Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our favorite remodeling joke

Just for fun, here’s our favorite remodeling joke:
Two men in a pickup truck drove into a lumberyard. One of the men walked in the office and said, “We need some four-by-twos.”

The clerk said, “You mean two-by-fours, don’t you?”

The man said, “I’ll go check,” and went back to the truck. He returned in a minute and said, “Yeah, I meant two-by-fours.”

“All right. How long do you need them?” The customer paused for a minute and said, “I’d better go check.”

After a while, the customer returned to the office and said, “A long time. We’re gonna build a house.”

The foundation!

The forms are prepared for the big pour.

The compactor
The team gets in on the action
The forms are ready.

The Putzmeister is in (at) the house!
That Spawn, always in some kind of trouble.
An epic battle ensues to avoid the impending concrete.

Removing the old foundation

A look into what it takes to remove an old foundation.

Finding your heart

Our friends and neighbors Fred and Jan collect heart-shaped rocks and this inspired Bill to start our own collection while he's in Missouri each spring to canoe with old friends. He has brought home a big collection of heart rocks that he has found out in nature.

Removing the old foundation again reminded us of our heart-shaped world.

Lift the house, remove the old foundation, no problem

Because we need to leave half of the old walls, we needed help to lift the house so that the old foundation could be removed and a new, stronger one installed underneath. We got some help from the team.

Who couldn't use some help from Superman?

Lift, everyone!
The house is finally lifted and the foundation begins to be removed.

"So, what are you keeping of the old house?"

It feels like an old vaudeville joke, but the only part of the house we are keeping (besides the part we are required to keep, 50 percent of the contiguous walls) is the address. Literally. These numbers were on the house when we bought it and we kind of like them. So, they will get restored and rebuilt with new back lighting and be installed in the new house when the time comes.

Zip, zero, none.

We discovered on our first night in the house that there isn't a stitch of insulation in the place. We were laying in bed, about to fall asleep, when we heard voices, voices that seemed to be in our living room. But, no! The voices were coming from some people two houses down who were standing on the sidewalk. No big deal, right? The summer in the house was unbearably hot, and the winter was absolutely freezing. On winter mornings, it was often warmer outside than in. It was semi-exciting to rip open the walls and finally see what was causing all of that discomfort. Zip, zero, no insulation.

The demo begins

The old kitchen comes apart.

Bill removes his least favorite part of the old kitchen.

John works to salvage siding that we hope to use in another part of the house.

Proof that there has been no insulation in the house.

AHA! The only section of insulation in the entire house.

The dogs appreciated the extra area to sun themselves each morning.

An abused house

So, exactly how rough was this house when we bought it? Well.... the foundation was literally broken, something that was quite obvious to anyone standing out in front and looking at it. That's what caused it to be affordable, so that was fine with us. Some other things surprised us to varying degrees.

On the first Saturday after we moved in, we needed to do a lot of laundry. I looked at the washer and realized that it had undergone some abuse in our Sunnyvale garage (think sawdust). I scrubbed the inside and ran a few cycles through including one with bleach. Finally, I put the first load of clothes in with soap and walked outside for a break. When I walked around the corner, this is what I saw.

For an unknown period of time, the laundry water had been dumping from the clean-out onto the driveway. Yes, all the soap, bleach and other miscellaneous unknown substances from the wash have been draining onto the ground instead of draining to the sewer. Our own environmental nightmare. We got this problem fixed right away, but it still merits a head shaking.

 And then, since we are in California, there are the termites. This is what the front face of the house looked like when we peeled away the stucco. Those little troublemakers chewed and chewed and really did some damage. We expected to see this during demo, though, since we saw the same thing when we took down the original garage. Only two of the the posts holding up the garage's four corners were touching the ground -- termites had eaten away the base of the posts. Instead of worrying about the damage they did, we prefer to think of all the help they provided for an easier demolition.

Our good luck charm

When we were packing madly for the big move from Sunnyvale, our good friend Pat gave us a box of packing paper. At the time, she worked at a major auction house, and came into contact with a plethora of packing paper.

Bill wanted to wrap a really small item in paper, and wondered "How will we keep from losing such a small item in a wad of paper?" He pulled out just such a wad to discover a very small treasure already in the paper. It is a miniature goblet, only two inches tall, with gold flowers and leaves and green shamrocks.

We asked Pat about it, and she said that an auction customer was probably missing this piece from the set they purchased, but that it would be difficult to find its rightful owner. She recommended that we keep it.

So, we see this little goblet as our own good luck charm. And it doesn't take up too much room.

Job dogs

Hank and Kyro