The past weekend was a bit fragmented. Saturday was an SCA event down on Long Island. It was okay – I was a bit bored because the people I knew down there were very busy all day, but I have to admit that I didn’t do a lot to get up and find someone to talk to. We went down because Bob wanted to go, so I took a basket full of handwork and got a lot done. My only real complaint was that all three doors to the hall were propped open for most of the day, and I was COLD! The feast dribbled out of the kitchen strangely, but everything was delicious (and I want the quiche recipe.) Unfortunately, because of that we missed the last ferry and had to drive back around. Luckily, Bob was awake enough that it wasn’t a problem.
Sunday I got off to a bad start, and was really crabby at my poor husband. Despite that, almost all of the gutters got cleaned (less that high one), weather stripping was replaced, the woodstove and fireplaces were cleaned out, and general cleaning was accomplished. Not too shabby. All of the double hung windows have kinda sorta had their weather stripping replaced. Combined with properly sized curtains, we should be in good shape this winter. I finally got the new weather stripping onto the side door – I figured if the paint hadn’t cured enough by now, it was hopeless. On the down side, I’ve got the door bottom weather stripping pulled off of both the side and back doors only to discover that the new stuff won’t fit underneath on the latch side of either door. I suppose that I could take the doors off their hinges and plane them down, but in November? So despite my resolution not to do this, I’m going to look for a "good enough for now" solution, and deal with it properly in the spring. Other than that, we’re all buttoned up tightly. As a final test of our will power, we actually got the "conveyed" hutch out of the basement and into the garage. That mother barely fit out the Bilco door, and there were several points where I contemplated just breaking it into pieces with the flat bar and reusing the lumber. What a pain. I really should have objected to them leaving that stuff in the basement, but that’s hindsight. It’s currently sitting in my side of the garage until we shuffle things around to store it in the back. I’m going to take some pictures and see if anyone wants it. It may end up on Freecycle. If it doesn’t go, it’ll become project lumber I think.
Yesterday I stopped at Lowes, because one of the faucets that we’ve picked out was on sale for $82. So a faucet, a new toilet paper holder, a towel ring, a new bag of tubular gasket for the windows, ladder lacing, ladder hooks, etc. later, I got out of there. I can’t afford to keep saving money like that. The amusing part? I accidentally chose the lavatory faucet that matches the kitchen faucet we just recently installed. I guess I like that look. The ironic part was that I’d decided to buy this particular faucet LAST. The order was going to be the kitchen faucet (done), then the downstairs bath faucet (in order to replace frankensink, and get the pedestal sink out of the middle of the library), then the half bath faucet (because it’s almost done and it gets the new bar sink out of the library), and THEN the upstairs bathroom. Oh well. But I’m going to love it. I think I’ll start patching drywall in the upstairs bathroom.
Today was the chimney sweep! It was cold and rainy this morning, but once it cleared out it got downright temperate. Which is good when you have someone up on the roof. A very nice young man (who reminded me a lot of my nephew Bryan) came out. He got a little lost and was a little late, but that happens. He did a *VERY* thorough job. He did such a good job that I intend to send Northeastern Chimney a nice letter about it. The woodstove flue obviously needed cleaning – I had a fire from last November until April, pretty much non-stop. That one had a stainless steel liner installed in 1997, so it was in good shape, AND it looks from the old paperwork like the company we just used installed it. This is the same thing that happened when the well went kablooey – we ended up with the same vendor accidentally. The living room flue was also filthy. If you remember correctly (my post of 10/03/2007), this would be the one that Valley Chimney supposedly cleaned. We’ve only had two fires in that fireplace since then. SURE they cleaned it. Assholes. The kitchen flue was clean and in good shape. The furnace flue needed sweeping, and unfortunately has begun to deteriorate. That’s going to be expensive.
So he swept and cleaned all the flues, took out the dampers and scrubbed them down – like I said – really thorough. We went ahead and asked for the lock-top dampers, and I think we’re also going to love those. No more breezes down the chimney onto my toes in January. The bummer was that we’ve got huge flues, so they both needed the largest size lock tops – at $399 each. Still worth it, but can’t I catch a break? The other two flues don’t have enough tile exposed to put chimney caps on, so we’re stuck for now. When we have the furnace flue lined, that will come with its own cap, and I trust the woodstove to take care of itself. As an added bonus, while he had the big long ladder set up to get to our chimney... Bob nipped up there and cleaned out that top gutter. The one that I’ve been fretting and obsessing about. How cool is that? After that, he installed the brackets for the dampers down in the fireplaces – you pull down to release the catch from its slot, and the spring up on the roof opens up the damper. When you’re done, you pull down and re-latch. So easy, so obvious. I love it. We’ll store the old dampers, just in case we ever decide that we want to put them back in, but I don’t anticipate it.
This all took about four hours – like I said – he was thorough. By the end of it the cats had given up being traumatized by a stranger in the house with the biggest vacuum cleaner they’d ever seen, and even allowed him to pet them. Final damage – just shy of $1,300. The estimate for the flue relining is around $2,400. It’s going to be well worth doing – carbon monoxide is nothing to mess with. I might let it go just until spring. It’s not dangerous, just aging, and I already have carbon monoxide detectors in the house. As well as smoke detectors and multiple fire extinguishers. It’s amazing what owning the place does for your feelings about stuff like that.
I’ve placed a phone call looking for another cord of wood. I need to confirm that his split pieces are less than 18" long, and that his truck is under 14’ tall – to fit in the firebox and under the phone lines, respectively. I also have a plan for how I want to store the firewood NEXT year. I need to make some working drawings.
So – the chimneys are swept, with dampers installed; the wood vendor has been contacted; the weather stripping has been replaced... I guess I can’t postpone raking any longer, can I?
I think I need to clean the basement again. Or is that "still?"