More useful was the electrical service upgrade today. It's not technically done, as it hasn't been inspected and NiMo hasn't done their last couple bits of magic, but it's functionally done. Pictures in with the rest of the Utilities Pictures
I appear to be getting a piano, as soon as I figure out how to get it here from Stafford Springs, CT. It'll fit this house perfectly - it's about a hundred years old, and needs a bit of (cosmetic) fixing. Unlike the house, it doesn't need any structural work. I'm going to put it where the entertainment center is currently living in the living room. I have no clue where the E.C. is going to land for the short-ish term. Probably some place inconvenient. Pictures of the piano are here.
Also, Thursday I did more on the dining room. I rearranged more of the stuff to gain access to the strip that still needs to be stripped. I set up some shelves in the kitchen and moved some stuff in there to get it out of the way, and moved some other stuff across the room. Then I managed to strip another ~3' of that 3' strip. Yay, progress.
We have mice. They found the food in the "pantry". This was discovered while moving stuff on to the new shelves. What a PITA. Fortunately, Orkin is scheduled to be here on Wednesday.
I scheduled an electrical service upgrade for 12/16. Full day job, after which I'll have a 40 space commercial grade electrical panel, twice the feed TO the panel, lots of empty space IN the panel, and lots empty space in my wallet to go with it. There are some things it's just worth spending the money on getting a contractor to do. This is one of them.
Next, I had an electrician here this morning to give me a quote on a service upgrade. Nothing too exciting here, just getting 100A service upgraded to 200A and a *big* breaker panel. As soon as John and I figure out when we can be here it'll be getting done.
More floor stripping. I've finished one corner of the dining room, and tomorrow will be able to move the desk/bar back into that corner and out of the foyer. Almost on a lark, we decided to try this goo on the tile adhesive in the upstairs bathroom. Worked like a charm. However, the tile doesn't absorb any of the solvent, and neither does that adhesive... so I got quite the blast of fumes when scraping it up. I haven't needed to wear my VOC mask before now... but on tile it's absolutely necessary. I was high for almost an hour after cleaning <1 square foot of tile.
And finally, now that I'm not relying on anyone else to get pictures off my camera, there are pictures practically every day :-).
My other major project for today was looking into carpet adhesive remover. I'd found some stuff from Citri-Strip on the web that looked pretty good, and sounded like I wouldn't need to wear a VOC-rated Gas Mask to use it. The only gunk from that company that I could find anywhere in this area is their varnish remover... nice, but not what I need at the moment. So I picked up something not nearly so nice (<4% methylene chloride, so I've dealt with much worse) (Wait... I have a degree in chemistry... I've dealt with worse than they're allowed to sell...) figuring I'd try it and see. I didn't expect to do much today, but... I got curious. I've probably got 1/6 of the dining room done. Works great, and the VOC content is pretty low in this stuff. If I didn't have to wait 20 minutes after applying an area before I could scrape it up, I'd be high as a kite. Instead, I have to wait while it works so it's not too bad. I have pictures, but we're still fighting over getting pictures off of the camera.. some day...
I'm expecting this is the last of the "outdoor" work for the year. If I do get the opportunity again, I've got more windows to go still. Otherwise, next up is the wiring in the laundry room.
Looking back over the last 9 months here, I noticed a comment early on about having put together a project list with dependencies, etc. Looking at that list, the only things crossed off completely are: "Clean Basement" and "Clean under porch". And I want to clean the basement again, as I've definitely given the former residents here plenty of time to come get any of their stuff that they left behind and may have wanted. Most of that is going to be finding out what the hours at Salvation Army or Goodwill are, and loading up the car a few times. Yay, more tax write-offs. But nothing depends on that. So the next dependency is... *drumroll* fixing the broken beams in the basement. Everything either depends on that or on serious $$$ - like upgrading the electrical service to the house to something real (minimum of $1500).
More windows are done, though. I was working on the second to last when I got myself. John did a bit more on it, and I'm going to try and finish it up in a bit. Now that I've stopped bleeding.
I finished painting the casement window frames in front, too. They look a heck of a lot better now, and may just survive the winter (I hope).
Well, after 2 months of nothing, I'm back. I hadn't forgotten this page, I hadn't done anything to report. But I took this week off from work to make some progress on the house, so here we are again.
So far, John and I helped move Ron Glasser's shop ("Creations") from his old abode to a new hole, and will probably be doing so again when he manages to buy a place around the beginning of the year. A good start to my week of working on my house, don't you think? ;-)
Next, I've replaced the broken glass in another window, this time upstairs. Tomorrow is supposed to be quite warm, so I'm hoping to get all 3 remaining broken windows pulled out, re-glassed, scraped, and painted. And I've started scraping and painting the casement window frames. Maybe if I do enough of a half-assed job at scraping and painting the POS window frames I've got, I'll get an extra couple years out of them before I have to wholesale replace all 30+ windows in this house.
Replacing the one broken window stopped a stiff breeze coming into one room. Since I turned the heat on last Thursday...
There are lots of pictures on the digital camera. Someday they will find their way off the camera. *sigh*
I spoke to a contractor yesterday trying to get a price on removing the concrete slab. He actually called me back. Of course, after I explained what I needed he told me he'd have to call me back from the office so he could schedule coming out and looking at things... said he'd call back yesterday afternoon... which he didn't. Hurm...
The new faucet ROCKS... nice and tall, good sprayer, and it's a style that'll look good after it gets removed from the current sink and installed in a newly remodeled kitchen... when I get around to that.
Not much going on, really. I've been scraping paint off a door occasionally. Since both John and I have had shows going on, the house has been on hold. My show closed yesterday, so things'll be picking up again...
John found some pictures from way back, so there are "new" shots taken with Mike's old dark camera... but this time John had someone hauling a halogen work light around with him.
Party came, party went. Successful, I think. Nothing is going to happen for a bit, as we sleep it off.
John finished up the brown coat in the pantry, and can now move on to the finish coat. Problem is that I'm going to have 70 people starting to show up *tomorrow* and I need all the stuff that belongs in the pantry to be in the pantry and not in the dining room. Hurm...
My big accomplishment late yesterday was finally finding some place that would sell me $4.40 worth of @%$#ing sand. *sigh*
Jason got the foyer walls mostly patched. They'll need a bit of going over, but there aren't gaping holes any more....
I *did* find a place yesterday that sells real plastering supplies. I will be getting sand there today, and I picked up gauging plaster and finish lime yesterday. I was a yutz and didn't get sand there when I could have, and they close at 5...
At least I mostly cleaned the kichen yesterday...
In all fairness, Jackie (Mike's GF) has been scrubbing down kitchen cabinets, shop-vac'ing up where Jason has been leaving bits of sheetrock all over, cleaning bathrooms, ... and seems (at least to me) to be the only person actually making any PROGRESS in preparing for the party this weekend. Thanks, Jackie.
I have accomplished something more that's vaguely useful! I just went through and rotated all the images that were sideways :-) I also wrote up scripts to make both that and making the thumbs in the first place easier... and more likely to be correct the first time :-)
The foyer walls have all been gone over to clean up where they need to be patched... they should all be spackled this evening. And there seems to be a dearth of sand in the capital district, so the pantry is falling behind schedule. *sigh*
Not a whole lot to report - more plaster has been gooped onto the walls in the pantry (John will probably take umbrage at my use of the term "gooped") and it's looking reasonably good. We're looking for better plaster to use long-term, but the stuff we've got will do for the small, non-public-space room.
The ice maker in the new fridge is up and running :-)
New pictures are in...
John actually was playing with plaster glop yesterday (another one of them thar "technical terms") and patched up one of the walls of the pantry. Longish term we really need to find all the components to mix our own plaster, as the stuff we found was setting up in ~15 minutes, and that just wasn't enough time. Also, we do now know that the experiment with gluing plaster back to the lath worked... the walls where we hadn't just given up and removed all the plaster were much more solid. There's actually a prayer that we'll have a pantry soon...
On a technical note, pictures are delayed due to a disk failure on John's machine, which is really confusing the device drivers under Linux so the USB HD emulation stuff is complaining rather than letting us get pictures off the camera. As soon as he reboots into an M$ OS we'll be able to get them... or when he has the time to kick the Linux drivers repeatedly and make them work.
Mike was working on the cabinets in the kitchen yesterday. We're trying to get it so they're no longer sticky from the sheer amount of grease dried on to them... ick.
Over the weekend we got tons of stuff done. John got the surface coat of plaster in the pantry scraped out, leaving the scratch coat and brown coat intact wherever it was still viable. Yes, we're turning into plastering geeks, too. He then went through and glued the plaster still up to the lath where it was breaking free (plaster sticks to the lath because it oozes through the lath and hardens... if that bit breaks off, you're hosed.) We finally found a place that sells wood lath, so for $13.50 we now have lots. So he went through and patched up the holes where wiring had been done in preparation of re-plastering all the walls in the pantry. Woohoo.
I found the dining room yesterday, and the rest of the study, and the rest of the living room. Everything now in the dining room either belongs in the dining room, the pantry, or the kitchen. The living room has a little extraneous stuff in it, but very little (a dorm fridge and a couple plants... the fridge is playing plant stand) and the study has practically nothing in it at all except my desk. As soon as the kitchen cabinets are more ready for use, the kitchen stuff leaves the dining room. As soon as the shelves in the pantry are up, the pantry stuff leaves the dining room. We're getting there...
A weekend house guest (Jason) played multiple useful roles... an extra back for moving stuff around, and while John and I went tearing around looking for lath and stuff he scrubbed all the walls in the foyer and around the balcony around the stairs to about 6' up. Since another piece we bought while getting lath was a 6' set of painter's scaffolding I was able to take it the rest of the way up to the ceiling around the balcony after Jason left. Still a bit more scrubbing to do way up high over the stairs, and we'll be able to patch and repaint the whole thing. Wow... that's a wretched job. Thanks, Jason.
And finally, the new kitchen refrigerator should be showing up early this afternoon. In the hot weather, the old one (with a date on the back of 9/5/1972) was running about 23.75 hours/day, so I'm hoping to save a LOT of money on electricity... and doubling the size of the 'fridge in the process. I seriously was barely aware of it ever turning off... and the one time it was off I got something out of it and it immediately turned back on. Just for the record, the date on MY back is 9/24/1973... it's been kind of unnerving to have a 'fridge older than me...
I'm also noticing that we're pretty good at taking "before" pictures, and really lousy at taking "after" pictures. I'll see about fixing that soon.
We have finished up loading the dumpster, except for whatever randomness we may add. Under the porch has been cleaned out, the side alley, the basement, all the bedrooms... wherever people left junk, it's gone now. That includes the paneling and drop ceilings in most of the bedrooms, except the ones we're actively using. The last of the carpeting went in today, too. So I'll be calling tomorrow morning and having Dan's Hauling come in and take it away... finally.
It was also pointed out to me that a few days ago when I did a whole bunch of days worth of updates I missed one thing - Megan ripped all the wallpaper out of the foyer.
Also, I'll be picking up a big pile of window glass over lunch today - all the broken panes of normal glass in the first and second floors are running me only $48.95 :-)
It was realized at some point in the last couple weeks as I've been prepping to do a bunch of electrical work in the basement that what we thought were gas light supply pipes really weren't. At this point I really wonder if this house ever had gas lights at all, as there's no trace of piping in the walls, and it would have been just too much work to rip it all out. What we thought were gas pipes were actually very early electrical conduit - very thick wall, heavy conduit. It's even got the Underwriters' Laboratories sticker on it still.
Oh - while working on the communications wiring, John crawled over to the roof collapse and looked at it from underneath. It's about a 2'x2' section of just the sheathing that's rotted out. The beams are fine, and the "recovery board" that is just under the roof membrane is OK, if unsupported.
Also, last night I started going through the various major projects on the list and doing more detailed project plans... primarily for the dependencies part, but also to be able to look at a list and see "what can I work on right now". Of course, the project plan for the kitchen isn't very useful in that sense, since it's probably 2 years out before I'll have the money...
The TAUM guy (see yesterday) came by and took 3 entire beds, some chairs, and lay claim to three dressers, another table, a hassock, and some other odds and ends. And left me a charitable donation receipt :-) Suddenly there's a lot more available space in the house. And as we throw out 4 more beds, there will be much more to follow :-) :-)
The cause is that we've got the paneling off the walls in 2 of the bedrooms, and have found neat things. Two gaslight points in one of them, hacksawed off flush with the wall, and a secret compartment in the wall of the other. Nothing in the compartment when found :-(
We're in the process of putting together as-builts of the house, but measuring the thickness of walls is a bear. Also, I'm not sure the software can export to a useful format for putting on the web... I hope it can.
John was bored yesterday while waiting for the 30-yard dumpster to be delivered, so he took the advice of Ron Glasser (a friend who does restoration work) and took a bottle of Awesome Orange (degreaser, cleaner stuff) to the mural. I wasn't prepared for this... but the little spot he tried it on looks great. About a 3-inch circle. Pictures to follow as soon as it looks like he meant to do this.
Started working on the electrical plan for the upstairs last night. Not too bad... 6 circuits will cover everything, including plenty of power in each room, the bathroom (on GFCI), and all the lights on their own circuit.
Put together a project list for the whole house over the last week or two... more than 40 major projects on the list so far, each with priority and dependencies. It's amazing how almost everything comes back to needing that dumpster to clean out the basement...
I'm sending out the invitation for the Summer Party/Housewarming today
OK, the pictures still aren't great, but I'm still getting used to my new digital camera. They'll get better. It's tough to get autofocus to work when you're only a few feet away and there are lots of choices for what to focus on. At least you can see what's in them.
As closing and the following restoration happen, there will be pictures added here. As we discover more about the house's history, that'll show up here, too. Current rumor is that it was once owned by Mame Fay(e), who used to own a brothel in Troy. This rumor is not panning out, as we have found who owned the house between 1908 and 195x (after she died) and none of those people were her. Even when we account for the fact that "Mame Fay(e)" was a pseudonym. Oh, well - that was a cool story.
Some pictures the realtor took while I was wandering around with the inspector. Pictures