More walls, less slab.

Start to finish, maybe 4 hours to pull the slab. Hard hard work. Had a little collateral damage with one of the vent pipes coming up out of the slab. Bob the plumber will be by today to repair. He won't be happy we were messing with his plumbing...not going to be a fun day for me!

We had a near miss with making Bob the plumber even madder. They (the concrete wizards) decide the best course of action is to hold the level of the slab at the low corner (the SE corner) and use the bad old stem wall as the form. Corners are shot. Strings are run. Grading begins, which means removing a lot of soil.

Very little time passes. Steve, come here a minute. If we go with this approach, the elbows at the bottom of the toilet flanges will be in the concrete. They can't be in the concrete. We'll need to lower them. I'm not looking forward to calling Bob at all. At this point CtC calls, must have felt a flux in the force (more on fluxes later). I figure great, he can call Bob the plumber! I hand the phone to John the concrete wizard so he and CtC can earn the big bucks. CtC recognizes immediately that the issue is not Bob the plumber's wrath, but rather that if we lower the toilet drains, we have to lower ALL the drains. I would have eventually figured that out, but not before I'd have called Bob and proven my unworthiness as a lowly homeowner. Solution is to raise the slab. So now we are going with an average of the high and low corner. Probably means we'll be framing with 2 x 8's instead of 2 x 6's. Guess which costs more. And, we lose an inch and a half of floor space all around the perimeter. So long 840 square feet, hello 800 square feet.

The Brain Trust likes to reuse salvaged stuff. We need to build a bunch of small walls around to hold moisture around plants and to create some lumps in the grade for "interest". So, the concrete guys built piles of slab so we can salvage. When Ann is here, we'll be moving a lot of old slab. I can only imagine the joy that will bring...

Meanwhile, Tony and the guys were building the back courtyard. We've been over the plan a few times, but there have been a lot of moving parts, and admittedly my picture of what we wanted was pretty lame.

I need to run over to the concrete office to meet with "The Queen of Color". The Queen is also the wife of the owner, Terry. She has taken our project on as a hobby. No way is she going to allow a colored slab to be poured without a consultation. Turns out their office is in fact a concrete experiment. There may be some wood in there, but only until it can be replaced with some new concrete contraption. Anyway, her desk is made of the San Diego Buff that we are considering.

 The black swirl is staining. Hard to tell in the picture, but the stain is wearing off where it gets rubbed frequently. Note also, this has a mat (or maybe satin) finish. Not as shiny as a lot of floor pictures we've seen. Also, the color is much more uniform than it looks in the picture.

The black swirl is staining. Hard to tell in the picture, but the stain is wearing off where it gets rubbed frequently. Note also, this has a mat (or maybe satin) finish. Not as shiny as a lot of floor pictures we've seen. Also, the color is much more uniform than it looks in the picture.

Looks great. Apparently these floors get more interesting as they age and get a little patina. She's a little worried about the warm buff against the cold gray of the kitchen cabinets. I say let, me pull up something on my iPad. Oh, she has already been to Ikea and pulled up our cabinet front. Like I said, she's taken an interest. I suspect what it is is a sisterhood thing. No way is this guy picking colors without his wife, so she is pitch hitting for SWITBO. 

We decide the gray will be OK. Meanwhile out in the hall we pass the buff next to some gray that looks to me kind of like the Ikea kitchen gray. Out comes the camera... The cabinets are shinier but the color is about right. 

 San Diego Buff and a gray. My knees in the foreground for scale.

San Diego Buff and a gray. My knees in the foreground for scale.

She's also not happy with the the cut lines we designed on the hood of the Volvo. She's taken an interest. One look at the new lines and it's just better. A lot better. Turns out she has lines in her house 32 inches on a side. Further, it turns out these lines are dirt magnets. She hates her 32 inch on a side lines. She said we will acquire a very good dust mop!

007.JPG

Meanwhile, back at the Quail Manor, block is being laid. Upon my return I go over to see how it looks. The wall is approaching 5 feet from finish grade. Not good. SWITBO will be administering sever punishment. She is adamant that these courtyard walls be no more than 3 feet.. The bench doesn't look right either. TONY! 

The wall gets dismantled down to around 3 feet from what will be finished grade as dictated by the house stem wall. Which right now really looks like 5 or 6 feet from inside the courtyard. The footings are seriously deep, and the grade in here has gotten real low and will have to be filled back up. Frequent readers my recall yesterdays Muse about the ribs of the wall. Well, lowering the wall involves removing ribs, which is a pain in the ass since they are long. But we (Tony) get it done.

Then we move to the bench. We (Ann) had picked some dimensions at random. These dimensions required block cutting, which Tony and the guys happily did. Upon further review we (Tony) dismantled the already built bench and figured out an approach that looked better and involved no cutting. As we're (Tony) dry stacking, working around those damn ribs that are all up in here since there are corners and near the top of the wall and other reasons that I don't understand, I take some pictures to send to Ann. Before I've hit send she calls, must have been a flux in the force. She just knew something was happening that she was not going to like...the whole SWITBO thing. Off go the pictures. Looks OK. Tony and the guys carry on.

Speaking of Tony, told him his mixer got a blog call out yesterday. He was excited I had a blog, send me a link (which I did), sure you can put in a picture.

 Tony's grandfathers mixer. That's not Tony, but he is one of the masons. Dances, sings, and lays block like crazy.

Tony's grandfathers mixer. That's not Tony, but he is one of the masons. Dances, sings, and lays block like crazy.

And here is the camera roll... Note I took some shots from down at DnT's to see the perspective of all the walls from down there.