Monday, March 30, 2009

Snow and a Kitchen

This is the view that greeted me Sunday morning after a snow storm blew through late Saturday night. Very pretty with all the trees covered. And the cool thing was the 6 inches we received was mostly gone by late afternoon. About 1 pm in the afternoon I cold hear loud "plops" outside. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what was going on. When I glanced out the window I didn't see anything, then a HUGH pile of snow fell out of the sky and "plop" on to the ground. Gigantic piles of snow were melting and falling off the Norwegian Pine I have out in the front yard and onto the ground. I swear if a small pet of child was standing out there, and got nailed by one of these "piles" they would have been flattened!
Here is a CAD of what the kitchen is going to look like. I will upload more as I get the docs scanned in.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Maezies Parish House

Maezies Parish House is my friends blog about redoing an old Parish house and the Church in front of it. Her and her brother have been into the restoration for 3 years now. Although they are just getting the blog going they have tons of pictures and videos that they will be adding to the site soon.

Here is the link below. .

Tea Room

The second bedroom is now officially The High Country Iced Tea room. That is the two colors that I ended up painting the second bedroom this weekend, High Country, and Iced Tea. I am very happy with the color combination. I still have some trim painting and general cleaning up before my brother gets here next week for a visit.
Sorry for the crappy pics. But I only have a camera phone and that is the best it gets for awhile until I win the lottery, I am sure that I have the winning numbers this time! Oh wait you HAVE to BUY a ticket to win?! What kind of crap is that?
I also did a bit of an experiment and painted the crown the brown color that I had mixed last week. Looks ok.
The green is gone.
Also did allot of stripping again today and a whole bunch of sanding to do tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My visit with the OCL

I had a treat tonight (no not another story of Ding Dongs, although I did treat myself to a couple this evening) I was able to visit with a fellow re-habber that bought an old church and parish house. Very cool place, I wasn't thinking and did not take any pictures. I was so enamored by the whole project (well ok I got to talking to much) and lost track of time. Not only did they buy the church and parish house but the church came with a working pipe organ and a baby grand looking piano. Pretty neat. I wish I knew how to play, it would have been great to play Phantom of the Opera, or a baseball song.
There is a turbine under the pipes that air up a bellow and then somehow by pressing the keys it allows the air to come out. I didn't really climb around in the pipe room but you could hear the turbine whirring below. On the wall behind the pipes written in pencil was a list of dates and names of the guys who came and tuned the organ. I think the earliest was around 1923 and the latest was 1948. Again I have say pretty cool.
The entire inside ceiling of the chapel is all tin ceiling (steel actually) and in remarkable shape. So can you imagine being in a "house" with 20 + foot ceilings and a pipe organ cranking out tunes?!

They have almost finished the parish house and should be able to move and make things livable in the next few months. Or maybe I am just being optimistic for them and being overly hopeful.
I almost forgot, what is OCL??? The original Church lady of course! If you live in a church you have to be a church lady right? There is just no getting away from that.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First weekend of Spring

I am going to start again with weather, but after months of zero temperatures I have to keep crowing about the beautiful weather we have been having again. But I spent most of the weekend in the house sanding, stripping, pulling door casings, and painting. Well I did clean the house and do laundry.
I took some advice from a friend and decided to try something different. I had originally planned to pull all the crown moulding down and just replace it with something different/new but Beth suggested that I keep the crown painted. I took a piece of the door casings that I just re-did late Friday night into the store and had them run the color match for a gallon of paint. It really turned out pretty good and I painted the bit of crown in the entryway.

The last two images are of the door casings and door frame that I completed and reinstalled Saturday. I am digging the color combination of the frames and the Butterscotch Candy color of the walls.

My great friend (Beth) who works at Home Depot pulled a rabbit out of the hat and totally came through on a kitchen design that has just blown me away! I wish I had a scanner so I could get them (the print outs) online for you all to see. It is quite fantastic and she put allot of thought into the whole presentation. I am REALLY jazzed and can't wait to someday get that project started! She basically took a look at the kitchen, a color swatch from the Craftsman period, threw in some glass tile back splash, shaker style cabinets, bead board and BAM! came up with an awesome layout. Very cool Beth! thanks! Really, I am stoked about it all.
The best for last. I discovered a new energy food, most would say junk food. These little chocolate jems come wrapped individually and in a box of 12. What am I rambling about? Hostess Ding Dongs of course! I got a craving the other night watching TV and had to have a sugar fix that left me in a trance for something sweet. I was cruising the aisle at the local grocery store, you know one of those little mom and pop places that try to carry everything?
All the aisles are just jammed with a lots of bits of all kinds of products and it drives you crazy trying to find what you are looking for. Come on, you know there is a store near you that is just like I am talking about. Everyone knows everyone and the beer and wine is located in aisle one just as you walk in the front door?
So I am perusing the energy food aisle and felt these little boxes beckoning me to the end cap on aisle 7, Scott! I heard them say. That was it, I came home and gorged myself, sat and ate 6 in a row! I had a pile of empty wrappers all over the couch when I was finished? well damit! I felt good about it afterwards! Not an ounce of guilt.
So your sitting there asking yourself ( I know you are) how can a grown man eat 6 Ding Dongs and not weigh 800 lbs? I don't' know either but that question fall in the same category as to, why have I lost almost 50 lbs in the last few months without trying? One of those mysterious things in the world that science has yet to solve.
I do have to add that the quality control Hostess has for these little hockey pucks is fantastic! I am on box number two now and they all have the same great chocolaty taste as the first one I opened a week ago!
How is that for a bizzare rant? Hostess Ding Dongs!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I bought some heat

The neat thing about re-doing an old house is some of the new toys you get to buy. I have been looking at a heat gun for a few months and finally busted loose with the HUGE tax refund I got from the state of Illinois. A whole $45! but at least I didn't have to pay this year so I can't complain. Haven't tried it yet but it looks cool and I hope that it helps with some of the paint stripping that I have been neglecting. It really sucks doing but I try to keep telling myself that in the end it will look nice and the next owners will more than likely paint over it all again because (in a Betty Rubble voice) "white looks so clean!"
I had the electricians save me some of the "cool" electrical pieces that they took out of the house when the re-wiring was completed. The first is of a switch (pic 2 is a bit better) that was used for turning on the lights when I went to go squeeze my fat arse up the hole into the attic. The three other parts are for a light socket.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A wow Sunday

Again it was a great day here. It is so refreshing to just be outside and "doing things" I mean I stood in the yard this morning and thought, what can I get into today? Well I tore out the bushes of course! If you look at picture one from yesterday and picture one from today there is a large patch of empty space that wasn't there before. Those juniper bushes just took away from the house. I added another two piles of stuff and another bag of leaves. Twelve bags in all. Amazing all that "stuff" came off this little yard.
I have no thought on what I am going to plant in the bushes place. But my thought is when I get rid of all the neglected parts of this house, I will have a blank slate to work with we I do decide to make a change.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nice day.

I was FINALLY able to get outside today! What a great day.
Now the side yard is pretty small and the first picture really doesn't show a good view, but wat I wanted to give is a visual of that I cleaned ELEVEN (11) 30 gallon bags of crap from a small area. Leaves and shit (seriously, dog crap). I spent 2 1/2 hours raking and another hour cleaning up. I also trimmed the lilac bush and pulled 2 more bags of leaves and sticks from that project and another 1 1/2 hours.

The last pic is another hard to see (sorry for the shitty photos today) I was looking at the driveway and there are parts that have sunk, and over the years PO's have just added more and more blacktop. When I was looking down I saw that either the driveway was brick, or over the years they threw in some bricks to keep things shored up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 55

Day 55 at sea, still no sign of land, running low on water and food..................
Not really, but the electricians are still not finished. I am sitting here in the dark eating Triscuits, string cheese and watching Ghost Hunters on TV. Kind of dumb huh? At least when I wake up from nightmares tonight the cheese will keep me bound up enough and not have the shit scare out of me.
I came home at lunch and the kitchen was a total disaster with wires hanging and out everywhere and all kinds of debris all over the floor. In defence of the electricians they did clean up pretty good by the time I came home after work. But I still feel that it will be the end of the week before things are totally done.
Next project? Back to sanding I guess.
Oh I did turn off the damn Ghost Hunters, it was creeping my out, that and Sugar started dreaming and growling in her sleep.

Here is a bit of boasting again, and has nothing to do with home restoration. I made the local newspaper today I think you need to register to read the entire article. But to summarize my employer is a participant in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and supports those of us that served and are serving in the Reserves and Guard. Pretty cool program, but the biggest thing is it educates employers on the law as it pertains to their employees and being called up for active duty. It also gives us guys a big sign of relief to know we still have a job to come back to after dodging IED's and bullets for 12-15 months at a pop.
Thanks LKCS! a good company to work for if I say so myself!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Even more rain

The weather seems to be to subject around this area allot. I think that there is just not that much going on in peoples lives that the weather is a unifying experience. Hawaii and the Indian Ocean are the only two places I have been in this world that weather doesn't come in conversation. Why? it never changes! always the same. In Illinois? it changes, of course in Texas it always changes.
There is my segway for this post, weather. Rain and more rain and the basement is leaking. Some time back in the day drains were put in the basement floor, good idea and money well spent. But in my "clean" room it has been the scene of the most water activity. It flows out the door and under the wall, which I am sure the bottom sill is rotted out. I am looking at the floor and you can see where the "they" ran the tiles for the drains. In pic 1 you can see the line the tile runs.
I really got tired of vacuuming the water up and started looking this evening and thought I would break out the drill and masonry bit and doing some exploratory drilling. Right on! I hit the clay tile first penetration!(ha ha, he said penetration). So the more holes the better right? I drilled a little farther into the room and just hit concrete. And where I put in my impromptu drain was the end of the tile. But it did the job and sucked the water right down.

This is a picture of where one of the electricians stepped on the ceiling and fell through a bit. Not a big deal but I have a hole where there wasn't before.

Poor Sugar, she got a bath last night was bouncing around and acting fine. We went outside to go pee and she just froze up and stood there looking at me. Seizure again, She made it back to the front door and laid down. I coaxed her into the house and onto the bed for the evening, I wish there was something I could do for her. Today? she is fine, being Sugar. She does have the cuteness thing down don't she?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Time Change

Boy did I forget about this one! Slept solid all night and ended up an hour behind. The rain has been coming down pretty good all night and the basement started to weep again.
I was heading out this morning to do some shopping and I noticed that in the pouring rain none of the down spouts had any water flowing out of them, and water spilling over the top of the gutters. So back to the house, out in the garage, get the ladder and up to the roof.
Now all Friday and Saturday night I kept hearing water splashing on the ground, I thought maybe it was just raining hard and hitting the neighbors patio. Houses are close in this neighborhood and my bedroom window is all of 1o ft from the patio.
As I reach the top of the ladder and look down the gutter line I see all are 3/4 full of leaves and crap. I had thought that the gutters where undersized when I looked at them first but they are plenty big enough when they aren't full of decomposing leaves and who knows what else. As the rain is pouring down I got all the junk out and the down spouts are happly flowing now! Now I just need to get the other half of the house guttered (is that a word?) and the water away.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Busy bee, worky work

I have been feeling like crap the last couple of days and downed a shot of NyQuil and promptly passed out in bed at 8 pm last night. Of course the consequence of NyQil is that I was up at 6 am this morning listening to the rain fall on the roof. And still feeling like crap.
Sugar was being a shit and would not come out of the bedroom because it was thundering and so I just left her there in the room and went down to the basement to survey the damage the electricians had left.
They pretty much left me in a tight one this weekend. No lights, except in the bathroom and bedroom. All the outlets are wired up and I could plug in a lamp or two if I had one. So here I sit watching Terminator 3 and typing in the dark.
I have had these glass block sliding around in the trunk for about a week now and decided I should get them in the house. So there in begins my day. I am looking at the old window thought this would be a pretty quick little project.
Well it wasn't quick, but it was easy.
You buy the blocks for the space needed and then they have a kit to install. Menards had a buy one get one free sale the week I bought the blocks. What I needed to do first was to take the old sill out and replace with a piece of pressure treated wood. There wasn't anything really wrong with the old sill, it needed paint bad and the sill had a angle cut sloping away to keep the water off. Putting the blocks on top of this would have left me with a leaning tower of glass Pisa.
The "kit" comes with plastic tracks that the blocks sit on top of, then on each end there are stainless steel "L" brackets that snap in to the tracks and screw into the wood sill. Between each block you slide a precut 8" section of track and then add another block. On top of each course you screw another plastic track to hold the last down and then slide your next course of blocks on, add the spacers and continue until the hole is filled.
When you get all your blocks laid out, you fill in the voids with silicon caulk.
The kit comes with one tube of silicon caulk, I bought 5 extra tubes on a whim and glad I did. I used all but one to finish off the project. No cement, no nothing, just plastic tracks and caulk. I was pretty liberal with the caulk and filled in all the voids I could find.
I almost forgot, I added a dryer vent also. That is what the white blob in the corner. I was pretty skeptical of the whole process, but after the caulk firmed up and dried, it turned out very solid.
I will never buy this crap again. That is all I am going to say about the stuff.
I only added two more panels today before I got pissed and called it quits.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Just a short update. The electricians said they ran into some problems getting the new wires installed in the kitchen and spent most of the day putzing around in that room. They are going to try and wrap things up sometime Friday but may have to come back Monday. All I know is that this house is a total wreak and everything is covered in 80 year old dust. I woke up Tuesday night with a bloody nose and my sinuses are killing me. I don't blame the guys, I think it is just the combination of the insulation blown in, the change in weather, and the dust being kicked up from shaking everything loose. Combine with the house being closed up tight because of the cold weather and my overly efficient furnace recycling all the particles around.
Really, don't get me wrong I am not bitching. Just trying to rationalize it in my brain. I know smoking has NOTHING to do with my sinuses being in a state of aggravation.
I did get the windows open for most of the day today and I am hoping that some of that crap gets blown out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Had a good series of emails and conversation with Christopher who writes more electricity centric talk. I tried to get a hold of an old outlet but the electricians had thrown out all the old stuff earlier in the week. So no old outlet for my shadow box/museum.
I called about my insurance company today to see if I could get a reduction on my premium after the wiring is done. From what the agent told me is that they already factored the new wiring in before I signed the policy, my premium is what it is. Then I got the old, because that house is old and the replacement for a structural brick home...blah, blah, blah and there are allot of factors figured in....blah, blah, blah....
I will be shopping around for a new insurance company in the next few months. Give me the blah speech and I'll cut you off.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Made in the USA?

This is one of the old switches that the Mike (the electrician) replaced today. Pretty crazy. Scott, Mikes helper said he looked in one of his books and from what he can tell it is from the 1930's. If you double-click the picture you can see it is spring loaded and two arms (one on each side). the arms flip down or up depending on which way the switch is moved. I can just visualize a spark being created everytime the lever is flipped. Glad I don't have a meth lab in the basement with all the highly explosive chemicals needed to make that stuff. One word (and it is my favorite after the dryer incident) BOOM!

In the first image, again if you expand the picture you can make out something that you don't see very often in this day. A stamp that says "Made in the USA" also above it is stamped H&H or H&K. I did a quick search and found this: I am not sure if it is the same company, but their website says they have been around since 1901.
One can look at it as a testimony to good ol' solid american engineering and craftsmanship. I mean if this was stuck in a wall 70+ years ago and still works today that has to say something. I wonder if one of todays switches would last that long?

This is a keeper. Maybe I will make a shadow box with all the old stuff I find from the house along the way.
Mike said that they should be done Friday sometime and that most everything is going pretty good, some places were and are hard to get the new wire into and they have found a few outlets installed without being in a electrical box at all. Amazing. I guess that is why they have electrical codes now. For the good.

Monday, March 2, 2009

More Electric

The electricians came today! They started rewiring this morning but it took most of the early hours just figuring out what was jury rigged over the years. Much worse than what Mike (the electrician) originally thought. I stopped by at lunch today to see how things were going, He was telling me that some outlets in different rooms were all wired together and that for 6 rooms they are all on 2, 15 amp circuit breakers. One outlet is on one breaker, and in the same room another outlet is another breaker. Which makes sense now.
When I was redoing the bedroom I was blowing a breaker all the time with the shop vac plugged into one room and the shop lights in another. At the time I didn't spend allot of brain cells thinking about it, I was just trying to get the room finished.
For the moment, I have extension cords running across the floors from the kitchen so I can have lights plugged in. Hopefully by the end of the week it will be all done.