Feb 26, 2015

Pine Wood Derbys and DIY Trophies

The builder called yesterday to give me an update. Wasn't that nice? He said that the excavator they were going to use won a bid with the city. Which means that he now has to scramble to find a new excavator. So that is where we're at. As of now no ground has been broken. (Except by the occasional neighborhood cat who uses my yard as a toilet.)

Since I have no house pictures to show you I will include some pictures of my children.

Harrison won 2nd place in the Pinewood Derby. We wanted him to build the car on his own, but the design he picked was too involved. He painted it himself but we did the rest. Next year my plan is for him to do the whole thing completely on his own.  You know, mostly.
I think he was a little disappointed in the ribbon. You can tell in the pictures.  He wasn't really happy until he got the participation trophy.  I guess I can't really blame him.  Who wants to win if all you get is a boring old ribbon?

Colin was very sad not to get a trophy of his own so after whining about it for most of the night I made him this.
It is a Styrofoam cup with a knife poked through the top.  (I'll be posting a tutorial soon, so keep a lookout for that!) After I took this picture he made me put his trophy in safety on top of the fridge with Harrison's trophy.

And just so you know I composed this entire post on my phone in the comfort of my bed. Isn't technology magical?

Feb 19, 2015


As you may have realized by now, we are NOT staying in our home during the remodel.  We were going to.  I had all these plans for tiny living and economizing space, but then our plans got a little too elaborate, and it became impossible.  But by some miracle my sister Faralee's in-laws have a house here in town that was empty that they are letting us stay in.  So nice, right?  It is almost like the stars aligned. Maybe they did.

Here are some pictures of the inside of my house.  Just for kicks.  

Here is the front room.  This room will be divided into a bathroom and a smaller front room.  


The front room will be 8.5 feet wide.  I hope that is not too small.  It is hard to tell just looking at paper.  Mom, is there any chance you or Dad remembers what size that little front room of yours was before you got rid of it?

This is also the front room.  That piece of plywood is covering up a doorway that now just goes into the outside. 


Here we have the office which will finally get its ceiling drywalled

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This is the TV room.  (Does anyone else have a hard time naming rooms in their house?  We can never agree which room is which.)  It has a couch and a few large appliances in it.  The usual stuff.

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The walls are pretty, right?  I'll have to tell you about those sometime.  I'm sure you care. 

Next we have the stairs, which probably look just like the stairs in your house:

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Then we have the upstairs bathroom.  Where my wedding dress is hanging in the shower.  Seriously, what am I supposed to do with that thing?


I know the picture is awful.  The power is off and that room has no window and my phone didn't think this picture necessitated using the flash, so that is as good as it gets.

This is the boys' bedroom, which is now full of everything that used to be in the master bedroom, including one little cutie admiring his own handsomeness.  


And lastly we have what was the master bedroom.  It will be made a little smaller by having a clothes closet and a laundry closet (those two things sound the same, but are not.) put into it.


And that is it.  

I had been worried that I would like this house we are staying in so much that I would never want to leave, but it turns out that, nice as it is, it still isn't home.  We call it the Not-Our-House.  But google talk to text thinks it is called the Nutter House, which is maybe more appropriate.  And I have no idea how long we will be here, so there is no point asking.  The End.

Feb 18, 2015


No Activity.  I stopped by the house to get the mail and get some better pictures.  No word yet on when the builder will begin.  But he did call me today to say that he was meeting someone at the house.  An excavator or something is my guess.  So things are traveling down the pipeline as they say.  (or is that a euphemism for using the bathroom?)

I did want to get you some better shots.  Because you deserve it.  They plan to use all those bricks as backfill(?) around the foundation, so we just left them where they were.

Here are some pics from 4 different angles.





That is the pit that used to be under the bathroom.  It is where we kept our hot water heater and stuff like that.  Boy, it is no wonder you keep on coming back, with juicy tidbits of info like these being dropped every episode!  Stay Tuned!

Feb 14, 2015


Have I mentioned that it is February and we are in Utah?  We should be slogging through cold, snowy, overcast, depressing winter, but the weather has been amazing.  I got a sunburn yesterday. A sunburn!  It was 64 degrees, sunny and beautiful.   I have been afraid to mention the weather before now, because I am superstitious and I didn't want it to go away.  I still can't believe how warm and sunny it has been.  Like a little gift from heaven, to make this stage of the remodeling process just a little bit easier for us.  And I am hugely grateful.

I didn't update you on our progress the last couple of days, and you are just going to have to live with that.  I can sum it up for you real quick: we cleaned up.  And with the help of the manlift and a chain with just lifted the bathroom floor straight up and dropped it into the dumpster.  Easy peasy.

We went from this


to this


to this


Can you tell the difference?  I need to get some more pictures from some more angles cuz you can't see much.  But can you see how much cleaner it is?  Richard and I made very slow progress on our own, but a bunch more people came and helped us this morning and we finished it all in a couple of hours.  I was jumping up and down I was so excited.

Richard was so excited he started giving people rides in the manlift

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Thanks again helpers!  I would still be picking up wood if it wasn't for you.  So now our part of the job is over and we turn things over to The Builder and his team of subcontractors who will finish this thing in no time.  And now I can just sit around the house eating bon bons and not washing my dishes because I'm lazy, instead of not washing my dishes because I am exhausted and have no time.  Hooray!

Feb 11, 2015


Our builder stopped by today to meet with the excavators and to see how we were doing and if we needed anything from him.  He kept asking why I looked like I was about to cry.  I didn't FEEL like I was about to cry, but maybe I was.  How should I know?  I am super exhausted from all this physical labor and I could be on the verge of a total mental breakdown for all I would know.  My body has basically stopped communicating with me.

We used the ManLift a lot today and it is awesome.  And so annoying.  It has a bum battery, so it has to be jump started every time you want to use it, which is why our car is in the back yard.  Sometimes it will just die for no reason.  It did that while Richard and Colin were up in it yesterday, so I had to get it started again myself while they waited 20 feet up in the air.  When both Richard and I were up in it today I said, "What if it dies while we are both up here?"  And then of course it did.  Luckily we weren't TOO high up and Richard just jumped out.  He is a bit of a super hero.  No big deal.


Using the ManLift and his circular saw fitted with a special blade, Richard cut through the bricks on the right wall in the following picture, giving us that really clean line on the corner.


And I hauled many, many wheelbarrowfuls of bricks around the yard.  See, the fun thing is that we don't get to just knock down the walls and forget it.  We are trying to save all the good bricks.  Half the bricks are nice, fired bricks and the other half are basically just dried mud.  So with each section of wall we have to throw the bad bricks in the bad brick pile and pull out the nice bricks and carry them across the yard to our Brick Saving Pile.  It's very technical.  And time consuming.  But I got most of the bricks cleaned up!  Richard sorted a bunch more that will have to be picked up and transported across the yard tomorrow, but I was very pleased with myself.  We're on the home stretch now!

Feb 10, 2015


Today we rented a Mini Excavator.  Richard loved it.  He kept asking if I wanted a chance to drive it, but I was perfectly happy to let him do it.


That thing made short work of our giant pile of debris.  He took care of the whole thing in the time it took me to make a trip to the ReStore and then pick up some lunch.


Then he used the excavator to tear out some of the old kitchen floor


And then the front porch.  He just reached up and grabbed it with the claw and popped it off just like it was nothing.


But when he started using it to tear out the bricks of what was our bathroom, it terrified me so much I ran into the house and hid under a blanket.  Cuz that's what kind of person I am.  Now we know.


I should point out that today and several other days like it would not have been possible if it weren't for Faralee who watched Colin all day long.  She and other family members and friends have made it possible for us to work so much longer and harder than we could with our kids there.  All our kids want to do is climb onto the roof and throw rocks and do everything in their power to get run over with machinery and my CHILD DANGER alarm gets about overloaded.  So thank you once again.  I would also like to thank the academy.

Feb 9, 2015


Today it rained.  And we kept right on working anyway.  We worked on clean up all day.



We got all the torn-off house and roof pieces taken apart and thrown into a giant trash heap because the dumpster was already full.


Course when the new dumpster was delivered, somehow it ended up really far away from our giant pile.  The knowledge that we would have to move everything from that pile to the dumpster, after having spent the whole day putting everything into that pile really bummed us out.

But then Lani The Builder delivered his ManLift for us to use while we take down the brick walls.  He says it extends to 66 feet.  Sounds like fun!



Feb 7, 2015


For today's festivities we sent out an email to both sides of our family asking for people to come out and help and we ended up with a really good crew.  They amused themselves amidst the work and dust by having brick throwing competitions and by making fun of Fae's hood.

Here are some of the highlights:






For about half an hour Richard sawed through pieces of the roof and the rest of us stood around and waited for them to fall down.  But the piece in the picture above wouldn't fall.  Boydell climbed under there on a ladder at one point and tried prying on it with a shovel.  The rest of us figured he was definitely going to die, but hey, he's an adult.  He worked at it for a while till finally he said "I don't even know what is holding up the roof above me.  Oh, nothing is holding up the roof above me!  I'm getting out of here!!"

It was Hilarous.

Anyhoo, that durn piece of roof wouldn't fall off.  So when Richard tied a chain around a 2x4 and hooked it up to the truck, we were all pretty excited. It took a few tries, but the roof finally came down!

Woohoo!  Goodbye Kitchen!  So, so glad to see it go.  Here is a picture of Richard telling these slackers to get back to work:



What would we do without our families?  They worked and worked and worked and saved us DAYS worth of time.  We love you!  Thank you!


Feb 6, 2015



Today we got a whole lot of stuff thrown into the dumpster.  Or rather, Richard got a whole lot of stuff thrown into the dumpster while I laid on the couch and drank a smoothie because my tummy hurt.  I'm a nice lady.

Just before we quit for the day, Richard tore the side porch off, just to see something destroyed.



That thing has been held up by only a few wonky cinder blocks for 10 years.  Goodbye porch.  I'm sure the birds who called you home will miss you.

Feb 5, 2015


There is no way I am going to be able to keep track of these day numbers, I just want to make that clear right now.

My inbox was flooded today with questions about our remodel (my aunt sent me an email.  My inbox is very small and can't hold much.) so here is the skinny:  Our kitchen as it was was built without a foundation under it.  The original brick home was built around 1900, and then the kitchen was added on in the 30's or 40's (that is a total guess) but instead of building a foundation, they just stuck the 2x4's straight into the ground.  Real fancy like.  When we moved in 11 years ago we jacked it up a bit and stuck some concrete piers under there for support, but we always knew we would have to replace the whole thing.

That is what is happening now.  We're tearing the whole thing off and starting over.  We're also tearing off our master closet and the downstairs bathroom to make the space more manageable.

Here is a picture of the current layout of our house.

1st Floor - Original House

2nd Floor - Before Renovation

Once those are gone, some professionals will come in and build something better in their place.  Any questions?

Here is what happened today:

We got the dumpster moved.

We pulled out all the windows and doors and most of the cabinets and appliances.


Even the siding got in on the fun!

Then we stacked everything on our porch and in the front yard.

Keepin' it Classy As Usual.