Category Archives: plumbing

Last night a DJ saved my life…*

*Lyrics from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life by Indeep. You may think you know this song, but after you hear my tale you’ll forever hear this song differently. Plus, broken heart sort of sounds like dirty floor, if you’re singing along. Go ahead, put it on, and start reading. You’ll thank me. ‘Cause away goes trouble down the drain.

The laundry room, nearly besmirched by refuse, lives to see another clean day.

Want to hear a story? Of course you do. Tuck in, kids.

So, we’ve been backsie-forthsie since our move from our pied-à-terre to our pied-à-deux. More like I’ve been back, and Jeff has been forth. Just after our move (the next day, to be precise) I got a call for some potential design work with my favorite crew, Innovative Construction Solutions. Naturally I hopped on a train to make it back for the meeting. (I’d do pretty much anything for those guys, and I think they’ve shown that the feeling is mutual.) I joined my sister (who is watching the house for us) at home for the balance of the week, awaiting Jeff’s arrival on the weekend (we were meant to celebrate my mom’s birthday as a family on Saturday).

Well, full house Saturday (this time that meant four adults staying here), and a few loads of laundry, and several showers later and our plumbing main backed up. On a Saturday night. During one of the most stressful weekends we’ve had in years. We noticed as I was cooking dinner (our family dinner was postponed for various reasons, least of which were that Jeff was and is working non-stop on a project that NEEDS his attention in full), and I ran to the basement to grab a seltzer from our beverage fridge. I found myself suddenly asking: Why were my feet wet? Why was the slop sink completely full? Why did this happen during the tricky part of cooking risotto and while Jeff was completely busy? What caused all of this tomfoolery?

read on…

I was afraid, I’d eat your brains…*

*Lyrics from Conversation 16 by The National. Mostly because I feel like that’s how many times we’ve had conversations about plumbing inspections. Partly because any song that has lyrics about eating brains is cool in my book. A little bit because I dig his voice, and need something good to cling to right now.

Hire thee professionals with references, permits and licenses. Please. Do it for me.

Sigh. We just failed another plumbing inspection. All because we thought we could just switch out a sink and faucet and tub surround without going through the pesky process of hiring yet another plumbing crew. You see, we’ve had nothing but bad luck with our plumbing experiences. Every single thing we’ve paid to have installed has had to be redone, at least once. I’m not exaggerating, I’m not being hyperbolic – every. single. thing. Sighhhhhhh.

So, now, we’re stuck waiting for more plumbers, and paying to have things done thrice. And this time the original crew has to try to fix a rookie (read: idiot) mistake by a junior plumber (not from the original crew, and totally an idiot) who we mistakenly trusted (double rookie mistake, which in turn makes us idiots, too) to help us out and save us some time/money/hassle. Turns out that that one little shortcut has made the longest path through stress, turmoil and havoc. (Picture me clawing my own eyes out.)

So, please, I beg you. Learn from me. Do not hire friends of friends to ‘help you out’ – hire real plumbers who are accountable, who can be blamed officially by the city (and you) for any mistakes they make; pull the permits and suffer through the inevitable delays caused by waiting for interruptive inspections. Do not think that renovating will be easy – it is hard, never-ending, and hideously expensive (yet secretly totally rewarding). Redecorating, now there’s where the fun stuff happens. The rest, leave it to the pros, I’m serious.

At least our carpentry and electrical pros have been just that – experts, accountable, professional and dedicated to our satisfaction. I have to cling to that right now for fear that I might either explode or implode due to rage.

Wooo sahhh… wooo sahhh… xoxo

It’s too early to say, it’s too early to say goodnight…*

*Lyrics from this sweet little song I heard watching a sweet little indie romance (which I was completely in the mood for) called happythankyoumoreplease. The song’s by Jaymay and it’s called Never Be Daunted. Good song inspiration for a year opener, wouldn’t you say?

Office progress at the end of 2011.

And now it’s time for the ubiquitous post on what the new year means to me. I know everyone’s doing it, and with good reason. Turning over a new calendar page can be quite bracing, forcing you to itemize your life, to measure your path and to judge it accordingly. Or perhaps it gives you a moment to cleanse your palate, to step back and say yesterday is gone, today is my focus. Turning over this calendar page (figuratively, of course – who has paper calendars anymore?) has been a most welcome occurrence as 2011 was an emotionally tough year for me. But it wasn’t all bad. I’m just glad to leave it behind, and start again.

read on…

It feels like I’ve been here, I’ve been here forever…*

*Lyrics from Phantogram’s You Are The Ocean off their album Eyelid Movies. I considered using the lyric “This song is about you, ’cause I can’t live without you” regarding Brad, since his work was so essential, but thought that the above sentiment was more accurate now. Not that I don’t think that I can live without Brad. I’m sure I can’t.

I can barely remember where I last left you. I mean, I think it was somewhere around painting the walls and floor delivery. Or something. Honestly, I had to look it up. Since then, so much has been done. Let’s see: the walls were patched and painted (last coats, minus touch ups if needed); the baseboards were completed (painted, patched, sanded, etc.); the dishwasher was installed; the sink faucet was swapped out; the (cheap-O, IKEA, it’ll do until we can really afford to tackle the kitchen) undercabinet lighting was installed; we installed the underlayment to prep for the flooring; and, some lights were swapped out (from 150watt flood lights to LED replacement kits). Also, Brad and Eric of Osgood Electric came by to add some closet lights, wire and install a fan/light in the bathroom, swap out some switches here and there, add some boxes for lighting in the stairway and the laundry area, and installed recessed lighting in the living room. Phew, again.

read on…

Best find a surgeon, can’t cut me open…*

*Lyrics from St. Vincent’s song Surgeon from their latest album Strange Mercy. I totally dig her voice, their strange and quirky sound, and the fact that this album is so new to me. Have I mentioned that I love music? I do. Can’t help it. Wouldn’t want to.

With the fall season officially upon us, and with rain seemingly never ending, I am just now getting around to noticing that my blog is woefully out of date. Perhaps due to the marathon of painting, prepping and coordinating that I’ve been doing for my mom’s new place. Yes, yes, that’s it. My neglect for my blog is due to the work that I’m doing that I should be blogging about. A vicious cycle.

But, over at ye old condo we’ve made quite a bit of headway. Since last you saw pictures, we’ve completed the following: painted living room; painted kitchen; patched sheetrock in laundry room; painted ceiling and walls in laundry room (after visit from plumber); painted trim in entire downstairs, including doors; sanded and prepped baseboards for painting and reinstall (thanks to a lot of help from my sister and a friend); stenciled and painted a bedroom; painted other bedroom; replaced toilet in main bathroom (extra thanks to sis’ bf); ordered and received (and stacked and acclimated) flooring; and, received new appliances. Phew.

read on…

Out with a whimper, it’s not a blaze of glory…*

*Lyrics from MGMT’s Congratulations from their album Congratulations. Don’t ask me what the video means. I have no idea.

Summer has effortlessly shifted into fall, marking the official close to a season that was full of fire and energy, heat and flooding, plenty and too much plenty. Windows were unceremoniously closed, yet screens remain in place; sweaters were unearthed from the drawers, or backs of closets, yet summer clothing has not been put away yet; seasonal cooking has shifted from tomatoes, fresh herbs and all things raw to squashes, soups and an increased interest in baking. The tides have changed, without us really noticing, though we are certainly aware.

Way back when, in late spring (a full two seasons ago!), we met with Mr and Mrs K to discuss ideas for their new kitchen (at that point merely a hope). Meeting after meeting, month after month and we weren’t sure they were going to choose us. Or even start at all. Drawing after drawing, email after email and we finally arrived at a direction, picked a start date, and boldly attempted to renovate an entire kitchen and bathroom in a month. Well, that didn’t quite happen, but it very nearly did: the kitchen is finally done!

read on…

Don’t let it kill you, baby, don’t let it get to you…*

*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).

Client Renovation: end of Week 1 and days 6 & 7 (if you missed the beginning of this tale, read about it here and here.)

Yeah, that’s right, I went old-school with my song lyrics today. But that’s because it fit too well. This past week, or rather 5 days spread across two work weeks, has been about waiting, primarily. Waiting for phase 1 to be complete, waiting for plumbers to arrive (which they finally did, but not without breaking promises to show up at least 3 times), and waiting for the electrical to be completed (which happened in a timely manner, but over a couple of visits due to a nasty cold). Waiting IS the hardest part. Mostly.

read on…

Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need…*

Firstly, an update on the pup. Thank you guys for caring, and for sharing your own stories. Pet love cannot be underestimated, taken for granted, or fully explained if you haven’t experienced it. And I, for one, am among the lucky who get to experience it. The doggie had her visit with the specialist today who was pleased to see that the palliative care medicines that she’s on are helping. A lot. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s got cancer, and that she’s not a candidate for surgery. After a long visit, and a slightly less-long conversation amongst ourselves, we’ve decided to just try to keep her comfortable for as long as possible. Chemotherapy, while possibly (20-30% chance at 20-30% improvement) assisting in keeping up her physical quality of life for as long as possible, would no doubt strain our baby’s nerves, thus degrading her emotional quality of life (vet visits are the bane of her existence and always have been). Short term problem, sure. But when we’re looking at only a couple of months (at best) for our little one, those short term problems really add up. So, for now, we’re on a hospice-like path. She’s regained her usual spunk, thanks to the steroid/painkiller combo, and has her appetite back. We’ll see how long the current drug therapy works, and adjust as we go. We’re hoping that if she were able to choose for herself, this would be the choice she’d make.

read on…

You know you’re gold, you don’t gotta worry none…*

Well, after the dust settled, a bit, we readied ourselves for the job that we fretted over the most: the plumbing. If you have ever hired a plumber, or ever needed one, you will understand that, on the whole, it can be frustrating to get them to call you back, to get them to show up on time, or to charge a fair price (seriously, $150 for 10 minutes of work?). But, in this case, we were lucky again. Thanks to Brad (our favorite electrician, and all around great guy) we were referred to a new plumber who squeezed us in and totally helped us out. And of course he’s called Dave. Why wouldn’t he be?

read on…

Guess what, I am not a robot…*

I may not be a robot, but Team Carpentry (with some help from friends) were like machines tearing out the worst parts of the family bath (namely: everything). It seems like forever ago that we started the process of designing, shopping for, and hiring for our family bathroom makeover. But it was more like a few weeks ago. Boy, things change, though, once you rip down some walls, and rip out some fixtures. In a good way.

read on…