Fun at Home Depot and finding Cthulhu dreaming in the basement window

After a week away, I came back to the door and rehung the latch side. It is not 100%, but I am much happier with it. It closes.
I then sealed off the kitteh excape root and called for my test subject to be released into the room. 15 minutes she was down there and could not figure a way out. I think she helped me find a leak, though. She REALLY took an interest in hanging out by an old and supposedly sealed drier vent running through a basement window. Another project for another day…actually all of the basement windows are soon to be addressed.

In mucking around down there, I got it in my head to seal off a partially walled section of the basement. I think this used to be the coal bin, judging by the patching in the wall. Why do I want to seal this area off? An asbestos pipe! Seal it off and forget about it. Also, it looks like there were a number of work benches set up in the past, and a few fluorescent lights hung, as well. We will be coming back to those.

The main project I wanted to get done this past weekend was to address the old sheetrock that was hung on this main cat room wall. One of the sheets, a lower one, was looking pretty beat and after having Jenny look at it, we decided that it should just be replaced. There was a four-shelf unit in front of the sheetrock, so I started emptying it off. Seriously, there is so much hardware-type stuff in this house that I need to start an inventory system! And paint! For the love of gawd, do we have some paint! The funny thing is, when i showed Jenny the wall (literal; non-metaphorical) of paint cans I built between a couple lolly columns, she denied that she has a wicked bad painting habit! ADDICTED!!!!

Anyway, by the time I finished moving the stuff and shelving unit, we had a wall of paint, many, many brand new tubes of caulk, tons of plumbing parts, a 50′ nylon fish tape(!!!) and a weird attachment for some sort of a DeWalt power tool. I will try to remember to grab a snap of that to see if any one can ID it for me. Google is not helping.

At this point, I bent down to take a measurement of the sheetrock so that I knew what i needed to get at the store. It wasn’t 4’x8′, oh no! It was something dumb like 2’3″x7’5″. When I got down there to take the width measurement, half of the sheet crumbled to the floor in a pile! Yeah, that needed to be replaced.

So, off to Home Despot we go. I figuring on three sheets of sheetrock and have all my measurements with me. I pack in my own measuring tape and utility knife at this point. Remember, I have a Volvo sedan and Jenny has a Saturn Vue, neither of which is going to fit a 4’x8′ sheet! This stuff needs to be cut down before leaving the store. That took a good, long while. The workers were starting to make jokes and such with us, even. But, shit’s gotta happen, yo! At one point, I said to a guy “We’re almost done, son.” I meant it to sound like Darryl from The Office, but it came out like a 60 year old white guy talking to a young man, so Jenny and I started busting a gut laughing. Good times at the Home Depot.

Anyway, once all the ‘rock was cut, we grabbed a few other things, including fluorescent bulbs, joint compound and a 1000 watt work lamp. Who knew these things were so dirt cheap? The one I got is on a four foot stand and has two 500 watt lamps that you can point in different directions. $17?!?!?! Sweatshop labor at its finest, but holy crap! That is so cheap, who cares?!?! Zip-tied a power strip to the stand and I was in business!

Back home, the first thing I did was start installing bulbs in the old overhead units. One of the major problems with this basement is that it is wicked dark. I was hoping that getting these units fired up would help out with that. I was only able to get one to start up, though. In that light, however, I did notice that one of the units is obviously missing the fusey things. Are those the ballasts? All these things I have to learn. The last unit was just like the first one, but I did not see any ballast on it, so I think i have to crack it open to find out. Once I get them all running, I am going to reposition them for better light distribution down there. Sounds like I am about to start learning about high-voltage.

Then I fired up the $17-bright-as-the-Sun light. WIN!!!!!

With light down there, I then tackled sealing off the old coal bin. It is sheetrock on the top, and then the old tongue and groove siding that made up the bin. A coat of white paint and it will look a thousand percent better in that corner of the basement.

Then, I moved on to the cat room wall. Of course, the studs are not 16″ apart, so I had to figure a way to get a stud installed at a place where I could join up the two pieces I had cut in the store. That done, it was simply a matter of custom fitting the sheets to fit, while leaving space at the bottom so that they are not directly in contact with the floor. This coming weekend, I get to learn about the fine art of sheetrock taping and then Jenny will have at the wall with the paint roller.

Moving on from there, I tackled the exterior basement door. This thing is a total POS wooden door that is rotting out in places. I figured hitting it up with some Gorilla Glue, slapping it back into shape, clamping it and trimming a good half inch off the bottom would fix things up, but I could not find my Gorilla Glue!!! I did find a length of 3/4″ ply that fit at the bottom of the door and screwed that in to keep the door from falling apart again. And then I whacked a 1/2″ off the bottom. It was dragging on the ground, which is part of the reason why it was rotting. This drag coupled with the rot was causing serious structural damage to the door, so I am hoping that the plywood patch will keep it together for a few more years. To fill the gap that I created by trimming off the 1/2″, I had picked up a length of garage door weather stripping (about 3″ wide, black, rubber) and screwed that to the outside bottom of the door. Tested it out and trimmed it up a bit for a better seal at close. Not bad! I think I might revisit it this weekend and actually silicon seal it along my screw line and attach it in on the back of the door to form a bit of a loop at the bottom, rather than just having it hanging there. Also installed three layers of weatherstripping on the door stop to seal a leak. I found about seven packs of 3/4″ weatherstripping when I cleaned off the shelving unit, so I am just going to seal up everything now. I asked Jenny if she had a key to the deadbolt installed in the door and she said she never did. This coming weekend, I will be changing out this deadbolt with one that I found, brand new in the package, on the shelving unit. SECURITY!!!!

Still not done for the weekend, I started to address the basement windows. For some reason, all of the windows have R13 pink insulation covering them. Save for one, right under Jenny’s bathroom, which is always freezing in winter. Hmmm… Now, as you can probably imagine, old, pink insulation shoved in a window is not exactly the nicest thing to look at, so I discussed this with Jenny and she actually had window-frosting spray paint! I cleaned the window up a bit and then hit it with the frosting before I started on the exterior door. Hey, it had to be opened for ventilation anyway! When the window was dried, I slapped up some fresh R13 insulation over it. I still need to cut a 37″x19″ piece of ply to cover it so that it isn’t entirely gross to look at from the basement side, either. I am going to repeat this process for each of the remaining seven (I think) windows. One of Jenny’s flower beds has two of these windows behind it and it breaks her heart to see her lovely flowers coming up with that gross, pink mess in the window behind it. Kind of looks like Cthulhu is smashed up in there…dreaming.

And that, my friends is what I did with my first two day weekend in over a month. 😉

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