Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cool new technology

One of the biggest challenges in DIY is the fact that you can't figure out what's inside a wall - a stud, electrical stuff, etc. The closest you can get is a stud finder (which by the way is a must-have for anyone).

But I read about this cool new technology in Time magazine this week. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1934027_1934003_1933981,00.html

It's a portable microwave camera that delivers high quality images of objects behind walls, floors, ceilings and other solid objects.
Not sure if it can reheat my mac&cheese, and it's a bit expensive, but very cool nonetheless...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Diggin' the landscaping

Looks like I'm on the verge of committing to the first MAJOR project: landscaping the backyard. Met with a great landsaping company today to view initial sketches - great stuff. If they pull this off, the backyard will be unrecognizable. Pictures to come, and updates. But right now, off to the "finance department" to develop the budget.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Playroom project...update

Yes, I did in fact finish the play room paint job on Sunday. The yellow the wife chose is great against the hardwood floors.

I did learn something valuable that could help anyone doing some painting (at least I didn't realize it until Sunday): I ended up doing an unintentional "Pepsi Challenge" of paint tape (you know, the blue tape you use to edge the ceiling and doors/windows"). There are two types of tape - one is much rougher on the non-stick side and feels thicker; the other (made by 3M) is smoother and more pliable.

Anyways, the rougher tape peels paint from the surface it is stuck to - I found out as it tore quarter sized spots of paint off the ceiling (whcih is great because now I have to touch up the ceiling). So if you are choosing paint tape - choose the smooth 3M kind - it'll save you more work.

So this weekend is the next step - closet work, and perhaps window treatments and other organization. Finished photos to follow...

Sunday, October 11, 2009


First coat finished just as Philadelphia Freedom closed out on the iPod. Now on to coat number two (those stripes are tough to cover!) accompanied by Ben Harper's Fight for Your Mind, featuring one of my top 10 playlist songs, Ground on Down.

Kick off...before kick off

Yesterday was play day.

A great day at the Fall Festival hosted at the Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, NY (Hudson Valley). Good times, good wine, beautiful weather and the kids were pooped by the time we got home.

Today is work day, trying to get it donw before the 1pm kick off. Kids are at a birthday party, so I'm on my own to get things going.

Today's project will focus on the play room, a second floor bedroom that currently boasts an "interesting" paint scheme. Vertical stripes of two shades of brown, and a stripe of red. The previous owner said his wife saw the design in a magazine, and worked tirelessly on paiting it. He joked when he left that he hoped we would keep the stripes. Hate to disappoint you, but it's going...today.

In its place, my wife has chosen a Behr Premium Plus eggeshell in the color of Summer Harvest, a bright yellow that should lighten the room up considerably.

Painting first, then off to Home Depot to pick up the ClosetMaid shelving units for one of the two closets.

The musical accompaniment for today's painting project will be "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" by Elton John.

I'm off

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Looking down the barrel of the weekend

Saturday will be a lost day. Planning to head with the family to the Benmarl Fall Festival at the Benmarl Winery, America's Oldest Vineyard (http://www.benmarl.com/). So that leaves Sunday as my project day; and given that I'll be at a wine festival all day Saturday, I don't anticipate an early start on Sunday.

So I've got to choose this weekend's project wisely. I'm sure everyone can relate - so many projects, so little time, and not wanting to live 5-6 days staring unfinished projects. (And oh yes, I could pull 4 hours after work before I had kids - but no more).

So here are my options:

Option 1: Punching Up the Playroom:

One of the upstairs bedrooms is a playroom (my two oldest wanted to share a room and get bunkbeds, so we have an extra unused bedroom). The room, however, need some sprucing up. A new coat of paint (the previous owners painted some nasty stripes), a little area rug to keep the little tootsies warm, and some shelving for the closets to organize and store. The wife chose a bright yellow to lighten up the room (Behr eggshell). Also thinking of some basic ClosetMaid elements from Home Depot (http://www.homedepot.com/Storage-Closet-Storage/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5Zaqud/h_d2/Navigation?&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&langId=-1) due to the functionality of it - I assume the two oldest will NOT want to share a room until college, so the closet org system has to be applicable and interchangeable for whomever takes the room eventually. The room also has a double closet - the wife is jockeying for one to include a built in work top and shelves for crafts and such, even thought she doesn't do crafts (DAMN YOU THRIFTY HOME ORGANIZATION MAGAZINES!).

Option2: Puttering Potluck:

Since we moved in there are a few odds and ends I haven't been able to get to. Simple stuff but it all adds up. The potluck package, should I choose it, would include caulking the shower in the master bath (I have a drip somewhere and short of punching a gaping hole in my kitchen ceiling, I will simply try to fill every crack I can find), filling a 4-inch jagged hole in the kid's bathroom where a certain pre-schooler hung from the towel rack and promtly yanked the whole damn thing out. As I was telling my fellow DIY'er P Zak today, it's not small enough to patch with the mesh or metal cover - mesh is soft and too weak in big holes, and the metal patch is never smooth when you mud it), so it's a little involved what with cutting a piece of sheetrock and all. Mowing the back lawn, and some wood splitting and cutting...WITH MY NEW CHAINSAW! AAARGH!

Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Here we go

In July of 2009, my wife and I took the leap - we purchased a single family home in suburban New Jersey. With visions of summers swimming at the lake, crisp fall weekends playing with the kids among the leaves, cold winter nights being warmed by the fireplace, and springtime birds chirping a welcome to new leaves budding on the majestic oaks, we anxiously signed away on the dotted line to give our family a slice of 21st century suburband Americana.

And then...reality set in. There a HUGE difference between a three floor walk up townhome and a single family center hall colonial. And I am finding out just how much of a difference there is.

Our castle sits within a beautiful lake community that echos with the sounds of suburban living - children laughing and playing, leaf blowers and lawn mowers from the landscaping companies fulfilling their daily obligations, barking of dogs bouncing throughout the wooded lots as they chase the occassional squirrel or chipmunk. Sounds wonderful, don't it?

Well, with each passing day, my lovely home presents a new, previously unknown imperfection that challenges my sanity, my skill and my patience. My children stand by and watch as the grand old colonial mocks me with its creaks and groans.

But I will prevail, even if it takes me until 2039. This is my vow...and these are my stories...