Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Pictures from the weekend… and beyond!

I told you about scraping the wallpaper in the front bedroom. Here’s a picture of my progress so far:

I also told you about Grandma persevering at scraping the wallpaper in the living room and dining room:

Yesterday and today she worked on that and now she’s only got one little section left before she’s all done. Unbelievable!

Yesterday I sallied forth to Menards to find the coupling I needed to hook the shower extension onto my tub. Silly me, I thought I could measure both ends, walk in, find the piece I needed, and have made a successful trip. Not so. Trouble is I suck at measuring, so I bought the wrong size coupling. I had one coupling that had been used to attach a hand held spray nozzle and I knew that one end of that fit into the faucet. So when I went back I took that coupling with me. I also took the shower extension with me since I didn’t trust myself to eyeball it any better. I couldn’t get the threaded end of the shower extension to fit any of the couplings they had! So I asked a trusty Menards associate. He scratched his head, tried to fit the threaded end into a few more couplings, had no success, scratched his head some more, and consulted with his youthful protege. “Looks like garden hose thread, not pipe thread,” the lad said. “Maybe it’s metric,” the elder pondered. I took back my shower extender and took another close look at it. I scraped away some of the pipe tape that had crustified around the joint and discovered that the oddly threaded coupling was actually screwed into what appeared to be 1/2″ pipe thread! “Have either of you got a wrench handy?” I asked. We found a wrench and the stronger of the two associates gave it a few good turns and sure enough, the odd coupling (sorry for the bad pun) came out and I was left with a perfectly standard 1/2″ pipe thread which would fit perfectly onto the coupling I started with in the first place!

So here it is connected:

As swimmingly as that all worked out, it is actually a little too short for my tallish husband so I’ll be looking for another section of pipe to extend it a bit, but for now, he’ll just have to stoop a little.

So now on to more recent developments:
It rained in Des Moines today. A lot. When I got home one of the downspouts had come detached from the gutter and was streaming water straight down at my foundation! I got up on the ladder and hammered a nail into it as a temporary fix, only to find that the downspout was leaking a stream of water from the elbow. I took the elbow apart and surprise surprise, it was totally clogged with years of composted leaves. Yummy. In the process I re-sliced open the cut on my hand from the razor blade, so I’m putting that wound on infection-watch. Don’t worry, I’m current on my tetanus shot. After I got that whole contraption put back together I still had a big pool of water threatening to seep down into the foundation, so I took the bricks the chimney sweeps had removed from our chimney and used them to displace some of the water. I don’t think it really did all that much, but it was a way for me to at least feel like I was trying in a futile situation. When I got back inside I looked like a soggy sewer rat. BUT! I noticed when I was changing into dry clothes that a mud splatter had landed on my face and looked JUST LIKE Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark. My grandma said I should leave it on, but I had to wipe my face.

The good news is that there wasn’t much water in the basement at all. Just a couple damp spots on the inner foundation wall where water was starting to seep in, but nothing like the puddles we found when we first bought the place.

While Grandma worked away upstairs I went down to the basement to start picking out the recyclable copper wire from the pile the electricians left me.
That was a dirty job because the cloth covered wires were all coated with several decades’ worth of coal dust.

Mmm sooty:

Here’s a really scary connection I found in the wire I was untangling. Remind me again why my house didn’t burn down long before I ever had a chance to buy it…

My bucket o’wire for Craig. He’s going to burn off the insulation and take the remaining copper to a metal recycle shop and they’ll apparently give him money for it. Can’t be that much, but hey, recycling rocks in all its forms. I admire his motivation.

Since I was already in the basement with my camera I thought I’d poke around some of the nooks and crannies that having a digital camera makes it so much easier to explore. Most of the original foundation of our house was built of these hollow cinder blocks. Where they come together at a corner or at the end of a wall, they often open sideways into a series of little pigeon holes. My grandfather used to store tools and owners manuals and things in the ones in his house on E. 14th St., so I thought I’d see if there were any little treasures left behind in my walls.

I found a spool, or something resembling one:

I found a ginormous rusty nail:

And I found several pockets of coal left behind in the furnace room:

Once I’d grown tired of spelunking in my basement I went back upstairs to clean up a bit and feed the cats before fleeing to my mom’s house to take a shower. I actually found a pre-made shower curtain rail that is big enough to encircle my WHOLE tub, but I need help installing it so until that’s up, no showers at my own house yet.

Phew! This post has been a doozy. I’m ready for bed.

P.S. Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day! I wonder how many people will blog in pirate-speak today.

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3 Responses to “Pictures from the weekend… and beyond!”

  1. September 19th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    Nate says:

    Wow, good post! Aren’t you just dying with anticipation of a clean coat of paint on your walls? I know I am. I still have to repair a lot of cracks and texture issues before I can paint, but I know once that’s done it will just bump the project up to the next level.

    …and yes, scary wiring. In my walk-through with my house inspector one of the stoves had a rag on its coil. It’s like some people are asking for a fire! I think the next house I buy (after college) where I plan to stay for a while I’ll just get it rewired. Not really in my budget right now!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. September 20th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    misadventuresofkellyandkelly says:

    I’m looking for a tub enclosure – care to share where that might be from? Thank you so much!!

  3. September 20th, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    ournewoldhouse1 says:

    I can’t remember the brand name off the top of my head, but I bought it at Menards. It was around $40. I’ll be sure to write a full post about it with all the details when I install it (hopefully this weekend.)
    Thanks for reading!

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