Another Home Experience leaving me with Crap in my Hair

Believe it or not, crap in my hair is a sign that everything is right in the L&K household. It means that we have the energy, inclination, and time to undertake home improvement projects. Or it means that we are running out of money and need to try and save as many dollars as feasibly possible to pull the basement out to its completion. Actually, it's the combination of the two.

As any regular reader of this blog knows, we've been undergoing the basement renovation project from hell for the past 12 (read that, 12!!!) months. The sad part is that we aren't done, though we are nearing completion. Everything continues to be more expensive than what I have budgeted for, so after receiving the quote of the windows, 3 windows (basement windows) @ about $650/each, not including installation, we decided we had to take some things into our own hands.

We had a couple of options. One was to buy cheaper windows. We got another two quotes, but in the end, the cost differential wasn't enough to truly make it worth putting crap into the house and risking the wrath of the Historic Preservation board. The other was that we manage the installation ourselves and save about $600-800. The windows will still run us almost $2K.

Today we undertook the first step of the do-it-yourself plan. Let me add a disclaimer. I'm clueless. I would never undertake this type of project, except under the tutelage of K. She coos to me and says it's easy and I'm resting my head on her shoulder in the morning. So we merrily trot down to the hardware store to purchase the needed materials to undertake the project.

All we had to do today was get good measurements of the window opening size. I realize that those of you in new homes are thinking, "How hard can it be?" All you do is measure the opening. Well, in a historic property, nothing is quite so simple. Even having the opening to measure wasn't easy. Two of the three window openings had no glass. The frames were rotted and falling out of the windows. We had the pleasure of ripping them down completely and having the shit sitting on top of them fall onto our heads. The falling debris consisted of bricks, brick dust, mortar dust, accumulated dirt, and any other small stones or whatnot that had collected on top of the wood throughout the years of neglect.

By the end of two hours or so of work, we had demolished all of the old frames and were able to take semi-accurate measurements. We're fairly convinced that we are capable of installing the new windows when they arrive. Though, we still have to call in the measurements for the actual order. Then it will take 4-6 weeks for the windows to be built and shipped. Finally, around Thanksgiving, we should have the new windows and be able to embark on the next phase of fun in attempting the installation. In the meantime, I crammed up foam insulation into the three open windows. Our house is without a boiler, due to the previous contractor mistakes made last March and we've been surviving through the use of space heaters to keep at least the dining room around 65 degrees.

The good news is that we are talking about and feel as if we are able to tackle these home improvement projects. The windows were the first on the list. We're also intending to re-hang and refinish the front basement door, seal and paint our two security gates, and strip and rebuild part of the front basement windows. We'll see how much we do complete. But in the meantime, we've scaled back the statement of work for the final phase of the basement to something smaller, and hopefully less expensive.

We both took tomorrow off. I have an endoscopy procedure scheduled as the result of stomach pain over the past few years. I'm not thrilled, but K gave me my choice of movie rentals today, and I have a line up of the Incredibles, Eulogy, and Closer to watch today and tomorrow. It's the movies that K doesn't like and usually complains about if I try to rent them. But she's pampering me. One interesting thing is that she thinks it will be very strange to see me lying on the hospital granny waiting for the IV shot and that she will be the one retreating to the waiting room. The new role of caretaker is one that she is not accustomed to playing, though she's excellent. Right now, she's making a giant pot of chicken soup for me.

I need to go shower and get the crap out of my hair.


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