This is now my old blog.
See Open Scripture for my new blog.
By MBPDLPayday Loans
By MBPDLPayday Loans
Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, born as a baby, grew up and lived a perfect life, served his disciples in an earthly ministry, performed miracles to demonstrate his power and authority over creation, and chose to die on the cross to serve as a substitute and ransom for the sins who trust him. We believe he rose again from the grace to finally prove both his power to overturn death and to give us a glimpse of the ultimate resurrection to come. If you can’t affirm all those things as stated in the Bible you are not, in the judgement of Jesus and the disciples’ writings, a Christian.
Yet, many who believe all that then look at the Old Testament and immediately back pedal away from reading the first few chapters in the straightforward way they’ve been recognized for centuries. They do this backpedaling because they’ve been taught by secular humanists who do not accept God as a premise that the Universe looks to them to be billions of years old, that the fossil record shows life on earth to be millions of years old, and that the science knows these things with enough certitude that it’s foolish to think anything else.
They take this view that has excluded spiritual things a priori and combine it with their Christianity and come up with something that is neither scientific nor biblical. I cannot understand how one can accept the miracles and resurrection of Christ and admit that the Universe is ultimately a creation of God, yet can’t swallow the straightforward, clear language of Genesis about creation.
Regardless of what you believe, this is a trustworthy fact: All observations must be interpreted. An observation will always be known and believed and explained according to the assumptions of the observer, not the other way around. Therefore, if you presume that the biblical account of creation is correct, your observations will be interpreted and understood within that framework. On the other hand, if you ignorant of or presume that the biblical account of creation is irrelevant to your interpretation, you will come up with something entirely different.
The compromise position between these two positions of old earth creation and theistic evolution is simply confusing to me. It just doesn’t work.
I mostly want to point to Al Mohler, who says it better than I do. He’s discussing the recent news of Al and Tipper Gore announcing their separation and divorce. While I am not at all comfortable discussing their marriage, this is a “teachable moment” for Christians to discuss why marriage is a holy instituion and important.
I want to say that I affirm marriage as a holy covenant in the sight of God and witnesses, not as some contract that can be broken at a later date. The difference between covenant and contract is significant. Divorce is always a tragedy. I swore an oath to be faithful to my wife until death, not for as long as I felt like it. She swore the same to me. Perhaps living longer does provide additional challenges to marriage, but that doesn’t change the nature of what it is. Treating it like a legal contract has cheapened it and opened it to challenges. Stop it.
Marriage is a covenant. Marriage is holy. Marriage is until death. That’s the way God meant it.
This will probably be the last “My Ultimate Office” posting. I have more details to wrap up, but all the most critical bits are in place. I’d finished putting in flooring and started staining trim at the end of the last post. Two or so weeks later, I have now gotten that trim stained and installed.
We called our Heating/Air company, Midstate Mechanical, and had them come out and install the duct work for the office. They installed an incoming air vent on the ceiling and a return air vent near the floor of one wall.
Around this same time, I installed a light I’ve been intending to install in the back of the “Thingy” (which is what we call the utility room in the basement) since about the time we moved in. This isn’t strictly related to my office, but the light allows for the duct work and network drop box to be clearly visible. It’s also related in that I was slightly intimidated by wiring until recently. My experience with writing the stairs up has made the idea of installing any new lights/outlets/switches/etc. seem tame.
Speaking of network drops, I ran two network drops to the office and ran the phone line in for the fax into a new box on the wall neighboring the Thingy. Gabe “helped” me tighten the box on the wall with his little screwdriver. I may run additional drops or just buy a switch for the office since 2 is probably not enough, but it works for now.
In other news, I eliminated the annoying closet switch in the office. The office has a closet under the stairs. This closet opens away from the new door and there is a light switch set on the hinge side. As anyone who has a closet with a light switch on the hinge side can tell you, this results in an annoying problem every time you open the closet. You open the closet. You realize it’s dark. You look for the switch. You remember the switch is in the most annoying place ever. You close the door. You flip the switch. You open the door again. You do whatever you need to do in the closet and then you close the door and forget to turn off the switch. The next time you open the closet, the light burned out…
I thought about solving this problem by moving the switch into the closet on the wall next to the door jam, but decided instead to wire the light so that it’s always on and install a motion detector above the bulb. Problem solved, or will be once I get the light moved to a better location (the motion sensor doesn’t quite see the door open from where it’s at).
With the trim in, the ventilation problem solved, and my network drops in place, I was ready to move. With the help of my neighbor, Jay, I’ve got my desk moved from the loft into the new office. I know have a U-shaped desk, of sorts, rather than the “L” I had been cramming into before. This means I have room for two or three computers on my desk and still have space to stack papers and have my coffee service and have a space for sketching out my notes or eating lunch. It’s awesome. The picture here shows a map of the room with cut-out furniture I used to figure out how to arrange things. I do this whenever I rearrange or move into an office.
My final project big project was also finished this evening (also with the help of Jay). I had previously decided to just buy a white board. I’ve found a place online that sells them at tolerable prices. I still didn’t want to bust my budget on the white board, but finding something to cover the whole wall at a reasonable price didn’t look possible. That was true until this week when Home Depot replaced their Thrifty White Tileboard with new materials. The new stuff is in much better shape, so I was suddenly looking at a full wall white board for around 1/3 the cost of the 8 foot by 4 foot white board I was looking at buying.
The space I covered is 100” wide by 88” tall. This is space for slightly less than two 8’x4’ sheets of tileboard. I bought two tileboard sheets as well as two sheets of 3-ply luan plywood. Our Home Depot does not carry the 1/4” MDF I would like to have used, but the luan is fairly rigid and has the benefit of being much lighter than MDF. The way I mounted this to the wall, it doesn’t make much difference.
I got the materials home and Terri helped me to glue the tileboard sheets to the plywood backing using some paneling glue. To do this, I got a couple of 8’ long furring boards (cheap, thin pieces of wood, make sure you get straight ones) and cut them half so I had 4’ long spacers. I placed the plywood flat on the floor with the side I wanted against the wall on the floor and the side to glue face up. I placed three of the furring strips (looking back, I think I may have been better to have used all four) at the top, bottom, and middle of the panels. I then used my caulk gun to lay down glue on the plywood. Terri then helped me place the tileboard panel face up on top of the furring strips. Then, I pulled the middle furring strip while Terri made sure the edges stayed lined up. We then pulled each end while making sure the corners lined up. Finally, I went from one end of the new tileboard/plywood sheet to the other and pressed down on it to make sure the sheets were completely flat against each other without any warping or bubbling and then checked the corners one last time. Once dried, I have two 4’ by 8’ tileboard sheets that are mounted upon the plywood and are rigid enough to move and mount.
It was my dearest hope to cover the entire wall with a whiteboard. I have two problems though. First, the wall is only 88-1/2” tall and I have 96” of whiteboard, so I needed to cut. Second, I don’t want a seam with screws hold the board up to be at chest height, it wouldn’t make for a very useful board. Therefore, I cut one of the boards twice. One to be 30” tall and the other to be about 10-1/2” leaving about 7-1/2” of scrap. Doing my math, that gives me 30” + 10-1/2” + 48” = 88-1/2”. This height allows me to place a tray at about 30” above the trim (about 32” above the floor) and gives me a 10” strip along the top (which Terri didn’t and doesn’t understand, but I think it will be great to have a strip up there for longer term notes and what-not, besides being able to say I have a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard).
Again, I lack a table saw, so I had to clamp a 2x4 down the length of the board to provide the straight edge I needed to guide my table saw. I made my cuts and then, again with Jay’s help, was ready to mount. We put the 30” sheet on the wall, horizontally, and I mounted it initially with 6 or so drywall screws. Then, we put up the 48” sheet on top of the 30” sheet and mounted it with another 6 or so drywall screws. Finally, we mounted te 10” strip at the top with more drywall screws. Later, I came back with another 10 or so drywall screws along the top and bottom of each sheet to hold them type and reduce any bowing.
Of course, I don’t really want to see the screws. Therefore, I used my finishing nailer to place a piece of base trim at the bottom (upside-down so the bevel is at the bottom), another piece of base trim on the edge of the 48” and 10” sheets to cover those screws. I used a piece of batten to cover the screws at the very top (mostly because batten is not quite as wide base and the 10” sheet is small enough already). Between the 30” and 48” sheets, I placed a piece of vinyl brick molding and nailed it to the wall to provide a tray. On the back (facing down) there’s a nice lip that provided the perfect space to wedge some crown molding underneath, which provides extra support for the tray. I now have a great looking whiteboard and I can’t wait to mark it up!
The work is never done. I need to finish moving into my office and clean up the loft. I still need to call the carpet guy and have him get the edge done. I need to finish putting the closet back together and reposition the light so the motion sensor works the way I want. I have one more piece of quarter round to replace along the ceiling in my office and a few pieces to replace in the hall. I also need to replace the casement and baseboard in the hall. There’s probably more.
However, now my focus will be shifting to Gabe’s new big boy room, which will mean lots of taping painting, bed assembly, moving furniture, etc. Then, I need to convert Gabe’s toddler bed back into a crib and get the baby room ready.
Someday, I may try to get back to completing Super Mario Brothers Wii.
I don’t know how this ended up being unpublished until now, but here’s the update. I have another one coming up in a few minutes about the completion (or nearly so) of my office.
Okay, so I did not end up undercutting. Instead, my father-in-law, Scott, helped me lay the floor last Saturday. That took an afternoon and I am very pleased with the results.
We started by taking a trip to the hardware store to get a few remaining supplies (mostly some duct tape to hold the underlayment together and we get a bigger pull bar). Then we laid out a roll of underlayment, which is basically a combination of padding and moisture barrier that goes under the laminate.
The flooring is your basic tongue-and-groove system, so each board has a tongue on two edges and a groove on two edges. The tongue of each board fits into the groove of the board next to it. We started by using a razor to cut off the tongue on the first row. We then laid the first row up against the wall, with a small amount of space (helped with some spacers from the installation kit I bought). This is a floating installation, so you want it to be slightly mobile so you can get it laid in the right position. The edges will be hidden by trim when I’m done… but I’m getting ahead.
We laid out the first row of boards on top of the underlayment, the last board of which needed to be cut to fit with the wall. We then repeated this process for the remainder of the rows, but staggering the layout a bit so we didn’t end up with a pattern that obviously repeats itself.
You lay each board by first fitting the tongue of the long edge of the new board into the groove of the floor already laid. Using a block you tap each board into the groove with the hammer, hammering all along the edge and slowly levering the new board downward. After doing this a few times the board will lay flat on the floor. Except for pieces that star a new row, you then have to tap the new block into its neighbor’s short edge using the same process (though, with no levering this time). When you get close to the wall, you use a pull bar instead of the block. The pull bar is basically a long, flat “S” shaped bar that can be laid down on the floor so that you have enough room to hammer and pull on the board you need to move into place.
When we reached the closet door, we had to carefully cut with a jigsaw to fit it around the door. We then continued to the middle of the room, laid down another roll of underlayment to cover the remainder of the floor and used duct tape to prevent the underlayment from shifting. We then laid the remainder of the floor. This time we had to make sure we got the edges around the main doorway right.
Finally, we had to cut the boards lengthwise for the last 2” row of pieces. I don’t have a table saw, so we had to improvise. To do this, we stacked the three boards we needed together and clamped them with a long straight edge (my 4’ level) so that my circular saw could sit against that edge and cut exactly the 2 inches we needed. It worked pretty well. I then took those little pieces and tapped them into place. The floor is (mostly) done.
With the floor done, this week, I measured and bought the trim pieces I need to put casing around the doors in the office. I bought pre-mitered casement kits to save on the number of cuts I need to make. I had to buy an extra set for the closet since it seems to have been partially glued on and I had to destroy it to get it loose while working on the walls. I also bought some white quarter round to replace the stuff around the ceiling I pulled down and base to go around the new floor and hide the edges.
This evening, I cut the casement up using the miter box my father-in-law loaned me and tomorrow I will stain it. I actually considered the laminated plastic stuff, but because I need a couple of specialized pieces around the door and because it wouldn’t really match anything else in the house, I decided to go the slightly more complex route.
Now, I need to spend the next couple days staining the casement. I will probably also finish hanging my door tomorrow since the jam is still not properly shimmed. Then, in a couple days I should be able to put up the casement with my finishing nailer. Then, I will miter the baseboard and repeat the staining process and put that on the wall. The room should almost be finished enough to move in, with one major problem.
After I finished laying the floor, I realized I had overlooked a problem. I have no ventilation in this new room. That’s not going to work. I need to call the AC guys back to finish charging the AC we installed in the Fall anyway, so I’ll have them take a look and probably put in a heating vent and a return air duct to the room.
Lastly, I also need to call a carpet guy to stretch the carpet in the hall in put it back down. We have the name of a guy from some friends, but I’d still take recommendations if anyone knows a guy in town.
This took a lot longer than I planned. I intended to be done by now, but with travel to Pittsburgh and 2 weeks of illness, it took a long time to get the taping, mudding, and sanding finished. However, that is done as is priming and painting!
So, to catch up on what has been done. After we framed and hung the dry wall, I taped and then slapped up a layer of mud over the tape. I waited a day and repeated. I waited a day and repeated again. Each time, I feathered it out a little further. I think I put a total of 4 or 5 layers of mud on the wall, which allowed me to progressively feather the mud a bit more each time. The corners were the biggest challenge. I attempted to use an edger to fill in the corners, but my mud was so thin this didn’t work very well. I ended up using a straight trowel to pull out carefully instead and I’m happy with how it came out.
After that, I spent one evening and part of another sanding down the mud until it was all very smooth. I wiped down the walls and Terri spent yesterday and today priming and painting two coats of blue on the wall.
I’ve now cleaned out the room and vacuumed up the floor once more to prep the surface for flooring.
Tomorrow I plan on undercutting the walls so that there’s space to float the floor under them and then I can start laying my flooring. After I finish laying the floor, I need to buy and stain new trim and use my nailer to attach that to the wall with finishing nails.
Then, I’ll install a white board (I’ve given up the full wall white board as I’ve found a supplier for an affordable porcelain on steel framed board that will cover my 8 foot wall). I hope to move into my new office in another week or so.
I haven’t posted an update in a bit because I’ve been doing some late night work and such on the thing and I have real work to do during the day. So, here’s the whirlwind update of what has happened.
Friday, Day 7: I put on the first part of the second coat of stain on the door. I kept it simple, wasn’t careful, but still manage to come up with passable results. It’s not as good as Terri would have done on it, but it’s good enough for government work.
Saturday, Day 8: In the morning, I put the last of the second coat of stain on the door. I’m done with staining for the moment. I will have more to do after I put in the flooring and need to put in trim since I don’t really want to put the put back the orange trim I took out. The color of much of the wood work in our house is a nasty shade of orange. I much prefer the warm brown I have on the door.
After I stained, my folks arrived and my dad and I started on the demo to rip open the wall on one side. We also opened the ceiling so we could mount the header to the floor joists. During Gabe’s nap we headed off to the store to pick up some materials (and pizza for fortification) and came back with some 2x4s and a sheet of dry wall (amongst other things).
We managed to get most of the framing prep done and pulled the wire from the electrical box in the hallway. The wiring was moved into the new framing so we could put the box in the room rather than having the light switch in the hall. We left the wire loose for the night and called it.
Sunday, Day 9: The next morning, we went to church. After church, we put up the frames and wired the light on and finished the framing and cut and hung the dry wall. I also put on the new electrical box in the room and we moved the switch to it’s new home. Finally, we were able to get the door hung. The door wasn’t (and isn’t) all the way set. I still need to shim the jamb side of the door so that it’s level. I might also need to sand and re-stain the door near the outside-top a little so it won’t rub.
This was the part I needed the most help with and the part that I see as hump to get over on finishing the room. I would have liked to have the taping and mudding started, but that will come shortly.
Monday, Day 10. I was originally planning to tape and start mudding on Monday, but I was sore from the weekend and tired from work. I am a computer geek and this is more exertion than I’m used to. I also noticed that the hall is now really dark. I thought my mudding might end up looking a bit better if I installed a light.
So, I took another trip to Home Depot, bought a recessed light, some 14-2 2-wire cable and other bits (splices, etc.) that I would need to do this. I used the template that came with the recessed light to figure out what to cut and cut out the hole in the ceiling. (I’m getting a lot of practice with my key hole saw.) I ran my wiring, installed a junction box, splice everything in, and viola! I have a new light.
Well, sort of. I’m a newb when it comes to electrical wiring and thought I had it right, but I was wrong. What I had assumed was the line to the middle landing light was actually the source. So, the bottom landing light was now always on. FAIL.
So, I spliced my way into the 14-2 3-wire that went between the switches. I got it a little better this time. I wired it so that only the bottom switch was able to switch the light. This had the interesting side effect of allowing us to use the light switch to turn the light on and off separately from the top one. Even more interesting, you could use the switch the upper landing off and the lower landing on one way and switch the lower landing off and the upper landing on the other. FAIL.
Tuesday, Day 11. I stayed up very late working on the wiring the day before. So I took the evening off.
Wednesday, Day 12. I spent the evening puzzling over what I had done wrong on Monday and planning what to try next. I reviewed my understanding of three way lights and tried to figure out a solution. The big issue is that most of the wiring for these two lights is inaccessible.
The wiring from the switches to the top landing light is actually in the box for the upstairs switch. The wiring from the source goes into the downstairs switch. Somehow, I needed to get my light to get its wiring from the upstairs switch. Solution! The return wire (white) from the source is just passed through in all the boxes. So, I should be able to take the returning white wire and wire it in to the downstairs light, right? It will be a series circuit, but maybe it won’t be too bad.
So, I did that. It worked, but the landing light was really dim. I think it has to do with the fact that I currently have an incandescent bulb on the upper landing and a compact fluorescent on the bottom landing. This wasn’t going to work. I knew it probably wouldn’t, but I had to try.
Thursday, Day 13. I continued to puzzle over how to get the light to work. I was pretty well out of options with the existing wiring. So, I came up with another solution. I need one more wire that would pass back from the upstairs switch. This way I could split the line between coming out of the upstairs switch (the line that was switched properly by both 3-way switches) and run the lights in parallel so they’d each be powered independently without resistance from one interfering with the other.
I went to the hardware store to pick up a wire fish, another electrical box (because I was pretty sure I was going to demolish the existing one upstairs), more splices (ran out of my last box), and an auger bit.
I put the auger bit onto my drill, but it was getting late and I had bad technique. I ended up overheating the drill, so I called it a night.
Friday, Day 14. This evening, I improved my technique and drilled a hole up through the 2x4 between floors in the wall below the upstairs light switch. I think pulled out the electrical box for that switch and pushed the fish up the hole. Terri pulled that through and then I used the fish to feed another line down through the hole. I then ran the line out of the closet into the rafters and around into the utility room where I have my junction box. I then spliced everything in so that the switch upstairs now had two switched lines come out of it, one to the downstairs light and one to the upper landing light.
P.S. I’m not going to show you what’s inside that blue box. You don’t want know what that looks like.
Now that I have my light, it is time to tape and mud the new walls. There’s not much to do, but taping and mudding has to be done carefully to make sure you get your seams feathered well. Otherwise, you’re in for hours and hours and hours of sanding if you want it to look at all good. I don’t want to do that. Once that’s done, we’ll prime and paint and finish filling the painting for the other parts.
After that, I can start working on putting in the new flooring. I’m also considering my options for white boards still. I think I’m going to shrink the size of the white board wall just a bit (30” or so) so I can keep a bookcase on that wall, but it will still be pretty large (70” x 80” or so). The major question that remains is what material to use. I’ve considered:
Thrifty White Tileboard. This is white sheets of melamine that you can get at Home Depot. From all reports it works as an okay surface, but not very good. I’d consider it for Gabe, I think, but the stuff down at the local Home Depot is pretty beat up. So, it doesn’t seem like a great solution to me.
Whiteboard Paint. I was a little psyched about trying this initially and then did more research. You can actually by magnetic primer or mixes to put in regular primary to make it magentic. Then, you can paint whiteboard paint over that. I actually found a company that produces a clear whiteboard paint you can use over regular household paint. It sounds cool, but the reviews of all such things aren’t any better than the tileboard. If I’m going to go through that much expense and work, I might as well go with the tileboard.
Films and Wallpapers. You can use a number of plastic films for a whiteboard surface. However, they cost an arm and a leg. If I’m going to use something like this, I might as well go with ceramicsteel for the cost.
Ceramicsteel. I want this. It is hard. It is magnetic. It is the best possible surface. It is $800+ for the size I want. That’s well outside my budget. Maybe I’ll do that someday, but I’ll skip it for now.
Glass/Acrylic. This looks like the best compromise. I’m looking into various makers of glass and acrylic to see what I can find. Glass would probably be a better surface, but is probably going to be too expensive. I also have to worry about painting it and mounting it. It will be heavy and I’ll need to get some help putting it up. I’m doing price checking, but if it’s too expensive, this may be a no-go. I’m not busting my budget for this, as much as I’d like to.
I’m leaning toward acrylic at the moment (what you might know as Plexiglas or Lucite). I’ll need to find some high quality, high gloss stuff that won’t be easily damaged. Terri has found some places for me to look through while I’ve been working. I need to look through them and probably contact them to ask some questions about it.
Anyway, my battery is getting low and I need my sleep tonight.
I’ll post more details later, but for now, I have posted most of the pictures of what we did. I need to get a picture of what’s done so far. Yesterday and today, we framed, put up the dry wall, and hung the door.
|My Ultimate Office|
I still need to tape, mud, sand, prime, and paint the new walls. I also need to put up the casement around the door, and all the rest.
The work continues. Today involved yet another trip to the hardware store because we didn’t have any mineral spirits, which was needed for clean-up on today’s task.
However, with that taken care of, I was able to unwrap the door and start the first layer of stain. I plan to put on 2 layers of stain with polyurethane and be done. I also want to get this done before Saturday, so I’ll be doing a layer tomorrow morning (first coat on the other side of the door) and tomorrow evening (second coat on the first side). Then, I’ll need one final coat on the other side on Saturday morning. The door will then be ready for hanging on Sunday.
It’s all staining for the time being. Thinking further ahead:
After the floor is down, it will be time to put up the white board and install the trim. At some point, I’ll need to purchase and stain the trim too. After that, I’m all done.
Today was the biggest day of expenses yet. It should be the biggest day of expenses for this project. We went to the hardware store today to buy a prehung door and the flooring I’m going to put down.
When we got home, I unloaded the stuff and then finished cleaning up the basement. I scraped the remaining pad off the floor yesterday and used a putty knife and wire brush to loosen up any loose pieces and grit from the floor before vacuuming clean. Finally, I used the cement I bought earlier this week to fill in the divots created when I pried up the nails holding down the tack strips under the old carpet. That should be all dry by tomorrow and I’ll have a reasonably level surface to lay floor on.
Tomorrow, I plan to put the first coat of stain on the door we bought tonight. That ought to pretty much do it for tomorrow. That leaves Friday for the second coat. Then, Saturday, my folks are coming up to help me frame the new walls and put up the door.