The bathroom is still tantalizingly incomplete. I bought window and door casings from Second Use and cut them to size, but now they're sitting in my basement unsanded, unprimed, unpainted, and uninstalled. And of course I still haven't done anything about the tub/shower valve escutcheon, although I did fix the broken screw in the shower arm drop-ear, so it's solid again.
The main point of this update is the most recent bit of yard work Jen and I did last weekend. It's been unseasonally good weather the last week or so (it stopped today, naturally), so first Jen got out and raked up all the leaves, sticks, and dead morning glory from the side yard.
Above are conversations that I imagine in my head as I am on my basement stairs next to the open window cursing like a drunken sailor with tourettes. This weekend I tore off the carpet and padding that was very securely nailed to basement stairs on each layer separately. Which of course was utterly soaked to the core with cat pee.. Why would a cat pee on stairs? I have no clue other that some kind of demented punishment to it’s owners and now me by proxy.
Cursing continued as I helped tear down the downstairs buildup for what I imagine at one point was for a large tub. Bryan was impressed with my strength as I beat things down with a hammer. I laughingly told him he should have seen me before my myriad of injuries showed up, and before I got hit by the car.. I was hell on wheels. Some of the strength is still there but mostly I’m pretty gimpy. Anyhow, I am sure most of my demo rage was fueled by frustration and hate. Nothing gets you feeling better about impending bills, permits and smelling like cat pee than destroying things with a hammer.
Speaking of even more cursing, I started the first round of Roundup on the morning glory and other assorted weeds that are destroying our lawn. I was almost defeated by a yard of weeds in a crack in our front sidewalk. I think they were made of iron and reached all the way to China. I’m sure they could hear me across the street, on my knees muttering ‘f********ck’ and ‘Damn you, why won’t you come OUT!!!’
I think I need tools.. in the vein of ‘I’ll need a bigger boat.’ I keep having moments of ‘BUUUUURN IT ALLL, BUUUUUUURN IT! BUUUUUUUUUURN!’ in my head but I keep having to tamp those thoughts down, it wouldn’t end well. Especially when friends offer weed burners that were altered for Burning Man that now come with ‘EVEN MORE FLAME.’
That will most definitely be a last resort.
Well, I didn’t get nearly as much done today as I thought I would, even though we were on the job longer than yesterday.
First thing we did when we got there today was move all the rolled-up demoed carpet from the basement to the garden shed, which took an absurdly long time. Then I got back to work on the remaining drywall in the bathroom.
Just like yesterday, it resisted. A lot. Mostly because it was laid directly over wood (so I couldn’t punch through it and had to scrape at it from the edges instead) and was fastened not with brittle drywall screws but with big honking two-inch eight-penny roofing nails, placed randomly in ones and twos across the sheet.
There’s still sheets of maybe 3/8″ plywood against the studs in the non-plumbed walls of the tub, so I don’t know what’s back there yet, but so far the only visible rot is in the bottom of the side sheet of plywood and a 2×4 blocking in the plumbing wall just at the level of the tub/surround seam.
I did manage to find where the knob & tube wiring interfaces with the romex that goes into the new-work switch and socket. All the lights in the entire house (plus the refrigerator) are wired into one double circuit breaker, and there’s a carrier line for that circuit that goes above the bathroom ceiling, so I hope I can cut and cap the wires coming down into the bathroom without killing any other lights (for now).
WTF part #2: the duct tape “repairs” on the shower surround weren’t actually repairs. Apparently they bought a shower surround built for a modern hotel-style valve and faucet/shower placement, and then just duct-taped over the misplaced holes and drilled their own.
Here’s some more shots of the bathroom gutted down to the studs.
I was going to try to save the 3″ tongue-and-groove boards inside the closet, but when I tried removing the first one carefully, it broke right away, so I said the hell with it and just pulled them down with my gloved hands:
Meanwhile, Jen was shoveling up more rotted pears from the yard and dousing the basement in Simple Green.
Jen wants me to post this part:
Why Jen Hates The Previous Owners:
Not only did they let their cats pee all over the carpets downstairs, but they left bags and bags full of junk in the basement. Not only did they leave their crappy little 2×4-and-plywood desk screwed to the wall in the bedroom, but they left hundreds and hundreds of pounds of trash in the garage and shed — and we’re talking a busted fridge, a busted stove, broken snowboards, a computer monitor, old magazines, a safe that looks like it’s been blown up, and lots lots more.
Worst is the southeast corner, where apparently the previous previous owner put in a retaining wall with the plan of having a waterfall and a little pond. The previous owners allowed that entire area to be overrun with morning glory (I saw the 2007 high-res satellite photo on the monitor at the permit office, and large parts of that area weren’t green), and at this point Jen literally cannot tell where the ground is, there’s so much rotted wood, asphalt shingles, old dishwashers, pond liners, broken bricks, broom handles, wheelbarrows, etc., etc., strewn everywhere and now all grown through with bindweed.
Not only does this represent hundreds more dollars just in dump fees, but it’s also going to take months and months if not years just to clear it. All the while it’ll be a hazard to everybody, not least our daughter who will certainly be bipedal and running around by next spring.
WTF #3: Jen found it almost impossible to scrape up the adhesive underlayment left over from the vinyl flooring in the downstairs basement. She called me down to look at it, and I discovered that in most of the bathroom area the cement underneath the mastic was rough and pebbly. This means to me that when the POs jackhammered up the old slab and installed the bathroom fixtures, they didn’t bother floating the new cement afterwards to smooth it out but just called it a day and slapped the vinyl over it.
She then demolished most of the stud wall between the walk in closet and the platform the spa tub was going to go on, all of which is in the way of the planned basement bedroom.
I spent about an hour up in the attic trying to shovel the rockwool insulation away from the basement ceiling, but they don’t call it rockwool for nothing. That crap is dense, and it sticks together in clumps. At that point we got called away because our friend finally called us back about a 10% off coupon from Home Depot she had for us, and we dropped everything and headed out. That was about 4pm. Unfortunately, we had a lot of big heavy stuff to buy at HD, and not much time before we were supposed to pick up our daughter Thekla from her nanny/daycare at 6pm (we were an hour late), so we were rushing around and I’m sure forgot a bunch of stuff that we needed but wasn’t specced out on the materials list.
We rented one of HD’s trucks (since 4×8 greenboard ain’t fitting in the trunk of my Saturn) and drove it the couple miles to the house, where our friend Chris was kind enough to meet us to help unload. (I’ve never driven anything before that beeped when I backed up. ) After getting the truck back we discovered that we had forgotten to load the toilet, but Jen threw herself on the mercy of the delivery coordinator and got them to deliver it for us tomorrow for free.
Plan for tomorrow:
- Make nice with the building inspector when he shows up and get him to sign off on the reframing plans.* The only conceivably controversial part will be the new basement stairs going through the old entry hall area, since there might need to be a widening of the foundation wall opening.
- Drop the bathroom ceiling and just clean up the fracking rockwool when it falls down (I’ll just put R30 fiberglass batts up when I’m done).
- Pull up the vinyl flooring in the bathroom and see what condition the subfloor is in.
- Demo the stub wall at the end of the tub.
Really, that should about do it. If I get to capping the wiring and plumbing I’ll feel really happy.
And now I’m going to bed. By the way, Flexeril is a wonderful wonderful thing.
* This is the preliminary inspection. Seattle has a class of permit called “Subject To Field Inspection”, meaning the job isn’t complicated enough to require full engineering drawings and formal review; instead the inspector just eyeballs the plans and the building before the work starts and approves or not, and then comes out when you’re done and checks that you did it right.
Bryan spent the last couple days prepping to work at the house. Friday I took the baby down to see him, and I wanted to start some of my work at the house but to be honest the permit process and cost was quite a blow, and I wanted all of us to be together to remember why we are spending all this money. It’s for family and it’s for our home, sometimes we have to remember that even when it comes with a high price tag.
Friday night I started tearing up the carpet and the padding in the basement which is a pain in the freaking butt because though you can cut through the carpet like butter but the mat is dense, dense, dense. Sadly it’s quality pad that is utterly drenched in cat pee.
Today we dropped the baby off with a friend with the hopes of getting a lot more kicked out.. I finished up all the carpet and pad downstairs and managed to pull up the linoleum in the half bath downstairs.
After being gassed out in the basement by cat pee I decided I needed to be outside. I have a half yard that is drowning in rotten pears and I have started raking them up.
Then I turned by gaze to the morning glory, I hate that damn morning glory. I hate it with the fury of a million burning suns. It’s eaten half of the yard and it infuriates me. It’s covered.. EVERYTHING!! I am trying to find what the heck is under it. It’s a danger because it conceals all kinds of unsafe crap: tillers, broken chairs, ponds, shingles, boards. All forming a crappy covered dangerous rat and freaking possum condos.
I was able to pull a tiny bit off some of the retaining wall.
Bryan has encouraged me multiple times to update the blog. Unfortunately up to this point any post that I would have made would have been complaints about how much I hated the purchase process interjected with random cursing. Now that paperwork has been signed I feel more comfortable outlining my immediate goals with the house.
While Bryan is tearing down and ripping out the bathroom for it’s remodel before we move into the house, I will be tearing out the carpeting from downstairs that the previous owner kindly let their cats pee all over. Having four cats of our own we don’t really want ours getting a whiff of the previous damage so they can pick up the bad habit. It does break my heart to tear out the carpet because it seems to be one of the few things that the previous tenants actually did fairly well. They actually used a really good padding and it appears properly laid. Sadly it is soaked to the core in urine.
My other goal is to get all the rooms primed. Seeing as we are replacing all the wood paneling in the house it seems silly to paint it the actual color I really want only to tear it out in a couple months. But some of the colors are simply atrocious. I figure it’s better to live with primer white till then than say…
This is the baby’s room:
And the current color of the master bedroom:
Then the major project that I have decided is mine and mine alone, the yard. It appears someone in the past had some grandiose ideas. There is a pond, and some build up for what appeared to be a water fall, and even a composting bin. Of course looking at the yard you would have never known because it’s all hidden under half of a yard of morning glory. I have found my arch-nemesis. Morning glory is the devil. It has eaten up almost fifty percent of the yard and I can’t have that.. (said wearing my steely-eyed Clint Eastwood face) I have also planned a consultation with our friend’s gardener because there are flowers interspersed amongst the weeds and when I am cleaning out the horrifically overgrown flowerbeds next to the house I don’t want to pull out something I am going to have to pay to have later. It’s all just such a jumbled mess I have know clue what’s what. I have recently grown to love having my own vegetable garden and plan to put one at the house to in raised beds.
My back hurts already.
Now we just finalize packing up the old house for the move. We are almost finished, only a few bits and pieces to finish..