You Gotta Grow Up Some Time

And, in a way, this weekend I feel like I passed a milestone in adulthood: I mowed the grass.

Okay, don’t get me wrong. One of my chores as a high-schooler was mowing our yard, and I did it most weekends. But I used a mower where I was the engine, the kind of mower where it’s just wheels and a blade, and you know not to put anything in the blades because they will chop whatever it is to bits. The thing about this type of mower is that if you let the grass get really long, you end up doing a ton of work pushing it through that tall, thick growth. So you’re pretty motivated to keep it under control. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement, Fireplace Edition: Grand Finale

Today, four months to the day after starting our fireplace project, we had the final inspection. It was a different inspector, not Mr. Personality, and – amazingly – he was quite nice!

I opened the door and offered him fresh homemade cookies; he did the inspection, saw the gas shutoff and exterior vent, asked about whether we had a carbon monoxide monitor, signed off on the permit, and I sent him out the door with another cookie.

Done!

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Oh, and when the inspector came in, he saw the fireplace and immediately said, “Wow, nice tile work,” a tribute to Builder Pat if I ever heard one, since the inspector has probably seen thousands of fireplaces. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 10

Here we are, at the two-month anniversary of the start of our fireplace project, three days into spring, and we are basically done with our little project. Pat has spent a couple days finishing up details, and one set of bookshelf doors had to go back to be refinished, but it’s essentially complete!

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Thanks to Rachel for the drift wood and the lovely decorative bowl.

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Sunday morning, reading the comics.

I won’t mention the fact that we have to have Mr. Personality the Bothell building inspector come examine our final product. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 8

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day! We had a happy day – the tile got finished on our fireplace! Also finished are the final repairs to the wall, adding texture and paint.

Here’s where we were on Monday:

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And here’s where Pat left it last night:

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Finished tile!

It’s hard to capture the colors accurately, but you can see the pattern. Those shelves off to the left will go next to the fireplace on either side, and the two boards (you can see them better in the first picture) will become the mantle. So close! But I suspect we’ll still hit a two-month anniversary for the project on March 23. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 7

Tile work has started! Actually, Pat started cutting time last week, an exercise in the most complicated puzzle imaginable, where you have to make the pieces to fit this precise space and shape.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but he started by laying out all the tile and figuring out how to match the patterns on each tile. Then made this curved pattern with a flexible piece of wood, traced the correct curve onto each tile, and eventually started cutting, very carefully and precisely. Each tile was then laid out again to make sure the curves matched each other. Continue Reading >>

Home Improvement: Fireplace Edition, Part 5

The subtitle for this post should be “What you’d call good news, bad news.”

Good news: Our rough-in inspection passed! Ian was here for the inspector, who took about two minutes to review his notes, look at the work we’d done, and sign off on the changes. Huge sigh of relief! Maybe I’ll sleep tonight (last night was all wakeful shades of inspection-related misery).

Bad news: Last night, I looked into a box that was in the construction area of the house. It had been sitting there for quite a while and I’d forgotten what was in it, and some insulation ended up on top of it. An unassuming box. Continue Reading >>