The Toilet Drain

There was one bright yellow truck in front of the house this morning.  I thought it was a utility truck of some sort until I read “plumber” on the door.

There was a lot of noise coming from the house and I could not imagine what he was doing in there.  We followed the sound and found the plumber on his knees in front of the master bath toilet drain. (No plumber butt here, folks)

This is how we had seen it last, in the other bathroom.

He had cut the pipe off, flush with the floor.  (Ha ha, I didn’t mean that) He explained that the drain pipe had been set an inch off-center.  I had noticed that it was not quite centered in the WC but did not think much of it.  Someone did and told this guy to install a fixture that would center the toilet and divert the flow an inch over into the drain pipe. All that noise was him drilling through the tiles and cement to accomplish his goal.

The only other change we noted was the master bath shower stall.  A cement floor had been poured, except for one corner.  What’s up with that? Did he run out of cement?

Funny that Elinor should have posted the question today.  We have been talking about not needing a large motorhome when we move into the house. I have been reminiscing about the days when we had a small RV and could park anywhere, fit into state park campsites, and easily stop when we see an interesting place. Andy suggested that we downsize to a Class B, which is a van.  I thought that was a great idea.

Next thing I know, Andy had found a dealer (he thought nearby) and wanted to go look at some. Nothing else was on the agenda so we drove to Lakeland (an hour away). The salesman, of course, wanted to show us new vans, but I don’t want to spend the money.  We did look at some new ones though.  We focused on the older ones. We saw a used one that looked much like this one I found online.

The salesman was eager to give us a “good deal”, but I said we can’t trade-in the motorhome until after we close on the house and move our furniture from Maryland and Virginia. That will be at least a month away. We will look again after that and if this one is still for sale, we might take it.  If it has already sold, we’ll just look for another one in our price range. He said he will stay in touch and let us know when he finds another good deal. So, Elinor, that is the plan.  We still want to take some road trips and spend time in the keys in the winters.

It was the end of dusk when we got to the house on our way home. The only thing that had changed was that the plumber had finished his job. We will henceforth be centered when we use the toilet.

It looks a bit rough close up, but I imagine the base of the toilet will cover that up. They who are concerned about a toilet being an inch off-center will probably patch it to look pretty anyway.

It was quite dark when we left the house.  However, we have a street lamp next to our driveway. I thought it made an interesting picture.


Bathroom Tiles, Appliances and Electricity

The two tilers’ trucks were parked in front of the house and there was also a large delivery truck this morning.  Once inside, we saw that he had delivered a dishwasher and a microwave oven.

You may remember this tile man from the floor tiles in the dining room.

I took a picture of him cutting tiles then and another one today.  I think he is using the same work table. He cuts the tiles in a flash.

The young woman was still working in the guest bathroom. It looked as though she was cleaning cement out of the gaps between the tiles with an Exacto knife.  I suppose that was preparing for grout.

The bathroom by Andy’s office was done. I’m having that warm gray tile and cool gray walls conflict again.  I’m  sure I’m going to be repainting the bathrooms a warmer gray.  I love the tiles though.

We went to the local Sun Trust office to open a checking account.  They said that if we opened an account with their bank and used it for automatic mortgage payment drafts, we would get a $400 reward.  It sounded like a good deal to me, especially since it is a free checking account and the bank is in the shopping center with Publix, our favorite grocery store.

After lunch, we went back to the house and found an electric company truck in front.

Electric Man had that big green box open.  I have always wondered what was inside those hideous boxes.  He was concentrating and did not look up at me so I moved on.

It was obvious the moment we stepped into the laundry room from the garage.

We have electricity.

So, of course, we walked around the house like a couple of six-year-olds flipping light switches.  Not everything worked.  The pendant lights over the kitchen counter did.

They look nice and white from across the room in the photo, but up close they are more amber than ever.  They are pretty though, so I may just keep them that way and live with my perceived brown/gray color clash.

I like the fixtures in the foyer.

I watched Tile Man putting the decorative tiles in the shampoo niche in the master shower. They actually look better in real life than they do in my pictures.  Here you don’t see the browns in the narrow band.

The young woman finished the grout in the guest bathroom and left. I guess I need some shower curtains.

I am beginning to look forward to moving in and living in a house again.

Cement, Chandelier, and Tile

This was the scene as we drove up to the house this morning. Hard-hat, Sun-hat man was shoveling sand out of the shallow gutter in front of our newly paved driveway. It was some of the smoothest cement I have ever seen.

The other man was taping off the front porch to prevent anyone from walking on it. He said they had started the job at 6:30 this morning. See that glob of hardening concrete in the lower left of the picture?

This brilliant orange Gulf Frittilary butterfly was tasting it all over.

We walked around to the back of the house to see the new patio.  That notch in the foreground will one day be my kitchen herb garden just outside the bedroom door. I would like to have had the patio a bit deeper, but it is already to the building setback line.

We went home for lunch and later in the afternoon drove to Besco Electric Supply and Lighting Center to look at light fixtures. I couldn’t help but notice yesterday that there is no light fixture in the dining room. I came home and checked my paperwork, but there was no light fixture mentioned for the dining room.  Then, I vaguely recalled not liking any of the options presented during what they call the “build com”. I wanted a fixture where the lights are aimed down rather than up like ninety-nine percent of the chandeliers seem to be. I had a lovely light fixture over our dining room table in our house but did not like the shadows cast on the table. They had one similar to the style of the kitchen lights.  Ours is going to have plain white glass rather than what I learned is called “tea stain”.  My goal was something traditional, a bit fancy for the dining room, but not too fancy. I still turned on the lights in most of the crystal chandeliers just to look at the sparkle.

Of course, we stopped back by the house for another look. All the new cement was covered with plastic, the same stuff they put under the roof shingles.  There were two trucks parked out front so we knew something was going on inside.

We spotted a generator in the garage.  It was tilers. (I looked that up.  A person who lays tiles on roofs, walls, and floors is called a tiler.) It was not the Russian, but a cute young tiler. She is the one who came and scavenged some ceramic soap dishes from our garage a few weeks ago.

The tiles are beautiful, even though they are more brown than gray compared to the blue/gray walls.

My scale model, Andy stood by the air conditioning condenser/compressor.  I’ve never had one so tall.  The brand is Carrier.

Two Sandhill Cranes were in the back.

The back patio was also covered with the heavy plastic.

The cranes were keeping an eye on us but were not too concerned.


House is in Great Form

The first thing I noticed approaching the house this morning was the air-conditioning compressor.  Next, we saw that the rest of the system was installed in the garage.

There were at least three electricians inside installing light fixtures, switch plates, and outlets. Two heating and cooling men were installing vent grates and working on the unit in the garage.

Maybe I didn’t make the best choice here.  There are already three moths in one of the fixtures in the foyer.

Uh oh.  Did I really pick that color for over the breakfast table? It looks so brown.

The bathroom fixtures are the right white but are otherwise very boring. I didn’t pay extra for interesting there.

The electrician was wiring the under-cabinet lighting.

A cabinet woman came in with an electric drill.  She was checking the cabinets, tightening knobs and handles, and noting the missing doors.  I told her one of the kitchen drawers was broken and so was one in the bathroom.  She said she had already fixed the one in the bathroom and would fix the kitchen drawer too.  I asked about the way some of the doors were fitting and she said she would be through two or three more times before the closing.  She would adjust the cabinet doors after the air conditioning has been running for a few days. The wood will move.

The bathroom light fixtures look so high.  I guess they’ll look normal when a mirror is installed.

Here is the wiring on the breaker panel.

We left for lunch and ran some errands.  It started to rain.  Andy said he didn’t think much would be going on in the afternoon in the rain. There were six, maybe seven, trucks at the house when we got there.

Bulls were dozing all around the house.

This guy was picking up construction trash and loading it into the dumpster.

At least eight men were making a form and digging footers for the back patio.

Back out front, this was the view out the dining room window – for a few moments at a time.

Andy pointed out that the floor outlets in the family room were finished.

Out back again, they were using a machine to tamp down the dirt under the patio.

Remember hard-hat sun-hat from the days of concrete block wall building?  He was here again today.  Here he is preparing the ground for the front porch to be poured.

Back to the back!  The men had placed rebar in the footings and were suspending it with wires so it will not be on the very bottom of the concrete. There was just so much activity, I was running around with my camera trying to capture it all.

Things were so busy that Andy felt in the way.  He suggested we go home and return in the evening when the workers have quit for the day.  We did just that and when we got back the driveway was formed.

So was the sidewalk.

Maybe that front-end loader should have pushed some more dirt up close to the house.  There is a good-sized puddle where I want a row of pink azaleas.  They will drown if this is not remedied.

I was delighted to see the front porch taking form.

I went back inside to agonize over the color of the light fixtures in the kitchen. What do you think?

Out back, the form was ready for concrete.  I think the plastic was to keep the rain from washing the sand back into the footers.

I paused at the front door to imagine the view tomorrow or the next day.




We did not expect anything to be happening at the house on Sunday.  We stopped by anyway to look at the back of the house.  The builder says they are going to build a stem-wall to support the back edge of the patio.  That’s OK.  However, he also added in an email last night that there would be a two-or-three foot drop off the back.  That is not acceptable to me.  I think he should bring in some more dirt to fill in.  I want a bit of somewhat-level ground back there for shrubs and flower beds.

While out, we decided to go to Beef O’Brady’s for lunch.  I had reminded Andy that he liked it when we stopped in one on a trip across mid-Florida some years ago. He wanted to try it to confirm my memory. He did like the hamburger today. We made a trip to the drug store and then Andy suggested that we go by the house on our way home, just in case someone was there.

The Stucco Man’s truck was parked in front of the house.

We saw immediately that decorative doodads had been applied to the gables of the garage and front porch.  Yes, they look like vents, but they are not. They were delivered a few days ago and we had already determined that they are styrofoam.  They are not too fragile though; the front is coated with some hard plastic or resin.

Stucco Man was working on the front porch. He said he was finishing up the job today and was enjoying the peace and solitude of working by himself.

I had seen those little round bases and capitals on other houses of our model and wondered how they were going to put them on ours.  Or, maybe they forgot to put them in in the first place. They are also styrofoam innards with a hard outer coating.  They come in halves.

Stucco Man assured me that they are very tough.  They have been using them for years without any problems.

It’s funny how little details like doodads make such a big difference.

Kitchen Cabinets and Stucco Almost Done

No one was working on our house when we got there. Andy wanted to measure the wall of the garage to make sure the trellis I ordered would fit. There’s plenty of room.

I changed my trellis decision after the landscaper told me that one mounted on a wall would not work.  The plants won’t climb it properly or prosper. ( But what about espaliered plants and ivy? They grow on walls.)  I really like this one better anyway. No spikes on top. They could have made the picture a little more attractive if they really wanted to sell it.

The cabinet installers must have been there earlier in the morning. All the cabinets were in and the doors were hung, except the one over the fridge.  There must have been a problem, maybe missing doors.

Here is a look over the counter at the stove wall.

I had said that the kitchen would be a lot smaller after the cabinets were installed.  Actually, it is bigger than I was expecting.

I also said yesterday that the plasterers were done.  Today I noticed that they still have the upper portion of the east wall to go. My running commentary is not so accurate.

Stucco Texture and Cabinets

There were half a dozen vehicles in front of the house this morning. I was headed for the front door where the big strong man was working.

Andy noted that the cabinet boxes were no longer in the garage.  That lit a fire under me and I rushed inside. There was a wood shop set up in the family room.

Most of the cabinets were already installed and the man was working on the first upper cabinet.

So this is how they do it!  He had two homemade boxes and a piece of counter top to establish the height of the upper cabinets. No measuring required.

We checked the master bath.  The cabinets are one of the very few areas where I upgraded from “standard”.  I paid an arm and a leg to get those beadboard kitchen cabinets.  I stayed with the “standard” (read: no extra cost” for the bathrooms). They are just fine. I am also pleased with the color of the cabinets against the floor tiles.

The guest bath is smaller.

And, the bath between Andy’s office and the kitchen is smaller still.

We went outside to see how the stucco texture layer was going on. It has more pattern than I expected.

The stucco for this step was very soupy.

A new young man was applying it.  He got a small amount of mud on his trowel and dabbed it up the wall.

He did not go all the way up.  I suppose there is another technique for getting close to but not on the eaves, but we did not see it.

Around by the front door, the big strong man was working on the column bases.

Then we were back inside to watch kitchen cabinet installation. The man had a lot of tools.

Sometimes they had to assume awkward positions.

The woman installed the shelves and doors.

She also helped her husband raise cabinets to the wall.

We left to take the car to the body shop for installation of a plastic protective strip on the back bumper.  The paint had to cure before they stuck it on.  Of course, that meant getting another pizza at Mellow Mushroom, very close to the body shop.

Afterward, we stopped in a nursery where I looked at blueberry bushes with which to make a small hedge on either side of the house, along the property line. I picked a small fig and gave Andy a taste.  He had never eaten a fresh fig before and insisted we buy a fig bush/tree too.  I wanted two cherry trees, but the man said that sweet cherries will not do well in this area.  Sour cherries are nice, but I want to eat fresh from the tree. I’ll do some more research.

We stopped back at the house after our outing.  All the workers were gone. It appears that the stucco crew is done.  They have left a good bit of “stuff” lying around, but I am sure they are still working in the neighborhood and will pick it up soon.

The cabinet installer left for lunch when we left and never came back.  I love my kitchen cabinets! They look great with the gray walls and the light gray floor.

Here is a closeup of the upper cabinets. I’ve always been a natural wood person.  It seems a shame to paint white over than beautiful maple, but I wanted to give white cabinets a try.  It really makes a bright kitchen. I think I am going to be very happy with them.