House Remodeling -- Demolition
February, 2003

Many of our readers had a common question about our "beach cottage."


The beach, on the bay side, is 50 yards from our little "fixer".  Mitch and Cocoa are walking to Mission Bay in this photo.  Our truck is parked along the back side of the house.


Here's an aerial picture.  Mission Beach, (MB), is the skinny strip of land between the two bodies of water.  Mission Bay is on the left of MB and the Pacific Ocean is on the right.
Pacific Beach, (PB), is the community towards the bottom of the photo and extends to the left, (to the east,) for about five miles.  PB extends from the Pacific Ocean, along the north side of Mission Bay, to I-5.  If you come to San Diego on vacation and want to visit Sea World, you'll find it in PB.
If you look carefully at our truck in the picture above, you'll notice Cheryl's MB sticker in the window.  Cheryl grew up in PB, but coonsiders MB her home-town.  I put an arrow on the picture pointing to our cottage.

Next is a view looking toward the Pacific Ocean.  It's about 50 yards to Mission Blvd., (the main street running through Mission Beach,) then another 75 yards and the Pacific Ocean.
Our lot is 25 feet wide.  Our truck is 21 1/2 feet long and 8 feet 1 inch wide.  Often we find cars parked in the alley and have to maneuver around them to turn the corners or drive down the alley.  Sometimes we have to park out on the main street and walk in.  Getting to and parking at our little house can really be a hassle. Our truck is just too big for Mission Beach.
  We decided to try to find a small, used, cheap pickup truck for our remodeling project.  We've been looking, but so far we've learned that most of the older, beat-up Toyotas and similar trucks don't pass the rigorous California emissions testing.  Rather than fix them up, they simply sell them in Mexico.
On to the tear-out. 

Out comes all of the carpet, floor tile, cabinets, appliances and drywall.

It's hard to believe, but all of the scrap material fit into two U-haul trailer loads.

Off we go to the dump!

I haven't been to an actual landfill-style dump in 25 years.  In my hometown of Seattle, everyone uses a "transfer station".  This is where you throw garbage into a large compactor.

The first trip we made to the dump was in a heavy rain.  San Diego locals don't like the rain -- it's something they just aren't familiar with.  On normal days you might have 5 to 10 highway accidents, but on days with heavy rainfall there are 50 to 100 auto accidents and spinouts. 

Local TV channels interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to report that "there's heavy rain out there,"  and we found out that trailers are not allowed in the dump when it rains, even if we have 4-wheel drive.

We finally got rid of all of the scrap material.
Here we are removing carpet tacks and staples from the floor.
We've taken just about everything out of the house. Except for the drain pipe, it's all gone.  We took out everything, "including the kitchen sink." 
So what's behind wall #3?

What a mess.  We removed the drywall and found this.

It's the original cottage's back outside wall. 

Somebody, (in the past 50 years,) did a poor job of installing plumbing and electrical wiring. After they stuck all of this on to the outside of the back wall, they covered over it with sheets of drywall, put a couple of walls around it, and added a roof, and -- presto!! -- had a studio apartment!

But this place was just what we were looking for.  We wanted a place we could rebuild completely.  We want to do it correctly, without having to tear out expensive walls and appliances that are merely an attractive façade over real problems.
I was talking before about heavy rain in San Diego.  When it rains here, puddles form.  The puddles are just a little larger here.

Not a good day to go to the dump.  This is Mission Blvd. and Pacific Beach Drive.  Though it looks like a disaster, it is a common sight in San Diego beach communities when it rains hard.  Once the rain stops, it will drain away in an hour or two.

It rained again this weekend, (March 15,) and they say it might be the last time it rains all year, (meaning until next January.)  Just wait -- now we'll have the wettest Spring on record.

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