I heard on the news the other night: we've had 10 inches of rain so far this month. That's 10 inches in half a month. They said there have only been three times in the past where we've had 10 inches in a full month, so, rainwise, we're on a roll.
Which isn't much of a surprise to those of us with old houses.
I've already whined, er, blogged about our other adventures this winter with snow and cold but once it warmed up a bit the adventures continued; this time with water.
My house was built in 1917. Now, while that's not exactly The Beginning of Time, it's long ago enough things were done a lot differently. Our foundation, for instance, is stone. Not cinder block. Not poured concrete. Stone. Well, technically, stones. Rocks.
It looks very quaint, but the problem's not the looks. The problem is the leaks. Particularly when we get, say, 10 inches of rain in 15 days. When the rain runs hard, water leaks through the walls. Well, technically, leaks doesn't quite do it justice. I've seen water spraying through the walls like a room full of three-year-old boys emptying their bladders onto the floor.
Yes, I know about things like Thoroseal--the walls are already coated--but it still gets in. And, when the ground gets really saturated, water can also bubble up through the cracks in the floor. That, I have to tell you, is a depressing thing to watch.
But maybe the best part is the drain that brings water from outside and dumps it on the floor.
Read More . . .
OK, I'll admit it: I'm not a big fan of winter. Sure, sliding around on the snow in my car is fun for a little while, and seeing it on the ground at Christmas is nice enough, but pretty soon I'm ready for something else.
This year, "pretty soon" started last Thursday, two days before Christmas.
Like a lot of the Midwest, and particularly Ohio, we got dumped on with snow and then freezing rain last Wednesday night. With a quarter-inch or more of ice on everything it's beautiful but a bit like living in a glazed donut. At any rate, Thursday morning, like clockwork, I heard my next-door neighbor snow-blowing my front walk at about 6 AM.
A quick defensive explanation may be appropriate here.
We live on a corner lot. Because of that, we have an inordinate amount of sidewalk on our property. Several years ago I got tired of all the grass hanging over all the pavement and looking scruffy so I bought a nice power edger to clean it up with. Well, the edger did such a great job it looked just entirely stupid where our property ended and the neighbors' began.
I mean, there was this nice perfect edge along our sidewalk and then it just...ended. At a more or less arbitrary point with, well, scruffy grass afterward. It looked dumber than before I'd edged, when both our yard and the neighbors' looked equally bad, so I went over to Tim, my neighbor, and asked if he cared if I edged his sidewalk, too. Not surprisingly, he was delighted.
Anyway, skip forward to that winter. He'd bought a snow blower and decided to return the favor by blowing off my driveway and main walk one particularly snowy morning. Ever since, I do the edging in the summer, he does the snow blowing in the winter.
We're like the shark with the sucker-fish-thingy on its back. If you get my drift.
Read More . . .
Actually, it's more than no exception. In my little world of home renovations, this is to installing crown moulding what rebuilding the engine is to minor auto repair.
In an effort to maintain ceiling height while working around two newly-installed 8" I-beams, I've coffered the ceiling. That is, divided it up into twelve sections each separated by wooden dividers that are suspiciously close in size to an 8" I-beam. So, we've got all these wooden boxes crisscrossing the ceiling.
On the inside of all these boxes is crown moulding. Lots of crown moulding. If you've never done crown you'll find it's both easier and harder than you think it should be. Harder because you can't simply put it in a miter saw, cut a 45-degree angle and have the two pieces meet up right. There are a variety of reasons for this but in my case start with the fact that nothing in my house is square, including these ceiling "squares."
Read More . . .
Have you been through this? Then you know what I'm talking about. Childbirth? Piece of cake. Home renovation, now there is pain.
I suppose if you did your home renovation the fancy schmantzy way where you just write checks and let people who actually know what they're doing do the work then, sure, yeah, maybe you don't feel my pain.
That's like comparing getting the car washed to doing a complete nut-and-bolt ground-up restoration on a rusted carcass. You end up in more or less the same place but, man oh man, they are different roads.
Not, mind you, that I wouldn't prefer to be writing the checks and whining about contractors, but I'm some combination of too picky and too cheap for that to be a particularly likely possibility.
Read More . . .