RE: Building Reconstruction
I just thought I would share my recent experiences with you folks since some of you might appreciate what I am going through.
Heidi and I have lived in our house at Unity now for the past 10 years. From Day 1 we knew that the front wall had a slight bulge in it. However, it wasn't until last Fall that we realized that this problem was a structural problem and not just cosmetic. We should have realized this a number of years ago since we have found many things that the former homeowners and builders did that haven't been "quite right" (i.e. electrical junctions that consist of electrical wires being wire nutted and taped together without junction boxes, using light switches as "junction boxes", plumbing that doesn't have individual shut offs, etc.)
In any case, last Fall a contractor came in (actually two) and both said the best thing to do was sell the house . . . which we had a problem with since a) we love the house and the area (after all it's only five minutes from the Unity House of Pizza) and b) it wouldn't be ethical to sell a house that could potentially fall down.
This Spring the ever resilient Heidi decided that at the very least we needed to fix a small section of the sill that was rotten and ants had made a nice home in . . . unfortunately that project soon spread to fixing some bad floor stringers . . . and to make a long story short that project eventually expanded to the point where I ripped down all of the wall covering (a luan-like wallboard) and drywall in the bedroom, bathroom, foyer and part of the living room. That's the bad news.
The good news is that with the "bones" of the house exposed one of the contractors came back and said the house could be saved and would be a much easier job than he expected. Of course, the solution would not be something we could do as it involves jacking and removing the entire front wall of the house and putting in a new stronger wall and connecting the roof rafters to the wall in a better fashion.
Currently we're in middle of the project which means that we're basically living in one upstairs bedroom on a full (read "way too small") bed . . . although I should back up and say that I'm spending more of my time sleeping on the couch since Heidi wants me to guard against "burglars" (maybe my snoring will scare them away.)
Some highlights thus far:
-- Pre Construction Phase . . . Heidi and I lifted a 12 foot long 6 x 6 timber underneath in our crawl space to help prop up a section of the floor (this was before we called in the experts) . . . and unfortunately the beam fell hitting Heidi in the chest (she now has a nasty bruise).
-- On Day 1 (or rather Night 1) Heidi moved from the bedroom bed to the den's couch and then finally to the back seat of the 4Runner parked in the garage since she heard "creaking" (no doubt from the house settling) and became convinced that the house was going to collapse (meanwhile I slept inside happily snoring away.)
-- On Day 1 (and every day so far) our five cats cower in fear all day long and hide from the workers . . . and then proceed to go nuts with all of their pent up energy when they leave so all night long they run around the house, exploring new spaces and leaping up and down from the newly created void spaces.
-- On Day 2 the crew had an entirely new wall in place. To keep out bugs and animals they temporarily attached clear plastic along the entire front wall . . . it kind of reminded me of the saying about living in glass houses . . . well, plastic houses at least. Again, I pulled guard duty since a would-be burglar would have only needed to bring a sharp steak knife to get inside.
-- On Day 3 (yesterday) the crew had attached plywood to the front and had started working on the inside which meant some plumbing in the soon-to-be remodeled bathroom was cut and plumbing re-plumbed. Unfortunately, in their haste the cold and hot water lines running upstairs were switched. This morning Heidi and I didn't realize this so she ended up washing her hair in the kitchen sink while I took an ice cold shower (I can personally vouch that the water coming up out of my well is ice cold and very refreshing . . . especially at 6:30 in the morning.)
-- Day 3 . . . the crew found a cache of old toys that apparently was hidden in one of the inside walls. Since this house was built in the 70s I was hoping that maybe there would be some mint condition Star Wars toys or something valuable . . . but alas the collection consisted of a smashed up Hotwheels truck, plastic bear missing its tail and some other worthless trash/toys.
Oh well . . . just got to keep focusing on the end goal . . . that and go geocaching tomorrow!