Originally, I was going to fart around with trim in the bathroom on Sunday afternoon. It was supposed to be 54 degrees, and having spent two freezing hours out on the soccer field watching Finley’s team on Saturday (they won the first game and lost the second) I didn’t relish the thought of opening the house to frigid arctic winds. But as I drove Finn to a friend’s house I realized it was warmer than I’d been led to believe. So I grabbed a bagful of spray foam from the Home Depot and commenced to making a mess in the living room.
This shot is after I pulled two of the trim pieces off, but hadn’t yanked the window out yet.
Here both casements have been pulled from the right side, and the storm window frame is the only thing left on that side (it came out right after this shot).
The new window is placed on the right side. This is the best comparison between old and new windows. The new ones are a little smaller in terms of window size, but brighter in the amount of light getting through.
This is with both windows placed, but before I’d mounted them permanently. As of Sunday night they’re screwed in, surrounded with foam, and the trim pieces are placed, but I don’t have any caulk, which I’ll pick up this week. Once the caulk goes in, that will help a lot with any residual leaks, but these are already a million times better than the old ones. All three sash pockets are filled with expanding foam, which should keep things toasty. It was a fast bit of work, but I got everything installed in five hours.
“He had an early [racially] integrated practice. Long before other doctors opened their waiting rooms to all, he did.”
My sister sent us a Christmas care package filled to the brim with amazing, thoughtful gifts. The highlight for Finn was a Kanken backpack covered with cool metal and cloisonné pins; she immediately ditched her black LL Bean backpack and moved everything over to the new one. One of the things she gave me was a 4-pack of AirTags, which I’ve been curious about for years but haven’t ever pulled the trigger on. Intrigued, I set two of them up and put one in my travel messenger bag and the other on a keyring.
Since then I’ve been getting messages on my phone whenever we leave to walk the dog to tell me I’ve left my messenger bag, keyring, iPad, AirPods and Apple Watch behind (I don’t wear my Apple Watch all of the time). Somehow activating the AirTags kicked off a bunch of notifications for all of the location-aware Apple gear I own; my phone vibrates constantly. I’ve got to figure out how to turn off all but the essentials, I guess.
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As part of our remodeling in the Living Room, we’re opening up the space for new furniture and a new layout. Now that the built-in bookshelves are installed, it’s time to remove the bulkier furniture we don’t need or that doesn’t fit. I broke down the IKEA Expedit bookcase we’ve had in there since before I changed jobs and listed it on Craigslist for $20. The next step will be to disassemble Jen’s oak library table and store it safely in the basement, and move my carpenter’s trunk upstairs in the blue bedroom. There’s no way we’re getting rid of either of those items, but they are too big for our current living room. The West Elm chairs could be here anywhere between this Friday or the middle of March; we have no idea but want to be prepared.
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On Saturday we drove down to Bob’s to bring food and spend some time with him. The three toilets I delivered two weeks ago are now all installed, including the one in the bathroom I’ve been working on. While the plumber was in there working we arranged to have him lower the flange to floor level, so that wrinkle has been ironed out. We’ve got a new 36″ vanity on order and waiting to be delivered this week. The plan is to head down on Sunday, set that in place and hook up the sink. I may rope my brother-in-law in and have him come in to help; we’ll see.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to notice an appreciable difference in my teeth. I’m in Week 37 of 70 Invisalign trays, and I can finally look in the mirror and see the changes in my lower teeth—they’re spreading out and beginning to fall into place. The biggest change I feel is in my upper eyeteeth, which are being pushed forward and outward to make room for my molars behind; on the first and second day of new trays I need to wait about a half an hour after taking them out to eat anything, due to the soreness. I’m beginning to get excited about a straight, even smile, and even looking forward to some kind of whitening treatment. My teeth have been yellow since I was a boy, and having done some research on Diazinon, it turns out exposure to the herbicide can trigger all sorts of health effects, including yellowed teeth. Dad used to spray that shit around the house, and I spent a good portion of my childhood on the floor directly in contact with it.
The shelves are painted and complete save for one small area at the bottom left where I need to fit a section of wood. I’ve been waiting for a day when Hazel is outside to run up the saw; she gets very nervous when I use power tools, especially now that she’s got the ear wrap on again. We’ve already started putting books on shelves but I’m waiting until Jen organizes it the way she wants to snap a picture. I’ll say this: it makes a HUGE difference, and it really anchors that entire side of the room. All that wasted physical and visual space is now fully utilized, and we can move on to Part 2 of the plan: getting rid of some old furniture. Meanwhile, I got a notice that our two West Elm chairs are shipped and on their way.
I took advantage of another oddly warm and sunny day in February to spray out the shelves with two coats of high-gloss white paint. My efforts were mostly successful; the gun I’m using is the second one I bought when I was painting the house, and I’ve found that this particular model has about one full house in it before it starts getting gummed up irreparably. I had to do some adjusting to get a good spray pattern going, and in the time between the first and second coats the needle got clogged up, which then covered my new sneakers with a fine mist of white paint. Great.
Once I cleared the gun, it went on well, and I got everything back inside after it cured in the sunshine and up against the walls. I cleaned up the joints with caulk, used a brush to touch up the problem areas and put a second coat on the high-traffic parts after knocking down the high spots with sandpaper.
So at this point I’m at the installation phase. I’ve got to go get some angle brackets and wood putty to secure it to the wall in the most hidden way possible, and start with the finish carpentry. When that’s all complete I’ll hit everything with a brush one last time to clean things up.
I took advantage of some rare warm sunny February weather and shot the shelving units with some white primer yesterday afternoon in an effort to keep things moving. With all of the practice I got spraying the house out, it only took about 15 minutes to set up the compressor and gun. The most difficult part of the whole thing was getting the sections outside without letting the cats out. The whole process took about an hour and a half from the time I fired up the compressor to putting the last of the shelves back up in place.
Next up I need a whole day of solid sunshine and ~60˚ weather to shoot two coats of high gloss white on everything before it goes back in permanently. The forecast doesn’t show anything like that coming for a while, which is a drag—I’d really like to get to the finish carpentry part of this project and put it to bed.