Thursday, October 21, 2010

Something unusual part 2

This is the interior of my house, click for a larger view.


Every room but the junk room has a sliding glass door, or a French door.

This is why there is a security system. Not to keep people out so much but to keep boys in. They could, in theory, go out their bedroom door and up the atrium steps and we’d never know they left unless we went in their room to find them. Bad enough when it is just them at 7 wanting a little adventure. Fast forward a few years to friends with driver’s licenses, who could drive part way up the driveway and pick up or drop off the boys at night, again, without us having the slightest clue because sound does not carry through dirt.

So fully armed alarm system with keypad in parents’ room it is! Fortunately it is right off the kitchen so it is an easy dash to disarm when you get home.

The junk room’s window opens onto a shaft in the hillside. It looks like a wide chimney from the outside but it’s just a shaft to an underground window. I suppose it’s purpose is to let in some light. We use it as a root cellar & keep potatoes & things in bins in it.

If you saw the photos yesterday you see we have a regular front door. It hasn’t been used since 2002 & is now blocked off with bookshelves and the entryway itself is a toy storage area. The French doors to the kitchen are now the front door. Salesmen find it confusing. They knock at one door & watch me walk past them to another room & open a different door. We’d remodel that space but we have no idea what to do with it & it’s a bump out area & weird architecturally so we’d need professional help with it & there is never money for professional help in the budget.

You might notice there are bookshelves in every room, including the bathrooms.

We read a lot. And we often lose guests for ages in the bathrooms when they get caught up in a short story or something.

There is a 2 foot cinder block wall running through the middle of the house. This is an example of the over engineering done on the roof support system.

It’s also the reason I have wonky internet in the bedroom


You can access the internet on the porch, in the swimming pool, on the toilet & in the shower. But NOT in bed. Theoretically the signal should reach the bed, but the cinder block wall has a dampening effect on many things.

Including my spirits whenever I think about remodeling.

You cannot remodel around a 2 foot thick cinder block wall.

Not on our budget, which does not run to that level of demolition & then people throw around words like “load bearing'” on top of it.

But still, I never have to worry about my teenagers surfing porn sites in their bedrooms.

They can surf for porn in the living room like their father.

Despite the 14 feet of dirt around my house. We do not have 14 foot ceilings. We have tiled drop ceilings. Useful from a wiring, venting & plumbing standpoint. EVERYTHING is in the ceiling & easily accessible, assuming the stoners who built this place didn’t think it would be neat to block off that  area, run a wonky dog leg bend in the vent around a corner for no good reason or run the drywall up into the ceiling in that spot for some reason. Also a problem for my allergies. Moving a ceiling tile is deadly for me.I have to leave the house until the dust settles, making me useless as a helper.

But the Dish guy was DELIGHTED by it. His 2 hour install booking only took 30 minutes & he was able to run some personal errands as a result.

The wiring is interesting. My kitchen has 3 light switches in it. It’s not that big really. Two switches would be sufficient.  They are all dual switches. One also turns on the hall light. One also turns on a living room outlet (I suppose they expect us to plug a lamp into it but I have my mp3 player speakers there instead). And one switch we don’t know what the hell it turns on. 13 years of living here & we’ve never figured out what that switch is connected to. Tracing the wiring leads DH to believe it has something to do with the soffit lighting outside, but we’re not sure what. It doesn't turn those lights off & on.

There is a triple switch in the entryway. It’s got it’s own special brand of wonkiness. Sometimes the middle switch turns on the overhead light. Sometimes it doesn’t. We don’t know why. Maybe poltergeists?

The other two switches control the motion lights outside & the soffit lights. Except when they don’t. The motion lights come on with motion no matter what the switches are up to, but sometimes you can set them on permanently.

When the stars align.

This only happens at 2am when you are trying to sleep. It never happens at 9pm when you have people over and are sitting outside & would like continuous light, not light you have to keep getting up, going to a corner and jumping up and down to have.

The soffit lights?  Rumor has it they work. Supposedly they have fresh bulbs. Not that they have been replaced in my children’s lifetime but then those lights have never been on in my children’s lifetime so I don’t see how they could have burned out. We think it requires some arcane combination of switch flipping involving the triple switch in the entryway, the dual switch in the kitchen and some other switch we have yet to identify.

I told DH I wanted him to put a switch for them or the motion lights in our bedroom because as it currently stands say I hear a noise outside & for whatever electrical reason the motion lights don’t come on. I have to leave the bedroom, walk, fully exposed past the French doors, go into the entryway, flip switches at random until light appears, walk fully exposed again past the French doors and then peek through the curtains in my bedroom to see what the noise was. Because I am not pressing myself again the French doors & trying to see the sides of the porch. Nor am I opening them to do so. And I have to do all of it in the dark because if I turn the inside lights on I cannot see outside from the window glare.

But DH cannot figure out how to wire in a switch to the wonky mess of outside light wiring. Neither could an electrician who suggested we just rewire the whole thing.

The budget does not allow for mass rewiring by professionals and DH does not have the time for mass rewiring by himself.

Until then I suppose I’ll continue to dash at top speed across the kitchen in the dark whenever I hear a strange noise outside.

Did I mention I sleep in the nude?

Now THERE is a visual.

Next time in this series I’ll discuss fun facts about the plumbing, the cement flooring and this odd dead space behind the steps.

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SciFi Dad said...

OK wow... this is really interesting. I'd never want to live there (too many "wonky" things that would drive me nuts that I'd want to replace but, like you guys, wouldn't have the budget to pay for) but definitely interesting.

And dampened WiFi out of the teen bedrooms? BRILLIANT. I've got to start painting my kids' bedroom walls with lead paint.

Vic said...

As to the WiFi, we had to get a repeater. It's in the kitchen as the main router is in the office at the other end of the house and on the lower level. We get a great signal from it.

LosingBrownies said...

I couldn't get the picture to enlarge, but I got the jist of it. That is a pretty cool house for sure!

Carrie said...

Looks like a neat house! And lol at the "odd dead space" behind the steps, we have a little door in one of the rooms that leads to "storage" under there. Just makes the room look so weird.

Rinda1961 said...

Love this so much! I'm so glad you're sharing it with us. We have wonky electric, too. None of the outlets in any of the bathrooms currently work. They're in vastly different parts of the house. Electrician couldn't figure out why. And there are certain light fixtures where the bulbs (which are supposed to last years) only last a few months.

humel said...

This is fascinating, thanks so much for taking the time to share all this detail :-) I loved snooping at all the details in your plan - and I did notice all the bookcases, and it made me smile!

We have odd lightswitches, too, though maybe not quite as strange as yours..... But most of our switches aren't actually in the room where the light is. You have to plan ahead if you want the bathroom light to be on by the time you get into the bathroom itself, for example.

I'm now concerned that our wireless reception will be so good in my son's room. He's nearly 11. Lead paint, huh, SciFi Dad?

Jean Has Been Shopping said...

This is really incredible! Thank you for the peek inside. Yesterday's post just scratched the surface.

Darcy said...

Cool! I've always wanted a peek into your house. I'm jealous of it (even with it's flaws) and my Dad drools over houses like this.

Andrea @ The Creative Junkie said...

I have always been fascinated by your house - it's so different and cool, I think. Were you looking specifically for a house like this when you bought it? I wonder what your first impression was when you saw it?