Our Retro Bungalow

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Dean's been in the trenches off and on building the forms for the garage footings.
I say 'off and on' because there have been several distractions.
He made pretty good progress on those forms until he got to the south-west corner
where he discovered the soil to be particularly loose. 
That's bad - very bad - for footings. 
You see...our excavator did more than yank up the old driveway and garage floor,
dig down for our footings and help us get connected to city water;
he also pulled out the ginormous stump of that nasty
That tree's nick-name, by the way, is "Tree of Heaven".
Based on it's long list of
poor qualities, being known as an invasive species,
having cost us plenty of green and otherwise given us h%#&, 
I'm convinced "Tree of Heaven" is more than just a misnomer -- it's a bad joke.
That uprooted tree from you know where was the reason for the
deep, loose soil in the south-west corner.
What to do, what to do?
That's what ya do.
Mr Mossi got back in the trenches, broke down those beautiful forms, chalked it up to a learning experience, and called our neighbor and fellow ward member Allen Christensen.
Allen, more than happy to oblige,
showed up early this morning with his backhoe and cheerfully went to right to work.

As I was walking out to my car to leave for school, he turned off his backhoe
 and said "Good Morning". I thanked him for helping us out on short notice.
His reply was, "Awe. This isn't work. This is PLAY."
Now, thanks to this kind man and his willingness to
come "play" on our house project,
Mr Mossi can start the footing forms do-over and we'll be good to go.
We are so thankful for wonderful, generous folks like Allen.
I can hardly wait to order concrete!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Every Needful Thing

I've always said that I could live in a dirt shack if I had to 
as long as...
I lived there with Mr Mossi
our children were warm and safe.
Well, the children have all grown up and moved on.
That makes dirt-shack living less complicated.
But Mr and Me aren't living in that mythical soddy* or dugout*.
*you know what I'm talking about if you grew up crazy about Laura Ingalls Wilder like I did*
We are, however, living out behind the Bungalow (what's left of it) in our 23.5 ft camper-trailer.
Compared to a dirt shack, it's rather swanky.
I know y'all are itchin' to take a peek inside at our current living arrangements.
I mean...
I'm perfectly aware that there's a certain unspoken curiosity about crazy people 
and the crazy things they do. 
So, come on in and I'll show you around.
But only a few at a time, please...
it gets crowded rather quickly.
Speaking of crowded...
to start off today's tour I'll share with you a recollection I had
just a few days after we settled into our little gypsy home.
It's this...

My Grandma Beth always had these around, especially on road trips,
for us to play with when I was a young girl.
As Mr and Me were shuffling around each other between the range and dining table,
a vision of one of these puzzles popped into my head.
It pretty much sums up how we live right now.
It's awesome fun -
especially if you like cozy.
And we like cozy.

Our "Front Room"
Our 'front room' is literally out front.
If y'all decide to be neighborly and come for a visit b'fore noon or just b'fore sundown,
this is where we'll sit and enjoy your company.
And p.s. - we have plenty of extra chairs.

Our "Back Parlor"
But iffin ya come fer a chin wag b'tween those hours, we'll do our vis'tin here,
in the 'back parlor' under the walnut tree where it's nice and shady.
(ever once in a while my 'Arkie' blood starts a talkin' out over my regaler way o' speakin' and I jus cain't hep it)

Our Kitchen

With the exception of a dishwasher, it's fully equipped, but
everything is obviously on a smaller scale.
I'm not much of a dishwasher kinda gal, anyway, so I don't miss having one.
We have all the dishes and kitchen-ware we need to get by with in those small cabinets.
Most of our kitchen appliances are in storage, but there are some that I'm especially fond of
such as
my little waffle maker, my citrus juicer, the toaster and a little crock pot.
They're all in there and with a bit of room to spare which makes me
regret not keeping my panini grill out too instead of storing it away.
The microwave that belongs with the trailer burned out on us, so Mr replaced it
with the little one we bought back in December to use when we moved here.
(we left our nice big one at the PV home as part of the sale)
This one sits cockeyed  in the cubby-hole and that irritates me, but there are too many
other things to take care of right now, so I try to just ignore it's obvious slant.
The pantry is to the left of the fridge and is plenty big for all our boxes,
 bags and cans of  edibles.
I've even got toys and books for Cowboy and Cupcake stored in there
along with our scanner/printer.
The fridge/freezer is miniature, but we manage with just the two of us.

But we do have what we call "the red-neck fridge" out back for overflow...
cuz ya can never have enough bottled water or Diet Coke on hand.

I must say that I do enjoy the view from our trailer kitchen window.
It looks right out on my hen house and coop.
I can't tell you how many times I've stood at the sink washin' up the dishes
and laughed out loud as I watch Pearl chase her sisters 'round and 'round
their hen house. She such a bossy bird.

Our Dining Area

Truthfully, we don't do much dining here unless we end up eating really late.
We prefer to eat 'al fresco' at our picnic table.
This is more like our office,
but I also do our ironing here...
I think I'm one of the very few women left on the planet that is a die-hard ironer.
I really don't mind ironing. 
I like the smell of  hot steam coming off his collars (always smells faintly like his cologne) and 
I've always taken pride in sending him to his 9 to 5 in a pressed, wrinkle-free shirt. 
PLUS I get the added bonus of watching a conference talk or two while I iron. 

Our Bedroom
 It actually can be a room, but we took the retractable divider down for convenience sake.
Above the bed is a large storage compartment where we keep our 
pants, shirts, pj's, athletic gear, etc. neatly organized in individual baskets.
And for the first time since I was a little girl, I keep my current pair of pjs under my pillow.
Yeah. You didn't need to know that. I have tendencies to over-inform. Sorry.
On the right is my 'closet'. It's a snug fit with a dozen of my skirts 
and a few other items hanging up in there.
Shoes we wear most often are kept out of the way under the edge 
of the end of the bed. Shoes we wear less are kept in the cabinet next to the
 door and I recommend you bridle your urge to snoop cuz
 that cabinet doesn't have the most pleasant aroma.
Know what I mean?
There's also storage space directly under the bed that's a little hard to get to and
 we have random things in there like several of my books, 
a bucket of our favorite rice, an extra blanket and I can't think of what else right now.
Our bed, a queen size pillow-top, is very comfortable.
Oh, yeah...
and Ally's bed is on the floor at my side of the bed just like 
when we live in an actual house, only much closer.

The Bathroom
A couple of Sundays ago Karen Coleman told me she wondered where on Earth we keep all our clothes. 
The thought had occurred to her as she was sitting in ward counsel earlier that morning with 
Dean, who was all dressed in his Sunday best.
I laughed out loud.
See, Karen...the closet in the bathroom is all his.
Well, I do get one of the drawers in the stacked Sterilite unit -
his 'unmentionables' are a little bulkier than mine.
the bathroom situation was my biggest concern as we anticipated living in our trailer.
It isn't like I'm not comfortable or familiar with it because it's been our  
Mossi Hollow bathroom, but that was never for more than a week at a time.
It has taken some adjustment, but it's working out just fine.

I have had to make several other adjustments and improvise how I do some things -
things like cleaning, for example.
I don't have room for a mop bucket...
so when I mop I pull the liner out of the little wastebasket in the bathroom, 
fill it with mop water,  do the moppin', empty it, rinse it, wipe it dry and replace the liner.
I betcha you're completely mesmerized by all this, aren't ya.

there ya go.
That's life in our trailer.
And we are happy.
We've got each other and we are in this together, Mr and Me.
We have complete trust, belief and confidence in each other.
That, combined with our faith in God, will make this experience nothing less than a good, fun memory. It's actually quite comforting and satisfying and thrilling to realize how little we need to get by, live comfortably and feel secure. And when we kneel together before we crawl into bed every night, we thank Him for our little Gypsy home and the opportunity to rebuild Our Retro Bungalow and for lovingly providing us with every needful thing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Before proceeding please tune your tiny violins because
I have a nasty sore throat and a swimmy head.
Somebody call the whambulance.
In other news...
I lied.
Not intentionally, but I lied.
it was just a matter of getting carried away.
I boldly declared that we were 
with demolition.
Not so.
After having the concrete cutter(s) come do their thing,
Mr Mossi, with some much appreciated help from Marf,
broke up and pulled out the concrete to clear the way for 
the new drain pipes that we'll be installing.
Here are a few pics and then I'm off to bed...
right after I down a dose of NyQuil.

This man...
he's awesome at swingin' that sledge hammer and breakin' up all that concrete.
It's hard to do.
But he's pro at doing hard stuff.
Ry helped out a lot and Dean had a great time workin' with our boy.

 Saturday we are planning on another family work day and 
we'll have plenty of help getting all his outta the basement and into the dumpsta. 

This is Ry's collage from working with Dad on Saturday.
I had a baby shower, shopping, laundry and various other distractions that 
kept me from doing a whole lot of helping and I felt bad about that.
But I'm over it now.
So, we ARE offcially DONE with demolition.
Well...except for gettin' the chunks up and out and in the dumpsta.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cuttin' Up

Just like with the excavator that dug for the garage footings and our water connection,
this was a bigger deal than I had envisioned. When I got home from school there were five work trucks, as many men and a tiny track-hoe all here to cut some concrete for us. 
And they were all here for over six hours!
For some reason I thought it'd be just one guy for a couple of hours.
I'm learning.
Here's a quick summary of what they did...

We had three of our basement windows cut bigger for egress as required by code.

(I'm never quite sure if I should put captions at the top or bottom of photos)

Here is the north facing 'family room' window before.

Here is the north facing 'family room' window after.

This is the east facing bedroom window before.
This room was originally the furnace and storage room.

This is the east facing bedroom window after.

And this is the south facing bedroom window before.
This room was originally the Summer Kitchen and laundry room.

And this is the south facing bedroom window after.

They also made several cuts in the floor so we can pull 
that concrete out and install new drainage pipes...

And this is my Al sittin' in the tiny track-hoe bucket.

That's all.
It's gettin' late.
We're tired.
Thanks for stoppin' by.
G'night, y'all.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

One Year and A Baby Step

One year ago yesterday I posted 
on our Mossi Family blog.
That post was soon followed by
We hadn't planned on demolishing the little gold brick and pink mortar house, but we did.
And as of yesterday

our first baby-step forward in the construction of
Our New Retro Bungalow
was taken.
Here it is...

Mr Mossi installed the sewer clean out.
Never in my life have I been so excited about anything sewer related.
We should have our permits by the end of the week.
In the meantime we'll get the footing forms for the garage put together.
As soon as we have permit in hand...
we'll order concrete and then it's
full steam ahead.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Down(and out)stairs

Remember these lovelies...

I know you think they're awesome.
Several of you petitioned,
But tonight,
I'm sorry happy to report

The good news is that
Dean and Joe 
had a great time takin' them down.

Just look at 'em standing over those fallen treads and risers 
like a couple of hunters with their prize buck.

And then they hauled the carcass off the the dumpsta.

The entire main level floor is finally gone 
(curse the stubborn, squeaky, wretched, nail infested beast that it was)
and there are just a few more minor details to tend to
(like those lovely green, tan and brown asbestos tiles, for one)
 before we are totally done with demolition.

A funny anecdote:
I went in to pay our excavator today.
He happened to be in the office and asked me how things were going
and if we were still planning on taking out the basement slab.
Then he told me that the day he and his crew were here working,
a woman stopped by
(she actually got out of her car to ask him what was happening)
and said to him,
"I've never seen this before. I've never seen anyone un-build a house."
I guess we haven't either.
And can I say that it's been an adventure.
And can I also say...
We're as good as done with "un-building".

Sunday, August 11, 2013

So Close...

We are so close to being DONE with demolition.

There was talk in our ward last week of organizing a big work party 
to help us take out the basement floor. 
After pow-wowing with Bill, our next door neighbor and proprietor of Classic Remodeling, 
we changed our minds about completely removing it. 
Our reasons for taking out the entire basement slab were: 
* digging 2 inches deeper for a bit more ceiling height in the basement
* insulating beneath the new slab
* installing radiant floor heating
* replacing the almost 60 year old cast iron drain (sewer) pipes
Seems it would cost an unnecessary small fortune.
So, we have a new approach for ductless heating, but I won't go into that now.
We're now planning to hire a concrete cutter to take out the parts of the slab
where we need to replace the old cast iron, but the rest of the floor will stay put. 
Despite this change in plans, we still had a big task to tackle: the old basement fireplace.
 The thought of breaking it out and removing all the debris
by ourselves was nothing short of daunting.
Sure, we could have and would have done it, but what a blessing it was
when several of our ward brethren showed up early yesterday morning to help.
Brother Fawson showed up with his backhoe which was an additional blessing.
Before lowering the bucket of his backhoe down into the basement,
he yanked the old window frame out of it's opening.

The men filled the bucket, Brother Fawson lifted it up and out and, easy as pie,
emptied it into our masonry dumpster that's parked right next to that basement window.

It took only about an hour and a half to get it completely cleared out and cleaned up.
 Previous to and preparing for the removal of that old fireplace, Dean had removed a few of
the floor joists to make it easier to toss the debris out. We didn't end up tossing it out
because we had the backhoe, but it was convenient access for the backhoe bucket.
After the fireplace removal was complete and all the brethren left,
 we moved on to removing more joists.
Before long, we had most of the bearing wall free of joists and Dean took that portion down.

We didn't get everything done that we'd planned to, but we never do.
We had several people stop by to visit and some are just curious about what's going on.
Those visits are welcome and nice because those are about the only breaks we take.

And what's the deal with that old saying,
"Dog tired"?
Cuz I'll tell you what...
this girl doesn't do much of nothin' 'cept follow us around or nap in the shade.
 Every once in a while she will come and check on us, though.
I guess to make sure we're still workin' hard and gettin' ourselves all
"dog tired".

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Men at Work

Monday was eventful.
There is much to tell, but I'll make it as quick and painless as I can.
We enjoyed the view of the mighty track-hoe sitting out front for 
the entire weekend. Early Monday morning it was brought back to life by it's handler.

I hadn't given a lot of forethought to the work that was going to be done, 
so I was a bit surprised by the magnitude of it.

Here's what went down...

Fruitland Drive was limited to one lane in front of our address and a bit
to the North and South.
I say 'address' because currently there isn't much of a house.

First off, our crew cut the road surface and dug down to find the water main.

And when they got to it, they popped that cute little valve
 in and connected a line for us. 

Then they installed our meter box.
We had to wait until today (Wed) to get our meter installed and we are now officially
connected to North Ogden City water. Did I mention that we have to pay twice
as much for water because we're Weber County unincorporated?

They filled in the hole and tamped it down...

and patched it with new asphalt...

While digging, they broke the city storm drain and had to repair it.
They also broke our sewer connection, which Mr Mossi secretly hoped for
so he could replace the old connection to the house with ABS,
which he did after a quick trip to Durk's Plumbing in Harrisville.

They also...
removed the two huge concrete planter foundations on each side of the driveway,
pulled out some more big tree and bush stumps
pulled up the old garage floor and foundation.

And they dug the footings for our new garage...
We were happy to discover that there is rebar in the foundation;
there was a pretty good possibility there wouldn't be.
We also found that there is an old foundation drain set in course gravel.
That was more good news.

Our 'men at work' were awesome and I made sure they knew about
 our 'redneck' refrigerator out back that we keep stocked with bottled water.
I told them to help themselves, which they did.
In the early afternoon I got a whole bunch of ice cream bars and
handed them out.
They looked at me like I was some kind of martian,
(one of Granny's sayins),
but thanked me profusely.
Maybe no one has ever given them ice cream on the job before?
 I dunno.
A couple hours later I handed out big bottles of cold Gatorade.
At this point I think they were getting suspicious of me.
They drank up, but I think I weirded them out or scared them or something.
Oh well.
They aren't the first folks I've ever gotten that kind of reaction from, I suppose.
Around 5:30 they'd all packed up and left.

Then, of course, it was time for Cowboy and Cupcake to come check out our 'new digs'.

They had a great time playing in the trenches and on the big mounds of earth.

Al enjoyed it too...

And now...

we have an 8 foot deep mote only 3 feet from the bottom step of our trailer.
It's a good thing we aren't sleepwalkers.

It's late.
I've been trying here and there to get this post done since Monday night.
The last post I did needs rewriting.
That won't happen.
I've lost my bloggin' groove.
Probably because when I blog it's late and I just want to go to bed.
But before I post this and log off, I must mention that
the power company finally came out this morning and unhooked the old power lines
from the south gable and got our temporary power pole hooked up.

So, Mr Mossi took that last wall down tonight.

Also, our engineered plans and our floor plans are all in the hands of
Weber County as of this afternoon.
Our permit to build should
be issued in the next two weeks.

That's it for now.
So tired.
G'night, y'all.