Monthly Archives: September 2016

This weather is depressing…

I feel like doing nothing it has been so hot. And apparently contractors feel the same way!  I have had the worse time getting people to even come bid on work or call me back.  This caused me to get a somewhat crazy contractor in here.  He was the only one that could do the job right away, I should have been wary of that to begin with.  Mark found him in the back of the paper.  We needed someone to clean up the back deck area that had two snakes underneath.  The whole area was a weedy mess around the air conditioners over to the garden.  the stumps from the old trees were still there pretty heavy and needed grinding up.  We just wanted a small paver patio and a stepping stone pathway to the garden gate.  Also maybe some landscaping like a couple crepe myrtles to block the sun a bit.  The first bid I recieved was from a Landscaper recommended on the Woodlea Manor site.  Their bid came in at $10,000!!!  That was crazy, I mean the patio was just about 200 square feet.  The second crazy guy came in at $3,000.  That should have been another sign that something wasn’t right.  I mean how can the bids be so far apart?  Anyway, I am not going to tell you either company name because he did a good job I guess but I figured out he was just so condescending like a male chauvinist pig sort of way.  I could not wait for him to be out of here.  I chose him because he gave me a price on the spot and was looking to fill a half week up before he went on vacation that Thursday.  He told me exactly what I was going to do and sounded so confident and reassuring all would be well.   That night I texted him to give me some references.  It was bizzare he listed two of my neighbors on Catesby (my old street!) that he did work for, I know I never mentioned I lived there. I never checked with them I just figured if they used him he must be okay.    We quickly picked out the pavers and told me he would show up the next Monday.  He did just as he said he would.  They had a friend come grind my stumps up then they started digging for the patio.  I followed him to Luck Stone to pick out my stepping stones.  He was getting a bit irritated even then there were so many to choose from but we picked out a bunch of the smooth flat ones and he hauled them home.  The problem arose when we noticed the air conditioning lines for the great room had run under that deck to the air handling unit outside.  There was no other spot to put the thing really than next to the apartment air handler.  Luckily I guess that air conditioner is broken and we have not had it replaced yet, Mark is waiting for the winter when they are cheaper to get it fixed.  I won’t bore you with the details but the patio guy was really getting flustered with what our solution was going to be to either lay the lines on top of the new paver patio and figure out later how to hide them or run some pipe underneath to hide them.  He wanted my answer pronto and I didnt know how to answer, AC lines are not my specialty!  Again, he wanted to go on vacation Thursday and wanted to be finished.  And I wanted him gone too believe me by that time!  Mark rigged something up like he always does and they got everything finished.  However, they did not do any landscaping and I kinda felt jilted, plus I had a whole pallet left of pavers that he over bought.  He was very impatient while I decided where to store them too.  He was just so nuts at the end.  He said he would be back to plant some stuff and when it was time to do the other patio.  I laughed to myself and thought “I will never see you again!”


had to grind all the roots from the huge trees that used to be back there


Where pavers are now used to be this!


paver patio and walkway to garden

We just got the storage garage off the apartment finished with vinyl strips, I also had them do the garage bathroom cause I did such a bad job.  Lowes would not do the job and I called Costco floors and someone said they would!  The floor had these old swirl patches on it that apparently held glued carpeting.  Can’t believe they had carpeting in the pump room where the well was.  Oh well.  Anyway there is alot of room to start moving my bins from the great room into there, it will be like my basement storage room.  Anyway, the couple that showed up were a little wacky, well I will say the wife was wacky.  I asked if they do any other type of floor and she said no lie here “We will lay anything except the husband and wife.”  She expanded to tell me alot of times people ask them to swing on the jobs.  Needless to say, I will not be calling them any time soon either.  Must be the heat getting to people.


What storage room used to look like


painted and new floor! Basically my basement now

Our driveway has alot of cracks in it and can hold like 20 cars, its ridiculous I want to cut some of it back.  We wanted to get the cracks filled and have it resealed but no one reputable will seal it unless they have paved it first.  Soooo, they are all giving me estimates on scraping up a layer and repaving it.  Very expensive.  We decided to wait until the spring when most of the contractors are finished.  We also decided to cut our driveway space way back, I mean it looks like a parking lot out there.

We finally had our foundation looked at by Soil and Structure.  These two young Indians in suits showed up and went into my crawlspace to look at it and assure me  1) its not caving in and sinking 2) we might be able to level all the floors so they are not sloped.  When they came out they started talking in technical terms with very heavy accents and I seriously could not understand one word they were saying.  I think he said all the beams ran in different directions in each room separated by concrete walls and they were going to fix it somehow so the floors didn’t feel so hollow.  The beams were too long to hold everything and a few joists were broken.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to fix it so I told him to write a proposal and send it to me.  The proposal came back also very technical so I had to call him and again I could not understand him!  I wrote every question I had in an email and he answered.  Ah technology.  His crew were going to dig 8 footers in concrete and support beams to hold up the beams already there.  Then they were going to jack it up so it didnt fall ever again.  They had to get a permit from the county so I guess its legit.  It took the crew which was a subcontractor about a week to do it all, and they worked their butt off.  The foreman/owner said he had been in my house with the previous owner! He said he was hired to outfit a brewery for him and it had to be done in a week, which he said was completed and he did get paid.  The brewery never opened though obviously.  All his brewery equipment was stashed in a tractor trailer behind the pine trees of the property for years.   He also said the old owner had a big portrait of General Lee hanging over the fireplace because he said he was related to him.  And the guy had a ton of furniture in the house and he told him it needed some maintenance! I’ll say it needed some maintenance we are still trying to get it maintained!  After a week of all their adjustments, they were able to level the house somewhat but the dining room still has a slope.  They said it will not slope any further and I should level it from above, like more subflooring.  Ugh.  Then I remember all the old houses in Loudoun County that have multiple slopes in the floor.  And its not so bad I suppose.

We are busy deciding on a contractor to gut the back windows and add sliders, a new deck and porch overhang.  Picture is above as to what we are thinking of doing. Also, we are gutting the fireplace and adding a wood stove, taking the wall down between the kitchen and dining room, and buying new windows for the main house.  I hope to have it all done before winter hits so we can then work inside the house.  We also have not finished cutting my sons bath so we can have that finished before Christmas.  Better stop writing and start working.  Also, we are planning a sunset cocktail party for Friday, September 16!  Pray for good weather.  More details to follow!


Ugly fireplace about to be gutted