Renovation Update Week 3

Renovation in progress

Not our renovation, because those photos are on the doorstop, I mean computer. Photo by DanR.

I’m writing from muggy West Virginia where I’m staying with the kids for a couple of days to keep out of the contractor’s way.

The House

All of the structural beams are in and all of the walls were removed last week. The first floor of our house looks enormous! And now I can actually picture how it will all come together; where the island will be, how not silly the small wall between the living and dining rooms will look, where the stairs will go.

The kitchen floor has been removed right down to the floor joists, one of which is being replaced due to rot and the previous owner cutting a million holes in it. We’re replacing the floor because of the three-inch slope between the front of the kitchen and the back of the kitchen. I’m trying to remember if the settling was a result of termite damage or natural sinkage. The joists will be shimmed, and there will be a level floor on which to someday put kitchen cabinets. There was a piece of termite damaged sill plate (I think) that was pulled out and can I tell you how scary it is to think that the weight of our house was resting on that swiss cheese-looking piece of wood?

While we’ve been away, Jason has been working hard on the basement bathroom. That bathroom, and most of the basement, was finished when we bought the house. It was finished without the benefit of waterproofing, and it smelled like a dirty diaper. I don’t think the bathroom had a vent in it, either. We’re lucky there was only a tiny, tiny bit of mold. In anticipation of gutting and remodeling our main bathroom, we thought we should go ahead and complete the basement bathroom. And also thought the contractor and his helper might appreciate a bathroom door! Jason has drywalled, wired for better lighting, and installed a fan/light combo that will vent outside. He also wired the stairs to the basement for light.

Next week the back wall will be repaired!

The Kids

The children and I have been spending most of our time in West Virginia where my parents live. We came back for almost a week, left for a week, and then this past weekend we were in for 3.5 days.

Both kids are missing their father, big time. We’ve tried very hard to keep our time at home with him full of quality interactions, with some special daddy time for each of them. Jason took J on a tour of the renovation progress Sunday evening and he was so excited to see the tools and Jason’s workshop. One of the children has been acting out in very aggressive ways, we think because this child doesn’t handle transitions or environment changes well.

The noise hasn’t been too bad. I think putting the beams in was the loudest part. The kids have been able to nap in their third floor bedroom with the AC fan running to drown out the hammering. If it were only the noise, we wouldn’t be leaving so much, but there’s the dust and danger as well.

To get air flow in the first floor, the contractor props the back door open and has an industrial fan in the window blowing out. Unfortunately, both the door and window open onto our small patio where the kids like to play.

Their toys, the patio, and everything are always covered in a thick layer of nasty old house dust and have to be washed off before we can spend any time out there.

The contractor has also used the patio as place to put wood that’s being hauled away or materials because he’s completely out of room on the first floor. And they sit there and have lunch, as far as I can tell.

It’s pretty difficult for the kids to play outside while we’re home.

The Lovebirds

Jason and I have been doing well. He’s had a hard time going from a completely silent house to having two top-volume kids around full-time. When home, I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning, so I simply lowered my standards for a while. Hopefully it doesn’t gross out friends and family too much.

We’ve been a tad touchy with each other, but we’re obviously under some additional stress. I’m trying to make sure we get some quality alone time ourselves whenever we are together.

The excitement of starting this phase of the renovation hasn’t yet waned. It’s just too much fun to come home to another huge project completed (in 4 days!) that terrified us for 6 years.

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