Monday, January 26, 2009

Ear ache

Ok, so here is the deal. My ear hurts and I can't hear a damn thing. Is this house related? of sorts. My sisters dad (we are a nuclear family, ok?) well he is 86, Bronze Star awarded for battle, and was involved in 3 major battles in Europe, Battle of The Bulge, The Rhur River Valley and a third, that eludes me. Something french and in a valley.

His house burnt down a few weeks back and he was left with nothing but what he was wearing that afternoon. So my sister came home from Texas to help get him squared away this weekend. So I drive north about an hour from my home and forgot my damn stocking hat, a balmy 7 degrees out all day and I was moving stuff from house to car, to house again. I have had this shivering thing going on for about 4 weeks now, where no matter how many layers of clothes I have on I still cannot get warm (maybe it is that 40 lbs weight loss I endured the last 4 mos?) I sit at work with long johns, and four long sleeve T-shirts and a coat! I work in doors in a cubicle in front of a computer all day. If I have to go into the data center the cold hurts.

So we got everything moved and settled in and my ear hurts. One for the team.

I think I found the craftsman that worked on this craftsman where drunk the day they roughed out this door. They used multiple pieces of 2x4's to finish out the frame (see above).
Now for the bummer part of the blog, but as the title says "an old house rehabbing me" I have been going through a breakup with "my girl" for the past few months, absolutely beautiful person, and I have nothing bad to say and she is still the love of my life. So having said that.......I want to thank Beth my sister, Greg my brother and Bethany from work for listening to me sob and cry the past few weeks. This has been a very difficult time and I think the future is going to be ok. I can see the sun again (I just wish it was warmer) and with the help of my counselor and the love I have been shown by my friends and family I want to thank all. And for Kim, I love you always, don't ever forget that.
Kim brought out a passion in me after we met and I haven't been able to stop since, that is writing. I never sat down and wrote anything that was legible let alone made any sense. Most would still find the way I write pretty amateurish anyway but it helps get the cobwebs out of my head and think things through as to what the next step will be.
There is a good book that I was given called Rebuilding by Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti, even if you are not having relationship difficulties it is worth the $17 just for the education of relationship building. And as I am writing this, Caddy Shack is just ending and Kenny Loggins is singing, " I'm alright" very fitting!
Bummer part over.
Have a good night all!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I see the light

There is a metaphor there that is for Beth at work. Thanks Beth, thanks for the help and I will continue to bend your ear.

But there is another reason for seeing the light, and it is not coming from the drawer.

I have been secretly buying the CFL bulbs as I see a good price on them at the store. Why secretly? I don't want to be ostracized by the evil, dirty burning coal industry. But Home Depot has been having a regular running deal on the Dairy Queen looking bulbs for a few weeks now. four bulbs for $4 dollars. So I have replaced all but a few of the in the house entirely with the DQ bulbs. Now I am waiting to cash in on all the savings in electricity that I the "industry" says I will save. I am sure the check is in the mail somewhere. The only bummer is it takes a few moments for the lights to warm up and put out their full lumen's.

Took out the other door frame today. I was vacuuming up the debris and I found a old rusty fish hook that came from the top of the frame, it was stuck on the end of the vacuum tip and it hooked my finger a bit when I went to take it off. No blood. But what the hell would a fish hook be on the top of a door frame for? I mean someone had to put it there between the top of the door casement and the rough door frame.

Oh my sander took a crap and I bought a cheapo Tool Shop brand from Menards, and wow! that thing really does the job for $21! I also decided to buy better sand paper than the cheap stuff I usally purchase

Monday, January 19, 2009


Not house related, but home related. Sugar had a seizure Saturday night, actually Sunday morning. So the weekend was kind of a bummer. Poor girl. She is such a good dog and to see her go through something like that really sucks, totally broke my heart. I laid with her on the floor a while and then about 2:30 in the morning I took her into the bedroom and let her sleep with me on the bed the rest of the night. Very strange, we had a pretty laid back day so there wasn't anything stress full that I exposed her to. She was just laying there, I was talking to her and bam! she had a look of total panic and a "dad please help me!" then she got the shakes and went rigid. So I am wondering if she hasn't had more during the past nights, because she really hasn't been eating to much. I don't leave her alone and take her to "grand ma's" while I am at work or go someplace where I just can't take her. Other than that she is always with someone and watched except at night when she sleeps in front of the fireplace. I guess a trip to the the vet is due, maybe we can get her on some medication.

Just an update for those rabid followers of mine. It looks like I got the leaks stopped in the basement foundation. The cold weather helped with stemming the flow. So if there is a good reason for below zero weather, stopping the leaks is good reason. Now I am bracing for the gas bill.

Comments, for whatever reason. I do have comments turned on for this blog but they just don't seem to be working. I am thinking it is the template I am using. Not being very patient when it comes to software applications and being more of a hardware guy, I have to take trying to fix the comments in doses. At the top right of the page is my profile information and if you begin to feel warm, tingly, and the overwhelming urge to email me you can. Be nice though, I am sensitive. (hehehe)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Plan, plan, plan

Plan3D, I have been using this program for about a month now and so far have been happy with it. One thing about the program is use subscribe to the program vice buying the software outright. Really for $36 a year, Ifind it fits my budget. You can layout anything that has to do with a house, kitchens, baths, any room. And I think you cn not only layout an entire house, and the yard to. Don't hold me to the yard thing, I haven't dove into the program to deep.

A few years back I worked in a cabinet shop for a few months (until I got laid off on Christmas Eve, but that is a whole nether story) I used to do layouts for the kitchens themselves and the layout for the cabinet boxes to be cut on a 3 axis router. I HATE CAD programs. But I have found Plan3D pretty straight forward and easy to use. for the life of me I cannot remember what the program was called that we did the actual kitchen layouts with. But Multicam was my nemeses for the router cutting.

Here is a view of my kitchen and one layout I am toying with.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Playing in cement

I took a drive down to my nearest Lowes, an hour away. I had to get out of the house and wanted to see what they had in the store, I wish I had about $10,000 and a truck. Of course if I spent that much money, I would hope that they deliver for free. They had about 3 times the selcetion of my local Menards and Home Depot combined. The appliance section was really neat.
I slathered more hydraulic cement on the walls in the basement this morning since the ground is good and frozen and the water was not flowing. Bam! slapped that stuff right on there and got that flowing water stopped good! But being as though I have taken the role of the little dutch boy, I am sure there will be other palces that the water will push through.
Really for a 100 yr old house there isn't much leakage.
After purusing Lowes today, I got some good ideas for the laundry room. Now it will go on the "list". Christopher over at talks about his 5, 10, 20 and 40 year plan for his house. I think the laundry room will go on my 40 yr plan unless I win the lotto. But wait, you have to buy a ticket in order to win. So doing the quick math, in 40 yrs, I will be 83 with with a cool laundry room.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How you know its cold outside

Why? it is -34 degrees outside and 70 degrees in the house. That is 104 degrees difference. It physically hurts to go outside. How do those intrepid folks in North Dakota do it every year?

Question for all my droogies:
How do you know your in an old house?

You furnace cycles every 5 mins to keep the place a nice balmy 65 .
You can feel half of next months paycheck go up the chimney.
You know your paycheck is gone and you haven't earned it yet.
The dog looks at you like your crazy when you tell her to go out and pee.
The basement windows are frozen over - on the inside.
When you turn on the faucet to brush your teeth, the water is so cold the fillings in your head feel like they are driving themselves through your jaw.
As you walk from one room the next, your heavily socked feet can still feel the temperature difference.
The old knob and post wiring worries you so much about the amperage draw that you won't plug in an electric blanket for your bed to warm it up.
The closet floor in your bedroom is as cold as it is outside. ( You think I am kidding? I have dirty clothes piled against the door to keep the draft out.)
Thats is for tonight. Stay warm.

Didn't do anything on the house tonight, I just logged on to bitch about the weather.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My first!!!

Well I have my first official follower!!! Thanks Christopher! I can't wait to dive into your blog and read about your trials and tribulations on this thing we call restoration, or insanity. Here is is blog site

I am watching one of my favorite movies this afternoon, the Hunt For Red October. I remember reading the book when I was in the Navy. I spent 10 years hunting Soviet submarines sitting in the back of a P-3 Orion aircraft (about 3200 hours worth) playing chess with Soviet submariners and honestly we kicked their asses all over the Pacific ocean from the time they left the motherland until they went home for good and the wall came down. I miss my crews I flew with, but not the bullshit we had to do when we weren't flying. Oh well, again from the heart and to the guys that are still on station and never came home for a post flight and a debriefing it was an honor to serve with you and you are the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice doing what you did best and loved. Sorry for being sentimental and mushy.

Ok! onto the house.I reinstalled the door jamb and baseboards this afternoon. The following 3 pictures are of the process and final install. I had a hell of a time nailing the door jamb back up. The nails kept hitting "something" and bending over. I screwed the pooch on a few of the nails and messed the wood up...some. Maybe when I get a door installed they (the nails)won't be noticeable.

The last picture is of the room in the basement that I am going to make into the laundry room.

I was going to (one day) get some stackable washers and put them in a closet off the bathroom, but have since decided that I am going to take the closet out and add that extra 4' to the bathroom and open it up a bit. The gain is in the interior (with-in the confines of the existing walls) length of the room vice width. I dunno, I will probably change my mind again in a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I staged the door jambs and baseboards just to get a feel for what the boards and wall colors are going to look like together. Sorry for the dark pictures, no matter how many lights I turn on it just still looks dark no matter how I adjust the phone camera .

Pretty different from the painted pony that was there originally.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More is the word for Monday

More snow, only 3 inches at my place but it dumped in about 3 1/2 hours. There was a few times I played gopher at work (popped my head up from the cubical) and looked outside only to see white out conditions. Below is the final coat of the door jamb I took out between the kitchen and living room. the "white" stuff on the boards is the wet poly that I put on just before I took the picture.
After work tomorrow I will put the door jamb and trim back on the walls and start on the next one. Yeah!?
The bank had an appraiser come over today. Being a smallish city, the appraiser told me this was the third or fourth time he had been in this house over the years (and most of the houses on the street for that matter) so my walk through was all of 15 mins. He already had a floor plan and the past appraisals in his folder. The short time I talked to him he told me what the past appraisal numbers came out as, and also the story of "Rhonda" and how she trashed the place. I guess it took him months to get into the place and only after the bank foreclosed. I am going to venture a guess that the value of this house has plateaued and it will be after I am long gone that it will move up in any value, significantly.
For the hundreds of my rabid readers and followers of my blog, I am not certain if I told the story of "Rhonda" and how this old house turned into the corner drug store for a number of years. So the stories go, it was so bad that the rest of the street was getting afraid to come outside for fear of a drive by. I would be willing to bet there is a bit of midwestern exaggeration in all the stories told. The neighbors have also told me, this place had quite allot of foot traffic at all hours of the day and night. I would also bet there was allot of bubbling water from bongs over the cricket chirps that could be heard on a clear summer night if one listened close enough.
But Rhonda and her "family" are gone and there will be stories of me to be told in the future, without a doubt.
An irony, (speaking of appraisals) I am watching House Hunters on HGTV and they have people looking at 1.5 million dollar homes. I would place a bet that this house is going to come in at way under the numbers that are being showed on TV.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowed Under

Had quite a bit of snow today, I think about 6" or so.

So I was looking at the door jam between the front room and the kitchen and I got this great idea to try and strip and sand the door jamb in place. Not my first idea that didn't work out.

I ended up taking the door jamb out and hauling it into the basement for a "strip" search. 6 coats of paint plus one of varnish. When I pulled the door jamb off the kitchen side of the door I found the wood is pine vice the birch that is in the rest of the house. I also found that the original color of the kitchen and door jamb is a dark flat green, which from what I have read about A&C homes, brown and greens were used to give a sense of more "earthyness".

The first pic is of the door jamb, out of all the colors of paint on the wood I like the peach color the best. The picture is kind of crappy and doesn't really show all the paint layers. The second is where a carpenter must have gotten pissed and took an axe to the framing and hacked out a good section of the 2x4 in order to get the door frame square. You can really see the chop marks in the wood.
Not really a surprise, but I found the two layers of linoleum on the kitchen floor. I had to peal back some to get the door frame out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I found this picture on a blog site that I losely follow. Is this a killer kitchen or what? Now this room is something to aspire for.

And this is a bathroom in the same house. I really like the subway tile and the wall color.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A cool idea

I was looking at and ran across this tip. If you have the patience (and I don't) and are feeling like you need to to something green, this is a great way to strip paint from door hardware. A crockpot, dish soap, water and a couple hours of "cooking".
Check out the video! the link is below.

Striping will set you free!

That is what I keep telling myself, and telling myself, over and over again.

The first picture is feet, size 11's thank you. Actually it is a terrible picture of a piece of base board, but basically I am trying to show what the boards look like after 2 applications of stripper and the heavy tan paint that is denying the inevitable, it will be sanded off.
The second and third images, are a question: why would you paint over such great looking wood? Look at that grain! I just hope someday, someone else will appreciate the time and energy I am putting into all this trim and doors. If they don't? they can always paint over them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Did allot of sanding this weekend on the door casements for the front room. I also stripped all the trim I pulled out a week or so ago. I put some shelf brackets on the wall in the basement to stack all the boards after I finished stripping all the paint. It helps keep the boards off the floor and from under foot.
When stripping these particular boards I found there was 3 layers of paint plus the original stain and varnish. Someone painted a "tan" color. This looked like a heavy enamel and I mean heavy! not only was it thick I am almost certain it was a lead based paint. The second coat was a lovely coat of Forest Green color. Horrible pukey color. The last was a flat white that flaked right off. I had to strip each board 3 times because of the tan "base" that just would not lift off the boards. When I picked up the paper and striped off paint it must have weighed over 20 lbs.

I also did some finger painting with some hydraulic cement on one wall that was leaking last week after the quick thaw and rain we had here, turned out ok. I hope it stops the leaking.
Sugar was pretty lethargic yesterday and I think she actually had a doggie virus or something. She slept hard all after noon curled up so I wrapped her up in a blanket and she barley moved and stayed like a babushka the rest of the night. Today she seems fine and was running around the park like she was on fire.