To Do list II - revisited, yet again

Last updated
30 Dec 2007 - reprioritized and updated based on new developments and laudable self-directive to finish what you start before starting a new project.
10 Dec 2007 - Called Gene at 1-Stop with MRS number, obtained last week from T. Cross
03 Dec 2007 - Tom Cross of Edison was by last Fri to re-spot new meter location. Called Gene at 1-Stop to update him on progress.
19 Nov 2007 - called for a new bid on electrical panel replacement. Will get bid on 20th.
17 Nov 2007 - demoed low brick planter in back yard.
15 Nov 2007 - newest meter location spotted successfully with Tom Cross of Edison
2 Sep 2007 - completed trellis for front.
14 Aug 2007 - got $30.75 for the scrap metal.
13 Aug 2007 - loaded some of brother's scrap metal and mine for recycling tomorrow
10 Aug 2007 - info on recycling
7 Aug 2007 - more garage cleaning, added some yard items
Updated 6 Aug 2007 - garage cleaning

I've been absorbed in work (upcoming launch, new responsibilities), travel (work, vacation), and family (school, scouts, gf, relatives) and trying to catch up on sleep on weekends since my last major home improvement effort back in May. Those are my excuses. Now it's time to get back to the To Do list with an update and re-emphasis on actually getting things done.

My loyal reader will recall that I've had To Do lists before and even before that. I'm trying not to beat myself up over slow progress and to keep in mind that Home Repair Man is but one aspect of my many and varied super personas and that there's parallel lists of things to do that don't involve hardware stores. Of course the usual rule of cascading home repair / bonus chores applies. If you're too lazy to follow the links for a long definition, bonus chores are the problems that you must fix (because for instance, you've just noticed the alarming fact that your porch is not being supported by its rotted posts) and cascades of home repairs occur when you really want to accomplish C, but need to do A and then B, prior to even thinking about C. Bonus chores and cascades of home repairs can be linked.

House Improvements
  • Clean and organize garage for all the wonderful things I'll need it for. (started 6 Aug 07, continued 7 Aug, 30 Dec major garage overhaul for electrical install) Finish what you start.
  • Install attic vent in garage gable end (cut stucco, frame, paper, wire, repair stucco). I've now painted the vent white. Need to cut a few framing members for inside the garage. Finish what you start.
  • Get newest meter location respotted by Edison. REDONE 30 Nov 2007 when I got Tom Cross of Edison back out to the property
    • Phone conversations and even a revisit earlier in Nov didn't resolve the issue of where exactly I could put a panel. Turns out the side yard is OK. His only caveat was that the panel might not have enough clearance to the side yard fence (36" required) unless it was mounted in the wall. Since I've wanted that style from the very beginning for aesthetic reasons, no problem. DONE ~8 Nov 2007. Previously: My brother suggested a side of the garage location for the new panel that I like a lot more than where I had placed the meter. Interior access would be facilitated since the interior walls of the garage aren't finished.
  • Recontact electricians for estimates on service upgrades. Last year's best estimate was $1900 from Gene at One Stop Electric 310-676-4520 for replacement of panel at orig location, but that didn't include trenching the patio for a second ground rod attachment, $2400 over the phone estimate from Direct Electric Inc 310-978-8471 who advised me to get spotted first, at which point they would come by and give me a real estimate. Andrew at Reliable Electric 310-973-1922 / 310-415-8721 gave an estimate of $2400 for a new panel at the garage side of the house, with an additional $75 for a second ground rod.
    • Service upgrades have to be proven or justified somehow in the approval process with a "green sheet". Remodeling a kitchen and a small garage workshop seemed to pass as appropriate justification to Edison. I verified in telephone conversation with T. Cross of Edison that I am on the list for uprated wire gauge to the pole, based on my previous interactions. DONE Gene from 1-Stop starts in the New Year.
    • Specified electrical upgrades. DONE 19 Nov 2007
  • Install new rear wall / door in garage. Finish what you start.
  • Complete electrical install and weather stripping at new French door. All parts at hand. Really, it's embarrassing how long this has gone unfinished. Finish what you start.
  • Cut porch concrete for ground rod placement. It's starting to look like I should just demo the porch concrete altogether now, before the electrical upgrade.Don't have to do this so urgently if panel goes in on side of garage.
  • Pick colors and paint some areas on the house in preparation for a whole house paint job. Use Color Preview 2000 from Benjamin Moore to digitally color my house.
  • Put in more soffit vents. Maybe add a fan in the gable end of my house? Would be good to do this not on the hottest day of the year.
  • Reroute gas supply lines (to kitchen and garage) in preparation for taking my interior wall down.
  • Install French door in place of rear-facing window in my room.
  • Replace / repair computer room window.
  • Repipe house in copper, adding hose bibs as needed for grounding of water lines at new electrical panel location. Will need to review appropriate pipe sizing - could be undersized at present. Start by repiping only the easy stuff, saving the part about cutting into the walls for when I demo the kitchen. Use dielectric unions to couple the new copper to the old galvanized. (PRIORITY DROP - City will accept double grounding rods instead of relying upon water pipes for a ground, so this whole action drops in priority.)
    • Don't forget new hot and cold hose spigots
    • Install tankless water heater in attic.
Garden / Yard Improvements
  • Complete front window grape arbor. Side panels are done. Awaiting the muse to strike for the perfect corbel ends on the cross members. (75% done 1 Aug 2007) DONE 1 September 2007. Juli helped with the last bit.
  • Recycle the old copper pipe, galvanized pipe, curtain rods, and lawn chairs that are in a heap in my and my brother's back yards. DONE 14 Aug 2007 at Action Sales & Metal Company, 310-549-5666, 1625 E. PCH, Wilmington. 2 mi. past Harbor Fwy on left side of PCH. Open till 4:30 PM weekdays, 3:00 Sat. I ended up getting $30.75 for my scrap metal. More than half of the dollar value (~$17) was in one large piece of copper pipe. Reimbursement for the scrap ferrous metals was at a rate of $40 per ton - about $9 or $10 in my case. The balance was in aluminum. Still some metal left at my brother's house. Finish what you start.
  • Get the back yard border installed - new technique with bender board and bricks instead of concrete will speed job and allow changes. (15% done 8 Nov 2007) Finish what you start.
  • Do some planning with respect to the native plants in my front yard. Now that I've lived with them a bit, I have a better feel for them. Updated 17 Nov 2007.
    • Get morea (fortnight lillies) down to chez frere, but have a succession plan. Replacement ideas: White sage (Salvia apiana), San Clemente Island Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus clementinus), Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica "Mound San Bruno"), sage (Salvia clevelandii X leucophylla "Pozo blue" or "Alan Chickering" or "munzii"), Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum "Thunderbird")
    • The buckwheat in the front is large. Prune aggressively, leave, or replace with smaller? DONE - pruned. Seems to be fine.
    • Move the front yard native scheme onto the parking strip (between sidewalk and street) in a way that continues to allow car access from the curb side? Probably use festuca rubra and pavers in the center, low bushes, taller grasses, or other ground cover at the property line edge of parking strip.
  • Demolish back slab behind garage, correct grade
    • Reinstall approx 8x10 work area
  • Demolish back patio behind kitchen (demo'ed brick planter 17 Nov 2007)
    • Install new patio with California native grape arbor.
    • Plan for electricity and music in the back yard.
    • Plan for hot water in the back yard. Outdoor shower? (see replumb, above)
  • Build concrete bench for front arbor area.
  • Recycle the concrete in my back yard. There's a local concrete recycling place on Aviation just S of El Segundo Blvd. Yard phone 310-536-9982 which takes clean (rebar & remesh cut at concrete, no bricks, etc) but it's not cheap - $82 for a small pickup load. Ouch. Dump might be cheaper.
  • Replace driveway with pavers.
    • Use a better design that allows for: separate entry path, driveway adjacent planting, trellis over garage.

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