Sunday, May 26, 2013


Well, finally.  I finished all but a couple sheets of drywall upstairs, plus part of the master bathroom before I ran out of screws today.  I'm letting the professionals finish that little bit, plus the lower half of the stairwell, and the basement hallway on Tuesday.  Taping and mudding will start on Wednesday.  Maybe if things go well, we can start painting next weekend?

We are greatly relieved to finally have our portion of the drywall finished.

The pros will come in and finish the lower stairwell and downstairs hallway next week.

I decided to share the orange from my packed lunch with the locals, and a whole bunch of Baltimore Orioles chose to take us up on the offer of a free meal.

We rented the crop land to a local farmer this year, so we will have acres and acres of corn growing below the house.  I think the deer will be most pleased.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Yesterday I think my guardian angel must have been working over time.  I  had one of the ladders shown in the picture below extended to double the height you see there, and was using it to climb into the attic space over the garage.  I was putting some leftover building materials, siding, trim, shingles, etc, up there so we'd have extras in case of damage later on.  On this trip I had a whole bundle of shingles on my shoulder and was at the top of the ladder.  With the shingles on my shoulder I was too wide to fit between the rafters, so was twisting my upper torso to slide up between them when one side of the ladder shifted in the soft soil.  The ladder rocked out from underneath me faster than I could drop the shingles, and I made a decidedly unceremonious but rapid decent to the garage floor.  This has been the only time I have been glad we haven't had the garage floor concrete poured yet.  Nothing broken or badly damaged (except the bundle of shingles), but plenty sore, and the mega dose of adrenalin left me badly shaken and a little nauseous for a few hours.  By lunch time however we were back to full throttle and business as usual.  This morning when I got up, my neck and lower back were rather stiff, and one knee a little tender.  Other wise none the worse for wear, and back hard at it today.
Slowly (more slowly than we'd like), but surely, the drywall is being completed. Still waiting to hear from our sub as to which day(s) he is coming in to help finish up and to do the taping and mudding.


This is the north wall of the kitchen.

This is the master bedroom.  The back door will lead eventually to a small patio.

Living room and entry hall.

Friday, May 17, 2013

5/17/2013 More visible progress after a lengthy pause


More visible progress after a lengthy pause.  The crew got the deck partially framed, the garage partially prepped for concrete, and the escape window partially installed in the basement bedroom.  There was some semi final landscape sculpting and repair of some heavy truck damage to the driveway and two new culverts were installed under it to allow for better drainage.  In spite of all our recent warm weather they still hit ice under the garage floor when they were putting in the drain, so we will have to wait another week or two before we can pour the concrete floor.

Deck ready for floor board and front step install.

Smoothed over and debris cleared up.  Looks much better than the mud field we had earlier.

looking  a little closer to being a house.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5/8/2013 Enjoying the nice weather of the past few days.


Well, I cannot put into words how much we are enjoying the nice weather of the past few days.  I have been working in the house with the windows and doors (the ones we have actually installed) open, and the boom box blasting.  Listening to the oldies is a lot more pleasant than listening to the jet fuel heater roaring away.  The crew from La Crosse Fireplace came in yesterday and installed the fireplace core.  I say core because it is just the fire box, with no door and an incomplete chimney thus far.  They had to measure, then special order the chimney topper for our house.  We also have to wait for our stone mantle to be manufactured before we can finish framing in the opening around the fireplace.  Once the framing is done, then we have to put up the cement board and prep it for the stone work we are going to install.  This is going to be a multi-step process that will not be done any time soon.  In addition to the fireplace install, the plumbing tech showed up yesterday and finally installed our adjustable shower drain.  I needed that before I could begin to build the cement shower pan.  Also, the electrician showed up to hook up our well pump and the heat pump, so when the electric company shows up later this week to run the lines in from the transformer, we will have heat and water available for the drywall taper next week.  And  while all this has been going on, I have been busily sheetrocking the house inside.  As an amateur judging his own work, I'd say I'm doing pretty well so far.  This weekend Debra and I will be hitting it hard in an attempt to finish before next week, so the taper and his crew can get in and put the finishing touches on the walls and ceilings (hopefully doing an artful job of covering up any "amateur" flaws along the way).

Sheetrock work station

Walls starting to take shape.
Getting ready for the install.  This is an ultra efficient fireplace with a sealed firebox.  The yellow tube draws air from outside the house for combustion.  Our house is too air tight to support a fireplace that used ambient inside air.

Not much to look at in its present state.  Still need framing, mantle, facia, and rock to be complete.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Well we can chalk up another first for experiences with the house.  I spent the entire day up inside our chimney.  It was strongly suggested that we insulate the inside of our chimney race to (1) prevent any cold spots around the fireplace inside the house, and (2) to make the chimney draft better by keeping it from cooling off on its way out of the house.  Our contractor recommended we use sheetrock over the insulation.  The fireplace folks told us to insulate, and just put a vapor barrier in place to keep the insulation from falling out later.  However when the building inspector came through, he insisted we sheetrock inside the chimney race.  Since the fireplace is being installed on the 7th, we needed to prioritize this job and redirected our efforts away from sheetrocking the walls in the house.  Therefore, we spent the whole day, up to sixteen feet up in a fifty eight inch by eighteen inch box, stuffing insulation and hanging sheetrock.  For the most part, I wedged myself between the ladder and the back side of the chimney, and Debra passed up materials as needed, while sometimes hanging below me on the ladder and helping steady things while I drove nails.  I must say, I learned a new technique.  I've never had to drive nails back hand before.  I never even had that good of a back hand in tennis, let alone with a twenty ounce framing hammer.  But when the situation demands, you learn we can do most anything if we put our minds to it.  Tomorrow we go back to hanging the walls in the main portion of the house.

Not a job for anyone severely claustrophobic.