Archive for the ‘Apartment 2’ Category

Pictures of the gap between addition and older part of house

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

[ETA:  Well, hmmm.  I thought I posted this yesterday, and the blog thought so, too.  However, I just looked at the front page of the blog and it wasn't there.]

You may remember the gap between our house and addition where the rain blows through from yesterday. My brother wrote that he had trouble visualizing the gap so here are pictures.

The clapboard (seen at right) is the original exterior, and the pine sheathing (left) is the interior of the addition. The bright white vertical line is the gap, formed where the addition meets the original house.

Gap between addition and original house

You might see trees through the gap in the close-up (below) if you click through.

Close-up of gap between addition and house

Here are exterior shots to put this in perspective. The gap in question is above the garage, at the inside corner where the 50s (asbestos?) siding meets the older clapboard siding. To orient you, you can almost see the window in the first interior picture (to the right, above).

Exterior view of gap location close-up-of-joint-between-house-and-addition.jpgExterior view after painting started

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Raindrops keep blowing through my wall

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Remember the brisk breeze I could feel blowing in the seam between the fifty-year-old addition and the rest of the house when the front came blowing in last week?  Not to mention the nice view of the outside you could catch a glimpse of through that same seam?  It turns out that rain can blow in through that same seam.  (We took the drywall and ceiling tile wall off those walls, which made visible the gap.  No house wrap or insulation.)

Not sure what to do about that.  Maybe 3M window film from the inside.  Or a huge bead of caulk.  I can’t even figure out a good Google search for clues: 

  • How to fill a hole in exterior wall
  • How to block a hole in exterior wall
  • Drafty wall repair

all give pretty meaningless results.  (Drafty wall repair gave, as its very first hit, a spreadsheet for anesthesia services, apparently because there is a code for “Anesth, chest wall repair.”  Hope I don’t need that done, too.) I tried, which has a nifty feature that lets you search all the registered houseblogs, and those houseblog searches, along with “gap in wall” and all the other variants I could think of came up empty.

So, I’ve posted the question on the houseblogs discussion board, and hope that something will come of it.

For now, I figure the wall is open so it will dry out.  Don says there’s a roof leak at about the same place, too.  Well, we knew we needed a new roof. 

In the meantime, I’ll just think of Burt Bacharach and B J Thomas, and hum a little chorus:

Raindrops keep blowing in my house
But that doesn’t mean that I’ll soon be feeling lous-y
Lousy’s not for me
’cause I’m going to stop the leaks and the dripping
Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me.

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“Home is the wallpaper above the bed …

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

“Home is the wallpaper above the bed, the family dinner table, the church bells in the morning, the bruised shins of the playground, the small fears that come with dusk, the streets and squares and monuments and shops that constitute one’s first universe.” Henry Anatole Grunwald (1922-2005, Editor in Chief of Time, Inc. 1979-1987).

None of these wallpapers were above the bed, but they were certainly home for somebody.  Wallpapers 1-3 (left to right) were in Apartment 2, and Wallpapers 4-7 were in Apartment 5 (the basement apartment).  Wallpaper 4 (roosters and flowers) was in the kitchen, and Wallpaper 5, behind the medicine cabinet.

apt-2-back-room.jpg apt-2-somewhere.jpg living-room.jpg basement-kitchen.jpg basement-medicine-cabinet.jpg basement_1.jpg basement.jpg

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The pipes are thawing (and not bursting)

Friday, January 4th, 2008

We have power to Apartment 1 now, and also to the hallway and Apartment 4′s kitchen outlet upstairs (on Apartment 1′s downstairs circuit for some reason). We also have hot water in the house although, as of noon yesterday, Apartment 4 still didn’t. No visible leaks (except, perhaps, in Apartment 5, which is the basement apartment, where we know we have a clogged sink), so no burst pipes yet. Only the Apartment 2 kitchen sink is still frozen.  (We thought we had lost power permanently in Apartment 2, but that turned out to be a blown fuse, so life is good.) Isn’t the stalagmite cool?  It was a stalactite until it started to thaw.

Ice in Apt 2 kitchen sink

Demolition and clean-up are progressing in the basement, where the water heater fired up a couple of times while Don was sweeping. Nasty, by the way (the sweeping).  Probably hadn’t been done in forty years.

The basement (not the apartment, but the basement part) is all cleaned and swept, with about 10 more minutes to finish cleaning the garage. Then, on to Apartment 5 (the basement apartment).

Apartment 2′s “switch” at the fuse box, for lack of a better term, is broken. The electric company guy said that can happen in the cold. Or maybe Don stressed it Wednesday with the 3 space heaters, and it cracked.

The electric company guy came by a second time, after turing the power to Apartment 1 back on, to change a bad meter. This is our second “bad” meter at this house.  We already had a gas meter replaced. I don’t recall replacing a meter in any of our other houses. Of course, we have eleven meters here, which would increase the odds of a bad one. Five gas and five electric meters for the five apartments, plus a sixth gas meter for the 95 gallon hot water heater, which is community property. Not sure which of the meters is new, but I do have before and after shots of the electric. Not the gas.  Aren’t they lovely?

Gas meters January 3, 2008 electric meters January 3, 2008 electric meters

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The house is connected to The Band! And Herman’s Ribhouse!

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Herman Tuck, Jr. is one of the first people to live in our house after its conversion to a five-flat (Apartment 2 of “the January Apartments”) per the 1951 Fayetteville City Directory. (He would have been about 22.)

Who is Herman Tuck? He is the Herman* of Herman’s Ribhouse (at least forty years old per its website, although I think it existed when my folks were in school here 45+ years ago, here’s a 1998 review) and he played drums with Ronnie “Hawk” Hawkins and the Hawks. Hawkins** in turn was associated with early versions of The Band*** and is a “household word in Canada.” The Hawks started in about 1956. (Hawkins, age 10, moved to Fayetteville in 1945, and graduated from Fayetteville High in 1952, so all the circumstantial evidence makes it unlikely for Herman to have played with Hawkins in Apartment 2. Or to have started his ribhouse while living there.)

In an oral interview (2002), Hawk had this to say about Herman Tuck:

RH: Everyone wanted Herman Tuck to play in their band. He played in country bands, but his love was swing. He really liked the old swing days, better than anything. Jerry Lee Lewis wanted to hire him. He played with Jerry a couple or three times. Irene [Tuck, his wife] didn’t want him going on the road with us. [Laughs]


In 1930, Herman (then a babe in arms) lived with his parents at 514 North College Avenue, and our house is just a step (or twenty) away from that house. Fayetteville is indeed a small town.

* I truly did wonder if he was connected to Herman’s Ribhouse when I saw his name in the city directory, but I didn’t look him up then.

**Ronnie Hawkins was at the University of Arkansas (about 1952) when he first started playing in his band, The Hawks. As his bio puts it:

Over the years, Hawkins gained recognition for recruiting and grooming outstanding Canadian talent. The membership of his band, The Hawks, kept changing as the talent flowed in and out, but the name stayed the same. One edition of The Hawks (with Canadians Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, and drummer Levon Helm) moved on to become Bob Dylan’s backup band and later achieved superstardom as The Band. Another incarnation became Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, and another Robbie Lane and the Disciples. Other famous Hawk alumni include David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat and Tears, actor Beverly D’Angelo, musician Lawrence Gowan, and fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Burton Cummings and David Foster.

*** When we watched The Last Waltz, we realized that Don’s brother is a dead ringer for Van Morrison.

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Sign of our house’s history

Thursday, December 20th, 2007


This sign was behind the lath and plaster in the living room in Apartment 2. As Don pulled it out, he thought it was going to be a license plate, but, instead, it is a tangible sign of our house’s history.  (Pun intended.)

The current tenants are renting unfurnished apartments, but sometime* at least one of the apartments was furnished. Unless the sign was behind the wall because it was such a bad idea.

Demolition continues apace.  All the lath and plaster is out of the back room in Apartment 2.  Most has been removed from the living room (Apt. 2), but that demolition is complicated by all the salvage on the floor.  Some of the ceiling tiles are out of the dining room  (Apartment 1).  We have peeked under the really dirty carpet in Apartment 1.  Looks like the flooring in there matches the foyer, except (as I mentioned yesterday) it was installed at right angles to the foyer flooring.  We don’t know yet what the flooring will be in the former porch at the front of the house. 

In most excellent news, the smelly sofa bed has made its way into the dumpster.  (Say, did anyone click through my links yesterday?  I was expecting at least one comment about the picture of the former tenant’s detritus.)  It was up in the 50s or 60s yesterday, so the house got aired out.  And the gas to the stoves in the vacant apartments has been shut off.  Somehow or other, the house is smelling better.

In other news, I have been tweaking my masthead. 

Actually, my brother has been tweaking it.  Bill is very talented and helpful.  Besides being my IT go-to guy, roller coaster expert, former valet parker, and co-author of the TortsProf blog, he knows everything about children’s rock.  He and my niece host Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, and he is a stringer for Parenting magazine on children’s rock.  And, apparently, he writes a column for Little Rock (Arkansas) Family and Minnesota Parenting.  He is the cool one in the family.  I think using this sign in the masthead helps us transition to the blog’s current focus on our Fayetteville house.  I’ll have to update my signage, too.  Thanks, Bill.

*When did they make For Rent signs out of metal rather than cardboard? I would hazard a guess that we can eliminate during World War II.

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Serious Charring

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I learned about arson under the common law again last winter when I studied for the Arkansas bar exam. Arson required “the malicious and willful burning of the house of another.” (Lots of picky bar exam questions can come from that.) Burning meant an actual ignition of the structure. In other words, charring* was required, not mere scorching. I don’t yet know the source of the fire, but we have serious charring in our house.

Don took out the ceiling in the back room in Apartment 2 on Monday and Tuesday. POs had removed all the plaster from the lath in the ceiling and put in ceiling tiles in about 1997. (How can I date it so precisely? The ceiling tiles were date-stamped.) The fire we had heard about (sometime in the 1950s) reached back there so the addition pre-dates the fire. We can see ceiling joists sistered to the scorched ones. And not a lick of insulation. (The joists you can’t see clearly are the scorched ones. Look at the wall between the back room and the living room. Very scorched.)

Back room ceiling during demolition 1997 Ceiling Tiles Back room charring

He’s also removed the ceiling tiles in the living room, most of the subfloor tongue-and-groove planks** that were used as furring strips for the ceiling tiles, and a lot of the plaster and lath. (Demolition is complicated by having the salvaged flooring and tub in the living room.) The ceiling plaster looked pretty bad in the living room, too, but the fire doesn’t seem to have made its way into the living room. The wall between the back room and the living room is to the right in this picture.

Living room ceiling

He stripped a bit of trim around a window and baseboard in the living room, and stair railing, newel post, and stair treads in the foyer. Looks like pine everywhere, doesn’t it? Shucks. We were hoping for a little oak.

Stair tread Silent paint remover Newel postRailing

Our neighbor’s dumpster left early Monday morning and we are struggling with whether to get one before Christmas. If we do, it will be an invitation to the world to fill it up with Christmas debris. If we don’t, we will be handling our house debris at least twice — doubling our work. Wonder if we could fill one before Christmas, and order a second one in January after the Christmas rush?

Debris Back room debris

[Pause to call Don]

That’s what we will do. Dumpster comes Thursday. If we get close to Christmas Eve, and it still isn’t full, then we’ll think about hiring out some demolition help.

*The word char dates to 1679, and is a back formation of the word charcoal (1340), which (rougly) means turning to coal. Charring rhymes with barring, jarring, marring, scarring, sparring, starring, and tarring so …

  • The uncovered joists showed charring,
  • which was jarring
  • to me. Sistered joists marring
  • my honeymoon vision, scarring
  • forever with their charcoal tarring.

Not bad for 60 seconds. Can you use the other words: barring, sparring, and starring?

**The POs who converted the house into a five-flat owned a flooring company. I assume these were seconds. They are brittle and impossible to denail.

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