Blogging has been light lately, mostly because of the flu and because what little energy I could scrape together has gone to this project. I've put a new photo album together for it -- you'll find it in the right sidebar, http://happycarpenter.blogs.com/photos/kitchen_yellow_house/. There are still a few pieces of trim to make & install, and a coat of sealer over the bead board, brown paint for the baseboard and bookcase trim, replace the electrical plates, and voila!
I've been contracting for almost 25 years, but had up until recently managed to avoid almost all plumbing and electrical, so this job presented some challenges:
First under-sink plumbing (hard)
First insta-hot installation (easy)
First GFI receptacle (easy)
First gas piping (easy)
That's me with the celebratory bottle of champagne after the cooktop went back in and was declared operational! Everything's working, nothing is leaking, and The Happy Wife, is. Now if I could just kick this lingering chest cold and get back to my training...
So we've torn our kitchen apart for redecorating, and while I was carpenterizing I told the kinder we'd get a newspaper (a special event in itself -- no Old Media for us, no siree!) and bury it in the wall. My eldest said she wanted to write a story and put it in there for some future carpenter to find, and this is what we wrote:
Beware of ghosts and ghouls in this house.
One time, there was a carpenter named Pedro working here in this house.While he was working, a board fell on his head and he DIED!Now and ever since that happened, he has been haunting this house.He doesn’t let any one else do any carpentry work here, and he really, really hates electricians.Here’s why…
He, Pedro, was working under some temporary bracing when an electrician, being careless and lazy, bumped into the board above him making it fall and it hit Pedro in the back of his neck, breaking it instantly, and sending him to instant death.But because Pedro wasn’t finished with his job, his spirit refused to leave.
It is up to you, worker, to figure out what still needs to be done here.But choose wisely, because if you do the wrong work, the WRATH OF PEDRO will descend upon you, and you will face the grave.And if you do the right task, but do it poorly, then the lesser wrath of pain and a scar on your back and across your face, will happen to you.
Instead of an ugly white trailer, build something nice for about the same price. Hey, it's just crazy enough to work.
Instead of something that will be thrown away after a year or two, build something that can be a permanent part of the rebuilt landscape. By siting the cute little cottage intelligently, you can keep it as a studio, rental, mother-in-law's, office, whatever. Or you could just sell it; it's nice enough and transportable enough that there would always be demand.
Louisiana needs to get with them ol' boys in Mississippi.
(British) homeowner spend, on average, seven times their annual income to purchase a home. In the US, homeowners spend three times their annual income.
That's interesting, but is it relevant? Mr. Deffenbaugh uses that fact in his argument for permitting greater density.
"If Americans are more accepting of greater density, we are less likely to see European levels of housing prices. In terms of historic change, density is the fight we want."
I recall similar arguments about American stock price/earnings ratios compared to Japanese about 10 years ago... right before the Japanese markets tanked due to governmental and quasi-governmental market interference. While I don't disagree that allowing greater density would be a good thing -- how else are we to reduce urban sprawl? -- there's probably a lot more to the UK-US housing/income ratio than density. Could it be that our codes and building departments, as much as I might hate to admit it, aren't bad compared to their Euro counterparts?
I've been putting down some bamboo flooring at the Happy Palace, which explains the scant blogging this week. All I have to do is put the doors back up, which is going to be a lot harder than it should be because of the wicked weird way they were first installed.
If you're contemplating doing the bamboo flooring thing, I have some advice for you:
First, find some Sika Bond T55 glue. I ran out in the middle of Sweet Renee's room, and the closest flooring supplier didn't carry it so I was forced to use another brand which will remain nameless. The Sika Bond T55 was like magic, like liquid super balls. Trowel it on and stick in a piece and it stays put. The other brand didn't hold as well, which meant gaps would mysteriously open up in rows already done. It also got gummy in the can, forcing me to pick out little glue clots from the floor, which means I got glue all over my hands, my tools, my shoes, my shorts, my neck... Just get some Sika Bond T55.
Second, have some mineral spirits and a rag handy, and clean off every row as you go along. If you wait, you'll be sorry. This glue, even the other brand, can NOT be cleaned up after it has cured, and it cures fast. I neglected this a bit, and thus had to spend two hours on my sore knees scraping up glue specks with a razor blade, and I can still see the spots where the glue mess was. So clean up as you go. Oh, and let the rags dry out before you throw them away. They can and will spontaneously combust.
Third, keep the kinder and the dog out of the room while you're working with the glue. If not, you will need a lot more mineral spirits.
Fourth, wear knee pads. If your knees don't hurt yet, they will if you continue to abuse them.
Fifth, have fun. These floors are fun to put together.
Perhaps most important, the architects take aim at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which released flood-advisory maps during the planning sessions. FEMA, which proposes first-floor heights of up to 25 feet, would mar the coastline with ugly and expensive houses-on-stilts. Far better, as the architects suggest, to design durable "submersible houses," anchored to their foundations, that will neither wash away nor destroy the character of their neighborhoods.
I hope the architects succede at taming the ridiculous FEMA regulations. I really do. I think they'll probably fail, though, because they won't grasp the connection between FEMA's reg's and Federal Flood Insurance. Those reg's exist to protect the Federal treasury, not to enhance architecture. Without reforming flood insurance in some way, look for FEMA to dig in its heels with gusto. And because urban planners are pretty much 100% democrat or socialist, the concept of eliminating federal flood insurance will never occur to them. Too bad, because they're damn good architects. Even the New Urbanists' worst is a lot better than the post modernists' best.
Wait a sec... I'm actually a lot more optimistic than that. I think they might actually win. They have Haley Barbour on their side, and he is huge in the Republican Party. So between them, they'll probably get a special exception carved out for Mississippi. I just don't think we here in Florida are going to benefit much from it. I hope I'm wrong about that.
"New Urbanism" sounds like a government nightmare, but actually it's a solution to both the insanity of modern and "post-modern" architecture and ignorant zoning. Some of the New Urbanist guys are heading to Mississippi at Governor Barbour's request to help get the Gulf Coast built right. This could really be great.
On the other hand, how much do you want to bet New Orleans will be a complete, total, utter, chatoic charlie foxtrot done slowly at great expense. It will end up a new little Houston that no one wants to be in with a lot of money in the pockets of the Mayor and other local officials.
John, our favorite recovering architect, has a nice collection of pictures, plans, renderings, etc of the original Madison Square Garden in NYC, ending with a picture of the modern "Garden". Everything that's bad about modern architecture is right there before your eyes.
Just start here, then keep clicking 'next' until you see the modern "Garden".
Of course, the first thing to strike you about this is that there is a column in the middle of the stairs. Well, not in the middle, exactly, but off to one side. The going-down side. (Do the Brits reverse that as well as their road travel direction?) Imagine you're a blind person, and you're going down the stairs, and then whammo! Brilliant. But then, while you're flat on your back on the steps, you look up (Why would a blind person look up? Work with me, here!) to see a stalagtite pointing down at you for no reason. How reassuring. If you keep looking around, you see a teeny weeny beam poking out from the main bean/column connection. Why? Because the architect is a genius that's why. And I think there's another column sticking into the top of the flight, on the right, but it's hard to be sure in this pic. How obnoxious would it be to have to use these stairs? Imagine them when they're crowded. How many victims have fallen down?
My friends, if you've never read what architects write about their trade vocation, then you have never seen bullshit. I mean, it will take your breath away. Did you know that good architecture will put an end to war? Yes, it will, according to one of the most reverred architects of the 20th century, Corbusier. Others go even further over the top.
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.