The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Community

October 26, 2013

Renovation continues on dilapidated tax sale house

Second floor repairs include wiring, paint scraping

ALEXANDRIA — Faithful readers have repeatedly requested a renovation update on the house I bought at the tax sale. I am overdue in telling my tales and have also been remiss in posting on my blog.

Perhaps it is because I have a bad habit of collecting part-time jobs. I am currently a writer, a construction worker and an Algebra 2 teacher. I think I am in need of career counseling.

I had been hesitant because I knew flooring would make such a difference in the pictures – and flooring is last. However, when my scheduled house for this week cancelled at the last minute, my pictures started looking a lot better.

Once I had the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room finished, I wanted to complete the second floor. Huge holes and long, jagged cracks in the plaster littered the walls of all three bedrooms. Although my failed electrician had added to the original damage by knocking many extra holes into the walls, he had wired nothing.

My first step was to climb into the attic and run wires for outlets, overhead lights and the fan for the bathroom. Some of the old knob-and-tube wiring was still in place and could be used to pull the new wires through the wall, making the process easier.

While I stretched wires and plotted locations, my dad, Carl Bowen, scraped peeling textured paint off the walls in one of the bedrooms. I’ve never seen paint that had to be scraped off a surface before, but it was peeling badly enough that mudding over it was not an option. Still, it was more difficult to remove than wallpaper – and it even covered the ceiling.

Once I had the wire to the sweet spot, Dad would lay aside his putty knife and pull the wire through the wall to the outlet or switch. While wiring in the crawl space, I had longed for the joy of being in the attic. After the twentieth time I bumped my head on the rafters, the crawl space was sounding pretty good.

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