“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Saturday, May 28, 2011

List Making & Getting Sidetracked Anyway

Brenda is a list maker. She likes the feeling of checking things off her list. And if she does a task not on her list she likes to add it to the list and then check it off. Today was our first full day of working on our house and so Brenda was working on her list last night when she stopped and asked if I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish for the day.

Now, I've had an on and off relationship with lists. Brenda has convinced me of their value in keeping my mind focused on the task to be completed. But my natural state is to flow through the day and take what comes. On most days I can blissfully ignore whatever list I've got and work on things that seem to be more interesting. But the fact that I have a list helps me answer Brenda when she asks what I plan to accomplish.

So when I said, “I'm keeping the list in my head,” I could see she wasn't too pleased. But when I explained that I only had one item on my list, she settled down and listened. My one item for today was to get water working in the house.

Not counting the water meter, we had leaking pipes in 4 places. One leak was in the pipes going to the shower in the master bath—and everything in the master bath is changing. Another leak was for the bar sink in the family room. We can live without that for quite a while. But we had two leaks in the pipes going to the upstairs bathroom. This bathroom we will have to use while the rest of the house is torn up. These pipes had to be fixed.

We're planning to tear out the ceiling in the master bedroom and bath, so I didn't have to make holes we could patch back in. I ripped down the biggest pieces I could. Two pipes had burst because of freezing. The bank must have winterized the house well after the first hard freeze. Once I found the pipes it was a simple job to patch them.

And Brenda ignored her list. She worked on the garage. The dirt and cobwebs bugged her so she vacuumed it out. As she looked at the condition of the walls she decided that they should get a new coat of paint. And now was the best time to do it—before we fill it with our stuff. We talked briefly of going to find our scrapple paints in storage. But we instead opted for a miss-tint gallon from Home Depot—mixed with a gallon of cheap Glidden. As we were leaving the manager asked us what color we decided to paint the garage. I held up the cans and said, “Whatever color we get when we mix these 2 gallons together.” He just shook his head and laughed. We are well known in the Home Depot paint department.

The garage looks good and the water works. We're happy, tired and sore. We're going to have to develop our rehab & construction muscles.

We closed on our house yesterday--the Friday before Memorial Weekend. We were pushing hard to get closed so we could have the weekend to start work on the house. Jackie White, from Accurate Title, worked hard to make this happen. Also, the hand of God was present to line up the timing of events and contacts we had to make. Jackie said there were 4 title companies involved on the seller's side--and one of them appears to be run from a call center in India.

Our first order of business is to get the mold out of the house. We got a dumpster ordered & went Friday night to turn on the water and get started. I knew there was one place I had to fix because the water line that supplies the ice maker was crimped with a pair of vice-grip pliers. I cut and capped that line. But when I turned the main valve a thin spray of water came from the water meter. The bank must have been slow in getting the house winterized and so water froze and broke the meter.

We decided we could live with the small leak for the time we checked out the rest of the house. We turned on the second valve and heard the ringing tone of water flowing through the pipes. We worked quickly through the house checking for flow in each of the sinks. Those on the main level and in the basement were doing fine so I increased the flow and we kept watching to see how they would handle the full flow. But when I checked the upstairs bath, we had nothing getting there. A few minutes later we discovered why--all of the water was going into the master bedroom and bath ceiling. Short video HERE.

We had planned to tear out ceilings in both rooms as well as all the walls of the master bath, but we didn't plan on this work being the first thing we did. But we're learning to roll with whatever comes along. I'm going to install shut-off valves so we can get water to some of the house. Brenda will proceed with her plan of scraping the popcorn texture off the ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms to get them ready for us to live in while we work on the rest of the house. Then I'll start tearing holes in the ceilings to find the broken pipes.

We didn't get the hydrogen peroxide ordered in time for this weekend, but Brenda read online that Borax will kill mold. We're going to do a surface treatment with a Borax solution for now & will use the peroxide when we start tearing into the places we know are saturated with mold.