krakhaus - sweeping water

Our new, massive renovation project, the krakhaus, has got some problem with bones — literal and otherwise.

I’ll get to the skeleton in a minute.

First, I want to tal about the bones of the house. It was built circa 1914, and we got it for a good price because, well, the roof had some major issues. The previous owner was en route to demolition, in fact, when we got wind and negotiated the purchase to try and save it.

We’d had our structural guy, Jamie, look it over first, of course. It was a conversation that went something like this…

Jamie: [Lots of words I don't completely understand, followed by...] So the roof is essentially detached from the house.
Me: So it can be fixed?
Jamie: Yessir.
Me: Is it going to be expensive?
Jamie: [Lots of words I don't completely understand, followed by...] So it's hard to say.
Me: I don't understand. Why do they want to tear it down?
Jamie: [Laughing] Wellsir, some people would consider a detached roof a major issue.

What gives? Besides the roof, I mean? Here’s my best 10-cent explanation:

  1. The roof was improperly braced when originally constructed. (The framing, in fact, might be going in the wrong direction. Blah blah blah.)
  2. Lots of layers of roofing shingles were laid on the roof. Over and over again. At least three layers of asphalt shingle. And anyone whose ever shouldered a bundle of the shingles can tell you, they are heavy.
  3. The peak of the roof dropped a bit, lowering the roofline and pushing out a wall.
  4. Despite at least three layers of shingles, leaks developed. I hear this happens when roofs, you know, move.
  5. Years of leaks caused significant rot in several rafters, down the shifted wall, and on the sill on which the entire house is resting.

That’s all.

It’s all being fixed, though, with serious jacks, new bracing and a big, ol’ can of Rot-B-Gone. Right now, we’ve got a big giant skylight that didn’t used to be there. (True story: The contractor started a day early, without us knowing. I asked the general contractor how he got inside. “Through the hole in the roof,” he said.)

This place will be a showpiece when we’re done, mark my words.

What do I mean? Here’s one example: To more easily do the repairs, we had to take out the old coal-burning fireplace, which was non-functioning anyway, but pretty. We salvaged a ton of bricks from this, of course, which means we’ve got the means to do a lot of beautiful hardscaping and courtyard building on the tiny lot.

So yeah, about that skeleton.

Jenn got quite a few comments on the Facebook when she posted an image of the hanging remains of a critter we first saw about two weeks ago.

Speculation ran rampant in comments about what it was. Lots of people said, “It’s a squirrel wink-wink” and all that. While I’m no biologist or paleontologist, I really do think it’s a squirrel, and not a rat, based on a little visual detection. Look at the short forearms, I tell ya.

Here’s our friend:

And here are the two most likely culprits:

Jenn and I have decided to put it to a vote… So study your course materials and weigh in down in the comments. We have agreed to accept your decision as final.

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