Thursday, February 26, 2009

Too tired to blog...will attempt post in near future...

A night that was supposed to be focused entirely on working on the basement was partially sidetracked by YET ANOTHER record-breaking rainstorm in Chicago. We got nearly two inches of rain today out near O'Hare airport. Two inches too many.

Me, my dad and my father-in-law spent a good portion of the night attempting to control the floodwaters that this time POURED down the back stairs. The drain couldn't keep up, so we had to makeshift sandbag to slow things. I had about 2-3 inches of water in the foyer out there, with some seeping into the laundry room (and thankfully right into that drain).

Eventually, the rain stopped and the drain caught up...but there is more water in my backyard than there ever has, and this water came relentlessly this time. This worries me, tremendously.

Worth noting, the family room, where the drain tile and sump pit service, was dry as a bone, and the sump pit filled up to the bottom of the drain tile pipes and stayed there. So that worked.

Too bad the backyard is a total, major problem.

Live from the new tropics: Chicago...more later.

Monday, February 23, 2009

If you've never seen our HGTV episode...

Then, by all means, you should set your TiVo, DVR or old-fashioned VCR to tape it...unless you're home on Wednesday at 1:30 Eastern time...

Enjoy! It's from the days prior to our bungalow ownership (obviously), when we lived in a condo a few miles east of here, in Old Irving Park. It was a great condo...but we needed MORE! :)

Oh yeah, and the final drywall mud coat is finished tonight...sanding on Wednesday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What a difference a day-and-a-half makes...

drywall done 2
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Well, the drywall was hung in approximately four hours by some drywall professionals. And today, the taper came out to apply the second coat of mud. Tomorrow, a third coat. Then, who knows, to make it smooth!

Either way, we're looking good for this coming Saturday. Just will have to primer the walls and ceiling, get the last of the electrical hooked up (Friday) and clean the shit out of the floor...that floor is technically painted a dark-ish brown. Seriously.

Either way, it looks like a completely different room, and now I feel really good about how things have progressed. I'm psyched now!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm thermal...

andy insulates 1
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Well, the insulation is done. Here's a picture of me toward the end of the work, getting ready to do one or two quick patch-in jobs.

I confess, I cheated, in a sense. I squished insulation at times, I cut it as straight as I could without using 2x4s (though with a sharp blade, it cuts pretty easily, usually, so I don't know what people are talking about).

I also cheated because I decided not to insulate the interior brick wall that is over my right shoulder in this picture. The brick doesn't face outside, and even though the room under the stairs is not technically heated, it's not an outdoor wall, so it should be fine.

I also did not staple the flanges except in a couple places. Why? Well, first off, my cousin said it wasn't necessary because he put the studs up perfectly on 16-inch centers (and he was right). Second, when I had to cut to fit, I made sure to get it right. In both cases, friction is tightly holding all the batts in place. Including the ones in the ceiling (except, again, here and there).

My dad said, "If it gets wet, it's going to sag down inside the wall." I said, "Well, given the plastic I have behind it to prevent any future seepage from hitting it, if this insulation gets wet enough to sag down the wall, it will mean much, much worse has happened."

Suffice to say, I have 7 total bags of R-13 93-inch fiberglass batt insulation still sitting in my garage. I hope that means that my cousin was compensating for the spots I didn't insulate, and it doesn't mean that I did it wrong. I also hope that the Home Depot will take them back, since I still have the receipt. Let's hope!

I also cleaned up a little more of the remaining demolition trash and stacked a ton of trim pieces left over from the PO. TONS of them. I'm hoping I can use them myself, possibly in this room even. If not, maybe I'll offer them up for sale or give away. Or something.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Next up, insulation...

The framing is finished, the fireplace is finished (and it works -- we tested it successfully this evening!) and the electrical work is nearly done. Today, my wife's cousin and I ran two coax cables and two cat-5 cables from the utility room (where we can access them AFTER the family room is finished) to the area where the TV/cable/entertainment center will be.

I have to get some speaker wire and run it as well, in advance of the drywalling and such, and I want to run speaker wire for the upstairs as well, if at all possible.

Then, I get to insulate my ass off...shouldn't be too difficult (knock on wood). And it's going to make a huge, huge difference in the room, no doubt about it. Hell, the fireplace, which doesn't have a blower fan yet, coupled with the 12 can lights that are currently operational, was doing a decent job of warming the room for the short time we had them going. So it'll be great when the insulation and drywall is in.

I can't wait! Even though I drew up my overall plan for this room on the CPU, I could not have realistically envisioned this in the end. Obviously, for our son's b-day party, we're just trying to get it to a presentable, safe point. The "good stuff" will come in to play later. Then the space will really take shape and look awesome.

But for now, it's already taking on a good shape...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Meanwhile, back in the family room...

fireplace ready
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
The fireplace is in, the can lights are in and ready to go, and we're getting really close. Gonna run cable/phone/speaker wires Tuesday, probably, then insulate our brains out before the drywall crew comes in Saturday to rock everything.

We're within two weeks of my son's first birthday party...time's a-tickin', but I think we're gonna get it to a great spot for the party...which is awesome!

Because then I can slow the hell down and finish at an easier pace. :)

Danged previous owners' corner-cutting...

worst plumbing ever 1
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
As I told the electrician, even if I TRIED to do a half-assed job on things, I couldn't have done this stuff and more stupidly than these people.

Our main-floor bathtub drain sprung a leak the other day -- fortunately, we were working on the basement, in the utility room, when it happened. Otherwise, it might have gone unnoticed for a time.

This is what I was greeted with. You can read all about the stupidity in the photo's caption on the page. It doesn't surprise me one bit...and although it's an "easy" fix, it's not something I need to do right now, given all the other work in the family room downstairs.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I was framed...

Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Well, the family room framing is done. Thanks to Gina's cousin. And only 19 days left to A.J.'s first birthday party! Tomorrow, a couple more steps will be can see we decided to just install the fireplace now, so we don't have to demo the wall again. Probably a smart move...helps to know the fireplace installer personally! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Catching up...

What a weekend and what a Monday! My wife's cousin Mike came over (he's a carpenter) and started framing the walls on Sunday. I tried to finish demolition of the shorter walls, and got about halfway before the Super Bowl rolled around and we had to stop, as we both had places to be. Mike came back Monday afternoon and evening, and he finished demolishing the old furring strips and the wall separating the boiler room from the family room. That wall was out of square, so we decided to just take it down and start from scratch there.

Mike the electrician (a friend of Mike the carpenter) came over Sunday as well to see what was going to be required, and we got a huge relief. Apparently, the electric box(es) are fine, they're just a little messy. Nothing is piggybacked or doubled up -- each breaker is legitimate and to code. Thankfully. As I mentioned, I was worried about this very thing costing us an arm and a leg. Now, Mike the electrician will probably charge us the most, because he's more distant, but at least it won't be a much bigger project (knock on wood) than we hoped, electrically speaking.

Finally, yesterday, Mike the heating/cooling guy, who is my cousin's fiance, came over to coordinate with Mike the carpenter on where the fireplace will be and plan for proper framing. We weren't going to install the fireplace just yet, because we weren't sure that (a) it would take a short time, or (b) we'd be able to afford it. But, we should be just fine -- thank God for friends and relatives. Of course, this now also means I have to think about exactly how I want it to I'll have to look around and see what I can see.

And, yes, there has been talk that I will have to name the bar "Mikes' Place" in honor of the three Mikes. Or, "Tres Miguels" or something like that. :)

So many decisions, so little time! Although, it does appear that maybe, just maybe, we're on track to get this room at least presentable by Feb. 28, our son's first birthday party at the house. Boy, that would be totally awesome! Still crossing my fingers...