Our Retro Bungalow

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I prepared the second box for our beehive on Monday,
loaded it and my beehive tools into the little wagon behind 
the lawn tractor and tootled up to the top of our property.
I took my Rebel with me too, but it wasn't cooperating
for some reason and it's really hard to make adjustments
with gloves and a beekeeper's veil on.
I inspected the trays and was a bit disappointed 
to find two of them virtually untouched.
I can see that our queen is thriving, tough, and I'm thinking
that the cold, wet weather we had in the weeks before last 
probably has something to do with production.
perhaps I'm just impatient?
I set the second box in place.
Next comes the top feeder, but it wouldn't sit balanced on the new box.
I lifted the feeder to take a look at its underside.
Ah ha!
There was a bit of honeycomb formed there that prevented a proper seal.
I scraped the comb off, set it aside on a big rock near the hive 
and finished getting everything settled.
My work gloves were covered and dripping with honey by the time
I got back down the hill from the hive.
It is thrilling, to say the least, to see and sample 
what our busy little bees have been up to.

Our best critic gave it two sticky thumbs up.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Short List

Before I post the short list of what went down at
Our Retro Bungalow
this past week,
I need to begin with something I forgot to list in last week's post.

On Friday the 16th, our temporary power pole and the old, giant power pole
that was connected by those old, heavy, drooping lines to the roof of the original  house
were uprooted and taken down.
We are officially connected to permanent power!

It's awesome to have those pesky eyesores gone, not
to mention the big, long extension cords that had been strung along
the south end of the house since last June.
Our friends, the Stowers, actually came and bought our temporary power pole
 from us to begin construction on their new home just north of us.
That's what ya call a win-win.

Now for that short list.
It's short, but it's big.

Our sheet rock is completely hung!
That's a big, big deal.
I've walked through dozens of times during the process,
but didn't take a single photo even after it was all hung,
so I don't have any to post.
I'll be sure to post some next week when the taping and mudding is done
or, more likely, mostly done.
I do, however, have a picture of
Patricio and Antonio,
our sheetrock hangers.

 These guys were fun, pleasant, hard working men
and we really appreciate the great job they did.
Patricio was always whistling a tune or singing along at the top of his
lungs to his Latin radio station and I enjoyed being on the listening end.
He taught me several words in Spanish. writing them
on sheetrock, repeating them with me and taking care
to make certain I understood them.
I didn't have the heart to tell him that I already knew
all those words because they are basically the same in Italian.
I just played along and thanked him for teaching me
and he was impressed when quizzing me later on my 'new'
Spanish vocabulary to see if I remembered.


Dean took out more of the old concrete patio and
got all the deck ledgers and joists installed.

Other than that,
we've been working hard to reign in the yard work.
The weeds have gotten away from us as we've tended to other matters.

Besides a few other minor details, that's about it.

Thanks for stoppin' by.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
Good night. God bless.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Big Stuff

Last week was pivotal.

Sunday was a full day and I started this post late that night, but soon gave out.
Monday was busy.
Tuesday was busy.
Today I'm making time.
Here we go.

Dean had not planned on staying home, but pleas from me and our daughters
convinced him that maybe he should see his doctor.
Back in 2002 he contracted a serious staff infection in his leg that landed him
in the hospital for a couple of days and on IV antibiotics for several days after that.
He'd been experiencing symptoms similar to the symptoms of 2002 for a few days.
Dr O treated him with a big shot of rocephin in his hip
and a prescription for Keflex.
By 8:00 that night he noticed the pain had decreased a bit,
but the flu-like symptoms and pain didn't subside completly until Thursday.
His ankle is still swollen a bit and the skin of his lower leg still quite splotchy and itchy.
I'm so thankful we caught it early.

Monday continued...
Inspector Mike showed up that morning before we left to see Dean's doc,
raved over our spray in and passed off our insulation.
Regardless of pain in his knee and shin and flu-like symptoms,
Dean was able to fix that floor squeak that I mentioned last week.
He was determined that it would not win.
 Since our insulation passed inspection, we put up the
shear wall sheathing on the south wall of the garage.
In the late afternoon the gypcrete crew showed up.

The mixer and the pumper.

The long, long hose.

The pour.

And the awesome gypcrete boots.

I had an appointment with our cabinet maker so I couldn't stay to watch the
entire pour, but I really wanted to. I was late leaving for that appointment, therefore
I was driving a wee bit fast (13 over) on hwy 89 and got pulled over.
I quickly texted Matt telling him I was still coming, but that I'd gotten pulled over.
When the officer approached my car I just smiled as I handed him the usual necessities
and said, "It never pays to be in a hurry, does it."
He asked where I was headed and I told him.
Turns out the officer, whose name is Mac, is our cabinet maker's neighbor,
good friend and part time helper in the woodshop.
They even babysit each other's children.
After telling me of his and Matt's friendship and some other small talk,
he handed me my license, told me to have a great rest of the day
 and to tell Matt 'Hi' for him.
When I walked into Matt's office several minutes later,
the first thing he said to me was,
"So, you met Mac, eh!"
He just loved giving me a hard time about being pulled over
by Mac to get to that appointment with him on time.
Spent 2 hours with Matt and didn't quite get through with finalizing everything.

Tuesday -

Our sheetrock was delivered.

As exciting as that was, it just about caused me to have a nervous breakdown.
I was extremely concerned about our fresh gypcrete and the delivery guys weren't
exactly being gentle on it like I'd been cautioned should be the case.
Everything turned out ok, though.

We started hanging the shear wall sheathing on the north wall that night
and, just like magic, Awesome Bob Bru shows up and we got it knocked out
lickety split.

Wednesday -

Inspector Mike came to inspect the shear sheathing.
We really like Inspector Mike, but I'm beginning to wonder when
the inspections will end. Are they gonna come inspect our spatula drawers
and window treatments too?
Anyway, the pocket doors got framed and a couple of other little things that.
I cannot recall what else got done Wednesday, but
we did have our 14th and FINAL dumpster delivered earlier in the day.
Haven't had one of those around since we finished demolition.

Thursday -

Not long after getting home from his 9 to 5 and changing into his other work clothes,
Dean asked if I'd seen his box of new blades for the razor knife.
They were eventually located.
Not long after locating them he called to me to please get the bandaids.
Well, bandaids weren't gonna 'cut it' as they say, so we paid a little visit to

Have I ever  mentioned that my husband is a bleeder?
One of those profuse bleeders.
Has been since he was a little boy.
Oh, the stories his mom and Grandma Z would tell about him nearly bleeding out.
Since he cut 1/2 an inch off the end of his left index finger, there was nothing to stitch.
Doc Mortensen (my favorite insta-doc) told him about all they could do was bandage
him up with some  oil emulsion compression mesh, gauze and coflex  and send him home
with a prescription for pain meds.
He also got a tetanus shot, which I'd been nagging him about
ever since we started demolition on this place.
He FINALLY got one.
That made TWO shots in four days.
He was still very sore from the shot in his hip on Monday.
At least the tetanus was a tiny shot in the arm.
 He refused the prescription, we went home and proceeded work.
Joe, Larissa, Aubrey and Cameron were here when Dean had cut himself
and when we returned home about an hour later they had finished my job of
loading all our construction debris into the dumpster

they hauled the old water heater out of the basement and got that
into the dumpster too!
We have awesome kids.
Dean, with his big-fat-painful-bandaged finger, finished reorganizing
the water softener and boiler lines.
I've been changing the dressing each day on that nasty wound
and it appears to be healing quickly, but it's still sore as the dickens.
The fact that he's on Keflex is likely helping the process.
He da man..

Friday -

The day we've been looking forward to so much...
our sheetrock guy started!


Patricio and Antonio are brothers and the hardest working,
most pleasant workers we could have wished for.
They work together to get the large sheets on the ceiling hung.
Other than that, Patricio does most all the rest by himself.


I stayed busy most of the morning keeping our domestic situation in order -
groceries, scrubbing, laundry, etc.,
while Dean wired all the circuit breakers.
I did help him get our garden tub set in a mortar bed...

and I attended Cupcake's first dance recital.

And I got our garden planted...

I still need to get our potatoes in.
I really, really missed having a garden last year,
so I'm extra grateful for being able to grow this year.

There are always things that I forget to report on,
but seriously, these posts are plenty long enough.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Good day and God bless.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

We're getting there!

It's been a doozy of a week and a very full Mother's Day.
Let's try and crank this out quick-like.

On Monday Dean finished framing out the single-bay garage door opening
in preparation for Advanced Door sending a "technician" out to install the door.
Just an insignificant, random thought:
Why do they call them technicians and not installers?
I dunno.
That evening we got the first newel post installed. 
The second was a bit problematic as it turned out to be a tight fit 
what with all the components between the floor joists in that area.
Earlier in the day, Inspector Craig came in place of Inspector Mike
to inspect the pressure gauges on our radiant heat tubing to 
make certain they were holding at 100 psi. He also did a walk through
to check for any splices in the tubing.
It was the quickest and easiest inspection yet.

Tuesday morning the gypcrete foreman called and informed us that our job had been 
postponed until Monday. That was discouraging, but as it turns out was better for us anyway.
The garage door "technician" showed up while I was in class
to install that single bay door and put all the straps and handles on.
our interior doors were delivered.
It doesn't look like it, but there are 16 of them.
We got that second newel post installed. It was a booger.
We also ran pex for the radiator line for the north-east basement bedroom 
and I can hardly wait to share that little detail with ya'all when it's time.
There were several other little details in preparation for the insulation crew and
listing them would be tedious for both author and reader, so I'll forego them.

Wednesday Dean pressurized all the water lines, rerouted the waterlines for the 
garage faucets, ran the 220 circuit to the auxiliary panel in the garage, 
insulated the pex to the north-east bedroom radiant heater and ran a water line 
from the manifold to the swamp cooler. 
I dusted all the blocking on the framing (yes, you heard me and indeed I did) 
and vacuumed between the framing and sheeting of all the exterior walls because 
I did just couldn't stand the thought of any dirt or debris of any kind being 
forever locked in the walls of our home when the insulators finished their work. 
I also cleared unnecessary items from the garage, stacked lumber, swept up and  
situated what we couldn't move out, into the center of the garage floor.
And I wrapped each of our newel posts with a leftover roll of foundation sill insulation
and then covered them with plastic to protect them.
I'd taken them to our cabinet maker to be painted. Matt did a fabulous job
and I didn't want to take any chance of getting insulation spray on them.

The first two of the insulation crew showed up early Thursday morning.
They were two very nice young men and when they saw all the tubing down on the floor
they got nervous and were hesitant to start working. They were very worried about
causing damage with their work boots,  heavy hose and ladders.
They called their boss, their boss called Dean and Dean reassured them that it would
be okay and that he would personally assume any damages, but asked them to just be cautious.
Everything turned out great.

For years I regularly watched "This Old House" and "Hometime" on PBS.
Those shows were like my grownup Saturday morning cartoons.
The first time I saw this type of insulation demonstrated on those shows
I knew I'd want to use it if ever we built another house.
I love that we get about a 21 r-factor, but I also love that it completely seals the void in the stud wall
and in my mind, that'll also keep those wretched 8-legged creatures from infiltrating.

Another insulation options that I saw demonstrated on those shows  and loved is blow-in...
which we chose for the basement.
Again, in my mind this is not only a great insulator, but a good
barrier for those nasty spiders taking up residence in the stud walls.
It was more fun to watch this being installed than the spray in, but isn't as
'clean' and made me cough like crazy. I probably should have had a mask on.
This insulation option for the basement also meant that we didn't have to cut
and install a jillion little pieces of fire blocking and that's a sweet deal right there.

We just had regular bat insulation installed in the garage...

Friday was a very chill day- literally and figuratively -
it was rainy and cold and we felt like we could actually take a breather
from the rigorous to-do list we'd been constantly working on.
I had an appointment at the hospital, so I had Ryan come stay here just in case
our boiler showed up. Sure enough, it was delivered by freight less than an hour after I'd left
for that appointment.
When Dean got home from work he got right to terminating all the coax lines at the splitter and then
he and I ran the copper tubing for the swamp cooler.
And then we left for a Friday night 'date' at Costco!
Larissa and Joe had shown up just before we left so they tagged along.
Costco was our destination because Dean wanted to picked up some Salmon
and pretzel rolls for a Mother's Day feast for moi.

Something strangely familiar went down Saturday...
Dean worked on our automobiles!
I actually think it was a refreshing change for him.
The truck got a full front brake job, lube job, oil change, transfer case service
and front axle service.
Amica got an oil change, tire rotation and other general maintenance.
Our Retro Bungalow's garage is officially broken in!

While Mr was playing 'grease monkey'
I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed
and vacuumed some more.
I meticulously cleaned the entire sub floor and sleepers making certain to
get every spec of anything on,near or under all the radiant tubing.
I plugged in my phone, plopped on some ear protection and listened to my entire
John Denver collection twice and then some while the shop vac roared.
We're officially ready for the gypcrete crew.
Oh, yeah...
Dean insulated both bathtubs. That was actually my job, but I took
so long vacuuming that he went ahead and did it after
 finishing with the Amica and the ol' truck.
And we did our best to fix a floor creak, but it won.
We think that when the sub floor was put down at the end of the side entry hall,
the joist didn't get any or enough adhesive on it.
It bugs Dean, but I told him that in my opinion
a little floor squeak adds a bit of character and charm to a home.
Mars and Venus misalign again to maintain balance in the universe.

That's it.
Thanks, as always, for stoppin' by.
Good night and God bless. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Living in our trailer can be trying at times,

but it's the mud that will drive me to madness.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Room With A View

from our bedroom window.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


A few weeks ago, Aubrey came over to borrow something 
that we keep just inside the closed doors of the storage container. 
Dean was at work, so she and I went out to retrieve the desired item. 
The lock and the various mechanisms of the doors make this no simple task. 
It actually requires a good deal of muscle. 
Thank goodness our girl, Aubrey, is buff! 

As soon as we swung those heavy, fortress-like doors wide open, 
the smell of home 
overtook me. 
Dean and I had been in that storage container a few times
throughout the winter months, 
but I suppose that since the day was nice and warm the aroma was intensified.
All our furnishings, decor, dishes, appliances, books, bedding...
90% of everything we own is packed 
snugly from top to bottom and side to side in that 9'x8'x40' freight train container.
I realized at that moment I'd forgotten how good home smells.
I've been pained with a woeful case of homesickness ever since.
I just keep telling myself,
"Chin up, Mrs Mossi! You're almost home."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Exhausted & Ecstatic

The past few weeks have been extremely demanding as we prepared for:
our 4-way inspection
the gypcrete crew
the insulation crew
Oh, I'm SO EXCITED for sheetrock.
But that's still not for another week.
Can you believe it?!
We've been so, so tired.
I woke up this morning with raccoon eyes and Dean said to me,
"What's the deal? You usually always remove your makeup and 
wash your face before bed and it doesn't seem like you have been doing that lately."
I told him he's lucky I've still been brushing my teeth before bed.
I think I finally kicked my nasty sinus infection, but for most of the week
it robbed me of my stamina and kept me feeling pretty crummy.
All the while, our days have been long, ending late into the night to get everything done.
This week I think we'll finally catch a breather.
Here are the highlights from this past week:

One of the items on our 'to do' list from Inspector Mike was to 
re nail most of the sheathing that wraps the exterior of the house.
Mike found that the air compressor was set too high and the 
nail heads had sunk too deep which affects the shear strength of a wall.
So, I went out and bought another 4,000 8D nails for the nail gun, Dean 
turned down the pressure on the air compressor and renailed the entire house.
I told him I'd be happy to do that, but I think he was worried about me handling
the nail gun for that long - it can get heavy after a while and it took HOURS.

Remember how I said that the wiring was DONE?
Well, I'm gonna quit saying anything is DONE til after we move in. 
Actually, I'd better just avoid using that word altogether.
We have 7 thermostats in this little house and I got 'em all wired 
one evening this week. 
I actually can't remember which evening because
everything is pretty much a blur.
And, as of Monday night, all the outlets and light switch boxes are done.
There I go again using that 'D' word!

Now, about that linear shower drain.
You know...
the one that was gonna cost us 350 smackers.
As it turned out, the line for that drain didn't hold up when we 
filled the vents for inspection.
That was discouraging at first, but I think it was meant to be.
We were forced to do one of two things - 
repair the leak as it was
reconfigure the drain system.
It was a toss up as far as time and labor,
so we opted to reconfigure for the standard $35 drain.

Dean stayed home on Thursday to start putting the 'sleepers' down 
for the gypcrete crew. 
I went off to my three hours of class 
(my LAST class to finish then I'm DONE and there's that 'D' word again)
and it's really, really hard for me to be gone when he's here.
There were several other things done that day but, as I said, it's all pretty much a blur.

And then on Friday, Inspector Mike showed up again for round II or our 4-way.
We are SO ecstatic.
While Dean was at his 9-5, I did the 4-way walk through with Mike.
Mike told me that just the day before he had inspected a new construction home
and that inspection took SIX HOURS and he left behind a TWELVE PAGE call-out list
of things that weren't done right or weren't done at all.
"And that house is being built by a 'professional'!", he said.
Mike has been very impressed with the quality of work on our little home and 
even took pictures of  Dean's full height truss blocking saying, 
"That is a work of art!"
"I've got to take pictures to show the 'pros' how it's supposed to be done."
And if ya want to see what truss blocking is, here's a picture...
(not that you'll even know what you're looking at)

There are several of them all along the front to help support the load of the cantilevered section of the roof.

Mike also mentioned how  impressed he's been with the cleanliness and 
organization of our 'site' whenever he's come out for a visit. 
I'm not even gonna try and pretend that hearing compliments like that don't 
make me happy because they certainly do.

Dean and I had planned on spending Friday night and all of Saturday
putting down the tubing for our radiant heating system. It turned out that I didn't
end up on my hands and knees with Dean  all day long after all because 
our wonderful neighbor and friend, Bob Bruington, came over 
and helped Dean and he didn't leave until it was

Awesome Bob Bru.

We feel so loved and so incredibly blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and friends.
And not only did Bob stay Friday evening and ALL of Saturday...
his sweet wife (and my sweet friend) , Linda, brought us a DELICIOUS lunch!
WE should have bought lunch for THEM!
I ended up running out a few times to buy components and I did some
'dancing' with the giant roll of tubing; unwinding and feeding it 
to them as they needed it.

Here are pictures of some of the tubing throughout the house...

Looking from the front room fireplace, past the dining area and into the kitchen.

Looking from where the range in the kitchen will be and into the front room.

Our bedroom.

Looking in through the front door.

Looking in through the garage entry.

Well, that's the bulk of it for now.
We had nice, impromptu visits from several of our children
tonight, so the evening has gotten away from us and it's late, so
 that makes it time to wrap this up.
Thanks again for all your encouragement and support;
it means a lot to us and we are very appreciative.
I am really, really looking forward to 
what we'll have to report in the next two weeks!

Good night and God Bless.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I have this lovely friend
from Australia.
This is her handiwork.

I've loved this quote for many years and for most of those many years
I've thought about cross-stitching it.
I like this much better!
who has time to cross stitch?

Thank you, Cheryl.
I will treasure Sam's eloquent prose written in the script of your
beautifully talented artist's hand for the rest of my days.
I can hardly wait to hang it in the entry of
Our Retro Bungalow.