Monday, May 28, 2007
As many of you know, Maggie has been called up to active duty and she is in Iraq. So it is somewhat quieter around the house.
Summer has finally arrived though it was a chilly 40 last night. Dax and Chile said we should post up some pictures of the house. We got the bunting up and I played gardener this week and got the flower boxes up on the porch. So we wish all of you a very happy and safe Memorial Day.
Friday, February 02, 2007
I know, no posts in forever. We have been busy with www.YpsiNews.com, raising a new puppy, and much more. Lots of new things have been going on in the house. The number one thing people ask for are more pictures. So here is a picture of the exterior on a wonderful fall day in Michigan. This picture was taken by the City assessor for their records and I think it is one of the best photos of the house, especially in the fall.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Two years and no posts. Where did the time go? I am very sorry. Would you believe we finished. It is true, the house is all done. Well, it is never done, but it is good enough that we can have company over. So when are you coming to visit?
We volunteered the house for the Christmas Home Tour to benefit Meals on Wheels. That is this weekend. There was even an article in the Ann Arbor News. After that I hope to start posting more pictures and stories of how this all turned out. You get to hear about our first winter. The coming of Spring and sending Maggie off to war. Our scramble to get the house painted as a surprise before Maggie returned from Afghanistan. How about digging a 200 foot well and having it come up dry. Oh there is much more, but for now, enjoy the latest photo.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Gosh, two months and no new updates, what happened? Uhh, we got sort of busy. There was an incredible push to get moved in by Thanksgiving and guess what? We made it. Yep that is right. Maggie and I spent our first night in our new house on Thanksgiving. As many of you know, we had plans for a big Thanksgiving dinner with eight friends and family coming over. I mentioned to Maggie several weeks ago that we should have a trial run in the kitchen the weekend before Thanksgiving to make sure everything works.
We never got to do the trial run. Did you hear about the third flood? Well they weren't really floods, you could call them "Water Events". The first event was when the hot water was turned on for the first time back in September and we found out that the tile guys had put a nail into a pipe on the second floor. The second event was when Maggie hit the emergency eject button on the Asko washer and dumped a load of water and clothes out on the second floor laundry. I didn't even know that Asko washers had an emergency eject button, but they do. If you press the Start/Stop button twice very quickly, the door will just fly open. I guess that is so you can get the cat out instead of waiting for the washer to empty which is what happens if you press the Stop button just once.
The most recent event was caused by Mastertech Appliance Repair when they came over to repair the Sub-Zero refrigerator. The toe kick wasn't fitting quite right, so they came over to 'make' it fit. Remember the enemy of good is better. The toe kick was installed, but it was a little crooked and one screw wouldn't quite fit. Well they got it to fit but somehow damaged the water line to the ice maker. Of course we didn't know the water line was damaged until several hours later when I returned from shopping to find a small flood in the basement. Nothing else was damaged so I just had to mop up the basement floor. It made me nervous though. The water was not two feet away from the equipment rack for the servers and audio control system that have yet to be installed. I may have to look into mounting an umbrella in the rack.
Then we had problems with the floors in the garage. The floors were supposed to be done before Thanksgiving, but they missed two appointments. The house painters also missed two more deadlines so that delayed our move in even further. So we never got to test out the kitchen the week before the big dinner.
Our first meal cooked at Glover House was Thanksgiving day trying to feed 10 people and cook a 22 pound turkey in a oven purchased on Ebay some 14 months ago. The good news is dinner was great. The bad news is ... well ... there is no bad news. Yeah, really. Everything went off without a hitch. The kitchen was great. All the appliances worked. The oven worked great. The double drawer dish washer was awesome. You could be washing one load on pot scrubbing mode and in the mean time do two loads of glassware. The turkey was fabulous and the company was even better. No we didn't eat the company, what I meant was, oh never mind.
Dinner was wonderful. Maggie said she loves her new kitchen and she was glad all the food turned out. I was glad all the appliances worked and we didn't pop a single breaker. We apparently have different priorities. This was a great way to break in the new old house. It was so cool to actually be living in the house. To hear laughter and foot steps in the house and realize that not one person was a contractor was a blessing and a relief. Don't get me wrong, I love my contractors, well most of them. But it is time for them to be done. It was a Thanksgiving dinner I don't think we will soon forget.
Well, what about the painters? Did you get your counter in the Laundry room? Did you move everything over from the old house? Is Expo sending you letter bombs?
Whoa! Too many questions. First things first, pictures. I posted up new pictures for October, November and December. So make sure you check out all three months. I will try to get everyone caught up in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time you can see what we have been doing. To answer some of your questions. No, the painters are not finished. (sigh)
Yes, Expo got the laundry room counter installed, on the fifth attempt. That is correct. Even after our come to Jesus meeting with Expo after the third failed attempt, it took Expo two more times before they finally got it right. Sheesh.
Have we moved everything over from the other house? Not even close. After this tremendous final push, we were so drained, it was hard to get the energy to start moving things. Perhaps after Christmas, we can get the closets finished and then start moving stuff over. In the mean time, we make lists each day of critical stuff we need, like spare sheets, more towels, and chips and salsa. More news soon.
Monday, October 14, 2002
The faucets for the first floor and guest bathroom showed up today. These were the faucets that Antique Hardware told us they had already shipped to us twice before. Funny how they never showed up. I guess they kept getting stuck at the border. I am glad they finally got here. I think they are going to look great and it solves the problem of trying to rebuild fuller valve faucets. The plumbers will be here Wednesday to complete the last items on their list.
Speaking of plumbers, it got cold last night. When I got there this morning the house was 56F degrees. I turned up the heat and by 5pm it had climbed to 61F. I called the plumbers and we couldn't figure out what was wrong, so Jeff came over. Turns out the switch was off. Jeff says there will be a training class on how to use the furnace on Wednesday. The house should be nice and toasty by the morning. Good thing, they are talking about possible snow flurries by the end of this week.
Action Asphalt came by today and finished the driveway but I never saw them. I walked out this afternoon and found three coffee cups in the big hole by the driveway. Over the weekend I had just made a tour of the entire property picking up trash and couldn't believe someone decided to throw out three coffee cups. Then I looked over at the drive and the asphalt work was done. That explains the three coffee cups. Karl called this evening and will be over on Tuesday to do the final measure on the concrete. Then we get to find out how much this really costs.
I called Expo to confirm the counter install for the laundry room scheduled for Tuesday. I also wanted to make sure the divider support was also going to be delivered at the same time and that it was white, not the counter color. I call Contempo Kitchens and they say, "What divider?"
So I call Expo. Victor, the new guy handling my "problem" claims that he told them last week how to make the divider. Contempo says they don't make dividers. I called Victor back and he started telling me about all his problems with Contempo. I told him I didn't want to hear it, they were his contractor, you deal with it. Victor then made a boo-boo, he said I had already refused 4 different counters, was I going to reject this one too. Oh that did it, I exploded.
Fortunately, I didn't cuss, Unfortunately, I yelled. Victor to his credit didn't hang up. Long time readers know that there have only been two counters, not four and that both times Contempo built the counters wrong. If this one on Tuesday gets rejected, it will be because Contempo and Expo screwed up, not us. We have been ready for these counters since late July. Three months later and they still haven't installed a five foot Formica counter with no curves or corners. Contempo called back about 30 minutes later and said they needed to postpone the installation because the divider is not ready. Gee, there is a surprise. I don't understand why Victor from Expo couldn't have called to make sure everything was ready to go.
Jeff Gransden from Pilon will be here on Tuesday. Boy, do we have a punch list for him. I am going to try to post up the punch list so that you can see what is left to do. We are getting close.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
The concrete was poured today. It took only two days to build all the forms and then at 8:30 this morning they started pouring. By 5pm, they were done. Hats off to Karl and the whole crew at GM & Sons. The crew was first rate and a real pleasure to work with. It is too bad they don't do more residential work. There are already three other neighbors that want concrete work, just in this neighborhood. GM & Sons mostly does commercial work for big companies like Pfizer and the University of Michigan. So we were lucky to have them work for us and we sure glad they did. Like they say, there is no shortage of work, for folks who do things right.
I have posted a bunch of pictures up in the October Photo Album. One to look for is the truck behind our 150 year old beech tree. I walked out the door and there was this truck at the far back of the property. I couldn't figure out how the heck it got back there. While standing there trying to figure it out, he started to back up. So I snapped some shots as he traced his steps back. You know the tree is pretty big when a concrete truck can drive underneath it.
Here are some concrete truck facts. Each truck fully loaded weighs about 90,000 pounds. They can hold about 10 to 11 cubic yards of concrete. It took about 6 loads of concrete today. Each yard weighs about 2,700 pounds. The truck has a 6-speed automatic transmission and it even has a television. Though the only channel it has is the view out the back.
Here are some concrete tips. To help cure the concrete, starting on day two keep the concrete wet. It will help cool down the concrete which increases it strength and will make for a better sidewalk or driveway. Also don't use any salt on your concrete the first year. Salt reacts with the concrete and will cause the surface to spall or break up. If you are driving around town during winter rinse off your driveway as your car can drag salt in from the roads.
About 10:30 this morning Chile introduced herself to the whole crew as she ran across the back patio. Sinking into the concrete up to her knees, she couldn't understand why no one was very excited to see her. A quick trip up to shower to wash off and then she got the spend the rest of the day in the car. Note to self, don't bring dog to job site on the day they pour concrete.
Painting is progressing well. Though I am not sure we are going to make our October 25 deadline. But we better, the floor guys are coming the next week. I wish the painters would have gotten started earlier. We originally were supposed to have been done at the end of August. But they got a late start and so we have been behind ever since. I hate rushing things like this at the end, you don't get as good a paint job, but we need to get moving. I hope Ron can pull this off.
Expo continues to be the nightmare they always are. I called last week to ask about counters. They never called back. Called this week asking where the counters were? They said they didn't understand my message from last week so nothing was done. Did anyone call me to clarify what we needed. No. I don't get it. This is supposed to be their job to make sure that items ordered get delivered and installed. Yet they can't follow up and make sure that this project actually gets finished. I am really getting hacked off at them. I guess they are mad at me as well. Even the general manager won't return my phone calls any more. They have promised me on numerous occasions that we would get a refund for the extra labor and damage they have caused from all the foul-ups. But I bet they will drag their heels on that too.
Jeff from Pilon will be back next week to work on the punch list. There are still a number of items on the list, but the good news is the list is slowly getting smaller. That is a good thing.
We still haven't been able to find our missing faucets. Though I was assured by Antiques Hardware that they shipped by FedEx today. Of course, they were supposed to ship the faucets by FedEx three weeks ago, I guess they lost that order. We ordered them back in August. Oh well, there is always something. Chile says it is time for a walk, I agree.
Friday, October 04, 2002
Roger Pilon, the president of Pilon Construction and our General Contractor died this past Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 49. The loss has been very depressing. Though we have known for some time that things had taken a turn for the worse, it is still hard to believe he is gone. His enthusiasm and support for this project helped us make it all possible and we will truly miss him.
Roger had real vision for how a remodeling company ought to be run. In a industry of fly-by-night operators and construction scams, Roger knew that there was place for a company with integrity, honesty, and a great work ethic. All you had to do was look at his employees, many of them have been with Roger for more years then I can count, and you just knew that Roger could do what he promised.
Far too many contractors looked at Glover House and said no way, it can't be done for any reasonable budget. Roger and his team looked at Glover House and saw the real potential and was enthusiastic about this project from the very beginning. Maggie and I feel very fortunate to have met and worked with Roger. I am saddened that he won't be able to see this great house finished. But we will press on. Some folks have asked us if Roger's passing would impact our project. Not one bit. We are still one month ahead of schedule and our plan is to be done by Thanksgiving.
Lots of stuff has happened this week. We completed the sale on the Kresge building in downtown Ypsilanti. As many of you know, our original plan was to create a downtown loft in Kresge. That was until Glover House come up on the market. So we ended up buying both Kresge and Glover in the same week of February 2000. Then, after battling with Kmart for almost 16 months, we were able to get them out of their 99 year lease and not a moment too soon. Kmart declared bankruptcy four months later. The new buyers are planning to develop apartments in the upper floors and then work to attract a high quality restaurant for the first floor. We are excited about their plans for the building and wish them all the best.
The concrete pour for the driveway and sidewalks at Glover House started Thursday. The rain has been relentless this week, yet the folks at GM & Sons didn't let them stop them. They just dug out the mud, put in dry fill and poured concrete. Today they finished grading the driveway and sidewalks and they will finish the concrete pour on Monday. Amazing!
Painting is proceeding as well. It has been a little slow going these past couple of weeks but Ron and his crew have committed to completing the interior painting in the next three weeks. The schedule will be tight but we need to get the painting completed so we can get the floors finished. We have been putting up samples of some of the paint colors we selected. We are batting about 50-50. Half look great, the other half seem to indicate that we must of been smoking something when we picked them. Good thing there are lots of other colors to choose from.
Oh yeah, we met with Expo at the end of last week. I will tell you all about it later. Here's a hint, we still don't have the counter in the laundry room.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
It started raining in the house today. The plumbers are here doing final hook ups. They fired up the boiler and pressurized the pipes. Several minutes later water started pouring form the first floor ceiling in my office. The line was pressure tested when they left. It looks like the tile installers hit a pipe with a nail. The good news it is the hot water line and not the radiant floor in the bathroom. The bad news is it looks like we will have to pull down part of the the plaster ceiling, remove all the wet insulation, repair the pipe and then re-plaster. Check out the latest photos in the updated September link.
Cameron Landscaping came to the rescue today. We got their name from the Karl at GM & Sons, the concrete contractor. As you may recall, we were left high and dry by L-n-J Landscaping after they missed three different appointments. I called Cameron on Monday, by Tuesday they had someone on-site digging the drains. They did tell me that this is not normal so don't start telling folks we always show up the next day. John, I promise, I will only tell just a couple of folks on the website. Heck how many really read this any ways. (Cameron's phone number is 734-426-3554)
So the drains are being cut in and they will be installing pop-ups out in the yard. This is far cheaper then doing a french drain that is lined with pea gravel. They tell me they will be done this afternoon. This should still get the water away from the house which is the main goal. With the drains in, the concrete drive can be poured next week.
The ice maker came in today on time, just as promised. I love Costco. The price was $799 and the best the local appliance dealer could do was $1050. The dealer told me that this was below their cost. Oh yeah, sure. Don't you just love when Home Depot and others tell you, we will beat any price. But have you ever looked at the small print. Their price match guarantee doesn't include Internet sales or Warehouse clubs like Costco.
The dishwasher was installed today. We went with a dish drawers from Fisher&Paykel. These are really cool. There are two separate drawers with independent controls. So you can have clean dishes in one drawer and dirty in the other. Hopefully that will cut down on all the dirty dishes in the sink. Of course it doesn't load the dishwasher automatically like Rosie from the Jetsons. One drawback of a dish drawer is large items like cookie sheets can't fit. Oh well.
Expo sent a check for $200 yesterday. No idea what that is for. No note, no letter, just a check. It isn't even close to the refund that we are supposed to get. With Expo you pay first then they deliver. So now we have to try and get our money back. I am sure it will be a battle. Well, time to go find a mop.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
The asphalt driveway and old sidewalk was ripped out this week. We are trying to get a meeting scheduled with the landscaping company L-n-J to plan out the dry wells and drains for the downspouts. But they keep missing appointments and not returning phone calls. It is getting frustrating. They came highly recommended but they just can't get their act together. I have a call into another company but that is just going to put us further behind.
Speaking of getting their act together, the folks at Union Lighting continue to impress us. The new down rod extensions for the kitchen came in right on schedule. We also got the new copper mailbox from Smith and Hawken.
I have added some more photos to the September collection. The most disturbing is the ceiling and wall damage in the north bedroom that we are making into a sewing room. That damage is far worse then we originally thought. Oh well, this is an old house. The painters will repair the the wall and then we put in a new dry-wall ceiling over the existing plaster. The dry wall folks should be in late next week to do the ceiling. The painters have most of the repair work completed on the second floor. They should be done priming in another 10 days. Then we can start with the color coat and painting in the garage.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
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