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We have lived in the Century House for about three months now and have settled in very comfortably. However, we have been living without a cookstove. We sold the ancient one that came with the house because we knew we had one on the way – soon.  We wanted all new matching appliances and ordered them in January for a March delivery. Two and half months ought to be enough time to get them shipped from ‘wherever’, right?

This proved true for the most part. Everything was fine and in place by the first of April. However, I made the mistake of ordering a super special order stove with an oven that could be split into two, with dual controls. Along with this, my wife ordered a microwave with all the bells and whistles. You clearly see our cooking styles.

The Empty Spot in my Kitchen

The last two items, the stove and the microwave, did not show up on time. However, to add to the story, we were contacted several times to schedule deliveries that never materialized. The supplier both called and emailed us to schedule the delivery of our products but then didn’t show up at all. They were phantom deliveries. It was very frustrating.

Then the Suez canal blockage happened. The container ship Ever Given had run aground in the middle of the canal and blocked delivery of our stove. At least that was the story we were telling.  We don’t know the exact reason for the delay, but it worked well for laughs.

In the meantime, we have been getting by with a $75 microwave and a $25 electric griddle. We tried using our slow cooker to prepare meals ahead, but you know “SLOW COOKER” is not something we wanted to use daily. Instead, we got very comfortable with our griddle and had lots of eggs, salmon burgers, and fish fillets. All of which was fine and tasty, but I really missed a good fried egg or a stir fry or even mac-n-cheese.

$25 worth of saddness!!

Soon after we moved in, we had a technician in the house installing our security system. The control panel is in the kitchen opposite the stove – or where the stove is supposed to be. He had been at it for about thirty minutes before he finally looked up and asked: “Where’s your stove?” It took him that long to notice the odd empty spot in our kitchen.

I found it difficult to adjust to cooking on an electric griddle. I love to cook, and cutting a bunch of vegetables into a stew or a stirfry is very relaxing for me. But cooking on a griddle doesn’t require much for cutting. It was all fish fillets, chicken breasts, and patties with lots of salads. The ‘cooking’ part of cooking was a sad shadow of what I liked to do. I’m sure I could have gotten used to the griddle and eventually felt creative enough to do something interesting with it, but thankfully that time was avoided.

We have a stove! It’s a Samsung gas range with an oven that can be split into two and controlled separately. It also includes an air fryer option that I am particularly excited about. My wife wants me to make wings in the worst way, but I guess there is a chicken wing shortage or something. She was unwilling to trade an arm and a leg for wings. So, that will have to wait.

I am excited about the high-powered burner on the cooktop. It is meant for cooking with a wok. My wok is my favorite pan to use. I make a lot of stir fry and curries and similar recipes.

This is the first cookstove I’ve purchased new, and there is a huge big technology jump in this range compared to what I’m used to.  I can control the oven from my phone! Which is ridiculous! I have never once thought: Damn… if only I could turn the oven on from the mall. I personally can’t see the use of this feature. My wife has offered different scenarios to justify it. Still, none of them ring true or reasonable or an event that would happen more than once in a lifetime. However, my phone is now synced with my stove, and I’m going to dream up some weirdly unlikely situation where I will just have to use it.

Frickin’ WIFI!!!

What is the first thing I cooked on my new stove, you ask? Was it chicken marsala? Or a stir fry or a nice spicy curry (YUM!!) or some other fancy or difficult or iconic meal that would inaugurate my new stove in style. No… That is definitely not my style. Simple cooking is the best cooking. I made fried eggs, sausage, and toast. And it was glorious. I never got the hang of cooking eggs on the griddle. They were never quite right.

The last two weeks have been very busy at the century house. So busy in fact that I’ve neglected to post anything. Sorry.

So Sheri has been busy taping and painting the kitchen and my office. She really hates painting, but since she can’t frame walls or lay flooring she gets to paint. I even volunteered to paint my own damn office, yet she ended up doing that too. The kitchen turned out great. We happen to like accent walls and went with a dark red called Sangria for the kitchen. The remaining walls are painted light brown Mocha. Honestly, this was a unconscious coincidence. However, it works with the theme – a kitchen painted in wine and coffee colors – perfection!

We have also purchased a new kitchen island that we will be installing once all the new appliances are delivered. Next week!! Aaahh!

While Sheri was busy with that, I was framing in our new TV room and guest bedroom in the basement. The worst thing I ran into while framing was that some of the walls were bulged out in the middle. I think this was part of the original pour but had to account for it when anchoring the base runners. The walls are pretty close to level all around now. There are a lot of pipes and windows in the basement that required some fancy framing around them that I will highlight in another post. That was the fun part.

However, I personally hate installing drywall and grumbled though this part of the project. I keep telling myself that this is the last time. This is my last house remodel. Seriously.

But I have a good start on the drywall now and have started planning the flooring for the rooms. This is where I ran into a major issue. We intended to put down wood laminate throughout the basement. However, I found that there was too much slope around the drains. It is a very nicely done poured floor that gently slopes down to drains in two places. However, there is a three inch difference between the outside wall and the main drain – the one in the bedroom. The laminate will work with small variations in the floor but that is way too much. We will still use the laminate for the center of the main room and most of the bedroom while we look for other options for the area where the slope is the worst. I’m leaning toward ceramic tile and a mosaic around the drain. I have my eye set on a very nice rusted steel-look tile for the bar area and a small brick-like tile for the drain area that I can place individually to create the mosaic look that I want.

The biggest problem in making any of the flooring work is drainage. We have hundred year old walls that weep a little. We also have a boiler system that has the potential for leaking. Meaning we have to leave the drains alone and provide unobstructed access for the any water. To accomplish this, I will be using an underlayment beneath the laminate that provides both a vapor barrier and drainage for any water that leaks in. But… I have a bit of research to do before I can really be sure of my plan. Lucky for me there are ambitious DIYers like myself that have already made the mistakes. I am on a few forums and sites dedicated to DIYers that have provided good sound advice so far and I will be looking through there over the next week before I actually do any floor work.

We are only three weeks away from moving into out new home and are in a rush to get everything done. I won’t have the basement completed as planned but I will have most of it useable. The bar and the bathroom will have to be finished later. I am also adding a laundry room on the second floor and will need to step away from the basement to get that roughed in. The new washer and dryer are being delivered next week and need to be functional from day one.

I have a very very busy three weeks coming up to make the house workable. We are very excited to move in and be done with the daily commute we make to work on the house. It will be nice to be right there to work on things and then have the option of just going up to bed, rather than needing to cleanup and drive across town every night.

Our heart is already in our new home, we just have to rest of us there.

Our one hundred year old house had a finished basement at several points in its history. The latest iteration included a dropped ceiling, a 3/4 bath and even an Oakland Raiders room sometime after 2016. However, at the time of our purchase it was moldy, damaged and partly gutted. Our project over the last two weeks has been to remove the ceiling and Raider room.

We discovered that the original century-old plaster and lath ceiling was still extant but hidden by the dropped ceiling. Someone had added the dropped ceiling to cover up the heating and plumbing pipes. But it also lowered the ceiling of the room by 18 inches. Removing it will give us a basement with an 8 foot ceiling! We also revealed the knob and tube wiring that still powers the house. Some of it had been added after the original ceiling was installed. There were wires running all over, many that no longer connected to anything.

Our biggest surprise was to discover that we had asbestos pipe insulation on our hot water heating pipes. This detail was not mentioned in the sellers documentation. However, instead of being upset about it, I just removed it. We suited up and pulled it out.

We then pulled all of the plaster and lathe ceiling work down, along with 100 years of dust. It was seriously nasty work. I wanted it all down in one weekend so we could be done with it. The three of us tackled it and got it completely pulled down. A dumpster will be delivered this week and we will spend next week loading it up.

Our new basement will have an industrial theme with a little steampunk bar area. All of the pipes and wires will be exposed and I’m leaving the ceiling bare up to the joists and subflooring above. It’s going to be cool. Trust me.

Inspiration, Finance Manager, and General Labor