Chad, you ruined my Thanksgiving…

“I wanted a fire with dinner, and you put a #&%$ing trash can in my living room!”

The trash can was filled with firewood. And by firewood I mean construction waste. Specifically, wooden construction waste that had never been painted, varnished, glued, or pressure treated. My poor mother has agreed that it can all go onto her screen porch, which is now closed for the winter. So here’s to having no trash in my living room!

wood on porch

More firewood cans coming soon; you can only fit so much into a Volvo station wagon.

Now in other news, my plumber is wrapping up the radiator repiping project and it’s gorgeous. I take back what I said about it being an expense that doesn’t make the house prettier; just look at what it did to my basement!

zone valves 1 zone valves 2

No more head banging in the basement, and no more chance of having any hot or cold rooms, or any leaks!

In other news, I had my pre-construction walk through for the big insulation/chimney/heat/window project. I really like the carpenter who is working for me on this… at least so far! I have hired ECA, a contractor that’s actually a non-profit, through the PGW EnergySense program. Funny story, I am the first client he’s ever had who installed wood windows. And of course I did it just to get a subsidized loan for something expensive. They are EnergyStar qualified though! The last of these openings is now framed out. Because I’m adding extra kitchen cabinets, we had to raise the sill about a foot, and to do this my next door neighbor suggested (and did most of the work to install) poured concrete. Here it is!

kitchen window framing

So that’s not going anywhere.

I haven’t gotten their start date yet, and partly that depends on how long the window fabrication takes. I might have those 3 windows boarded up for a month. Luckily they’re not visible from any streets or publicly accessible areas. I have a bit of homework to do to get ready for the insulation. There’s a little bit of wall framing to finish around the bathroom and kitchen windows, the soffit around the original front bedroom closet is open to the attic cavity and needs to be blocked up with something, and the insulation in the second floor ceilings will mostly be blown in from a hole in one closet. Ironically, this closet is the where I’ve been putting things to keep them safe as it was the only part of the house that I wasn’t ripping out.

Then there’s the wallboard on the upstairs ceilings I have decided that the ceilings are in such poor shape that it makes more sense to cover over them than to restore the original plaster. Between the old wallpaper, the cracks, the sagging, and the holes punched in it all over the place to run wiring and install the skylight, there’d be far to much to do to save them. The electrician was going to tape over the holes for the wiring and install old work boxes for the ceiling lights later on, but the insluation guy wants the boxes in right away so the insulation doesn’t come down like fake snow.

Now the back bedroom, which is completely open, is a different matter. They will be air sealing gaps in the walls with spray foam one day and blowing in insulation another. This means that I will have to hang the wallboard in this room the night in between. The carpenter from ECA apparently trusts me given the workmanship he can see elsewhere in the house. I’m glad to do it; it knocks a couple hundred off the bill, and even though that bill will be paid in monthly installments for the next 10 years, I’d like to keep it down when I can.

Then there’s the little matter about the front windows. These are not good quality, but there’s also nothing wrong with them. Well nothing except horrible installation that irreparably damaged them, makes them look crude with rough wood slapped together to fill gaps around the original window framing, and prevents 2 of them from closing. The trim around the deep sills of these windows was covered over with plywood paneling, apparently to cover gaps in the original wood. We’re going to redo some of this in such a way that the windows and the trim around them can come out without affecting the rest of the framing since there’s a huge cavity here that will be filled with fluffy, messy cellulose insulation. This is also the final nail in the coffin for what little is left of my house’s original woodwork. Here’s what it looks like, for now. The after will be new woodwork that looks exactly like the old. The window sills can stay, so at least that’s something.

And then there’s still more trash wood and firewood to bring home!

Living room window casings

Living room window casings


6 thoughts on “Chad, you ruined my Thanksgiving…

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    First of all, was that your mom cursing about the impromptu firewood containers? Since as part of our house renovation we installed a gas fireplace, my dear hubby could not leave construction debris from the new addition in the living room as firewood. But he seems to have had an endless supply of leftover wood the last two summers at our camp. While other people have neat piles of rustic-looking logs for their campfires, we have sawed-up lumber. But we hide it in a log rack with a green plastic cover, so it’s not so bad. Maybe for Christmas you should get a rack like that for your mom’s screened porch. Failing that, get her a nice copper bucket instead of a trash can to keep her firewood in. And cut it to length for her.

    Not everybody gets as excited as you do with what’s in the basement, but we do share your joy at plumbing properly installed and room for your head. After all, you will probably have a workshop down there.

    So sad about the hatchet job done around the front windows. I think you can fix the trim so it looks OK. I forget–do you have cats? If not, you should get a couple. They will love that deep sill.

    Keep up the good work and your spirits.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Yes, it was my mom cursing! I am allowed to have the trash cans on the screened porch as it is surrounded by large shrubs and they’re completely out of view. I am not allowed to bring the trash can into the living room, even though it was cold and I didn’t want to keep going out to the porch. It is cut to length. I got pretty organized about getting rid of the debris.

      And the front windows, I’m just replacing all the woodwork. It won’t be that expensive to get a very close match, but it would be to get a perfect match, and it’s damaged and gooped up with paint. I need to make sure that whatever trim is holding in the cellulose can stay in place when the trim directly around the windows gets ripped out. It’s unfeasible to replace the front windows now but I am looking forward to their demise.


  2. CindyH

    I think the plumbing looks beautiful! And you should get a cat – we are in love with our sweet little Paty Cake! It’s so fun to come home and see her sitting on the window sill looking out at us – the one thing decent about our house is the deep sills (though not as deep as yours and I hate our windows).
    As for the firewood, you really are lucky with how the porch is situated to hide that stuff – you can only push your mom so far…



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