Calling It Done

Here we are, just about 10 days since we last chatted. And what a 10 days. The evening of my last post, I returned home to find the guys knee deep in side-siding. Even with only a couple hours of work-after-work, they managed to complete the right side siding up to the bottom of the windows.

Going Up the Side

Going Up the Side - Close Up
That Sunday, we all really got down to business. I finally made good on all my promises and started painting all the trim work along with the nasty 'ol blue basement door. (Man is it hard to change dark blue to white! Especially on old wood... old wood that you didn't bother scraping or priming first. Yes, I know. Bad bad bad. But this door's not for keeps, so why should I spend forever on it?)

The Door Color Previously Known as Blue

White Trim!
While I was busy painting trim during baby nap times, the guys worked on the siding. With rain coming in for the evening, it was a do-or-die scenario, and they were determined to get it done for good! Luckily, the clap boards go up so much faster then shingles. Despite numerous interruptions, they made it to the top in the nick of time, just before the sun set and the rain set in. (You can see it's drizzly even in this photo.)

All The Way Up

What a Different Rear View!
Scaffolding mess aside... what a view. I mean, striking really. This day was a long time coming and we're so proud to have finally accomplished the exterior. A big thanks to everyone - and I mean everyone - who helped. We couldn't have done it in such a short time without help.

Octagonal Love
And I just love this window... have I mentioned that yet?

Back Done

Status report - all went as it should have Wednesday and the tippidy top of the back of the house is finished and shingled. We'll need some trim along the top - but it's a small matter. I'm hoping to be able to do some trim painting tonight.

Last night Mike really did a super clean up job. Better then usual! See in this wide shot how those pieces of plywood are underneath the scaffolding? Though Mike put those there originally to help protect the new grass we just planted, they also worked to contain the mess. Mike simply went out there, swept the plywood, and even used a dust broom and pan to gather up all the nails and other small bits.

More great news - last night our neighbor dropped by. He and our carpenter are going to come by tonight and begin installing the siding on the right side of the house. This is an unexpected offer, but we'll take it! Mike prepared all the tools they'll need, since he'll be taking our son to the circus tonight and can't help out. Then, Sunday, they'll be back again to help Mike complete the job.

A little trim paint (which I have not gotten to yet) and a little more clean up... call it done. And they haven't even called me about the appraisal yet. In fact, I'm getting a little annoyed at my refi gal. I've called her and left messages - she is not getting back to me and I want to get her all these documents ASAP so we can close on time. I don't think she's put in for the appraisal yet either since my card hasn't been charged. If she makes us miss our rate-lock closing date, I'm going to be rip-shiz.

Anyhoo, good thoughts for the weekend.

One last note of note... after this is through, we're taking a break. Yes. Us! Taking a break! We are not starting on anything new and huge in terms of home improvement after this is done. Instead, we are looking to get everything paid off for what we have done thus far while making this a fun family summer. Beach - boat - playgrounds - maybe a BBQ or two. I think the two of us can afford a vacation.

Keeping Up With The Us's

No, seriously, you can't keep up with us. Don't even try. We're in a time warp mach 7 warp speed 10 black hole cheetah jet plane race car rocket ship... thing. It's fast.

Yesterday, while Mike and I were working, the guys were back at our house... well, working. (Strange to leave people at our house working while we're not there. I know normal people do this all the time.)

By the time we got home, there was a ton accomplished.

Stripping at the tippidy top of the house was completed. The right side upstairs window was removed. Plywood was installed. TyVek was stapled. The window was re-installed. And shingling continued - now up to the half-way point of the upstairs window.

On the side of the house, the mess is gone! Unfortunately, Mike forgot that the dump is closed on Tuesday. But our guy went there anyway with a truckload to get rid of... and paid $40 to dump it. Gulp. Our dump sticker is only $30 for the year and that covers all construction debris free of charge. Ugh! What's done was done and the good news is, it's all gone now at least.

Inside, the octagonal window is in! And oh my god do I love it! I look out of it and I see the beautiful japanese maple we planted a few short years ago and I can imagine what it will be to look out and see the tree, large and beautiful over the side yard. I love love love love it.

Today, the guys were due back over to finish off that tippidy top portion of shingling. And then we're done with the guys. Mike is going to do the siding on the right side of the house himself over the weekend. If I can manage to escape outside, I may try and do some of the trim painting.

Manic Monday

The insane plan that I outlined yesterday worked only partially. (What do you expect? It was insane.) Kudos to the guys for putting forth a great effort and accomplishing all that they did!

Here's the wide shot - as you can see, that living room window is back in place and shingles are up all the way past the top of that window.

The very tippidy top near the roof has yet to be completed. 

The other side is where things get interesting. As you can see, the entire thing has been stripped. What you can't see? We avoided a HUGE step in the process... The plywood! We assumed that like the rest of the house, this side's original barn board exterior (that had been covered first by shingles and then blue cement board siding over that) would be in such poor condition that it would need to be re-covered with plywood. Like the house's back side, adding plywood would mean removing the two windows you see pictured and re-installing them post-plywood. Pain-in-the-butt.

Removing and re-installing those two windows would also have screwed up the interior window trim, which would have to be thrown out and re-done as well to accommodate a new plus-plywood depth.

Luckily, this is the one and only side that the barn board was in good enough condition not to require plywood. The guys stripped it down and stapled up the Tyvek.

Also what you can't see, the octagonal window hole has been cut on the outside side. The guys had to move a stud and make several pain-in-the-butt changes to get it to fit where we wanted it to fit. Inside, the drywall is the only thing left that needs to be cut before the window can be actually installed.

Before Shot - Window to go above that table

Window Ready to Go
Mike is at work today, but his guys are back at our house to work on that tippidy top portion. Mike picked up some more shingles at the DeepHo last night... gulp. I know this little spending spree is almost over - and we'll be able to return a heck of a lot of plywood that was meant for that other side. I'm looking forward to having it done and taking a much-deserved break to catch up financially, mentally, physically.... I know Mike is too.

Wow, Other Wall

The crazy pace continues relentlessly. Sunday, Mike tackled the other side of the outside basement door. Starting early in the AM, he had plywood up and half the shingles before lunch time. We went to the Home Depot and picked up more trim boards, white paint, and flowers for our moms.

After lunch time, his parents came by and he and his dad completed shingling on that portion, set up the scaffolding, ripped off all the old stuff off the next portion, took out a living room window, plywooded, and put up the Tyvek. Oh, and did I mention our carpenter came by and finished up some flashing on the left side, up at the top? Yes, it was that kind of a day.

Shingling is done here

Adios Window - Hello Plywood
Much like the upstairs window right above the living room, this particular window was crooked. Not because we installed it incorrectly, but because we installed it in a crooked house. Then, we lifted the house to add a basement (this was years ago now). We leveled the house (as much as we could) when it came back down on the new foundation, but that made the once straight windows crooked! Especially on the back wall of the house.

As you may recall, the upstairs window on this side was leaking water into the bathroom... and kinda started us on this mad shingling spree. Though the living room window wasn't leaking, it was still crooked. And, as such, it was difficult to get out. It was just wedged hard in there! But it needed to come out so that new plywood could be installed behind it.

The plywood will be cut and the window re-installed. But by the time the guys had reached this point, it was the end of the day.

TyVek Up - No More Window
 So what could be more insane then a Sunday like that? (Happy Mother's Day to me, by the way. I got to go to BJ's... woo? hoo? It is what it is. Renovation life.) Anyhoo - more insane? Today. Today Mike wrangled a couple of his friends into a do-or-die re-do-all-the-rest day. Last night we talked logistics... shame that I can't be there today to oversee, since I helped him plan the most efficient course of action. On the goal list:
* Strip the tippidy top of the back side of the house, near the roof line
* Re-install the living room window
* Plywood and re-shingle the remainder of the house backside
*Strip the old siding off the entire other side of the house (pictured below)

*Install an octagonal window (that I've had in my basement now for four years, awaiting this moment)
*Remove those two windows you see pictured
*Plywood and Tyvek that side of the house
*Re-install those two windows
*Put up siding (that we've had under that blue tarp you see in the lower right hand corner of the photo)

Holy shamolies.

Why on earth do we think this can get accomplished? A. There's four guys. B. So much work got done on Sunday. C. That other yucky blue side, it's the shortest, smallest side of the house. D. The siding, as opposed to the shingles, goes up upber quick.

My brilliant logistical plan that I came up with to get it all done efficiently?! Here it is:

*When the first guy (G1) arrives, start him stripping the blue part where the new octagonal window will go. While this is happening, Mike and his dad continue shingling/put in living room window.
*As soon as the octagonal window portion is stripped, put up plywood in that section.
*While Mike is putting up plywood, send G1 to the tippidy top of the back to start stripping there.
*At noon, G2 arrives just in time to begin installing the octagonal window
*By the time the octagonal window is in, G1 should have finished stripping the tippidy top - send him back down to stripping the blue side.
*Once the octagonal window is in, send G2 to the tippidy top of the back to install plywood and shingles.
*While this is all happening, Mike and his dad continue to shingle the back.
*If back is finished, send Mike and his dad to help strip the blue side.
*Once blue side is fully stripped, Mike and his dad remove the two windows and begin plywooding.
*G2, once finished with the tippidy top of the back, go down to the blue side to help plywood, re-install  windows, or siding - depending on where the other guys are at in the process.
*Any back shingling that needs to be done can be accomplished by Mike, by himself, later in the week

This all might be a fruitless mission impossible. Typically in an old home, there's always something that goes awry and screws up even the best laid plans. Nothing to do but try your best and hope for some luck.

Wow, Wall

Mike is impressing me with his aggressive exterior schedule thus far. In the past couple days, he purchased all the plywood and trim boards, plywooded the area on one stripped side, and then completed trim and shingling on that same side!

There's all the wood.

Newly shingled.

And he also brought home scaffolding from work tonight in preparation for a big working weekend. Monday, he's enlisted some friends to come over. They're going to try and bang out the entire thing in one days time. 12-7pm. Wow just doesn't say enough,

You're Doing What Now?

Rewind a couple weeks... the bathroom sink was out of the living room and the lights were up! With just about a week before our son's 4th Bday party, we needed that bathroom at least semi-functional, ie, a working sink. We were pretty sure we had purchased the supply lines for the sink ages ago - but of course when it came time to install them, they were no where to be found. (I totally wish I could take over the renovation organization, but when you don't know what half the stuff is... it's a little tricky to organize it.)

So, after purchasing new ones, it was quick work to get the water running and hook up the drain. With all the prep work having been done ahead of time, it all took less then an hour. There was even time left for Mike to put up the mirror. It all looked awesome... worked awesome... no leaks. We couldn't have asked for more!

The only task left - pre party, that is - was to install the shower door, which was still in the living room, much to my discontent.

Well, the week flew by as we both worked feverishly on other party preparations. Favors, decorations, cookies, snacks, activities... And the shower door just hung out in the living room. The day of the party came last Sunday and the door was still there.

"We still need to put that door on," I said to Mike just two hours before party start time. Ok, no problem, quick install. Except we couldn't find the hardware! Mike searched high and low as I continued my mad pre-party last minute prep. No dice. I told him to forget it - just put the door in the basement - I needed his help on other matters.

Last night, I finally set about finding it. I just had this sneaky suspicion that the hardware had been stuck in the installation guide, which I had put away upstairs while party cleaning. And lo and behold, there it was. But we still didn't install the door.


You're not going to believe this. We're semi-randomly replacing the rest of our siding this week. I say semi-randomly because this project is completely unplanned. Long story short, we're refinancing to a lower interest rate and need a great appraisal value to help. Mike, after talking it over with his dad, decided to make the push and complete the siding - on both the back and the side of the house. What's more, he thinks he can have it all done in less than a week.


That's the remainder of the back of the house - stripped, prepped, plywooded, and shingled. The left side of the house, stripped, prepped, octagonal window installed, and sided.


I originally thought he only planned to complete the back side... but when I heard all the details last night, I pretty much just stood there, mouth agape. "You realize they could call me tomorrow and want to appraise on Friday, right?" I said. He wanted to press on anyway.

So last night Mike stripped the rest of the basement entryway in back of the house:

We'll see where this goes over the coming week.

Also on the plus side, our grass is coming in over on the area where we dug for the chimney last fall.