Lots of Progress

And other things

Jeff Powell
7 min readOct 14, 2022


Greetings everyone.

Lots to mention this time around, and my schedule is tight, so I will do my best to get this written and posted quickly. (If the typo count is way up, you know why.)

First off, the really big news: I am informed that I will become a Canadian citizen in early November. I logged into the status tracker this morning and learned that. Apparently an email will be sent to me soon with more instructions, but it has not arrived yet.

This is great. I look forward to being a dual citizen and being able to vote up here. I also think there will be a bit more peace of mind with that done and a Canadian passport in my hands. One less thing to worry about.

I’ll give you an update on what this entails in the coming weeks, but it should be pretty straightforward. I’m old enough I don’t have to take the citizenship test, and everything else appears to be handled, or will be by the time I take the oath.

On the house front, there has been a lot of progress.

The unexpected thing is that we decided to replace the door on the back of the house. We’d planned on leaving it, but I hated the door handle, and replacing it was not going to be simple. (It was a odd design, inserted into the side of the door, rather than through a standard hole, and it was stiff and ugly.) I was willing to do the work, but as the contractor and I discussed replacing the trim around the old door (which needed to go) we noted all kinds of oddities about how the door was hung. It was not straight, but rather leaned into the house at the top, and the sill plate was unsupported. It looked like it had been installed by a few jungle animals who had come upon a pile of tools and the door, rather than by someone who knew what they were doing.

On the spur of the moment I decided that if I could find a suitable replacement door at a local home centre I would get it and have the contractor install it. Some online research found a new door available not too far away, so off I went.

That photo was taken the next day, after the old door was removed. We discovered many things over the course of the next couple of hours.

First, that old door was probably the second one in that location. Also, it was not properly water proofed. Some water got into the wood on either side at the bottom in years past. No rot was present, but it was ugly.

Another thing to note in that photo is the copper water pipe sitting on the floor just inside the door. That’s part of the heating system, and it was covered by a kludge of wood which was falling apart. And the spiders really loved it under there. It was warm all winter, and well sheltered. So many egg cases. You really don’t want to know. We’re still working out how we’re going to properly cover that. Multiple ideas are floating around. I might whip up something temporary over the weekend.

In any case, our contractors removed the old door and frame, got the opening properly sized for the new door (so it could be shimmed into place), waterproofed it, and then we set the new door in to see how it went.


We spent an hour trying to figure out how to get the door into the opening so that it would be straight and not cause huge issues on the interior or exterior trim work. It was a nightmare.

Now we know why the previous door was hung at a funny angle, and ours does something similar, though not quite the same. We think we have it to the point where most of the obvious issues are handled, and the new exterior trim will be a lot better. But it is not perfect. That’s what you get with a 62 year old house that has had a whole lot of DIY work done on it by people who should not have been doing it.

Anyway, the door is hung and the new exterior trim will go on today or Monday. At the moment the contractors are busy working on a silly thing that needed fixing on the lower roof. More about that next week.

A lot of the “skirting” around the lower part of the house is now done. Well, technically all of it is done but there are nits to clean up. Here are some photos:

As you can see, the lower siding has been cut off and removed. New flashing and Tyvek installed, and then a 2x10 inserted. This gets rid of the rot and provides a much better system to keep water out of the house. The lack of eaves is the fundamental cause of this issue.

A fair bit of the plywood sheathing behind the siding was rotten, and in some places things got weird.

The first photo shows the east wall after it was opened up. The second photo is a detail of the north end of that wall. The plywood sheathing was rotten here, but much nastier was the large amount of dirt that was inside the wall. In the photo we have pulled it all out onto the sidewalk below and vacuumed in the bays. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. There could have been a serious issue with ants 40 years ago and this is the resulting mess, but the wood in the area is all good and the dirt was bone dry. Or some idiot could have left dirt in there when the house was built. No way to tell.

But it is cleaned up now and in much better shape.

We found one place (immediately next to the door we completely removed on the back of the house) where the sill plate was rotten. But it was only 12" or so long and easily replaced. Everything else in the area was OK.

In short, this work really needed to happen, and it’s good that we are getting it done. It would only get worse with time.

This project will continue for a while longer. There are other issues to deal with, including some interior trim work, among other things. But the house is slowly growing more livable, which is what we wanted to happen.

And speaking of the weather, where is the rain? We need it desperately, and it is not here yet. Every week the forecast shows rain in a week and a half, but then it disappears. We’re seeing warm daytime temperatures that the locals just love, but the nights are getting cool. When the rains really arrive I suspect we are going to be hammered by them.

Thanks to the missing rain there is an increase in fire danger, and a wildland fire is burning in West Vancouver as I write this. Nothing too large — yet — and I sure hope they get it under control before it does a lot of damage. But it’s worrying, particularly as Halloween is coming up.

Why does that matter? Fireworks. Those are a big deal here on Halloween, and with everything currently being bone dry we’ll be in a bad way when those start going off everywhere. We get enough fireworks in our neighbourhood to make it sound like a war movie. I am not exaggerating. Fingers crossed that it rains by then.

The other local issue is summed up by this photo:

That’s bear scat in a neighbour’s yard. There are black bears in the area and they are hungry right now. They’ve entered that time of year where they have to eat a lot to gain weight before they hibernate for the winter. But the dry temperatures have reduced naturally occurring food for them, and readily available food in human neighbourhoods is an easy target. They are getting into garbage cans and recycling bins all over the North Shore. Those that are too willing to deal with humans wind up getting shot, which is not a good thing.

I’ll bet you didn’t get up this morning thinking you’d see a photo of bear poo. I sure know how to entertain!

More in a week. Cheers!



Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.