More photos of the wreakage.  
The most recent project - the flooring we're taking out near the back door.  
We're lucky that the boards are coming up easily.  We'd love to save them.  
Before we do we need to clean out under the house, fix the floor joist,
figure how to best insulate and then pick the new flooring.

. . . . . . . . . 

{ August 2012 }

{ End of October 2012 }

{ First New Window }

. . . . . . . . .  

{ Bathroom -  August 2012 }
Small, quaint, disgusting . . .  Yeah, no one is fooled by the "marble" walls

{ Bathroom - November 2012 }
Bright, Open, Airy.  I'm starting to like it!

. . . . . . . . . 

{ Kitchen - August 2012 }
A tight hallway.  This view is from the bathroom.  
To the left is a disgusting utility closet.  To the right is a disgusting regular closet.

{ Kitchen - November 2012 }

. . . . . . . . . 

In the photo below I'm standing where there used to be a wall
separating the kitchen from the front room.  
Directly ahead is a slim wall - to the left are the two front rooms.  
To the right is the rest of the kitchen and the bathroom.

. . . . . . . . . 

{ More Court Yard }
This time I had help from Tasha.  To be continued next year.

. . . . . . . . . 

In the three-ish months we've owned this building I'm already having fun looking back at the before and afters.  In October of 2011 who knew my future included me buying a 175 year old piece of poo and polishing it into a gem.  

Seriously, If anyone told me last year that my husband and I would be going on double dates with my parents - to Menards - to shop for roofing - I'd say they were crazy.  

And let's face it - If I knew that in a years time I'd be carefully posing a Batman doll and taking multiple photos of it (AND posting them online - geez) I would have guessed I was the crazy one.

Just goes to show you - what a difference a year can make!

And the walls . . . come tumbling down . . . and the walls . . .

This weekend walls came down and the ground came up.  

When Adam and I met with our dads on Tuesday and I saw this . . .

well, I gulped hard and thought, " this ISN'T what I want?  How is this going to be anything at all?  How stupid were we to spend the money (and three weekends) installing a roof on this dump"  But at the end of the visit we had a vision again.

Fast forward through the rest of the week, a week where Adam and a handful of guys put in some time and muscle, and things look decidedly different.  I arrived on Saturday just in time to capture Adam and his dad tearing down a wall (video to be uploaded later, when I have Adam figure it out for me)

Still, here's a photo of the new area.  I'm standing at the back door (in the kitchen).  To the left used to be a wall that separated the front room from the kitchen.  

And it didn't freak out one bit.

Our plans right now include building a bar and kitchenette to the right.  To the left will be tables for people to relax as they look through albums of invitations.

On Sunday I intended to work a few hours.  Just picking up random pieces of shingles, moving all the bricks to one pile.  I began by moving the trash cans and sweeping off the back stoop.  According to the historic documents, at one time there was a bricked courtyard at 55 North Main.  So here and there we see bricks in the yard.  It's a real conversation starter.  

. . . .

"wouldn't it be awesome if we could uncover the bricks?"

"could you imagine this ALL being brick?"

"what if the whole property is bricked?  You'd never have to mow the grass - cuz, there wouldn't be grass.  It would be BRICK"

. . . .

So I'm sweeping the stoop and the random bricks around the stoop.  The loose grass moves easily and suddenly I'm seeing a LOT more of the bricks.  After all, this is the first time I've swept the stoop.  It was looking pretty good.  I thought I'd pull a few weeds around some of the bricks to get back a little of that charm.  One thing led to another.  

Seven hours later I went from this . . . 


If you notice in the picture above you'll see white material near the bricks.  This paneling came from inside the house and was laid over the grass to catch all the roofing refuse.  Since the roofing project took three weeks the paneling stayed in the yard for three weeks.  Well, the paneling not only did the intended job - it kept the grass underneth stagnet and moist which was the perfect condition to scrape away the ground from the brick.  By the way I did this using only a plastic dustpan, occasionally a crowbar (and plenty of trips with the wheelbarrow).

The beauty of this is that the guys laid the pieces of paneling in exactly the same path of the brick.  It couldn't have been planned any better.  The path is edged with the brick set in a different direction so I know that there is a definate path and the whole yard it's not entirely brick.  Believe me, I was pretty happy when I hit that edging.  I was worried that I was going to have to keep going, and going and going.  

The path leads to the summer kitchen, though things start getting spotty near the end.  There seems to be a good amount of brick around the back of the house so potentially the brick extends back there as well.  I probably won't get to that before the snow flies but it's a good future project for me.

Today I'm going to rest my body.  I'm not used to such labor!

Of course Batman took most of the credit
(that jerk, he's starting to get on my nerves)

And they all said . . .

"AMEN"  (fans of Fr. Jim Trick will understand this one)

I'm so very happy to report that the roofing project is done!  Dad and Adam still have work to do on the edges, gutters, whatever.  But the bulk of the work is done!!  

{ Even Batman is Happy }

We're so lucky to have had so many great people helping.  I told our helpers that if we found a million dollars lining the inside of the roof - well, they'd all get a cut.  Nothing exciting happened except for the hard labor of removing 5 layers of shingles (a total of 5.78 tons according to the Dumpsterman invoice I received today - yikes!)


Dad Schmidt, Dad Suchland, my brother Steve,  our friends Eric (a.k.a Partner), Justin, and Jeff.  Brothers Munch, Bruce, Rod (Mr. Pleiman) Pleiman.  Also, cousins Cory, Jace and Tommy Walkoff.  Geez, I hope I didn't forget anyone.

Special thanks to the spouses of the above.  I know it's not fun having your husband be gone two beautiful weekends in a row.  We so appreciate the help and look forward to returning the favor someday.

But seriously - these guys worked really, really hard.  And they loaned us tools, donated some of their old supplies and didn't grump once (to my face).  It really meant alot to us that so many quality people were on hand to help.

{ Progression of the Roof }

Clearly there is still a lot of work to be done on the exterior.  Fresh paint (very obviously), a spiffy door, windows with clean glass, an awning and window boxes are all on the list.  The inside is still a mess.  A big one.  But we will have all winter to transform 55 North Main into something great.

More pictures will follow after I get my work caught up!!  Special thanks also go to my fabulous clients who are being patient as I figure out how to balance everything.

What I learned.

First of all - the roofing is not done so I'm going to wait to show photos.  If you want to take a look cruise by 55 North Main and check it out.  Many people over the weekend did.

In addition to roofing we took down a wall in the back of the building and worked to expose brick walls in the new room.  Super excited about this room.

{ Batman Helped }


Top Ten Things I Learned This Weekend
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Don't bother wearing lip gloss when you participate in a day of roofing.  No one cares how you look and after the first wave of shingles flies your lips will be coated in gritty dust.

  2. 25 yard dumpsters fill up fast.  Real fast.

  3. It's really not THAT big of a deal to see daylight through the roof - from the inside of your building.  175 year old buildings have seen worse.

  4. Hammering plaster is FUN!

  5. Carting away plaster is NOT.

  6. Our friend Eric is a squirrel.  He zoomed across that roof like magic.

  7. I quite easily fall to prayer when I watched all these guys go up and down and do hard labor perched on a questionable roof.

  8. Cory really is a nice guy.  A wall falls on his back and he doesn't sue.  Thanks Cory!

  9. We have super HARD WORKING friends and family members.  Seriously - roofing is hard but I suspect this roof was harder than most.  5 Layers of roofing in some areas.  Yikes!

  10. Yup, we're really doing this. Nope, there is no turning back.

{ Here we are }

Adam with his 'stach and me looking like a hot mess!

Here We GO!

My day started (at 7:30am) with a phone call from Ron at Menards.  He had a load of roofing materials and could I tell him where he should put all of it?  Reasonable question.  I had no clue how to answer.  Quick call to good ole dad and it was all straightened out.  Dad was conveniently across the street having coffee at Willy's and was happy to direct the pallets of materials.

pfew . . .first crisis averted.
The second crisis was getting locked into 55 North Main - but more on that later.

Today kicks off ROOFING WEEKEND!  Rain is coming but what can you do?  We've got plenty of work inside to keep us busy until it passes.

{ Starting Point } 

{ The Chimney - Removed }

{ Ohhh, Look.  A ladder and no supervision }

{ Guess I'll go up and take a gander }

Not much happening up here.  Lots of blown in insulation.  But curiously there seems to be metal printing plates hanging everywhere.  I don't have a clue what that is all about but I intend to investigate.

{ A metal printing plate for a yearbook - can't tell if it's local or not }

Now for my second crisis of the day.  While I had my head in the rafters dad assumed I had left.  So he slapped the padlock back on the door and headed back up to the roof.  -see photo below for evidence of dad on the roof and said lock (lower left of photo).  

The street exits were sealed and have probably not been used for many years.  Using the alternate back exit would mean I'd have to "walk the plank" to get across the missing floor to reach it.  Which wouldn't be a big deal if I weren't wearing flip flops.  But I was.  And I'm not allowed to wear flip flops in 55 North Main anymore.  Not since I almost stepped on a nail - yikes.

Luckily I could see dad happily hammering away.  I didn't want to startle him so I decided to wait until he climbed down.  I banged on the door, which did nothing.  Finally I placed a call and luckily his cell phone was on him and not inside the house.  And luckily he didn't ignore my call.  And then I was freed.  The end.

Third Crisis of the Day?  Probably bringing Jenkins to the vet.  He needs a checkup from his recent blood platelet issue.  Typically Jenkins will go and do anything without much fuss.  But it's now storming and that is probably the only thing he HATES.  So transporting him to the vet should be a treat.

Saying prayers for a safe working weekend for our friends and family who will be in attendance.  Can't wait to post the after photos!

If these floors could talk . . .

They'd say, "Where am I and what can they possibly do next?"

{ The Bathroom With Floors }

{ The Bathroom Without Floors }

{ A Meeting of the Minds }

Looks like 3 of out of the 3 men in charge agree - the roof is next!  
Luckily there isn't serious damage to the floor.  We (okay, they) will have some work
to do to repair the floor joist but it's not the nightmare we were fearing.  
Although the tangle of old pipes and pieces of pumbing is another story.

{ Once again, I feel all credit goes to Batman }

ha ha.

Now What?

Cleaned Out - Carted Up - Lugged Away  

Now we're scratching our heads and figuring out what to do next because the next steps seems to include dumpsters, danger and really hard (expensive) work.

Some of the things removed from 55 North Main
I'm not even counting the many items left by the curb on Trash Day.  
I'll bet those guys hate us by now.

{ Two Piles of These }


{ One Load of Scrap Metal }

. . . . . . . . . .

{ The Bathroom without Privacy }
Go Dad!  He ripped this out by himself.
Just so ya know - these are NOT marble walls. lol 

{ The Hall Way Before }
The back portion of the house looking toward the front of the house.  
Bathroom is to the right.

{ The Hall Way After }

{ The Floor - Everywhere }

{ Thank Goodness we have Bat Man! }

If These Ceilings Could Talk

They'd say, "Happy Valentines Day!"

Finally - TREASUES!  Dad found this in the ceiling near the kitchen.

History Lesson:  This is an old Lucky Strike "flat fifties" Cigarette Tin.  While looking at it (and is subtantial decay) I wondered aloud to Adam if this could possibly be a tin from the 1850s.  After getting it home and hopping on google I found a plethera of flat fifites tin (all in MUCH better condition).  This tin was manufactured by the once popular Lucky Strike company which was started in (wait for it) 1905.  Of course you can't see the Lucky Strike Logo on our tin but in it's glory it looked like this.

The term "flat fifties" comes from the amount of cigarettes that can be neatly stored in this 4.25 x 5.5 inch tin.  Twenty five smokes would fit in the base of the tin and 25 would fit in the lid.  So the term wasn't a nod to its age.  After a little more digging I discovered that a tag line "it's toasted" appeared on the side of the tin.  That expression wasn't incorporated by the company until 1917 so the tin certainly isn't older than 1917.  I also found that in 1940 Lucky Strike changed its packaging to white and used different materials entirely - due to the World War II effort.  So this tin was born somewhere between 1917-1940.  But who cares about all that?  I gingerly opened the tin and found . . .

{ Valentines! }

They are certainly damaged with age and being trapped in an old ceiling but it's a collection of old school valentines.  This one below seems to have movable parts at one time.  The giraffe head might have bobbed and the girls eyes might have swiveled?  

Bottom Corner says, "Printed in Germany"

What little girl wouldn't love to get (or give) a pony Valentine?

Lola, Lola, who the Heck is Lola?  This one was manufactured in Chicago.

This little guy is battered but from from my super sleuthing skills I determine
he's probably only 20 years old.  He was found in another part of the house.

The base of the tree dad cut down.  A heart.  I'm starting to think that
Valentines Day 2013 might be the target date for Opening Day.