The House

I am the owner of a brand spanking new mortgage. After two and a half months of trying to close on a house, I finally signed the papers today. I don’t think there was much ink left in the pen after all those signatures!

Now I just have to wait for the guy to get his stuff out of the house…he’s only had two and a half months, after all. :-(

In the meantime, I’m going on a short backpacking trip…my last hoorah before I have to replace a roof and windows, put siding up, clean up and generally make the place inhabitable.

I’ll get some pictures once the guy has moved his stuff out.

I’ve decided to track the progress on my house by keeping a journal of the project here. I’ll post pictures and describe what’s been done as it happens.

First thing’s first – I called on Tuesday to get the electric turned back on. The previous owner didn’t pay his bills so the electric was turned off over a month ago. After jumping through some hoops to convince them that I just bought the house and that I was not the previous owner, they put in a work order for Wednesday. I stopped over Wednesday evening intending to get started on the project but the electric had NOT been turned on. Grrr. There was a foul up in Met-Ed’s (the power company) work order. They assured me the power would be turned on today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Went over this morning and changed the locks on the two doors and took some pictures of the outside. Problem is, I’m too embarrassed to post the pictures until I get the place cleaned up at least a little so it’s easier to see the potential the place has. Of course, “potential” is a synonym for “a lot of freaking work!” Once I get the place emptied of all the junk the guy left behind, I’ll post some pictures, I promise.

The electric WAS turned on Thursday, Oct 18th. Yeayyy! Still trying to catch up in the shop from being gone so I waited until Saturday to dive in. Changed my shop hours – Saturdays are by appointment through the end of the year – so that I can work on the house Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and then work double time in the shop Tuesday through Friday. Got a slew of stuff done this weekend. But first I’ll post the pictures of the property (outside only!) before I started any work.

Taken from the northeast corner of the land

From the southeast corner

From the west

Northern part of the property that desperately needs clearing. There’s actually a spring in there somewhere.

There’s also a stream that cuts down the western part of the land, in addition to the spring. This is the driest part of the year and the stream is flowing well.

A pond that the stream flows into

Part of the lane heading back to the house

The roof needs to be replaced. It’s not leaking yet (that I’ve found anyway) but it’s in rough shape. Plus my insurance will drop in price once the roof is replaced and a railing is added to the porch. Paid for the shingles last week but have to wait until a trailer is available to pick them up.

All the windows in the place also need to be replaced. They are also in sad shape. Ordered the windows yesterday. Not one single window is standard size nor can any of them be framed out to use a standard sized window. So they were all custom ordered. Ouch! Ended up paying a bit more than anticipated. They should be in and delivered in 2 weeks. Crossing my fingers that they show up and that I have the roof done by then.

Spent the weekend at the house emptying the place out and collecting all the junk the guy left behind into one spot. It was a major operation…there was a LOT of junk. On Sunday some friends and their spouses from the group I run with came out to lend a helping hand. Wow. I didn’t know they were all so destructive! Rob especially had a gleam in his eye at the mention of tearing carpet out and taking down a fence.

Once we got all the junk out of the house, ripped out all the carpet, cleaned out the shed, and did a variety of other tasks, we cranked up a bonfire of some of the burnables and roasted hot dogs. Dad and Irene came over and pulled out most of the scrap steel and aluminum from the pile. (They hauled the stuff away and got about $50 for the metal and the 4 batteries.) Dave and Sherry showed up with ice cream and Sherry tackled the fridge (disgusting!!!) while Dave helped Bonnie and Denny set the leaning outhouse right. :-)

We got more done on Sunday than I ever thought possible. These people were workers! Thank you sooooo much for all your help guys. I could never express in words how much it meant to me.

Monday paled by comparison. I got most of the bathroom cleaned out. Amazing that the walls were actually white when I got done washing them, instead of the yellowish tobacco and fly pooh stains. Blech!

It’s back to the shop for the rest of the week now. I’ll post more next week.

Nat and Rob after ripping up the carpet

Shawn and Nat by the pile o’ garbage collected

Dave rolls up Sherry’s sleeves before she “dives” into the fridge

Shawn and Rob taking an unauthorized break

Shawn, Nat, me, and Bonnie proudly standing in front of the pile o’ junk

Rob’s happy as a clam ’cause he gets to take some wood home

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The most important job of the day – fixing the outhouse

Charlie takes a walk through the muddy spring runoff

Nat, Bonnie, and Denny laughing at Charlie

Dad and Dave sitting around the bonfire

The bonfire

West side of living room

Dining area and east side of living room



Tiny bedroom

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Loft area

ceilingbeforeafter.jpgSpent the weekend bopping to my favorite groups (Glad and Michael Buble) and scrubbing cigarette smoke, wood and coal burning soot, and fly poop off every inch of the downstairs. It was disgusting. You can see the film that was on everything in this picture. Fortunately, Dave and Sherry tipped me off to Awesome, an all purpose cleaner found at the Dollar Store. Spray it on and the junk would just run down the wall. All I had to do was wipe it down several times to get all the loosened dirt off. I’m glad I went to the trouble of doing all this because I don’t think paint would have stuck otherwise!

The low point of the weekend was scraping up the partially decayed squirrel from behind the bathroom vanity with a spackle knife. In between gagging attacks I shoved him into the wet/dry vac hose. That had to be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.

krisbrian.jpgKris and Brian came over on Sunday evening and pulled all the staples and tacks out of the floor and vacuumed up (after we emptied the squirrel from the sweeper). And other than being outsmarted by some fly strips – opening them up is NOT a simple task! – it was a good weekend. Got a lot accomplished even if it doesn’t look like it.

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!

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.

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!

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!

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