Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Bad 2010

The Bad

#1 Water vs plumber

The leaking water line in month 2 of living here. It is no joke to open a mailbox on a Friday night and find a $300  water bill. The former owners HAD to have known about this, as they had 1 or 2 high bills before they moved. But it was not caught on the inspection nor is there any proof so we didn't get to blame it on anyone. $1500 later with only a $56 credit from the water company (50% of 50% of 1, 2 month bill, minus $75 admin fee) Decembers water was free!

It would be listed under ugly, but it brought to us the lovely patio plan which elevates it up one level. (And because I promised to be more optimistic)

Here is where it started:

When we moved in this faucet on the patio was drip drip dripping away. In fact, the moving party was still here and Travis was determined to fix this. RIGHT NOW. So he did for about 30 cents in 2 minutes.

Now it WAS leaking almost 10 gallons a day, just by the innocent drip drip dripping. So when we pulled up this one broken cinder block, we shouldn't have been surprised to find a swimming pool.

And since we thought it was all from the drip drip dripping, we thought we could bail it out.

But by the time we got one hole empty, all the other holes had filled back in. But we kept it up and kept it up til they were ALL empty at the same time... I mean, how long had 10 gallons/day been leaking on to the patio?
Slowly the sun went down, and they all filled back up again. At this point we started wondering about a leak and I believe the very next day the bill came.
So we called 3 plumbers, hired 1 and waited for a sunny weekend for a surprise destruction of the patio

Now this is less than 2 months after moving in--all we really wanted to do was plant a garden, clean the house and sand those beams. We also had company coming in July for a week and this was the state of the patio in the middle of June:

We couldn't bear to put these back in. All the work to level out the dirt to hate these cinder blocks some more? No thanks! And this is where the dream was born.

And this is how far we got for our company. A big gravel yard!!! I spent A LOT of time vacuuming.

#2 The Beams from hell

Back when everything was white. *shudder*

The beams. The @#$% beams.
Travis couldn't wait to get started on these beams once we moved in. Underestimating the amount of time and work it would take. Grossly underestimating the annoyance.
Also--did I mention he doesn't like heights? (I won't say afraid, because he probably would not approve)
We recently called in some contractors for advice about what type of wood they were and how to stain them and every single one mentioned how Travis had done all the hard work all ready. They oohed and aahed at the fact if we hired them the rest would be a cake walk. (Bastards)
I wonder if the truth was known before we bought the house, if Travis would have still wanted THIS house.

Travis finished PHASE 1! YIPPEEE!

Full shot of Phase 1 complete--time for phase 2, detailing

Some of these divots are super deep

My all time favorite picture. Travis in deep thought about Beams

If it wasn't for this project, we should have moved upstairs. Or so we think. But another item actually is keeping us in the dungeon as well--coming up in Ugly

The truth is Travis climbed off the ladder in the middle of June to let the plumber in, and did not get back up there to work til the patio was done, actually almost done, but the weather was done with being cooperative.
Also climbing to the tallest area in our house in the middle of summer would have been pretty unbearable.

He has clocked more than 80 hours ON THE LADDER.

Phase 1, Sanding: standing on 10ft ladder holding belt sander up and using appropriate pressure to get a good even result. (I was not interested in trying it myself). Also wearing coveralls, goggles and nose mask.
Phase 2, Detailing: same as above, minus sander, but using metal pics and other smaller tools. we will find out after he begins.
Phase 3, Staining: more of the same using conditioner, stain and possibly brushes or rags.

I have forgotten about the first 2 pre-phases the applying of stripper and the scrapping off that happened back in early April. I am sure he has not.
By the end of this--Travis will know these beams quite well. Having worked on each inch more than 5x.

(I do believe I am sounding pessimistic now. I have thought about this series for far too long and have stretched them out to the point that it is now FEBRUARY. I am going to stop being so wordy and try and still make my point.)

#3 Timber

The Tree threatening to fall on our house.

Another item the inspector COULD have mentioned. Being noobs at home ownership--who would think something OUTSIDE the house and yard would pose a risk. This isn't in any manual for people. Actually maybe there is and I didn't get the memo?

The broken fence and leaning tree should have been our first clue

First shot out NE window. Very rustic

I absolutely LOVE the look of this tree

Ominous light-this is how far it leans OVER our yard

Blowing in the breeze

It is on a slope, eroding away with some drainage issue somewhere, leaning leaning leaning. During the wettest season of the wettest year...

I really really do love this tree and all the birds that grace it. If ONLY it was not leaning towards our house, but away, towards someone elses house or not leaning at all!
Only time will tell...

Stay tuned for part 3 of 'The Good, the Bad & the Ugly'


  1. Ownership of your first home can be interesting at times - especially if there are hidden problems for you to find later. Keep chipping away at them, and soon they will be distant memories.

  2. We are still in our first house, and still learning things that we wished we would've known before. Such as the previous owners not having downspouts connected properly and causing rot on the siding and post that holds our porch roof up. Always something I guess.
    That beam job sounds no fun, sanding is definitely one of the worst jobs. I remember trying to help my husband with the deck and quit after about 5 minutes. I'm impressed with how much you've gotten done already.

  3. Oh, you have really had an experience with your new home, April. What a nightmare with your patio and the water situation, but your new patio is gorgeous! What a fantastic patio it is now!

    Those beams, grrrrrrr....what a job...you both have so much determination though and are seeing that job through where most people would have given up.

    And finally, the tree. That would bother me alot, too. I wonder what your insurance company would say if they saw it? Maybe they would make the owners take some action? What a shame it is leaning, darn it!

    I've so enjoyed watching your hard work on your blog; we have to remodel soon, this place really needs work. You're both an inspiration to me!

  4. Oh my! That leak sounds like such a disaster to deal with. And that tree! The fact that it's leaning near the house is so Scary! Is it in the neighbor's property? Have you spoken to them about it?


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