Months later, and I am still not moved in! But i can feel it getting closer.
I knew that it was going to require some work. A new roof was going to be necessary within the next year, and the knob and tube wiring was going to need to be removed asap.
After a couple of rain storms in the spring, I ended up having to get the roof done right away! I hired a team that my sister and my parents neighbour had used. They were quick and efficient and taa daa, new roof!electrical
I hired my parent's neighbour's dad to do the wiring. He's really good though it's been progressing slowly because there's a lot to do and he has a regular day job. My dad, cirhosis
and I ripped the ceilings out in the basement to make it easier for Lou to do his job. Destroying things was a lot of fun. We showed up there that day all prepared. We had crowbars and had packed a lunch of sandwiches, fruit, water and beer. I got everyone goggles and masks. I wore my platform boots to prevent getting nails in my foot, they're actually way handier than just for clubbing. So we got started and things went swimmingly! As we were ripping out the drywall, we were being careful not to catch on wires and things like that and boy was the ceiling busy with them, they were running all over the place! Some modern, some knob and tube, some of it working, some ending in random places sitting there unused. There were electrical boxes all over the place; years and years of different people applying their own bizarre works to the place. Same thing with the plumbing, it was like the hot water tank and heater were eggs in a nest of plumbing!! It was kinda cool seeing the ceramic knobs wedged in the joists. I kept a bunch of them, I'm going to see if I can use them for something crafty!
We took a break for lunch and sat on a brick ledge under the shade of the grape vines and ate our packed lunch. It was really nice! My neighbour who I share a driveway with came over and chatted with us. He's an old italian fellow named Joe and my house used to be his sister's a veeery long time ago. He's actually been telling us a lot about the history of the place as he's watched many people in and out of it.
So back to work, we got the rest down. While I planned pretty well for safety, I made a fatal mistake. I didn't get goggles that I could adjust to my face, and they kept sliding down my nose as I was working. Some time around now, something awesome fell from the roof into my eye. No amount of blinking or flushing it with water would get whatever it was out. I ended up keeping my eye closed and holding a damp paper towel over it for a while. It was really embarrassing because I met my neighbour's older son who asked what had happened. When I told him, he said I should leave this work to the men and go back to my regular job. I laughed and told him that my regular job is traditionally a men's job as well. We decided to call it a day when we had all the ceilings down and came back the next day to clean up the debris, which Lou carted off to the dump for us! This time, I brought a piece of waistband elastic and threaded it through the goggle's vents so that I can tighten the mask to my face :D Worked like a charm! (Though it didn't prevent a visit to emergency late that night when my eye's condition worsened from the day before *sigh*)
I've learned something from this experience, opening up walls/ceilings is just asking for trouble. You find the things that someone else probably went through much effort to hide from future owners; like cracked joists and the like. We found one of those and Lou offered to fix it on top of doing the wiring. This joist had a huuuuuge crack running through it and you could see that it was sagging some from its weakness. There was also chunks cut out of it where they'd run plumbing through it. There were some other joists with problems as well, several missing ones which in effect meant the walls above them were floating unsupported. He fixed/replaced a few of them. That really bad one, he ended up having to get a plumber to come and move some pipes around it. That ended up being awesome because he cleaned up some of the messy plumbing in the basement. To move that pipe, they were going to have to temporarily take out the toilet it led to on the first floor. However, the toilet was cemented to the floor and tiled around so they had to smash the thing out. Also had to cut into the wall in that bathroom to get at another pipe. All these definitely slowed things down further as Lou had to wait on his plumber's availability that pushed things a few weeks off.
So now finally, all the knob and tube is gone, all the outlets are replaced with modern ones, all the appropriate GFIs are installed in the kitchens and bathrooms and the cables for tv, phone and internet are in place!
He did have to make a bunch of holes in the first floor ceiling near the pot lights because he discovered some surprise knob and tube up there. He'd figured they would have been on modern wiring since they'd been a more recent addition but apparently that was not the case. So now I've got to get someone to fix the drywall in those spots. My dad could do it but since the ceiling is very visible, it's better to get a professional who will make it seamless. He's dealing withe the bathroom toilet though! Involves bringing the floor up to near the tile level, pouring some cement, adding new tiles around the pipe and putting the toilet back.Appliances
So the previous owners definitely went out of their way to make the place look really awesome by installing some exciting appliances but holy shit cutting corners for appearances!! Lou methodically went through the wiring of the washer/dryer, stove, fridge and dishwasher and in the process discovered some really awesome things. And by awesome, I mean not awesome. The fridge has a water/ice/crushed ice dispenser which is all oooo aaahhhh but there is no water line to the fridge to actually allow you to use this feature. booo hiss. The stove seemed fine although the fan appears to be blowing it's exhaust no where in particular. The washer/dryer, also did not have a pipe to outside so the dryer's exhaust is just blowing into the back of the closet. The dishwasher. Oh lord, this was the most ridiculous of all. It is in the very corner of the kitchen counter and against the wall. You can't get it out because the baseboard of that wall comes right up to it in front of it. So we had to take the baseboard out to pull the washer dryer out. So Lou dealt with all the wiring and went to push it back in and set it up to test it and we discover that they took (or never had?) the water hose. !!!!! Seriously? A trip to Lowes resulted in the acquisition of a hose for it, one for the fridge, a kit for the dryer thinger and a new toilet for the bathroom. Lou drilled a hole out the wall and set up the dryer's thinger. He is a jack of all trades apparently :)Adventures in cleaning
So Lou was near finishing, just needed to wire all the tv/internet cables and do a few things to the 2nd floor. Last weekend I went over with a bunch of random cleaning supplies and tried to start cleaning the place a bit. I felt like a total retard since I really had no idea what cleaning products you used to clean what. I stood in the cleaning aisle at Shoppers utterly perplexed for about 15 minutes before I called my friend Carol to ask her what's what. So I got over there with some Mr Clean, some Fabreeze, Windex and made a very unfocussed effort. I had not bought any sponges, and at home I always see my mom using rags which I think she actually just cuts out of old towels or tshirts, which you obviously can't buy like that in a store. So I ended up using papertowel. It was all so overwhelming. I'd think "ok, i'll do the fridge first!" and I'd start pulling the pieces out, wanting to soak them in the sink, only to discover that neither of the sinks had stoppers. I remembered seeing one in the basement kitchen so I ran down there and got it. Brought it back upstairs and tried it only to discover it had no seal so water just emptied out anyway. So I gave up on the fridge. Tried to do the stove, but wasn't sure what cleaner to use on the glass top, gave up.
Radiators! Those things are a BITCH to clean and obviously no one has done so in a while. They all have boxes in front of them which I moved aside and used a combination of vacuum cleaner and a stick wrapped with paper towel to clean. This took forever and there are 6 radiators on the first floor. While doing this I was able to see where the floating floors end, hidden by the box and there are 2 layers of tiles underneath :| fuckers were too lazy to pull it all out, what a bunch of jerks when they redid the floors.
Windows! Woo, this shouldn't be so bad. Every single one of them was just filthy. I took some out and started cleaning in the tracks where the windows sit, everything was going well. Then i went to put a window back in. Holy shit, it would not go!! I was doing one of the front 2 windows that overlooks the porch. I fought with it all kinds and FINALLY forced it in. Then looked down where I had the last window leaning again the radiator and saw 2 of them. #$@#@# I had put the window into the wrong slot! *groan* So I tried to get it out again. It was not coming out. No way, I tried everything!! I climbed onto the radiator and even tried to use my foot to help, to no avail. I musta looked like a thief trying to break out of the house to anyone that saw. (And apparently the nice lady and her husband across the street did see, i learned today) As I was struggling, I saw my neighbours pulling into the driveway. I was desperate by this point. I didn't want to have to get my dad to drive all the way over to help me. So I swallowed my pride and went and asked them for help. I was so embarrassed, especially after the drywall incident. It took both guys and a screwdriver to get the window out. *sigh* I learned though, I won't make that mistake again, 3 windows :D
This weekend my parents and I went over while Lou was finishing off his work. My mom is an angel of knowing everything! She brought the correct things over for cleaning (ripped up towels, cleaners for the stove top etc) She showed me what was what and together we tackled the fridge and several windows while my dad trimmed some of the weeds overwhelming the garden. Some of the grapes have turned purple now too :)The neighbours
The ones I share the driveway with are Italians. Joe and his wife and their son. They are very sweet and my dad gets along famously with Joe! They will yap and yap and yap whenever we're over there. Joe used to do windows, he also put in at least one of the layers of tiled floors in my house forever ago. I forget his wife's name and will have to find out again and add it here so I'll remember! Their tomato garden is way better off! They have sticks to make them grow up where mine are kind of running wild since I haven't been around enough to maintain them. (Or my dad hasn't rather, who are we kidding ;))
My other side neighbours are Tibetan. I've only met the grandmother, the little boy (who called me auntie, and i suspect plays on my porch sometimes coz i found a beheaded Spiderman figure there one day) and the little girl. They seem really nice!
Cross the street live Adele and Roberto. They are an older Italian couple. Very sweet! She invited me over for espresso last week which I had to decline due to my cleaning schedule. This weekend she invited me in again, gave me a door of her house and we shared bitters on her front porch. Roberto is a bit hard of hearing! They are all really sweet and will be fantastic practice for my italian, although they speak a different dialect than my family does.The couch
One of my coworkers lent me some of his furniture while he's away for a year which is the awesomest thing ever! :) He is a smoker though, and the leather couch wrecks of smoke something fierce! I'm trying to do what I can to get the smell out. missuh
and Carol have made some good suggestions and I've started trying them out. First I washed down the leather part with water and vinegar. I've taken the back and seat cushions off and sprinkled baking soda on the cloth part of the couch beneath. I took the leather casings off the pillows and tried to air the pillows outside while I was there. Looking into steam cleaning for those at a later point. I bought saddle soap from a tack shop and tried it on an arm of the couch. It kinda smelled better after, I'm going to try that some more and see what happens.