Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rain In July?

A little of the old floor showing thew old patern First half of the new floor partially laid.
You can see some of the old flooring showing Lou's pattern. On the right above, part of the new flooring is down.
Dawn's new floor
Dawn apartment with the new floor.

Tuesday: I finished the last of the baseboard molding installation in the tennants place and re-installed the baseboard molding in Dawn's apartment. The place looks very nice when complete! I also had another appointment with Sears to repair the dishwasher. They needed to install the new door switch. The appointment was for 8-12. The tech arrived about 4 pm, installed the switch and it , of course, didn't correct the problem so now he ordered the control board (the most likely cause) and a new switch membrane (possible cause). They'll be out again next week. Aren't service contracts nice? As it happens, the tenant had another tech, also from Sears, arrive at the correct time for her appointment about an hour earlier than mine. Her result was no better, noisy drier, 2 years old. The motor was replaced on this second visit and it's still as noisy. So they'll be back for her's next week, as well. Maybe I should rent them an office here?

When I finally got away, I returned the excess stuff to the hardware stores and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant on the way home. I had loaded the car with much of the tools and such used on the floor project and returned them to their rightful places at home.

Lou and Dawn returned about 8pm. Dawn has an appointment with one of her professors at the university Wednesday morning

Wednesday: It's been many years since there was last rain on this day, or anywhere near, it in July. While headed down to San Jose, there was almost a deluge in Los Altos, but only an annoying mist in San Jose, still possibly enough of it to be called rain, taken in total. Supposedly has to be at or above 1/100 of an inch. It's also a bit humid, again unusual.

I had plans of pouring some concrete but chickened out due to the threat of even more "rain." Instead, Lou and I move all the furniture back in place in Dawn's apartment. The paint on the baseboards hopefully dried enough.

After Dawn returned from her appointment, she and Lou headed back to Fresno for a few more days. Gee, no work to do, no wife, no worries. It's party time?

Thursday: Up at the usual time. Stopped at Whole Foods for breakfast of a nice burrito and some bacon.

When I got to San Jose I started preparing to pour some concrete. The weather was excellent all day, clear and mild. I finished pouring about 2pm. Actually it was more like pour, move , pour move finish, pour, move, pour, move finish, ....finish cleanup, finish, about 3:30 lunch, finish, shower, finish, wait, guard, guard etc. I'm guarding because I hate the little critters that like to mark their territory by ruining fresh concrete. The long drawn out finishing is due to the difference in when the various sections were poured. I had to stop a little short of where I thought I'd get to because I ran out of concrete. must be a little thicker than I thought. Tomorrow I'll remove the forms, prepare the final section by removing a little more dirt and start getting concrete 10-12 bags at a time, for the next section. I probably won't pour it until Monday. I also have to start out Monday by replacing the water main valve to the house or at least re-seal the stem for the valve. It's leaking profusely since I turned off the water Saturday to replace the washer valves.

I think I'll just stay here tonight and avoid a commute and get a real early start tomorrow so I can quit early.

Friday: The morning was spent going to OSH, letting them load concrete bags, returning to the house unloading them and repeating. The poor car can only carry 12 bags at a time so I made four trips. I also stripped the forms and dug out the remaining area to be poured, I also dug a couple of more post holes. I should be ready for the next pour. I still need to remove some of the old front fence because of a realignment need but that can be part of a third pour.

Now to take a little time off, like the whole weekend.

Saturday: Well, forget the time off. I started the day with a run to the dump. The I tried to relax in the backyard doing a little pruning and puttering in the shop putting things away. Enough relaxing, I went down to San Jose and started digging the trench for the drain pipe that will be under the sidewalk. I got it about half done. I spent the night in San Jose. Dawn's apartment is not much bigger than the RV, just a little more than a small studio. A living room/bedroom, an eat in kitchen, and a bathroom. I really rather like small living spaces. One great benefit is the house cleaning doesn't take long at all.

Sunday: I broke out the old fence post bases for where the front fence meets the new side fence. Many years ago, I pulled the front fence in about 6 inches because the neighbor were always hitting the fence when they entered their driveway. That seemed to eliminate the pronlem. I installed a mow strip base with metal post anchors in it. I didn't remember it, but I evidently built it quite well. I sawed the base where I intended to end the sidewalk. I then found out that I had included rebar in the base and post anchor foot. This made the removal about twice as hard. After it was out, i completed the trench and installed the drain pipe and a water line that goes to each planer cut-out in the new sidewalk.

Dinner was a wonderful super burrito from Super Taqueria.

Monday: I walked around downtown looking for a good place for breakfast. I wanted something different so I didn't intend to return to Don Pedro's. I didn't find anything interesting untill almost back home. I stopped a a taqueria on San Carlos St that i didn't get the name of. i got a couple of breakfast burritos. I ate one and kept the other for tomorrow.

I started by digging the last two post holes where I removed the existing fence. I then built the forms for the remaining planter cut outs and where the sidewalk will extend into the front yard. i then got out the mixer and tools and was ready to start, after lunch. i got a brautworst hot dog at Top Dog about a block away. i then started mixing and pouring and finishing etc etc. I cleaned up the mess while I waited for the stuff to dry to complete the final finishing. Rather than just wait around and twiddle my thumbs, I took a shower and cleaned myself up a bit. I then went over to San Carlos Pizza and got an excellent pizza for $7. What a bargain and very good. I could only eat half, so lunch is in the fridge. The last of the concrete wasn't ready for the final troweling and broom finish until after dinner and after 8pm.

Later, about 9pm, the tenant came to the door and had a piece of homemade pizza. I tried to decline mentioning that I just had some. She was insistent and was right. There is always room for another slice of pizza. It was excellent as well. She is from Turkey and I'm sure it included some goat cheese but it was more like a combination pizza with a very good sauce.

Lou called about 6 pm and had some bad news. She was returning from Fresno heading up the hill on Highway 156 by San Luis Lake. All the warning lights came on. and the engine started heating up. She waited a while then continued on to Casa De Fruita. It appears to her that the fan fell off and the belt came off with it. there's no mechanic there and anywhere it was taken would be a gamble so i told here I'd come down in the morning with the RV and tow her home to our own mechanic. I could help her otherwise in that the car here is more than full of debris and dirt so it's only going to the dump from here. of course the house is on the way to the dump which makes it easy to drop off the loaded car and get the RV out and get the car. Fortunately it was the toad so towing is easy. Lou and Dawn got a room at the motel there and settle in for the night. They enjoyed seeing the rain deer and other animals roaming around there.


Tuesday: I left San Jose early and returned home to Palo Alto. I worked on getting the RV ready to roll. About 9 am I was on the road to meet Lou and Dawn at Casa De Fruita East of Gilroy. We hooked up the toad. We then enjoyed a couple of pastries at the Casa de Sweets compliments of the motel stay. Casa de Fruita is a nice place to visit. Some day we'll probably come down to a little stay at the RV park. They have all sorts of old farm implements. We took a look around and then headed for home. Lou cleaned out the car. She collect a few things at her thrift shop visits in Fresno.

I took a trip to the dump to get ride of the debris I had loaded from San Jose. It was then time to relax a bit.

Wednesday: I returned to San Jose this morning. I started with a couple of visits to OSH to collect concrete for the final pour. I dug out the front flower bed for the continuation of the walk all the way around the house to the front porch. I painted myself into a corner, so to speak. There is a bit of a slope from the porch to the side yard. In order to complete this pour I need to pour the lower portion first and let it set up enough to hold the upper portion when it's poured. Even though today wasn't a big pour it took some time. About 3 pm I finished pouring the last and was just fiddling with the final finishing.

The Sears service technician arrived to repair the tenants dryer. This is the third visit. Fortunately, it was working when he left. That should make the tenant and the neighbor much happier. the tenant has two toddlers and the dryer is in constant use and sounded like an air compressor running. The neighbor's deck is right next to it. Quite unpleasant.

Thursday: First thing today, I called Sears service to find out the route position for the dishwasher repair. i was the first stop. How nice. If I had had to hang around waiting for them to arrive, the day would have been wasted otherwise since I needed to get materials to proceed. It was a different technician for this third visit. He seemed to actually know what he was doing, installed the replacement control board and the thing worked, at last.

Time to strip the last of the forms and start on building the fence. Of course, I needed to get the lumber. I'm also rather q cheapskate so I wanted both a good price and and good lumber, two things that are usually not found together. I checked Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), Their price seemed high, at least more than for last years project so I moved on. I then tried Home Depot. Their price was nearly double that of OSH. They did have a nice supply of good lumber though. On to Lowe's. The didn't have anything except synthetic fence boards. Quite odd. Looks like it will be OSH. The OSH store I started at had a meager supple of lumber. Since I was pretty far from the project site now, I decided to check the other OSH stores on the way there. The first two didn't have anything useful but the thired at Westgate shopping area in San Jose had a good supply so I went through their piles selecting the best. The poor cart was straining to carry the load of 63 fence boards and 20 pressure treated fence rails. The poor car was going to get a workout. All this stuff went on the racks on top. This wasn't a light load in itself but then the car had to carry me as well. And, then there were the five bags of concrete I had left over and some other debris already in the car. No problems getting it there.

I returned to the project site about 3 pm. I then started fence building. I had already brought the fence posts there so I started by installing them in the fence anchors previously installed in the concrete. I then moved all the fence boards off the car to get to the fence rails. I installed all the rails. Then the fence boards. Nice order to this, right? About 8:30 pm I had finished tacking up the fence boards, but effectively there was a fence. I'll need to return next week to trim some of the boards and build a gate and then return the mixer and other tools and stuff home. Then say good bye to this place for a while.

First pour of new sidewalk and post anchors Prep for last pour
The first section above left shows the new sidewalk and the post anchors. On the right is part of the third section almost ready to pour. Actually, the last pour continued around the house to the left.
Note: This was a long post, possibly too long, but I wanted the project to fall into bigger chunks. This made a long post because I'm such a slow worker but now it's done.

Dawn's been busy cleaning up here room and bookcases. Lou doing other cleanup.

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