It's Not Just for Rocks Anymore!

Congradulate me everyone. As of this morning, they began pouring the basement floor. As of tonight, the basement will be sooo close to being complete, that I have to call it 100%, despite the fact we don't have our windows in yet or all the plumbing and heat re-re-reconnected.

Within a day I guess it'll be ready to hold my oil tank, furnace, and any junkidyjunkjunk I need to store down there. Isn't that the coolest of beans? I'll be glad to get the new oil tank out of the back yard and the furnace from out the garage. Plus, Mike's friend Hal is trying to get us a new furnace and hot water tank. (We previously had a tankless system, which sucked.)

Ok - I'll tell you the whole story. After no-showing on Friday, the floor dude came by our house on Saturday and told us $1700 for the job. (That works out to be 860 for the cement and 840 for the dude.) He told Mike he could do it TODAY, which was a major major plus, so we just told him to go ahead and do it.

7am this morning they started. I even got to see/film the cement truck and cement going down the shoot, through my front basement window. So awesome, I have to say.

It's so funny - as I was writing the checks to the cement man and the floor dude, I said to Mike, "This is both releaving and depressing." Releaving that it's almost done. Depressing that, well, I'm poor.

We're not that poor really... just, no more big purchases. Gotta refinance soon... especially with all this added value to the house. Hee hee!

Concrete Analysis

Mike, bless his soul, has been trying to get a hold of floor dudes for a good week now. Our first choice - the bold man who showed up at our house one day and offered to do it. Now, I know this may be a little riskay - but for the right price, I'll give anyone a chance. Plus plus, he couldn't do any worse of a job than we would do all by our selves.

Anyway, he hadn't called us back despite a couple phone messages. That is, until yesterday. He called Mike back and told him he could pour tomorrow... which is, today. Mike told him, of course, give me an estimate first before you do anything. Here it is at the end of the day and I'm wondering what the verdict was.

Imagine if the price was right and Mike told him to go ahead and I got home and it was all done?! How awesome would that be? Once this floor is poured we can get our new oil tank, furnace, and water tank down there and start plumbing it all. We're definately doing the 2nd heating zone in the upstairs this time around. I'm not tearing all the plumbing apart a THIRD TIME! Cause that's just insane.

And then we'll rebuild a floor for the mudroom and get my durn washer and drier hooked back up... and be able to enter/exit from the side door again. I want to get a nice set of french doors in there. And I want to turn the double window into a bay window with a window seat. I think both those would look totally bright and airy and nice in theres.

May have to wait on all that though. After the basement floor and the mudroom are all set, I have to worry about trimming out the inside windows and doors, plus base and crown mouldings. And finish the hallway. And the hardwood floors, don't cha know.

Then there's the bathroom.

Then there's the exterior to worry about - which, I AM worried about because I want to ditch it ASAP. It's fugly. Plus, I need to get a demo dumpster for all the basement construction trash and I want to trash the oldy moldy siding at the same time.

I guess that sounds like a "next" doesn't it? Now that the basement's done, every other project is at the top of my list. Sucks that all the money's gone. I've just got to get used to doing everything little by little again.


Ahhh, the beauty of the internet. A luxury that Mike and I have been without in our own home since the beginning.

When we did the electrical, we had our electrician friend install a Cat-5 high speed internet outlet in every room. (Minus the bathroom - I didn't want to be tempted to surf the web in my bathtub. Not a good idea.) A friend of mine asked - Why don't you just go wireless? My response to that was, While the walls are off, I'm going to put in ALL I can.

And I'm glad I did. I recommend it to everyone. Overdo it. Lotsa outlets, phone/cable/internet in everyroom, recessed lighting, closet lighting, cabinet lighting - wire for it when the walls are down. You can get the fixtures slowly. Also - put in lotsa breakers - so when you blow one, half the house doesn't go out. Ok - there's my electrical design advice. A little bit of a tangent.

So we had cable and internet wired in back on 7/8, but we still didn't have the ends crimped onto the Cat-5 cables, so... obviously couldn't plug them into the router. Mike and I lacked instructions on how to crimp the cables into the plugs... that's the reason for the delay. We even bought the special Cat-5 crimping toolkit - but it didn't come with instructions on the order of the wires into the plug.

So, last night we got out the 'ol multi-meter and figured it out. Once we knew which order the wires went into the plugs, putting them on was a breeze. (The magical order for us was white with an orange chaser, orange, white with a green chaser, blue, white with a blue chaser, green, white with a brown chaser, and finally - brown. But your order may vary depending on your plugs and wiring... so don't try it at home without double checking.)

Of course, once that was done, we were all excited about visiting the magical internet at home for the first time! Unfortunately, it didn't work. Not because of the wiring. Because for whatever reason, I need some stupid password or something from the cable company. The software they gave me to install wouldn't work on my operating system either... stupid people. Who uses OS 9 anymore anyway? Geez.

I'll see if I can get it sorted out tonight. Maybe if I take the router out of the equation it'll let me on. We only have one computer at the moment anyway.

No Ways

Well, last weekend TJ, Mike, and Hal finished up all the remaining support work in the basement. The new beams, the new columns, and most of the pea stone dispersement... if that's a word. At this point, the floor can be poured.

I've elected Mike to call the floor man... mostly because I'm sick of trying to catch up with these contractors. And they all treat me like a girly girl. And they're impossible to deal with. Plus, Mike met this floor man when he randomly stopped at our house and said he'd do it for a low low price... which would be cool. So why should I call him? I don't even know him. There - I've rationalized it.

It's also come to my attention that people read this blog. Which is, I suppose, a good thing, because I had a very nice dinner and a very nice time at the drive-in movies over the weekend - thank you very much, loyal reader for your contribution to my sanity.

If any others of you want to contribute to my sanity, just leave me a nice happy comment.

Now, back to the show.

Mike has decided now, after talking to Hal, that he doesn't want to do radiant floor heat. I guess the lime in the concrete eventually corrodes the copper pipes and you have to inject silicone into the entire system. That, plus the cost and the difficulty of repairs kinda sealed the deal. When we finish off the basement in the next few years, we'll put in baseboards like we did in the rest of the house.

Speaking of which, we should spend that radiant heat money on the second heating zone in my upstairs that still isn't done. Winter is coming fast. Just a thought.

Also, after dispersing the pea stone, we have a lot of it leftover, which is awesome, because we wanted to create a gravel driveway in the space next to the garage where we park the boat. Now I just have to make my stone retaining wall to hold in the dirt. (Right now it's just a gross washed out 'ol sand hill.)

Does anyone out there in BlogLand know how to make a rock retaining wall? I'm using regular old rocks... my old fieldstone foundation. Do you sculpt the dirt, then stack the rocks, put concrete behind them to make them stick, and then pour dirt in to hold them up? What's the method? Does anyone know?

This House is NonCompliant

It's all gone. $35000. Goodbye. I knew I couldn't get used to it always being there... that during the course of this job, at some point, it would be gone. And now that point has nearly arrived. A couple more payments to TJ, who's been re-supporting the house with new beams and columns - and we're spent.

It's very depressing. The Home Depot bill is also out of control. I'm frustrated that I can't even afford to get the two other ceiling fans we need to keep the living room and office cool during these hot summer months. Nevermind like... going to see a movie or out to dinner. Forget it. I'm lucky if I have 99cents for PastaRoni.

Ok - so I'm not THAT badly off. I can afford to eat and pay the bills. But I wasn't kidding about the movie.

I know you can't put a price on the structure of your house. And throwing rotted supporting beams out the basement windows was very theraputic... it's just the last thing we need to do before the floor is poured.

Hmmm... I wonder if Mike's called the floor man yet.

Time Box

It's been a while. I know. It's been crazy at work and I've been trying to get happy about everything because I couldn't ask for more on the homefront.

We moved back in right after we got back from NH. We just hooked up to the new water main and had cold showers. (And let me tell you - colder than cold. I don't recommend it.) Luckily, a friend of ours had a small electric water heater that he let us borrow for free. So now we've got that hooked up. It only holds 6 gallons, but if you hurry, you can get your whole hot shower in the 2 or 3 minutes of hot water.

I finally talked to the foundation dude about the windows, and he's going to deliver them the next time he's up in our area. I paid the remaining $17,000 we owed to the contractors... and have been feeling quite poor ever since.

Meanwhile, Mike hired our friend TJ to replace all the rot around the sill and do the final levelling-out of the house, which he did last week. The new PT looks great, although a few more beams still need replacing... $$$$...

Then, over the long weekend, Mike and I shovelled dirt back into the basement and levelled the floor to footing height. The next step is putting in 3 inches of pea stone, which we ordered on Monday....$$$$...That should be delivered today.

After that, we have to do the radiant heat. Which, I have no clue how we'll afford.
I'm worried I'm going to run out of money. And I can't zap our savings completely. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that I want to refinance by September. Get out of my adjustable rate (not set to adjust for a few years, but better to be rid of it now) and my stupid PMI.

So... I also want the house to appraise for a good value. I've got a number in my head that I'm striving for. I think if we can get a lawn going by late August (did I mention we live in a dirt pit?) and if I can redo the wood floors, plus a few small touchy uppy things here and there - we'll be golden. But blocking that is so many brick walls... Most of all, the money.

Oh yeah, I didn't even mention that after the radiant heat, we still have to contract the floor dude to pour the basement floor.