Misc. House Stuff

Teresa was asking if I could make her a wine rack.  She found a vintage wooden ironing board on craigslist and asked me if I could use that.

The ironing board was $15...which we thought was cheap, considering what we were going to use it for.  It still had most of the original sticker which showed the name of the board, the company and some vintage images of a woman holding an ironing board.  And the board had a ribbed texture to it.  It looked pretty cool.

I took the stand off the bottom of it and found that the wooden board was split in a couple places where the boards were joined.  So I pryed it apart a bit, glued it up, and brad nailed it.  I also reinforced it on the back side with some flat brackets.

I found some a package of black metal hooks at Home Depot.  They were perfect.  One set of the hooks was a nice size for the neck of the bottle, and the other size hook was nice for the body of the bottle.    I had to cut them in half since each was a double hook.  The first one was with a hacksaw, that took forever...so I got out the reciprocating saw.  Much, much better.  Then I scuffed them up with some sandpaper so they looked older.  (Brand new shiny black hooks would have looked weird on the worn/vintage wood.)

I screwed the hooks down, so the bottles would hang at an angle... and I of course made sure to not cover up the vintage sticker at the top.

I think it turned out very nice.  The total cost was probably $45 or so...and it took about half a day to make.

Teresa is giddy.



Over the past few weeks we've been battling an issue that has occurred on the shared wall between the garge and the house.

About a month ago, Teresa noticed a small mushroom growing out from under the baseboard.  So she pulled it out...didn't mention anything to me about it.  I guess she just chalked it up as a..."well that was weird".

A couple days later, there was another mushroom...that's when she showed it to me and told me about the first one she found.

I immediately though...well this can't be good.

The next day I pulled the baseboard off the wall, and sure enough, more tiny mushrooms. So I cut the bottom 2-3 inches off of the drywall (the part originally covered by the baseboard anyway) to see if I could get a better idea as to what was going on.

When I cut that strip of drywall out, I found the bottom plate was wet and blackish in color (I am guessing it is mold) and the insulation on top of the bottom plate was wet as well.

Crap...we have a leak somehwere.

I talked to Charlie (our contractor who built our house 2  years ago).  He came over and saw that the drainpipe that runs in that wall was leaking from the cleanout on the garage side...it was missing teflon tape.  So he fixed it...or so he said.

Then I tried some minor clean up with bleachwater and a toothbrush and decided to let it sit for a while to dry out and see if the leak was actually fixed.

It seemed to be fixed, as the area I cleaned up remained dry for over a week.  But there was still the issue of existing damage from the leak (mold, etc.)

But then, just today, we awoke to a bunch of mushrooms again.  

Screw it.  I've had enough.  I wanted to see if there was a mold issue inside the wall and how bad it was.  I decided to cut out a larger section of drywall so I could take out any wet insulation and get a look at the drain pipe in the wall.  If the mold wasn't too bad, I could just clean it up, and with it being opened up at least the wood would be allowed to dry quickly and I could replace the insulation and close it back up.

After removing the drywall and the vapor barrier, I noticed something...like a clue in a murder mystery.  Just yesterday, Teresa had put some of that toilet cleaner in our toilets that turns the water blue.  Well, just below the cleanout, was some blue-stained insulation that was damp.

AH HA!!  I guess we still have a leak.  And gross...it's toilet water.

I took the insulation out and got a good look at the bottom plate.  It was soaked with water, and it was black from mold.  So I cut it out...and the subfloor was also wet and somewhat black from mold.


The plumber was called (not the worthless POS that installed the pipes in our house when it was built...he screwed up a lot of stuff...NEVER call Triangle Plumbing for anything).  We called Neal's Plumbing out of Troy.  They did a nice job in our basement bathroom, they were nice guys, and they were reasonably priced.

Horrible time for this to happen...Teresa could go into labor any minute.

The plumber is coming by Monday morning, 9am... that's the day Teresa is due.  Awesome.


It was about 11:00pm or so and I was working on the computer when Teresa told me she was going to bed.  She asked me to keep an eye on the weather and wake her if it got really bad, because they said it might.

About 11:30 I heard the weather sirens go off, so naturally I peeked outside to see if I could see anything.  It wasn't doing a whole lot.  So I went back inside to wrap up what I was working on.  The sirens stopped for a few minutes, then started up again.  I could hear the wind picking up and I want to say I heard multiple sirens going off from different areas now.  So I shut the computer down, unplugged it and went downstairs to put my shoes on and look outside again.

When I reached the bottom of the steps, all of a sudden it got REALLY loud outside and the power went out.  It sounded like a thundering tidal wave was roaring towards the house, so I opened up the front door and the wind was ridiculous...and I heard the house badly getting pelted with all kinds of stuff...it was loud.  I closed the door and yelled up to Teresa (she had already gotten up).  In the pitch dark, I ran back upstairs to get Zoe out of her crib...running into Teresa pretty good at the top of the steps (never saw her).  In the pitch dark, I couldn't find Zoe in her crib right away.  She was tucked into a corner, sleeping away.  That seemed like it took forever.  I finally grabbed her and ran down the stairs (not easy in the dark), trying to get to the basement steps where Teresa was waiting, using her cell phone as a flashlight.  The loud wind and pelting of the house had gotten much worse.  I didn't think I was going to be able to make it from our upstairs steps to the basement steps in time.  It literally sounded like there was a massive tornado outside and the windows were going to explode any second.  It was terrifying. The walls where rumbling and I could hear things shaking in the house.  And those of you who are familiar with our great room (which I had to run by to get to the basement) it is two stories tall with 10 windows...so yeah, I was afraid of tons of glass flying around at any second.

We all made it to the basement and went under the steps, which is also kind of under the I-beam that supports the floor above.  Pretty much the safest place in the house during a tornado I guess.

The whole event seemed to last three or four minutes, but it was probably only around a minute at the most.

After I got the all-clear from the e-lert (finally works for me now) and the Weather Channel on my phone about 30 minutes later, we went back upstairs.  The worst of the storm had passed.  Needless to say, I was very curious to take a look outside and see if anything was damaged.  We first noticed on our deck and on our siding that there was white stuff all over the place.  At first, we thought it was feathers from a bird, which seemed crazy...but then we recognized it was actually insulation from our attic.

Uh oh.

I took the Mag light outside to take a look around.  I shined the flashlight up to the roof and I could see that the storm had completely ripped off approx. a 4'x6' section of our roof and I could see right into the attic.  A lot of shingles were also ripped off of the roof.

After getting over the shock of that sight, I looked around some more...and I couldn't really see anything unless I shined the flashlight right on it.  It was wierd, every direction I shined the flashlight, I saw something else that was down/damaged/missing/destroyed.  Kind of shocking every time I moved the flashlight.

  • The roof of the shed that we had JUST FINISHED THE PREVIOUS DAY, had rows of shingles ripped off of both sides.  Ugh.
  • I found that two of our tall trees had essentially been cut in half.
  • Shingles were everywhere.
  • Insulation was everywhere...it looked like snow.
  • Branches were down everywhere.
  • Our paddle boat was lifted, carried and dumped 100ft. away...seats were cracked and in pieces.
  • Two vinyl windows we had propped up against the side of the house had been carried 50ft. and dropped in the driveway...shattered glass was all over the driveway.

The good news is that everything is covered, and after inspecting the damage, the claims adjuster (and roofers) said there wasn't any water damage to the drywall (bedroom ceiling) in the attic.  That would have been a mess if some drywall would have to be replaced.  So that was great.

Two big thumbs up to Atwood Construction, Erie Insurance and Taylor Roofing.  After making a few calls, they were here in a hurry to take care of things.  I was impressed.

Below are some photos of our house, and a couple houses around us.  One photo is of the neighbor's barn that was flattened, and another is of a hole in the stable wall of another neighbor's house caused by flying plywood.

And the photo of the piece of plywood with the felt paper on it...that was from our roof.  I found it 150 yards away, propped up against our neighbor's barbed wire fence.

Crazy stuff.

So, like every other night, after dinner I go down to the basement to feed the dogs.  Only tonight was a little different.  I get to the bottom of the steps and turn the corner and see a big puddle of water on the floor.

My first thought is to blame the dogs and maybe they spilled their water, but their water dish was still on the other side of the basement...so that wasn't it.

My second thought was also to blame the dogs and that they may have had a huge "accident".  But it was way too big to be that.

I walk over to the puddle and I noticed water dripping from a vent pipe in the ceiling that had been capped off and wasn't being used yet.  (It will be used for the basement bathroom when we start finishing it this winter.)

So I grabbed a bucket and a screwdriver and poked a hole in the cap of the pipe to let the water out.   Water started spraying out of the pipe with a lot of force.  A lot more force than I expected.  And it kept coming out...so much so that I thought I may need another bucket, but it eventually stopped coming out after at least a gallon and a half of water was drained out of the pipe.

I assume the water had gotten in the pipe from a combination of...
1)  Water condensation from the pipe going through the warm attic to the roof.
2)  We've had some torrential downpours over the past week and maybe some rain water got into the pipe from where it sticks out of the roof.  This seems likely since the rains JUST happened the other day and now we have water in the vent pipe.

I had just told Teresa the other day that it would have been nice to have had a rain gauge for all of this rain...little did I know we already had one in the form of a capped vent pipe sticking out of the roof.


It really only took them about two full days if you add up the time that was split up by the weather.  Not bad at all.  A job done well that is also done quickly and ahead of schedule makes it more worth the money if you ask me.

The patio, sidewalk and landscaping turned out very nice.  We're very happy with it.

Teresa didn't want them to put a lot of plants and whatnot in the beds as she likes planting flowers/plants/etc, and will be adding to the beds this summer.

Now, finally...visitors have a walkway from the driveway to the front porch and door.  Imagine the pure suck that it was to get to the front door from the driveway if it had been pouring down rain...you see, it wasn't just grass, it was disturbed earth from construction that didnt have the thickest grass in place yet..and it wasn't packed down like undisturbed earth...it was softer and kind of muddy to walk through when it was wet.

Anyway, Tim Killion and his crew with Killion Landscaping in Edwardsville did a great job.  They were great to work with and their price was reasonable.

Here's the "before" picture...

And the after...






So yeah, our garage had gotten pretty jam packed with...stuff.  Some of you have probably seen it...it was getting ridiculous.

We didn't have room for either of our cars in our two car garage.  This was mostly due to:

  • Me wanting to keep the riding mower and cart out of the weather.
  • Some patio furniture that we had purchased didn't have a home yet so the garage was the foster home for the patio furniture.
  • I had rescued and am fixing up a futon, which was being stored in the garage until we cleared a space for it in the office (any day now).
  • We're also storing a recliner in there until we get around to moving it inside (supposed to go in the basement...but the basement is unfinished right now).
  • Not to mention all of the boxes of stuff we still have from the move and haven't unpacked yet.

Our garage had zero elevated storage space (wall shelves, cabinets, etc.), which means everything was stacked on the floor or on our plastic floor shelving, so that had to change.

I ended up drawing up some plans for some shelving to be partly made out of some of the left over fence pickets I kept.  I think they turned out pretty nice.  The two shelves on the left side of the garage are 7' wide each and the one shelf on the right side is 8' wide...both are 2' deep.

The garage still has a lot of stuff that is taking up space, but it's drastically better than it was...and once we get the patio furniture out and move the recliner and futon inside, that will free up a lot of space...PLUS, I am going to start work on a 15' x 20' shed for the riding mower, push mower, and other yard equipment/tools, seasonal junk and misc storage.  (I already marked off the corners of the shed...oh yes, it's going to happen).

Oh, and I also hung the bikes from the garage ceiling.  The only thing this really means is that they aren't as accessible, which means we will be riding them even less than we do now, which is maybe twice a year.  I'm betting it's two years before we get them back down.

Anyway, I always told myself I was in no way shape or form going to be "that guy" who doesn't have room in his garage for his cars...and of course, I had turned into that guy over the past few months...but there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.