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Main Riser - to third floor/attic spotted and live legacy run located. This will serve as riser path to entire second floor as well as third/attic.

Bedroom - 1 spotter hole, then second spotter hole, then riser hole.
Bedroom - Dropped heater line through new path. Hall-way now clear of temp run.

Cat room - Pretty much the entire area I planned on drilling through had legacy wire. Current detection for the win! So, came through on the other side of the door from where I wanted to, but this enables moving the light switch much more easily anyhow.
Cat room - Floor riser probably to be abandoned now that I have a better path.
Cat room - Once locations of live legacy determined, spotter hole worked as riser hole.

Kitchen - Traced legacy live paths
Kitchen - Spotter hole worked as riser hole.
Kitchen - Path to serve hallway already in place.
Kitchen - Legacy path to serve upper deck light determined to be sketchy beyond words. Will re-run.

Bathroom - Riser from basement abandoned
Bathroom - Spotter hole located structure, second spotter hole used as riser hole.

Primary hall - to be served from riser to third floor.

Easter room / office - spotter hole worked as riser hole.
Easter room / office - will serve Barbie closet and pantry. Barbie closet is pink, thus the name. Due to current lack of wall between pantry and Barbie closet, they are currently one room.

Media room: Currently not spotted due to very sketchy ceiling and complete fullness with computers and media devices.

Oh Fabjous Day

The insulation in the ceilings of the media room, dining room, and entry room are finally up. There's a bit of edge tucking to be done, and one edge - about six inches to a foot wide, depending upon the line - where the media room has been left clear for electrical access to remove the knob-and-tube riser. The water lines aren't insulated in the interior walls so as to leave them exposed to the heat from the respective rooms they're exposed to, and the ceiling water run - who needs a wet wall when you can have a wet ceiling? - are likewise left clear both for access and heat. The amount of stuff moved again exceeds common sense, but that's OK. This time I didn't rip up my back nearly so much.

Looks like the hanging of the 4'x8' ceiling boards may end up being fully partner work, even with the dead-man.

Next on the agenda:

1) Concrete backer board.
2) Heavy sheet of structural plywood. I'm still torn between structural plywood and the uglier variant of exposed dropped/sistered joists, but that's probably because I'm genetically pre-disposed to over-engineering.
3) Hanging said plywood or joisting.
4) Hanging the concrete backerboard upstairs in the kitchen.
5) Hanging the concrete backerboard downstairs in the bathroom.
6) Completing the tiling of the downstairs bathroom.
7) Cutting and laying the granite counters upstairs.
8) Calling the plumbers to do the sink.

Who overheats in mid-october? Me, as it turns out.
Who has way too many loads of construction laundry? Me.
Who has a fridge cleaner pizza with curried cloved egg on it in the oven? Me.

Entry room.

Pictures to follow, but here's the quick rundown:

1) Boxed, removed, threw out where applicable - all material from entry room. This sadly included the cushion of the old couch which was under where a leak came in. janeoftrades, who incidentally kicks ass, showed up part way through this process and joined in the mayhem.

Leak: AC in second floor window had water directed into it by a faulty gutter. That water then got incorrectly directed by the AC itself into the window frame - which turned out to be not sealed. I should have seen this when I installed the AC. Instead of running down inside the wall and going un-noticed - long term *really* bad when that sort of crap happens - we discovered the leak about 5 minutes into the rainstorm when the downstairs ceiling horfed archaic plaster and coal dust onto the couch below. Really toxic, that water.

Window closed upstairs, frame not yet fixed.

2) Rent mini-dumper after a comedy of errors in which I turn out not only to have correct spelling be my nemesis, but also forget that at one point I knew that the inexpensive dump trailer company, "Mini-Dumper," Was in fact, "Mini-Dumpr."
3) Remove leftover debris from the media, completely covering the bottom of the trailer. This includes the 10 very heavy construction bags of debris that a trash company wouldn't take despite being within their parameters for, "Will take." Buggers. Having had to place those bags in the back yard to get rained on until we could get the dump trailer... not cool. 50 pound bags weighed 100-130 by the time they'd waterlogged (punctures from nails and whatnot let water in) so I loaded 'em with the hand truck. Thank goodness this dump trailer is a lot lower decked than the last, thus saving my back, my arms, and all my other vac parts.
4) Closed all the doors between rooms downstairs, boxing off the entry room.
5) Drop the knob and tube circuit (#7 on the right panel)
6) Rip the ceiling
7) Take debris out to the 12 yard dump trailer - now more than half full.

6 & 7 conflated for the first half of the ripping until we realized that time was short, so the crowbar and I entered an agreement with Arden, "You let this crap that's hurting you go, I'll get it down as fast as I can, and between us we'll try to avoid bunging up the floor any more than possible, and we'll engage in ladder dancing and support on mountains of debris." 9.5 foot ceilings = dancing on ladder generally, but when switching from slow rip to quick and precise (crank system into fight focus, pick targets, go-go-go!) the ladder moves around a touch more than most people are comfy with. Turns out I'm oddly good at this, even if it did scare the hell out of a couple co-workers when I pulled a concrete ceiling demo in six hours rather than the scheduled two weeks. Six hours because I don't permit myself explosives.

8) Vacuum up the dust. This dust, coal black and plaster white mixing for a dank gray - half an inch of coal dust above some areas - made me most exceptionally glad for my breather. Sweeping first to ensure my fellow mechanical didn't clog its filter was of utmost importance.

On the upside, now I can see how they wired to the porch and I uncovered electrical fire-hazards: The fan mount. Dear gods, the fan mount. the fan itself had enough grease in the engine - restaurant kitchen grease, thus explaining where the prior owners got it - and ground faults, frayed wires, and bad rotor as to be unsalvageable sadly. First fan so far that actually managed to land a mounting screw in a beam, however. The prior owners here were bloody scary. Second, the knob and tube terminating above and just inside the front door - not with wire caps, but simply plastered into place with Spackle. How this failed to catch on fire, I account to the house taking more than a little self-interest.

Not sure if we're hanging more insulation tomorrow or if something else will catch the need, but we've got plenty more to do. Happily, with materials in hand and tools in hand - and a place to put trash! - we can now seriously proceed.

Coming up in no particular order:

1) Insulation. R30.
2) Ceiling hanging (4x8 board)
3) Yanking the last reachable knob and tube. Yep, it's better to have rooms without light and power in many cases than to leave that crap live.
4) Wiring in new lights and outlets.
5) Plate-mounting and potentially jacking the media room ceiling/bathroom floor in place for the 1-inch plywood and sistering finish the media room ceiling off. Fun times. Will require base plate for jack, too.
6) Concrete backer-board will be nabbed such that the upstairs kitchen may go.
7) Granite counter-tops! Yeah, the scrap granite is ever-so-much a win.
8) Geiger counter (Still no luck)
9) Bring in the plumbers to final-place the sink and hook it up.
10) Bang out the old iron tub. Arden's weight loss program commences apace. Only one more radiator to go, too!
11) Wood chipper or *something* to get rid of the brush out back.
12) Probably going to need an arborist for the maple over the roof.

A bit for the project Arden.

So, the past few days - and a while more, what with all sorts of other stuff getting in the way - have gone like so:

1) Rent van for picking up rain/compost 55 gallon drums.
2) Use said van to pick up granite countertop scrap as well - looks like we've got nearly enough to do all the countertop work, though I'm guessing a couple smaller runs will be needed with the car.

The granite I saw advertized as scrap on craigslist - from a countertop company - wasn't this company after all, but when I called in from the road to find out if they were, in fact, the ones who'd advertized, they said no, "But that's a good idea. Take as much as you want." Smaller scrap in many regards than what I'd seen listed, but importanly: Of two common thicknesses. This means cutting and laying granite as though it were tile is possible. Now I want a geiger counter to verify radiation levels of the granite, of course. $30 or so via ebay for a, "Might work, doesn't have batteries." Hmmmph.

3) Call the fellow selling a wet saw and blades on craigslist about 20 times, email about ten. Connect only one time, while he's at work, "Call back soon!" And so far no luck though I called as late as 20:00 last night and have called several times today.
4) Rip the last of the media room ceiling.
5) Get the dustiest mini-kiln ever. Still need to clean that and bring it inside.

Today was as follows:

1) Lots and lots of wire tracing.

I now have a clear - and rather terrifying - understanding of how the old knob-and-tube was wired: 1 20 amp breaker in the basement running over 12 gauge wire to a junction box in the basement to the knob and tube entry which feeds the second and third floors as well as the first floor ceilings.

2) Using beepy line tester - I love my beepy tester - determine that panel switch 7 is the riser feed.

That was when I found out the original 100 amp panel was feeding the whole knob-and-tube assembly, and if memory serves, before we brought in the 400 amp entrance - as in, a single wire backtraced to where it's old path (still lined in coal dust) went back to the old entrance. Cor. Really glad we placed the proper 100 amp riser panel on the second floor.

3) With power off, clip out all the knob and tube above the media room excepting the pair of strands to the old panel.

That old fusebox panel still runs our AC and upstairs lighting. It's coming out of circuit very soon, but I didn't want to die of the heats if I could avoid it.

4) Wet saw phone calls. Lots. Still no luck.
5) Collect escaped cats from downstairs.
6) More phone calls for other wet saws. Still no luck.
7) Bring all the granite scraps inside. They include bullnose scrap, which means fronts, sides, and corners of cournters are doable.
8) Shower n times. I've lots track.

Ceiling above media room: Full of coal dirt.
Wires in same: Full of coal dirt and shedding insulation. Yeah, I'm glad to have that ripped.
Granite: Covered with granite dust - breathers are lovely things, even if the paneer saag burp-a-thon in the breather while I was working wasn't quite so nice.

9) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
10) Determine probable ease of placement for the electrical runs throughout the house - mostly done.

By way of reference: All the outlets on the first floor are brought up from the basement. Most of them without taking out the foot or two of knob and tube on the way. This will need ripped and replaced with fresh runs.
While so doing, the corresponding basement rooms will be *correctly* wired. Then, instead of most of the electric on one breaker, with four baby circuits on four other breakers - all 20 amp - there will be six breakers as follows:

a) Entry room and parlor + book storage below + porch
b) Shop - wired for heavy, and potentially extra for mini-kiln
c) Dining room and entry room
d) kitchen, pantry, and wash room below
e) bedroom above, water entry room and freezer room below

Those will account for proper outlets, grounded, as well as proper lights. Closets will be affiliated with their respective rooms.

11) Poodle successfully launched. Turns out if you sneeze while holding a poodle who's very (Please vac-parent! Give to me the playings!) excited, she'll explode vertically and pee in your pocket on the way out. Lesson: Don't excite the poodle while waiting for coffe to heat is she's in your lap before going outside. She *might* be full. I had hoped that only vet-folks got the puppy-pocket-pee, but that seems to be not the case under certain circumstances.

12) Tentative mapping for the wiring upstairs also complete

a) Rising from basement, bathroom and cat room circuits, one for heat, one for lights and outlets. Changing wiring path away from some plumbing, too. Everything else from upstairs panel.
b) Light/outlets to kitchen and porch.
c) Light/outlets to bedroom and Jane's office.
d) Light/outlets to barbie closet and vac office
e) Light/outlets from 10 gauge riser to the third floor - no heat there.

Air quality now in negative numbers.

Happily, with the fans going, the rest of the house isn't allowing that dust to get out of the big room where the ceiling's ripped.

I'm about 2/3 of the way done, and all done the nastiest work of all. Once I determined that there wasn't any wiring in the edge rip, I went as fast as I could - breathing only through my nose even with the mask on. The heater too up a bunch of garbage when the plastic yanked off (bloody physics and falling stuff) but everything went smoothly otherwise.

Rapid rip, rapid clean, shower...


Pics are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/wetdryvac/Jul142010ArdenWork?authkey=Gv1sRgCKfKh-zz1Lr73gE#

Now I'm going to spend the next couple or three hours recovering from the horrible crap in that ceiling.


There are some things even a respirator doesn't completely help with - things which make me want prescription swimming goggles to go with the breather.

Ripping a 1905 Victorian's ceiling is one of those things. Two showers and really sad eyes later, with about 1/2 the ceiling down, I've found a nice little list things in the ceiling - many of which fill me with horror.

1) The cut in the beams for upstairs bathroom drops that area 2-3 inches, not 1.5 as initially thought. That said, the reason we still have the second floor bathroom at all appears to be a sistered 2x10 in the original construction. That means that even though it's dropped, the length has kept things stable.
2) The fix for the 2x10 sister that's been chopped appears to be doable in wood - more 2x10s - with further sistering. Still not all the way down the sistered joist in clearing crap, but I'm watching the ceiling unbow just a little as I bring things down.
3) The lath, plaster, drywall, and popcorn makes a layer over an inch thick. I don't have a good metric for what that comes out to in terms of weight, but square foot sections that drop shake the whole house.
4) Dead things. As in, rodents from years past. If you've ever found rodent *pieces* over 50 years old, you'll have an idea of how dry and dusty they are. Glad I was wearing a breather.
5) Blown in insulation at exterior edges. Badly blown in. This means a probable need for either sprayed in (expensive) insulation or fiberglass. Nowhere in the chamber space, aside from the edges, was there any insulation.
6) Toys.
7) Old wiring pieces.
9) Old construction debris left over - probably - from the initial ceiling damage, "Repair," And toilet addition/replacement. No, our plumbers kicked ass and didn't leave crap everywhere in the chamber spaces.
10) A massively over-wired knob and tube installation which will be pulled and capped as soon as I figure out what all is running off it. Pretty much to the point of not caring and just yanking it, but need to check with housemates because there's a good chance that some of the lighting in the kitchen entry is run from that crap.

The implication - not terribly surprising - is that all the older outlet and light feeds are knob and tube, which means down the road, the need exists to rip and run risers for the entire first floor, the older parts of the second floor, and all the attic. Thankfully, the basement is a new - if exceptionally stupid - installation.

11) Coal dust. I cannot emphasize enough how nasty coal dust is, and getting it back off myself was the reason for two long, long showers.
12) Something else which I'm hellishly reactive to - guessing that at some point there was treatment in-house for ants, and that it's an older long half-life poison of some sort. Happily, seems to be contact based. Sealed room = happiness, however. In eight hours of work, I had about four of recovery time - but that recovery was pretty efficient, so at least it's something I can (TMI) back out of my system. Not a pleasant experience, but been there before, and used to the process from a couple of other older and and termite poison passings.
13) A cat. Except not. Before I realized I was poisoned and somewhat loopy the first time, while working under the cat room, I forgot there were cats in it. They said hi. I danced atop the ladder with the crowbar a bit and spent 10 minutes checking chamber space trying to figure who the heck had gotten in trouble.


A mouse has been in my cup. I'm OK with mice in a field, but in my kitchen - even with the hole in the wall and all - that's right out. Traps down again, and about to seal the pipe riser so mice have no access. Doesn't solve for, "Mice are in the house generally," But I think we're down to one, now. Food's in buckets, of course.

Meanwhile, it looks like the horrible dividing wall between kitchen and kitchen hall is composed of 1950s cardboard composite. Drilled through to lay in wiring - discovered that the entire wall was that crap - thinking it may be time to rip that wall down to studs and see what's underneeth. Not a project I’m particularly looking forward to, but it’ll do several things:

1) Allow for proper wiring paths.
2) Allow for ripping of really scary old wiring.
3) Allow for either a new wall, a new supporting wall, or – if the wall is non-supporting, possibly a complete rip. I’m guessing it’s supporting, and a kitchen-to-hall window box is in order.
4) Get the wall-material I’m allergic to out of the house.

So, wiring’s on hold, and I’m waiting for my eyes to stop swelling before I go get more garden work done. Squash beds are in – squash is upstairs still – and I need to go weed.



Drill and pegboard Drill and pegboard
One hole per inch, with sides set atop each-other and posted together at initial and second peg-holes so as to ensure identical hole placement. The sideboards are for an adjustable shelf.
Aluminum peg Aluminum peg
Purchased from a local surplus place at 25 cents per foot or so, cut down to 2.5 inch (or so) pegs with a bolt cutter.
Through and through Through and through
Initial peg-holes stacked and posted to avoid slippage.
New shelf location New shelf location
This pegboard shelf system replaces a greasy and utterly horrible built-in that was, once upon a time, probably quite nice. That got ripped back when we ripped the counter-top out due to the last residents' kids urinating upon it. Would have gone anyway, but the urine made it a priority. Primed and sealed walls freshly placed too.
New Shelf initial mounting New Shelf initial mounting
One extra peg-hole on back bottom, but with rebuilt mounting points on ceiling, solid as a rock.
Final shelf system, unpainted/sealed Final shelf system, unpainted/sealed
Each shelf holds my entire weight dead center, or max-sheering either of the front pegs. 180 pounds? Yes, we can do that.
potting the plants potting the plants
That would be squash, melons, lettuce, onions (already outside), chives, cilantro, an extra-exuberant amount of lavender because I forgot what row I was on, four kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of hot peppers including peach habeneros, and I think some other stuff.
Labels are your friends. Correct spelling isn't. Labels are your friends. Correct spelling isn't.
Cedes. Right. Also, terrible labeling in sharpie gradually being replaced with paper.
28 inches by 86 28 inches by 86
Kitchen counter, built with 2x4s, 3/4 inch deck plywood, and tile. Or will be. Again, modestly over-engineered, but I wanted it to survive my clumsiness. Also, the wee square sample tiles are too cool for words. We'll be doing color-something with 'em for pattern.
Sink mounting cutout Sink mounting cutout
Because if you don't draw it before you cut it - and measure it before you draw it - you'll be very sad.
Sample tiles! Sample tiles!
Yep, a store went out of business near here and tossed the inventory our way. We're nabbing a truck to transport the rest relatively soon.
Large and small tile laying Large and small tile laying
Not with the mortar, of course - this is just messing about with patterns and colors and whatnot.
knockout drill hole knockout drill hole
This is the starter for the jigsaw. I love deck plywood, even if it does take half an hour to jigsaw.
Sawdust Sawdust
We make a lot of this. I really should empty the wetdryvacs again. They're family. No need to keep 'em crampy.
Knockout for sink Knockout for sink
The curve in back is deliberate - that's where the feeds for the faucet come in.
Tile layout #7 Tile layout #7
With many more to follow. Mostly experimenting with, "What's the dimensional problem here, anyhow?"


Updating Arden

It's taken some while, but the kitchen has been stripped and the bad bits replaced in chipboard.
The chimney, which turned out to be sealed after all, has been boxed in.
The door has been removed and been used - with dual-direction hinges for swing-both-ways capability - in the head-of-stairs hall/entry. This is good, since the door didn't quite fit past the newly boxed size of the chimney.
Still trying to figure out if we need to cut into the wall for vent-pipe access for the kitchen sink.
Bookshelf cut in half depth-wise, so we now have two hefty bookshelves where once there was on. One of 'em's in the office. One of 'em's at the head of the stairs.
Church pews converted into office bookshelf/cat hangout.
Stove installed correctly. Need to reinstall re-correctly with L elbow so it's able to get closer to the wall.
Fridge! We can has fridge.

Now to mess about with autopano giga if I can find my reg-information, that we might have some updates with pictures and panoramas.

Next up: Placing the sink.
Wiring in the chases for ceiling light and new outlets.
Yanking old outlets with their jeezly scary knob and tube.

Pictures follow. I hope.

* * *


Another pano

Upstairs Kitchen Wanted items

Kitchen wanted:
1) Plate rack
a. Over sink for drainage
b. Needs gloss enamel
2) Vertical drawer shelf thing. Ceiling height.
3) Door front cabinets with
a. Tall drawer separation for pot/pan height
i. Shallow sides
4) Helper shelves (shelves with legs)
5) Standard cabinets with doors and (maybe) glass (Frosted)
6) Apothecary drawers
7) Mug hooks
a. Either a rack or under cabinets and back edge
8) Linen drawer(s)
9) Knife block drawer
10) Accordion loading pantry, or multi-hinge pantry
11) Pie tin and baking pan drawer or cabinet
12) Appliance Garages
13) Wineglass and stemware rack
14) Over sink rack with wee legs and feet
15) Compost in counter
16) Blackboard/whiteboard on chimney