Sunday, April 15, 2007

About our skills in general

Our first home was a small townhouse built in 1985. When we moved in, it had all the charm and charecter of a developer built spec home of 1985. The original dusty rose and sage green country duck themed border was the highlight of the bisque colored kitchen. Over the course of the 4 years we lived there, we did a lot of updating including:
* Updating the full bath
* Adding a half bath in a closet
* Putting down laminate floors
* Repainting all the walls
* Expanding the brick patio
* Adding a water feature to the back "yard"
* Remodeling the kitchen
* Replacing a sliding glass door

Over course of these projects, we learned quite a bit as many of these projects were not as simple as they appeared. For example, our upstairs bathroom had a back outlet toilet, the wonders of which I hope I never, ever, ever encounter again. Since the unit had been a rental for 10+ year, said toilet was not maintained. Now normally, toilets require little maintainence, but a back outlet toilet, especially when used on a non-solid floor (i.e. a second story over wooden subflooring) requires some attention to ensure the wax seal is not compromised. And if it is compromised, gravity is not kind. So after owning the house less than one week, we were replacing subflooring. Joy.

Other valuable lessons of home ownership include:
* How to recognize a load bearing wall that, according to basic rules of construction, should NOT have been loadbearing.
* How to gain 3/4" of room along a wall so that the cabinets and the dishwasher fit.
* Why the sink drain must be higher than the exit end of the p-trap.
* The joys of finish carpentry
* Hot peppers and green peppers cross pollinate
* 20 year old Bradford Pears land fairly softly when they fall into your house (we can thank my neighbor's tree and Hurrican Isabel for this lesson)

I'd say the biggest lesson from the townhome projects was that we learned when to do it ourselves and when to call in pros. Even with his training as an electrician, there are a few things Wirenut and I agree is better left to a pro.

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