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Category: Home improvement

Not Indian summer …

… because we’re a month or more away from our first frost. But after a rainy September we’re in the midst of mild, sunny days. Sunny days have meant only one thing to me all summer: Accomplish work on the house. We (and I) did enough of that to turn Ye Olde Wreck officially into the Mo Saoirse Hermitage, but there’s still a bit of this, bit of that. I’ve begun each dry morning with a to-do list. Yesterday I was good and did everything I planned. Today … well, I got started, though I ended up doing a different…

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The time has come …

… the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.” Erm. No, actually that’s not the time that has come. My brain just flipped Lewis Carroll-ward when I wrote the subject line. An entirely different time has come. After 5 years and 4.25 months, the exterior of Ye Olde Wreck no longer reveals any wreckage. The interior, though not cosmetically complete, is entirely livable. Plumbing and electrical are upgraded and working. The roof and foundation are in good shape. The insulation is…

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Done (mostly) but disappointed

The race against the clock fall rains is over. We had pleasant showers last night and the region’s most esteemed meteorologist says that’s it: Summer is officially done and we’ll be seeing a lot more such “pleasantness.” After darned near doing myself in on Wednesday, I slowed my pace of work. As a result there’s still miscellaneous trim, touch-up, and clean-up remaining. But I did finish the gutters at 2:00 yesterday afternoon, a few hours before light rain moved in. That was the last big, important thing — the last thing that couldn’t somehow be made to fit between showers.…

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DIY lesson #237684: Being stupid despite knowing better

I could barely drag myself outside to work to work this morning. Partly that’s because today’s goal was 40 feet of continuous gutter, including two downspout drops and two outside corners and two glued connectors. I was apprehensive about doing that. It’s the longest span and it’s not a one-person task. Partly it’s just that I’m ready for The Big Break, which I can’t take until Friday when the rains come. At 10:00 a.m. I finally ran out of excuses. Out to the sunny south side I went. At first the main problem was me. I had the dropsies and…

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Starting to wear down + random links

After a drizzly start on Saturday, the holiday weekend morphed into sheer perfection. I took advantage by trimming, caulking, painting, and planning the layout of gutters. Now I’m beat. I need to spend a day paying bills, catching up on email, cleaning house, and other non-building matters. But the weather gods say we have just three days of sunny skies before five days of rain. Back outside I go. Back up and down the ladder. Back into drippy paint and ooey glue and bending those nails that don’t want to be hammered into unlikely places. Back to the twisty physical…

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Looks good. But will it last the winter? That’s the question.

So there’s the most recent addition to Ye Olde Wreck: a clear acrylic porch cover to keep the worst winter rains from blowing in under the front door. So far so good and I look forward to sitting under it when the first gentle fall rains arrive. But will it last the winter? That’s the question. The structure was designed to hold a 1/4-inch flat sheet of plexiglas that would bear up through a nuclear blast. Well, at least through the gale-force winds that sometimes clobber this very exposed corner. Substituting fragile corrugated acrylic was a risk. But I think…

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Ah, home “improvement”

I awoke this morning to a panoply of rubble. Ladders, drop cloths, tubs of tools, scrap lumber obliterating what’s left of the lawn, fragments of corrugated acrylic roofing, paint cans, buckets of paintbrushes in water, tubes of caulk, boxes of nails and screws, tarps, you name it. They call this home “improvement”? Sigh. The interior of the house is as bad as the exterior. Objects pulled from the walls and shelves (so they wouldn’t pull themselves off walls and shelves when the Monk attacked nearby walls with his reciprocal saw, a tool I’ve come to both hate and respect). Hand…

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How do you stay mad at somebody who does things like that?

One of the challenges of renovating a place like Ye Olde Wreck is deciding what to perfect, what to merely improve as best you can, and what you just have to live with. Sometimes it’s a matter of affordability. Sometimes a matter of priorities. Sometimes it’s simply about deciding to keep something because you fear that opening up that particular wall or floor or ceiling space might also mean opening a can of worms. Such was the case with my kitchen window. It’s another big, modern, vinyl window (the windows being one of three reasons the place seemed worth buying…

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Construction: Next few days

With The Wandering Monk in disappearance mode, I’ve been scrambling to keep up with summer house projects. Yesterday I worked on gutters, soffits, and trim. The toughest bit was removing a 28-foot section of old aluminum continuous gutter. This is a much more formidable object than you’d think — especially when it has raw metal edges and you’re on the fifth step of a ladder in the general direction said object is trying to fall. But isn’t falling because you have to yank and hammer on that one last stubborn connection that’s holding it to the rafters. And you just…

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