4 Days of Progress


October 15, 2012 by megmstephens

Progress on my epic 4-day DIY vacation is better shared with pictures, so this will be post #1 of 2. More to come later, but here’s a few of the accomplishments from the last 4 days:

A. The garage is totally primed, and now we just have to wait for nicer weather to paint the final top coats of color. I learned that some paint has to be applied when the temperature will not drop below freezing for at least 24 hours – and that’s going to be tricky to figure out in the Midwest in the fall. We’ve had several bouts of overnight frost already. This week might be a possibility – and a neighbor, David, loaned me a paint sprayer! So hopefully the painting of the garage will go faster than the priming. Those grooves in the wood siding make it difficult to get paint in the crevices. For the primer, I rolled everything with a “brick and block” roller first, which has a significantly thick nap (also made it hard to avoid drips). And then it had to be touched up with paintbrushes. I chose to prime the garage on Friday because the weather was supposed to be decent overnight – no frost or freezing temps – and because my ankle was still sore from Thursday’s incident. I didn’t have to climb up or down anything, and there was relatively little walking around while painting. I had my roller on a long stick so I could stand in one place as much as possible. Here’s the end result:

The garage was 100% primed by noon on Saturday!

B. The furnace has been relocated to the basement from the garage! The guys (Dan, Joe, and Jared) moved the furnace into the gaping hole of the former bathroom. They also built a platform for it to sit on out of cinder blocks in the case of future flooding. Although the basement has been dry since getting it cleaned out. The only water that shows up down there is from the outside access pits – which are totally open to the weather and will be closed up soon.

The guys are moving the furnace into the basement.

Side story: While working this weekend, we found a couple of pages from the Indianapolis News stuffed into a corner. It was a newspaper from July 9th, 1941! It was fascinating to read some of the articles, and even the advertisements were fun because of the prices of various services and goods. New shoes for $2.75! Carpet cleaning for $12! A more sobering part of finding the paper was seeing a political cartoon from the era:

Why yes, that is a comic about Nazi Germany in the Indianapolis News (July 9th, 1941).

C. We jacked up and fixed the dining room floor! It’s hard to explain the structure of the house in text form, but I’ll try. The dining room is in the newer part of the house, and it’s the room that shares a wall with the living room. If you refer back to the floor plan, the living room and bedroom #1 are the original structure. To add on the dining room and the rest of the house, a second floor beam was placed parallel to the living room wall. Perpendicular to this beam are the floor joists. So the dining room has a floor structure that is independent of the wall it shares with the living room, and what had happened was the beam had sunk on only the outside end. So the floor of the dining room had a significant drop to the outside wall and a large gap at the bottom of the wall where the floor had separated from the plaster. Whew. That was hard enough to explain, it was easier when I could point to things:

Allison snapped this pic while I was talking through the plan with the dining room floor.

So once we figured out the logistics of fixing the floor, I geared up to go into the crawlspace:

I’m still smiling at this point – even though I’m about to head into the crawlspace with the slugs and spiders!

My ever-so-graceful entry into the crawlspace under the dining room. Thanks to Allison for capturing this moment for posterity…

On Sunday we made the final adjustments to the 20-ton jacks and started lifting. It was scary at first, but it went very smoothly. The dining room floor was raised about an inch, and it probably has to go another inch before it’s done. We just didn’t want to make too many adjustments to an old house all at once, so I’ll probably finish jacking the floor up in another week or so.

D. Sunday evening I decided to do a little leisurely painting, after I got tired of spending the day crawling around with the spiders under the house. So, I got out the paintbrushes and a new gallon of paint and started in on the garage door and the person door on the garage (are they both garage doors?). Well, the weather went from clear skies to pitch black and storming in about 10 minutes. The wind kicked up very fast, and I was frantically trying to get the doorknob back on the door so I could leave before it started raining. Then the skies opened up and it was downpouring, and I was still struggling with the doorknob. Then I heard cracking sounds coming from the trees. I didn’t know if it was coming from the tree right by the garage, or the one over by the house. I was very scared that the tree was going to drop a major branch on my nice garage while I was still in it! I was slapping the deadbolt together as fast as I could, regardless of the fresh paint that was on the door trying to get out of there FAST. Then the cracking sounds got louder and I heard the sound of branches breaking other branches, and I looked up to see a major branch fall from the tree by the house and come crashing down on the fence. I finally got the deadbolt and doorknob together and was able to get my soaking wet self home to a hot shower. In reality all of this probably happened in less than 10 minutes, but it felt like it took me forever to get the doorknob back together. Here’s a picture of the damage the day after:

That tree branch is directly responsible for at least 10 new gray hairs on my head.

In happier news my paint job didn’t turn out half-bad at all, even getting rained on shortly after being painted:

Here’s a sneak peek at colors! Next step: the trim and siding will get their final colors.

More to come in another post tomorrow!

P.S. My ankle feels much better, and it didn’t stop me from getting a lot done. Which is all I could really hope for after spraining it on Thursday. 🙂


2 thoughts on “4 Days of Progress

  1. Frances says:

    Woohoo! Looks good!

  2. Ben says:

    Wow, that looks entirely different than when I was up there. It looks awesome!

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