Thursday, February 19, 2009

Its Alive!

Our house has a heart now, humming away and pumping warm liquid through its veins.

Last weekend we had the heating installed & also experienced our first domestic emergency.

While the plumbers were working away and my Mother-in-law & I were in the kitchen discussing paint colours, a fountain erupted in the middle of the room. We were standing just to the side of the line of fire so didn't get a full shower, just a little sprinkle.
We yelled, the plumbers yelled, I turned off the open valve, the plumbers turned off the water from the source.
See that long wet splotch on the floor, we were standing right beside that. Close call.

After everyone had calmed down, they turned the water back on. We looked around, and didn't see any more fountains, but a few minutes later I thought I heard a noise upstairs. Sure enough, a valve in one of the bathrooms had been left open all the way, not just a fraction like the kitchen one. We had a full-force geyser and about 1/4" of water on the floor. Good thing we still have holes in the ceiling so the water had somewhere to drain out without doing any damage to the new drywall.

It was bit of an ordeal buying the boiler.
We decided to upgrade from the one specified by the heating designer because we heard too many negative things about that brand from too many different sources and also wanted something more energy-efficient. Had a tight deadline because we wanted the drywall 'mudders' to do their thing and they couldn't work until they had heat. So it came down to "what do you have in stock that will work with the already-installed & drywalled-in vent".

In the process I learned more about boilers than I ever wanted to know: I can now read specs to determine efficiency rating and type of vent needed. Also learned that "super-high-efficiency" translates as "super-high-priced". Plus the high-efficiency type need a special stainless-steel vent which would mean ripping out the existing vent and re-drywalling. After spending half a day on the phone & on-line studying spec sheets I figured out which of the ones our supplier had in stock would work for us.

It's a German brand that I was told is the same quality as the 'other' high-priced German name but without the high price; a few more BTU's than we need but its better to be over-powered than under; and, most importantly, it works with our B-vent.

I got an earful from Cole because it's not Energy-Star rated but he cooled off when I pointed out that it's rated only 0.8% less than the Energy-star one that would have cost us a lot more. I'm sure not going to worry about less than 1% difference in efficiency.

The plumbers said it has to run flat-out for a week before they install the thermostats so our house is Hot-Hot-Hot. When Kim & I went to do a clean-up the next evening it was like walking into a sauna. Whoever told me it would take a few days for the house to warm up obviously didn't know what they were talking about. The plumbers said the drywallers wouldn't mind, they need the heat, but I'm afraid to go into the house when they're there - they might be working in their underwear. I would be.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A normal weekend

Wow, what a change. It was so nice to spend an entire weekend in normal clothes. I was able to attend (almost) a whole Polymer Clay Guild meeting and on Sunday even had time to, OMG how long has it been, go for a walk and coffee with a friend. Kim cleaned the yard, took a load to the dump and then re-discoved the joy of an afternoon nap.

This is the first weekend in a long time that we haven't had masses of work to do at the house. There's not much we can do until the drywallers are finished taping, mudding and sanding so we're free for now until they're done and it's time to paint.
We're re-considering hiring pros to do the primer coat, I mean we know how to paint, and we've had lots of offers of help so we'll probably take it on ourselves. (Uh-oh, now all those who offered just to be polite won't be answering their phones any more)

At least Kim can't describe me as "a big ball of polar fleece" any more. I don't think it was meant as a compliment.
To keep warm while working in the house my usual attire is baggy, spray-foam insulation-encrusted polar fleece pants (over long underwear, giving me a severe case of diaper-butt), a couple of Kim's old, paint-stained long-sleeved T-shirts and a very bright, multi-coloured fleece vest. Top that with a pom-pommed touque with ear flaps and a dust-mask (or as I call it: pimple incubator) and sprinkle with lots of saw-dust and/or insulation fibres.
I don't understand why Kim kept backing away from me and changing the subject to stereo configuration when Rod Stewart's "Do you think I'm sexy" came on the radio last time we were working at the house. It's not like I was singing along, I wouldn't torture anyone that way, I just wanted a little dance.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Board week

All four of us spent last Saturday at the house finishing up some last-minute sound-proofing, backing and clean-up for the drywallers who would be starting some time that day.

One of our helpers must have stayed up a little too late the night before. Very resourceful, these teenagers, they can always find a place for a nap....

and so considerate too. Look how Shea made sure his big brother didn't get cold - tucked him in nice & cosy under a pile of construction debris. Warms your heart.

We now have roxul sound-proofing insulation (the green stuff) and donna-conna (those flimsy-looking brown sheets) across the front of the house to stop road-noise and around all rooms where the stereo or TV will be blasting. Oh, also in the wall between the powder-room and kitchen so we don't have hear the sounds of people 'powdering their nose'. In spite of the open lay-out it's going to be a very quiet house.

Around noon I looked out the window when a big red van pulled up and watched as men started piling out of the van. It was like that circus act where an endless stream of clowns tumble out of a tiny car, they just kept coming.

After saying Hello and finding out where they were starting we went back to work clearing all of our junk out of their way upstairs. Pretty soon we were lured back downstairs by the most wonderful smells. These guys give new meaning to a packed lunch. They were sitting around on top of the drywall sheets having a veritable feast of hot food and drinking tea from china teacups. They even had a sugar-bowl there. No paper cups & fast food for these guys. Unfortunately they hadn't brought enough to share (Yes, I did ask) so now I have a craving for Indian food. We'll have to go out a restaurant soon, or at least pick up some samosas.

The guys were finished boarding by Thursday so we now have skin on our bones. Well, maybe muscle & fat, it still looks pretty rough until the 'skin' of drywall mud & paint goes on.

What a difference it makes. This is the living room and great room beyond. Taken from the front door, the same point as the picture at the top of this post, just a few days later. This is so exciting, it is really starting to look like a home on the inside now.
The upstairs hallway looking towards the front of the house.
To the right of the 1/2 wall is where the stairs go down and under the window is one our last-minute changes. We had planned for that area to be a mini office/study area but the boys both thought it was a "stupid place" for a computer desk so Kim built a window seat instead. A much better use of that nice little space. The seat will be hinged so I'll have a storage chest for blankets and things. Right now it's been used to store our tools.

Two opposite walls of our bedroom.
The door beside the bathroom is our walk-in closet. The spot under the window where Kim is standing was going to be a window-seat but the framer-who-didn't-read-plans framed it with a floor instead so we're going to take advantage of the extra space and put our bed there. It's a good thing our old bed-frame broke because we'll have to buy a new, extra-low one to fit under that big window. It's one of the tilt'n'turn windows we have - can be swung open or tilted open at the top.

Next week we have our heat installed so the trades can stop whining about being cold and the drywallers can start mudding.
Then it's paint (I'm gathering quotes right now) and then ..... My Kitchen! It's been so long since I ordered it I can't remember what it will look like.