Construction Update

For two years I’ve been trying to get contractors to give us a reasonable price on remodeling our basement to include a bedroom, closet and bathroom. Two years!!

We’ve bought all the finishes. My two nephews came out to help lay floor in the living area of the basement and in the process redo some of the drywall. So the living room area has been mostly done for a bit. They came out a couple weeks ago and helped lay floor in our family room and work on framing in the bedroom/closet area in the basement. These two men are fantastic. I cannot say how much I appreciate them.

New Egress Window

In early April we got the egress window put in. I was furious because we told everyone – please put up plastic to keep the dust to a minimum. They didn’t. All of my daughter’s things were covered in concrete dust. In case you didn’t know, concrete dust is cloying and difficult to clean up. My daughter breaks out in hives every time she touches concrete dust or wood dust or anything like that. We told the estimator, the company, and it was in the notes for the installers but they disregarded it. The company sent out cleaners and they did a good job but again cloying concrete dust.

Somewhere in all of this, we discovered the previous owners didn’t get a permit to do any of the work in the basement. OY!! and that’s the nice language. So we had an inspector come out. Found out most if it was illegal – the paneling, the wiring, and pretty much everything. So Ken tore it all out. We got a dumpster to put all the debris in.

Last Sunday, one of my nephews came out and we got the rest of the framing done. I should back up to say my niece gave me the names of contractors – plumbers and electricians.

Underground work

I called on a Friday, got a call back on Monday. Tuesday we had the estimator out, and by Wednesday we had an estimate from Dave Jones in Madison. Anyone who knows me knows I always have questions. I emailed my questions. I got answers – which of course meant more questions and still got more answers. Then we signed a contract with them. The price – more than I hoped but less than I feared.

So they came out to dig up our basement area for the bathroom. In the contract, I had the estimator put that we wanted plastic put up and the estimator ordered an air purifier. These men came out. Tore up our floor and we had minimal dust so both my daughter and I were able to breathe and she wasn’t covered in hives. They warned us when they were going to make a lot of noise or cut off the water. Additionally, instead of going in and out of the doors, they went in and out of the egress window. This kept the dirt down and the debris contained in the construction area. Oh and the most thoughtful thing they did – when they needed to leave the doors open, they asked us first and waited while we scooped up Ava (Bash was already in the office with mom (my daughter) because he doesn’t like men / strangers) and put her in the office with mom (my daughter) so she wouldn’t get out.

First session of framing
Separation between bedroom / closet

Additionally, they left the air purifier going overnight to help with any lingering debris. They fixed a crack in our stack – which the previous owners knew about and covered up. Also when it came time to put in a stop for the sewer (note I don’t know the correct terms here. I’m the money person not the plumbing person), they had two choices. Per code it had to go into the bathroom down there so the sewer wouldn’t back up into the bathroom. But the other option was to put it so it wouldn’t back up into the house, which is the better option and that’s what they did.

Somewhere in the mix we had the HVAC guys come in to run venting legally to the bedroom / bathroom. Now today, the electrician is coming in. By the end of today, I hope we’ll have updated and legal electrical work in the basement, our garbage disposal properly wired, and safe smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.

Next week the plumbers come back to do the rough ins. I’m not really sure what that involves – and I’m okay with that. Then we have to put in the membrane for the wet room (a wet room is where you have an open shower and bathtub in one place and everything in the area can get wet) before we do tiling. This has to be inspected.

These are the next steps for us….tiling in the wet room – meaning floors and walls, and floors in the other area of the bathroom, drywall (which will start after the electrician is done (bedroom/closet area), plumbers back for installation of finishing (after tiling and drywall), floors in bedroom and closet, painting (the one thing my daughter can do without breaking out in hives), installation of closet organizer and barndoor, and finishing.

I hope the project will be done at some point this month. I’m not holding my breath.

Family room flooring
Family room flooring

Unexpected Blessings

Normally I am really focused on writing, crocheting, and my day job.  I’ve not been soliciting for editing or freelance work.  This summer I’ve been working really hard to get my books noticed more and to draw in more readers. 

While the insanity of creating a new cover, updating my website, working on my blurbs and so on… new opportunities presented themselves.  I thought about turning down an editing job but bills… they exist and I’m not independently wealthy.  After the editing job, some freelance work came up. 

Digging in, juggling lots of different projects, I signed up for the freelance work too.  This means the last week or so has been stupidly busy and will probably be for the next week (roughly). 

The nice thing – the money and the work.  I love the editing I’m doing.  It reminds me of how important it is and keeps me on my toes for my own writing.  The freelance stuff I’m doing is complex and exhausting but at the same time I like the demand and the stretch it makes me do. 

Long story short, I’m hoping by the time I’m done with both, I’ll be able to pay for the new pantry we are having built and pay off a couple medical bills. 

The new pantry is a necessity for my sanity.  Our kitchen is small but my people like kitchen stuff.  My daughter loves to bake and cook.  Currently we have little storage which means our counters and table are constantly cluttered.  But with the bigger pantry (going from 6″ to 20″ shelves) we will have room for the gadgets to get off the counter and still be accessible without being shoved in the hall closet, living room cabinet, or basement. 

This last week I’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed but at the same time I’m working towards a goal.  The freelance is limited in time and will go so that will ease my work load.  Over the weekend I worked on freelance stuff, editing, and created two patterns which I submitted to the magazine for publication.  (Fingers crossed)

Part of the issue, I want to update covers, blurbs, and do another edit on some of my novels.  In reality it will probably be all of them but it will have to be over time as money is an issue.  I’m butting up against – I want to write and crochet but at the same time I want to take the time to improve the products I have out there.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s a lot of energy.  Of course I want it all done NOW so I need to remind myself it can’t all happen at once.  Prioritize and work on it bit by bit – right?  Yes but in my head my inner voice is saying – get it done NOW!  Apparently I have high expectations of myself. 

I’m grateful for the outside work.  It has come at the right time and in the right way.  I’m appreciative of the added funds so I can get bills paid and things better in my house.