OK, so where were we…
The new basement doors got installed several weeks ago. They look great, plus they actually close without having to shove your shoulder into them, kick them, and then wedge a piece of metal under the knob before crack dealers and homeleess people can slip inside. Since we’ve started the landscaping work, it’s been especially nice to enter and exit through the basement, without having to track any dirt through the upper floors. In fact, after getting completely filthy in the back yard, this weekend, we drew all the living room blinds, stripped naked in the basement, and the hustled upstairs to shower. Pretty great!
Something I didn’t know is that the door automatically locks behind you when you leave. Fortunately, I learned this lesson in tandem with the lesson on how to break in through the back screen door. I was not naked at the time, in case that was your next question.
After an outrageous fight with Sears, who proved completely incapable of delivering a dishwasher, we finally cancelled our order and got one through Best Buy. If you ever think to yourself, “Hm! I’d really like to spend an inordinate amount of cash on an expensive Aga dishwasher,” let me save you some time and money: DON’T. It will break down within a few years, and Aga will be completely disinterested in fixing it or even acknowledging that the dishwasher exists.
Granted, our circumstances are unusual, but we will never spend any money on anything bearing the Aga name.
The Electrician did a good job on everything he was supposed to do, and he even recommended his brother, who gave us a quote on installing drop-down attic stairs. This ties in with another recent home improvement: the Bat Guy finally came back to remove the little one-way traps, and our attic is (we believe) finally bat free.
The neighbor’s attic? Not so much. We can still hear them scratching about, just not on our half of the the house, and their back patio is littered with bat shit. I keep determinedly sweeping it back over onto their side, when it makes its way through the fence. As far as I’m concerned, this is now their problem, not ours, and they are responsible for every gross, infectious aspect of it.
Part of the reason we’re installing stairs is to make absolutely sure the bats are gone, as well as to seal up the firewall between our two houses. It will also give us some extra overhead storage, something that always makes me squishy and happy inside.
Around this same time we also found a contractor willing to redo our tub! After being able to get several people to either respond to inquiries, or give us a complete proposal, we went with a guy who initially came to look at it back in 2007, shortly after we moved in. We bought the tub, tile and fixtures, and he provided us with the labor and the new window. It took a little longer than anticipated, but all in all he did a fantastic job, both gutting the old tub down to the studs, and giving us a new sheetrocked ceiling, to boot.
It ended up being cheaper than our best estimate. Not only that, but the estimate we’d received from the no-call contractor involved no tub work at all; he was going to leave in the original tub, and we would have been responsible for refinishing or replacing it later. It turns out that the existing tub was nothing more than a cheap fiberglass shell, and we probably would have been in deep
Finally taking advantage of the summer weather, and in anticipation of a backyard party in a few weeks, Marc and I set about doing the fastest backyard renovation known to man.
For one, I staked and strung off a 20′ x 13′ section of the back yard, about three feet from the edge of our patio and about the same distance from the (twin) neighbor’s fence. My employers were good enough to donate a shitload of sand, brick and brick edging towards the project, which saved us a huge chunk of change. Sunday and Monday we devoted ourselves to digging out the patio area (2″ for the brick base, then another 2″ for the weed blocker, sand, and gravel.)
We finished late Monday afternoon, achey and exhausted and with one ear sunburnt (that would be mine), and as of this afternoon I should come home to a huge delivery of red tipple gravel waiting for me in the side yard. Now we need to fill in the patio, level it out as best we can, and figure out what the fuck we’re going to do with the four cubic feet of earth that we dug up in the process. So much dirt…
The project so far:
There are some miscellaneous other improvements that went along with all this, and I’ll do my best to photodocument them tonight. It’s been a ton of work, but we’re both greatly looking forward to finally having a nice place to park our lounge chairs as we watch the shed and the feral cats.