The House

Finally got some of the trim up. The downstairs bedroom is done and the living room is done. When I get rid of the piano that’s sitting in front of one of the windows in the dining room, I’ll finish that area up too. For now, there’s at least some noticeable progress.

The living room pre-floor and pre-window trim

The living room pre-floor and pre-window trim

Feels a little cozier now.

Feels a little cozier now.

Made a little progress on the house in the last 6 months. Got the floor down in the living room in March, painted the outside of the house brown on July 4th weekend, and got the wood stove insert installed in the fireplace back in September. And just finished getting the firewood cut and split. I’ve been keeping it toasty warm!!!

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No moonshine is made in the shed although I am considering turning the shed into a smokehouse to make my own Famous Dave’s ribs.

Got the rest of the fascia boards up on the house on Sunday. All I’ve got to do is paint them if it ever gets above 50 degrees without raining. Not 30 minutes after I put the last board up I heard this scrambling and scratching that sounded like it was coming from upstairs. Went up and didn’t see anything. Went outside and looked up. There was a freaking squirrel CHEWING on the fascia boards I just put up. GRRRRR!!!! Where’s a 22 when you need one? Now I gotta put flashing up over the fascia board to keep that son-of-a-gun from chewing up the wood.


fireplacecleaning.jpgHad an appointment with a chimney sweep yesterday to come clean the chimney. Here’s the junk he cleaned out of it. At least there was nothing dead and decaying up in there!!!

Haven’t had much time to do stuff in the house for the past week and won’t have much time for the next week. I’m swamped in the shop and need to get my head above water before I continue with the house.

The saga continues…

In the last post I mentioned that replacing the linoleum in the bathroom snowballed into replacing the vanity and sink too. Well, it was because of that squirrel I found decaying in the corner. As I pulled the floor tiles out from under the vanity, I found a bunch of dog food that’s been disappearing from the dog bowls while I’m at work during the day. A mouse was squirreling it away under the vanity. Great. That meant he was getting in from behind the vanity. So, I unhooked the sink so I could pull the vanity away from the wall and look for anything fishy. Found a big hole chewed through the drywall. Grrr! When I pulled the vanity out, it literally started falling apart. The glue was dried out. Threw that puppy out on the burn pile and headed into Lowe’s for a replacement.

So, I figured the mouse mystery was solved. I’d found the hole, patched it, and that was the end of it.


Let’s back up a month or so ago when some friends were helping me with the house. They decided to throw something in the oven to warm it up quick. I wasn’t there but heard about it later. Apparently, there was a pretty bad smell coming from the oven. They turned it off and adamantly refused to clean the slightly crusty inside of the oven. No problem. I’d get to it later.

Later came last weekend. I tackled the oven which wasn’t all that bad. Looked like the former owner made a bunch of pizzas and let the cheese drip down. Nothing major. Cleaned the oven out and was all set to bake some bread and cookies over the weekend. Preheated the oven for the cookies. A couple minutes later a putrid stench filled the house. Ugh!!! Turned it off quickly. That smell was more than just the oven cleaner burning off! It smelled like dog-pee stained carpet being roasted.

Irene came down on Saturday afternoon to give me a hand with the oven. She cleaned the inside out again with soapy water this time. We slid it front and she cleaned behind it and noticed a hole chewed through the drywall. At this point, I knew what was coming but wasn’t sure how bad it would be. I patched up the hole and we continued with the stove. It was all clean so we turned it on. A few minutes later, the smell started and we noticed smoke rising from the back of the stove. Turned the stove off, unplugged it and unscrewed the back. Low and behold, there were 4 little feet sticking up in the air in the bottom of the back of the stove. Ugh. I stood there staring at it. Then I looked at Irene. Then back it. This was no tiny mouse. This was a rat! I don’t know what was going through Irene’s mind but I was thinking about how I was going to get that mostly-decayed-stuck-to-the-metal-been-there-for-a-long-time rat out of there without gagging and making a fool of myself in front of Irene. At that point, Irene nonchalantly turned around, pulled a couple of paper towels off the roll and bent down and pried the rat up. Then she proceeded to scrape the rest of him up with a putty knife and then cleaned off the metal back of the stove. All while I was standing there trying not to gag.

Then I noticed the little hole near the top on the back of the oven where you could see some of the insulation sticking out. It had a nice round hole in the insulation. Lovely. We lifted up the oven top and looked down in the sides. Sure enough this rat had been throughout the insulation. There were droppings (large, not little!) clearly visible. And it smelled like pee. That would account for the pee-stained carpet smell.

So I’ve been oven shopping in the classifieds, on Ebay, and on Craigslist. Looks like I found a brand new convection oven for a great price on Craigslist. I’ve been emailing back and forth with the guy this evening. I’ll hopefully have a stink-free oven come Saturday.


Hopefully, I’ve found all the dead animals that have decayed in the place over the past years. I don’t ever want to find another rodent – dead or alive – so I replaced the screens on all the windows into the crawl space and sealed up a couple little holes on Sunday.

Thank you Irene for (as the runners put it this morning) doing what only a mother could do and cleaning up the mess!

Got the linoleum down in the bathroom…which snowballed into also putting in a new vanity and sink. Don’t ask. And the water filter was installed on Friday. Funnily enough, the pressure release valve on the water heater went out about 10pm Thursday night. Scared the crap out of me!!! Had to fix that so I could turn the water back on before the water guy got there at 9am Friday morning. Thankfully Lowe’s opens EARLY!

Got 3 trees dropped 2 Fridays ago. Two were overhanging my nice, new roof and the third one was on its way out. I just had them drop the one and take the other two down to the trunk with a bucket truck. Dropped the other two trunks and cut up most of the trunks and major limbs two weekends ago. Waiting for the weather to break on a day off so I can finish cutting and split the wood. That’ll be next year’s heat.

Got two loads of shingles finally hauled to the dump last Monday. Just made the 1pm closing time thanks to Kris and Irene’s help in loading and unloading the trailer. What a muddy mess.

Also picked up the flooring for the living room. Was reluctantly going to do carpet because it was cheapest until Bonnie (running buddy) told me about the heart pine they put down in their house. I love the look of wood floors (plus it’s a lot easier to clean with two dogs inevitably tracking mud in the house) but figured it was out of my league. I looked up the prices and found some great deals at Lumber Liquidators – about the same price as mid grade carpet. Went with Kris (sister) and picked up the lot last weekend.

Tore down the spiral staircase so I can get the walls finished behind it and get furniture moved upstairs. I disassembled part of it and Dad, Brian (Kris’ boyfriend) and friends of Kris and Brian (who unknowingly showed up at just the right time!) moved the main piece into the kitchen where it will stay until it is sold or put back up. :-( Anyone want to buy a spiral staircase?

That’s it for now. Gotta run…big night tonight…cleaning out the oven so I can start cooking out there.

I just wanted to make it clear that….

No steroids or performance-enhancing drugs were used to complete any of the building projects on the house.

Although they probably would have helped!

FINISHED THE ROOF TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whew! Took long enough with all the weather delays. And other than a few bloody knuckles from scraping them on the asphalt shingles and a minor goose egg on the forehead when the crowbar got away from me, there were no injuries. All appendages are still attached and in good working order.

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Also got all the windows in and insulated. What a difference it made in the propane. Wee doggie! Before the windows were in, it was taking 4-5 gallons of propane per day to keep the temp at a blistering 55-60 degrees inside. With all the new windows in and insulated and the doors sealed up, propane consumption has dropped to 1-2 gallons per day with outside temperatures a little lower and inside temps 65-70. Can’t wait to get a fireplace insert in so I can really crank the heat up in the evenings without paying a fortune.

Still have to put all the trim up inside and lay rug and linoleum. I’m looking forward to doing the trim. When I worked for the carpenter during college I watched a lot of trim go up. Now I get to try my hand at making the cuts.

Furniture is already in. Had to do things a little backwards. Had to get the furniture in when the help was available. There was no way I was going to be able to move the sofa and chair myself.

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Martin Water is coming out on Wednesday to install a water filter system to take the sulfur smell and iron out of the water. Woo hoo. Then I can start actually living and cooking out there. Going to pick up some flour. The first thing I’m going to make is some home made bread!

Made some progress on the house since my last posting. Finished the north side of the roof and got the shingles torn off of the south side last weekend. Yeaayyy! Do I look tired?

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It’s been raining, snowing, or sleeting this entire past weekend so I haven’t been able to finish up the south side.


Instead I’ve been working inside. Cleaned the layers of scum off the walls upstairs. That’s it for the cleaning! Spackled all the holes and got the entire place (walls and ceilings) primed. Put a coat of paint on the ceilings while practicing some ballet moves yesterday.


The windows were delivered today (again). Hopefully they are the right sizes this time. We’ll see.

Dave, Sherry, Dad, Irene, and Kris came over at different times over the weekends to lend moral support and bring much needed food! Thanks guys!!!

Spent a wild and crazy Saturday morning running a road race in Lebanon with the HARD Runners group. More about that when I get the pictures. Edited: Got the pics. Review is here.

letter.jpgStarted out this weekend with a good laugh. Found a note from the previous owner in my mailbox. Here is a copy of it. Keep in mind that we closed on Oct. 10th. I received the letter 3 and a half weeks later on Nov. 3. I hate to tell him but everything’s been cleared out and either burned or taken to the dump. Bummer. BTW, he never did forward his mail elsewhere.

Met the neighbors this weekend and got a better idea of where the property boundaries are. Can’t wait to get the place surveyed in the spring to know for sure.

Spent the weekend tearing off shingles, replacing fascia boards, and drip edges, and getting ready to reshingle next weekend. A bunch of people from the running group came out to help – Shawn, Erin, Gail, Nat, and Rob. Thanks guys!!!

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The new windows also arrived…but they were the wrong sizes. Grrrr! I gave them the sizes of the rough openings and they ordered them as the exact sizes of the windows. None of them fit in the openings. :-( Reordered them and they should be in in two weeks.

Got a propane tank in and hooked up this morning (Thursday). The tech who hooked everything up was a super nice guy and cleaned out the wall unit for me in order to get the heater to light. Now I have heat!!! I can go back and work inside without freezing!

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