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Fence complete!

Big storm on the way so I awoke at 6:40 to work on completing the installation of a split rail fence along the retaining wall. It’s now complete! Trips to hardware stores? Zero! Completion time including cleanup? 9:40am. I have so much time left in this day I think I’ll remodel the kitchen!

Fence complete

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Lessons learned from staining

I just gave myself an 8-24 hour delay on the bay window by applying some "touchup" stain. It was a huge risk as it could ruin the uniform look where I applied the touchup. I also have to let it dry really well now before I can begin applying the polyurethane which I could have otherwise begun today. After 2 or 3 coats of poly, I can let the family have access to the window again and there will be much rejoicing.

My biggest lesson today was that despite my cramping hands and exhaustion, my laziness in cleaning up the caulk and my over use of caulk was my biggest mistake. I now understand why the guys in the paint department looked at me like I’d been breathing fumes too long when I asked them for stainable caulk. I really should have bought caulk died the color of the stain I’m using and I should have been far more conservative in my use of caulk (white) and far more prudent in my cleanup of the caulk. Have I mentioned, I have a love/hate relationship with caulk…mostly hate.

And, building the clean room was soooo worth it!

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Finally making progress on staining the bay window

A little less than a year ago, we had a bay window installed in the house. The contractors suggested staining or painting it soon to protect the wood. Having not stained wood since I was a teenager, and with Dad’s guidance, I hesitated…and hesitated…and the window was loved by the children…and the dogs…and the cats…and it was muddied and watercolored and scratched and marked upon. And a few Fridays ago Knoxville was iced in. So I used my sander on the window and it came clean! Thus I created "Dad’s clean room."

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I’ve since sanded and removed all the scratches and stains and only in one place which I will never reveal did I almost ruin the veneer. This weekend I vacuumed and made my clean room clean. Btw, it worked really well to contain the dust as I sanded which kept the house clean and the wife migraine free. I’ve now taped the windows and am preparing to apply my first coat of stain! This is good. Hopefully by next weekend (or the end of February at the latest), we will have our window complete.

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Staining the bay window

We installed a bay window on the front of the house a little less than a year ago. They warned that we should paint or stain it immediately. I haven’t stained wood since I was a child so I hesitated. We picked out a stain and waited. And waited. The children played in the window. They dried their paintings in the window. Walked their muddy feet in the window. The dogs with their long nails climbed in the window. The cat scratched in the window. And now, I proceed with damage control…a sander and a prayer that the wood is more solid and less veneer. Today the process of staining begins which means turning the bay window into a clean room in a house that has dog hair, cat hair, and human hair floating through the air like fog.

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I’ll resist the meth jokes. Yo.

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At war with my house

My garage looks like it could do a guest appearance on the television Hoarders. This weekend I declared war on that garage and made significant progress yesterday. Today the battle continues!

Update: I’ve dug out our commercial grade deep freezer! There is food in there that reads "best used by 7/1/09." Yuck.

Update: The garage has gone through a major transformation. I performed archaeology. Found things long since forgotten. Threw away a lot. Created a large donation pile for Ladies of Charity. And transformed the garage from a good candidate for Hoarders to a good candidate for This Old House or the Martha Stewart show. I hope to work this hard on the house every weekend.

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While Cathy was away, the boys played!

Cathy went to visit Sarah in New York City. The grandparents basically had Amy and Evan for the entire trip and Noah for much of the trip. That left Tommy and me at the house alone. Tommy, like Freakzoid, gets sucked into the Internet so I basically had the house to myself for duration of her trip minus the time I spent for clients and the time I spent juggling at Boo at the Zoo. So what happened in that time? The yard had a major cleaning of the junk which had been accumulating for a decade. The house received a sweeping and mopping. Then there was this surprise for Cathy: