Roof work

So, lots of breathing exercises later, I am watching my new roof go on. The roofers had to take off two layers of shingles, the top layer was asbestos shingles put up in the 1940s; and the original asphalt shingles which appear to be a blue grey. A few rotted roof boards have been replaced where there were a couple leaks and the felt has been laid.

We were in New Orleans for Thanksgiving and came back today. The carpenter we hired to replace the flat roof soffits, fascia boards and decorative dormer trim was here today and he did some good work taking out the rotted wood. I took a couple pictures in the dark. I can’t wait to view it in the daylight tomorrow. Work is being DONE!

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Milling the porch boards

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So, we are ready to begin our porch work. Over the last six years, we have had several carpenters come by to look at our porch and give us a repair quote. Most of them I never heard from again. One, gave me a quote and he said he would not do it unless I let him sand and paint the porch also. I planned on sanding and painting the porch myself to save money and, besides, I like to paint. The other carpenter got a quote from a local mill for the boards, and it was a trillion dollars. I thought he was giving me a bill for the national debt. I could not believe it was so expensive to mill porch boards. Of course since they are 104 years old, no one carries the type of tongue and groove board we need.

So, my enterprising husband, decided to set up a jig and mill the boards himself. I have to say, he is a genius!

We are talking with a local carpenter who specializes in restoring old homes. If all goes well, he will replace the damaged boards beneath our columns in the next couple weeks.

I have a firm date from our roofer. He and another carpenter will be here Thanksgiving week to start the roof work and replace all the fascia boards. Very excited about that…also nervous at what they might find! That old asbestos roof has been there since the late 40s, early 50s.

In the mean time, we framed the new bathroom in the house and laid the backer board.  The plumbing is roughed in.  In the next couple days we are going to lay the floor so the plumber can come back and set the fixtures and put the vent stack in (through the roof).  Here is the oak desk I found at a flea market.  I distress painted it with Martha Stewart’s copper metallic paint and a black overlay.  I sealed the top of it.  How do you like my visualization help?  Lol.  I was trying to figure out how I wanted the sink and faucet to lay out.

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I am waiting on some of the rough in work to be complete so I can do the finishing work.  I have tons of finishing, nitpicky things to do.  Things are heating back up over here in our old house.  Stay tuned for more developments!

Andrea

Sills Replaced, Foundation Work Complete!

Our work was slated to start on August 29th but due to Hurricane Isaac, we got rescheduled to the 31st.  I swear, if its not one thing, its another.  When the foreman showed up to start the job, he didn’t have half the equipment he needed and when I brought out the contract and verified that he was going to dig down into the ground and put the steel reinforcement I had previously talked to the salesman about, he did not know what I was taiking about.  After several calls and 3 hours MIA, we received a call from the owner of the company and we were rescheduled.  Sigh…at that point, I was not sure if we were EVER going to get the foundation repair completed.  This has been a 3 year project in the making.  So, long story short, the first foreman did not know what he was doing.  Later on I found out he was fired (uh-oh!)

On September 4, the company sent another foreman and WOW, this guy knew what he was doing.  Of course, we got off on the wrong foot early in the morning before I had my coffee and he was slightly rude, but nevertheless, he got the job done and I was very pleased with the final product.  I was having serious misgiving when a column fell and a sewer pipe was ruptured, but thankfully the column was put back correctly and the sewer pipe was an old and not connected to anything.  Below are pictures during the sill replacement and one is after it was complete.  I am so very excited!  I have some calls in to carpenters.  The porch work is next.  We could not replace the rotted porch boards until the foundation repair was complete.  So my porch has been quite useless these past 5 years.  I am ready to be able to enjoy it.

The roofing contractor came by this week.  In the next couple days, he is going to give us the start date on our new roof.  He is also going to do all the carpentry on the roof and replace all of the fascia boards.  I AM SO EXCITED!  Bye-bye rusted flashing and rotted fascia boards!

Next to commence will be rewiring half the house (that is still on knob and pole wiring…SCARY!  I KNOW!) and after that will be all new plumbing, out with the cast iron pipes, in with PVC and……drumroll please……an additional BATHROOM!  Yay! (confetti falling from the sky!).  Unfortunately, in our 3200 square foot house, we only have ONE, yes I did say ONE, bathroom for 5 people!  We will be adding a full bath on to Vivian’s bedroom.  I am trying to work out a small half bath in the hall, maybe under the stairwell.  So far, that project is not going very well.  I am not sure if I will be able to manage it.  We shall see….

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Above-back porch sill.  They jacked up the corner and put a concrete block underneath it.  They did not realize the column was hollow, so the concrete went inside the column and it fell.  Oops!  It got all fixed back.  It looks good.  I am happy.

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This is a picture of them shimming the front sill to fix it.

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This is a picture of the completed work and the sill replaced.  Unfortunately, they don’t make a block of wood big enough the same size as the sill, so 2-3 pieces of treated wood had to be bolted together to replace the sill.

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This is a picture of them working on the corner.

I think my favorite thing about the repair was the crew.  The foreman was the only one who spoke English.  All of the workers were tiny, but man, did they put up a sill!  At lunch time, they brought a microwave out of the truck and hooked it up to the extension cord to cook their lunch.  Ingenious!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Andrea

RIP Thompson-Hargis Mansion

Last night was very sad for Preservationists in Cenla. The Thompson-Hargis home was irreparably destroyed by fire. At this time we know that it started in the back of the house and according to KALB, the cause was arson perpetuated by a 13 year old girl.  An arrest has been made.

A security guard has been posted at the house remains to deter vandalism until a future disposition of the house can be determined by the family. Built in 1907 (some documents I have say 1902) without the benefit of a house plan by B.F. Thompson, a Canadian, the Thompson-Hargis mansion survived a total of 105 years until its historic reign was brought to an untimely end on September 9, 2012. Rivaling the beautiful and well preserved mansions on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, this mansion was the last one of its kind in Alexandria.

Mansion Row, as it is locally named, will not be the same. RIP grand lady.

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The above pictures were taken via iPhone as it was unfolding.  For pictures taken this morning, click here to be redirected to the WeSawThat blog.

P.S. I wrote a short post spotlighting this property in 2008 and made the comment that it would not last much longer in the state that it was presently in.  It has been a top post for the past two days, understandably so.  I am sad that this was a fulfilled prophecy. 😦

Work to begin again….

So, my blog has been dormant for several months.  Yes, I know.  Instead of plying you with excuses and listing everything that has happened between now and then, I will spare you (because I hate reading other people’s excuses when they pick up their blog again) and just inform you that work is going to start up on our house August 29th!

In a nutshell, I filed to receive Louisiana Rehabilitation Tax Credits.  We have been approved and most of our work is lined up to commence and be finished by the end of the year.  August 29th, I have a foundation repair service coming to remove the rotted sill on the front corner of the house and back corner of the porch in the back.  Having these sills repaired will be the catalyst to our other rehab projects.  We could not repair the porch, columns, paint, etc., until the foundation was repaired. 

After the foundation repair, you shall see a new roof, paint and other small projects coming to fruition.  Needless to say, I am very excited!  So, forthcoming will be a post on Louisiana Rehabilitation Tax Credits how to apply and who is eligible and after that, I will be blogging and posting pictures of our progress.

Stay tuned….

The Bee Saga

If its not one thing its another….how many times have I said that opening a new post?  I was touch up painting Vivian’s room yesterday around 5:00 or so and I heard what I thought was a fly buzzing around the room.  I absently thought to myself that summer has finally arrived when a fly gets in the house and that I needed to go find the fly swatter.  I didn’t pay it much attention and kept painting.  Then, all of a sudden, it got louder and I thought I was hearing things or my ears were ringing until I looked right outside Vivian’s window.  I wish I had a picture!  It was a huge cloud of angry bees!  All I could do stare and call for Steven.  I stood there fixed when he arrived in the room and I pointed at the huge swarm outside the window.  Steven immediately went and found the phone book while I still stood and stared at the very strange phenomenon.  I am glad he was thinking!  I was transfixed watching the bees buzz.  Then they all landed on one of my new fascia boards in a big droopy group like a hive.  Steven could not find someone to come out and exterminate them, so he came back in the room and explained what happened.  He said they either lost their queen and are looking for a new place, or the queen moved and took up residence on our fascia board.

Since we couldn’t get anyone out last night, we went on to church.  Coming home, we looked up to see if they were still there, an lo and behold, this big cluster of bees were still sitting on the fascia board.  This morning, I woke up to clanging and a clatter.  The exterminator had arrived and Steven was out there watching.  When all the bees were cleared, a hole was discovered.  They had already created a hole in my NEW fascia board where the flashing met.  ARGH!  Why couldn’t they go chew on one of the rotted boards so we could replace it??  NO….they had to go and make a hole in my NEW fascia board where we had a sill replaced, along with the siding, fascia and flashing.

So, I have yet to go survey the damage.  I am too disgusted to even think about it.  Steven will have to cover it up with some ugly piece of wood for now so no other pests will get in it.  I might be able to talk him into painting it white before he puts it up so at least it will match until we replace the fascia board again….sigh….

I am so glad that it happened this week than when we were on vacation.  If it happened while we were on vacation, we would have come back to honey dripping through the roof…oh yuck…it would have been awful and the damage extensive.  I am so thankful that we noticed it!  I am so glad that I was standing there and saw them swarm. Otherwise, we may not have noticed for a while as we don’t usually go out to that side of the house.  So, there is a silver lining in everything. 

I am going to go pour another cup of coffee and go survey the damage.

Andrea

***The exterminator came out and POOF they were gone…what was I worried about anyway?

“House of the Leaning Pole”

"House of the Leaning Pole"

Has a certain ring to it!  We have kicked around ideas for a good name for our house.  We have also thought about renaming our house versus naming it by last name of the original owner.  BUT, I think “House of the Leaning Pole” is definitely descriptive. Everyone knows where my house is…its the one with the big leaning pole out front.  This is a very old picture.  Almost 4 years old.  I swiped it from Google Earth.  Since this picture, we had a bad ice storm and it caused the pole to crack at the base and it is leaning even farther now.  I am informed that it is AT&Ts pole and I am further informed that AT&T has been notified about it.  I just hope it does not fall over onto my house or fence. 

Come on AT&T….please come and replace this pole????? 😀  Please?????  It will save me the embarrasment of naming my house something dumb.  We don’t want that.

Andrea

All is right again….

You might remember my post about suffering a shock from receiving a $4,700 utility bill which, thankfully, turned out to be a clerical error.  This  month I suffered an equal shock by receiving a $110 utility bill which was NOT a clerical error!  Thank God!  Such extremes!  Hehe….

The $110 utility bill is not very surprising.  My house has ceilings of 13 feet, and heat rises, so in early spring, my house is pleasant as the natural design of the house keeps things pretty cool.  It is in the winter when I pay through the nose.  Hopefully, upcoming improvements, which includes an insulation project and solar panels (still investigating a good firm), will help lower the heating bills in the winter.

Happy Friday everyone!

Andrea

Alexandria’s Natural Wonder!

I bet none of you knew about one of the greatest natural wonders in Alexandria!  This natural phenomenon occurs about 3 times a year and is quite consistent.  What am I talking about?  A water geyser!  Of course!

Geyser

Friday I arrived home and received a knock on my door from the mailman who told me I had water in my yard.  So, I went out to the side of the house and noted a small, sprinkler type spray coming from the ground.  So, I walked over (not too close) to see what it was and to make sure it was not sewer.  We have had sewer blockage problems lately and have had the city out to clean out the block twice this past month.  I smelled chlorine, so I knew it was clean water.  I stuck my hand in the grass and there was a big hole in the ground.  Sticking my hand in the ground changed it from small sprinkle to a shooting geyser.  I went from getting my grass watered to a free pressure wash for my house!

I had to laugh while calling the plumber.  With old houses its one thing or another.  So, one of our friends came out and looked at it.  The old cast iron pipe cracked.  After 100 years it just finally gave out.  In under an hour it was fixed and everything was back to normal.  One side of my house looks really clean.

This phenomenon is quite predictable.  If you drive by next week, you might catch another geyser…albeit in another area of the lawn.  Check back and don’t miss it!

Andrea

Spring is in the air!

Oh my….this is usually the time of year that I dust my blog off and then tackle about 10 projects at the same time.  🙂  This year is no exception.  I have accepted the nomination of Vice President of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana.  Thank you for your faith in me.  Among some of my duties, I will be writing a couple National Register nominations this year and working with property owners regarding tax incentives and rehabilitation of their properties.  I also have my property to work on and submission of a NR nomination is forthcoming in that area.  I finally have everything straight with the SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) regarding what they need from me and what I need to do.

My laundry room and kitchen are being “finished” by a carpenter as we speak.  Steven and I just ran out of steam labor wise and have been too involved in other things to get it finished.  So, we hired a good friend and excellent carpenter to come and finish what we started.

In adoption news, our home study was finalized yesterday.  All of the paperwork that our social worker needed from Mississippi came in and we can finally move forward with completing our dossier and sending our documents to China.  Within the next thirty days I hope!  National Register nominations pale in comparison with submitting a dossier to the Chinese Government!  Wow!

Many good things are in the works!!!  It is spring!  My favorite time of year.  I am ready to rock Cenla!

Andrea