The family room is the second big house project I’ve undertaken, and I’ve realized that when I get going on a big project I tend to neglect the other little things that go wrong with other parts of my life. For instance my car has developed a few minor problems, that I’ve put off until finishing the family room. Well finally a big enough one came along that I had to take care of it. The window regulator on the driver side door broke, meaning that the window wouldn’t go up or down. Which of course was a problem since it was currently down. Happily, its quite easy to fix, with the new part being about $100. While I was at it, I decided to replace the very worn and cracked shift boot, as well as the center arm rest. All the work I’ve done on my car has been quite easy to do, thanks to the excellent design of my 325i. As such after a couple of hours I had everything swapped out and looking good. I didn’t need to run and get any special tools, or spend hours trying to get a rusted bolt off, which seemed like the norm any time I remember watching my dad to work on our cars.
The family room is getting some nice stone for around the fireplace, and stone requires mortar to install. Mortar comes in many different types (the main ingredients being cement and sand), but they’re all dirty, and they’re all heavy. For our fireplace we got a 94lb bag of Portland cement, a couple of 70lb bags of Type N Masonry Cement, and a 50 lb bag of thinset. In addition we got a handful of 50lb bags of sand to use as aggregate. Now since I’m not a civil engineer I haven’t taken any classes on Cement, so I’m just going by the manufacturer’s recommendations. Eldorado Stone recommends that the scratch coat be made out of 2 Parts Type N Masonry Cement, and 3-5 parts sand. They also say that the mortar should be 2 parts modified thinset, 3 parts Portland cement, and 7 parts sand. The only problem with all of this, is that all of these products are basically crushed stone, and are therefore all very heavy. This means that we had about 600lbs worth of material in the trunk of my car, which is probably significantly more than it was designed for.
When I bought my car, I was living at home with my parents. I needed to haul around my friends but not much else. Thats why at the time a BMW 325i Sedan sounded like a great idea. It could fit 5 people in reasonable comfort, and was fun to drive. Heck I didn’t even get the fold down seats because “when was I ever gonna use that”. Fast forward 5 years and now I really wish I had gotten a full size pickup instead. Today I had to go pickup the stone veneer that will surround the fireplace. Since I’d already bummed a ride off my friend to go pickup the five foot long, 250lb stone hearth, I was stuck getting this myself. 5 Boxes, 80lbs a piece.
At the stone yard, the forklift guy starts laughing at me, particularly after only one box will fit in the trunk. I managed to get the rest in the car, and could have even fit a 6th box in the back seat! Of course the waxy boxes did make a bit of a mess of the interior, but thats cleaned easily enough.