Saturday, November 28, 2020

House to Home, Volume 7 - No Turning Back Now

Buckle up kids, here comes a very long photo essay.

Preamble:  the excavator showed up on Monday, October 19th and he went to TOWN.  I did momentarily chain myself to the beautiful azalea right next to my garage but Troy offered to dig it out and replant it for me so Greenpeace stood down.  Our plan was for StanLee to go to work with me on Monday so mom wouldn't have to deal with two dogs on leashes at home (Stan is a little excitable and there is broken glass EVERYWHERE).  Then we all were going to vacate the premises on Tuesday in case the house decided to fall over - me and Stan heading to my sister's basement right from work, mom and Roxie down to Camp Killington - but Mom decided to live dangerously and she stayed until Wednesday.  The demo was too exciting to miss.  We have this photographic record because she stayed - I was too nervous to watch and only caught live action at the very beginning.  Mom did have a couple minor heart attacks, one on Monday and one on Tuesday morning, when the house shook so hard she thought she and Roxie (and the electrician the first time it happened) were goners.

Here are two full days of destruction, with date stamps in the corner so you can see how quickly it happened.  The first few are the ones I took before my nerves got the best of me and I went to work:

That's Troy in the blue hoodie and Bryan in the blue plaid.

Adios, garage.  That was all I could handle - the next batch of pictures is from mom.  She spent almost all day standing outside in the rain, watching and documenting.

This is the picture I posted on Facebook, with a caption that said, "It might be a Monday if you come home from work to find your house torn down and all that's left is a rusty old bicycle...."

They found it under the house.  With a telephone pole.  Having only seen a couple of mom's pictures over the course of the day, seeing it in person was a bit startling:

I have so many thoughts about that last picture -- so many.

Here's the view from the guest room window at the end of the day:

So Monday was total shock and awe, but Tuesday requires a little bit of commentary.  StanLee and I went to work and mom took a million pictures between 9am and noon-ish.  I whittled them down to these:

That's Troy underneath the trailer and Mike up above trying to figure out how the damn thing is attached to the house.  Note the lovely green walls of what used to be Studio B, a/k/a the trouse bathroom.  Hello corner shower.

That next picture is Troy cutting the steel trailer frame into pieces so he could pick them up with the excavator.  Here's a quick video with a surprise ending:

I'm so glad mom got that footage - it's the excavator running over a fire extinguisher!

And we have full separation.

I came home mid-afternoon to see the progress since I wouldn't be back in town until Thursday afternoon.  Here's the guest room window view:

And here's the circumnavigation:

And here goes the last piece of the puzzle:

I will be picking random bits of that old shitty insulation off of the ground for the rest of my days.  With broken glass.  And pieces of plastic Christmas ornaments that we somehow missed (I swear all those cabinets were empty!).  What a crazy two days.  Aside from the pile of metal that is still in my yard, the "removal" part of the project is done and it's time to start putting it back together.

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.  We have the technology."

Wow, I'm seriously dating myself with that one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

House to Home, Volume 6 - The Bathtub Guy

The day was September 3, 2019.  The location was my local Jeep dealership, 40 minutes away from my house.  I was trading in my rescue green Jeep Wrangler for a rescue green Jeep Compass and while making small talk with the sales kid I found out he lives not far from me.  So I asked if he knew any contractors and he said yes, his friend's dad owns Baker Builders.  Cool cool, I wrote down the name.

Jump ahead to THE VERY NEXT DAY and I'm sitting at my desk at work.  My office is on the second story and normally my view out the window is blue skies above and parking lot down below.  Something caught my eye and there -- PRACTICALLY PRESSED AGAINST THE OUTSIDE OF THE WINDOW -- was a guy on scaffolding and the back of his shirt said Baker Builders.  What are the freakin' odds?  I went downstairs, saw someone who looked like he was in charge, and that's how I met Bryan Baker.

On October 16, over a year later, most of his crew showed up at my house at the crack of dawn for the first day of official demo!  Actually that's not true, someone came over the day before and started removing the metal roof which I'm going to reuse (reduce, recycle) because it looks brand new.  I've been taking pictures out the guest room window and later I will post all of them together, but here's how it looked when I got home from work on October 15th.

The objective on the 16th was to save the roof, remove the appliances, make things easier for the excavator, and cut the trouse additions away from my house.  (At this point I was still pretty damn nervous that the house would fall right over when it no longer had the trailer to lean against - the trailer was there first, and the house sits on piers.  A lot of sleep was lost worrying about this scenario.)  And remember my clawfoot tub?  I asked if they could please haul it out for me and this is the text I got from Bryan middle of the day, checking to see if I liked my new bathroom fixture:

HAHAHA!  That's Jake.  We just call him the bathtub guy now.

Roxie and StanLee supervised out the guest room window and when I got home from work, this was the view from up there:

Here's that pile up close and personal:

The view out the window at the top of my stairs changed dramatically, as did the view from my kitchen door:

I had a porch!  And it was weird!  Walking around the trouse, here's the front with no metal roof:

And here's the metal pile - the giant antenna, appliances, and the crappy stuff from the front roof.  Spoiler alert:  they found two more layers of roof underneath this one.

Around back, here's where the large window shattered and left broken glass all over the place.  I've been fighting the broken glass battle here for seven years and it appears the battle is not over.  Don't worry, though, it will get worse.

If you look really close you can see where they cut the wall to the right of the window closest to the house.  Sliced it from bottom to top, through the floor and the roof, until they got to the original trailer.  For reference, that big window was my library gym and the two smaller windows were in the trailer bathroom.

And here's the picture I mentioned in my last post showing the trailer kitchen post-pre-demo:

Lookin' good.  All this happened on a Friday so I had the weekend to freak out about it and pack my bags.  Roxie was heading to Camp Killington (a/k/a my mom's house) and StanLee and I were temporarily moving to my sister's basement, because the excavator was coming on Monday....

Saturday, November 14, 2020

House to Home, Volume 5 - Step Inside

I don't even know where to start with this one but I just read something interesting.  Over the last year I must have measured the inside of the trouse a million times while trying to visualize the layout of my soon-to-be new paint office, but for the life of me I cannot recall what size it is.  A couple of my neighbors have said they remember when the original trailer was placed in 1964 or 1965 so I googled "what size is a 1960s mobile home" and man, that was a rabbit hole.  Here's a link to a fun article that makes me think it was 10' wide - Wikipedia says they were called a "ten-wide" - and if I had the copy of my town lister's card here with me I could make an educated guess on the length.  Suffice it to say, trousification turned it into something else entirely with the addition of a "sunken living room" (as my sister likes to call it), two bedrooms, an office nook and an abnormally large bathroom.  I have very little photographic evidence of the interior so to spice things up I'm going to supplement with more of the pictures I took when I first looked at this property in May of 2013.

Let's jump right in with the kitchen since that room was probably the most startling.  Feast your eyes:

It was a marvel, and you can bet I absolutely kept the color of the cabinets.  Later on in this journey you will see what this space looked like after my contractor's crew spent a day on preliminary demo.

The original dining room space, to the right of the front door (kitchen is to the left) is what I used as my main art space - Studio A.  If you've been following my blog for a while you may recognize these next pictures - they are from February of 2018.

Again, that yellow is original but stepping down into the living room, I DID paint the purple wall.

I also painted everything hanging on that purple wall.  Fun fact:  the gold couch was one of the first pieces of furniture my grandparents bought when they moved back to the States from Colombia in 1960.

For reference, here is that same wall in May 2013.

Turning around and looking at the other side of the living room:

Yowza.  This is what became Studio C, the area where I had my alcohol inks and later my oil and cold wax.  This summer all the art supplies got relegated elsewhere because it became my quarantine home office.

Another fun fact:  this table is one of the first things I bought when I moved to Montana a hundred years ago.

Moving on to the lighter purple area you can see in the background, that was another trouse add-on.  The original owners had bookshelves built in and used it as an office.

I had a small desk there also, but at the near end of the bookshelves.  It became my library gym (picture taken in December 2018).

Directly behind where I stood to take that picture was the first of two bedrooms.  Here's the original and yes, an 80+ year old couple had a bright orange bedroom, bless their little hearts.

(Did they also have glow in the dark stars on the ceiling?  The VERY low ceiling?  Yes they did.)  Thru that not-so-cleverly disguised door is the second bedroom.  I took the door down and that's what I use as my painting table.

I don't have a picture of the laundry area (nothing to see here) but I saved the extra large bathroom for last.  The only picture I have at hand of the original room is not great quality because it's from the listing, but I will post it anyway because it's worth it:

To borrow a phrase from some Youtubers I watch, LORDY DAY!  You can't see from this one picture but the room is big enough to have its own foyer.  When I started messing around with fluid art I turned the bathroom into Studio B - I needed a space where I wasn't worried about paint flying around.  Here are some more repeat pictures from February 2018:

Side note:  the box on the floor has a small sculpting wheel inside and that's where the really messy paint action happened.  Stuff like this:

But I digress.  Here are pictures my mom took on September 13th.

Don't ask about all the Christmas ornaments - we can talk about that another time.  Here's what my storage unit looked like on October 3rd:

I made one more trip so there's more junk in there now, and here are the contents of my garage:

Plus the bathtub - I took this picture after the crew pulled the clawfoot tub out for me.  Quick tangent:  my tub was born on May 2, 1949.  Cool.

There you have it.  I know that was a lot of awkward back and forth but hopefully you get an idea of how it all started, how it progressed, and how it ended.  Emptying everything out was probably a hell of a lot easier for me than it was for the previous owners - they had a metric shit ton of stuff - but I still felt like the trouse had become one giant junk drawer, and I hate junk drawers.  It's amazing how quickly things accumulate.  Note to self:  don't do that.

We haven't caught up to present day yet (teaser:  yesterday morning I woke up to no water pressure) but it's about to get exciting.