A Day at the House: Attic Cleaning, Reinforced Doors, and a Stereoscope Viewer

On Saturday, we had big plans to work on the new house. We were going to be meeting Bob and Julie there early in the morning, and so Liz and I got up around 7:30 AM, packed up the car with our kitchen table, two chairs, and a host of box/supplies… and our car decided it wasn’t going to start up anymore.

On looking closer at the battery, there was a considerable amount of corrosion on the battery terminals. The car was still receiving power (though the dash kept flickering on/off like a tilted pinball game, every time I put in the keys), but it wouldn’t turn over.

Luckily for us, we spotted a guy coming out of a nearby apartment with a few suitcases. I assumed he was traveling somewhere, but asked if he had time to help us with a jump. In short order, we got the car started again… and were looking in decent shape. Liz called around, and most of the nearby repair options were booked in the morning. But we got a hold of the Honda dealership, and got a repair slot within the hour.

We were good so long as we kept the car running. But on pulling into the dealership, Liz drove up, parked, and out of habit turned off the car as she exited. Luckily for us, the car started again quickly, and the attendants whisked it away for repair.

Turns out the battery in the car was original, back from when I first bought the car some six years ago. It seemed best (and safest) to just replace the battery outright, as it had gotten progressively harder to start the car the past six months or so (I could see us having trouble with the old battery in the dead of winter). I think we got some pretty good use out of this guy, all in all.

Though we had a different morning than what we planned, the day went really well. We were out of commission for maybe 4 minutes, and got a repair slot within the hour. Shy of us running into a mechanic who had an extra battery and time on his hands to do the repairs where we broke down, I don’t know how the morning could have gone any better.

Liz and I spent an hour or so at the dealership hanging out, and talking over some kitchen plans for the new house. We pulled in to Hyde Park around noon, and after going out for sandwiches with Julie and Bob… we started to get to work on the house.

Julie and Liz donned some Tyvek suits, and climbed into the attic. Bob and I headed into the basement, and went to work on reinforcing the basement/cellar door.

After an hour or two later, Bob and I went upstairs to check on the girls. The room (which had previously been empty), had been slowly filled up. Lots of bags of trash, lots of old boxes, and a ton ofpacking peanuts (which the prior tenants were using as some kind of insulation material, apparently).

Like I said, a TON of stuff. Luckily, when we arrived, they were on the verge of climbing down and bringing down lots of bags/boxes. Instead, they just stayed up there and passed things down to me.

Some random old boxes, showing a wide range of age (dig that Nesquik logo).

A very large, empty film reel container. Sadly, the actual film was nowhere to be found.

I cannot emphasize how dirty and disgusting the attic was. Liz and Julie braved the upstairs using Tyvek suits and masks, but from what they reported – the floor was littered with mouse pee and poop. There was a ton of junk up in the attic, and the mice/squirrels just had a field day with it all.

From what they described, it sounded like one large bathroom up there. I’m not doing justice to how gross it was, so I’m going to wait and let Liz describe the view from up there.

Me with Bob, working on fixing up the basement door.

Back up stairs near the end of the day, more random finds.

And more bags of trash.

Liz set aside a pile of objects that looked like they might be valuable, or worth keeping. This weird thing was very interesting – a super old bag full of what looked like lenses, along with some kind of imaging device.

The bag contained things like german filters and “optical glass.” Not really certain what this stuff is.

Doing a quick search, it looks like this is a stereoscope viewer, intended to view images taken with a stereo camera. Doing a quick search on ebay, it looks like the Verscape F40 cameras run around the $400 – $600 range. I found one description of the viewer as “extremely rare,” but so far found haven’t seen any prices.

It looks like we have a lot of lenses for the F40 camera, and the viewer, but no actual camera. Will need to do a little more digging, and try to figure out if this guy is worth anything. Perhaps if we wind up with enough found items that are worthwhile, we’ll take Dave Wolff up on his offer of a booth at Wolff’s Flea Market.

Tyvek suits, aftermath.

For the next few hours or so, the four of us hung out in the kitchen and talked about layouts. We’re deciding to focus on the kitchen as our primary room that we want to tackle first, but a whole host of decisions have to be made before we can start.

Note: We had a bottle of wine with us, but no opener. I tried the shoe trick unsuccessfully, but Bob ended up using a drywall screw and a pair of pliers.

We spent a lot of time talking about where to place things – sink, dishwasher, kitchen, stovetop, etc. And there’s now talk of potentially moving the back window and back door, a pretty major overhaul… but a change that would allow us to utilize more of the kitchen.

Lots of work, and lots of discussion today. I’m glad Liz got the chance to be at the house and to really talk/discuss/explore options with Bob and Julie today. I know I had some great talks with Bob last weekend, and I’m happy Liz got to do the same.

A Day With Bob at the New House

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Hi Felix,
    The Rollei one is a filter for a Rolleiflex like the one I brought to your bachelor party. The ones in pairs might then be lenses for adjusting the focal length of a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera. Anything Rollei is pretty collectible. I’ve sold that kind of thing on eBay, it’s super hot in Japan.

    Alex Reply

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