Friday, April 25, 2014

Upstate Update - Pray for Progress

It has been a really long time since I have had the stomach to post an "Upstate Update".  (I haven't checked, but I think I usually reserve that post title for posts about updates I receive from third parties about the work they have accomplished up there in my absence.) Truth be told, I have been (and remain) thoroughly depressed by our recent experiences trying to get this house renovated - especially since money is running out.  We NEED to rent of sell this monster before it takes us down with it.

Our last contractor is in jail, again, this time for a long stretch.  No work has been done on the house in four months.  And some of the work I examined during my three days working up at the house a couple weekends ago started me thinking that we're further from done than previously thought. 

But Thursday brought a little good news. Our new contractor (this is our fifth) started work on Wednesday. He is a straightforward guy and he is being sensitive: he knows we've been hurt before and are afraid of jumping in too fast with someone new. So, to get things going, he suggested that we start off slow and pick one or two discreet tasks for him to begin with so that we can evaluate his work and his attitude before getting too tied up. Plus, this has the benefit of being a CofO (i.e., rental/resale) condition.

The first job I picked is removing the old back deck and then building a new smaller one to get us through the next inspection. The back deck, where the fire that put this house on the market and into our price range started, was the last completely untouched area of total fire damage devastation remaining. There are plenty of char marks on boards around the exterior of the house (mostly over windows), and a few charred edges still visible on the inside, but the back deck was an unmitigated hazard of charred and rotted boards.

Here is what it looked like when B and I were up there a couple weeks ago.

So, the new guy, who I will call Jeff because his name is Jeff, spent a couple days taking down the old deck and replacing the supports that go from the cement piers to the upper deck. Looky.

In case you're wondering, that big cement pad in the middle is what the hot tub sets on.  We might even keep the dream alive of someday installing a hottub - but only if insurance allows and only if local RE agents tell us it will add to our revenue from rental or resale. (Because, if you'll recall, we have one of those sitting out in the driveway -

And here are the new posts supporting the upper deck.  It is hard to explain why the old posts had to go, but suffice it to say that the posts that were there seemed to have been cobbled together by an idiot some dozens of years ago when the decks were built.  At least now it is done right I'm told.

Obviously we have a long way to go here.  We need a new deck built and steps down off the side.  But it looks a whole lot better.  Oh, and that reminds me, I need to get a dumpster delivered up there.  There was already a ton of debris in the driveway from the cleanout B and I did when we stayed up there and there's even more now with all the old decking ready to go.

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