Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is not an update.

I am a lousy blogger. Nothing new here really.

We haven't been working on the house much this year. I was laid off from my job and we haven't invested much into home stuff. The house is still standing and we're both still alive so there should be more here in the future.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shake for me girl, I want to be your back-door man!

When we bought the house, this was the view of the back. The small out-jutting part was a "storage closet", sort of. Once upon a time long before, it was a back door! A beautiful alternate opening to the house thoughtfully and intentionally placed right where it should be, right in the middle. It was a 2 way wonder portal that would allow one to park their car in the conveniently located driveway and welcome them into a wonderful hallway that gently spilled them and all of the stuff they lug back and forth into the funky kitchen. We imagined what it was like to go in and out of that door, whether we were in a hurry or wanted to take our time, we knew we had to have that door. We wanted, no, NEEDED that extra opening.
The hallway on the other side of this closet holds our laundry area as well. With the closet there, it was an unpleasant cave in the back of the house. The only reason to be in that hall was to get to the bathroom, the laundry crap or to get to the closet. We decided we'd had enough of and that opening this up would give us a lot more options for future demos, since we could park a dumpster right in the driveway and then chuck all our debris out the back door.

Here's the good stuff!!!
We didn't get many in-progress pictures because we were both busy tearing crap down. But most of the way through the process, Tina came to the rescue! Before this point, we had completely emptied the crap out of the closet, torn down the insulation the former owner nailed to the inside of the closet walls, disconnected the electricity to the three different electrical outlets that were connected to the 2x4s, pulled down a huge amount of lattice and a few sheets of plywood.
Dave was there, chucking stuff into a bucket. I was disconnecting the wiring to one of the three inside-rated electrical outlets that had been installed, while co-workers Ben and Andrew were verifying it was OK to remove the 2x4s that may or may not have been holding the roof up. You can also see the remains of the rock and concrete planter that was built up over the last step. We smashed that out with a 10lb sledge.

Once we had the door open and all the extra wood and junk cleared away, I just kept going in and out, repeating "Holy crap! We have a back door!" I was very pleased.

Tina made me stop running in and out and up and down the stairs like a maniac so she could install the new door handle and electronic keypad deadbolt. Before I let her proceed with the installation I made her stand in front of our newly-recovered door to show off all of our hard work.
As you can see, she was very pleased with me.

Once I got out of her way and she started with the door handle, she was happy again.

We all stood back and admired our results, occasionally repeating "holycrap-backdoor" under our breaths.


Bonus pictures:

While everyone else was working, the dogs were running around the yard like the crazy mutts they are. They stopped a few times to square off.

On the other side of the house, we're still working on getting the yard into some semblance of manageable. We should probably use a front-end loader or something, but we also have shovels so Tina has decided to displace a mountain. Here's her start.You can't tell from this picture, but that hill is enormous.

The next projects will probably include purchasing and installing a storm door for the back door. We're currently leaning toward a Larson storm door with a screen that slides right up into the door and hides so you can have screen or glass and don't have to mess with popping screens out. Pretty slick.

We're also going to paint that back door closer to the color of the rest of the outside doors on the house.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

All ready to go!

The house is clean and organized. The storage closet/soon to be backdoor again is empty. Electronics are all disconnected. Tools are out and everything is ready to go for people to come over and get this party started!

There will be pics later probably tomorrow of what we get done and hopefully tons of progress to report.

Keep your fingers crossed that no mishaps happen!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's happening....

We did it.

We ordered the first dumpster of the year!

To celebrate, we're having a bunch of people over on Sunday to help fill the dumpster with paneling and shingles from the livingroom and laundry room. Plus, for the grand prize of food and beer, they get to help spackle too!!

I know, we're just awesome friends that way letting them do all that.

Tonight, I took measurements for the fence that's needed to be fixed since about 6 months after we moved in. I'm going to call the town planner tomorrow because we were told that 30 feet to the corner in each direction can only be a 3ft fence. I'm going to see if we can make it a 4ft and if so, instead of repairing the fence, we're going to start replacing it in sections. Ugly, I know, but cost is cost.

Tonight was dull but productive. Mike moved about 7 carts full of rocks and I started digging out the mound from hell and moving it over to the area that was messed up from digging out the sewer line. He was able to get all the rocks out from the side yard and what's left is now in the front yard by the fence where I'm digging. It's all slow going, but I'm seeing such progress that soon I won't be embarrassed for people to drive by my house.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Tina is inside cleaning, re-organizing, re-arranging, and generally tearing like a whirlwind through our office. We're officially decommissioning my desktop machine since it's got a dead power-supply and hasn't even been up for months. I'm relying completely on my laptop. She just interrupted me mid-blog to drag me in there and show me what she did. WOW. It looks like a different room. Much nicer than the old way we had it laid out.

I plan to get some updated pictures of the grass growing and the new bushes and mulching and such we did. I have a buncha stuff I should do and update on, but I don't have anything ready. So here's some crazy old pictures of the house instead.

I like this one a lot. This is the Jacks. I'm pretty sure the dapper fellow in the chair is Frances Marion. I believe the woman next to him is his wife and the lady in front of the window is his daughter. We think this picture was taken in 1917. We seriously contemplated reproducing the fence, but decided against it because of our crazy dogs. This picture (compared to our modern pics) also illustrates how much the ground around the house has changed and the level of the house itself. I love this picture.

Date of this one is unknown. We're pretty sure it was also sometime in the 20s. It proves to me that there have always been dogs here. It's a good place for dogs. :) It's also the best picture of we have of the original porch bits.

Finally, a long shot of our house and part of the house next door. F.M. Jack was the postmaster at one point, and his wagon is in front of the house. Notice the woman out in front of the window again. Same person? I dunno.

That's all for this time.

Before I finish, I do have to say that once Tina and I started working on the house again (and thus the blog) we were both very pleased and VERY surprised at how many hits the blog still had, even though it was dormant for a year. Thanks readers! We'll try not to take year long breaks anymore.


Monday, June 09, 2008


So, finally there was a nice day on Sunday and we got a ton more done. I woke everyone at around 10:30am (in our house on a weekend that's EARLY) and we went to breakfast at the corner cafe. We followed that up with a trip to Coastal farm store and Home Depot to get a few things for the day.

Once we got home, it was on to the yard. I had to use grass scissors to cut all the grass growing in the wire fence because it was about 4 feet high and the mower wouldn't go there and the fence would eat the weed wacker. So now, you can see there is a fence there! Then I went on to weed wacking a 30' x 125' swath of ground that we can't mow because we have to get all of the rocks out. It looked like the African bush out there and now it's just a bad haircut :P.

Mike pulled out 6 carts full of rocks from that area and it looks like we'll have about 10 more cart fulls to go. That sounds like an awful lot but considering we're actually on the home stretch of moving rocks, it's not too bad. We've got such a huge pile of rock now it's not even funny. We were able to get the edging and fencing up around the japanese maple bushes so now the mulch won't move and the dogs will leave the bushes alone while they get a chance to grow.

We got all the limbs hacked off the one really nasty, yellow jacket attracting, dog freak out tree so that all there is left on that is to dig up the stump. Mike also did some mowing yesterday but apparently hit a massive rock that's never been there before and bent the blade at a 90 degree angle. So, the mower is now in the shed, sitting on the blade because the wheels won't touch the ground. Off to get a new blade this week as well as having to start visually sweeping the yard again before each mowing.

This week, we have to dig out the location for the new firepit since we have all these limbs to burn. Hey, we've got plenty of gravel to line the bottom and lots of rocks to ring it with to make it all pretty. Additionally, we're going to be filling in more holes in the backyard and side yard that were made when the rocks were pulled out. Finally, we're going to dig up the massive mound that's been in the front of the house forever. That's this week in a nutshell. Next weekend, it's on to getting the other two bushes in, more mulch, more edging and more fencing.

Man summer is painful.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sometimes jury duty works out

So, I was called for jury duty yesterday and they didn't select me so I got to go home and work on the list some more. I got Ehren's room completely cleaned out and rearranged which made me realize there are now many more floorboards that need to be fixed than before he lived in there. The upstairs hallway got cleaned as well as our room. I also got the porch completely cleaned out and de-cobwebbed ready for us to start ripping up the deck. Then it was on to 3 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishes in the dishwasher and sweeping the stairs.

So, now finished is:
  • Reclaim Ehren's room
  • Level the pond area, finishing filling in pond, seed.
  • Seed old firepit
  • Fill in random yard holes with dirt we have ... 1/2 done, only a few more to go
  • Plant the new maples & clover ... 1/2 done we have the other side of the house to do
Tonight is bellydance practice and tomorrow is getting my nails done so I know nothing will be happening tonight but on Thursday after nails I'll probably put the edging and the fencing around the tree/mulch area to keep the dogs out. If only this stupid weather would cooperate we could do so much more but apparently this year, June in Oregon = rainy and 62 degrees... blech.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

See...I promised!

Today, we did get the pond filled in and leveled and seeded. The firepit was turned over and seeded. Two Japanese Maples were planted. Tomorrow, we've got to mulch the area with the maples and clean the windows on that side, then that segment of the yard is done. I'm totally giddy to see flat land where that farking pond used to be...I really hated that pond. It was scummy and nasty and smelled horrible.

So, because it's a real crowd pleaser...some pictures! (Yes, I know they're always at night, deal with it!)

The pond before:

The pond after:

The last remaining firepit:

Front of house with maples!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It time to ressurect this thing...

It's been almost a year now since I've posted here. There were just too many stress factors going on in our lives which totally precluded being able to do any work on the house at all. The only things that got done were necessities (like fixing a toilet, replacing lightbulbs, etc.) We've lost an entire year's worth of work at this point, but we're getting ready to dive in headlong. We're going to be getting the house appraised in about 2 months and we need to have it ship shape (or at least looking like it). No, we're not selling the house, just doing a re-fi now that we're in a much better position to get the loan that we wanted from the beginning instead of the last-minute-holy-crap-we-need-a-loan-now-or-we're-homeless-in-Oregon loan.

On the hit parade for this summer:
  • Massive spring cleaning and reorganizing of all storage.
  • Upstairs - level the bathroom floor, remount toilet, fix floor in guest room.
  • Livingroom - pull down the rest of the paneling, finish up the stove area, drywall patching, paint.
  • Laundry room - pull down shingles on the walls, patch nail holes, paint.
  • Bathroom - spruce up with some cabinets/shelves or something, fix toilet better.
  • Storage Closet - remove exterior walls, remove floor, remove stone planter from bottom step, voila! backdoor again!
  • Kitchen - finish puttying/painting cabinet doors and drawer and rehang, rip up old floor, put down new linoleum, touch up painting, new appliances

Outside (already underway)
  • Level the pond area, finishing filling in pond, seed.
  • Seed old firepit
  • Fill in random yard holes with dirt we have.
  • Plant the new maples & clover
  • Clean windows on outside
  • Fix fence (moving gate possible)
  • Fix deck
  • Repaint deck
  • Spot paint the house
Sure... we've got plenty of time if we do nothing but go to work each day and work on the house each night! We'll do it. The pond, the firepit and 2 of the 4 Japanese Maples should be done tomorrow probably pretty early and we might get to something else on the list (more than likely cleaning). We'll need to get a dumpster in to take away the shingles and paneling and such and then it'll really feel like summer. Aaaaaaah the first dumpster of the year... it just makes me giddy!

There will be more soon... this time I promise!

Sunday, July 29, 2007's been awhile since I've posted

There has been quite a lot that has gone on since the last time I posted. Basically, about 3 days after I last posted, I wound up going on a 72 hour round trip out to pick up my son out in Ohio. We've been financially and emotionally trying to catch up since then.

Katie's room is complete sans carpet, molding & a light fixture. We haven't even begun on Ehren's room yet since we're trying to come to grips with feeding and clothing 2 additional people who came with basically just the clothes on their backs and nothing else.

We've done a lot of yardwork and have ripped out the pond. We just need to fill it in with some dirt from around it and from the free dumpload of dirt we got from John. We still need to borrow a rototiller from Joe to break up the side yard and then grade it.

The fence & gate got dealt another blow this week because they are redoing all of the city sewer lines and they ripped up a piece of sidewalk and damaged the fence and gate. So Tuesday we have to go out and get a whole bunch of fencing to fix that entire area. Oh, and while we're out getting wood, we have to get planks for the deck because we've got 3 rotted out boards. Plus all the paint for both the fence and the deck since the whole deck needs to be repainted and is flaking.

This has not been a good summer, let me tell you. Adding in tons of flights, 2 whole warddrobes, feeding two very picky extra people, the dog costing us about $300, one kid who's constantly mopey and one who is extremely unaware of his presence...well, I'm calling the whole thing a wash and I'm looking forward to next summer instead. If I don't do that, I'll go insane.

Oh and to top it all off, I've been sick with my first ever summer cold for 3 days.