Monday, November 26, 2012

Framing is up!

The basement renovation happily continues. David made good headway over the Thanksgiving weekend. All of the walls are framed and several are wired and outlets added. Getting excited! The big task over the weekend was moving the slop sink over into the laundry room from the office area. We had to install new valves, run a new water line, extend the drain and AC drainage line and presto! we have the guts of our laundry room completed.

Here you can see the sink on the outside of the laundry room, the framed out laundry room is on the left. Note that the home server is currently living in the laundry room too sitting on an Ikea dresser. This will change once everything is organized and the Ikea dresser will hit the curb.

Here's the space after the sink was moved into the room, lots of additional space for the office area. I can't wait to say goodbye to these vinyl tiles....

He finished drywalling the long wall that contains the mechanical equipment and a small storage area. 

Also installed a door to the equipment room and a new lightswitch.

Plenty of room for the equipment and still leaves a bunch of space for storage.

We will cover up the small icky windows completely on the far wall, this is where the TV will go. Lots of circulation left between the wall and the studs. Even though we are lucky to have a dry basement, we'll add a subfloor before laying the pergo. We also decided not to hang a drop ceiling and instead will just paint the ceiling and hang track lighting.

We also allowed for storage under the stairs and David created a small shelf for more server stuff, will put the wires up into the ceiling. We'll also refinish the stairs but this won't be until the very end.

Our deadline is the first of the year, so lots more to come this month. Can't wait until we get to the fun part...painting and trim and moving furniture from upstairs to the downstairs.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall Clean-Up

So, we made it through Hurricane Sandy. Luckily we only lost a shutter and some shingles. The roses all made it through and we only lost a few tree branches. Can't say the same for some of our neighbors. Multiple trees on houses and one huge tree even fell on a van a few houses down. Basements were flooded and powerlines are still down everywhere. Clean-up from the disaster has been slow going around here, but we are thankful to have power and water at our house. After eight days without power, we got to really appreciate it. For those who have never been without power for that long, I have a few tips for you....
  1. Make sure to put your garage door on manual before the storm hits, or you will be stuck for 8 days without all of your lovely, expensive camping gear that would have been tremendously helpful during the storm...
  2. Buy firewood and have it at the ready. It was freezing and no firewood to be had, we had to drive around and pick up wood from all of the trees that were down and then had to go to Home Depot to buy an ax because....did I mention how important it is to put your garage door on manual?
  3. When you go to the store before the storm hits, don't just buy oodles of mac and cheese, pasta and jarred sauce because really there's not much else to make.  Buy bags of apples, cans of soup (P.S. cans of soup were the first thing to go in the one grocery store that was open during the disaster). Oh, and make sure you have cash! In small bills. The grocery store was open for a few hours but didn't take credit cards, we had to pull together spare change.
  4. Check that you have dishwasher soap and spunges and make sure you run your dishwasher before the storm hits. Nothing more gross than a dishwasher full of dishes for days that you completely forget about and then have to clean by hand holding your nose.
  5. Also before the storm hits, make sure there are clean sheets for the bed and wash every pair of warm socks and jammy pants you own. We were living in layers of these for days. Because, really there is nowhere to go and you can't waste the gas to drive anywhere.
  6. Oh, and speaking of gas....make sure both tanks are full which luckily David had done before the storm hit and thankfully we had a car converter so we could turn the car on to charge our ipads and phones. We were only able to fill up the truck one time after David spotted that the line to the one open gas station was only about 20 minutes long and we needed to hurry and get in line. 
  7. David had gotten the extension cord ready to run from the car to the sump pump if we needed to but, hurray, we didn't flood. One thing we did do before the storm was to clean out the gutters which really helped. I love this little tank of a house. We have been very lucky based on the last few storms and haven't flooded. The basement is dry as a bone.
So, we are safe and sound and grateful we are not like so many close by that are still struggling through clean-up.

Although the garden survived, it was a bit of a wreck, so recently we did a huge fall clean-up. The front garden has been put to bed for the winter and a few of the roses that grew really big over the summer have been moved to the back of the bed. I pulled up a bunch of the perennials that had gotten out of control and ripped out all of the lingering annuals. I've decided next spring that we are going to extend our boxwood hedge around the corner and in front of this bed. We really need evergreens in front of the house. Winter is too long here to go looking like this. Do you like the new shutters?

We also had to rip out the hydrangeas. So sad. We've been growing them since they were babies for the last five years, but since we lost all of our trees in the front of the house, it's just too sunny for them. They burnt to a crisp this year.

So, here's the new empty space in the front....oh, what fun to think about what to plant there in the spring! Notice the bags of firewood on the porch...will never be without it again! We need to pound down the edging and those white planters need something...and I can't wait to replace those windows....and get a new garage much to do! We used to have bands of Compassion roses in those planters, but ripped those out too. I can't stand bands, I don't know why I buy them. They never take off here. They have been just tiny little things for the past two years. Give me a grafted rose every time.

RIP Blushing Bride Hydrangeas....

The side garden also got a clean up. This was where the zinnias and the perennials were. I cut the perennials back, yanked up the dead zinnias and moved some of my David Austin's over here. That's my giganto Dark Lady on the left, Heritage on the right. I honestly don't really like Heritage because the blooms blow so quickly, but it's such a healthy plant, can't bear to throw it out. I've ordered a few more for the spring to fill in this bed. Yes, I have an addiction to David Austins...

After moving those two big guys over, I pulled out the few smaller own-roots that I got from Chamblees this spring plus a Charlotte and potted them up in some root pouches. They'll go into the side bed once I remember which one is which...

Now I'll have lots more room to spread out these Abraham Darby beasts and Golden Celebrations. They are only two years old and have gotten huge. David also kindly pulled out the Rose of Sharons that were growing on the left hand corner.  You can't really see it in this picture but there is now a crack in the window from David trying to break into the garage during didn't work.