Thursday, February 25, 2010

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another! Such is Life!

Our fixer upper is keeping us busy as we knew it would. Officially this past Sunday, Kirk and I were doing a happy dance for saving over $1,500. by not hiring a plumber to re-route plumbing (washing machine, dishwasher, a shower, a bathroom sink and the kitchen sink) to our septic system. All these items were going into a mysterious location in the ground next to the house (we still don't know exactly where it was going for sure). We bought all our own supplies, and after 5 trips to Home Depot on Saturday with Kirk and I working on the project together all day Saturday and part of Sunday, we successfully completed the work and got our plumbing updated, new bathroom floor down, and new toilet up and running! We are very happy DIY'ers!

A beautiful sight! Plumbing going where it's supposed to!

A PVC "Wye" Connection. A week ago I wouldn't have known what that was... now I have a new vocabulary of plumbing terminology!

Another beautiful sight. A 1/2 " cement floor thin-set and screwed on top of a 3/4" plywood sub floor; nice and sturdy for our new toilet and future tile floor (end of March)!

A toilet that is brand new and doesn't leak!!! The box it came in even says "flushes a bucket of golf balls". I'm hoping it's safe to assume our toilet won't get plugged too often.; a bucket of golf balls is quite a load if you know what I mean.

My plumber man, Kirk! Just finished the last connection and realized his place on the ground is quite comfortable... a body shaped hole (that used to be where our grey water drained down a pipe); a clear blue sky above, a dryer vent blowing warm air on him; and a weekend plumbing job that just got done! All he needs now is a nice hot shower.

Now that this plumbing saga is behind us, I wanted to get our focus back on finishing the kids' bedrooms... we started getting back on track with the four kids actually getting in on the action working on the rooms~

Andrew pulling out carpet staples from his bedroom floor...

...and getting rid of the old vinyl 1" mini blinds.

Kelsie starting first layer of primer in her closet.

Joe and Jessie want to get in on the primer job in Kelsie's room since theirs isn't ready for work yet.

Our focus back on the bedrooms only lasted about a day. We are NOW contending with some very outdated electrical cable and outlets we discovered in the process of getting the kids' rooms a few steps closer to progressing. GO FIGURE!!! The electrical issues are from the original part of the house that was built in the mid 30's. As Kirk and I have taken the 3 kids' bedrooms down to the studs in most places, we've discovered that only part of the electrical has been updated and much of it hasn't. The electrical is this old black fabric covered stuff that sounds after 70+ years sounds "crunchy" when it's moved. Kirk crawled under the house and found places where mice (or some critter) had chewed away the electrical casing exposing bare wire. YIKES! Not something we want to overlook so we will be side tracking our attention to electrical instead of bedroom drywall.
I'm frustrated about this because we had two separate inspections done that should have caught this- one done by a general inspector, and one by a reputable local electrician. Why the outdated, chewed up electrical cables under the house wasn't caught, I don't know. Kirk saw them almost immediately among the many old electric cables. He is now taking off his "plumber hat" and putting on his "electrician hat". I'm so proud of him. He has his DIY strengths, I have mine. The electrical updating project seems pretty basic and thank God for web sites like THIS ONE.

As the title of this blog post states,
"If it's not one thing,
it's another!
Such is life!"
Through this home renovation experience I am learning so much...
one thing I've learned~
I have learned the secret to being content in ANY and EVERY situation. (Philippians 4:12)

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Week in the Toilet...

We started working on renovating our fixer upper exactly two weeks ago today with our primary focus on the kids' bedrooms as our top priority. We stripped each room down to the studs, ripped out carpet, and were preparing to put up new drywall, WHEN... the first major distraction occurred. One of our two bathroom toilets were in need of immediate attention! We knew there was a problem with the toilet leaking (from our general home inspection we had done prior to closing), but we didn't realize how bad until this past weekend. Every time a person would sit down on the toilet, it almost felt like the toilet might fall through the floor; it seemed to be getting progressively worse over the two weeks we had been living in the house. Our thought was, we would hurry and get the kids' rooms done so they could get moved in (we're sleeping in our travel trailer at the present), then gut out the bathroom with the leaking toilet. Both bathrooms in the house are in need of complete gut jobs and could qualify for one of America's Ugliest Bathrooms ever! (I'll post the "before" pictures once we get to the actual remodel)

Our first distraction from the kids' bedrooms happened on Saturday morning (Valentines Day). I used the bathroom and as I flushed the toilet, something caught the corner of my eye. I looked down and this is what I saw (look real close at the base)~

Needless to say, our focus was now on taking care of a scary toilet situation. We spent the entire day pulling out an old toilet and soggy sub floor.

Notice the back of the toilet leaning against the wall? We think this helped it NOT fall through the floor! Actually... it wouldn't fall through the floor because of the floor beams, even though it felt like it would.

A very soft, rotten sub floor. (Kirk isn't in the mood to be filmed.)

Thankfully the floor beams weren't rotten (YET!) and just the sub floor needs replaced. Kirk adds cross braces to help re-enforce our floor since we plan to put tile down during the remodel stage.

We had to set up a fan to dry out our wet floor beams before our new sub floor and toilet can be installed. As of today, the fan is still running and they are pretty much dry! Guess what we'll be doing tomorrow?!

Since our toilet situation happened, our second distraction happened! We discovered this house has most of it's plumbing going into an unknown holding tank/septic (that, as of this week is overflowing any time water is used). This holding tank, or what ever it is, is in addition to the new septic system that was installed in 1998. Apparently when the new septic system was installed 10 years ago, only about 30% of the plumbing was routed to the new septic we discovered through investigation! We had NO IDEA there was an old system next to our kitchen window that a shower, a bathroom sink, washing machine, dishwasher, and kitchen sink ALL drained into! All of a sudden, early this week, we notice a mini pond on the side of our house! After investigation and Kirk digging the area up, we realized what was going on.

We asked the septic guy who installed the newer system 10 years ago to come over to give us his opinion of our mini pond. When he came over, he let on he didn't know what was happening with the mini pond situation, but said, no matter, we need to get our plumbing straightened out to be going into the newer septic. He said we could do it ourselves if we're up for it... the cost of materials would be around $100. IF we hired a plumber, the labor costs alone would be around $1,500 plus cost of materials. Guess what we'll be doing tomorrow/this weekend in addition to installing a bathroom sub floor and new toilet?... you guessed it~ we'll be plumbers, re-routing our shower, bathroom sink, washing machine, dish washer, and kitchen sink to drain into the newer septic system. OH JOY! SERIOUSLY! I'm so thankful this house is a pier and beam, so we can do the job ourselves. When the septic guy was talking about the newer system. he also made a comment in passing about the "old septic" and pointed on the opposite side of the house the kitchen is located. What???... "An old septic over there?" I wondered.... that's not on the same side as our kitchen that has the over flowing mini pond.

With all this toilet stuff and plumbing issues happening, our THIRD distraction for the week happened. Our one and only functioning toilet got major plugged up on Wednesday evening. I guess that's what happens when 6 people are using it, and the kids always seem very generous with the toilet paper. Kirk had to go to Home Depot at 8:30 PM Wednesday night and buy a 40' snake to unplug it. While we're looking for the opening to snake our system, I remembered what the septic guy said about the "old septic". Sure enough we found a make shift cover (a 18x18x2 concrete block) over this hole that was filled with sludge! OH GROSS! We were mad, frustrated and sick! Mad, because when the new septic was put in, the old wasn't filled with gravel or anything. Not even emptied! We were frustrated because this was NOT disclosed to us prior to us purchasing this home. Sick because the thought of our 5 year old boy discovering this block, being curious, pulling the block away, and possible falling in... he sink down and drown. The thought maddens and sickens me. Kirk put a much safer block over the hole until we can get it properly filled in the next couple weeks.

Our week has literally been in the toilet!

Are we having regrets for buying this house... NO.

Are we discouraged about all the work... NO.

Are we being surprised every other day... YES.

My hope is a year from now, we'll look back and celebrate our progress and successes. As DIY'ers we like things done right; we like to save money we would otherwise pay someone else a job we can do. Obviously, there's a lot about this house that hadn't been done right, and we're thankful we're discovering them so we can get it right and be confident in a job well done- plus save a bunch of money.

I reflect on all God is teaching me through this experience. I think about how appropriate it is that God gave me my memory verses for this two week period of time! While the Apostle Paul writes these words of my memory verses, he's imprisoned amidst nasty circumstances, most likely angle high in human waste among other things. I am certainly not going through what Paul went through as he was imprisoned, but the God inspired words he wrote encourage me "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation... I can do everything through him who gives me strength.... And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." The whole chapter 4 of Philippians inspire me as I go through these home renovation trials.

More later~

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Memory Verses (Feb 15-28)

With the new old house we've just purchased and begun renovating, these verses have helped me stay encouraged with all the circumstances this house has been surprising us with. "LEARNING" to be content is deliberate and so is surrendering to Christ as my sole source of strength. I CAN DO everything through Christ!

Philippians 4:12-13 & 19 (NIV)

12) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

13) I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

19) And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Friday, February 12, 2010

...home renovation

We are simultaneously working on the kids' bedrooms of our ranch style house, totally gutting all three of them! The past couple days I've been focusing on my 16 yea old daughter, Kelsie's room; the one with the lovely sponged walls.

Everyday a little more progress; everyday some SURPRISES.

SURPRISE! I love this vintage wall paper!
Although it is coming down, I am saving some to use as a background in a framed collage of some sort (still brainstorming ideas).

After pulling up the old carpet, there were two layers of carpet pads. One stapled on top of an older yellow foam pad glued down. Thank God for a floor scraper to get the glued one up!

Just for the heck of it, I got some Mineral Spirits and steel wool pads to scrub a patch of the glue off. WOW, to my SURPRISE the floor looks pretty good. (Especially visualizing their beauty once they get sanded, stained, and varnished). I'm hoping my teenager will want to have her bedroom floor re-finished to show off the original floor rather than put the berber carpet down that we had talked about. I'll have to test my skills of persuasion on her.

I'll post more and be sure to keep revealing pictures as we progress (before and after)! I can't wait to start showing the "AFTER" pictures!

A few friends asked me about the rest of the house... Yes, we will be renovating the entire house with a timeline of one year. The kids' rooms are first so they can get moved in (we're sleeping in a travel trailer right now). Our goal is to be complete with the 3 bedrooms by mid March. This includes having all new windows installed on the entire house in the next couple weeks. After the bedrooms, we'll be conquering the two bathrooms- one at a time! Talk about scary "before" pictures! Check back and you'll see what I mean.

This house is a labor of love and I have to say, I'm feeling obsessed about renovating and decorating it- in a good way. I like the good SURPRISES, too!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

La casa vieja!

... translated~ The old house!

As home owners of 4 different houses in the past 13 years, my husband (Kirk) and I have always had "new construction" homes with the exception of our last house we just moved from. The house we just moved from was 3 years old when we bought it; a new house, none the less.
Kirk is in the US Navy (a pilot/flight instructor) getting ready to leave the military in September 2011. When he departs the Navy, his plans are to fly for a commercial airline. When this happens, typically the first year of flying commercial, the military pilot takes a pay cut from what they had been earning. We want to remain debt free (with the exception of our home loan) and prepare ourselves for this transition time from military life to civilian life. Also over the past year, we've had a yearning to renovate an old "fixer upper".
With Kirk getting out of the Navy in just over 18 months, as well as the desire to do a major renovation on a house as DIY'ers, we felt God's lead to sell our large house in a beautiful city subdivision, and buy a smaller, more modest home in the country amidst farm land. We prayed about it, acted on God's lead and have been blessed every step of the way.
Several weeks ago we purchased our 5th house, closer to our kids' school and our church. We are so in God's will as He has supernaturally put everything in place for us to sell and buy as only He can. Kirk and I are so excited to be out in the country on 2 acres and living in our new "old house". To many, we look crazy for moving as we did. But to our God, we are obedient to his voice and this pleases him. Our goal is to fix up the existing floor plan of our new home and eventually add onto the the floor plan to create a bit more space after our major renovations are completed, or build a new home next to it, using the fixer upper as a guest house or rental property. For now, we take one step at a time.

This past weekend we have officially begun the first stages of our renovation with getting the kids' bedrooms ready for rehabilitating~ ... old carpet ripped out, down with 1970's wood wall paneling, cracked drywall getting ripped down, walls getting patched, some need re-framed, insulated, and repaired... so much work... SO MUCH FUN!

La casa vieja!

Kirk accessing the kids' bedroom projects...

Many places the walls cracked from the foundation
repair we had done prior to moving in.

I will have victory!!!

We expected to find "SURPRISES" behind the old wood paneling and dry wall...

...the insulation behind this drywall was even worse!

As we lifted paneling, little "presents" fell from the ceiling!

YUCK! Is it roach or mouse droppings? YUCK, YUCK!
Do I even want to know?
Thankfully we had this place fumigated!
yes~ we're wearing masks, goggles and gloves!

before (above)... after (below)

...what do we have here?

Looks like we'll be completely replacing some framing!

How do we get rid of drywall & trash?


Monday, February 8, 2010

Catching up... Memory Verses

I have been in the process of moving from one house (a 2003 built home) to another house (a major fixer upper from the 1930's) since early January. BE PREPARED~ I'll be blogging a lot in 2010 about our new-OLD home we just moved into. Since it's such a fixer upper, I'll be sharing our renovation ups and downs with lots of pictures! I love transformation... "before" and "after"... taking a used and abused house and giving it TLC, making it beautiful again. I know God will reveal many parallels between my family's home renovation and how He renovates, transforms, refreshes, and makes new again all of us. I can't wait.

Anyway, with the busyness of this past month, I have been preoccupied with the move and have not been doing much blogging! I have managed to stay faithful with my memory verses (recording them in my spiral and sinking them deep in my mind and heart), but haven't been as faithful in posting them on my blog. I'm taking time today to "catch up" and get in sync by recording them for my own accountability. I've found Sister Sheri's blog, and Audrey's blog, both fellow Siestas who are posting memory verses as we all will share the awesomeness of God's word as we and many others continue Beth's 2009 memory verse challenge into 2010.

Here are my Memory Verses for 2010:

verse #3 (Feb 1)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
A verse that is keeping me going during our recent move and beginning stages of major home renovation! Thank you Lord for the promises in your word!

verse #2 (Jan 15)
He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
A verse God gave me Jan 12th with the idea he provoked me to pass on to the other out of town Siestas for us to wear pink boas as a celebration of God's faithfulness, the SSMTC, and a form of Siesta ID.

verse #1 (Jan 1)
"You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3 (NIV)
A verse I constantly need to remind myself and repent about when the fleshy side of me pushes God off the throne of my life.