New Hardwood Floors – Day 4 (Job Done)

Master Bedroom - Only shoe molding remainsThis morning I awoke to the site of my wardrobe looming over me in bed. All I could think of was the old guy scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey” when he’s at the end of his years with the monolith at the foot of his bed…

The adhesive smell was faint in the air but not nearly anything we were concerned about. We *did* leave the windows open (our mattress heating pad being very much appreciated) overnight just to be safe.

The shoe molding has been installed and the job is pretty much finished, at least from the Enhance Floor Trends point of view. There is one small trouble spot that we’re going to have to have them back to resolve where the floor is uneven at the join of the two hallways. More to come on that I’m sure.

Besides that, all that remains now is to go ahead and paint the shoe molding in those rooms that were already the way we like and to finish decorating the remaining ones. We’ll be painting the gym and the TV room wholly different and (I’m told) exciting colors. 🙂

So here are what the floors look like (hover for descriptions):
Mich's OfficeGymFront HallBack HallTV RoomMaster BedroomMichelle's ClosetMarc's ClosetMarc's ClosetBack RoomBack walk-in closetGuest Room

Decided to NOT buy a new car, will row instead

Burger StandI was very interested in buying a Honda CR-V and shopped around for a few Internet quotes. These compared as modestly favorable but I really did not see the “fantastic” deals that folks (Clark Howard et. al.) have been talking about. I was able to get a best price, out the door, of about $26,807.14. This really isn’t bad. But my venerable 1997 Honda Odyssey is still more than up to the task of getting me from A to B in comfort. It still looks great and has been paid off for nearly 7 years.

If I were out to buy a used car, I could do a LOT worse than to pick up my current Odyssey (156,000 miles on it) and drive it for another 4 or 5 years. I just spent $630 to correct an oil leak and replace an axle piece which means I’ve spent $1,300 this year on the Odyssey. With age, I expect that I’ll eventually be spending much more than that on this car, but for now it’s still WAY cheaper and just as comfortable as a new vehicle.

So, instead, I went out and picked up a new Concept2 model D (with PM3 performance monitor). I used to use a similar rower (Model B, I believe) when I frequented the gym at Canada Life in Toronto. It was a solid performer and I used the rowing as a great warm up to my workout du jour.

Crash pilot who paused to pray is convicted

I am a private pilot, so I have only a fraction of a the training and responsibility that a commercial pilot requires. But it is completely incomprehensible to me that a professional pilot should act so cavalierly towards his charges.

I can’t imagine throwing up my hands and not working until the last possible moment to save all those lives that are depending on my skills.

Obviously, I don’t have the full story. However, to me it seems that this is another answer to the question, “What’s the Harm?” if people want to subscribe to silly, superstitious nonsense.

And don’t even get me started on the Pope’s recent baloney trying to justify the Catholic Church’s antipathy towards condoms by claiming they *increase* the likelihood of aids…

New Hardwood Floors – Day 3

They got a lot more accomplished on day 3 than I expected. When Danyel and I spoke in the morning we discussed only the hallways, master bedroom and the TV room. As it was, the hallways, master bedroom, back room, guest room, gym and about 1/3 of Michelle’s office was floored by the time they left.

The LayersI’m certainly no expert but, from my perspective, it looks like the work is being done with due professionalism and care. Each step from the pulling of the carpet to the prep through to the laying of the wood has flowed with no obvious problems or issues.

The adhesive being used is not nearly so bad as I had expected. I’m working from home through this whole process and there is plastic separating the “under construction” part of the house from the rest. But the adhesive smell is reminiscent of being back in grade school at those little desks working with LePages glue-all (that white glue that is ubiquitous in classrooms throughout North America).

I do keep my windows open, and have been leaving the back door open so the cats can “escape” from the noise and activity as needed. Maverick just melts into the background and appears only now and then for no reason that I can think of. Phoebe is constantly on patrol. Whenever there is a loud noise she trots *toward* it in a guarded fashion. She always wants to be part of the action.

So here is what things look like now:

Michelle's Office - 1/3 doneGym - Only shoe molding remainsFront Hall  - Only shoe molding remainsBack Hall - Only shoe molding remainsGuest Bedroom - Only shoe molding remainsMaster Bedroom - Only shoe molding remainsBack Room - Only shoe molding remainsBack Room Closet - Only shoe molding remains

New Hardwood Floors – Day 1 (and Day 2)

Crumb!  I just realized that I had totally messed up my focus on the “before” pictures and now it’s too late to retake them. 🙁  I’ve been pretty tired lately with this renovation prep and didn’t even notice when I was viewing the pics online on a real screen!! Sorry! Hopefully the pictures can still convey the essence of what I’m describing.

Day 1

At the start of Day 1 all of our stuff was piled up in the living room and garage
All our Stuff - GarageAll our stuff - Living Room

The morning had the carpeting being pulled out and then the underlying slab assessed. This is where the additional $1,100 prep came from when we found that the slab bore more resemblance to a Six Flags roller coaster than it does to something one might term as “flat”.
Carpet Removed - GymCarpet Removed - Back HallCarpet Removed - Back RoomPrep indicators - Back Hall

So, after agreements were made the crew was able to start the prep work which involved a LOT of leveling cement.
Leveling Cement - Michelle's officeLeveling Cement - GymLeveling Cement - Main HallLeveling Cement - Back HallLeveling Cement - TV RoomLeveling Cement - Guest BedroomLeveling Cement - Master BedroomLeveling Cement - Back Room

Day 2

It was found that the cement was largely too wet to proceed Danyel (I think that’s how you spell his name), the team leader was using this slick device to measure the moisture content in all of the floors. Ideally the moisture needs to be below 4 (percent I believe) and ideally below 2. Many of the patches on the floor were pegging the meter. It went to 6.

So they did some cleanup of the thinner patched portions and did a bunch of grinding but were out of here by about 11 am. I needed leave the furnace on much higher than usual for the rest of the day and overnight to encourage the cement to dry.

Our Cadre of Smoke DetectorsOne thing I hadn’t thought of was that you really need to disable or remove your smoke detectors before the grinding begins. Ditto for when they start cutting wood later. There is a LOT of fine dust that is generated.

New Hardwood Floors – Prelude

Just before we moved into our home about 12 years ago, the sellers replaced all the flooring (except in the laundry room) with new carpeting. Some of it was replaced with tile when we renovated our Living area back in 2002.

Now, of our 2,500 square foot house, we are replacing about 1,500 square feet of carpeting with hardwood flooring. We got a couple of estimates and decided to go with Enhance Floor Trends located not too far from us here in Marietta.

We went with an engineered wood flooring that would be most suitable to gluing straight down on concrete. One of the estimates we received tried to have us use cork on our concrete slab to “improve the feel” of the flooring when you walked on it. I was unable to find any corroboration for that claim (most references to cork cited soundproofing as the reason to use this) so I became concerned that there was significant upselling going on which helped make the decision to go with Enhance easier.

We got a reasonable deal on the flooring itself as we chose one that is going out of production. So, in return for a limited warranty (and I dislike warranties anyway) we got the wood for 1/3 off the price.

So, for 1560 square feet:
– Bruce rockhampton Plank / Natural (3/8″ x 3″) installed (w/freight and tax) $8.85 / sq ft

– 1/3 off

– 2 T-Moldings (prefinished)

– Shoemolding (primed)

– Pull and dispose Carpet / Pad / Tackstrip

– Move basic furniture (we did most of the moving ourselves but some pieces were too big) (Master Bed, Armoire, Desk)

– Anticipated floor Prep (moderate) There was a range for additional cost should the floor be really bad.

There was also a 5% job discount available to us

Total was to be $9,798.72

Once the carpet had been pulled they were able to assess the floor. Our slab has all the flatness of a roller coaster. It turned out that the additional cost for the slab was to be about $1,100.00. Yech, but not surprising once you see the associated pictures.

So, actual total will be more like $12,000.00

Offsite backup of my computer files

How important are the files on your computer to you?

Can you afford to lose any of them?  Maybe.

Can you afford to lose all of them? It probably wouldn’t kill you. It’s just data after all.

Are you *willing* to lose all of them? I know *I* am not. Pictures, videos, resumes, taxes, email. All of which I have spent time and effort collecting or creating over the years. Some of it irreplaceable, some of it extraordinarily difficult to reproduce. The tiny investment in time and thought required to secure that investment gives me tremendous peace of mind.

I keep a small external USB drive in a locked location at my office.
About once a quarter I bring this drive home and back up ALL the files that I care about on my computer to it. The drive is easily big enough to hold 50% more data than EVERYTHING on my hard drive now so I don’t need to be overly discriminating in what I choose to back up. Basically anything that is “data” gets backed up. That’s nearly everything in my user folder plus stuff that I’ve deliberately stored outside of that folder for ease of access for other computers on my network (music and a few other items).

Because I’m taking the drive out of my physical control, I use TrueCrypt to create a huge, encrypted volume with a strong password (and some other tricks) to secure the data. Don’t consider your office, or friend’s or parent’s place to be secure just because they are comfortable locations. Stuff can go missing from anywhere. I’d just as soon that the data be useless to whomever takes it should that ever happen.

Using SyncBackSE I already have a profile set up so I don’t have to re-think my backup selections when I do this. Although I will inspect the selections to ensure any new stuff is accommodated.

The backup this morning took just 13 minutes.

This is over and above nightly local backups that my system performs for me automatically to guard against casual mistakes or hard drive failure. An offsite backup’s raison d’etre is to guard against some catastrophic failure – a house fire, theft of your computer, a flood or other natural disaster. Things with a very low likelihood of happening, but with a terribly high cost if they should ever occur. Total cost for me is about 15 minutes every 3 months and about $100 for the drive.

This is cheap insurance.