Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm Venting...

So did you know that not all vents kick out hot air when your furnace is on???...oh yeah, the cold air return.

Last night, 9-28-06, I was engaged in the mad science of running the air duct. My layout had our new kitchen sporting 4 vents for the delivery of heat. I spliced into some existing duct and got it hooked up and had to try it out. The furnace kicked in, and fact, it felt like cold air.

The conversation that followed went something like this...

TOM: Why won't this stupid thing kick me some heat? I turned it to like 90!
STEPH: Did you take out the insulation that you packed in there so the dirt wouldn't fall in?
TOM: (sarcastically) AHHH, no I thought if I left it in it would keep the warm air warmer.
STEPH: Don't mock me.
STEPH: May be that is the cold air return, you know I saw on HGTV that each room needs a cold air return. See it is sucking cold air in to the furnace.
TOM: Why do you have to be so much smarter than me in everything?
STEPH: I'm a woman.

So after a couple more Stephanie "brainiac" moves, the venting is run, and the floor will be laid tonight. Steph has the floor in the living room ready to sand, and things are going nicely.

The boys are still alive, I think, actually I have the pictures to prove it.

Maxim and Grandma made "pupcakes" the other night, and Brecken is lovin' the water...good thing we live on the biggest body of water in Beadle County. That will save so much on water having the lake right there...Saturday night baths in the lake! Speaking of which we tested out the hot tub last night...sorry no pictures of that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Move In Date Has Been Set...

So last night, over dinner, at my parents kitchen table, Steph and my dad "shook hands" on the date Steph said we would move into the lake house. Dad either didn't think it could be done in that time period, or he just wants the boys around the house a bit longer. My money is on Steph's prediction. She has a way of "moving" projects along.

I was the innocent by-stander during this fun exchange. I was not involved, more like not committed either way. Committed is what the pig was to the plate of bacon and eggs you ordered this morning at the local "Greasy Spoon". I'm more like the chicken...just involved.

The kitchen will not be done before we move in, so it will be sort of like camping in a house. We will have a "dorm fridge", a microwave, a crock pot, and the "Man Kitchen"...aka...the grill. I'm not worried about the arrangement, in fact, it will help the building process. It is much easier to just fall into bed when I am done instead of driving back into town to the basement.

So that brings up the rundown of things to be done. Last night I dropped in the venting runs and put the rest of the supplemental "pink board" under the floor joists. Tonight I will brave the crawl space, and hook it all up and heat will be delivered. That leads into the laying of the tougue and groove 3/4 inch subfloor and the floor, for a while, will be done. We will tile the entire room so I think I can put that off until December! Steph will want it done before Christmas. The electrical will be roughed in by Saturday. I have to teach a hockey referee clinic all day Sunday in Sioux Falls, 3 months ago it seemed like a good idea, now I don't even know where my skates are!

Steph has rented a floor sander and edger for the wood floor in the living room, so we can get that finished, and carpet comes on Thursday? I think. Some local legend by the name of "Goldie" is laying the carpet. Apparently, according to Debbie at the Carpet Center, he is our family's carpet-layer. Now, I knew we had a family doctor, dentist and vet, but didn't know about the family carpet-layer. It's like our own little Beadle County Mafia, and the fact that the carpet store lady knew this was amazing.

Oh yeah, the move in date...October 13-14. After that weekend, I have 5 days to get things in order before I leave for Chicago for a couple days and Steph's folks come to town for the OPENER. Pheasant Opener. I think a few days of pheasant killing will be good for my soul.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed,
The innocent can never last,
Wake me up when September ends. -Green Day-

My MP3 player, constantly on shuffle, found the perfect song yesterday on my drive from the lake house back into Huron. Green Day's "When September Ends".

This summer was out of control, and September has been a blur. Steph and I were talking last night about how we didn't get to wakeboard very much, or put our usual 60 hours on the boat...althought the time we did spend on the water was among the most memorable...the Yankton trip with 12 people in Meyer's boat and the monster wake that followed us that day, the "eternal summer" weekend at Pickstown, (maybe the best water I have ever rode), riding behind the jet ski with Decker and Meyer (perma-smile fun), the sinking of the Malibu...yeah we sunk my cousin's Malibu...long story. As soon as I am done with the counseling I will write about it!!!

This weekend was productive, the floor joist is completed, and half of the "pink board" is now in place, all the nails in the floor that have been tripping me are pulled. I replaced a load bearing post where the door from the garage used to be, and put in a header that opened up the staircase area going to the family room. Gusset-plated the base of the scissor trusses, and put in another window. Steph prepped the wood floor in the family room, all the staples, nails and tack board should be gone and we plan to finish the floor this week...plan being the key word.

The garage/shed/shop was organized and the boat is under a roof now! After church on Sunday, we grilled BBQ Chicken, put on some Bob Marley and chilled out on the deck. It was nice to be outside after 4 straight days of rain.

I never really realized how much I feed off the weather, Steph says I am in tune with nature that way...on Saturday it was rainy again, and I must have been putting off a sour vibe, because she asked me like 10 times before 9:30 a.m. if something was wrong. There wasn't anything wrong except, I hadn't seen the SUN for 86 hours!

It is weird how my mind changes with the weather...I feel like the wakeboard season is over, and my mind has been thinking about snow. I have been dreaming of hockey and snowboarding/skiing trips to Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, T-Peak and G-Bear. Grandma...can you take the boys for a few days...when September ends? Steph and I are going to the mountains...but not before we finish the house at the lake.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Progressively Progressing

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -Albert Einstein-

When Steph and I first looked at the lake house, we knew there was work to be done before it would be a Stephanie Certified home. It needed, among other things, paint, decor, LANDSCAPING, and most of all a place to bake cookies, and someday in the future, do homework. To put it short...the kitchen area sucked my will to eat, my will to live and ever have company enter through the front door.

Albert's above quote says it best...Steph's imagination of gutting the kitchen, knocking out the wall to the single attached garage, vaulting the ceiling, and raising the floor was visionary, and will define the living space of the home. When I figured out structurally that it would work, Roger (dad-in-law) dropped a week of work to help me with the process.

It has been a while since I have remodeled, as most of my work lately has been new-type construction, meaning I didn't have to tear anything out to get started. I forgot how SLOW the destruction/construction process is. It took us every bit of a full week of work to vault the ceiling and pull out the old wall.

I wish I could have counted the number of times Roger or I said..."What the crap was this guy thinking?" in regards to some of the construction tactics used in finishing the old kitchen. Lucky for us, the shell was built right...for the most part.

Roger was huge, SEMPER FI!!! Mr. Marine had my butt, for the most part out of bed around 6:15 a.m. and working by 7:00 a.m. We would not be this far if it wasn't for him and his drive.

During the week that Roger was in town, Steph's Grandpa Raymond, gifted us the use of his "hired men" Brandon and Kenneth. Let me tell you about Kenneth, if Teddy Roosevelt thought he was a strong as a "bull moose", he should have met Kenneth. The guy is big like a Louie L'Amour main "BIG JON". Kenneth was in charge of a chainsaw and some tree clearing. Paul Bunyan and Babe would have been proud. Now, the tree hugger in me hurt for the lost trees, but when you buy a house on a lake, you want to see the lake. Thanks to Kenneth we now see clearly.

Hard work, sacrifice and focus will never show up in tests. -Lance Armstrong-

Last week was spent on smaller job projects, and putting down the new floor joist. This week (9-18-06) my dad helped Steph and I install the new front door where the garage door used to be and installing a window where the front door used to be. Our entrance now welcomes you to our home...the old one felt like a human doggie door.

The work has been fun, but hard, and I hate being away from the boys all day, and again at night. That sacrifice will be worth it when I see them playing on the wood floor in the living room, coloring on the walls of their playroom, or running off the dock and cannonballing into the water...with me right behind them. "Lake Rats" that's what one of our neighbors loving called the boys. I like that!

Finally...Just a list of things every man should have in his arsenal of tools.

Cordless Drill, Electric and Cordless Skill Saw, Cordless Pnumatic Air Framing Nailer (I love this thing), Sawz-all, compound chop saw, table saw, best wire cutter/stripper money can buy, recycled material shims...they work better than wood and save trees, flood lights, a slew of extension cords, metal grinder, Stanley Tape Measure, a sharp (or charp if you are from Chile) wood chisels, and a friend with a tile saw...right Trav? I could go on here forever...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The boys and their "Stay-at-home-with-your-mother-in-law-super-mommy"

So Steph has been retired from the banking industry for about 3 weeks, and she has slid into "stay-at-home-momness" like anyone who leaves a beautiful home in a familar city to live in a new town in her husband's parent's basement. (My brother-in-law Brad did a similar stay in the Bob and Penny Glanzer basement upon returning from Alaska...and he turned out mostly fine, so we are not real worried about Steph.)

Anyway, Steph and the boys spend most of the day playing superheros (Maxim is Dash from the Incredibles and Steph IS Elastagirl), cooking and organizing all of my t-shirts, hats and shorts that I leave in a pile the night before, and soaking in every waking moment of Brecken's little life. They take in the library, go on walks, change diapers, feed Sneezy (the goldfish)...and did I mention that Huron has a Wal-Mart now??? Nothing says high fashion like an afternoon stroll through the sparkling aisles of the Mecca to "BETTER CRAP THAN KMART".

Some may say I have stripped this urban Kansas City beauty queen of her high class life, but I think she digs it...except the living with my folks part. That may be the reason why she has my dad's bullwhip in one hand, and my toolbelt in the other when I get home from a hard day at the Electricity Factory slaving over a keyboard looking for good deals on more outdoor gear I don't need at

I promise my next post will include an update on the house and the work that has been kicked out in the last 3 is shaping up nicely.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stepping Into Liquid

My wife and I have always hated dropping our boys off at the day care.

Ironically, that is why we now own a home on a lake.

Sometime in May of 2006, our thinking changed as to the direction of our families future...we decided Steph would stay home with the boys, and since we are "lake people" we contimplated a move to Lake Byron, S.D.

Home prices in Sioux Falls compared to the rest of S.D. is like watching an episode of HGTV's "What You Get For The Money". I have yet to watch the show, but from what I understand is they show you what you get for $200K in Las Vegas, Sacramento, Billings and Yale, SD. Our market-median home in NW Sioux Falls would cost $50,000 less in Huron. So we looked for real estate on the lake that I grew up skiing on...totally expecting the usual insane sticker shock related to lake living.

Now don't get me wrong Lake Byron (24 Kilometers north of Huron, SD) is a beautiful lake and an nice liquid break from all of the prairie surrounding, but is also a typical lake for S.D. Think along the lines of Wall Lake, Lake Mitchell or Lake Madison. Recent years of better land management have taken care of some of the "pea soup" issues that surround mud-bottomed lakes in the area. In fact, I believe Byron is cleaner than Madison and Mitchell on their best days.

In dreams, I have won the lottery, paid my friends to take care of my money, security details and spiritual well-being, and then built a huge home for all of us on Okoboji or better yet Powell, and then we all wakeboarded the summer away, only to move to a rustic cabin in Big Sky, MT for the winter...but this is reality, and moving back "home" to the company G.O. is my version of winning the lottery.

Long story even longer...we found a place that needed ample work, and my wife's incredible tasteful and frugal ability to decorate. We made an offer, a counter offer and another and we agreed to a price that would get you 50 feet of shorline and a worthless lot on most other lakes...and on some lakes it would buy you 6 weeks of a timeshare. Let's just say the market in the Huron, S.D. area is a bit soft...great for us.

We sold our house in S.F. in 24 days for full asking price, and moved in to my parent's basemant, and the remodel project began on Saturday, September 6, 2006 around 6:47 A.M.

This blog will take you on our journey of Living On if anyone beside our parents really care.