Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deck the halls

It's been just two days under a year since we moved into our home.  In that time we have lived in a construction zone, without a kitchen, sometimes without water, many nights without heat.  We have installed a new furnace, a new kitchen, hooked up the washer and dryer, leveled the floor in the upstairs hallway, installed a bathroom, finished the master suite, created a home.

We decorated for Christmas this week.  Last year it was done surrounded by boxes.  This year I had to pack up the pumpkins and harvest themed accouterments in order to decorate for Christmas.  I've replaced our daily ware dishes with Christmas dishes received from my mother.  The sun on the wall replaced by the moon painted as a folklore style Santa Claus.  The pillows on the couch with holiday theme pillows.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  And our house is certainly looking like a home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Minor improvements and major snafu's

So since W2 has no time (due to working 7 days a week) and no motivation do to BURN OUT I have been striving to finish the little things that need finishing.  Last week I installed/hung the hand towel ring in our bathroom, but it wobbles.  Yesterday I tried to hang/install the hand towel ring in the guest bathroom but couldn't figure it out and the instructions were virtually non existent.  Today I hung the robe hook in our bathroom and 2 other hooks on the back of our bathroom door.  

I was feeling rather accomplished and proud of myself, until I shut the door.  The fucking wall anchor went through the other side of the door.  So although I now have two beautiful hooks on the back of my door, I have two very UNbeautiful holes on the side that faces out to my bedroom.  I can't wait to hear what kind of recriminations W2 has in regards to this latest adventure.

Now I will try to figure out how I can fix it with spackle? joint compound? and paint.  It can be done right?  What do you think the chances of him not noticing are?

Probably not so good.

Oh well, at least I'm doing something.  Or trying to.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The garden

I had decided now was the time to prepare a spot for next years garden.  I had not done one this past summer because we were planning on doing some major excavation and would be tearing everything up.  I planted in what will be flower beds around the house.  But the excavation didn't happen due to a lack of funds and I want a garden next year so it will just have to be put in a place out of the path of trucks and equipment.

I spoke to the neighbor about borrowing a rototiller and getting some manure from the pigs they kept throughout the summer.  Yesterday dawned bright and warm.  Imagine that in mid November in the Northeast?!  So I mowed, dealt with leaves and decided it was time to tackle the garden project.  J next door had prepared a wheel barrow full of pig shit for me so I was ready to go.  I headed home pushing the wheel barrow only to promptly dump it in the road.  FABULOUS!  Home again home again to get a shovel to deal with it.  With a little help and the suggestion that pulling it might work better, I was on my way.  Then back for the rototiller.  

First let me say that the rototiller was the homeowner type.  Small.  Small rototillers require a lot of work.  A lot of back breaking, muscle aching, teeth jarring work.  But it prevented me from having to rent one.  It's something like holding onto the horns of a bucking bronco and trying to guide it in some sort of a straight line, while pushing down to force the tines into the earth.  And just for the record, I do know that bucking broncos do not have horns, but it is the only description that gets the visual that I was striving for.

Let's just say it was an arduous task.  I am extremely sore.  By the end of the project I was covered in pig shit, dirt, grass and sweat.  But I finished it. and then W2 got home

Apparently I put it in a bad spot.  This wasn't what we agreed to.  I will have to do it all over again.  He did offer to rent me the biggest rototiller available but regardless I feel defeated.  I worked my ass off but it was wrong.

I couldn't remember where we had talked about but put it in a nice bright sunny spot on the edge of our property, leaving room for at least one pass of the lawn mower.  But I was wrong.  I seem to be wrong more often than anything these days.

The weather is warm again today.  The perfect weather to dig in the correct location, but I am too sore.  Tomorrow will start with the coldest weather we have experienced thus far this Fall.  The true beginning of Winter.  My window has closed for prepping for a garden.  

I am sad and frustrated.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's been even longer

I've been trying to figure out how to use this blog. We've had no activity on the house. We essentially pushed ourselves into oblivion on that last push to finish in time for the housewarming. W2 is burned out. Or shall I say BURNED OUT! He refuses to work on the house. Won't install the lock sets, won't hang the towel bars or toilet paper holders. I've continued to paint the things that need to be painted and fix minor things. But my primary focus is finding a job.

I spend hours a day searching a wide variety of help wanted web sites and applying for copious amounts of jobs. My criteria has become quite simple. A position that will pay me and give me benefits. How's that for widening the job search?!

We have done nothing on the apartment due to lack of funds. That may be changing in the near future (I hope) and we will then be able to finish the stupid thing and get it rented, thus providing income. Wouldn't that be nice? And truly I am most interested in getting it insulated as it seems to suck all of the heat out of the downstairs into it's void.

You would think after insulating all walls that we opened, installing new windows, putting up new siding with the Styrofoam insulation behind it, that we would benefit from a warm and toasty house. But that is SO NOT THE CASE!! Our house is cold. It's extremely frustrating. So my goal is insulation in the apartment. In order to do that we must finish the wiring. In order to do that W2 needs some motivation.

I'm not sure how or when that will happen. He's fairly miserable.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's been a long time....

So we had the housewarming, we survived it!  We didn't kill each other in the week the preceded it.  And we haven't done a damn thing on the house since then.

We are getting ready for a much earned vacation out to Moab Utah for the land rover National Rally.  W2 is an enthusiast and I have turned into one.

We will start work again once we return.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stairs on the deck, level hallway and grout on the floor

Much has been accomplished since I last typed.  Last weekend W2 managed to build the stairs to the deck.  We had planned to build a ramp but when we realized it would need to be 16 feet long, which would block the view of the bay window in the dining room, I said NO!  loudly and repeatedly.  W2 was not happy and it was a very long and frustrating day, but the stairs are done and absolutely lovely.  We just have to build the railings and we will be done.

This past weekend, we grouted the tile in the bathroom and leveled the floor in the upstairs hallway.  There was a 2.5" difference across 4'.  It felt like walking on the rolling deck of a ship.  Because not only did it drop, but it dropped to the right, pitching you into the wall of the hallway.  That was corrected on Saturday.  It's not completely level but it is straight.  and straight is a huge improvement.

We grouted Friday night and Saturday saw that there were air bubbles in the grout.  The only option W2 saw was to sledgehammer it out and start over.  I was horrified.  There had to be another way.  So I called the folks in the flooring department at the Evil Orange Box and learned that we could put another layer of grout on, working it into the holes with our fingertips.  So that was my job.  I did that Saturday and again today.  It should be done now.  all we have to do is wait for it to dry before we can apply the sealer.  Once the sealer is done and dry we can install the vanity, then baseboards, then toilet!!!  At that point the bathroom will be done.

Our carpet is ordered and should be in  the 22nd.  We are gaining on it!

Monday, June 30, 2008

bathroom floor

W2 being the master shopper that he is had found the tile I craved for the kitchen floor on clearance at Lowe's in a quantity that would allow us to do our bathroom floor.  Or so we thought.  Until we started laying out the floor on Saturday.  Of course we couldn't lay out the floor until we had ripped up the rotten subfloor, made a trip to the evil orange box, laid new subfloor, laid cement board to go under tile, screw down cement board.  So at 6 pm we are starting to lay out the floor when we realize that we do not have enough tile.

It had been an ugly week for me and Saturday was no different.  Calling myself a bitch was putting it mildly.  I was out of control and could recognize it but had no power to change it.  I felt horrible for W2.  I was sick to death of tripping over stuff no matter I chose to walk, stepping on things that hurt when you stepped on them, and having things fall over onto my feet.  Just over it.  So at 6 pm on Saturday when we don't have enough tile, let's just say it wasn't a good thing.

But off to the Evil Orange Box we went, me for the second time that day, to find tile that would match what we already had and not cost a fortune.  We were successful and went home to figure out how to pattern the three types of tile together.  We agreed on a design and called it quits for the night, opening a bottle of wine...and polishing it off in short order.

Sunday we actually tiled the floor.  Because it is so flippin' humid it probably will not be dry for another week.  Which is a bit of a problem since the room only has one exit, meaning we couldn't tile the entire floor in one shot.  We go 2/3 done and will have to wait for it to dry.  We are both happy with it, and I will post pictures soon.

Tonight we are back to wiring outlets.  I'm actually getting good at it!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Master bedroom

We are closing in on finishing the master bedroom.  The one thing we absolutely must do in the next day or two is to choose  a flippin' carpet.  This is the one thing that we will not and can not do on our own.  This means we have to be fit into someone else's schedule.  This could be a problem if we don't make a decision soon.  

The housewarming party is scheduled for August 2nd.  The evites have gone out and the print ones will be mailed tomorrow.  This means we have to be done.  Not maybe.  Definitely done.  I work well under pressure so deadlines are usually a good thing for me.  But when I have to be fit into someone else's schedule my time lines do not always work.


can you tell I am having some anxiety around this?!

There are 195 people invited to the party.  We have to be moved into the master suite and have the other three bedrooms emptied and set up for company.  That can't happen until the carpet is installed.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


W2 bought me/us a weed whacker over the weekend, much to my delight and glee.  You see, I find myself tickled with owning a home with a yard.  I have waited anxiously/patiently to be able to design and plant the flower beds, herb garden and vegetable garden.  I had thought I would be able to do so this year, but not so.  We still have to tear up the yard in order to deal with the septic system, dry well, leeching field and who knows what else, along with siding the garage.  Which leaves out all eligible space for gardens :(

Anyway, W2 is a champ, but you all know that if you've been reading this for even just a minute, so he not only bought me a weed whacker, but he got one with attachments!!!!  He got a brush blade and a cultivator.  Now I was skeptical about the cultivator, having sold such things at the Evil Orange Box I was knowing that we took an awful lot of them back as returns because they didn't work for shit.  NOT THE CASE with this one.  It's amazing and chews right through our clay like dirt with no work from us.  How cool is that?!

I have been waging a war against the sumac that is taking over the whole back half of our yard.  Last week W2 purchased me/us a weed burner/flame thrower (which was very exciting for my pyromaniac heart), but it took an awful lot of patience to burn the living plants.  More patience that I come equipped with.  So off he went to research the best tool for the job and money and came home with this amazing kitty of tools.  I am delirious!!!  If you had told me that a weed whacker could make me this happy, even last year, I would have scoffed at you, but today, today I am tickled!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just when you think you're done

All went smoothly with the refinance and all the checks have been written so that we can pay off the evil Wells Fargo and be done once for all.  Today W2 gets a call from the rep. he's been dealing with and she tells him that they are not going to accept the payment as it is not in their best interest.


They have done nothing that was in our best interest and now they won't take our money?!  What the hell is that?

I got on the phone and called a lawyer.  At this point it is our only option.  I swear W2's head is going to pop off he's so mad and frustrated.  In the meantime, W2 was able to get in touch with a superior to the rep and learn that she is talking out her ass and can't tell us that.  He wrote the letter he was instructed to write and all should be good.  If not, we will enlist the help of said lawyer, maybe even go after them for harassment.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day at our house this weekend with both of our families.  It was bizarre to have everyone there and not for work...what a concept?!  My folks arrived Friday night, Team Smart arrived Saturday morning, W2's folks along with Team Burger arrived Sunday afternoon.  It wasn't the easiest of days, but it was nice not to feel like we had to choose one family over the other.

My folks slept in the new Master bedroom Saturday night, on an air mattress but they were the first to sleep in the bedroom.  It could/should have been us, but they refused to sleep in our bed.  They didn't want to kick us out.  Whatever!  There was room for everyone and soon enough there will be beds for everyone!!!

W2 and I went to Lowe's yesterday and purchased our bathroom sink, vanity, mirror, toilet, cabinet and the chandelier for the dining room.  We then went and picked out the carpet for the bedroom.  No we just have to get the tile down in the bathroom before we can install anything.  When we got everything home and unpacked it we found a chip in the vanity top/sink.  Very disappointing!!  But W2 returned it today and got another so all is well.

Once we get the bathroom floor done we will schedule the carpet install.  Everything is on track for our part of the house to be done for the housewarming.  We're getting there!

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's been a while

Things got really hectic on the work front and as that was the only access I had to a computer there was no time to blog. I am no longer on the work front and am currently searching for new work, this does allow time for a quick catch up blog.

We barrelled ahead as is our way from the last I wrote. The furnace is in the attic, the deck is built and has railings, it even has decorative stained glass caps on the posts that bring you onto the front porch and again on the back deck. The washer and dryer are hooked up. The master bathroom is rocked, taped, and painted. W2 and my dad worked on plumbing the bathroom this past weekend. The master bedroom is rocked, taped and primed. The windows have casing's and window sills. The hallway is rocked, taped and primed. The foyer is painted. The ceilings in all aforementioned spaces are painted.

We raced the bank in an attempt to get as much accomplished prior to the June 1st deadline. We didn't get it done, but we accomplished a ton of stuff. The appraiser was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. last Tuesday. So that was our deadline. W2's mom and sister came out Monday night to help clean the house and make it look like a home. It looked amazing. We having a functional dining room, that has pictures and plants on the surfaces versus the clutter and paraphenalia left over from the move. We even have a dining room table in the middle of the room. I realize this sounds like crazy talk for anyone who has been with us along this journey, but I kid you not.

The Appraiser was not the warmest and friendliest type of guy and when he left it was rather anti climactic. Here we had been busting out humps for 8 months and more short termed, the past month to be ready for this meeting and when he left, we knew no more than when he had arrived. So we waited.

On Saturday we recieved the letter from Wells Fargo telling us we were out of time, we had not met their requirements and they would be moving forward with legal action, ie foreclosure. We spent a very anxious weekend knowing no answers could be had until today at the earliest. My dad was up to help work and smooth out frazzled nerves. He was a champ, as usual.

W2 called the new bank today and learned we were approved for the re finance!!!!! We appraised a little lower than we had hoped but they are putting it in the documentation that the house is unfinished which will allow us to refinance when we finish. W2 will close on that tomorrow and the evil Wells Fargo will be paid off in full within the next 10 days. We are free of the rehab loan from hell!!!

I don't know how W2 is feeling, seeing as he is at work, but I want to celebrate!!! OK, my unemployment doesn't lend itself well to big pricey dinners, but I do have a bottle of our favorite red at the house that I put in the cellar to chill. That will have to suffice. It is appropriate seeing as we consumed a bottle on the day we closed.

Aaaaah!! Relief. Now we can back to work on the house.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One Day...

and the frame for the deck is up!!

Team Burger was out Saturday to help get the posts up and W2's folks came out to get the scaffolding set up. We were able to get everything prepped on Saturday which saved us 3 hours on Sunday.

We started work at 9 a.m. and W2 and I attached the last joist supports at 7:30 pm. It was a very long, but very productive day. We had the help of 6 extra guys, plus W2, his dad and myself. I didn't do much on the deck until the end of the day because they all knew what they were doing and I didn't. I mowed the lawn, dragged copious amounts of brush to the burn barrel and cleaned the addition in preparation for the insulation and sheet rocking that started today.

The deck is huge. You could comfortably fit 4 full patio furniture sets on the large section and another one on the smaller section that wraps around the side. It's like a football field. But it does fit the house and that's what counts, right? W2 continues to awe and astound me with his vision. I'm truly just along for the ride, oh and to fetch tools and clean up!

I'll get up pictures soon. I promise.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Up goes the deck

So the decking got delivered on Thursday and we start construction today. I'm headed home to pull down the last of the ceiling in the hallway to our bedroom and haul away doors prior to Team Burger arriving this afternoon.

Once again we are blessed by family and friends pitching in to help get it done. I find myself with a new friend from work, Rasta, who will be pitching in today and tomorrow. Amazing!

Thanks to the Universe for the help and the hope!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Plumbing frustrations

W2 has been pushed outside his knowledge and comfort zones time and time again as we have travelled the path of rehabilitation on our home. He thoughtfully ponders challenges, reads the stack of home improvement books we have acquired and ultimately figures out how to move forward. He is amazing. Many of us when presented with the challenge of installing a bathtub and plumbing it, or installing a dishwasher and wiring it would back off. Maybe call someone for help, hire someone who is certified to do it. We don't have that option so he just plods along and figures it out.

Last night we were racing against losing light and we ran into a hitch. One of the sharkbites would not release and we needed to disconnect some of the copper pipe we (I say we, but I mean W2) had previously installed. He tried everything and finally ended up cutting off the pipe. Which still didn't work. He had to take the whole thing apart, take it into the hall where we had light and wrestle with it some more, before it finally released. And then, he had to rebuild the whole fecking thing! It was painful to see his frustration and know that I could offer no intelligence or assistance. Now don't get me wrong, I held the pliers firmly and turned when told, but I was of little help. I hate to see him get that frustrated, because I don't ever want him to lose sight of his accomplishments. They are vast.

I merrily continued to hammer in the safety plates over all of the beams that wires run through as he threw things and took timeouts. What I learned last night is we cannot work with lights on in the back until the sheet rock is up for fear a building inspector may happen to drive by and then start to ask questions. Apparently even though we didn't put the addition on the house, we are moving forward and apparently that requires the building permit. I am so confused on what does and does not require paperwork. Regardless, we can't work after we lose light, which is very restricting since I don't get home some nights until 6:30. I am making a huge effort to get out at 5:30 until we get the sheet rock up, so we have as much time as possible.

On another note, W2 went to the new bank yesterday and they were very positive about the refinance. Next week he will go back to sit down and do all of the paperwork.

Oh, and W2 finished hard wiring the dishwasher last night so we can finally use it. The corner cabinet still does not open so I will call the installer to have him come take a look.

Another productive night, that wasn't productive enough in W2's eyes. We're closing in on the finish line, we just have to have the energy to do it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The deck was delivered

W2 ordered the supplies for the deck yesterday at 3:00 p.m. When we got home last night at 5:30 it was there. All of it. It was rather impressive. Curtiss Lumber has definitely done right by us on this one.

I continue to fight with Home Depot over the poor design for the kitchen. The refrigerator door can't open all the way because it hits the molding to the door into the dining room and once we installed the dishwasher I can no longer open the corner cabinet. Someone is coming out to look at it at the end of this week. I wasn't going to make stink, since it is people I used to work with and all, but we've spent too much money to not be able to utilize all of the space and the appliances correctly. So stink, I will make.

The heating duct work is coming along and should be finished today. The stuff we need finished in order to close in the walls. W2 and I will finish wiring, finish installing the bathtub, install the exhaust fans and lights in the bathroom, move a ceiling fan box to over our bed and get ready to close up the walls.

The next few days and weeks will be totally hectic but we're closing in on it and have tentatively scheduled our housewarming party!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Team Bright and the bathtub

I put out a panicked call to my sister on Thursday when my father in law started saying that he might not be able to help with the deck if it rained on the weekend between then and May 18th. I was in a panic because he is the only one that knows how to build a second story deck. My brother in law built their deck, so grasping at straws, I called in the hopes that they might be available to help us get this done.

I didn't hear back until today, but when she called she had come up with the plan that the whole family, Team Bright, would come down today, work through this afternoon, evening and tomorrow morning to help us get done whatever they could, prior to meeting up with my folks for lunch tomorrow. She even suggested that maybe my folks could come up and we'd have Mother's day together before we have to head over to my in-laws to celebrate Mother's day and W2's dad's birthday tomorrow evening. It won't help us get the deck done, but it will get a ton of other things accomplished.

This kind of thinking blows me away, and makes me feel incredibly blessed. I am at work and W2 is home working alone. We thought I would only be working a half day, which was bad enough, but yesterday learned I am working full days on Saturday's. That threw a total kink in W2's plans, and mine as well. Also, completely limits what can be accomplished.

Now we will have reinforcements and may have some real progress. W2's mom delivered our tub for the master bath last night and then we all headed up to the Evil Orange Box for plumbing supplies. W2 should be able to get the tub plumbed in and possibly installed today.

Maybe with the help of Mr. Bright we will be able to finish putting the kitchen floor down, thus allowing us to install our new dishwasher that was delivered last week. Mom and Dad bought us the dishwasher as a housewarming gift. Thank you very much Mom and Dad.

I am feeling frustrated to be at work, but thankful beyond measure for Team Bright and their willingness to pitch in. So thankful there really aren't words to describe it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Magic Closet be gone

We at Casa Su Rehab have called the little closet in the offisery the magic closet since we purchased the house. It was named this as it is the door that allows you entrance to the upstairs part of the addition. Without opening the door, you would not know that there was more to the house than meets the eye.

Last night W2 and I tore out the Magic Closet as well as the closet that was at the end of the hall. So now when you get to the top of the stairs and look to the left there is, what appears to be, an enormous hallway to, what will soon be the master suite. As is the norm with this house, we were amazed at the lack of construction skills the last owners had. They had used 1.5" screws to go through 1.5" boards when building the closet at the end of the hall. And one nail installed from the attic down was holding the frame for said closet in place. Amazing that nothing fell apart. But we've thought that time and again during this process.

Tonight will be spent hauling away the sheet rock removed in last nights project, burning the un-recyclable lumber and vacuuming all of the dust the project created. Tomorrow W2 will do a million small tasks such as finishing the windows in the dining room, so I can paint the trim and finish that room, for good! Putting outlet covers on, finish installing the fan ceiling boxes, finish putting the safety brackets on all of the beams that electrical wire runs through, straighten out the debris from all of the above mentioned projects. On Sunday we will install the tub in the master bath, that is, if my in laws actually bring it out to the house as they have said they would.

Our lists are long, but we are crossing things off daily. Making progress!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

it's been a while

Things at Casa su Rehab are insane. The bank has basically told us that regardless of giving us the extension, they have no intention of giving us anymore money because they don't think we are working fast enough. The root of the problem is that they want us to do the bare minimum to make the house habitibal. We are trying to do things right, not the bare minimum. This is a major difference in approach and has caused all of our problems.

So the plan as it stands is get everything done by June 1st, go to another bank and refinance. Can't refinance if the house isn't finished. So we are barrelling ahead. And it's too much to type at this time. So I'll save it for another day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hate the bank, hate the bank, hate the bank

It doesn't seem to matter what we get accomplished, it is not enough. The bank, although extending our Rehab loan, is now giving us a hard time about inspections and engineers drawings, which we do not have and are not required to have in our town for the work we have done. The addition was on the house prior to our purchasing it. If the owners at that time did not get the appropriate permits, it is not our fault and we cannot get them after the fact. We have told the bank that we can cancel the remainder of the rehab and to take it off the principal. But apparently it doesn't work that way. If they cancel the rehab loan we would be responsible to pay the mortgage in full within 30 days. AS IF!!

So now we forge ahead, slamming through our to-do lists in order to get the heating system done, our bedroom walls in, our bathroom done and then get the back deck on. All of this in order to be able to refinance and pay off our mortgage with this bank. This bank has been nothing but a nightmare, our General Contractor a nightmare in the fact that he is W2's dad, and doesn't know what the hell he is talking about, therefore screwing us over time and time again on money and issues with the bank. The two combined are lethal.

Ok. breathe. that's all I can do, right? well, that and swinging a hammer, alot!! (all right that's an exaggeration, we have pneumatic nail guns, but you get the idea!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I know I've said this before, but now it is the truth, 100%. The siding is completely finished, bump out window and all. It took W2, who really should be W1 since I don't do nearly as much as he does, 20 hours total to get the siding and detail on the big bump out window off the dining room. It is beautiful. I am often in awe of my husband and this is definitely one of those times. I just could not visualize what it was going to look like. He kept describing it and I would nod and smile as if he was speaking a foreign language, but I couldn't see. He could see and he did a tremendous job of bringing as much detail as possible to the feature, with the limited resources he had available within the vinyl siding. I am so proud of him and impressed by him.

Yesterday was a big day at the house. W2 had the day off in anticipation of the bank inspector and the arrival of our new refrigerator. He worked on electrical in the kitchen in the morning and moved everything out of the path for the fridge. The delivery guys got there and had to take the refrigerator apart in order to make it fit through the doorways. Then they installed it (IE. slid it into the slot and plugged it in), only to learn the doors can't open all the way. Now, I told the good folks at Home Depot that we would have a standard size french door style refrigerator when we designed the kitchen. They told me they built in room for the doors to open fully. Guess what?! They didn't. And now, the world's most expensive refrigerator can't open all the way. Grrr. It's not horrible, just horribly frustrating.

The bank inspector never showed, but W2 did get in touch with him so that's a good thing. They'll handle all of the paper and then he'll come out to take a look at what we've gotten done. Which means we'll get a check and can move on with the furnaces and duct work.

So now onto the kitchen floor. In an effort to have it done before the Breeze flies in from San Francisco we will break open the boxes tonight and start the installation. I can't imagine it is as easy as they say it is, so I have no hope of it actually being done prior to her visit. If it is, it would be a wonderful thing. If it's not, oh well, she knows she is coming to visit a construction zone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I cannot describe the great glee this image gives me. I will not be taking it for granted any time soon, that's for sure!

Monday, April 14, 2008

We have cabinets and water!!!

We have cabinets!! and I have photos! how wonderful is that?! My folks came up this weekend to help us. Mom to help me unpack boxes into the cabinets and dad to help W2 plumb water to the kitchen sink. 16 hours and $400 later we have water. I nearly pee'd my pants I was so excited to be able to do dishes, on the first floor.

For any and all out there with plumbing in your future...pex pipe and sharkbites are your best friend. Let me preface this by saying that nothing about plumbing is cheap. Copper is astronomically expensive. Pex had been cheap but the tool required to use it was $400, so therefore expensive. But since the creation of sharkbites, the pex pipe is totally do-able. My father and W2 should be hired to do commercials for this new wonder product. They are so impressed and so excited. My father kept saying things like "watch me sweat this joint...(slides the piece on)...I'm done." All of this while looking at my mother and I, who have no idea what it means to sweat a joint, expecting our awe and excitement. We tried our best, and were certainly thrilled with their enthusiasm and joy. But I don't think you can truly appreciate the ease of the sharkbite if you have nothing to compare it to.

Mom and Dad left last night while I was happily washing every dish we own in my sink, in my kitchen, with running water. Thanks to all of their help, I am four boxes and one stack of drawers away from having a dining room, which would mean the whole downstairs is livable and useable. Can you imagine?! It's nearly too much to grasp.

For now, I find myself gazing into the dining room in awe of how big it is! I am hoping we will be able to have a table before too long. I cleared off the tops of all four pieces of furniture and was able to dust them yesterday. Another absolutely amazing thing for me. So soon, very soon it will meet it's destiny as a viable dining room vs what it has been, a storage facility.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Since I last wrote a ton of stuff has happened.
1. We bought the kitchen floor
we had planned to install it until we learned that you had to install the cabinets before the floor.
2. We called for cabinet installation
3. The cabinets are being installed today
4. W2 and his dad worked on the bump out window
5. Rigger from MA was here to help for the weekend. He and W2 worked on wiring in our bedrooom
6. I unpacked all the cabinets to ensure nothing was defective or damaged with the help of w2's mom
7. I worked on scraping the kitchen floor free of the laminate goo and paper that is left over
8. I worked on scraping the floor some more
9. and some more!

On Friday the Canadian Diva arrived for a wine sodden visit that was well needed and truly treasured! On Sunday I recieved a call from the Breeze in SF and learned she is coming for a visit the end of the month! I am so very excited, I cannot even tell you! To have one on one time with one of the girls is a gift in and of itself, but to be able to share my home is precious.

I will look forward to her coming and being able to see my new kitchen!! Can you believe it? I'm gonna have a kitchen! Of course W2 tells me last night I still won't have water in the sink until he and my dad dig the trench that needs to be dug out to the drywell. My head almost popped off. Why haven't we thought about this trench in all of the months we haven't had any water? I realize it was winter and digging wasn't possible, but come on! I just feel like I'm left out of the loop and when W2 shares things (like this) it feels like a road block. When I know damn well it isn't, but because it's the first I'm hearing about it, it's frustrating!

But for now, I'll focus on the fact that my cabinets are being installed today.


Thursday, April 3, 2008


We've reached the stage of needing to choose and install the floor in the kitchen. Sheerah finished the taping, priming and painting yesterday. W2 and I had picked out a cheap vinyl sheet flooring last Saturday and set up a measure for estimate for yesterday. I left work in order to meet the contractor and got there 2 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment.

He had already been to the house, measured the floor and left.

I was PISSED!!

I needed to talk to him about the condition of the floor. How much of the old adhesive did we need to get off in order to avoid having to put down subflooring? If it needed subfloor, could we get an estimate with and without that price? What leveling needed to be accomplished prior to the installation? and what not. None of this is crucial, if he had been there for me to have the conversation with him. But he was not.

The salesman that we had worked with last weekend called today with the quote. It was $898.00. I was not impressed, at all. The flooring itself is only $297.00. We had chosen it for the inexpensive nature of it. The design was palatable, but nothing to write home about. The goal is to get a floor down. A floor that will last the five years we intend to use the kitchen as it will be when we are done with this phase. We will eventually tile the floor, when we reclaim the addition. But for now, cheap was key. This quote was not cheap. Or certainly not in the category we consider cheap.

While at the store the display had fallen apart when I moved a sample. Crashing into my arm, leaving two cuts, a scrape, bruise and another bruise on my calf where it hit on it's way to the floor. The salesman neither apologized nor did anything to rectify the situation so know one else was hurt. I was not impressed.

I called the manager today to let him know how unimpressed I was with the salesman and the complete and utter lack of professionalism and courtesy of the estimator. I was offered all kinds of apologies and discounts. None of which mattered. We won't be getting our floor from that establishment. Which really and truly bums me out because they had beautiful stuff and I had envisioned my next kitchen already from product on display there.

Oh well.

We'll continue to shop.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tom gets it done!!

The siding is done, done, done!!!

I am so excited! The house looks amazing. W2 and his dad will finish the bump out window off the dining room this Sunday and we will be done. Completely.

Sheerah will be done with the taping and painting in the kitchen tomorrow. The installer for the kitchen floor will come out tomorrow to measure. We'll be able to order the floor and set up the installation for that and then...

I can finally have my cabinets installed.


Monday, March 31, 2008

The siding is so close to done it's painful

Hansen Construction has been absolutely amazing. Anyone in the VT, MA, NY corner of the world looking for contractors, this is your guy. He's picked up where the other jerk left off and brought the job in on time at the projected cost. What a novel concept!

W2 and I were both there last Thursday to see the last piece go up on the back of the house, 40 ft off the ground. Tom had borrowed/rented a man lift from the guy down the road in order to do the peak. It was rather impressive.

Sheerah is cruising on the interior stuff. I believe she was actually priming the kitchen this afternoon. She had repaired the huge crack between the sheet rock and ceiling in the blue bedroom and was planning on touching that up as well. I should be able to vacuum and dust and put that room to rights in preparation for our visit from the Canadian Diva this weekend!

We may have a household with Rigger coming back to help on Saturday and Sunday. I should really try to clear some space in the officery in the event we do have more than one houseguest.

We have finally decided on the five year plan for the kitchen. We will create the apartment for now, so we have the income. At the end of five years (ish), we will reclaim the entire first floor, expanding the kitchen to include a sitting room or conversation area that leads out onto the deck. This will allow us the additional income for childrearing, when we have a child, and allow us to have a project for the future.

We picked out the five year floor for the kitchen and I have someone coming out on Wednesday to measure and quote the install. Sheerah will be done by then, so then it will only be a matter of getting a date for the floor installation and then I can call my cabinet installers!!! And then I CAN HAVE A KITCHEN!!!!! I could pee I'm so excited.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It just keeps getting better

So our contractor, JTP Construction, was arrested this morning, or that's the word anyway. Tom of Hansen Construction called me at 1pm to let me know that he had heard from Jay at 8:30 this morning. Mind you, Jay was supposed to be at my house at 8 a.m.. But anyway, he calls Tom to tell him the folks from his other job are pressing charges against him and he needs to go to the police station to straighten things out. He'll be out as soon as it's all squared away. He then calls Tom at 11:30 to tell him he and two other guys are on their way out to my house. Tom called me at 1:00 to let me know they weren't there yet and he'd had it. He would finish the house but anything from that point forward would be done between us and him, leaving Jay out. While we're on the phone Jay calls. It turns out, it's one of Jay's guys telling Tom Jay had been arrested and he was on his way to bail him out. Whether or not this is true is irrevelant. The guy is a total bullshit artist and we fell for it. Fortunately he doesn't have any of our money. We will pay Tom of Hansen Construction to finish our house. He is bringing 4 more guys out tomorrow so he'll have 6 guys there to finish the job.

Ren, of Bison Contracting, will be at the house taping the kitchen and sealing the heinous gap between the wall and ceiling in the spare bedroom tomorrow. So the house will be a hive of activity. I am tickled to have her working on the house and anxious to see the rapid progress she has assured me of.

So now I find myself in the situation of having to fire the first contractor. Thank god the guy I work with is a legal genius and knows all of the ins and outs of the law. So I've typed a lovely letter of termination giving him 24 hours to fix his misdeeds and at the end of that I will terminate the contract. I fear getting dinged to pay two contractors, but guy I work with tells me the two letters make it legal and he won't be able to claim any $.

We'll see.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The contractor our contractor subcontracted is back

Our contractor sucks. I have stated this several times, in several ways. But the guy he subbed us out to was great. Unfortunately, he only subbed it out for two weeks. Two weeks was up and Tom left. And Jay didn't come. It's been two weeks since Tom left and only 12 feet of progress has been accomplished. Yesterday I very calmly told Jay that I was done. That I was not going to be patient anymore. That he had better get his ass to my house and finish my siding pronto. I made it clear that I did not care what else was on his plate, that he now needed to deal with me. He stuttered, made excuses, apologized and then let me know he was bringing Tom back on the job.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!!! That was the best news I could have heard.

So I spoke with Tom last night and several times today and my house should be done by tomorrow. Phew! Then we can have the inspector out and get a draw on the rehab loan.

Oh, and speaking of the loan. My mother in law had the audacity to say to me on Friday that she wished we hadn't gotten the extension that way my Father in law would be off the hook.


It's not like he's done much up to this point, why would it matter. and can you imagine saying that out loud to someone?! The loan is $25k, it's the difference between us finishing this project or living in a construction zone for a very, very long time. And W2's mother, his very own mother, is wishing we didn't get it.

I am in awe.

Friday, March 21, 2008

And still we wait...

It's been 5 days since we've had any activity on the contractor front. Note to anyone who cares: Do not hire a contractor without getting references and looking at the work he has done in person. Also do not sign a contractor unless is includes the codicile that no work will be subcontracted out. These have been two very big lessons learned.

Our contractor keeps thanking me for being patient, so apparently I have him fooled. I'm not patient! I was ready to fire him last week. W2 wouldn't let me. Here's my complaint:

1. Did not start working on agreed date...and it wasn't weather related.

2. Started working, put up wrong J-channel...lost almost a whole day correcting the problem. Why did they put the wrong J-channel, you may wonder? Because the contractor we hired wasn't on site, he had subcontracted out the job and sent one of his minions to supervise, without giving him all the details.

3. Did not finish job within agreed timeline. Must have hired subcontractors for a certain amount of time, that ended. So did the work on the house.

4. Lies to me on a daily basis. Tells me how long it took "him" to do the peak of the house. He wasn't even there. I was. I was there every day. He'd know he was up shit's creek if he'd been there.

5. I call everyday to hear the woe of the moment. Which I could give a rat's ass about, I just want him to know I'm waiting...and not very patiently.

So now we wait. We've told him he has until March 30th to get it done. He told me he'd be working on Sunday, as if that would get him sympathy. I would never tell anyone to work on a holiday, nor would I ask. Holidays are for family and friends. But don't tell me you're going to work, when I know damn well you are not.

On another contractor note. I've had contact with the contractor, we will call her Sheerah, who will most likely be taping the kitchen. She's coming out on Monday to check it out, give us an estimate and have dinner. She's a former colleague, potential friend. It'll be nice to have progress on the kitchen, but equally nice to have someone over for dinner. Someone who understands the chaos of living in a house under construction. So this is a positive note.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We at Casa su Rehab will be taking the night off. Not that we haven't been doing that lately, but officially this time!!! To raise a pint and sing along to some Irish tunes!

In the meantime our contractor SUCKS. He's done nothing but lie and tap dance since we hired him. He promised no subcontractors, then promptly contracted out the job. He assured us it'd be done in 14 business days. We are on day 17. Promised he'd work Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Worked Saturday. It'll only take a day and a half to finish. It's not done.

We will hire the guy he subcontracted the gig out to if we need work in the future.

Waiting to hear back from contractor I used to work with who will/may do the taping in the kitchen and stairwell. Then we'll see if we can get the cabinets installed, for the love of God.

I'm dealing with a herniated disc. So I'm out. Down for the count. Not contributing nothing to this project. Only to the bank account of my chiropractor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

and then they f'd up....

Our siding guys are slamming through this project. Working in some pretty unsavory conditions. Doing their best to get the job done.

In their attempt to be conscientious, they were throwing all cardboard in our burn pit and on Friday they lit it. Unfortunately, one of those boxes of cardboard was full of vinyl siding scraps. Vinyl siding scraps make a sticky black soot. Can you picture where this is going? Yup, that sticky black soot became stuck to the side of my brandy new siding.

Isn't that great?!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

I don't get the all

So here we've been racing racing racing to get things done by March 3rd in order to not lose our rehab loan. We've obviously passed that date and accepted that the money was no longer available to us. Today, they get in touch with W2 and say he needs to file an extension. From all of the documentation they have sent us, we were led to believe that as of the 3rd we were done. According to them we had not shown enough progress therefore no due diligence, no money. We knew this to be wrong, but also understood that since we had only had one inspection equalling one draw on the loan that they could view our progress as lackadaisical in nature and would pull the loan. Whatever! They're the bank vs. us the frustrated and tired Rehab Warriors. We can't win.

But apparently the loan has not been pulled. Filing an extension will allow us access to the loan. Or that's what they would like us to believe. My skeptical self fears that this is just another hoop to jump through that will lead to days of waiting to hear, and waiting, and waiting...
Essentially adding up to more frustration. No thank you, is what i have to say. We have enough frustration. Thank you very much.

But then again, it could allow us to actually get the bedroom done, and maybe even the kitchen...

Nah, that's too much to hope.

We will once again load up the Rubbermaid tote with dirty dishes for W2 to load into the dishwasher at work tomorrow. I've switched to paper products, but you can't cook in them. And I'll suggest to anyone who finds themselves in the situation where they don't have a kitchen: Spend more on plastic silverware, less on paper plates. Cheap plastic silverware sucks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

siding and's a good day!

The siding guys are at the house working feverishly in our freakishly Spring-like weather. It reached 50 degrees today. I am anxious to see the progress they made. Instead of driving to the house on lunch, like I have been, I took the dog for a long walk through the fields at work. It's so beautiful I can't even do it justice with words. While we were out a red tailed hawk flew by, it smelled of moist earth, the trees are losing their winter wear and getting ready to bud. The whole thing is amazing.

Granted tomorrow we are expecting another snow storm. Whatever! I'll enjoy the Spring-like moments whenever we get them.

W2 took some time off today to go tub shopping with his dad. It seems they may have found one. I never realized how hard it is to pick these things out. When you rent, you take what you get. You don't give a lot of thought to the color of appliances, toilets, tubs, vanities, countertops, floors... You just roll with it. But when given the responsibility of picking all of these things out, it becomes a tad bit overwhelming. I like the color of white in bathrooms, but we have water that is very high in iron, so it would leave an orange hue on everything. I don't like that look. My mom always had bisque or almond colored appliances so I lean in that direction. But then I question, is it because it is what I know or because I actually like it?

I really just want a kitchen. But anyone who has read my blog knows that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Furnace blower dies

Can't get a break at Casa su Rehab or maybe this was a break and we're ungrateful. Furnace blower died this morning, or so we thought. After a service call we learned it had just overheated. RGN Heating and Cooling took care of us and left us a used motor and parts in the event it happens again before we can install the new heating system. We just need to limp through this next 6 weeks. That's all we need. Then we'll be able to move forward with the new installation.

In the meantime, we're shit out of luck with the rehab loan. It's over. We lost the $25k. So now we do everything out of pocket. As is my nature, I can't help but think it will cut down on the length of time we will pay our mortgage!? I don't know, but I'm looking for the silver lining.

Contractors worked for a bit yesterday, but the weather was hellacious so they had to quit early. Weather continues to do what it does here in our neck of the woods, so they didn't work today either. Can't blame them, it was 50 degrees at one point this morning but is now 28. We've had torrential rain, sleet and It's lovely and we here in the northeast refer to as Spring.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Siding goes up

The contractors have been good to their word. Working when they say they will work. With the exception of the day we had subzero temperatures, they've been there everyday. The front of the house is sided up to the part where there will be contrasting shakes. I imagine they will get that part up today. Our neighbors have commented that they like the color and the contractors have also said they like the color. It seems we've picked a likeable color. We'll see how everyone feels once the shakes are up. I am anxious to see what it looks like.

I've been tired, tired, tired lately. The kitchen is a total drag. Or shall I say the lack of one. I have a stove and a refrigerator. No counters, no sink. Just a stove and refrigerator. In order to cook, I must go upstairs to the bathroom, fill a five gallon bucket with water, haul it back downstairs and then find the pot or pan I need. You see, up until this point we have eaten out, every meal. It gets old. At this point, it is well past old. I look forward to cooking. I want to cook. I miss baking. All of it really. I have wonderful pots and pans, and cooking tools. I miss them. They are stacked in boxes in my dining room. I cannot get to them.

We were supposed to get the sink and counter top that are leaning against the boxes in the dining room, down to the basement and out of the way over the weekend. That didn't happen. W2 doesn't realize how much of a pain it is to prepare a meal in our house. So it's not that important to him to help with these things. But IT IS SUCH A PAIN IN THE BUTT TO PREPARE A MEAL IN OUR HOUSE!!! I just want to get out a couple more pans, maybe a measuring cup. I can hang with the best of them, honest. Hauling shit up and downstairs, to wash dishes, to get water, to water plants. All of it. It's like camping inside. But even when you are camping you have access to your stuff. Not here.

This too shall pass. I know. Just tired and a tad cranky about the kitchen.

Friday, February 29, 2008


Not all of it. But some of it. And some of it is better than none of it!

I turned into our road and nearly did a double take, not recognizing the home we have labored on for the past (nearly) 6 months. Such a shock to see activity and it not be our own. It damn near took my breath away. It did bring a tear to my eye...ok, now I'm exaggerating that was the frigid wind that brought a tear to my eye. But it sounded dramatic for a minute, didn't it?

It was 4 below zero when I left for work this morning, so no siding will be going on today. And they're predicting 14 - 18" of snow tonight and into tomorrow, so no siding will go on then either. It sounds like Monday is the next day we will activity on the house.

But for now, I can actually see what it might look like, one day, if we ever finish!

Ha! Progress!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My father in law is an asshole

I know I've stated this before, but it is a sentiment that bears repeating. Good God, he continues to screw us over. In every way possible. Back in October he had us order our siding because it was special order. Come to find out today, only the cedar-like shakes for the peak of the house were special order. Totalling up to about $400. Versus the $5000 we've been paying interest on since that time. We could have ordered the special order stuff then and held off on the rest until two days prior to the contractors starting.

He's given us bad quotes on everything he has quoted. He screwed us over with the bank, almost costing us our rehab loan back in December by being careless with his remarks when the inspector was at the house. He hasn't been at the house to help until just recently. He causes W2 stress on a level that is off the charts. He can't be at the house now when we need him to make sure the contractors do what they are supposed to.

And the most frustrating thing for me is that we can't let him know how we feel. It kills me. I just want to scream at him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

chicks with tools

My inlaws came over to help this past Sunday. Dad, Mom and Sis. Dad and W2 worked on framing the closet and bathroom in what will one day be our bedroom. Mom, Sis and I worked on cleaning up (cuz that's what women folk do, dontcha know?) in, what will be our bedroom, then down to the apartment to clean that up as well. Sis, is an avid cleaner. She loves it. Lives for it. Great...go ahead and clean!! So when we finished our assigned projects she moved on to using our beloved Dyson to vacuum any and all available surfaces in our home. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you dear sis! Not that I don't vacuum, but I will admit to losing sight of the mundane day to day chores of keeping a house, when we are constantly traipsing up and down stairs with muddy boots, lugging 2 x 4's, sheets of sheetrock and plywood and what not...every day cleaning has gotten lost in the midst...I'll admit. So I totally appreciated her love of cleaning and her willingness to apply it to our home.

While Sis was vacuuming, Mom and I tackled flipping the mattress on our bed. W2 and I both suffer from bad backs. We suffer more because we are about 2 years past the point of needing a new mattress. But new mattresses cost money and any and all money we have or have access to, goes to the house...not a new mattress. One day there will money for that. That day is not today. So I rely on all sorts of tricks to make our mattress last until that time. One of which is flipping it periodically.

For any of you readers who have not slept on a mattress well past it's prime, let me describe our sleeping situation. W2 and I are not small people. There is therefore a crater in the middle of our mattress, where we have slept most often. This crater does it's best to claim our bodies throughout the night. Regardless of anchoring a leg over the side of the bed, using pillows to prevent the slide, hanging on for dear life, I find myself solidly in the middle of the crater come morning. W2 claims I hog the bed. I claim I want to be closer to him ;) Regardless of what we claim, the truth of the matter is we end up like a pile of puppies in the middle of the crater with our backs twisting and contorting in our efforts to stay on the edge. It is our nightly routine. This quest, if you will.

I am sick of the quest! So I decide that I am not only going to flip the mattress but I'm going to put one of the many sheets of plywood we have between the mattress and boxspring. So Mom and I strip the bed and stand the mattress up on end, she has to stand in front of it to stop it from falling down. While I run down to the garage, grabbing Sis along the way to get the plywood. Sis, not so handy, but as I've mentioned, willing to help. So we get the 8' sheet of plywood in the house, after moving a refrigerator and a piece of cabinetry we are able to navigate the plywood up the stairs. At the top of the stairs there is more navigating to do in order to get it into the bedroom, but we're determined, and where there's a will, there's a way. In it goes!

We get it to the bed and flop it down's too big. A king size bed is not 8' long (But wouldn't it be great if it were?!) I am a determined woman. I am rehab warrior #1. I will not be defeated by this size discrepancy. I march my happy ass into the addition, where W2 and Dad are working, to get the sawzall! I tell W2 not to worry when I am questioned about what I am doing, and I march my happy ass back into the bedroom. I proceed to saw the plywood, where it lay, propped on the foot board and the boxspring. I saw while my mother and sister in law plug their ears. I saw until the damn battery quits. In the middle of the board.

But I am not dissuaded from my quest. NO! I run downstairs and get our batttery operated circular saw to finish the job. By this time W2 has come into the bedroom to see what the hell I am doing. His dad asked him where he was going and his reply was "W1 was just in here to retrieve a saw, I now hear saw sounds coming from our bedroom, don't you think I should go see what she is sawing?" W2's dad thought he had a good point!

I use the circular saw from the other side of the board planning to meet the line. I'm sure you can imagine where this is going. It doesn't match. But I learn that it doesn't match because the battery in the cirular saw ALSO DIES!! I am cursed with poorly charged batteries. We have two rechargers but apparently we've fallen behind in keeping our four batteries charged. As you can also imagine, I'm not giving up. So I kick the board, breaking it in two, and lay it down. Of course this doesn't cover the entire mattress so I must continue to switch back and forth between the two saws and piece together the remainder of the plywood in order to create an even surface. But I prevailed. I am the master of those damn power tools. I can complete a project on my own.

Sis vacuums up all the sawdust. Mom, Sis and I then flip the mattress, put it down, and make the bed. I then flopped down on it to see if it was all worth it.

I couldn't tell! Can you believe that!?

It's been two nights since then and it is better, but boy was that disappointing in terms of instant gratification!

Monday, February 25, 2008

contractor hell

First contractor goes MIA, call second contractor. Second contractor no call no shows, call second contractor. Reschedule for following day with contractor #2, talk to former contractor whom you work with. Former contractor interested in job, comes to see the house assures me of a phone call Friday night. Second contractor calls half hour before scheduled apointment to reschedule due to weather, former contractor doesn't call.

This about the time I started gettin pissy.

Second contractor calls Saturday and asks if he can come out that day. I tell him no, we had agreed to touch base on Sunday. But then I realize I might be shooting myself in the foot, so I call W2, who agrees, I am shooting myself in the foot. I then call back contractor #2 and attempt to schedule for that afternoon. He's not sure, will call by 3pm.

3:15 contractor #2 calls to let me know he is on his least we'll get to see a damn contractor. He comes out, checks out the house and gives us a quote. It is twice as much as contractor #1, but wait that didn't include the soffets and fascia. That's another $1650. We don't have $7650 allotted to do this project. We have $3000 allotted. We are screwed and our backs are against the wall.

W2 heads to the bank today to see about a loan that will cover the siding and heating system. If we can pull off the siding, we may be able to extend the rehab loan, which would reimburse us for everything we have to borrow.

Keep your fingers crossed. I know I am.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I hate contractors

So I had called another contractor to give us an estimate on siding the house. We agreed to meet at the house last night at 6:30. I get home from work to find W2 wandering around the yard in wonder. It appears our first (long absent) contractor had been at the house cleaning up yesterday. First of all, IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!!! Second, why that day?

So we scratch our heads and nash our teeth in frustration but anxiously await the meeting with contractor #2. We wait patiently for 6:30 to arrive. It arrives. The contractor does not.

We wait until 6:45, when I reach the end of my patience and call. No answer. No huge deal as we live in the middle of no where and people often lose cell reception enroute to our house. My phone rings moments later and it's the contractor. He stood us up!!! Are they all cut from the same damn cloth? I don't get it. He says he was so glad I called, because he had lost my number and wanted to change it to tonight. Whatever!!! I agreed to meet with him tonight and then promptly called contractor #1.

He claims he's been sick as a dog (for seven weeks?), that he was out last week and saw his guy hadn't cleaned up after them like he was told to, so he came out this week to clean up. MY ASS!! He wasn't out last week walking around. First off, it was muddy as hell last week. If anyone had been walking around our property we would have noticed the foot prints. Secondly, W2 and friends were home working on the beams. So he's blatantly lieing to us. Next he tries to tell me that he was gonna call, but he ah, ah, forgot, I guess. GRRRR!

I let him know we were getting bids from other contractors because we hadn't seen or heard from him in 7 weeks. I also let him know that he basically screwed us out of our rehab loan since he hasn't gotten the work done. We only had until March 3 and he's known that all along. Bottom line we're fucked out of $25k because we can't get a damn contractor to keep their word.

I hate contractors.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We here at Casa su Rehab, have not gone the route of contractors. We've not done this for a couple reasons, ok one reason: MONEY. We don't really have it. You didn't actually think we were doing this all on our own because we wanted to, did you? because we desired the challenge? No, we are doing it the way we are doing it, because it is the way we can afford to do it. Anyway, we did give in to the need for a contractor when it came to the roof and the siding. We did this because a) neither W2 or myself really knows how to do either and b) neither of us wanted to be that high up on scaffolding. You see, our house is four stories at the peak in the back. Not a height I desire to achieve.

So we found a contractor that was willing to do the labor and allow us to purchase the materials. Not something most contractors will do. They want to buy the materials because they can get a contractor discount but charge you the retail price. This is how they are able to make some of their money. Whatever. We are able to get the contractor rate through W2's dad, so didn't want to pay anything additional. K, so we found said contractor. Great. but wait, not so great.

#1 he was supposed to start the week of Thanksgiving. That didn't happen. Not because of weather, but because he was running behind schedule. Fine. It would have been nice if he was able to communicate that with us, but whatever.

#2 he started but then requested money the first day on the job. We paid him, some. He worked a couple more days and requested more. We didn't pay him. We told him we would pay him when the roof was done.

#3 he finished the roof. we paid him. We overpaid him because the measurement the quote was based on were off. But we were ok with that, whatever. It wasn't that much and he was giving us a great rate on the siding.

#4 he disappeared.

#5 I called him 3 weeks after we had last seen him and he said he would be out that week

#6 he didn't show. I gave him a week from when he said I would see him. then I became his worst nightmare. I called and left a message EVERYDAY for a couple weeks. Asking when we would see him again. No response.

We have a rehab loan. It gives us 6 months to complete all work the bank has agreed to pay for. The siding is a major chunk of this work. Our contractor has essentially screwed us out of this loan because he didn't show up, showed up then disappeared. We have until March 3rd to get the house sided and inspected in order to get any of the money from the rehab loan.

I have another contractor coming to look at the house tonight. I will explain our predicament and see if there is any chance in hell of him siding our house before March 3rd. I doubt it is possible.

Our first contractor has left all of his ladders at the house. At this point I am ready to sell his ladders to help pay for some of our rehab.

I am not happy. and W2, well dear W2 has given up on sleep entirely.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The beam is in

With the help of the Jackal, Rigger and W2's dad the micro laminate beam (weighing close to 1,000 lbs) is in. You can now stand on the floor in the apartment and jump up and down, AND IT DOESN'T BOUNCE!!! How exciting is that??

They had to jack up the house to get the beam in as well as installing 3 new lolly(sp?) columns along with the beam in the basement. Then on to the 2nd floor they moved. Yesterday they got everything cleared out and prepped. Beams notched, supports in place, 2 x 4 nailed in. And today they will put the beam in both the 2nd and 3rd floors!!! By the end of today, we will have a structurally sound house! What a novel concept!?

Rigger left yesterday and although we totally appreciated his help, I wasn't sad to see him go. He is not the easiest person to spend time with. So the Jackal, W2 and I had a very unromantic Valentine's dinner at the local BBQ joint and a lovely visit. I truly love the Jackal and cannot wait for he and his family to live in closer proximity. It looks like this Spring/Summer they will be moving North of the Mason Dixon Line once again and we will be within a couple two three hours of them. We are so blessed to have such good friends. It is just so very lonely as they are all so far away.

We will be able to move forward with framing out our bedroom once all of the beams are done. Then on to the kitchen. Aaaah, the kitchen!!! We cannot finish our bedroom until we install the new furnaces and duct work. We cannot install the heating system until we have some money as it is going to cost about $12k (we finally got the estimate and contract). Too bad we can't do an installment plan, huh? but anyway. So we will get to a certain point in the bedroom and then have to stop.

The Jackal gave us a great idea for the kitchen floor. We had been going back and forth as W2 wants tile, I do not. I understand tile is great for resale, but it is cold and hard. Since I am the one standing in the kitchen, I think I should have the majority of input. We had gotten to the point where I gave in and said, fine whatever, to the tile. But I wanted to pick it. So we went and looked and I showed W2 what I wanted. He agreed, liked the look, and we started pricing. Here's the problem. The main tile I chose was not all that expensive, about $450 to do the floor. But I had fallen in love with a river pebble border. These 4" x 8.5" pieces were $8.55 each. This added up to something like $800, on top of the tile cost. W2 lost his marbles. I pouted. I'm not much of a pouter, but I loved the look of the river pebbles. Anyway, so we moved on. We found a real touch laminate that looked like tile, but had backing and a pad that made it soft. It is much darker than the tile I had picked out, but it was ok. Definitely a compromise, but ok. The Jackal suggested last night that we go to the river and collect a couple buckets of stones, cut them in half with a wet saw and create our own. Hmmm?! very interesting!! So now I think we are back to tile, with an electric pad underneath for warmth (another brilliant idea of the jackal) and we'll design a pattern to incorporate the river stones. Also it'll be a great way to incorporate material from our area. We'll go to the river behind the house for the stones!

All in all there has been a ton of progress made this week, with time spent with good friends, and fabulous ideas shared!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well pump dies

We did not get much done on Sunday, as I may have mentioned in the last blog. I felt like shit and W2 lacks motivation if I am laying on the couch, you can't blame him. So we got the stove almost wired, got the upstairs addition completely unwired and insulated and swept. Then we called it quits before I had to do the puking in between hammering routine I've done in weeks past. W2's dad was pissed that we didn't finish getting the sheetrock off the ceiling and out of the apartment. In my world, it's none of his goddamn business what we did or did not accomplish. He has had no interest in this project up to this point and has offered nothing but condemnation and put downs for W2. He has caused more problems than been helpful. He gets W2 completely riled up, down on himself and frustrated. And then I have to hold my tongue of what I really feel, something I am NOT very good at, and spend the next...however long it takes, rebuilding, cheering on and supporting to undo the damage.

W2's dad does things very differently than mine. He does not support, approach things from a positive standpoint, or congratulate. This is very difficult for me. Not to say that my dad is the saint of all saints, but I, as well as W2, find it much easier to work with him. I think W2 has done an amazing job, with little to no help from anyone he expected to help. He has learned a ton and far exceeded what he thought he could do alone. I'm there, but as I mentioned, I am relatively unskilled labor. I'll work all day right along side you, but I'm learning too.

Anyway, W2's dad is an asshole in my opinion. I guess that's enough said about that.

W2's friends arrived last night to help get the beams installed. The Jackal arrived from Tenessee and Rigger is in from the Boston area. Our house is not so ready for guests but we made do and everyone made it through the night with nary a chill! Good thing we own as many sets of flannel sheets, sleepings bags and blankets that we do!

I got in the shower this morning and realized the water pressure sucked. The longer I showered (brief to begin with, but with no pressure, I couldn't get the soap out of my hair) the worse the pressure seemed to get. W2 flushed the toilet to see if that had any impact, it didn't. Then it took forever for the toilet to refill. It trickled in. One drip at a time. Or that's how it sounded anyway. So off to the basement went W2 like the Rehab Warrior that he is, to see what demon is plagueing us now. It seems we have power all the way out to the pump, but nothing from the pump. I have no idea what all of this means, except that the pump is not pulling water from the well. There is speculation that the pump might be frozen, but we don't know how to tell if that is the case. Getting a pump guy to house will cost a shitload of money. It will cost more because the weather sucks.

It's pouring out. And when I say pouring, I mean POURING, sideways, on top of the ice that fell from the sky last night, that fell after the snow fell. To say that the weather is miserable would be an understatement. The roads are horrendous, the wind is howling, no one in their right mind would willingly be working outside. A pump guy is going to cost a fortune today.

In my search for a silver lining in this very dark rain cloud, I am glad the furnace is working? so our pipes won't freeze? so we won't freeze? that it's raining so we can collect water that way? I don't know. It's getting harder and harder to find the silver lining and I am quite certain W2 is going to kill me one of these days when I offer the plus side of whatever situation we are in. I feel like that McDonald's commercial where the guy is being chased by a bear and says he needed the exercise or has a third degree burn and declares red is his favorite color. That's how I feel.

In the meantime, the boys are moving ahead with the beams. W2's dad is headed out to help (yippee) and they'll deal with the pump then. I am at work. Warm. Dry. Clean. These are good things on a day like today.

Monday, February 11, 2008


W2's parents came out to the house on Saturday to help. A novel concept because there has been little help from that corner up until now. But on Saturday they were awesome. We got all of the framing out of the upstairs that will one day be the master bedroom and bathroom; all of the sheetrock out of the apartment; all of the wires out of the upstairs; all of the wires out of the apartment; got the water softener to work and something else that I am not remembering. But anyway, they were awesome. W2 and his dad accomplished all of this with nary an arguement or moment of tension. I even threw in the total wrench by suggesting we maybe, just might, want to think about incorporating all of the addition into the main part of the house and forgo the apartment option.

I did this primarily because I had learned of the challenges in finding suitable tenants in our neck of the woods. I didn't want us to go through all of the design hassles, money challenges and lest I forget to mention WORK, it will involve to complete the apartment, only to have it sit empty for months on end. If this were to be the case and I hadn't expressed my thoughts/concerns I would have been really, really frustrated. So I voiced my concerns. A definite wrench in the works. But then you start thinking of the possibilities of having that much more space...I could have my dream kitchen, W2 could have his dream sitting area off the kitchen, we would have access to the enormous deck we will be building this spring, and the list goes on. But do we, the two of us, really need a 4500 square foot house. The answer is loudly and resoundedly NO, we do not need that much space, but nor do we need an empty apartment, generating no income. So around and round we went.

Amazingly enough it was a visit to the local diner that eased my fears about renting the apartment and we are back on track for doing the apartment, with a few minor compromises to the original plan. We will use the same cabinets that we have in our kitchen, in the apartment so that when and if we decide to incorporate the space into the main part of the house we will have not wasted our money on something we will toss. For now, that's it and we move on with Plan A.

We got insulation in the wall to the blue bedroom, which should improve the temperature in that room as we have the calvary from tennessee coming to help with installing support beams in the basement and framing our bedroom and bathroom tomorrow. The massachusetts version of the calvary will also be arriving tomorrow so there enough hands on deck to lift the very, very heavy beams into place. I am fortunate enough to have to work and will miss this joyous task!!

I am eager to have a stove again. It has been over a month with no kitchen sink or stove. No sign of a sink in sight but with a stove I will be able to cook some meals and that will be an improvement over where we are currently...eating out every meal. With two buckets i will even be able to wash dishes. Much better than trying to wash them in the shower, as we have no bathtub until our bathroom is done upstairs.

We got the quote for the heating system...$7-10k, which is much better than the $18 -20K my pessimistic W2 had anticipated. But it still holds up the completion of our bedroom and bathroom. Can't put up walls until duct work is run for the heating system. Can't have duct work run until we have money to pay for furnaces and labor. Don't have money to pay for anything until our siding is put on the house and we get inspected by the bank.

So it all comes down to our horribly uncoorperative and communicative siding contractor!!! GGGRRRRRR! but I suppose that will have to wait for another day.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A productive weekend

We never did get the cement mixed or poured prior to the weekend, but we got it done yesterday. The two remaining slabs were poured and we were finally able to move to the upstairs part of the addition, which will one day be our master suite. We ripped out the wiring that we have no faith in and were able to tear down one of the walls before W2's father arrived. We will return to ripping out wires and walls tonight.

W2's dad worked on the dining room windows. We helped. It's always stressful when he is there because he makes W2 crazy. He's the general contractor for the job but this is only the 5th time he's been out to the house since we started working on it. A tad frustrating to be sure and W2 doesn't have enough faith in his knowledge or abilities, so he was totally relying on his dad to be there to help him do this. I, on the other hand, have complete faith in W2. I feel horrible that I end up being unskilled labor for most of the project, but I'm willing to do anything, once I know how.

Bottom will take quite a bit more work. W2 survived another day of working with his dad and I only threw up twice!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The house was warm

I arrived home to a warm and toasty, stinky house. I am so proud of warrior #2(W2) and his accomplishments in regards to the furnace. Apparently it took a couple trips to the hardware store and the local Oil Supply company for parts. God forbid it be just one thing! Seems that not only the pump went but during the course of going, it blew some other parts to pieces. Good fun for W2, who knew little to nothing about the pieces and parts involved in a furnace. But he figured it out and as you might be able to tell, I am thoroughly impressed.

I should mention that I sleep soundly. The reason I mention this is that I did not know that W2 was up three or four times during the night of no heat. He went down to the basement, ran the salamander heater, stood with it to make sure it didn't catch anything on fire, returned upstairs and ran water in the sink until it was hot. He did this three or four times. I slept through all of it. Warm and snug under a mound of blankets, feathers, and fur.

Having mentioned W2's nighttime adventures, it may come as no surprise that we accomplished nothing on the house last night. We had dinner out, as usual, as we have no kitchen, then returned home to watch a movie. Movies are our only form of entertainment since we have no cable, internet or phone. Not usually an issue as we are always working on the house, so there is very little time for entertainment.

So now I am hoping to get home early enough to open at least one window and point a fan out so that I can blow some of the fuel smell out of the house. Then maybe we will be able to move on to mixing and pouring that concrete that didn't get done last night.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Four months and 20 days...

We have owned our house for four months and 20 days. It seems like a blink of the eye and a lifetime all at the same time. We worked like warriors for three months prior to moving all of our beloved belongings (and some not so beloved) into what we hope will one day be a home. For now it is a construction zone that is safe to live in. Not always comfortable, but safe.

To say that our house is drafty would be an understatement. It is often times under 50 degrees in our bedroom. There is little point in turning up the heat because it just blows out the cracks in the walls and windows. We've put 22 new windows in the house. They are vinyl replacement windows. I personally stuffed the casings with as much insulation as my husband would allow. There should be no draft from the windows. When I actually have the energy to ponder this out loud to my husband, I am told it's not the windows leaking air, but the walls.

Ah, the walls. You many wonder how walls leak. I know I did. But when your home is 120 years old in the Northeast, you may have a variety of insulations. Horsehair, fishgut, blown in, gypsum, fiberglass. These are all options. We have them all. They're just not thorughout the entire wall, or the entire exterior of the house. The aged blown-in insulation has sunk to the bottom of the walls, leaving a good 6 feet of un insulated expanse. Thus allowing for an incredible amount of cold air to enter the house, through the wall. It's fabulous!!

Last night I arrived home to a VERY cold house that smelled of oil. Neither of these things was all that pleasing. The cold was that unique cold to vacant buildings. Cold trapped air. I heard my husband pull in the driveway and was promptly told to lock the house and go with him. The beginning of our adventure to find a fuel pump at 6:00 p.m. in a small Northeastern town. Let me just say it did not go well.

Our fuel pump had died at some point during the day, allowing for the fabulous cold to permeate our home. As luck would have it, it only dropped to 28 degrees last night. The interior temperature in our house got to 35 degrees. Our bedroom was somewhere around 50 degrees due to an oil filled electric radiator (thank you very much mom and dad!). Rehab warrior #2 (aka fabulous husband o mine) was able to purchase necessary fuel pump and parts this morning and fumble his way through replacing them. Yeah rehab warrior #2!!!

Oh the things we have learned. And I know there is more in the future...

For now we have heat and when I leave work I will mix the second round of concrete for the slabs in the basement!