The Last Minute Repairs

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With our move-in date rapidly approaching, we headed up on our last weekend trip to try and get the house ready(ish). My brother came, too, and we tackled a pared down list of necessities to finish up within 24 hours:

  1. Finish the damn floor
  2. Install the bathtub hot/cold valve thingy
  3. Get the hot water running to the tub (not just the “kitchen” sink in the attic)
  4. Prove I can mow the lawn* in under an hour
  5. Pick up a super cool bathtub

Spoiler: We managed 80% success, so definitely a win.

Because we timed our weekend o’ repairs during an east coast heat wave, we hastily added another task to the front of the list: buy and install an air conditioner that would cool down a 900 square foot attic.** This proved to be more difficult and time consuming than most of the things on the actual list.

0. Loads of research later, I settled on the LG 18,000 btu Dual Inverter – in large part because it was the only LG brand unit available at any of the stores we stopped at. But the fact that it is actually designed to cool a room as large as our attic was definitely a bonus.**

I thought enough to check the measurements before we bought it (sort of), to make sure if would fit in the window (it barely fit in the car). But I did not pay attention to the plug. Turns out ginormous air conditioners run on 240 volts. Which meant before we could cool down the room, we had to rewire the attic. Brother to the rescue – we got the parts, Sergiu cut the wall, and Elliot put in a new breaker, new wires, and a new wall outlet.
Of course he did this in a 100+ degree attic, so we’re just glad he didn’t die.

There were some more adventures trying to get it secure in a window barely larger than the unit itself… but it all worked out.***

After it got going, it cooled the space down admirably and we were able to spend the first night in our new attic apartment, because…

1.. The floor is done!!!! (Basically; the floorboards have to be put on, but the floor itself is done!)

Sergiu actually did most of it before the AC was installed so kudos to him.

2. The bathtub’s hold/cold valve switch (thingamabopper) didn’t work, so a few months ago we took it out and Elliot built us a new one. And over the weekend he successfully installed it. So now we can run water directly to the tub/shower. However, that water is very cold…

3. We did not get the hot water running anywhere except the attic kitchen. As we started to leak-test the other lines, we noticed a huge, gaping broken and/or disconnected pipe in an impossible to reach corner by the fireplace (and countless more likely hiding away inside walls and floors…)

Roughly, right there – but back deep into the recesses of the wall.

We didn’t have time, energy, climbing equipment, or steady enough hands to start soldering back there, so instead of actually doing anything we made a plan to replace that whole line (and its 8 billion offshoots) with pex piping… sometime in the relatively near future. This means that another project that has been sitting much lower on the priority list has suddenly been pushed to the top. More on that later, but it will involve opening up that kitchen/prep room space… ๐Ÿ™‚

4. I 100% proved I could mow the lawn (the top, relatively flat bits) in well under an hour with a lovely little electric push, when the grass is not 3′ tall and hay-like. The big side took about 30 minutes, the small side about 15.

5. Elliot and I went on a side mission to pick up an amazing old cast iron tub from some like-minded renovators who bought a similar house in Amenia. We explored the cool old house another family bought (similar in many ways to our own!), carried the tub to the truck,**** and brought it home. And made some new friends in the process. All in all, a total success. The bathtub (and the other renovators!) is (are) awesome.

So, 80% success with extra credit for the AC and new friends. Still loads to do, but we can move in next week in pretty good shape.

* By lawn, I mean the top, flat-ish part near the house ๐Ÿ™‚
** I usually don’t put a lot of stock in “recommended square feet” on the AC unit, because our little 5k BTU unit has been successfully keeping our 500+ square feet of living room/entryway/hallways nice and cool for about 5 years. But with 20′ ceilings and the fact that attics are always crazy hot, I went for it — also, it was the only LG available.
*** Though, now I have roughly 10 days of anxiety where I am convinced the thing is going to fall out of the window while we are in Brooklyn…
**** Take that, Sergiu. Pfff. Doesn’t think I can carry a ~400 lb cast iron tub with my bro. Pfff, I say! Pfff. It’s like he’s never met me before. Hmmmph.

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