Revenge of the Rats

The rats are dead and gone, but not forgotten.  They have left their marks, even from the grave.  Not only does my garage still reek, but they got into many things that I would not have expected, like the plastic water tubing for the ice-maker in the fridge.

When we pulled the reefer out of the garage to install it in its new home, we saw that the rats had chewed through much of the exposed plastic tubing that feeds the chilled water and the ice-maker.  The lumber yard had many of the fittings and tubing to effect the repairs, so it seemed like a minor inconvenience.

“Seemed” is the operative word.  Although we didn’t see any damaged tubing, there must be some, because when we turned on the water to the reefer, water started pouring out of the bottom.  We found a new section of damaged tubing, but even after we repaired that, the water was dripping out.

So I’m going to have to call for service.  That will be fun, explaining that the rats ate my tubing.

Also, I found another dead rat in the garage.  This was was long dead from the time of the poison.  Hopefully the garage smell will return to normal.

Working on the countertops

The main focus of the President’s Day long weekend is to get the countertops in so that the kitchen is serviceable in time for Chelsea Nawai’s baby shower on Saturday, 2/20/10.

We are using 24" granite tiles for the countertops.  We are bullnosing the edges of these tiles.  I bought a wet /dry tool for grinding and polishing the edges of the granite.  As an accessory to the polisher, I bought a shop vac vacuum attachment that was supposed to suck up all the water and granite dust.  It did not do a very good job, so Pop decided not to use it.  This made for a very wet working environment.  So Pop got out a big leather raincoat and he work his fireman’s turnout pants and heavy leather boots.  He was still soaked through and through.


The grinder itself did a shockingly good job at making beautiful bullnose.  Shockingly because although the power cord had a huge GFCI built into it, my dad said that he got shocked each time he turned the device on or off.  And, as the day progressed, the shocks got worse.

He was definitely glad to be done with that job.

A Heavenly Tool

We decided to get a tile saw again, but NOT from Oxnard Home Depot.  I went to the rental yard at the Camarillo Home Depot.  I touched the tile saws and ran the platten back and forth and picked out the saw I wanted.  As I was telling the clerk my tale of woe, he said, "Do you want this brand new one?"  I looked where he was pointing and there was a shiny tile saw with tons of accessories.  Who knew tile saws had accessories?

We fired it up and it was nearly magical.  One of the accessories was a fence that made a big improvement in the speed of setting up the cuts.  We cut all new strips and the worst ones we cut on the new saw were better than 95% of the ones we cut on the old saw.

The Cubby

I am surprised it has taken this long, but in the past few weeks Lucy has discovered that she could sleep upstairs in her own little cubby hole when Poppa spends the night.  The cubby contains extra linens, blankets and pillows, which combine to make a very cuddly area for a little girl.

This area :


turns into a sleeping nook :


with special bedtime reading by Poppa.


The Tile Saw From Hell

The last, biggest piece of our project left to do is the counter tops in the kitchen.  We long ago decided on granite for the counter tops mostly because the material is relatively inexpensive.  While the material isn’t expensive, the fabrication (cutting, shaping, polishing) is very expensive, like multiple thousands of dollars more expensive than the cost of the material.  So we decided to go with 24" by 24" granite tiles.  We figured we would be able to install them ourselves, if we were careful with the design.  For example, we designed the kitchen counters with angled corners instead of rounded edges, so that we could cut the tile ourselves.

On Saturday morning, I went down to the Oxnard Home Depot and rented an MK Diamond Pro24 Wet Tile Saw.  This saw looked great, but when we set it up, we discovered that it was pretty worn out.  The platen that the tile sets on had a lot of play from side to side and did not move to the blade very smoothly.  We struggled to make the saw work all day.  We made the last major cut at about 8:15pm.

We still have a couple of smaller cuts to make, but we were able to lay out all the surface tiles.

Poppa with his game face on.

The final layout





Hopefully, the backsplash tiles (12" ceramics) will be much easier to install.