Boot camp!

The last week has been like a boot camp for Rachel and I as we stress our bodies in ways we haven’t in years. No, get your mind out of the gutter– I’m talking about home improvement projects! :)

We closed on the house Tuesday, but I didn’t get back in town until Thursday. At that point, we went to the house, and Rachel had set up an adorable little table and “welcome home” decorations, as well as stocking the fridge with goodies and champagne. Very sweet.

I had to work all day Friday, but Rachel stayed at the house to babysit the appliance delivery/installer dudes, as well as the locksmith who changed all the locks in the house to work on a single key. A surprisingly expensive convenience, it turns out. With the fridge and the dishwasher in place, things were really starting to come together. We went to Kam and Evan’s Friday night for a wonderful engagement party (with a Vegas theme, no less) but we couldn’t resist going to the house afterwords so I could see the new appliances.

Over the three day weekend, we started the real work. I pulled up the carpet in the dining room to see what the condition of the hardwood underneath was like… it was practically new. I then went downstairs to start my huge wiring project. (We’re wiring the house so that it has Cable, Ethernet, Phone, etc. to every room, with a nice central termination point in the basement.) This meant digging into walls, running conduit through places that just weren’t meant to have conduit. :) I’m still working on it, and the first of what I’m sure will be many surprises was that the crawlspace in the attic is way too low to get to many of the walls because of the very slight pitch of the roofline. This meant that I had to get creative. My solution wound up being to build out a section of wall by a couple inches downstairs so that I can cross the house there instead of going to the attic. This works, and the end result is that you won’t even be able to tell anything was done. Of course, this is a lot more work.

While I was doing wiring, Rachel was pulling up more carpet… which led to the second surprise: we chose the wrong room to check the floors. The dining room wound up being the area in the best condition by a wide margin… we absolutely need to refinish the floors. This isn’t a huge problem– we’ll still be able to get everything done before we move, but it takes away most of our wiggle room.

By the time the end of Monday came, we were both totally exhausted… nether of us had worked this hard in years. However, the end result is that most of the carpet upstairs was pulled out, and Rachel even had most of the staples and nails removed. The wiring was mostly finished, despite the added work.

We took Tuesday off from the house to recover (and so I could get some work done) but had to be back today (Wednesday the 4th of Sept) for a barrage of deliveries and installations…

First on the agenda: phones. The phone guy showed up bright and early– I think it was about 9am. I told him that I wanted a fresh line from the street, and that it should terminate in the basement on a punchdown block. He understood exactly what I wanted, and did a great job. The punchdown block will allow me to integrate the phones into our network, and using all new Cat5 cable will give us clean clear lines with no noise.

Next up was the cable guy. (We aren’t getting cable, but he needed to come to install our cable modem, which we will use for broadband Internet access.) This guy was a lot less savvy then the phone guy. He totally didn’t understand why I wanted him to bring a fresh line from the pole to the basement… I explained that we were spending a lot of money and even more time rewiring the house, but he just didn’t get it. “But there’s already cable to the house… it’s right there! I can run a cable from there to your basement if you like.” Finally, I told him to pretend it was a new house that was just built. That seemed to satisfy him (for whatever reason) and he hooked us up. Again, right to the rack in the basement, which will integrate nicely. 2 down, 2 to go.

The next one on the list was the DirectTV guy. (Satellite.) He was a no-show.

Finally, the last of our appliances, the stove, was delivered. The guys were a bit late, but were friendly and efficient. The new stove looks great with the matching stainless steel appliances. We’re really excited about the way things are coming together.

While we babysat the various installers and delivery guys, Rachel continued to work on the carpet. She’s pretty much done, except for a small patch covered by a built in piece of furniture in the living room that we haven’t removed yet. With the exception of that little patch, all the carpet is gone, and all the nails and staples have been pulled. She also removed all the molding from the living room and hallway.

I finished getting all the conduit laid, which means that from here on out the wiring stuff should be smooth sailing.

Also, we painted a small corner of the dining room with the colors we’re planning on using for the living room, dining, and kitchen to make sure they looked right. Perfect. We’re really excited about the way things are going to look.

That’s about it for now. Lots of work done, a lot more to go!