House Update- Bannister and Kitchen

Just to break up the horror of this election cycle, here’s a quick house update. My project manager, aka dad, aka the older wiser John Cole, who, at 75, still works harder every day than I have any day in my life. He is over at the crack of dawn working on the house every single day. He just loves this stuff. Where I see chaos and burning piles of cash, he sees a blank canvas. Basically, he looks at projects like this the way I look at abused animals. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him leading this. At any rate, he has stripped down the bannister in the front staircase, and it is going to be beautiful:

bannister

bannister2

We’re getting to the point where I am getting excited- before I would just walk in and have a mini panic attack thinking “I don’t even know where to start.”

The kitchen is now completely gutted:

kitchen1

kitchen2

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about what I want, and dad and I have come up with a great plan. We are shooting for a look like this:

kitchen

I was at a flea market, and I found a box of amazing tiles that had been reclaimed from the servant’s quarters in a mansion in Pittsburgh, and they were selling them for a dollar each.

tiles

We’re going to use those as the basis for the color scheme and the backsplash for the gas stove and sink. The walls will be a lighter blue than the one in the tile, and everything else will be white (ceiling, cabinets, etc.). Throwing in a big old country sink, and cabinets like this:

sink

cabinets

That’s not the actual sink or cabinets, but you get the idea. I also have my heart set on this on ebay:

block

The flooring is starting to go in in a week (red oak 3/4″) or so on all three floors, and the plumber and electrician are starting in the next couple of days, so things will start moving very quickly soon.

Whatcha think?








The Republican Party is tearing itself apart. It’s about damn time.

The following is from a Tweetstorm I composed yesterday in the hours before that shitshow of a “debate.” There are probably some spelling and grammar errors, because for the most part, I just copied and pasted from my Twitter account, @soonergrunt.

Someone asked me recently why I’m a dick to Conservatives who engage me on Twitter. I’m not to everyone. @RadioFreeTom is a notable example. There are others. But I’ll tell you the answer now. I came to political conscience in the age of Ronald Reagan. I liked him as a person, but I didn’t agree with him on much. But I respected him. He was my President, for one thing, but also my parents taught me that the other side were decent people who wanted what they saw as best for the country. They just happened to usually be wrong. And sometimes they were right. That kind of consideration is something I’ve rarely received in return. Rare enough that I remember a lot of those respectful interactions.  They stick out due to their rarity.

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Scenes from a Nightmare

The phone rings:

Me: Hello?

Dad: JG?

Me: Yes?

Dad: They finished the back roof.

Me: Oh, good. Remember, the insurance inspection is tomorrow.

Dad: Oh.

Me: What do you mean “Oh.”

Dad: You have no bathroom or kitchen.

Me: What?

Dad: We tore the bathroom and rest of the kitchen out today since you said you wanted to get rid of the dumpster. It’s going to be so much nicer when it is done.

Me: Oh, fuck me.

Dad: Oh, and I have some bad news.

Me: …

Dad: JG? Are you there?

Me: I’m in the fetal postion, can you not hear me?

Dad: The front roof is leaking. Roofer says he can get it done for $1000.00 I checked it and if you look at it from the second floor window you can see the problems.

Me: If I get near the second story window I will fling myself from it.

Dad: Also, the estimate for the counters will be here tomorrow with the drawings. JG? Are you still there?

Me: I’m trying to hang up before you start talking again.

I say again, renovating a house is basically throwing all of your money at everyone you see for six months and hoping you have a place to live when you are broke.








Another Exciting Saturday Night

When we last toured the house, we examined the front entrance, the living room, and the dining room. Today, because it is all sorts of special, we will do the kitchen. Mind you, this was taken with my ipad because I dropped my iphone and shattered the screen (first time since I started using cell phones since I broke one- I know, I am as surprised as you), so they are not as good. Here is a refresher pic of the dining room:

8underarchleftview

The kitchen is the door to the left. Here is a view from standing in the doorway:

sink

The kitchen has a drop ceiling, which we ripped out without looking at it because there was no vent in the kitchen, and there was no place for a ceiling fan, and by now I know these idiots and if they have a drop ceiling, it’s because they were too lazy or stupid to fix obviously broken shit. I was not wrong.

sink2

ceiling

That second picture is directly below the commode upstairs, which is great, because I need to move that anyway since the idiots have the toilet in a place where you have to put your knees under the sink to do your business, and the plumber is going to need access anyway. We can use this as an opportunity to fix that without ripping things out, and idf any wiring needs to be done, can deal with that. Panning left from the sink:

leftsink

furtherleft

The doorway in the last picture leads to the basement. Backing up a bit, here is a picture that is to the right of the cabinets in the second picture, with the doorway to the back porch (AKA THE DECK OF INSTANT DEATH) and the pantry:

panningright

As soon as you walk into a pantry, there is another commode, which is going to have to be moved, because who wants to shit right off the kitchen? That makes no sense and is disgusting.

moreright

And on the back wall of the pantry, some old shelves:

pantry

Finally, here is the wall with my back to the sink:

wall

That is the wall that connects to the dining room, and we are knocking part of that out so the kitchen is bigger and flows into the dining room into a coherent plan. I don’t need or want a big dining room, so we are going to make that space make sense.

I’ve also gone through and made a long list of needs, wants, and desires, and I am prioritizing them and trying to figure out how to budget them and then how to do them in the right order so we do not need to redo things to fix something else on the list. Here it is as of now:

Needs:

1.) Inspect roof, gutters, insulation, make repairs where necessary
2.) Furnace situation (which vents can we remove, etc.)
3.) structural integrity of first floor- support beams to level droop
4.) Basement
4a. drainage and moisture (French drains outside? Seal walls)
4b. new windows
5.) Flooring for first and second floor
6.) Fix or replace both front and back door.
7.) Structural integrity of back deck
8.) Fix wall cracks, paint interior
9.) Kitchen- knock out wall, make kitchen and dining room coherent, appliance, fix pantry, door that closes to basement.
10.) Scrape and paint floor and deal with stairs on front porch
11.) Build garage?
12.) Vent in bathroom, new vanity and floorplan for toilet
13.) Have KA deal with their god damned trees

Wants:
1.) new railings on deck
2.) new outer doors to basement
3.) lighting out front
4.) fireplace
5.) new tub
6.) drapes in all rooms
7.) fill in under fence in backyard so animals can not escape

Desires:
1.) celing fans in every room
2.) good lighting- my eyes are getting shitty and I would like lighting that is not harsh but still does not create glare
3.) hand crafted desk that built into wall that fills entire office so I can roll from computer to computer and have two workstations
4.) raised bed gardens in back yard.
5.) several trees (not ornamental- maple or something solid that can grow and last) for front and back yard
6.) nice rugs and runners
7.) Something for once you enter the house for coats, mail, keys, shoes, umbrellas, etc.

It’s a lot of work. Right now I am in the mental planning phase, where I think about what I want to do while dealing with obvious things (cleaning, extermination, structural integrity issues). So much work.

*** Update ***

Went to the fridge to get some of the ice cream (TURKEY HILL DARK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL ESPRESSO), excited because I am going to sit down and nom nom nom while watching some HGTV I dvr’d and this is what I find:

whatkindoffuckingmonsterdoesthis

WHO LEAVES A TABLESPOON OF ICE CREAM? WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT? I need to have a stern talk with the kids.








House Preview

The first floor of the house has been pretty much gutted, and the second and third are well on their way. Tomorrow the plumber comes so I can get the pipes in the basement fixed and we can finish the basement with a solid power washing. I thought I would share some pictures with you all. First up, a reminder of what the house looks like from the outside:

mynewhouse

The front yard has already been cleaned up and the shrubs cut, so tomorrow if it is sunny I will take some new pics. At any rate, when you walk in the front door, off to your left you will see the staircase up, and to the right you will see the arch to the living room. Here they are in order:

1front-entrance-stairway

2frontentrancelivingroomentrance

As you can see, the flooring is beyond repair, needs to be patched and leveled, and I have made the command decision that I am going to put new flooring on both the first and second floor. I think it will be cheaper in the long run than carpeting the second floor. You see in the second picture a vent, and it has an old iron decorative grill that is currently outside being cleaned. On to the next picture, which is taken standing right in front of the arch in the second picture, looking into the living room:

3archto-living-room

This is another view of the living room, with me standing directly underneath the arch, looking to the right side of the room (you can see the windows to the front of the house and the porch:

4livingroom-right

This next picture is with me standing right in front of the garbage in the previous picture, angle across the room so that the front window is immediately to my left:

5livingroomreverse

Now, panning to the right while standing a little the the left of the garbage in the previous picture, I am facing the dining room, looking through the arch that connects to it:

6archtodiningroom

This picture is standing under arch #2 connecting the living room to the dining room, focused on the right side of the room. The two windows to the right are on the right side of the house, visible in the very first picture:

7undarchrightview

I am now in the same position, having panned to the left. You can see in the top of the picture the rest of the window in the previous picture, then to the left of that the entrance to the kitchen, and then the wall and a built in cabinet.

8underarchleftview

Finally, this is me standing the corner in between the back window and the entrance to the kitchen, doing a reverse view of the dining room. To the right you can see the arch into the living room and the front of the house:

9reverseviewdiningroom

Mind you, this is just the first floor, so there are two more floors, the basement, and the kitchen to attend to. And none of the pictures hanging are mine. They just walked away and left so much shit.

Dad and I are going to sit down and plan, but one thing I want to do is knock down some of the wall in the dining room and expand the kitchen- I will never use a formal dining room. I also am thining about knocking out the back wall in the dining room, putting in French doors to the deck. But that’s where we are now.