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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oh the Humility!

This entry has nothing to do with house renovation but serves as a warning to what can happen when your 3 year old has a tantrum in a grocery store.

Today, Elizabeth took offense to the word "No". It's not like she had never heard that word before. It is one of the most used words in our daily vocabulary. I entered a local Meijer store with my daughter to pick up 4 items. Milk, cheese, cereal and you guessed it, beer! After getting the beer, Elizabeth decided she wanted out of the cart and tried to stand up. A few sharp "No"s and she started screaming at the top of her lungs. "I want out!", "Let me out!" were two of her initial cries. At the milk section she stood up so I put her on the ground where she tried to run off. I grabbed her and put her over my shoulder so I could push the cart. Only cheese and cereal to go. "Put me down!", "Let me go!" she screams repeatedly. (You can see where this is leading, right?). I grab the cheese. "I don't want to go (home)!", "Put me down!" I smile as I pass the other customers staring at us. One old lady said "She needs a good spanking!" to which I replied "She will get one, but not here." More of this through the cereal aisle and another 5 minutes at the checkout. She could be heard throughout the store. Her cries are now "I want to ride the horsie!" I get her to the car and she won't get in. She won't sit down in her seat. Five minutes of this and she got put over my knee and spanked once behind the car door. Didn't work. Another two minutes and she gets another smack on on the bottom and one more. Doesn't work. Now there are Meijer employees with radios watching me from the entry doors and more cart attendants in the vicinity than I have ever seen before. It pays to be observant of your surroundings. "Now look Elizabeth, people think I'm stealing you and they probably called the police." I said to her. The screaming continues so I shut the back door and sit on the passenger seat with the door open. Some lady approaches and asks if she can be "blunt"
"Sure, be blunt" I reply.
"Is this your daughter?"
"Uh-huh!"
"She is having a coniption fit?"
"Uh-huh, and you are?"
She states here name, some child related job and that she was a concerned customer then goes away. Elizabeth screams some more "I want to ride the horsie!", "I don't want to go home!"
The police arrive. A female officer.
"Come here little girl."
"I want to ride the horsie" she says.
" What's that? You don't want to go with this man?" states the officer.
"That isn't what she said." I interject "She wants to ride the horsie."

Well once the officer realized that she wanted to ride the horsie and she referred to me as "Daddy" several times she knew that this was my child and I wasn't beating the crap out of her, all was well. She didn't even check for ID. Eventually we got Elizabeth in her seat but she screamed the whole way home and even more at home. For a complete hour she screamed. From 5PM to 6PM. She was put in her bed without any supper and has been asleep ever since! Could you imagine my plight had I attempted to drive away from the store. I would have been pulled over, searched and most likely released after much questioning. So, for all you daddies out there. If your child has a tantrum in a large store where there are hundreds of people as witnesses and your wife isn't with you, I suggest that you don't smack your child in full view and take your time leaving in case the police were called. If I were a woman this would have been different. I will not be shopping alone with my child again for many years. If I were a younger man, I wouldn't have the patience that I have now so there are advantages to waiting until you are older to have children. Of course there are advantages to not having children too!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

FREE - For the taking!

That's right, absolutely FREE to anyone with the gumption to help me haul this monster to the first floor and out the door! You haul away, of course though local delivery could be arranged if the "Beast" is up to the trip! You would have to help get it on the "Beast" though. Despite appearances I AM NOT Superman (though I wore underoos that indicated that I was once!)





It is a cast iron shower pan with a seat and a drop front on one side. Here is what is stamped on the bottom.



It appears from the bottom stamp that it was made in 1954. I suspect it was installed around that time too! There were two of these that came with the house. The first floor one went out the door and some scrapper hauled it away. This one is on the second floor and is a little more difficult to remove. It weighs more than a claw foot tub. We have a claw foot tub and I was able to maneuver it around the same room this one is in. I can only drag this thing across the floor. It is truely the heaviest bath tub I have ever come across.

The thing is some 38" X 39" and around a foot deep. It was made in U.S.A. (a rarety these days) by good old union workers no less (probably long since dead and buried). Wow, a good solid piece of American craftsmanship that is over 50 years old and in great condition. Perfect for those tight spaces and absolutely FREE! Even comes with this warranty - If it isn't going, going, gone in two weeks it will go, go, went via a sledge hammer in pieces on the back of some scrappers truck! Go on, take a chance, you know you want it!

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Can't Name That Tune!

I thought that there would be 8 trash bags of pigeon poop infested rockwool in my attic. I was wrong. There were 15 bags. I wouldn't wish this job on anyone. Here is a picture taken in the attic;




It is 16 feet X 16 feet in area and has about 3 feet of height in the center. There were 9 rows between joists and each one had around 3 inches of compacted rockwool insulation covered with either pigeon poop or raccoon poop. There is one just like it on the other side of the chimney but no access and minus the pigeon poop. There is a mummified squirrel over there though. I left it there when I had the roof off and was running an electrical line to the center of the room for a ceiling light.

In order to get this stuff out, I had to spend the better part of two days sitting on boards laid across joists and scoop it into a bucket with a cedar shingle. When the bucket was full, I had to dump it out into a garbage bag. At the edges I had to lay across the same boards. The rockwool was bad enough but beneath it was a layer of soot and plaster dust, the result of decades of coal powered industial processes at the turn of the last century. This stuff was black and very fine. It managed to get through the mask and I spent a good hour hacking the stuff up after working each day. Black goobers, yummy!

The rockwool has an R value of 3 per inch. So I have just removed the only insulation on this side of the house. I wonder if that soot layer had a higher R value? Maybe I shouldn't have vacuumed it up....

When you scoop out the rockwool and thus loosen it up, it takes up more volume and so fills the garbage bags more quickly. If you use a shop vac on the stuff it really expands because all those little glass fibers separate and clog up the filter. My arms have been itchy for days, too!

After all was done, I had to get those garbage bags down from the attic. So, now I have a room filled with garbage bags of rockwool insulation. 15 from this project and another 9 from when I did the kitchen four plus years ago! I think it is time to start moving them to the garbage can. Maybe I should wait until I do the other half of roof so I can say I have a room that is packed to the ceiling with insulation!

If I left the bags in the alley I wonder if the dope boys would try to smoke it. I could make a small fortune selling this stuff to frat boys as itching powder!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Pigeon-be-gone kit, 2006.

Just to re-cap; back in 2001 when replacing the roof, I removed the plaster and lath ceiling to the balcony because it was held together with panelling and atmospheric pressure, was in very bad shape and was alot easier to remove from above with the roof removed and a good downward stomp! Eventually I wired the beams to accomodate two lights and a ceiling fan, though the fan will end up close to my head! Besides the odd raccoon getting up into the attic and crapping systematically along two of the ceiling beams (It was quite tidy really, little turds all in a row!) we had no real problems until last year.

So we had to invest in a pigeon-be-gone kit! Coke cans on a string weren't working. Pictures of owls in the window did nothing and my threats were idle because I couldn't fly. This Kit comes in three styles. It could have be the economy model (green drywall boards), the popular model (imitation beadboard plywood) or the delux model (actual beadboards). Since we plan to live here for a long, long time, we opted for the delux model (around $300 total material cost) since the cost of labor is affordable.... (ha,ha,ha joke here somewhere!)

Well, I finally did it! I got the ceiling finished on the balcony! It took the better part of two days but I even rewired the lighting to eliminate a splice box and put the lights in AND I didn't fall off in the process. Take a look at this!



Just some edge trim work to do. I even shellacked the soffit vents so you wouldn't notice them. A couple of hammocks up there and you would think you were on a yacht!

It sure is hot in that attic! Especially with a rubber respirator mask on! I have four inches of pigeon and raccoon poop-infested glass wool insulation to remove next so I can put some clean fiberglass batts down. I'm estimating that it will fill at least 8 contractor garbage bags. Go ahead, name that tune!
I had 10 gallons of poop on the balcony floor to scoop up in case you were interested. Again, absolute proof that there is little I won't do..... at least I won't be getting any more sh*t from those pesky pigeons!

I Love a Parade!

I got my arm twisted into participating in a local parade on Saturday by the missus! She works for Key Bank and they wanted to take part in a parade. She figured that Elizabeth would have fun marching down the street. I got to take part too! Wanna see a picture of me?



That's right! I'm in the "Key Toon" suit! Absolute proof that there is little I won't do. It is pretty sad when the guy in the character suit doesn't even work for the company...... and wasn't even paid..... You can see how happy I am?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Read the News Today- Oh Boy!

The photograph is larger than the article! Must be a slow news day here in the "Gem City". Here is how it reads;

Neighbors take the initiative to spruce up Wyoming Theater
The Walnut Hills Association grew tired of looking at the rundown building and decided to paint it.
By Helen Bebbington
Contributing Writer

DAYTON In the early 1900s, the old Wyoming Theater, which faces the intersection of Wyoming Street and Gunckel Avenue, showed silent movies. The arrival of the "talkies" ended its use as a theater. It was a restaurant for a while, and after that, a bar.
However, for about the last 20 years, it's been vacant and has become dilapidated.
Neighbors who live in Walnut Hills appreciated the architecture, but not its neglected appearance. So, armed with paint, brushes and the building owner's permission, neighbors have spent the last two months giving the old theater a fresh, colorful look.
"The only way we're going to get anything done is to do it ourselves," said Gary Leitzell, president of Walnut Hills Association.
Leitzell approached the owner more than a year ago. When nothing happened, Leitzell decided that, rather than complain to the city of Dayton, he would round up a dozen or so people and use $260 of association money to buy paint and equipment.
"It's a matter of community relations, and a sense of pride," said Leitzell. "It wasn't going to get done. This could be done throughout the city. (People need to) take the initiative."
"It looks great; they did a fabulous job," said building owner George *********** of ***** ***********.
***********, has owned the building for three years and is planning on fixing the roof and flooring. He has no definite plans but envisions using the building as offices, or a photography studio. He plans to compensate the Walnut Hills Association, which is a nonprofit group.
"We're tired of looking at everything in Dayton that is dilapidated," said Walnut Hills neighbor David Sparks. "All day long when we worked on it, people came up and thanked us. It just feels really, really good."

The picture is me of course, with your favorite little "munchkin". When she saw it she said "That's me with my daddy at the building!"

There is a reference to this blog so I am seeing lots of local traffic today! Guess I can run but I can't hide.... not that anyone is looking for me.

UPDATE. November 6, 2012. I have been asked to remove the name of the building owner from this blog. He has a problem with it being Googled and associated with a blog named "This Old Crack House". The building was demolished by the city this year. It would appear that the owner who does not wish to be named who planned to fix the roof and floor let the roof and rear wall collapse and the tax payer foot the bill.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Birds Have Flown!

My 7 pigeons have gone! They have been gone for a few weeks now but I didn't want to celebrate in case they ventured back! Why did they all leave so abruptly? I'm not sure but I think a raccoon may have been involved. The scattering of feathers in the attic crawl space doesn't suggest a case of premature molting in fledgling pigeons. I would be more inclined to say that a severe case of trauma along with the demise of one juvenile and an undisclosed number of pigeon eggs was the real reason our birds became abrupt refugees.

In case you were wondering about the personal hygene of a flock of pigeons, or how much poop a pigeon poops in a year. Here is a picture of the balcony.



Can you say fertilizer?

To answer the earlier question about all the beadboard. It will be going here

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Shellacking Great Weekend!

If you think that all I do is neighborhood projects these days then you are mistaken. I spent the better part of three days, count them, one, two, three, shellacking a floor AND 35 pieces of 12 foot beadboard! After inhaling all those alcohol fumes from 1.5 gallons of clear shellac applied to the parlor floor to produce this;



I got to use another 2 quarts of amber shellac on these;



and these;



When that was all done, I got to put two coats of spar urethane on all this beadboard.

What is all the beadboard for? I'll elaborate in the next post. If you need a clue though, how about this "Got Pigeons?"

The Neighborhood Project

This is now 99.8% complete! After 3 weeks of non-activity I mustered up a few volunteers this Sunday to make the final push! There is a 4 foot section of lime green soffit to paint and the frame around the sign needs to be done. About 2 hours or less of work on a tall ladder. We are also having some period movie posters reproduced to slap over some of the gray areas. I'm sure his will be finished in the next two weeks! I'm sure that I will be the one on the ladder!



The total cost of materials was $260.00. Most of which was paint. I donated a bag of concrete, a bag of lime and half a bag of sand to the project but that adds only about $12.00 to the material cost. A local Home Depot was supposed to donate a $50.00 gift card but after 2 months of waiting for it we decided to proceed from our own account. I'm betting that we will still be waiting for it in July! In case you can't remember why we did this, here is a picture of how the building has looked since 1983.



Someone recently made a comment to me. He said that we don't have a right to live in a safe nice neighborhood, we have a responsibility. Therefore, don't go crying to the City everytime you want something fixed. The City would not have fixed this problem as good as we did. Let's face it, their employees are not creative enough, yet.

"The times, they are a changing....."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Neighborhood Tour...

And the best thing is, I didn't have to write it! I found that someone linked to My Website through this post.

There is even a picture of the "Crackhouse".

There are a few errors. Our neighborhood boundries are bigger than depicted and some of the history isn't quite correct, but who cares unless you are living here and then again do you really care if you are reading this and do live here?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This Floor Really Sucks.....

Ok, so how many of you are thinking that this post is really about me screwing up the parlor floor and that is the only reason you clicked on this post? You should all realize by now that the odds of that happening are pretty slim these days. Ha! Fooled you all! What I am meaning to say is that this floor really sucks up the linseed oil!

This parlor room was added on to between 1887 and 1892 when Herman Volkenand bought the place and was Victorianising it to his liking before he moved into the house. To those whacky Volkenands, the solution was to put down new floor boards butted against the old ones. That was fine except that the old boards are ash and the new boards are yellow pine. When I perform my shellac magic on this floor, the ash boards will come out amber in color and if I am good, the pine boards will look like they do in this picture. They are the boards on the far half of the room. Otherwise, they will be very orange. I can always tint the shellac as a last resort.
This picture was taken tonight after the day was spent sanding the floor repairs and the baseboards. Then vacuuming, lots of vacuuming. This is how it looks after a coat of linseed oil/paint thinner mix and gives you an idea of how it will look when finished. It would be stupid to stain this floor because the difference in the woods would be more pronounced.




If you look carefully you can see my repairs. The big snafu was using a board from the second floor to repair a termite damaged board near the right window. When I did flooring repairs on this place a couple of years ago, I used boards from the second floor hall and bathroom to replace damaged or missing boards of similar width (the floor boards are not equal widths) on the first floor. All the wood was covered in shellac or crud so it wasn't until the floors got sanded that we noticed a distinct dark color on the second floor planks! In this room I only used the one board and it won't stand out when the floors are done so I won't have to paint it or mask it in any way. There are some repairs in the center of the room too. There used to be a big plywood square where a heating grate once rested and there were two electrical boxes in the floor when this building was apartments and there was a walk in/through closet in this room.
You can tell where the floor rug was! Actually, once we put a rug down you won't notice the wood floor. Your eyes will draw to the rug. We realized this when we put the rug down in our bedroom (the room above this one) where the difference in wood flooring is more noticable. Although it is kind of annoying to have the floor this way there is one great advantage. When sanding it I was able to start in the center and work towards the walls. This eliminates the ridge that forms about two feet from the wall where you put the sander down and start walking. I should have this floor finished by next weekend. Then I stop work on this room for a while and get to work on the laundry room and put a beadboard ceiling on the balcony. Oh lucky me......


P.S. Did you notice that the grafitti is gone? Three coats of Killz couldn't thwart it. It took a coat of shellac to entomb it forever in the walls! Now I have to hide the shellac marks and one coat of Killz hasn't quite done it.....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More Auction Madness!

We spent another Sunday at Woods Auction this weekend. Deborah spent lots of money this time. We got a bunch of stuff for the house so we can't complain. The prices were better than fair. We feel that we did very well with our acquisitions.
First off, Deborah always wanted an Empire chest of drawers. We got this monster for $160.00.



The 4 foot level shows the scale. This thing is huge! It must weigh near 200 lbs without the drawers.We didn't realize how big it was until we put it in the bedroom. A neighbor helped me carry it up the stairs and we almost lost it near the top. We put a good ding in my finished door frame but considering that it almost went over the banister rail, that is an acceptable price to pay.

I took Elizabeth outside because she wanted to run around. After some 10 sprints across a field to a tree we went back in and found that Deborah had bought 5 Persian rugs. The largest one was 11' X 9' and cost the most at $275.00. These were wool/cotton rugs made in Iran. Worth alot more than what we were paying. Here is a picture with the 3 smallest ones laid out in the bedroom. The largest 2 are rolled up in the living room and covered with plastic until I am done with sanding the floor.



I actually spent $40.00 and bought this 4 pc. Eastlake parlor set that needs to be re-upholstered. That is a good rainy day project for the future.



We couldn't keep Elizabeth still until we bought her this metal pig (picture taken later at home).



After that she sat quietly on it for the rest of the auction with a huge smile on her face. I have since mounted it on a plywood board with a piece of galvanised pipe like a carousel animal. I would like to find a spring to mount it on for her. Probably the best $45.00 we spent!

There were a few other things we got but by far the best thing was this Victorian hanging library lamp which will go in the parlor.



It is all original but has been wired for electric. Which is fine by me. After I got it home, cleaned all the dust off of it and oiled the pull down chain mechanism I saw the B & H and what appears to be an 1860s patent date on the mechanism. (I will have to check that out some day.) This would indicate that it is a Bradley and Hubbard lamp. That makes it more valuable because it authenticates it's age. A reproduction lamp like this will cost some $400.00. We got it for less! This is probably a $1000.00 lamp. It won't be installed for a while though. We have to get the walls and ceiling painted first. We have been looking at these for 5 years and quite expected to pay at least $700 for one if we wanted it bad enough. Never thought we would get a Bradley and Hubbard though! We now have most of the lighting purchased for the Crackhouse. Most of it was bought at flea markets and auctions.