Archive for House and Home

Revisiting

In a couple days the boys and I will be special guests of the Detroit Tigers when they open a short series against the Washington Nationals.  We’ve been invited on the field for the Tigers’ batting practice, we’ve been given tickets in the front row of the upper deck just behind home plate, and a parking pass and reservation at a local hotel so we don’t have to sleepily ride home afterward.  The Tigers are doing this for us because I am blessed with wonderful friends who contacted them when Dawn died and got them to do this for us.  I don’t want to sound like the Tigers were reluctant, because they were A-1 Aces about the whole thing.  I’ve been a Tiger fan, critic and apologist all my life, and they recognized that when my story was brought to their attention.  We’re very excited about it, but I know it will be bittersweet.

I’ve agreed to share my story with a website dedicated to the Tigers, so I’ll be sure to let you know when that gets published.

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I’ll carry on now.  This post will be all over the place, probably.

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I decided last weekend, after another bout with my racing mind, that I was going to get off the people train and go all hermit for a while.  This actually worked out pretty well, despite not removing myself from all social situations.  If nothing else, I think it gave me a sense of control in my life, and it let me prioritize that which was cluttering my brain.  There may have been one or two things that I recognized as the biggest reasons for my problems, and once I figured that out I tried to block it out.  I’m not saying these were bad things, but they were thoughts I couldn’t get comfortable with.  Again, I’m being purposely vague.  So I’m feeling better now.  I need to work more and spend more time cleaning my house and be less lazy, but my head feels like it’s under control now.

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I’m having a patio installed in my backyard this week.  These guys are working hard, as this area is built almost entirely on clay, so digging down for prep work is a real pain in the ass.  This is why I hired someone to do it.  I like watching the progress, but I’ve learned that TV gives a false sense of the time it takes for something like this to be done.  They’ve been here four days now, and it seems like the guys on TV can do it all in like four hours.  I’m not complaining, but I’m excited about it being done.  I may pee myself when they start actually laying the brick, especially since I’m about 50% over budget.  I like the shit to look good, so when I thought about what I had quoted I started to think I wanted more.  So yesterday I asked for more.  And I approved the cost.  This thing is gonna be so awesome.

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Lastly, and I’ll be purposely vague about this, too, but I’m doing rather well right now.  Some of you know why, and I’ll just leave it at that.  There are things that I won’t take from just anyone.  I’m happy right now.  I’m making new friends and enjoying my old friends.  I’m not going to elaborate.

It’s Friday.  Have a good weekend.

Improving the home

When we bought our house 10 years or so ago, I had wonderful thoughts of finishing the rather large basement that came with it, complete with an extra block of height just for the purpose of making it a living area.  It’s an L shape with a separate area for a bathroom that has all drainage needs already installed.  The walls are poured concrete and it was, at the time, an open expanse. A blank canvas, if you will.

Not long after we moved in, a crack formed in a sort of relief joint, flooding the basement somewhat.  It wasn’t enough to reach the sump pump, but it was enough to destroy a few unneeded items and require an emergency visit from a repair specialist.  Other than one other crack that we noticed during a tornado, it’s held up pretty well.

It took me a couple years to get started on the basement, and I had grand ideas about finishing the whole thing myself, including framing, insulation and drywalling, as well as a dropped ceiling and some sort of flooring yet to be determined.  The only thing I’d probably farm out was the installation of the bathroom fixtures, especially the toilet, because Lord knows I don’t want to mess that up.

I bought a BAMF of a framing nailer and proceeded to frame pretty much the entire basement, insulated the walls, ran electrical, installed a vapor barrier, and even did a pretty fair amount of the easy drywalling.  90% of the work was done perfectly.  It’s the other 10% that burns my ass to this day.

First of all, I learned while drywalling that I didn’t do a good enough job aligning everything, and at one point I was caking an area of the wall with drywall mud to fill a massive difference between two panels.  I also learned that my vapor barrier was installed incorrectly, and now I’m not even so sure about the framing job I did, although the walls are absolutely solid, with no give whatsoever no matter how hard you reef on it.

So now I want to rip it all out and redo it.  This is an expense that we need in no way whatsoever, but since I abandoned the job I started 8 years ago, the basement has just become a mess of storage and garbage, and I’m sick of it.  I’d love to trash as much as possible that’s down there, tear out my work (which is probably 10% perfect, after all) and start all over.  It’s an unbelievably monumental task, and I need to be sure that considering many other things going on in our lives, it will be worth it in the end.

We can certainly afford to clean it, however, and get rid of as much stuff as possible that’s down there.  For that matter, some of it is salvageable, but again, that’s maybe 10% of what I’ve already done.  There’s also a lot of tedious work to do to dismantle it all, since I ran a fair amount of electrical through it as well.  I’m excited about the possibility of doing it again and hopefully getting it right this time, but I’m not excited about the work involved.  I think I’m going to fool myself into calling it my exercise program, because hauling all that crap up the stairs will surely be physically taxing.  Perhaps even some day we can make the proper modifications to the house to be able to call it a living area, such as installing an egress window.

For now, I think I’m going to go home today and bring a box of garbage bags downstairs.  Also, don’t tell my wife, but I think I’m going to fill the garage up with garbage that will need to go, and get the basement as empty as possible.  I think this will be my new hobby.  I’m sure nobody will complain.