Archive for November, 2006

How does one say

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

This last year has been, unfortunately, indescribable. I feel like my life progresses in spurts and starts, but for the most part I enter into something and either screw it up or do it well, then I try a modification, then more stuff happens, and I muse on the things I’ve learned.

Seriously. I sit back and muse.

But every once in a while, you have a stretch, 6 months, a year, two years, something, and you come out on the other side a changed person entirely. I’m sure these are the periods that people go through where they find God or switch political parties or whatever, but you don’t really know what’s happening as it’s happening.

You can do the South Park thing and be like, “this experience has led me to believe that the following is true…” or whatever, but times like this, I think I’m just gonna wake up in a couple of years and realize that this last year turned me from being me at 30 into me at, y’know, 50 or something.

The utter and complete failure of Air Guitar, the incredible daunting task of creating a new home for me and for my mom, the understanding that my family no longer lives in New York, the sense of protection that I have for Jordana and the baby… it all has been pureed with the fact that I went back into therapy and got back on medication and now I’m sort of staggering through an unrecognizable landscape that I only intellectually understand is my life.

It’s been interesting to watch some people pull close with us now that we have a baby coming. It’s sucked to watch some people pull away, trying to get rid of us like flicking water off your hands at a public restroom. It is especially hard to understand that one’s aloneness is complete, even when one is surrounded by the incredible support that we’ve gotten from both our families.

But the honest truth is that I don’t know what is going on. This is one of those times when I lower my shoulder and drive to the basket, and I don’t know who’s getting fouled but there seems to be a lot of contact, and I’m not even waiting for the whistle. I couldn’t stop even if it was blown.

Jordana was 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated today. The doctor is thrilled.

Vitrual Tour

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Now, I’m on to bigger and worser things. If, somehow, I survive the great trash removal of November ’06, I will then be left with these somewhat daunting rooms. Starting with the best, and working my way to the worst.

This room is basically ready to go. Nice light, nice windows, nice and big… I would probably make this my bedroom, except that it’s right over some no-talent’s studio, and I’d have to listen to him singing “High Flying Adored” over and over and then hear him whine about how he could have been successful if he hadn’t had so many obstacles put in his path. I don’t intend on doing anything to this room right now.

Sort of a moody picture, I’m not sure why the flash didn’t go off. I would make this room a dining/living room or something like that. Put in a TV, a doggie bed, a fold out couch and a heavily stocked bar and watch the sun set out the back windows. All you’d have to do is put up with the constant sound of failed masturbation coming from the bedroom below, and the immediate whine about how he could have been successful if he hadn’t had so many obstacles put in his path. Again, I’m not gonna do much to this room. I might fix the ceiling…

Now, just because I have no intention of doing anything to this room, doesn’t mean work shouldn’t be done on it. The walls are awful, the carpet is awful… but the thing is, it’s livable, it’s small, it’s essentially a huge walk-in closet. I would make this my studio, because the only thing below it is a hallway, and the whining from downstairs is almost imperceptable here.

I know what you’re thining. You think this is another “before” picture of our bathroom, but it isn’t. This is… well, I guess it is a “before” picture of the bathroom upstairs, which is identical to our bathroom. I’m keeping the tub, it’s ceramic on cast iron and it’s in perfectly good shape, as is the plumbing, but I’m replacing everything else, including the walls. You might think it’s just horrible to be in this room. You’d be right.

My guess is that if you didn’t live in America and know that every home has to have some kind of kitchen, and if you didn’t have the process of elimination to go by, it might take you a minute or two to figure out that this is, indeed, the kitchen. The makeshift hole in the wall where the vent goes, or the plumbing aparatus might have given it away, but at first glance, this looks like Katrina hit it. I’m putting in new walls, new subfloor, new tile floor, new ceiling and new lighting, then new cabinets, new fridge, stove and dishwasher and new sink and plumbing going all the way to the wall. And it’ll be done by December 3rd.


Movin’ On Up

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Two last photos of the bathroom, for anyone waiting with baited breath.

There are still a couple of cosmetic changes we need to make. Some drywall patching and painting to finish, and we had a small plumbing disaster that required some tile removal, but other wise the bathroom is usable, which, really, is all we can ask a bathroom to be. The toilet is sorta insecure, but I didn’t notice that until I took a crap a little while ago. I’ve been following protocol and peeing in the sink.

The medicine cabinet, which I honestly didn’t like at first, is gonna be fine. It’s got a real elegant line to it, surprisingly. We’ve still got trim to put on around the tile, but other than the tiny stuff, I’m not gonna revisit this bathroom until I’m forced to.

Now, of course, I’ve got to move on to the apartment upstairs. I’ll post some pictures of that later, but… well, here’s a shot of the trash pick up I’m doing today.

This all has to end up going out to a dumpster that is coming around 3. Most construction projects have a dumpster waiting outside to fill with trash as they go, but that requires a permit, and I’m assuming in Queens that getting a permit means meeting some Proto-Mediterranean Contingent and handing over $500 in a back alley… or maybe it’s just a matter of filling out forms. All I know is that I can have the trash guys come and then load the truck and they go away, and I don’t have to do any paper work.

Would You Rather A Knitting Blog?

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Yeah, this is getting boring to read about, I’m sure. And… it’s only just begun. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better. This room is 72% done, but as soon as I get it completely done, I’m gonna demolish the upstairs and start on that. And I’ve got three weeks, give or take, before the whole thing has to be done.

Is it fun? It is sorta fun, but mostly, there’s a good sense of accomplishment.

Let me post some new pictures, just so I feel like I’m moving forward…

This is what it looks like from the hallway, looking in the door. The rather dramatic hole in the wall is, honestly, nothing, it’s just where the medicine cabinet fits in, and that’s gonna be dead easy to do. I just have to frame it out. The medicine cabinet is the only thing in the bathroom that I don’t really like, but it is infinitely replaceable. Everything else is awesome.

You can get a sense of the very simple design. As we were driving to Home Depot, Jordana said “should we get some 12 inch tiles?” and I said, “well, the backerboard is five feet tall… that would be perfect if we had,” and Jordana interrupted with, “six rows of eight inch and one row of twelve, right?” We don’t even bother to talk anymore, seriously. We’ve run out of things to say.

This is the first sense we’ve gotten of what the bathroom will look like. The tiles will be cleaned up on the floor, and the walls will be grouted, and the medicine chest… but we’re closing in on it

When I was trying to get the pips secured for the toilet, I did some crazy shit, turning metal directly into more metal, threading things that don’t naturally have threads. I used an acting exercise to move the pipes. I focused my chi. So… I had that going for me. It really made me happy I had studied acting.

Wait… What?

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

I need to start with a short list of things I’ve done wrong. There is supposed to be a full support structure for the tub, and there isn’t really. The tub is more or less set in a structure, but it, um, wobbles just a touch. Now, you have to shift around in the tub to get it to move, but it works.

One is supposed to take the knobs off before the backerboard goes on, but I couldn’t get the knobs off.

There is supposed to be a layer of thinset holding the tub to the ground. I put the thinset down, but then moved the tub a bunch of times and the thinset didn’t take. At all.

When I was doing the electrical work for the engine on the pump, I did some fancy bullshit that, of course, didn’t work, and I had to take the whole thing apart and re-do it. Which I also did with the support structure, three different times. And I also did it with the plumbing.

The plumbing connection with the drain and the overflow was… it was a two day ordeal. The overflow and the drain didn’t match, so I had to disassemble the entire thing and rebuild it from a way’s inside the wall all the way out to the tub.

The floor by the toilet is so crooked and awful that there is about an inch of clearance in front. A gap that I have shived up with wood. I’m not sure how I’m gonna solve that. Plaster of paris is what is suggested, but… I don’t know what that is. So, I don’t think that’s gonna work.

Anyway, this is what the bathroom looks like tonight.

The walls have been replaced with backer board that will hold the tile better. The electrical and plumbing is all in for the whirlpool tub and the hole in the wall for the medicine cabinet is, y’know, cut open. That’s how I got to the electricity.

Just another angle of the same thing, but you can better see the moto and the plumbing, the pvc, and the support structure for the tub. Behind the wooden panel is a set of 1x2s screwed together. The support beams are doubled up 1x2s, but underneath the set at the foot of the tub, I’ve got actual 2x4s and tons of support. the tub still wiggles.

Perspective on the Room

Friday, November 10th, 2006

So, it really is important to look at things a certain way. Jordana and I have been bickering a little bit because we’ve got so much we’re trying to get done, and no matter how you look at it, you can figure out how to take things the wrong way, or complain a little too much.

So it’s important that we all look at things a certain way. For instance…

This is one way of looking at our bathroom. There’s a big hole in the floor, the walls are destroyed, the tile is down but it looks pretty fucked up. This is one way.

This is a better angle. That toilet works, the walls are pretty close to done and… okay, the tile is still fucked up. But I’ve figured out how to fix that…

I’m not done yet, but you can see that the tile looks a little better in sections. I just need another two hours or so, and the tile will look great.

This is probably the right way to look at this. It’s about a third done, and that’s probably the easy third… but it’s important that pregnant ladies can pee in the middle of the night.

Bathroom Update

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

So, I’ve taken two more steps in getting the bathroom done. Hopefully, we can push forward from here a little faster. The funny thing is that all the DIY handbooks and shows basically introduce the first step to this remodel as “consider hiring help”. Like, this whole thing is a bad idea. We just don’t have any money, so… I mean, it’s just slow going, step-by-step.

So, I got the bathtub out. You really don’t want me to describe what happened, but suffice it to say, this was done with tin snips, two hours and three pounds of sweat.

This is just another angle. I ripped up all the tile to find, underneath, another layer of tile. This might be my first mistake, but I’m using the bottom layer of tile as the underlayment and I’m tiling on top of it.

This is the dry run of the new tile floor. It will meet the bathtub in the back. Why isn’t the bathtub in already? Or, rather, why isn’t the 2X4 box that will hold the tub in? I dunno, maybe I’m doing this wrong…

The tile is setting in thinset now. As soon as it does, we push in the grout and move to the next step, which is… I guess, we just keep faking it.

Lyra Kois Smith finds the only other baby in the room. She was shy at first, then she ran all around the house laughing and telling jokes. None of which we understood, but all of which she thought were hilarious.

Advocacy For The Devil

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

I’ll get back to the remodel later, I just have a thing or two to say about this election.

Not a single incumbent Democratic Senator lost their seat. These are the exact same people who, in overwhelming numbers, voted to give the president the power to go into Iraq. President Bush couldn’t have gone into Iraq without the votes of people like Hillary Clinton, (who, by the way, seems to be using her “radical leftist stance” to rail against violent video games and knee-jerk what-about-the-children-isms) and yet Mrs. Clinton won in a landslide.

Let’s assume this is a referendum on the war in Iraq. So… you hate the war, huh? But you *didn’t* hate the war two years ago, right? You felt like going into Iraq was going to make America safer, that it would be attacking the terrorists there so we wouldn’t have to do it here. And now, two years later, we aren’t safer, and there is now a haven for terrorists in Iraq, so you’re really pissed.

Let me lean on the phrase above that’s important. AFTER TWO YEARS. Two years ago, the Republicans were keeping us safe, but *now* you think the war was a mistake? We went into a foreign country as a colonial power and we’re trying to impose a Western political structure on a country that never asked for it and has never had it, and since it’s taking longer than two years, you’re pissed?

Have some fucking backbone. How squeamish are you? You thought it was gonna take *less* time, and *fewer* soldiers should have died?

Look, the Iraq thing, in my opinion, wasn’t gonna work the way you promised, and anyone who thought we would be greeted as liberators are just ignorant, it’s never happened in the history of history. But I don’t know a goddam thing, history may look back on Iraq as one of the bravest most radical move in American foreign policy, and I have to assume that those of you who thought that was true supported him for this reason. It doesn’t make one iota of sense to me, but if it ever made sense to you, why the hell would you change your mind now?

Oh, and also, why did you take it out on the Republicans? Democrats, who voted for the war and supported the war, just leaned back and said nothing about their voting record. And you idiots bought it. Ridiculous.

Oh, and for everyone who’s all excited? What do you think is gonna happen. Those soldiers will be brought back to life? The money we spent will be pulled back? Or is it good that the President will now be investigated for the past six years of indescretion?

I mean, let’s forget for a second that Pelosi has basically guaranteed that she’s not doing anything against the President, and ignoring the fact that it will take until the end of his Presidency until anything is discovered, if there is anything out there, but remember Whitewater? Remember the *billions* of dollars that were wasted by the Republicans doing investigations into Clinton, all of which ended up with nothing? Those on the left were appalled by the money wasted on that, they were disgusted by the witch-hunt.

And yeah, Bush’s lies and betrayals could be on the level of war-crimes instead of hummers, but still, the Democrats aren’t gonna dare take on the Republican President.

Wanna know why? Because look at the votes. Sure, there were elections won by the democrats, but what about the Left? The anti-gay marriage stuff passed. The anti-stem cell stuff passed. The fundamentalists are still running the country, the battle has swung so far to the right, so mind shakingly far to the right, that one of the Democratic Senators that picked up his seat in the Northeast is frickin’ Anti-Abortion. They had a choice between a guy who hates gays and a guy who wants to oppose women’s rights… what a great day for us!!!

Today, the right wing are leaning back and lacing their fingers behind their heads and sighing relief. The country is in the murkiest part of the shitter, and in 18 months, the country is gonna look at their government and blame the entire thing on the Democrats. The Dems know it, they will do anything they can to retain their seats, and they are gonna be light-red, not blue. And… more than likely, they’re gonna get booted out in two years when Jeb Bush or John McCain wins in a landslide.


I’m not pissed, but I’m certainly not celebrating.

Master Bath

Monday, November 6th, 2006

So, I’m gonna spend the rest of November detailing the work I’m doing on the house. This might not be interesting to too many people, but I think it will be fascinating to look back on, especially figuring out what mistakes I’ve made and what they led to.

Today was demolition. I tore up the bathroom on the main floor, because it’s gonna be a couple more days until I get to the rental apartment. We’ve spent around $800 so far, although you won’t see any of the good stuff in these pix.

This is the only picture I found of the old crappy bathroom. I argued that this was the ugliest bathroom in Queens, and I would have stood by that until I saw the maudlin scene in the rental apartment on the third floor.

This seems like it’s the closest pic angle-wise of the demo I did today. I took everything out except the toilet and the tub. I still have to figure out how to turn the water off upstairs to get the tub out, and it could be that I have to turn the water off for the whole house. I have a feeling this is gonna be a dangerous bit of education.

Better angle of the entire bathroom. I tore out a useless closet and ripped off the horrible plastic shower walls they had up. Also, the toilet is yellow. I mean, I’m just saying. We’re replacing it with a brown/green one.

That’s not true…