Weekend Ahead, Captain....

Looks like another hectic weekend for the onesixty crew.

First thing Sat we've got to hit the dump and then we're headed down Cape for a little tree removal and I've got to drop off some cat poop while we're there... While on Cape that is...At the vet's that is. Wow, what a bizarre to-do list, huh?

And then, if we can get our butts back home before dark, we'll attempt to prepare for and put in that other window. I was supposed to work on stripping and sanding the TA - but I don't know if there's going to be enough time to bother dragging it out of the garage!

Sunday's no better. We've got to get up early, drop off our old dresser at a friend's place and then high tail it back home so Mike isn't late for riding.

Don't you just love spring?!

Speaking of which, we went to the DeepHo on Tuesday and picked up some Lime and Scotts Step 1 spring stuff. Whatever it's called. Mike put down the Lime on Wednesday, although I don't think we can put down the Scotts yet. It's a little chilly still and I think it has seed in it. I can't wait though - maybe this year we'll have a real live bonified lawn! Sans weeds! That would be amazing....

Another Day, Another Window!

Saturday was almost a complete bust. In the AM, we rushed out of the house after seeing missionaries coming down the street towards our house. But we had planned on visiting a friend of ours in Hyannis anyway.

After we stopped there, we went to check out some possible free Anderson windows. Unfortunately, they had been sitting outside unprotected and were no good. Too bad, there were 8-10 big, nice windows.

So, we went home. Hung out for a bit, and then went to Home Depot to purchase windows. For the first time, they actually had the windows in the sizes we needed in stock.... Or, I should say, for the first time, we actually had a need for windows of a NORMAL size. Most of our windows had to be special ordered because of the old non-16-on-center construction.

We purchased the two for the mudroom. One to replace that old window, and one to replace the old door. But by the time we got home it was 6.

Mike, that psycho, said, "When does it get dark? 7? Do you think we could put this window in by 7 - in an hour?"

And so we did! We ripped out the old window, and just caulked and nailed in the new one. It fit so perfectly - no additional prep work was needed. Amazing! And, we were done in about a half hour. Record time!

Out with the Old

A few nails to hold in those shingles...

And In with the New

Done by Sundown!

Now, replacing that old door with a window will take some doing.... That will have to wait until this upcoming weekend.

Historical Shimishtorical

Mike and I got a letter from the Town on Wednesday. And for a split second, I imagined that our permit had arrived already - sans Conservation Commission.

When we opened it, we were shocked to discover that it came from the Historical Commission. Some Demolition Delay Bylaw would require us to pay $50 and appear before the Historical Commission - because our house is nearly 100 years old.

I was raging mad. First off - no demolition of any kind was in our permit. This was simply the addition of a farmer's porch - simple stuff, people! Second off, we hadn't gone through this when we lifted the entire house to put a foundation underneath... why was this project subject to this bylaw?!

And besides that - it's another $50 - so the Historical Commission can notify all my neighbors and everyone else in town via the newspaper. (And who reads that anymore anyway, but that's another blog.) So I have to pay another $50 on top of the $25 for the permit and another $50 because I'll probably still have to go through the conservation commission.

If that weren't enough, guess when the meeting is? 10am on a Tuesday. WTF!? So now, my husband has to miss work - lose pay - all in addition to paying the $50, I mean, $125.... At least the Conservation meetings are in the evening.

So Mike and I got into a huge argument. (We don't usually have arguments, so when I say huge argument - I mean we were just both pissed off.) At one point I said, "We didn't buy into any historical society and if we can't do what we want to this house - we're moving and I don't care."

I mean, we were pissed. And right there and then (at 10:00 at night mide you) I left a frantic and probably bitchy message on the town voicemail.

The next morning, however, a very nice woman called me back. In my psychoticness, I left the message on the wrong voicemail. (Well, they sent me the wrong business card, so partially not my fault, but I should have checked.)

Anyway, this woman was sooo nice. She explained that the law was created in just the past year or so, because of all the old buildings that were being just torn down in Bourne - without anyone saying anything about it. And I knew that to be true. I knew of a couple on my own street, in fact.

Urg... I hate to admit it, but I agree with the bylaw... having worked for the last almost 4 years to restore a historic Bourne home that probably would have been just bulldozed otherwise. And even though it's called a "Demolition" Bylaw - there's some stupid sentence somewhere in there that makes reference to the alteration to the exterior of the property... hence - our invitation to the commission review.

But I'm still not happy about the $50 and the Tuesday, 10am meeting. And I wouldn't mind it so much if I didn't have to go through the whole thing again with Conservation.

AND - with this "Demolition" notice being sent to my neighbors, they're going to think I'm tearing down my house or something!! That's probably going to get the Andersons up in a tizzy. I'm sure they'll show up at the meeting and claim that we're ruining a historical blah blah blah... Aholes.

I get so frustrated. But as I said, I do happen to agree with this bylaw. The nice town woman assured me that I probably wouldn't have any problems.... though she doesn't know about the Andersons. Plus, they're an old Bourne family who just love to throw their weighty opinions out in the open. And they may be politically connected as well.

I'm sooo nervous. And I'll be sweating it out for a couple weeks until the meeting.

Switching It Up a Little

You know it's almost spring when you get home from work and your husband says, "I was thinking about putting in those switches..."

Not, "Do you want to watch a movie?" Not, "I'm going out to the garage for a while." Not, "What's for dinner?" Those are all winter-laziness-type after work questions.

It's something about sunlight, I swear, that motivates us all to get more accomplished. That's why I say, YAY to turning forward the clocks in March. It really helps productivity around the house!

Now, I must admit I was super hungry last night and just wanted to laze about and stuff my face with veggie lasagna.... but this sign of spring could not be ignored.

So off we went to the home depot to get two three pole switches. (Having, of course, a box of plain 'ol two poles.) We also picked up a couple other little odds and ends - like a light activated light socket for your outdoor lights to turn them on when it gets dark and off when it's light.... Wow, how many times can I use the word light in one sentence!

Upon returning home we got right to work. And first thing - I put the light activated light socket (hereafter to be referred to as the "light thing") on our front door light. Low and behold - it worked. Yay. Ok, no problem.

But when I went to shut off the breaker for Mike to install the new switches - there was a buzzing emanating from the breaker box! Seeing as how strange electrical noises are never a good thing, we tested each breaker until we found the culprit....

The breaker controlling the living room lights and the front door light. The one with the light thing on it. So, naturally, I removed the light thing and the buzzing stopped. Weird, huh? Now, it may be because I have an energy saving bulb on that light. The light thing package warns "incandescent bulbs only." And also, the living room lights have a dimmer on them. The light thing package also warns, "do not place on the same circuit with a dimmer."

Of course, I had not read these before testing the thing. Who does? So unfortunately, I can't use the light thing! I was so disappointed, but I don't want my breaker box buzzing! That's freaky. I'd be worried about it constantly.

Even more disappointing, we couldn't get the switches hooked up. Wiring is confusing!! Especially in our basement and especially when you throw in 3 pole switching, new lights, old lights, new wires, two feeds.... I can't keep track.

But at least we tried to get stuff accomplished! A for effort!

Whatta Weekend!

It's 7am on Saturday and my alarm is going off.

Instead of whacking it violently, like I usually do, I calmly turn it off and get out of bed. I hop into a pair of jeans, my black sheep shirt, and a pair of Chooka Love Hurts purple rain boots and head downstairs to do all those morning chores - you know, feed the cats, brush my hair, make some oatmeal etc etc.

By 8am I'm on the road, headed to the ER to have my stitches taken out. (Long story, don't ask.) I'm there before 8:30 and low and behold - there's no one else there! I get right in and those three little pains are out before 9. My mom pops into the hospital room where I am - we were supposed to grab breakfast together, but I didn't expect her to meet me at the ER!

We run out, through the rain, over to pickup my new glasses - which have been sitting at the eye doctor's for two and a half weeks. And then we head over to Panera's for a coffee and pastry. It's not even 9:30.

We just barely get out coffee and get seated when Mike calls.

"Where are ya?" he says, obviously just waking up.
"I couldn't tell you last night," I replied, thinking of the impromptu neighborhood bash he'd had in the garage the previous night. "But I had a few things to do in Hyannis this morning"

I listed off my to-dos and promised him I'd be home by 11:30. While I was away, he offered to start working on the mudroom. AOK - cool.

By 10 I was off and running again, this time to drop off my friend's scarf she'd left at my house at my b-day party the previous weekend. We hung out at her house for a little bit, and as promised, I was on my way home by 11.

When I got there, Mike was just finishing up some wiring. And I won't bore you with the unending details - but by the end of the day, we had reconnected the mudroom outlet power (returning power to the laundry closet, all outlets, and a couple of the kitchen fixtures), disconnected the side light and replaced it with a security light, disconnected and removed the side doorbell, increased the laundry closet door height to match the new floor (thus preparing it for new doors), and installed the new basement stairs door complete with trim, new hinges, and a new knob.

What a day! And I had been worried that my morning errands would make this day another wash.... But boy did we get a lot done. We would have even put the old side light on the front next to the new doors, but Mike didn't have his drill bits at home, so we couldn't drill the hole for the wire.

Sunday, I was able to get more accomplished - even though Mike was out riding. I did errands like cleaning, laundry, grocery store, home depot, gas - the usual Sunday stuff. But I was still able to put up my two new candle sconces in the living room, paint the new basement door and trim in the same off-white as the hallway, and install the last remaining outlet needing to be installed in the hallway.

What a fulfilling weekend overall! I was so psyched! I can't wait for this upcoming weekend. I hope to get the new windows for the mudroom and put those in - taking out that 'ol original side door in the process. With the windows in, we'll be officially ready for drywall!

And... dare I say it? That means we're almost done....

The Deed Is Done

Well, I did it. Just this morning I dropped off the permit app and all related plans down at the town hall. Now we get to play the waiting game. It'll probably be a couple weeks before we get the call from Conservation. And after that we'll have to wait for the next hearing, which may be a couple more weeks.

Wouldn't it just kick butt if conservation didn't notice the river across the street? Or maybe the law has changed so that you can complete small projects on pre-existing structures without dealing with the red tape of conservation. I mean, they're only going to make me put up some hay bales! So I wait weeks and weeks for they to tell me that in some ridiculous public forum meeting, for which I have to alert all my neighbors?

Now if I was right on the ocean, or on a lake front, or on a river front - and I was doing new construction or messing with the sea wall or installing a septic - then I totally understand the purpose of Conservation.

But the thing is, we're across the street from a river. And it's not even a river - it's a dinky little herring stream. I could walk through it and barely get my ankles wet. And we're not even right on top of it! It's across the street - 100ft away. But Conservation says whenever you're less than 200 feet from a river, you must pay the ultimate price.... did I mention it's $50 just for processing of all the conservation paperwork? Talk about adding insult to injury. Not to mention you have to send all your abutters (neighbors) certified letters stating what you plan to do.

And in our case, that seems to get the Andersons up in arms. I wonder what kind of ridiculous plan they'll have for trying to stop us this time.... Thank god the rest of our neighbors are so supportive.

Moving Wires

I'm finally getting around to posting about this. We moved these wires the weekend before last, and I just couldn't get motivated enough to download the pics!

Anyway, let me explain it from the top. So we installed new french doors in the mudroom, but the light switches, 4 of them to be precise, were still located next to the old door! And really it would be silly to leave them there after we removed the old door. They had to be moved to next to the new door.

And although 4 switches does not seem like a lot, boy did they have a lot of wires going to them! Lights from the kitchen, lights from the mudroom, two exterior lights.... With two or three wires plus grounds for all, and then the feed and all its wires - that's a lot.

The first step was to label the wires as to which slot (1-6) they each went into. For two wires in one slot, we labeled #3.1 and #3.2. Then we drew a diagram to show which wires were connected to the switches and which were connected together.

Then came the fun part. Mike knew that we had slack in the wires in the small space above the mudroom. So he cut a trap door through our attic to access the space.

As you can tell, the space is very small and full of insulation dust - which made it difficult to breath in there. Mike and I both had turns pulling wires up the wall, through the ceiling, over to the opposite wall, and down from the ceiling. It was so uncomfortable, but we were able to get everything through.

Then we just followed our diagram and rewired everything. And although it sounds easy, with just a few steps - it took forever. Probably just because of the number of wires.

And even now there's more wiring related work to do. We have to hook up an additional exterior light outside the new door, move the doorbell, and wire for new exterior outlets to go on the farmer's porch.

At least now we can move onto the next step - preparing to repair the mudroom drywall - which has been torn apart during all these renovations plus cracks from the house lifting.

Making Trades

First off, let me just thank all 'yalls for your input on my - What-Should-We-Do-With-Our-Tax-Refund-Money survey. I'm happy to report that we got our return last Friday. (Thank you e-file with direct deposit! Quicker than quaker!)

But over the weekend a trade opportunity made the decision for us. We have in our possession a '99 Honda F4 motorcycle. And although I love the thing to death, Mike hates its ergonomics. He bought a cruiser last summer and has since wanted to sell the F4. Anyway, to make a long story just a little bit shorter, our friend and carpenter showed interest in purchasing it.

And on Sunday Mike offered him this trade: the bike for the porch.
*Materials not included. Labor only.

And he agreed! Labor on the porch plus extra... Mike did not elaborate to me on what the "extra" might be, but I don't really care. I thought that was a really awesome deal! Everybody wins.

On the same day, TJ was over too and took with him our sketchy permit sketch. He's going to turn our scribblings into a permit ready work of art! Thank goodness, because we were at a loss at how to draw the roof line and what materials to list out.

Now, if we can manage to get the permit stuff in by next week - I'd imagine that we could be through conservation by April 1st. And I imagine we have to go through conservation again. Crazy - for something so small as a porch. Then, we could begin construction shortly after. That would be nearly perfect timing - with spring in the air...

So all that money will be put towards materials. In addition to the porch itself, don't forget that we'll also have to re-do the siding on the front of the house. We plan to get rid of the gross blue junk we have now and put up clapboards - not the wood kind, but the kind that look like wood but never need any maintenance or anything. More on that when I find out more on that. =)