Archive for the ‘Apartment 3’ Category

Unvented Gas Heaters for Petch House

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Greg from Petch House asked after my bathroom gas heater — you know, the one that set my house on fire.  Or at least the bathroom door.  So I searched his website to find out why.  This is why.  As it turns out, we have at least four of them.  (I hear we have a fifth in the basement Apartment 5, but I don’t know what it looks like.)  Also, we have some bigger open flame gas heaters that don’t look quite so ceramic.

My memories of unvented gas heaters are ridiculous.  We had one in our bathroom (1963 ranch) when I was growing up. Somehow, I was sure that it was connected to the tub to keep the water warm.  Picture little flames licking at the bottom of the tub.  Yep, that’s what I envisioned.  Made me a bit nervous in winter.  Don’t really want one in our house.

So, Greg:  These photos are for you.   Let me know which one(s) you want and we’ll get it to you after they’re disconnected.  (I think the two non-white ones are a close match in color, and they are more tan than pink.)

Heater 1 Heater 2  Heater 4 Heater 4

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Apartment 3 Bathroom: Another Fire

Friday, February 15th, 2008

I was documenting Apartment 3 before we got too far into demolition last Sunday. (I guess I don’t want my memories of the house in its present state to fade or something.) Through my viewfinder, I saw a blackened spot on the door.

Apt 3 Bathroom Door Wall

I get closer. Yep, that’s charcoal all right. I recognize it from the fire that went up through the middle of the house sometime in the 1950s.

Scorched Door Close Up

I call out to Don, “Hey, did you know the fire got here?”

He answers, “Different fire. Look at the gas heater.”

So, I look.

Apt 3 Bathroom Gas Heater (from inside the shower)

He says, “Push the door open.”

So I push.

Door plus Heater Look: the door fits right around the heater. Can’t see it? Don helpfully pointed out that a view perpendicular to the door would help.

A Perfect Match See? The door just wraps around the heater. Another fire the house escaped without falling down.

The Little One has asked that we fix this before she moves in. There’s enough wrong with the house that I’m not positive we can promise, but we can try.

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Apartment 3 Occupants

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I’m glad we’re doing demolition in the winter for many reasons. It’s not humid. It’s easier to wear protective clothing. (You should see Don’s favorite long-sleeved t-shirt. Every day it comes home with another nail snag, or claw hammer attack.) The dust mask is not so sweaty nor the safety glasses so irritating.

But I’m especially glad about it being winter when I discover the critters we share our house with. In demolishing Apartment 3 this weekend, I found lots of these mud dauber nests:

Mud daubers 1 Mud daubers 2 Mud daubers 3

I think the holes mean they’ve all been vacated.

And two things that are less alarming in the short term:

Ladybugs ivy-in-the-window.jpg

Ladybugs and (dead) ivy.  It’s not good that the ivy had gotten into the house, but it is good that we’ve already had the house painted and the ivy pulled off, so it’s dead.

Demolition proceeds apace.

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Apartment 3 Demolition

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

 We started Sunday morning by heading upstairs.  Actually, we started by leaving the Little One with her grandparents Saturday night.  Then, we went to the Little Bread Company on Block Street.  They were out of cinnamon rolls the size of your head — or, rather, we would have had to wait thirty minutes for them, so we had a Bavarian cream and a raspberry cheesecake danish.  Yum.  Where was I? Oh, heading upstairs.

heading upstairs

We decided to tear out the back two bedrooms of Apartment 3.  We needed to fill the dumpster before it was removed (and returned) Monday, and lightweight ceiling tiles are just the thing.

Apt 3 Bedroom (south) The south bedroom before we started.  (The walls were covered with a textured, painted wallpaper which made it a little harder because the the paper held the tiles together so they didn’t come off in the 18″x3′ pieces I was used to.) 

Apt 3 Bedroom (southwest) Same room after I pulled the ceiling tiles off the walls.  The ceiling actually had cellulose insulation resting on the ceiling tiles, so I let Don pull them down.  Doesn’t he look angelic with the dust motes dancing in the air behind him?

Apt 3 Bedroom (south) looking up The ceiling after he pulled the ceiling tiles down.  Where did the insulation go?

Apt 3 Bedroom (south) looking down Oh.  Down on the floor.  He used a coal shovel and garbage cans to remove it to the dumpster.  Up and down and up and down the stairs.

Apt 3 Bedroom (south) cleaned up After walls, ceiling tiles, insulation, and a lot of the furring* strips were removed Sunday.

We did the same thing for the other bedroom.  Except for shoveling the insulation.  That had to wait for the return of the empty dumpster Monday afternoon.  And we finished in time to go to orientation at church in the afternoon.  I think we did a good job. 

*I’m always wanting to spell furring with an “i”.  I guess because the strips are made from wood, and fir is a kind of tree.  Nothing fuzzy or fur-like about the strips.  When I checked the spelling, I tried to figure out the etymology.  I gather it comes from fur, and the fur in question is from the Germanic words having to do with making a sheath.  Maybe.  (Per Merriam-Webster, Middle English furren, from Anglo-French furrer to stuff, fill, line, from fuerre sheath, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German fuotar sheath; akin to Greek pōma lid, cover, Sanskrit pāti he protects. Date: 14th century.)

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More House Genealogy

Monday, January 28th, 2008

I am interested in how readers come to my blog.  The most common way by far is through  (Go there if you are interested in the genre of house blogs.  You won’t regret it.)  Another common way is to be a relative or friend of ours.  An interesting way is via searches.  Searches sometimes give me clues about other things that might be interesting.*  (That’s how I found out that Herman Tuck, Jr. was both a restaurateur** and a rock n roller.)  This week, I had a visitor find my blog by searching for “Bradley Kidder in Ohio.” 

While our house is not in Ohio, Bradley W. Kidder lived in our Apartment 3 in 1955, so I thought I’d see if I could figure out what happened to him.  The internet reports that a Bradley W. Kidder wrote “Goodbye, Tall Old Oak,” The White River Valley Historical Quarterly (Summer 1998): 3-11.  (Per a list of articles about Hanging Judge Parker of Fort Smith.)  In 2007, Bradley Kidder Sr. won the Walter L. Brown Award for Best Article, “Who Took the Trees?” in The Journal, Fort Smith Historical Society.  He also earned an M.A. at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR), and wrote as his 1996 thesis:  “Who Took the Trees:  A Review of Timber Trespass Litigation in the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas Under the Administration of Judge Isaac C. Parker, 1875-1896.”  In addition, the Rev. Brad Kidder Sr. does pastoral care at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Fort Smith.  So, I conclude that Bradley W. Kidder went into ministry, had a son (Sr.), went back to school as a grown-up person, and has spent at least the last ten years or so in and around Ft. Smith.  Maybe one day soon we’ll contact him and see if he is the same person who once lived in our house.  Or maybe he’ll Google himself and contact us.  We’d be happy to hear from him.

*Other interesting searches: 

  1. Is the Canadian musician Lawrence Gowan married? A: I don’t know, but he used to play with Ronny Hawkins.
  2. Fifteen centimeters is what part of a meter? A: 15%.  One hundred centimeters in a meter.
  3. Faucet quit working on one side. A:  So sorry.  Our current problem has been that Don can only get one side of any given faucet shut off.  That makes it either harder or wetter to decommision faucets or other plumbing.  We’re hoping that lubricant will help.  He has pulled three toilets out to date.  (Leaving two more.  One for us and one for the tenant.)
  4. Charles Bates in Kentucky. A: Might be the same as ours.  Rev. Charles D. Bates does seem to have lived in Kentucky, among many other places.  Let me know. 

** Why is there no N in restaurateur?  [Pause to find out.]  Well, there can be, but it may raise eyebrows.  Apparently, the N-less version is derived from the French, but the n-containing version restauranteur is now considered a standard variant. 

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