Getting things done – a little at a time

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Mud room with chimney gone...
Mud room with chimney gone…

It seems that I finally start getting productive at house projects the week before I have to head out of town for work. Then, when I come back, I have to readjust and it seems to take a while to get back into the same routine.

I’ve had a busy week and made lots of progress in little steps.  I’ve been able to get work done right after the boys get to bed, and still be done in time to hang out for a bit before Susanna and I go to bed. Hopefully, when I get back I’ll remember to jump right back into the routine.

This week we had the chimney taken out. The chimney went through the mud room/laundry room on the first floor and Will’s bedroom on the second. That means, until we get this project finished, we will be short two rooms. The project is a couple of big steps (demolition of the chimney, installing drywall, installing the floor) which we will contract out. But, there are lots of the little details that we will do ourselves. While the walls are down (and Will’s ceiling), I’ll take time to insulate better and update electrical and plumbing.

New switches by the back door. One for the mudroom light and one for the back porch light.
New switches by the back door. One for the mudroom light and one for the back porch light.

I’ve been working on the electrical this week. I ran a new wire to the  light over the weekend, and tonight ran a new wire to the back porch light, and added a switch next to the back door. Previously the back porch switch was outside on the back porch – what a pain in the ass. I still have to run a new wire to the kitchen light (while I have access to the space from the ), add outlets and more lights in the /laundry room, and switches to Will’s light.

I’ve also taken time to keep moving on other projects. I spent a couple of evenings cleaning the workshop, and one evening fixing the dog pen.  I’m sure I’ll be exhausted by the time I get on an airplane Monday.

Next Project

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Dumpster delivered for the next project...
Dumpster delivered for the next project…

Here we go again. More home improvements. Hopefully this one will go quickly – we are paying contractors to do most of the work. But it still requires moving furniture, managing contractors, and some work on our side.

Our fall plans are to have the chimney removed (it is no longer used, and is in the middle of Will’s bedroom). We will have the ceiling replaced in Will’s room, and I will patch the floor. However the big improvement will be to the mud room/laundry room.

We will gut and rebuild the mud room/laundry room. We need to insulate the walls, move laundry services, add a laundry sink, have the walls/ceilings covered with drywall, paint and have the floor done.  No problem.  The plan is to be finished by Christmas. Hopefully sooner.

Now back to Craigslist to look for an interesting antique sink for the laundry room.  No point in making things too easy.

A quick workshop project (hip photo clipboards)

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I was looking for a quick project to build with the boys in the workshop. I needed a project that they could do most of the work on – they were planned to be gifts.  I saw an idea earlier in on Matt’s Basement Workshop – and it seemed like a pretty simple quick project. Our lives this fall have been pretty crazy, and I didn’t think that I could get them to put enough work into a much more complicated project to finish in time.

The clipboards only took a couple of nights to finish in the workshop.  We built a total of 4 clipboards, they took one each and left two here.

The project required picking out some scrap – we found a piece of yellowheart in the wood pile. The lumber was milled and glued up into panels.  We then cut out 4 boards from the panel – in hindsight I think we should have made the boards a little smaller (though it is never too late to remove wood)- a 5×7 picture seems a little small on the clipboard.  The keyhole hanger was inserted in the back (we removed the waste using a drill and chisel). The boards were finished with a coat of varnish and the hardware was installed.

A completed clipboard with a picture added.
A completed clipboard with a picture added.
A simple keyhole hanger flush mounted on the back.
A simple keyhole hanger flush mounted on the back.

On not writing (or taking a blog break)

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It has been nearly a month since I have last written in this blog.  I’m still here; I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. And no, neither of my regular readers mentioned anything about my break from writing.

Taking a short break from blogging.
Taking a short break from blogging.

Life has been pretty busy.  Actually crazy busy.  There has hardly been time to have a beer take a moment to reflect on life. I really should be better about keeping up on my writing – I hardly know where I left off in my writing.

I did finish one of the toy boxes. I think I even wrote about it. I have started and nearly finished the second box. And by nearly finished, I mean I have the carcass glued up. I only have to build the face frame, add the trim, shelf, top and all the hardware, and finally the varnish.

It seems like the past couple of weeks were filled with soccer, weddings, non-existent or short work trips, and more soccer. We did find time to take the dogs for walks, entertain the boys’ friends, pull the boat from the water, clean the boat, remove stringers from Ben’s boat (but not yet install new ones).

We had a weekend babysitting Michael while his parents spent time in the hospital bringing his little brother into the world. Susanna was in heaven. Both boys spent lots of time hanging out and reading to him. Susanna spent the whole weekend very happy to have a toddler in the house.

We tried a week without video games (or social media for the parents). It went as well as could be expected. It didn’t kill the boys, though at times I’m guessing Will didn’t know if he would survive. I’m not sure if it was harder for the kids or for the adults.

Ben spending time with the sander on the bottom of his boat.
Ben spending quality time with the sander on the bottom of his boat.

Another weekend, Ben and I dragged Will down to Norwalk for the annual boat show there. Of course both of them spent the entire time touring boats that were more expensive than our house. We bribed Will by agreeing to go see “The Maze Runner” in IMAX on the way home. Susanna decided it was more fun to stay home sick than go to a boat show and watch a science-fiction movie.

It finally felt like life settled down a little this weekend. After a bumpy start this morning, the boys were able to have friends over all afternoon. I even spent time making toy guns for six of the seven kids that were here.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get back in the workshop and work on toy boxes (and can be a little more ‘almost done’ by tomorrow night).