Hello April, Goodbye Leak?

In like a lion, out like a dinosaur. March. And we New Englanders thought February was harsh. We're due for another 1-3" of snow tonight along with gail winds.

Luckily, this past Sunday was nice enough for Mike and our carpenter to make progress outside - hopefully water-proofing the bathroom at long last. They trimmed out that portion of the house and then shingled as much as they could in the time allotted.

I feel like this quick and dirty bathroom remodel has been one of our most aggravating.

Meanwhile, both Mike and I are itching to get started on something else. I found the coolest idea for a tie wall for the hillside:

Can't you just imagine that bottom step full of nice plantings? (Not that I have the slightest idea what to plant and how to plant it.)

Mike, inspired by all the cool pallet upcycles online, has decided to pallet the interior of the garage. Fricken brilliant if you ask me. Some of the images of a pallet wall online are stunning:

So cool. So incredibly cool. Just search pallet anything on the web - or, better yet, Pinterest, and you'll come up with a whole slew of amazing ideas. And I'm psyched at the thought of garage walls because it would force Mike to organize. (Plus, let's face it, it sucks to open the garage door and be faced by a bunch of insulation.)

Hello March, Goodbye Leak?

Hey, we finally happened upon a weekend without a snow storm... Imagine that, right?! If you're in New England, you know exactly what I'm talking about. February = pure torture. And March hasn't been much better.

Obviously, I've been lacking here on the updates. The last two months, weather plus work plus illness plus events and activities, plus the hustle and bustle of every day life... It gets to ya after a while and your blog suffers the consequences.

I'm going to try and remember all that's transpired... bear with me.

When we last left, the house had been buried in Blizzard Nemo, halting all progress in the bathroom due to a leak in the roof. Subsequent weekends brought snow storm after snow storm... with a rain storm stuck in there too, preventing any work to be done on the exterior.... preventing drywall work to be done on the interior. Frustrating to say the least.

But while we were waiting for the weather, Mike was able to put together the shower enclosure. Sounds fun and easy, doesn't it? It was a nightmare of epic proportions.

First, Mike attached the left side wall. A little bit hard to wrangle.. but not a huge deal. He attached and caulked it in. The trouble came when he went to attach the right side wall. It wouldn't fit. It wouldn't fit by a margin of under an inch. There was a beam in the ceiling in the way. There was no way around it but to cut the beam... and the only way to cut the beam was to remove the left wall. The left wall that had already been screwed and caulked in.

So Mike removed the left wall and cleaned up best he could. Even after the beam was cut, the right wall fought hard. The walls and floor were neither level, straight, or plumb, so to get the two sides level and matched was near impossible. But after a lot of cussing and pushing and shoving and shimming, was able to get both walls in and caulked down

The following weekend, another winter storm meant time to install the glass. After his fiasco with the two walls, Mike was not looking forward to doing the glass. But, he started patiently, putting the glass enclosure walls together outside the bathroom first. No problemo.

Unfortunately, once he brought them into the bathroom - big problemo. Since the floors, walls, everything was so incredibly askew, neither of the glass enclosure walls would fit. There was a HUGE gap at the bottom that just couldn't be overcome. The shower base was just too crooked due to the floor. Mike and I sat down and discussed out options.

1. Was dismissed immediately - jacking up the bathroom floor from beneath to level it. This would cause severe and dire implications in the adjacent kitchen... the adjacent kitchen we just finished re-doing exactly a year ago. Walls would crack, cabinets might fall, the countertops might separate. No way. Not an option.

2. Remove everything - the shower walls and base - and attempt to level the base by pouring a foundation of concrete. But this would un-do all that work that had already been done. All that pain in the butt work. And there was no guarantee of success.

3. Shim the shower doors using Azek and caulking. (Yes, Azek. Why not? It would be completely water proof and we could cut it to shape. You couldn't do it with regular wood.) The difficulty here was the nature of the cut. It would be a difficult cut and when all was said and done, it might look stupid.

Be that as it may, option 3 had the least risk, and we went with it. Mike went to the HD, bought a couple of Azek boards in a light grey color, returned home, and began to cut. Several difficult hours later, and the glass enclosure was up, screwed in, and completely shimmed. It didn't look half bad either, almost as if the Azek was supposed to be there - like some sort of trim.

So far so good, although we'll see how things go when we actually begin using the shower.

Then, at long last, SUN on a Sunday. I remember the day well, it was Sunday March 3rd. I had already planned a day of hair coloring with my girl friend and her four kids, with her husband planning to hang with mine. But that morning, our carpenter and our neighbor (yes, they're related to each other, Uncle and Nephew) came over, inspired by the sun and ready to work.

Busy day? Understatement of the year. But somehow, it all worked out. The guys started by ripping down all the old siding and shingles beneath. Then, they took out the upstairs window.

Once Upon a Window
Once upon a time, years ago, we installed new windows throughout the house. Some time after, we lifted the house (yes, lifted the entire house) in order to put in a basement. (Replacing the rocks and dirt the house had previously sat on.) Needless to say, the lifting and putting down of the house left many things askew - including one of our bedroom windows upstairs.

Years went by and we involved ourselves on many another project, leaving the window askew. But once we started this bathroom remodel, we discovered that water was leaking in through this window, running down, and leaking into the bathroom below.

So, (and forgive me if I've written this before) Mike took the window out and re-installed it straight and level. The only problem? The bathroom still leaked. This time, our carpenter was taking now chances. He advised re-installing the window yet again in addition to removing and replacing the old siding. The theory was that water was entering through the poor-condition siding and, still, possibly the window.

It was a little funny. I was in the middle of getting my hair colored in the kitchen when I went upstairs for something and discovered the bedroom door closed. I opened it and to my surprise, the window was out. I leaned outside and called to the guys who were standing below, "Again?" Mike replied, "Yep. And guess what we found under the siding?"

Stink bugs! I hate stink bugs, but every year they seem to get into our bedroom. I've found them on the windows, the curtains, the walls, and even IN MY BED. Like, under the covers and I get into bed and feel one on my skin... Worst nightmare come true...

Hopefully, replacing the siding and re-re-installing the window will prevent those guys from coming in too.

By the end of that Sunday, the old siding had been replaced with new plywood and TyVek. The window was back in correctly and trimmed with ice and water. My hair was black and pink. The kids had a great time together destroying the living room and Mikey's room. (Toy explosion.) And everyone enjoyed meatballs from the crock pot at the end of a long day. Delish.

Mike and I were so excited to have the outside waterproofed at long last. Mike set to work back in the interior of the bathroom, hanging insulation and drywall, about one sheet per day.

Then, we had another rain storm. And I'm walking past the bathroom when I hear water. My heart sank as I turned on the light and found a small puddle on the floor. Mike was ready to blow a gasket. But the wind outside was howling. "Maybe some of the TyVek blew off," he suggested. And sure enough, as he crawled outside the upstairs window, (this was around 9pm mind you) he found the spot where it was likely leaking.

This is one of those homeowner moments - it's after 9pm at night and you're out on the roof in a howling wind and rain storm with a piece of ice and water, a staple gun, and a heat gun trying to fix a leak before it wrecks all your insulation and drywall.

Luckily, Mike's efforts were not in vain. The leak seemed to be fixed again. This time though, he was not as enthusiastic about completing the insulation and drywall. He decided to wait until the exterior had been re-shingled and totally water tight.

This brings us up to the present day. And yes, Mother Nature dropped another 6-9" on us just last night. But with temps up to 40 and rising, plus plentiful sunshine, we're optimistic that this Sunday may just be the day to finish all that.

I'm itching to finish this bathroom and move on to exterior-related spring projects!