Monday, November 20

Be Careful What You Wish For....

The Joys of Home Ownership?
Exhaustion, pain, sore muscles, bruises, cuts, sleepless nights and more. Well it hasn't been exactly what I had in mind since we moved in. Of course our particular situation is not exactly normal either. With my physical limitations due to my back in direct opposition to my husband's need to constantly be busy, there is a hard to maintain balancing act going on regularly. We also have had several discussions about what is and is not a priority as far as needing to be done now, and what can or should wait to be done for better weather.

When any new home owners move into an older home they are faced with the fact that there are things that they want to do to the home, some of which are priorities that really need attention immediately, and others are going to fall into the category of improvements that the home owner wants to make themselves. These projects of course face many determining factors beside priority such as cost and time of year. For example our home needs gutters installed for a very pratical reason. Drainage. With an average to heavy rain the water flowing off the roof ends up under the foundation and gutters with properly placed down spouts would divert the rainwater away from the foundation. Even though the money is available for the purchase of the gutters now, installing gutters in the cold weather is not at all a pleasant job and better left till early spring. After all, if the house has lasted 30 yrs without them, it will certainly make it another few months.

We discoved that one of the panes in the master bathroom window actually had a gap where the glazing was missing and had to be corrected quickly before the weather got really cold. This seeming easy repair problem revealed a much worse problem though. Evidently the window had been repaired or broken before because the entire wooden frame was barely being held together by a badly placed couple of nails. The window was obviously going to need replacement. Luckily this house has storm windows in addition to the regular windows, and since late October is not the best time for doing this type work, the glaze was replaced so that the gap was sealed and we will replace the window later.

Several other things have been done here and there. As I stated, my husband can not sit still. The red dining room walls are gone and so is the awful camo crap on the wall in the entry hallway. (That was horrible to take off and whatever idiot put that there should be tarred and feathered!) More on this later as I get time and pics to come. With the holidays coming and we are preparing for my parents 50th Wedding anniversary time will continue to be spread in several directions. (I am looking forward to January cause I swear I am taking the whole month off!)

Monday, October 16

Testing The Heater

Low Forecast to Dip Into 30s F
You know how occassionally you catch someone doing what they have basically told you not to do? Then you get the old line "Well you should do as I say....not as I do." This is one of those occassions. Always check out your heaters functioning BEFORE that first cold snap is forecast by every weather guy on the news. That way if anything is not functioning correctly, you may have time for repairs before you spend a cold night or two.

Again a higher power is taking care of us, because with just a couple of minutes for me to figure out that the gas was cut off going into the heater, I heard our gas pack fire up and then heat was flowing through the ducts of the house just minutes before darkness fell Friday evening. The low temperatures at night have been between 34-38 F all weekend and it has been a constant 70 F inside. It's been a very long time since I used propane gas to heat with, so I have no idea how long that large tank of gas in the yard will last but we will find out. (Have no idea how much it cost to fill it either)

Tuesday, October 10

Purchases for Home

Always Things to Buy With a New Home
I finally found a rug for the living room of the house. We have wood flooring in the living room and dining room, and really need a rug in our seating area. The wood is beautiful, but even too much of a good thing is enough. There is also a bit of an echo still in here and I know the rug will help.

I did my research after just hitting the stores and gasping at the prices of larger rugs. It's amazing how expensive these things get, but I have come to find out that the old saying of "You get what you pay for" tends to apply here in part. I am still a shopper through and through so it goes against my very nature to just cough up hundreds of dollars for something until I know that I have exhausted every possible avenue of resources. I already had access to QVC and had seen their hand-carved wool rugs, which my research had told me was the best as far as material, so I had that in the back of my mind. I am picky about what kind of rug I want to spend $200+ for, as I am sure everyone reading this would be too. My husband came up with an idea, but it involved plane tickets to Pakistan to buy the rug plus shipping cost on top of the cost of the rug, which he pointed out would be cheaper than buying here. "Nice try, and I won't forget that either" I told him. "That rug or rugs comes later."

Monday, October 9

Keys to Rental Turned Over

Finally Done With Townhouse
As is always the case when you are moving, you have one place to move into and set up, and one place to move out of and clean. Last night we finished cleaning the townhouse we have rented for the last year, or at least as much as could be done. It was not as clean as I would have preferred, but then I have never moved into any rental that I did not spend time cleaning first either. I just was not able to physically do any more. My husband had spent several mornings going over there and cleaning at things. When I went to check the townhouse last week, it became apparent to me that men not only clean at things, but they must be unaware of some things. So for those males out there that need to clean an apartment before you leave, want your deposit back, and don't want someone like me talking about you like I have been talking about the previous owners of this house....I offer the following tips.

Male Household Cleaning Tips
**The vegetable bin comes out of the fridge for cleaning and most definitely will have something under it that you probably don't really want others to see.
**Hair anywhere in the food preparation area is bad. If you eat your own hair, well that's one thing, but no one wants hair in their fridge that mysterious in origin.
**The kitchen floor actually ends when it hits a vertical surface, IE up under the cabinets, stove, and fridge. The imaginary straight line down in front of the previously mentioned objects doesn't count.
**When using an oven cleaner, read the directions. If electric, when you spray the oven, save yourself some time and also take out the burner elements on the stove (they just plug in), remove the drip pans under each, place in sink, and spray these too. You must rinse the oven after cleaning with oven cleaner. Wipe out the oven cleaner with paper towels, then again with wet paper towels to get all the cleaner off the oven surface. If anything stubbornly remains, grab a Brillo pad. If the drip pans are beyond hope, they can be purchased at many retailers for a few dollars per set.
**That dark brown scum ring all around the faucet and sink drain will come out so don't ignore it. Scrub it. The same thing goes for around the base of the toilet.
**Don't forget to look up. Get the cobwebs down from the ceiling with the broom, clean the light fixtures, wipe the top of the door frames, and the top of the fridge counts as a surface too. (I actually take down dirty light fixtures yearly and soak in tub with warm diluted bleach water. Throw the shower curtain in first and get all soaked clean at the same time including the tub, if not too icky.)
**The places you put your hands all the time are dirty. Light switch plates, around door knobs, fridge handle, etc.
**Don't play around with 20 different products to clean. Glass cleaner, Comet type scouring power & toilet brush, dish washing liquid, Clorox spray, Brillo pads, paper towels, nylon/plastic scouring pads, oven cleaner, mop, broom and dust pan. Outside of cleaning the carpet (vacuum & carpet cleaner, which can be rented) you can clean any place with these items. The Clorox spray and Brillo pads are the heavy guns so use with care and only after the dish washing liquid has failed. Clorox spray is bleach so watch what you are spraying it on, and the Brillo pad will scratch some finishes. Mop floors with a appropriate floor cleaning product and be sure to rinse. (Remop with clean water)

Monday, October 2

New Places for Your Things

Tired of Boxes Everywhere!
We are really lucky in that we have much more room in this house than we ever imagined. We both tend to be pack rats with our different husband with his computer parts and wires, and me with nick-knacks and etc. Well you never know when something will come in handy. (The motto of a typical pack rat)

We are going through things and separating out what we don't need as we get to them. We had tried doing this with the last move but much of our things were stored in a rented storage room on the other side of town, and the summer heat got the best of us in that project. All the things that came from that storage area are presently in the garage and we will go through them later after we recuperate from dealing with moving into the house. We had planned on having a yard sale this past spring but we never made it, so we will get it done next spring. Having the garage and all the items actually here should make it much easier to go through all the things and separate them. Plus we can have the yard sale right here at the house instead of having to go to another location, which we were going to have to do when living in the townhouse, since it was not allowed there. It will be interesting to see how many things are not needed here at the house vs living in rentals.

We are still unpacking the boxes in the house. I swear I think they are breeding and multiplying. We are working together now and knocking out much more at one time than working separately. It's very difficult though, because of my limited ability due to pain and hubby is fasting during the day. The process is taking us much, much longer because of these two situations, which is really torturing both of us. We really need to get to the end of this stage so we can relax for a bit, since we have been living at this high speed for many weeks now and we are both exhausted.

Monday, September 25

Moving In To The New Home

Back & Forth - Cars & Trucks
Electricity is on, water is on, the house is yours so it's time to move in. We scheduled the big part of our move for Saturday the 23rd when we could get help from my daughter and her husband. We reserved a rental truck from the place where we had a storage room rented for the past year. During the time between closing the house and getting the truck, we were using our Subaru Forester to move things. My husband would make several trips a day getting a variety of things. He got all of his office things and managed to get it functional so that he was able to get back to work Monday am. The one thing that was really working to our advantage was the drop in gas prices at this time when we are going back and forth. The distance is not but a couple of miles, but every little bit helps.


Cleaning & Other Fun Stuff
When you purchase a foreclosure, taking possession of the house and moving in can be a different experience than buying a new home. We are very lucky in that the house that we have purchased is in exceptionally good condition for a foreclosure. Many foreclosures are real disasters that require major work before they are fit to live in. While we were prepared to do some work on a home, our knowledge was limited. This house allowed us to increase our purchase price some since it didn't need any immediate work done to it.

With all foreclosures you probably will find that the house does not meet your idea of a clean house. This was especially true in our case. The bathrooms in particular reminded me of some of the worse old gas stations I have ever seen in my life. I know that the real estate agency that was selling the property had cleaned the house, but as with many professional cleaning services, they clean at things instead of really cleaning it. (If you know what I mean) Luckily for me, my youngest daughter volunteered to clean the bathrooms for me. She even did the guest bathroom one day and then returned the next day for more punishment by doing the master bath, which was worse. Go figure! She's some kid. There were some really nasty people who were living in here.

The kitchen isn't much better. There are grease splatters and cooking buildup all over the cabinets that obviously hadn't been cleaned in quite awhile. The inside of the cabinets had two layers of shelf liners that had to be pealed off and the interior of the cabinets are in need of repainting but I am not up to that right now. There were bugs of such a variety that we set off bug bombs in the whole house the weekend before we closed and that has greatly helped. There was brillo pads stuffed in various holes in the cabinets and other places, so I assume that previous owners were attempting to deal with mice. We'll see when the weather gets cooler.


A Pile of Paperwork to Sign
Our closing appointment was scheduled for 2pm and we were there by 1:45. The lawyer and then our agent showed up, but there was no representive for the Seller. The lawyer explained that all the paperwork would be faxed to them and then he would take it to the Courthouse to file it with the county. There was a stack of paperwork approximately 8-10 inches high sitting in front of the lawyer when we started. Now of course there were multiple copies of most things which we had to sign so that everyone got an original copy. It was after 4pm when I looked at the clock in the car on the way home.

We stopped by the town house to grab a few things and then headed to the house. I think there were two trips made that we made grabbing things and bringing them to the house, including our 2 cats in the last trip. Of course we are staying at the house, sleeping on an areobed. The frig and stove will be delivered tomorrow so one of us has to be here.

Monday, September 18

Today Is Closing Day!

In less than 12 hours from the moment that I am typing this, the house should be legally ours. I don't see how my husband is sleeping right now, because sleep is the last thing I am interested in. That commercial about Disney World just flashed in my head of those two kids being told to go to sleep and saying "We're too excited to sleep."

Our New Stove

Friday night we went to Sears to purchase the two appliances we are missing in the house. I couldn't find a picture of the refrigerator online, but this is the model of stove that we went with. We did select a black color instead of white because the house already has a microwave vent in it that is black and functions. Plus I am hopeful that perhaps black will not show dirt as much as white. (I have never had black appliances before, so this will be a new thing.) We did go with the smooth glass top, and this stove has a warming burner on top which is nice. It also has a warming rack in the bottom to keep food warm. It has the hidden heating element on the bottom of the oven which makes it easier to clean. Anything that is really easier, and especially when it comes to something like a back-breaking job like cleaning an oven, has certainly got my attention. (Getting that heating coil out of the way has got to be an improvement!) Actually my husband had more input on the selection of this appliance than I did, and I really intend on reminding him of that on a regular basis.