Sunday, August 12, 2012

Housework has a whole new meaning.

I really want to keep track of our progress and effort on the house, so here goes what has happened so far, after one month and four days of owning our home.  I'm not including all the moving and endless cleaning.

We took possession on July 9 and moved in on the 28th.  In between, we had all the hardwood floors refinished (every room but the bathrooms, kitchen, and one closet).  We moved our compost bin and transplanted one million hostas.  We couldn't really do much on the house during that time because we couldn't be in the house, and it was in the 90's every. single. day.  The day we spent transplanting hostas, I also smashed out some stumps, pulled some weeds, and then overheated and got a little delirious.  Walker hosed me down and I drank from the hose for a good five minutes.  Plus, July was NUTS.  In addition to moving, we had a family reunion/west coast visit, a mini-family vacay to Indiana for the Mudathlon, a grant proposal due, a work trip to NY, and a work trip to Chicago.  And Walker was/is pretty banged up at the Mudathlon.  He's still groaning about it.

August is off to a bang. We have removed our weight in sawdust, but we did other stuff, too.   We

  • Killed the water supply to the fridge so we could move it out of the construction zone.  
  • Found a new washer and dryers in Chicago for a steal, brought then back to Champaign with the help of middle sis, and somehow got them down to the basement 
The first weekend in August, our first official weekend in the house, we had our DIY powerhouse friends from college visiting.  They arrived with bin full of tools.  We spent a lot of time talking about house plans, and:

  • Removed a bookshelf/room divider that shrunk and darkened the kitchen
  • Replaced the hot water supply to the washing machine
  • Wired the new dryer
  • Changed out the 50 amp plug on the wall to a 30 amp outlet... though then it turned out that plug went nowhere

I spent most nights this week sanding the foyer and living room walls within an inch of their life.  I will never stop sanding and vacuuming.

I also tried to started cleaning the woodwork with mixed results.  Ethyl Alcohol was supposed to take the top coast of shellac off and with it, the top coat of grime.  It did nothing. So, I tried the method recommended by This Old House -- paint thinner and wood oil soap.  It should have done what the other was supposed to do, but instead, the finsih turned gummy.  This means it is not shellac, but lacquer, says the internet, but the fact that it didn't come off easy means it may be a mix/layers of shellac and laquer, and can be removed with a mix of alcohol and paint thinner.  Of course, the goal was not to remove the finish, but that ship had said.  The mix works, and the wood underneath is gorgeous, but this now mean refinishing most of the foyer to match.  At least it's the foyer, right?  A good room to sand to perfection, and where the most traffic and past damage is.  I don't know if this paragraph conveys the swearing, hours, and crud in my hair that went in to the stripping one window and one third a door, but hey, at least the wood is gorgeous.

My most excellent aunt and uncle, Jane and Ken arrived this Saturday with buckets of tools and bags of food.  This weekend, we:

  • Talked paint color
  • Got two bids on gutters
  • Washed down the living room and foyer walls
  • Patched walls to kingdom come
  • Started the never ending task of front porch paint scrapping
  • Trimmed back the insane vines and branches growing up the base of the trees in the front yard and trimmed front yard plants back off the sidewalk
  • Began opening up the basement ceiling where the new stairs to the basement will go
  • Made a plan for how to move the electrical cords currently in the way
  • Wired the wall outlet that the dryer plugs in to
  • Added a breaker for a 30 amp circuit (Walker did this alone!)
  • Rerouted the power to the garage so that the circuit box can be closed -- because until now the cord went directly into the front of the box
  • Removed the security system from the front hall,
  • Fixed a ceiling fan that was working its way loose and knock knock knocking
We also fixed the pocket doors between the dining and living room that were off their tracks and wouldn't open all the way -- and discovered why.  When insulation was blown in to the house, it filled the pocket door cavity, and THAT'S why every time we pulled out the pocket door it was filthy again!  Solved!  Removing that ancient newspaper/dryer lint looking pulp took four shop vac loads, face masks, and sad expressions.

Of course, I didn't do all this -- WE did it.  Walker and I could not have done this without Ken and Jane teaching us, leading us, firing us up, and working like dogs.

And THEN we went running!  WIN!

This post would be so much better with photos, but sorry, not today.  Loafing time!


Monica said...

I'm jealous that you guys own you're own house. Sounds like a lot of work but really rewarding.

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