Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beer me: Zamkowe!

From the back label: The Namyslow Brewery is over 600 years old, dating back to 1321. The word Zamkowe means "castle" named after the brewery's 14th century gothic castle. To this day, Zamkowe is known as the "Beer of Knights."

There wasn't anything special in the flavor of this beer, but it was rather light and very refreshing. It'll be a great beer for a summer evening on the back patio.

It was well-earned today, though. This was the fourth day of significant progress on the basement as I push to have it finished by 6 p.m. Sunday, when our guests arrive for the Super Bowl. We expect to be able to fit everyone in the living room, where the HD TV is, but I'd planned to have the basement ready in case we needed it, and now that we're so close, there's no reason to slow down.

I bit the bullet and hired an electrician to finish the lighting. My uncle had been helping, but after a slip on the ice on Christmas Eve, he's been laid up with back trouble, so we decided to pay the money and get the wiring finished. The guy I hired even cleaned it up a little, installing a switch near the entrance of the laundry area to control the main light there. Until now, that switch had been ... one floor above, in the kitchen. We'll never know exactly why. He also changed the bulb in the utility closet into a pull-chain socket powered independently from the switch that now controls the lights mounted on the walls. Previously, that light was controlled by the switch -- the switch which turned on an outlet in the middle wall between the finished area and the laundry room, the outlet that had an extension cord plugged into it that then ran through the ceiling and somehow controlled the utility closet light and two lamps mounted on the opposite wall that were plugged into another outlet in the utility closet. It's a wonder the previous owners didn't burn this place down with that setup. (Not to mention their decorating motif of fake brick and shingles -- brick on the top half of half the wall space, shingles on the lower half, with a two-inch shelf in between. Two small sections of shingles remain, on a section of ceiling that drops down to allow pipes to run through. They're going to be covered with license plates anyway, so there was no need to go through with the headache of prying them off and putting paneling up.)

With that done, my dad's been up every day this week to finish with the walls. Monday, we put up the last of the sheetrock and cut some paneling. Tuesday and Wednesday, we measured and cut the last pieces of paneling, needing both days because of a particularly tricky section involving an inlaid bookshelf. I had to work both Monday and Tuesday nights, so our work time was limited those days. Today, we glued and nailed in the last sections we'd cut on the previous days and cut one final outlet hole, even devising a way to get the outlet to sit more flush and even with the paneling, instead of being recessed as it originally would have been.

I'd hoped to prime everything by tonight, but the preparations took longer than expected, so I managed to lay the edging tape and spackle the areas that needed it. Tomorrow morning, we'll prime it -- we have to do the whole thing because the sections that were already paneled are in need of new paint, and not just because they're a sea green color. They're grungy. Hopefully by the afternoon, we can get a coat of paint on before the Devils game, and I'll have Saturday for the second coat of paint. That evening, the couches can go into position and the TV can be set up and I'll have my man cave.

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