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Weekly Wrap-Up: March 19 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 19 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 19

What Is This?

Following the lead of my mentor, friend, and exemplar, Tami Moore, this is a weekly article to document progress in meeting my writing goals as described here. I use an Excel spreadsheet to track all my work by category (blog post, copyediting work, creative writing) and item. So all I need to do is add up the “words” column and I’m good to go. This article will be counted, minus the first 150 words. However, it will be counted in the following week’s total. All other blog posts and creative writing count full credit. Copyediting for other writers is counted at ten percent of the starting word count for the document; style sheets for that copyediting will count twenty-five percent. Editing my own work, if and when I get to that point, will count fifty percent of the starting word count.

How Did I Do?

My weekly goal is 2,000 words. This week was consumed by the Great Bathroom Renovation, aided and abetted by arthritis, which in turn was aggravated by the GBR. So all I have to document is last week’s wrap-up, which weighed in at 1,087 words. I know: Not too impressive. I promise to do better next week. Since I flunked, let’s press on to matters more interesting than my almost-non-existent word-count.

The Great Bathroom Renovation

As I wrote last week, I started the demolition (well, removal—but demo sounds so much more…macho!) on Thursday, the 11th. After that, I did the prep work for painting: spackling holes, sanding, taping. I did the trim one day (not a lot of that: the door frame, the inside of the door, and a two-inch strip above the bath/shower), then painted the walls the next. It went pretty well, and the result was satisfying. The new colors are a light tan base and darker, medium-brown trim. If you’re really curious, the colors are Tawny (Valspar WV40002) and Sueded Leather (Valspar WV 36012).

On Tuesday (which was a gorgeous day here) I spent a bit of time cutting and installing new baseboards and some 1-inch cove molding on the ceiling. The cove molding was an added thought to cover up some of the paint that had gotten on the ceiling. It worked perfectly. *grin* I had a good time using the miter saw to cut the baseboard and molding; in fact, it was nice to be outside without having to bundle up! (As I type this, it’s once again just 30 degrees outside. *sigh*)

Also on Tuesday I installed the toilet. The total weight of the toilet is, I believe, 109 pounds. Of that, 100 are in the base, I’m sure. Carrying that upstairs was Not Fun. Of course, when I got to the top of the stairs and carried it into the bathroom, I finally figured out the best way to carry the beast, which made it seem only half as heavy! Oh, well. Installation wasn’t too difficult, as toilets go (seriously, it’s a pretty simply do-it-yourself (DIY) job, with a couple caveats I’ll mention later). The only glitch was that I’d bought a 12″ connector hose for the water inlet, which was the same as the previous model (always a good idea to replace that hose, as the seals may not work as well after being re-used). Unfortunately, the distance between water valve and bottom of the toilet tank is 14 inches. Off to Ace Hardware for a 16″ hose (they come in 12-, 16-, and 20-inch lengths).

The toilet works as advertised: Highly efficient (1.28 gallon per flush), but also very effective, without any mechanical augmentation. If you’re interested, the model is the Jacuzzi Espree (hey, that’s not how I’d have spelled “esprit”…). I should mention that attaching the tank after seating the bowl is not the simplest task: getting to the nuts to secure the tank bolts is a bit of a challenge. It would be easier to attach the tank before seating the bowl, but I’d definitely recommend using two people to seat the toilet if you go that route.

Later Tuesday evening, I convinced my wife to help me move the vanity upstairs, since she was going to be out of the house during the day for the rest of the week. That was pretty easy, and we put it in place (approximately). It appears I’m going to have to trim a piece of baseboard on the back wall (there is none behind the vanity, but the piece behind the toilet is about half- to three-quarters of an inch too long) and in front of the vanity on the left wall, but I’ll know better once I position the vanity top.

Ah, yes…the vanity top. My custom-made wave bowl top, whose color perfectly matches the wall color (purely by accident, I assure you). My wife and I also brought that upstairs Tuesday night, in the box (we figured it would be easier to carry that way). So we get to the top of the stairs, open the box, and lift the top out. It’s completely covered in a tight shrink wrap, so it wasn’t until we’d gone a couple steps toward the bathroom when I saw it: The front right corner was broken, at almost a perfect 45-degree angle, with about six inches on either side. I was not happy. I probably said some things that shouldn’t appear in a family-oriented blog. And then I said them again. Maybe more than a couple times.

Back into the box, back into the Murano. Back to Lowe’s on Wednesday. The new top will be here in roughly a week. I hope.

Well, at least the toilet was working. Until I walked into the bathroom in bare feet Wednesday night…and noticed the carpet felt damp. Now what? Well, a couple things, as I found out yesterday when I removed the toilet. First, I hadn’t cut away the carpet from around the base of the toilet—which is about an inch wider on each side and about three inches longer than the old toilet. When installing a toilet on hardwood, tile, or linoleum, the floor covering can go right up to the floor drain. However, when you install a toilet on carpet, the carpet and pad cannot be under the toilet, or you won’t get a good seal.

I also found, when I removed the toilet, that I hadn’t removed the old gasket from the flange. I’d cleaned off the old wax seal just fine, but missed the black gasket seated in the black flange: It came out and was stuck to the new, almost pristine, wax seal. Clearly, the toilet had not really been well-seated at all, and certainly not sealed. What was really interesting, though, is that the floor (old, old linoleum from when the house was built in 1973-74) around the flange was perfectly dry. Strange…. Anyway, I cut back the carpet and pad, removed a couple small tack strips, then reseated the toilet. (And this time the tank was still attached, which made it a bit more awkward, and why I recommend two people for this job; in fact, two people would be helpful, regardless.)

So that’s where the bathroom is. Currently, I have a 500W halogen lamp drying the carpet. I’m hopeful that the vanity top will come in next week, in time for me to close this project in next Friday’s Wrap-Up. We’ll see.

March Madness

As many of you are aware, I’m a sports fan. And one of my favorite events is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. More specifically, the first two days of the tournament, when the field is narrowed from 64 to 32 teams, is the best time to watch. The drama is great: Yesterday, there were three overtime games (only two in the entire tournament in 2009), a bunch of upsets, and 7 games decided by 3 points or fewer.

I have no real rooting interest this year, given UCLA’s losing record this season, and their failure to gain an automatic bid by winning the Pac-10 tournament. However, California and Washington are both representing the conference, so I’ll be pulling for them. Realistically, I don’t expect either to survive the weekend. On the other hand, I’m a fan of Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach. The Orangemen are a high seed, and I’m hoping they go deep into the tournament.

Next Week

As I mentioned above, I’m hoping to finish up the bathroom before the next Wrap-Up. I also want to post at least one, and hopefully two articles of substance (I’m open to suggestions—that’s what the Comments are for!). I’d also like to see another Feather Path installment from Iris (yes, that’s a hint, and a nudge!). Finally, I intend to get another couple thousand words of Darklight done. If I can to all that, it will be a very successful week, and I won’t be too upset about missing the word-count this week.


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