29 July 2006

We're Different Here

Some girls call Mom for cooking advice; "Hi, Mom? What makes your gravy taste so good?"

I call home for ... help with obscure restoration and construction techniques; "Hi, Mom? Did we buy the right kind of mortar for this job? The label says..."

We're definitely a bit on the odd side.

In other news, the plumbing revisions are Just About Done. We expect to have the bath ready for fixtures tonight - And the water back on! It's essentially waiting on me, as I have to finish mounting the tilebacker boards before we can do things like putting the toilet back.

The plumbing revisions include, by the way, repair/replacement of the scary rubber hose that formed part of the kitchen sink waste pipe, and relocation of the showerhead to point above my husband's when the tub basin height is calculated in.

It's progress, and I'm not sure I trust it. Don't pinch me - I don't want to wake up.

21 July 2006

Almost brought to you, Again, by Sisyphus Productions!

I don't have to procrastinate - my life does it for me.

So, I did in fact need a new tetanus shot, as the old one was nearly expired, and some antibiotics (Keflex), for the ensuing infection, and some new shoes. And several days with my feet up. Argh. My left foot was ... very much larger than it should have been, and entirely too pink, when I went to the ER on Monday. I got ordered to take it easy.

I get to go back to the house today and put up hardibacker in the gutted bath. After a week. So we can have a toilet and shower and sink in there, and, eventually, we will get to move in. I just want a functioning toilet, and sinks, and tub. Is that so much to ask? That end looks ever so distant. I feel little feather-like ticklings of despair.

Hopefully getting things completed for this part will make me feel less piteous. Action always helps, but renovation always seems to block that therapeutic activity.

16 July 2006

bathroom demo complete, plus bonus wound report

Look, the idiot is dancing again. But this time, she is limping.

The good news: the bath demo is done! The tiny tub (very HEAVY but also tiny) is out, and awaiting removal* in our otherwise empty living room. The appallingly designed, 1970's, also tiny (below crotch level on a small woman), sink vanity was ripped out (and destroyed) with glee yesterday. The sink and bath had a strange synergy going - the tub is a wave-front, streamline designed built-in tub, and the vanity was a flat-sided box that was installed rightupagainst the tub, leaving a little pocket between the head of the tub and the side of the vanity, where water and a half dozen washcloths had gathered over the years.

Not surprisingly, I had to rip out several punky floorboards, but the subfloor is very intact, which means that patching that spot on the floor before installing the tilebacker is going to be a piece of cake (all supply lines run through the wall, so no cutouts even need to be made!). Yuck, but fixable. AND - no termite damage, just old mold rot, which is now well dried out (the house was not lived in for 2 years before we bought it and we didn't use the tub or sink at all) and gone.

All the Vile Stinky Tile Adhesive came down with the plaster coat it had been attached to. The bare lath looks a heck of a lot better, and smells better too. Funny how much bigger the little room looks when it's empty...

We have elected to keep the old, high-flow toilet, as we like it, but it's getting pulled gently and set aside until the hardibacker is laid and skimmed.

The plumbing is demoed, too, so now we know what we need to get - and what we forgot to get. Like the tub overflow valve...and the drain pipe parts. Nothing quite like discovering you forgot to get something essential when elbows deep in a job. Sigh. We also have nowhere to go when working on the house. Well, I have nowhere to go. For the guys, there are plenty of trees in the backyard...

The bath wiring is also complete - J was putting in the two new GFI outlets as we left last night. The box for the wall fixture was put in, and the ceiling fixture was pulled out (even if it's nice, I really don't need to climb 9 feet up to screw around with a wet fixture to change bulbs in the middle of the night). The hole will probably end up holding a through-attic vent, since the enclosed back porch covers the only window.

That window opens, but it hinges open against the showerhead. The window predates any shower in that bath, so it's a matter of old laziness (I think the PPO, when they fixed the house up for sale in 1949). I say this as it is an easy fix - swap the hinges and latch from one side to the other. I want to pull and strip the hardware anyway, so why not fix this issue now?

We have also come to a decision about the 1940's - 1950's medicine cabinet - we're selling it. We'll put in either the original cabinet (found under the bay addition, and in need of restoration) or an equivalent repro. Craftsman-style wall cabinets are popular and can be had fairly cheaply these days, so it comes down to whichever is the less expensive option for now.

Now, we get to the limping part. I caught my shoe on a multi nailed scrap yesterday, and thinking I had shaken it off, put weight on my foot. No such luck - it had caught me and I got punctured. My foot HURTS, but the nail was a clean one, I've had a Tetanus shot in the past few years (in '99) and we have a first aid kit handy. My foot still hurts, though. I'll live.

* This gets mentioned last. My husband was theorizing yesterday about uses for the ex-tub. Like a fishpond, or planter. In the yard. I think he's pulling my chain. I hope he's pulling my chain. I'm all about reuse, but that's a little rednecky, even for me.

Here's an example of his sense of humor:


My advice? Don't sit on the smudged lid of a spackle can in black pants when he's around ... whether he has a camera or not.

12 July 2006

Renovating the Blog

I'm thinking that, now we have accomplished something (Power! Which means we can turn on the gas soon - Hot Water!) and are approaching done-ness on several others, it may no longer be simply depressing to have a project tracker widget on here. So I might just add one. One of those bars will be labelled "moving in" as I think it will take us a few weeks to really get settled.

Also, I was watching HGTV and the DIY network and thinking (this gets dangerous, what with the smoke pouring from my ears and all) about doing a weekly how-to feature on here, just give me something to do while feeding BabyJames other than watching tv. It would be more of a "how I did this" with step-by-step instructions for those who might be facing the same things. Like how to live with (or just plain refinish) old steel kitchen cabinets, doing a successful wall application of stickytiles, or faking a built-in. Stuff like that. The temporary stuff, the superficial stuff, the decorative stuff.

In other news, DOver books emailed me that they've got some new Architecture books out. Go take a look. I've already spotted at least four that I want, and only one that I need. And they've got a 25% off sale on as well.

06 July 2006

Dancing Idiot has a Baby. Film at 11.

Well, I'm now off bedrest - the baby is here. James Edward was born Jume 17th at 2 am on the dot, preceded by much screaming and accompanied by a great deal of relief. He's doing great, and so am I ... now.

It's been almost 3 weeks since then and I've finally gotten back into the house (first because of the bedrest and then the postpartum healing/in-law visits) to do a bit of work. I did actually get a few things done this afternoon, between removing the old storm door from what is now an interior doorway and wandering around the house a lot. I also got some progress made on my older son's bedroom murals, after discovering that the midnight blue mismix we bought for his ceiling had been mismarked, too. It's lavender. I guess I can figure out a use for a pint of lavender paint, but I was thwarted in my plans for the day.

"Oh, poor me, I'll have to go to the home store again for supplies. Whatever shall I do?"

Also, our sainted freind and electrical engineer J got the wiring/box/etc in place for the power company to come in and do the meter and service upgrade. That's tomorrow. I'm doing a happy dance, but that doesn't translate well in print. This is a good thing, as I look like an idiot - a happy idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

The bad: we've discovered that the drainpipe from the kitchen sink needs replacement, in a rather unfortunate way - it fell off. Well, better to have found that out before we do all the other plumbing work, no? We plan to do that stuff next week, and I think we can fit a bit more PVC pipe into the budget. We'll have to, or no move-in before FX gets back from visiting our relations in Texas.