Old houses can come with many challenges, but they can also be very rewarding. Our house has great bones and it is very well built…it’s just cosmetically challenged. The next project we were working on was laundry room. Dom had to go back to work and since he works two jobs, sometimes its hard for him to get to the things I need him to do so I can finish what I’m working on. That’s what happened in the laundry room. I started painting even though the old washing machine wasn’t removed yet. I figured I’d get as much as I could done while waiting for Dom to have a moment to take out the washing machine and the utility sink. I was able to get the dryer out, but the hose to the cold water line was stuck on there and there was no way in hell that I was going to attempt to take that sucker off without him being there. I had visions of our home being flooded by huge gushes of water, and water damage or mold is not my idea of making home improvements. So I tried to wait patiently. My biggest fear was trying to loosen the hose and snapping off the pipe.
After assessing the hot and cold connections, he decided to put new ones on. I guess the previous owners must have had some issues with the valves and did a little repair work themselves, but I know based on what I saw, that they did it themselves. Instead of repairing the wall where the work was done, they just gobbed lots of wall compound on, left it to dry and then painted over it. They must have thought to themselves, “No one will see the botch job I did behind the washer, so who cares?” Uh…well, I CARE! Even though making repairs properly takes time, it is important not to cut corners. I didn’t care that the botch job behind the washing machine wouldn’t be seen, I needed to do it right. I took a chance at repairing the wall even though Dom hadn’t taken the hose off yet, and I think it came out pretty good. After slapping on some wall compound and letting it dry, I started sanding it down smooth, which was taking far longer than I would have liked. So I got out our finishing sander, plugged that puppy in and was able to get a fairly even surface. When walls have been textured, it is nearly impossible to make repaired areas look like they all blend, so we needed to get this texture spray paint to help it blend. It worked out well.
The next issue was the utility sink. We wanted to replace it with one that we already had, so Dom took it off the wall this past Saturday. After removing it, there was a problem. Like I said before, old houses can come with some challenges! We have copper pipes, and while Dom didn’t quiet explain what the problem was, he did tell me that new fittings would be needed for the hot and cold water. The hot and cold water for the utility sink had very little pressure, so after he removed everything, he and Noah went to Home Depot to get the parts they needed. He wanted to avoid having to sweat the pipes, so he got some compression valves. After putting them on, he looked at me and said, “I think I just tried to cut corners on that one…we’re gonna have to do it right.” LOL Back to Home Depot he went for all the tools necessary to sweat the pipes. A job that should have only taken at most an hour, turned into a ten hour day on Sunday. The first pipe he completed was for the hot water. Everything went smooth and the new valve was attached in a very short period of time. The cold water pipe was another story all together. He repeated the same process he did for the hot water pipe, but for some reason it wasn’t attaching properly. So he took the valve off and started all over again. About three hours later, he realized he was trying so hard that he actually bent the copper pipe to the point that it couldn’t be saved. Now he had to go back out to Home Depot and get a pipe cutter. Cutting the pipe meant needing to also break open the wall. So he cuts the pipe, cuts open the wall, and STILL, he can’t get a proper seal. Now one pipe that comes out of the wall is seriously shorter than the other, so back out to Home Depot he goes to get more pipe. Mind you, Home Depot isn’t real close! Anyway, he comes back, replaces the pipe he cut too short, and that sealed up just fine…however, he had the same exact problem AGAIN with his new pipe attached. He couldn’t get a proper seal on the valve! I thought my husband was gonna go crazy. Our swamp cooler and the water had to be shut down while he was working, and my husband was sitting on the floor in the corner of laundry room with torch in hand for almost ten hours at that point, only taking a break to eat or to go out to the store. Finally, it was done. He was able to get a proper seal.
That wasn’t the only thing we had to contend with that day. While he was busy doing that, we had to endure not having any available water ALL DAY! I’d keep forgetting that the water was turned off, and as I’d go to make a bottle for Simone, I’d remember. Or if I had to make food, or something simple and taken for granted like just going to the bathroom! We were all hot and clammy, and when the water finally was turned back on, jumping in the shower and FLUSHING the toilets were the first things we did.
Having an old house requires forming a new mindset. While the work may be daunting and all consuming, doing it properly the first time will save years heartache. As we start new projects in each room, we carefully look at all that we want to change and make our list of priorities. Important things like plumbing and electrical work come first, then we can go ahead and blaze forward making our house into a home.
Today we have a company coming to put in refrigerated air. We went back and forth over what kind of system to use. We wanted a Coolerado, but the cost of this unit as well as the lead time for getting it installed was about three weeks, and unfortunately we can not wait any longer. I’m not sure what to expect since the contractor told me it will take three days to install, due to the other work that must be done first in converting the swamp cooler back to refrigerated air, as well as putting in some new vents to our future living room. I don’t know if he will be taking the swamp cooler down today or if he’s going to wait till the last day. If the swamp cooler comes out today, we are going to be sweating up a storm…I HOPE it won’t be taken out till the last moment!