Monday, February 27, 2006

Septic issue - new outlet

Monday, February 27

So, after not hearing back from the septic people for over a week, we finally got a call back and that someone would come out and look at it today. We were told that they would change out the outlet, at no charge.

Someone did come and change out the outlet and screw a cover onto it. Tim asked him to put a weather proof cover over it, like the one we have for the exterior house outlets, but the worker stated he didn't have stuff like that with him, which was irritating to find out cause I had expected that he would bring that with him, since that was the job we had asked for.

Here's the kicker though. When the man was out here to fit it, he told us that all this time the pump has been running. There are 2 plugs that need to be plugged in... one for the pump to turn on and one which tells the pump to turn off. In the phone conversation between Denny, from G&K Sewer, and Tim, he forgot to mention this to Tim. As a result, the pump has been running all this time, due to the fact that G&K Sewer never sent a professional to look at it, when we asked, as well as failed to return our phone calls for over a week.

Tim then call them up, after being notified, by the service person about the pump, and left a message stating that due to their crappy service, we'd like a new pump or a signed letter stating that if the pump breaks down, due to this issue, a new one will be installed with no charge.

This whole thing has us so frustrated.... eps Tim, cause he's the one trying to get the call backs from this company. It's frustrating to me because I payed a lot of money for the installation and once the money was taken, poof, they're no where to be found, and calls aren't returned. It's companies like this that give good contractors a bad name.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Slip Covers

Saturday, February 25

After finding out that our corner sofa slip cover order had been accidentally cancelled at Ikea, we had taken a trip up to Canada to re-order them. Unfortunately, we had to take a trip to Ikea, cause special orders have to be done in person (for whatever reason). It was a pooper to have to go all the way there to re-order it,, but it gave me an excuse to be able to eat my favorite swedish chicken dinner in their cafeteria :)

We had gotten there, re-ordered the slip covers, ate and even had time for a speed browse before closing. It's too bad we hadn't found out earlier in the day though.... Tim had to drag me out at closing :)

Staircase - finished poly

Saturday, February 25

I staircase received it's last poly coat today. Ripping off that blue tape was definitely the highlight of the day for me. Now that the painters tape is gone, the stairs have become easy on the eyes for me.

The handrail received probably about 6 or so coats. I really wanted it to be slick and smooth to the touch. The steps on the other hand, I wanted them without slickness, obviously, so I only gave them about 4 coats. It was enough to give them a sheen, but not enough that socks will slip :)

The railing I gave 4 coats to as well. On the can, it states a recommendation of 3, which is what we gave the door frames and baseboards, but, since the stairs will be high-traffic with hands, I wanted it to be smooth.

I also wanted make sure that I gave the landing leaning rail a nice amount of poly as well. I found that we are constantly using the leaning rail. It really makes it very comfortable to lean on something when it's nice to the touch.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Septic outlet issue

Saturday, February 18

So, we were having this nice relaxing evening on Friday the 17th and then the darn alarm goes off for the septic filter again. Well... obviously something more was going on than to simply clean off the contacts. So we decided to silence the alarm and then take a look at it together, in the day light in the morning.

So this morning we woke up and had gone out there to take a look. Unfortunately, the temp had dropped in the 20's and the 2 inches of dirt, that Tim had reapplied on Wednesday, was solid as a rock. It had taken us about an hour to chop through that stuff. And of course when we finally uncovered the edges, the concrete lip was frozen shut. My Dad advised using room temp to luke warm water and pouring sparingly over the seem to free the lid as hot water would crack the concrete.

After finally getting the lid off, my jaw dropped when I laid my eyes on the outlet that the septic filter was plugged into. No wonders why it was shorting out.... it wasn't finished.... at all and in no way weather proofed... nor even looked grounded.... or even looked to code, for that matter. There was no outlet cover on it, nor caulk in the wire holes..... nothing to prevent the elements from shorting it out. We decided to run an extension cord, from an exterior house outlet, instead of plugging it back in, until this gets resolved.

On top of unfinished outlet, there were loose wires hanging. One of them even was air-spliced (wires connect by a cap & taped together), which to my knowledge is a code violation. I was like what the &%^&%^& is this? It's very clear that this job was never finished off the way it should've been.

One of the reasons I was so pissed is because the installer told Tim on Wednesday that they have no warranty and they just go by the manufacturers warranty..... and they would charge us to even come out and look at it, even though it's under a year old. I was so pissed.... considering that it's a brand new system and should have any issues.

After cooling off a bit, I immediately left a voice message with the installer, G&K Sewer, that basically stated I was furious to find the outlet not in a finished state and they better fix it..... properly and to code. Since it's the weekend and Monday is Presidents Day, I doubt we'll hear from them 'til Tuesday though.

That was my Saturday morning. At this point I had wished that we had met Jerry (our 2nd plumber, who finished the plumbing) earlier. He had told us, when we met him, that he also does septic. He also mention that he had seen we had broken ground, he was thinking of stopping by and asking if we had a plumber or septic contractor. Ahhhhh...... if only he had :)

Although.... then I wouldn't get to practice my counting-to-ten and raising my voice skills :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Staircase - 2nd coat of poly

Thursday, February 16

Not only was I able to slap on a 2nd coat of poly on the railing, but I had the chance to put the 1st coat on half the steps. I poly'd every other step so that we could still use them.... although I did forget to warn Tim that I had started on the steps, so he did step on one, before I could warm him *oops grin*. Fortunately, however, it was pretty much dry and didn't stick to his sock :)

The staircase is looking good and starting to slowly look finished. It's starting to have a nice muted seen and the poly really brings out the grain. I'm also very happy with the Elmer's wood filler that I had ended the job with. The wood does darken a bit after poly'd and the other putty's I've tried stand out then, but the Elmer's wood filler seems to react the same way and blends right in.

I'm planning on at the least having 4 coats of poly on it. It's high traffic, opposed to the trim we've poly'd. The handrail leading to the lower level has 4 coats and looks awesome, so that's what I'm shooting for.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Staircase - sanded, Septic Sand Filter Alarm

Wednesday, February 15

Staircase -
Afterwork, I was able to squeeze in sanding down the 1st coat of poly on the staircase, before watching Lost. My favorite is using those foam sanding blocks and the foam sanding sheets. They are so awesome to use on all the different shapes and angles of the railing.

I love sanding down the 1st coat of poly... it makes it so smooth and nice to the touch..... I think it's being able to run my hand down the newly smooth railing. And I love the fact that we choose the oval handrail, opposed to the traditional mushroom shape. It feels awesomely agronomic.

And I esp love being able to touch the bamboo spindles now and not worry about slivers, which they had a tendency to give, prior to sanding and poly. It looks and feels so awesome so far.

Septic Sand Filter -
So, there Tim and I were last night, having a nice relaxing Valentines evening and we star to hear this ear piercing noise coming from the basement. It turned out that our alarm, for our sand filter was going off. We silence it, but had to wait 'til this morning to call, since it was close to midnight, when we heard it.

As it turned out, apparently, the plug for the sand-filter had a broken contact point issue, due to mud and clay that had worked it's way around it. With the advice of the installer, from , Tim managed to clean off the plug and get it working again, but we're going to have to find a way to protect the plug from that happening again. Hearing an alarm was a very interesting way to end our Valentines Day, but al least it was fixable. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to grab a pic of Tim as a mud ball.... I'm sure it would've made for a great pic for the blog :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Staircase - 1st coat of poly

Tuesday, February 14

This morning I had some car issues, so I decided to take the morning off, while my car was being worked on and had taken the opportunity to put the 1st coat of polyurethane on the railing. I decided to wait on the steps, but I did manage to coat the railing, spindles and posts, before heading off to work after my car was fixed.

The first coat of Poly is the worst, It soaks into the wood so much. And using it on the natural wood is a challenge..... you can hardly tell where you put the darn stuff on. The 2nd coat is better though... it goes on more smoothly and starts to leave the sheen, so I can tell what parts I've done.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Staircase reassembly & Mom's bday

Sunday, February 12

Today I got a lot accomplished, as well as had our first family birthday/dinner party in our house. The first half of the day was spent re-assembling the stairway, then later on we celebrated my Mom's b-day.

All this past week I've been bit by bit putting and sanding the staircase and it's trim-work.

Mostly I've been working on the railing, spindles and trim, but yesterday and today I finally got to sand the actual stairs. I've been dying to do it for the longest time. My goal was to finish sanding them, the spindles and reassemble the railing. On the 6th I disassembled the railing in order to sand the spindle base flush.

I finally found a putty that I'm happy with. I've tried many ranging from plastic to water putty and finally Elmer's wood filler. I like the fact that I could by it pre-stained to match natural wood..... and it's actually the right color. I've tried others similar and they're always too yellow or to orange, but this one is the closest I've used so far. I liked using it so much that I'm regretting not finding it sooner, but oh well.

One step had a nice dent in it. Tim and I noticed it when were were adding more protection to the stairs, after the installation. The Elmer's putty worked nicely to fill in the dent. The dent is hardly noticeable anymore after the putty dried, was sanded and I penciled in some grain lines, by colored pencils.

After I finished with the steps, my goal was to reassemble the railing before my family started arriving for my Mom's birthday dinner at 6:30p. It was about 2pm when I started reassembling all the bamboo spindles and nailed it back together.

Today was the first official time we've had a birthday dinner at the house. I finished puttying it around 3 or so, with just enough time to make my famous chocolate pie and blitz the house with Tim, before everyone arrived. We invited my parents, my grandma and my brother and his family over for my Mom's birthday. Yesterday I bought a new table linen for my Aunties Art Deco table, which didn't fit our other one, with the leaf in it. It's not a huge table, but fits 6 comfortably, has many memories and it was nice to have my family gathered around it again.

Tim bought some flowers to make it look a bit more homey in the kitchen. During dinner we had the fireplace lit, while eating an awesomely yummy dinner, that Tim had prepared for all of us. After dinner we casually caught up around the kitchen counter. My Dad said, at one point, that it was a very comfortable spot, which is exactly what Tim wanted to accomplish when designed the kitchen... that's what we wanted, a comfortable area where people wanted to converse and catch up.... and I guess we designed it well, cause that's exactly what happened :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Staircase disassembly & putty

Monday, February 6

The last large job left in the house is finishing the main stairway. In order to do this, I needed to disassembling it a little. The spindles were actually temporarily assembled for final inspection and to pass code. They had never been finished with putty, sanded or poly'd.

This is something I wish I had time for, before we moved in as it was going to produce dust, but oh well. I started by prying off the long pine stripe, under the handrail that temporarily holds the spindles in place. Once that was removed, the spindles just pop out.

Before removing the spindles, I numbered all of them for easy reassembly. It was weird to see the stairs without the spindles, it was like going back in time.