Measuring it Myself: Micromanagement 202

After a few more days of electical work, it became painfully obvious that I had to get involved in it at the most basic level. In other words, I had to do it myself.
The office lights had been installed incorrectly. They were close, but it was noticable enough that they had to be moved.

Do it right or do it twice.

So I went around with them and pinpointed the exact spot where each light and receptical should go.
In the living room:

The Master Closet:

The lines are faint, but where they intersect indicates light placement.


The result.

Hall Bath:

Roof Goes Back On

Getting this done was like pulling teeth. But the heated conversation worked! They put the roof back on before the major storm hit. And now the integrity of the roof can be tested. This storm is going to be intense.
They didn’t have enough to finish above the master closet because some of the material broke when they were removing it, but they got most of it done.
It looks a little funky, but they assure me it will even out with time.

Measure vs Scale

The lighting plan the architect drew up is very precise. I didn’t have a full grip on it until recently, but every light has a specific location, and they all line up. But because everything is placed in relation to something else, no precise measurements are given on the plan. For instance, if a light is centered on a wall, placement is noted with a CL symbol meaning is should be centered on something, or EQ meaning every EQ A is the same as every other EQ A. Same for EQ B, etc.
Click here to see the fixture placement plan.
So it is up to the installer to figure out what all of these measurements actually come out to in feet and inches. But you need to know some math; you need a calculator and a tape measure to figure out exactly where things go.
The electrician, a really nice guy, didn’t grasp these concepts. He just figured for instance that if there were two lights in a row, they should each be a third of the way down the wall. Which does make sense. Except that is not necessarily what the plans called for.
For instance, in the master bedroom, the tray ceiling is going to have a pattern on it making the top part look like a big tic-tac-toe board. The four lights need to be placed in the exact center of the corner squares of this board. The A/C vent needs to be centered in the side square on the east side of the room.
Our electrician scaled up the drawings

Heated Conversation

I had to plead to get the roof back on. Three summer storms are coming, and there is even a 30% chance of rain today. Yesterday, I asked when the roof was going on, and the foreman said that he would try to get a roofer out here by Friday, but Saturday for sure.
“But it is supposed to rain 1″-2″ on Saturday in a major storm.”
“The roofer said it was not going to. It will be okay.”
“I watched channel 7 last night and a big storm is coming on Saturday. The first of three. Is the roofer going to work in the rain?”
“So, he might come on Friday. But he will definitely be here on Saturday. Unless it rains. Which it is going to.”
“That’s all I can do. You gotta remember, it is the holidays.”
To me, part of a contractor


The structural engineer came out today. I asked him to call me on my cell after and tell me how it went as we were going to be gone on our Christmas vacation.
He called and we passed! Whew!

On a Mission

I called this morning at 7AM to talk to Jason only to be told he was not coming in until 9AM.
That’s it; I’m going down there. I have to find out what is going on with the windows!!
I go to the distributors and scout out the place. My heart is beating fast. I see a framed plaque type thing with all the employees

Inpection Corrections

Here are pix of some if not all of what they did to get ready for the next inspection on Friday. Mostly metal straps to futher stabilize the joints in important places.

Took off the old sheer wall that the fight started over. Also, a specific kind of bolt is installed. Glad we didn’t need another deputy inspector out here.

And replaced it with the new one, which is correct. The plywood is vertical and staggered.

About the picture below. It is a picture of the big beam spanning the living room back wall. On the other side is the Dining room which we are using as our living room during the remodel. To install this, they had to break the wall in the dining rrom, in our living space. I told them to hold off while I ask the engineer if there is an alternate way to do it so that they would not need to break through to the other side of the wall. They said there wasn’t but I asked them to hold off anyway. I emailed the engineer but didn’t hear back from him so they went ahead. I then get an email from the engineer the next day:
“Have him use the Simpson ‘LCE4′”
The foreman said “That’s what I wanted to use but he said no.” Sometimes even in the face of such bull##$%^, you have to just suck it up, deal with it, and keep your mouth shut. Argggh.

I’m not sure I understand what the lower brackets are doing in the pictures below. They attach the big beam to the 2×4 above it, but the 2×4 above it isn’t attached to anything so it seems stupid to me.

Windows Investigation

Today I decided to find out for myself about what was going on with the windows. They told me last week that they would be here on Monday. Last Monday. Today is Wednesday. They are not here.
So I call the manufacturer, JT Windows. Based on what they tell me, I can figure out the PO Number, and the Distributor who sold the windows. I call the sales Distributor. They try to tell me they cannot look up the order since the PO Number is missing a digit. I protest, “JTWindows confirmed that the PO Number should be a 7 digit number.” So he then grumbles and looks it up. The sales person for this order isn’t in and will be in tomorrow at 7.
So I call JT back. I get a girl this time. I get her to pull up the order and ask her what is on it. She says that the best person to talk to about this is the sales rep at the distributor and then she lets his name slip! Jason. (Not a real name) I asked her over and over again in various ways until I found out that the order did in fact have 5ft, 4ft, and 3ft windows in it. Haven’t seen the 5 ft yet, but I have seen the 4ft. The ones our contractor told were for a different order altogether. The ones that are still in our living room. This is why I felt compelled to call. If they were for another order, they should have been picked up by now. Right? Doesn’t someone want their windows?
JT also told me if they haven’t delivered them to the distributor by now, they won’t be delivering them until after the new year. They are closed between Christmas and New Year’s.

Engineering Inspection

The nails from the roof went in and we are ready to have the structural engineer come out and look the house over and give his sign off.
The engineer is a pretty uptight kind of guy. Not the kind of guy you want to have a beer with. Very buttoned up. Very manicured. But very serious and into his work. At least I have a fair amount of confidence that our house will survive the big one.
He’s checking everything out and finally he turns to the foreman and says “What is this?” It descends into a yelling match that I still can’t believe.
“Don’t yell at me!”
“Anybody doing this for 2 months knows that this is wrong. Is this your first job?”
“Don’t f%&^^&%^ng talk to me like that.”
“I can say anything I want!”
After they calmed down and the engineer went into the attic, I pulled the foreman aside and told him to be nice to this guy. He has what we want, namely a signature.
It ends up there is a list of twelve items that do not pass. And one shear wall has to be redone. The engineer even pointed out that one of the other sheer walls was done correctly. Why was this one done wrong?
I was hoping that we could get this passed before Christmas as promised, and press for it. Can we take pictures of the corrections and send them to you? He says he would but not for this many things. Implying that this is unusual.
He gives me the list, and I amke a copy of it for everyone.

The foreman promises to get all this done and we set the meeting for Friday at 2PM, the last working day before Christmas.

Hot Mopping

I figured out why hot mopping is called hot mopping. It’s mopping with a hot mop!

This is the truck it comes in. Man, tar smells awful. I think it’s the worst smell in the world.

First he put in tar paper and the quick-crete. The quick-crete is like a powder which he artfully combs and flattens with a slight slope toward the drain. Then he sprays water on it and allows it to dry. He alternates between the two showers.

The top part of the rough drain is still present.

Here is has been removed and a tar paste is put around the bottom part of the rough drain. ANd then the quick-crete is sprayed with water to make concrete.

now to wait to dry. Work on the other shower.

After the concrete is dry, he puts a layer of tar paper down and staples it like crazy to the wood around the edges.

the mop around the corners first.

The hot mop.

The tar paper covers the shower drain.

He then cuts a hole in it and attaches the top part of the drain. You can see the extra gunk in the center, he cuts it out and discards.

Fiberglass pieces are put in to the corners and over seams for added strength.

The mopping. He gushes it everywhere. The smell is killing me!

It’s going on thick.


This is the seal they put on after they are finished. It says “No nails below this card.”

Here are some shots of the finished master bath with bench.

Windows Demolition

Though the windows are not here yet, they are supposedly on the way. So let’s demo the existing! The house finally looses its curb appeal, and looks like a house being worked on from the street.
Some before and after shots:

Hall bath window:

Side 2nd bedroom window:

Front Second bedroom window:

Front Windows (check out that pink the house used to be!):

The house:

Reconfiguring the Master Bath South Wall

The sheer wall on the south side of the bathroom had to be reconfigured due to how we wanted the mirrors and lighting to be set up. Sheer walls need to have 4×4′s every 4 ft with a 4′x8′ sheet of plywood spanning from 4×4 to 4×4. But we need 60″ without a 4×4.
Click here to see the light mirror set up needing the 60″
So… we got a drawing from the engineer and it required 2 new 4x4s 60″ apart. And each now needs to be secured with a hold down. So that means the deputy inspector needs to come out again, which is more money. Hence our first change order! Yippee!!!

The open space for the mirrors and lights.

The two hold downs at the bottom of each of the new 4x4s

Window Pix

Here is a look at the windows even though they are not right.

One of the 4ft windows from the front. They are going to adjust the top of the frame down by cutting out the top inch or so of the side frame. This will hide some of that extra wood up there where the retractable screen is housed. The stucco will extend over the window a little.

The 3ft window for the hall bath.

We got Rabbeted Pair/French Casement windows. There is no center frame so they open up wide and airy.

This is the rectractable screen. The white crossbar will blend in once the windows are painted white.

The hinges are “sticky hinges” so they keep the window in place once you push it out. We didn’t want to have cranks.

No Activity Days For November

Remember how we were surprised that they worked on Thanksgiving? Well then imagine our surprise when they didn’t do any more work on the house until December 7th! That is 10 work days down the drain with nothing happening.
They did say the next big push would happen after the windows arrived, but we did not think that all momentum would be lost. ALL momentum lost.
These were the days with no activity in November:
November 5,7,8,10,12,17,18,19,21,25,26,28,29,30
For October:
October 1,5,6,19,22,24,25,29
For September:
September 8,9,10,12,15,16,19,20,26
For August:
August 29,30
Job started August 22

Windows Arrive

Well kind of.
When we signed the contract, the contractors made a big deal about getting the window order in early because they take so long to make. This was in July. They went back and forth with the architect making sure everything was correct. They went back and forth with the distributor making sure everything was in order.
So after all this time, yesterday was the day the windows and sliding doors are finally coming. They look beautiful but …

On the truck.

A door waiting to be taken into the house.

… some are missing, and some are wrong. Can I use swear words here?
The explanation about the missing windows was that when they were delivered to the distributor, there was condensation between some of the double panes so they had to be sent back to the factory. They would be delivered on Thursday. Okay, no problem.
I didn’t notice the incorrect windows until after the delivery guy had left. I mention to the foreman that they look shorter than existing. He says that they are according to plan.
I ask “where are you going to loose window from the top or the bottom?”
“The bottom,” he answers.
With all that is going on, I just nod. I can’t remember all the details from so many months ago.
We got six sliders for the living room. 4 sliders for the Master bedroom. They looked correct. We got a 3 ft window for the guest bath. It looks correct. We didnt get the door shaped window for the master bath because of the condensation. We only got 2 of the 4 5ft windows for the living room and the second bedroom.
I measure the existing windows and they are 5 ft. And the new windows are only 4ft. I think there is no way we ordered smaller windows. After all, we are trying to brighten this room which we always thought was too dark.
I immediately go pouring over the plans and window schedule looking for the possibility that our architect made an error. Or if we really did order 4ft windows. Everywhere on the plans and window schedule calls for 5ft windows. I get this sinking feeling. This is a disaster. Are we going to have to wait until April for the correct windows?
I call the contractor and tell him the windows are wrong. I could hear the panic through the silence on the other end of the phone. He says he will find out what the deal is, and hangs up.
He calls me back with this explanation: The 4ft windows belong to another order. They will be picked up tomorrow. So 2 5ft windows are coming tomorrow and 2 5ft windows are coming on Thursday along with the master door size window. Okay.
So today, no one shows up! No one picked up the 4ft windows, and, more importantly, no one delivered the 5ft windows. What is the deal? I call the contractor. “We need to get the ball rolling. You said that things were going to pick up.” Etc. I was angry and frustrated. “Two weeks with nothing going on is a lot of lost time.”
I ask him if he still feels a February finish can be done. He says yes. I ask him if he will tell me a February finish cannot be done as soon as he realizes it. He scoffed at the question and said “Of course, Dana!” I don’t know.