The Campsie Project

An account of the renovation of The Neglected House on the Wonderful Street in Wonderful Downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Jamb on it!

Without a doubt, we've seen that Miss Lucy has a special love of pulling nails, and taking things apart. Here we find her in her native environment, dissecting the former door jamb of the room that is to be the bathroom. In the background, behold, gentle reader, the wonder of my newly-constructed new door frame!

Hammers and Nails and Saws, oh my…

Now we're startin' to see some action.

Lucy and I have been hard at work. I say this because we maybe—a teensy little bit—have questioned our time commitment recently. I keep thinking of a boomerang you throw it and it flies away, and then arcs back. Well, I keep waiting for it to circle back. Of course, I hope it doesn't chop my hand off when it comes zooming it. I don't know how that figures into the metaphor, but I'm really totally against having my hand chopped off.

But the gist is this. We've spent a great deal of time and effort tearing things apart, right? And at some point, I reckon, we start putting things back together (yes, this has been the theme of several posts). And that will be nice. Not because I'm tired of tearing things apart. That is actually quite a bit of fun. But more because I'll rest easier once I can confirm that putting things back together is—you know—doable.

So here's the latest: I've been doing two serious carpenter projects: Opening a new doorway and installing braces into a section of floor. I'm kind of amazed that I've been able to do either. But it's true! I framed the new doorway. Not the bedroom closet doorway. We won't talk about that one. That one is the one we'll call "The Closet Door Project that Shall Not Be Spoken Of."

But look over here! (distracting gestures and colors ensue) It's the new bathroom doorway! Okay, it's the frame of the new bathroom doorway. Jeez, ya just gotta be so literal all the time... But really! The new bathroom doorway! Framed by me! I studied three books, all of which seemed to address aspects of the framing process... but never the whole thing. So I tried to start with some commonly-held principles—for instance: "framing is accomplished using studs" and the like—that all the books shared, and then I ferreted out specific info as necessary. Mostly this amounted to literally hours vacant staring and trying to remember middle school algebra. 1/16th? 3/8ths? Holy cow. I didn't realize carpenters were actually rocket scientists. I literally spent half of a day trying to be sure that I was about to nail a stud into the right place in the floor. ONE STUD. (sidenote: next time you see constuction workers standing around, apparently aimlessly, remember this valuable insight: they are actually quite busy trying to remember middle school algebra.)

I must confess now, this was all a lot of fun. What with the countin' and the addin' and the transmogrification. First I tried to make mental notes. Riiiight… Next it was sketching on the drywall, and then finally it was time for graph paper. My favorite. I haven't gotten to really use graph paper with a purpose since 7th Grade Drafting. And I still worry that I may have missed my calling.

So I measured and hammered and cut wood and stared a lot. Also, I used screws for this job, since I was trying to prepare for the inevitable taking it apart because it's wrong.

And guess what? We still don't know yet. That great secret and surprise won't be known until the door jambs are installed, and even then I guess until the door itself is hung, smashed or banged into place. Whatever it takes!


Construction as of late facilitated by the sounds of:
David Bowie, The New Pornographers, DJ Paul V, Bill Tapia, The Decembrists, and the Dawn & Drew Show.

We've got The Power…



This weekend, very productive. We're entering a sawing phase, and I went to "The Depot" and—with some teeth-gnashing—bought a miter box, MSRP $14.97. (PS: Lucy thinks I'm an impulse buyer, but if so, I'm totally a cheap-ass impulse buyer. Speaking of cheap, where you buyin' your gas?

Anyway, I was excited about my miter box, plastic though it was. Then Patron Builder Todd came over to inspect my stud-work, and you know what he did? He laughed at my miter box. It reminded me of the time I was driving my Honda around near a great mechanic's place, with the emergency spare on. I'd been remiss in getting the "real" tire fixed, and Steve DiMartino waved me in, and patched it and put it on, right there, on the spot. When I tried to pay him, he waved me off, saying, "I felt sorry for you." Hooo-kay..

So in quite likely the same spirit, I was offered the indefinite loan of a kick-ass electric Miter Saw. And sweet baby Jesus, that thing is the cat's pajamas.

Okay—So maybe I never actually opened the plastic cheap Miter Box. Or maybe I opened it but refrained from actually cutting a single piece of wood. Maybe I had hoped against hope that this might happen, this cosmo-sent gizmo. Who knows? Maybe the Shadow knows, but he ain't talkin'. In fact, he's tied up in the basement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I cut a hole in the wall..

I cut a hole in the wall..
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey.
Plaster, lathe, saws-all.
Plaster, lathe, saws-all.

We decided on this great idea for maximizing the silly bedroom closet space. But I think it was Satan who really had the idea. The hole leads straight to Hell, I'm afraid.

Day of the Saws-All

Hello, Campsie watchers!

Yes, we've been a bit remiss with the postings, but I guess that's like saying "Under Contruction" on your web site, so I'll just spare you the apologies and cut to the action!

Let's see, hmmm, oh yeah! Knocked a doorway out upstairs. (blush)

Probably the most satisfying things I've yet done. I get worried over the DEstruction and lack of CONstruction, but hopefully that tide will turn if we can get Plumber John in to do his Pipe Magic®. Lucy and I were prepping for his hoped-for arrival, and then got the word that we were getting wait-listed 'til end of the week. Pleeease, let it just be end of the week…

So Sunday was a day of cutting wood, cleaning up wood and plaster and some of what I like to call Stand and Point Time. As best I can tell, this term hasn't been copyrighted yet, which is a mystery to me. I use it all the time. As in: "Patron Contractor Todd, can you come over so we can have some Stand and Point Time over this upstairs bathroom business?" I mean—isn't that nearly the core of working with contractors?

Thank the lord Jeee-zus Chreesto for my contractor friends, especially Todd and Josh. Both those guys know they'll be getting more calls from me. Lately, I've been trying to understand all about doors. I've gotcher carpentry books, dude; I've got the Readers Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual, which is described as "the yard-stick by which all other books on do-it-yourself are measured." Thanks to Bob Tharsing for the tip. Now go look at his fabulous paintings.

So I started knocking out a hole in the wall in the bedroom, for another closet door. Maybe a bad idea. But I did as my parents' old pal Steve Murphy did and "make a decision, even if it's a bad one." Okay, so maybe bad one. Can't tell yet.

But the amazing thing is, I've knocked out another door hole, this one into the bathroom (er—future bathroom, that is.), and I'm feeling good about it. Probably because I got to use the sawsall. But I'm starting to think terms like studs, cripple studs, headers… And I'm getting kind of excited about the possibility of framing a door.
Is it possible that I could actually do this? Tune in again, fine reader for the eventual, much-later-than-I-think, answer!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Progress can be infintessimal right?

Let's talk about smashing. Knocking. Pounding. That's where we are with The Campsie Project. Let's talk Crowbars. That's been my tool of choice recently. Lucy and I got to smashin'—last week and this—the ceiling out of one of the downstairs "bedrooms" (this house is full of tiny rooms-- they're all technically "bedrooms") so that Plumber John could get to the pipes, so that he could run the pipes, so that we could move the bathroom, so that we could have the laundry room, so that we could finish the upstairs so that we can move the fuck in (sorry Mom!) to the upstairs, so that we can stop payin' double mortgages, so that we can be happy for ever and ever and ever.

So there's some things that have to happen, gentle reader.

And they're happening, Kesey. Lucy, she been ripping up base boards, which provides a peculair, near orgasmic satisfaction, if you pull the piece off without incuring damage. Ohhhhhhhh!

Speaking of damage: yesterday I went to town with Jim's sawsall. Can you say "flying plaster chunks?" Yup. I don't know— It's one thing to carefully measure a doorway; to consider the possible wiring in the wall; the stud locations; etc. It's another to actually lay into it with a power tool. I feel sure that I've done something terrible and wrong. Sick and wrong. But I'm assured that I haven't. I'm yet to believe that, personally. But here we go… you know—what with the wall, and the hole in it.

I hope to have a framed in closet door there in the near future.

Tune in next time for some images of Destructo-Vision!©

Friday, April 01, 2005

Slow But Sure

Looks like it's my turn again. Ole Mick is submerged in receipts, celebrating the return of tax time. The latest on Campsie pour moi? I've become a bit stumped by indecision and disbelief at the vast nature of the work to be done. Sunday (our normal work day) included a lot of head scratchin' and wanderin' around. We finally just threw our hands up and went to a movie (Life Aquatic-I give it ***). I'm actually quite at peace with that decision. Normally I would've beat myself up for having lost a day of work but this time away was needed. I just couldn't commit to the latest project-ripping out the ceiling in one of the 1st floor rooms in order that it may be lowered to accomodate the plumbing move for the upstairs bathroom. I've now polled my various sources of inspiration and I'm ready to proceed. A new consultant is on board-Laura Dalzell-an ole pal from my Ky Lighting days. I've worked out a trade with her. I do lighting plans for her and she offers me her supreme space-planning abilities. This coming Sunday we'll be doin' some wall-rippin' so watch out!!!