Monday, March 06, 2006

So... how is progress with the house?

Good question. Let's just say that some people will do anything to get out of work...

Haha... My wife is sitting here verbally berating me for writing what I just typed. She is afraid that I sound like a... (what was it dear?) Oh yes... an "ungrateful wretch." She thinks that I am not grateful for all of the help that I have received thus far. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

This last weekend (beginning on Thursday) has been a very good reminder that the people God has put in our lives are far more important than houses or things. Gordie Waldock, my father-in-law and a primary help-giver on the house project, had a heart attack early Thursday morning. He's doing well now, and you can
read about all of the details on the blog my wife set up for this event.

But as I was saying... This has been a good reminder that the people in our lives are infinitely more important than houses or things. The most valuable thing that I have gained in this whole process is finally feeling "plugged in" to our church. As the type of guy who is used to being the helper, this house project has put me in the uncomfortable position of being the one helped. It's humbling, challenging, and a wonderful lesson in God's provision.

I hope everyone finds themselves in need at some point in their life, and I hope that everyone has an incredible local church to care for them.

This experience with my in-laws has been a similiar experience. It is so amazing to see how the body of Christ from their local church (the one we were members of before moving) has surrounded my in-laws with care, provision, love and prayer. God has done some truly remarkable things these past few days, and it would not have been possible without the body of Christ surrounding my family.

To all of you who have helped on our house - thank you so much. Thank you for more than your sweat, muddy clothes, and... sometimes... sewer splattered pants. We are eternally grateful for the fellowship and friendship that we have experienced with you.

To those of you who have ministered to my family during this trying time in my in-laws' life, thank you so much as well. It is amazing that, as a member of God's family, I can go anywhere in the world and receive the same selfless love of Christ.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Uss Rv

My sweet wife wrote me an email for Valentine's day. Here it is:

Uss RV
Remember back when you and me
dreampt of living on the sea?
A tiny boat with an ocean surround
who would have thought we'de be stuck on the ground?

Oh our backyard RV
it ain't nothin' like the sea
It's mast is an antennae
for our 14 inch TV.
It's wheels - they aren't turning
in this harbor full of sand
And our house still isn't finished
(things took longer than we planned)

We thought that we would see the world
and though we never left the shore -
The view here isn't all that bad
from out the RV door.

Outside there is a princess
and two brothers in a fight
to vanquish each and every weed
within our garden site.

Above them is a sunset
staining cotton candy skies
around them is the sandy earth
- an ocean in disguise.

December pictures and yesterday's surprise...

These pictures show the beginning of the framing. This is back at the end of December, so we have done alot more than what you see here.

Since these pictures were taken, we have demolished the kitchen wall that you see here, as well as the wall that you can't see (facing the white truck). We've also demo'ed the bathroom wall, and framed all of that stuff in. I'll post a picture of this in the next day or so.

For a while, we thought that all the demo on the house would give us a lifetime supply of firewood. While that may be true, the mountains of siding and old, rotten wood was taking over our yard for about a month. I'm so glad we've cleared it all away.

Now for yesterday's surprise. The two guys in the first picture are Josh (on the left) and my father-in-law. It's amazing how God works. Yesterday around lunch time I got a call from Josh, asking me if he would disturb the kids' naps if he just showed up and started working.
Of course, I am never going to turn down free help, so I sent him over to get after it.

Meanwhile, It turns out that my father-in-law decided to come up this week (somewhat un-announced), so they were both there yesterday and put in most of the plywood for the floor.
On top of that, Josh didn't have anything to do for work this morning, so he's helping Gordy out all day today.

I can't wait to get home and see what my laborers have done. It's kinda nice having a construction crew do the dirty work while I sit in a comfortable office.

Although... working outside in this gorgeous weather would beat what I'm doing now any day...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Last Weekend..

January was a really good month. We cranked out framing for our bathroom and kitchen area in about two days (including demo). We are all set to move forward with more framing replacement, but unfortunately, we couldn't do any more work because of the huge mess we had made! So... it was time to rent another roll-off and get the yard cleaned up.

On Saturday we had a "clean up crew" remove the piles of construction debris that was trashing up our yard. We worked hard for several hot and dusty hours and ended up almost filling the dumpster.

(sorry ladies, but the handsome fella in this picture - the morning host of the local KVEC 920AM - is spoken for. His lovely fiance is coming in from Germany in the next week or so. No, it wasn't mail-order, he's known her for years...)

Zak and Eliot were so helpful. Eliot picked up the nails and Zak got out his wheelbarrow and shovel. It was pretty fun to see them so hard at work. Zak really moved alot of dirt, and Eliot has little hawk-eyes. As soon as a nail hit the sand, he was after it!

As a father, this whole house rebuilding process has been very challenging and rewarding at the same time. I look at my little daughter every night snuggled up in her bassinet on top of the RV dining table and I wish with all my heart that she could be in her own room with little animals and cute pictures on the wall. I long for the day when my boys can harrass each other from their bunk beds (which I still need to build). But then I look at these pictures and see how happy my boys are to help their daddy... and I know that they are getting the chance to help, and have responsibility and be useful, and Iknow that they are thriving under the conditions.

God has really blessed us with alot more help than I could have ever hoped for. It has been such a blessing to get to know the members of our growth group, as well as friends from church. There is nothing like being ministered to by the family of God to remind you how wonderful it is to be a part of it.

Thanks, everyone, for all of your hard work! But... there's still more to do!

January Update

The following is a re-post from my "other" blog. My wife didn't have the login information to this one, so I am re-posting here for all the subscribers to see:

Hopefully I'm doing this right. I have decided to take over Phillilp's blog and as his wife, I don't think he will mind.
Here is the long awaited update on the house and family situation:

December 20th
: our little daughter Eliannah Danielle was born and we brought her home to live with her brothers in the RV.

December 21st - 23rd: Phillip took stock of what he needed to do and set to work re-aquainting himself with our old house and what needed to be taken care of next.

December 26- 30: Phillip and my dad left me at my mom's house and "got after it" as he would say. They worked out some problems with the footings, re-leveled the house and made sure the walls were plumb (there was some problem with a bowed out wall when the floor was leveled).

Editor's note: My wife is so cute... This was actually a very trying couple of days. We ended up having to re-do some of our work from before and had to basically re-engineer the whole methodology of replacing the floor and foundation. The house, I am convinced by the way it was built, was never level to begin with. We had to tear out even more than I thought to get this thing to be right... Anyways, after nearly a week of work and almost no visible improvement, I was very discouraged. But, now the foundation was finally right, level and square. Something I didn't think would ever happen.

January 1st-6: I returned home with the boys and tried to keep out of Phillip's way as he and my dad worked on replacing the beams in the floor. By the end of this week not only were the floor beams in place but they had put insulation in the floor!

Lets see ... the details are foggy but since then the kitchen extension has been framed and the one wall of the kitchen was reframed, making it ready for french or sliding doors (a small change but totally worth the extra effort).

Editor's note... I have a picture of this somewhere... I'll post it on the next one...

Forgive me for bragging but I must say I am amazed at how much my husband has learned and accomplished since we bought this house. It is insane how far we have come. I am also blown away by how many of our friends had given up their Saturdays (and other days) to slave away in on our house. God has really blessed us and humbled me personally by surrounding us with all that we need when we need it and showing us his grace when we grow impatient at the progress (or lack there of).

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I found the following post half-written from October, so I figured I'd post it and fill in the blanks...

Sorry for taking so long with posting... sigh...

Between my work (9:00am - 7:00pm), ministry, kids and actually working on the house, there is not much time for things like blogging.

Anyways, here are some of the promised pics. A lot has happened in the month since I last blogged.

Here's the bathroom without its floor:

We had to dig this out completely to remove all the sand that was built up under here. Also, we were digging around the perimiter of the house to lay a concrete footing when we found the old sewer cleanout for the old septic tank. We had to remove it, cap the existing sewer line to prep it for future plumbing. By the time we were done, we dug a HUGE hole.

This next pictue shows the dumpster bin (which lived there for far too long). If you see the 2x4's nailed into the side of the house, that's actually what supported the whole house while we pulled out the old rotten floor beams under the wall.

Once the new beam was in, we were able to jack up from the beam. This was tricky. It is weird to look back on these pictures and see how much we have done since then...

I guess that's enough reminiscing from over four months ago. I'll post the newer stuff now...


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Progress and Interior Pics (before)

Wow. God has truly blessed us with some great progress this holiday weekend. I took Friday and Tuesday off, thereby giving me five full days out at the house to work. There was not a day, and not an hour, that I was not assisted by at least one person. God has truly provided me with what I need most - knowledgeable help. I had the equivalent of four man-days put into clearing out the yard by the end of Friday. By noon on Saturday the huge roll-off dumpster I rented was already half full with yard rubbish and rotten wood.

We made a lot of progress excavating under the bathroom. When we pulled off the floorboards, the dirt was all the way up to the plywood and wet from the leaking bath and toilet (yuk). By

Monday, the entire floor, including floor joists, framing and foundation piers and posts were off of the bathroom. Right now it is hovering about 2 to 3 feet off the ground, held up by jacks. This was a weekend of discovery and finding out what the best course of action is. The plan now is to pour a new concrete slab under the bathroom, and extend the kitchen wall out to be flush with the bathroom. This decision was based on the following factors:

1. A slab is the best foundation for this soil.
2. The east kitchen wall is rotten and needs to be completely replaced – so why not do the extension now?
3. By extending the kitchen we will make room for an indoor washer and dryer. With two kids (and another 4 months away), this is a necessity.

I will show you pics of the progress and give you a more complete update tomorrow, but in the meantime I figured I’d show some pictures of the inside of the house.

This is the kitchen. It already looks completely different. The cabinets are all out and half of the wall is missing.

This one is under the kitchen sink. There was plenty of mold for everyone under there...

The kitchen opens up to the living room. You can see how the left side is much lower than the right. We're going to pour a concrete footing along that wall and hopefully take out a bunch of that slope. The house might fall down while we try, but... these are the risks you take...

Off of the living room is the kids room. Underneat the plywood and particle board we discovered a redwood hardwood floor. This is the only stuff not eaten by termites. Right underneath the redwood floor is sand. This part of the house is being held up by nothing but sand. We won't be able to fix this until after we refinance in 6 months, but... oh-well. The house has stood here for 60 years like this. I'm sure it can handle 6 more months.

I think I'll hold off on showing the bathroom pictures until later. I feel like this room (which now has a very special place in my heart) deserves its own blog. Oh yeah. I'll put up Master bedroom pics later, too.

C0me back often! More tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Well, this is it.

Here's the story (or at least the beginning of the story):

My wife and I purchased a "fixer-upper" with the hopes of doing some extensive repairs and build equity quickly. We felt this was the only way we could get into the real estate market, now that prices are sky-high and continuing to soar. Even this house was grossly overpriced - and we got it at a tremendous discount from its asking price.

Much to our dismay, the extent of the damage was far worse than we anticipated. We knew that some of the house was sinking and would need to be shored up. Unfortunately, beds and other furniture concealed the fact that all 4 corners of the house were sinking, and one whole side of the house needed a footing poured and new pier structures for a firm foundation.

We also knew that there would be some mold, termite and dry-rot damage, but we didn't know we would have to practically re-frame an entire wall.

And the bathroom? Well... I'd rather not talk about it. Let's just say that pulling a suspicious plastic bag out of the toilet helped the flushing problem, but it didn't do anything for the rotten floor.

Am I complaining? I hope not. God has has taken me to the brink of anxiety and back in these last few days. Right now, I am trusting that these extra expenses, and the time living in an RV in the backyard, will all be instruments in my life that God uses to prove Himself and His rich mercy to me and my family.

I won't keep you waiting any longer. Here's a few pictures of the house. I'll save the "demolition and discovery" story for later, but keep in mind that I've pulled out the carpet and removed pieces of the siding since I've owned it these few short days.

Small isn't it? It is the most run-down, dilapidated house within three blocks. While taking this picture, I am standing on the sidewalk of the new community center that dwarfs my home.

Another view...

This wall (where the stairs are) needs to be jacked up and have a new footing poured. Does anyone know how to do this?! HELP!!!

This is the back of the house (the kitchen wall and bathroom walls). At least the kitchen wall needs to be replaced (re-framed). I may need more replaced, as I expose the house more. Yikes.

Oh yeah... There is a story about the toilet. It is sitting there for two reasons: 1. I was fixing it and it's resting over a sewer pipe so I could test flushing it (with help from the garden hose). 2. Because I think it's funny. Because of where it's at, it is theoretically perfectly functional now.

I think it's amazing that this house was falling apart, but the former residents still managed to pay for satellite service.

...sigh... I've only had it one week, and I can't begin to tell the stories about this property that I've learned from the neighbors. I guess I'll be busy blogging, when I'm not weilding a hammer...

Drop a comment, encouragement or a "What were you thinking?!?!"

In the beginning...

Hello, and welcome to my new blog. As some of you may be visiting from my other home, I'd like to invite you to check in often as I attempt to chronicle the next big journey in my family's lives: the repairing of our new old home.

I don't know how this will evolve, but I'm sure I will be talking about some life-altering lessons that I will learn along the way. Hopefully it will become a forum for some practical advice (giving and mostly taking by me).

Suffice it to say, I will not be able to fix this house on my own. I would like to thank many of the hard workers in advance who have already promised to rush to my aid.

More to come (including pictures).