Sunday, January 30, 2011

Renovation reality......nightmares!

OK, my project has officially become a reality show episode. Just when I thought things were coming along reasonably well, despite the fact I was working outside under halogen lights until 9 PM the last 2 nights. Friday night was great but Saturday was getting pretty cold by then but I had open holes in my attic gable which had to be closed in before bad weather arrives.

Saturday, having turned out nicer than expected, looked like a good time to get a bit more plywood on the house. Standing near the top of the 16 foot ladder, ripping down fiberboard was fine, then I decided to remove the last piece of masonite siding, at the top of the gable. I sliced through the plank as it had a large screw eye in it which the electric wire from the pole attached to.

Unfortunatly, a small miscalculation occurred about this time. The screw eye, which I thought had been screwed into the 2x4 running up the wall behind the electric box, was actually only screwed into fiberboard. When the last piece of siding was cut, the electric meter and the 10 foot steel pipe running from it to the roofline, had no support at all and the next thing I knew, the electric wires were on the ground and the meter was hanging from side of the house.

Nice, eh? Ever wonder what you should do when your electric meter falls off your house? Not really something I spent a lot of time contemplating up to this point. Forced to think about it, the first thing that came to mind was "Is it safe to touch it?" followed by wondering if I would end up with a pile of crispy critters if the little dogs ran into it. I decided first priority was to herd the dogs into the house and lock them in. Then I debated what to do next while continuing to pull sheathing off the house. I thought about calling for someone to come cut the power off but had visions of spending the rest of the weekend in a dark, cold house. I thought about just leaving it laying in the yard until Monday when utility workers would be on duty. I was so flummoxed! What to do?

Fortunately, about that time a neighbor drove up and having been a friend of my son during childhood, he commented on how much fun it looked like I was having. His brother works for the city so he called to see if it was safe to leave the meter down over the weekend. The brother didn't think this would be safe so he called a crew who showed up shortly and cut the meter loose from the pole. They then rehung the meter on the house and connected the wires back up so I didn't have to spend Sunday in the dark. I didn't get the plywood all up but that will have to wait for another weekend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter construction......

NOT such a good idea! It hasn't exactly been WARM but over the past 2 weeks it has been above freezing a few times so plywood has been going up. Sadly, today was beautiful as are the next 3 weekdays predicted to be but of course dark arrives at my house before I do on work days. Am I likely to be taking any time off this week to work on finishing up the plywood? Not a chance.
Not to worry, Saturday and Sunday I get to stay home but then temperatures are predicted to return to around freezing for the weekend. Top that with the fact that the worst part of the installation is yet to come, the upper part. Given that a sheet of 3/4" CDX plywood weighs around 75 lbs and the gable of the house starts 8' above ground, this promises to be a formidable task. There may be more cutting on the upper
level as a 32" wide piece will weigh significantly less than a 48" wide piece.
The biggest challenge is over, the sheathing behind the electric meter went in last Saturday. It took cutting a keyhole (?) slot to slip over the wiring where it enters the electrical box but that was the most worrysome part of this process. There will be another hurdle at the top where the wire comes to the house but it won't require cutting around, just sliding the plywood under the pole.
Now, if I can just manage to haul the new patio door from the garage to the back of the house, real progress will be happening.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I think it is official now, winter is here. No one showed up in early December to put siding on the house so there stands the bare house, wrapped on three sides with white plastic. The back, uncovered, waits for me to have time off on warm days so the black fiberboard can be replaced with plywood.

The deck frame now stands independent of the house, resting on blocks, all the decking boards removed and stacked on the plywood sheathing. I think this tactic worked to flatten some of the warp that was in the plywood when I bought it. Apparently, even in large stacks, CDX plywood can warp the long way.

Now, if we could just get some sunny weekends with temperatures at least in the upper 30's, perhaps I could start putting up the plywood. Yesterday was beautiful, the sun was shining and it was in the 40's but of course that was a workday. Tomorrow is predicted to be overcast
and close to freezing all day. NICE! On the other hand, compared to last weekend, it is
pretty comfortable. It was -15 last weekend and
with wind chill was more like -25 during the
night. Needless to say, it would have been nice to have siding on the house.

The snow came last weekend, too. It made quite a mess but did get me a day off work. In fact, the office closed because of it and that is quite an event. On Tuesday however, which I had taken off to attend to personal stuff, I had to stomp through the snow to the dentist then to get my driver's license renewed. Following that, I had to dig out the truck so I could drive to the next appointments. By the end of the day, I'd had my fill of snow for the year.