Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve

My wife & I hosted my family's Christmas Eve get together this year.  We had 16 people coming so we had to get creative with seating for the main meal.  My Aunt & Uncle let us borrow their backup dining room table so we put the leaves in ours and butted to the tables together to make an oober table.  The table stretched into the living room.  We put a long table in the hallway for the chafing dishes and buffet service.  It worked out really well.

I'm really pleased with the way the house handled the crowd.  The open floor plan really made a difference.  We do not have a morning room and I do not regret that decision.  We have the 'normal' island which is different than the boomerang island some of you have. At one point everyone was gathered in the kitchen and it fit everyone just fine.  The family room was perfect for gift giving / unwrapping and that included the giant 8-ft tree (we have 9-ft ceilings).  We put the tree on the kitchen side of the family room next to the breakfast bar.  We had planned on putting the appetizers on the breakfast bar, but the gifts sprawled out pretty far and made the breakfast bar less accessible.  My wife called an audible and relocated the bulk of the apps to the family room coffee table.  This also freed up space in the kitchen as she helped prepare dinner.

The whole event was a great success and I'm proud of our house.  Maybe that sounds weird but I'm glad we did it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hardwood / Carpet Trim

I called Advanced Flooring to get a quote on a custom runner for the main hallway.  When I was on the phone asking about it, our rep from AF (not Ryan) asked how things were or if there were any issues.  I had noticed the carpet at the bottom of the stairs was already beginning to fray a little bit, a few strands of thread were starting to pop up.  Not a big deal but he asked.  I also noticed a patch of the carpet coming off, probably not enough glue.  He wanted to send someone out to take care of it.  I asked how they would take care of the fraying so it doesn't happen down the road.

After some discussion it was decided they would put a piece of trim, similar to the footer piece along the rest of the wall.  The guy came and trimmed off the frayed carpet.  He then cut a piece of trim and installed it.  I think it looks better.  What do you guys think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Basement Shelving (Mechanical Room)

Who doesn't need more storage space?  The design was from a friends who did something similar.

I took two 4x8 sheets of MDF, built a frame around them.  Also built smaller supports in the middle to keep the middle from sagging (picture 3).  Support posts are designed to basically set the framed shelving on top of it.  The load bearing portion of the shelving is bolted tight with the frames resting on the bolted supports.  The posts are simply screwed into the frame to hold the whole thing together.  I could put another bolt in but that would probably be overkill.

As you can see the design is very simple and very large.  The 1st shelf is 2ft off the ground and the top shelf is 5ft.  This two 3ft tall storage areas and the lower section will be for storage bins.  If there is flooding, the bins on the floor stand a chance and everything above should be fine regardless.  I'm not expecting to get flooded out, but who knows anymore.

Future plans are for smaller shelves in the other unfinished portion of the basement.  We have a freezer there now and unorganized storage on the floors.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Water Issues (Follow up)

What's up party people?  Here are the updates on the water issues as well as some other neighborhood stuff.

Water Issues Continued...

Dishwasher - I took your advice and ran an empty load with a cup of vinegar.  This seems to have done the trick and the dishes are coming out clean again.  Thanks for the advice!  I was chatting with our PM today and the dishwasher came up, he told me about a product that accomplishes the same goal of removing the hard water deposits under an empty load.  I would like to find out what this is because I read other responses saying that vinegar isn't good for the dishwasher plumbing long term.  The other option would be a whole-house hard water treatment system, but I'm not ready for that yet.

Aquarium - Leaving the light off for a few days started clearing the water, but it doesn't do much good to have a dark aquarium 24x7.  Anyway, the UV Sterilizer came on Friday and it's been chugging for about 4 days now.  It is making a clear difference.  While the water isn't crystal clear yet, I can see to the back and see the fish.  The tank could use a good cleaning again so that's coming.  Found the sterilizer on eBay for about $25+Shipping.  Satisfied with it so far.

Radon Pipe - The idea from the Foundation Restoration people was to core a new pipe, move the pipe over & seal off the old one with cement.  Since the pipe is near the sump ditch, he wants to try drilling a hole from the pipe to the sump to relieve the pressure and send the water directly to the sump.  Another theory is that the water is coming from above where the radon pipe exhausts from the house.  We'll see how this latest theory goes.

Water Meter Leak  - Few days ago, we found a small puddle in the basement by the water meter.  So we called the customer service line, they sent a plumber out who knew instantly that the meter itself was leaking.  The township provides the meters so it would have to be fixed once they got the meter.   This has since occurred and the new meter appears to be happy

Association News

We received a letter from our Associations management company.  Since 25% of the community has settled, it is time for one of the owners to take one of the 3 spots on the HOA board.  I responded that I was interested and was the only one.  My wife and I were the only homeowners to attend the meeting.  Met the developer and a rep from the management company.  I'm not officially on the board, which won't have another meeting until 75% of the homes have settled, then the other 2 seats will be taken by homeowners.  Other than that, not much to do.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Water Issues (All different and non-related)

Hey all,

I guess you can say things are settling down.  Major projects out of the way.  Freak snow storm out of the way...

Dishwasher - We do have a few things going on.  The dishwasher is becoming increasingly annoying.  At 1st I thought it was me (being a guy running the dishwasher) and putting things in that I shouldn't be, but it's been getting progressively worse.  Our dishwasher leaves a white residue on almost everything, the residue can generally be hand-washed off, but don't get me started on  how annoying that is.  I heard a few of the neighbors complaining of the same issue, so I wonder if it's something in the water.  We use the ready-pack thingies where the amount of detergent is predetermined.  I've tried the powder style AND the Cascade gel style.  Have also tried using the Cascade rinse-aid and that sure didn't help.  If I slide my finger on the inside plastic of the door, there is a dusty white residue.  I'm getting very close to calling GE and requesting service.  Is it possible this is a hard water issue?

Aquarium - I've been having a heck of a time with Green Water in our 25 gallon aquarium.  I can do complete water changes and it comes back in a few days.  So green you can't see the fish.  It's essentially a form of algae but lives in single cell microbes (sorry bio folks....).  Long story short is that it lives everywhere, including in the fish.  I'm told it's a result of too much food and too much light.  I put up blinds over the sliding door which reduces 90% of the direct sunlight.  The rest is ambient, still not enough.  Apparently now that the green is here, I need to starve it away.  I can try leaving the light off and changing 2 gallons a day for a month, that 'should' starve it little by little.  To be honest, I'm not that patient, and I travel at least 2 of the next couple weekends.  The other option is getting a UV Sterilizer Pump which essentially vaporizes the green gunk as it passes through. This should clean up the problem as well as clear up (pun intended because I'm a dork) any future issues.  Waiting for the UV thing to show up in the mail!

Radon Pipe - This issue has been on-going since the 30-day Walkthrough.  It looks as if water is coming up through the radon pipe in the basement.  It's usually just a smaller puddle, and the pipe is a foot away from the sump so it's more annoying than anything.  I don't believe the finished basement is in danger.

Ryan had people come to seal it up, failed.  I think they came back and that didn't work out.  So now they're going to an outside company called "Foundation Restoration" and his guy couldn't figure it out, so the owner of the company came by.  He's been doing this for 17 years an thought he had seen it all, this is a new one for him.  His only 'out of the box' theory is that maybe there was water coming from the roof into the radon pipe from above and the leak is not actually ground water.  Jury is still out, they're talking about coring a new hole, moving the pipe and cementing the old one out.  I don't care, just want it fixed.

Other than those items, things are progressing.  I have plans ready to build 4x8 basement shelves but don't want to do that until the radon pipe issue is fixed.  Oh well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Northeast Snow

On Saturday we got hit with a freak snow storm.  My area received 8-10 inches which is normally not a big deal, but two things made it a unique problem.  The snow was the wet and heavy variety, not normally a problem.  The problem is that the fall foliage is just starting to change so the leaves are on the trees.  Add 8-inches of snow to that, and tree limbs started falling.  We lost power at 3pm on Saturday.

Here is where the gas fireplace was worth every penny spent.  I remember our PM telling us it has a battery backup during power outages so now would be a good time to test it out.  Nothing...ugh oh!  I pop the grate off the bottom section and find the control unit needs 4-AA batteries.  This was a quick fix and our fireplace was ablaze.  If it wasn't for this, I'm not sure what we would have done.  Some of our neighbors did not opt for this option and their houses were so cold they stayed with friends.

The 1st night, before going to sleep, I checked on the sump pit and the water was only slightly above normal, OK no problem.  On Sunday morning, the water level was 2-inches from the top.  Being an IT person, it never occurred to me to get out a bucket and manually bail it out.  So I went to the nearest auto store and picked up a 1,000 watt power inverter.  Ran an extension cord into the basement, attached the thing to my running car and ran the sump.  The temperature rose back into the 50's then on, so the snow started melting very fast.  I ran the pump 3-4 times a day to keep it well below level.  Turns out our neighbors had the same water issues, so it looks like the water table in our neighborhood is 8-10 feet below ground level.

The power finally returned on mid-day Tuesday.  I heard reports that other locals in more rural areas didn't get it back until yesterday or even today so we should count ourselves lucky.

We are thinking about getting a battery backup emergency sump pump system in case we are away and this happens again.  Also looking into a backup generator although that isn't really in the budget right now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Garage Shelves

Another project down!  Below are pictures of the garage shelves I built this week.  I used the same type of lumber and design concept as the workbench so they actually look similar.

In the pictures below you can also see the pegboard & shelf above that.  I finally have usable space in the garage and can start the process of properly storing a lot of our 'stuff' that's been on the floor since the move. Let me know what you think.  Next project is basement shelves (completely different design)

  • Specifications
    • Ceiling Height: 10'
    • Shelf Dimensions: 2D x 4W x 8H
    • Legs
      • Kiln Dried 4x4x8 (actually measures 3.5)
      • Left side has 3" cut off to accommodate concrete lip on floor
    • Stretchers: Kiln Dried 2x4x8
    • Joinery
      • Side-to-Side
        • Rows 1 & 3: 5/16 Threaded rod
        • Rowes 2 & 4: 5/16 dowels glued
      • Front-to-Back:
        • Rows 1 & 3: 5/16 dowels glued
        • Rowes 2 & 4: 5/16 Threaded rod
    • Shelves: 3/4' MDF Board
    • Attached to wall studs with 5/16 x 5 lag bolts 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Workbench Project Complete

There's a catch when building a workbench, you don't have a workbench to build a workbench on!  Luckily I have a miter saw which got me through most of the base.  A home-made jig helped me make straight cuts for the shelves and I was able to borrow a table router from a friend (for the joinery).

The video explains very well and provides a PDF plan (free) which helps in planning the project.  The bench-top is two pieces of MDF laminated together with wood glue, then mounted with screws.  The joinery of the general structure is my favorite part of this bench, you wouldn't believe how rock solid it is.  The stretchers each have threaded rod through them which creates tremendous strength in the base.

I couldn't find the type of clips the video used to mount the top so I changed the plan.  Before lamination, I attached the bottom piece (of the bench top) with counter-sunk screws to the base.  In total, there are about 12 screws holding the bottom piece to the base.  I then followed the rest of the lamination instructions and had no issues completing the project.  The only downside of this is that the top is now permanent, I don't see it coming apart to have a new top put on.  If I do have to replace the top at some point, my plan is to just add another sheet of MDF, remove the screws, and use a longer screw to mount the new piece.  I can't see being necessary for many years if ever.

Further diverting from the plan, I attached a bench vice from my Grandfather's work shop.  He would be proud I built this and appreciative that I am using his tools in the process.  I would have loved to use the type from the video, but I didn't feel like spending $90 on it AND I didn't build this for "Fine Woodworking"... It's a workbench.

Free Plan & Instructional Video - www.FineWoodworking.com

I will be mounting pegboard above the bench to better manage tool storage.  I found a 100-piece peg-hook kit on ebay for a reasonable price.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

30 Day Walkthrough and Updates

Wow it's been a while!  My brother-in-law had his wedding in Virginia last weekend and things have been crazy all around.  We blinked and it was time for our 30-Day Walk-through.  I wasn't going to be able to participate in the Walk-through so my wife took the reigns on this.  She had been keeping a list of items and I only had a few to contribute.  Overall, I can't complain about the quality and craftsmanship.  They did a great job.

The only thing I'm worried about is how frequently the sump pump runs.  I'll notice it run about once a day.  I thought the sump was supposed to only run once in a blue moon or during heavy rains after a few days.  It's good that it's working, but I'm a little worried about an underlying drainage issue.  I'll have to discuss with our PM when I get a chance.

Most of the major projects (garage door opener, utility sink, ceiling fans) are complete, I'm moving on to more utility-like projects.  I found a video and pdf plan for a work bench in the garage.  The dimensions are 2x5ft overall and is extremely solid structurally.  I'm about 3/4 the way through building the base and will tackle the bench-top with my friend this week.  Once the bench is finished, I'm going to build shelves on the wall of the garage.  Then we'll be able to store things in a better place than the floor of the garage or basement.  Next project will be shelves in the unfinished sections of the basement.  I'll be sure to post pictures when I have something to show!

Remember the pool table I couldn't get down the basement?  Well it's finally gone.  Put it up on Craigslist and a guy came this weekend to pick it up. The cursed table left it's mark on me however.  We were carrying the 350-lb piece of slate up the stairs when I had to set it down, it came down between the stair and my hand, I can't remember how we got it up the rest of the way since my hand was out of commission.  I fear it was broken so I went for an x-ray.  Somehow there were no breaks!  Only a "Deep Contusion" and it hurts when I try to squeeze hard or use it other than typing.  If that's the price to pay to get rid of the pool table, fine.  It's gone.  I do however get to enjoy the new (old) pool table which worked out great!

Monday, October 3, 2011

MIA & Fridge

Sorry I've been MIA.  Been a lot going on just getting back to a normal life.  We're coming along with unpacking.  It's mostly odds & ends left.

Had the pool table delivered on Wednesday, so now I have a new distraction.  Tuesday night, I noticed the temperature in the refrigerator was higher than normal, way higher.  Next thing I knew there was a buzzing noise that sounded like it was the compressor.  I called the GE Applicances hotline that Ryan gives in our homeowners manual.  Since the fridge wasn't cooling, they consider it an emergency and have to have someone there within 24 hours.  A repair man came the next day around 1pm.  He said the board in the fridge was defective and probably never worked.  He ran diagnostics on the board and it came back with a FAIL code of some kind.  Since he wasn't a GE tech, he had to special order the part and would come back to install.

He defrosted the fridge and got it working for the short term.  He said the root problem isn't solved yet but this should buy us a few days.  Since then the fridge has been fine, but apparently still can't regulate itself because of this defective board.  We only lost a little bit of food that couldn't handle being defrosted.  Hopefully it's fixed and we're good to go.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Egress Wildlife Preserve

This morning, while putting grass seed in sparse sections I noticed the grate over the egress window wasn't fully over the covering.  No problem, just slide it a few inches in place right?  Before I did so I noticed a small toad, we'll call him Mr. Toad, trapped in the egress window opening.  I went back into the basement, opened the window and removed the screen for the egress window.  Mr. Toad let me pick him up and put him in the grass a few feet above.  I slid the grate back in place (only off a few inches), replaced the screen and locked the window.

Fast forward to this evening, I figured I would double check that nothing was down there, sure enough Mr. Toad was back in the egress window.  Before I opened the window, I saw something else move!  This was a slightly smaller toad, her name is Mrs. Toad.  I repeated the rescue only this time left the screen off the window expecting my new pets to want more attention!

Anyone else have any critter issues in their egress window?  A few months prior, my wife was in the model where she rescued (not my word) two mice by putting the grate in at an angle.  She didn't have to touch them to free them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Been busy at both work and the house.
  • Garage
    • Walls Finished / Primered / Painted
    • Floor Epoxy Coat completed

    • Utility Sink Installed
      • Installing a splash gaurd soon
    • Garage Door Opener Installed Today
    • Replaced one bulb socket with shop light style 4-ft fluorescent (much better!)
  • Family Room
    • Installed surround-rear in-ceilng speakers.  This was really easy, although very messy (cutting holes in drywall).  I recommend the Polk speakers for this, install and cleanup took maybe 35 minutes for both.
  • Overall
    • I found these neat power outlet / Nightlight things Lowes.  They're about $12.50 each.  They take a normal dual power outlet, and makes the upper outlet a LED nightlight.  I put one in each full bath, the main hallway and downstairs in the living room.  They shut themselves off when they sense light.  Hope they last a long time!  They look cool and make a nice flush setting.
  • New Pool Table!
    • Well sorta.  We're having our new (actually used) pool table delivered and assembled this Wednesday.  The table is about 20 years old but is much more user friendly when it comes to transportation.  Now I just need to get rid of the damn table in the garage
      • PS - Older tables are actually better than newer tables, generally regarding construction and quality.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Laundry Room Cabinets

Put the cabinets up today.  Had to take down the wire shelf that came with the house.  Unfortunately it was attached with drywall anchors.  Be very careful when removing them.  If at all possible, pull the nail out before pulling the anchor out.  I did cause some drywall damage which took a little while to fix with joint compound.

Once that was fixed, I painted the room light blue (hard to tell in pictures).  The cabinets are from Home Depot and cost about $100 each.  Using old textbooks and a level, hanging the cabinets was pretty simple.  I mounted two 2x6's behind them to make them easier to reach.

Anyway, pictures below.  Let me know what you think.

Getting things in the Basement

This question is for the Milan owners out there.

Have any of you been able to get a couch into the basement?  I was unable to get a 3-cushion couch downstairs because of the angles / lower ceiling in the mudroom.  We also have a pool table that could not be taken into the basement due to the size.  The egress window isn't even close in size.

At this stage, I'm looking at disassembling the entire table, taking it down piece by piece and reassembling it in the basement.  Does anyone have any advice?

Pre-move Projects

I wanted to apply the Quikrete Epoxy to the garage floor prior to the actual move.  I figured it would make more sense to do it before the garage was full of clutter.


Wall Prep - Ryan Homes does not finish off their garage space.  They do put up drywall with a simple one-coat tape seam.  But this seam is not the same 'clean' look you would see inside the house.  This meant applying at least one coat of joint compound (Spackle) to the walls and ceiling.  I didn't bother doing the ceiling mostly due to lack of ambition.  This was easy to sand down before applying primer.

Primer - Never underestimate how much primer you will need for fresh drywall.  For a two-car garage (walls & ceiling) I used 3.5 gallons of paint.  I thought 2 would do the trick but made 2 trips back to Lowes for more primer.  Painting the ceiling was without a doubt the hardest part.  I went through 2 roller cages using the 6-ft extension pole.

Paint - After going through the ceiling primer, I decided it looked good enough that I wouldn't put a color on the ceiling.  Instead I used simple contractors grade interior latex "Off White".  This went on fairly easily and I used just under 3 cans worth.  I ended up returning the 4th can.

Floor Epoxy Prep - Swept out the garage floor and hosed it down with water.  Combined the "Bond Lock" chemical to the floor and essentially just scrubbed it in with a tough-bristle floor brush (small broom).  I tried to get as much of it out of the garage as possible because I wanted to epoxy the next morning.  I didn't, but a squeegee would have been helpful.  Just using the brush, I was able to get enough out for it not to puddle so it could dry overnight.

Floor Epoxy Application - The epoxy kit comes with the actual 'epoxy' as well as a smaller can of hardener.  You have to mix the hardener in the epoxy and stir for 3 minutes.  Then close the can and sit it out in the sun for 30 minutes.  Then take a 2-3 inch roller and paint the trim as well as any joints.  Once that's done, I used a regular roller cage and began in 3x3 sections.  After each section I would sprinkle the texture / paint chip things to give it that cool look.  The application was not hard, although the 1st can became very thick towards the end and if I waited much longer, would not nave been able to apply it.  The 2nd can remained the same consistency. Will post pictures late.

Utility Sink - During moving day, my friend (who is also a contractor) went to task at installing a utility sink in the garage.  It took him about 5 hours total.  He tapped into the wall adjacent to the powder room and used the hot / cold lines for the powder room sink.  I believe he had to run a drain into the basement but he said it was simple.   He then replaced the insulation & drywall, applied joint compound and attached the sink.

Laundry Room

Goal was to point the walls prior to moving day so we wouldn't have to paint around the large appliances.  We picked a light blue (almost powder blue) to the walls.

I also have a pair of white cabinets to put over the washer / dryer but haven't had the time to put them up yet. Will post pictures once this room is complete.

Ceiling Fans / Lights

My other friend hung the 2 ceiling fans we have bought ahead of time.  He put them in the Family Room as well as the Owners Bedroom.  We wanted to replace the standard Ryan Homes fixtures (the ones with the basic dome).  Lowes has 2 for $20 Portfolio lights that replace these.  I've only got around to changing 2 of 6.

Fish Move

The fish were moved on Thursday.  Their new home has two separate window views.  We have about 10 fish.  Unfortunately our Panda Cory Catfish did not survive the 1st night after the move.  Moving fish is extremely stressful for the fish and this stress can often kill the fish.  Hopefully I won't lose any more, I should know after a week if the rest will make it (they should).


Hey everyone,

Sorry I've been out of touch for so long.  I haven't been online (except my phone) since closing.

Closing went extremely well.  I felt as if we signed less papers there than we did during the initial contract signing.  We signed all papers and were out the door with our keys in 60-minutes flat.  The schedule for the rest of the week is as follows.  I'll have posts walking through these.

  • Wednesday
    • Finish priming garage walls, ceiling & trim
    • Seal Granite, tile grout
  • Thursday
    • Paint garage walls in AM / Afternnon
    • PM - Etching process for garage epoxy
  • Friday
    • AM - Apply garage floor epoxy & traction chips
    • PM - Transport Fish from Apartment
  • Saturday
    • General Moving Day
    • Garage utility sink installation
  • Sunday
    • Acquire Pool table & move
I plan on posting pictures of the special projects (not all posted here) of things like modifications that every Milan on the planet doesn't already have.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Closing T-Minus 2 Days

In less than 2 days we will be homeowners.  Since the walk-through I've made 3 trips with carloads of odds & ends type things to store in the garage.  Most of the stuff moved are oblong items (golf clubs, lamps, skis).   When the truck comes next week, I want the packing process to be boxes & furniture as much as possible, hopefully to streamline the process.

Final closing costs received & the wire transferred was sent / received by the mortgage company.

We have received a tremendous amount of rain in the past two weeks, the grass is already starting to pop.  Other than that, since the house is ready there isn't much in terms of progress.  I'll post pictures of my various projects as they come along.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pre-Settlement Walkthrough

Today was our final walk-through before settlement this coming Wednesday.  It was the 1st time we saw our house finished.  For the first time, it was cleaned, prepped and ready.  I can't complain at all, our PM did a great job and will be receiving the 10's he strives for (on the Ryan Homes Survey).

There were very few issues.  Couple little areas here and there need to be touched up.  One outlet doesn't sit flush with the wall.  Honestly it was mostly little stuff which was all taken note of to be completed.  We did find out that our over-stove microwave was upgraded (without charge) because GE was out of stock of the model we were supposed to get.  Very happy with that, like an extra bonus!

Stopped by NVR Mortgage to drop off the final piece of documentation and had a nice chat with our Loan Processor.  Our loan is done, she wired the funds for the loan over already and we're essentially done.

I'll keep you posting on Closing as well as the side projects I have planned before the actual move.  It's practically here!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Final PM Progress Update?

My little timer says that it's one week before closing.  Unreal!  I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories (for better or worse) and I can't believe mine is almost here.

Spoke with our PM last night.  The saturation from the rain will do our soon-to-be lawn very well, unless it rains so hard the seed stuff just rinses away!  It should be fine.  The cleaners were in the house yesterday and are finishing up.  Today they will be power washing the garage floor.  My PM mentioned that if I had any plans to paint / treat the floor, do it ASAP while the floor is nice and clean.  I'm just glad he's power washing it, will make the prep stage much easier.  Since our walk-through is on Friday, I guess that was the final update call.

My upstairs neighbors continue to remind me why I'm moving.  Woke up to children crashing around the floor and stomping (literally STOMPING) around.  Just when you think you're getting used to it I'll hear what seems to be like a bomb exploding, then comes the screaming.  It's like clockwork.

Another reminder that the town I live in is a crap-hole was my trip to Home Depot to pick up the "In Stock Cabinets" for 20% off.  I can understand being sold out of them, but they didn't even stock the white "In Stock Cabinets".  I had to go to the next home depot about 6 miles away which is much bigger and better.  I usually try to avoid the local Home Depot (or any HD for that matter) because they almost never have what I need.  Luckily the new house is literally a quarter mile from Lowes.

Will let you know how the Walk Through goes.  Have my wife, parents & Realtor with us for that.  Five sets of eyes should be good right?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Laundry Room Cabinets

Has anyone put cabinets in their laundry room?  Home Depot has 20% off cabinets this week and we're thinking of installing a pair of 30 x 30 wall cabinets over the washer dryer.  My parents have done this (in a larger room) and love the extra storage space it brings.

In our Model home, they have a garment rack / cart in the laundry room (in the little nook area, not all Milan's have this).  Do any of you do the garment rack / cart or laundry cart with the upstairs laundry?  Just curious, looking for a decent quality rack, cart thing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Exterior Trim / Door & Landscaping In!

The final touches of the exterior were completed this week.  The trim is painted and the front door got a coat of "Old Colonial Red".  The trim color is "Almond" (aka beige).  The landscaping looks nice and the wife-a-saurus will be very pleased when she sees the purple shrub things by the front of  the house.  I like how they vary the shrub selection, similar to elevations.  Anyway, at this point I doubt I'll be heading up there until next Friday for the pre-settlement walk-through.  I can't believe it's only 7 days away!  Wow.

Front Landscaping

Rear Landscaping / Trees

Upstairs Hall Railing 

Basement Stairs & Rail

Basement (Finished Section)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shutters Painted

Finally some pictures to show.  Nothing earth shattering but progress!  Shutters are painted "Old Colonial Red" and the replacement trim piece over the Living Room window came in and was installed.  Trim & front door still needs to be painted.

See comments below the threshold pics, I have questions for you bloggos.

Little pieces of blue tape all over the place.  Presumably for final touch-ups.

Threshold between upstairs laundry and  hall carpet.  The flash makes the carpet and tile look much darker than it really is.

Now this is the wooden threshold between the basement stairs and kitchen tile.  There is also wooden threshold between the kitchen tile and family room carpet.  Does this strike any of you as odd?  I'm looking into it now, but I'm almost certain I had a conversation with the PM about marble thresholds being put in.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Closing Costs

What's up party people?  Got our Estimated Settlement Charges today and they were are line with what we were expecting.  The charges may change very slightly but we're pretty close.  Our Realtor gave me a call to review and make sure I understood everything.  She was impressed that the title company would be confident enough (14 days out) that the costs are correct and that they wouldn't send them out this early unless they were pretty confident everything is set.

It just hit me that we're doing our Final Walk-through with our PM next Friday.  It's practically here!  We're at a good pace for packing but this kinda makes me realize how soon it's really coming!

Don't blame me for the turtle, it's the beset I could come up with with no effort.  No, I didn't draw it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Counting Down

Just about 15 days before closing.  We had a wedding Saturday and Irene came through fairly uneventfully.  We lost power for about 12-hours which gave us great motivation to make progress with organizing & packing.  Haven't been up to the house since the 'storm' but don't expect there to be any trouble.  Hopefully the basement stayed dry.  Starting to develop the plan for the actual move as well as the pre-move projects we want to get done before the  moving truck comes with all the furniture.

Here is a short list of things we want to accomplish between closing & the move (2 1/2 days).  I'm taking a few days off work so hopefully

  • Garage
    • Sand Drywall / Joint Compound
    • Primer / Paint
    • Prep floor for concrete epoxy
    • Paint floor epoxy w/ sprinkle stuff
    • Utility Sink Prep
    • Garage Door Opener (Doubt we'll get this far)
  • Bedroom
    • Chair rail (Hopefully)
    • Paint
    • Install Ceiling fan
  • Kitchen & Bathrooms
    • Seal Granite
    • Seal Grout
  • Family Room
    • Install in-ceiling surround sound speakers

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fridge & Paint

Refrigerator delivered.  Painters are doing stain and walls.  Not much to show from an update standpoint.  I didn't notice this before, but it looks like the new cabinet door was put in (next to fridge).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Comcast vs. Verizon

For Cable / Internet / phone in our neighborhood, we can get Comcast or Verizon.  It's nice to have a few choices.  I have Comcast 'Xfinity' and overall we like it.  We have a phone at our apartment, but don't use it, for anything.  So for the house, we're going to just get Cable & Internet.

 I called Comcast first and was in for a surprise.  As soon as I called, I could tell it was a circus.  They had it all, clowns, big shoes and a red nose.  The price for the 1st year is decent.  You pay extra for a DVR and they give you a digital converter box free for the 2nd & 3rd TV.  Cool right?  Enter the clown car.  After the 1st year, the price shoots up 56% (yes.  Fifty Six Percent).  They had some dopey promotion for the 1st 3 months where it's pretty cheap.  I'm not interested in a teaser rate, I'm interested in a good rate over time.  Even the sales rep couldn't explain why it was such a joke.  I told him I'm going to call Verizon and lock in at a better rate.  He didn't seem to mind.

Onto Verizon.  The service looks comparable if not better.  Most things are par or better, I increased the internet speed as I may be working from home more often.  The monthly rate was fair.  After one year, it goes up $5-$10.  They're giving me a $100 gift card, free install, free wireless router (like I need more...) etc.  The only hiccup is that they need to run a credit check before scheduling install.  Their advice was to wait after my mortgage stuff is finalized before moving forward.  Fair enough.  I'm going to have plenty of projects around the house, and won't need TV to distract me from hanging ceiling fans etc.

PS - I personally think that Verizon's On-Demand is sub-par compared to Comcast, but it's not such a big deal in comparison to the cost difference.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Panaramic Pics

Spoke with our PM on Friday.  He was in the hallway of our house looking for the creaking floor, which was occurring prior to the hardwood being installed.  Over the phone, I tried to explain where the noise was coming from and he couldn't find it.  I went up Saturday, found the noise, made a video from my cell of the noise.  I also taped a small piece of paper to the area the noise comes from.

I stole this idea from another blogger.  There is an 350 degree panaramic app for my phone, let's you take pictures of  multiple areas and it combines them.  Sometime it works, sometimes it puts things in the wrong place.  Click on them to see them better.