Archive for the 'Stories' Category

Roof Proof

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Well, the roofer (highly recommended by Angies List) came by to take a look today and I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that both the leaks we found are extremely common and easily repaired. The one tha alerted me to the problem via the bedroom ceiling is likely from the chimney flashing. The one in the “middle of the floor” is likely from the flashing where the roof hip meets the dormer.

Also in the good news category, the roofer leaned out the attic window and took a close look at our roof and said that it’s probably about ten years old and that we should easily get another ten years out of it. This is great news as we’re planning on putting an entirely new roof (architectural shingle or slate or tile or something) on when we do the addition).

The bad news was that he’s booked until Thanksgiving. He said he saw no “red flags” and that we should be OK for the next month, so I’m going to keep an eye on things in the attic and keep my fingers crossed.

Oh, and lastly, the first thing the roofer mentioned to me when he came in was that his company has done roof repairs on our house before (likely in the last 4-5 years). Small world.

Sometimes Staring at the Ceiling Pays Off

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

I crawled into bed a half hour ago and looked up at the ceiling over the bed only to see that one of the (many) cracks in the ceiling had turned slightly yellow. Yep, the roof is leaking, or more likely given the location of the leak, the chimney is leaking.

I grabbed my big ole Makita flashlight and headed into the attic to take a look around, and while I couldn’t find any wetness near where the leak should have been, I did find a wet board in the middle of the attic floor which indicates a separate leak on the other side of the roof

O Joy! O Rapture!

Looks like I’ll be calling the roofers tomorrow morning.

Now I’m going back to bed and turning the lights out right away–otherwise I’ll lie there and stare at the ceiling all night. At least it’s not raining right now.

Screen Door: Before and After

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Nothing exciting, but here are the before and after pictures of the screen door I installed on the balcony door:

And the after shot:

It doen’t really showcase the prairie light door, but it’s got a self-storing window that’s easy to open and close (I’ve now got all the storm windows closed for the window) and it does keep the weather out. And it’s only got to last until we do the addition in another year or so.

Lastly, I actually kind of like the “almond” color of the door. We’re exploring other colors to paint the trim of the house (instead of Bright White, and will likely resort to something a lot darker, but at this point, anything’s an improvement.

Mop ’til you Drop

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

We had a huge storm come through tonight. The rain was so intense that when I went out to unclog the drain at the end of our driveway, I discovered that the drain wasn’t clogged–the storm sewers just couldn’t take the water any faster.


Anyway, once the storm started I checked the attic and the basement for water and both were bone dry. Unfortunately, that was a temporary state for the basement. Due to poor grading, when we get a heavy rain, we get a small amount of water coming through the North wall of the basement. Now this is much more of an inconvenience than a real problem as the basement is unfinished and anything even remotely of value down there is at least four inches off the floor.

So when we get a decent storm, some water leaks in just to the left of the toilet in the old basement bathroom. If the storm keeps going, a little more water will trickle in to the left of that in the Northwest corner of the basement. But if it really rains a lot, we’ll get a puddle of water at the foot of the basement stairs in the Northeast corner of the basement.

Well, this time we got more than a puddle–I’d say we got several quarts of water in through the various crevices. Fortunately, I’ve got a gargantuan commercial rope mop and 35 quart Rubbermaid mop bucket (with wringer!) that I got for $20 off Craigslist a few years ago. I poured in some hot water, bleach, and a little Pine-Sol and mopped up the water and gave the rest of the basement the once over while I was at it. Unlike the first time we mopped the basement, this only took about 5 buckets of water (and it was nowhere near as filthy).

Now the rain has tapered off and the basement smells fresh and clean. I’m heading to bed and I’ll leave the dehumidifier to take care of the rest.

Screen with Envy

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

In the interests of making our bedroom a little less drafty, I replaced the old and busted screen door with a new one that should keep out a bit more of the outdoors since it actually contains glass and not just a broken screen. It turns out that installing a screen door is pretty easy as long as you have all the right tools (check), tons of patience (check), a squared opening (check) that’s not completely skewed (NO CHECK). Everything went smoothly until I put the latch side jamb on and wound up spending an extra hour playing “shim the jamb” so that the door would close squarely. As it stands, the door now closes and our bedroom is a lot quieter. I’ll have to install the lock, the closer, and give it a good caulking this week sometime. Pictures to come…

Happy Anniversary

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Two years ago this week we bought the Old Man.

Five years ago today, M. and I were married.

Today is also the first day of autumn.

I like September.


Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Our neighborhood had their biennial house walk last weekend and I was more than glad to check out the insides of some of the most beautiful homes that I walk and drive by on a regular basis. I drew a lot of inspiration from these beauties while realizing just how much work we’ve got left before we can get there. Here’s a few pictures (they kindly asked us not to take photos inside):

The first house was by far the most stunning. It was a crack house for most of the 90’s but the current owners have meticulously restored it. They’ve done some amazing work by finishing the attic and the basement (even though I’m not a fan of finished basements, this one is quite impressive). The owner even designed the master suite in the attic himself. Amazing!

This house is by far the most beautiful from the outside. The first floor is impeccably restored with period wallpapers and gorgeous woodwork. Truely gorgeous, and on the National Register to boot!

Last, but not least, this somewhat unassuming facade masks one of the most gorgeous prairie/arts & crafts homes I’ve ever stepped foot in. Featuring 36 stained glass windows, gorgeous oak and cherry woodwork, and built-ins that would make you cry, this was my favorite as far as historical preservation goes. This house has 99% of its original trappings.

Scrape and Prime

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

After repairing the stained glass windows last fall, I was supposed to prime the glazing on the three windows that they pulled out sans frames. Due to a crazed travel schedule, I just got to it this weekend. It was a small task, but required that I get up 15 feet on a ladder to reach the window in the living room, and while I was up there I spent about 45 minutes cleaning the stained glass of years of paint, old glazing, and dirt. The work was much more quantitative than qualitative–that is, scraping big hunks of junk instead of lightly scrubbing with a toothbrush. In any case, the glazing is covered, and the window looks a fair bit better. The window on the front porch was a fair bit easier since it’s at eye-level.
I’ve still got one of the living room windows to go, but it felt so wonderful to finally do something for the Old Man! I’ve got a few more little fix-it things to do this fall, but I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things. At least I hope–l thought I was back in the saddle this spring, but I was clearly fooling myself.
I’ve been following Casa Decrepit, Chicago Two-Flat, and, of course, the indefatigable Petch House
all summer, and boy do I ever feel like a slacker!