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
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
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.
However, Evandro was still at work that Sunday trying to take advantage of the good weather.
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.
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 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.
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.
Week 19 – November 21st to 27th
On the 22nd, I was scheduled for minor surgery at noon – and I checked out the project. Siding work continued.
The surgery went ok, but I was pretty much out the rest of the day! Anesthesia and I do not work well together…
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.
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.
This was Thanksgiving – so no work happened of course. But the project looked like this below – and its getting colder.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, Evandro began his color applications and shaping.
He did the same with the fire pit wall.
After this, the weather was lousy the rest of the week. And then it got cold before it got rainy again.
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.
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.
There was q lot of digging – and please note that this was done all by hand – no equipment other than hand tools.
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.
Friday saw a continuation of Thursday’s efforts.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
The rest of Tuesday saw work on the stairs to the garage deck and the deck itself.
Wednesday saw more of the same.
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.
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.
National Grid showed up and added loam and seed to the gas line excavation of last week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Work continued on the house deck as you can see below.
The garage stairs were stabilized and set up for decking.
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.
After the downspouts were in, the membrane that will carry the water to them is installed with the proper slope and sealed.
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.
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!
The project continues! Although I was so late with Week 10 that I decided to combine weeks 10 and 11. As you will see from this post – a lot went on from September 19-October 2, 2021. Some of it involved construction, some not – as you will see. I’ll do my level best to make this interesting by including not only some construction photos, some other stuff, to include golf and a bit of hobbies!
There are a lot of pictures here – click on any of them for a bigger view.
Let’s start with electrical work and some progress around the cellar. Wait, the cellar? Why there? Aren’t you building a new garage and house deck Mark? All valid questions that I am presupposing that you may be asking! So let me attempt clarification.
To power the new building, I needed to get the service upgraded from 100 amps to 200 amps. Our electrical service meter and box was in the back of the house over the old (now removed) house deck. Previously, electrical power came from the National Grid pole out front on the street to the house then went along the soffit and into the cellar at the back right-hand corner of the house if you will. The plan was to make this bigger and better by moving the meter and building a new box for it at the front left corner of the house. A new hole had to be drilled for the new power cable, and that needed to be run to a new replacement distribution box in the basement. This work occurred on September 21st.
Drilling through the old sill was a bitch. The sill was quite thick – 13″ – and made of solid oak. The hole drilling destroyed two hole saw bits.
Outside, work went on the new meter box and running the cable and hooking it up to the power grid.
Back in the cellar, the old distribution box mounting monstrosity was removed and a new sheet of plywood and some lumber from the garage build was used to build a suitable mount. The new configuration is bigger and we will need to move the dryer to the wall to the left of the distribution box so that the vent hose is not right next to it. But, as we were using the old the shelves I never got around to paint it as you can see – and it looked like hell.
Also, I need to back up a bit. It had been necessary for me to clear a lane along the wall for the electricians to run the power cable prior to their starting work. After I did that, I got a good chance to look at the wall and the crappy homemade shelving/cabinet. I noticed a lot of old paint flaking on the wall near the dryer vent and some puckering where I had painted the corner in the front left of the house. The puckering was due to efflorescence, not water leaking, even with the excessive rain we have had this summer. An old dry well that I had built over a decade ago in the front left corner of the house was no longer doing its job, so the rain water outside the basement wall was not properly draining – leading to the efflorescence bubbling up behind the paint. We decided that the shelving cabinet needed to go and the wall repainted.
Before I did that, I rebuilt the drywell. When I originally built it, I had dug down about 3 feet and hit sand, so I had then assumed that the soil was free-draining. When I dug this time, I went a bit deeper, and to my surprise I found that there was yet another soil layer under the sand. This one was a loamy clay – that does not drain well. So, I dug down another 3 feet and backfilled it all with sand from the excavations in the backyard. I replaced the downspout extensions and doubled the length. The we covered the area with a filter fabric and then covered that with river stones.
I then spent the time to take down the shelving/cabinet with my wife. She was able to recycle the doors as shelving in another section of the cellar. I scraped off any flaking paint and exposing any efflorescence. Then, I used a mildly acidic product, Drylok Etch, across the wall to clean and prep for painting with bright white Drylok Extreme (both from Home Depot). This took a while, but came out well. We are taking the opportunity to clear out some stuff and have a yard sale this weekend to get some new homes for some good stuff we don’t need anymore. Plus, I can’t do any hobbies as you can see below!
Back in the garage, the septic line was stubbed up in the floor with a cleanout.
On the 24th, it was time to place the concrete floor in the garage. I say “place” and not “pour” because that was drilled into me in the US Army Corps of Engineers as the appropriate terminology – and that stuck.
This was no problem as this plywood will be removed eventually when the door is installed.
Because of the many rain days, Andy Cormier arranged to get help to finish off the septic line installation.
Having the septic line in the ground and attached to the septic tank allowed for its backfilling as well as work to proceed on the driveway excavation.
On Monday, September 27th, Lynn and I participated in the annual West Point Society of New England’s annual charity golf tournament, along with our friends, Lisa and Jim Kularski. This year, the beneficiary was Homes for our Troops. It was a nice break while construction work continued.
When we returned home, there was a lot of dirt moved around. It turned out that the soil under the driveway had the same layering issue that I found in my dry well excavation – so a lot had to go, and be replaced with clean fill.
Of course, Tuesday the 28th brought yet more downpouring rain. Therefore, earthwork and any other work could not happen. We only got a delivery of deck material for the house deck.
On Wednesday the 29th, the skies cleared and work could proceed. The driveway was excavated and brought to grade. Old asphalt, and interfering roots and stumps (including a 4-5 ton maple tree stump) were removed in this process.
At the end of the day, the driveway was filled, and all the holes were filled in.
The next work skipped a day (rain), and that involved the framing of the replacement house deck. This was October 1st. Jonny also got ready to install the rain gutter system for the garage deck.
To make up lost time to rain, work continued on the deck on Saturday the 2nd. This weekend I had not one but two competitive golf tournaments. The first was on Saturday which was the Finals of the Tour of the Brookfields. If you are on Facebook, the group link is here. I am a member of the committee. My team was in the lowest division, but we did not come in the top three. Still, congrats to the winners!
After the tournament, I returned to see progress on the house deck.
So, a lot of progress was made over the two weeks!
(Lastly, I previously mentioned a couple things that I need to circle back to – the first being the Sunday Founder’s tournament at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club (where I am a member). This was an individual event and I played better, but not well enough to be the winner (only one male and one female winner out of dozens of players so no big deal). However, back during the annual club championship (a two-day 36-hole tournament of individual medal play from the back tees) on July 31-August 1st – I was able to play my best golf of the year (98/88 for a net 2 over par for the event) and win the D flight against 11 others. So Sunday, I got my reward.
What you see here left to right is a comic statue that belonged to my grandfather Marcus (a WWII vet who gave me a love of golf), my unlucky conquistador “Franco”, my trophy, and as it’s October, my Halloween mini-diorama with Ral Partha 25mm figures of classic monsters from the 30’s Universal Studios movies.
Ah, but I digress – week 12 is well underway and I will have much more to share. I hope that you enjoyed this and thanks for looking!
Last week (September 12-18, 2021) was unfortunately the slowest progress week to date. Gravel was spread under the new house deck location and some more asphalt was removed there as well. We also got our first plumber visit and a lot of action is happening that is not actual construction.
For example, we were able to get a visit from Door Systems of Worcester so that we could evaluate options and order a garage door. The bad news is that that door will take 3 months to arrive. COVID-19-related delays are a factor beyond anyone’s control.
This week should prove to be more active – Andy Cormier is back from vacation, so digging will recommence on the sewer line and the driveway. And much electrical work will be happening, with our service upgrade (needed for the new building demands and more) as well as some plumbing too.
Thanks for staying with me. I turned 59 this week, so I still believe that this project will get done before I turn 60!
The project continues into week #8. This week, with Labor Day on Monday, was a short one, but work did get done. If you remember, this project also includes work on our back yard, driveway, and back deck. This is the deck attached to the house – as opposed to the one attached to the garage. It will be bigger and more functional than the current one. Foot traffic into the house will be rerouted and the driveway reconfigured here.
Given the amount of previous work done, there was a need to reorganize the site a bit on Tuesday September 7th and Wednesday September 8th. Excess materials were returned for credit and site trash and leftover pieces of “stuff” (shingles, lumber, plywood, etc.) were picked up and carted away.
On September 9th, work on the back deck went into high gear. It was removed and carted away.
Surprisingly, there was an old asphalt landing under the dirt here that I found while removing a decades worth of leaves that had blown through the lattice found a home under our mudroom!
On Thursday September 9th, the father and son team from Ready Installs (Jon and Jonny Victor) measured for the new piers for the house deck. Later on Thursday, it rained a lot – AGAIN.
Meanwhile Mike Astrella (electrician) was busy getting light positions chosen, as well as working on the rough electrical for both the upstairs and downstairs of the new building.
On Friday, I made a few supply runs to Home Depot in Auburn and EW Electrical Wholesalers in Worcester to get overlooked electrical supplies and materials.
Also on Friday, the house deck piers arrived.
On Saturday, September 11th, the piers were installed and backfilled.
That’s the progress for the week of September 5-11. We are getting there. Hope that you are enjoying these summaries!
Wow – we are almost two months into this building project now. This week (August 29 – September 4, 2021) was REALLY busy as you’ll see below. My photos focused on the more active stuff – so I hope you find them and the continuing saga of this project interesting.
First, I was able to get some shots on the interior work on the second floor.
Jon and and Jonny Victor (the father and son team of Ready Installs) showed up early to check out the project’s progress.
Next, the first order of business on Monday, August 30th, was to get the deck header up. This involved installing an ice-water barrier (which the crew decorated with a muscle-man drawing of Raphael as it will never be seen again), and nailing the header.
Inside the garage, work on installing furring in the ceiling went on.
At this point, we had a need to get some construction synchronized dance going. To start the deck we needed get the piers in for the deck – which required excavation and careful measurement. Also, the septic line needed to be started. Andy Cormier returned with his excavator and crew to do this. There were quite a few roots in the ground from a previously removed pine tree.
Once the trench was right, each 600-lb. pier was put in, and checked for accurate placement.
After this, Andy backfilled the trench.
On Tuesday, August 31st, work continued apace. The framing of the deck began as well as work on a septic line and more.
When Andy was safely done, work could get going on the deck supports. Temporary supports were used and then the main deck supports were attached to the piers.
Wednesday saw more of the same – deck progress. I was out so I did not get as many photos. The crew had to wrap it up early as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida were coming with heavy rain predicted Wednesday-Thursday.
Ah, but the rain came heavy – BUT – it was only overnight and gone by the morning of Thursday September 2nd – so happily work could continue on the deck and second floor in preparation for Saturday roofing.
No construction happened Friday as the roofing crew was going to hit the ground running on Saturday. And hit the ground early they did at 7 AM!
The roofing crew was done in 4 hours – and now we are ready for another good week. We did also work o Saturday with one of Jon’s patio specialists to define what our patio would look like and that should be very exciting and gorgeous – but you’ll have to wait to see that (like us).
Thanks for taking a look here – and what do you think of the progress so far? We have a good ways to go, and as the Starks (and EVERY New Englander) says, “Winter is Coming”…so we are certainly wanting sooner than later.
For those of you who are wondering if I will EVER get back to hobby stuff, I will. I am using some time to rewrite and add onto my Aztec supplement for Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™ in Mesoamerica (Civilizations Collide). New and improved (I hope).
Also, I am writing a good number of scenarios too. Plus, golf season is winding down in the next six weeks, so that’s happening too.
Last week (August 22-28, 2021) was a stop-and-go affair for the project. As I mentioned in my last post, Tropical Storm Henri hit us with wind and rain Sunday-Monday, so progress on work was delayed until Tuesday the 24th.
At that point, things went fast as you’ll see below – until Friday. There was a crack three-man crew of Raphael (supervisor), yet another Raphael, and Enrique who arrived and worked like men possessed. This despite that the weather was really hot all three days – mid-90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 36 Celsius for you metric folks). There is really no shade either in our yard.
At the end of the day, here below was the progress for the week – on Thursday.
Friday the project got held up as we needed to get the deck piers excavated – and the excavator did not make it to the site. Also, the pre-fabricated concrete deck piers would need to be moved to the other side of the building, and they weigh about 600 lbs. each. Ironically, the heat broke Thursday night and Friday was nice and in the 70’s. But it is August, so….the heat will be back, even in September. Of course it could snow in October…
I’m looking forward to more progress coming during the week of August 29th to September 4th. Stay tuned!