Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Laundry Test Drive

When Frankie came by last week, he helped assemble our "laundry area" which currently comprises our total livable area in the basement (6 square feet! Woo hoo!).

After wiping off the drywall dust this morning, I loaded up the washer for a test run (towels.. .nothing too worrisome if something fails)..

Well, they made it through the washer with marginal success (slight leakage under the washer though). They are now turning in the dryer.

Hopefully this isn't a major repair and we will be able to avoid any laundromat woes!

Monday, July 25, 2005

S(heat)rock Weekend

Scottie Sprung a Leak!
Lot's done last week. Not only did we move in, we got tons done on the basement. Of course, it helps when you have someone (else) working everyday on the place, as Scotty was able to do. Even Frankie came by for a couple days during the week to help out!

AND, SBC finally made it to hook up our phone and actually knocked on our door this time! Wonder of wonders! As Jen said, sometimes being a you-know-what can get things accomplished! So now we have phone and DSL! Long live the blog!

And although there were some occasional occupational hazards (see image on right when Scottie sprung a leak) along the way, we managed to avoid any major catasrophes.

Perhaps the most newsworthy item in Chicago this weekend was the convergence of music. Grant Park hosted Lollapolooza downtown, and the Vans Warped tour was intown as well, all while the city reached near-record highs of 103 degrees on Sunday! We managed to beat out most of the US in temps. I think only Death Valley was hotter (129 degrees).

Are those water pipes? No! Heating/cooling pipes!Of course, working in a basement provided a perfect excuse to beat the heat! It was relatively cool considering we had fans blowing air and drywall dust out the windows and door. It was so humid out that our heating ducts looked like water pipes!

Once the dust from Scotty's sanding started flying up though, it congealed into a nice sticky paste. That's okay.. Extra insulation for the future, jay says! :-)

Well, after many long hours, much more than expected, we have a ready-to-paint basement including new stairs (which Jay had been avoiding for some time, but thankfully Frankie came up with some clever solutions).
A Stairway nich... awaiting built-in shelves
You can see how we have a small niche under the stairs. This could be a perfect spot for an eventual built in shelving / storage, or a little desk. Jay quickly ran an electrical outlet there in case we need it later. On the backside of this niche is a closet for the "bright room" (so-named due the light that floods it from 10 am - 2 pm in the new glass block window Kenny helped install). We also had a few glass blocks left over, so we put them in the wall of the stairway landing to bring light back and forth between the "bright room" and the stairs. Plus, can you ever have too many interior windows? (joke).

We'll add a photo album later once Jen has a chance to put it together... Jay is photoshop-ignorant. :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We did it. It’s over. Or just starting, depending on your point of view.

The closing happened at noon today; we’re now full-time residents of Humphrey House, better known these days as The House of Chaos. Boxes throughout the house intermingle with planks of laminate flooring and excavated wood trim with nails still poking out. A fine coating of sawdust and drywall dust covers all the items in the east end of the house, giving even the dishes inside the cabinets a grimy feeling like they’ve just been rolled in sandpaper and ashes. I’ve stopped caring about the dirt on the kitchen floor, and have focused instead on just trying to keep the garbage from getting too full of smashed drywall, broken screws and the endless paper waste a steady diet of fast food inevitably produces.

The second floor smells like a dead pine forest in the dog days of summer after a three-year drought; a single match and POOF! nothing but burning embers.

The residue from the wallpaper glue in the first floor bedroom has begun to stain our bedspread and we’ve had to install a headboard to protect our own hair from becoming streaked with orange like misapplied self-tanner.

The bathroom’s floors feel slightly tacky no matter how many times I scrub them, and the front porch is this close to collapsing under the weight of our picture frames, extra chairs, fax machines, shoes and Christmas decorations.

But, dammit, it’s home.

Our kitty Merlin has come along for the ride as well, and seems to be coping better than Jason or I expected, which is a relief. Merlin ripped the backing material from the bottom of our box-spring mattress in search of the perfect hiding place. Seems he was a bit overwhelmed, too.

Again, dammit, it’s home. He’ll learn.

We’ve not got dsl or even the phone hooked up, so won’t be updating the gallery until next week at the earliest. But it will be amazing when I do. Frankie, Scottie and Jason have been working hard at finishing the drywall and other things.

Expected for completion next week:
- stairs leading up & basement walls
- phone and dsl working
- washer & dryer installed (THANKS AUNT MARGARET!)

adios …

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wake up! Wake up! It's MOVING day! The plow is here! Run for your lives! MOVING DAY IS HERE!

The above is a reference to this cartoon movie I loved as a kid, "The Secret of Nimh." It's about a bunch of mice/rats who live in the farmer's field. Mrs. Brisby is the heroine whose son Timmy is ill and cannot be moved from the cement block they call home, even though it's plowing season. Her husband's Auntie Shrew runs through the field alerting the mice, hedgehogs, bunnies and who knows what else when she hears the plow start up at the end of the field. General panic ensues, of course, and it's really bedlam.

Kinda like our condo. That sense of panic was pretty strong last night. We'll see how it goes ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


We move into this joint in FIVE days. Monday we've hired Del's Movers to come out and move out all our stuff. Currently, Jason and his crew (which invariably includes Scotty, but also thus far Scott and Mark, as well) are busy busting their assess hanging drywall while I pack up the condo.

I need more boxes. And more hours. And more sleep. And more speed. I want to be BLURRY with speed.

Yet here I sit.

Check out the gallery. WTF?! I gotta go pack!

Also, BTW, my band, bad nurse, played its first show this weekend: www.badnurseband.com. We are soo cool.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rough Inspection #2

Insulation inspection this morning. Although the inspector was an hour late, he was very apologetic and was at Humphrey House all of 5 minutes. "Looks good. You just need to put some insulation up in the joist bays along the outside walls." So, PASS!

Now Menards is dropping off 60 sheets of drywall later today. Hopefully we'll have walls by Monday!

Rough Inspection #1

The last inspection we had was in mid-March, when the inspector and the structural engineer for the village came out to ensure that our new post footings were dug to the proper depth of 18". During that visit they freaked out when they noticed other things that were not being done properly at the time. Such as glass block windows installed without a header (even though we just put inside an existing opening).

We barely ended up passing, but ever since we have been very concerned that any other inspection would be very scrutinizing and they would be looking for every little detail to fail us. So before the rough inspections, Jay took Jen through on a mock role-play pointing out and asking questions about every possible thing that they might have a problem with so she would be thoroughly prepared.

The first inspector to show up was the electrical guy. Fortunately, he is on the board of directors at Jen's former employer so they immediately had a good rapport. He took his time going through the place, but was encouraging in general and had offered some advice. His main concern was the high placement of outlets along the outside wall (due to concrete). He said if there was a problem he would call Jay later that day. And, the phone never rang. So, PASS.

The second inspector was the same guy who came out before on the footing inspection. Jen was tense, but this guy clearly had a much busier schedule in the middle of building season. His arrival and departure both included cell phone conversations. His total time present looking at everything from post installation to window headers to wall framing and everything took about three minutes. His only comments were "You'll have to have me back for an insulation inspection before you drywall" Okay. And, "You're not going to use any of these rooms as a bedroom, right?" No. Of course not! PASS.

Now we breath a collective sigh of relief. 72 hours of last minute cramming to desperately earn a passing grade... reminded us a little of college. And now, we can begin preparing for the final examination.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Today's deadline

We worked like mad the last five days... spending Independance Day weekend putting the finishing touches on our place in preparation for the building inpection today (Wednesday). Of course we had great help as usual from our family - Jen's dad Ken, Scott, and Jay's grandpa all came by to help us get things finalized.

Now everything will go under the magnifying glass as Jen leads the inspectors through our basement to check out the HVAC, framing, and electrical roughing. Keep your fingers crossed until 1:30... Will we clear this hurdle?