« March 2007 | Main | May 2007 »

April 30, 2007

Bathroom: Day 6

Friday since Stanley was out of town and couldn't work on getting the floor ready for the tilers, nothing happened. This weekend Carol was in town and I went with her and mom to pick some "beige" tile for the hall bathroom, along with an inset at eye level and bullnose along the edges. I'd have been just as happy with white, but everyone seems to think the main bathroom should look nicer than mine.

Stanley got back today and things got back in gear. In the master bathroom, the toilet, shower door, and shower fixtures were installed. The vanity was put in place but doesn't have fixtures yet. That's still pretty good because they were saying the shower door had to be custom made and wouldn't be here until this Friday. Mom had bought a shower rod at Target on Friday so I could use it, but I didn't open it so now I should be able to take it back.

The toilet seems to work fine. It's a little anti-climatic given the raves this thing got. It doesn't flush quite as powerfully or as quickly as I thought, but anything that seemed super powerful would also make a lot of noise. It does fill pretty quickly. Also, I had thought it had dual flush (where you can use 0.8 gallons instead of 1.6 gallons for flushing liquids), but apparently that's not the case.

Also, after seeing the shower fixtures in place, I think I would have rather had cross handles instead of lever handles (not that it is easy finding them). I didn't try the shower out. Stanley said I should wait until tomorrow morning so the silicone sealant would cure, but the shower floor was already kind of wet, so somebody tried it out. There is some dust and dirt in there that I wouldn't want going down the drain, though at most times during construction the drains are jam-packed with debris.

New Toilet Shower

In the hall bath Stanley went to town on the floor and got most of it covered. He is able to use notched floor beams to frame into the joist (the joists are inverted T's). But without an assistant today and a bigger bathroom to work on, he simply couldn't finish it today. Hopefully tomorrow he will have all of the plywood down and the tiling can start on Wednesday. There is a chance they could start tiling tomorrow afternoon.

Sink New floor beams

In the meantime, Susan is staying at her mom's another day, so I will be at her house again watching the dogs.

Previously: Day 5

Next: Day 7

April 26, 2007

Bathroom: Day 5

They didn't do anything on the master bathroom, but instead worked on gutting the hall bath today. Miguel told me that this time he was prepared and had a jackhammer he had borrowed from Stanley.

When I got home today the bathroom was definitely gutted. There was some rotten wood near the corner of the tub. Stanley is out of town, so we will probably wait until he gets back so he can decide how to proceed. Even if he keeps most of this wood, he will have to bring the height of the floor up some.

One significant problem is the house now has no functioning toilets or showers, so I am stuck at Susan's house regardless. The shower will work pretty soon, but the shower door won't be ready until the end of next week (they measured yesterday, which I guess is for the best since they only got the tile up yesterday). . They said on Monday they should be able to get the new toilet and install that and, failing that, will install the old toilet temporarily. And I will need to put up a shower curtain for the shower until the door is ready This is a little annoying. The toilet should have probably been at the house already since I told Stanley what I wanted and where to get it last Friday. Today they tried to buy one in Tucker but it was about $50 more than the place I had recommended and for which Stanley said he had an account.

Jackhammer Tub

Sink Damage near tub

Previously: Day 4

Next: Day 6

April 25, 2007

Bathroom: Day 4

This morning the sheetrock guy showed up while I was taking the dogs for a walk.

When I got home there were two Latino guys on my front steps. I asked them where their car was and they said they rode the subway. I said "Me too, but I drove from the station." I even showed them my MARTA card. I asked if they wanted a ride to MARTA. But since MARTA means something in Spanish, I don't think they knew what I was talking about. Turns out they spoke very little English. Maybe they were actually telling me where they got lunch when they said "Subway." They did communicate that their cell phone wasn't working so I let them use mine and they called Miguel. He was there a few minutes later. We all went in and looked at the day's work.

All of the sheetrock was in place and the tile was all up and grouted. It looks really good and they tiled up higher than it was before, all the way above the showerhead, so once again exceeding expectations since I wasn't sure they would do that. There is still some work to do sealing around the showerhead and handles and adding fixtures. Plus I'm not sure when I will paint, though it seems like it would be best to paint before everything goes back in. They can do what they want because Susan went out of town until next week and, rather than keep her dogs in a construction zone, I just moved in to her house.

Shower Toilet

Previously: Day 3

Next: Day 5

April 24, 2007

Bathroom: Day 3

Stanley arrived much earlier today and when the doorbell rang I was still in the shower (not nearly as private now that there is a giant hole in the wall). He decided to go ahead and remove the rest of the tile on the wall between the two bathrooms. This meant removing the sink and toilet, though he would later put the toilet back. Mom checked up on progress later in the day. Apparently they hadn't counted on me asking for a bullnose border and thought I would use flat tile (which "most people" do now). I still want that classic look though. Anyway, that caused some trouble because Miguel hadn't counted on that and had to add an extra quarter inch of backing board to get the extra thickness needed for the bullnose. He explained this to me when I got home and he was about to leave. Still, I was impressed with the progress. They got the shower pan and mortar all in, along with some of the shower wall tile and some of the floor tile.

Miguel says the tiling should be finished tomorrow. I should have a functioning master bathroom by the end of the week.

Shower Toilet

Previously: Day 2

Next: Day 4

April 23, 2007

Bathroom: Day 2

I was worried that Stanley would try to reuse a lot of the wood in the bathroom or the piece of plywood that had been put in when the shower pan had been fixed previously. However, his plan was much more drastic than I imagined. He spent all day in there with a sawzall cutting out all of the old floor joists, installing new 2x8 joists and crossmembers, and then putting plywood over the top of that. He says it is now ready for the tile man to come in tomorrow and install the floor. Over the weekend, Mom, Susan, and I picked out some slate-colored floor tile and some 4-inch square white tile for the shower walls and floor.

Shower Toilet

Since I had a holiday today, I was home. Stanley said it would be helpful for the tile installation to go ahead and knock out the tile near the shower now. That way they wouldn't mess up the new shower grout by sledgehammering right next to it. I let them go ahead and knock out some of the tile in the hall bathroom, resulting in this hole:


Previously: Day 1

Next: Day 3

April 20, 2007

Bathroom: Day 1

This morning Stanley came by and started removing the plumbing from the bathroom. By the time I had left for work the toilet was out and lying on its side in the front yard next to the vanity. Later in the day he had the tile man come and they had the thankless task of removing the tile and flooring. The mud bed under the floor tile was up to 5 inches deep. To get that depth they had to build a false floor below the top of the floor joists. So the floor joists actually stick up into the mud bed some.

Vanity Toilet

They also discovered a lot of rotten wood around the shower walls:

Shower Drain

Back in the old days, medicine cabinets always had a slot in the back marked "razors". When you were done with a razor blade you put it in the slot. They just drop into the wall behind the framing like this:

Razor Blades

Next: Day 2

Previously: Before

April 19, 2007


I went to look at bathroom fixtures and sinks last night. I think I am going to go with a pedestal sink made by American Standard.

aswmpedestal.jpgThe style is called Williamsburg and is sold exclusively through Home Depot. This bugs me because the only reason they do this is to eliminate price competition, but what are you going to do? They also sell Williamsburg style fixtures. Though they come in a lot of different finishes, I think I will pick the regular chrome with ceramic handles. They come with a lifetime warranty on the finish and operation, so they should last. They use washerless ceramic valves so they shouldn't drip either.

aswmtallsink.jpg aswmsink.jpg

Then I can get shower and tub fixtures that match as well. There are still tons of choices to be made. One is whether I want to get individual hot and cold knobs in the shower or the single knob. I'm thinking individual knobs. For the sink they have a low faucet and a high faucet. Mom says she likes the high faucet better.


High Performance Toilet

I've been shopping around for stuff for my two bathroom remodels (demolition on the master bath starts tomorrow!). I found a good online community at GardenWeb. The people there absolutely rave about the Toto Drake toilet. Early 1.6 gallon per flush toilets had some serious problems with clogging, self-cleaning, and needing multiple flushes. From there someone posted a site where a guy rates low-flow toilets and ranked the Drake at the top even though you can spend a lot more. The remaining question is whether I want to spend $312 for the higher ADA-compliant model or $234 for the conventional height seat. I am going to see if my GC can get these installed. Maybe I'll spring for an ADA one in the main bathroom.

Bathroom: Before

I thought I would post progress pictures of the bathroom remodel. I'm having the master bathroom done first because its shower is not usable. So once they get it working, they can start on the hall bathroom. This bathroom is very small, with a shower at one end, a vanity that I installed several years ago and a toilet. Before I moved in, the inspector noticed the shower pan was leaking so I had that replaced by the owner. Unfortunately they didn't do a very good job and within a year or so I wasn't able to use the shower because it was causing the plaster on the other side of the wall to peel and the new tiles around the bottom of the shower were coming loose.

Vanity Toilet

These pictures show the hall bath, but obviously, they really are not "before" pictures. The first picture shows the bathroom, but after the sink was taken out. The second picture was taken to show a hole in the wall, but is the only picture I have of the original sink.

Tub Sink

Next: Day 1

April 1, 2007

First Quarter Results

Overall I sold 149 things for $3,986.25 with commissions of $186.39 in the first quarter of 2007. In January I had my best month with Amazon ever with $93 in commissions. But a big part of that happened when someone bought an XBox for $400 and instead of getting the 4% electronics commission, I got the full 6.5% allowed for computer and video games. That's $26 on one sale, the most I've ever made. I also sold one movie through Amazon's Unbox movie download service, which they are offering a promotional 10% commission on (so I made $1.50). The most unusual thing I sold was a book, Federal Prison Guidebook, which sold at the same time as a guitar pick, guitar bag, and several CD's. I guess someone was planning a trip. That was good for me because the $80 book and other things all got 6.5% commissions.

I messed up and bought a couple of items for myself for which I don't receive a commission. One time it was accidental, but the other time I remembered once I had the items in my cart. Although I visited the Opossum Society website before checking out, the items still showed up as my sales. Next time I will have to make sure I don't add things to my cart before visiting. I also found that the American Cetacean Society, whose whale fact pages I linked to on my Baja trip web page, are Amazon Associates. So I will probably send some commissions their way in addition to the Opossums.

The biggest sellers this month were the Maxell iPod battery pack with 37 net sales (two were returned). The EZgear Powerstick sold 12 (after one return; these three returns were the most ever); the JAVObooster charger and flashlight sold 8; and people were able to scrounge 5 of the discontinued Belkin battery pack. My Sony car stereo page sold 16 of the PAC aux-in enablers.

The other change this quarter was Amazon now pays every month instead of each quarter. I received my deposit for January's sales this week. The rumor mill says Apple will wait to introduce a new widescreen iPod so that it doesn't conflict with iPhone publicity. I won't get an iPhone, but I would really like a 60-80 GB widescreen iPod that works a lot like the phone. It might make some sense for Apple to release the iPod with the phone to take advantage of the phone hype by selling to people like me. But if a 4 GB phone is $500, an 80 GB iPod might be $800, since the phones are usually subsidized by selling a new cell contract. That might keep me away. Meanwhile I've still been watching TV shows from DVD on my Palm on the way home from work, so I don't know if I really even need a video iPod. No, that's crazy talk. Of course I need it!