Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Turning a crack into a hole

It's scrambling time.

Now that we've bought a new house and moved in, we're in the phase where we're putting some of the final touches on getting the old house ready to put up for sale.

This mostly means getting rid of some garbage, cleaning and other minor touches. However, we did find one surprise as we were cleaning.


We knew we'd need to completely repaint one room. For the last six years, that room was where a baby/toddler slept in a crib and those walls were a mess. Because a baby/toddler slept in that room, we had a blackout curtain that went past the floor and often covered over the HVAC vent in the room. Because of this, a lot of moisture-filled air was being shot straight into the wall, and the poor drywall just couldn't take it and cracked.

What does this have to do with a table?

So before painting, we really needed to fix that crack. This started with me basically punching out the drywall to make a big, clean hole that could be more easily patched with a sheet of new drywall.

I made a bigger hole

With the hole ready to patch, it was surgery time.

My friend Eric (who helped a ton with the gutters) came over and helped me get the new sheet in and put on the first round of drywall mud.

That sure is pink

I still find it pretty hilarious the drywall mud goes on bright pink. Over the next few days, I'll swing by and sand/mud the spot a few more times to make it a nice and hopefully unnoticeable transition to the old wall, and have it ready to paint.


I'd been hearing a lot about the new Pusha T album, so it made for some nice working music.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Change of plans

Remember how I was going to fix up my house, sell it, buy a new house and then build a table to put in it?

Well, change of plans.

I bought a house.

I'm going to build a table to go in this house

So now the order is switched up a bit.

1. Move into new house.
2. Do final tasks for old house.
3. Sell old house.
4. Wait for warmer weather that makes working outside more enjoyable.
5. Build table.

I'll still be documenting the process of getting through those five tasks, but this should get us to building the table faster.

Now it's time to go buy some appliances.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Seriously, why are shutters still a thing?

I had a Saturday with the kids out of the house, so it became a multiple project days. Let's take them one at a time.

Project Presentable Back Yard

If you've ever been in our back yard prior to August of this year, you know well about the pond. For the uninitiated, the pond was a 30-feet long, multistage concrete pond that was about three feet deep and came with the house when we bought it.

Yes, our pond could be seen by satellite

When we bought the house, it was in terrible shape, and we never dealt with it. We felt good about the money we'd spend to take out the pond more than paying for itself when we sold the house, so we finally got it done this summer. For the first time in the eight years we've had the house, we have a really nice back yard.

What does this have to do with a table?

Today's project was to get it "photo ready" because we will likely put our house up for sale in the winter, but that's not really a season that does what we have justice. So today was just a quick cleaning up of final clutter, blowing away some leaves, burning a small pile of stuff in the fire pit and taking some pictures.

So after some work, here's how things look

The house and patio

What you see out the back door

The fire pit
All said, I think it turned out well, and it should make our backyard look really inciting to someone.

Project Shutters

Our house has four front windows, and two of those windows had a missing shutter.

Why are shutters still a thing?
Can we talk about shutters for a second? I get that they served a purpose in the days of yore because they might keep your window from breaking when a Wizard of Oz-like tornado throws something at your house. But why do they exist now?

These things are nailed into the siding, so they are shutting nothing and protecting nothing. All they really do is keep your siding from evenly fading. And since they have no real branding, there's no way of finding matching shutters to replace those that've fallen off.

This means that the two shutters that fell off equals taking off the six remaining, perfectly fine shutters and buying eight new shutters so they all match.

Thankfully I took them all down in about an hour, so it wasn't a huge time sink, but man, these things are so stupid, and because of the previously mentioned uneven fading, we're stuck with having shutters.

Shutters are gone, but not forgotten

Getting the shutters on should be a pretty easy task, but will require a second person told hold them on the siding while I drill and hammer. Since I was alone at the house today, that will have to wait until tomorrow.


The author of one of my favorite series shared the Spotify playlist he listens to while he's writing the next book in the series. It was pretty obvious I had to listen to it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Closing the door...

You're probably thinking this is about closing some chapter in my life, but you're wrong.

This is literally about trying to close a door.

The front door of our house has always been difficult to close. Partly because there is thick carpet under it, partly because our house is weird and partly because it had some weird metal frame inside the door frame as a bootleg weather stripping.

The time had come to deal with this door. I started with removing the bootleg weather stripping. It came off pretty easily, but then I was in trouble. I could no longer get the door to latch. I was stuck, and had to step away for a few days. I had to put a paint bucket in front of the door to keep the wind from blowing it over. I know, classy.

This is so bootleg

As I pondered what I was going to do about the problem, a freaking hurricane came through. A few inches of rain got dumped on our house (the gutters did great by the way), and we heard a dripping sound coming from the door.

A Kentucky door latch

Our crazy door frame was now not closing and dripping water...

I'm trying to embrace being handy, but I'm not afraid to accept my limitations. We called a roofer/contractor.

He came in and said the problem wasn't as big of deal as we feared. He recommended us hammering down some nails and covering them in roof sealer and he could fix our door for us for not a ton of money. Sold!

I sprinted to Home Depot to buy the sealer and got on the roof before more rain came.

It's been a while since I've use a caulk gun, so I forgot you need to poke a hole in the end of it after you cut the tip. Unfortunately, we don't have many big nails, so this thing got mangled.

Not exactly how the pros do it.

Can we talk about roof sealer for a minute? It's like the sludge the Capitol uses in Mockingjay.

This wasn't a huge deal because I can be careful. The problem was, with the giant cut I made in the tube, it was a big goopy pile. I forgot to bring up a rag to smooth it out, so there were dollops of sludge on the roof.

My dad is an impressive improvisor, and I think he'd be proud of me on this one. I found some leaves that were on the roof (hooray fall!) and used them as rags to smooth things out.

Sorry, nature

All told it was a pretty quick job and should hopefully do the trick.

Now we're ready for the door to get dealt with.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One hour at a time

With gutter painting done, I don't have a major project on my radar, but there's plenty of work to do before we can get our house up for sale.

For me, it's much easier to motivate myself for a major project because I don't like big things looming over me. For smaller projects, I have a lot harder time getting going.

What does this have to do with a table?

To combat this, I have a plan: One hour.

To get things done, I commit myself to working for one hour after I get home from work. I set a timer, start working and go until the timer goes off. I don't worry about finishing anything in particular, I just keep going for an hour.

I started this last night by working on our back patio. It was full of paint chips from the gutters, weeds, vines, dirt and other garbage.

Plenty to clean

I got out my blower and started piling things up.

Before I go any further, there's something I need to discuss. I'm not a particularly handy person, and I'm not a shill. However, the Ryobi One+ system is great. I bought a pack that came with a battery, a charger, a weed trimmer and a blower for $99 earlier this summer, and it's been incredible. If you're on the fence on the Ryobi system, you should totally do it.

With everything blown together, it should've been a pretty simple process. But the push broom we bought forever ago for super cheap broke.

Good night, sweet prince

This really limited my ability to clean a patio, but I had time left to work. This led me to clean the area around the fire pit.

Our house has a rad fire pit with a chimney and everything. Over the years, we've tended to put stuff behind it and forget about it. This mean I was picking up sticks, cutting out vines and throwing away a pack of shingles I bought to fix our roof after Hurricane Ike blew threw (What's up, 2008?).

It's like a time capsule of laziness

During all of my work, Lauren was power washing the patio and getting it looking real nice.

A photo posted by Justin Duke (@dukesilver) on
Neither of our jobs got done in the hour, but we got a lot done.

Monday, October 5, 2015

An unseen job

It's done*

The last stretch of gutters got the final round of paint, and the job is (mostly) done.

After a lot of rain keeping me from painting (but totally proving I did a good enough job), the weather cleared up Sunday and I was able to knock out the front gutter.

The home stretch

The funny part of the whole thing was that days of waiting and weeks of working all culminated in about 20 minutes of work.

What does this have to do with a table?

During my 20 minutes of work, I was thinking about how strange this project has been. If all goes well, no one will notice my work. When you're buying a house, odds are you only notice the gutters if there's something wrong. So my weeks of work will prove successful only if no one thinks anything of it.

Once I got the job done, I had some time to finally get some work I'd been neglecting while working on the gutters. So I cut the grass and changed a headlight.

With the gutters mostly done, I don't have a next project lined up, but I'm sure I'll find something quickly.


After seeing the FTL soundtrack is getting a vinyl release, I decided to give it a listen.

*For the job to be officially finished, I need to clean up a ton of paint chips. I've offered Inara $5 an hour to clean them up fr me, but she's not very motivated.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What friends are for

We are so close to being done with these gutters I can taste it.

After a day of rain, things dried up enough that I could get back to work.

Eric asked me earlier in the day if was going to paint and offered to come over and help. Of course I accepted and it morphed into his family coming over for dinner before we painted.

There's few things I can think of that define who your real friends are as an adult than having dinner together on a weeknight in a home. It's easy to go out for dinner or plan for a weekend, but it's a lot more consideration to have someone over to your house on a weeknight.

It's times like these that get me excited about building a table.

Once dinner was done, it was time to get to work. Because I had the help, I decided to do the hardest of the four gutters (sorry Eric). This one is the hardest because it's the highest elevation and surrounded by trees. It's a two person job because the ground is uneven, so someone has to hold the ladder. With Eric being the guest I gave him the choice of holding the ladder or painting, and he went with painting.

Painting in the trees

Being a former painter, Eric zipped through the job and it looked great. He also did the trickiest patch of the entire house which is where a shed is right up against the house. There's lots of awkward angles, but Eric's a pro.

A true friend

We were running out of daylight as we finished up, so the home stretch will come another day. Hear that? We're talking about finishing the job.

So as long as the weather holds out, the final day of painting comes tomorrow.