Sunday, November 11, 2007

Boil, bubble, tile and trouble

Update on mother... she's doing much better and should be able to go home by the middle of this week. I'll probably head up there to see them over Thanksgiving. But in the mean time, there are goings on around here.

A couple of weeks ago, after overheating for the third time because it was losing oil, I went and gave Kristin's car a stop-leak treatment. It worked. But the heater stopped working. The stop-leak stuff apparently gummed up the heater core. So we sent it to University Garage friday to have the core flushed. It worked. I had them replace the battery, too, as it was about shot.

So they took it to Indianapolis for Brian's monthly Marine Corps duty and the Marine Ball. Only they didn't make it. It sounds like her bearings failed around Terre Haute. So that car is pretty much dead if it doesn't get another engine in it. Which it sounds like John is thinking about doing. So they rented a car for the rest of the weekend.

Kevin and Angela came over saturday to get some boxes and we'd promised we'd help finance a moving van. But I this weekend was for my first tile project -- the front porch.

I'd bought 28 tiles to do 22 square feet. I spent Saturday tearing out the outdoor carpet and the wood trim, cutting backer-board an screwing it down. Linda O came over to learn a bit about laying tile, but mostly we tried to figure out how best to lay it out and how far over the edge the top tile should go.

Originally I had only planned to do the horizontal surfaces and the riser, leaving the siding to go from there down to the driveway. But since I had no nose pieces for the edges, I wanted to let the tile stick out from the edge so the top surface would go to the edge. But since there was nothing to support that last inch of tile but foam board and a piece of siding, I decided to strip that off, put backer board on it and do tile down to the driveway as well.

Linda and I knocked off about 4:30 (hey, it's getting dark early) and I went in. I called Ryan about something compeletly different and he offered to help today. He showed up at 8:00 am, optimistically hoping to be done by noon and maybe we could go out to Bass Pro.

Well, out of about 40 tile pieces we needed to lay, only 4 didn't need to be cut. This is grade 5 tile, too. Thick and pretty hard. So the cuts took a while, and there was a lot of "figuring" going on.

To add to the difficulty, about 9:15 I went to turn the saw on to make another cut, and ... no juice. Checked the plugs. Went and tried the garage light. Went inside to check the breaker box.

It was awfully quiet in the house.

Dark, too.

All the breakers were fine, but by this time I suspected a neighborhood outage. Since Ryan worked for a few years as electrical distribution engineer for the City, he called it in.

In the mean time we went to Lowe's for a trowel with the proper sized notches, and I bought 5 more tiles since I now planned on doing the front.

The power was still out when we got back, so we ran 250 feet of extension cord across the street from Ryan's old house (which they haven't gotten sold yet).

We finally had everything cut around 1:30, so I called Linda as we were about to start laying tile. Some time in there the power was restored... there's another bad section of underground wire on our street. We got to watch them switch a couple of transformers by our house and the neighbors'. We mixed up the mortar right as she showed up and started spreading it and plopping tiles down. That part went pretty quickly, but I hadn't cut tiles for the riser or the front yet. So we set to measuring and cutting and applying. Ryan had to go about 3:30, and Linda left about 4-ish. I finally finished the last piece at about 4:40, and set about cleaning up. Powerwashed the slops of mortar off the driveway.

I had 1 tile left, and not very much waste. The picture (right) shows the tile and the entire waste pile.

Came in, got cleaned up.... realized I'd never eaten lunch. Went to the store to get food for the week and Sonic for dinner. Came home and talked to Vicki, then to Pam (Kristin's mom) who wondered if I'd heard from BriKri.

I had. They were 30 miles east of St. Louis about 6:00. He plans on deer hunting in the morning.

And I plan on going to bed here in just a bit. Maybe I'll try grouting tomorrow evening.

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