Hive Mind

It’s been a very busy week and the bees have been buzzing in and out without ceasing. The guys mudding the drywall started on Monday which was a challenge because they were supposed to start the previous Thursday and be done with the kitchen for the cabinet installers who were going to show up on Tuesday. Katie was able to delay the cabinet installers until Wednesday so they were able to hang cabinets only moments after the plaster and paint had dried. The mud guys were still around, of course, getting plaster dust on the new cabinets and there were a few tense moments of impromptu diplomacy but in the end, the result was pretty impressive.

Meanwhile, the gas company made a surprise visit with an excavator in tow. They proceeded to dig up the yard and lay the new gas line to the main on Silver Street behind the hotel. Actually, this was probably the easiest task of the week in that no other contractors were claiming dibs on the back yard at that moment and their work progressed smoothly.

In order to stay out of the way, I busied myself with rescuing my treasure hoard from storage. Every six months, the storage facility has been raising the rent by 20 bucks but this time, they decided to raise it by 50 bucks so we are making the effort to clear it out before the end of the month. My first task is to bring over all the boxed items that will fit into the basement which is out of the way of work that is still occurring in the living spaces of the hotel.

When I moved out of my townhouse in San Jose, I did not have the ability to have a garage sale so I was forced to pack almost everything. I gave away a lot of stuff but I still have all these boxes whose contents are of questionable use. The picture above is boxes of books which I’ve accumulated over the years. After two years of storage; though, I don’t feel like I’m missing most of them so the real question is, is it time to get rid of them? Perhaps there will be a garage sale in the future.

There are other things that are unquestionable keepers just waiting for a moment like this. When I was in Junior High school, I started dreaming about building my own house and collected elements that I could use. I even went so far as to buy acreage in Grass Valley for the purpose but life didn’t take me in that direction. Instead, I fell in love with a Carson City gal and found this cool old hotel. Now, the hard question is which room gets which light fixture?




White Out

The wall boards are up and the look of the hotel interior is quite shocking.

In the saloon, the transformation is amazing. Gone is all of the junk and grunge that went with it. Also, the dog smell is a thing of the past.

What we have now is bright new walls and ceiling which we will adorn with period colors and trim. It looks a bit like a new clothing boutique at the moment but you will note that there are no can lights or other modern details to spoil the vintage mood.

For the purist, the rustic charm is almost completely gone which is a shame. We didn’t have much choice in the matter because the engineering plans required us to remove all of the interior finishes to allow access for the blocking, steel straps and shear walls. The upstairs faired a little better. The walls had to be stripped of their lath and plaster but most of the original walls stayed the same and the original doors remain despite the fact that they are a bit shorter than the current standard.

As for our concerns about the drywall guys not liking my framing, it was much worrying over nothing. The thing that they complained about was our insulation in the living room which was not tucked into the ceiling beams far enough. This was the first room we insulated so our technique was not yet worked out. We only had the instructions on the side of the insulation bales to go by and they were very basic.

Now that the building inspector has been by to approve the drywall nailing, the taping and joint compound can be applied which will make the place look even better. Also, the kitchen cabinets arrive next week and the new gas line will be trenched in the back yard. We are finally on the upswing and our move in date comes ever closer.



Time to Get Plastered

There was a strange hush in the saloon today as all stands in readiness for the next giant leap forward. Katie and I have swept the floors, picked up the flotsam, retrieved all the tools and sprayed copious amounts of expanding foam anywhere we could imagine cold air sneaking in.  And the reason? Drywall installation will commence at 10am May 2nd!

Katie and I have been driving ourselves mad with the last details, making sure that the ceiling insulation is done and that the HVAC contractors, electricians and plumbers have all finished their prep work for the momentous occasion. As a case in point I realized, at the last minute, that the HVAC guys had not installed wiring for the thermostats so I quickly Googled thermostat placement and made my best guess as to where the wires should go. Now that I’ve completed the fire drill, the contractors will probably install some sort of wireless setup just to spite me.

We also have other creature features that we’ve completed. Both of our offices have the latest data cable from our tiny telco room under the stairs. We’ve also run cables to two possible TV locations upstairs and there is an additional cable from the living room to the kitchen to wire up a pair of old hand crank telephones as an intercom system.

Of course, my biggest worry is about how the drywall guys will take to my framing. On the first floor, it’s all new walls so that’s not an issue but upstairs is a mix of existing walls that were built for lath and plaster and new framing which is carefully mated to the old. Blending the old and the new has been a big challenge for me because I’ve never framed walls before and I had to make up a lot of it as I went along. Thankfully, the building inspector has already seen my work and deemed it to be good enough, even the ugly bits. Besides, all my sins will soon be covered in drywall not to be seen again until after I’m gone and some new owner decides that they just can’t live with the old walls.

So, I guess it’s time to take a bit of a break as the drywall guys do their thing. Now that I’m not stuffing fiberglass insulation into ceilings anymore, the terminal itchiness will subside and my tendinitis may ease up some allowing me to refocus on flooring. Kneepads will be a must.