Tag Archives: remodeling

What A Mess!

14 Sep

As you know, we have just finished remodeling the guest/sewing/TV room, which meant moving everything from two rooms into various nooks and crannies, primarily The Squire’s workshop.

Repairing the mess under the bow window involved unloading and moving the corner cupboard, thus piling miscellaneous dishes and table linens on one end of the dining room table. I did manage to find a long flat box to hold most of that stuff, but it is hard to work up any enthusiasm for getting the table decently set when you can’t even shake the crumbs off the cloth.

Today, The Squire decided the entire house is a mess (It is.) and rather than start by, say, helping me do something small, such as completely tidying the guest room, cleaning the bathroom, or putting away the laundry, he proceeded to tackle the largest mess of all, which is the workshop. Most of what is up there is mine. I used to do a lot of miniature work and I have about fourteen years worth of mini-magazines, all stored in boxes. I have contacted a friend who is willing to take all of them, but she can’t get to it until after next Wednesday.  We’ve both been sifting through our book collections, and I’ve found a stay-at-home mom  in the next county who sells books for spending money. Every once in a while I shoot her an email and we meet up so I can load her trunk with boxes.

None of this can be done today, of course, which is frustrating. Another major problem is that the book cases we purchased will only hold 15 pounds per shelf. Believe me, the amount of photo albums, complete collections, etc., that we have accumulated are putting a strain on that system!  I have to explain to visitors why there is an ancient kitchen scale on the bottom shelf.

And then there are record albums. Is there a market for old LPs?

When we rearranged the guest room, we discovered there isn’t space anymore for a barrel chair which I reupholstered several years ago. My parents set up housekeeping with that chair, and I’d rather not part with it if I can avoid it.  I have my mum’s wicker baby carriage and a life-sized doll she played with as a child. Again, it is jammed into a corner of the workshop, and I’m “shopping” it around the family, trying to find it a loving home.

Maybe we need to rent a P.O.D. for a month or so.



Here We Go Again

10 Feb

We haven’t really recovered from remodeling the kitchen, and now we have to redo the guest room and TV room.

About sixteen years ago, Hurricane Floyd dropped a tree on our house, and we had to have a lot of work done in those two rooms. All of the work was done by a professional contractor, hired by the insurance company. Unfortunately, when we moved a bookcase several months ago we discovered that the work had not been done correctly, and water had been leaking into the walls and ceiling forever. Black mold and saggy sheetrock everywhere. We called the insurance agent and he sent down a crew who had a look-see, agreed with us, and gave us a sizable check, with the understanding that we would hire our own contractor.

The Squire removed the sheetrock and insulation from under the windows, and replaced that himself.  The ceiling is another matter entirely, thank you very much. We found a contractor – recommended by Local Son-in-Law – who came out, took a look, and gave us an estimate we could live with. He said he was very busy, but he would get to us as soon as possible.

He called last night to say he would be here tomorrow, which means that The Squire and I spent the major portion of the day shuffling things around upstairs. We had moved the major portion of the furniture right after Steve came by the first time, but things have just sort of crept back in there. Poltergeists.

Steve said he would need a four foot wide space to lift the sheet rock straight up the stairs, which meant removing the banisters. No problem. I’ve wanted to replace them  with something a bit less, um, substantial, for years. And thereby hangs a tale.

When we bought this house, what is now the dining room was part kitchen and part, well, breakfast room, for lack of a better term. One of the first things we did was close in the back porch and move the kitchen out there, so we had space for a table large enough that we didn’t have to eat in shifts. When the Squire moved what we call the Mixing Center into the new kitchen, we decided to remove the wall where it had been standing to make the room seem airier, and put in 2 x 3s as banisters. Rustic, but sturdy, by gum. The Squire put them up with nails and carriage bolts that I think go into the bathroom wall. Well, maybe I exaggerate – a bit.

We need to remove at least three of them so Steve can get the 4 by 8 sheetrock up the steps, but we have discovered the second floor, the banisters, and the stairs have a symbiotic relationship.

When The Squire cut the first banister, the steps dropped a quarter inch. He is not doing anything else until he has a chance to talk to Steve tomorrow.

So, we missed the Ash Wednesday service at noon, and going this late in the day just doesn’t have the same impact. The Squire is exhausted, and I don’t like to drive alone any more, so I’ll just read the Daily Office and call it done.

A grand start to my Lenten Discipline, indeed.

Now They Tell Us

14 Sep

So – The Squire and I spent several days completely emptying the TV and guest rooms, removing the book cases that separated them, and generally disrupting our lives.

The fellow who is supposed to do the construction work came down and caulked all the windows. We had one good rainstorm, and the porch roof didn’t leak but the TV room window did, so he came back and redid that one. When the water was coming in around the window, The Squire tried mopping it up with a rag. I took a long piece of button twist, thumb-tacked one end in the middle of the puddle, and ran the thread into the trashcan. The water simply followed the path of least resistance, and dribbled into the plastic bucket. You would have thought I’d just invented the wheel, or something.

Today, the man who will be in charge of tearing out both exterior walls came down to take a look at the job. He hesitated a bit about leaving the old ceiling in place in the TV room until The Squire took him into the attic and showed him what would come raining down when he removed the tiles. “Gotcha, boss. You are exactly correct.” You just have to explain things very clearly to some people.

And then he dropped the little bombshell that nothing else could be done until we have another hard rain, the make sure the outside is properly sealed before we start working on the inside. That makes perfect sense, but we could have left some of that stuff in there until we were ready to roll.

Great. There’s no rain in the forecast until the 20th.

Maybe I can get my sewing machine back into the room and the ironing board set back up. Speaking of rolling, the contractors will remove the old rug, but they are not sure what they will find under there, and it is entirely possible we have mold to contend with.


Once we get it all painted, we can call the carpet man and have him come down to install new wall-to-wall.  In the meantime, we are camping out in the upstairs.

More Than We Can Desire Or Pray For

11 Sep

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we have discovered extensive damage in the TV and sewing rooms from incomplete repairs done when Hurricane Floyd came to town. As a result, The Squire and I have had to completely empty both rooms, moving everything into what is jokingly called his workshop, or stuffing things into odd corners of our own room, so the men can come in and tear down walls and ceiling.

The ceiling especially should be a classic “fun job”, as the TV room ceiling is those old, old fashioned interlocking square tiles, which are attached to furring strips. You can’t take down one without taking down the entire business. Insulation was poured in on top of the tiles. We put down a plywood floor in the attic after one of us missed our step and put a foot through the ceiling. (Yeah, that spot over there with the tacks in it.) We are going to have to put down plastic sheets to catch the insulation when they remove the ceiling. Good thing we plan on installing a new carpet, too.

We have been packing books, putting stuff on Freecycle, dismantling book shelves, and laughing as if neither of us has good sense. Honestly, you’d think we were having a party, instead of presiding over what may be the Last Rites of our own home.

Last night, as we fell into bed, we both remarked – as we often do – just how fortunate we are. My parents, in spite of my mother’s odd ways, had a good marriage, but I don’t ever remember hearing them giggle and carry on the way we do.  Neither The Squire nor I had very good first runs around the block, and I don’t think either of us (I certainly didn’t!) knew this sort of joy existed.

We wouldn’t have even been able to dream what lay ahead of us, almost forty-one years ago. We have truly been given, as the Prayer Book says, “more than we could desire or pray for”.

Revolting Developments

24 Aug

For the last eon or so, The Squire and I (mostly The Squire) have been working on remodeling the kitchen.

Yesterday morning I opened the drawer to grab a clean dishcloth and discovered We Have Mice. Lots and lots of mice. (Or, perhaps, just a few, but they were very busy.)  All three drawers in that cabinet had to be emptied and wiped down with ammonia and water, and every dish cloth and tea towel I own had to be washed with bleach and hot water.

One of life’s mysteries – I get out a clean dish cloth every morning and use it to wipe the counters and the stove, and then it goes into the laundry. Why, oh why, does every single one look as if The Squire borrowed it to check the oil in the car?

Several weeks ago The Squire had to pull up part of the bathroom floor and repair a leaky toilet. We both tried to convince ourselves that the odor was dissipating, but we finally had to admit that it not only wasn’t going away, but was actually getting worse.

And so once again he had to pull up carpet and floor boards, put a mirror and flashlight into the crawl space, and discovered that in the process of repairing the toilet, the pipe that connects the commode to the septic tank had come loose. No real damage done, but the aroma was overwhelming, to say the least. One more trip to Lowe’s for yet another wax seal, and the job was completed.

I do not move around much when I sleep. I have bursitis in both hips, so I really can’t sleep on my side, and I find the best position is flat on my back, with one leg or the other pulled up like a flamingo. I can sleep all night, slide out of bed and smooth the covers and you’d never know I’d ever been there. Today when I was hanging out the laundry, I found a large worn spot right in the middle of the bottom sheet, just about where my bottom rests. Apparently, runching back and forth is harder on the sheets and the thrashing about The Squire does.  Fortunately, I have a piece of percale left from making costumes, so I can mend it.

Which is a darned sight easier than fixing toilets.