Lakeshore Cottage

A reno blog for a cottage just outside of Toronto
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Weekend recap

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Between all the driving and work I was doing last week and my girlfriend coming down with the flu, I was knocked on my ass for the past couple days with the flu myself, unable to do anything requiring more effort than moving from my bed or couch. I’m back at work today and feeling much more human, finally.

So to recap since the last post…

M (girlfriend) and I went up Saturday at a much less obscene hour than I had been keeping all week. I borrowed power from a neighbour who had offered it the first day we went up and I spent the time cutting and laying down the teaser subfloor/underlayment overtop of the existing 3/4″ plywood that my friend V and I discovered Friday. M was amazing and set out with cleaning the entire kitchen, something she had been looking forward to doing for a while. We lost too much light in the sky to continue, but basically the floor was left in a state of needing more screws and the kitchen is probably more than half done. This was also the first that the flu hit me and I was pretty much dead by the time we got back to Toronto.

Sunday – I had already arranged for my beefcake brother Steve to help out and not wanting to put his muscles to waste, I drugged myself and went up with him the next morning. This was the first he had seen it too. I was worried that my lack of energy/excitement meant the trip was for nothing but two electricians I hadn’t heard from in days ended up coming by to see the place before prepping quotes.

One of them walked through the place and pointed out every single issue that an inspector would apparently see and not pass because of. Steve and I caught each other with matching eye-rolls more than once. The second guy seemed more reasonable and down to earth. His approach was not to fix every single thing that might be wrong (like an excess of wiring that was hanging, or faceplates missing, etc.) but to do only the basic work necessary to restore power to the furnace, water pump, replace the currently old/messy electrical panel (primary need), and give us one electrical outlet at the panel. His reasoning was that this would be much easier in terms of passing the inspection but also, we have no idea what other systems may or may not work, which walls we want to re-insulate or tear down, what the condition of the wiring behind the light fixtures is, etc. It also helps that his quote came in at the most affordable.

I was feeling a bit lost with what to do next because I hadn’t heard from Hydro One but about 45 minutes after placing a call to them to ask what was happening (which got nowhere) I received a personalized email from an actual human (!) from Hydro One that basically gave me everything I needed to know in order to proceed. They’re sending a crew out Friday the 18th to disconnect the service lines to my house so Brian the electrician can upgrade the meter base and take it from there. I’m really hoping it means I’ll have power by next weekend… and hopefully some heat!

More cleaning

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

I’m in the completely unsatisfying (to me) stage of cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. I am really dying to start ripping shit apart and rebuilding… you know, the things where you actually see tangible results. It’s just torture to me to spend the time driving there and back to just sweep, mop, wash walls with TSP, blah blah blah boring. Unfortunately it needs to be done, and so my day of intended painting was derailed by a third pass of moping the floors (which somehow still required me to wear a face mask, wtf? gross), cleaning out the eavestroughs, yard wasting the leaves off the deck and side of the house, washing almost every wall, taking measurements, and mopping (aka destroying the mop) the once-yellow stairs that lead down to the mud room/laundry room/crawlspace area. I was telling myself that it was mud caked on the stairs but honestly I think it was dog shit (no shit) and dog hair smashed into the wood. I need another sponge mop head replacement after that and maybe 2 more passes at those stairs.

This pretty much leaves, cleaning wise:

  • Mud room floor: it’s cement with the brown stuff everywhere. In this case it might actually be dirt (mostly).
  • Wash one last side wall with a TSP mixture
  • Wash the ceilings
  • Basically everything except the floor in the kitchen, but I am calling in backup for this
  • The utility/laundry room, aka death room of endless garbage
  • Outside of side facing windows
  • Take the rest of the garbage to the dump

The last two times I’ve come back to Toronto I’ve had to pile garbage into the back of my truck, an older Ford Ranger, which is followed by a 7am trip to the dump the next morning. The local transfer station at the cottage closes at 5pm and I just haven’t been able to make it in time, although one of my neighbours let me know that he had a voucher for the station to give me to help out. I plan on using it for demo waste I expect from ripping up some floors and/or slaughtering the bathroom.

Following the same tune as the last house I owned (although the house wasn’t that bad), the main reason I got this place was because it was pretty much in a run-down, never looked after, scary shit is growing in the corner kind of state. There was garbage everywhere and 5 dogs that were given free reign of the house. Although the seller was expected to clean everything up, there was still a lot of garbage left behind. My girlfriend MMR and I spent most of Saturday, the first day at the place, garbage bagging it and tossing it in the front lawn.

In addition to the cleaning stuff today, I had a few fun run-ins. One was with a pair of dudes who boated up to my … non-extistent dock? … deck on the water and when I said “hey, what’s going on?” They told me that the previous owner had given the decrepit boat to someone named Jack and this fellow Jack told these two guys they could have it. So, they were coming days after closing to remove it. Whatever. I am not even thinking about that shit yet, but the highlights were the one guy telling me, “Okay sweetie, you go in where it’s warm” (has he never been to this place?! It isn’t fucking warm with hydro being shut off for a year now) and then listening to the other guy talk about taking a piss and how it would be funny if one of the women saw, about needing to finish his beer before they boated off, how maybe he’ll move into the (my) boathouse although it’s far to the bathroom, and trying to get the other guy to sit in the boat to see if it sinks. Needless to say, the first thing I did after they left was put a padlock on the boathouse. Although, since this currently a POS cottage, I had to remove the latch and redrill so it would actually shut/lock properly.

An electrician was supposed to meet me “at lunch” today to give me a quote on upgrading the panel and some rewiring/new lights/etc. but cancelled last minute. I need this work done basically ASAP. The place is currently without hydro because it has been disconnected for over a year due to non-payment and everyone who has taken a look thinks the work needs to be done before it’ll pass an ESA inspection. We’re meeting tomorrow at noon instead and I need to call a bunch of other guys to get more quotes. I would call this the #1 priority because I want hydro and heat in the place to be able to work through the winter, however it’ll no doubt shed light on a lot of other issues… like whether the furnace works properly, whether I need a new water filtration system, etc. All of these things will add up in cost.

Also – a Purolator guy delivered something and the first thing he said was, “What happened here? Was there a fire?”. Heart warming.

I don’t know what to say about this except that I don’t think the gutters were ever cleaned out.