Sunday, December 28, 2008

Because You Demanded It

Ok, because someone demanded it, here's more pics of the baby. We went over to Grandma Dudley's on Christmas Eve and spent the night there so Grandma could enjoy the boy's first Christmas morning. Grandma made a yummy ham for dinner that night. As it turned out, there was yet another ham on the menu as well...

He had been conducting to the music until I got the camera out. Then it was just posing. He started doing it again towards the end of the video, but my crappy camera started wigging out again. Never fear, a new one is on it's way from After dinner, we had some pie with whipped cream topping. Nathan had some too. Here's the best shot I could manage with our screwy camera.

I have determined that children are born with a chip in their head that prevents them from sleeping on Christmas Eve. Nathan doesn't even know what Christmas is and he was up all night. It was horrible! His mother and I were totally burned out when we finally got up in the morning. It caught up with the boy eventually, too.Thursday evening it was off to Great-Grandma Dudley's. Great-Grandma got Nate some new alphabet blocks. Unfortunately, he confused them with bullion cubes I think.In other news, I was able to spend most of the day working on the bathroom yesterday. I finished shoring up the new step and did most of the insulation that I can for now.
Now I'm totally at the whim of the power company. I've officially finished all I can do until they get the power switched over. When they do show up, I have to immediately start switching things over to the new box to keep them powered up. I imagine that they'll decide to show up early this week as we're gearing up for a trip to Iowa. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Venting and Wiring

We've had a bit more progress this week. Logan and Megan came over Saturday and after a morning of hanging 15' off the ground from an extension ladder, we had the bath fan vent and plumbing vent through the side of the house and outside.
We only got the sink vent in. We're waiting on further wall building before we get the shower and toilet vents hooked up to this one. Today, my electrician and dad both came over and we finally got the new breaker box mounted and wired up to the new meter box. We are officially ready to switch the power over to the new box as soon as the power company comes and pulls their new wire in from the street. They probably would have done it by now it we hadn't got hit with an ice storm last week. They might get to it before we leave for Iowa next week, but I kinda doubt it. Once they finish that, we'll be scrambling to pull the remaining wires and switch all the circuits to the new box. I started that job this evening.
This is the new box in the basement. That big bundle of wires is the other end of the big bundle pictured in my last posting. So this is basically the whole upstairs wired into the new box. Not bad for my first wiring job, huh? When we get juice to this box, we'll splice the other end of these to the existing ones in the upstairs box. Then we'll pull the downstairs wires and they'll fill up the left half of the box. Once we get that done, this whole electrical ordeal will be OVER and construction can continue.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creeping Along

The bathroom progress is starting to slow to a crawl. I've essentially finished most of what I can do until the electrical issues are corrected. Last week I finished installing all of the framing and nailers that I can do for now.
I installed all the outlet boxes and fixtures that I could and wired them up as much as practically possible
I even started shoving some insulation in the closets where access will no longer be an issue. Dad came over last night and we ran all the new wiring down to the basement where the new breaker box will go.
That's 13 strands of romex ready to be run into the old fuse box and be connected to the existing wires in there. The whole bundle goes down right behind the tub.
We also re-routed a couple other wires that were in the way, allowing me to finally put the last piece of new flooring in where the chimney once was.
There's a few more little odds and ends that I will try to wrap up this weekend, but after that I will be at a standstill. I'm waiting for the power company to come pull their new cable through the conduit we buried last week and I still need my electrician to hook that up to my new breaker box. Hopefully we'll get some movement before Christmas, but we'll see. Once that's finished, we can finish ripping out the old bathroom stuff, finish framing, and get all the electrical switched over as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Did You Ever Have One of Those Days?

Did you ever have one of those days? Not one of those days where nothing goes right, but one of those days where you expect everything to go horribly wrong and miraculously everything works out pretty well. Well, I managed to get lucky and have one of the latter today. Today was the day chosen to trench my new electrical service in. This was the first day I could get both dad and Logan to help me so we penciled it in last week. I decided to fork out the big bucks and rent a ride on trencher with a blade for backfilling the trench. It was like $350 to rent it for a whole day so I talked the place into letting me rent it for half a day and take it home the night before. Score one for me. So I got the rental set up last week along with a concrete saw rental so we could remove a chunk of sidewalk we had to go under. So, last week I was already sweating things. We would have to remove the sidewalk, cut 80' of trench, miss all the utilities, lay the conduit, get the electric company to inspect it, backfill the trench, and return the equipment to Springfield all before lunch. So last week I had serious doubts that we would even come close to getting all that done. Then comes yesterday.

Yesterday I look at the weather and see Tuesday's forecast... "100% chance of rain." Great. On the bright side, it warmed up Monday and was supposed to be in the upper 40's Tuesday. Still, it was a less than ideal forecast for being outside and digging all morning. So between our timing restraints, relative ignorance with what we were doing, and the weather outlook, I was getting seriously worried.

I heard rain hitting the window on and off all last night while I slept. I woke up this morning expecting the worst. I literally was so nervous that I was getting stomach pains. I peeked outside and things were wet, but the rain seemed to have tapered to a light sprinkle for the moment. Then I looked at the radar and here's what I saw.Yeah, not a real promising picture. That is until I looked closer.

You can just barely see Springfield in the edge of the u-shaped rain-free area. If you look back at the national picture you can see how long the rain-free path is. As luck would have it, the wind was blowing SW to NE. I began to think that we might just luck out and not get drenched. I must have said the right prayer last night or something, because that's how things ended up working out. It was almost pleasant out there all morning.

So, we started in on things around 7 this morning. Everything went like clockwork. All 3 of us worked pretty much constantly from 7 to 11, but we got everything we needed to done by then. The only things we lacked were the electric company's inspection and a little hand work. I had set my watch alarm to go off when we needed to start loading the trencher back up to get it returned on time. The alarm went off while we were chaining the machine down. We got it back with a whole 15 minutes to spare.

After feeding my weary crew in Springfield we came back, finished up our hand work, and even had time to mount the new meter box to the house. Then the electric company finally showed up about 3. (I called them Friday and they said they would be here around 10 in the morning today.) They usually inspect the conduit before you bury it, but I had a trencher to return to they had to inspect what was left showing. They saw a couple minor things they didn't really like, but said they could work around them.

So all in all, today was a BIG win for the home team. This was probably the toughest thing we'll have to do during this whole project. It should be mostly downhill from here (hopefully). I know somebody was looking out for us today. Even now looking back at this morning, I still can't believe we did everything that we did before lunch. It seems like it should take a whole day. Then if all that wasn't cool enough, I find out that my boss, Uncle Rod, got arrested by the FBI today too! I hope he gets what's coming to him! What a great day all around. I'll close with a big shout out to Log and Pa Dudley. I owe them both BIG after this one. Good thing they work for food.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Bath Pics

Not much new to report. Grandpa came over a couple days this week and we framed up some more walls. Here's the wall that will be behind our vanity.
Here's the inside of the big closet.
We've essentially got all the walls built that we can build until the old electrical stuff gets moved. My electrician is coming tomorrow to start on things and I have a trencher reserved to tear up my front yard Tuesday. My goal is to get the electrical upgrade finished by the end of the week. It's a lofty goal on my part because I don't have much control over how much gets done. Our progress relies heavily on other people, most notably the power company. Even if we get the conduit buried and inspected Tuesday, there's no guarantees about when the power company will show up to pull the new cable. We've still got some work to keep us busy for a while though. There's a BUNCH of nailers that have to be put in yet.
These are some that I've finished over the tub. I've still got to do just about everywhere else though. I may even start installing some insulation and maybe even the light fixtures and exhaust fan. All in all, I'm pleased with the way things are progressing. We're not setting any records, but we seem to be making headway and avoiding big mistakes.