Tag Archives: Home Re-Construction

Tales of us working on our house.


I was laying on the couch the other night, with both kittehs laying on my chest. Sleeping. Well, they were sleeping. I was watching TV. Some show about aliens and history or something-or-another.

All of a sudden, both kittehs popped up and stared intently toward the stairwell. Which they continued to do for about 7 or 8 minutes. Very intently.

I thought maybe they heard the Husbear upstairs, but I didn’t hear anything. Add to that the time duration they continued staring and I got a little weirded out.

And then I thought of this…

Comic from Deep Dark Fears.
Comic from Deep Dark Fears.

The Husbear and I both think there is some sort of “spirit” in the house, and have for a long time. After we first moved in, we were laying in bed one night and both thought we heard what sounded like a child running up the stairs laughing. Which, as you can imagine, freaked us out a little. We haven’t heard that particular sound again, but there have been other strange happenings. Nothing sinister. Just odd things we’ve noticed.

And we’re not the only ones who have sensed it. Our middle child thought the house was haunted, one room in particular. Our oldest daughter and son-in-law have stayed at the house multiple times while we’ve been traveling, and their dogs just stare and bark at the stairwell and won’t go near it. We’ve had several friends stay the night and have said they felt like someone sat down on the edge of the bed in the guestroom during the night, but when they looked, no one was there.

I guess Spo isn’t the only one with a ghost.

Until next time...


Progress. Of course, it took seven hours, and my arms and shoulders are so sore I can barely feel them. But we got the main portion of the bathroom ceiling installed yesterday!

UFO landing lights?
UFO landing lights?

Nothing we do ever seems to be easy. We had to cut each piece of sheetrock at a slight angle since the bathroom isn’t quit “true”. Argh! And add to that all the funky light holes everywhere. I’d climb up the ladder to measure, climb back down to cut, then we’d climb up the ladder after cutting a piece of sheetrock to fit to test the fit, climb back down and make adjustments if needed, then we’d climb up the ladder to mark the light opening, climb back down to cut it out, then climb back up and hold it in place while screwing it in. Hence being so sore today.

Who knew you could put this on something other than lips?
Who knew you could put this on something other than lips?

A little trick if you’re needing to figure out where a light fixture or an electric box needs to go through your sheetrock: mark the edge with lipstick and press the sheetrock to it. It will leave a mark exactly where it needs to be cut.

The more you know!

Sending the Husbear up to the store here in town to buy a tube of lipstick was a different challenge. 😉

Until next time...


Ever since we installed the wood burning stove back in the house, we have been having issues.

With smoke. And because of that, it smelled like a campfire in the house. Yuck.

From what we could tell, not enough draft was being created to pull smoke up the chimney, so it would come back down into the house through the chimney. Which made for a rather smokey living environment at times.

And because of that (and the fact the Husbear has been burning green wood and not seasoned), the chimney was getting quite a buildup of creosote. You know, that bad bi-product stuff that can be highly flammable…

The view into the top of the stove.
The view into the top of the stove.
A closer view in.
A closer view in.
The coating on one of the heat exchanger tubes on the "Miracle Heat Reclaimer".
The coating on one of the heat exchanger tubes on the “Miracle Heat Reclaimer”.
The through-the-wall section that goes to the outside chimney stack.
The through-the-wall section that goes to the outside chimney stack.

Well that’s no good either! Argh!

After doing some research, we found out about a product that would help create an artificial draft. So we ordered a Tjernlund Auto-Draft Inducer to install in the chimney.

Basically, it’s just a fan that pushes air up the chimney to help create a draft.

Installing it wasn’t the easiest of feats. I had to cut a hole in the chimney wall (which is when we discovered the little issue with the creosote build up), and then do a song-and-dance to get it to fit just right.

Eventually I got it installed, and we did a test burn.

Tjernlund Auto-Draft Inducer, installed.
Tjernlund Auto-Draft Inducer, installed.
The view from the front of the stove.
The view from the front of the stove.

The unit itself didn’t seem that well sealed: it leaked smoke from the welded seams! So I sealed those with fire barrier sealant. After that, I’d say it works!

There’s no smokey smell in the house, no back draft, and hopefully, less creosote build-up in the chimney system.

The only sucky thing is it takes electricity to make the inducer go, so if the power goes out, we’ll get smokey again. But we do have a generator, so I guess that’s always an option.

All this just to decrease the usage of the central heating system in the house.

Until next time...

Saturday Happenings.

A rare Saturday off for both myself and the Husbear. Of course, we have our never-ending to-do list of things to do.

A couple of weeks ago, we made our first attempt at leveling the bathroom floor. It was mostly successful. Mostly. There were a couple spots that were a little off the mark. Okay, a lot. It looked like Stevie Wonder leveled it in places.

So we grabbed another seven bags of self-leveling concrete to put down a thin top coat. Which we did this morning.

The final coat of self-leveling floor is down. And done! (Hopefully.)
The final coat of self-leveling floor is down. And done! (Hopefully.)
Shiny and wet. Just like we like it. And hopefully level.
Shiny and wet. Just like we like it. And hopefully level.

And then since I was in “go” mode, we headed to Lowe’s so I could pick up a door. Because the Husbear put the Yaksmas tree up yesterday. And we all know what the kittehs do with that!

The only solution we have found that worked, which we did last year, was to put up a door that bars them access to the living room when we aren’t present. Last year’s solution was temporary when we installed it. So this year I went with a more permanent solution. One that we could leave up year-round.

Sliding Door v2.0!

The new, and this time permanent, cat door.
The new, and this time permanent, cat door.
The door as viewed from within the living room... it just needs some paint.
The door as viewed from within the living room… it just needs some paint.

I headed back to Lowe’s again for door hardware. But I need a bolt to install it. And I don’t want to go back to Lowe’s for the third time today. It’ll have to wait.

And then some paint.

But the Yaksmas tree is secure! And the bathroom floor is (hopefully!) level!

Until next time...

Level This.

First up, I want to apologize to all my readers and to all the bloggers I follow. I’m really behind on reading, and I feel bad for it. I just seem to have so little time these days. Hopefully I’ll get caught up soon. I miss y’all!

But on to my life. Since it’s my blog and all…

The never-ending bathroom remodel project: it still continues. Hence the “never-ending” part.

This weekend’s project was to level the concrete floor. Once that’s done, we can start the Sheetrock! Then paint. Then lay the tile. Then instal the fixtures. Then use the bathroom! No more outhouse! I kid. We don’t have an outhouse. We’re not that high-society. 😉

I had to put a primer on the existing floor last night when I got home from the tattoo studio. Something about it having to cure for 5 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. And I think it might have made me a wee bit high. Luckily it was 70 degrees here last night so I opened all the windows in the house to air it out. And then I had to put on a second coat.

I’m surprised I remembered any of that. 😉

Then came this morning. Time to level the floor!

First, add 5 quarts of water to the 50 pound bags of stuff. Then mix for 2 minutes on high.


Guess what happened next? Dead. It Burned up. The magic smoke came out of it. Fuck! This stuff sets in about 15 minutes. *grrr*


After another trip to Lowe’s, a more industrial drill was procured. At much cost. Oh well, a new power tool for me!


The Husbear poured in the batter while I licked the beater. Wait, that’s a different song. He poured the batter while I mixed. Teamwork!


Mix, mix, mix. It’s like a thick pudding. That you really wouldn’t want to eat.


And yes, I’m barefoot. It made it easier to walk through the pour zone. That way I wouldn’t ruin any of my Chucks. Fashion, people!

And 9 bags later, the “leveled” bathroom floor. I think it was 9 bags. And that “leveled” is in quotes because guess what…


It’s not level. Yet.

We’re going to have to do another coat after this, as there are a few spots that just didn’t make level.

It’s always something.

Until next time...


This happened today.

Do you know how high up that is? And now I have to go back up and fix that gap in the eaves.
Do you know how high up that is? And now I have to go back up and fix that gap in the eaves.

The shiny, that is.

When we first purchased our home, the only source of heat it had was a wood-burning stove. Which after a year was more than I could handle. I’m a city boy! I don’t like that whole having to get up at night to put wood in the fire so your water doesn’t freeze. Or your blood.

We removed the stove and all the chimney portions after we had central heat and air installed. I don’t recall the reasoning now. But I think it had to do with insurance costs at the time.

Fast forward to last year, right before winter. Our heat pump went out. And it was either $13K to replace it, or just deal with the winter using the heat strips that stilled worked. After a shocking but not surprising power bill at the end of last winter, we decided to put the stove back in.

Which required a new chimney to be installed. New, because we didn’t save the old parts when we removed it. That’s technically not true. They were just used for other projects around the house.

All that meant I had to climb a ladder and install chimney sections.

And I dislike heights. Granted, it is only 30 feet from the ground to the top of the chimney. But that is still higher than I want to be. On a ladder.

But I got it all installed without breaking anything. On myself.

We had to do a test burn while it was still warm enough to open the house up, in case of smells or other… issues.

The Husbear... keeper of fire.
The Husbear… keeper of fire.

No issues with smell. Or anything else.

Although our little girls have never seen a fire before, and one of them is particularly nosy…

milli is going to burn herself if she's not careful...
milli is going to burn herself if she’s not careful…

And then there’s me, enjoying it the only way I know how…

Me... keeper of the *derp*
Me… keeper of the *derp*

I guess it’s good to have a backup heat source in case the power quits flowing. But I won’t be happy about it.

Until next time...