stairs? we don’t need no stinkin’ stairs.

22 09 2010

I know you’re all on the edge of your seats, wondering if we’re ever going to get around to doing something with our giant plastic-covered hole.  Well, thank you for asking!  Eric’s first order of business the next morning before leaving for work was to put the doors in place (although they weren’t exactly secured to the frame yet).

new doors! with convenient access to the deck via stepladder!

If you want to see what they look like closed, you’ll have to check facebook.  Apparently that picture got taken with my phone, not my camera, and I’m not a good enough blogger to figure out how to get it on here, too.  Oh well!

The new doors make a HUGE difference in the feel of the kitchen, even without any hardware and a steep drop-off of 4 feet to the ground below… details, right?  😉


We enjoyed our new doors for the rest of the week (and rest our aching bones) until the next weekend, when Eric decided it was time to tear out the basement stairs while I was at a wedding all day. Yep, you heard that right… what better way to access the basement than via ladder?  My favorite thing in the whole wide world! *again, sarcasm.*

the disgusting basement... come on down!

I knew Eric was probably going to tackle the stairs that day, but I don’t think anything ever really prepares you for the appearance of a giant hole in the floor…

"honey, you're home early! no, this is completely safe..."

isn't this fun? kind of like spelunking or something.

But seriously, people… Eric did a fantastic job adding new floor joists to the opening left by the stairs and tearing out parts of the current support beams that had been reduced to toothpicks by our friendly neighborhood termites… *shudder*

Then it was time for sub-floor!

new floor! new floor!

I was a little leery of stepping on the newly-laid floor at first–I think my mind was still getting used to the idea that there had been a gaping hole with an 8-foot drop not 15 minutes before.  Eric decided to show me how safe it was by proceeding to jump up and down on it… hitting his head on an old cabinet in the process.  I laughed, he yelled angry things and hit the cabinet with his hammer a few times to get revenge.  We obviously take our safety very seriously.

the shop dog is not amused.

the shop dog is not amused.

That was about as much as we could handle for one weekend… stay tuned!


when you bite off more than you can chew.

16 09 2010

We kicked off the annual day of celebrating laborers everywhere by tackling our first big project:  turning a blank, unused wall in the kitchen into a lovely set of French doors that look out into the backyard–the first of many tweaks to the main level floorplan to make a barely 900-sq-ft house feel more spacious.

the before shot:  pardon my handsome co-laborer.  you’ll probably be seeing a lot of him.

at least one of us was working!

Look at that useless wall!  Something must be done.  And there was probably some stress to be relieved.  Solution?  SLEDGEHAMMER.

take that, wall!

oh, hello! just admiring your handiwork.

We actually had to take out the little half-wall that was part of the small set of stairs, too…because once you start swinging, it’s hard to stop.  And it needed to come out anyway. [foreshadowing!]

inside wall first!

plaster + lathe + insulation + lungs = you’re just asking for lung cancer.  thank goodness for the trusty respirator mask!  [and it’s hot pink… bonus!]

then the outside.

This is, to people who know such things, what’s known as brick veneer.  The brick isn’t structural, which is why the wall has to come out from both the inside and the outside.

we're getting there...

Yucky white doors are GONE!  Hip hip hooray!

look at this mess!

This is the point of the day where yours truly started flagging.  Because as Eric was tearing out the bricks in the wall, I was carrying them, two at a time, to another part of the yard, and stacking them neatly for when we have the old doorway re-bricked.  And people, this body is not used to manual labor like that.  The dogs kept following me, back and forth, back and forth… getting in the way mostly.  You’d think they’d lose interest once they saw that nothing new was happening with each trip, but no.  I even threatened to make Auggie my pack mule [he’s the size of a small horse] and make him help me carry bricks if he was just going to keep following me, but he didn’t seem to like the sound of that, and I couldn’t figure out a creative way to make it work anyway.  Dang.  So I just kept moving bricks.

The mighty wall-slayer... and believe me, that sucker put up a fight.

Now I’m sitting on the deck [I mean, briefly resting before returning to my labor], and wondering to myself… where are we going to put all this crap from demo-ing two walls?  We just tore a giant hole in our kitchen wall!  I’m hungry!  I have dust-boogers!  The bugs are starting to eat me!  The bugs are going to get in the kitchen through our giant hole and then follow me around the house!  I hope he doesn’t fall off that chunk of wall. The dogs need to get out from underfoot and leave me alone!  Anyone have a Diet Coke?  I can’t exactly get to the fridge right now.  Is the fridge even plugged in?  THERE’S A HOLE IN MY KITCHEN.

But, we pressed on.  My co-laborer is used to this sort of thing.  Noses, meet grindstone.  Bethany, stop whining. [he didn’t say that.  I was telling myself that.]

still a giant hole, but now it's a FRAMED giant hole.

Now it’s dark.  I’m tired, and thinking about how I have to go to work tomorrow.  And then I remembered that Eric also has to go to work tomorrow, and he has to build a deck.  I have to sit in a chair.  I’m getting better at putting things into perspective.  But seriously, we were at the point of no return.  Still a big hole in the house, but not quite ready for the beautiful new set of doors still strapped to the top of the van.  So he framed, and I cleaned.  Because there was a nasty amount of dust and other post-demolition junk in the kitchen, a kitchen in a house where one person and two dogs live.  So I cleaned, and marveled at his stamina.

People, I wish I could tell you that we each chugged a Monster and powered through the fatigue, dust, bugs, and the late hour to conquer the giant hole in the wall.  Sadly, we did not.  And that is not a bad thing.  It was at that moment that we learned the first lesson of home remodel.  Well, two.

1.  Projects will always take longer than you think they will.

2.  Because of lesson #1, do your best to plan out an appropriately-sized project for the time you have available, or know how you’re going to live/work around the temporality of your progress until you can get it completed.

Our solution to lesson #2?  Saran Wrap.

the temporary fix at the end of a very long day.

Just kidding… although it literally was a sheet of plastic stapled to the new framing to keep out bugs and other, potentially more dangerous intruders.  But in my book, bugs were priority. [Seriously, mosquitoes dive-bomb me on a regular basis.]

So, at the end of a long, labor-filled Labor Day, we marveled at the progress we had made, at our aching backs and legs, and at just how much FUN we had doing it.  Even if we didn’t finish what we started.


we put the “labor” in Labor Day.

16 09 2010

After a week or so of Eric getting settled (and getting the shop organized to his liking), we decided to spend Labor Day weekend, well… laboring.  Lots of overgrown branches and vines were chopped, hauled, and burned.  Two giant granite boulders were discovered.  Well, we knew about one–right next to the deck–but the other one was a bit of a surprise, and is slightly more inconvenient… let’s just say there won’t be a new dog kennel until that thing is gone.  So, if you know someone in the market for a boulder (or two), I give you good price.  😉

dinosaur poop?

dino poop #2, tainter of perfectly good dog kennel space.

also, they’re bigger than they look in these pictures, lest you think I’m exaggerating or something.  I would never do that.

look at the mess we made! (mostly Eric)


We took a brief break on Sunday to travel up to Ft. Wayne to celebrate the dedication of my nephew…first-cousin-once-removed…cousin Kendra’s baby…something-or-other Jackson!  But Monday it was back to the grind… and oh, did we labor.  Labor we did.

As previously mentioned, in order to exit the kitchen via the back of the house, one would have to take 3 steps down, turn right (wait, no!  turning right leads to the doomy gloomy basement.  back up)… turn LEFT, and walk out a yucky metal door, and up three more steps onto the deck:

exhibit A


exhibit C

So, rather than make this annoying down-up-up-down journey every time we want to go in or out, we just decided to knock out the wall and be done with it.  Seriously.  Oh, and put in French doors.  So you can see out to the deck and stuff.  Simple, doable-in-a-day project, right?

Stay tuned…

The adventure begins…

14 09 2010

Hello world!

Eric and I closed on our first house on August 27, a little over two weeks ago.  We’re thrilled with the place so far, and hopeful that this house is going to be a launching point into a pattern of house-flipping.  We’re doing the entire project ourselves, save for a few skilled trades that Eric doesn’t do (electrical, HVAC), so it’s going to be an adventure!

For the record, our new address is:

6483 N Park Ave  Indianapolis, IN  46220

Care packages, visitors, and… heck, why not… gawkers welcome…  it’s going to be a transformation! {Which reminds me, we should probably warn the neighbors.}

Anyway, on to the good stuff.


front before

a classic "before" shot... take a good look, people.

We spent the weekend after we closed packing up Eric’s old place (including a shop full of tools and materials that seemed like they were coming out of a clown car:  from a small, one-car garage into a spacious, 2+car super-deep, with a separate smaller room garage–>  unheard of in Broad Ripple, by the way.  It’s one of the main reasons we bought this place!  I busied myself cleaning the house from top to bottom before any moving happened, and made sure to take plenty of BEFORE pictures, for your viewing pleasure:

garage before

Eric's new tool palace

There are far too many pictures to post, so I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites, some of the “special bonus treats” our lovely house came with!

bedroom 1 detail

oh look a closet and a mini-cubby-thing! to hold the plumbing! or something...

Don’t worry, the cover is laying on the floor.  And it blends right in when it’s in its proper place *dripping sarcasm*.

And when I went to look in my seemingly spacious extra closet, what did I find?

"closet" detail

no way! a space to store my very own outlet?! you're too kind.

{this is the kind of stuff we’re finding all over this place, people…}

and, last but certainly not least, a whole host of guests who threw us a surprise housewarming party!  except I think we took longer than they thought to move in…

{just kidding.  I thought I had a picture.  It would be better with a picture, but I’ll tell you anyway… there were like 432439204324903243 dead ants on the kitchen counter.  Guh-ross.}

my weapons of mass destruction... i mean, cleaning.

That’s probably enough for now… gotta keep you coming back for more!