helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I was at getting some coffee at Starbucks and there was a slight wait since they were brewing fresh pots just as I arrived. As I was waiting for the coffee, who should walk up but George, my contractor who repaired the Zombie Bathroom™! He sat down at my table and we chatted for a while. I asked what brought him to that part of town, and he said his wife had just picked him up from the hospital, because he had been in an accident. Apparently someone had rear ended his truck, and their front end had slid underneath the truck. He doesn't know how severe the damage to his truck is, or how bad the whiplash is at this point (the truck is still at the shop). I was able to remind him about returning my key (I trust him completely to never misuse it, but he is a bit scatterbrained)... I mentioned that we still hadn't found a suitable medicine cabinet to put upstairs in [livejournal.com profile] rialian's bathroom, but that we'd be in touch (but not too soon, because I'm still replenishing the coffers, so to speak.) All in all, it was a pleasant exchange, but.... I am SO GLAD GLAD HE FINISHED THE BATHROOM WHEN HE DID, because if he had been still working on it now it would not have been completed until the year 2025. I did meet his wife, and she is a gorgeous scandinavian looking blonde woman. Wowzers. Now I don't blame him so much for not wanting to get up early in the morning.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
From Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets:

"The powerful enzymes secreted by certain fungi digest lignin and cellulose, the primary structural components of wood. These digestive enzymes can also break down a surprisingly wide range of toxins that have chemical bonds like those in wood. Such mushrooms can be classified into 2 subgroups: brown rotters and white rotters. Only about 7 percent of mushrooms are brown rot fungi; of those, about 70 percent are polypors. Brown rot fungi's extracellular enzymes break down the white, pulpy cellulose, leaving behind the brownish lignin (hence the name. These fungi cause checkered cubical cracking and shrinking in wood, which is commonly seen on downed conifer trees. Examples of brown rot mushrooms are:...

(insert long list of mushrooms along with their Latin names here)

...and dry rot house wreckers (such as Serpula lacrymans and Serpula himantiodes)."

One of the astounding things I noticed when I first removed the bathroom wall was that all the fiberglass insulation had turned to dirt. Not just crumbled insulation - dirt. I think they may be onto something here in terms of bioremediation.

Mushrooms have been used to restore decommissioned logging roads to a natural state. )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Heh. They got it done.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Dag Frakking Gonnit and Bah Humbug. This contractor has got to be slower than plate tectonics. I've been really patient and positive toward him the whole time, really I have. I want to maintain a good relationship since he is an excellent and trustworthy guy and a good handyman, and I have a lot of little things that need to be done. I need to know a trustworthy person like him who won't rip me blind and abandon the job. I know he's been trying and has had a good reason every time there's a delay.

But Geeeeeze.

I contracted with him in AUGUST, and he's still not done and he keeps saying there's only about TWO DAYS WORTH OF WORK LEFT. Last week he was going to for sure attach the ONE LAST THING in the bathroom before the inside part was complete. The light fixture. But his electrician is even slower than he is, and has been a no show twice. So this week it's STILL NOT ATTACHED. It wouldn't bother me so much, but it's the LAST THING DAMMIT.

Then there's the outside. He said he would get the siding back up and the yard cleaned up LAST WEEK and THE WEEK BEFORE THAT, and THE WEEK BEFORE THAT (and so on). Instead, every time it snows maybe 2 flakes or he has a sniffly nose or his kid is sick or his father in law's house needs work, he stays home. Then yesterday, he finally showed up, and realized that some of the siding had become bent, so he had to straighten it out and maybe replace a few strips of it, so he STILL DIDN'T FINISH, has to come back today.

He left me a note (bless him, he always does when there's a delay unlike some contractors), saying they'd come back today and GET IT DONE. We'll see. If they do, so much the better. I've hesitated to post anything like this since I DONT WANT TO BE NEGATIVE about it, but, well, uh, so.

THEY BETTER GET IT DONE TODAY OR I WILL SLAY THEM IN THEIR TRACKS. And such. Probably not, since I want him to do some other odd jobs around the house. No wonder his reference said he worked for him for 15 years. It probably TOOK HIM 15 YEARS TO FINISH.

Ok, I'm back now.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Today the contractor brought an assistant with him to help him with tiling... I guess that means that maybe by tonight I'll see some tiles on the floor, maybe even the walls. Having become extremely bored with the whole process I just accepted the first (on-hand and therefore cheapest) tiles he brought by - the floor will be tiled with small tiles in the pattern of a beehive, and the walls in plain off-white tiles. Nothing too interesting, but I don't really care about having an interesting bathroom as long it Smells Good and won't fall apart in a flurry of disintigrating zombie pieces for at least the next 300 years.

The ants are all gone - I guess they had been reanimating the bathroom, and realized their work here is done...

--Signed, The Nose
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Dezombification proceeds apace. I don't think we'll actually have a usable bathroom downstairs by tonight, but I saw the contractor today and he's closed up the gaping floor (I can no longer see the crawlspace now), and was talking about putting in the rest of the insulation, the walls, and new bathtub that he bought yesterday. This means he might be almost ready to reattach the sink. Thus will Sithreal's commode be restored. He likes to use the sink, which is easily washable. When that was taken away, though, he began to use the chair, which is not easily washable. Therefore I'm greatly looking forward to Sithreal getting his friend Mr. Sink back. I'm not sure when this will be completed, but he seems to be moving right along now. There's still a lot to be done with the house before its midlife crisis is over. It is approximately 70 years old, so after I'm done it should be good for about another 70. Right after this I'll have to have the crawl space and attic insulated (before winter of this year). Then I have to start planning for the roof and gutters replacement (probably next year), furnace replacement (putting that off as long as possible, probably financed through the gas company), wiring and light fixtures checkup, interior painting, floor refinishing and trim, laminate flooring for the upstairs, tree trimming, shed replacement, and repair for a section of outdoor piping (probably a couple of years after the roof).
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Wellp, work has finally decided to crack down and ban all webmail from the server (i.e., I can no longer access my webmail from work). Will get to any incoming mail this evening.

Speaking of work, my side-job-:P materialized again, just in time to pay for the third and final dezombification installment, which should occur sometime next month. I have thus far paid for two dezombification installments and one property tax installment using reserves, insurance, and current income. I shall do this without dipping into equity.

So far so good...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
So [livejournal.com profile] rialian was upstairs taking a shower, and I heard the water falling through the pipes a little too clearly. At first I thought that was because the bathroom now has no walls, and whatever soundproofing was there had been removed. Still, it sounded suspiciously like water falling onto plastic, a sound one generally does not want to hear while someone is taking a shower.

Finally I decided to take a peek into the Zombie Bathroom, just to see if I could locate the pipes that were making that noise. I could see down to the crawl space because the rotten subflooring shown in the photo above has been removed. I soon saw that I wasn't hearing water in the pipes at all... I was hearing water emerging from a disconnected pipe and splashing onto the plastic vapor barrier that covers the gravel "floor" of the crawlspace.

Uh Oh.

We tested what would happen if we flushed the upstairs (still intact) toilet while it had just water in it, and sure enough, water emerged from the same disconnected pipe, which had once been connected to the erstwhile bathtub. So... Whilst I had my tub disconnected, the main line clogged today because of the yearly tree root invasion. It ordinarily would have backed up into the tub, except there wasn't any tub to back up into. Nonetheless, it did back into the tub pipe - and directly out of the tub pipe. This created a wondrous mess of shower water mixed with zombie bathroom debris that had fallen down into the crawlspace during the shedding of decayed parts. Luckily it only started this morning and I discovered it right away or it could have been much, much worse...

Meanwhile - earlier this week, the contractor discovered that for a very long time, the tub pipe had been cracked near the top and the seal had not been water tight for ages... So every time someone took a shower downstairs, it would deposit water into the crawlspace, creating a permanently moist breeding ground of crawling, betentacled globules of semi-sentient life.

Therefore, although this all sounds really horrible, I am exceedingly glad to have found out about it before someone fell through the floor. I would never be able to explain how my crawlspace is actually Sunken Ryleh, or why people keep disappearing...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
As a result of today's work on the zombie bathroom, there's now a toilet in my front yard. If the neighborhood didn't already think I was weird, they do now. The rest of the bathroom fixtures are on the kitchen floor... If you were planning to come over Wednesday, not to worry - there's another bathroom upstairs, and we'll probably be hanging out up there...

I opened the door of the zombie bathroom only to find out that much of its skin has entirely fallen off and its decomposing skeleton chittered at me through the debris of disintigrating fibrous material...

The tub is still in there - that will be the last to come off (probably tomorrow) along with the rest of the zombie bathroom's skin... We're still not at the point where reconstruction can begin. Hopefully soon...

April 2010

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