Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home Groan

Well, Mac has spent most of the past few days in the basement of our new (old) house, cranking and adjusting the jacks, to level the floors and generally straighten the frame out as much as possible.  At various times in the past, previous owners, or perhaps workers that they hired, had cut into the supporting joists which were not really adequate to begin with, seriously weakening them.  Those he has reinforced and the little house is now sturdier than it has ever been.  At the same time, he also has taken steps upstairs to correct the sagging in the roof, adding a beam and supports.

The house has been speaking to us, groaning and creaking with labor pains as it struggles toward it's rebirth. Sometimes the noises are soft and barely perceptible, other times they are loud complaints.   It increases my sense that the house is almost like a living being-someone I am coming to know more with each passing day.

Last night, Mac announced that he feels it is as close as he can get it.  The floors have been raised a little over two inches.  I noticed the difference as I stood in the kitchen and observed that the floor seemed less lopsided than before.  The changes can also be observed in the cracks that have now appeared in the walls and also in the caulking where the bathtub meets the tile.  This was expected and won't matter in the long run as we plan to eventually replace all of it.

I spent yesterday helping Mac out in the only way I really could, by pulling nails out of the old wood studs upstairs.  It seems that every nail ever pounded into the skeleton of this house is still there - or was until yesterday.  Large nails, medium nails, steel  nails, iron nails, wire nails and teeny, tiny finish nails.  What's with all the nails?

A lot of them had no heads, which made pulling them out more of a challenge for me, but I was undaunted, and kept at them with my crow bar and claw hammer.  Mac has now started the framing, so it will save him time if I can do this sort of small stuff.  Here I am rockin' my safety glasses.

At times the amount of work still ahead feels overwhelming, but we are doing what we can with our limited time and resources.  Mac is never one to take short-cuts and wants to do things right the first time, a policy I fully endorse.
The one thing really slowing us up is the weather.  Mac takes a full day to shovel us out here where we are living now, then heads over to the new house for several more hours, and then eventually has to shovel out the work site at his real job.  All the time dedicated to this snow removal is time stolen from the new house, not to mention trying to keep his supplies unburied.

We are enduring a winter of record-breaking snowfall here in the northeast and as absurd as it sounds, there is another huge storm expected in a few days.  The piles are so tall now that it is getting dangerous just trying to drive around town; you can't see around corners at all when you pull out of a street, and have to edge out so far you risk getting smashed by oncoming cars.

Rigby seems confused by all the huge drifts and piles.  She is limited to staying on the shoveled paths, because otherwise she sinks in over her head.

The icicles hanging off roofs are incredible.

Just look at how small Mac's dump truck looks next to the massive snow mound.  Meteorologists foresee this pattern of a storm coming every three to six days continuing through February.  I wonder where are we going to put it if it keeps coming.


  1. Thanks for the update Deedee. It's good to hear about the progress.

    I shall immediately stop complaining about all our rain.

    If the snow in the Northern hemisphere continues as it has this year we are all going to have to alter our way of life.

    And the icicles! Wow.

  2. Blimey Deedee, we've had a lot more snow than usual here in the u.k. over the past couple of Winters.... but nothing like you've got there! Poor little Rigby..... just as well he has pathways shovelled out for her. :D

    I love the photograph of the old wooden beam, but don't envy you the task of taking out all those nails! And how can anyone look so good in safety glasses? :O)

    Great photos Deedee..... it'll be nice for you and Mac to look back on when you have everything the way you want it. :)