I Always Find it Helpful to Build the Foundation First, But Somehow I Always Seem to Get Around To It At Step Four

So with the permit tacked to the door, I continued the build.

Now part of the replace rim joist relayed on the old stacked stone foundations. It’s pretty cool to see the methodology of the original builders in the stacked stone foundations, but as part of getting the permit, I had to replace them with a pad footer and concrete piers.

My brother and nephews  came over and helped be raise the rim joist off the old foundation, and put it on temporary blocking.



The the base of my floor system is made up of a series of concrete piers on 2’X2′ pad footing.  My friend Wes came over and helped me measure out and beggin the whole for my footers. We dug the holes 18in-24in deep.

The engineer came over to inspect them, he probed the earth, stood back and looked at them, and said: “looks good, just take them down another 18in-24in.”

So mooving a vast amount of earth the footing holes where finally ready.

In addition  to replace the stacked rock foundation, I had to replace the foundation under the extension on the side of the house.

A crowbar, hammer and four hours later, i had the structure  down to the foundation. Four days later, the footers were formed a ready to go.






Then it started raining….

A week later, the forms finally dried out, and we were able to pour concrete. (Getting the concrete inside the house was hilarious. We had the driver put on all his extensions on the shute, then we threaded the concrete shute through a window. Just imagine  a concrete truck trying to copulate with a house, and that is pretty close)


So finally after the months of work, we finally have a foundation to work from.

That’s all for now folks.

Plot Twist: I Call The Building Dept.

So this last couple of weeks have been a bit of a tormiol. I finished removeing the old floor, and started marking and digging for the piers, and planning the plumbing and frameing. About this time the house was looking a little bit conspicuous.


The house was looking less like a house and more like a construction site. Now i have no problems with a construction site, i actually feel quite affectionate towards them, but I was trying to be low key with this remodel. So after working in secret for two months i decided to go public and called the coweta building department to get a permit.

Now before the county will issue a permit, they have an inspector come out and walk the site to see the scope of work you will be doing. I was a little nervouse, but optimistic about getting a permit.

The inspector arrive, and upon looking inside the house he gasped, then sat down staring wide-eyed and silent for the next ten minutes.

At which point my optimism began to fade.

After a few minute of this called up his boss to come over and look at the  structure with him. He his boss arrived, they both looked quite  reserved. Finally i got them talking.

After discussing the merits of tearing down the structure and starting over, and the unlikelyhood of my sucess, and the economic unviability of the project, they finally agreed i could do the project. But the permit was qualified on that i would have an engeneer inspect and aprove the existing 105 year old brick foundation, and as part of the project, i would need to bring the rest of the building up to code.

This sounded close to my original plan, but with building inspector’s trepidation I wasn’t quite certain what I had in mind was the same as they had.

With the caviats laid out i only had one question for them: if either of them knew of a good structural engineer?

The chief building instructor pulled out his phone, and said, “call this guy.”

So through their recomendation, and with the fate of the progect on a weaker footing  than my building, i got in contact with an engineer.

The engineer turned out to be pretty cool, he looked at my grading, and gave me some tips, then started looking at the foundation.

“Does it have a footer?” he asked.

Now i had done a little digging around my house and i hadn’t seen anything that looked like a footer, these were cheap mill houses after all #explotivelabor

“Im not sure,” I replied. Hopeing that the fact that my house was still standing after 100 years would be enough to perswade him of it’s merit.

“Let me check” he replied, as he pulled a length of rebar out ofhis truck and probed the ground at the base of the brick wall.

My hearts sank as the rebar slid easily through the dirt.  He probed a couple places. The silence was audible.

All of a sudden  the piece of rebar clinked. He moved it along the foundation a little bit and got another clink.

Sure as hell, my house has a footer. it’s about 6in wide, and rickety, but it’s got a footer!

So in the end, after a very nervouse week, the engineer gave me a letter saying 85% of my foundation was good and the other 15% was complete crap and would need to be replaced.

Fortunately I had been planning on replaceing the crap foundation  (kinda, not realy. I though about it, but wasn’t looking forward to it), and soon after Coweta issued me a building permit, and I baught a copy of the International building code.


So far, so good.

Sill Plate and Chimney Removal, Or: “How To Eat A Elephant But Not A House”

They say if you want to eat an elephant you do it one bite at a time. Unfortunately no has said what strategy is best if you want to eat a house, not that you’d want to eat a house, and if you did, you’d definately not want to eat this one. #oneoflifesunasweredquestions.

So with the neglect revealed, it seemed like the most logical place to start was with replacing the sill plate, and get the house on  some solid lumber.


I played around with a couple ideas for a jig which would lay against the wall with a jack under each leg and lift the wall, and replace the sill plate in sections.


I picked up some 2x6s and tacked togeather the jig. At which point this masterful plan fell to pieces.  The jig ended up being to flimsy and unweldly to move into place. So that was fun.

But after acouple of different ideas, I finally worked out a system of 2 – 2x6s that ran along the top of the wall, lifted but 2 post on bottle jacks.


This removed the weight off the sill plate and allowed me to cut out the old material and slip in the new lumber.



After this i took down the whole system, moved over 10ft, and repeated the entire process. 10ft at a time i work around the perimeter of the building.


In the end i think it turned out pretty good.


After i get my rough plumbing in, and crawl space sorted, my floor joist should connect to this rim joist and form the basis of the floor.

While working on the rim joist, i also started takeing down the chimney.



I was still on the indesisive about takeing down the chimney, but i was pretty confident I needed to take it down. I only it was a pretty easy task, only requireing a mason chisel and heavy hammer,  i took my time to clean the mortar off the brick as i went. The mortar was in pretty good shape until i got a foot bellow the roof line at which point it had deteriorated to the point of sand mixture supporting the bricks.


So i ended up feeling pretty validated in desision to take down the chimney.




With the sill plate relace i removed the rest of the floor, to give me access to the crawl space.


That all for today folks. Thanks for reading.

Next up: installing footing drains, bring in my water line and sewer drain, and install a crawl space vapor barrier.

Diagnosis, or: Rot! Termites! Rubish! Oh-No!

So with the newly purchased house I felt it was time to dig bellow the surface and see what I was dealing with. I know some people with think this is something best done before purchasing a property, and they would be correct, like the inspirational poster says: “The purpose of some peoples lifes are to serve as a warning to others”.

Moveing foward, so the was a drop ceiling sheet rock walls, and “classic” 80’s panel covered the walls, from the chimney out side I suspected there was a fire place hidden somewhere inside. And both the bathroom and kitchen looked properly haunted.





After resisting the immediate urge to burn the place, i started peeling back the layers, looking for a basis from which to start.

Throught a local roll-off dumpster company, I rented a dumpster and started the gutting.



The former owner showed me photos of the house when they got it in 1982, and it was in perfect condition.  Seeing the results of 30 years of neglect was a bit disturbing.


Dianosis: well out of the 130 ft of rim joist, 100ft need to be replaced.


Termite damage in 3 locations.


The shed structure that houses the bath, needs to be completely removed and rebuilt.


Chimney is beautiful, but unfortunately is in the wrong place, wrong size, and wrong fuel type (coal, not wood) so it has to come down. Also gonna have to rewire and replumb the entire house.


Stats so far

Roll- off $380
Resperator, gloves, calming music from Spotify: $75
Time fallen through the floor: 4
Number of rats nest found so far: 3
Total spent: $12,050

Catchya later. Tune in next time when me start replaceing the rim joist.

Paul Baught A House: And Other Tragities.


So where to begin? I guess the the most logical place would be the beginning.

This spring, paying off some debt, I was divided on what my next finacial move should be.

I played around with several options, but finally came to the conclussion that buying a house could be a good way to save up some capital, build my net worth, ect, ect.


I talked to my bank, and got aproved for a mortgage, then started the house hunt. I look at many properties, and and quickly found that properties in my price range (100K – 60K) and the occasional good property would pop up. But ussually was sold within 2-3 days.

So with this reallisation I settled in for the summer stalking home-buying web sites, and playing the waiting game. And continued to save for inevitable expenses.


A couple of months and several close misses later, I found my friendship with house hunting fade. And for the most part properties that fell in my price range were usually too far in disrepair to get financing on them.

Discouraged, I happened to list houses on one web site lowest to highest.  And happened that fell into the range of my savings (when you dont have a lot of hobbies, and a small social life, saving adds up fast)

Sitting in a little mill village, the little place was built in 1910. It’s a cozy 900 sqft with toom for a detatched 20×30 garage on the back.

At first I emedietly dismissed the idea, but I kept on coming back to it. So after mulling it over for a while, I contacted the owners to see the property.

This braught me to the crux of the issue. Every property requires maintenence, and if neglected, every house will reach a point where it is un economicly feasible to bring it back from the bring. So this is the question: is this property redeemable? And the answere i’ve come back to so far is “I dont know”.

So here is the adventure i’ve set myself upon: doing the delicate dance between restoration and economic retardesness.

So hang around if you want to see how this project goes.

Paul bought a house, and it may have been a good idea.

Final House price with taxes ect: $11,522

Spent so far in tools ect: $130

Of all the many deaths we suffer, i think the death of hope cuts the worst.

….it pulls like the ripping of the soul, breaks it hold of the past, future and present. Away it flows, taking with it all the ideas that are now revealed as fantasies, leaving behind only loss.


I saw this conversation in the comment section of a Reddit post. I thought it was very thought provoking.

Question:”I’ve been paying attention to the Drone Program for years.

And it just makes me so sad.

9/11. The day Americans feel so strongly about that they say “Never forget”. Saw around 2500 Americans killed. A tragedy for sure. But you’ve retaliated and killed over 50 fold as many innocent civilians abroad as retribution for this event.

How do you as a people walk around head held high, knowing that every few months you are committing a 9/11 event to other people. Imagine if the 9/11 terror attacks were happening in america every few months. Again and again, innocent people dying all around you. Your brothers and sisters. For no reason.

Think about this. If France gained intel that there was a possible terrorist target in a stabucks in downtown Manhattan. Based only on loose suspicion. And they used a drone to blow the building up killing 22 Americans. There would be public outrage demanding an apology and immediate action be taken to punish those in charge. It would be on every news channel. People would be mourning. News channels would say “never again can we let this happen”.

And yet you just go around the rest of the world doing it on a weekly basis to other people and don’t think twice about it.

It brings me to tears knowing how absolutely blasé you guys are about it.”

And then the reply:
“Many of us are unable. Many of us watched 9/11, and accepted the government and media’s definition of the attack as a act of war rather than a criminal action. A smaller portion, drifting along passively thought a major war was coming, that people we knew were going to fight and die. Some of us maybe worried about our younger brother being drafted, despite being in college. Now, it seems stupid, but in the 72 hours after 9/11, some Americans, maybe suffering from depression, certainly with a mind shaped by comic books and action movies, ate up the “us vs. them” good vs. evil rhetoric spouted by the cowboy in chief. After all, he was the president, and no matter how bright you might think yourself, you can still be swayed by passion and emotion, led to terrible decisions.

Some of us, therefore, left our dorm rooms, and walked down Main Street to the recruiter’s office. Some of us were genuinely surprised the office wasn’t full to bursting of young men eager to avenge their fallen countrymen. Some of us were genuinely surprised when we had to push the recruiter to stop trying to sell desk jobs and just let us join the damn Infantry.

Some of us got enlisted, then, and went down to Georgia, head high to mask the anxiety and fear they might have helped. Perhaps some number of Americans in this situation discovered that maybe it hadn’t been the best idea, but would be goddamned if they were going to admit it, and let everyone back home smuggly remark on how right they were.

So they persevere. They learn to work as a unit, to look past personality issues, to see each other as Soldiers rather than as a race, or economic status, or any of the other things people hate about each other.

They learn to kill.

Then some of these people, perhaps while sitting hungover in the platoon area in the Republic of Korea hear that we have invaded Iraq. They have “Big Scary Bombs”, and Saddam Hussein, the secular Arab dictator had somehow colluded with the devoutly religious OBL to attack the US. They hated our freedom, you see.

Then some of these young American men might transfer back to Georgia and be assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, and end up in Iraq in January of 2005. And maybe these kids, still drunk on Fox News and fantasies of glory and renown being enough to win their ex-girlfriends back, are excited to go to Iraq. Sure, we hadn’t found any WMDs yet, and we had Hussein in custody, but they were still somehow a threat and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into Jeffersonian democracy. Inside every dirka is a good American, yearning to be free.

So you fight. You kill. Watch friends die. Its usually quick, almost never quiet, but for the rest of your life, when you remember sitting at the bar with them, they’re blown open. You picture the nights you spent downtown at Scruffy Murphy’s, but instead of the stupid hookah shell necklace, your boy’s jaw is blown off, and his left eye is ruined, and he’s screaming.

You fight, you kill, you watch friends die, and you notice a distinct lack of change. You kick in doors and tell terrified women to sit on the floor while you and your friends ransack their home, tearing the place apart, because they might be hiding weapons. There is no reason to believe this house in particular is enemy, same for the next one, and the one after that, or the seven before; they just happened to be there, and maybe they had weapons. Probably not, they almost never did. There were a few times when we had deliberate raids based on solid intel and we’d turn up some stuff, but generally we were just tossing houses because we could.

Then maybe your FISTer forgets to carry the remainder, and drops a mess of mortars on the village your supposed to protect. Maybe the big Iraqi running at you screaming was just mentally ill. Of course, you won’t know this until after you’ve but seven rounds through his ribcage, and his wailing, ancient mother is cradling his body, spitting at you.

Maybe when you get back to the FOB, the Platoon Sergeant tells you you did the right thing; next time, it might be a suicide bomber. They tell you it was an honest mistake, it wasn’t your fault. They tell you to go get some chow, take a shower if the water works, and sleep it off. You did good work that day, apparently.

During chow, the TV is on AFN, and they are rebroadcasting some Fox News show, and you’re hearing about drone strikes, and all the great things we’re doing, and you can’t help but see that poor dumb assholes face, looking past his mother as he bleeds to death. He’s in pain, obviously, but he has the most perfectly confused look on his face. He doesn’t comprehend what’s happening. Little more hot sauce on your eggs doesn’t really help.

Then you realize you haven’t seen anything to support the idea that these poor fuckers are a threat to your home. You look around and you see all he contractors making six figure salaries to fix your shit, train Iraqis, maintain the ridiculous SUVs the KBR dicks ride around in. You consider the fact that every 25mm shell costs about forty bucks, and your company has been handing those fuckers out like shrapnel flavored parade candies. You think about all the fuel you’re going through, all the ammo and missiles and grenades. You think about every time you lose a vehicle, the Army buys a new one. Maybe you start to see a lot of people making a lot of money on huge amounts of human suffering.

Then you go on leave, and realize that Ayn Rand has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. You realize that Fox News and Limbaugh and John McCain don’t respect you or your buddies. They don’t give a fuck if you get a parade or a box when you get home, you’re nothing to them but a prop.

Then you get out, and you hate the news. You hate the apathy, and you hate the murder being carried out in your name. You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you.

Maybe your heart breaks a little every time some asshole brags about a “successful” drone strike.

Your statement is correct enough; if all of America was one dude, that dude would not give a shit about the little brown people we’re burning and crushing and choking to death. We aren’t all like that, but it makes me incredibly, profoundly sad to see what my country actually is.

Some of us care, and I think there are more every day.”