inside each can of worms is another can of worms.


The reason it’s not easy to renovate a house is that every single thing is connected to everything else in a giant web of sticky, knotted fibers. Our primary goal at this point is to get the upstairs (bedroom, bathroom, temporary kitchen) livable ASAP, so that we can get a temporary occupancy permit and move in. However, it’s not that simple. The tangle goes something like this:

Before we start working on the upstairs, we have to get the new concrete floor poured downstairs in the western (or “old”) portion of the house. This has to be done before touching the upstairs because: 1) We’re ready to get rid of the dirt floor that presently exists downstairs & 2) The new plumbing runs under the new slab, so we can’t get any new plumbing upstairs until that rough-in is done. However, we can’t move forward with pouring the floor until we’ve poured new footers to support the structural walls. But we can’t pour the footers until we’ve had them inspected. But we’ve also got another footer to pour in the newer portion of the house. (This portion of the house has a basement under it.) We don’t have the budget to pay the inspector to run out for every little thing, so we’ve got to have both of those footers inspected at the same time. In the mean time, we’ve got a friend coming to reframe the kitchen over the basemented portion of the house, so we have to prepare for him to do the work. This means demolishing much of the old kitchen. And, just because things aren’t complicated enough, the electric meter is in exactly the wrong place, and has to be moved. So Luke met with the power company & discovered that we can’t move the meter without paying for an additional lift pole to be installed in the yard, and getting a permanent easement from the neighbor to run over his property. Since that all seemed too expensive & difficult, we decided to move the meter to the shed that sits out on the alley & run the service into the house underground. This is all well & good, but we can’t get the electric company to move the meter until we’ve had the electrical inspector inspect the new meter base. Now, one problem with putting the meter on the shed is that the shed is leaning to the south (due to the previous owner’s lack of understanding of the need for sheer in a building). So we “kinda” need to straighten the shed before installing the meter. And… and… and

Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. That’s why I think I should have named this blog, “Renovating Pandora’s Box.”


2 Responses to “inside each can of worms is another can of worms.”

  1. 1 Kari Holmgren

    Hey Laura-

    Thanks for sending the blog link. As my boyfriend, Ben, renovates his house (not quite as bad shape, but has the orange and brown shag carpet indicitive of….well, you know…not quite as bad shape, but then I’m sure, with its Sebastopol location, he paid a lot more for the pleasure of gutting it, too!), it is fun to read someone else’s adventures!

  2. 2 lauracm

    Hi Kari-
    Nice to hear from you! The difference between a house in the San Luis Valley, and one in Sebastopol, is that their the same amount of work to build/ re-build, but the one in Sebastopol is is worth a lot more when it’s all done! (though I have to say, that for us, the price of admission was pretty damn low!)

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