An Unexpected Mess

I had not intended for the first project on Saturday morning to be replacing the deadbolt in the front door.  The keys I was given for the condo had been used to lock the doorknob itself, which I had noticed was a little temperamental.  But after lugging gallons of paint up to the third floor to begin the day, that doorknob just did not want to unlock.  Here I am, not 24 hours into this project, jimmying the lock while sitting on the hallway floor. After a good 20 minutes and an almost-meltdown (“I’m locked out of my own condo!”), I finally managed to bust in, and replacing the deadbolt become priority number one.


For my first official project, I think I did pretty well.  It’s a standard-issue Home Depot deadbolt, and cost me $9.97 (although the peace of mind was priceless).

The next project was the alarm system.  I had questions about the alarm system since my realtor first showed me the place.  I thought it was odd that the keypad itself was connected to a power switch, so every time you turned the switch on, the alarm went off.  Not to mention the thing looks like it’s from the Stone Age, and let’s face it, I really don’t have the budget to be paying money to an alarm company every month.  But, how to disconnect it?  I mean, I’d like to be able to use that light switch for something!


I found an ancient business card taped to the alarm manual (which, regretfully, did not include a code), and gave the guy a call.  No response yet, but here’s hoping I hear something soon.  Otherwise, I’m going to have to go cutting the wires, which I’m pretty sure is illegal…

The biggest project on the condo was always going to be ripping out the flooring.  There were no less than 6 different kinds of flooring in the condo, which is ridiculous because there are only 4 ‘official’ rooms.  I had already decided to go with wood laminate in the living room and bedrooms.  My realtor and a few others tried to convince me to go with real hardwood, but who am I, Rockefeller?  To cut my costs even further, I knew I wanted to rip the carpet out myself.  That way I could avoid the extra fees that would magically appear when it comes time for installation of the new floors.  Special thanks to my mom and aunt for their help with this!

Here is the ugly, and clearly worn, carpet. Now you see it…


Now you don’t!


It took about 4 hours to rip up the carpet itself, the pad underneath, and the nail strips against the wall.  We used 2 utility knives with heavy duty blades to cut through the material, and a hammer and pry bar to pull up the nail strips.  For the next few days, I will be using a flat-head screwdriver to pull up all of the staples out of the plywood.

Unfortunately, we discovered a real problem around the sliding glass door to the balcony.  Once the corner of the carpet was pulled back, we found some serious wood rot.  Water has clearly been coming in for years and gathered mostly underneath the corners of the door.  Even the sheet rock behind the wall crumbled in my hands.  Yikes!  Not exactly the best thing to find when you’re on a pretty strict budget.  Now the condo “politics” begin.  Since the water is coming in from outside, and technically I only own everything from the walls in, we have to determine whose responsibility it will be to find the problem and repair the damage.  I’m really hoping the management’s insurance company will cover it, since I may have to put some other projects on hold while we get it sorted out.  Here’s hoping for the best!

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