Continuing Projects

This image is purely for the drama. Ha! (It's how I felt though)
This image is purely for the drama. Ha! (It’s how I felt though)

I have been working on various projects this past weekend. Last weekend I was intending on finishing the closet, but there was a wee bit of a problem. I experienced my very first new home owner disaster, so to speak.

There is a plumbing access panel in my bedroom closet. It was poorly made and I wanted to frame it out with wood and attach a wood panel to the front of it so to properly have it closed off. The previous owner had simply cut two holes in the wall and then used tank or duct tape and two screws to re-attach it to the wall. It was unsightly.

After measuring and cutting the pieces of wood needed I removed the first screw, but when I got to the second screw a water pipe burst and sprayed water everywhere! I ran around searching for a water meter cut off  tool, but could not find it. I thought I may have left it at the other house so while Melissa found old sheets and towels to soak up the water I drove over to the other house to find the tool.

It was not there. When I was leaving I noticed a plumber I had called on before was working on the house next door to the old house so I went over and explained what happened. He lent me his water meter tool and I quickly proceeded back to my house. By the time I returned the bathroom and closet was flooded with bunches of old sheets and towels trying to contain the water.

I went to the water metre which is in the ground almost 2 feet down. Much to my surprise the enclosure in the ground was full of water. I found myself using a plastic container trying to scoop the water out, but to no avail. Meanwhile water is still pouring out of the ruptured pipe.

I then got the shop vacuum and sucked all the water out of the metre box. It was at that point I was finally able to use the tool to turn the water off to the house. What a mess! Thankfully, the plumber was kind enough to show up a few hours later and repair the pipe and he had quite the time doing it because of the wacky way the plumbing was installed.

The plumber discovered what had happened and was kind enough to explain it to me. Apparently when the previous owner installed the new tub and shower enclosure he attached one of the pipes inside the wall incorrectly. Then when he attached the access panel one the closet wall and used those two screws one of them punctured the copper pipe in the wall, but he would not have realized this because for a while it acted like a plug, but only until the screw began to rust.

It had rusted for sometime and was already leaking a tiny bit. So when I removed the screw it broke off and out came the water. The plumber said it was good that it happened because the slow leak could have done a lot of damage and this way it is now repaired.

Last weekend the wall was dry and I was able to install the wood frame and attach the new access panel to it. The new screws are far away from all pipes!

New Plumbing Access Panel
New Plumbing Access Panel

Speaking of my closet. It’s rubbish. It is TINY! In days past homes didn’t have closets. You had a wardrobe or armoire to hang your clothes. The closets in my house were added in 1965 and they were made from existing spaces that entered into another room or on the side of a fireplace that came out from a wall.

My glorious closet!
My glorious closet!

The above picture is of my glorious closet. Yes, sad I know, but it is the price you pay to live in an old home. It had only one rod hanging. Can you believe it? One! I installed two strips of wood  on the back wall. You can see them in the picture. I had to do this because I could not remove the wood that is on all three walls. I tried, but only ended up putting my hammer through the wall about six times! The two wood  strips are to make the surface level so that I can attach a closet rack system.

This will provide two levels. One for shirts and one for trousers and there will be a  wire drawer in-between the two levels. You cannot see in the picture, but once you step into the closet, directly on your right is a small gap about 8 inches wide. I managed to install a small rod where I can hang a show rack. So you see I am maximizing the space available as much as possible. Today I primed all the new wood and the door so that next weekend I can paint the whole closet.

Speaking of paint… I finally finished painting my bedroom. I am so over painting!

Painting finished.
Painting finished.

The weather is definitely warming up, but it’s been wet. We tend to get a lot of rain here in eastern North Carolina, but we have been having too much. The ground cannot absorb anymore so the water sits around far longer. Prior to late Friday the water finally had gone away in the Bog of Despair, but then it rained all night and on and off all day Saturday so it came back.

The Bog of Despair
The Bog of Despair

There are spots like this all around the house, but this is the worse spot. At one time the water would have collected in a narrow channel between the two houses, but when the roofer brought that blasted huge truck in and got stuck they messed up the lay of the land. I need to get this under control because I think it’s adding to water under the house.  The area closer to the house is where the planned path is supposed to go, but I can’t do that until I can get a landscaper here to figure it out.

Going for a stroll in the Bog of Despair!
Going for a stroll in the Bog of Despair!

Speaking of landscapers, I am having quite the time trying to get one to show up. It is as if no one needs the work, which I do not believe. I have contacted several and I would have hoped they would have called back to let me know they can or cannot help or that they are too busy. However, all I get is silence. I’m very disappointed because I need to be planting right now. I have come to the conclusion that I will have to hire a heavy-duty tiller and tackle the back garden area myself.

The various plants, seeds an bulbs we ordered have now begun to arrive. This is why I have a sense of urgency about the garden. I have seeds germinating in the AreoGardens and soon they will need to be transferred to tiny pots and then I may begin the next batch. Three ornamental grasses have been soaking up the warmth in the greenhouse. They were intended to be planted in the  front garden and side of the house, but now I don’t know where they will go.

1 Eragrostis, 1 Hakonechola and 1 Cortaderia.

On Saturday I received two columnar apple trees and three Somerset grape vines. They arrived in bare root in a well packed box. It had been raining practically all day, but as soon as the weather broke I dashed outside to get them planted. Their roots were well packed in a ball of wet shredded paper which kept the roots damp and not a single one was dried out. With bare root plants you need to soak them in a bucket of water for a few hours, but since these were only in the mail for a day and well watered I only soaked mine for a little over 40 minutes. Once planted I watered them well and then it began to rain again.

Columnar Apple trees and Somerset grape vines.
Columnar Apple trees and Somerset grape vines.
All temporarily planted in containers.
Temporarily planted in containers.

One other project I started was installing sun shades on the front porch. I only managed to get one up because when the rain came it was blowing in on the porch. There are two more to install in the seating area. I like these shades very much because they are operated by hand crank and so you don’t have any dangling chains or string. I installed it high enough so if we have a storm pass through it can be rolled completely up and protected by the house.

We will definitely put these to good use. The sun shines in strongly that there are times you can’t sit on the porch. In fact it is so hot it melts the candles and scorches plants.

Sun shade.
Sun shade.

In other news I attempted to submit the appropriate paperwork to the town to get permission to build a picket fence and arbor on the property. I was told I had the incorrect form since I lived in a historic district. I was given the correct form and soon discovered it is not going to be a simple task.

Apparently I have to submit a plot plan showing lot boundaries, street orientation, buildings, additions, drives, showing accurate measurements, etc. I have to provide samples or pictures of the materials and photographs of current conditions and last, but not least I need to submit drawings of proposed site work including elevations.

Really, for a picket fence? Did the person across the street have to do this when they installed their ghastly chain link fence? Ugh! I understand living in a historic district has regulations, but here they are not enforced very well. It truly is a hodge-podge of enforcement so I find it odd someone can put up a chain link fence and not get in trouble for it, but I have to jump through hoops to install an appropriate style fence. Go figure!

Oh and mother is arriving in May… and I haven’t even begun painting her room. As you can see I have many things going on and in different directions. I feel I may need to scale back my plans on … everything.

4 thoughts on “Continuing Projects

  1. The photo of your leak made me ill. Just the thought of it. Happily we have a whole-house turn off valve in the basement that does not require a special tool which I’m sure we don’t have. What color is your bedroom paint? It’s beautiful. Can’t wait to see your garden layout. My husband is itching to get out into our -still-too-wet garden. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    1. I was going to ask the plumber to install cut off valves, but I figured since he showed up without an appointment I wouldn’t push it. This can be done when the bath is redone. I love the paint colour too, it’s called “Sandlewood” and I believe it is by Valspar found at Lowes, but I had mixed at Ace using there Clark & Kensington paint. I love that paint it covers well!

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