Tag Archives: demolition

Back to Working

After returning from Cleveland, we did our regular Sunday morning paper route. Then commenced with resuming our GIANT project. This is definitely the project of all projects. I keep finding myself apologizing to my family because it’s such a huge undertaking. I just keep repeating: this is the only way I’ve ever found to ensure that I’ll be able to have a pretty home of my own for once.

In a conversation with Anya I had to extrapolate this endeavor out so that it meant something for her. Essentially I explained that by the time she has graduated from college, we would be able to find her a piece of property of her own, and build her a house of her own on it the same way we’re doing with the current one. She could live with us the whole time, and in the end she’ll have a fully paid home of her own that no one would be able to take from her as long as she paid the property taxes. We then had to break mortgages down for her, using both sets of grandparents as examples, to really hit home how that is huge and a lifelong pursuit for many people. Both sets of her grandparents still owe tens of thousands on their houses, and one set has had their house for over 20 years, and the other set has had theirs for 33 years. It really is something that most people never escape from.

Anyway, I think she got the point because she again acknowledged that she is on board and will do her best not only to stick it out, but help as much as she can. I reminded her that this will be one huge homeschooling endeavor as well and she’ll get to learn how to build things for real.

So, back to resuming… Nathan worked on fnishing the ceiling tear down. He almost made it before running out of energy. Just the last 2 sections, and a bit around the wood stove are left.


Anya and I worked on stuff in the yard. We pulled pieces from the junk pile to use in building a wood hutch. I figure it’s going to be outside, and simply there to keep the wood piles tidy and dry, so it doesn’t  need to be constructed with brand new materials. I pulled a mess of the old 2×2 studs from the trailer and 4 old doors, and for the roof I’ll be using an old abandoned truck topper. Next week we’ll attempt to get it assembled so that I can show you a picture.

After that we took a look at the garden. I have things growing already! Despite dropping just below freezing twice this week, I still had sprouts. Way more than I expected even! I’m so excited, I think I did a great job with putting compost and soil in, I really didn’t expect dollar store seeds to sprout this well or this soon! I watered them to make sure that love keeps going.

Finally Monday we revisited the tree we’re cutting down. We got a lot done!

We have felled all but one of the trunks and that one we’re waiting on the boat to get moved so it doesn’t fall on the boat. Of the trunks that are on the ground there are only about 4 really big pieces left to carve up. Otherwise it’s all small stuff. I think 2 or 3 more visit and we’ll be done! It’d go faster, but being I’m not a professional lumberjack, I get too tired after about 3 to 4 hours of work. I have to quit when my fatigue becomes unsafe with chainsaws!


I’m not woody the woodpecker.

So Sunday I did the garden,  & we started demo on the Ceiling of the trailer (see last posts). So Monday Nathan & I decided to divide & conquer. 

Nathan stayed at the trailer to continue with that theme.  I went back  to the tree cutting to dice & slice what was already felled.   It was a lot of hard work that left my arms & back in excruciating pain.  If we didn’t need the wood for next  winter I think I’d have given up already.   Where’s Woody when you need him? All in all, we both had a very productive day.

My tree accomplishments:






Nathan found another spray foam baby,  some weird bug remnants,  & clothing & comforters used as insulation in a ceiling patch job. …





But he got a lot accomplished:



Hooray for us.

The only catch was: I was so exhausted by bed time that I over slept completely forgetting about my new building.  They called at 10am, & I had a melt down over my screw up.  I never do things like that,  I felt horrible.  Nathan convinced me that because it never happens,  not to worry & call them back with a fib about car break down.  I hate lying, but I felt like such an overwhelmed-overworked-schmuck,  that’s exactly what I did. I rescheduled for  2 weeks  from now  because it was the only day I had available.  Aye, yai, yai…. what’s a girl to do.

I really need the days off that we’re  taking for the visit to grandparents,  but I’m going to spend part of that finishing the paperwork for my accountant to do my taxes!  I forsee a lot of stress, & little (if any) down time in my future 😯.

Slow going progress.

So I’ve been a bit behind the last 2 weeks. Between trying to find a good dosage of my thyroid meds and just being overwhelmed and overworked, I just haven’t had the energy to sit down and blog. Since that is the case, I figured I better use my computer- that’s right all of my previous blogs were from my phone! Anyway, I thought that might just be safer and produce words more quickly.

So, update on the progress we’ve made over the last 2 weeks. Last I wrote, I believe we had almost finished demolishing the interior walls. Here are a few shots of that, which my Husband took.

That last picture there was us trying to move the piano over. It was HEAVY! So needless to say we didn’t get anywhere with that.

The following week we did actually finish taking down all of the interior walls. Nothing left but the outside walls!

The bathroom was the hardest. We wanted to remove everything except the plumbing, mainly because I’m salvaging that to save money. So, we had to be very careful to get all of the fixtures down- electric and plumbing, and then walls down, without damaging the pipes. It didn’t help that at some point(s) the tub was “re-done”, and there were literally layers of paneling with a base of plywood. All water damaged. One layer of paneling was the painted fake tile- not actually water resistant, by the way. So, it was crumbly and moldy, but attached to the plywood with liquid nails. I found that extra interesting because despite the corners that were cut with placing the paneling, no such luck was in play with the plywood itself- I counted 14: 3 inch screws that took multiple rounds of sledging from both myself and Nathan before they finally turned loose. The most hilarious part is once we finally got that wall down, the floor was toast. The sub-floor had rotted years ago and was “fixed” on either side of the wall with patches of plywood, so when the wall came down we could literally see the ground below.

Needless to say, as to be expected with any project like this, you always discover things needing attention that you might otherwise have hoped would be fine. In this case, I tallied up about 6 sheets worth of sub-floor needing replaced. I don’t do things half-ass-ed, never have, and I’m not going to start now. If it needs done, so be it. It might just take me a little longer to get everything paid for and completed.

Then following that, we (Nathan and I only) proceeded to rip down the insides of the Exterior Walls. The first sheet of paneling came down exposing the insulation- we’d already put on the respirators in preparation for that. I still don’t want to risk asbestos exposure. All this work, I better get to enjoy this into ripe old age. Then we pulled down a second sheet of paneling to make insulation removal easier.

Ok, got the contractor bags out and set up the bag stand so we could just roll up the old insulation and put it directly into bags. Great! Lets Go! Pull out the first piece of insulation….. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! WTF! WHAT am I looking at?


That means that in the 1970’s trailers were built far below current construction req’s. Just so you know, current standards are: you build your stud walls, coat them in plywood, then wrap the outside of the plywood in plastic sheeting such as TyVek or similar, and then put up the exterior covering- be it vinyl, metal or wood siding. So, again I see myself adding up new figures. 66 sheets of plywood that I hadn’t thought I would need- roughly $700 worth. Yippie! Right?!

Ok, so keep going. We wrap around the end of the trailer to the opposite long side, when we get a fourth of the way down that side, we realize that we’re looking at dimples all over the siding.


We go outside, the whole north side (long side) is covered in them, and a couple of them were so deep that they broke through the siding. I hadn’t noticed them before, but I hadn’t really examined that side of the house very well, only having been on that side a few times. We ask; they tell us about 4 years ago there was a storm that went through with fist-sized spiky-hail. It had broken all of the windows on that side, so they were fixed with plexi-glass, but the siding was left alone.

So, now I have a decision, keep what’s good of the siding and try to find some that matches enough for a good coat of paint, or just replace all of the siding. That would mean that everything would be brand new, exactly what we want, and have a very long life span; it would also mean that I’ve got another couple thousand dollars of materials to pay for. I like the latter better, but ARGH, REALLY- more money to spend. Like I need more things to figure out how/when to pay for them. Oh well, I guess.

So, keep on trucking. We did as much as we could that day, and realized that things need moved to finish tear down of the interior. The next work day, we got help, borrowed a trailer, and moved the enormous super heavy piano, deep freeze, barrel of grain, and massive cast iron cook stove out of the trailer and into storage. That was enough work for one day- I was exhausted, did I mention they were HEAVY? The up side, the trailer was looking very sparse. The only objects remaining: fridge, stove, water-heater/pressure-tank, Jacuzzi & sinks, Wood Heat Stove, and construction materials/tools. Now we’re getting somewhere.

The next day, we went to a different friend’s house to work on cutting down a dead tree to build up our wood stores for next winter.


That’s the first felled part of the tree on the left- there’s about 6 more trunks of the cluster to be felled yet. On the right: the piles are what we had done after about 3 hours of cutting and cleaning up. I didn’t take a photo of the tiny twigs- that pile was huge, but at least we’ll have plenty of kindling. Anyway, we only did the 3 hours, because after moving heavy stuff the day before, that was all we could handle physically. I promised them we’d be back on the following Monday to finish that part, and that we’d keep working on the whole tree until it was all down. I made such a promise because I know we’ll need the wood next winter. Might as well plan ahead and have seasoned wood for just the cost of labor. My estimates are that we’ll end up with enough for us, and then possibly enough extra for the friend that gave us the trailer. That’s good.

So, slow progress. My goal is to finish tear down this Sunday, and get sub-floor repair and plumbing started the following. We only have 3 workable weekends left if we’re still moving April 1st, so this Sunday will determine that. If we can’t finish tear down this Sunday, I will probably have to postpone the move date- an idea I detest, especially since I don’t know if our landlord would be willing to pro-rate for half a month. I really don’t want to stay  a whole month longer.

Keep those fingers crossed for us!

Challenging Week

This post is a bit belated.

My last couple  of posts noted my struggle with hypothyroid symptoms: that hasn’t gotten any better as my mail order script still hasn’t arrived.  Tracking info says it’s  supposed to come in today. My husband is keeping a close eye out for me.  I think if we didn’t have 3 cats & a toddler,  he’d probably just leave the front door wide  open.

He’s tired of the mood roller coaster,  especially after last night – I got very upset (angry)  because people started talking  politics & affordable care act,  & it was all I could do to hold my tongue. It’s a whole ‘nother topic for another blog later, but essentially one side was like it’s not enough,  & one side was it’s too much,  & I wanted to scream – it didn’t do anything except ensure insurance companies made more money. My husband has  a pre-existing condition,  & yes  we technically have insurance that the government pays $600 a year on my behalf,  but it covers nothing – it’s catastrophic only. I have to pay out of  pocket for everything we do,  & apply for assistance from the drug company that makes his meds because I can’t afford $1000 a month for them. Anything I can’t pay cash for I either have to beg for them to be written off, or  eventually they go to collections. Affordable Care did nothing because neither side of politics can agree to compromise with the other,  so everything gets butchered!  ARGH!

On top of that, I’ve been fighting a head cold/sinus infection all week, & it’s not bad enough to warrant the costs of a doctors visit.  Regardless,  we did go out & do some more demolition & deconstruction on Sunday after our route. 

Weather was nice,  made it into the 50’s, but very windy. For some reason wind always seems to make my colds worse, so I was miserable by Sunday evening.

I still had things to do & some work Monday,  & then Tuesday morning,  so by the time lunch rolled around on Tuesday all I wanted to do was sleep.  So I did. … until Wednesday when I had to get up & function again.

I still feel exhausted,  but that’s life in America.  Somewhat sick,  exhausted,  too bad – get your arse to work.

On the up side, demolition (despite feeling crappy) went well.  We got everything but a wall & half down.  The trailer is almost one big open space. This is good because, I’m hoping to get the last wall & half down next week,  along with removing ceiling & exterior wall paneling & all the old insulation.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before,  but this trailer is from the 70’s, before regulations regarding asbestos were put into place. So,  I have to assume that the insulation likely has some asbestos in it.  If I’m going to do all this work to make it a quality home, then it means replacing the insulation too.

Luckily Nathan already had a mining grade respirator from his past photography work,  so I bought one more for myself- those things aren’t cheap, by the way.  Once we get to insulation,  Anya  will be kicked out of the demo process. She’s all classic pre-teen with “awe,  but I wanted to help :(” and I said “That’s great,  but I don’t want you to have lung cancer in 15 years just because you wanted to help”. She  said fine.

So anyway,  we’re still all excited: for now!

Here are the pics & comments on them.


This was the starting view from what used to be the living room – with my new to me Jacuzzi.


On the right,  that’s the only whole wall yet to be removed. 


Me enjoying some sledging.


Anya taking out the kitchen counter!  😉


What’s left of the bathroom.


The view from the empty corner,  at the end of the day – apologies on the composing toilet/porta potty- no walls means getting to see it, but at least we have a viable potty break location.

Did I mention this is a BIG project.  Keep those fingers crossed for us!

And so it begins…


That’s the free trailer. … needless to say,  it won’t look like this when we’re done.

Goal: 3 bedroom,  2.5 bath, loft & attic space.
Estimated move in: April 1st

Demo & plumbing need completed by move in. That’s 6 viable weekends for us.
With 1 weekend to visit (grand)parents (already  scheduled last fall), & 1 weekend to completely move out of our apartment   (mostly into storage).

This has  been the first day of any real work. Previous weekends were bitterly cold & resulted in mostly surveying the project & packing up odds & ends left by previous people.

There are still 3 large objects to go,  but those will wait on  a storage unit & the one burly guy strong enough to lift them.

Today’s work: walls come tumbling down!


Nathan (husband) & daughter surveying my wall removal progress.


My daughter really enjoyed sledging away on the old cabinets. I knew from experience that mobile home cabinets were traditionally stapled together,  that surprised her & Nathan.



I quite enjoyed destroying things today.  It was very cathartic.


We didn’t destroy everything though.  We salvaged most of the trim,  & some of the paneling. In the rebuild it will all get sanded, patched, & painted & look good as  new.


At the end of the day we had all but 3 interior walls down.  Those 3 had enough screws that I’ll need to bring my drills next weekend.
We even got about half of the kitchen cabinetry demo’ed.


All in all,  I’d say it was a very successful day.

Yet,  many more to go.

Demo always goes faster than rebuild.  & in this rebuild I’ll be upgrading construction quality.  I want a  lasting home,  made under the best guidelines. Energy efficient,  warm,  comfortable,  & comforting. I’ll be adding layers to the bones of this house. 

Exciting,  yet terrifying.  All of this & using just the money we’d usually use for rent & fun stuff.  It really will  be a little at a time.  I hope my family still looks this excited & happy when we’re months into the project!