Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four eyes

June. Gone. *blink* *blink*

At this rate someone will have to politely tap me on the shoulder, "Sorry to bother you sir, but I'm afraid you've died."

"Oh well, I've been so busy, I hadn't noticed. I guess I'll just fall over then and oblige the laws of nature. But before I do, let me just finish up this one last thing..."

These days I'm keeping one eye on the landscaping, one eye on the house, one eye on the bids for work and one eye on our bank account. If anyone has any good tips on integrating spider DNA, I'm open to suggestions. The extra eyes would be handy.

I'm hoping tomorrow to get the bid back for the work on the front entry roof and gutters. I also spoke with our paint stripper about refinishing our front door. His primary business is furniture refinishing, so the door is certainly within his area of expertise. There are several options with the front door, including replacing it (although my bank watching eye starts to get twitchy at that thought). I also have a bid out to level the back porch, put on a new roof and new gutters.

Yesterday I found my way to a Woodcraft store. I was looking for some router bits to make picture rail. It was a fantastic store with enough tools and equipment to make me feel like a kid in a toy store. Of course while I looked at tools, the bank account eye went past twitchy and just rolled backwards into my head. I'll have to head back at some point with the picture rail in hand to get a good match.

It's 70 degrees today (about 20 Celsius), there is a light wind and only two wispy clouds in the sky - I counted both of them. Being at work is actually physically painful today. My eyes feel puffy and scratchy. My chest feels constricted. Maybe I just need my allergy meds.

I lost my access card to our building this morning, which was probably an indication that I should have just skipped work today and spent some time playing with the kids and working on the house. I'll be running for the hills soon...

Friday, June 11, 2010


Chance Card!

Children come home with free goldfish from school Carnival. Pay $100 in new fish supplies.

Didn't see that one coming.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Circus

Last weekend we went to a circus. It was the first circus for our girls, and my first circus as well. I was struck by several things. First, how young and attractive many of the performers were. What happens to old, fat circus performers? Are they fed to the tigers? Second, by the large number of Hispanics. Probably more than 75% of the performers were Hispanic. I was expecting white guys. Third, by how clean and professional all the performers were. I was expecting carny level staff, with tattoos, greasy hair, gold necklaces and clothes that looked like they were cast offs from an aging auto mechanic. And lastly by the impermanence of such a life. There was a time when I would have really enjoyed the vagabond existence of circus life. One year of working at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and being around those kinds of people quickly killed off the romance of such a lifestyle for me. Having a house is a big responsibility, and there are times it weighs on me, but I certainly wouldn't trade it for circus life.

We're still focusing on structural issues for the house and I have two outstanding issues that really need addressing. The roof and gutters for the front entry and back porch need replacing. We've been trying to get the carpenter who did our main roof work to give us a bid, but he's torn his bicep and has been off for the last month. I took a few pictures of the existing soffit and roof for the front entry.

The first two pictures show the gutters from the top looking down. The gutters in place are the original 1921 tin plated steel gutters. They have been painted numerous times until finally the previous owner lined them in EPDM rubber. This extended the gutters lifespan a bit, as it covered over the holes in the gutter. Unfortunately, it also doesn't allow the gutters under the membrane to dry out, so it actually increases the rate at which the steel rusts. At this point, they are junk.

The next three pictures show the soffit of the roof. You can see several pieces fo bead board coming loose from the roof framing. This shows just how rotten everything is. It's literally falling apart. The previous owner put up some sheet metal in a few places to cover some of the holes. Some of these are stable. Some are not. My favorite is the single pieced of beadboard hanging over the front entry. Its sagging a good three or four inches. I'm just waiting for it to fall.

We've got several options we can go with for the roof.

  1. Cover over the built in gutters and apply a rubber membrane as roofing. Gutters at this point are optional. We can hang K style gutters or add any kind of gutter we like from the fascia.
  2. Rebuild the built in gutters (they are rotten underneath) and line them with new stainless steel or copper gutters. Apply a rubber membrane as roofing.
  3. Rebuild the built in gutters, line them with copper and put on a copper roof.

In all cases, we'll rebuild the soffit as is, with beadboard. There may be other options for the project, but I believe these are the main ones. As you go down the list, the costs increase. We won't know until we get a hold of Matt and get back some bids.

This weekend we're going to Minnesota for a wedding. It will be a welcome get away from the house and a good opportunity to see family we haven't seen in three years.