Tuesday, November 27, 2012

progress thwarted

Tabitha and the kids are sick, something viral. I made chicken soup last night. I hope it helps them get better. I cannot take any time off from work right now. We are under a crazy year-end push and I am integral in several projects that are critical to year end materials delivery.

Poor sick family. Tristan is arguably the most ill. His cough sounds horrible. Tabitha was in-bed most of the day yesterday. Needless to say, all forward momentum has halted on home renovation.

Well wishes of healing for my family are appreciated.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

plumbing emergency #4

I planned to work on the bathroom sink this morning. I crawled under the house to size things up. What did I find? The drain gasket on the bottom of the tub held and stopped leaking. The drain pipe from the overflow had a small drip and when I tightened it it only got worse. So I crawled out from under the house and got some gasket material and sealed up the leak. Then I noticed the real problem. The toilet was leaking and it was bad. I promptly went to the surface and claimed that we needed to disable our only toilet for a few hours.

I cut and yanked the toilet from the floor. It was really disgusting under there with someone else's filth. Tabitha cleaned while I made the run to the home depot for the myriad of things I needed to do a proper job. We were gifted a homedepot card and I managed to spend half of it right then.  I came home to Matt visiting. I had to get the toilet working so I got right to it. I reset the toilet and proceeded to visit with Matt. He got to see the house in this state.

We went to blue bottle coffee, I brought Tabitha and Tristan drinks back. He is really sick with some viral cold. A little hot chocolate encouragement always helps. Once Matt left I started on the sink plumbing. What a leaky mess. I assembled the new vanity from Ikea to see where I need to bring out the water and drain not to interfere with the drawers.

I tore open the wall to see what I was in for. What a mess. The drain line was plumbed up hill and needed to be redone to drain properly. Also the old galvanized pipe was leaking behind the wall. Time for another total re-plumb job.

I needed a second trip to Homedepot for the new larger list of stuff. Copper fittings, abs pipe and fittings hardi-board to cover the entire mess properly. After several trips under the house I cut out the old galvi pipe and installed new copper lines. Kassi was a huge help. She waited by the entrance to the crawl space for me as it was getting dark. I needed her to relay instruction to the upper world. The drain was the most difficult part. I needed to install a P-trap in a spot where there wasn't really room for one. I installed half of it in the wall with a special p-trap that has a removable bottom plug. This =accomplished the need to trap sewer gasses and afford future maintenance.

Hopefully, tomorrow brings a new sink in the bathroom. Then I can start on the kitchen sink. We need to have at least one working sink during longer periods of construction. The kitchen sink will take a few days to sort out. I shall start that on Thursday night.

Friday, November 23, 2012

One more room reclaimed

This room has taken a bit longer to reclaim back to a livable state. Rainy weather makes plaster and paint difficult to dry.
This is just after I sanded and sealed the floors. They are stained and distressed but after all they are one hundred years old. We like the look of the floors showing their age and character. The walls are still very rough in this photo. I added a quad outlet and ran power to the closet for light and future network and internet appliances.

Here a week later I have plastered the room where all the damage was, primed and painted.

White is so clean. We have decided to paint everything as we go in bright white then as time allows we'll add some color.

This is the future office, sewing room. The kids will move from the dinning room to here and unpack for a while--temporarily "the kids room."

We have been also working on the upstairs (kids floor) as time allows. I sanded the floor and exposed the great and smelly urine stain of 2012. Obvious longterm urinating in the center of the room soaked into the wood flooring. We dried it out, put down baking soda and the smell quelled.

Then we thought we had a leak in the roof highlighted by the rains. The entire urine stain floor was damp and began to smell horribly allover again. I was freaking out. A new roof is definitely not in the budget. After much investigating I claimed that the roof was not leaking and something much more mysterious was happening. With thoughts of poltergeists dancing in my head we discovered that dried urine is hydrophilic. It rehydrates itself during periods of high humidity.

Tabitha did some research and decided to douse the entire floor with straight vinegar. We had already intuitively taken the first step with the baking soda. It turns out the properties of urine are both acidic and alkaline and need to be dealt with separately and accordingly. Ah the strong smell of vinegar, a pleasing welcome alternative. Now we are drying the area again. Today promises sunny warm drying weather.

The next front to attack is the bathroom. The plumbing needs to be re-done. The drain, hot and cold supply are old and problematic. We have a new sink and cabinet from Ikea. It takes special plumbing connections to accommodate the drawers. I opted for this model knowing that I was going to have to change the plumbing connections anyway.

 Tabitha is wet-scrubbing the nasty-painted-on wallpaper from the walls. It was a buckling mess and impossible  to attack without complete removal.  The kids are so involved with this renovation/resurrection it is their house too and they also love it. Work of this nature makes you love it--Stockholm syndrome?

A much needed Thanksgiving break.
We hiked to the Mt. Tamalpais watershed with friends and family from our church. It is a yearly tradition to go mushroom hunting and hike. I estimate it was a three to four mile hike. Last year I estimated it was seven. That was immediately after my surgery recovery. Perhaps next year I will claim it merely a mile?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chez O'Melay

We slept in our bedroom last night. It is an oasis in the sea of riffled through boxes.  In the past week we resurfaced the floor, repaired and plastered all the walls, installed new electrical outlets and switches, painted every surface with sealer/cover/primer, painted two coats of highest grade of bright white, and I installed some new trim. The room is a thing of beauty. Yesterday we found most of the bed parts and I put the bed together. Luckily I originally built it out of standard hardware and acquiring the missing parts was relatively painless.

How does that happen anyway--missing parts? I took the bed apart and personally put every piece of hardware in a plastic bag.  I can't empirically say which is to blame gremlins, senility or kids that love nuts and bolts--I have a good guess though... (trailing off muttering and grumbling) ...further more I discovered a flaw in my apple boxes as the perfect moving packaging. Some unnamed person (begins with T and ends with A) has managed to open several boxes and mix the lids (and labeling). Now it isn't simply difficult to find stuff, it is impossible. Luckily unpacking has begun in earnest and there is end in sight.

We moved our dressers into the room and unpacked clothes--underwear glorious underwear. There is a moderately sized clearing in the front room that was previously a labyrinth of teetering stacks of boxes and furniture. We loaded the fresh new closet with clothes and other closet stuff. Tabitha found bedding and we slept the sleep of the just. Did I mention the room is beautiful? Well, it is.

Guess what else happened? All the kids slept together in the dinning room. Tabitha and I slept alone together in our very own room the entire night. Rome slipped in with, the still sleeping, Tabitha for about three minutes this early morning but promptly decided a little non competitive computer time was slightly more savory.

The next thing on our list is the office/temporary-kids-room. That room currently holds all the bikes, tools and building supplies. Those things will have to move the dining room. We will rent the chipper-shredder version of the floor sander and rince and repeat most of the contents in the opening paragraph.

Father Stephan is traveling back east. Attending church is looking less likely this weekend. We missed our favorite, rosary night with friends last night. It is a sad thing. To retort though, this camping in our house is for the birds and it must end soon. One more giant push to get the office/temporary-kids-room finished will alter the reality around here to something almost humane.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The wee hours

If you notice in my last post the first picture, the green wall behind me needs to be re-plastered. Early yesterday morning I watched several videos and read a few DIY sites about plastering. I have wanted to learn to plaster since I read The Agony and the Ecstasy in my early 20's. While I was at work Tabitha unraveled the proverbial sweater of the entire rooms paintable surface. Decades ago some genius painted over wallpaper. The nature of plaster being a breathable surface and modern paints forming a hermetic seal caused the moisture from the decade of leaky plumbing from the adjoining bath to release the skin of paint and layer of wallpaper.

Looking over the wall that I finished last night I got considerably better at plastering. Perhaps the application of beer helped with the flowing frosting.

I am taking the morning off to vote, make a dump run and plaster a wall or two.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sawdust machine

We need stop the madness of living in a house of boxes with little paths winding like a labyrinth. I know where nothing is, ever. The only way past this is to finish the master bedroom. Floors, paint and close the gaping hole I left in the wall from my shower plumbing exploits.

We rented a sander and went to work. It was grueling work with little visible reward. The layers were simply coming off too slowly. After about ten hours we admitted that this was "good enough." We switched to the next finer grit and gave it a once over. We decided that we'd leave the final grit for the morning just before we needed to return the sander.

Day 2
After sanding with sore muscles from the previous day and better light we finished it up.  I left with the rental sander. While I was gone Tabitha cleaned the entire room of dust. The next step was to seal the floor.

The gaping hole is still there from the shower but there is a 12 hour time gap between sealing and putting down the poly. We decided that people pay big money for "the distressed look."

While waiting for the sealer to dry I put new glass in the kitchen window.

I tore out the old fire trap gas wall heater.

I put in a quad outlet and drywall patched the hole.

Tabitha was scraping the overspray off the windows and noticed some glazing work that I needed to do. I use the window glazing in the tube. it works better for me. This widow got glazed and made openable.

The sealer was dry to the touch so I decided to work on the drywall behind the shower.

This wall needs an outlet. I also decided it could use a light switch to control one half of one of the outlets (1of the 4 plugs). This way we can plug in a floor lamp and operate it from a switch. I needed to go get a new box for the switch portion. 

Today is Sunday we are off to church then back to get a bit more floor work.

Bath anybody?

... The plumbing store was not open on Saturday. Feeling very defeated I tried OSH to see if they had a replacement valve for this new set. I sunk deeper into failure because they didn't have valve replacement parts for this new model. The guy working that section said that I should try the local hardware store just a few blocks from my house. I called first because I had already wasted precious time thinking my solution was simply at hand.

They said yes, they definitely had the innards for my valve. Glorious success was within reach. I stepped to the counter and set my valve down like an empty shot glass. He glanced at me then at it and spun to toward the bowels of the stacks. He returned with something that looked nothing like my valve.  Arragh, how much longer can this go on? Seeing the disappointment in my expression he went on to explain this is the valve that replaces my valve and it only looks different because it also replaces the previous model too. After asking about the return policy I tentatively drove home. Not able to repsond to Tabitha's inquiry with any confidence, "I said lets see if this one works."

Sweet sweet victory there will be bathing tonight...

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