..

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
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Our Beloved Contractor is hard at work putting down a floor in the family room. We picked up some solid hickory at a pretty good price. Just in case you need a refresher… here’s what that room looked like right after The Event:

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Pretty dramatic, eh? For years the floor had wall-to-wall carpeting. We pulled that up a year ago and put a nice area rug in, with the plan to put down some flooring later on. With all the other work being done, and with the cash we pulled out of the refinancing, we figured the time was now.

By the way… to the left is some of Dorothy’s flute music. I tried lifting just ONE of those file drawers. Never again! We’ll get Nick to haul them up to the office.

Hello Anchor – Goodbye US Bank!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Take THAT US Bank! I hope you enjoy the loss of some $40,000 in interest payments you would have gotten from us if you hadn’t been so obnoxious.

The Dot and I closed on our new mortgage last week. We got in at right around 3.75%. No hassles…no pain. Pretty much everything was done on line with a final meeting at the closing. I am very, very, happy to now be dealing with a local bank and not with a mega-bank. This is a bank where, no kidding, one of the officers was outside shoveling snow the other day. The work had to be done, so she did it. Anchor Bank goes for Teh Win!

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And what’s happening now? Dorothy is proceeding apace with the wallpapering. Last week she wrapped up the wallpaper in Alex’s* room. Saturday she got the wallpaper up in the entryway. Next up is the foyer and stairwell.

Our Beloved Contractor is amazed by the work Dorothy does. I kind of figure that if she ever tires of being a teacher she’d be able to get a pretty decent gig doing “wall treatments”.

Speaking of OBC, he’s down in the family room installing a hickory hardwood floor. When that’s done, the furniture will finally get shifted back in space. All should be done just in time for the yearly Giant Christmas Tree!

*And speaking of Alex… here’s a new Mountain Man video for your edification and enjoyment:

Hang Ups

Monday, October 18th, 2010

We all have our hang up. Here’s a series of shots of Dorothy’s hang ups: wallpaper. (“Hang up”, “Hang Up The Wallpaper”, joke, get it??? *sigh*)

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Measure twice, cut once!

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I am in awe of Dorothy’s paper-hanging skills. For example… Click on the photo to the left to enlarge it and look in the lower-right corner of the papered wall to her left. There’s a little chunk of moulding missing, and Dorothy has cut the paper to precisely fit the hole! It’s going to be fun watching her trim the paper to fit the in-and-outs of the door-top moulding! Modern homes are, by comparison, a piece of cake to paper. 1901 Victorian? A lot of skill!

Wait to you see the wild paper that’s going to be filling in the top of the wall!

Fully Operational!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Mabel: [In the throne room, Dorothy is watching the Rebels from the huge throne room window] As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Battle Kitchen! [Mabel hits the comlink switch on her throne]

Mabel: Cook at will, Commander!

Gary: [In the firing room, a group of hooded appliance repair people start priming the Battle Kitchen's superoven- a device so advanced it can be trained on entire loins of meat, such as Kowalski's carries. A series of tones signify that the oven is ready] Fire!

[a second repairman hits a switch, and a huge flame roars down a firing shaft. The outer surface of the Battle Kitchen shows a huge glow starting to develop, and then a titanic flame moves out from the Battle Kitchen's superoven. It hits the well seasoned loin of pork and fully cooks it in less than a second]

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The appliance repair guy has come and gone, and all the pieces are in place! The range works, the vent fan vents, the dishwasher washes, the refrigerator refrigerates, and the disposal disposes. Tonight: stir fry!

After we get the shelves and counter cleaned I’ll do a nice panoramic shot of the whole Battle Kitchen!

It’s time to cook! Bwahahahahahahaha!