Monday, October 25, 2010


With the roof on and the windows in, it is now officially "dry". We no longer have to worry about water coming in through various openings or ending up in the basement. Just in time for the inclement weather that's supposed to be headed our way.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NOT Another Use for Duct Tape

We have been having phone problems lately. Lots of problems. As a result, we've missed a lot of calls. If one of them was you, please accept our apologies. It wasn't intentional. We've contacted AT&T service a few times over the last couple months, and each time, things started working acceptably before they came.

This past Tuesday, the phones stopped working altogether. No dial tone, no Ring-y Ding-y, no Internet, no nothing. It was at that time that we realized how much we rely on the Internet for so many things. Even tonight, there are four of us in one room, each one with a computer on their lap. We are a connected family.

I got on the Internet at work and logged a trouble report on AT&T's web site. Their estimate for having it fixed was Saturday evening, five days hence. So much for speedy service.

On our way to church a couple days later, I noticed a wire lying on the road. In fact, I ran over it as I passed by. It looked the right size to be a phone line. I put two and two together. That was probably MY phone line being pounded into the pavement by all the passing cars.

Most of it disappeared a couple days later. Perhaps that coincided with the apartment complex across the street mowing their lawn. Now my line is not only down, it's probably shredded into a million pieces.

On Saturday afternoon, we were beginning to lose hope. There was no sign of any AT&T repairman. And David is supposed to start an on-line class on Monday. It was looking like he might start his class at the local McDonalds.

The guy showed up at 4:00 on Saturday afternoon. I pointed to the wire dangling from the pole. "That could very well be the problem," he stated. I agreed with him.

An hour later he came to the door. "You should be all set," he told me. I tried it out. Wow, a dial tone!

He called about a half hour later. When the phone rang, we were dismayed to hear that the old problems were still there. It worked, but we were now back to the problems of a couple weeks ago. He told us that he checked the line after getting it fixed and it still registered a problem. "I will try to be back out on Monday," he said.

I did a little checking of my own and figured out that the problem was INSIDE the house instead of OUTSIDE. That meant it was my responsibility. So I set to work attempting to isolate sections of the wiring to determine where the problem was.

I eventually found it. A splice behind a wall. There are quite a few splices in this house, but this one was different. It was wrapped with duct tape. I'm not sure what gave me the presence of mind to wrap electrical connections with duct tape, but I now know that, as the stuff ages it assumes certain electrical characteristics that can drive you and your phone company nuts.

I was just at Lowe's today, buying some supplies for our new addition. In the electrical section was a large box containing zillions of rolls of electrical tape. I remember pondering it for just a few seconds, and then concluding that I really don't use electrical tape all that much and the sixty cents would be better spent somewhere else.

I now know better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Progress In Spite of Being Busy

The picture below is a little bit old. It was taken Monday and it is now Friday. From the outside it still looks similar, although the roof is now done and the door is installed. Inside, the plumbers have been hard at work, the heating guy was here yesterday, and the electrician (yours truly) has been drilling his own holes in the walls and the floor.

There wasn't a lot of time to work on it yesterday evening; about the only thing I had time for was to hang a couple recessed light fixtures, and then we were off to a presentation of traditional Chinese dance and music put on by the Living Hope Angels, a group of Chinese orphans who are currently traveling here in the States and putting on these presentations. We were privileged to host five of them at our home last night, three teenage girls, an interpreter, and a US-based support person. Abigail was excited to have them over. All the girls slept on cots and mattresses in the basement last night, and Abigail joined them--sort of like a Chinese slumber party. She even was able to practice a little bit of her Chinese

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting Darker

It's definitely getting darker on the inside. On Friday, more of the trusses were put up and quite a bit of the roof deck was also placed. Right now it is all protected against the rain by a patchwork of tarps and leftover Tyvek.

Below is a view from the inside, looking out the old kitchen window. The stud wall in the foreground is the location of the sink, although the wall will be half-high, and allow a view of the window beyond from the kitchen. The wall on the right is the new half bath.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Growing Taller

Some of the trusses were set yesterday. This gives a little better idea of what the roof line will look like. Also, a few interior walls, outer sheathing, and some of the moisture wrap.

Last night it rained. Hard. But we were better prepared this time. The basement stayed dry.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Our Indian Summer took a breather yesterday when a thunderstorm rolled through. There's nothing like little rain to reveal the holes in the open walls. Deb went downstairs during the storm and discovered it was raining harder in the basement than it was outside. Water from the roof was being funneled down onto the new subfloor, where it rain against the house. Since all the outer brick had been peeled off the house, the water ran freely down inside the house, and into some upper wall cabinets in the basement, which then distributed the water evenly over the washer and the dryer. It was quite a mess.

Deb didn't have the presence of mind to take any pictures. When it's raining in the laundry area, the last thing one thinks about is getting the camera.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Standing Walls

This awesome Indian Summer we've been having has allowed building to continue unabated since the start of the project. But, alas, progress will halt for a couple days as we wait for trusses, which should be here on Thursday.

Our screened porch now only has windows on two sides as side three was torn out to make way for a new wall.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Subfloor In

This is the time of the project when things seem to happen really fast. It is no longer possible to fall into the hole in the ground because the subfloor is now installed and the first wall is nearly built. The plan today is to start tearing into the wall on the right of the screen-porch in the picture below in order to put a support beam up to bear the roof trusses. Perhaps I'll be able to take a picture of a standing wall when I get home from work this evening, or perhaps there will just be a bigger mess.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Feeling Poorer

We ordered cabinets for the kitchen today. I'm holding the receipt. Need I say more?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lotsa Concrete

The floor of the crawl space under the addition was poured today. More large trucks in the back yard, more big muddy ruts in the lawn.

We spent a few hours on Saturday moving the dirt from the big piles on the lawn into the hole beside the new foundation wall. One shovel-full at a time. Abigail even helped for a while. She had a small trenching shovel, and every scoop of dirt she would hold up high and say, "Look, Daddy! Look how big THIS load is!" Not only was I moving my own loads of dirt, I was inspecting and acknowledging every load of dirt that Abigail was moving. Helping out was her idea, however, and she willingly moved dirt with the rest of us.

Today the floor was poured, so at least that part has a finished look about it. Now, with the weather becoming frosty at night, the hole in the house is becoming a problem...