Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cussin' and Freezin' (and some framing)

Monday evening I was in the trailer listening to Dean and Tannon 
hammer away as they installed the hurricane ties on the trusses. 
It was dark and very cold. 
It was Dean. 
When I bought the five pound box of 'shorties' at Wheelwright
for securing the hurricane ties, 
I hadn't realized there was an option to get the 1-1/2 inch nails;
 I brought home 1-1/4's, which is just short enough
to make them a lot more difficult to work with. 
A few minutes later..
Dean again. 
And I could tell it had REALLY HURT.
After a long pause, the hammering continued.
I thought to myself how grateful and proud I am that my husband isn't,
 and never has been, the kind of man that uses curse words.
And then just moments later...


We all have our thresholds, don't we.
His thumb was pretty %#@! sore for the next few days.

All the hurricane ties got  nailed in that night.
Tannon is awesome and was here a few times this week to help Dean
work on those ties and the framing in the basement.
Why the framing in the basement, you ask?
Yeah, I know...
the plan was to put that off until after we were closed in.
But framing the basement was just about the only thing that could be worked on.

Other than being really cold, Monday wasn't too bad, but Tuesday...
Tuesday was the the first big snowstorm of the year here along the Wasatch Front.
Dean worked on the framing in the basement that night.
When he'd finished for the night and came in, he mentioned he was concerned
that our pipes might freeze and that we had better
get showers before bed just in case.

Sure enough...
frozen pipes in the morning.
No water was coming into the trailer.
Even our hot water heater wouldn't run.
We had insulated the hoses that are connected to the trailer,
but apparently it hadn't been adequate.
So, Wednesday night we worked on beefing up the insulation and putting
 more heat tape on.
It was so cold working out there that I was nearly in tears.
I'm a wimp when it comes to cold.
I can easily deal with triple digit temperatures, but frigid cold -
no so much.
I thought about the Willie and Martin handcart company as I watched Dean's hands
 working under the beam of the flashlight.
My toes and fingers and nose were hurting just standing there next to him
 in the nearly single digit temperatures.
And I knew he was cold too even though he didn't once shiver, let alone complain.
As I continued on thoughts of the account of the Willie and Martin
 handcart company and what they went through,
that's when the tears threatened to spill over.
Here I was with a heavy coat, a fleece liner under that, gloves. thick socks and
 boots and still shivering and miserable, but just a
few feet away from a warm shelter to retreat to.
So, not only did my fingers and toes ache, but my heart was hurting too for those
 poor souls stranded in such unimaginable conditions so long ago.
The thought also came to me that if there is such a thing as a
 "John Wayne Man-Up Award",
my husband should be the recipient.
Seriously, he always has and always does whatever needs doing
 no matter how difficult, uncomfortable of unpleasant it might be.
I know...my mind is a quirky thing and I can't decide if that's a curse or not.

Let's sum up, shall we?

Two days later (and we figured it'd be at least two days) our Wednesday night efforts
 paid off and the water started flowing again.
We were ecstatic when it finally started drip, drip, dripping
and then FLOWING from the kitchen sink valve that we'd left open.
Saturday, though, it all froze up again.
I've been showering at Jo-Tan's.
He's been showering here.

is how.
He's been putting 2 liter bottles of water from our storage on top of our little oil heater.
"It works great!", he says.
(he's a guy and you cannot make me believe for a minute I'd have the same experience)
It also works great for face and hand washing, brushing our teeth and
keeping Ally and the chickens hydrated.
What's hard and really bothers me most is not being able to easily
mop the floor and clean the trailer bathroom .

I won't be dishonest here and sugar-coat this week's events -
it's been frustrating, for sure.
We had not anticipated this kind of cold until January, which
 is usually the norm here in Northern Utah.
We'd planned on being all closed in by then.

We'll figure this out and get through it, though,  and it'll be
a part of our story that we look back on with not a small degree of satisfaction
remembering how we stuck it out and weathered this storm well.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Week and So Much To Be Thankful For part II

After the crane did its job of lifting all our trusses up onto the roof,
Dean and Dave and Michael spent the entire rest of the day getting the first ones set.
The next day was Thanksgiving and our hearts were overflowing with gratitude for 
the incredible men from our ward and neighborhood that showed up in the morning
to help us before their families gathered together to celebrate and
feast and enjoy each other's company.
And the next day...
they all showed up again!
And they worked 
And the day after that...
yep, you guessed it;
they showed up again!!
After crawling in bed those nights and turning out the light, 
we talked for a while about how we could possibly thank these 
men enough for their tremendous gift of service to us.
This will forever be a very memorable Thanksgiving weekend.
All the trusses got set, some of the sheathing on the trusses was put on,
and most of the sheathing on the walls was finished.


Without much commentary, here are some more photos...

Our awesome crew from left to right:
Michael VanBallegooie, Clayton Barrett, Dean, Tannon, Dave VanBallegooie,
JayDee, Reed Wood, John Hunt and Doug Hunt.

And finally...

We are so happy and so excited.

one more thing!

Dean got a good jump on some of the framing in the basement.
He got the entire east wall of the basement cut and laid out
(it's really long),
he and Tan put it together, and I got to help stand it up.
He also framed up one of the bathroom walls, but I don't
have a photo at the moment of that or the east wall standing and installed.

These photos are not in proper order.
I know that down the road I'll regret not putting more
effort into these posts, but there are other things that
need my attention.

Thanks so much for dropping by!
We do enjoy and appreciate your comments and support.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Week and So Much To Be Thankful For

Dean called me from work late Monday morning.
He sounded discouraged.
That worried me because he rarely gets discouraged.
He was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work needing to be done 
while the weather forecast was favorable.
His plan had been to save some cash and get the trusses up on the house 
with good, old-fashioned manpower.
Without even mentioning my intentions, I started calling around looking for crane services 
as soon as our conversation ended and I'd hung up the phone. 
It took awhile, but I found two potential guys with cranes. 
Todd with "Hang 'Em High" said he could even provide a crew, 
but wouldn't be available until Saturday.
Andrew with "RJP" said he was wide open Tuesday and Wednesday, 
but didn't have any contacts for a crew.
I texted Dean with the information.
Dean started trying to put a crew together.
As soon as we found out on Tuesday that Dave and his son, Michael, would be 
available all day Wednesday,  Dean called Andrew back. 
Andrew was now booked for Wednesday! 
Dean texted me with the bad news as I was about to check out of my 
medical billing and coding class. 
It was all I could do to hold back the tears. 
I walked across campus to my next class, only to check and see if 
some assignments I'd turned in had been posted and then I left. 
I was headed home to do some desperate online searching and calling for 
another crane service and hopefully for Wednesday. 
Crane operators are hard to come by and they stay pretty busy. 
Now I was the one that was discouraged. 
I was almost home when Dean texted me again. 
He'd found a crane in Salt Lake that would be available for Wednesday! 
It'd be more expensive coming from that far away, but I didn't 
even wince as I wrote out that check for $392 for an hour an forty-five minutes of 
crane service before the crane and its operator drove away Wednesday morning
leaving our trusses atop our little bungalow.

And here we go with some photos... 

There are more photos, much more to tell,  
and much gratitude to express for the
wonderful men that came and worked
so hard helping us out over the long
 holiday weekend.
But, I'm done with this for tonight.
I'll post 
Part II
of last week's progress tomorrow.
It's been a long Sunday.
Thanks for stoppin' by.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Blustery Week at The Bungalow

The news this past week was the wind.
It was
It started early Thursday.
By about 4:30 in the afternoon I became concerned about the trailer awning.
I was anxious for Dean to get home  from work and retract it.
It's sad to admit, but I don't feel confident that I can properly retract and secure it myself.
It was being yanked around pretty hard, but stayed attached and intact until
Dean got home to take care of it.
We lost the protective cover for the sunlight bubble in our shower;
it flew off and shattered into several pieces on the garage floor.
 My hen house door blew off...

and all night that night, in addition to the violent wind keeping us awake,
I fretted and prayed that the whole hen house wouldn't blow over with my little girls inside.
It was still standing the next morning, which was a miracle.
I have no doubt it was an answer to my prayer.
It's nice to know Heavenly Father cares that I care about my chickens.
The old thing was
 blown off its blocking, moved 2 feet westward and teetering back and forth, though.

We lost 15 feet off the tops of two cedar trees...

one landing at the NE corner of the house

and the other getting lodged in the walnut tree.

Needless to say, there was a lot of  cutting and clean up to be done.

In addition, power went in and out several times and our hot water heater would not stay lit.
It's a good thing Dean took Friday off work because he'd have had an icy early-morning shower.
At one point during the night I actually thought I might need some Dramamine because
our little trailer was feeling much like an amusement park ride that just wouldn't quit.

In addition to the hen house not toppling over, here's the other GOOD news...
we were so very grateful to be in the garage and much closer to the ground
instead of directly under the old walnut tree and up high on the blocks
like we were a couple of weeks ago.
What a blessing!
We were also feeling extremely blessed that the trusses were not up
or they'd have surely all been blown down and damaged.
we'd wondered how we could harvest the rest of the walnuts that were so far up in the tree.
The windstorms took care of that for us.
We gathered them off the ground and filled this 5 gallon bucket in no time!

Although we are disappointed that our progress was held up
because of these terrific wind storms that lasted through late Saturday night,
we are very grateful to have weathered them without serous incident.
As we've driven around town we've seen that there has been extensive damage to many homes,
fences, trees and even RV's like ours.
Our hearts go out to these people.

And now, other than all that, here's what happened at the Bungalow.


Our exterior doors were delivered.

Dean spent the evening double checking, fixing, and putting more nails
into the sheathing that was already up.
I swept and cleaned up construction debris and held the flashlight so
Dean could nail.
I'm basically awesome at sweeping, cleaning up and flashlight holding.


Our trusses were delivered!
And it was very cold and very rainy.
When he got home from his 9 to 5, Dean looked over the trusses and
then sat down and studied the engineering booklet that came
with them for quite a long while.


Since it was still very cold and very rainy, Dean worked on the framing in the basement.


I already told ya about Thursday, the first day of the big windstorms.
Didn't get any work done.


Dean got the bottom courses of the sheeting completed and cut all the openings
for all the doors and windows.
The top course cannot be done until the trusses are set.


Dean began prepping for trusses.
We had several men show up to help, but the wind picked up again
and it wasn't looking like it was going to let up anytime soon.
Saturday was a bit of a bust.

That's it.
We are enjoying this big, crazy, wonderful project despite the setbacks.
The coming week's forecast is looking really promising.
Life is good.
to you and yours.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We've Moved In!

Into the garage, that is.

This move did not come without tremendous effort.

It took plenty of brawn and brain power, so
it's a good thing Mossi men have plenty of both.
You see, where our storage unit (you know...the freight-train container we rent) is parked makes maneuvering 23.5 feet of trailer, not including the tongue,
 into the garage difficult at best. 
It's just close enough to the garage to make it almost impossible. 
Seriously, I'm willing to bet most guys would have said...
1) It's not worth trying 
2) Forget it. It's just too darn difficult.
Not Dean.
That's never been his style or approach to anything.
And so with an abundance of heave-ho it was accomplished. 
And I'm thrilled with the fact that we don't have nearly as much of a problem with mud.
I didn't blog last week just because I didn't want to.
And I guess I didn't want to because I'm feeling like I've lost balance in my life.
I eat, sleep and breath the building of our little bungalow.
I think about it constantly.
 I have a hard time focusing in classes because of ideas that pop into my head 
or things I need to do or pick up at Wheelwright or aspects of design I want to research. 
I've altogether given up Facebook and Pinterest and the like for searching through 
Houzz.com's discussions and photos. 
I'm feeling too consumed, too caught up, too distracted by it all.

And now that I have that off my chest (sort of), shall we carry on?

Here's a short list of what's happened. 
It won't sound like a lot, but trust me...we've been busy.
Much of it has been about odds and ends and seemingly 
small details that were actually important.

The garage is framed. 
Well, all except the front window and the east garage door.
That window needed to wait a bit because I had one of my 
"wait a minute" episodes where I had an idea I wanted to explore with, 
of course, the possibility of changing our original plan. 
Turns out, it wasn't that great of an idea. 
The east garage door opening will be rough framed and closed in with OSB sheeting 
because the tongue of the trailer sticks out too far to install a garage door.
The night we put up the back wall in the garage, 
we had several men from our ward show up and help.

Seriously...one phone call and before we knew it we had about a dozen brethren here. 
We are so blessed to have such a wonderful ward.
I know I've said that many times, but we are very thankful.

All the rest of the framing is complete including that double top plating.
Actually, the basement framing won't be completed until we are completely closed in.

Our son-in-law, Tannon, is such a blessing and asset to our family.
He's always willing and happy to come work with us.

Dean got the beams for the deck and deck roof up.
I helped him set the huge beam for the scissor trusses that will form the deck 
roof and let me tell you somethin'...it scared me nearly to death helping him do that. 
It was just him and me doing a job that should have been done by four men. 
But the man's mechanical engineering mind came up with a method that got the job done. 
It took a few years off my life, though, I'm sure of that.

We had our final meeting with Matt, the truss designer, and made, yet again,
 more changes in the design of our roof system. 
I'm excited about these changes, though. 
Then trusses are finally scheduled to be here on Wednesday. 
We are praying for favorable weather when we set them.

It snowed yesterday.

We got about four inches all told.
When it finally stopped
I spent the evening shoveling and shop-vac-ing it all off our sub-floor.
We'd really hoped to be closed in before first snow, 
but I know we won't regret the changes we've made that have delayed us.

Since it snowed off and on for most of yesterday, 

Dean spent the day in the basement installing the windows.
This is the basement bathroom window. 
It's a hopper window, which is a somewhat unusual configuration. 
My window guy is great and got us a good deal on it. 
I had reeded glass put in; I didn't want the regular obscure glass 
that most bathroom windows are made with. 
It turned out great!
I love it.

I think that's it.
I'm sure there's more, but I didn't keep a single note these past 
couple of weeks of what all has been done.
So, it is what it is.
Thanks for stoppin' in.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside,

but we're staying nice and warm in our cozy little trailer home.
Our children and neighbors and ward family have expressed concern, but really...
we are warm and happy.
I promise!

I have more progress than pictures to post today.
I've slacked off on taking pictures. I'll try to do better this coming week.

Here's the rundown:

All framing details on the house are complete. 
We changed the ridge line of the garage roof to run north and south instead of east and west, 
so we are waiting for our engineer and truss maker to work that out. 
We hope to put the trusses up next week. 
Dean got the steel cages put in the pier forms, the inspector came, 
gave his approval and Dean filled them with concrete the next day.
He stripped the forms the day after that and we back filled around them.

We also filled in (by hand, with shovels) two big, deep holes that Dean dug with 
the mini excavator when we thought we'd be putting in 
another front porch pier/roof support. 
That was a BIG job.
Ry loaded up the trees and huge, overgrown shrubs that we had our excavator pull up 
a while back and he hauled them all up to our burn pit. 
It's nice to not have those ratty piles sitting out front, on the edge of the road.
Dean, Dave and Michael put up the beams and posts for the front porch.
That was a hard, tricky and somewhat perilous job.
They also got the back deck support beam installed.

Dean put down the first plate, framed up and erected the short, North wall of the garage.
Dave got more sheeting up.
The double top plates on the house are almost all nailed down.
I got our first bid on cabinets. 
Turns out, I have expensive taste - 
had another one of those sticker-shock induced heart attacks. 
I have a feeling there are more of those to come. 
I've got an appointment tomorrow to initiate another bid.
I also got a bid on fireplaces.
I may keel over just opening my email to look at bids one of these days.
I got the ball rolling on our custom art-glass window. 
I'm excited about it; it's going to be awesome.
I called my door guy at BMC and told him to cancel the brick moulding 
on all our exterior doors.
 I then went to an old business in town called "Ellis Planing and Mill" to see about 
having custom brick moulding made. 
That old building was one of the coolest places I've been in. 
The business, in its original building, was started four generations ago 
by the great-grandfather of the current, 70-ish proprietor. 
The scent of cut wood hung rich and heavy in the particle filled air. 
Most of the light came from the big windows and everything appeared to be sepia-toned. 
There were tall, sprawling piles of curled wood shavings here and there 
beneath work-tops and at the feet of machines. 
Sawdust veiled every surface . 
There were all sorts of antiquated, as well as modern,
 tools, implements and instruments 
neatly set on and in racks and shelves suspended on the old walls. 
An impressive cobweb billowed, suspended between an old work bench and 
the weathered divides of a filmy window pane. 
I would love to have poked around that place for a couple of hours. 
Although I know the setting is different, I couldn't help but think of
Dicken's "Old Curiosity Shoppe".
 It was such an afferent adventure. 

Okay. Enough. 
I think that's all for now.
Mr has already succumbed to slumber. 
I'm feeling the effect of turning the clocks back too. 
Until next week...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What's up?

The framing.
That's what.

It's 90% done, not including the garage. 
Dean took Wednesday off from his 9 to 5 and he and Dave knocked out a huge chunk of it.
There are just a few little interior walls and the entry left to frame.
We ran out of studs. 
We have another lumber order being delivered tomorrow.

On Friday we had the garage floor poured and finished.
These guys did a good job. 
I don't have a photo of the finished floor,
 but ya know...it's a garage floor. 
We're pleased to have that done.

Since we ran out of lumber for framing,
Dean, Tannon and Michael got some sheeting put up.

It's been a good week as far a progress goes and we're excited about that,
but we've been sick.
 Last week I think I mentioned that Dean hadn't been feeling well. 
His flu morphed into a mean sinus infection. 
And I picked up a sore throat. 
Both of us have coughed all night long all week long. 
We're pretty worn out. 
Dean went to Instacare today and got a Zpack. 
He should be feeling better soon. 
Thank goodness. 
I worry about the man.

One last thing...
We've come to the conclusion that a bonus room over the garage just isn't going to work out. 
We tried and tried and tried, but every design idea we could come up with
 caused complications that we just weren't willing to deal with. 
Oh well...it was a bonus room after all. 
We'll get along just fine without it.

It's late.
Thanks for stoppin' by.
It's time to go to bed now and get some sleep cough.
G'night, y'all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

WAH-HOOOOO! Walls are goin' up.

Here we go with this past week's day by day progress here at
Our Retro Bungalow...


I ordered our front and back doors.
I was glad to have that decision done and behind me.
I had to order the front door that soon because it'll take
about a month to get it since it's a special order.
My door guy, Tim at BMC, has been so good to me.
I found an image of a door online that had absolutely no leads as to what
company makes it or where to get it.
Tim searched and searched and found it for me.
I love it, but had some anxiety over the fact that it'll be west-facing and it's solid wood,
as opposed to fiber-glass.
Dean told me that if that's the door I wanted, stop worrying and order it already.
He'll probably be cussin' me when we end up sanding and painting it every few years.
Dean got a text from our flat-work guy saying he'd be able to do our garage floor on Wednesday.
We were not expecting him for another week or two.
When he got home from work, he immediately turned on the hose
and began saturating the soil in the garage.
While the water ran, he stripped the footing forms for the piers
and put some more mid-point blocking in the load-bearing basement wall.
Ry and Abigail worked on removing the concrete patio around that last basement window
that needed a new window well installed.
With Dad's help, they got the well installed, bolted and back-filled.
Before going inside and cleaning up for the night, Dean noticed some significant settling
in the garage; as much as eight inches. this, of course, was disconcerting.
I was pretty much useless because I'd hurt my back earlier that afternoon.
It wasn't even anything spectacular that has caused me
constant lower back pain for a week now;
I was just lying on Jo-Tan's front room floor with Madimo.


Dean called first thing in the morning and ordered a truck-full of rock for the garage floor
and canceled the concrete pour and flat-work.
The rock was delivered just a couple of hours later.
The flat-work guy was not happy. 
We felt bad about cancelling his work, but what were we supposed to do?
We weren't willing to take any chances with settling after our garage floor was poured.
Dean got the first stair stringer for the basement stairs measured, cut and installed.
He got close to finishing the mid-point blocking in the basement
 and moved a lot of that delivered rock onto the garage floor area.
Dave got the first few wall plates down.
Shawn, our window guy, came out and measured for the basement windows.


Dean is sick.
He called in to work saying he'd wouldn't be there and then rolled over and slept for three more hours.
If this man sleeps in that long, he's pretty bad off.

I left for classes and when I returned home several hours later Dean and Brother Dave Stroud
were working on the house together. Brother Stroud said he had the day off
and decided to come join in the fun.
Have I mentioned what wonderful neighbors and ward members we have?
Seriously, they're awesome.
The final piece of OSB and rim joist was put down to complete the upstairs floor,

the forms for the piers were built,

the basement stairs were built,
the rest of the window well bottoms were filled with rock.


Dean is still sick. I'm pretty sure it's a flu.
It takes a lot to slow him down and he's really slowed down.
He did, however, finish back-filling the garage with wheelbarrows-full of rock
to bring the level back up to grade.
Dave got more walls built (not up, just put together).

Dean built a little set of temporary stairs up to where the back door will be
to make it easier to get up and into the house.
With the back problems I've had this week, it was really hard to get up there
(and especially to get back down)
to see all the progress.
I don't want to miss any of it.


Dean is sill pretty sick.
He'd brought his work computer home Thursday night and worked from home
all morning and into the early afternoon.
Things still got done on the Bungalow, though.
Dean and Dave raised the South wall.
Dean got all the blocking done in the basement, worked on the framing for the utility room
and framed out the door for the under the stairs storage space.

More framing on Saturday. Dean, Dave, Michael (Dave's son) and Tannon.
THIS is the kind of progress that gets us EXCITED!
Jossi joined in and helped the men raise the east wall...

Like I said...