Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thanks for the Help.....You Jerks

It's so great living in a neighborhood where everyone helps each other out with their home remodeling projects.

Just last week some friendly neighborhood folk decided that they'd like to help us paint our house.

Unfortunately, their method, while unique, would take just a wee bit longer than the old brush and roller method.

And yellow isn't really part of our paint scheme.

But thanks for the offer.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm On a Roll

4, count them 4 blog posts today.

Actually, I guess this makes 5.

Your Firearms Are Useless Against Them!

Saturday I noticed a bee had found it's way into the bathroom. At first I didn't think much of it other than OH S**T A BEE! Our windows had been open for a few days and perhaps one snuck in through a hole in a screen somewhere.

Then a few minutes later, while taking some laundry to the basement, I was greeted by another. And another...and another..... And 7 more after that.


How the hell does that happen? Do bees even like basements?

After successfully coating my entire basement in Raid, I went upstairs to let the dogs out. And cry a little. That's when I noticed it. Just outside the back of our house was a swarm of bees buzzing around a hole in the side of the house.

Here's a photo of the hole....and yes, that's our plumbing...and no, I have no idea why it's like that.

There were easily 50 to 80 bees buzzing around the hole. I was pissed off. And a little scared. Mostly scared.

I flooded the hole with Raid (Thank goodness that stuff shoots out in a stream). After a few confusing seconds of watching their brothers and sisters die, the rest packed their little bee bags and left town.

Good thing the wife wasn't home. She would have moved out permanently.

Anyway, while thinking up a title for this post, I was reminded of the following scene from Tommy Boy regarding bees.


Do You Want Some Fries With Those Shakes?

They've started pulling off the cedar shake shingles on the South side of the house. The entire side will get a new set of shakes and any old shakes that aren't totally destroyed will get re-used on other parts of the house. the name of preservation...and by preservation I mean cost saving.

And this is the view from the attic looking out. This was a little disturbing.

I wasn't expecting to see that much daylight.

Nor was I expecting to see the bat that wandered in through the gaps in the wall.

Time to change my pants.

Pink and Purple Houses

The painting has started....well sorta. The priming has started. The painters started on the lower half of the house last week and had much of it primed by the time I came home from work.

It was weird looking. Not because our primer is purple....but because our house doesn't look like a pile of garbage anymore.

Well, okay. At least it's a purple pile of garbage. It's appealing to those that like purple garbage.

And let me just state for the record that picking out paint colors was one of the worst experiences of my life. I hope I never have to go through that again.

After 13 quarts and 5 mini samples....we finally have our colors.

For those that are interested, we chose the following: (All are Benjamin Moore)

1st Level: Bittersweet Chocolate
2nd Level: Fatigue Green
Trim: Fairview Taupe
Sash: Townsend Harbor Brown

Amazingly we're getting lots of comments from people who like the purple primer color.

That doesn't include one neighbor who remarked "That's not your actual color is it?"

No sir....that's not our actual color. By the way, I've never told you how lovely your faded pink bungalow looks. No really, I love it.

Recycling and Reinvestment

Last year when we removed the aluminum siding, we decided to take it to the local scrapyard instead of just throwing it away. It was an easy decision when we found out the scrapyard was paying 36 cents a pound. Plus it made us feel good that we weren't filling the landfill with something that could be reused.

So we scraped about 4 or 5 truckloads worth and pocketed about $850.

However we weren't able to remove all of the aluminum. When we started on the exterior of the house a few weeks ago, we told our contractor to save the rest.

There was more than we expected. In all, we salvaged another 250 pounds.

Last weekend we fired up Old Smokey for the first time this year and headed off to the scrapyard.

I say "we" because the lovely wife accompanied me for the first time. She had never been to the scrapyard before. It was like a grade school field trip for her.

You can imagine our combined joy and sadness when we found out that the price of aluminum had gone up quite a bit since our last trip. They were now paying 72 cents a pound.

We pocketed a little more than $188 for this trip. Joy!

Had we waited to take all the siding until this year, we would have doubled that $850. Sadness :-(

So what did we do with the extra $188? Buy a light fixture? Put it towards paint? But some new fangled household tool?

Hell no, we spent it on booze! And lots of it.

The Near East Side Pub Crawl was that evening which conveniently allowed us to reinvest those dollars with several local bars.

Maybe it's a good thing we only got $188. That would have been one hell of a hangover.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hey Baby, Nice Shingles!

So the roof's finally done. We've gotten several complements on it. But I'm not sure how to take those.

Shingles are shingles. Sure, there are differing degrees of shingles. Different colors, sizes, etc., etc...

We agonized over our shingles. Our roof, if you haven't noticed, is very prominent on our house. Okay prominent is an understatement.

That thing is a freaking olympic ski slope.

Anyway, we knew that our choice for roofing would be a critical one since everyone is going to see it.

This was our roof before the replacement. Grey-three-tab. Basic.

It did it's job. I had no complaints. I just knew that if I ever had the option, I'd like to upgrade.

So we had the option. And we upgraded. The original roof was cedar shake. One of our contractors told us that if we wanted to do the roof in cedar shakes, we'd pay upwards of $15,000 in materials alone. So that was an easy "no". Instead we chose a triple layer asphalt shingle that would give us the appearance of real cedar shakes.

We opted for Certainteed Landmark TL (the TL is for Triple Layer). Picking the right color took FOREVER! But we think we're satisfied.

And here's a close-up shot

We also think we made the right decision because we keep getting complements on it.

Now I'm really nervous about what they'll think of our paint colors.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When it Rains it My Dining Room...OH S#%@!!!!

As you may have noticed from my previous post, we're getting a new roof. Well, the weather hasn't exactly been real cooperative lately. We seem to have had more rain days then sunshine lately.

When you're trying to replace your roof, and it keeps raining, well that can cause a few problems.

After a short mother's day weekend with the inlaws, we returned on Sunday to find it raining, in not one, but TWO rooms of the house.

The dining room, which yes, is on the first floor, got it the worst. Water poured in through the cracks in the plaster and drained out of the box beams onto the oak hardwood floors. Both ceiling and floors are screwed.

It also rained in the top floor of our second story sunporch. We had partially finished that room with new drywall but hadn't yet painted the walls because we wanted to do the floors first. I guess, it's a good thing we waited. Because now we need to re-do the ceiling.....again.

Here's a shot of the dining room ceiling with water stains and cracked plaster:

Dining room floor aftermath...notice the warped floorboards:

Sunporch ceiling water stains on drywall:

Our contractor feels terrible. I understand. I would too. It wasn't his fault. It was the roofing contractors fault. Luckily, they've offered to pay for all the repairs. Depending on what the final cost is, they may turn it over to their insurance company.

It could have been worse. I'm over it. And that's why, boys and girls, it pays to make sure your contractor has insurance.

On a positive note, all of the plants we stored in the sunporch over the winter didn't need watering when we got back.

Now playing: Starsailor - Good Souls

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Someone's Getting a Facelift

So we've finally started the exterior rehab work. Our house is a disaster right now.

After the roof is done, most of the exterior carpentry will start. We'll be replacing a lot of cedar shakes as well as patching some bad spots in the siding.

Then comes the paint. And I'm not kidding when I say that I've been to the paint store 13 times. Let's just say we're thoroughly testing our color options. Thoroughly.

Two colors down.....two to go.