Thursday, August 12, 2010
House From Hole
That is what we are going to do next... pull a house from this hole... and it is a magnificent hole!
The excavation crew finished digging the foundation hole today. Look at that beautiful hole! It's huge! Here it is from the other end.
That thing sticking up in the middle is where the garage floor will go. We went down into the hole. Here is where the front door will be.
My shop will be in the basement in that corner, and the front door will look out on the tree.
And the best part.... no ledge.... there was no ledge anywhere! It doesn't get any better than that.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Today we took down the house. The equipment showed up on Monday to pull out the stumps, and it was waiting for the Big Event Tuesday morning.
So, where do you start demolishing a house? How about the front door?
One chomp and the door is gone! This is powerful stuff.
Then, you keep chomping until you cut the house in half.
And eventually, the roof caves in.
The big guy keeps eating away at the center of the house while the little guy takes down the garage, on the left
The garage is gone, and the South side of the house is next.
When they meet up, there isn't much left standing but the French doors and some trim.
Two hours later the house has been turned into a pile of rubble.
Pack it into the biggest truck ever.
Then drive it off to Maine where they will grind it up into "Hog Food" to be burned in a power plant.
Goodbye, House From Hell (HFH). It's enough to bring you to tears.... not because the house is gone, but because the lot looks so gorgeous with the house gone.
Stay tuned. I will try to post videos later.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Tomorrow is the day when the House From Hell (HFH) goes down!
Thursday, August 05, 2010
The trees came down yesterday. What a show! Here is a photo of the front of the house before we took out the trees:
That large tree by the sidewalk had to come out because the new house will be built right on top of it. There were four other trees that had to go, including the two at the right side of the photo, the one in the center by the street, and one tree in back. The tree by the walk is a monster. Look at the size of this thing:
Here's the trunk of it sitting on the ground after they took it down:
The tree was starting to rot in the middle, as you can see by the hole in the base. The rot goes right through the stump and into the roots too.
They had to haul the big tree out on a truck, but the "little" trees got fed directly into the chipper.
The chipper ate a whole tree!
I went back later to see just how big the monster tree was. Here is the stump.
You can see the rotten hole in it. I put the tape measure across the stump to see how big it was:
You have to add 3 inches to that for the length of the tape measure body. Almost 5 1/2 feet. And that isn't even the widest part.
Friday, July 30, 2010
They took up the floors yesterday. The asbestos is gone. It is amazing how nasty the house looks without the floors. Check it out.
If you look closely, you can just barely see the awesome tire track that I showed you earlier in the lower left corner. You can also see in the foreground the 2 by 4 buried in the slab. We now can see many 2 by 4's throughout the house that have rotted out completely, leaving holes in the slab under the floor tiles. Truly disgusting construction.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
We reached a milestone today. The downstairs of the old house is empty. The asbestos guy comes in the morning to take up the floor tiles.
It was 90 degrees today and 71% humidity, and we worked through it. We are all so far beyond tired that we are numb, but a milestone has been reached. We still have some stuff to move from the second floor, but now we have to wait for the asbestos to be gone. After that, back to work.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
We spent another long day mucking with the old, dusty stuff in the house, trying to get rid of it. The more we toss out, the higher the piles become.
We are not done yet.
The asbestos guy shows up on Thursday and says that the house must be empty.
We have one last day to get through this chore.
Oh, and guess what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow.........
Monday, July 26, 2010
We're Back - Sort Of
Well, it is Monday and the new internet connection is cranking. Hooray. So this blog is alive again. But that certainly was the highlight of the past weekend. Here is a brief summary the Weekend From Hell
Friday: We started getting ready for the movers at 5:00 a.m. We finally stopped at 10:30 p.m. ... exhausted but not finished yet. Of course, the weather was hot and humid. It rained on us all Friday afternoon. It was grueling
Saturday: We started early again, hoping to get finished before the movers showed up. Of course it was 90 degrees and humid, but the movers showed up on time and had all the furniture moved by mid afternoon. Great kudos to the movers! But when the bill came it was $666.50. I am not making this up. I gave the guys all a tip to break the spell.
Sunday: The tips didn't break the spell. I went down to the basement at the rental and found that the basement floor was flooded. We called the landlord, who left a message with his fix-it guy, who did not return the call. We continued to work at the other house, but did not finish moving everything out. Nobody called back about the flood.
Monday: At first it looked like the puddle was drying up, but then it got bigger. So we gave up on the landlord's fix-it guy and called our own plumber, who showed up in an hour and told us the bad news. The "water" in the basement was raw sewage that had backed up into the washing machine and subsequently onto the floor. We had a 20 foot stream of sewage in the basement.
Two plumbers and one HAZMAT crew later, the mess is gone, but so is the day.
And we have not yet finished moving out of the house.
The asbestos guys are supposed to come on Wednesday to tear out the floors.
Go ahead. Ask me how my weekend went.
The bright side is that the Verizon guy showed up and got us back on line so that I can complain about it all on this blog.
Monday, July 19, 2010
We spent this past weekend doing what we have done for the last four weekends, moving heavy stuff in 90 degree temperatures and high humidity.
This weekend we were surprised with a special treat as well.
As with many New England houses, our second floor is built in the attic in a dormer with knee walls covering the eaves. Not having grown up here, I do not understand the propensity that people have to want to live in their attics, but it is a long standing New England tradition. Back where I grew up all the rooms are rectangular boxes, and the attic is a barbaric space for storing stuff that you really don't want but don't dare throw out. New Englanders find living in the attic cozy; I find it claustrophobic. But I digress; that is a discussion for another time.
Having no proper attic to abuse with mounds of stored stuff, we stored our stuff into the eaves behind the knee wall. The eaves are accessible only through a panel in the knee wall that is behind the bed. So, to get into the eaves, we had to move the bed.
So far so good.
But, in the process of moving the bed, we heard a snap and a crack, and the wood of one of the legs splintered, dropping the rail onto the floor with half of the mattress and box springs along with it. The bed had broken.
"No problem" I said, "I will take it all apart and glue it back together in time for the Big Move (B.M.)".
"Not so fast", said Murphy... who stalks me.... "where do you think all the glue is? Where do you think the clamps are?".
And yes, indeed, I remembered that all of the glue and other fix-it supplies had already been moved over to the apartment. Who knew? Also, all the wood clamps had already been packed into the depths of the POD. I put them way in the back because, after all, I was not going to be starting any woodworking projects any time soon.
So we unpacked the POD and finally found the clamps and did a run over to the apartment to fetch the glue. I glued the broken wood back onto the foot of the bed and we stuffed the rest of the bed into a closet. We did not have the energy or patience to put the bed back together for only four days of use, so we are sleeping on the mattress on the floor.
This is quite an adventure. When you are 20-something, this might be exciting, but when you are 60-something it is something else.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
How Bad Is It?
So, how bad is this house we are tearing down? Take a look.
That is the front entry way into the house. Yes, that is inside the house. No, it is not new damage from our current project to tear the house down; we have been living with that mess for 20 years. As the years go by, more tiles come up. Those tiles are the Tiles From Hell, and are full of asbestos, which is going to cost us a pretty penny to get rid of. We have 1180 square feet of those tiles...... well.... less the ones that have already come up.
Notice the fine detailing of the slab, like the tire track going left to right across the floor. Nothing but the best when they made this monster. A more subtle feature is the two by four on the left side by the boots. That is part of the armature holding the heating pipes while they poured the slab. It is wood on dirt, and it served as a wonderful termite highway right into the house. The termites had a blast. The demented people who did that to us cannot be found.
Looking even more closely, you can see that the bottom of the door has been repaired and is now held together with a piece of steel strapping. That is my work. You see, the bottom of the door rotted off a few years ago and no matter how hard I looked I could not get a replacement for it because everything in the house is non-standard. So I got some 4/4 lumber from the lumber yard and half-lapped a patch onto the bottom of the door. Ugly, but effective.
Oh, and the scuffing on the bottom of the door is because we have to kick it to get it open.
This is, truly, the House From Hell (HFH)!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Moving soon? Get lots of this:
Moving is a filthy job fer sure.
No, I don't own stock in the company, but maybe I should. This stuff will scrub you clean and leave you smelling like an orange. So if you don't mind being a little fruity, this is for you.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Last weekend we were plagued with high heat and humidity. This weekend we were plagued with high heat and humidity and monsoon rains. Here is a photo of the river in our street.
You should take special note of the field stones in the walkway coming up out of sympathy for the floors that are coming up in the house.
I can't wait for the locusts to show up.
But, it isn't all doom and gloom. The moss growing on the roof loves this weather.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
The B. M.
That stands for the Big Move.
We have arranged for the movers to show up in a couple of weeks to move the furniture over to the rental. When that happens, we don't live here anymore. Kind of spooky after 32 years.
Now we have to get the rest of Everything moved into the POD or the rental.
There is a lot of Everything left to move.
Monday, July 05, 2010
We are moving again today. This is the fourth day in a row that we have just moved stuff all day. What a weekend! And to make it even more enjoyable, look what the weather did to us today.
I think I will go to work tomorrow to rest up in the Air Conditioning.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
G. A. S.
We are moving. And because we are moving Everything, we are bound to uncover things long lost that we had mostly forgotten about. And that just happened. While I was digging through the back closet today, I found this:
What the heck is that?, you might ask.
That is a Give-A-Shitter.... wherein lies a tale.
Way back in the Dark Ages I had a job that was a really rotten job. The folks I was working with were real fine folks, but the folks I was working for were jerks. After a while of being jerked around by the jerks, I told someone that my Give-A-Shitter was broken.... meaning that I didn't give one any more. That quip resulted in a query about what one of those would look like, if I had one. So I drew one on my white board. It had a hopper on the top into which one could put stuff, and a funnel on the side out of which the .... um.. "material" would be produced. It also had a crank on the side to make the whole thing work.
MIne, I attested, no longer worked and I did not give a....
That drawing remained on my white board for a long time, and we had some good laughs about it.... and then stuff happened, and I found another job at a startup company, and I handed in my resignation, and we had the usual Going Away Lunch, and at the lunch, this object showed up. Constructed out of fine, exotic woods and brazing rod, it was my very own, fully functional G. A. S. in perfect working order. The plaque on the base panel says "FIXED 12-12-83", which was the date of my departure from the company.
On the bottom of the base it says,
FROM: MICK BROWN JIM CHAMPOUX ANDY SIROIS BOB YENNACO
Wow! What a blast from the past!
I have heard from Mick since those days. Mick is the inventor of the Driving Safety Spike, as you all know.
As for the other guys, thanks, guys. If you see this, let me know what you have been up to!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
We are moving Everything! The POD came on Thursday, and we started packing it on Friday. Here is a photo of the POD.
I am not sure that we can get Everything in it.
It is now Saturday, and we have barely scratched the surface of Everything.
I just recently realized that for this move we have to move everything we own. Everything we have accumulated, after 38 years, must be taken out, marked as a keeper or trash, and moved to the rental, the POD, or the trash heap. Every glass, every plate, every lamp, every tool and photo and painting and pot and pan and garden tool and book and pen and plant and....
Everything is a lot of stuff.
Friday, July 02, 2010
Before It's Too Late
Before this house project goes too far, I thought that I would post a "Before" photo of the house we currently live in.
Not bad, hunh? A nice little ranch style house nestled in amongst the trees with mottled sunshine breaking through the leaves. How bad could it be?
Don't be fooled! It's a trick! This is truly the House From Hell (HFH)!
If you only knew the torment that can be inflicted by this house.
Stay tuned! This could get exciting.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
We are just about finished moving the books over to the rental. Two weeks of books. Oh, my achin' back! How many books? Look!
Even more books
Even in the attic.... books!
And I didn't even take any pictures of the magazines.
So we are not illiterate nudists. I guess if we got naked we could be half way there.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Well, as suspected we have asbestos in the floor tiles. The town inspector came and took samples from the walls and the floor and other stuff. And now we have to do an asbestos abatement on the floor tiles before we can tear down the house.
The house originally had a heated slab. We had to replace it with baseboard when the pipes rotted out and started leaking, but it used to be a heated slab. We suspected that there might be asbestos in the floor tiles because the floor got hot, and that is the kind of floor they used to put down on a hot surface. But here is the kicker. They are saying that we also have asbestos in the window putty.
We also have to do an abatement on the windows!
Why would anyone put asbestos in window putty?
Why would they even check?
This keeps getting stranger and stranger.
Edit: I just did some more research, and evidently window putty and roofing tar and general caulking material commonly contain asbestos. All those are on the mandatory list of items to test. Who'd a known?
Monday, June 21, 2010
We are moving books. Hundreds and hundreds of books. As a friend noted once, this would be a lot simpler if we were illiterate nudists. Our clutter is mostly clothes and books.
We did find a really good solution for packing the books though. Books are heavy, so you don't want to put too many of them in a box. We ordered some small, filing boxes from Staples. Here is a photo:
I ordered 30 of these boxes and it cost me $60.53 total, including shipping, handling and taxes, fees, graft and corruption, which comes out to $2.017 per box. The shipping was actually free, and they delivered the boxes to our door the next day. The price quoted here is in 2010 dollars, so if you are reading this in 2042, these are probably no longer available.
Disclaimer: We have no financial interest in Staples, and do not own any part of that business other than the boxes shown in the photo.
OK. OK. We have an ink cartridge somewhere under the computer desk too.
They are small boxes only 10" by 12" by 15" and are designed for storing paperwork, but they are sturdy enough to hold books too, and small enough that you can't put enough books in one to hurt yourself. They are easily assembled in a couple of minutes with no tape, staples or other supplies required. The boxes are sturdy, and we have used them for several trips to the apartment with no problems.
We win this one.
Sorry, no photos of the illiterate nudists.