"Crotty News" Postings for:
June 2007 !

Construction Day 19
of our new house addition !

    Friday 01 Jun - We signed up for a Carnival cruise 13-21 October 2007. We're going with a large group of "Shag Dancers" from clubs here in Myrtle Beach. Our builder's father , Rick, introduced us to a couple of really fun night clubs from North Myrtle Beach all the way south to Surfside Beach. It's for us "old folks" so we don't stay out all night like certain "kids" whose names are Karen & Chuck! The cruise is called the "7th Annual Fun Blues Cruise" and it will be on the Carnival Liberty (ship name) departing from Ft Lauderdale, FL. We'll drive down and stay at a nearby hotel the night before departure (they also let us leave our car there for free). We'll be visiting San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau. We've never been to Antigua or Tortola, and they'll be plenty to see in the other places that we've already visited.

    We just installed a new 2 1/2 ton air/heat system in the new addition but the compressor for our existing/main 5 ton system also needs to be replaced. It is making loud clunking noises so I called the repairman in. He says it's like a piston in a cyclinder (like an automobile engine) and it's starting to go, but might last quite a while. Their office clerk gave me a price I liked, but after I signed the contract they discovered that they had erroneously estimated for a unit half the capacity I needed and it would cost another $850. It's working right now, so I think I'll run it to death and then replace it! ;-) The house addition is really coming along. The roofers finished today (only took two days) and the siding guys showed up around 8PM to measure what they needed. They'll start tomorrow. Electricians have done a bangup job (I added all sorts of extras). The County Inspector is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, and if all goes well, the sheetrock guys will start the interior. Then it's just painting, and installation of the flooring (rugs, ceramic tile, etc) and we're done. The builder said he could do it all in 30 days and he just might make it!

    Saturday 02 June - We haven't had any rain in weeks and I have been running my hoses and sprinkler system daily just to keep all my plants and grass ALIVE. Now there is this new tropical storm "BARRY" (oh Yeah!! ;-) in Florida dumping 4-6 inches, and it is expected to hit us with lots of rain too - HOPEFULLY! My garden is actually producing squash and tomatoes right now. For the past two years all my squash died before I could pick it so this year I planted squash in large plastic tubs. They're doing great!

    Sunday 03 June - My garden is starting to sprout! I picked three jalapenos and had them for dinner (with tacos) tonight! My squash is almost picking size! The tomato plants seem to grow 6 inches every day so I'm expecting some ripe ones in a few weeks or so. I also planted four packages (lots!) of squash seeds in trays and must transplant them soon -- they're getting big!

    Monday 04 June - Dale started going back to the gym today. Karen and Chuck have movers coming tomorrow to move their heavy furniture and stuff to their new home by the Arrowhead Golf Course. The insulation for our new addition was delivered today. The county inspector comes tomorrow and if he approves the work done so far, then the builder can do the insulation and then close up the interior walls with sheetrock.

    Also got an e-mail from Tracey, with pictures! Erika graduated from McKinley High School on Oahu today - Magna Cum Laude! Tropical Storm Barry is now just a "Depression" but it's dumping lots of needed rain on Tom Peterson's garden in North Carolina.

    Thursday 07 Jun - The County Inspector came today and gave our builder a long list of things that had to be corrected before he can put insulation and sheetrock up, so the builder called out his troops and soon they were ripping things out and re-doing them. We left for a Red Cross dinner for volunteers (Dale). When we came home we had windows in the addition! Doors are stacked in the new living room as well as boxes containing the two attic pull-down accesses (one for the office/den/library and the other for the porch ceiling). We assume (hope) that they will be working this weekend to get these things installed too.

    Friday 08 June - we drove up to Maryland to watch Jessica compete in the Special Olympics at Towson.

    Saturday 09 Jun - Kathy & Jessie stayed overnight in the Towson University's Tower "C" Dorms. The Special Olympics competitions are being held at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson this year because Towson University's track is being worked on. So after we all got our "Family Credentials" to hang around our necks, we watched Jessie compete in the Long Jump, 200 meter race and the baseball Throw. She won a Gold, Bronze and a Fifth Place! Afterwards there was a mini-Carnival set up in a nearby parking lot and all the competitors were able to win little stuffed animals and other nice prizes. A magician performed a great show, and a D.J. provided lots of music for the kids to dance to. We went back to the dorms with the team and were surprised to see how spartan the college dorm rooms are! No frills in these places!

    Sunday 10 Jun - Drove back to Myrtle Beach. Checked our e-mails. Dany is now back from the hospital and is doing better. They still don't know what caused his illness, but Susan says that he looks rested (what some people will do just for a good night's sleep ;-) Tracey sent us Alana's itinerary for her visit with us in July. Alana flies directly from Honolulu to Atlanta on 11 July and arrives at 7:49AM on the 12th. We'll drive to Atlanta on the 11th and meet her plane at the airport so she doesn't have to transfer to another flight. She'll be staying with us until 30 July! Kathy says that she, Tom and Jessie will come down for a visit while Alana's here too. Got an e-mail from Dale's cousin Alice in Freedom, NH! Charlie just finished renovating their upstairs bedroom - nice knotty pine walls! One of these days we hope to get up there during the summertime. It's beautiful! Some new friends of ours here in Myrtle Beach have been taking us to local clubs where the famous "SHAG" dancing takes place. It's close to the style of 1950's dance steps that Dale and I did in Massachusetts while growing up. It's lots of fun, and a good crowd of people, so we've just sent in our dues to join the "Society of Stranders" (Grand Strand is the nickname for the local beach), and when we get our membership cards we'll be able to get in to all the North Myrtle Beach clubs for free.

    Monday 11 Jun - E-mail from Tracey showing Alana soaring on a skateboard! She sure is getting big! Also e-mail from Chuck showing his parents' landscaping work in Tennessee. Beautiful! I think I'll steal some of their ideas when I start work in my back yard. The vinyl siding guys started at the back of the house today (by the kitchen) and have completed a couple of outside walls. It's a lot of "detail work" around several windows, so it took a bit of time (but looks pretty)! The builder has two people installing insulation right now (8:20PM!) and they've been working off and on at it all day. They have another project/house that they're working on, so they have to divide their time and resources. The inspection for the insulation is tomorrow so they want to complete that tonight and, if the inspector gives the OK, then they can sheetrock the ceiling and walls.

    Tuesday 12 Jun - Alana fell off her skateboard and chipped her front tooth!

    Wednesday 13 Jun - Well, the builder originally estimated that he could build our addition in a month (and I scoffed). Looks like he's going to be close. The Siding will be done today. The sheetrock man started today and thinks it will be done by the end of this week. Then the sanding painting etc. Last on the list will be the flooring company (carpets, tile), and they'll start after all the messy sheetrock sanding and painting is done. One of our good friends said "This guy clearly never contracted with the government…..the schedule would have doubled, the cost would have tripled, and it would be your fault for changing the requirements……. And then additional costs for fixing the mistakes. I think that sums up the government contractor scenario". Heheh! Yup! When it's all done we plan to install a large flat HDTV on the living room wall. Yesterday I wired the room for our surround-sound system before the sheetrock went up.

    Picked my first squash from my garden, and cooked it in oil for supper along with some jalapenos and store-bought tomatoes. Mmmmmm! Then Dale and I went out to watch new friends (our builder Aaron's father and mother) take "SHAG dance lessons". We are just watching for now -- we'll start beginner classes on July 10th or so.

    Thursday 14 Jun - Construction Day 32 (of home addition). One month ago today they started construction on our home addition. Aaron, our builder, brought in a team from North Carolina today to finish the sheetrock since it was such a big job. They finished in a few hours and left two guys behind to do the compounding work ("mudding" the seams of the sheetrock panels). Aaron then returned in the late afternoon with two of his guys and started filling the attic with blown-in insulation. With their many on-going projects in the Myrtle Beach area, they seem to be working day and night. Today I took apart and fixed another irrigation control valve on my sprinkler system, and also learned how to alter the sprinkler patterns and "arcs" so dry spots on my lawn are now getting watered automatically for the first time! Yay for Me!

    Friday 15 Jun - I've found that I have to be very watchful to make sure that the "next team" of workers on our home addition does not inadvertently cover up an area that still needs work (even so, the vinyl siding guys outfoxed me and covered up an outside plug/electrical box; and the sheetrock guys covered up one of my DSL connections). I'm also amazed at the amount of waste in the construction industry. The sub-contracted workers leave their tools everywhere - usually on the floor among the trash. I've personally saved a couple of expensive items from ending up in the dumpster. Speaking of which: I finally quit "dumpster diving" every night. I've got no more room in my little shed for lumber and plywood pieces that I've salvaged, not to mention the thousands of nails I've picked up from the dirt and lawn around the house!

    Sunday 17 Jun - Received some pictures from old friends in Maryland: they just returned from a trip to North Carolina, including the Vanderbilt Estate. A few months ago Dale made reservations for us to visit the Biltmore Estate this coming November (with Tom & Sue Peterson). We've never been there, so their pictures were a real treat.

    Spent most of the day spraying Miracle Gro and pesticides on the entire lawn, inch by inch. I figure that MiracleGro does wonders in the veggie garden so perhaps it will restore my lawn (looks like it worked!). Tonight we went to the movies and saw "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer". The critics panned it (gave it only 1 out of 5 stars possible) but as per usual the snobby critics don't understand that we have had a lifetime of handling complex situations and world crises. Sometimes we just want to be entertained by a movie that washes over you, without having to decipher an intricate plot, to require us to discover the meaning of life, to closely track too many characters, to determine the denouement (the final resolution of the intricate plot) and all the other #$%^&* they consider to be indicative of "real", "meaningful" movies.

    The workers put the sheetrock up and will come back tomorrow to sand it down. They also installed the runners for the screens -- a newfangled way of installing screens - easier to replace and look nice too. Still a lot of detail work to be done, and once the place is "closed up" (doors lock, air conditioning system working etc) we'll then take out the existing doors to the kitchen and the sliding doors to the current living room, and open up all that space too. I spent today spraying the entire yard with Spectracide insect killer (everything from mosquitoes to grubs), and then sprayed it again with MiracleGro -- especially the lawn. I put a Weed & Feed on the lawn last month and it certainly killed the weeds! Unfortunately it left lots of bare spots of my "lawn" too, so I'll never do that again! Now I'm trying to recover, and fortunately the lawn is doing better than I thought it would.

    Monday - Tuesday 18 - 19 Jun - Sheetrock (also known as drywall) has been "compounded" (or "mudded"). It's dry and now and sanding has begun. Two young Russians from Siberia showed up. They've been hired to spray bleach on the roof stains and then power wash it all away (the existing/old roof has black stains, as do lots of homes here in Myrtle Beach). They did a good job but then the power washer nozzle broke, so Aaron has them doing other tasks.

    Tonight I figured out how to load short VIDEO CLIPS (from my digital camera) onto my web site! I also found a program to convert the camera's QuickTime video format (large files) to Windows Media Video (smaller files).

    Wednesday 20 Jun - I spent the last three days puttering around in my "side garden", the small one nearest the Pinfeather street. I insalled black plastic lawn edging around the three wax myrtle bushes that I've shaped into topiary, and around the roses and day lillies. Then I bought several truckloads of red-stained mulch and "decorated" all the plantings on that side of the house. Looks great!

    The home addition is coming along just a bit slower than the "breakneck speed" they were maintaining earlier. We're now down to the detail work so digital pictures don't show big changes from day to day. However, the porch is almost all screened in. They added the baseboard and sanded down all the walls and ceiling today (during a huge rainstorm)!! Good thing our new concrete floor is high off the surrounding ground, otherwise we would have been flooded out!! Probably will start painting in a day or two.

    I had to pull up two of my tomato plants today (the two grape tomato plants - ratz!!). They were withering away. I was afraid that they might be diseased or something and didn't want them to spread whatever they "caught" to the remaining tomatoes. I sprayed the remining plants with a fungicide I had for roses (it's all I had) and it seems to have halted the spread of the disease. Hopefully! We had thunderstorms and heavy showers all day, and around 5PM we had a thunderstorm and heavy, heavy rain for over an hour. I had three "lakes" in front of the new addition and was afraid that I was going to pollute my next door neighbor's yard with runoff from all the dirt. Luckily it was contained in the back yard. We've never had such heavy, prolonged rain since we've lived here.

    Thursday - Friday 21 - 22 Jun - The painters primed the walls and ceiling on Thursday and finished the ceiling and walls on Friday. Only the trim work remains to be done. The workers installed all the doors and the fans on the porch Thursday. Then they opened a hole for a small outside access door to the attic over the high-gabled living room, and used it to fill the attic ceiling space with blown-in insulation. The air conditioning technician showed up and said he'd be here on monday to install all the inside registers and then wire the system up. Aaron and his two main guys finished the three remaining screens on the porch! Looks great! Very elegant! Then they lifted all the 4x8 sheets of OSB (like plywood) into the attic. After the Inspector says that the attic insulation was done OK, the guys will lay down these sheets as flooring for our upstairs rooms. It'll feel good to be able to move all our "storage stuff" into these much larger spaces. We've had our stuff jammed into the space above the garage for three years and Dale looks forward to discovering her "missing items" again. Aaron had installed french doors with windows on the porch because the inspector wanted the "doors up" and he wasn't able to find screen doors immediately. Aaron was going to change them out for regular screen doors but offered to leave the french doors for no additional cost if we wanted them. Sounded good to me. Aaron also blew in insulation over the porch ceiling in case we ever want to close the porch in! That wasn't part of our contract so it's another freebie I had not expected. You can tell that things are now "winding down" because Aaron had the Port-A-Potty removed! They loaded up and removed all the excess bulding supplies too (but they left me lots of wood/lumber).

    So, here we were relaxing on Friday night, watching a DVD, when approximately 10:00PM I hear water dripping in the bathroom and spare bedroom. I find a stream of water pouring from the ceiling light, falling onto the bed (soaked!) and floor. Dale and I went up in the cramped attic and spent an hour searching for the source of this water leak. The air handler and major components of our air conditioning system are in the attic. After sweeping aside "tons" of soaked insulation, and spreading myself flat across the joists (Oh my poor aching back!) I found that one of the workers had stepped on the air conditioning unit's drain pipe and snapped it out of the PVC elbow which provided drainage access to the outside. So, for over a week the water had been leaking onto our ceiling instead of draining outside. Luckily the only damage appears to be a weak spot in the ceiling drywall/sheetrock, and the need to repaint.

    Saturday 23 Jun - Woke up to find two workers removing the decorative metal that surrounds the outside of the two sets of glass sliding doors and the two half-circle windows above the sliding doors. Then they sheetrocked the entire wall (used to be the outside wall, where our patio was). The next step will be to remove the sliding doors and windows so that we will have symetrical passageways from the dining room (currently our living room) to the new living room.

    Sunday 24 Jun - Painters showed up to paint the wood trim around the inside doors and windows. It's very hot and muggy outside, so I figured that I'd stay in and work on the web site ;-) The plants in my front garden are now all blooming and it really does look beautiful! Passersby stop to tell me how they "love what I've done" and a neighbor had his landscapers come over to see if they could replicate part of it in his yard. I'll take some current pictures of it and post them to the site later.

    Monday 25 Jun - The electricians arrived early A.M. I woke up at 7:45AM and they had already installed several plugs along the porch kneewall. They finished installing most of the electrical fixtures but left the breakers swiotched off until they come back and finish up tomorrow. I spent much of today unloading red-dyed cypress mulch and placing it in my long flower/bush garden separating our house and our neighbor. It makes such a difference (looks very neat) and highlights all the flowers.

    Tuesday 26 Jun - We have lights! Fans! Phone lines! DSL lines! Power! The electricians gave me an extra outside junction box along the porch, so I dug up a troublesome electrical cable that ran to my backyard shed. The previous owner had buried a splice in the cable near the sunroom, so every time it rained the circuit breaker shut off. I disconnected the cable from the sunroom, and cut off the bad segment of the cable, and re-ran the good portion of it into the new box. Power to the shed! Yippee!

    Wednesday-Thursday 22-28 Jun - I'm losing track of time. Nobody showed up to work on the house addition. I think that I used these two days to haul decorative stones from the 4-5 foot wide perimeter of the house and used them to surround trees and bushes on the Pinfeather Trail side of our house. They really look good! (See the PHOTOs menu).

    Friday 29 Jun - Wal-Mart is selling large potted rhododendrons on sale for $15 apiece, so I bought six of them yesterday. planted them in front of the new addition, and covered the area surrounding them with red cypress mulch. Nice! Joe, the new carpenter, installed a cut-down access door to the attic area over the living room. I didn't want a pull-down in our living room ceiling so the door is outside, under the gable - about 13 feet above the ground and accessible only with an extension ladder. It's hidden somewhat by the branches of the oak tree, so it's not unsightly. I'll use that attic space for excess building materials (soffit, vinyl siding, ceramic tiles, linoleum, rug remnants, etc.) and other things that I don't expect to need often. Tommy and his two Siberian helpers laid most of the ceramic tile on the porch. It's in a diagonal pattern that Dale wanted (looks very good)! Dale picked up her PT Cruiser from Jack's Auto Body shop today (she backed into my little ole red truck a few days ago).

    Saturday 30 Jun - I've been busy doing more plantings (bushes - legustrum) and the builder's guys have been coming over for a bit and then leaving for another job, so nothing much has been happening here except for the past two days. As of tonight they have only a few more (2 or 3!) ceramic tiles to lay and then Dale's porch floor will be ready to be grouted (half the floor is already grouted). Joe has been a fireball. He finished all the work on our doors, so we can now lock the place up. He also took down the sliding glass doors and the half-circle windows above the sliding doors today, so our existing house is now completely open and joined to the new addition. I put the new air conditioner system on today and locked all the doors, so we are now "self-contained" for the first time since building started on the addition. Joe is coming back tomorrow to remove the existing kitchen door (formerly opened to the outside patio) and make it into a larger passageway to what is now our new living room. Then he'll close off the existing kitchen passageway to the old living room (now our new dining room). (Did you understand all that ? ;-)

Love,     &nbs;       Regards,
Dad & Mom     &nbs;       Barry & Dale