a little review.

21Apr08

Sometimes, when the task of building this house “in our spare time” gets overwhelming, and it feels like we’re not getting much accomplished, it helps to make a list of all the things that we’ve done, so that we can feel self- righteous about our work ethic. This was one of those days when it felt like we didn’t get a lot done, and the amount of work ahead of us seems overwhelming. So why not indulge in a little self-congratulatory review of the things we’ve done since buying this wreck of a house?

1) We ripped down the moldy old greenhouse. While the idea of green-house-ness is very appealing and earthy, this greenhouse was nothing but gross. In this part of the country, the UV is not kind to things– least of all poorly built fiberglass greenhouses that have no ventilation worth mentioning. The first thing I did after we bought the house, was to run right down to the building department and ask them for a demo permit so that we could tear it down. After they stopped laughing at me (apparently people around here don’t generally ask for demo permits), we got out our crowbars and went to work. The green fiberglass disappeared into the dump trailer, and was delivered to its final resting place next to someone’s dead refrigerator. The wood got de-nailed, and is being re-used whenever possible. (When jacking up various parts of your house, it is amazing how often the gross greenhouse lumber can come in handy.) The concrete blocks got broken up into a pile of rubble. This rubble is finding its way into the cavernous holes that pepper the obstacle course (aka mountain road) that leads to my in-laws’ house.

2) We shored up the falling-in front porch. Well, we planned to shore up the porch. What we ended doing was jacking up the roof, taking out all four columns, ripping out the entire porch floor, pouring new footers to set the porch on, and rebuilding the entire thing from the ground up. Sometime in the past, previous owners had shoved some stumps under the porch, in the general vicinity of the columns, and hoped that this would keep the porch from utterly collapsing. This was successful only in relative terms. (Like a band-aid on a broken leg.)

Rebuilding the porch was fussier than I had anticipated. We spent a long time getting the concrete pads right, we carefully scraped and cleaned and filled holes in the wood columns, and we bought new wood flooring that turned out the be a little rough around the edges, so I did a lot of sanding to get it looking decent. After laying the porch floor we finished it with Soy Guard (note to self: never buy Soy Guard again– no matter how much you want to move away from using petroleum based products.) We replaced the columns just in time for it to get really cold at the start of the winter. So, while we did manage to prime them, we never painted them properly. While the porch looks leagues better than it has in the last 50 or so years (just a guess), it still isn’t quite done. The roof/ceiling/woodwork desperately needs some good old-fashioned scraping and painting. And we haven’t managed to get the skirt around the edge of the porch. But these things will come in due time. It’s hard to completely finish a project before starting the next, when the amount of work on the larger project is so overwhelming.

the list goes on, but I’ve run out of energy, so it will have to be continued at a later date.

(for more pics see the flickr page. click here)

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