Monday, March 25, 2013

Jumpstart, relocation, and more demolition

What an interesting weekend. Ghon was experiencing a rapid heart rate early this week. After a few appointments with his cardiologist, it was determined that he neesed a cardio version on Friday. I brought his sister Cindy home with me again on Thursday night. Cindy hung out at the house Friday while I took Ghon to Frederick Memorial Hospital for his procedure. Cardio version is a shock that stops the heart. The idea is that the shock stops the heart, and therefore the irregular rate. The heart then restarts, or in Ghon's case, the pacemaker kicks in and restarts the heart. We had to leave by 4:30am to be at FMH by 6am. The procedure takes all of about 2 minutes, but he needed to have an IV inserted and receive anesthesia. As the drugs went into the IV, I left the room and was gone for about 5, maybe 10 minutes before the doctor came to get me. After one low dose shock, Ghon restarted and was ticking away at a comfortable 60 beats per minute.

Waiting for something to happen.

139 beats per minute while laying down. Insane cardiac rhythm.

Getting the IV. Ghon hates needles.

Attaching the shock pads. One to the chest, one to the back.

Ghon was in this room the entire time. After the shock pads were attached, they hooked them up to the defibrilator and plugged it in - that's it on the bedside table to the left.

A dose of anesthesia to knock him out, a quick low voltage shock, a pacemaker restart and ahh, a nice rhythm and back to 60 bpm. Check out that blood pressure though!

Post procedure wake up with a little cranberry juice.

Doctor's orders were that Ghon "take it easy" on Friday and no operation of machinery. The restrictions were due to the anesthesia, not the procedure itself. After stopping for breakfast, we headed home where we all took a short nap then loaded into my car for work at the farm. Ghon did have a few phone calls to make: we had MORE lumber delivered and we had to pay for the overage on our dumpster. The fee for the drop-off included 3 tons. Turns out we loaded that sucker with 4.2 tons. When I think about how much we didn't put in - all the lumber, furniture frames, boxes, sink, and bathtub - I can't imagine what it would have weighed with all of it added.

We also decided with 100% certainty that we are now going to put the stairwell back into the living room. This will add the original structural support that was necessary and also give an alternate escape route from the upstairs should one ever be needed. I am stoked that Ghon wants to add under the stair cabinet and drawer storage! Once at the house, our work was surrounded by outdoor tasks since it wasn't too cold. We used some dog kennel fencing to create the run and cinder blocks left in the woods to make a coop. Repurposing at it's best! We burned demolition debris for about 2 hours and called it a night.

On Saturday, Ghon had a meeting at work, so Cindy and I took the kids to a Easter egg hunt in town.

Jonathan and Genevieve with their friend Payton.
Jonathan and the Easter Bunny.

After a quick shopping trip, we met up with Ghon at the farm to get to work. I desperately wanted to get the logs cleaned in the living room, so that's where I started off. I had the left side of the fireplace to scrub clean. After I finished knocking off the plaster, I dusted the logs. I took this picture on Sunday, giving the dust plenty of time to settle. Here's the finished product! Once the stone work and rechinking is complete, I plan to use another wire polishing brush on a drill to polish the logs off.

These logs will stay exposed in the room. We are thinking about removing the small filler logs and chinking between the larger logs, which will result in larger white stripes.

Just a reminder of what it looked like before I started.

While I scrubbed logs, Ghon and Cindy poked around their Dad's old workshop and looked at the trash piles and came up with their game plans. Cindy worked one of the trash pits left behind, sorting scrap metal, pure trash, plastics, glass, and reusable items, like tools, tarps, and wood to burn.

To make things a little easier, Ghon pulled Tim's 4-wheeler out to help haul down bagged trash from the pile. He knew my Dad, Les, had been interested in riding, so after a quick lesson, Dad was tooling around the yard and went for a trip up the hill. We had the kids with us all weekend and Dad was a big help watching them play outside in the late morning/early afternoon.

Dad on his maiden 4-wheeler ride.

Dad and Luke

Ghon bounced around between inside and outside work. The biggest outside project was relocating the chickens to their new home outside. We were a little nervous about the move since we are expecting snow on Sunday, but they have really outgrown their indoor box home.

Once Tim arrived, Ghon, Tim and my Dad, worked on adding an extra joist - or double sistering one of the three remaining joists. They were able to get one set complete and Tim and Ghon were able to measure out the remaining three joists before calling it a night. A 4th Sunday of the month tradition, we took Aunt Cindy to pancake breakfast at the firehouse. After loading up on pancakes and sausage, the Eckleys headed to the farm and were joined by Kevin.

The kids got settled in their own special room upstairs. The day before, we brought a DVD player and a couple movies and a blanket for them to hang out on. Today, they got a little crazy, creating a "house", covering themselves up, and yelling for me to look at them every 5 minutes! The room they are in has a bathroom, and thankful, Ms. Independent has no problem taking herself.

Portable DVD player, blanket, hard hats, books and a play phone.

This was taken after one of the "Mommy! Mommy! Come see us!" requests.

Ghon and Kevin were able to work on double sistering the joists. There were a few that had one sistered joist, but Ghon was adding seconds. The last one proved a bit tricky, and it was time for Kevin to head out to his own carptentery project.

Only the far right joist needs a little help, the rest are secured and standing with no support!

Cindy and I tackled the kitchen. We wanted to remove all the lathing from the ceiling, and from the walls currently exposed. I had started some of this on Saturday, and Tim and Ghon did the first weekend they demoed the room. It is an incredibly disgusting job. There is so much mouse poop in the ceiling - its unreal. I found a decayed wasp nest and a mouse nest in the ceiling on Saturday.

Wasp nest in the ceiling.

Nest, plaster, poop. Yuck.

Cindy went to town on the ceiling, and I worked another section then the walls, especially near the trimwork. We carried out all the lathing to the burn pile, and Cindy cleaned up the plaster and as much dust as possible from the floor.

Whack, bang, boom! Cindy worked that crow bar to rip out the lathing.

The dust was insane! That's me, going after another strip. I don't dare work in there without head coverings and was SO mad that I left my eyegear at home.

Kitchen wall after the strips were removed. This wall backs up to the dining room.

Ceiling and side wall shot - after clean up. The counters were COVERED in yuckiness.

Cindy got a little creative with the vacuum cleaner.

With the pending snow storm, we decided that I would take Cindy home and stay at her house to avoid driving in snow in the morning. We still needed to get back to MD in a reasonable hour. Once I left, Ghon would be left with the kids, so after Kevin left and we finished what we could inside, we shifted operations outside. Ghon fashioned a small roof for the young chicks and I used the massive tarp from the dumpster to cover all of our lumber in attempt to protect it as much as possible.

While Ghon might not feel like much was done this weekend, we did get a chicken run and coop made, sistered the remaining joists and removed floor supports, removed all the lathing and plaster from the kitchen, and made a big dent in the trash pile. For a weekend that started with a cardiac procedure in the hospital, I'd say it was a very productive weekend.

Next weekend will probably include packing up the "keeper" finds from the attic to put back into the attic in labeled, plastic (mostly mouse proof bins) and hopefully Ghon can get the last joist fixed. We have friends coming down this way from MA so Saturday will be a break day while we spend the day in DC with them. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Time capsule

Ghon has been trying to date the original construction of the house. His current estimate is that original cabin (now the living room) was built in the late 1750s. We are pretty sure the additions (dining room and kitchen) were added in the early to mid 1890s. Kevin determined that the flooring in the living room is likely from the very late 1800s or early 1900s. Ghon's father made renovations in the late 80s. So on average, every 80 years, the house is going under major construction.

During demolition, we keep asking "Why?" Why this and why that. Why are the joists so long, why isn't there underground access to the left side of the house, why are there skulls under the floor, why did Dad take the stairs out, why are so many creatures getting in? OK, maybe I am the only one asking that question. Ghon is into the overkill approach, doing more than is probably necessary to fix the broken things. Which had a few of us joking that Jonathan or Genevieve's kids would probably end up renovating the place and keep asking "Why did granddad do this? Why are there so many joists in the living room and no where else? Why is there hardware screen on the walls?" My answer? A time capsule, buried in the floor, to explain why we did what we are doing.

Other than pictures of the house, maybe the history as we know it and the whys we can answer, what do you think we should include in the time capsule? A newspaper from the week we bury it? I was thinking a picture of gas station so they can see the price we were paying, and what a gas station was if they don't even have them anymore.

So what do you think? Add your thoughts below!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Full Exposure

After all the preservation effort to keep the dumpster dry, the pick up didn't happen until Wednesday (3/13), the day AFTER another rain storm. We were hoping to get the dumpster emptied to avoid paying for what effectively would be water weight. Included in the dumpster rental rate was 3 tons of trash, we pay for anything over. We haven't heard if we went over or not. Should be interesting - we were nearly full! Thanks to the rain, they also jacked up the yard trying to get hooked back up!

The full dumpster.

On Sunday (3/10) we met with our stone mason. He does restorative work and uses proper restorative techniques, which was important to us for the fireplace work. He will be spending quite a bit of time down at Hummingbird Farm. We've received rough cost estimates for repairing the two chimneys and on Sunday, we were getting an estimate on exposing the fireplace to prepare for new stone work and eventually a fireplace insert. He took a peak pre-demo, and wanted to see what the wall looked like with everything removed.

Ghon and Myron (the stone mason) discussed the plan for the mantle and the stone hearth and started talking prices. Ghon after asked about using our own rocks for the fireplace, Myron agreed it would be possible, so they took a ride to the top of the mountain to check out some rock piles. They quickly found a good number of stones to use for our new fireplace. Myron even found one that looked like it had a face on it, so I have insisted it be used as his "signature" rock in the the lower right corner of the fireplace. Ghon wants the kids and I to go on a rock hunt wiht him, each of us finding that special rock to have included.

On Wednesday, 3/13, Myron came out and got to work. He removed all the old bricks that were used to close up the old fireplace. We had decided to not try to make some of the fireplaces functional, so rather than repair the broken brick chimney, it was removed that day. In addition to having the fireplace rebuilt, we are also having Myron rechink - or apply new mortar - between the logs in the wall. We are leaving the entire fireplace wall exposed. Myron was able to get all of that done in one day.

The fireplace opened and exposed.

After finishing removing the brick from the fireplace, Myron went to work removing the old  mortar between the logs. We (well, Myron) will be stoning in the fireplace and rechinking the logs.

Left side of the fireplace with the mortar removed.

Right side of the fireplace with the mortar removed.

There are 6 fireplaces and two chimneys in the house. However, it appears that four of the fireplaces (and corresponding brick chimney) are not completely functional. The brick chimney needed repair, but since we've decided to not use the fireplaces, the chimney comes down.

Pulling off the bricks.

On Sunday, Ghon split wood while I worked on removing the plaster/mortar from the logs. It was time to remove all that white junk from the logs in attempt to let the natural log beauty shine through. Using a couple wire brushes and a face mask, I went to work scrubbing the logs. In time (when we save the $), we will have Myron back out to add new mortar between the logs to seal things back up and stone in the fireplace.

In process - removing the mortar/plaster from the log wall.

On the front wall of the room, we found some of the logs had been numbered with Roman numerals to mark their placement. After cleaning the logs on the right side of the fireplace, we found more Roman numerals marking the order.

Some assembly required: III - log number three.

Some assembly required: IIII - log number four.

Some assembly required: V - log number five.
Now that most of the mortar is removed, I need to come back through with a vacuum to remove the dirt and dust and do some touch ups. In a few spots where I scrubbed hard, the logs really started to shine. My goal is far from shiny logs, but pretty clean with a few white spots remaining for character.

Geneveieve was not a very happy camper on Sunday. She wanted nothing to do with being in the downstairs level of the house despite having Jonathan's tablet and her own toys. I was able to work while she took a nap in the car (trust me, not as awful or dangerous as that sounds) and Jonathan bounced between Ghon and I. Jonathan was actually quite funny, cheering me on with random "you are doing a great job mom!" praises while playing Angry Birds in the dining room.  Working the right side took maybe 2 hours worth of time and I was bummed when I left that I didn't get to do more.

Right side before....

and after plaster removal.
OK, maybe that is a little hard to see the difference - but it is a huge difference! See all those lines that look sort of white - those are ax marks!  Let's try this angle...

The fireplace wall - before starting the log cleaning.

The fireplace wall - with the right side nearly done, just needs a little fine tuning.
Now, won't that look sharp when the stones are in place? The vertical boards on each side of the fireplace is where the mantel will be set back into place. Inside those boards and straight up will be covered in stone.  At the top of both pictures, you can see some of the joist repair.
Ghon starts working his wacky schedule this week and no longer has weekends off, so our progress will be a little wonky now. His sister Cindy is coming back down again this Thursday to work with me on a variety of projects Friday and as much of Saturday as possible as we work around potential t-ball and childcare schedules. Should be interesting...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Demo Round 2 and Attic Clean out

Amazing progress made this weekend with what seemed like a skeleton crew.

After leaving work on Thursday, I picked up my sister in law Cindy and brought her back to Winchester with me. Friday morning, after dropping off my car and having a little breakfast, Cindy and I threw on our gloves and got to work pulling out box after box from the attic and began sorting the keeper items from the trash.

After a couple hours of work, we headed out to inspect the dumpster. Last Wednesday, we had about 13 inches of snow. On Tuesday night, I covered the dumpster with a massive tarp and tie down straps. For the most part, it worked, but the weight of the snow and the melt pulled the tarp into the dumpster. Before we could dump trash, we cleaned out the dumpster. I straddled side of the can while Cindy went inside. Between the two of us, we dipped and scooped the snow out of the dumpster, and didn't spill a drop.

Cindy 'dumpster diving' to remove snow and ice.

The dumpster covered in snow.

After the snow removal, we trashed what we could, took a break for lunch, and went back to work. Everything was sorted into one of several piles: pure trash, burnable trash, potential keep/donate/yard sale, keep for one of two stepfamilies, keep for other Eckley family members.

At the end of the day, not much of our body wasn't aching, but we made great progress.

Before the attic dig out - to the left of the stairs.

Before the attic dig out - center.

Before the attic dig out - to the right of the stairs.

Day one completion - all unearthed antique furniture to the left.

Day one completion - the view straight ahead.

Day one completion - great progress on the right side.

On day one, we found some interesting family finds. I was happy to find one treasure for Cindy, a craft she had made for her mom. So cool! Here are a few other cool things.

Cherry pitter - part of the Eckley family heirlooms.

Who knows which Eckley this belonged to, but it was hilarious.

Grandpa Vikingstad's old planer.

Ghon wanted to buy a metal detector, and fortunately, our friend Steve lent him one on Saturday. Kevin came over as well, and gave Ghon a hand with removing the floor boards to expose more of the supporting foundation. While Cindy and I worked the attic again, while Ghon and Kevin found a great groove raising the floor boards, sawing the nails, and removing the boards. Ghon didn't find any buried treasures in the house, but had fun trying. At the end of the day, we decided that we should insert a time capsule in the floor for the next crazy family member that digs up the floor in 100 years.

The view down into the living room. Ghon is searching for buried treasure. Early Saturday afternoon, he and our friend Kevin finished pulling all the floor boards up.

Searching for treasure. Thanks, Steve for lending us the metal detector.

Digging for treasure and the rock foundation wall.

No treasure was found, but these are two of three skulls found in living room pit.

Saturday night, after walking in the house and immediately showering, we headed to the local firehouse for a spaghetti dinner, chilled at the house with our friend Tim and some homemade apple pie and slept!

Sunday morning, Cindy and I had to move three pieces of furniture and trash a few curtain rods before calling the attic COMPLETE! Ghon and Tim started doing demo work in the kitchen and dining room until Cindy had to head back to Rockville. After she packed up her take homes, I headed back to the storage room to tackle the last room of "stuff " to pack. We also had a stone mason visit us in the afternoon to give us some ideas and prices for opening the main fireplace and making room for an insert. Ghon, Tim, and Myron headed up to the hill and found a good number of rocks to use to face the fireplace.

The fireplace wall. Ghon and I are debating leaving the logs exposed or recovering with drywall.

You can see the stonework from part of the original hearth. This week, the stone mason will be back to start removing the brink, mortar and years of grime stuffed in the fireplace so we can later put in an insert.

The front dining room wall. It's hard to see in this picture, but to the right of the window is where a second door was located.  Ghon thinks for the most part, the room is in great shape and won't need many repairs.

We (well, Ghon and Tim) tore the ceiling out to expose the joists. We wanted to know if we needed to do more joist support work, and so far, it looks like a no.

Exposing the kitchen as well. At one point, as expected, there was plaster on the walls. The slats held the plaster to the walls - and there is still some in between.

Removed some cabinets and the drywall behind.

View of the kitchen from the other side of the room.

And the big unveiling...the finished attic!

The finished attic - left side is all furniture.

The finished attic - center. Look how big it actually is!

The finished attic - to the right. The chimney is in the background. The only items left on the floor are  huge mirrors.

My attic savior, Cindy, just before we finished.

That's me, sitting in the stairwell, right before we moved the final pieces.

Here is a video of the before and after attic clean-up - to get the full 360 degree effect.
Stink bug colony inside a book!

The finished, cleaned out storage room.

Another view of the cleaned out storage room.
Anyone need a light?
My to-do list from demo weekend #1. We haven't been able to install new joists - the lumber isn't in. Removing electric from the dining room isn't imperative and we kinda need the outlets to power the living room. We can't frame in the walls until the joists are in. So....success!!!

The dumpster is being picked up tomorrow. There is very little drywall left to remove in the house, and the upstairs rooms have paneling we can remove and burn, but not anytime real soon. We are almost done with demolition. All of the carpet is gone. I can't wait to start rebuilding.