Life is complex, you say? How could that possibly be the case? Well:
- I am still working on repairing the wall I opened up to fix the plumbing vent issue.
- The chimney is leaking. Again.
- I’ve primed a closet.
- And I’ve been fixing the doors to that same closet.
- Tinkerbelle has decided that now is a great time to get an ear infection.
I suppose I’d better start with that last one, knowing my audience.
You wouldn’t know it from that photo, but someone is not a happy puppy. Far too early on Sunday morning I awoke to a lot of ear flapping and dog tag jingling. That is not normal, and it continued, so I got up to see what I could find.
Turns out, her right ear was bloody on the inside. I cleaned it out as best I could and even experimented with a cone, but after a while she calmed down and went back to sleep. (The cone was definitely not appreciated, though.)
The next morning the ear looked better, so we assumed she had just scratched it with a claw, rather than anything worse. And she wasn’t shaking her head all that much, so we thought it was getting better. Right up until Thursday when another examination revealed the ear was inflamed. But Thursday was Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the USA) and everyone was closed except for the emergency vet who charges $40,000 a minute.
After cleaning her ear again she was calmer, so we decided to wait for Friday (today) to call the regular vet and see what they could do for us. The best we could do is an appointment on Saturday. We’ll see how that goes.
Other than wanting her ear rubbed more often than usual and occasionally shaking her head, she seems fine, but the inner ear looks nasty. She’ll be on meds soon. Maybe that will help me sleep a bit better, given I wake up every time she shakes.
Back to the house. Last week I was doing drywall repair in the back room, fixing both the big hole in the wall and condensation/water damage around the skylight. Twice now I’ve primed the work to get a better sense of how it’s going. The first time, both the skylight opening and the wall definitely needed more work. With the second primer coat (after another round of drywall mud) the skylight opening is definitely done enough for me:
You can’t tell that anything was wrong up there, and the drywall work is at least as good as much of the rest of the house, so I am done with it except for a final coat of paint, which needs to happen to the entire room.
But the wall is a different story. Here’s a photo taken this morning in natural (overcast) lighting:
That doesn’t look too bad to my eyes. Not perfect, but OK. I could live with that except that here’s the same wall with the room lights turned on:
You can see the horizontal bulges in my drywall work based on the shadows they cast, and that will drive me crazy. So I will apply yet another thin coat of drywall mud to some of that, trying to hide those undulations. Anne could probably live with them but not me. Thus, another round of attempted fixing is coming soon.
In the litany of issues above I noted the chimney was leaking again. This is a mystery, and it has a history.
When we bought the house (over a year ago) we immediately had half the roof replaced. That area included the chimney, which we also had re-flashed. There was a leak around the chimney during the roofing work, but they fixed that and we thought it was all handled.
Then we had water dripping down the chimney over the winter. I got up there and noted really large gaps in some mortar around the actual chimney opening that could definitely let water in, so I tarped up the chimney for the winter and we thought the leak stopped. That lead me to believe the problem was the gaps I had identified.
This spring I patched those gaps and added an aluminum baking sheet to keep water from being blown into the actual chimney opening itself. At that point I was sure I had it fixed. Alas not. Fast forward a few months and water is dripping down inside the chimney again.
Early this week I tarped it back up thinking that would stop the water flow like it did last year, but it did not. Water continues to drip down inside. How it gets in there I do not know.
I am going to attempt a couple of different tarping methods in the coming days to see if I can stop it. Perhaps I can get a pointer to the underlying issue by doing so. Failing that, I guess I get to call the roofer back, but he’ll just point the finger at the flashing guy, who will point the finger back at the roofer. Ugh.
So I will be up on the roof later today to move the tarp around assuming it stops raining.
Before I got distracted by the vent issue and the drywall work it entailed, you might recall I was getting started on the coat closet in the hallway downstairs. The louvred doors for it were damaged, as if a child had been hanging on them. All the glue joints had failed:
You can see the louvres pulled out of their slots, and the gap between the rail and the stile.
One at a time I twisted these doors back into being approximately square, applied glue, and clamped them, like this:
Fortunately a neighbour loaned me several clamps. I only own two that are big enough to span the full 18" width of these doors. I could buy more, of course, but then I would have to store them somewhere.
Once the glue had dried I began adding more dowels to more firmly secure them back together:
This is an ongoing process. I need to trim them down on one side and sand them flush, and then do the other side of both doors. Then I can start priming and painting them.
And speaking of paint, the closet itself was a disaster area. Twenty five years of abuse had left marks all over the interior, along with numerous dents and holes in the walls. Plus, the original construction was just plain stupid. I cannot — and will not — fix everything. On a house this old it simply isn’t worth it, but I can clean it up quite a bit, and I did so. And I’ve applied a coat of primer to the entire thing to hide the dirt and provide a good surface for the new paint that is coming soon:
Note the absence of baseboard in there. No one thought it necessary 25 years ago when this closet was either created or reworked during the second floor addition, so I will be adding that as well.
Sadly I did not take photos before I started the work. You’ll have to trust me that it was a train wreck in there and looks much better now, even with just a coat of primer on it.
And there the week ends, with a zillion balls in the air. I have no idea how to catch them all, but I will try. I didn’t mention numerous updates to the community association website and several discussions related to a holiday assistance programs we’re running, or the everyday overhead of life, or the fact that I haven’t even looked for the drip in the upstairs bathroom fan yet. Thankfully that last one has not yet recurred.
It’s a lot, and the days stretch out into the foreseeable future without a break or change.
Still, we’re lucky. We’re healthy and secure. Lately, that’s saying a lot and I shouldn’t complain. I will, of course, but I shouldn’t.
May your days be less “interesting” than mine!