2010 News Archives

This page contains the news updates from 2010, in order to keep the Welcome page from getting too big as I continue to add updates to the renovation project and web site on that page.

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One of the many diversion projects of 2010.

2010 Projects
The House: 2010 projects started off well enough with kitchen finish work, then slowed to a crawl with lots of early Summer yard work while dealing with automotive repairs. I then spent a good amount of time getting the old British Seagull outboard motor rebuilt in early Summer, which of course led to time spent messing about in boats. We did manage to get a proper driveway this year, as well as get central A/C installed to take advantage of the last year of energy tax credits. Late Summer was centered around a big trip to the Midwest, which was followed by a not-so-fun health scare in early Fall - a reminder I'm not getting any younger. Doing much better and getting back to work in early Winter finally got the kitchen completely finished, although a couple days each week were spent clearing the snow we kept getting buried under.
The Site: The KesterHouse site got a couple of new sections in 2010 to provide room for the Garage, Decks, and Specifications pages, but otherwise the updates were pretty standard fare throughout the year (with a few lengthy breaks in between updates too). The pages within the Specification section received the most significant content updates. The old reliable HP 720 camera finally broke, so that's been replaced with an HP 945 as the new work camera.

2008 News Archives.
2009 News Archives.
2011 News Archives.
2012 News Archives.
2013 News Archives.
2014 News Archives.
2015 News Archives.
2016 News Archives.
2017 News Archives.
2018-21 News Archives.
2022 News Archives.

Old News Updates

The House: I apologize for the delayed update - just adding a quick note to say work is still progressing, although not quite at my normal pace yet. It took a while to get the various meds I'm supposed to be taking worked out, but all seems well enough now. Over the past few weeks I've finished up the Slate mosaic wall tile in the kitchen and moved on to the trim for the kitchen window, which is almost done now as well. I ordered the laminate for the kitchen counter top today, and will likely get some layout work done in the back yard (weather permitting) while waiting for that to arrive since the permit for the decks has also been recently approved.
The Site: No site updates this time around (other than this news tidbit), although I've gotten used to the new HP 945 digital camera and have been taking photos of recent work to post. I should have a 'normal' update of project progress within a week or two. In the mean time, I've been corresponding a lot with my brother regarding the restoration work he's found time to perform recently on his 1964 BMW R50/2 motorcycle (yes, I'm not the only Kester boy that thoroughly enjoys tinkering with old stuff). He's reached a re-assembly milestone recently, with much of the frame put back together and transmission re-building currently under way. Since I didn't have any photos ready to post, I've tossed one of his up instead. Enjoy!

Not a good couple weeks: A couple days after the return from Cincinnati I developed a really nasty headache. I visited the emergency room to try and figure out what was wrong, and while they couldn't pin down the cause of headache (CAT scan was normal), they wanted me to see my doctor. He set up an MRI a couple days later, and that showed signs that I'd suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA or Mini-stroke) at some point in the recent past. I spent a few days in the cardiovascular ward having all manner of tests done to determine if I was in any danger of having a "real" stroke, and it turns out everything appears to be fine. I'm back home now and taking a fair amount of prescription medication to ensure I'm stroke free for the next few months, as well as to deal with this nasty headache that's still thumping away. Oh, we also broke our HP 720 digital camera last weekend, so there's no new photos to post of the very limited progress I've made on the kitchen tile project. I did notice that last time I updated the site I neglected to upload the updated kitchen page, so that's been corrected to sync with the update posted below. Noticed a couple typoes here and there that I took care of as well. Hopefully I'll be around long enough to finish the house.

The House: Finished the grout work on one of the kitchen walls, and got the wall plates and pot-filler installed as well. No news yet on the status of the permit for the new decks. Enjoyed a trip to Cincinnati last weekend to celebrate the lovely bride's parent's 50th wedding anniversary.
The Site: Updated the Kitchen page of the Interior section with photos and text regarding the backsplash. I also received a note from a reader in the Czech Republic asking about the details of the Stone Garden Lanterns I made, so the Color Palette page of the Specifications section has been expanded to include some information regarding concrete and masonry materials, as well as the exact recipe I used for the Hypertufa mix (I'm planning on making another lantern for the front yard soon, so thanks for the reminder to document my old notes for that recipe).

The House: It's been a very busy month, with good progress made on all those little projects. With the fine weather I did some re-fit work on the Islands 12 dinghy and finished the restoration of the British Seagull 40+ outboard (not House specific I know, but those used some time so there it is). On the house, I've finished the exterior Siding & Trim with the completion of the gable end trim, and while I was on the roof I installed a new FM/UHF TV antenna. We also had the new central air conditioning system installed, and I started working on the framing plans for our engawa and tsukimi-dai. I hope to get the permits for those in the next few days. Finally, now that the house is so comfy, we managed to make some more progress on the mosaic tile backsplash in the kitchen.
The Site: There was a lot of stuff to update throughout the site with all the projects that were completed in July. In addition to the sections linked above, the Siding & Trim page is updated and complete, including a series of interesting before and after photos. I started to update the main Exterior page with the details of the engawa and tsukimi-dai planning and construction, but decided instead to give those their own page within the Exterior section. That meant a new menu item on the main navigation menu, which of course means you may have to refresh any page you visit if the menu is incomplete. As long as I was monkeying with the menus, I added a page for the Garage project as well, just to get it over with. So, when viewing the Exterior section of the navigation menu, you should see new listings for Engawa and Garage. If not, please refresh your browser session.

click to enlarge Summer plums (3 photos).

The House: It seems I'm doing lots of little projects, although nothing is getting finished so I haven't had much to update here. It's been quite warm and very dry, so the well is getting a good work out trying to keep the lawn from turning to dust. We had a relaxing Independence Day holiday at home, and managed to find time for a sail in the Islands 12 dinghy for a little relief from the heat. Of course, that led to me fussing with things on the boat that I wanted to change from last year. I'll update the appropriate section when I'm finished with that little project.
We collected 6 bids on the air-conditioning installation (with some more than double the cost of others - go figure), and gave a deposit to the contractor for the job before the holiday. We've selected The Perfect Climate link opens a new window, a local family run business, to perform the work in the next few days. I think they'll do a fine job and seem like they "get it" as far as doing it they way we want it done.
I've also made a bit of progress on the millwork for the last bit of trim in the gable ends, and did a little more tinkering on the old British Seagull outboard motor.
The Site: The only update at the moment is a few more images of progress on the British Seagull, although I still haven't finished putting it all back together.

The House: The last week has included a nice visit from relatives, plenty of yard work, and a few more air conditioning installation bids. No major project work happening just yet.
The Site: The main Specifications page has been filled in with information on pretty much everything in the house. This turned out to be a rather massive undertaking, as I went through and scrounged up model and serial numbers for all the equipment, fixtures and supplies that have been installed to date. I also found (or scanned) almost 200 PDF manuals and spec sheets for nearly everything, as well as updated and uploaded wiring and house plans. Now I've got a one-stop reference source for all things house related - making it was more work than I imagined. I'm glad that's done.

The House: Nothing new happening here, as I give the back another day or two of rest and try to get a decent night's sleep again. I did schedule an air conditioner contractor to come work up a quote since warm weather is on the way and I'm thinking about A/C while working on the Energy Efficiency section (and I can't install it myself if I want to get tax credit and utility company rebates.
The Site: As promised, the Energy Efficiency section has been brought up to date with the current state of affairs for the renovation.

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The karensansui (6 photos).

The House: I moved 30 bags of white Marble chips and was fine... it wasn't until I was nearly finished raking that I managed to tweak my back somethin' fierce. Three days of rest and the heating pad and I'm moving around again at least. I think another 20 or 30 bags (next year) and I'll be satisfied with the karensansui , although it's looking pretty good now. I also got a load of parts delivered from the U.K. for the old British Seagull, so that will give me something else to tinker with on rainy days. I know, like I need more things to tinker with.
The Site: Still picking at the Specifications section, with most of the recent work taking place by adding PDF owner's manuals for all the stuff on the Power Tools page (just because I can I suppose). I've also started writing some content for the Energy Efficiency page, which was the last section of the Kesterhouse site that still had filler in it. It's not done yet, but soon.

The House: Still picking away at the yard work while the weather holds. Did lots of clean-up in the pond, and went over the irrigation system to check for leaks and clogged emitters.
The Site: Well, the Specifications section has turned into a monster... the page was just getting too long, and there's still more stuff I want to add. My solution was painful, but effective: I've broken the old single Specifications page into a main Specifications page, with 3 new pages for the Color Palette, Project Timeline, and Power Tool data. I feel each page is a lot more manageable and readable now, but these changes meant I've had to update all the pages on the site (because of the new menu items) as well as the style sheets (due to some stuff I did to make the timeline project table "click-able"). Bottom line: you'll have to re-load all the pages at least once for them to look right and to get all the internal links to function properly. Sorry about that.

The House: Very nice out, so I'm crawling around the karensansui pulling (dead) weeds. Round-up® kills 'em with extreme prejudice, but I still need to pick all the junk out of there before I can rake. Joy.
The Site: I just wasn't happy with that huge long table of data in the new Specifications Power Tool data section, so I broke the table up a bit to make it a little more manageable (and added all the pretty logos from the tool makers of course). Ok, now that's done and I can get back to weeding without that buggin' me.

The House: The old green plastic garage was a bit of a mess, so I spent the last couple days repairing the zippers on the front door and getting the place cleaned up. The weather's been fine, with occasional rain so the grass seed out front has started to fill in nicely.
The Site: At long last I've begun to work on the Specifications section, starting with listing the various paint and stain color codes, as well as a complete listing of power tool model and serial numbers. Pretty dry stuff, but I'm tired of digging around for numbers whenever I need more stain or a replacement part. I also made a couple minor changes to the Cascading Style Sheets that control the site layout, so you may need to refresh any pages you have cached if the tables are looking funky.

The House: Candle pinching on the Pines is finished, and I collected some of the potential bonsai I've been watching for the last few seasons from the local woods and got them into the growing bed.
The Site: Seems appropriate, so I updated the Pine Pruning section of the Garden page. I also did a bit of a re-format to the entire Bonsai page, then added a section for the 2010 bonsai update.

The House: So the driveway project turned into a front yard project. It didn't rain all week, so I just stuck with it and finished it off. Boy am I sore. Time is short, but hopefully I can get the candle pinching on the Pines done this weekend even though it's really supposed to rain today.
The Site: Since the driveway turned into a bit of a major undertaking, I snapped some pics of progress and added a section for the Front Yard to the Garden section, for lack of a better place to put it.

The House: Well that was an interesting weekend... The neighbor had his skid-steer machine at his house last week so I mentioned that I'd like to re-do the driveway, and he could save me a lot of digging. He said he needed some help transplanting a bunch of flowers and shrubs as he was rebuilding his raised beds and has a bit of a brown thumb. I had a good idea of where I wanted the final driveway, so after a bit of measuring and a marking out in the front yard, he came over and cut in the new driveway, then I went and played in his garden for half a day. Hooray! No more mud!
The Site: Updated the Kitchen section with a few paragraphs regarding the installation of the kitchen base cabinets that I worked on over the Winter, and the start of the tile back splash installation that I got underway earlier this Spring.

The House: So I didn't work on the house, but intead spent the day working on the lovely bride's 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet. That's her Summer fun car, so I had to do a little clean up after Winter storage and get a new state inspection sticker taken care of.
The Site: More behind-the-scenes stuff... I updated the search engine to version 6.0, which meant a little code tweaking to get the results to look the way I want. That is all.

The House: It actually stopped raining for a couple days, so we spent some time doing a bit of Spring prep working on the pond, garden & bonsai. Raining again now of course, although the candle pinching on the pines isn't going to wait for the sun to come out.
The Site: I found a bit of wonky code that was causing the latest version of jQuery to have some fits, but got that taken care of and all pages should be happy now with the new scripts. I've also removed the previous couple years of updates from the News section of this page, and placed them each in there own News Archives page. The Archives pages are available from links at the end of the News section, or the Table of Contents at the bottom of the page.

The House: It's been far too long since my last update... Most of the late Winter and early Spring was spent fiddling around with kitchen cabinet customization and installation. It was slow work, but for the most part all the cabinet work is done in the kitchen, and work has begun on the mosaic tile back splash. With warmer weather here (and the ground starting to dry out after our very wet March), we're also getting busy with yard and garden work again.
The Site: I've finally gotten around to replacing the CPU coolers and case fans in the junky old systems that make up our local network servers, so I can get back to updating the web site again. This update is just a quicky, with nothing new in the sections. I did add a bit of code to deal with automatically keeping the copyright in synch with the current year. I also updated the jQuery library, so pages might load a bit slowly the first time you visit them as you re-cache the new bits of JavaScript. My brother also has a new web site up for his architecture and design work at ScottKester.com link opens a new window. Have a look at some of his amazing restaurant designs while I get the KesterHouse web site caught up with what I'm working on.... again.