Friday, November 25, 2005

More Wall Tile/Thanksgiving

Pete and I finished tiling one bathroom wall on Monday night. The subways are topped with a white tile embossed with a floral vine pattern, and a black chair rail above that. After we finished we carried the tub in, and sat down to admire the view. Here are some pics:

We hosted Thanksgiving supper last night. My parents, 3 out of 4 siblings and spouses, their kids along with assorted significant others including Anne, Helen's cousin, who lived here at Foxcroft for 3 years. Final head count was 22. We put twelve at the main table in the dining room, and another ten in the living room at card tables. Our seven year old had everyone write down what they were thankful for, and then we read them out loud after dinner. Highlights including the usual "friends and family," as well as "having enough plates," "that we can get along and have fun for a while," and "Equal Rights," (The last coming from the seven year old.)

I think we'll have good success hosting holiday events here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I can See For Miles... F&L Reunion

We worked hard Saturday to get the tub in through the window opening because on Sunday we would be permanently closing our easiest access to second floor. The window unit was ready to install.

This meant our first full F&L builders reunion since July. Pete Taryl and John all came in in two hours we had the windows installed and buttoned up for the winter. We will trim them out in the spring. The opening was just right and fit quite easily once we had everything prepared. I think the windows look outstanding.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Drunken Tub Lifters

It's all about timing. After the last home game of the football season (A 52-28 blowout of the University of Minnesota) everyone was standing around in the front yard of Foxcroft, in a happy state of mind. The primary activities were lubrication and mastication. Most of the conversation was on where the Hawkeyes would end up in the holiday bowl lineups. "Hey, would you guys want to help me out with a little job? I need to take the clawfoot tub to the new bathroom."

"Hey, no problem! Of course!" And next thing you knew we have carried the tub up to the base of the scaffolding. (I really have thought this all out in advance on how to get this tub upstairs) Six of us easily bench pressed the tub up to the top of the first level of scaffolding with two people above guiding it onto the platform. A few more scrambled up and we lifted it to the next level. From there we took it to the plank just outside the window. We had already opened the window and then put three more inside to get it from the ones outside.

It went off without a hitch, except for the one really inebriated person (Who coincidentally was a Minnesotan) who stepped where he shouldn't. I've been climbing on scaffold so long, I don't even think to tell people NOT to step on a board outside the area of the frame. When Jay stepped on the long board he was damned lucky I saw it and stepped on the other end of the board so he didn't get flipped off.

And if I can get the pictures recovered from a bad floppy I'll have the pictures that prove we did it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

If It's Friday, I Must Be On the Road... & The Bronze Pig

Yesterday was not salvage adventures, however, I actually went out and got some new stuff. I went to Adams Architectural in Eldridge, Iowa. Eldridge is a small town just outside Davenport, about an hour from Foxcroft. They emailed Thursday night to say that our new window unit and the storms and screens for upstairs were ready. I knew this would happen as soon as I wrote about them not being ready yet in And the Aliens Can't Steal Our Brainwaves.

So Friday found me once again in Pete's truck, on interstate 80. I wasn't sure if all 16 storms and screens plus the unit would fit in the truck, so my back up plan was to run the screens to my in-laws in Rock Island (just across the Mississippi River). Fortunately we were able to pack it all in by setting the storms/screens on edge with cardboard packed between. I had to stop three times on the way home to tighten straps, and never went much above 55 mph, but the trip home wasn't too bad, if you don't mind a steady stream of traffic passing you on your left. Here's how the load looked when I got home, it really was packed better than this angle shows:

The F&L building crew will come Sunday and we'll put the window up. Can't do it today (Saturday) because we're all much more interested in:

Floyd of Rosedale

Go Hawkeyes!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"And the Aliens Can't Steal Our Brainwaves!"

Today's title is what I told Pete last week when we were putting insulation over the interior of the window opening in the upstairs sunroom.

Pete was worried that it was getting cold and the window unit has not yet arrived from Adams Architectural. So he brought over some insulation to cover the opening. (On the outside we have a wooden frame with a tarp over it.) Pete put hinges at the top of the frame to open it as needed. This has proved very valuable as a method of bringing things upstairs, most recently Salvaged Flooring. Pete didn't bring enough insulation, and wondered if there was anything else around we could use. I found the duct insulation in one of the storage areas and it fit between the two pieces of insulation.

Tuesday night's forecast was for 35 mph winds from the NW with temps in the 20's. It had been raining all day and about 5:00 turned to snow and ice. At 9:30 PM Pete called to say he was coming over to put screws in the lower part of the exterior frame to make sure a gust of wind wouldn't catch under it and blow the thing off. It was quite exciting to stand on an ice covered scaffold and hold the flashlight while Pete was up screwing the frame down. Fortunately I had left the roof jacks attached with a board to facilitate putting up the window if it ever arrives. Since that board is under the protection of the eaves, there wasn't any ice on it. Ten minutes and we had it done, but we both agreed we are getting old for this sort of stuff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Since it has finally gotten cold out, its time to light the fireplace. The fireplace is gas, having been converted quite a while ago. We brought over a mantle hood that Lisa and I had bought a number of years ago from a University of Iowa surplus auction. Rumor was that it was taken from the UI president's home on campus during a remodel. It wasn't the right size for our old fireplace, so we just leaned it up against the hearth. We have done the same at Foxcroft. I believe it would fit the opening here, however there are glass doors over the fireplace that prevent that from happening. We can't get rid of the glass doors, because the damper to the flue has been removed!

I knew that Helen had a great deal of trouble lighting the fireplace, and after I opened the doors, I could see why. There was over a foot of ashes and soot covering the entire firebox. Obviously they had been burning papers and what else, and no one ever cleaned. Thinking back I know the fireplace ran a good 10 hours a day, and now I'm guessing that it probably ran all night on a regular basis too. Yet another marvel that this place never burned down. After cleaning for an hour with the shop vac fitted with a HEPA filter, I could actually see where the pipes were. I lit a fire successfully and we all hung out in the living room the other night. Since then daughter number 2 wants at least one bedtime story by the fireplace.

So here's a series of pics of the fireplace:

The fireplace in 1928 when the house was built

This was our first visit to look at the house, Nov. '03

Shortly before the estate sale in Feb. '05

Right before we started renovation April '05

You can barely see the fire going Nov. '05