Saturday, January 30, 2021

House to Home, Volume 16 - A Sparkling Clear Day

We're picking up exactly where we left off in the last post, which was on Friday, December 15th with me leaving the kitchen faucet running all night hoping to stave off another round of frozen pipes.  Since Roxie was recovering from anesthesia I didn't want her navigating the stairs so we slept in the dog hospital again (i.e. the living room, on the couch).  I got up to check the water situation in the middle of the night and it was ... okay.  Later in the night I heard it slow down and then stop entirely.  I've lost track - is this the fourth episode of zero water?  Fifth?  Spoiler alert - it's not going to be the last.  But Saturday dawned bright and sparklingly clear so here is a series of photos showing our current construction status, minus Jason under my house with a space heater thawing the frozen pipe at the pressure tank (thank you, thank you).  I didn't get a picture of that.

First, 10:15 from the guest room window.

Then in my art studio/paint office, at the top of the future stairs.  Lots of window action here.

Looking north, lots more windows.  Most of them are just about at ceiling height and are for letting light in rather than examining the view out.

Here's where the new wall meets old building, and the reason why I lost my bathroom skylight.

If you look close you can see the layer of original shingled roof under the metal.  Although it is at times okay to install a metal roof right over shingles (Google says so, it must be true), this was really not one of those times.  This was a crap-ass job.  Bryan told me later that when they peeled the metal back all the nails pulled out and went flying everywhere.  And the old shingles are crumbling right off.  Super.

Here's the current view from the south east corner of my new bedroom looking toward the new bathroom.

And this is the view from the corner of the new bathroom looking back toward my bedroom and library hallway.

And this, THIS, is my favorite.

It's so crazy to see how different it looks with the walls up, and also crazy to think how different it's going to look when the walls are sheathed.  Here's that same view after a quick few minutes in Photoshop.

I'm so glad I get to see all of these stages.

I took a bunch more pictures on Sunday, and realized I never showed the window on the east side of my paint office.

It looks down over the shed roof above my laundry room, and if I stand on a stool I will be able to see out to the backyard.

As for current progress in the downstairs, here's looking in from the garage door.

That gray part is where we stole some of the 20x24 footprint of the new garage to make space for a powder room off the laundry area, and that's the space that is currently "walled" in with house wrap.  Stepping up from the garage and looking right, here's what you see.

And straight ahead is where the stairs will be, starting near the new window and heading west where the ladders are to a quarter landing.

Here's a terrible picture from that northwest corner looking back toward the garage.  It's blurry, but you can see what's going on with the new-meets-old part of the build.  Eventually the kitchen door will come off and the two openings - kitchen and laundry room - will match.  I've got big plans for this wall.

This is the view from the kitchen looking toward the front door and then from the front door looking toward the kitchen.

That new window is going to be massive.  MASSIVE.  ENORMOUS!  It dwarfs the kitchen door and I'm second-guessing my decision there.  Remember when I said I foresee a lot of Windex in my future?  Fingers crossed it's not weird.

Moving on, Roxie and I circumnavigated the exterior.  I always do this counter-clockwise.

In the interest of chronicling Every. Last. Thing, I also took these two pictures:

That last one I called "Materials at the Ready."  Stay tuned, it will be funny later.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

House to Home, Volume 15 - Salamanders and Crickets

Fun fact:  the title of a J.D. Salinger book keeps randomly popping into my head -- "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters."  I used to have this book but can't say for certain that I ever read it.  Maybe now is the time, although all of my books are temporarily stacked behind a couch in my living room and there's no way I'm digging through that mess.

But I digress.  On Tuesday, December 15th I got another delivery, directly on to the second floor.  We are thoroughly ensconced in "traveling pet medic" season (Roxie is on an every six hour medication schedule) so I took this picture out a wicked dirty guest room window mid-afternoon.

Oddly, I like that picture.  And them there are wall studs, folks.  We're about to gain more elevation.  Here's 7:45 the next morning.

And here's the view a mere 45 minutes later.

At 1:30, we've got a new bathroom window.

That is a poorly framed picture - the dark edge on the right is part of the guest room window - of a newly framed wall.

Progress was quick, perhaps because it was VERY cold outside.  So cold that my pipes froze again Tuesday night, not even a trickle Wednesday morning.  The water lines that feed my house are in the wall behind my kitchen sink, which has always been an interior wall (my kitchen on one side, the trailer bathroom on the other).  So when the trailer was demolished, that interior wall became an exterior wall.  Which is no bueno in a Vermont winter.  I left a portable heater under my sink cabinet all day with little hope it would do any good.  It didn't.

Thursday the 17th it was still VERY cold outside and I still had no water.  I also had a heart-stopping moment when Mike began cutting in to the eave of my house right outside the hallway window while I was standing in the hallway - it was quite startling.  Since the new build is going flush up against the existing, part of the eave has to be sacrificed.

Here's a view from the road on my way to work that shows the super weather situation.

In addition to getting more of the upstairs walls standing, there was a concerted effort to close in the space behind the kitchen wall.  That's my future laundry room and also where the new pressure tank and all the water stuff will live.  The baby trusses and sheathing for that section of roof went up, the space was temporarily "walled in" with house wrap, then they fired up a salamander heater to toast the crap out of it.  Which did in fact work.  The weather was still cold and gross at 1:30 when I came home for Roxie's meds - here's the view from the guest room, bathroom, and hallway.

Friday the 18th was the day of Baker Builders' pseudo holiday lunch party (in my dining room - they had to cancel the official party) and also the day Roxie had her canine tooth extracted.  I missed the party but Bryan left me a present.  When Roxie and I went to work in the morning, Mike was on my roof and Dan was in my bathtub because this was the day I had to say goodbye to the bathroom skylight.  Once the eave is hacked off, the skylight is just a couple inches away from where new build meets old.  It's a dicey roof situation there so Bryan thinks they need to put in a cricket.  (Wikipedia:  A cricket or saddle is a ridge structure designed to divert water on a roof around the high side of a chimney or the transition from one roof area to another.)  The only pictures I took are the before and after.  The "before" is on my way to work - look closely, it's Mike peeling the metal off my roof to get to the skylight.

The "after" is an interior shot.

Bonus content:  the actual skylight.  It was a double extraction day and the skylight came out easier than Roxie's tooth.

Oh, and I had no water again when I woke up Friday morning.  Dan had some choice words to say about that situation.  Bryan called mid-afternoon to let me know the pipes weren't actually frozen this time - a new pressure switch Jason installed on the tank last week had gotten stuck.  With temps forecasted to dip into negative numbers, I'm going to leave the kitchen faucet dripping all night just in case.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

House to Home, Volume 14 - Elevated

A few things happened during the week our intrepid builders were off at a different job site.  On Friday, December 4th, just as I put Roxie in the car to take her to a vet appointment, an ENORMOUS trailer came down the road and sure enough, it stopped at my driveway.  This thing was the equivalent of an 18-wheeler (technically it was - I counted the wheels) and let me tell you, the driver was a wizard.  He BACKED into my driveway in one shot.  One.  It was soooo impressive.  My trusses have arrived in style.

I couldn't stay and watch him unload that pile, but here's how it added to the guest room window view on the 5th:

We did, of course, go outside to give them an up close and personal inspection.

Roxie is quite fashionable in her neck gaiter.  My little babushka.  Without it she looks like a war victim - her head and ears are wrapped up in a bandage to keep her ear from flopping around while the vet treats an aural hematoma that happened two days before Thanksgiving.  Side note:  this is the early stages of running a dog hospital in my living room, which is not optimal when only half your house is still standing.

Nothing happened on Monday the 7th and turns out that was the calm before the storm.  Tuesday the 8th I took Roxie back to the vet for a follow-up ear appointment and they discovered she also had a badly broken canine tooth that was actively bleeding, which I'm pretty sure happened in the morning while she was at work with me and was occupying herself with a bone.  When I took her home after the vet I discovered more materials had been delivered.

Yessirree, we've got ourselves a floor system, which is awesome.  We also have our water down to a trickle again, which is not awesome but will hopefully be resolved before I get home from work.  In the afternoon I emailed with Michelle at the garage door place and picked out my door, which is going to be awesome.  Then Michelle told me it won't be delivered until April, which is so very not awesome.  'Twas a day of major ups and downs, that ended with the dog hospital kicking into high gear.  There was lots of panic and blood and me sleeping on the living room floor with Roxie and a very confused StanLee, having sacrificed two bath towels, almost all of my kitchen towels, most of the dog blankets, a comforter and four couch pillows, not to mention the entire actual couch.  When they said "active bleeding" they were not kidding.  I went back and forth between lamenting the fact that we currently do not have on-site laundry facilities and questioning my ability to competently adult.  It was pretty rough.

Wednesday the 9th was the second time in a week there was a truck in my driveway that had one of those crane thingies on board, but this one was way smaller.  I stood on a chair to take a picture through the little tiny window in my dining room - it's the guy setting my new propane tank.

They can't trench the line until we're a little further along in the build and Jason, the plumber, decides where he wants to install the regulator.  Right now there's a temporary tank behind my house that's hooked up to the Rinnai in the living room.  Since the ground is frozen (and there's a pile of trusses in the way), the fuel company will probably end up delivering a couple more temporary 120 gallon tanks -  they call them snowmen - and hook up the permanent one in the spring.

Also today I found out my garage door will be arriving in six to eight weeks instead of in April.  That's a huge relief.  Here's what it will look like.

I've changed my mind so many times about exterior colors and finishes but now I've committed to a black garage door to match the black roof.  Although I told Bryan today that I can't afford the second floor since I'm giving all my money to the vet, so we may never get to the roof.

The next couple of days I was home with Roxie to make sure she didn't get worked up over the construction activity so I got to see progress in real time.  Here's the guest room window view at 9am and again at 12:20.

Whoa.  By 2:15 they had worked their way around to the other side - here's what I saw out the upstairs hallway window.

I feel like such a creeper taking pictures through the windows while they are working.  But crap - look what they got done in one day.

All the floor joists - super duper exciting.  Here's Friday the 11th at 8:45 from the guest room.

And just to keep it real, here's the view from my bathroom window.

Awkward.  Checking out the hallway window at 10:45 I saw this.

And guys guys guys, at the end of the work day Bryan asked if I wanted to check out the upstairs.  OF COURSE I DID!  Up the ladder I went and here's my first pictures of the new second floor.

HOW CRAZY IS THAT!?!  I have a second story.  I commemorated it with a sunset guest room view at 4pm, through a very dirty window.

I'm going to be up and down that ladder quite a few times, just because I can.  Here's what I posted on Instagram on Sunday, December 13th.

Sitting here in my new paint office at 3pm, still wearing my pajamas, soaking it all in (literally - it rained today and the floor is wet).  The view will change next week because *walls* but that afternoon light will stay the same.