Creating kitchens and baths for finicky customers since 1993

backsplash features inset metal tiles for accent and texture

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The End (of the year) is Here!

Today is not just any Saturday, it's the last day of 2005. We've had gloomy skies, moderate temperatures, about an inch of snow--nothing special. These are, however, the final hours of the year. A New Year is knocking at the door. We'll be making resolutions, going to the gym, setting new goals, and celebrating another year endured, perhaps. I've taken a few days off, after putting the finishing touches on Millie's kitchen. Soon it will be time to go back to work, and face whatever challenges 2006 presents.

This is not just any year-end, it's also the final days of Chase-Pitkin, my main employer since 1993. It doesn't feel like the end yet, with so much work still to be done. Soon enough, though, those few remaining jobs will be complete. Then a truly new year will begin for me: a new employer, new contacts, and new places to buy my tools and supplies. I'm not overly concerned about this uncertainty, but I'm certainly saddened by the impending closing of the entire Chase-Pitkin chain. I've met so many good people over the years; and I'm not sure how many of them I'll ever see again. I'll miss the Sales, Labor, and support staff at the office most of all. As those fine folks go their separate ways, the end of an era (for me) will have arrived. I wish every one of them well, wherever they go.

So Happy New Year to you all. To Blane, who's been there since the beginning. To Dave R, who moved on a few years back, but left big footprints behind. To Rick P, who stepped into those footprints and filled them admirably. You've been a fine "boss" and friend. To John M, and Pete S in Sales: bright futures for you both. To Sabrina, the very best. To Jim A, who never let me down. To John K, and Jim D: I'll miss you both very much. To all the incredible Kitchen Designers (too many good ones to name each), who helped create so much good work for some many great customers: I hope I get to see your names on plansheets again someday. All of these people, and too many more, will be starting over this New Year. For some it will be difficult and depressing; and for others the opportunities will surpass their best hopes. Wherever you go, and whatever you end up doing, I hope it's a truly Happy New Year for every one of you!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Day Three for a Christmas Kitchen

Today's "to-do" list would have depressed me, so I ignored it as much as possible. There was so much to do on this new kitchen that I couldn't really process it all. Instead, I just plugged in all the tools and went to work. That strategy paid off nicely. I actually accomplished more than I would have been willing to write down on that list! Having the right tools, easy access to the jobsite, and a workshop (breezeway) right next to the kitchen--not to mention a very nice, considerate customer--made everything go well. If I only had a camera with me, and a good "before" picture...

Here's what I wrote in the job-log today, for this kitchen: (on-site, 8:30-5:30) Start-to-finish [S2F after this], clear pine soffit, scribe molding, and crown. S2F--100% custom corner cabinet. S2F--plumbing plus sinkbase installed, with 6" fillers as needed. S2F--range hood fan-lite combo. ...Whew! I'm not bragging, I'm simply amazed at what I got done by pretending all those things didn't need to get done today (they did, in fact!). Sometimes I get too stressed out and over-think the day's work that lies ahead of me. You know, when you can't fall asleep because your brain is going 'round-n-'round for the next day.

This one should be all but done by tomorrow afternoon. I'm sure I would finish, except that the very last (for all time) Chase-Pitkin Christmas Party starts at noon. I don't mind getting there late; there's always something left to eat. But I want to see as many of the gang as possible. I'll never see a majority of these people again--many are leaving the field we're in now for new opportunities. So this will be a final chance to commisserate and to say good-bye. Some will leave quite early, so I'll probably miss those few. But I won't miss the party itself. We've all been together too long to miss this chance to say so-long. It ain't gonna be easy, I know that. By the way, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two Doors Open

It's been a very interesting couple of days. I had scheduled an important job for Monday, but realized halfway through the weekend that I had never confirmed delivery of the product. Things have been very, very hectic; and deliveries are an easy detail to miss. The job called for installation of an interior "French" double-door set. In good weather I can carry this item on the roof. Good weather should return sometime in May.

I had no choice, though, so I went to the Brockport store to pick-up the door unit, hoping I could secure it to the roof-rack. I knew the Nebraska-plains-style crosswind would be a problem, no matter what I did. The problem never arose: the door was no longer at that store! (All CP stores are in close-out/all sales final mode. Nothing is safe, including pre-paid customer product.) I didn't panic, but I also figured the install was a bust for Monday. Fortunately, Lauren (formerly of Contractor Sales) really went to work for me. She found a replacement door at another store, secured a truck and driver, and got it out to the job-site before dark.

This door was going into an opening between a vestibule and a main room. In a church. And it's nearly Christmas. When the Deacon heard about the missing door and the possibly late-afternoon delivery, he explained that he had promised the Parish Pastor the job would be done for their Christmas Service. How could I let him down on that promise? I figured it would be a late night, and it was. Just the drive from the Brockport store to the church took more than half an hour. The wind howled the whole time. I stayed as late as I could, and used up all the materials I'd brought. So I went back this morning to finish.

The short ending to this long story is: the door is done, it looks great, and we're all happy. I'm pretty tired from the driving and the background-stress. But it was worth it. To see the Deacon's smile when he came to inspect the job at the end was wonderful. Merry Christmas to the Royal Church of God in Christ, and happy Christmas to me, too! On to the next one--a kitchen much closer to home for a very nice repeat customer. Let it snow!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Week in Review, already!

Christmas is coming at warp speed. This past week flew by at a similar pace, too. The new kitchen is done, and turned out very nicely. The hardest part of that job was hauling off the old cabinets and countertops; it was uphill all the way. Cold, too--below twenty degrees. Thank God for inside work. Unfortunately, Thursday's job was mostly outside. I had to fix a door. That's something we don't do much anymore: fix things. Most of the time we replace things, which is fine. But it was nice to find that I still know how to repair, as well. This customer's entrance door was solid, but not well sealed and had some jamb damage. I did some strategic cutting, fashioned a new piece to replace the broken section, did some mortising, added some new weatherseal, and ended up with a servicable result. It's not brand new and perfect, but everything works fine and the customer didn't have to empty her savings account to get it done. Despite my numb fingers, it felt good.

Overnight leading into Friday a system of sleet, freezing rain, then snow moved in. There were accidents aplenty Thursday evening, and a whole slew of off-the-road incidents Friday morning. One driver found himself in one of the ponds along the expressway near our home. That brought out the whole fire department, plus a fleet of tow-vehicles. Schools were mostly open, though. I kept it close to home. Measured the countertop for next week's kitchen and got those numbers delivered to the countertop shop. Had to go over some website info with Frank there, and then off to the next item on my list. That was a service call for a big bathroom job done earlier this year, for a customer who's been very patient about it. Took just a few minutes, and on down the road I went. One day closer to Christmas, and only a few hundred more things to do and finish by then!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday Day Two New Kitchen

Day Two for my new kitchen went well. Had a small surprise this morning: the dishwasher had spent the night dripping fresh water onto the floor. Must have loosened the connection when I was re-setting the supply line. No big deal, luckily--concrete floor underneath. Spent the day doing some of the tricky stuff, like the end panel and all the trimwork. That little kitchen was filled with tools!

The main countertop is in, and the sink is all hooked-up. That's always good progress. With the new cabinets in a much lighter shade, plus the green-swirl countertop, and now the new sink and faucet, the room looks entirely different. The customer came home in time today for us to see the results together. She's happy, so I'm very happy! That's what it's all about, isn't it? Tomorrow should be mostly low-stress, with knobs and haul-off the big jobs. Have to re-install the old rangehood, too; that'll be fun. There's the update.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday, snowy Monday

Today began a brand new job, which is just as it should be for a Monday. Even better, the new job is a kitchen, not a bathroom! Not that there's anything wrong with bathrooms, but I sure have done a bunch of them in the last several weeks. Kitchens are neat, and clean, and straight-forward. And even though they are usually bigger than bathrooms, kitchens are less demanding in terms of plumbing changes and fixtures. It wasn't all roses today, though.

I like to know where I'm going, so I almost always MapQuest® the address before I go. (These jobs are measured and quoted by the Sales Dept., not by me.) The problem is that sometimes the map service isn't sure where a place actually is, so it just guesses and shoots an internet arrow onto the map. I've had this happen at least five times in recent memory. Today's kitchen was listed as being on "Gregory Park," but the paper map shows only Gregory Street and Gregory Hill Drive (I think). MapQuest® showed its happy little star right there in the middle of Gregory Street, so I was suspicious. So I reconnoitered (can you spell that?) early this morning. The house numbers were all wrong, off by two hundred; so I chalked it up to mapping imagination. Had to call my customer for directions. And there she was, right under the mapping software's star.

What threw me off was that my customer had mentioned she was in a condominium, and I didn't see anything appropriate during my drive-by. Damned forest, keeps hiding the trees! Her building is a huge, gorgeous orange-brick post-War school, converted to condo's about twenty years ago. The fact that there wasn't any sign with the name "Gregory Park" on it is only a poor excuse for my missing it. The next problem was parking, since each owner has one spacallotteded and the signs all read "no contractor parking." My customer deeded her spot to me for the duration; I didn't get towed. Yet.

Things went very well after that, and I've written enough for tonite. No glitches so far, and no wood to knock on nearby, so I'll write more tomorrow. By then, this kitchen should be mostly complete and I can leave the knock-on-wood for the next job. See you then.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wrappin' up the week

The real winter weather has arrived: snow, high winds, single-digit temp's, and car-wrecks. So Mike and I spent the coldest day of the week outside, climbing up and down an aluminum ladder to apply frozen sticks of aluminum trim, then trying to apply frozen beads of caulk. Vinyl replacement windows. Gonna be a year for them, with gas prices still high and lots of people worried about how they're going to pay for heat. Windows are one of the very few remodeling expenses that can be assured to pay for themselves, sometimes in just a couple of years. At the warehouse, despite the impending demise of our employer, vinyl windows are stacked and packed and parked every which way, waiting to be installed. Hundreds of them.

We put in a total of seventeen windows on Wednesday--Mike, his helper Frank, and I. The first house had eleven new windows, which went very well, mostly hassle-free. The second house, rental property owned by the folks in the first house, had just seven more windows; but they were a real pain. Every one was on the second floor, and every one had fifty-year-old wooden storm window combinations painted shut to the outside. Some had cars parked beneath them: a true recipe for disaster. That's why, if you're keeping count, you'll notice window number eighteen didn't get installed until Thursday. The rest of Thursday was ladder-day, starting the morning at a toasty twelve degrees (that's Fahrenheit, folks, not Celcius). Had to take five-minute breaks in our trucks with the heat running, just to get feeling back in the small bones.

I'm trying to remember what I did on Monday and Tuesday. That seems like weeks ago now. Oh, yeah, that was inside work in a place that kept the thermometer at about seventy-five. Which is way too warm, by the way, especially when you have to dress for at least a certain amount of time spent outside. Layers, that's the key. Monday's job was figured for two days, but I had a great helper (John Metzger) and things went well. Easy access, too. That makes a huge difference, not having to climb stairs or navigate long sidewalks and driveways. That overheated Monday job does seem like it was last month, though. A couple cold days will do that to you, stretch the time out like that. Tuesday was an inside day, too, with a lot of work that needed to get done on the website I'm putting together for a local countertop manufacturer. That will be online by Sunday, if I don't get too many interruptions.

Today was more windows, but only three, and only one of them rated "difficult." Things were touch-and-go there at one point, when the tricky window looked like it wasn't going to fit. It all worked out in the end, though, and that last window is the one that looks fantastic. Big old farmhouse on the top of a wind-swept hill out on the east side (farm country out there). Snow was blowing sideways at one point, right about the time I went to install the only windward window. The roads stayed mostly clear by afternoon, and the snow moved on. Even the howling winds died down a bit by evening. Almost looks like Christmas out there now. As it should. The weekend's here, and the clock is ticking down on the big holiday. Couple weeks more, that's all. Next thing you know, it'll be spring again! Yeah, sure it will. 'Til then...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Busy week and Winter's here!

How busy was this week? Not a single post all week, that's how busy. The irony is that on Tuesday morning I showed up to begin a large, ambitious bathroom remodel and the customer cancelled! You might think that would have led to a splendid four days for yours truly on a beach somewhere; you'd think incorrectly. I've never had a customer cancel a sold job before, but it wasn't any huge problem. She was upset by current events by my employer (Chase-Pitkin, western NY); I understood her concerns, sympathized, and helped her reach the right people to set her refund in motion. She called me back two hours later to ask if I could come back and get her job started. She had been reassured and was ready to proceed now.

That's not why it was a busy week, though. I won't get back to my worried customer's bathroom job now until early 2006. When a hole opens up in the schedule, especially in the weeks just before any major holiday, you fill that hole almost immediately with work you had pending. That only took two phone calls, and made two other customers very happy. Now if I could only figure out what to do with the other up-in-the-air sold jobs. Christmas is coming, and they can't all be done by the holiday. Impossible. But Mike P and I installed four exterior doors, along with four storm doors; and we worked 'til nearly dark to finish them, too. I started work on a website for an important client, from scratch. And last this week, refitted a left-over door and frame for another customer whose existing door was ready to fall out of the wall onto the driveway.

I'm not complaining at all. Despite the impending closing of my employer of thirteen years, I have more work than I can reasonably handle for the immediate future. The process of shutting down has been smooth so far, with the exception of my cancel/don't cancel bathroom. I have a good reputation, and have industry contacts with some outstanding people who trust me. If life is a roller-coaster, mine at least has good seatbelts. I like roller-coasters, anyway. Now, about that week on a beach...yeah, that would be nice, too. I'll just have to earn that break, and find a way to squeeze it into the schedule. Until then, back to work!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mellow Monday after holiday

Rainy days and Mondays sometimes get me down. Not today, though! This was a good day, considering it was back to work after (almost) having four days off. (I did have to work a bit, but not too stressful.) Had breakfast with CP sales exec John M this morning, good talk and company. Then back to the big bath by the bay, which had at one time seemed interminable. The job has shaped up beautifully, saying so myself.

Today I attacked the last and separate part of the contract: tear out the flower tiles! That's what the contract says, "tear out the flower tiles..." So I did, and attack was the right verb. The only way to remove individual ceramic tiles from within a field of tile is to use brute force. Seriously. I used a large mechanic's screwdriver and my trusty Estwing hammer. The trick is to destroy the bad tile without causing any collateral damage. Not so simple, since the job requires a jack-hammer style approach. Worse yet, four of the designated tiles were directly against a large, glue-in bathroom mirror. Talk about potential for disaster! I even told Mr. Palmer at first that I was unwilling to hammer out the mirror-area tiles. Then I got some practice on the other ones, and that made me bolder. Made a lot of noise, and a pretty fair mess, but without hurting any innocent nearby tiles or mirrors. The customer is happy to see those flower tiles gone (with plain ones in their place), and the job is all but complete. (Special-order doors still to come, a ten-minute job.)

Got done a bit early, met with Tom M (the plumber) and stopped in at a couple of the stores to say good-bye to some good people. The stores were in blow-out sale at Christmastime madness mode. I said my "hope to see you again"s and avoided the crowds otherwise. Home before dark today. How can you beat that?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday is a holiday Friday!

Today was Friday for me. Wednesday I have the boys with me, and I won't be working. The forecasted winter weather hit later than expected today, which was fortunate. Man, I had a ton of driving to do! Left at six-forty-five this morning in a driving rain, drove across the city, picked up only half the product I needed (a sales mix-up), drove back across the city past a four-car accident, figured out how to load more stuff than my truck would safely carry, and got to today's customer's house by nine. Whew! Had to pull a storm-door, demo- a forty-year-old entry door, and install a lovely new door. Not a tough job, despite a couple additional hiccups, but one that could have been unbearable in wind-driven snow--which is the current condition.

Yesterday was a real bear. Spent the morning (sunny and fifty degrees!) doing a job very similar to today's. Then had to track down a "missing" vanity top for the Palmer bath. Lost about two hours, needlessly. Had enough left to do there that I ended up staying well past dark, since I had to cut-out mid-evening to go quote a shower install nearby. (Don't think I'll get that one...) Can't wait to be done with all the little odds & ends at the endless bath job: it's stressful. But my "weekend" is here now, so it's all good. Back to work after Thanksgiving day, though. Nothing too taxing, but work just the same. That's life, isn't it?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Back to the Big Bath for Friday

There's snow in the air, and I was driving cross-town again today. Fortunately the white stuff stayed just a bit to the north and west. The sky was wintery, though. And it was cold. Very. So all the exercise of jogging up and down the long stairs helped keep me warm. A little taste of hot-temper fueled the fire, too! But I'm getting ahead of myself. The day started out wellwith a breakfast meeting with John Metzger, sales chief (for now) of CP Installed. We had a good talk. John saved me some legwork by tracking down a couple mirrors for the job, which I took along with me when we finished.

It was pretty much downhill from there. The big job today was to install the "custom" shower door from Sterling. I do a lot of Sterling doors, and find them mostly user-friendly. Not this one. Even the directions suck, which is very un-Sterling-ish. Long to short: what should have taken about two hours took almost the entire day. I was not pleased. When I last looked at this door system I didn't even think it would fit the opening. I was wrong about that; it fit just fine. But what a crummy design -- way too reliant on tight fits between parts to make things work. I don't know if I've ever struggled so much with something that should have been so basic. Engineers... sheesh. (That's not the language I was using earlier today, however.)

With all that lost time, I'll have to return next week to finish things there. No clue right now how I'll find the time, since I'm booked solid. Some weeks there really aren't enough hours in the day. For now, it's Friday. Thank God.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pass the Top-stretcher, please

Thursdays are usually buckle-down get-it-done days. I hardly ever set appointments for Thursdays, and almost never have the boys then either. I knew I had time today to finish this kitchen job, even though I'd originally allowed it to flow into Friday on the schedule. Now I need Friday to get back to the big bath. I didn't feel time-crunched, but I did have plenty to do. Some plumbing, a cabinet to set, some cleating and a panel to install. And countertops. Today was definitely a big-splash kind of day. I started it nice and early at the Home Depot (doesn't that feel strange?!). Mike had mentioned last week that HD had a sleek little air compressor for about a hundred dollars, one that would be lighter and quieter. Since my big hoss AC'r was all the way out on the other side of the city, I figured at worst I'd buy the smaller compressor and return it at day's end. Well, let's just say it ain't goin' back! What a pleasure it was to carry air power one-handed, and to run it indoors without scaring the pets.

Everything was running along just perfectly until I tackled the last job of the day, and of this whole contract: the sink-side countertop. The smart move is always to measure first, move second. That's when I discovered an unsolvable problem. Somehow the kitchen designer, Tammy R at the Brockport store, had forgotten to add the last three inches on the long wall layout. My countertop was, therefore, three inches too short! Yikes! I can make 'em shorter, but I can't make 'em longer. The stretcher's been broken for years. So a new top is on order, with a fairly long lead time. Had to make-do with the materials at hand. What I ended up doing was to pad the short "L" end of the top, which is conveniently shielded from view by the refridgerator. In the end, the too-short top looks damn good, and would fool most casual inspectors. It'll do just fine until the new one comes in. The customer's happy, and so am I. (sound of dusting-off hands) Friday means back to the east side, and the long uphill climb to the Palmer bath.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blissful Wednesday

New day, new job, new town. No, the other job isn't done yet, but I had finally come up to the promised-date for the next customer. I didn't want to put him off, and I needed a bathroom-break anyway (bad pun). So today I pointed the truck north and west instead of south and east. Shorter drive, no city traffic. That was the first reprieve. This one is a kitchen, actually about half a kitchen since there are no new upper cabinets to install. Kitchens are great because they are almost always on the first floor and close to an entrance. This one is no exception. From driveway to garage to kitchen is a trip of only about twenty paces, with a climb of just one step! Amazing how much more work I can get done without the huge travel distance on-site. Major progress on day one included all tear-out, and all the new-location cabinets set. The home-owner seemed truly pleased and impressed. It was a nice clean job with lots of visual progress (always a good thing). Tomorrow will be day two, and should also be "day done"!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Loooong day Tuesday

Tried to finish today and failed. Seemed like I had a handle on it, but there was still so much to do. Had to nail in pine baseboard over the tile floor, which is always touchy. Plumbers arrived late afternoon instead of in the morning, which was fine but muddied my schedule ideas. There was so much to clean up, too! Tools were still stored back in under the eaves, and everywhere else as well. The foyer area still needed a fair amount of plasterwork. That was fun, and tedious. I did get the little desk area built finally, but installed the drawer section upside-down at first. (sigh of disgust) Sam the carpet man is due in Wednesday afternoon: that will spruce up the foyer a lot. Can you tell I'm running out of steam on this one? Over one hundred trips up and down the stairs does tend to add up eventually. Almost done, though. I'll be away from this one for a couple days, to build a kitchen. Should be a nice break.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Putting on a Monday polish

Today was one of those days that help to make up for all the prep work and manual labor. Over the weekend the Palmers painted their new bathroom, which worked out beautifully. I had the electrician scheduled for fixtures and finish today, so paint was all but critical. Ditto for the plumbers and their finish work tomorrow. With paint in place no one has to cut around all the next stuff, which always turns out mediocre at best. Meanwhile, I had placed about three fourths of the floor tile last Friday. That set me up perfectly to very quickly fill in the missing pieces and to be able to grout the whole job by the end of the day. And that makes all the difference! In one day this bathroom went from "when will it ever be finished?" to "wow!." What a great feeling that is, to see all the work put in so far come together like that. Of course there's more to do, some of it substantial; but the bath looks very much like a finished product. Big fun!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Finally Friday at the big bath

You can tell I've been busy this week, just by the lack of posts for the missing days here. I've had three days of serious manual labor and stair-climbing, trying to ship-shape the Palmer bathroom. I've mixed a bunch of plaster batches, done a whole dust-storm worth of sanding and touch-up, set the shower walls (and weren't they heavy muthuhs!), and laid-in a couple hundred pounds of floor tile. Mike stopped in for two solid days of custom carpentry, which really spruced-up the rough edges. So far, we've stood up to the inspections that truly count: the ones made by the Palmer clan! We still have quite a bit of polishing to do, mostly in setting fixtures and floor-trim. The brute work is complete, though, except for some sore knees sure to come when I grout the new floor. This one should be mostly wrapped by Tuesday, so I can move on to the next one: a kitchen in Hamlin. That one features a complete lack of staircases. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuesday, getting "plastered"

Today was day two, and somewhere around Batch Ten, for plastering the Palmer bathroom. Well, it's not really plastering, but more plaster-finishing. I use Durabond-90 instead of joint compound, because it dries in about two hours. Then you can come right back and re-coat the same day. Not so with joint compound. Downside is you have to mix every batch yourself, you have a short work window (about an hour for Durabond-90), and the stuff is bad for your skin. Sure coats up nicely, though! Tomorrow I'll touch-up, add a final coat only where needed, do some sanding, and be ready for paint. Mike P will be on-site tomorrow, too. Sure will be nice to have some company. We'll kick a little construction butt. By the way, it was sunny and sixty again today. Hmmm...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Finally Friday: rockin'

Today was a physically demanding end to the week. I was on my own, starting out with a heavy load of green drywall on the ladder-rack. The weather was warm and clear, so I set up in the customer's driveway. With all the inspections passed, it was time to "rock the walls." Rock, in this case, refers to sheets of gypsum board, which was originally called 'rock lath.' I spent the day cutting and installing all the odd-shaped pieces of wallboard for this cut-up little bathroom. Though it was a short day (had to pick up Nicky from a school function), I still got most of the room boarded. Things are shaping up, and you can definitely get a feel for how this new bathroom will look when it's done. The plumbers and electrician will be back next week, and Mike P. will spend a couple days helping me, too. Getting to the good part of the job now. Should be hard work, but fun.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thursday was Inspection Day

Had some important visitors today at the Palmer bath. Nearly all construction had to stop, awaiting approval of the plumbing (which required an open floor), and of the electical (which required open walls and ceiling). The plumbers stopped by early to test their work, all good. That inspection passed at about ten am. Same guy gave the go-ahead for framing and insulation. That was good, too. Unfortunately, the electrical inspection didn't happen until almost three this afternoon. That did give me time to putter around with some of the smaller, tricky tasks, in addition to the floor re-install. So it wasn't so bad. Got a lot done, and even started the drywall, wherever it didn't interfere with the electrical stuff. Worked out fine in the end. Full speed ahead, then, for Friday. It's going to be a busy Friday for me. That's ok, too: busy is good. Busy pays the bills!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wednesday up&down

Busy day today, day three of the big bath job for the Palmers. Many trips for everyone, up and down the stairs. Floor's all cut up for both plastic drains and copper lines. Plumbers were back mid-morning to finish sweating joints. Kevin (electrician) spent about five hours doing the electrical rough-in, which involved much drilling and even a trip (for me) up onto the roof. Since it was sunny and fifty-five today, I didn't mind much; but I sure have lost any ability to handle steep-pitched roofs, as I did when I was twenty-five. I'll stick with kitchens and baths, please. Framing is all but complete, stopped short where the floor still has to be removed/replaced. Thursday will be hectic with multiple inspections: plumbing, electrical, framing, and insulation. Here's my fingers crossed.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday's big bath

Started a brand new bathroom job today. Great house in a stunning neighborhood. Really nice people, too. What a busy day, though! This is new construction in an existing home, creating a bathroom where none was before. Met with Pete Steltmann and John Metzger (sales managers) this morning to go over scope-of-work. Then two guys showed up to do the new skylight, with perfect timing on a sunny-and-sixty day. Next came the plumbing contractor, since this one requires all new supply and drain lines fed up to the second floor (a bit more than I like to dig into!). The electrician, Kevin, joined the party after lunchtime. It was a hectic few hours, and the time flew by. I even got some work done, framing up various new partition walls so the tradesmen can do their thing tomorrow. Very good first day.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday is fun-day?

The one-day weekend draws to a close. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the bugs were out in force. Leaves have peaked and the trees are baring branches now, but it was nearly seventy degrees outside for an hour or two! Lin and I got the camper all ready for winter, wrapped it up tight in a giant blue tarp with many bungies for tie-downs. Looks safe and secure, at least until the winter winds really howl it up. We shall see. No kids this weekend makes for a quiet house and no big plans, so we took a couple hours out for house-hunting. Looked at a fair-sized loser in a fine neighborhood. Too many minuses, not nearly enough to out-weigh the pluses. That one will probably have to drop another ten grand before someone takes the plunge on it. Drove by another, which looks much more like a winner (though tiny, it does have a basement). We'll keep an eye out for an open house there. Spending what's left of this fine fall day watching some football, mostly one-sided mis-matches. (yawn) My team, The Bills, plays tonight on ESPN Primetime Sunday. Sadly, I have to admit that I'm betting against my home team tonight. They have no right to win this game, especially after last week's sorry showing. Watch 'em win, just to spite fans like me!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Two jobs for Saturday! (sigh)

I spent a rare work-filled Saturday today. The combination of heavy rains and long days (plus one missing cabinet) forced me to book the day solid. Both jobs were fun, though, and the weather was magnificent: sunny and sixty-five! Morning found me back at Millie's kitchen, to install her new cabinet and finish-up with crown moldings. She's thrilled, and ready to begin the process on the other half of her kitchen. Second half of today was spent miles away, south of Pittsford, on a whole separate job. The customer already had his sink/faucet waiting for me. All I had to do was remove the old one and install the new one. Pretty easy stuff, except for the usual concern that plumbing is never simple or predictable. This one went very well, and the customer was pleased with the results. That's what it's all about. I got done early enough to finally remember to buy a new work-watch. Now I can leave the Seiko home (whew!). So ends the work-week. Sunday is, appropriately, a day of some rest (although the camper needs winterizing... ah well.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday all day fence job

Today was another all-day job for Mike and me. We worked at a very nice house on Baird Road, Penfield north. While the rain only sputtered, the ground was wet and spongy, making foot-travel a pain. It was a long walk back and forth all day, trucks to jobsite, carrying tools and some very heavy materials. This one called for a nearly eight-foot-tall privacy fence, using the "shadow" effect and some lattice up top for decoration. Lots of ladder work, and tons of repetitive cutting/fitting. In the end, it turned out quite nicely. We finished our "easy" Friday job right about sunset (which will come an hour earlier on Monday!). Both of us went home pretty tired, but at least not starving. Lunch was Wendy's, eat & run style.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday on the Lake

Today was Lake-day, down on Menteth Point (Canandaigua Lake). The rain held off and the wind was gone. View from the lakeside was spectacular, with leaves right about at peak. We had two small but demanding jobs to do on a lovely old Victorian "cottage" (about 4,000 square feet!). Mike handled the new Bilco door (one of his specialties), while I tore into the little covered porch. Luckily, Mike had already done the tear-out. I spent some minutes looking the job over, not liking what I saw, then began what turned out to be an all-day task. We both worked from before nine am until after six pm, and took only the quickest of breaks. Lunch would have cost us an hour, half of that spent driving. Still, the job isn't quite finished, despite our efforts. Mike will return Saturday morning to wrap things up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wednesday Rain Day

Mike and I were supposed to begin a job on Canandaigua Lake today, but yesterday's heavy rain/winds were forecast to continue. Weather wasn't as bad as rumored, but plans had already been changed. Looked at a Kitchen in Hamlin, scheduled for pre-Thanksgiving, and went to a co-worker's house in Greece to quote some bathroom work. His tile walls in the tub area have seen better days. Mike got to the Canandaigua job later in the afternoon and set things up for Thursday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesday Kitchen

Built a half-kitchen today for Millie Smith in Gates. Tore out some old painted cabinets and installed new oak from Aristocraft. Interesting countertops in glossy white with a bit of a swirl. Missing one key cabinet, but the rest of the job went well. Will return to build clear pine soffits and add some top crown molding. Millie will order the rest of her kitchen next month. Very nice lady. Looking forward to going back.