When we moved to Mist Cottage, just over three years ago, we were overwhelmed by possessions. What comfortably furnished an 1800 square foot home did not fit comfortably into an already fully furnished 640 square foot home. Boxes were stacked to the ceiling, and tunnels through them led to the kitchen, the bathroom and the beds.
We have come a long way since that week of moving our household. Much was given to Terra and Lares, a custom-made pine dining set, an antique oak dresser… Much was given to the local Women’s Shelter, and Men’s Shelter, dishes, two television sets, clothing and much, much more… Some things were given away via kijiji. Other items were sold via kijiji. I discovered I do not like selling via kijiji, finding a meeting place to exchange money for items, or having people pick things up at the house… nope, I don’t like that much.
Because Mist Cottage was already a fully functioning home, fully furnished, supplied with food, and the necessities of day-to-day life, we had duplicates of just about everything. Three years later we are just about through either using the duplicates (e.g. two jars of mustard), or finding a new home for one of the two items.
The second phase of moving in is just beginning. There was a missing link when we arrived three years ago, the garage. It leaked, badly, so that things that would normally be stored there were stacked in the basement. Attila replaced the garage roof with a spiffy new metal roof, which does not leak. The garage is now dry. Attila is slowly going through items, sorting and deciding what can go where. It is going to take a good long time for that project to be finished.
Other things crop up that get in the way of the garage organization being tackled full steam ahead. For instance, Thanksgiving weekend saw Attila working on some of the last touches on the bathroom renovation, which began in 2013, five years ago, so it is time! The work that was holding him up was drywall mudding and painting, which needed an open window and the furnace shut down. At last, the time and the opportunity to work on the bathroom occurred this past weekend. Now all that remains is the last piece of baseboard… it was cut and ready in 2013, but has since gone missing. Attila says he is looking for it… I think I might have push a bit on this last bit, perhaps go out and buy additional baseboard to get the job done.
On my end, the freezer situation is being taken in hand. It is a slow process, defrosting, cleaning, and organizing freezers. I keep running into vintage food, and attempting to cook it as soon as I discover it. Since the Thanksgiving turkey dinner will provide leftovers until the weekend, there is no need to cook meals. This week the vintage food found in the freezer cannot be made into meals. What to do!
Several bags of fruit did not weather the move well. They had thawed slightly and then iced badly over the last three years. There was one bag of chopped strawberries, and one bag of diced rhubarb. After removing the ice, into the pot they went, combined with sugar, and were stewed together to make stewed rhubarb and strawberries. The mixture, when cooked, filled two and half mason jars. The two full jars were canned in the steam canner, for 15 minutes. The half mason jar went into the refrigerator, to enjoy for the rest of the week.
The weather is crazy! Yesterday the humidex was well over 30C, and today it was just a high. The air conditioning is turned on, to reduce the humidity in the house, in October! The garden likes this weather, more tomatoes, peppers, and beans coming on.
“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950
Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!
The Bathroom Renovation
Sunday, September 8, Day Eight
A beautiful sunny day! After breakfast Attila and I got busy. I headed for the city and the big box stores with a list. Attila worked on framing in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and installing the drywall around the opening.
Then, after a quick lunch, we jumped in the car and headed out to Terra and Lares place for a visit. They have a wonderful view from their house, overlooking a vista of open water.
I washed laundry and hung it out to dry on Terra’s clothes line. There was a stiff breeze coming off the water, which really helped to dry the clothes while we were there.
Terra and I sat chatting for a bit, felt chilly and moved to the back yard, which is protected from the wind coming off the water. We had a lovely visit, Terra and I.
Attila and Lares headed for the bush on ATVs to cut firewood. They came back a few hours later with a load to be stacked. As Attila stacked wood, Lares and his brother proceeded to install a metal roof on the new wood shed, that Lares recently built.
After gathering in the dry laundry, and folding it, I found Attila, and off we went home to continue on our bathroom renovation. After we arrived home we ate a lovely supper of herbed fish, boiled new beets, boiled new potatoes and corn niblets. Right after our meal Attila was back in the bathroom mudding drywall and planning out the vanity plumbing for the next day.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Another early morning, quick breakfast and right into the bathroom renovation. The vanity was brought into the bathroom for measuring, and discussion. It fits very nicely into the bathroom. We chose a vanity, and a sink, that are only twelve inches deep. The water tap will be installed to the left of the sink. Since the sink is so small there is no backsplash, which could create water problems as water splashes up when washing hands etc. We decided the that a backsplash is necessary behind the sink.
Attila finished installing the rest of the drywall around the vanity area, and finished caulking around the window.
The drywall around the vanity is installed, the caulking around the window is done and drywall mudding has begun.
We spent the afternoon shopping. First we went to the building supply store in town to return a variety of plumbing hardware pieces we did not end up using. Then we filled our cart with PVC window trim, more caulking, window edging and other bits and bobs for the plumbing. Then we headed to the big box stores in the city to search out the materials we could not find at the local store.
We found a large rectangular tile that will serve well as a backsplash for the sink, at a big box store. Then we revisited the Restore and found a perfect globe for one of the ceiling fixtures, used, for $2.00 and a whole bag of screws and such like. The inventory changes daily at the Restore, so you just never know what you might find there!
One last visit to Winners to look for a shower curtain. Terra and Lares have a lovely shower curtain that is heavy gage and does not “float” around as the air moves while having a hot shower. I wanted to buy one just like it, but there were no more. I tried four different stores with no success. Then we visited Winners, and found a heavy gage shower liner that will do nicely, at a very reasonable price.
As far as materials are concerned, I think we are on the home stretch for the bathroom! Everything is new, either brand new or new to us. I am shocked at how many bits and bobs are involved in successfully installing a bathroom which is up to code!
What I am looking forward to most is having my first shower in the new bathroom. We are still several days work away from that goal!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Attila did more mudding and sanding this morning, then painted most of the walls with primer. After that dried he applied another coat of paint, in preparation for installing the tub surround. While paint dried Attila is busy with fiddly bits, like the layers required to finish the window, and the plumbing for the vanity. He likes to work on a lot of things at the same time, so he is in his element.
Attila offered to spend time temporarily installing the fixtures in the bathroom, so that I could have a bath. It was a tough decision for me, should I agree to what might be a significant delay in getting the tub truly functional with an installed surround and framed window; or should I bite the bullet, spot wash at the kitchen sink, let my hair do whatever it is doing while waiting for a good wash, and see the project through till this evening, when I might be able to take a more relaxing bath, in a finished tub. Either way, it is a gamble, so I opted to forging ahead with the tub surround, hoping to take a real bath at the end of the day.
Primer coat of paint applied, when it dried Attila will begin installing the tub surround!
The five tomato plants in the garden have yielded quarts and quarts of ripe, luscious fruit. The yield is high enough that eating the tomatoes fresh just would not keep up with the supply. I peeled and quartered a few quarts into a saucepan. Since it is extremely hot and humid, the hot plate was set up on the back porch, and the tomatoes brought to a boil and cooled in the great outdoors. When they had cooled they were poured into a mason jar and refrigerated for a spaghetti sauce, to be made later in the week when the weather cools down.
We have a yellow jacket nest in the foundation of the house, just at the front corner, at the driveway where we park the car. They are a small and angry nest, very active and aggressive. Attila sprayed the next at night, but it is too deep within the foundation to reach with spray. I have devised a little plastic tunnel to place over the entry to the next, which will be lined with paper towels soaked with wasp spray. I am hoping that they will perish upon exit and entry. Tonight I will tack the tunnel over the entry point and see what happens tomorrow. My homemade device may or may not work, but it is worth a try.
My homemade yellow jacket tunnel of death.
Yellow Jackets are our next unwelcome housemates that need to be evicted. We rid the house of chipmunks, mice and now we are working towards evicting all the Yellow Jacket wasps. We will be using trial and error methods until we succeed.
I got my bath!
The tub surround is almost on! When the last panel is installed, Attila will temporarily install the faucet and tap handle, so that I can take a bath!
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The vacation progresses.
The bathroom is taking shape, slowly but surely. At the end of the today, this is what we are looking at.
Attila spent the day mudding and painting in the bathroom. There is still much to be done.
To be installed still:
roof vent for fan
one small section of drywall
tub fixtures permanently installed
new heating vent
And we need to:
By Saturday, our last full day here, it may be possible to take a shower! I truly hope so!
The sink and vanity still need to be installed. The roof vent for the fan needs to be installed. The rest of the drywall, one small panel, needs to be installed. The tub surround needs to be caulked. The window trim needs to be installed.
He also dismantled an Ikea child’s bed that Luna and Janus had donated to our little house. The Grandbabies haven’t slept here since, so it is not really needed here, in this tiny house. However, Terra’s new house is huge, and she does have quite a few visitors, so we decided to re-donate the bed to Terra. Attila delivered it to Terra’s house in the afternoon.
The weather was hot and muggy, truly ugly weather in my book. We have not been cooking indoors the last few days due to the hot weather. While out “go-fering” on the bathroom project, which is how I am spending my vacation, I found my ideal propane BBQ. It is a Napoleon BBQ, small, with a side burner. The side burner is a must, so that we can easily cook outside when the weather it hot. I have “champagne taste, and a beer bottle budget, as they say. The Napoleon BBQ cost $599 on sale. I stopped to look at it again.
As I was heading for the check out counter with my small purchase for the bathroom, I bumped into a row of propane BBQs that were on sale. And there, in a stacked box, was a small BBQ with a side burner for $139. It wasn’t a high quality item, but I knew it would work for us, possibly for a decade or more. I asked a clerk for help getting the box onto a cart, and then into the car. Then I headed home with my shopping list complete, a laundry tub for the basement and a propane BB@.
The rest of my day was spent in the back yard assembling said BBQ, it took hours and hours to build it from the box. When I was finished Attila immediately used the burner to fry potatoes, onions and peppers, and at the same time BBQ a few hot dogs. Now we can cook outdoors when it is hot. Attila loves to cook, no instant food for him, not if he can help it. This will make him very happy for many years to come.
At the end of the day we headed out to Terra and Lares house for dinner and a visit. Dinner was delicious, Terra makes a terrific macaroni and cheese! And then we watched the light show, lightning! There was a storm warning in effect, so we sat in the cooling evening, enjoying the breeze, the crickets and the flashing skies. The storm didn’t arrive in full force, so we had the show without the consequences.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Attila painted the floor area where the vanity was to be installed, installed the vanity, the sink, the sink faucet, the sink backsplash, the medicine cabinet, and hooked up the water supply.
Things are beginning to come together int he bathroom. The vanity, sink and plumbing were installed today. The medicine cabinet went in, and part of the window trim was installed. We need more trim, I will have to “go-fer” it tomorrow!
Attila also installed the ceiling light fixture, and completed the installation of the wall mounted lights.
While Attila was busy with the nitty gritty of the renovation, I went shopping, that is Terra and I went shoppiong. Well, not exactly shopping, because what I really wanted to do was to take the very, very large and heavy CRT television, given to us by Luna and Janus, to be recycled. I tried to give it away at the Salvation Army store, but they would not take it and suggested the Restore down the road, where they recieve old televisions for recycling. The Restore accepted it gladly and even moved it out of the car for me, as it was well beyond my capability to get it out of trunk.
While at the Restore I purchased a case of very inexpensive exterior caulking, which we will use to seal the bottom of the siding, and other openings where wasps enter and build nests. Terra, on the other hand, made a fantastic find of a truly beautiful dining room light fixture. It was a real bargain, at $10! She also purchased trim for her living room door. We headed home after that, to see what Attila had accomplished.
Friday, September 13, 2013
The day began with a quick trip to the building center, for more window trim and some light bulbs. Attila finished mudding and sanding the last wall of the bathroom.
The trim on the window was completed and caulked, to seal it well as it is located in the shower! The ceiling trim was installed, and another coat of paint was applied to the walls.
Attila cut the lawn today, for the first time since we arrived. Just in time it was, because we are leaving the day after tomorrow. While the lawn was being cut, I grabbed a bucket of hot soapy water and washed the car and hub caps. The car was very, very dirty!
Attila finished off his evening by applying yet another layer of paint on the walls, installing the shower curtain, installing the shower head, and permanently installing the tub fixtures. His goal is that it will be ready for my first shower tomorrow morning! Go, Attila, Go!
Saturday, September 14, 2013
First thing this morning I hung the shower curtain, and had a hot shower! Oh, the luxury!
I can see that we will need to cover the window while showering, for two reasons. First and foremost, to protect the window from water, which bounces off the body. Second, for privacy. As I stood showering I could watch all the business of the neighbourhood, the window is level with my neck, allowing me a great view. However, if I can see them, they can see me, and I do not fancy making eye contact with a neighbour as I am shampooing my hair.
This is the last day of our vacation. Attila was under orders: no renovating! We ate a leisurely breakfast, relaxed with our morning coffee and decided to visit a nearby provincial park. A picnic lunch was packed.
Just as we were ready to go, Attila suggested we paint the the bathroom floor so that it could dry while we were away. I couldn’t resist, the paint has to be applied in three coats. So, coat one went on just before we walked out the door, so that it would be dry when we got back from our outing.
The day was perfect. The sun shone brightly, the bright blue sky stretched endlessly into the distance and clouds floated lazily in gauzy strips.
We paid our fee and stopped along the roadside in the park, to peruse the map and choose a hiking trail. The first trail we walked was 2 km long. It took us through cedar woods, and along an inland stream.
Looking down on the stream from a lookout point.
After our hike, we were ready for our picnic. We found a table in the shade near the beach. The wind coming off the water was brisk and cold. There were people in bathing suits, but we were wearing jackets. The view was wonderful as we sat eating our sandwiches.
The view from our picnic table, as we were eating our picnic.
The second trail we hiked was 2.5 km long and had some challenging sections through sand. It took us through dying pine forests, which are in the process of being destroyed by a type of wasp. We also hiked up and down and dunes, and along the side of a marsh. We were tired when we arrived back at the car, so we indulged in some lovely Coronation grapes, cool and delicious from our cooler.
After we arrived home I started up the BBQ for hamburgers, and we relaxed in front of the the telly (Youtube), watching an episode of Inspector Linley.
As I cleaned the BBQ and washed up the dishes, Attila dismantled the old vanity, which had been sitting in a heap in the back yard. The rotting boards were pile on the deck for later disposal and the sink stored int he garage until I have a chance to donate it to the Restore for reuse.
After relaxing for a short while, Attila was keen to get a few more small jobs done on the bathroom renovation. Tonight he will finish sanding the last wall and apply the primer paint. He will also apply caulking along the ceiling trim. Me, well I will be fast asleep as he goes to town on his projects. Terra is dropping in for a coffee after she finishes her night shift, and I want to be wide awake so that I can enjoy my time with her. Attila loves to sleep in, so that is how he can spend his morning. He will have earned it!
Sunday, September 15, 2013
We are rushing through our last few hours at the little house, our vacation is over. The renovation lives on, it has a life of its own. This morning I returned some of the materials we had purchased for a ceiling fan in the bathroom. That project will not be tackled this year. There are more parts to return, but I do not have the receipts with me, as they were purchased during my last lone visit to the little house, and the receipts are filed at the country house.
This morning I arose later than I had hoped, and missed a visit from Terra. She came after work, arriving about ten minutes before I woke up, and when we did not answer her knock, she headed home. I was disappointed that I had slept in! However, after working all night, it was probably a better idea for Terra to head home and get some rest.
Attila slept in, as he had stayed up late into the night finishing the sanding and ceiling trim. He spent the rest of the visit cutting the hole for the heating vent, and applying another coat of paint to the last wall. He tidied up his tools, and began to set things aside to be packed into the car for our long drive home. Just as we are leaving, Attila will apply another coat of floor paint to the bathroom floor; then there will only be one coat left to apply before it is finished.
We will still need a new shower curtain rod, the old one is badly worn, and baseboards. It is looking wonderful and bathing is an enjoyable experience for the first time in three years, since we purchased the house!
Well, here it is, white and wonderful! Still a few things to do, but nothing expensive and nothing crucial. It needs a curtain of sorts to protect the window during showers, and baseboards, and one more coat of paint on the floor. These are all “pick-up” jobs, in that they can be picked up and worked on, then put down and left as they are indefinitely. The high pressure renovation is over!!!! Hooray!
I am unspeakably glad that the bathroom is all but finished. It ate up all but one day of our vacation. Thank goodness we managed a few visits with Terra and Lares, and one visit to a Provincial Park for a picnic.
The front porch was a non-starter. Renovations always take more time than estimated. The front porch will be the next project, but I am hoping it will not be the intricate, detailed and time consuming work that the bathroom renovation demanded.
So, we have the kitchen partially renovated, and the bathroom totally renovated. We have worked through the last four two week vacations renovating this house. I think we need some time away from this project next year!
The drive home was uneventful. Of course, our resident royalty felt that it was all a grave injustice, being consigned to a cage in the back seat for the duration of the trip. However, when we arrived home, she again strolled out of the cage, took a quick tour of her domain, and then settled in for a much needed nap. Complaining for hours is hard work for a cat!
It is chilly, 13C, and raining hard. Attila and I stopped in town to pick up our mail, and are now unloading our gear from the car. Attila carries it in, I put it away. The only calls we received while away were from the car dealership and Attila’s Mom, she sold her house! Congratulations to her! She will be moving closer to Attila’s brother and his wife and son.
And so ends the two week odyssey of the bathroom renovation. Attila says he feels he had no vacation, I feel the same way. But Attila also says he doesn’t feel he needs a vacation, and I do not feel the same way. I guess I will just have to find a vacation to take by myself.
Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!
The Bathroom Renovation
Day One Sunday, September 1, 2013
Day one of the holidays, Sunday! Attila did not want to work on renovations today, he wanted to shop. So off we went on a grand retail tour. On our travels we picked up sound damping insulation to install in the interior bathroom walls, for privacy in a small house. Then we went to Sears, because we have accumulated points on our Sears card over the course of the renovation. We had just walked in the store when Attila spotted a $799 set of pots and pans that we both loved. They had every feature we wanted, including metal lids with little holes to release steam. There was a short sale on the this set of pots and pans, for $199, and we had $140 worth of points. So for the difference we got ourselves a really nice set of pots and pans for the little house. That meant we could return the large pot we had borrowed from Terra; and she took all the old pots and pans home to hers, because she has lots of room, lots of company, and can use them.
Day One Sunday: Of course we brought Mist with us for our extended holiday stay at the little house. She was quiet on the trip down, but that all changed when we pulled in the driveway and opened the car doors. She went wild, the cage was literally rocking in the back seat. So unlike our meek and mild little Mist. She roared and clawed and thrashed. Attila got her litter box set up quickly, and then brought her into the house and released the door. She sauntered out, cool and collected, and began to explore. Within a half hour she was resting happily on Attila’s chair, queen of the world once again. She likes the little house in the city.
Day Two Monday, September 2, 2013
We are doing all the renovation work on the little house in the city ourselves. We have little experience, and have to teach ourselves how to do most of the work involved. It is pretty slow going, because a lot of what we are doing is for the first time, with a lot of trial and error. And we live a long way away, and have little time off at work to devote to renovations. Still, we do eventually get the job done, and we do it well. We are just slow. I would not say we enjoy doing this work, but we do enjoy the end result, and the feeling of accomplishment that results from our efforts. As for the “sweat equity” aspect of the little house, financially we will not recoup our time and effort. We could recoup the money spent on the renovations, if we sold the little house in the city. But we like it at the little house, and hope to live here someday. This is not a “house flipping” project, it is a labour of love. We are investing in ourselves, in more ways than one, in working on this house.
Day Two Monday: Bathroom Starting Point: On our last visit Attila installed part of the subfloor, as well as a one inch temporary plywood toilet pedestal, and the toilet. The toilet as seen here was temporarily installed, and would have to come out again to install the flooring. Note, this is one tiny teeny bathroom, measuring 5 feet by 6 feet. Note also, the bathtub tap has leaked since we first turned on the water after buying the house. In the picture you can see a blue tote on the left, which is usually a quarter full after a night of dripping. I will be very glad indeed see the last drip dripping out of that tap! It has been dripping for three years!
Day Two Monday: Bathroom subfloor installation is completed. Note that the mahogany subfloor around the toilet is brand new wood, while back towards the window the mahogany subfloor is darkened and weathered. We purchased the weathered mahogany subfloor from the lumber yard. Originally it had been purchased and delivered to a different customer. The customer stored it out of doors and then decided to return it to the lumber yard. We purchased it at a very reasonable price. The wood is sound, it just doesn’t look pretty. Since it goes underneath the actual flooring, we don’t care how weathered it looks, as long as it is up to the job at hand!
Day Two Monday: What Attila Did. After removing the toilet and temporary plywood toilet pedestal, Attila proceeded to install the new pine floor. We purchased this 1×6 red pine on a similar deal to the mahogany subfloor. The flooring had been sitting in the lumber yard for many years. Much of it is weathered and stained, but all of it is sound. For a reasonable price we purchased enough the install pine flooring in the entire little house, except the living room. Since the pine flooring isn’t all that pretty, we are going to paint it white, in the bathroom and throughout the entire house. The bathroom floor is the first bit of this pine flooring to be installed. I am very pleased with it. We will paint it white with floor paint.
Day Three Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Day Three Tuesday: After Attila installed the new pine floor in the bathroom, I cut up the cardboard box that the toilet had come in and spread a protective layer of cardboard over the floor to protect it during the rest of the renovation process.
Attila installed sound damping insulation in the interior walls surrounding the tub, and put a coat of primer on the new pine bathroom floor. While waiting for it to dry we went shopping. The tub surround, paint, duct work for the ceiling fan, electric parts for the rewiring, and sundry other materials for the renovation were purchased. We also spent a lot of time at the Restore, purchasing a breaker for the electric panel and a huge assortment of “stuff”, including new white ceramic knobs for the hall closet at the little house in the city.
After arriving home, Attila unpacked the new tub, which we carried to the bathroom, ready to install. Since the installation package we purchased did not include a vital part, Attila had to stop the project, ready to resume after a trip to the building centre on the morrow. Just as well, because it was after 11:00 p.m., and we were both very tired.
Day Three Tuesday: Attila installed sound damping insulation around the tub area, and applied a coat of primer to the red pine floor. Later in the day, after the primer dried, we carried the new tub into the bathroom. Missing a part to install, stores all closed for the day, so we will be back at it tomorrow.
I discovered the hard way that one must follow the manufacturers instructions when purchasing new stainless steel pots and pans. I did not wash the new large pot thoroughly enough before preparing macaroni and cheese for dinner. The finished dish tasted heavily metallic and had to be thrown away. I got all the new pans out of the cupboard and scrubbed them thoroughly, then tested one by boiling water in it. We tasted the water after it cooled and there was no metallic taste.
Day Four Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Today we are working on getting the tub in. I was able to have a bath, and wash my hair, last Saturday! Feeling truly grungy now, and really looking forward to having the tub installed. I am refusing to leave the house again, and be seen in public, until the tub is in, and I’ve had a bath and washed my hair! Hopefully today will be the day.
Attila has had to remove all the wiring in the bathroom, all to be replaced and rerouted. The former renovations in this house were incredibly bad, one bad easy-way-out decision after another. The bathroom will be up to code and all new; when we are done. It will probably take us the whole two weeks to get the bathroom to rights, and I honestly do not think we will have enough time to finish it during this holiday. Nor do I think we will get around to getting a front porch on the house during this vacation. Still, a working bathroom, even it isn’t completely finished, will be a wonderful luxury!
While Attila works on the wiring and plumbing, one man jobs for which he demands no help, I do little things, like install cup hooks and light globes, lots of little pesky stuff that only takes a little effort to make a big difference in comfort.
We are enjoying tomatoes from the garden, hundreds of them! I only planted five plants and we have had about 6 quarts since we got here. We offered the neighbours all the ripe tomatoes when we aren’t here, and they said that they have been picking all kinds of them over the last two weeks of August. What a bountiful harvest, for under $2.00 for a tray of very sickly looking plants.
A big discovery is Coronation grapes, they are seedless, grown by James Bartkiw Produce in Jordan Station, Ontario, and taste like Concords. I found them at a No Frills grocery store, but when I went back for more they were sold out. I look for them every year now, because we really like them, and they are grown in the province where we live.
The end of the day is approaching. Attila, after many challenges related to an uneven floor, finally got the tub installed and levelled. I tested it out by taking a much needed bath, and washed my hair. The drain leaks a bit, so that will need to be rectified, but otherwise it seems to work very well. It is such a relief to be clean!
Day Five, Thursday, September 5, 2013
A misery of a day on the renovation front. Attila managed to install cement board on two walls around the tub, and remove all the bathroom wiring. He rewired the some circuits, splitting the living room and bedrooms off, so that they are on separate circuits from the bathroom. The wiring is too big a job for just one day, so he will be back at it tomorrow.
Here we are, with the insulation and cement board installed around the tub. The insulation around the plumbing has been left uncovered, because we still need to replace the cartridge and fixtures, which will require an acetylene torch to accomplish. Lares will be loaning us that equipment over the weekend. All I have to do now is use stick pins to cover the insulation with plastic and we can bath. Tonight is the night!!
The new tub drain leaks, due to an issue with the old metal drain pipe. We seem to be moving backwards on this, as we began the project with only the tap leaking. Now the tap and the drain leak! Attila thinks to replace the drain pipe, across the house and right back to the sewer pipe. This will take several days.
Day Six, Friday, September 6, 2013
This morning I suggested we slightly notch the wood around the metal sewage pipe to allow a bit of give to it, and see if that resolved the problem. It did. That took ten minutes, better than two days. The metal drain pipe can be replaced at a later date, if it is ever replaced. It is sound, and works well.
We are in need of gruntlement! We are both suffering from disgruntlement at the moment.
We haven’t had a break from renovating since we arrived, taking time only for quick and easy meals, then back at it, from just after breakfast till the time we lie down to sleep.
I need a break, something that remotely smacks of “vacation”; even if only for a day. Shopping for renovation materials is not a balancing break for me. We are not pacing ourselves in such a way that I can find a balance. Nothing for it but to keep trying to find that balance!
The bathroom is definitely the most intrusive, high pressure, and miserable renovation so far. We need to use the bathroom while we are renovating it. The old plumbing was archaic and the 1970s renovation only served to magnify the original problems. Trying to update things to code is very challenging and extremely time consuming.
I look longingly out the window at the beautiful sunny day, as we plod along, in and out of the basement, working on the plumbing. At the end of the day, everything looks just the way it did the when we started in the morning! That is the way of it when working on things like wiring and plumbing, the stuff that has to be done right, and will be hidden away behind the walls.
Why is it you can never find a good gruntle when you really need it!
As a partial remedy to the disgruntlement, I cooked a lovely meal in our new pots and pans. No metallic taste at all could be detected in the food, so the thorough washing recommended by the manufacturer worked as it should have. We enjoyed corn, potatoes and some lovely sausages. Snacks were blueberries and Coronation grapes, which were once more available in the grocery store this morning, a pleasant surprise.
Today Attila spent his time installing the new electrical boxes in the bathroom and new drain pipes from the bathroom tub. That fixes the leak from the tub drain! His efforts have not resulted in any visible progress, but have laid the groundwork for a perfectly functioning bathroom. That is one of the two leaks resolved.
The other leak, the leaking tub tap, will be resolved when Lares brings us his soldering equipment. Once we have that the rest of the cement board can be installed, the old but fixtures removed and the new soldered onto the pipes. It will be a few more days before all that gets under way.
In the meantime, I can pin up my plastic bags to protect the new insulation from splashes, and we can each have a leisurely bath this evening. I can feel the hot soothing water already… we have even remembered to turn the hot water on, after 7 p.m. of course, when the electricity is cheaper.
The new GFIC plug and light fixture. This doesn’t look like much, but half the house had to be rewired to get this little number working as it should!
I was glad when the wiring, and the day, came to a successful close!
Day Seven, Saturday, September 7, 2013
Lares and Terra arrived mid-morning, with lots of energy and equipment. Lares was a dynamo of productivity. He used the acetylene torch to prepare the tub and shower plumbing for fixture installation, and installed most of the drywall in the bathroom. He and Attila worked hard most of the day, and the results were visible!
The tub and shower plumbing prepared for fixture installation, and the drywall installed! Things are beginning to visibly change.
Today is Tink’s fourth birthday! What a big girl she is now! Luna called Terra via Facetime, so we all got to talk with Tink on her Birthday, since Terra and Lares were at ours to help with the bathroom renovation. I had mailed a card and gift, and Luna said they had arrived. Tink looked happy and was her usual spirited self, full of fun. We also got to say hello to Imp and Elf. The Grandbabies are not babies anymore!
And so this concludes the first week of our holidays, done and dusted. We worked really hard all week, every day, from just after breakfast till we went to bed each night. The project isn’t finished yet, but we have made progress!
Off to a slow start this morning, as I wandered off into reading a book while I was drinking my morning coffee. The title of the book is The Rev. J.W. Loguen, as a slave and as a freeman. A narrative of real life (1859), and I found it fascinating. It serves to remind me that, no matter what a pretty picture progress paints on the surface of the culture, there is much hidden that beggars belief. And that good people continue to survive the onslaught of insanity in the name of profit.
After a breakfast of oatcakes, I gathered my thoughts and determined that I would finish what I could of the bathroom project today.
The vapour barrier project began by assembling the tools needed; plastic vapour barrier, carpenter’s square, pen, staple gun, staples, step stool, screwdiver, hammer, small piece of cardboard, scissors, a kitchen spatula, and Tuck tape.
First the vapour barrier was cut in roughly the size needed to cover the exterior wall in the bathroom. Beginning at the top middle, the vapour barrier was stapled to the studs at intervals. Where the staples had not completely penetrated the stud, they were hammered in, protected from the hammer by the cardboard.
When the vapour barrier was secured to the entire wall, it was time to tape the areas where the staples had penetrated the vapour barrier. This was done with Tuck tape.
Attila had warned that the Tuck tape liked very much to stick to itself, and that if the “end” of the tape stuck down it would be very challenging to start the roll again. So the kitchen spatula was put to good use, holding the Tuck tape away from itself, and making a section available for cutting off in small pieces. I used this method rather than attempt to tape an entire stud, top to bottom, to cover the staples.
Tuck tape, held in place by the spatula, and cut with the scissors into manageable small pieces.
I worked for quite a while and needed a break. I read a bit more of my book, and then it was time to get moving on the project again.
After taping over all the staples, an opening was cut into the plastic to allow air flow thorough the window. A bucket of soapy water was brought in and all the surfaces were cleaned with a rag. Then a bucket of water with bleach was used to rinse the boards affected by mould.
The exterior wall of the bathroom is now insulated and the vapour barrier has been installed and taped.
This is as far as I will take the bathroom project on this visit. I think our next step is to remove the toilet and remaining layers of flooring and sub-flooring that are still under it. We suspect that the floorboards underneath the toilet will be badly damaged and will need to be replaced. Attila will take charge of the toilet removal.
When we see what we are dealing with the toilet out, we will know the way forward.
There are still purchases to be made. I must choose flooring. We will need a tub surround for the walls around the tub. And now that Attila is installing new drywall at the country house, we will be painting the walls. Also, I need to choose a paint colour and let him know, so he can purchase paint locally at the country house and carry on with his project.
For today though, I am done with my labours. I will spend time relaxing on the back porch, reading, cooking and watching a few episodes of Foyle’s War.
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: NNE 18 km/h
“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”
Every lone trip to the little house in the city is a new experience. Some days are good, and some days not so good. Most days are good. Some nights are blessed with a sound, deep sleep and some nights are restless. Most nights offer a sound, deep sleep.
This trip began with hot humid weather, which disappeared overnight. This morning the skies were cloudy, the sun shone occasionally, and the temperature was 13C. The heat of the day is 20C today, perfect!
Terra and Isaac dropped by this morning for a chat and to bring me a cucumber from Terra’s garden. I am going to have that today for my snacks, with a garlic dip. We had a nice chat and then off they went, back out to the country to carry on with their day.
I began my daily work with a project that I regarded as fun. I weeded the tomato plants, pruned the dead stems at the bottom of the plants, and sprayed the plants with aqueous oxygen for good measure.
The next project on my list wasn’t as much fun. It was time to insulate the exterior wall of the bathroom.
The first step was to measure the spaces between the studs, and make a diagram of the layout. Then the insulation was measured, including partial pieces leftover from insulating the dining room. After fiddling with numbers on paper for a while, trying to optimize the use of the insulation, I gave up and decided to “wing it”. The measurements were a guideline.
The materials and tools were gathered: insulation, hat, gloves, an exacto knife, and a carpenter’s square.
I set to work and after three hours of work the job was done.
The newly insulation exterior wall of the bathroom.
The clean up involved bagging the bits of insulation that might be used for other projects, putting away the tools and vacuuming the workspace.
My skin itched! I had been sweating a bit while working and fibreglass fibres had managed to stick to my skin. When everything else was cleaned up, out I went onto the back porch, where I removed all that fibreglass covered clothing and threw it into the yard.
Next I came indoors and washed. After changing into clean clothes I went back outside. I took all the clothes I had worn for the project, and shook them out. Then the clothes were rolled and stuffed into a laundry bag.
I am still a bit itchy, but that is probably because I am still thinking about that insulation!
The next step is to apply vapour barrier over the entire insulated area.
While I have been busy with the bathroom at the little house in the city, Attila is hard at work on another project at the country house.
The country house was built as a seasonal cottage. It was well built, designed by a concrete engineer, for her family. The interior walls were finished with a product which was popular at the time the cottage was constructed. Particle board artificial wood panelling was used on the interior walls. It has since been painted, several times. We painted it once ourselves.
Attila is removing the panelling in the living room, dining room and hallway, to be replaced with drywall. He has most of the panelling removed at this point. We are going to reuse the panelling in the garage at the little house in the city; to cover the insulation and vapour barrier that are already installed.
This spring the city, at the little house in the city, decided to replace the water main, and the water line to each home, on our street. Last year there was a water main leak in front of our house, and at that time the water line to our house was replaced. Now the water line to every house on the street has been replaced. The road was badly torn up in the process.
So this week the dump trucks and diggers have been working on the street. They dug deep ditches on either side of the road. We did have a gravel driveway in front of the house, in addition to the paved driveway in front of the garage. The gravel driveway was partially dug out for the ditch; it is no longer a viable driveway. We will miss it, but we really did not need it.
The road crew has removed all the old road pavement and levelled the street. No paving crew in evidence yet, but it is only a matter of time.
With the new deep ditches, the street parking has been seriously compromised. If people park on both sides of the street now it will be barely possible to get through.
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: N 9 km/h
“There are no facts, only interpretations.”