Pictures of the Basement

Upon request, I’ve uploaded some pictures of the basement.  I’m traveling for work, so these were taken before I left.  I doubt Dad has done anything with it while I’ve been gone (he’s got his hands full with Daughter Person).

The "stuff" half of the basement

The “stuff” half of the basement

You can kind of see the really dark green/black spot next to the exercise bike – that’s where the glue is the thickest and most difficult to get up (so far).

Removed carpet (glue is still there)

Removed carpet (glue is still there)

These lighter areas are where the basement flooded previously, and I think it helped loosen up the glue, it was easier to pull up the carpet, and the glue isn’t as thick.

The "cat" corner.  The carpet is gone, but the glue remains

The “cat” corner. The carpet is gone, but the glue remains

Progress with the scraper after an hour

Progress with the scraper after an hour

I scratched this little bit of glue off with my boot heel

I scratched this little bit of glue off with my boot heel

I’ve acquired an angle grinder with a sandpaper disc, which works quite well at removing the thickest part of the glue, then we can scrape what’s left much easier.  We hit a snag before I left where we couldn’t get a face pin spanner to fit the grinder bolt to remove the old sand paper disc.  That part was not available locally, so hopefully, it has arrived when I return home later today, and we can keep going with the grinder.




First major DIY project in this house

We have started to undertake the largest DIY project we’ve done in this house (and really, I’d say to date).  We’re pulling up the (moldy, stained) carpet in the basement – and  replacing it with tile.

We literally just started today, and I already curse anyone who uses carpet mastic.  I was hoping for some nice “tackless” carpet (the kind with the metal tacks on the edges), some crowbar love, and wa-la, bare concrete in the basement…  I should know that I’m not so lucky.

I’ve been wanting to pull up the carpet since December 2010 – when a root caused our main drain to back up – twice.  Most of the basement had sopping wet carpet – which we vacuumed up with the wet/dry vac, and since it didn’t smell anymore (and I was 8 months pregnant), I didn’t push it.  It did however seriously stain the carpet, and I was sure that there was mold growing under the carpet….

I got the “OK” from Dad this week – we turned the heat pump on cool for the first time since we turned off heat back in March-ish – and the drain pipe has two problems: 1) it’s leaking inside the A/C unit where the drain pipe connects, and 2) water’s not going down the drain like it’s supposed to.  I thought I fixed that.  The HVAC guys who installed the humidifier dropped a flexible hose down the drain to drain it, it moved the A/C drain pipe just enough so that it doesn’t go down the drain.  And the genius who built/designed our house did not put the drain at the lowest part of the house – that was somewhere under the carpet (or the “bar” they built in the basement) – the water seeps under the carpet and not into the drain.  It’s been smelling a bit rank in the basement, so Dad said, “OK”. (The HVAC guys are coming on Wednesday to fix the inside leak – under warranty).

Because we’ve basically flooded our basement 3 times since we’ve lived here in the last 5 years, I want a flooring that will be able to handle being flooded again – and that is either bare/stained concrete, or tile.  I love tile, and I mostly know how to install it, so I’ve managed to talk Dad into glazed ceramic tile in the basement, and we are currently looking at tile that runs $0.88/sq ft.  I haven’t measured yet, but based on the wall lengths, we’re looking at about 500-700 sqft roughly.  New floor for about $700 (and a lot of work/time)?  Sign me up!

I’ve never tiled an entire room before, but based on Youtube, it doesn’t look that hard, it’s mostly tile layout, then a lot of work on your knees.  I’ve tiled small areas, so I’m familiar with the general concepts, and I’m going to trust in Youtube, Google and my Home Depot 123 book for the rest.  First, we have to remove the existing carpet.

Today, we started removing the carpet.  We discovered that the carpet was glued down (very well in some places), and have been removing the carpet in pieces.  Dad has actually gotten at least half of the room cleared of carpet (but not glue).

We have some “issues” in the basement which make the whole project interesting:

  1. There are many heavy things in the basement (freezer, washer, dryer, treadmill, exercise bike) most of these things cannot be moved elsewhere while we’re working because of either hookups, or the fact that we can’t get them up the stairs.
  2. The basement is kind of a dumping ground for things we’re not sure of where to put elsewhere, so it has some piles which we’ll have to deal with.

What we’ve done so far, is move as much as we can to one side of the room, and remove the carpet.  I’d prefer to remove the glue as well before we move it all back to the other side.  Some things, I’ve tossed into a “sell, donate” box which is now in the garage.  I’m trying to go through things as we come across them.  The biggest storage closet in the room (takes an entire wall) has carpet on the floor, so we’ve got to remove things out of there temporarily as well.  We’ll continue to move things around as needed to remove the carpet and glue and put down the tile – the hard parts will be the treadmill, bike and washer/dryer.

Murphy schedules a visit

Just as we pay off the line of credit, we may need to use some of it.  We have a lot of wood trim around the house (exterior), and much of it is rotting, and the paint is deteriorating, and the gutters are failing (and causing a leak).  I’ve got quotes for the work, and the guy I’m going with will run us about $7,000 to do all of the work – replacing the rotting wood, painting, etc.  And we’ll finally get to change up the colors on the house.  A previous owner had some warm cream siding installed, with a bright white and bright blue trim.  The clash of warm and cool colors even bothers my design-dumb eyes.  While I’d prefer the cool color scheme, the siding isn’t getting replaced anytime soon, so since we’re repainting the trim, it’ll become “warm”.

I’ve got at least 30 days to come up with as much as I can before dipping into the line of credit, and we’re going to use some (not all) of our emergency fund to cover it.  I estimate that we’ll need to borrow up to 3k from the line of credit, which would get completely paid off (again) in September.  I don’t want to drain the emergency fund, so we’re taking 3k from there (leaving us with 2k), and before we really attack the line of credit again, I want to “refill” the emergency fund, which is why September is the payoff date rather than sooner.

We have to file for an architectural change with our HOA, which can take up to 60 days (neighborhood rumors say it takes less than 30), then the company has 30 days to start work.  We need to put down 35% for materials, and pay the rest when he’s done, so we might not borrow as much depending on when the work is completed.  The work needs to be done before our rainy season in August/Sept, but we can push it off just a little bit to try to save more, but there is some wood that I hope will survive the next month.  We’ve already put it off as long as we think we can, and the leaking was the final straw that told us “OK, you need to take care of this”.

We looked at covering it with vinyl so that we never had to paint again, but several trusted contractors said not to do that because the wood still rots under the covering, and we wouldn’t know about it.  So, we’re going with painting, which is guaranteed for 4 years, so it’ll be a while before we paint again 🙂

Steadily decluttering

Total items out of the house: 240/365

I sent off a few more books and games through Amazon the last two weeks, and I just got rid of our old console humidifier via craigslist.  When we moved into the house, there was a whole house humidifier on the heat pump.  It was wasting water, so we turned it off (I was literally watching water come out of the humidifier and go straight into the drain).  We also have wood floors – which we have since learned need some moisture.  We had a console humidifier in our living room which claimed that it could pump out 11gallons/day of water – except that the tanks on the humidifier only held 3 gallons at a time.  We were constantly refilling the thing, and we’d have to turn it off to light a fire because of the fan.  In short, we got tired of dealing with it.  And, it didn’t push out enough water for the wood floors.  We were lucky if we could get our main room at 25% relative humidity.

We splurged for a whole house steam humidifier earlier this month, and now our main room is up to 35-40% relative humidity, a far cry from what the console unit could do – and we weren’t having to fill up the tanks constantly!  I listed it on craigslist Wednesday evening, and met with someone this afternoon to sell it.  It was pretty big at about 2ftx1ftx2ft.  Now it’s not in our living room or in our storage closet anymore.

Trip to Goodwill

Total items out of the house: 236/365

I got this number thanks to Intuit’s ItsDeductible (no affiliate link, I just like them).  I put all of my items into their list and it gives me two things: 1) a record of everything I/we donated, and 2) estimated values to use for tax deduction time.

I went through the old clothes in Daughter Person’s room, and got rid of all the small clothes.  They were mostly 18mth clothes from last winter and this summer.  She had some 24mth and 2T clothes last summer, so I wanted to save what I thought might fit her this upcoming summer.  I kept one small box of summer clothes that will probably fit her.  It also let me know what I might need to get for her.  She’s firmly in the 24mth/2T sizes at the moment, although ones that are on the small side of the size no longer fit her.  Based on anecdotal evidence, she should still be in 24mth/2T this summer – depending on when she’s out of her diaper.  She might even be in 3T by the end of the summer.

I also went through some of the random things in our dining room and basement and got rid of old tupperware, some serving ware, and a few “tchotchkes” like vases and kettles.

I ended up taking three rather large boxes to Goodwill.  I prefer the Lupus Foundation’s pick up, but they aren’t/weren’t offering pickup in our area anymore apparently.  So, I sent the things off to Goodwill.  I *should* have shopped at Goodwill for Daughter Person’s summer wardrobe, but it totally slipped my mind until I was pulling away from the store.  I’ll go back later though.

Of course, as soon as I got back home, I was seeing other things that I should have donated or had talked about donating “next time”.  Oh well, I started a box in the guest room with those things, so that they make their way out the door “next time”.

Long weekend and more stuff out of the house

Total items out of the house: 43/365

In addition to about 5 DVDs/games that I sent out via Amazon.  I also got rid of 5 items via Freecycle, and 2 via craigslist.  It took a lot of e-mails and phone calls to get everything arranged, but I did and the stuff is gone.  Daughter Person doesn’t even miss the toys we sent packing.  And I don’t miss the old baby bathtubs in the way any more.

I have carpal tunnel, which acts up when I’m stupid enough to use the scroll wheel on the mouse, and since I was doing a lot of reading at work the last week or so, I really screwed up my hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.  I’ve spent the last few nights in a wrist brace, which has worked well, and I took off today with Daughter Person to let it rest even more.  I’ve been trying to avoid using the computer, and I’ve done pretty well, but I’m still a computer person at heart, and without something else to occupy my time, I end up on the computer.  Luckily, I found a few really good books through the Kindle lending library and I focused on reading those rather than doing something on the computer.  As you can tell, I’m back (and I’m done with the whole series…).  Typing doesn’t bother me as much as using the mouse, so as long as I remember my keyboard shortcuts, I’m OK.

More clean out happening

I sent off another 7 games this weekend, as well as a few things gone via Freecycle.  I listed another few things on Craigslist as well, one has had folks asking me if I could mail it to them, and I’m not sure about that, so it’s not gone.

I woke up with Daughter Person on Saturday and then we took her to swim lessons.  She slept for 3 hours during her afternoon nap, and I had a *lot* of energy, so I listed things on craigslist, Amazon and Freecycle as appropriate, printed out my magnetic menu board items, did laundry and scanned in a lot of Daughter Person’s schoolwork (and promptly recycled most of it).  I felt quite proud of all that I got done while she was napping on Saturday.  I wasn’t quite as productive on Sunday, but I made some progress.

Total items out of the house: 33/365