Archive for the 'Maintenance' Category


Thursday, October 7th, 2004

The Exterminator came today to check for termites and give our house/yard the once over for any other critter problems. He reported that there is no evidence of termites and all the wood in the basement is in great shape. However, the basement bathroom, which is non-functional and has some rotten baseboards, seems to have been a home for wood beetles at some point in the past. Fortunately, they only survive in damp wood, and the bathroom is pretty much bone dry now. This means that demolition of the downstairs bathroom is bumped up a bit on the todo list, which is fine by me.

Outside, under the breakfast room, some animal (like a raccoon, rabbit, or possum) has made a nice comfy nest out of some insulation. He said that we’re going to have to nip that in the bud or our uninvited guest will be bringing his family and friends along in the winter.

Lastly, our towering sugar maple in the backyard seems to have quite the colony of carpenter ants, and we’re going to need to make sure that those stay in the tree and away from the house.

Plumbing the Depths

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

This morning, The Plumber came to take a look at our catchbasin and sewer infrastructure. He referred us to another company who can come and pump out the catchbasin (’cause who knows what’s in there), and went into the basement to take a look at our sewer line.

When our inspector went into our basement, he spotted a small (12″ x 14″) steel trap door which was painted shut and remarked that “It looks like you’ve got an FCS, but it’s not working. I found out that FCS stands for “Flood Control System” which I suppose would have been nice to have working, I guess.

Well, The Plumber tried to crowbar this door open, unsuccessfully, so went back to his truck and came back with a 5 pound maul and started banging on that door like it had run over his dog. Eventually, the door loosened up, and he pulled it open to discover what I thought was just a bunch of dirt

He scraped away the dirt to find the end of a piece of 6″ ceramic sewer pipe with some sort of plug in it. When he pulled the plug out, I looked down about 4 feet of pipe to see the main sewer line that goes from the catch basin (behind the house) to the city sewer under the street. No FCS anywhere in sight… just an access pipe to the sewer. Real exciting stuff, I know, but it was all new to me as I had no clue that anything was going on that far under my basement.

So The Plumber got his sewer rodding machine out and rodded out the sewers, sending a 4″ cutter back to the catch basin, and a 6″ cutter out to the city sewer, pulling back several handfuls of tree roots that had found their way into the pipe junctions at several places.

So we’ve got a clean sewer now. Isn’t that exciting? I think so too.

The Work Begins

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

When we first looked at this house, we knew it was going to need a lot of work–in the typical fashion that old houses do; however, only time will tell if I’m prepared for the never-ending projects that this house is going to provide me with. I’ve got a fairly itching fix-it finger, so for now, I’m pretty excited.

I got to the house at about 7AM with my cup of coffee to find that our phone service wasn’t working. Oddly enough, the buttons make tones, but I get no dial tone. Weird.

My first action as a new homeowner was to liberate the back gate to the alley, which was so overrun with vines that you couldn’t see where the gate ended and the fence began. I celebrated by pulling down a few ceiling tiles in the basement, but more on that later.

After picking up the Mrs. and making the first (of what I’m sure will be many) deposits at Home Depot, the Glass Guy came over to measure our front door for a new pane of glass.

The front door is original, but somewhere along the line, the bevelled glass that was in it got replaced by a piece of plexiglass. Not only is this brutally ugly, but it’s also patently unsafe, so it’s got to go. We’re getting a quote for a 22″ x 58″ piece of bevelled tempered glass, so that it will look very much like the original glass in the door.

Some Basics

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

The doorbell was, not surprisingly, non-functional, and while the chime mechanism is hanging in the foyer, the chimes were nowhere to be found. We managed to find the one wireless doorbell that has actual chimes, so our doorbell doesn’t sound like the door chime at the dollar store.

We picked up a few cheap lamps and put them on timers to give the place at least a slight look of occupation until we can get moved in. Then the Second Floor Guy came with his four-year-old son to give us an estimate. Second Floor Guy was very nice, and his son was kind enough to dust off our steps and half of our living room by crawling and sliding around playing with a toy.

Suffice to say that the floors are filthy–the house has been empty for months.

M. and I went down into the basement and spent about 45 minutes pulling the remaining ceiling tiles and furring strips down off the ceiling. M. got all the tiles down from the front half of the basement and I got a few dozen furring strips yanked. I’m glad to have gotten started on that.

Later, the Refinishing Guy came over to give us an estimate on refinishing all the woodwork. Refinishing Guy was very nice, but I can already see getting the woodwork refinished is going to be a lot of money.

Welcome to the Money Pit. 🙂