Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Floor and a Flourish

I finished the last post saying you couldn't piece together a floor but after considering buying a whole new piece of grade A plywood, Troy decided he could.

The last section we had to do was about 2x5' and is going to be directly under one of the booths. So with some extra care, extra screws and extra adhesive, Troy went ahead and installed a couple of patches and got the floor done.

We have a single solid surface for a floor. Woo hoo.

Here it is looking to the north west:

And here looking south/southwest:
That's a lot of good looking floor, right?

Now for the flourish. I wanted a pair of corbels to go under the counter on the side of the island where it hangs over 12 inches. I priced some when I ordered the cabinets and while one style was about $220, the other was $350. EACH! The way the sales person reacted when she saw that, I don't think she would have let me buy them even if I begged. But I didn't.

When I got home, I did a little ebay search and came up with a very nice option. Two days later I had won a nice pair of mismatched corbels (~$150 if you're curious) and they arrived yesterday:
Aren't they gorgeous!? They have a nice heft to them (let's guess 7 lbs) and the finish was much nicer than I expected from the pictures. My plan was to paint them up, but now I'm not sure I can let myself! We'll see...

I love how they match but aren't the same. I presume they were handmade as they aren't the same size and the carving isn't identical from one to the other.
The grapes fit in with the little fruit theme that seems to be happening too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Servitude Sunday: Not Enough Flooring

No pictures of today; sorry, I'm too tired. And I'm a little disappointed with our progress. We did get some flooring down, but I was pretty determined to get it all done. I was even willing to work more than two hours. I was even willing to miss the kick off of the Colts game. Three pieces of plywood would do it.

We only had two.

And flooring really isn't something you want to piece together from scraps.

So we're not done, but the good news is that the only piece left is in the south east corner and we never walk there. (That's where the table will end up.) So for daily life we can walk on flooring all the way across the kitchen. It will be so nice.

If that's the good news, the great news is that we brought the flooring over the 4" gap in in the floor between the kitchen and the dining room. This one:
So that is covered and hopefully soon to be forgotten.

I think that's all I've got. Have a good night, all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Servitude Sunday: Floors and Cupboard Hangers

Another Sunday, another work session. Once thing we did was continue the flooring. Progress was halted by a big drain pipe being in the way. It was running along the left side of the chimney in the picture below:
If you look carefully (or if you click on it for a larger version), you can see where it was by finding the hole in the floor where the electric is coming through. As a side note, Troy was about to disconnect that box today to get the floor in but realized that a wire continues to the second level. We thought we might lose something important (like lights in the bathroom, or ???) A second look determined that we could work around the box so it ended up not being a problem.

Back to the matter at hand, Troy took out the pipe that was in the way and replaced it with this one:
that runs just on the other side of the wall. This will end up inside a closet/storage area and definitely not in the way. It is also part of the solution to the terrible plumbing situation discussed in a recent post. Troy doesn't quite have all the "uphill" drains out yet but he hopes to soon.

Currently we are without a drain to the downstairs sink. Troy assured me the shower was fine to use, but after my shower this morning he found half of the basement wet. [Can you relate to that, Yvonne??] Apparently the drainpipe just fell off again. He is hoping to still have both fixed tonight. (I said, "Please have it done...I want to shower in the morning." Troy replied, "Oh, I will. I want to shower tonight!") As he fixes the plumbing, the old parts seem to get jealous for attention and start to give us trouble!

Anyway, all this is to say that the pipe is out of the way and we could put down some more of the subfloor. I measured the funny shaped pieces, Troy cut them,
we laid them in place and then screwed them down.
Look at all that floor! We can now walk from the foyer to the back completely on a flat floor. The south end including the hallway to the dining room needs to be done yet.

Before I got to the floor, however, I was working on the filler wood we're going to use to hang the upper cabinets. You can see three of them here (the horizontal bits):
They vary in height because this is where the cabinet heights change to get around the beam. I measured and cut them, and then Troy came in with the pneumatic nail gun.

That is one step done to prepare for the cabinets because they are coming....I ordered them on Saturday. I was so excited. Everything went well, double checked the layout and really liked the woman I worked with. She had some good ideas which saved us some money (turns out it's cheaper to add a toe-kick to a wall cabinet than to order a narrow depth base unit) and seemed to "get" what I was doing. She also encouraged the suped-up sink cabinet with shelves and door storage which I hadn't even considered. We got in on a free sink cabinet deal and they don't care if it's simple or delux, so we went delux! (In return I taught her about the option of ordering a "handicap" toe kick because we're considering having the island at a higher height.)

Cabinets should be at the store by about October 9. We won't be ready for them by then, but we have a place to store them and decided it was better to have them than to be caught waiting for them. The thought right now is that we may have them in by Christmas. That means we would also have walls (drywall I mean) and insulation. Also counters and a kitchen sink. Oh, to have a kitchen sink again!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An interesting comment, and a response, from the gun facts post...

We received a thoughtful response from our Gun Facts post a few days ago.  I thought the comment was really worthwhile and warranted a post with a full response.  David is responding to the first three points, which I will reproduce here.  You could click the link and read the whole enchilada if you want.

1.  A woman who carries a gun is 4 times less likely to be murdered than one who does not. (25% of the risk)

2.  A woman who carries a gun is 10 times less likely to be raped than one who does not. (10% of the risk)

3.  20 years ago, 12 million women owned/used/carried guns for self protection.  Today, the number is 17 million.  This is not an isolated or rare event.  In fact, it might be a useful intellectual exercise to describe why you (if you're female) do not carry a gun, given the risk reduction.  Or why, if you are male, do not encourage, support and facilitate the woman in your life to get a gun and learn how to use it.  The book that makes an excellent case for the use of firearms by women for self protection is  "Armed and Female, taking control" by Paxton Quigley:

Then follows David's comment:

Troy - these "facts" are misleading (I'm referring especially to points 1-3). People who choose to carry guns make lots of other choices and do other things that may change their chances of being the victim of a crime. I'm not saying people should or should not have the freedom to choose to carry a gun (though I'll show my hand and say that in general I don't think it's a good idea), but that is one of many choices that might influence crime rates. I'd be interested to hear how carrying pepper spray or a baseball bat affects those odds.

Also in reference to points 1-3, are you suggesting that females ought to carry firearms but not males, or just that they have more to gain?

I appreciate your perspective, as always.

And my (hopefully just as thoughtful) response:

While it is true that nothing happens in a vacuum, and it is helpful if not essential to know how statistical "evidence" is gathered and massaged, I feel confident that these facts withstand closer scrutiny.  I also wanted to present them as counterpoint to the gross amounts of misinformation that one encounters in the mainstream media concerning firearms.  Here is a negative example from the Arthur Kellerman study, which is now recognized as very poor science,

"but research has shown that a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or a friend, than an intruder."

That particular example has been proven to be junk science, and produced in the worst sort of way, statistically.

But let us consider the main thrust of your comment, that it's not just the guns, it's all the other actions and choices that reduce the rape rate. 

 In Florida, prior to the "shall issue" legislation, which made it easy for ordinary citizens to carry a gun for self protection, it was very difficult to legally carry a firearm for self protection, and the vast majority of the population, men and women, did not.

Let's say there were 100,000 women in Florida who really wanted to carry a gun for self protection, but could not legally do so.  Don't you think this group of women would have taken every other risk reduction strategy possible, short of carrying the gun?  What exactly would the physical possession of a firearm cause them to do differently? 

Here is a better example.  In Orlando Florida in 1966-67, the media highly publicized a safety course which taught Orlando women how to use guns.  The result: Orlando's rape rate dropped 88% in 1967, whereas the rape rate remained constant in the rest of Florida and the nation.

In the above example, a tiny percentage of the women in Orlando took that safety course.  Do you think the behavior of most or all women in Orlando changed that significantly, to cause an 88% reduction in rapes?  Or (as I think) the mere presence of some armed and trained women in that community caused the potential rapists to count the risk and the cost as too high.  One of the many advantages of allowing concealed carry for all law abiding citizens is, the bad guys don't know who has a gun, and who does not.  Even those who chose not to carry a gun are safer because of those who do.  Polls of prison inmates suggest that, "57% of felons polled agreed that criminal are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police."

Contrast that with the propaganda and misinformation presented by the anti-gun folks who tried to stop the "shall issue" legislation in Florida.   They predicted that violent crime would skyrocket if any ordinary citizen could carry a gun.  Here is an example of the propaganda in the form of signs and billboards when the Brady Campaign tried to defeat the new gun law in Florid.


Obviously, the big spike in violent crime, or gun crime, never materialized. 

 Consider Kennesaw, Georgia:

"In 1982, this suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads ofhouseholds to keep at least one firearm in the house.  The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole.

The people living in town, were suddenly required to have a gun in their house.  This would include some people who had no interest in guns.  Did the physical presence of a gun in house change the choices and behavior of the homeowners?  And if so, how would the burglars even know of this changed behavior?  I think it is the mere presence of the guns, and the risk that represents to the burlars.  They don't want to get shot and they go elsewhere.

And finally, I think this is the most telling example is from data gathered by the Carter Justice Dept.

"Nationwide, In 1979, the Carter Justice Department found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes,, 32% were actually commited.  But when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually successful."

Since these statistics deal only with actual attempted rapes, it seems obvious that none of these women had changed any of their other behavior or choices in such a way as to prevent the attack in the first place.  This, to me, directly suggests that it was the presence of the weapon (gun or knife) that made the difference.

And no, I am not suggesting that only women carry guns for self protection, but only that they have the most to gain.  Nor am I against less lethal means of self defense like pepper spray.  Baseball bats are not so practical or effective against a physically stronger attacker.

Why do you think that carrying a gun is not a good idea?

Finest regards,


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Servitude Sunday: More Insulation

Today's "to do" list included putting some more foam insulation on the floor to keep the cellulose insulation from sitting directly on the concrete. I did the first section back in March.

Here is the base of an external wall:
The yellow arrow points to the area I've already done. (There is white foam under all that sawdust.)
The black arrow points to the area I had to do today and is the area between the exterior wall and the new interior part of the wall.
The red arrow points to a little crack between the wall and the floor. That is where we're going to terminate the vapour barrier with a U-turn. The drywall might going down there to finish it off, but I'm not sure about that part.

So here is the same section after I was done:
Need that again? Before:
That didn't quite take two hours, so I did some clean up as well. Prepared more wood scraps to go in the garbage, brought some stuff out to the shop, etc.

Yesterday I went to Lowe's again to finalize the cabinet plans. We had a final measurement on the walls (now that they're in), and I had a few changes and questions. Another couple hours and I had some revised plans. I dropped the pantry shelves (~$1,000 ea) and still ended up with the same total as before. Their prices have gone up and I got a couple extras like a spice rack and an additional lazy susan corner cupboard, and maybe more...but nothing too fancy. That was a little disheartening.

Then Troy insisted that we get a quote from Menards. I'm not crazy about Menards, but I didn't have a good argument not to. So I made a list of all the cabinets and we went today. I wasn't about to spend another few hours while the guy drew out a layout so I convinced him to just put together the order with the cabinets I specified. (He was pretty new, and with my experience at Lowes with the same program I was walking him through some of it!) By the time we were done we had a quote that was about $2,000 cheaper than the Lowe's one. Not much of a decision there, is it!?

He also mentioned that their special right now is a free sink cabinet with every 10 cabinets. Our order included 19. So we might order a base cabinet for the walk-thru pantry and throw that in while we're at it. We'll see. In any case, it's very exciting to be this close to ordering real cabinets.

P.S.While I was writing this, we put down two more pieces of subfloor. wOOt!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Last Monday Troy put down the first sheet of plywood on the floor. He proposed putting one sheet down each night and I think we did that once during the week. (Missed Tuesday, one down Wednesday, missed Thursday.)

So when it came up at work on Friday that it was my anniversary, they all asked if we were going out to dinner. "No," I said. "I betcha to celebrate we'll put down two sheets of plywood tonight." Sure enough, that's what we did!

The last two covered up the big gaping gash we've had in the floor for months now between the two halves of the floor. I will enjoy how quickly having a solid continuous floor will make me forget that even exists.

It's been a wonder walking across the room on the plywood. I'm not aware of the old floor bouncing or moving, but the plywood is rock solid. My feet don't know what to make of it!

All for now. I don't know what we'll be up to tomorrow for Servitude Sunday, but I'm sure I'll let you know!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Servitude Monday (Holidays Count)

It wasn't a Sunday, but I thought since I wasn't putting in my 10 hours at my job on Monday, I could probably "give" two of them to Troy. It wasn't sexy, but I did get all the old paneling and other wood scraps cut up and into the garbage bins. And then I even had time to vacuum up the mess from the hand saw. The floor was looking pretty spiffy.

(Troy and I had this discussion a few weeks ago--do I need to clean up the floor before we put down the subfloor? My theory is that it is only going to get dirty anyway and um, it's not like you are ever going to see it. Troy didn't like the thought of it one bit. For the record, I only vacuumed in this case because I didn't want to live in the mess, not because I decided Troy was right.)

Troy got a few more exciting things done. Like cut the hole for the exhaust fan
and then get it covered.

He also got the hot water line run and capped so he could test it. We now technically have hot and cold water in the kitchen.

And then, to win a bet he had with me, he screwed down the first piece of the subfloor.

As I type, he is trying to cram in little styrofoam pellets to insulate that section in and around the pipes. I suggested he should pour the pellets in before he screwed down the plywood, but he couldn't wait. He thought it would work better to push them in from the side. (I remain unconvinced.)

But that is the start of a real floor, people! When's the next holiday celebrating labour?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Servitude Sunday: More Destruction

As promised, I delivered Troy two more hours today. He decided to tear down the paneling from the southeast corner. We needed to get it out to be able to work on the subfloor. While he was pulling it down, I was smashing nails flat, cutting up the wood and paneling to a disposable size, and bagging it.

Here's the southwest corner now:
The top was painted, but it looks like the bottom section may have had wainscoting on it at some point. I'm going to miss the red paneling; it really was a great colour. I'm thinking of keeping a sample so I can get it matched if I want to paint a room red. That would be neat, I think. There were two layers of paneling, by the way. We are ripping out a lot of layers of this house!

I also found this little bit of history. This outlet was buried behind the paneling. You can see some early wallpaper.
It looks like a papered outlet cover, but there's no cover. It's just the ends of the different pieces. I'm sure it's been long enough that it would look charming again. I guess this also tells us that when they decided to paint over the wallpaper, they didn't bother to take off the cover. :sigh: But wait...there's more.

While I was serving my time, Troy needed help in the basement putting in the new water line. While we were working on that, he wiggled one of the drain pipes. Water gushed out. "Holy crap," he said. "That joint isn't glued." We just keeping finding issues with the drains. (The bathtub's leaking again, by the way.)

Not two minutes later, Troy moved a different pipe and water poured out of that one. Another joint that wasn't glued!!! Troy was able to glue that one once we got rid of the rest of the water and he cleaned it. The first joint we noticed didn't take. Troy thinks they used the wrong glue in the first place and now the right glue won't stick either. So for now it's just a "friction fit" like it's been since we moved here.

Some illustration:
Troy said he was going to give me his most disgusted look.

Here's a diagram of our wonderful drain pipes:
The green lines represent the direction of the drain. The yellow lines show the direction of gravity. They should be going the same way!!

One more:
This is a third joint Troy noticed that was "sealed" with electrical tape. (And you can really see how much the white pipe in his left hand is going down hill to the left. It's supposed to be draining to the right. :big sigh:, right?)

On another note, Troy has finished the cold water plumbing and was able to test it today by turning on the water. No leaks, no drips! He will be happy to tell you we now have water in the kitchen. I will tell you we technically have water in the kitchen. I will save the long story of the pot filler for another day...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fun gun facts for the week.

As I was listening to a podcast about gun legislation issues from the last 4 decades, a few interesting statistical facts jumped out at me and I thought I would share them.  There has been so much mis-information and dis-information presented about guns and gun ownership.  It was refreshing to hear actual facts from real data.

1.  A woman who carries a gun is 4 times less likely to be murdered than one who does not. (25% of the risk)

2.  A woman who carries a gun is 10 times less likely to be raped than one who does not. (10% of the risk)

3.  20 years ago, 12 million women owned/used/carried guns for self protection.  Today, the number is 17 million.  This is not an isolated or rare event.  In fact, it might be a useful intellectual exercise to describe why you (if you're female) do not carry a gun, given the risk reduction.  Or why, if you are male, do not encourage, support and facilitate the woman in your life to get a gun and learn how to use it.  The book that makes an excellent case for the use of firearms by women for self protection is  "Armed and Female, taking control" by Paxton Quigley:

4. In every state that has made it easier for its residents to carry a gun for self protection, the violent crime rate has gone down (often suddenly and dramatically) or stayed the same.  Anti-gun groups predicted that there would be an increase in violent crime, and often used terms like, "...blood running in the streets."

The seminal academic work on how gun ownership affects crime rates was written by John Lott Jr.  It's not a thriller, it's a sociological examination of the data over 18 years.  So, a bit dense and dry, but very convincing if you care about facts at all:

More Guns, Less Crime

5.  When England and Australia made it virtually impossible to have or use a pistol for self defense, and significantly limited the use of long guns, the violent crime rate went up, dramatically, and stayed up.

6.  The Clinton era "assault" weapons ban did not reduce the amount of crime committed with these types of weapons.  Of course, the amount of crime committed with these types of weapons was very very low before the ban.  When the "assault" weapons ban went away, the number of crimes committed with these types of weapons did not go up.  Of course, it was still very very low, just like before the ban.

It is interesting to note that there is no functional difference between an "assault rifle" and a hunting rifle, with the possible exception that the assault rifle "looks scary".  For example, an "assault rifle" might have a bayonet lug, while a hunting rifle generally would not.  When is the last time you heard of a bayonet used in the commission of a crime?  The assault rifle may have a ventilated heat shield around the barrel, while the hunting rifle would not.  The presence of a heat shield does not appear to cause people to commit more crime though.

The "assault" rifle can use a "high capacity" magazine.  Well, so can a hunting rifle.  Hunters just generally don't, since they don't need to shoot a deer 30 times.  But outlawing the sale of high capacity magazines during the "assault" weapons ban, did not suddenly cause the millions and millions of existing "full capacity" magazines (the proper term) to suddenly cease to exist.  In fact, owning one, was not against the law, just buying a new one.  The law did nothing (and could do nothing) to prevent an evil person from acquiring and using one to commit a mass shooting.

But what possible legitimate use could a private citizen have for full capacity magazines that hold 20 or 30 or more rounds of ammunition?

Ask the Korean shop owners who had SKS "assault" rifles with full capacity magazines during the Rodney King LA riots.  The death toll, and general destruction, were markedly lower in those neighborhoods.  The mere presence and sight of these firearms prevented additional violence and bloodshed.

In fact current estimates suggest that the mere display of a firearm when someone is about to commit a crime against you, stops the event somewhere between 1 and 2 million times per year in the United States.  Not that the gun is fired, not that the bad guy is shot, or even shot at, just the mere display of the firearm.

The 2nd amendment is not about hunting ducks.  It is about the God given right to defend yourself and your family, with lethal force if necessary, which the government recognized and is sworn to protect and uphold.

These and many other facts are available here:

Finest regards,


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