Guest Bathroom is Finally Finished

I started remodeling our guest bathroom sometime in 2018. It is now February 6, 2019 and I am finally getting time to document the project with this blog post. I am using Word Press 5.0 for the second time to write a blog post. I normally create pages for websites using Beaver Builder, but I do have two personal blogs that I have not been updating too often lately. Well this is the first maiden voyage using the new Word Press Blocks interface.

I am also trying another new technique for adding images to my websites. I am using a public link from my Google Drive as a source for the images in this post. I have web hosting with SiteGround, but I want to conserve server disk space so I found a way to generate a public link to the image from my Google Drive. You can find out how I did it here. This link will also help me to rember how to do it again later.

Guest bath vanity number one
Guest bath vanity number one

Photos of Construction

A Beautiful Fall Walking Tour of Cumberland Island, Georgia

Sylvia, some friends and I went on a walking tour on Cumberland Island this weekend. It was a wonderful trip. We were in historic Saint Marys for an annual bicycling event on Saturday 11/2 and decided to take the island tour on Sunday 11/3.

We took the ferry to the island for a few hours and returned later in the late afternoon. I took some pictures of the flora, horses, and ruins of the Carnegie mansion.

Walking on Atlanta’s Urban Trails

Freedom Trail

Today I had a wonderful time walking on the trails in Atlanta. I have been wanting to explore the trails when I discovered them when I made my first trip to Atlanta shortly after moving to Georgia back in 2010. Today while my wife, Sylvia, visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, I when on a nice walk on the trail.

Pond at Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

This is one of the times when I really wish that I had dragged my bike to Atlanta, but I had prepared for a nice walk so I took off heading east on the trail.

Atlanta Beltline Trail

  • Atlanta Belt Line Artwork

The real excitement for me was to discover that the new Atlanta Beltline Trail connection was right near the Presidential Library. Seeing first hand how the integration of an urban rail-trail fit so nicely into living and business environments were fascinating.

Walking on Atlanta's Urban Trails

Freedom Trail

Today I had a wonderful time walking on the trails in Atlanta. I have been wanting to explore the trails when I discovered them when I made my first trip to Atlanta shortly after moving to Georgia back in 2010. Today while my wife, Sylvia, visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, I when on a nice walk on the trail.

Pond at Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

This is one of the times when I really wish that I had dragged my bike to Atlanta, but I had prepared for a nice walk so I took off heading east on the trail.

Atlanta Beltline Trail

  • Atlanta Belt Line Artwork

The real excitement for me was to discover that the new Atlanta Beltline Trail connection was right near the Presidential Library. Seeing first hand how the integration of an urban rail-trail fit so nicely into living and business environments were fascinating.

Building a LifeTime 8-foot by 10-foot storage shed

Prelude

Lifetime storage shed after 8 months on the patio
May 25, 2019 – Lifetime storage shed after 8 months on the patio

This shed was purchased in the fall of 2018. The plan was to set it up immediately. When Hurricane Michael looked like it was going to head directly for Albany, GA I unloaded the boxes from my truck, put them on the back patio and wrapped them in a tarp. When Hurricane Michael came in and wiped out most of our trees and tore up the landscape. The boxes sat on the patio from October 2018 until Memorial Day weekend May 2019.

During this time of year in southwest Georgia, it is really hot and humid. While I was working on this project the temperatures were above 95 degrees for most of the day that I was working. I do not do well when it is hot and humid.

May 25, 2019 – Lifetime storage shed after 8 months on the patio

Digging the footing and laying out the floor.

The plan I wanted to go with was to build a simple wood platform on some preformed concrete piers. The area that the shed location is not level and I did not want to excavate the soil to make it level. When the shed construction is complete I will build a ramp to make access easier for wheeled based tools.

Lifetime storage shed footing construction
May 25, 2019 – Lifetime storage shed footing construction

My process for the shed foundation set the concrete pier at the highest corner of the shed first. It was really hot here in southwest Georgia during the time that I was working on this project. digging holes in the read clay using a 25-pound rock bar and a post hole digger is a great way to get your upper arms and abdominal muscles a workout. no need to go to a gym or pay for a cross-fit class when you do yard work regularly.

I dug the holes large enough and deep enough to put an eight-inch square concrete paving stone on the bottom below the concrete pier. This paver would give the pier some added stability plus it would help me slide the pier around later on in the construction when I would be squaring up my frame.

I dug my second hole along the back of the shed ten feed from the first hole. I used one of the 2x6x10 treated boards to check the level between the first and second holes. Once I was satisfied with what I thought was an approximate good depth for the holes I started on the third hole 90 degrees perpendicular from the first hole. I figured that getting two points of the plane level with the highest point on the slope would get me closer to level for all four points with a minimal amount of moving dirt.

Final level check and confirm my footer depth
May 25, 2019 – Final level check and confirm my footer depth

After I dig all four holes and placed a paver stone and pier bloc in each one I placed two 2 x 6 x 10 boards and two 2 x 6 x 92-1/2 boards in place to give me a frame with the outside dimension of 8 feet by 10 feet. I clamped the corners temporarily to do a final level check and confirm my footer depth.

Joining the frame and getting it close to square

May 25, 2019 – Marking where the joist are located.

Before I joined the frame members I wanted to mark the two 10 foot boards to locate my floor joists. I learned this tip from YouTube University. I marked where my joist would go on both boards at once. I decided to forgo using the joist hangers and I used the GRK screws as they were easy to drive and were rated for the task.

I purchased a Bauer impact from Harbor Freight in Thomasville, GA drill so that I could quickly drive all of the screws for the wood joinery. This drill is sort of overkill for this project, but I have other projects that will require this drill for driving heaver lag bolts into wood joints. By the way, a Harbor Freight will open soon here in Albany and I will be a happy camper because my budget is limited when it comes to buying tools.

May 26, 2019 - dual fuel generator
May 26, 2019 – dual fuel generator

My work site for the shed was beyond the recommended cable length for the wire gauge of the 100-foot extension cords that I have. My 100-foot extension cords are 16 gauge wire and the Bauer drill required 12 gauge at that length. I decided to drag my dual fuel generator to the site and use it to power my tools. normally I fire up the generator once a month to test it. I purchased this generator shortly after Hurricane Michael because my previous gas powered generator would never start when I wanted to because I used it so infrequently and the gas corroded the engine. eventually, I ran out of propane, so I went to Lowe’s and bought a 100 12 gauge extension cord and finished the project using house current.

Once I had the 8 x 10 2 x 6 frame joined at the corners I started the process of getting the frame square. I took my tape measure and measured the diagonal length from two opposing corners. I used a heavy mallet to tap the corners until I got both measurements to be close to being equal. I stopped then both were within one half of an inch of 53 inches. I am not building a palace so no need for tight tolerances.

Building the floor to support the shed

Listening to music while I work and play is a must for me. normally I wear headphones when I am listening to music, but during this project, I decided to use my cooler boom box that I built from the knowledge that I gained on YouTube University.

May 26, 2019 -  Joist are installed
May 26, 2019 – Joist are installed

The next step in the project was to add the joist which will add support for the plywood that will go on top. I had to level the inside of the frame and remove some dirt to get all of the joists to fit nicely. Once I had them in place I used my drill to drive in two screws into each end.

May 26, 2019 – Installing the joist.

The GRK fasteners are truly amazing. Even with the high torque of the impact driver, the screws did not break. they went into the wood like butter. The large flange on the driver end prevented the screw from going too deep into the wood.

May 26,, 2019 Adding the joist noggins
May 26, 2019 Adding the joist noggins

I decided to get my Hitachi framing nail gun out to install the floor joist noggins. I quickly discovered that joist placed on 16-inch centers was just barely enough space to get the big head of the nail gun in position to drive a fastener. This step took less time than the setup time for using the nail gun. I don’t have a small portable compressor. I have a large 30-gallon compressor that I bought from Harbor Freight to use in my shop for airbrushing. Fortunately, I had a 100-foot air hose that allowed me to use my nail gun without dragging the large compressor to the construction site.

May 26, 2019 Hitachi framing nailer
May 26, 2019 Hitachi framing nail gun
May 26, 2019 Hitachi framing nail gun
  • May 27, 2019 - Red Hat Construction taking a break
  • May 27,2019 Plywood almost installed
  • Plywood installed
  • Holes drilled in deck so water will drain.

The basic framing is complete. The next step is to put the 3/4 inch plywood over the 2 x 6 frame. I am getting excited at this point because I can finally see the end of this phase of the project.

May 27, 2019 plywood is installed.

Lifetime Shed Assembly

May 27, 2019 – Lifetime shed parts

I have finally got to the part of this project where I can actually start assembling the shed. It is late in the day on Monday, May 27th and I am just getting the parts out of the box. I started getting the shed walls up the next weekend, June 1, 2019.

I am reading the extensive detailed instructions on how to assemble the shed. There are plastic bags that are labeled with all of the hardware for each step of the assembly. All of the large plastic panels which form the shed walls and roof are stamped with their part numbers and are identified in the detailed assembly instructions. It took me a while to look at the images to identify some of the parts correctly. I made a major mistake with installing the roof trusses which I will describe later.

  • June 1, 2019 - Shed walls going up
  • June 1, 2019 - Shed walls going up
  • June 1, 2019 - Shed walls going up
  • June 1, 2019 - Lifetime starting to add the shed roof
  • June 1, 2019 - Lifetime starting to add the shed roof

Putting down the flooring was pretty easy. there are interlocking tabs on the four pieces of the floor. Small screws are used to keep the 4 sections of the floor from separating during the rest of the shed assembly. although I have no plans at this time to take this shed apart and move it, the possibility of moving the shed in pieces is possible.

The shed instructions call for an additional one or two persons to help with some of the assembly steps. Since I am a member of the “I’d rather do it myself” club, I have enlisted my ladder helper and bungee cord minions on this project.

Getting the first wall up and standing all by itself is a milestone for me on this project. Spending almost four days working on the foundation for this shed and not even getting to the shed assembly was a test of endurance for this arduous work. the payoff is that the shed assemble is not as hard as digging in the dirt, so I am happy.

After I got the walls up I started on the roof. This first truss that I have in place is actually facing in the wrong direction. I will find out about this mistake later when I install the doors. The metal truss has one end that is cut out so that the door poles will fit. I will describe how I “fixed” it later on in this story.

All three roof trusses are installed. I had to use my ladder and bungee cords to get them in place and screwed in. This shed has a lot of screws so using a lightweight battery-powered drill to use as a screwdriver is a key tool in this type of work. I use this method when I assemble Ikea furniture too. I have a Dewalt 12v drill that I set the speed to 1 and the clutch to between 9 and 11. This is the perfect setting to prevent over-tightening or stripping screws used to assemble soft material like wood or in this case plastic.

Fixing my mistake on the trusses near the door hinges was a sobering moment for in this project. I wondered why the trusses were different on the ends, but it did not dawn on me to think this through and flip them around. the images on the instructions were too small to show that the direction that the trusses face was to the door location. The descriptive text did do not make note of this fact (at least at the time of this diatribe I believe this to be true. I will go back and check to make sure I did not miss this important detail).

Fixing the left door

June 2,, 2019 - left door hinged popped out.
June 2, 2019 – left door hinged popped out.

So after a long day of shed assembly, I find that after installing the roof pieces over the door that the left door hinge has popped out of the slot in the support truss. I will have to take the screws out of the roof next weekend to put it back in the truss. I will be careful to make sure it stays there when I re-attach the roof section above it.

Building the tool rack

I built a 2 by 4 frame on three of the interior walls of the shed. This frame would support the weight of the tools as the plastic walls would not handle the load. I was glad to finally finish the shed assembly and enter into the start putting stuff inside of the shed phase.

The tools are on the racks and organized. there is enough space int he shed to walk around as the middle of the floor is clear of clutter for the moment. there is plenty of room for more tools and the rack system is flexible so that tools can be moved around and are easily found when needed.

The Ramp

  • July 07, 2019 - Shed and ramp supports
  • July 07, 2019 - Shed and ramp supports
  • July 07, 2019 - Checking the board layout on ramp
  • July 07, 2019 - Ramp front view detail
  • July 07, 2019 - Ramp top view detail
  • July 07, 2019 - Ramp side view detail

I had a lot of fun engineering the ramp. I was going to make it four feet wide, but Sylvia suggested that the ramp be wider than the door for safety reasons. I thought this was a great idea so I made the ramp seven feet wide, I used the recycled paver stones that we have lying around our yard to add additional stability for the ramp when it makes contact near the ground. I added treated 2 by 4 to transition to the dirt. the ramp is strong and makes it easy to get the lawnmower and leaf mulcher in and out of the shed.

Finally, the shed is finished

This was a fun project, but I am glad it is done. Sylvia and I grew so tired of looking out on our patio and seeing the shed boxes covered by a tarp for months. Ore garden tools were scattered all over the garage. now everything for the yard is in one spot inside of a lovely cottage style shed.

  • July 07, 2019 - Shed and ramp are finished
  • July 07, 2019 - Shed and ramp are finished
  • July 07, 2019 - Shed and ramp are finished

Fixing a cracked sewer line clean out that was damaged as a result of Hurricane Michael

  • Exploring the sewer leak
  • Digging around and underneath the pipe
  • The exposed pipe
  • The exposed pipe
  • Damaged cleanout pipe

This weekend I completed the repair of the damaged sewer line in the front yard. Hurricane Michael hit Albany, Ga on October 10, 2018. Our once wooded lot had 35 fewer trees on it as a result of storm damage. After the trees were piled up on the curb for FEMA to haul away we had all of the stumps ground down. Now we were left with a font and back yard full of mulch and bare dirt, so we planted winter rye grass to hold the soil until spring.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number one

The damaged sewer line was not discovered until April 2019 after sowing the permanent lawn seed on the cultivated yard. You can read about the New Lawn Install that we completed in April. There was a pool of water that would not dry up in the front yard. Upon further investigation, I discovered that it was sewage from the house. The sewer line cleanout had been damaged by fallen trees and tractors that were hauling logs out of the yard last year. The winter rye grass was pretty thick in this part of the yard, and the sewer leak was the cause of the extra tall grass.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number 2

Over the next few weeks, I dug a hole to repair the broken pipe. I had to get creative while I worked around a flowing sewer line. I purchased a small pump from Lowe’s and used it to pump the sewage out of the hole through a water hose and into the other sewer cleanout closer to the street. This allowed me to get enough dirt away from the broken clean out connection so that I could repair it.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number 3
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number four
Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number 5
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap number 6

I am pleased to be able to finally look at the front yard and not see a pile of dirt by the hole with the sewer line sticking out of it. I am glad that the plumber that came out to clean out and inspect the rest of the sewer line gave my work a thumbs up. I felt confident while I was burying the repaired fitting that it would not leak.

As I wander the circle of life, I am a constant learner

Web Services Black Ops Movie List
Web Services Black Ops Movie List

I have this quote from the great basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins, John Wooden in my personal email signature.

It is what you learn after you think that you know it all that matters.
                                                                            ~John Wooden

Today I am wandering past another milepost in my life of learning. I am teaching myself how to create web applications using ASP.net Razor Pages. I started my computer programming trek way back in the last century with Microsoft’s Visual Basic. I have journeyed through the land of Dot Net Nuke C# development. I have played in the park of PHP and MySQL. Now I am finally back completing the circle with the latest version of Microsoft’s development tools.

If you want to check out what I have been building head on over to the Web Services Black Ops Movies website. The site is up as of June 9, 2019, at 7:00 PM. If you want to help testing it feel free to add a movie title to the list. This simple site is the result of me following the well documented ASP.NET Core tutorial that Microsoft has on their website.

What I really like about the way Microsoft has evolved is that a lot of their focus in the last few years has been directed towards the developer community. I have an account on the Azure portal. In the past, I have worked in data centers managing servers of all types. Having access to a cloud data center where I can spin up a Linux server or a Windows SQL server in a few minutes is amazing. The web application that I just developed is running in the Azure cloud as an application service. I did not have to put it on a server. I did not have to create a database server. All of the computing resources are supplied and managed by the Azure portal. All I had to do was create my web application, configure database services and load my data using Visual Studio Community edition from my computer. Visual Studio Community is a free software development tool that is free. Microsoft used to only sell a very expensive version of this software that only ran on Windows. Now Visual Studio comes in several versions that are free and it runs on a Mac and Linux based computers.

I really like learning new stuff. I had plenty of time this weekend to stay out of the rain and take a break from my outdoor projects and sit at home and nerd out.

New Lawn Install

Toro Dingo with bucket
Toro Dingo with bucket

Today Sylvia and I finished installing our lawn. We started the project on Saturday, April 20, 2019, and finished it this evening. It was a lot of hard work, but we finally have a decent start to getting our yard normalized after Hurricane Michael came to through Albany and wiped out our little forest that surrounded our house.


I rented a Toro Dingo and a Toro Soil Cultivator from Sunbelt Rentals. It took me a few hours to get the hang of how to operate the bucket and pick up stuff and move it. I spent a few hours moving a large woodpile to the back of our lot. Some of the wood was really rotten so I hauled it to the curb for pick up by the city. The woodpile is used to fule my smoker when I smoke brisket, ribs, and turkeys.

Pile of yard debris at the curb
Pile of yard debris at the curb

Leveling the yard

Toro Soil Cultivator
Toro Soil Cultivator

Once I hauled off all of the yard debris and completed some crude rough leveling with the bucket I attached the soil cultivator. This tool worked great at turning the ryegrass and mulch from the ground up tree stumps into the soil. I ran the cultivator crisscross over the front and back yard to get a crude level planting environment for the Bermuda seed that was going to be planted.

First Brush Clearing Post Hurricane Michael

Lonnie mowing the font yard

Cutting the
Perennial Ryegrass

My wife Sylvia knows a lot about plants, the soil web and how to grow stuff. I like to rent machines to do stuff outside. We make a good team when it comes to yard work. I have rented the Billy Goat Outback from Sunbelt Rentals a lot since we purchased our home in Albany Georgia.

I started using it to clear the brush on our 2-acre lot shortly after we purchased the property in 2011. At that time we had lots of trees and I had fun making paths through all of the brush. Over time we cultivated a lot of the native plants and let them grow in areas that we wanted them and I would mow over them in areas that we wanted to be clear. This weekend was the first time that I mowed since the big hurricane took out most of our trees. We took about 35 trees from our lot due to direct blow down from the storm or trees that were damaged by other falling trees hitting them.

BC26 Series Outback
BC26 Series Outback® Brushcutter 26” Hydro Drive Brushcutter

Clean Slate for a new design

Last winter Sylvia sowed lost of Perennial Ryegrass. Cutting the ryegrass was fun and it reminded me of mowing hay and grass on a tractor on the ranch that I use to own in Texas. I like just mowing grass, it is fun for me.

Revealing the land from the thick blanket of ryegrass which in some places was 3 feet tall was amazing. We have been wondering what we were going to do with our yard since the original plan for the yard has been scrapped because it was dependant on the lush forest of trees on our lot. Now that the grass is a bit shorter we can continue our assessment of the yard and start making new plans for installing irrigation and fiking the pavement damaged by tree removal. Our design adventure continues.