Sunday, May 3, 2015

In With the New

Same old story.  The weekend flew by and I can't believe tomorrow is Monday.  We didn't get a lot done because, first, I needed to sleep in.  That might have been one of the reasons that the weekend disappeared so quickly.   Next, my niece and I went to Home Depot to buy paneling for the ceiling and styrofoam for a secret project that I will tell you about next weekend.  We got out to the property at noon and had lunch.  My niece finished ripping up the vinyl sheet and tiles and all of the nails.  I worked on caulking around the tub, getting the vanity out of the box, and putting up one sheet of paneling on the ceiling.  We need one more sheet to cover the hole in the ceiling but I need to cut it first.

The vanity looks great and I am excited and scared to hook it up.  I have to drill a hole in the side for the drain pipe.  It looks so pristine right out of the box.  I don't want to damage it.  Having the new vanity cabinet and faucet make me want to paint the wallpaper or put beadboard and trim halfway up the wall and paint the top half.  Maybe I can fit it in to the schedule.  

I bought the tall bar sink faucet because I might want to wash something in the sink and I like having more room to work.

I still haven't decided on the final plumbing configuration mostly because it involves adding a switch for the water pump and water heater and I haven't done that before.

I unpacked the water heater and found this dent.  I don't think the damage is serious but I will show the photo to the people at Home Depot just in case.  It is terribly heavy and if I take it back I will have to wait a few more weeks for a replacement.  It is a 15 gallon water heater and they are only available on-line.

Next Friday I will take a half day off again and we will wash the living room floor with bleach, patch the holes, and paint it along with the walls.  We also have Mother's Day on Sunday and my birthday on Monday which I am taking off to work on my property (of course).  I never would have guessed that I would be renovating a mobile home for my 43rd birthday.  It's not a bad thing though.  I like a challenge.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bumps in the Road

You might have noticed that I didn't make an extra mortgage payment for April.  I decided to keep the money to pay my niece for her help on the mobile home project.  Then, yesterday, she says that she might be going back home to Washington.  Darn.  I was looking forward to having her help me all the way through July.  Then, I noticed a greenish leak coming from the truck.  Ugh.  So, half of the money went towards a new radiator.  I am freaking out again because I only have 11 weekends left until school starts and possibly no helper.  More short cuts will have to be made.  Somehow I will have to get 3 rolls of 12' vinyl flooring through the door by myself.  I added a 10-ft-Quick-Support-Tool to my Home Depot "want" list in case I have to screw panels on to the ceiling by myself.  The fence will probably be made from chainlink panels with 1/2" x 3ft. wire mesh buried 6 inches down.  The block wall will have to wait.  All of these alternate plans are zooming through my head and making it hard to focus.  I want a weekend off!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Demolition Days

Another busy week of buying supplies and a weekend of demolition.  But first, a little fun.  My niece wanted to see the band Switchfoot at the Pima County Fair.  That's not something I would usually do but I decided to go with her.  Besides the temporary hearing loss and gross fair food (stay away from Chicken on a Stick), the band was good and I recognized a few songs from the radio.  The best part was when the lead singer came in to the crowd to sing to us.

Back to work.  We cleared out the hallway and the middle bedroom.  Next steps, wash the walls and floors, repair siding and even out flooring, paint, add vinyl flooring and trim.

I finally decided to part with my dog-ruined recliner.  The entertainment center went out too.  Particle board soaks up too many nasty things.

I removed 3 strips of water damaged ceiling tile.  All known leaks have been fixed.  Next weekend I need to buy paneling or drywall to nail over the hole and paint it all.

My niece tackled the old vinyl flooring and the single vinyl tiles that I had nailed down to patch the floor when a certain destructive foster dog had some fun (the same foster dog that ate my recliner).  The living room floor is halfway cleared.  Next Saturday will entail more prying up of flooring, removing nails, cleaning the floor and painting it before I buy new vinyl.  I don't have much furniture left.  2 tables, one bookshelf, and one small dresser were all that were salvageable.  

*Flashback Photo*
The brown dog's name was Mandi and she certainly thought my house tasted good.

11 weekends left before school starts.  We are rapidly running out of time.  I bought the bathroom sink and cabinet but it is still in the box waiting to be assembled.  The water heater arrived but it is also in the box waiting for me to decide where to put it and then to figure out which plumbing connectors to buy.  I will have all week to think about it since I won't get back out there until Saturday.  Tomorrow I get to visit the dump and unload the truck at lunch time.  It will be good to see it go.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mobile Home Remodel Update

Whew!  These projects are never-ending!  12 more Saturdays until I need to have this place livable.  Here are a few photos to get you up to speed.

The tools that I ordered online arrived.  They are lovely and I already used the nail gun.  It's fun!

You will be happy to hear that my bucket toilet also arrived.  This is for any immediate bathroom needs in the barn-house, not that anyone is moving in just yet.  It is super-water saving because it uses sawdust, not water.

I cut an access hole in the back bedroom which I am using for storage.  It gives me access to the water heater closet.  I need to fashion a door to seal it off.  The wind tore off the outside door and now rain gets in.  When I stuck my head through the hole I saw an angry wasp guarding a nest.  Eek.  I had to evict them.  I need to buy some sort of semi-flexible plastic panel that can be glued in the space and then caulked so water and creatures don't move in.

There was a non-functional floor vent in the bathroom.  I used a little too much Great Stuff foam.  It looked like a loaf of bread.  I cut it off and glued a metal sheet over the hole.

My niece was brave enough to tackle the roof.  She rolled on elastomeric roof coating until it ran out.  I need to buy more this week so she can finish.

I practiced my demolition skills on the bathroom vanity.  It was disgusting and now it is gone.  I saved the sink and hope to use it as an outdoor hand washing station eventually.  I am running out of money fast so the 1980 wallpaper and paneling will most likely stay.  The new vanity will be purchased this week.  Nothing fancy, just the basic $50 cabinet and sink from Home Depot.

I'm going to have lots of fun figuring out the plumbing.  I am replacing the water pump, water heater, and hoping to add some black hose on the roof for solar hot water.

My niece took out the old caulk and scrubbed the bathtub.  I looked under the mobile home and it turns out the floor isn't rotted so that is good.  That's right, the classic 80's yellow tub can stay.  New caulk is on the shopping list.

Those are all the photos from last weekend.  The anchors for the barn-house failed.  I hired a guy with a jack hammer to sink them but the cable broke and the driving rod bent on the first one.  I need a new idea for anchors.

And finally, today I got home a little early and I was determined to fix the door lock on my truck.  My niece is driving it and it has been very difficult to lock.  I've paid for it to be fixed twice but the fixes didn't last.  I watched YouTube videos, read forum comments, and a coworker lent me the manual for the truck.  I felt confident that I could get the door panel off and I did it!  Then I messed around with the door lock until I found out what was wrong, a misaligned set-screw. 

 I fixed it and put it back together.  Hopefully, this fix will last longer than the other "fixes".  If not, I know how to disconnect the automatic locks so at least we will be able to lock and unlock the door easily.  I am so glad I finally tackled that problem.

I am taking a half day on Friday to get a head start this weekend since my niece and I are volunteering on Saturday morning with the water conservation group.  That means I need to buy my supplies Thursday evening so I had better get organised.  There is so much that needs to be done!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spending Money

I've been putting it off for so long but I finally spent some money on new tools.  I found some cordless tools online, specifically, a reciprocal saw for cutting out door and window holes, and a brad nailer.  Then I asked the opinions of some coworkers who, of course, has conflicting recommendations.  Then I went to Home Depot to look at the tools and hold them.  There were so many choices that I became quickly overwhelmed and left without buying.  The next day I remembered the reasons why I wanted the saw and nailer, for specific jobs, looked them up online again and ordered them.  I will have to wait a week for them to show up but for purchases like that, I prefer to read reviews and info online and not go to the store where there are too many choices.

I also started ordering components for the electrical system, the breaker box and breakers.  I know which wire to buy but I need to measure so that I buy enough.  And I bought an electrical tester kit which tests wire, outlets, etc...  It will be fun to play with the outlet tester in my mobile home.  At the same time, I am trying to figure out the best way to bring water to the bathroom.  I have a water pump outside but the outside switch isn't very convenient.  I bought a new RV water pump for either the mobile home bathroom or the barn-cabin's bathroom.  I also haven't decided where to place my water tanks for ease of access.  Next week the gutter company will come out and give me an estimate.  I hope it is under $1,000.  Straight gutters on the mobile home and the barn-cabin don't seem that complicated.  I'm not looking for anything fancy.

For hot water, I am looking at a 12 gallon water heater.  A lot of people like the instant hot water heaters when using propane but I have been happy with my 6 gallon electric water heater.  I plug it in 15 minutes before my shower and it is hot enough.  I'll let my nephew have a little more hot water in his bathroom.  I also plan to buy 100 ft. of black hose to put on the roof as a solar hot water heater.  I've never tried it before but it should work here in Arizona, land of the burning sun.

Packages are starting to arrive.  Some fun, most practical.  I bought some solar lights for the barn-cabin that are supposed to arrive tomorrow.  Those are fun although I'm not there at night so I won't be able get the full affect until I move there.  I really want to fix up the yard, put up fencing, a pathway, shade cloth and cool twinkly lights but I think I'm jumping ahead.  There is plenty of more important work to do.  Saturday we will be doing as much as we can with the mobile home bathroom and living room.  I hope we get a lot done.  I love seeing progress!  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vinyl Flooring: Not as Bad as I Thought

So, back to the mobile home, I was only going to rip out the carpet and paint the floor in the back room but my helpers had other ideas.  My niece wanted to paint the walls and ceiling and my mother thought vinyl flooring would be nice.

Funny story about the closet.  I told my niece that she didn't need to paint the closet but then she got paint on the wall when she was painting the floor.  I said she could just even out the line and leave it as a 4 inch stripe.  I left and when I came back the white was now 2 feet tall and she said that should couldn't get the line straight.  I had to step in and paint a semi-straight line to end the madness.  After all, I pretty much only have around 12 Saturdays left before my nephew's return and this is only a storage room.  We need to move on to making the bathroom functional right away.

The vinyl flooring view from the other side of the room.  I was skeptical about vinyl because the other sheet vinyl that I bought was thin and cheap.  This new stuff is still economical at 87 cents a sq.ft. but it is so much thicker and glue is optional which means it won't curl at the edges like the cheap stuff.

I like it so much that I want to use it in all of the rooms of the mobile home and probably in the barn-house too.

Next on the list, move everything back in here plus what is in the second bedroom so I can put vinyl down everywhere else.  I'm even thinking about putting vinyl over the gross tile in the bathroom.  Out of sight, out of mind (as long as the grout doesn't smell).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It Has Arrived

It's here!  The barn-shed-cabin or whatever I am going to call it, is here.  The delivery driver made it up the road without a problem and was already backed in and ready to unload when I drove up.

It was a long and careful process of unloading and leveling but the driver was very good at his job.

 All set up.  Now, so much to do!  Tie-downs, skirting, steps will be the top 3 on my to-do list.  Oh, and gutters.  I hope gutters aren't too hard.

It was toasty warm in the loft.  Not much head room.  If I had ordered this shed custom, I would have had the loft floors lowered.

The to-do list for the interior is too long to list.  Insulation, electricity, plumbing, drywall...

Between the mobile home and the barn-shed will be my snake-free area (I hope).  I need some ground cover delivered, maybe mulch or bark and rock for where we park the cars.

It's all coming together!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lists and Delays

I thought I was going to be able to post photos of my new building on my property today but no, there was a scheduling conflict and they are delivering it tomorrow.  I thought it was funny that so many people at work asked me about my building and if it had been delivered yet.  News travels fast.  I am a bit of a curiosity to them.  Some people approve, some people think I am crazy.  Luckily, my boss approves.  I have been asking our electrical engineer about how to do house wiring.  It is my plan to get his advice for the best way to install the electric system, put it in myself, and then bribe him to actually hook it up to live power.  We were discussing how to use my 30amp RV cable as temporary power for an A/C unit and power tools until I get the house properly wired.  This just might be the short cut I need to get me through the summer because I don't have enough time to do everything before my nephew comes back and the weather gets too hot.  I have to prioritize and pick my top 10 projects (or more like top 5).  If I can get temporary electricity hooked up, I can move on to installing gutters and water tanks and building a fence.  So much to do!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekend Progress Report

I managed to get in two full days of work on my mobile home project.  My mother went with me on Friday.  We moved everything out of the back room and finished tearing out the carpet.  The carpet padding was stapled to the floor so my mother worked on the staples while I ripped out the carpet tack strips.  My mother commented that it must feel great to see that room empty but actually I felt a bit uneasy because I didn't know where anything was anymore.

I still have a few bags of trash and recycling to take out.  It will feel good to get one room completely finished so that we can put things back in an organized manner.

On Saturday morning, we went to Home Depot to look at vinyl flooring.  I choose a brown stone pattern and bought a 12' x 12' piece.  I wasn't sure it would fit in the truck but we poked it through the back window and it only hung off the end of the truck by 2'.  My niece finished pulling up the staples, then swept and damp mopped the particle board.  I am going to put plywood in the hallway because the water damage has made the floor wavy.

Then I let me niece loose with a can of primer and she painted the walls, ceiling and floor.  It looks so much brighter in that back room now that the floor and walls are white.  Next time I go out there I will have to paint the edge areas with a brush.

Painting herself in to a corner.
We also trimmed the bushes that were too close to the road so that they don't scratch my shed when it gets delivered (hopefully this week).  I treated the shed area with termite killer which was a bit more complicated since I don't have typical running water.  I had to siphon water from the tank to a bucket and then use the sump pump to give me water pressure for my spray nozzle attachment that measures out the poison. I ran back and forth to the bucket of water a few times because the water from the hose was not as fast as the water going in to the bucket from the siphon.  Eventually, I got it all dispensed and I laid out concrete blocks where the shed skids will go.  I didn't know how many blocks to set out so I expect to have to rearrange them on delivery day.

Today was Easter so I took the day off which was good because I was really tired.  I think I drank the equivalent of 4 Mountain Dews (1 extra large Mt. Dew slushy plus an extra Code Red Mt.Dew later in the day) and I think I finally fell asleep around 3:30am.  Next time I am getting the half Coke and half cherry slushy that only has half the caffeine.  My sister is visiting so I have 3 house guests plus her dog for the week.  I wish I could take the week off and keep working on my property because we are making such great progress but I have to go to my regular job and make some money.  I do hope to take a half day for the shed delivery if everything goes as planned.  I can't wait to see the shed all set up.  It just doesn't seem real yet.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cleaning Up, Inside and Out

I haven't written since Friday?  How time flies.  Saturday I went shopping for supplies and then came home and took a nap because it was hot and I had a sinus headache.  So much for getting a lot of work done.  Sunday was spent doing the chores around the house that I usually do on Saturday and taking another nap.  On Monday, I took my limping foster dog to work because she had a vet appointment at 5.  She had knee surgery 8 weeks ago and she still isn't walking on that leg.  The vet took an xray and said everything looked fine.  She got 2 weeks of anti-inflammatory pills and will have to go back to the vet after that.  Hopefully the dog just needs more time to heal.

I took Tuesday off of work and my mother and niece both went out to my property to help me.  We moved cinder blocks and pavers out of the way so the excavator guy could work on leveling a pad for the shed.  I put one of my old window air conditioners in a window and luckily it still worked because it was very hot.  My mother cut up all of the cardboard boxes in the back room that I had been saving but don't really need.  My niece went through the other room and made a pile to take to the thrift store.  We filled up the truck with trash and recycling and brought it back to my house for the bulky trash pickup which is on Monday.
The future shed area.

A nice level pad for the shed.

The excavator came back on Wednesday and worked all day.  After work I went out to pay him ($1,500 for a day and a half) and I was able to drive my PT Cruiser up and down both roads to my property although I had to be careful because there were some large rocks in the road.  Tomorrow I will walk the road and throw the big rocks off to the side.  I have tomorrow off of work and my mother and I are going back out to continue cleaning and preparing for the shed delivery next week.  I am treating the shed area with termite spray so that my new wooden building won't be a termite buffet, at least, not yet.  When I think of all of the things that need to be done and how few weekends I have left before summer, I start to panic a little but I need to just keep working at it and it will all come together eventually.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mortgage Update for March 2015

I better write this before March is over.  It has been a rough month and I thought about skipping my extra mortgage payment but I don't want to get out of the habit so I contributed $1,200 extra to the mortgage for March.  I was hoping to have $1,600 but I needed a new battery for the truck and I gave my niece $300 for her plane ticket which was well worth it.  It has been so great having her here to help out.  I am already behind at work and I missed some time last week because my father broke his hip.  I've had extra expenses for gas, meals at the hospital and groceries and that will continue for another 3 weeks while my father is in a rehabilitation facility near my house and my mother and niece are staying at my house.  I'm also missing work for my mobile home remodel project.  Next Tuesday the excavator is coming out to fix the drainage on the property and to level a site for the big shed.  I'll need to take a half day off to supervise.  The following week my shed should be delivered and I definitely want to be there for that.  They don't deliver on the weekend so that means more time off work.

Anyway, back to the mortgage.  The new balance is $45,405.  If I keep paying $1,200 a month, I will have it paid off in 2 years and 8 months.  Slowly but surely, I am whittling it away.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jumping Hurdles

I just wanted to stop by and say, I GOT MY SHED PERMIT!  I'm not free and clear yet because it is conditional on a load test of the earth anchors but I have stamped plans and I paid my $375 permit fee so I can go ahead and get the shed delivered.  The only thing holding me back now is that I have to wait for the excavator fellow to be available.  He said he was going to be busy for 2 weeks and it rained for 3 days last week so I hope I don't have to wait longer than 2 more weeks.  Once the site is level I can tell the shed people to deliver it.  Then I will need to figure out how to attach the anchors to the shed and how to get them in to the ground.  I'm thinking I should rent a jackhammer because me and sledgehammers don't work well together.  Then I am supposed to call a geotechnical engineer to come out and test each anchor to see if they can withstand 400 pounds of pull.  400 pounds doesn't seem like a lot to me.

I am thrilled that my plan is moving along.  I hope to have more time to work on my mobile home soon but my father is still in the hospital and my mother and niece are still staying with me and probably will for the next 3 weeks.  It's getting hot too.  This weekend is supposed to reach 90.  I'll need to be setting up the window air conditioners soon.  I just realized that the window that I used to put the air conditioner in is now a door.  Oh well, good thing I have more than one window.