How's that Old House?

sheepco(MN z4)August 6, 2008


How's the renovation coming along? Everything OK?


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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Yes, Sarah, things are moving along. There has been a bit of a lull while we had to wait for the various inspectors... meanwhile we thought we could get all the tiling done, but that was somewhat over-optimistic!
But the inspectors came and signed off, the only thing we had to change was, you're apparently not allowed to re-use insulation? We had put the yellow, foil-backed insulation from the bathroom walls right back in after the new window was installed, but it had to come back out and be replaced by new, pink, paperbacked insulation. The contractor says, this inspector is otherwise easy enough, but he always has to find something for you to fix. He's coming back today to check and then the sheetrockers can come and put walls and ceilings back in. I can't wait. It won't start looking like we're making progress until we can't see the open walls anymore!

I have a few new pictures, hold on a few minutes, I'll have to download to Photobucket first.
OK, here they are!
In this picture, you see me stripping old paint. Notice how I'm wearing the all important eye protection.

Last Tuesday the cabinets arrived. This is about a third of the total. There are boxes everywhere...

We finally got to do some tiling Saturday. This is DH in kitchen #1,

and me and DD in kitchen #2. Yes, they look identical. I can't be creative in two kitchens at once.

We slowed down a lot on Sunday - first thing in the morning some neighbors noticed that DH's car window had been smashed. The GPS and radar detector were gone out of the dash. Broken glass everywhere. The Boston police of course has more urgent matters to attend to, even early on Sunday morning, so they didn't even come, they just took the info over the phone. We were out of sorts the whole day, misplaced stuff and did everything wrong the first time - we're such country bumpkins, we never even have to lock our own house when we go on vacation for the neighbors to easily come and feed the tank fishies.
Anyway. The insurance is good for it, they finally get to do something for us. They sent a nice man to put in the new window and he cleaned the whole car too, and they're going to try and claim the theft via our home owners insurance.

And then DSIL showed up with a crooked grin and a Best Buy baggie with a brandnew TomTom in it. DH almost got emotional... DSIL really scored big... (this is a good thing, because of course nobody that marries any of DH's daughters is quite good enough)

The California kids and grandkids arrived very early this morning, so we're not going to Boston now until Sunday (I'm on the computer because they're all napping). Meanwhile the insulation inspection will happen and the sheetrockers and plaster crew will do their thing. The rest of the tiling early next week, then we'll get help installing the cabinets, call the counter people, and we'll put in the appliances. Then the realtor can come and take some pics, to start looking for renters for the upstairs...

DH, the impulsive one that really wanted to do this, now says, never any more big projects! Except that he wants us to build our own (small) house to retire in - I guess that's a small project then.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Mary, I'm so glad to hear the house is coming along...even with the insulation setback. I'm sorry to hear about your car, though!! I'm a country bumpkin, too, and I've only had my car broken into once (they got a stereo, amp, speakers...and they attempted to hotwire it...), but that's enough for me. It didn't even feel like my car after that. Very creepy knowing some uninvited person was in there. :(

Way to go, DSIL!! He definitely sounds good enough. :D

Have a great visit with your Cali kids! And don't work too hard! Yeah, right. LOL


    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 11:51AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Your DH and your DSIL sound like keepers. Sorry about the car. More pictures later, please. Sandy

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 5:47PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

WOW! You folks are rolling right along. Looks fantastic so far. :-) Sorry about the car getting smashed into. Nice to have good insurance people and a nicer DSIL. :-)

Enjoy your visit with the kids. Take care!


    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 6:40PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Great to see and hear about the progress! Thanks for the pix! Looking good.

Sorry too about the car. Same here about never locking my house, and I can't find my car keys unless they're in the ignition LOL!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 8:09AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

The tile looks great Mary! But what I'm impressed with the most is that you and your DH can get down on your knees!! That time is gone for me forever! lol!
I'm glad you're doing the same thing in both kitchens. It makes sense to not complicate things.
Its looking great Mary! Thanks for sharing the pics.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:08PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

There's that pretty yellow again :^)

I'm amazed at how much you've gotten done - I'm sure it doesn't seem that way to you though!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 8:46PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)


After a long ROOMY hot shower and a cup of tea I feel human again. The shower at DD is so cramped and a constant fight with the shower curtain...

I can't catch you up with pics today, I forgot the camera. It's probably right on the camper table... so I'll do that Saturday night or Sunday night. Since the California kids/grandkids went back home, we have mostly stayed on site, sleeping in the little camper. There is a lot going on at the moment that we can be part of (as opposed to plumbing and electrical work).
- DH and I got all the floor tiling done, and Moses has started grouting.
- The sheetrock was done(so-so) while the California gang was here. I'm going to charge the sheetrockers $35 per cigarette butt that I picked up from the kitchen floor. However, the plasterers were excellent. Moses has meanwhile primed the ceilings and walls, including where the plaster guys fixed the many holes in the walls from the electrical work.
- while the contractor was on vacation last week, we installed (leveled! that was a job and a half) the bottom cabinets. The counter people came Monday to make a template. Unfortunately it will be September 10th or so before they deliver. Grumble. I hate it when I have to wait because I'm not the only customer... I called and told them a sob story about how pregnant DD is. We'll see if it helps!
- the contractor and carpenter friends are now working on the top cabinets and the trim around doors and windows etc.
- Most of the appliances have arrived, DH brought them up from New Hampshire (no sales tax) in the little trailer, and DSIL and friend carried them into the house and upstairs. Then they went out for a beer.
- just a few more hours and the bathtub walls will have all their tiles done also. Phew. That's a difficult job, we didn't realize that the spacers don't stick between the cute tumbled-look tiles... they fall out faster than I can put them in... makes it very slow. But, we're almost done anyway. Yeay!
- When I left this afternoon, the plumber was putting in one pedestal sink and one toilet, so I won't have to use the tiny camper facilities anymore. Yeay! Two yeays in a row. Things are definitely looking up!
- I paintstripped a few more doorways. I think I'll have that job done in another two days. It's hard on the hands and arms, so I'm pacing myself.
- About a hundred trips to home Depot and Lowes...
- I took a paint sample from every room (plasterers filled those holes too) to HD and bought a lot of quarts of custom paint. Hopefully they're good matches so Moses and I won't have to paint the whole rooms but only do touch up. Keep your fingers crossed...

The mess has gotten a lot worse with all the trim cutting. Saw dust everywhere. And there were five people at work today, so I got out from underfoot. But back to work tomorrow! DH has to make his next trip to Asia next week, he has postponed it all he could. So we have to get the last tiling done tomorrow and Saturday. After that I can slow down some for the rest of the stripping*, the painting, and the finishing touches.

I think I'll keep Moses forever!

:) Mary

*PS So I said to DD last week, nobody here this afternoon, I think I'll do some stripping, and she rolled over laughing - so now I can't say "stripping" anymore without certain visual images *
*have to re-train myself to call it "paint stripping"*
*of course a lot less fun*
*so maybe I won't*

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:04PM
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LOL!!! @ stripping!

Mary, my arms...ok, everything aches for you! Sheetrockers are filthy animals. LOL I hope Moses can be your BFF! :D

I'm still stuffing cake in my mouth, so forgive the shortnesssss *spraying food* of my post. *chocolatey grin*


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 10:26AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Sounds like you're making HUGE strides! Can't wait for the pix.
And so glad you're all keeping your sense of humor with all the aches and pains! LOL at stripping too!!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 11:19AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)


Here are the plaster guys. Instead of us paying less for the so-so-ness of (and cigarette butt removal for) their sheetrock brethren (who were apparently hired by the plaster guys), they (the plaster guys) are coming back to do more fixing up around window trim etc. These are two brothers from county Donegal. I love the accent - and I almost understand it...

Here you can see the so-so-ness of the sheetrockers. It's supposed to OVERLAP the edge of the tub, AFTER application of caulking.

Tiling around the tub. Meanwhile it goes all the way to the ceiling. DH built a cool shampoo shelf and I decided to tile it in little tiles. Which took forever.

The kitchen with the cabinets! Meanwhile the crown moulding is attached too. You can see a bit of the mess, but most of it is elsewhere because the kitchen will be grouted tomorrow. There's the trim on the floor, and the cut-off pieces, and the paint cans standing around, and cardboard, and sawdust, and and and...
We're starting the clean-up this week.

Sometimes DH works from the trailer, phone calls to the kingdom of far far away... feels a little bit like we're having vacation...

If any of you ever do a major renovation project, feel free to email and ask me all the things we have learned to do differently!

:) Mary

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 8:21PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

OMG! Where do you find the energy to do all that, Mary? I'm almost exhausted just reading your delightful narration and looking at the photos. What fantastic progress you've made!

Grab those mini-vacations when you can. :-)

Thanks for the updates.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:27AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Thanks Chicka. And by the way, also my other fans, Brenda and Sarah and Catherine and Sandy and Jeanner etc! It's nice to be able to show off what we've accomplished.

DH had to go on a business trip - did I tell you this already? - so the contractor sent in the troops to help me finish. Two nice carpenter guys are finishing the trim around doors and windows, putting knobs on the kitchen cabinets, and generally fixin' anything that needs fixin'. Moses will finish grouting the walls in the bathrooms tomorrow and he'll help me paint next week. The plaster guys will come and fix any new holes by the electricians, who forgot to connect the bathroom heaters... and they'll hang lights etc on Monday. Then the counters and the last bit of plumbing. Then the inspections and the occupancy permit.


I'm so done with this adventure... so ready for life to return to normal! And I want a massage too.

What I was working on yesterday evening was convincing Sears to do something for me because the refrigerators' outside looks a bit wrinkled in one corner. Both, but opposite corners - is that weird or what! So, they gave me a free extra year on the warranty, just in case something is wrong on the inside, and a $100 gift card! I love Sears (mostly)! They're so reasonable!
What I'm working on right now is not losing the hazard insurance, they think it's taking too long before occupants move in. I agree, of course! Someone is coming to make pictures Monday... -> I think I'll be spending tomorrow and the weekend cleaning, so it looks almost totally ready! I'll make more pics too. And then, more pics when we're all done!

Next I have to call the realtor so they can send someone from the rentals department.

Chicka, I start to sound a bit like your "pets are relaxing"... my version, "this is a wonderful adventure, this is a wonderful adventure, this is..." etc.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 5:13PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

No wonder you're exhausted and ready to be done with this project! Seems like just last week you were telling us you were thinking of buying 'this old house' and you've done so much!

It looks WONDERFUL! I want to sit in that kitchen with all those windows! And all that tiling - no way I would have then patience. It looks awesome!

Pats on the aching backs all around!!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:08PM
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Sarah wrote, "Seems like just last week you were telling us you were thinking of buying 'this old house' and you've done so much!"

After reading that, I had to recheck one of the original posts...which was back in April?! Holy cow, it DOES seem like last week! Well, to us, who haven't done the work. LOL You deserve a LONG vacation with multiple deep-tissue massages, Mary!! And someone serving you grapes, like a Greek goddess. :D


    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:26AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

The counter tops are in! So pretty. Now it suddenly looks like a kitchen... what with the appliances installed and all. The only things missing are one faucet (it leaked and I just returned it) and the dishwashers still have to be attached. The counter guy was going to come between 5 and 6 PM, and Gretchen and I were still waiting at 7:45, hungry and cold, so I thought: I'm crazy that I'm still here, so I went home. I left them a howler message on their machine and I'm thinking up another one to send before Monday morning, maybe a little nicer... They already had us wait for hours and hours when they came to install. So IMHO they can wait a good old time for the final payment.
But the counters, so gorgeous!

Here's a peek at the bathroom, light and meds cab in, tiles and grout in, and painted. The clear glass tub doors will go in any day now. It is not possible to see the whole bathroom - I don't think that kind of lens exists...

There are still details to take care of, but we're almost there. The kids should be able to move in next weekend!

:) Mary

*Phew. Just in time... my niece and her BF are arriving Tuesday night from the Netherlands for a two week visit...*
*and at home, I just took the third wheelbarrow full of WH out of the pond*

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 6:00PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

WOW again Mary! You guys are amazing! I want that kitchen!!
And your tile work is great.

AND you still have to take care of the home place , AND pond! Way to go girl!! Now have another long bath and a couple more Aleve....and a big ol' glass of wine.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 9:41PM
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Wow, everything looks fabulous, Mary!! I love that kitchen, too. It's so open and roomy, and those counters ARE gorgeous!

I bet you don't even drink that much coffee, right, Mary? That's at least 3 pots-worth of work for me! :D

Hope you have a GREAT visit with your niece and BF!!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 9:59AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

A little setback today. We passed the final plumbing inspection, but the #$%^&*&^%$ gas company won't put in gas meters until they have given us new account numbers. No, that's not this department. (bureaucrats rule the gas company...) Well, a good bit of time later DH had downloaded the form, filled it out, and faxed it, and they are willing to get us the account numbers in about a week. Then we will be allowed to apply to get the gas meters.
Of course, no meters-> no gas, no hot water, no showers, so, no moving in.
I haven't called DD yet with the bad news. I know I'm going to cry - I'm so frustrated. No Brenda, usually I'm a decaf girl, but with this project I do drink high test, and thus I am way more impatient and less able to take things in stride...
At least the hot tub is ready!

I'm going to have Moses touch up the paint where needed and have him clean up the splatters tomorrow. DH wants to fire him because he should have used more blue tape. He should have. I was busy priming the woodwork so I didn't notice. Grrr. Well. Not that we're in a hurry...

:( Mary

*is that hot tub calling me?*
*I think so*

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 9:38PM
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Awww, Mary! Too bad you couldn't send a REAL howler to the gas company. It sounds like they need a Mrs. Weasley version.

It's ok to cry. Let it all out. Then take that wine Sarah is holding, and get in the tub! Maybe do that before niece and BF arrive, though. :D


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:12AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

How's it going Mary? Hope you're relaxing a bit with your family visiting.

Or...........oh, no........should have told you to wait to have the wine AFTER the hot tub.......

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 10:14PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Heehee! This is how the hot tub goes. The tub room has french doors at both entrances so no privacy.
I yell, "Watch out! Naked person in the tub!", strip, and slide in. Aaaahhhhhhhhh.
Then when I get out I wrap in a laaaaaaaaaaarge towel, grab my clothes, and traipse through the house, by the front door that is open almost all year because Gretchen likes to lie in front of it and look out, up the stairs, to get dressed in clean civvies or jammies. Then back downstairs for a cup of tea. I'm not really much of a wine person (family history of, let's call it over-dependence) (with ensuing behavior issues) (long story).

We are having a ball with DN and DNIL. They went to the Highland Games yesterday with DD, and we all went whale watching Saturday. We're so lucky with where we live. We saw eight fin whales, mostly moms with babes, and a young humpback. That one was feeling lonely so it hung out right next to the ship for a long time. Tomorrow they're off to Washington DC and then NY city. So, we can finish up the last few details at the house. Because! We're almost there! Really! The gas was connected Friday, and we only need one more inspection. Keep your fingers crossed, because there is a question about the battery operated smoke detectors. DD and DSIL are packing and starting to move things to the new house, and the realtor has two interested parties, with a very healthy rent in mind.

One of those parties being a young family with a 3 (weeks? months? year?) old. Unfortunately the father is a lawyer. So I think I'd like to discriminate against them and have the other party - three young women, two teachers and a financial something or other. We'll see how that goes...

I will be starting soon with making an album on Photobucket with the whole journey. After I drop of DN and DNIL at the bus/train station tomorrow I'll go around for pics of the finished product.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:22AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

ALL RIGHT!!! Sounds like you've had a good week!

(But what were you thinking making a hot tub with no privacy (this is the home place right?) - yeah, ok, next time :0)

I just smile when I see in my mind Gretchen stretched out across the threshold :)

Patiently waiting for LOTS of pix of the "finished" product of all your blood, sweat and tears! If it's anything like the kitchen, there's half a dozen of us ready to move in. Shouldn't be too much trouble to find renters.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:40PM
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