Plans, The Pool, The Cat, and The Dog

Well, I'll tell you about the cat and the dog first.  Hubs pulled a dead rodent out of the pool a few days ago and left it poolside.  Big mistake with our dog who likes to roll on dead things.  The poor dog has been banished to the backyard for two days now - until our groomer opens up after the holiday weekend!

Then, Hubs and I were sitting in the living room at 1pm on Saturday afternoon of a long weekend, working on plumbing plans, and we heard a cat fight RIGHT outside our front window.  We DO allow our cat to go outside, so Hubs pretty much tackled me to get outside and make sure our cat was okay.  Turns out, she was bleeding small drips from the bum area, and she wouldn't let him get a good enough look to see how serious it was.  I scrambled to get the cat carrier, while Hubs corralled her and TRIED to look at her wound, then gave up and comforted her.  After she (and her bleeding bum) were contained, I called my vet.  No answer - it was after-hours already.  Of COURSE!  So I scribbled down the emergency vet's number, called them up for directions and to let them know I was coming (and that it wasn't life-threatening), jumped in the car and drove off.  Then I got to the end of my street and realized I'd forgotten my cell phone.  So I had to go back for it.  Fast forward 3 hours, antibiotics, a shaved and washed bum, and $200 later, and you'll find the cat sleeping on the drive home, acting like nothing's wrong. When I got home, we settled her into the bathroom, where she'll be making her home for the next 10 days... yay for us.  :/

So, other than all THAT adventure, we haven't really DONE much the last couple days, due to the need to plan the plumbing in the ENTIRE HOUSE before proceeding on a single wall.  But I'm pleased to show our progress!  (And Hubs' awesome grid-paper magic!)
Plan for the entire basement layout!
The top is the front of the house - the front half is pretty much open, unplanned space at this point.  The only main features of that space will be the fireplace and the electrical panel on the left, and the stairway to the main level on the right.

Moving on to the bottom half - the leftmost feature is a walk-in food storage closet for me - plenty of shelves and space for my upright freezer!  Also, where Hubs has written "Backfiller" along this closet's wall - that's going to be a open-and-close-able  pass-through wall for proper food storage rotation!

The next space over will be open, with the door to the backyard just outside my food-storage closet.  Right along the midline, you can see that Hubs has sketched in some cabinetry.  The precise usage will be determined later - entertainment, or daycare, or ... yeah.  We don't know.  (Yes Mom, I hear you.  "Dehydrator space!  Bread machine! Sewing station!"  I'm also thinking this will make excellent storage for my less-frequently-used appliances.)

The next space will be a utility room - my washer and dryer will be on the other side of the wall behind the cabinetry.  Um, actually... *looks HARD at this drawing* Please ignore the layout of THIS bathroom design.  It's wrong.  It's not what we're doing.  But that's the bathroom area.  The NEXT picture will show you the final layout of that space.

Lastly, the space all the way on the right is the space under our den, and will be used as a mechanical room.  We are likely going to install a geothermal system, forced hot air, and an instant water heater in there.

Under the stairs to the main level we will have the well accumulator tank, the whole-house filter, and the water softener.

THIS is the bathroom layout!
The top of this picture is the mechanical room.  The right side is the external wall to the backyard.  The left side goes out right next to the empty space at the front of the basement, and the bottom backs up to the counter space.

My washer and dryer will have a built-in countertop running over the top of them!  The sink will be a utility/laundry sink.  Just to the left of the sink, we see the space under the stairs - where the water softener and filter will share the drain with the utility sink.

That big pipe-looking line that runs through the middle is just that - Hubs' plan for the drain lines.

Layout for the upstairs bathroom reno - turning 1 bath into 2!
Along the left side of this drawing is our upstairs hallway.  The topmost wall shown here borders the attic area above the den.  The right wall is exterior, and the bottom will open into our bedroom (there will likely be a door, even though there isn't one shown here).

The top bathroom will be Lil C's - simple, cheaper materials that get the job done and are easy to clean.

The other bathroom will be part of our new master suite.  The toilet will be under a window, the shower will be nearly 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep, and we will have nearly 6 feet of counter space to house our double sinks!  Our closet will run the 8-foot length between what is currently the first window in our bedroom, and the current bathroom window.  We'll use elegant tiles, pretty glass, a more expensive toilet, up-scale fixtures, and Hubs plans to put some homemade built-ins in the closets.  (As I type this, he has run off copies of these pages and is still working on the exact drain lines of all of these fixtures.....)

Lastly, I went outside a couple hours ago to snap a progress update picture on the pool draining, and.... well... our devil horns came out.....
At my urging, Hubs threw the dog into the pool - at the deep end!

He made a bee-line for the stairs, although he seemed to be enjoying himself.

So much so that he turned around, swam a circle, and THEN headed for the stairs.

Have you noticed the water quality or the level of the pool water at ALL yet???  Or are you too busy reading captions?
Then, for good measure, Hubs threw him in again.  This time, the poor dog just went straight for the stairs.  Apparently, once is fun, twice is mean?


Pool ...Or Is It A Pond?

I'm not sure there's much of a difference these days between my mom's pond and my pool.

Look VEEEERRRYYYY carefully at the white skimmer box by the diving board.  See him?

NOW can you see him?  
Boy, did he STINK!!!  Hubs opened up the skimmer top and nearly keeled over into the pool.  Toads have always attempted to inhabit our pool, and the big fat ones know that we have LOTS of trouble getting at them when they sit in the skimmer between the suction part and the pool face, so they like to hang out there fearlessly.  Hubs DID manage to get this one out by putting the net in front of the skimmer box and poking the toad out from behind.  Then he tossed him over the fence and hopefully he hopped AWAY from our yard.  AHAHAHAHA!  RIGHT!  I think we ALL know that's not the case.  But I'll keep telling myself that.

We find all kinds of amazing small animals in our pool.  Lots of toads, mosquitoes, and water bugs, of course, but we also find dead rats, moles, and chipmunks.  But yesterday, I saw a first.

Mom: LOOK AWAY.  Do I have to tell you twice????

A cute little water snake!!  Actually, there were two.
Hubs got two of these little snakes out yesterday, too!




I'm trying to take up space.

So my mom can scroll down.

And get the icky icky snake off her screen.

Cuz I love you, Mom!

But I couldn't resist putting the little guy's pic up!

We now resume our regularly scheduled blog programming.

We are also emptying our pool, as the mosquitoes have simply become unbearable.  I have tried dunks for a little over a month now, but I'm almost out of them already and they just aren't helping.  So out with the water!!!!



Today was QUITE a busy day!  I mowed the grass while Hubs got started on working. Lil C did.... something.  I'm not quite sure what.  She watched some TV (though not as much as you might think).  She strung some beads on some pipe cleaners, and read some books, and played outside a little bit.

Hubs started sheathing this wall:

Then he pulled up the ice&water barrier:
He only put up enough barrier around the window that he had laying around - we'll cut more off the roll later...
In case you're wondering about the different colors of plywood, yes, that IS pressure-treated plywood that we just installed.  Maybe it wasn't necessary.  But it made ME feel better to know that termites aren't likely to want to chew through it NEARLY as happily as they would through regular plywood.  And since they were ALL OVER this wall, I want to be POSITIVE they understand they are soooooooooooooooo NOT welcome here EVER AGAIN.

And then?  We GHETTO-FABULOUS'ed our whole wall.  Rockin' the Lowe's look.  It'll be like this for a LONG time, but not forever.

Ok, now  you're all screaming about half a dozen different issues.  I hear you, I hear you!  Shut up and listen:  This is TEMPORARY.  It's a permanent temporary solution - we'll leave it this way for several months.
1) I hear you yelling about the 8" gap under the window, above the wrap.  "The rain will get in behind it!!!"  No, it won't.  Yes, it COULD, but it won't.  It's rained BUCKETS here these past four weeks that this wall has been opened, and that part of the wall simply doesn't get rained on.  We'll take our chances.

2) "Where's the window???"  Yeah, yeah. It's under there.  Well, the opening is, anyway (you can actually see the dark spot behind the second-farthest logos).  The window itself is actually sitting inside that room.  We'll install it later.  We aren't leaving up this house wrap permanently.  We'll pull the whole thing off, put up some foam-board insulation, and all new siding.  Next summer.  Maybe.  In the meantime, I'm tired of bumblebees and carpenter ants flying in that window, just to fly back out.  Bugs are just NOT welcome in my house!!!

3)  Ok, I could only see two issues.  If you're still yelling about more, leave me a comment.  Or assume that we're probably aware of what you see and we'll get to it.  Later.  We ARE still kinda concerned about that gaping hole that has now shifted to the left of the picture, and isn't going to sew itself up as easily as this did.  (Hubs has to move the main drain out of the external wall.  That takes Some Planning.)

And speaking of planning, that's what's on tap for tomorrow.  I've prepared a different post for you tomorrow, since I don't see any sort of interesting post coming out of graph paper and HOURS of conversation, and maybe a second-time-this-weekend trip to Lowe's.

Oh, and YAY for Hubs being home all day on a Friday!!! :D


End of the Den Tearout

Well, this post is to show what we finished Thursday, right before I left for the weekend.  If you'll recall, we began tearing into the den early last week.  And here, we have finished it!  Well, we finished tearing it out, anyway.  My apologies for any poor picture quality - likely due to dust in the air.

We took out all the insulation, and finished taking the bricks off till the level of the mantle.  Also notice the black area between the two leftmost studs.  And those studs to the left of the fireplace?  The gaps measure, from right to left: 19", 16", 9", 6".  I guess the builder left his tape measure at home that day?

I know this pic is very dark, but it shows the outline of the mantle best.

Can you see how shiny this plywood is?

Direct result of gutter failure.  We'll be sure to get the gutters replaced and replace this plywood.

Hubs tried to get most of the wood off this particular corner.  He had to take a break.  Of all the shoddily-built things in this house, these 6 pieces of lumber seem to be immovable.

The carpet was quite messy by the time we finished!

So we folded it up and threw that crap away!!!

Pulling up the carpet revealed that this room once had the exact same linoleum as still currently occupies the kitchen.  Blech!

Lastly, as we were finishing up for the evening, I looked up and saw... our Christmas ornaments!!  (There is an attic space above the den.)

Attic View:  See the ornaments just to the left of center? :)

And then we showered and went to bed!  The end.



Hello!  I would LOVE to take this opportunity to share with you exactly what I was doing, where I went, who I was with, yada yada yada... But I kinda forgot to take ANY pics.  Seriously.  So as soon as I get ahold of a few photos that were taken by others who were present, Where I Was will remain a mystery.

Therefore, we'll just move on to what Hubs did while I was gone!  Quick and easy, down and dirty:
This is my front door (Left) and my coat closet (center).  ....or is it??

That's the GARAGE!  Where did all our coats go??? (Hubs stored them in a good place - a.k.a. a wife-approved place - before ripping out my coat closet and reclaiming HIS garage space!)

I know it's blurry, but you don't really want to CLEARLY see all the crap in my garage anyway!  That bright light is my front door!!!

Hubs ripped out this whole part of the wall.

The robin found his way back into our support joist once the wall was open again.  That poor bird isn't going to score himself a mate this season if he keeps making his nest in a place that humans keep throwing it out!   Mamas need to know their babies are SECURE!!!

Hubs decided to dig.  A lot.  At the top of this pic, the main drain where it exits the house.  Cleanout, broken check-valve and T's and Y's to basement fixtures.
This is a close-up of the bottom hole from the previous picture.  Hubs has No Clue what this broken pipe's purpose once was.

But the pipe crumbled in his hand and looked like this.

Did I mention Hubs dug A LOT??  This is from two stories up.  Notice the pile of concrete at the top.  And the wire pile to the right. That gray pile just to the left of center is about 18" high. And just below the orange line, you can see a brown pipe.  That's the main drain to the septic system.
Lots of things to look at here....
The red pole on the right is the temporary support.  The pipes in the middle are there because Hubs knows I'll pitch the worst fit in history if he disconnects my washer and dryer for more than 12 hours at a time, so he can't just rip out random plumbing that's all connected right there.  That center stud is...a stud.  I don't know why Hubs has left it just now.  Oh wait.  Yes I do.  It is holding the outlet for MY DRYER!!!  Oh, sweet husband of mine...  

And just to the left of my dryer exhaust is the main drain to the whole house.  That used to be encased within the external wall.  Hubs doesn't like that design.  He also can't very well stud in this wall until he moves - a.k.a. replaces and then switches... - the placement of that stack.  And THAT requires planning out NOW every last drain pipe of the house in the manner we intend to put them.  

Well, that covers everything that Hubs was able to get done in 3 working days while still caring for his daughter all by himself!  I'm quite impressed, aren't you?

Check back tomorrow for what we got done the night before I left, and hopefully by Thursday I'll have pictures of what I was doing!



Hi everyone!  I just wanted to let you all know that I'll be taking about a week-long break from this blog, as I'll be taking a trip this weekend and Hubs will be left all alone with Lil C for Four. Whole. Days.  I'm not sure how he'll survive.  Just kidding - he's an awesome dad! :)  I do expect that he'll get a good amount done on the house in my absence, considering he's actually taking vacation from work to stay home with Lil C while I'm gone, so I'll probably take a whole lot of "after" pics and throw them up on Tuesday.  See y'all then!!!


Good Riddance! ....I Think...

Well, if I hadn’t already used the title previously, last night would have been another good candidate for “point of no return.”  Since we’re at a slight stand-still in the basement (weather is part of that, though not ALL of it), Hubs suggested tearing out the drywall in the garage as a way to fill up the dumpster that technically should have been returned today.  The other option he suggested was to just rip off the band-aid and get started in the den.  We agreed on the den, as the garage isn’t really a big deal to either of us at this point – it was merely a suggestion to get lots of heavy drywall into the dumpster quickly, while the den is actually really Getting Started!  Yay!!!  And “Oh, God, what are we getting ourselves into?”  And “Here we go again.” Good riddance to this moldy, rodent-soiled, problem-filled drywall and brand-new-but-already-trashed carpet!  I think…

Now, Hubs and I have an interesting relationship when it comes to the shuffling-stuff-around dance.  He announces an area to be worked on WEEKS in advance.  I nod understandingly and enthusiastically and I am well aware of exactly what needs to be done, but I get choked up because… well, when everything that’s in there either BELONGS in there, or plain doesn’t have a place it DOES belong….where am I supposed to put it?!  So I procrastinate, and silently wait for his help and guidance.  Meanwhile, he’s silently tapping his toes waiting for me to move all MY household junk out of HIS new workspace.  And, in the past (in Charleston), it used to come to a head the day that he’s ready to work in that new space and it’s still full of household stuff – he basically starts throwing all the stuff out of that space into a chaotic mess (if I WANTED it organized, I would have gotten it out already, right?) and I’m reduced to tears of helplessness because I just didn’t know where to start or where to put it all – I hate moving things over and over and over, just shoving them off again and again – nor do I ever open my mouth and TELL Hubs that I’m overwhelmed with it or ask for his help!

Last night started off similarly, but without any anger or frustration (at least that he expressed) on Hub’s part (we have had lots of long talks and he understands the above paragraph without my having to say it now – he just sees that nothing’s moved and KNOWS it’s not because I don’t WANT it moved, I just probably didn’t know where to start).  He sweetly helped me carry out the big heavy stuff – a couch, Lil C’s desk, two TVs and a TV stand, and then sat down and watched TV with Lil C for a bit, waiting for me to finish with all the smaller stuff.  Luckily, the den didn’t really have a whole lot of ANYthing in it – I’ve known for quite some time that we’d be starting there, so I haven’t been filling it up with anything permanent – just temporary consumables, mostly.  But as he wandered away and I was left carting smaller things to the attic, I couldn’t help but let a few tears fall.  “Here we go again,” I thought to myself.  “This is the beginning of NOTHING in our home having a place of its own anymore.”  Then I’d blow my nose and stiffen up and tell myself that at least I have Hubs’ word that he’s going to try to not RUIN everything we own – just displace it – and I’d feel a little better.  Then I’d go back and pick up something else that required thought on where to best store it temporarily and my mental circus would start all over again.

But eventually, it all got cleared out, and Hubs cheerfully got to work while I went back to fixing dinner.  And, as usual, I didn’t snap a picture until he’d been working for about five minutes, enough to get it this far:
Here’s as close to a “before” as we’ll ever get!
And we found a few surprises along the way – shall we call it I Can’t Make This Crap Up: Round Three?
Hubs tried to pull off just the trim from this door.  Notice how half the casing came, too? Grrrr.
Deer Tag – I have no words. Hubs found this in the radiant heat baseboards.
More mold – thank God we’re doing this!!!
It’s hard to see, but there are actually TWO dead wires here, plus that crazy ….crossbrace?..., and a strange metal plate (far right) that we’re not sure what purpose it served.  Oh, and we can’t leave out the fact that this is indeed a HOT copper pipe that feeds the kitchen’s radiant floorboards – it’s been totally exposed since we moved into the house.  Carolyn learned early on that it was hot. She didn’t touch it all summer, LOL!  And I didn’t bother getting a picture of the totally loose outlet box that was living within this wall, too.
I actually kinda like the pattern of this wall paper.  Hey Mom, do the colors look familiar???
Obviously the paper was turned over – I flipped it for the picture… interesting, nonetheless.
And, slowly, bit by bit, the drywall came out.  Because it ties into the story later in the evening, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that several spots in the ceiling came down with abundant amounts of acorns, candy wrappers, chewed-up insulation-turned-rodent-bedding, and rodent poop on them.  And, of course, one must stand nearly directly underneath the ceiling drywall in order to remove it.  So he basically got crapped on.  Without warning.  Repeatedly.  Oh, the glories of DIY home repair…..
All the dark spots are air flow.  Yay.
And I had to take this shot this morning:

Because the power decided to go out in our ENTIRE TOWN last night around 9:33 - and didn’t flicker right back on. (I woke up a few minutes before 4am and it was finally back on.)  Anyway, around 9pm, Hubs decided that all the drywall was out, so he would start in on the fireplace, as “quitting time” around our house is closer to 10pm.  Now, we WERE planning to keep all that brick as-is and enclose it in drywall above and slate below, but since, um, there is actually drywall behind AND above it, and some of the bricks are cracked anyway, Hubs thought it’d be easier to take down the bricks above the mantle and get ALL the drywall out.  With all the mold and other surprises we’ve found already, I wasn’t about to disagree.  Hubs had gotten about two rows of bricks out when the power went out.  I stopped shuttling debris to the dumpster and held the light instead.  (I’ll publicly use the excuse that our brand-new DeWalt flashlight is so poorly balanced that it won’t stand on its own – and it won’t – but Hubs and I both know it’s because I’m still terrified of the dark.)  So he decided to pass the time by telling me about this movie he’d just watched at work a couple nights ago – Splice– in all its sci-fi/horror glory.  Thanks, Hun.  

He continued working until closer to 10:30, since we weren’t going to get to watch any TV anyway.  Karma took her revenge on him for telling me ghost stories – he got a 2.5 minute shower in before the water pressure gave out (we have a well).  He still had soap in his hair, poor guy.  At least I was able to recover enough water from the basement valves for him to rinse off!

And so, at last, we crashed into our cold bed in our dark bedroom, plugged in our cell phones in hopes that they would magically start charging in the middle of the night, and passed out.  (And yes, we both showered this morning!)


Moving The Temporary Support

Ok, so I really don't have very many pictures to go with this story, but I can't express to y'all how ACCOMPLISHED we feel, having moved the support down another 16 feet.

Well, I guess we better start at the beginning, hm?  So first, we took a deep breath.  I explained to Hubs how big of an exercise in trust it was on my part to be standing under the house while the support was removed - it was the one and only test of the strength and integrity of the wall he had just built.  But I seriously believe Hubs could build anything, given enough time and materials (...and maybe another strong back, since mine doesn't seem to get the job done except maybe 10% of the time).  I seriously mean he could build ANYTHING.

Anyway, he slowly backed the jacks down, and the whole floor creaked and groaned, but didn't fall.  AFTER he was done, he explained to me that he had actually jacked the floor up slightly higher than it was originally, so it was just settling back to where it belonged. (And I do mean SLIGHTLY - my poorly-constructed floors within the house creak more when I walk over them than the house did when he "lowered" it.)

Then we held the 2x10s and kicked out the scrap 2x4s that were helping to keep the support from twisting, and then we moved it into the old kitchen and set it down.  I AM WOMAN, I AM STRONG, HEAR ME ROAR!  :D  (Cue Hubs rolling his eyes here...)  And then we looked at each other.  The main level's floor joists are almost a foot lower in the termite room than in the rest of the house.  Hubs measured me on my tippy toes, arms completely extended - my palms were 14" from the bottom of the joists in the old kitchen.  I couldn't stand there and hold the 2x10s to the joists!  We needed to do something else!  I'm strong enough to hold it on my shoulder all day long, but I really don't have the strength to hold them over my head for long, even when I AM tall enough.  So I suggested a bracing between the only wall that still exists WITHIN the basement, and Hubs one-upped me.  He gave me this:
Isn't it beautiful????
Hubs spent 20 mins screwing that shelf together for me!  And he left it up, he says to make taking it back DOWN easier.  My face lit up anyway, and he knew I planned to blog about it - awww he reads my mind! Anyway, Hubs got the support up on that, I held it at the other end, and he got the jacks in and snugged up!  And psst!  We  never dropped it even once!!!  Which is an awesome thing, considering it's currently above my new-since-we-bought-this-house washing machine!!!  ....Which is currently covered with a towel to protect it, tools because it's one of the few flat surfaces that isn't The Ground, and then covered with a trash bag in anticipation of birds finding the support's new location.  So far, so good - no birds!

So here's a view of what we'll be ripping out next!  There's nothing but the king and jack studs to the left of that leftmost window, and we'll rip out till halfway between the door and the next window.


Termite Wall Framing

Hey folks!  I'm sorry I haven't posted in almost a week!!  Yes, I KNOW!!!!!!!  We were too busy working and I wasn't busy enough blogging.  My bad!  I've got a few posts lined up for this week, so start checking back again, k?

So we started wtih this.
Totally clear slab.  Then we went to Lowe's and got a butt-ton of cinder blocks.  Hubby had a steep learning curve in masonry, during which time the camera was banned.  He gets a little camera shy sometimes.
So he laid the blocks, and filled them with cement and the anchor bolts.
We busted out the work lamp and worked most nights this past week till 10.  We've also had a few chats with our neighbors.  They're all SUPER sweet, and none of them have minded yet.  I really hope they WILL come yell at us if we're too loud too late....  Anyway, back to the wall:
Add a couple top plates, a couple bottom plates, and some water&ice dam.
Add LOTS of lumber and VOILA!  It looks like a wall again! ...Mostly....
Hubs also found this.  More termite damage.
He got around to fixing it later that evening. 

Day 4.  Seriously.
It was cute the first few days.  Now we're tired of pulling made-overnight birds' nests from our temporary support.

Check back in tomorrow for the post about Moving The Temporary Support - a good time, I promise you.  Spoiler alert: we did NOT drop the 2x10s this time!!!  (We did the first time - it sucked.)