August 26, 2005


The big maple by our driveway is coming down today. The tree guys just arrived and incredibly, within about 20 minutes, they made mincemeat out of the straggly holly tree next to the oak. They cut the trunk at the ground and pretty much just put the whole tree in the chipper. Noisy? Dusty? Yes. Impressive? That too.

They're climbing the tree now... more later.

February 18, 2005

Melba Toast... What a Cat!

I'll tell you something... what more could you ask for in a cat. She's the Handy Man's assistant. She even help me a little bit tonight...

We weren't really sure what had her so fascinated... but I think I figured it out. She's just waiting for us to pull out the laser level. Click here to see.

February 17, 2005

OK! Now It's Done... Really.

The Elfa went up tonight. Our brand spankin' new platinum colored shelves are cantalevering themselves up on the freshly painted wall with nothing but a jug of All and some hangers on them. I guess we'll start moving stuff back into the laundry room tomorrow.

Dima using the awesome drill we got from my parents for Christmas.

After the top track was attached we added the hanging standards...

...then we started putting on the shelves. This one I put on rightsideup.


There were some frustrating moments... like when we realized that the "long" shelves were supposed to be on the left side rather than the right... like when I tried to put the shelf on upsidedown... like, well it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that the shelves are up and we can move on to the next project and soon all the crap that we pulled out of the laundry room in order to do this project will be going back in. Well, hopefully not all the crap. Hopefully we'll be inspired to organize ourselves a bit.

February 16, 2005

The WALL Awaits Elfa...

It's done. The wall has been primed and painted and the only thing left to do is hang the Elfa. (Man I love Elfa.)

Did I mention what a great job Robin and Dima did? And Dima has been busy as a 6'8" bee since Robin left Saturday night. Spackling, sanding, spackling, sanding, sweeping, vacuuming, spackling, sanding, and finally painting... I can't wait to get the shelves up. We designed them so there will be a place to hang damp laundry and plenty of shelves to store all kinds of junk. Dima says that this is the realization of his very own homeownership dream. And it's true. Ever since we started talking about buying a house he's been talking about wanting a basement with shelves where he can stack containers that are labeled by their contents: snowboarding, camping, disco balls, etc. By this time next week not only will he have the shelves but I'm sure he'll have at least one labeled container. In fact I guarantee it.

February 15, 2005

Laying it on Thick!

Dima has been furiously spackling and sanding for the last two nights.

The wall is now begging for it's first coats of primer and paint. I bought some today on the way home from the office but we don't have a paint tray liner so it will have to wait until tomorrow. We were hoping to get the Elfa up tomorrow but it looks like it might be Friday.

Another proud participant in all of this has been Melba Toast. She supervised the entire process on Saturday and has been there to lend Dima a hand as he spackled and sanded.

We just don't know what we would have done without her!

February 12, 2005

Raising of The WALL: Fini!

It is done! The Great Wall of the Basement is finished! It looks excellent and I can't believe they did it all in one day!

Tomorrow we will spackle and paint. If we're lucky we will be able to put the Elfa up too! Unbelievable! I wish every day of homeownership was this fun (not easy for sure... well easy for me since all I did was blog and watch). I have to get updated on all of the other projects we've done in the last couple of months. I'll squeeze that list in when I can.

Raising of The WALL: Part Deux

Dima's mom (Dusia) and his sister (Natalia) stopped by to see the progress. The going was pretty slow this morning because the guys had a hard time drilling into the cement floor to secure the sole plate. (This is where Lesson #4 was learned.) After a trip to Home Depot they were able to get all the holes drilled and now the anchors are in.

Things are moving along nicely now though. After the sole plate went down they put the top plate in. And now... they've moved on to the studs. Robin has all sorts of technical words for the anatomy of the wall, as well as his tools. We're having fun with it. Their putting in a "cripple" to span between two studs that are on either side of the HVAC duct. Dima just called it a "crutch." Thesaurus versions he says.

We also all "tagged" the wall, as a sort of graffiti time capsule. I doubt the wall will ever come down but if it does someone will wonder what they're looking at for sure. Natalia's is the most professional looking tag but her mother comes in an elegant and close second.

Lesson #4

Don't buy cheap drill bits. You only end up having to go back to Home Depot more often.

The Raising of The WALL: Part 1

Today Robin came over to help Dima frame a wall in the laundry room. They've been at Home Depot since 9:30 and have just returned with all the fixin's. The basement smells like saw dust... a wonderful smell that brings back sensory memories of my grandfather's workshop. Wood cologne.

The plan is to build the wall and then put up the Elfa shelves we bought last weekend at the end of The Container Store's 30% Off Elfa Sale. What a great product! We've now successfully installed Elfa in the office and basement guest room closets and as an entertainment unit in the TV room. All around it's been a great introduction to lessons in basic handiness.

Lesson #1: Always read the directions. Even if you've done something before, everyone can be helped by a little refresher.

Lesson #2: Stop and walk yourself through what you're going to do before you do it.

Lesson #3: With every mistake comes a lesson that you would have had to learn eventually. Roll with it. Sometimes it pays to get the lesson out of the way. Case and Point: Dima learned basic drywalling skills after he punched a hole through the wall in the office closet installing the Elfa. I'm sure that he and Robin will benefit from that lesson today.