Making Sure It Stays Whole

When we inherited the OPO last summer, the big conversation was around projects. Specifically, which ones needed to be done ASAP.

This conversation is not unlike the one around boat projects. There’s the endless balance between budget, aesthetics, and safety. Yes, the safety projects are highest on the priority list, and sometimes you have a short time window or a smaller budget which makes something else happen first, but in general, there’s only a little flexibility in figuring out what happens first.

At the house here, our priority order went something like: 1) make sure the house is still standing 2) get it set so we can shut it down this winter 3) make it more functional for the way we like to live. The “TO DO” list is a morphing beast delineated by post-it notes smacked up on a random piece of cardboard that’s propped up against the old chimney. Depending on our mood we alternately take down the items when they’re done or else cross them off; at this point in the summer, with 2 weeks left up here (sob) we’ve started starring the ones that MUST be done this year.

After a little emergency plumbing work to put together a water heater installation that didn’t make the gas company threaten to cut off our supply, Jeremy satisfied himself that the house wouldn’t fall down overnight, so he turned his attention to the plumbing feed lines (to make it super easy to winterize) and then the kitchen.

Kitchen sliding door ranks up there as the best visible project to date.

Kitchen sliding door ranks up there as the best visible project to date.

Then we started ripping out the old heating system. Removing all the baseboard heating units with their broken fans and leaking pipes. Decommissioning the furnace that Sue was about to replace. Researching how to get rid of old oil and old oil tanks.

Meanwhile, though, our ideas of the next projects flew around like dandelion fluff in a spring breeze. Percolating to the top is “redoing” the Bat Cave, the attic space that spans half of the house. With a little work on the stairs, and a bit of cosmetic work on the rafters, this is a space that would hold all the kids any of us ever wants to have there. Given the fact that we’ve already had 15 people sleeping in the house on three separate occasions since July, a bunk room would come in handy.

So Jeremy went up to really investigate. Turns out, the rafters up there are 32 inches apart in one part, and 42 inches apart in the other.

Code is 16 or 24 inches.

How the roof has not fallen in is a little bit of a mystery, and making sure it doesn’t fall in this winter is a priority number 1 for sure.

Cue the thinking chair work to figure out the needed materials, the phone call to the local lumberyard to order wood (thank goodness they deliver!), and the strategizing about just how we’re getting 16’ long pieces of 2x8 up into the attic to work with them (a road-facing window that comes out easily is just the ticket.)

Like boat projects that morph and change and shift in priority as you investigate other projects, this house is helping us really hone our flexibility chops.

Stay on your toes. And make sure your boat (or house) stays whole.

New rafters, shoring up the old ones, before adding new ones in between.

New rafters, shoring up the old ones, before adding new ones in between.