What’s Next?

Drywall is complete.  The ceilings are textured… had a brief moment of confusion with that.  I told the boss when he came to give me the estimate that I wanted the ceilings to match the rest of the house.   Apparently the boss told the worker that as well but then told him to “use the more modern” texture for us.  I don’t know if he thought he was doing us a favor or what?!   I wasn’t home so there was a flurry of texts between me and Wayne.  The result being, that I just wanted it to match the rest of the house.  My main point from the get go was that I wanted the addition to blend with the existing house so that people wouldn’t really know it was an addition.


Thankfully, the guy listened and changed it.  The ceilings look great now.  The “modern” texture can be found in the 2 closets upstairs if you NEED to see it.  I won’t have to see it and I can live with it there.




What is next?  Primer and paint next week… and hopefully I can start on the flooring.   Then the electrician will come back and make everything live.


The bathroom is still a work in progress.  We have made some new decisions and it will turn out nice.

Unfortunately, I have a BRAND NEW IN BOX Andersen Window that cannot be returned that I will no longer be able to use.

Who needs an awning type window.
2’4″ wide by 2′ high
Brand new in box with screen.





Progress has been made in the last couple weeks.  Progress that is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!!

First of all… the spiral stairs are functional.  Unfortunately, the installer messed up the hand rail and I am trying to figure out how to get a new one.  It comes from near Philadelphia… anyone want to pick it up for me and meet me in Pittsburgh?


The door went it.   I ended up going with Terra Cotta for the paint color.


Here you can see the major dent that the installer put in the hand rail.  DSCF7333


Then progress began again INSIDE!!

The two windows had to be removed to become doorways.   The one in the bathroom was hiding a drain vent.  WHAT?

The one in the bedroom was hiding electric.   *sigh*

Both of those issues have now been resolved.  The electric went up and over the door.  The vent was re-routed.


And now the openings look like this:


Esther even got to help with the bathroom door!!!!


Insulation went in at the end of last week.  Which means I am no longer heating the out of doors.  🙂



Then today… DRYWALL!

The hallway from the bathroom door to the back door.DSCF7406

Esther’s room


Everyone else’s room… and the cat room!DSCF7408

The hallway from the back door looking towards the bathroom.



I have a walk through video, but my free website doesn’t support videos, so I will upload it in the comments on Facebook.


More drywall and mud/plaster tomorrow.   Paint in about a week!



What is normal?  Are you normal?  Am I normal?  Is anyone normal?


Normal:  conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.


I have tried to be normal… I conformed to most of the expected standards of a typical “good girl” growing up in the 60’s-70’s.   I did the usual things… school, band, Girl Scouts.  I had the typical family – 2 parents still married to each other, dog, cat, 2 little brothers.   We drove a station wagon or a VW van… or for those brief moments when I became NOT normal, I drove a VW convertible bug.   I went to college… I worked at summer camp… I was certified to be a lifeguard… I fell in love… I got married…

Image result for normal

Is normal even a thing anymore?  I sit here thinking that I just want my life to be normal again.   I want my house to be in order, my kids to be happy, my mother to be in her own home doing her own thing…


My “new” normal is not fun.   My new normal began over 10 years ago… I didn’t like it then and I like it even less now.   I don’t like change.  I had/have dreams and they keep getting suppressed.   My new normal now includes… taking care of my mother 8-12 hours per day (soon to be 24/7).   My new normal does NOT include being involved with the youth at a church doing music and VBS ministries.


I understand that some things change with time… as much as I would love to go back in time to when the girls were little… they grow up.  I am OK with that.   They are doing great.  Despite all the changes, they are resilient and they are making their own marks on the world and establishing their normals.


I keep saying to my family, “In my mind, when the house is done, everything will be in order around here.  Mom’s room will be such that she cannot get into things we don’t want her messing with.  She will be able to move about and fiddle with everything in her room.”   In my mind, I can do it.  In my mind, this house can once and for all actually be organized.  The problem is… the other people who live here don’t share this same vision.  My normal… expected normal… newest normal… is NOT their normal.

I know that I am actually NOT normal… but I don’t think anyone really is… which maybe means that abnormal is really normal?   Everyone is unique, that is how we were made.   If everyone was the same, life might be easy, but it would also be boring.


Is it normal to grieve my mother and father and grandparents daily?  Is it normal to cry almost daily over hard things and silly things?  Is it normal to wish for easier times?  Is it normal to long for happier days?   Is it normal to want to be held and loved daily?  Is it normal to be so crippled with the weight of this life that all you want to do is play with yarn?   Is it normal to still be sleeping in your living room for 4+ months while you wait to get construction complete?  (NO, THAT ONE IS DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL!!)


As isolated as I feel most of the time, I also try to remind myself that I am normal and how I am responding and dealing with the “hand” I’ve been dealt and the “normal” I am now living, is probably normal for just about anyone going through this.


This is one reason that I spew so much on Facebook about what I am going through.  I know that I cannot be the only person facing these issues, even though I feel like it.   If I spew my angst and grief and anger and frustration, maybe someone else will feel less alone.  They will know that they too are “normal” because someone else feels the same way.


I also know that some people have unfriended me because of it… that is fine.  Probably, my rawness is something that they don’t want to read and deal with.  For many, FB is just a light and easy way to connect with the world and play some games.  It is fine, if you have hidden me and unfriended me.  (you won’t see this either)


This is also the reason that I have hidden and blocked some people on FB.  I found their comments to not be helpful to me and to actually cause me more anxiety and angst.  I would rather just hide them than live fearing what they would post next.   Their posts weren’t necessarily negative, but they were certainly not helpful and got to be more than I wanted to deal with.


So… normal… I guess I am somewhat normal… for me.  I am normal for a 50-something woman, caught in the sandwich generation, dealing with a mother with dementia, teenage and 20-something daughters, 4 cats and one dog, a husband, and house construction.  How normal can I really be?


Giant Erector Set?

Well… the day finally came… we got to play with the giant erector set that will become my spiral stairs.


It was a comedy… the guys decided since there were only 2 of them (I wasn’t home at the time) that they would try to do their own thing instead of following the instructions.


Which resulted in lots of rethinking and re-engineering.


The tread have to be slipped onto the center pole.  They put the pole up first, connected to the top platform.  The object was to then slip the treads up from the bottom.  HOWEVER, the treads are probably 40-50 pounds each and then the pole has to be lifted with that much addition weight with each tread.


So that first attempt was a failure.


Then they decided to stack all the treads, lift the pole all the way up and slowly lower it down through them.  Seems like a plan, right?  Well.. they felt it best to stack the treads in an alternate way, instead of directly over each other (which I would have done).  Which mean they had to be supported by all kinds of little blocks of wood to keep them level.

This works for a while.  Down to 4 treads to go and the stack of treads falls over!!   The pole is still suspended in air – YAY!   So.. now to secure the pole and get these additional treads on and the bottom plate and then lower it to the ground.

Success… well… almost… the treads and plate get on, but the pole is now bound/stuck at the top and won’t drop down.

They try pushing it with a long piece of wood from one side (fearful of it dropping on them).  It won’t budge.   I’m thinking, it needs to be rocked back and forth… but I’m just a woman, so I’ll let them do what they think will work for a while.  No reason to show how smart I am early on.     Finally, they do push it from both sides and it slides down to the ground.   WHEW!!


Today they are working on setting the treads in place.



Builder #3

I haven’t updated in a couple weeks because…


Builder #2 worked great for a week.  He made progress, he had a plan in place to finish up the framing so that we could get the framing and rough electrical inspection and move forward with insulation and drywall.


AND THEN…. builder #2 decided on his weekend roller skating racing… or some such thing… to throw himself against a brick wall and break himself.  He said scapula.   *sigh*


So… now we have Builder #3 and his sidekick.    They came today.   They are as capable as builder #2 so I’m not concerned.  They worked most of the day doing some minor framing things upstairs and pulling the wall in.  Builder #1 failed at that and the end wall was leaning out by over 1 inch!!!   So, they worked at that and fixed it and it is all good now.  They also got the last second floor window in place:




Barring any skating mishaps or other catastrophes, they will be back tomorrow to work on further framing and possibly the spiral stairs.


If they can get the framing done this week, we can get rough electric done and then get that inspected.  Then I move on to an insulation guy… I have one estimate for that.  The second one, will not return my call and has not forwarded me the estimate.  I liked him… but then again, I liked the contractor when I first was dealing with him.


In other news, I changed out a toilet over the weekend.  The shut off valve wouldn’t work, so I turned the water off in the basement, changed out the toilet (not very hard, BTW), and connected it and turned the water back on.  HOWEVER, the shut off valve now leaked!  If I had been able to remove the shut off valve, I would have replaced it, but I could not remove it.   So… called the plumber and got that taken care of in under an hour today, I’m sure it will cost me plenty!



Moving along on Monday

It is so nice to be able to blog about progress again!!


Here is what has gotten accomplished on Monday.



The plumber showed up to install the grinder crock for the new bathroom.   He was suddenly called away because of an emergency at Smuckers… as he left he said “Going to save the jelly.”  LOL!!   He did come back in the afternoon and completed the project.


Grinder crock in place where there used to be some old water softener tanks.  One of which was metal and we put on the curb last night and it was gone by morning.



The Electrician arrived at 7:30 this morning.  He has the rough wiring done for  the whole upstairs.

Wiring for outlets in the halls and bedrooms.  Boxes set for lights in the hallway and smoke alarms.  Wires run for the other lights and switches.    He said that we will probably be ready for electrical inspection next week.  WHOO!



He has most of the framing completed on the second floor.  We got 2 more windows installed today … and by WE I do mean WE.  I had to help hold them and nail them in place from the outside.

The rear window is in place and one side window.  One more to go on the side.   The closets now are completely framed in.  Coming along nicely.


Goals for tomorrow include finishing up any little bits of framing upstairs (nailers) and then working on the framing for the soffitt and other things downstairs.

5 weeks later

5 + weeks since the builder walked off the job without notice, we are finally back underway with a new person doing the work.


We did meet with the former builder but he couldn’t give me a reason I should trust him again… nor would he even try to offer compromises… good riddance.  We are seeking legal action, so won’t share names quite yet.


Last week a few things got done!




I have 2 windows installed on the second floor!   He also has the others framed in ready to insert.  That is on the agenda for Monday.


I have the closet framed in for the master bedroom.


On Monday, the plumber will be here to install the grinder crock… the electrician will be here to start pulling wires… and the builder will be here to install those windows.


I do need to find a drywaller (I have one phone number, if you know someone, please send me their number).


I need to find someone who does insulation.


I need to find someone who can take out a few cracked tiles and replace them in the middle of the floor.  I have replacement tiles already on site.



It is good to see progress again.