the world is turned upside down. Raging fires along the 405. Winter coats in TX. More lies from der Gropenfuhrer and his henchmen.
So Adobe and I took a walk. It was quiet. Cold. Puppy’s first snow. She played.
The plumbers that installed the pot filler at the kitchen cooktop did not make it level and plumb — and it wiggled, just a little bit.
As part of the punch list, Odell and Jacinto from Ranserve chisled five bricks from the exterior wall on the outside of the house directly opposite where the pot filler is mounted to the studs inside the wall. In other words, we are working from the outside of the house, to the inside. Why? We don’t want to have to take down the red glass tile backsplash that the pot filler is mounted to inside the kitchen. And, additionally, we need to get to the mounting structure inside the wall; the shortest route is to chisel from the outside in.
This became a two-day project — just to fix an oversight by the plumbers — with another day pending.
It took several hours to carefully dissect our way into the house. Photo above reveals two network cables that run down the exterior wall into a conduit that travels under the concrete slab of the kitchen floor, then out to the island, where we can plug various devices into the network inside the house. At right, Odell, Steve and Jacinto — after much discussion — opted to cut away a chunk of stud to yield up access to the copper fitting that screws three times into whatever it is mounted to. And we had to do this without breaking any of the glass tiles on the other side of the drywall visible at the back of the photo. At right, is an older, darker, intact stud original to the house. Further right is a brighter stud — newer wood — and the edge of the OSB sheathing that Ranserve installed against the new stud and several others behind brick that we did not remove.
With the pipe angle bolted and the pot filler leveled, Odell and Jacinto cut down a piece of 3/4-inch plywood, screwed that tight to the intact darker stud to the right of the sliced stud, and then drilled three screws into the wood against which the pipe angle is mounted, pulling that short piece of wood into a position where the pot filler inside the kitchen is level, plumb and secure, with minimal wiggles.
This is reprehensible.
Some days the universe is brilliant.
Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans (say it out loud in the same rhythm as you would Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band) is the project of Palette-Swap Ninja, who has gamely rendered a parody of every Sgt. Pepper’s song as the story of A New Hope.
Steven rented a hammer drill from Home Depot and learned how to drill concrete. Four holes, less than a minute each. Not so difficult, if you have the correct tool. Steven’s hand drill, even on hammer settings, would not cut the mustard.
Bolts inserted, post fitted, washers on, nuts wrenched down. Post up.
Then it took another hour to drill out the concrete from around the existing/old mailbox post. The post would not come free. Steven texted Gilsa Concrete for assistance winching or cutting the old post. They opted to cut. Turns out the post is solid steel, not hollow, mounted in place with a second ball of concrete at least two feet down; that sucker is not coming out, and we will leave a segment permanently buried.
One of the newest 5-star green-build homes in Austin is … the house that Jacquela, Jadin and Steven remodeled with the help of Ranserve.
Steven picked up the plaque today — and now has to figure out where to mount it.
What is the Green Build program? Click here.
It’s not easy to get 5 stars. Click here for the handbook.
With sprinkler repairs underway, with the fences and gates erected to create a safe yard for Adobe to burn off crazy-puppy calories while attempting to keep the deer out, Steven asked Victor to haul the trash out of the back yard.
Steven and Victor have done this before. Victor and his team installed part of the landscaping at Sea Eagle, and tackled specific jobs at Emerald Hill during construction.
Now we create a clean slate at Emerald Hill.
When Jacquela and Steven bought Emerald Hill, the back yard was not a priority — saving the house from itself was where we focused.
Previous owners used the back yard as a storage yard for broken tree limbs, old dog toys, an old telephone system wiring box, detritus, cast offs. The sage, lantana and other plants were old, tired, thready. Volunteer hackberries had taken root, making the northeast corner dark, dumping leaves. Lumber used for edging around what purported to be planting beds was rotting away.
Victor and his brother Francisco set to work saving the back yard, racing against approaching rain.
And then the rains came.
To be continued.
After lunch, Steven climbed the ladder into the storage loft in the garage — and began passing down to Jacquela boxes stuffed with holiday ornaments and lighting.
Working under the eaves and in the trees into the dark, surrounded by a herd of nearly 20 incurious and incautious deer, Jacquela and Steven hung white string lights at the eaves of the house and thee red-lit wreaths at the oak trees in the forest outside the front of the house.
It’s a start on the first major holiday in the house on Emerald Hill.