Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Some Progress Being Made

September 1, 2020 This weekend brought a new toilet adventure, yes, we feel like we are in permanent potty training… but also some progress both inside and outside. The photo of the front doors demonstrates one of the most mysterious unfinished design aspects of the exterior. What was the intended solution for the panels on each side of the door, the “ceiling” of the overhang, the support pillars (never mind the concrete pillar footings) and the steps and mini-patio area under the overhang? We had asked a number of people, but it was really an unknown and now for us to figure out. We suspected that the panels framing the door were intended to be aluminum, and the overhang with light fixtures was somehow unfinished because of that, which then impacted the completion of the vertical siding. The result was pretty messy looking – snaggletoothed siding, openings into the house through the uninsulated, unfinished ceiling, exposed beams, weather-damaged house wrap and so on. A squirrel nest fell out of an empty lighting fixture, there was squirrel droppings everywhere and the entire area was filthy. Yuck. But the set of doors and the matching windows are pretty cool.

We like wood ceilings, and the plan is to use some of the left over shiplap from the ceiling in the tower observation room. We decided to remove the light fixtures – old and outdated – and insert lighting later that would create a cone-shaped down light in front of each glass panel. Then we decided to use vertical siding the match the cedar tongue and groove siding from the tower, again using siding left over from the original construction. The vertical tower siding would be tidied up, finally.

Such an improvement! Combined with the dark gray siding on the office room, we were finally feeling better about the entrance. We liked boxing in the pillars with the siding too, but maybe there are other treatments we should consider. We had an idea (actually lots of people who come to the house have lots of ideas for us!) to face the foundation under the windows with granite, but that needs some thought. We would rather make some kind of narrow patio with a real rock wall. But, as they say, you have to “eat the elephant one bite at a time”.

Meanwhile, other things were happening. Adam installed some supports for the wooden work stairs from the 2nd to the 3rd floor, which were actually pretty secure but looked sketchy as heck, held in place with big C clamps… Bob L was out back on a series of ladders replacing the trim board along the middle garage roof. Remember how we thought we would find more carpenter bee damage? Yup.

The toilet saga? In short, we wanted to finish the garage bathroom, so that people coming to work at the house would have decent facilities. I ordered a stainless steel work sink on line, but went to Lowe’s to pick up the toilet myself, since the Dan the Plumber was coming to install the pipes right away. Dan took out the old one and when we unboxed the new one, it was missing the lid for the tank. Really? Off I drove to exchange it, but even though they said they had another, they really didn’t. The second Lowe’s had one, but it was bisque colored instead of white. The third Lowe’s refused to exchange the lidless toilet because it was the first Lowe’s problem. But the first Lowe’s didn’t have one! In the end, I bought another identical toilet, then drove back to the first Lowe’s and returned the lidless toilet, and drove home, FINALLY, with a complete toilet! Good thing I am not paying myself by the hour! Haha. Oh yeah. Don’t forget, it doesn’t really matter since we are merely playing fantasy flushing, because, drum roll, we STILL DON’T HAVE A WORKING SEPTIC TANK.

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