Found a bee in my apartment last night. A big-ass bee. Looked like a bumblebee, except it wasn't fuzzy like a bumblebee, it had a smooth abdomen like a hornet. It was pretty mellow, and I was able to capture it easily and toss it out the patio door, but I am not at all fond of stinging insects being in my place of living.
I've also noticed crickets. I think I've managed to capture all of them now, but I don't know how they are getting in. All of my exterior doors and windows are shut, and the weatherstripping looks to be in place. I don't open the patio door very often, and usually not for very long.
I suppose they may be coming in through the fireplace, but that seems really odd. I may have to check the plumbing and see if there are any cracks or voids.
I find the occasional spider, which is unavoidable. Very few though. I think 3-4 in the time I've been here. And they're almost all harvesters (like Daddy Longlegs).
I'm not fond of insects and insect-like creatures in general. They are fine outside, but in the house they are not welcome. I'm all for domestic mammals. I like cuddly critters. Bugs ain't cuddly.
I also have an air ionizer. Not the little piddly kind that you get from the Sharper Image catalog, but a real, honest-to-goodness ozoner like the ones used to sterilize the air in hospitals. Right now I have it feeding into the recirculatring air intake of the A/C. It gets rid of odors in a big way, and things like pollen and dust. It smells like the air after a thunderstorm. Makes for good nights sleep, too.
This is something that I'd like to use at the house when I get back. Unfortunately, the house doesn't have any kind of circulated air yet. The heat is hydronic (hot water) with radiators, and the only A/C that I have are window units. I would love to have central air, but trying to retrofit A/C ductwork into an old house is a nightmare. It can be done, and I will probably do it at some point. The big question is when.
I'm giving serious thought to retrofitting the porch for radiant floor heat. Since I'm rebuilding it anyway, I can insulate it to my heart's content, and have an actual useful space all year 'round. The floor is concrete, and thick. I don't know how small PEX tubing can get; half-inch would be the absolute biggest I'd want to go. I'd have to lay it out on the floor then pour more 'crete in on top of it, probably self-leveling compound. Then I can install a hardwood floor on top of that, and presto.
The other option would be to actually cut grooves in the concrete floor. While that would be awesome, I have no clue how to do it easily. I'm sure there is a tool designed to do that very thing out there somewhere, but it's not something that you can just pick up at Home Depot.
I have seen concrete saws, but they are difficult to deal with, and getting wide grooves requires multiple passes. And they are s-l-o-w. And messy. I need something like a concrete router. My best bet will still probably be small-diameter tubing.
Or I could break down and do radiators.
The biggest thing that I'd really like to do to the house is to add a second story, re-insulate and re-side the house. I hate hate hate the aluminum "no maintenance" siding that is currently on the house. It looks ugly, and it is so not maintenance-free. Just washing it can strip the paint off of it.
Originally the house was stucco. I like the look of stucco, but it is very high maintenance to keep it looking good. My absolute favorite would be stone, but I don't think it would fit well in the neighborhood.
I like the idea of concrete. Smooth, not textured, and probably tinted. Well-done concrete is a beauty to behold. But the house could end up looking kind of institutional.
I like NovaBrik. I've seen it, and it looks wonderful. It's a bit spendy for siding an entire house though.
Vinyl siding is inexpensive and easy to install. I'm not so crazy about the look, but it is low-maintenance, kind of a wash-n-go. And no painting.
There is a vinyl stucco substitute. Very friendly, but the choice of color is really important, as you are stuck with it forever.
A lot depends on the style that I want to achieve. Part of this issue is dealing with the front porch; because it's being rebuilt from the ground up, choosing the style becomes much more important because it is the curb-appeal side. I know that I want a more rectilinear shape to the windows instead of the curved-top windows that were in there.
And I hate the facade design of the roof. Maybe it was cool at one time, but now it looks like an aluminum Alamo. And it leaks.
I want to redo the roof. I want to raise it up about 8 feet higher than it currently is, preferably more. That would make for much more living space (or in my case studio space), and fix the roof isues at the same time.
I don't know whether I can do it. I know it would cause problems with the existing chimney, and I don't think that you can extend an old chimney-- it may have to be torn down and built new, which would suck. And I don't know whether the old house framing is capable of bearing the additional load.
It may not be worth it. I just know that the roof needs serious repair, and if it has to be done anyway, why not do a little more for a lot more gain?