June 5, 2006

Misc. House

Filed under: House Blog — marcstober @ 11:27 am

Ok, haven’t posted in a while due to weekends away, but here’s the latest on the house:

We planted grass. Just in the one corner of the yard that (from being watered by the sump pump) had turned into a blue-ribbon dandelion patch. And after about a week, it’s sprouting. Plan for next weekend: buy a lawnmower.

New flowers are also coming up in the back, which is a pleasant surprise. Still lots to trim and weed but I think it’s gradually going to come under control.

The sunroom was built over what had been the basement bulkhead, which had been sealed up from the basement side. When we moved in I pulled up the dusty carpet in the sun room and noticed that there was an intentionally loose piece of subfloor. I pulled that up and there is basically just a big hole, which I guess you could put a ladder in (or hoist up an old boiler, maybe). I’ve taken to calling it our Underground Railroad stop (although of course the house is not that old, but there are a lot of older houses nearby so it probably happened in the neighborhood).

I also realized that the sealed-up door in the basement has an octagon crystal doorknob – such extravagance for the basement! Must have been a spare at the time, but I’ll have to keep it in mind as a spare for upstairs.

I also attempted some electrical work. The outlets in our house are interesting, in that, in an old-fashioned style, they’re installed in the baseboards, horizontally. The electrical box is actually installed flush with the wall, requiring extra-long screws (not the ones that come with the outlet) to hold the outlet in the right place.

Cheryl had been having a frustrating time drying her hair because of issues with the outlet, so I upgraded it, but one of the existing extra-long screws was missing. So, it’s better than before but not finished. I also installed the dimmer switch in our room, but because of some sort of old-fashioned wiring splice in the box the, couldn’t make the dimmer flush with the wall. I think it’s time to hire an electrician—he’ll have the parts in his truck and just get it done. Moreover, I figured out that all the outlets and lighting upstairs (except the bathroom) are run on one circuit. So we’ve had some hot days outside and there’s no place to plug in the air conditioners.

Finding contractors is the hardest part of this whole enterprise, largely because it takes work hours when my time is at a premium, and because it involves larger decisions. I decided calling an electrician was worth it because we won’t make any other good decisions this summer if we’re grumpy about it being too hot. In general, though, I am trying to defer things to get started on the The Big Project, which I think will involve hiring an architect and coming up with a master plan for all the changes.