What we're doing now

Good morning!  If you need pictures to make it through my posts...just go away now. This one doesn't have any.  Hard to take pictures of the future.  ;)

So now that the plumbing crisis has been mitigated, we are now focusing on the next steps.  Here it is, mid-August and we have a LOT of uninsulated walls.  Hell, the basement is STILL missing all 3 windows, the door, and 1 piece of plywood.  The bathrooms upstairs are open to the attic.  The kitchen, den, and entryway are also missing ceilings.  The outside walls of the den and kitchen are exposed out to the plywood.  We need to get all this stuff insulated and closed up before winter hits.  And preferably before FALL sets in around 6 weeks from now.

We have begun the process of getting a geothermal heating system installed.  And by started, I mean we got the final proposal and the guy was on vacation this week.  Guess we'll actually get down to business next week on it.  That whole process will consist of drilling holes in our yard, digging trenches to the house, putting an air handler/heat exchanger in the basement, and Hubs is going to run the ducting himself.  I'm honestly not too thrilled about his choice there, but the company wants to charge us over $10k to do it and we really just can't afford that right now.

And, before he can close up all those exposed walls, while the geothermal company is working on the drilling and ordering equipment, Hubs needs to run all new electrical in the house. Half the outlets in the house don't work right now.  There is one working outlet in the basement for my washing machine (ok, and another for my dryer).  There are two in the living room for the TV & all its components and for the power tool battery chargers and for our computers.  Can you say "power strips"?

After the plumbing took so long and became so involved, I'll be honest, folks, I'm terrified of the electrical project.  He's taken down a lot of outlets to tear out a lot of drywall.  He's been pretty busy at his day job, so I haven't talked to him much and don't really understand what his plan is for running the electrical.  All I know is he wants to tear out more drywall this weekend since we have the dumpster.  I know he can and will leave the working outlets as they are, but... I dunno.

I had a whole lot of confidence when we started this.  I thought I understood the whole process.  I honestly DO understand the whole process.  What I have realized that I still DON'T understand is the inner workings of Hubs' brain.  I understand how projects COULD progress, but I cannot view the world through his eyes.  I can't predict HIS moves.  And that tends to get kind of scary after a while.  We've been going through a rough spot recently (yes, I hear your sarcastic "Noooo, REALLY?") and we're working on communicating better, but at the same time, we're running out of warm weather to be TALKING about how to progress and we just need to get started on DOING it.

So anyway, that's where we are.  Start geothermal drilling & ducting.  Run electrical.  Insulate. Throw up the drywall.  Turn on the heater and tape, mud, sand, and paint as we have time later.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  I'll take pics if we do anything cool this weekend, and I'll check in with you guys early next week!


Welcome back... to my getting-better disaster

Hi folks! 

Sorry I had this on hold for so long, but I just couldn't bear to keep taking pictures, or to keep reporting that the bathroom just wasn't coming along as fast as we hoped.  Here's where we are!

This is where we left off.
Since then:
We drained the pool and it filled back in...

Hubs built a wall...
I helped. A lot.
I measured and marked.
I cut.  (Pardon the crazy angles... Lil C actually took these!! I love that I have an entire sequence of every move I made from setting the board down to walking away with it!) 
Hubs continued to build.
Lil C continued to play and be adorable, as always.
The baby bird hatched.  Then we moved the nest.  Mama Bird found him just fine.  Then he fell out onto Lil C's play structure platform and died. So sad. 
Then I threw the Biggest. Hissy Fit. Ever.  So we bought a cheap camper so I could have running water and a stove to cook on.
Hubs installed a PEX water supply manifold and spent a couple weeks routing all the lines....
Then we invited the plumbing inspector out and he gave us a passing grade:
You should have HEARD this guy go on and ON about how Hubs did a good job!  Makes us wonder who the  heck the poor guy works with all day!
And finally, after 6 weeks of miserable lack of facilities within the house, we now have a working toilet AND shower!
Hey look!!! There's a wall, and a toilet, and a tub/shower, and running water, and working drains, and connections for  all the other stuff we'll put in someday... like another toilet, and a shower, and a vanity in Lil C's bath and double sinks in ours...
Boring words and no pictures to follow in tomorrow's post!  Thanks for reading!


Not as much as we'd hoped....

So, I'm not gonna bother with any pictures, nor to go into too much detail about the progress over the last week.  It wasn't as much as we'd hoped, and it wasn't for lack of effort or hours put in.  We spent Hubs' entire vacation moving plumbing, sistering joists, and replacing subflooring.  The house does still mostly work, but it's getting ugly.  The pictures of the destruction depress me too much, so I'm going to halt this blog for a couple weeks until we have enough progress for me to show you something that will *wow* you.  Thanks for understanding.

Also, feel free to "Like" my page on Facebook, as I may put up an occasional photo or quick progress update (and I'll also update there whenever I DO put up a blog post here!)

On a side note, we did also have Lil C's 4th birthday party!
They all had a blast with the pinata.

Group photo of everyone who attended.  Except Chuck who took this photo and REFUSED to be in it himself.  But we love him anyway for coming out and taking TONS of wonderful photos.  What an awesome friend! :)

All 3 of us while Lil C opened her gifts.

Chuck played with his camera's filters and I LOVED this pic!  She's pouty and pink and very spoiled-princess-ey.


Butchered Joists

Welcome back to Round ... Five? of I Can't Make This Crap Up.  You should  have heard poor Hubs' when he saw the joists over our kitchen (and under the 2nd floor bathroom).  His sailor language came out just a tad.

DISCLAIMER: I don't read, understand, or interpret the code book.  That's Hubs' job.  I just bought the dang book and got it home.  I may have mis-quoted the code in this post -it may be slightly more lenient than what I say here- but the general idea is close.  Whatever the code may actually say, Hubs is adamant that these guys were "wrong, dead wrong."

First, I'll give y'all a quick little lesson in carpentry code.  Hubs will be my assistant for this lesson.  Our house is 24 feet from front to back.  There is a major support running side-to-side in the middle of the house, and each of the joists in the kitchen rest on the back wall of the house and on that center support.  (Another set of joists rest on the center support and the front of the house.)  Carpentry code says that you are absolutely, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, allowed to drill holes or cut notches in the middle 1/2 of joists.  Hubs will now illustrate the no-cut zone in our kitchen.
Gonna make fun of his respirator?  I'll break your face!  Did you miss what was up in that ceiling???
If you look veeeerrry carefully at the joist directly above Hubs' head, you can see a 3" copper drain pipe there, running out to Hubs' left hand.  Let's come around and look over Hubs' shoulder and see what's going on up there....
That's a 10"-thick joist (top to bottom).  That's a 3" drain pipe.  And a 4-5" deep notch.  They took HALF it's structural strength away, IN THE NO-DRILL ZONE!!!  What the hell!!!?
They did it TWICE.  This is the same joist, farther over.  As right as it gets, but refer to Lesson 2A for why it's still wrong Wrong WRONG!

Let's take this whole don't-notch/drill-the-top thing to a whole new level.  Joists are structural support, right?  And where you need extra support, because you are supporting extra weight, what do you do?  Add more joists!  Double or triple them up - they are stronger that way.  So.  If you NEED more support to the point that you add an extra joist.... WHY WOULD YOU CUT IT UP!?!??????  In the MIDDLE of the run AND the TOP of the joist, nonetheless!
Look below that 3" pipe, you can see a lighter-colored joist, then a darker-colored one, and they're RIGHT next to each other.  A part of our roof rests on these joists, that's why there are two of them.

On to Lesson 2.  Code doesn't only dictate how far over on each joist you can drill.  It also tells you how far up and down you can drill.  IN THE MIDDLE.  It has to be drilled IN THE MIDDLE of the joist.  Notches in the top and bottom or holes that aren't in the middle weaken it and make it want to buckle on itself.
See that pipe that's drilled at the bottom?  Structurally bad.  See the little chunk of drywall still attached to the underside of the joist?  
What do you suppose is holding in that little chunk of drywall?  A screw of course!  If that screw had been just an inch over, they would have been screwing straight into a water supply line!!!  Who WERE these idiots????  And just in case you're ready to dismiss it as a one-time screw-up, think again:

That's right, they did it TWICE.  (Maybe even 3 joists... I didn't take any more pics of this stuff... you get the idea.)
On to Lesson 2A.  You can only drill in the middle AND you can only drill the middle 1/3.  First, for anyone who doesn't work with lumber, a 2x10 isn't really 2" by 10".  It's more like 1-1/2" by 9-1/4" or 9-1/2".  So code doesn't care that you CALL it a 2x10.  Code cares that the lumber is 9-1/2" thick.  Divide that by 3 and you get a little over 3".  So you canNOT drill in the bottom 3" nor the top 3", nor can you drill MORE than the middle 3" - such as centering a 4" hole and drilling out all 3 middle inches, plus 1/2" into the top 1/3, and 1/2" into the bottom 1/3.  Can't do it.  ONLY the middle 3".  Well this is all 3" drain pipe we're looking at here, and typically you want to drill a LITTLE bigger than the pipe - say, a 4" hole for a 3" pipe!  Therefore, by code, by this math, YOU CAN'T RUN 3" DRAIN PIPE THROUGH ANY OF THESE JOISTS!!!!!!!!!!  

End rant.
You can see the overview of the bathroom plumbing here. 
The VERY top of the picture is where the vent goes up and out of the photo.  The first T (upper right, see the water-damaged plywood?) is the toilet -and a misuse of a sanitary T- but we'll come back to that. In the very far part, by the wall, is another tangle of Ys for the bathtub drain.  And the pipe that runs over the light to the drilled double-joists is the drain for the sinks in the bathroom upstairs.

Now, back to this part:
This is called a sanitary T.  It is designed to be used in the VERTICAL position, not horizontal.  No wonder our toilet doesn't always flush well!
And here's where I show some nit-picky things to wind down the post:
This is the entryway to the kitchen in the (front-to-back) center of our house.  This is a load-bearing wall.  The weight is carried by... A ONE-BY-FOUR??????  WHAT?

I didn't understand exactly what Hubs was ranting about here.  Something about drywall shims.  I think it's because at the very top, under the joists, is some horizontal drywall, and his thought was, "Why didn't they take the vertical sheet high enough!?"

That 1x4 I just showed you?  This is the bottom of it.  Who or what chewed/drilled a hole here in the floor and why....?  We have NO CLUE.

Poop and Skeletons and Mold (We Guess), Oh My!

Welcome to the beginning of my falling apart!  DISCLAIMER: DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT!

We started tearing out the living room on Saturday, but I'll save that for another post.  Then, yesterday, some friends invited us to a rocky beach in southern Portland, ME.  When we got home, we had PLANNED to go to Lowe's to get the lumber we need to build up the basement wall, but they closed too early.  I'll go today after work and Hubs can get to building tomorrow on his first day of vacation.  So we got back to making good use of that dumpster in the driveway...

From the living room, we flowed into the entryway and then into the breakfast nook area of the kitchen, tearing out drywall and discovering the structure underneath.  

I know it's hard to see, but toward the bottom, can you see two yellow spots?  They look kind of like water spots, but there isn't ANY plumbing anywhere near here.

This is that same ceiling (it's directly above the front door).  See the dark spots toward the right?  Mouse poop encrusted with mouse pee...

Cuz I know you were all DYING to see this crap up close!

This is a wasps nest that Hubs found inside the house, above the front door...

We found TWO mouse skeletons over the entryway.  I didn't get a pic of the other one.  Aren't you bummed?

This is after the drywall was out, mouse poop and all, and right before Hubs helped me clean it all up.

10 mins later, Hubs had swept and vacuumed it all up.

This is the view now... no trim, no ceiling.  Yay!

If your kitchen looked like this, wouldn't you freak out when Hubs says "let's clear some it off, and cover it with plastic and get the ceiling down"?  I did... a little.  But he was SUPER helpful and he actually did about 80% of the prep AND cleanup.  I was too busy concentrating on not crying.

This is a quick peak at the "after".  (We actually pulled all the plastic off already, and cleaned up and mopped the floor.  With bleach.)  I plan to wash ALL our dishes all over again.  That's how gross this all was.

He pulled out about 4 square feet that looked like this.  Especially under the toilet and shower (which are above that ugly chandelier in the previous photo). 

He also found a baby mouse skeleton above the kitchen.

I'll end this post here, and I'll put the major problems we found in the kitchen structure in another post.  Go take a shower.  You know you want to!


Not As Much As We'd Hoped... But More Than We Planned

Well, the title tells you how much we got done today.  Hubs laid cinder blocks 2 nights ago for another 1/3 of the back wall, then today we filled them with concrete.  Boring stuff, not really worth of pictures.  But I'll show ya one anyway.

All those cinder blocks that are stacked - those are now laid from the left, through the back of my dryer (but not quite to the drain stack - we still haven't fixed that yet.
Something that IS picture-worthy, however, is the fact that Hubs had a partially-used bag of mortar sitting inside a cardboard box inside The Termite Room.

Know what makes that hole pattern?  I'll give you a hint: It's not called The Termite Room because it's filled with rainbows and unicorns.
See those bricks in the wall?  The box was sitting next to that.  Nowhere near wood.
Major bummer.  But we're still fairly confident that they won't eat our newly built, pressure-treated, water&ice dammed, cinder-blocked wall.

After killing our backs putting 4 bags of concrete into the newly-laid cinder blocks, we got to fun stuff - continuing to TRY to drain the pool.  This girl spent HOURS this morning trying to get the hose to restart its siphon effect, but the Laws of Physics (don't you DARE ask me which ones) won over the Will of Krista.  I gave up, life went on.

Later, Hubs jumped in and got destructive.  We're not sure it really did any good, but we had fun anyway.
Liner, foam insulation, and then the walls say "Galvanized Copper Steel".  ....Um, what?
Trucking right along, Hubs quickly got the entire shallow end pulled off the rigid walls.
Then we threw the liner back a little, and wound up with A MESS.
Meh, live and learn.  Right?
What it looks like now.  Sand and still 6 ft of water....
We really don't know what we're doing when it comes to getting this pool OUT of our backyard.... We'll figure it out.  We're not in a hurry....

 Changing the subject again, I went to the scrapyard last week to cash in on all that aluminum siding that we pulled off The Gaping Hole.  And acquired a 1" long, 3/8" thick, square-headed bolt.  In the tire.  So Hubs put the spare on our truck today.  And by the time he pressed up the air compressor, he decided it would be a good time to check ALL the tires - my car, his daily driver, the others on the truck, the hand truck/furniture dolly, the snow blower.  And then, because he touched the snowblower, he remembered that he hadn't "summer-ized" it.  So then he added Sta-Bil, cleaned the spark plug, yada yada yada.

And in the middle of it all, we had a good friend come out and take a tour!  I love showing off our crazy mess of a house.  Explaining to other people what we plan to do keeps The Vision forefront in my mind, and allows me to overlook the crazy mess that's actually here.  It also keeps me from hyperventilating while thinking about shuffling all my stuff around the house 17 times and cleaning all the drywall dust off everything.  Or worse, NOT cleaning dust off anything and watching nearly-new stuff go bad from being coated in Construction Film. Blech.  So yeah...

Tomorrow we're headed to Maine with some friends, and Hubs works all day Monday.  Maybe we'll get something done tomorrow evening.  We'll see.  Hubs has vacation starting on Tuesday, so expect daily posts starting Wednesday!  See y'all soon!


Back to the grind

I apologize for the LONG lack of house-related posts, but, quite frankly, there just hasn't been anything going on here!  Hubs has been doing some stressful procedure at work that's adding to his workload and draining his time and energy.  The good news is that we've created an approximate 10-day plan, and he's taking vacation next week!  We want to be sure to maximize his time at home!

Tonight is Night 1 of that plan.  Rough-in the half bath was the title of tonight's project.  Words mean things, and we did NOT get anywhere near a true rough-in; however, I think that Hubs has achieved what he intended to when he said that.

This is the area we're talking about; this is where we are putting a half bath.  The quilt went up during move-in week, and it came down today.  No, I didn't cry.  But I thought about it.  Mom, it's safely stored upstairs, please don't worry. :)  (To everybody else, my mommy made that quilt for us!)

The door you see through the opening used to be a closet.  The back of that closet stuck out into the garage.  Eventually, that door is going to be my normal garage door entry!  I'm totally stoked that Hubs thought of this!  The front door is around that wall to the left (by the vacuum....that wall is TOTALLY coming out!), and you can see the stairs lead up to the right.
"Before"  ....from move-in week.
"During" - Hubs cut up the carpet.  This is where the half-bath is going!
I can't bring myself to take pictures of drywall removal in the main living spaces of my house.  Besides, I was a LITTLE too busy actually carrying the drywall OUT of my house.
And where did I put it?  We got a FOURTH dumpster today!  Yay!

Hubs did a WHOLE lot of measuring and drawing with pencil, then he drilled the centerline of the toilet.
Skip forward past a whole lot more measuring, and VOILA!  A toilet hole!
Run down into the basement to be sure that things are going to line up properly (they didn't...he rearranged his plans).
Clean up?  A breeze when you have a built-in HOLE IN THE FLOOR!  (...which dumps it all right in the center of the basement...) :/
How it looks now.  And probably will look for a while.
The toilet flange (that white thing in the rightside of the cleared space) is just sitting there so that stuff doesn't fall into the hole.  The sink will be in the corner, to the left.  See the door bell on the left?  We'll be taking that entire wall back, so it will be flush with the new bathroom wall.  That's about 26 inches.
My entryway now.
I let Hubs rip into that a little bit in the center.  See how there is a wall to the left?  And the doorbell is on the right?  We want to take away almost 4 feet of wall from this area, so he wanted to be sure they aren't structural.  They aren't.  We're happy.  Well....Hubs is happy with his discovery.  I'm happy that he helped me clean up all the drywall.  Immediately!  I'll be even happier when the offending walls are gone. 

Look for another post tomorrow - we're headed to the basement to start back in on that huge gaping hole in the back wall!