Happy Birthday Blog! I can't believe that I have been writing this blog for an entire year! I know time seems to pass by faster the older I get, but it's starting to go alarmingly fast. Yet somehow, it seems like we are making progress on the house slowly. We joke that we seem to only put up one board on each workday, and we are literally fixing up this old house one board at a time. Today, however, Brandon nailed up five boards, and I filled in two wall gaps with insulation. So there. The number of boards that go up isn't really a good indicator of how much was accomplished though, because for every board that goes up, mountains of old rubble comes down, and much time is spent scratching our heads and pondering the mysteries of how a house should be put together. And since we have never done this sort of thing before, everything is a mystery.
In the photo above, Brandon is shoring up the kitchen wall. He is putting in new two-by-six boards at each wall stud, and using these to brace a new top plate board for the roof to rest on. He is doing this to strengthen the wall, which was so rotten he could push on it and it would move, and to make sure the roof has a strong support, especially since we are planning to take the horizontal boards that were the ceiling out. We're pretty sure they aren't structural, but just in case they are somehow keeping this old house standing when so much of it has been eaten by termites we wanted to make sure the wall is strong. We can also put more insulation in this wall if the studs are six inches instead of four.
This is not the most exciting photo, for sure, but this represents some strenuous labor on Brandon's part, and some anxiety for both of us since we weren't sure we were making the right decision. This is the doorway from the kitchen to a little room which was added to the house a long time ago. One of the many problems with this little room, which will someday be our bathroom and laundry room, is that the ceiling is very low. So low that Brandon's hair was rubbing the old saggy drywall on the ceiling. To make it seem even worse, the kitchen floor is higher than the floor of the little room, and the step was in the doorway. So it was kind of like a little hobbit door, and while we didn't actually have to duck to enter, it felt like we needed to. To alleviate this, we decided to move the step out of the doorway and into the kitchen area. If it works like we plan, then we can step to the level of the little room before going through the doorway, so at least we don't feel like we are going to konk our heads. But this meant that we had to cut a chunk out of the old original beam that the house sits on. Should we do that? To late now, we did it. If you can see the hammer on the ground in the photo, this is where the beam was cut away. Now we just have to pour cement at the same level as the little room cement slab. This little task turned into a big job, and it doesn't look very impressive either.
All of this work has been going on in the cold. This is the end of the new water line that we recently installed by digging a trench through the yard and breaching under the house. We turned the water off to the house and then opened this valve, which will be under the kitchen floor, so that any water still in the line could expand out the end of the pipe instead of swelling and bursting our new pipe when it froze. As you can see by the icicle hanging from the end of the pipe, this was a good idea. It's cold in there!