Friday, March 25, 2011

That isn’t a frown…

If you ever happen to touch a negative and positive hot electrical wire at the same time, you may first notice a numbing sensation flowing through your fingertips and up to your forearm muscles. If your mind doesn’t register what is going on, the next thing you may feel is the heat generating between your fingers tips.. Luckily around this time, while I was actually experiencing this marvelous tingle on my forearm, my mind triggered my sensors within my hand to let go of the hot current copper metal…

Let me restart the story to a point before I felt the world violently shake between my fingertips…The morning started with me making coffee with no coffee filters… Yes the first hour of debating of what to do was pretty comical. However, thanks to all of the wonderful suggestions from my friend on Facebook, using the paper towel as a coffee filter actually works. Still not sure about the sock. However, talking with a friend, the sock practice is quite common.. Anyway, after satisfying my caffeine addiction, I had decided to install the baseboard trim in the spare bedroom.



IMG_3091I measured the room to determine the amount of materials that would be required. After completing the task, I realized that one electrical outlet was installed way too low. I re-calculated my numbers and determined that the new baseboard trim would certainly hit the outlet. I had decided to replace the outlet entirely. Thus when I removed the electrical outlet cover and to my surprise I discovered…


The outlet was broken and was attached by friction to the outlet protective cover. The glory of having an old house allows me to do more research in finding the correct circuit breaker switch associated to a specific room… I couldn’t find my electricity tester, so I decided to plug in a light. I figured I’ll hit the circuit breaker switch in the basement and then check if the light is on or off… If the light is off, then the circuit breaker switch is associated to that specific room.. Sounded like a good plan at the time.

After hitting the switch, I unfastened the treaded screws that held the outlet to the junction box. Once completed, I place my thumb and index figure on the electrical outlet to remove it. As I’m removing the outlet from the junction box housing, my mind instantly registers a discomfort that I have felt before. The vibration of my right forearm muscle began to increase and I instantly knew that the light bulb test had failed.. The light bulb had somehow blown out when I disengaged the circuit breaker switch. The current ran through me within a nanosecond. My mind registered that electricity was traveling through my body. The discomforting pain was felt like it lasted forever. Once my mind fully registered what was going on, my brain told my hand to disengage…

Now that I got that out to way, I had evaluated my fingers and hand. I was satisfied that I was safe, but I realized that my stupidity could have been more lethal. I was lucky once again. This was not the first rodeo that I’ve gone too.. But I need to make this my last… I need to find that electricity tester…

I dusted myself off and gathered my thoughts. At that moment I decided to completely shut the electricity off throughout the entire house. I safely replaced the electrical outlet and then installed the baseboard. The picture below shows the workaround of having the outlet too low.



After completing the baseboard installation, I move my building motivation to the kitchen… I’ll be painting the baseboard another day. A while back I had updated the kitchen and removed the trim from both windows. I was able to reuse the old trim.





I’ll need to next paint the trim in the kitchen to match the current colors. But that will wait until next time. I then moved to the living room. The window trim in the living room was also needed. This time I had to cut the trim from scratch. The old window trim had taken a trip to the dump.



Next on the list was the master bedroom closet. I’m not a fan of the sliding closet doors. Thus I’ve decided to install new bi-fold doors and replace the wonderful smiley face of a closet pole.



The wood smiling pole was tied at the center with a piece of string. The wood pole was retrained at three points, side walls and the string. I replaced the wood pole with a metal pole and four metal brackets. Each metal bracket are rated to hold 250 lbs. Thus, by installing the four brackets the weight capacity would be for a total of 1000 lbs.


Next on the list was to install the bi-fold doors. Of course, nothing is ever standard with older homes. The doorway opening for the closet was of course 1 inch smaller than a standard bi-fold door requirement. I had purchased standard wood bi-fold doors and figured that I could cut a 1/2 inch of wood per side of the panel. By modifying the standard door, I calculated that I would save about $100 from not ordering the custom bi-fold doors…

But after further inspection, I realized that I could remove part of the doorway wood and gain the required inch.



The bi-fold door preparation was complete. The closet doorway was now ready for the bi-fold door installation.  However, the exhaustion had started to kick in and I had to stop.

I’ve been pretty busy with working on the apartment and interviewing potential tenants for upstairs. I’ve had about 10 showings of the apartment thus far. Out of the ten, I’ve had 2 interested in my place in the first floor. I have one person that actually put in an application for my unfinished place. So on May 1st my apartment will be available. Next month is going to be extremely aggressive in getting the first floor into an acceptable living place. Additionally, I have a potential tenant ready for the second floor. I’m happy to report that things are going extremely well… Until next time, happy building…

Monday, March 14, 2011

How did you get poison ivy?

The motivation of completing both apartments has certainly taken hold of me. I think it might be the fact that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, that could be just the reflection coming off my flashlight. Regardless, the “Honey Do List” is certainly getting smaller (You may notice the new list on the left). I’ve decided to highlight things that I would like to accomplish prior to renting out the apartments. The exterior stuff doesn’t necessarily impact the individual apartments, however, I guess you can say they are nice to have items…

So with this new found motivation… Could it be that over the last three years, my canvas is finally going to be finished… Maybe I should go to the local gallery with my new painting and display it for all to see… I guess I need to dust off my old wool French beret labeled, “Rusty” and light up my Gauloises that’s being held by my quellazaire…Wait I already do that, except for the beret and cigarette part…

I did spend some time in Paris, France. I honestly don’t remember seeing anything like what I just described… However, I certainly do remember the wine and bread…. So good…But, ok let us switch tracks here… I’m really not sure where that thought was actually going…  Except that I’m pretty excited that things are truly starting to come together with the house.

So with the tenant giving her notice. I’ve decided to hire some help… I originally ask for quotes from several individuals to paint my 3 bedrooms and a storage area. I figured I could focus on other things… So instead of painting this coming weekend I can work on the apartment upstairs. The quotes were all over the map… Sadly a friend was just laid off and needed some help… Luckily, I was able to help him out.

Prior to the painter coming over, I had to prep the rooms… I initially moved all of the furniture to the middle of the room. Below you will notice the 4 rooms that needed to be painted. The blue room was once the workout room, now its just a spare bedroom… The flesh colored room is my office. And the wonderful wall paper room is the master bedroom… The wood panel room is a storage/front porch.






Once the furniture was moved to the center of the room. I then started to remove some of the electrical outlet and switch covers. To my surprise, (actually nothing surprises me anymore) I realized that the junctions boxes were not mounted to a stud and/or wall… They were floating… note the pictures below.



With this new found discovery, I replace the junctions boxes. They are now mounted directly to the wall and should not move. I also switched out the outlets. The original outlets did not socket the plugs properly. The plugs would easily fall off the outlets, causing the electrical equipment to shut off easily.


Additionally, the office walls were pretty beat up. The walls were covered with hole from tacks and/or nails from the previous owner… So I filled the holes with putty and sanded the excess material after it dried…You think that is enough calamine lotion?


The painter came to the house and was done within two days. Here are the results of his work. Sadly the photo’s don’t give the color justice. But the color is of a light brown/yellow color with white trim work.




The painter thought it would be funny to leave the shoe switch cover on… However, the rooms look 20 times better than before…

I feel that the painting is completed for the bedrooms. Thus I’m free to work on other things. Like place a new ad for the apartment upstairs today (Apartment Ad). Within 10 minute of placing the ad, I received 3 calls…Thus far, I have two potential families coming to look at the apartment upstairs on Friday. Everything is truly coming together. Anyway until next time. Happy building.


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