Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let the fun begin...again...

And you thought I was done working on the house, didn't you? :)

Not so, friends, acquaintences, well-wishers and just-stoppers-by. I present to you, the baby's future room, a collection of "before" pictures...well, except that I taped the baseboard and crown molding last night. That's the lime green stuff, in case you've never seen that before. Duh.

Since I can't really paint this wood paneling until its primed (if I want it to look right), I have to prime first.

I primed the small wall next to the shade-less lamp and the small gable windows in the back (visible in the third picture). It took me about 2 hours. But that's because I decided to just use a brush, rather than the roller. Didn't feel like pouring paint into the pan and dirtying up the roller and everything. It looks good...but more once the walls are all primed...and/or painted.

As you can see, there's PLENTY of wood paneling that needs to be primed and painted. That will be all that will be painted--the bare angled wall and ceiling will remain, most likely, the colors they are now. This could take a while. Good thing we have about six months! :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fantasy football vs. housework...

Fantasy football wins, hands down.

Too busy with fantasy football drafts both Saturday and Sunday to work around the house, but not busy enough to not play around on the computer with my newest design program and create a new, nice title image that makes a better, more artistic (and nicer) use of the picture of our Chicago-style bungalow.

Hope you like it!

Painting of the baby room is on the horizon...the paint, primer and tape have been purchased and are patiently awaiting me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Comparatively speaking...

...we got lucky. Our backyard flooded, and for a time last night, I thought it was going to make it to the house (and thus, the basement stairwell). If it reached that stairwell, all bets would have been off. I don't know if the drain outside that door works, or if it could even handle that amount of water flowing in. Thankfully, it stopped about 10 feet short. But, even now, there is still water to the west of the garage, as seen in these pictures, about 4pm. Last night, the water was all the way to where I was standing in the first picture, a good 10 feet or so from where the water ended (as best as I could tell) in these photos. Unfortunately, this is the area where I want to plant my major garden--not the prairie idea (as referenced in "Garden planning..."--wow, two references in two days!? Have I been doing this long enough?). That means that I'll probably have to fill this area in pretty good in order to prevent it from becoming a wet mess every time--and really because I don't particularly WANT wet-soil-loving plants, mostly. Gonna have to get them high and dry.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the water has receded a lot, but it's still pretty deep. That grass that you see submerged is quite long--it hadn't been cut in a while. So hopefully it will go down and we'll get minimal rain tonight. It would be nice.

Also, I realize this is really minimal problems compared to some others (Our Little Bungalow, for one example...two coworkers who ended up with three feet plus of water in their basements another example, among others), but for me, at least, this is a big deal...thankfully, it wasn't any bigger a deal--hopefully it stays that way.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eh, we got six months...

OK, hold the phone, baby.

Today's insane rain, coupled with the insane rain that fell mainly on the Plains and somewhat here over the last week, finally did in the foundation of our front steps, more or less. We had a pretty drippy leak under there this evening that I'm going to have to continuously check on now.

It also means that our "Next projects" list needs to change again. Newest member of the "Next Projects" list? Repair the stairs and concrete foundation on them, as well as any tuckpointing on the stairs that needs to be filled.

I had wanted to repoint the entire face of the house (see "I can repoint my bungalow"), but I guess that entire project will have to wait and we'll have to install a temporary fix of some sort (for the tuckpointing portion, not the concrete).

Let's hope that the rains, which are supposed to continue all night and most of the day tomorrow, ease off some and don't seep in beyond that one little enclosed room. We shall see.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"A baby changes everything"...

Well, that has become true in terms of our house priorities, anyway.

Obviously, we're going to paint the future baby's future room. Gina is supposed to go get primer and paint today for that task. I'll have to prime and paint the upstairs second bedroom, which is covered in wood paneling. This is going to be a long process. But at least I won't need any ladders, since it's a lower-ceilinged room. OK, I might need a stepstool to get at the truly higher portions. I'll be sure to post pics of the room. It's cool now, and will look that much cooler after we paint it. The kid will have TONS of space, no doubt about that. And an air conditioned room! I never had that growing up...the brat is spoiled already. ;)

Once it cools off outside a bit, we've decided that it's time for the collapsing fence(s) to go. We'll either replace the entire backyard fence at once, or half in the fall and half in the springtime. One half isn't as bad as the other (right now, anyway). It all depends what we can afford, of course. That will be a fun, fun project...but we're going to do it ourselves. My dad put up a nice wood fence in his yard, so he can supervise/oversee the project. Which, with my dad, means that he'll pretty much take over and do most of the work. :)

After that, we're going to have to perform two renovations at once, most likely. The plumbing will have to be retooled to give us better water pressure--and we've decided to devote the fall, winter and probably part of the spring to remodeling the basement family room. If we time it right, we can replace piping while we have the basement walls torn up, minimizing mess and other issues. Originally, we were thinking we'd wait on the family room. However, since the massive rains did not cause any seepage or flooding or anything, we feel much more comfortable with our basement's solidity. The other thought is, once the baby gets big, we'll need a decent-sized space for him/her to play, and the frontroom upstairs and dining room simply isn't the answer.

Another reason seems selfish, but really isn't...and that is, I can wall-mount the 125-gallon fish tank that is sitting in the garage right now, taking up space. I probably won't set the thing up, i.e., put fish and water and stuff inside. But I can blow out the wall, rebuild it, build the stand and set the tank in place, ready for a future of fish. Yet another reason IS selfish, and that is, I can build my bar downstairs and get my flatscreen TV. :) Has to be an entertainment mecca, you know. :)

So we have big plans...and hopefully we'll have the budget to take care of most, if not all, of them and take care of them well. That said, I still need a ladder to get on the roof and figure out why the skylight in the bathroom is seeping a bit during some big rains. And then basically seal it shut, if needed.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


To fill the deafening silence lately here, instead of crickets (as the title suggests), I bring you...

A monarch butterfly on our Butterfly Bush.

This one was actually nice enough to open its wings and let me take a picture of it. We've had quite a lot of butterflies and bees and other insects, which is nice. Makes me know that I planted some good flowers. I don't remember having this many butterflies and bees in my garden when I was out in Bolingbrook, and that was a much, much, much larger garden. I guess size doesn't matter after all! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Where have you gone, Mr. Bungalow?

We're still here...just had a bit of a more relaxing weekend...well, not really. I had a hay fever attack that really limited me on Sunday--though I did fight through it to cut the grass, which needed it. Otherwise, I've been slowed by busy-ness at work and in life in general to really get anything done around here. Not that anything's truly pressing right now. Sure, there's things to do, but nothing super urgent, you know?

Anyway, I know Gina and her parents have been busy cleaning the second bedroom upstairs in anticipation (nearly 7 months ahead of time) of the new baby. She COULD post about it, but I don't know if she even knows how to do so. Not much to fully report there anyway, I guess...They're prepping it so I can prime and paint it. I'll have before and after pics when we get down to the nitty gritty. It's about half drywall and half wood paneling. I'm just going to sand down the paneling and paint it. I'm not ripping it all out. It's not worth it (at least not at this stage, anyway)...of course, that opinion may change in time. We'll see.

I've been eyeing a bunch of furniture and a new light fixture/chandelier for the dining room, but we'll have to see. I'm afraid to pull the trigger...maybe something will push me to do it. We shall see.

So many ideas just bouncing around in my head, and so little funds and time to do such things! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Storm windows--they're dear to my heart...

So, I happened to notice a bungalow owner on Craigslist selling what appear to be original wood storm windows and screens. I'm so tempted, but I don't understand why...well, I kind of do.

My parents, who don't have what one would call a bungalow (although it is a precursor to the Chicago-style bungalow and shares some similarities), have the original wood storms and screens that have to be put in and taken out every season change. They're held in with little wingnut-type clamp thingies, and they fit the windows nicely.

Furthermore, one of the few things I can remember really clearly about my grandparents' bungalow was the storm windows--simply because it's one of the things I actually helped my grandparents with. I can remember one time, by the time I was old enough by their count to climb on and be trusted on a ladder, that I think my grandma had me wash the storms, which were installed on the windows. It was funny, because I didn't use rags or paper grandma had me use windex and newspaper to clean the glass...I don't quite remember why--I believe it prevented streaking or something. But I do remember being up there and feeling a sense of duty, especially since my grandma left me alone to do the job, unsupervised. At this particular age in my life, this was a big deal, because even if my parents gave me something to do, they were always watching over my shoulder to make sure I did it right and/or did it at all. :) It was much different at my grandparents' house. :)

My grandparents either (a) didn't care, or (b) trusted me a lot more. They let me be a kid when sometimes my parents wouldn't. I'm not saying my parents were wrong for that or anything...not at all. I wouldn't change it one bit. But it's part of why I love the bungalows so much, really...they're associated with fun for me. I remember my grandparents' kitchen of those old-fashioned, basin-type ones that people now probably pay hundreds of dollars for. I remember that because I had to do the dishes at my grandparents' house--but they then let me play with my toy boats in the sink afterward, and didn't care if I got a little overzealous with the splashing. My grandma used to let me also just go into the fridge and mix up a bunch of stuff and make up my own "recipes" or whatever. She didn't stifle my creativity either...she let me just grab whatever, mix it together and try it. Honestly, it's really amazing that I didn't go into some culinary field or something, based on that.

But, anyway, back to the storms...we don't need storms or screens, as we have newer, metal ones, and triple-track storm screens in the front even. They're all painted and in good shape, so there's no reason to go through the trouble. But, part of my heart wishes that we had those original wooden ones...with the three weep holes drilled out of the bottom.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A day of rest...

Yesterday just killed me. Let me tell ya...those air conditioners took a lot out of me.

So today I decided to try to convert half my fish tank over to a sand bottom, which is supposedly better for the plants and the catfish I have. So, we'll see how that goes. Worth noting--I had to fight heavy impulse to purchase several flowers at Home Depot when I went to buy the sand...I successfully fought those off, thankfully. I don't have the energy or the time in the next couple of days to plant anything.

I had planned to clean out more of the crawlspace--there is STILL stuff up there--but I was just too tired for that today. Still, with a small a/c unit in the living room and the crawlspace mostly cleaned, I'm going ahead and registering those two "projects" as being done, on my count on the left. Hey, it's my project counter, so I can cheat if I want to.

Meanwhile, last night's storms caused some water leakage in the main upstairs bathroom around the skylight AGAIN. So that tells me that the skylight is the problem, potentially speaking. For all the rain we got, though, there wasn't much more than a dollar-bill sized splatter on the floor. So I'm not sure exactly what that means...maybe the rain came down so fast the water puddled on top of the skylight for a few minutes, causing it to seep in between the window and the frame? I mean, I poked my head out the skylight to look at the roofwork around it, and they really sealed up the flashing and everything quite a bit, so it couldn't have come through the roof, I don't think. So I don't know. I really, honestly, just want to take the skylight out and rebuild the roof or build a mushroom-cap access hatch of some sort and be done with it. But, at the same time, I'm really nervous about getting into that type of "project," especially with many others needed before it.

Also, I tracked down a gentleman who shares the same name as one of the key former residents here--the family history stuff I found yesterday in the attic. He says it sounds like it's his family, and that he was going to check around and see if anyone knows about the stuff. Doesn't matter to me whether he wants/takes it or not. It's no skin off my back. I just know that if it were MY family's stuff, I'd be all over it. But I realize not everyone's that way, so I put the stuff in a better box and put it back in the crawlspace, and then told him to take his time figuring out things...I'm in no hurry as of yet.

Aside from that, really, today was a low-key day around the bungalow. More as events warrant, of course. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Decoding the past...

Well, I started cleaning out the crawlspace in the attic today...I'm really tired. So the rest will have to wait. :)

There were three air conditioners in the crawlspace. One was a small one that currently sits in one of our frontroom windows. Another was a very big 18,000 btu unit that is sitting on the floor in the dining room, because I couldn't find the outside shell for it (I checked the basement crawlspace, which is where it was...don't know why they were separated, but oh well). The third was this ENORMOUSLY HEAVY unit that looked like it was from the 1960s or was so old it was rusty in a lot of spots. I didn't even bother to try and turn it on, for fear that it would explode or something. :)

Thankfully, my brother-in-law came over to help me struggle down the stairs with that one...even so, it took a LOT of energy and maneuvering--I'm betting that thing had not moved from the attic/crawlspace since the 1950s.

More interesting a discovery, however, was a box of photos/albums/family history on what must have been one of the previous owners. I mean, literally, there are hundreds of pictures, a couple family albums, two wedding albums, two diplomas, a high school yearbook, numerous grammar school class photos, Mother's Day cards, baby shoes, etc., etc., detailing a family's history. I believe that the parents in this family must have owned this bungalow at some point, and somehow, this box was either forgotten, left or lost in the attic or somewhere in the house over time. Anyway, I thought, "Boy, if someone found this kind of stuff for my family, I would want them to track me down so I could have it." So I hunted for the people online, and found a guy who has the same name as one of the kids in the family history. He responded and said he would ask around his family to see if indeed this stuff was theirs...I didn't share too much info with him (partially because I don't want to give this stuff to someone who technically doesn't own it--even though the last name is not "Smith" or something like that--it's pretty "rare").

I told him all I'd hope for in return was any historical info on this house that he or his family members could share, since that's really what I'm after--especially if they indeed lived here for any length of time. Otherwise, it's all theirs. Sadly, there were no pictures of this bungalow among the hundreds in there, so we'll see. Maybe this guy rented the upstairs here and forgot this box when he moved out, and thus his family never actually lived here--I don't know. I guess I'll find out sooner than later... :)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Functional, restored wood windows...

Crazy week of travel this has been for me. But at least today, after landing at O'Hare at 3am last night and finally getting to bed at 4am, I woke up to the Chicago Bungalow's best friend, Just Sashes. :) You may have seen John and/or his son on other bungalow blogs restoring windows. He's very knowledgable about these wonderful houses--I believe he said he has one himself...and he was telling us all about the woodwork and window work and such. He knows his stuff, that's for sure. Let me tell you, for the money (in other words, to replace the windows entirely), John's firm is worth its weight in gold if you're looking to restore your windows.

Instead of replacing 5 windows with vinyl replacements at a cost nearing $3,000, we were able to have Just Sashes restore all 11 vintage windows in the house for significantly less. So now we can open the front windows and actually use them! That's awesome. And, of course, now our house is safer too, since this:
Has been replaced by these:So, we're happy about that...maybe tomorrow I will pull out the window air conditioners and see if they're working and which we could put in the dining room and/or 1st floor office. Also, we can clean out the attic crawl while we're up there. For once, we don't have much to do on a Saturday, which is amazing.

John also pointed out that our two bedroom windowsills are quartersawn oak. He says that's funny, because probably when they built the house, some dumb kid just threw it in for the carpenter, but obviously, quartersawn oak is a really expensive wood (in comparison). Here's a pic of the windowsill in the 1st floor office. I knew what quartersawn oak was, but I didn't realize these two sills were quartersawn oak. :)
Well, now it's on to bigger, better things...since Gina is pregnant--I didn't announce that here, I guess...well, Gina's pregnant--we're going to have to fix the upstairs bathroom toilet...which means having to spend money on the low-water pressure problem before anticipated. Then, if that doesn't fix the toilet, we'll have to replace the toilet. But I want to try the water pressure issue first. And go from there...have a good weekend, everyone!