Yesterday B. the electrician was at the house for a full day, wiring the hallway, dining room, and upstairs bedroom into the panel. Feel that rumbling underneath your feet? That’s the earth shifting on its axis. He installed two work lights in the hallway so that the switch actually lights something, until such time as we can stop to breathe and pick out lights to install. They also highlight the imperfections in the cieling that I didn’t catch when I was mudding and sanding it…swell. Apparently the hideous chandelier in the dining room—the one that features a pull string for a switch—is actually wired to the dimmer switch on the wall, but the wires were cut at some point and they never did anything with it. The mysteries of this house continue to confound me. B. also pulled the legacy plug hanging from the baseboard in the guest bedroom so that I can install the cable/ethernet/phone jack in there, and he’ll do the one in the front bedroom when he returns for the kitchen rough-in.

On that front, Jen and I stopped in a local counter-and-floor showroom and looked through displays of floor tile on Saturday. The choices were at the same time overwhelming and unsatisfying. Too much foo-foo “fancy” tile, which either is produced to look “rustic” (usually meaning it has a rough, beveled edge, like it’s been worn away by years of use) and looks cheap, or suffers from a printed surface (when examined closely, one can see the dot-pattern that makes up the color) which I’d wager would wear off in about two years of medium-duty use. We left the store without finding what we were looking for for either the counter or the floor, but we had a better idea of what we were looking for.

As a proof of concept, I decided to introduce our tarpaper-covered floor to Mr. Hand Planer, on the advice of our friend Mark, who I now owe several strong martinis. I got a Bosch planer from the local rental center and pulled up about five square feet of tarpaper in five minutes, until one of the thin, hand-crafted German blades snapped. The rental center exchanged that one for a Hitachi model which suffered from a frozen adjustment knob (meaning it was set permanently for a depth of about 1/8″, or a quarter of the depth of the wood) which made it unusable. Pissed, I charged a new Hitachi and pack of blades to the HELOC account, and in about 2 hours had roughly one-third of the floor stripped. Once I can get a solid day blocked out (and the cabinets are finally gone), I’ll be able to plane the rest of the floor, run a medium-grit sanding drum over the whole thing, and we can stain/polyurethane it in preparaion for cabinet install—maybe a little more work than underlayment and tile, but the result will be so much better.

(I’d show you a picture, but I can’t find my camera-to-USB cord anywhere, and I have no way of getting the pictures off my camera right now.)

Date posted: September 14, 2005 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Progress Report.

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