Our Garage+ Project – Weeks 17 to 20 Update

Yes, it’s been a while since I updated you on the project – a month! It often seems like either everything is going on at the same time, or we are waiting and nothing is happening , and November 2021 was such a month.

Lots of external and internal issues happened. I had Historicon, surgery, Thanksgiving, and weather to deal with, plus a broken dishwasher and some old school Vikings minis to paint that I just posted about. So, where are we? Like I wrote, some days it was like crazy-town with activity, and others like crickets as we waited for inspections or materials. We are further along but winter is coming – so I’ll give you the progress time line in pictures.

As a reminder – as of November 6th – the project looked like this:

Week 17 – November 7th to 13th

November 9

November 10

Early Wednesday morning shows the front window getting installed, Don Millette putting the gas line in the trench, and the Victors supervising.
Frame going in!
Back side of the building showing installed windows.

Then, a minor supply-chain-related crisis. Evandro (our masonry guy) found out that the paving stones that we wanted were not available. We would need to scramble. I told Evandro that for this project I was function (what works), and my wife Lynn was form (i.e. she picks colors and similar choices – what looks good). At the time Lynn was at work, and Evandro had a book of stone examples but no physical samples. As it’s a major decision, we asked to see some, and Evandro came back later in the evening (after dark) with probably a dozen full-size paving stones as samples (each weighing maybe 30 pounds). We thought the samples would be, well, small! Anyways, by flashlight we were able to make a choice so Evandro could keep going. The choices are less bluish, but still a nice mixed gray hue.

The next day I was off to Historicon, returning Sunday the 14th.

Week 18 – November 14th to 20th

November 14

When the sun came up, this was the progress while I was away. You can see progress on the patio and the doors and windows.

Sunday morning November 14th showed me this!

However, Evandro was still at work that Sunday trying to take advantage of the good weather.

Lots of paving stones.

The other progress was nice as well on doors and windows.

While I was away, our dishwasher decided to shed its mortal coil – or at least to begin to leak. This was not part of the project, but needed attention as we also discovered that we needed new valves under the kitchen sink. Luckily we got a plumber to replace the valves and found a dishwasher model locally for delivery later in the week.

November 15

The patio made significant progress on the 15th getting under the stairs.

November 16

On the 16th, Evandro was well into prepping the fire pit for paving stones – but the gas line needed inspection before we could go further.

November 17

The morning of the 17th there was a heavy frost – yes, my roof is not normally white. Jonny Victor was early and got going on the siding installation.

November 18

The weather warmed up significantly on the 18th, which made it an ideal day to replace our front door. It had been previously ordered to be installed in the summer, but the retailer screwed up and sent a door with no stain on it. That was sent back, and finally the new one arrived.

The old front door with the storm door over it. The storm door had trapped sunlight (and heat) and delaminated our front door, so it needed replacement.
Inside showing the new door, unfortunately it’s defective!

The door width was 1/8″ wider in the middle than at the top! So, it sticks, and will need to be redone – unfortunately – but as it’s a manufacturing defect we should be ok with a replacement. Timing in November is not good, and it only gets colder. At least the old one is gone now.

And on the same day, the dishwasher was delivered for installation – so yeah, busy.

November 19

Early morning Friday the 19th showing siding and patio progress around the fire pit. All pavers are cut to shape.

November 20

On Saturday, Evandro’s crew kept going – this time attacking the overburden pile of dirt they had previously excavated for the patio and gas line by hand. This was needed as we expected to get the driveway paved with a base course of asphalt within a week.

Moving the overburden by hand.
And it’s gone!
Progress at the end of a very busy week.

Week 19 – November 21st to 27th

November 22

On the 22nd, I was scheduled for minor surgery at noon – and I checked out the project. Siding work continued.

Siding work continuing by the deck door.

The surgery went ok, but I was pretty much out the rest of the day! Anesthesia and I do not work well together…

November 23

This was a part of the construction project that I really wanted to see close up – Bill Keyes Asphalt doing the paving! However, I was in no shape physically to do much more than poke my head out of the door or through a window to take pictures.

November 24

The next day, the siders came back and installed the shutters and repaired the siding by the house deck that had to be replaced as a result of the new deck.

Shutters going in – these are for aesthetics only! I know Pat in Australia had asked me about shutters here – just for looks unless your house is 200 years old.
Repairing the siding by the house deck.

November 25

This was Thanksgiving – so no work happened of course. But the project looked like this below – and its getting colder.

Shaping up nicely and we even are parked in the driveway – for now anyways. Yes, that pond is freezing up too.

November 26

This date was our wedding anniversary – normally a day to hit the casino and have fun – but I was still recovering in the house. Of course, this being New England, we got snow anyways.

Well this sucks…

It did not last but it’s still been pretty cold.

Week 20 – November 28th to December 4th

With all the cold and needed inspections, and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the progress slowed to a halt. We did pass all of our inspections, and did get a dumpster dropped off to help with all of the rubbish and construction debris that had piled up – especially from the siding.

Hopefully, the upcoming week will show gutter installation, insulation, and more. As of now, it looks like this as of Saturday, December 4th.

Latest progress shot – and it’s getting colder and darker every day.

Hope you enjoyed the long update!

Our Garage+ Project – Week 15 and 16 Update

Yes indeed folks, I am yet again combining a couple weeks into a single post. This update will cover Weeks 15 & 16 – which comprises October 24th to November 6th. The main reasons are the same – slow progress due to weather and shortages that have been the bane of the projects’ ability to progress.

It’s been very wet, cold, and windy, followed by now heavy morning frost. Anyone in Massachusetts knows that this month can be very variable indeed. I guess we’re lucky no accumulating snow has happened yet (but we have seen the first few flakes flying).

The work here still in these two weeks is focused on the patio – but I thought that first I’d share a picture of the deck at night with the solar caps all lit – my neighbor claims aircraft will be coming in to land!

The deck at night – I had a tough time getting a photo but you get the idea.

One of the wind-driven rain storms came in from the normal front of the house and hit from the back – where all the trees are. It was a mess, but I cleaned up early before Evandro’s guys came to pull off the forms.

Leaves everywhere – and more to come.
Pulling the fire pit wall forms.

Then, they added a screed on the walls and let that set.

At the end of the day on October 28th, this was where we were with long shadows hitting the yard.

End of the day – and note I did get the leaves up.

No work continued until November 1st. And then it moved onto coloring the walls with releasing agent (a first step anyways) and digging (by hand) the gas line.

Gas line being dug and walls being colored.
Digging the gas line.

Meanwhile, Evandro began his color applications and shaping.

Evandro working on the back wall.
After shaping it, he applied a releasing agent.
The releasing agent.

He did the same with the fire pit wall.

Evandro at work.
Here you see him literally throwing the dusty agent on the wall.

After this, the weather was lousy the rest of the week. And then it got cold before it got rainy again.

Yes, that is frost everywhere – the temperature was down in the 20’s.

So, not much to show for two weeks. The good news is that this week will hopefully start going a bit gangbusters – there were window and door deliveries, gas line materials are here, and Evandro should finish up soon outside the garage. Stay tuned and I hope that there is more to share at week’s end.

And, for you hobbyists followers out there, I should have a few more posts to share on some small projects I have done in preparation for gaming this weekend with friends in Maryland and at Historicon. There have been some changes in plans – I’ll share soon.

Our Garage+ Project – Week 14 Update

The work shifted this week (October 17-23) to the patio and fire pit – and that meant Evandro and his crew were front and center as Ready Installs awaits window and door deliveries – all delayed by COVID.

We had decided that we needed to upgrade our plan to include paving stone patios, walkways, a wall, and a gas fire pit. This post will focus primarily on those aspects. Evandro had previously roughly marked out where these new parts would go and link in with the new garage and the new house deck.

On Monday, Evandro verified his lines and excavation began.

Monday progress.

There was q lot of digging – and please note that this was done all by hand – no equipment other than hand tools.

Tuesday’s progress at seen at dawn on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, it rained. Thursday things picked up again. Subbase compaction began – some by hand and some by machine depending on the leach field presence underneath. Then crushed stone started being brought in and spread.

End of Thursday progress.

Friday saw a continuation of Thursday’s efforts.

Friday work.

However, it became obvious that Evandro wanted to catch up for Wednesday, so work proceeded on Saturday as well. The work was focused on building concrete forms for the back wall and the fire pit, and lastly placement of hand-mixed concrete. Evandro had an amazing drone that he used to take some photos and videos that will eventually show his work start to finish – and I hope to share a link for that when its available. The drone was able to self-stabilize in the wind and could reach heights of 500 feet!

Evandro and his drone ( you can see it just above the midpoint of the two reddish bird windmills).

The back wall was formed and placed.

The fire pit wall was started.

The crew worked past sunset on Saturday, and got good progress – though I had to wait until Sunday to have enough light to take a picture.

Week’s progress as seen at dawn on Sunday the 24th.

As I write this in week 15, it has been rainy and this is as far as we have gotten progress-wise. However, I bet Evandro hits the ground running when it dries up.

I hope this was enjoyable and thanks for taking a look. I may even do a hobby post shortly!

Our Garage+ Project – Week 13 Update

Lucky week 13 was October 10-16 on the project. Some really beautiful progress – though the delay in windows and doors has kept interior work from progressing. Therefore, for this post I have mostly deck updates plus a few hobby tidbits at the end for my dedicated hobby crowd.

On Monday, deck proceeded on the deck stairs and fascia.

Cutting up and moving up PVC fascia for the garage deck.
Decking being enthusiastically installed over the Trex rain gutter system you saw last week.
Monday progress at the end of the day.

On Monday, our new Weber gas grill was delivered from Home Depot. It’s for natural gas so we can avoid the hassle of propane tanks in the future (though Lynn wants to use both). This is to be mounted on the new gas line on the back deck. We also got a nice drip mat and a cover for it. On Tuesday, Lynn and I put it together with the help of the manual and the Weber app. The process took us just under 4 hours (Weber says it should take 90 minutes – no way), and we worked well together to get it done. That means we are still happily married and no murders occurred or were even contemplated – which can be side effects of joint assembly! Of course, we can’t use it until the gas line is put in for it from the house.

Happy wife, happy life – and the new grill.

The rest of Tuesday saw work on the stairs to the garage deck and the deck itself.

End of day progress on Tuesday.

Wednesday saw more of the same.

Morning work Wednesday.
Now we had stairs all the way up on Wednesday!

Thursday saw a couple of things happen. First, Jonny Victor got a boom truck in and all the blue board got delivered – though work on it can’t start until – yes – windows and doors are in. At least this saves time climbing the new stairs.

The deck and stairs just got more attractive as the week went on.

Work began on the columns sheathing.
Different angle view, Thursday mid-day.
View from the back mid-day Thursday.

It was too dark to get a good shot of the total work – but Friday came and the fog, but it looked like this below.

Happy Friday morning showing fog and Thursday progress.

National Grid showed up and added loam and seed to the gas line excavation of last week.

National Grid repairing over the gas line excavation to the garage.

Our plumber was prepping to do some work, and asked about a vanity size. We also needed another solar cap for the deck posts (they are solar and are really cool at night – no pic yet as we needed 1 more). So, off to Home Depot for both and some more shelving for the cellar.

Before we left for Home Depot, this was the progress. You can also see the new grill on its new home.

On Saturday, I got to get a shot of the completed work. Not only is it amazing, but the views from it are as well. The deck height is higher than our home’s second story windows.

Week end progress!

Now, I mentioned I would add a couple of hobby items. Well, I have a few – three to be exact.

First, I was able to finish writing the update to my Civilizations Collide supplement for Feudal PatrolTM. This is a way to wargame the Spanish Conquest and do it quite historically. I am working on a book of scenarios for that too. When either is available for download, I’ll share that.

Second, as I was working on the supplement, it became clear that I needed to have a way of tracking damage on Cortes’ war wagons, as after enough Aztec slings and arrows and more have hit them, they would disintegrate into scrap lumber. I saw these nice Litko markers and got 4 for my war wagons.

Just in case you missed what a war wagon is!
These markers count down from (or up to) 20 – which is the amount of damage each war wagon has before they got into combat in one game scenario.

Lastly, I mentioned that we also have gotten shelving from Home Depot and have been assembling them and redoing storage in the cellar. We have put together 3 of these, 1 of these, and 1 of these. The last one replaced an old particle board printer stand that had been used for laundry soap, bleach, etc. It was messed up, and had a storage area under it. In the storage area were a couple of yearbooks from junior high I had not seen in a while, plus under the stand was a big lint-encrusted pewter figure of Marshal Michel Ney, the Bravest of the Brave, that I bought in France in the 1980’s! I was always fascinated by his story. However, I had zero idea how he ended up there.

Come, see how a Marshal of France can gather lint and dust!

Buck suggested that he would be a cool giant for a Wars of Ozz game, and Chris Palmer suggested that he could be a moss giant. I thought maybe a lint monster…but no, I’ll clean him up and put on a shelf as is.

Anyways, next week should have even more progress on the project – so thanks for looking and hope you found this interesting. Now I have blogs to read! (likely yours).

Our Garage+ Project – Week 12 Update

Week 12 saw work being done on both decks, and well as connection to the National Grid gas line. We also had Evandro Rodrigues from E&V Masonry (who works with Ready Installs) come out to lay out the paving stone areas and the proposed gas fire pit. They also placed the concrete floor in last week.

It’s a bit difficult to see, but the spray-painted orange lines designate the plan for paving stones. These patio stones will go under the garage deck and stairs, then connect to the house deck. The gas fireplace will be the round circle here.

Work continued on the house deck as you can see below.

The garage stairs were stabilized and set up for decking.

The stairs being braced and supports added.
Close up of previous shot.

On the garage deck, the Trex rain gutter system was installed. This will keep the patio underneath dry. It will feed into a gutter under the downspouts.

The downspouts fit between the joists (with some help).
Jon and Will prep the downspouts for Josh.
Josh Victor stapling in the downspouts.

After the downspouts were in, the membrane that will carry the water to them is installed with the proper slope and sealed.

You can see the membrane here (and Will’s head).
Top view of the deck.
Underneath view.

Friday was a very active day, as National Grid came in to excavate and place the gas line. We also had deliveries for the finishing of the garage deck and stairs.

National Grid begins cutting the street and sidewalk to excavate for the new gas line.
Cut that asphalt!
There’s a gas main here somewhere…
…found it!

The line went from the street to the back of the garage along the driveway. This will be a second line we will have, and will provide gas for the heating of the garage as well as the future fire pit. Below you’ll see some shots of the trenching, connecting, and the asphalt repair.

At the beginning of all this, Home Depot and Jonny Victor delivered a lot of the materials for the following week’s work – mainly for the garage deck and stairs.

As a side note of interest (well I found it cute), I’ll add the following. My daughter works in a hospital as a radiation therapist with cancer patients – and has early hours two weeks a month. I help, as she drops my granddaughter Tabitha off with me at 6 AM (which for a 4 year old is pretty early). I get her breakfast and generally have good quality time with her before I bring her to preschool. While waiting to get dropped off at 8 AM, the following happened – watch my granddaughter here enthralled with her “sparkly pants”. I admit, she makes a good case for them…

Anyways, back to the project! There is still a lot of work to go, but this was a busy week indeed. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share an even more active week on my next update. Thanks for looking and feel free to throw in your two cents (or whatever the equivalent is in your currency) in the comments section.

And I hope you enjoy your fashion choices as much as Tabitha does!

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