Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friggin' Rain

Friggin' rain...I am so tired of the wet stuff. Let it go where they need it for a few days!!

The rain is what held up the sewer project last week! A storm moved in last night and it's been raining off-n-on all day; the sun JUST broke through.

Yesterday was perfect though, which was good. The contractor was late, not so good. But the new sewer line is almost finished - and before you ask "what about using the potty?" - I'll get to that.

Let's start this post on a light note.

Every year we have a pair of Porch Finches raise their babies on our porch. Typically there are at least two hatches if not three. This year there have been two so far. As soon as the suckers have flown the coop I plan to demolish the nest. Since we are going to paint it will be in the way. The problem is is that they will be back next year. Building a nest isn't a big deal, but once the house is painted I really don't want the nest messing it up. So, I am going to build a platform that they can build the nest on. I'll put it up on the spot at the beginning of Spring and remove it in the fall. We'll see if it works.

In the mean time I thought you might like to see some pictures of them.

The picture is hazy because I had to take it behind glass. If I even touch the door handle the little buggers scrunch down into the nest.

There are four in the batch, the last one had five.

This is one of the parents. Not really sure which one, but this one stands guard while the other one feeds them.

This one is a bit better. The glass in the storm door is thinner so I guess that made the difference.

Now the nest is empty so I guess they are gone. It was obvious they were learning to fly yesterday. I'll check on them again here in a little bit.

So, without further a due lets jump into the muck!!

The beast sneaking up to the house. The animals were not pleased.

MAN - I would love to own one of these babies, I grew up around them and they were very handy to have.

Mmmmm....the smell of fresh earth. Kind of reminded me of my mortician's assistance days!

After a lot of hand digging, so as not to damage the cast iron pipe coming from the house, they ran into a quandary.

After digging away the dirt from the cast iron clean-out T we saw something white on the house side.


There is suppose to be cast iron pipe there. The clean-out is cast iron and the pipe going out through the basement wall of the house is cast iron. There is less than 4' of ground between the two.

Yet there it lay, like a bleached bone...something white coming from the house.

At first they were thinking it could be a porcelain pipe but weren't sure. This isn't something you just bang around on to find out what it is. If something goes wrong it could mean a complete sewer pipe replacement in the house.

So, with more hand digging and prodding, it was determined to be the precursor to modern PVC. With that in mind they very carefully took a small sledgehammer and WHACKED the snot out of the cast iron T.

It came off easily.

And "thar she flows"!!!

Our own little Cloaca Maxima.

The pipe is undamaged and it will not require the special fitting they thought would be need to connect the PVC to the cast iron.

And the digging begins in earnest.

It was at this point 'treasures' were starting to be found. I'll get to those later.

These really aren't 'treasures', but the two cinder blocks, and the rock, were found more than 1' below ground. They also found MORE bricks!!

I'm wondering why those items were there? Maybe they had a patio here or something.

I thought I'd throw this pic in for fun.

It's not a pipe from the sewer line, but a clay pipe from the old downspout system. These pipes were above the sewer line, but veered to the south west.


Our new clean-out base!! We are finally entering the 20th century.

The trench is coming along nicely. The pipe you see here is the one they used to determine the flow grade.

And there it is in all it's glory!!!

Isn't it stunning?!?!

And here we have the business end.

This is also where they stopped for the day. The storm was moving in; we were all hot and tired; and it was a good stopping point.

Now if your squeamish you might want to scroll past the next pic....

HA!! I knew you would look!!

This is the temporary sump until it can be connected. Yes, it is legal to do this as long as it isn't there for any length of time.

You are seeing the runoff from testing the system. They had me fill the tub, drain it, and turn on the taps. Everything worked perfectly.

This little cesspool was to be gone by now, but thanks to the friggin' rain - NO!!!!

Okay, here are the 'treasures'.

There is a small piece of glass. It's a great color of green. Not sure what it's from but it's the only piece of it found. It's too bad because it is a cool color.

An intact jar without lid. It has '19 HHBC' stamped on the bottom.

The last piece is some sort of metal. The picture doesn't show it, but it's ornate with scalloping around the edges. The thing coming out of the center is hollow and the three little fingers coming sideways out of the tip conceal an opening. It could be the base for some sort of electrical light. I'll clean it up better and let you know what I find.

I'm throwing this pic in just because I was irritated at the time.

These are the boxes containing the chemicals for use on the Grover project.

Whenever we get a package from UPS, or FedEx, the driver stops at the front of the property and deposits the box at the front door. They use to deliver to the backdoor, but they haven't done this for a year, if not longer. Also, when they do deliver it is usually between 1 & 3 PM.

Yesterday, after the contractor showed up and got started, I continued working on the powder room. About 10:30 AM I started to walk out of the house carrying a bundle of old lath, with nails, about as big as me. I was being particularly careful carrying the lath through the house so as not to hit, or scrape, anything on the way out. While opening the back door I was paying close attention to it - I had just repainted it a few days before.

Right before I took the first step out the door I noticed something out the corner of my eye that wasn't 'normal'. I checked myself just in time and craned my neck to look over the bundle and see what was there.

Go figure...this time the UPS guy delivered to the back steps AND early!!

f I hadn't noticed something, and went ahead and stepped out, I would have tripped over these boxes. The picture isn't the best, but the back steps are steep. If I'd have fallen I'd have hit the cement steps first and then the bundle of nail filled lath!!

At least the chemicals arrived. I wanted to get started again on Grover this Friday, but it has been raining off-n-on all day and the contractor didn't show. I shoulde worked on Grover today, but yesterday wiped me out and I wanted to do some piddling in the powder room.

Chances are they will finish with the sewer line early tomorrow (if they show). Maybe I'll get to work on him tomorrow.

From here on it might get a little erratic to describe what you see. It is VERY hard to get good pictures in such a small space - at least for me that is.

Tuesday I got all the lath out except for the ones that go behind the wall separating the powder room from the foyer closet.

This lath had to be removed carefully so that the lath in the closet wouldn't break apart as well.

The first thing that needed to be done was scoring the remaining plaster so it would 'snap' cleanly without too much damage to the rest.

Once scored it pops off easily - just like sheet rock does.

I know the picture isn't perfect, but the remaining plaster is flush with the stud.

Oh hey!!! I forgot.

Before dealing with the lath I did remove the ceiling plaster and lath.

Don't you just love destruction?!

And even more destruction?!?!

Note that the molding trim is still in place. It's been left there for two reasons: 1) the linoleum has not been removed yet & 2) it's easier to remove it once the plaster and lath is gone.

Okay, the ceiling mess has been cleaned up and the linoleum is gone.

See what I found(?), another hole in the floor! This one is where I guess they intended to place a heater vent. All they did was plug it with a piece of wood. It'll be interesting to see how this'll get fixed.

This picture just doesn't do the floor justice.

When I peeled the nasty stuff up the wood just glowed. Hopefully it will all end up this nice.

Now these next few pictures will take some explaining as well.

Remember when I mentioned about there being a passage connecting the foyer to the kitchen? Well, that is not the case.

In reality, the foyer closet was a large walk-in. The original wall was dead center on the door opening leading into the powder room. The next few picture provide the evidence.

Look between the two joists dead center in the picture.

Do you see that thin piece of wood? That is lath, and to the left if it is the remains of the plaster that covered the wall.

So far I have not found the nail holes for the missing wall in the floor, but it hasn't been cleaned yet either.

In this picture you can see more evidence.

To the left of the joist, the one with the lath and plaster from the original wall nailed to it, is the other joist that sandwiches the remaining pieces of the wall.

This is actually part of an open frame box built, and nailed, to the surrounding studs to support the plaster ceiling. The plaster from the ceiling also matched the plaster from the new wall that was added.

You can see the original plank ceiling that was part of the closet.

WAIT A MINUTE!!!! This makes NO sense!!!!

It just dawned on me. There would be no reason to have this ceiling for the foyer closet. If you look in the closet you can see the new wall and the plank ceiling extends from the top of it - forming a deep storage place in the top.

Why would they place this ceiling in the closet without the new wall? Maybe it was there before the new wall so they could have the deep storage.

Hmmm....the plot thickens.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.

The light color planks form a ceiling and the 2x4 frame box butts up onto it. The powder room ceiling was attached to it.

Let's get back to the mystery...

Okay, there was obviously a wall that's been removed (perhaps the studs from it made the new wall). There is the plank ceiling that extends to where the missing wall was. However, the hard wood floor extends all the way over to the wall creating the stairwell leading down to the basement.

This section of flooring would be almost 2' wide between the missing wall and the stairwell wall. What would that space be used for? Could there have been a door at the back of the closet, on the missing wall, that opened into this tiny, tiny space? That would account for where they got the door, and trim, for the powder room door.

So the question is...did they have a closet inside a closet, and if so, what was it for? Could it have been a ceder closet for furs and wool coats? Perhaps I need to dig into period floor plans.

Any ideas?

Here is another picture that will take some explaining.

First off, the unpainted planks you see in the ceiling area form the subloor for the stair landing.

You can also see some of the drywall I used when we worked on the basement a few years back.

The scary thing I want you to see is the mish-mash of wood up in the top corner. This is scary. Let's go to a closeup to see why it's scary.

Here we have it.

It's had to see, but bare with me. See the triangular piece bottom center? That is part of the outside stringer for the main stairs.

Setting on top of this piece are two other pieces. The first one is the 'block'. I have no idea what it is there for and it's not even attached to anything. The other one is the end section of a 2x12 that forms the footing for the landing.

Now, at some time someone cut a hunk of this 2x12 out. From what I can tell the missing piece is on the end, so it isn't really load bearing, but you never know.

There is also a nail in there, but it's twisted for some reason.

Above this, and to the left is another joist. It is suppose to be butted up against the 2x12, but you can see the gap.

Has this mess help create an un-stabilized area in regard to the stairs?

All I know is that for me to finish this room I will have to some how clean this mess up.

Just thought I'd throw this in for you. It is the bottom of the center stringer for the second part of the stairs.

You can also see it in the third picture above this one.

A closeup of the plank ceiling and the center joist for the ceiling framing box.

Okay, now all the lath is gone and the plaster cleaned up.

If you look towards the corner of the powder room you can see where the original wall goes past the new wall creating a kind of hidden space.

Also, look between the studs of the original wall, at the bottom. Those gray lumps are the excess plaster that fell between the studs and lath. Note - there are none of these on the new wall. I think the plaster used at that point was thicker and didn't drip as much.

One other thing, the original wall has a sill plate the studs sit on, the new wall doesn't.

Same deal as the picture above, just the other side.

Better view of the of the hidden space, on the right (south) side.

Not really sure why this picture is here, but you can see how thin the remaining piece on that end of the 2x12 is.

Just a bigger view of the sheet rock used in the basement stairwell.

This is kind of cool. Not sure why they are here, or what their use is, but these are wooden nails. There are two small ones and a big one in this picture, but about 2 feet below them is another set. You can even see the whittling marks on them.

This is some of the original painted plaster. It is similar in color to what we want to paint the kitchen in. You can even see the brush marks.

BTW - the color didn't show up too well in the previous pictures, but the painted planks are this color.

I finally found a piece of original(?) wallpaper that would photograph.

It isn't the best, but you can make out the patterns. The swirls are a silvery pearl color.

And finally...we were discussing a possible light fixture for the powder room today.

We had completely forgotten about this fixture. We're not sure how old it is, but it was given to us by a friend who moved to New Mexico. They were in the process of renovating a small Victorian when they ended up needing to move. They had installed this light, but didn't want to leave it there. Since it would not go in their new home they gave it to us.

It does have some cosmetic problems that I might be able to fix. If not, it will work till something better comes along.

Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a place to attach a globe. So, I guess one of those fancy light bulbs will be in order.

Well, that's enough for now. I'm tired and it's been a long day.

Besides, SWMBO is yelling at me to come downstairs. She wants to talk about pushing that 'new wall' back 6"s into the foyer closet.


Till next time...

Larry ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aren't remodel jobs fun! LOL We have run into a lot of the same things with The Stone House project. Good Luck