Phase III Success!

Okay, although I’m getting increasingly tired and grumpy, I’ve finished phase III of the basement project. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve basically been up till 11 or 12 each night working on all these projects. It’s the curse of being a perfectionist. The good news is that we’ve got everything finished off that we wanted to have done before the carpet goes down, which is on Monday. Of course we’re leaving on a bus to NY tonight, so timing was of the essence.

Earlier, I had lamented to Kev that I thought putting down the laminate should only take about 40 minutes. Well, while that may be true, it didn’t account for the prep of vapor barrier, cutting the pieces to the perfect size, trimming the lip on the edges where it was needed, installing the plastic track and mitring in for the trim and clean-up! Long story short, I basically worked on this from 7pm till 11:30pm! D’oh! So much for an easy project. At any rate, the finished product looks great in my opinion. I even thought we should’ve maybe done the whole rec room with this. I’ll probably end up renovating my studio with it next.

Now, back to the trim. It came with a little red plastic track to fasten to the floor, in which the trim would lock in. The instructions? “Fasten track to subfloor with provided screws. If installing on concrete, first install the plastic anchors by drilling holes, then use screws to mount track.” Sounded easy, but if you’ve ever tried drilling holes in 50-year old concrete, you’d know what I say when I say the damn hole never goes exactly where you want. No matter how hard I tried, the bit tended to wander a little, and holes would be slightly off. The result? Track that wouldn’t sit exactly where I wanted, hence some visible joints in the trim, and un-even surface. These things drive me batty! But at least I’ll always know who did it, and why it turned out that way. Luckily, the bar will be the focal point, so unless you’re really looking, you won’t notice the slight imperfections (hopefully). Anyway, that’s it till the carpet and then my quarter round installation.

Phase II Complete!

Well, keeping the ball rolling, Jody and I completed Phase II of our basement renovation projects. Media Cabinet, check. Painting, check. With the carpet on its’ way, we had to get cracking on working on the next part of the project. We wanted to make sure we got all the ceiling, walls, doors and trim painted before the new carpet went down, that way we didn’t have to be nearly as careful. As a result we started the prep work on Friday night, and worked through till Sunday to get it all done. Never one to do things half-assed, we started off by filling in all the old holes and sanding everything smooth so that the paint would stick well. We also taped off the critical things, so as not to bung things up too badly during the paint process.

Then, we hit all the surfaces with two coats of our paint (Behr Premium Plus – color Raffia Cream for those interested). One might have been okay, but two coats on the walls just made it that much nicer, and presumably more durable. After that, the baseboards and doors were all given two coats of glossy white paint. The end result is quite stunning, and should be even better once the new carpet goes in.

I also managed to rip up all the carpeting last night (Tuesday) and finish the trim around the media cabinet. If you want to see more pics of the renovation in progress, mosey on over to our photo sets and check out the basement renovation set.

Another part of the prep before carpet goes down was to cut up the 4×8 sheets of MDF and Oak plywood that I bought for the bar. The rec room is the only room big enough to work on material that size. Lucky for me, Kev was able to pop by for about 2 hours, and we got a lot of that done. Tonight I can work on getting the laminate put down. But that will be a separate post 🙂 Of course, this all has to be wrapped up before Jody and I head out to New York tomorrow night…

First Step Complete!

G’day folks. Well, as you can see by the picture, the first step on our basement renovation is essentially completed! Last night at 10pm, I finished building the media cabinet that is built into the wall in the rec room. A while ago Jody and I decided that this fall / winter would be the time we finally renovate the basement. We spend 80% of our time there, so we figure it will be money well spent. The master plan calls for new paint, new carpet, new couch, built in media centre for home theatre stuff, installation of laminate in bar area, and finally the piece de resistance, my new oak bar!

We’ve got the ball heavily rolling now. We ordered our carpet, ordered our couch, bought the paint, bought the bar materials, and as you can see, I’ve built the cabinet. If you’d like to see other pictures of the project, head on over to our flickr sets and check out the basement renovation shots. I’ll update it as we go along.

Kevin has graciously offered to help, as he so often does, and I already took advantage of that last weekend as we came back from Jim’s cabin [in progress]. This weekend, we’ll be prepping and painting the basement walls, and hopefully get all the old carpet ripped out as well. After that, hopefully Giant Carpet will come to install the carpet. I’ll do the laminate myself, since it’s just a 9’x6′ area in the back.

The most exciting part though will be building my bar. I’ve already picked up the clear red oak which I’ll be building it from. If you want an idea what I’m building, check out some pictures on-line from the plan I ordered. Click on the ‘photos’ button to see other peoples’ results. I’ll be building mine with a dry-sink, since I don’t want the hassle of trying to run water pipes and a drain to it. Especially seeing as there’s a sink not 7 feet away already! Anyway, stay tuned for lots more as I work on these projects.

New Bike!

A few weeks ago I finally broke down and bought a full-suspension mountain bike, to help me hopefully improve my adventure racing. I ended up getting a 2005 Specialized Epic Comp Disc, which is pretty much the ultimate machine for adventure racing. No, it’s not the bike pictured here, this one is a shot of a genuine swiss-army issue bike taken in 2003 in Chur, Switzerland. Mine is prettier :-).
Anyway, this bad boy has air shocks front and back, as well as top-end hydraulic brakes. It also features Specialized ‘brain’ shock in the back. Essentially, the bike performs like a hard-tail on any smooth surface, but still reacts to bumps in the road. Fantastic for comfort and efficiency on all-day trail riding. Oh yeah, and I love the color too! Now normally, a bike like this goes for $3400 +taxes, but I picked this bad boy up for a steal at Tommy and Lefebvre. $2000+tax. It was being cleared out, and was a store demo. The beauty is that one guy had it all summer, and barely touched it. I did more damage in one 3-hour ride than he did all summer! She’s now dented, scratched, and has a ripped seat. Looks like a real bike now.

Why did I go so extravagant you might ask? Well, basically, I’ve been on the same Kona Cinder Cone for about 6 years now, and really needed to upgrade. The opportunity presented itself, so I took it. If I had waited till next year to buy a bike, I would’ve been stuck buying brand new, and couldn’t have bought such a nice one. So, long story short, now I’m all set to tackle bigger races, like my dream, the Southern Traverse in New Zealand.

This appears to be my second post on stuff I bought. Maybe I’ll make a couple more entries.. next up… my little red boat (kayak)!

My Latest Toy….

Alrighty, Kev was hassling me to post pictures and blog on this new addition to my workshop, so here it is! What’s that? You don’t see the picture? Oh yeah, that’s cuz I haven’t put it up yet 🙂 But while I have a couple minutes, I at least thought I’d write about it. Picture in your mind a big table saw! Yup, I went to the BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant), and picked up a Ryobi BT3100 Table Saw to help out with projects at home. What a blast! Even though table saws have the distinction of being the absolute most dangerous workshop tool around, I got one! So if you see me with only 9 fingers in the future, you’ll know why!

Why did I pick this saw you ask? Well, several reasons. It’s belt driven for one. It’s modular for another. It has a very accurate rip fence. Also, I’m a research freak, so I looked into all the details on this one, and read many reviews. Seems this little beauty has won over the hearts of even ‘traditionalist’ woodworkers. Read: grumpy older guys set in their tool ways! Anyway, I even came across a website dedicated to this saw, run by its’ fans. Click here to check that out.

Now that I’ve got this beauty, I reckon I might start to do a little wood-working. Of course, that just means I’ll have to spend another million dollars on gadgetry, but hey, what else am I gonna do with my money? Save it? 🙂 The saw’s already been put to good use, and triggered several other purchases (wheeled dolly, drill bit set, multi-meter, long clamps, etc. etc.). When I get a chance, I’ll fill you all in on our current home projects. Currently, I’m putting the finishing touches on a media cabinet, which Kev helped out with on the weekend by putting a big hole in my wall!!! Thanks Kev. 😉

Heading to NY Again…

New York City - April 2005

Well, Jody and I had such a great time visiting New York that we’ve decided to make a return visit in the next few weeks. Andrea is currently working down there representing Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs on their mission to the United Nations. Or something like that.
At any rate, we’ve booked tickets to head down there from Ottawa on the bus. It’s about 9 hours each way, and we plan to make the trip on the red-eye. So we leave Ottawa at 10pm Thursday, and arrive 7am Friday. Ths shitty part is on the return trip, we get back to Ottawa at 7am on Monday. Oh well, straight to work for us!
Another funny thing that I learned is that on Greyhound, you don’t actually reserve a seat, you just get a ticket, valid for up to 1 year. That’s a bit scary, but the guy assured me if we get in by 30 minutes before the bus leaves, we should get on. Here’s hoping! All that remains is that we get our camera back from the shop by then, We haven’t had out camera since Peru. The lens wouldn’t open anymore. Woes us…

Stories from an athlete, adventurer, and lover of life