Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week Seven

On Monday the decorators finished painting.  Well, sort of.  There's still some things that need to be touched up and other places that need to be cleaned, but let's just say the painters finished.  Also, we got the front wall repaired and repointed.  It still doesn't look great, but at least there are no longer large chunks falling of!

On Tuesday...nothing.  It was just me at the house, working for a couple of hours.  It was strange.  For the past seven weeks there has been work going on (except for Sundays).  

On Wednesday we got the cavity wall insulation.  I hope it works.  It was a good test to see where the walls had leaks.  (Answer:  Around several windows.  And the flue for the boiler.  And the pipes going out of the bathroom.)  The walls are filled with little Styrofoam (ish) balls with adhesive.  And where there were leaks the pellets got inside the house.  They look like rodent droppings and gross me out every time I see them.  And then I remind myself they're insulation.  Glorious insulation!

On Thursday...BAM!  We were back in business.  The electricians came and finished the second fix.  There are maybe two very minor things left before we get the certificate.

Our electricians has been really thorough.  And threw in a bonus for us.  They ran a power (light and sockets) out to the bomb shelter!  I'd mentioned we'd like to leave a line to do it down the road and they surprised us!

Another surprise (less pleasant) is that our earthing was not good.  I'd like to pretend that I know what this means or involves, but I don't.  I just know that it was a problem that we weren't sure how to solve (possibly adding new rods or running off our neighbors!) but it got sorted.  We called Scottish Power and they sent out a technician right away.  (Maybe it's a serious issue?  Or maybe we were just lucky.)  He took a crack at it, and then another team came later in the day and took care of it.  Our reading is now 0.22.  I don't know what that means either, except that it's very good news.

Our plumbers were supposed to come on Monday (nope), then Thursday (nope) and then Friday for sure.  (Still nope.)  I'm really hoping they actually show up next week because we have to have heating before the sanding guys come on the 10th.  Also, to manage a few bits and pieces a joiner was supposed to come yesterday (nope) and then today (nope.)  Fingers crossed for Monday.

No plumbers or joiners, but we did arrange for two guys from church to come and help me.  There are so many things that we haven't managed to take care of yet.  Some we thought we'd do ourselves because the work quotes seemed too pricey (like sanding the stairs).  Some we didn't realize needed to be done (like painting shelves and doors, I thought the painting quote included the items.)  And some seemed so easy we should do it.  (Like cleaning.)  These 'many things' are a list of about 130 items.  And if each one on average takes an hour, well...we won't be ready to move in 12 days from now.


Some items have to be done before we move in.  Some things can wait, but it would be nice to have them done.  (Like painting the storm doors and stripping the paint from the pull.  Because of the way the lock is situated, the bolt to remove the pull is buried in the door!)

Anyway, we decided to ask two guys from church who are between jobs if they would come and work with me for a few days.  The work was dirty and mundane, but it has been so nice having them help.

Look!  The storm doors are primed.  (We're still trying to decide if we leave them white or to paint them blue.)

The back door has been painted.  (It used to be red, now it's blue.  Still no glass.)

The exposed collar and oxter supports in the loft have been sanded.

And the stairs?  Well, sometimes I think we made a choice that's too labor intensive.   They used to look like this.

Then this.

We could have just carpeted them.  But that would be too easy.  I painted the stairs in our house in Cardiff, and Niall and I both like the look.  (And how much easier they are to clean than carpet.)  But these ones had at least 1/3 of each tread unpainted.  So we want to try to paint the risers and take the treads back to the wood.

I bought a heat gun and we went to work stripping the paint.  It was a slow, tedious, sticky and not-very-rewarding-mess.  Each step took about 40 minutes.  

They looked awful.  One of the guys spent a good portion of yesterday and three hours today sanding.  The stairs look better, but we're not there yet.  I'm not quite sure what to do. 

I'll probably sand over the stairs a few more times next week.

And then we'll decide whether to paint them or if the wood cleans up nice enough to varnish (and possibly stain.)

In other heat gun news, it worked a treat (funny what I consider a treat these days) on the funny box thing (where the stairs cut into part of the room) in the smallest bedroom.  Same story...not sure if we'll paint this or try to restore the wood.

We bought a second hand dual-fuel range cooker.  It has been in the garage for the past six weeks, but the electricians connected it on Wednesday.  (Now if the plumbers will just show up so we can truly be cooking with gas!)  The ovens were filthy.  I started cleaning it and then one of the guys spent six hours scrubbing it yesterday.  It's almost clean.  Oh, please let it work!

And how fantastic is this?  Four missionaries from church came over yesterday and helped us for two hours.   (They do service every week, and have come to help us a few times.)  Four guys + two hours=the equivalent of a full day's work of what I'd do by myself.  They did all sorts of odd jobs, mostly scrubbing off residual paint splatter.  With all the sanding the house is a dusty mess.  I laughed today when I saw that two of the Elders had left their mark on the banister dust.

So, all in all, things are moving along.  Up next week is the garden/yard (we're getting turf/sod laid), heating (please show up plumbers!) and sanding (if the plumbers arrive.)

Current count on dump runs:  25.

As a closing note, sometimes when I watch TV I find myself looking at the decor on the set instead of watching the story.  The other day I was watching "Borgen" (is that bad to admit?  Sometimes I think it might be a tad too racy, but I keep watching anyway) and was so pleased at the yellow, blue, grey and white contrast in the Room of Mirrors that I took a screenshot.

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