Monday, July 30, 2007

Bob Vila Strikes

Let's start with this peaceful image of two cats watching the Tour de France this past weekend. It's the last peaceful and quiet image for a while, so soak in the furry contentment. Warm place to curl up. Sleepy morning house. Got the image? Ahhh....nice.

OK. So here's the setup. Mojo has wanted a deck for...well, for a long time. And we've both been working hard and have put money aside. Money for mei-mei, travel, post-gotcha leave, money for, well, pretty much whatever we want. And what she wants is an attached deck.
So two weeks ago I spent a long afternoon at the City getting permits. And last week the workmen arrived.
Here's the northeast house interior the morning "before". Note the lovely bay windows, installed by the previous owner after a house fire in the 1980s using the nastiest, cheapest prehung windows in existence. The stories I could tell about black mold along window frames...but I won't.
Here's the living room after the first day. This is the beginning, as you can see, of the next week of living in barely controlled chaos. The Peeper described this thrillingly as "the job site"!
The contractor finished the demo in a single day. One interesting note was the amount of badly charred or soot-blackened framing they left in place. These guys did everything on the cheap. I hope they had an Atomic-Mama-kind-of-Vegas-blowout with the insurance money, 'cause they sure didn't spend it on repairing their house.

The next day saw the new door - a lovely little mover we picked up for a mere couple of thou at our little DIY boutique ("Depot a la Maison") - in place and framed. Mojo said that the hardest part was the poor guys delivering it carried it up the front stairs into the sideyard and nearly spavined themselves.
One of the many fun peculiarities of having an older house is that it has its little "quirks". Ours has a northeast front that sags like Morganna Roberts in the shower. We know this, but there's knowing something and knowing it. Once the nicely plumb door was in we knew it. The carpet level, well below the door lintel on the north side, was so high on the south side the door opened only with difficulty.
This carpet was stained and reeking in a way that only decades-old carpet that has been the prime sleeping spot of a stanky, old (but sweet) dog can be. So, begone, foul carpet! We cut out a square around the door. Then some more . Then ALL the carpet in the living room. Then all the carpet in THE ENTIRE HOUSE.
So now the east wall of the living room is a new unframed door, the carpet is up exposing the badly stained, scarred and battered fir floor AND the cheap (did I mention the former owners were fucking cheap?) fiberboard underlayment these nimrods used instead of floor-grade plywood for the burned section repair. And thousands of little staples they used to hold the carpet down. Thousands. Of little staples. Thousands. Of little, tiny, almost-buried-in-the-floor

Y'know how in the plays in Shakespeare's time they used to do a lot of the dirty work offstage to avoid having to lug heavy actors around after they "died"? You know how one of the more respected literary devices is to avoid description of the reeeeeally bad stuff, since the reader's imagination can provide a more horrifying image of the foul deed than any mere words in print.
I'm not going to say anything more about the thousands of little fucking staples, then.
But, skipping that, here's the new door Sunday! It's nice to know that if I ever commit an act of professional incompetence so massive that I loose my license to practice geology that I can get work as a drywaller.

And since, what the hell, we've always hated the color they used in the hallway, we painted that. Here's Mojo and Shea's beloved babysitter Lilo painting away like, umm, well, like painters.
Okay. So the hallway is all taped and partially painted, the floor is a crusty mess awaiting the new laminate cover and floor, the drywall is up but needs sanding, more joint compound, texturing and painting. What is a battered family to do?
We go to visit Christine and her two boys (Oscar the Ginormous Fish's family) in their new house! Yaay...! We had a lovely visit, Peeper was utterly thrilled to be with his bigger friend The Poet (who is six but is great with his little admirer), we had a nice time with Christine and Plantinga, her older son and my "Lord of the Rings" wargaming partner. Ate, played, went to the park, had lovely time and then home to the frantic screaming and struggling of trying to get a splinter out of the foot of a desperately tired four-year-old. There's another little scene I'll just let you imagine for yourself.

Miss Lily's comment was "What are these crazy humans thinking, for Bast's sake. People were made to lie in the sun and sleep. Someone should tattoo that on every human's forehead."
So much for a busy weekend.
See you at work


walternatives said...

Tell us again, how many staples? Sorry - couldn't seem to help myself. Seriously, y'all did all that over one weekend? I'm feeling incredibly slothful all of a sudden. Nice work and a very lovely door. Are you keeping that chocolate wall color? I like it.

Millicent said...

Very nice....I'm already envisioning a cold one on the deck, watching the birds at the feeder and our little ones playing in the grass. Good on ya.

atomic mama said...

Ooh, what a mess, but how fantastic it will be when it's done! And y'all will love the laminate. Carpet is a vile, disgusting concept, and I am happy to be living a carpet-free lifestyle. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and for the record, the biggest expense by far in our Vegas blow-out was the boarding fees for our kennel-bound puppers... sexy, eh?

Kelli said...

Oh man....trouble trouble! Its like scraping at can't just take a *little* just take a little more...and a little more...good luck... the guys over on Interstate did my baby room & did a pretty good job. They could cover all the horrid little staples...(then again, a 3 in one tool yanks those things out...slowly...but eventually.) the door looks great!