Archive for the ‘exterior’ Category

Evil Evil Tree.

tree cut

There is a catalpa tree next to our house. Technically, it belongs to the (absentee landlord) owner of the neighboring property.

The catalpa “fruit”(?) is an utterly evil thing.  They look like long green beans (as long as my forearm) and they dry out when they fall to the ground, turning into horrid, sharp dangery things. Things which like to stick in our push mower and stop it dead.

Turns out the tree itself is also evil, as it has been EATING OUR HOUSE.

We noticed a suspicious wet spot on the ceiling of the back bedroom this week, and figured it had something to do with the fact that the tree is now touching our house. So we called someone to come trim back the tree, out of our airspace.

When they got up on the ladder, the damage was way worse than we’d thought. I actually watched this man stick his arm, up to the elbow, into the roof over the bay window.  Then he came down the ladder and showed me photos of the roof (he offered to let me up there, but I’ve been having bad luck with injuries and mechanical things in the past 2 days, so no thanks, 30 foot ladder!)

It’s bad. Really really bad.   The estimate is yet to come, but I’m feeling really guilty about the vacation coming up in two weeks.

At least we know why the south wall of the basement is so wet now.

Deep breaths are increasingly necessary.


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The extent of my home improvement in the last week or so has been successfully obtaining a stack of cinderblocks, stacking them up in an odd configuration (see mom, all that Tetris did pay off!) and getting them up on their perch.

Have I installed the diverter yet to fill them? Um, no.

Also, I have clearly not weeded the yard.

Baby steps folks, baby steps.

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Argh. The bane of my existence at present.

I was saying for a while that we could have people over once the kitchen was finished.

Now I’ve amended that thought and have started saying that we can have people over once the cabinets are in. I don’t even care about a sink (which was the original touchstone) or countertops. Just cabinets in the kitchen, instead of in cardboard boxes throughout the living and dining rooms like they are right now.

There’s a lot of stuff that’s gone on.  Mostly, it’s stuff that’s hard to photograph. Like plumbing and electric.

There was stuff that as we started to do it, we figured out that it would be easier – in the long run – to do an extra step or two. (Delay.)

So when we took the walls off in the kitchen, it became clear that if we really were putting a shower in the downstairs bath (eventually) it made more sense to go ahead and put in the plumbing for it now. (Delay.)

And there was the hooking up of the washer and dryer in the basement, which necessitated a bit of plumbing work. (Delay.)

And the discovery that the water pipes in the basement were pretty much braided together, and then the extended guesswork that resulted in trying to lay them out in a more rational manner, and that led to us living with a toilet with a hot water supply for the next two weeks. (It was weird. Also, delay.)

And then there was this:

That tree fell from our neighbor’s yard one night and took the power lines for three houses, both sides of our fence and our opposite neighbor’s fence, and all the cable and telephone wires. The power lines are back up, but we’re having fits trying to get the cable and phone companies to bring up the others, so they are still in our backyard.  AT&T doesn’t seem to get that even though we only have DSL yes indeed it is their line that’s in our yard. Grrrr…. So, delays.

And then, the sewer line problem we’d had disclosed by the previous seller happened again, necessitating a quickie emergency call to the plumber to clean the roots out of the line. Luckily, that did not cost the multiple thousands the prior owner suggested, and instead was merely a few hundred. Still, delays.

At this point, we are slogging through and overcoming the delays, and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We’ve gone from my first half-assed demolition attempt:

To real destruction:

To that which is best left to professionals (like my dad!) and Nadja:

To drywall and a hole in the wall (the doorway to the eventual pantry):

and the eventually smaller bathroom:

To where we are now, with roughed in plumbing and electric. That–of course–I forgot to take a photo of. But also, 2x4s screwed into the ceiling, which – let me tell you – is exactly last thing you want to be doing in Ohio when the weather is in the high 90s and 800,000% humidity.

Mom helped:

Next steps: we’ll get the electric boxes and switches installed, and then it’s time to hang the cabinets.  When dad found out the sink weighs 250 pounds, that’s when I found out I need to get the countertop folks to install that also (hey, at least I got it into the trunk of my civic by myself!) Then, people can come over, and I will no longer fret about how on earth we’ll get the glasses and plates clean. And also, I’ll get to use the dishwasher that’s been sitting –brand spanking new — in the bay window for three months now.

And I’ll be able to make a salad in my own house, which right now sounds like paradise.

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