Stranded

In explanation for my absence, I claim to have been alternately busy and lazy. But here’s the update on the house.

The hardwood floors are done. They look spectacular.

Tucker is looking puzzled because he is a) afraid of floors and b) not allowed to walk on them yet.

Tucker is looking puzzled because he is a) afraid of floors and b) not allowed to walk on them yet.

The cabinets are in and holy crap do they look awesome.

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The counter people came to do the template today.

The other interesting thing that happened today is the tile. We knew it would be… challenging. Tile will be going right from the front door to the back door. This essentially bifurcates our house. All the stairs and access to useful spaces are on one side and the construction is on the other. Problem is you can’t get from any bedrooms to, say, the kitchen, let alone the back door, without stepping on something that will soon be tiled. As a result, the dogs have been evacuated to my parents’ house for the duration, and we are using this to access to the second floor, where the office and our bedroom are:

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Both kids used it to get in after school. I went out into the yard to take a picture*, and climbed up to get back in, only to discover that the door was locked and Trevor was downstairs vacuuming. And I didn’t even have my phone. Twice I tried to launch myself over the rail to get back down and couldn’t get up the nerve. Thankfully Trevor came to rescue me.

At the moment, we still have a tiny path that we can use to get from the front door/stairs area to the level where the kids sleep and the temporary kitchen is. It will likely be cut off tomorrow. I’m glad the dogs have somewhere else to be; we’d have paw prints in the scratch coat for sure. Or poop on the floor.

View fromt he front door to the baclk door. Notice the stove (in the living room), and the stairs on the left, which lead to the "kitchen"/kids' rooms.

View from the front door to the back door. Notice the stove (in the living room), and the stairs on the left, which lead to the “kitchen”/kids’ rooms.

We are allowed to walk on the cardboard, for now. I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow when they fill that in and put tile down, or Friday when they grout. We may need to move out.

By next week, we should have electricity. They can’t do plumbing until the counters are in, which could be 2-3 weeks, but at least everything is coming together.

*Just so everyone can appreciate my heroism in taking the picture of the ladder, here is a visual on how deep the snow is in our yard right now:

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Twenty

See – I’ve totally lost count of the days now. The number is increasing exponentially. I suspect brain damage from inhaled drywall dust.

This is the start of week three, so maybe it’s only Day 14, I really have no idea.

The reason I haven’t written for a few days is that we took the weekend and went to Fargo because Jack was playing in a hockey tournament. I don’t generally advertise planned absences ahead of time, especially when the dog won’t be home. The overwhelming odds are that no one would a) notice or b) care, but if anything happened, the blame would fall squarely on my shoulders. And by “fall”, I mean “reminded every day for the rest of my life”.

I was hoping the floors would be done by the time we got back, just to save us from having to vacate again for that process, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Still, everything is still more or less on track. All the plumbing, wiring, drywall, taping and mudding are done. The walls are primed and some are painted. The stairs have been stripped and all the vertical parts painted. Most of the flooring has arrived. It is actually coming together quite well.

Hopefully this week we’ll see paint, floors, and maybe by the end of next week, it will be ready for cabinets.

Three days of forced absence has helped with the cooking situation – the freezer meals are holding and the meal plan for the rest of the week does not include a single restaurant. And, the best news is that thanks to Trevor’s generous donation of his alcohol exemption, I brought back 7 – count ’em – 7 different kinds of India Pale Ale from the USA. And the best part is that no on else in the world likes them, so they are mine! All mine!

Here is today’s progress photo:

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As I understand it, tomorrow’s task is to tame the drywall dust once and for all. Until then…

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Nine

Day Nine – I think. The hazards of not blogging every day.

Since we last talked, we got drywall, plaster and some (non-functional) light fixtures. Apparently there has been progress with the plumbing, but it’s not visible. Oh, and the last of the above-grade carpet has been eradicated – the two layers covering the stairs are gone and the hardwood underneath is ready to be refinished. The carpet census topped out at 12 different kinds in the house. 4 remain – all of which are in the basement.

We took delivery of our new fridge today too. It is very pretty, except for the giant W-shaped scratch on the door. But at least it means that the coffee cream is not in the basement.

And the big news – I know you were on the edge of your seat waiting for news on The Dingleberries. Well, they’re gone. I had to give them away for free, but they have been claimed and will become a porch light. I’m sure their new owner will love them as much as we did.

Photo from yesterday:

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Note the holes in the ceiling and patches everywhere.

Photo from today:

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Note the plaster guy’s jeans and shoes :-/

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This is the stairs – the black mess on the risers is the rubber backing from the beautiful gold, orange and brown carpet that was under the oatmeal-coloured berber. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

Tomorrow, apparently there will be more plastering and more plumbing.

I’m reticent to put this in writing, but so far we are on time for everything.

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Seven

Start of Week Two. Coping so far. REALLY looking forward to an 11 foot island, since we have exactly three square inches of useful horizontal surface space.

We have a lot of holes in the ceiling today, where apparently there will someday be lights. The plumber was here to tame the recalcitrant stack (I think that means they chopped it off with a reciprocating saw… hopefully it’s to code). By the end of the week we should have solid walls and some semblance of plumbing.

So about The Dingleberries. No, I didn’t sell them (sigh) – yet. But I think they’re charmed. Turns out they almost killed us. The electricians were crawling around in the attic to run wire and they found the one that powered the fixture. Whoever installed it ran out of wire, so they connected another piece with one of those plastic twisty things. And that was it. It languished there among the insulation for who knows how long (well, however long it’s been since it was fashionable… I can only assume it was at some point), no junction box, nothing. It’s a miracle it didn’t burn down the house. Somehow, I feel a little like we dodged a bullet. Like maybe The Dingleberries were looking out for us or something.

Anyway, here is today’s progress:

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Four

What day are we up to, four? Five? I’ve already lost count. Watch for the numbers to increase exponentially rather than linearly, as I get more and more tired of mess.

I didn’t write yesterday because nothing really happened. Today, all kinds of stuff happened but it’s all fairly invisible, at least now that the attractive tradesmen are gone for the day. Here’s the rundown:

  • electricians were here marking out outlets, switches and pot lights
  • they recommended under cabinet lighting, which vindicates my original suggestion which was not well-received by Trevor
  • plumber has “a plan” for the recalcitrant pipe that was causing us some concern (hard to make a nice big copper stack into an architectural feature)

That’s about it.

Oh, wait, the big news – sold the old cabinets! An anal retentive old sexist cheapskate came and took them away on his trailer (not before wrapping them each in plastic, spacing them with cardboard, and covering them very carefully with a tarp, which he then nailed down – it was like they were plutonium, even though they were actually just sticky old cupboards) and gave me $650! I figure that will go some way toward paying for the restaurant meals we will be eating until it’s done.

Sadly, however, I have not even had a nibble on The Dingleberries. 65 people have looked at my ad (go to kijiji and look up “retro light fixture, it’s a very convincing ad) but no takers. Yet. I really hope I can be vindicated on that one because it really is so ugly it’s cool.

Today’s pics – hard to see because the electricians managed to wire some stuff but can’t actually hook anything up until an inspection and some other stuff (like fixtures and actual switches) so squint a little. And also harder to see since they don’t want to upload. Just imagine the same ones from Tuesday, only dark.

Tomorrow, more electrical and possibly some plumbing. Conveniently, there is a blizzard forecast, so I will be working from home. Which is extra lucky, since Trevor says the plumber is as hot as the electricians.

 

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Discovery

Well we made an exciting discovery today. Ok, well, it wasn’t in the category of hitherto-unknown-hidden-staircase-to-secret-room, or duffel-bag-of-cash-in-a-wall, but I believe it might actually make us the proud owners of a world record. In the kitchen, we found two more kinds of wallpaper, bringing the grand total up to… drum roll… 18! 18 different types of wallpaper have adorned the walls of this house.

I would like to thank the inventor of wallpaper, personally. I hope there is a special corner of hell for wallpaper enthusiasts – every square millimeter of which is covered in a visual cacophony of colours, patterns and styles. Oh wait, that’s my house.

Anyway, the tragic news of the day is that my favourite light fixture has been removed.

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You can see it right there, hanging from the ceiling. In the strangest place, right between the living and dining rooms. We called it The Dingleberries. I was the only one who thought it was cool. So ugly it was cool, but cool nonetheless.

In other news, there are some stud walls up and some other light fixtures down. Doesn’t look a whole lot different, but apparently progress is being made. Electrician comes Thursday.

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See the awesome vinyl flooring? Won’t miss that!

I’m off to post The Dingleberries on Kijiji to see if I can get anyone to adopt them, and up the coolness factor in their house, as mine has been sadly reduced.

 

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Two

Day Two. The contractor showed up on time, and all the cabinets are out on the driveway. I posted them for sale on Kijii and have had six inquiries already. It will be a drop in the bucket, but at least they won’t end up in the landfill.

We managed to cook an actual supper with all the food groups, and no one stepped on anyone else while we washed dishes.

However the bad news(es):

First, they found an errant plumbing pipe in a rather inconvenient spot when they destroyed the wall. Now, we wait until the plumber can come and a) tell us where it could go and b) what that will cost.

Next, the flooring won’t be in on time. We are going away for a hockey tournament in a couple of weeks and they were planning to take the dog-less and people-less time to do the floors. Now, it sounds like that may be delayed. Hopefully it doesn’t mean another weekend in a hotel.

So here are a few before pictures:

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And here is the progress to date:

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We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

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