I'm still here and still alive! Tamara's doing a great job keeping up with Ted Stevens getting searched (but he can't be corrupt! He's a Republican!) and Ebay shutting out gun-related sales.
I'm reading my daily blogs, but other than that, I'm spending my days finishing my baby's nursery.
We took one reasonably large room upstairs, which the previous owners had emptied for conversion into a master bath, and demolished it down to bare studs. The house is almost 100 years old, so it's sturdy, but drafty. The studs are very close to actual 2-inch by 4-inch dimensions--about 1 7/8 x 3 7/8. In contrast, modern "dressed" lumber 2 x 4 boards are 1.5 x 2.75 inches (I think?) Anyway, the outside of the house is clad, under the modern vinyl siding, in oak boards a full inch thick. The house is like a giant exoskeleton! The only problem is that there are quarter-inch gaps between many of these boards, and absolutely no attempt to insulate the outer walls. Each room is finished in plaster-and-lathe with about seven layers of wallpaper slapped over it.
So demolition entailed a dumpster, hammers, crowbars, and a LOT of dust and dirt. It didn't help that the walls and ceilings are full of coal soot. We looked like miners most of the time.
Anyway, once the room was down to bare studs, I used expanding foam to seal every opening to the outside, plus all openings into the attic. That was a LOT of foam. then we framed a new dividing wall into the room, which divided it into a larger section, a small section, and a reasonably wide hallway. Luckily the two doors into and out of the room are aligned, so the hall could be straight.
The larger of the two sections is the baby's nursery. The smaller is the bath. It's looking like it will have to be a half-bath at the moment, but if I can cram a shower in there, I will. Currently we have one filthy, slanting, slapped-together bathroom converted hastily from a porch, serving a family of four. This will not do, especially for five!
Anyway, I replaced the ancient single-pane counterweighted window with a modern unit, added insulation, wired in 5 ground-fault circuit-interruptor outlets (temporarily wired into the old lead from the rat's nest of wiring in the attic, but with a line run down to the basement to be attached to the new service and fuse box the minute it's ready) and a small fan/light with a digital dimmer control for both. In a fit of ambition, I even added a vent and ductwork to be attached to the central air/heat pump when that's ready. The pine board ceiling went in next; I like the look of it, and the bonus is that one person with a ladder and a soft mallet can install it by himself. For the past two days, I've been hanging drywall and slinging mud.
Now that I'm done with breakfast and blogging, I'm on my way back up to finish shimming and hanging the frames for the pocket doors. I hope to be completely finished with the baby's room this week and get a good start on the bathroom.
When I'm done, you should be able to go upstairs in the house and see two doors and a tall open portal. One door will be one twin's bedroom (they share it now.) The other door will be our master bedroom. Through the open doorway you'll pass into a windowless but well-lit hallway where you'll see three more doors. The pocket door on your left is the baby's room. The next pocket door on your left is the upstairs bath, and the door at the end of the hall leads into the other twin's dormer bedroom (currently sort of a junk room; it's going to take a ton of work, but maybe less than the room I'm working on now.
I'll try to put pictures up when I can.