Sunday, March 27, 2011

Margo hates it when I play with fire

My project (actually several projects involving the same thing) the past couple weeks has been dealing with the storage sheds. I had to do this before I could put up the yard fence. It took me a while to decide what to do but now it is done. There were two sheds on the property when we bought it, a big one and a small one. They both were in not very good shape. I had thought about trying to fix them back up but ultimately decided to get rid of them and build a whole new shed.
First, I tore down the little shed. It was in ok shape but had just been built on top of the ground so it was leaning and rotting on the bottom and the door had fallen off. Here is an old pic of it.
I used some parts of it to build the new one.
Next, I built the new shed. I used almost all recycled wood and recycled sheet metal. It was mostly from old chicken houses that had been torn down. I had never really built a shed exactly like this but it worked out pretty well. It is 16'x12'. I used stacked blocks to get it level and set the main beams on. My goal was to build it in a week just working on it after work and on the weekend. I got really close, I had everything except the doors and windows done in a week, those took me an extra day. Here are some pics.

This is during building. The tallest wall was about the max of what Margo and I could lift and set up. For those of you who know about building, you may notice my walls are a little strange. That is because I recycled the walls from the old shed. The front wall is the two side walls from the old shed stacked on each other.

This is after it has all been framed.

And here is the finished product.

And here it is with the window and door open. I especially like the door because it is a sliding door.

After we moved all our stuff into the new shed, it was time to get rid of the old big shed. It was a really big shed. But it had not been built correctly, the roof was not sloped enough so it was rotting. There were several holes in the roof from rotting and there were rotting areas in the floor. And the yard fence was going to go right at the front edge of the shed. I decided it was not worth salvaging and it would take too long to tear it down. So, the next best option I could think of is burning it down. Which I don't really think is legal but seemed like fun and a little dangerous.

Here is an old picture of before.

I decided that it would not make quite as big of a fire if I tore it down a little, so I hooked it up to the truck and started yanking.

I had to wait for ideal burning conditions which happened to be on Saturday (it was misting and raining most of the day). I did a little pre burning of leaves around the shed a couple days before to help prevent the fire from getting out. I started it early in the morning so that most people would probably not be out and about and see it and call the fire department on me. Because that could result in a fine.
Here it is at first, all catching on fire, which happened really fast

Here it as maximum burn. Margo took this picture from her view from the house. It was really big with lots of black smoke, Margo was a little nervous and I was worried about someone calling the fire department.

Here it is starting to collapse down

This is after it had collapsed and looking more in control.

And here is the final picture.

It is much better with it gone, it was kind of an eyesore and now we can see our pond completely out the back window which is nice.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Buses Beware

A few weeks ago, Margo had a wreck. She was pulling out onto a busy highway during rush hour. It was one of those places where you pull out any chance you get. Well there was a vehicle that had it's blinker on like it was going to turn on the road she was coming out of. So, she pulled out, but that vehicle was not turning and it hit her in the front drivers side. It was pretty scary for her especially since Esther was in the car. Esther never knew anything happened though. The wreck was Margo's fault and she got a ticket for failure to yield. Here is the kicker though....the vehicle that hit her.....a SCHOOL BUS. Holy crap batman. I think that is the worst thing to get into a wreck with. Luckily no one was hurt, except the CRV. But it did give me plenty to give Margo a hard time about, and I won't let her live it down for a while.
Anyway, the CRV was totaled.

It was kind of sad. It was the first car we bought together and the first new car either of us had ever had. We went tons of places in it: New Orleans, Denver, Cleveland, Nashville, St Louis, the College World Series, and tons of other places. The best place we went in it though was to get our new daughter in Little Rock.

Our insurance company gave us a good amount for it, more than what I was expecting. So, last week we got a new (used) car. We got a 2004 Honda Pilot. It is the same age and has the same miles as the CRV did and we got it for less than what we got from insurance for the CRV. I think it was a pretty good trade. It is a bigger than the CRV and has 3 rows of seats, seats 8, leather seats, dvd in the back, and Margo's favorite- heated seats. And it was even the color we prefer for cars.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Finally, the house update

I know a lot of you have been asking and waiting for before and after pics of our new place. Sorry it has taken so long, but I have been super busy with getting the farm part of the new place set up. I have been working on fence the past couple weeks. Anyway, it is pretty crazy how much the inside of the house changed with the renovation. It went from super crappy to pretty nice in 3 weeks. And I learned a lot about house renovation while doing it. Overall I really enjoyed it all.

So, here are a bunch of before and after pics. I will try to tell you what all I did in each set of pictures. Some things we changed throughout the house. I hired a guy to hang new sheetrock throughout the house. There was wood paneling everywhere and then 1-2 layers of wallpaper on top of the paneling. There were 11 different ugly wallpapers throughout the house. We did not sheetrock the closets or laundry room so you can still see a sampling of them in there. We also had new carpet installed in most of the rooms. And we had new windows installed. The old windows were single pane and the new ones are energy efficient.

Before: This before pic actually does not look that bad. But that bar thing was huge. It took up a lot of space and made the kitchen seem really small. It made it impossible to have a refrigerator and use that doorway on the left because it took up that whole space.

After: No more huge bar which left space for the refrigerator, microwave stand, and china cabinet. I also installed beech laminate flooring over the ugly and ripped linoleum.

Before: Living room

After: New carpet, new A/C return vent, new paint on the new sheetrock. Also I put a nice new light fixture in. This house has low ceilings and I would hit my head on all the fan lights.

Before: Another view of living room, front door.

After: New front door, new light, beech laminate in entry space.

Before: Kitchen. What can I say. Oak cabinets with fake oak butcher block countertops and fake oak butcher block laminate between cabinets.

After: New countertops, new paint between cabinets, new beech laminate flooring, new sink faucet, new stove.

Before: Ugly kitchen close up

After: Kitchen close up

Before: Laundry room. There was a section of floor under the hot water heater that was rotten that I had to replace.

After: New maple laminate floor, new hot water heater. I left the ugly wallpaper since this room is closed and no one beside us goes in there.

Before: Master Bedroom. Awesome pink carpet

After: New paint, carpet, windows, light (light not yet installed in this picture)

Before: Spare bedroom

After: (Actually the other spare bedroom but the effect is the same.) New paint, new carpet, new light.

Before Bathroom: It was bad, plastic tile on wall with a hole that had a rat's nest.

After: New walls, paint, removed broken shower door and replaced with curtain, new window, new bathroom fixtures. New light with a fan.

Before Bathroom #2

After Bathroom #2: New toilet, new sink and faucet, new over sink light fixture, new medicine cabinet.

There is tons more that we did that is not shown in these pics. There was a half bath that was in a weird place that I totally did away with and turned it into a pantry for the kitchen which has been awesome. This involved widening a doorway from 24" to 32" so we could get our freezer in. I also had to fix several plumbing issues and electrical issues. I did new baseboards throughout the house because most of them broke when I was removing them for the new sheetrock. New floor vent covers and blinds throughout house.
I really appreciate all the people (everyone in our community group, my dad, other friends) who helped me with the renovation. There were lots of people who helped do all kinds of stuff. And a really big shout out to my friends Evan and Rick, they came out for several days and nights to help on the house. I also want to give a shout out to the Lowe's guys, especially the plumbing guys who really helped me a lot. I did not know what I was doing on the plumbing but they totally explained stuff to me when I asked them and they helped me a lot. At one point I found a leak under the house and I jiggled the pipe that I thought was leaking and a whole big piece of pipe with connectors and a P-trap and stuff just broke off. I took it to Lowes with me and the plumbing specialist got every piece of it that I needed to replace that section and set it up on the floor in Lowe's for me to show me how to set it all up.