Archive for the ‘Renovations & House Stuff’ Category

On Tuesday we found out our real estate agent had scheduled an open house for tomorrow (Saturday). We panicked. We wrote up a to do list to prove to her we couldn’t be ready. Our list was 3 pages long & this was after a week of solid work (by ourselves & anyone we could convince to help).

Well, tomorrow morning I have to run back to the house to put a last coat on the bathroom trim & pass a mop over a few of the floors. Everything on the list is done! Ok, I lie, we still need to finish up the deck outside of the kitchen but that was a task we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish in time.

Without the motivation of the deadline I’m not sure we would be at this point right now but I’m pretty damn proud of us.

We bought this house a little more than 5 years ago. At 140 years old it needed a LOT of work. I big task for a couple who could do little more than paint a wall & change a lightbulb, but with (a LOT) of help from friends & family & a can- do attitude we have made changes, some of them major, in every single room of the house.

People keep commenting that we must want to move back in now that everything looks so good & is finally finished (well, with an older house “finished” is kind of a loosely used word) but really we don’t. We are pretty darn proud of what we’ve accomplished, we’ve learned a lot & we’ve grown a lot.

We added a lot of blood, sweat & tears to the memories in those walls but we’ve also added laughter & good times. One of my favourite things about those drafty old walls was the sense of time & memory that breathed through it. Knowing that others were born & died, wept & laughed, cozied up through winter storms & threw windows open to warm breezes made me feel part of something more.

I will post some before & after pics but the after pics have yet to be taken & I’m too tired tonight to wait for them to upload anyway!


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Today my little man is 2.5!!! That’s as close to 3 as 2. Wow.

Tomorrow my mother in law moves.

Thursday we take possession of the new house.

Monday we (hopefully) find out the sex of the baby.

Tuesday we move.

Part of me wishes I could go to sleep & wake up in two weeks. But life is about these exciting/hard/frightful/intense times & I wouldn’t really want to skip it.

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We are moving in one month’s time to our dream. All sorts of changes to come from the mundane – we will no longer have roadside pick up of garbage, a first for both of us – to the exciting – 88 acres for all of us to roam!

I think we are all looking forward to the changes but at the same time change is always a little uncomfortable, things often are not as we think they will be & so we are also approaching it with some nervousness.

Right now we’re busy with all the preparatory details, arranging financing, packing boxes, finishing up projects on this house (which still needs to be prepped to go on the market), booking movers, shopping for appliances & many other new things we need like a lawn tractor & chainsaw.

Of course we’re also planning the ways in which our lives will change & dreaming of the opportunities this will give us all. I am SO excited that Mr. Magoo & the new one to come will have so much space to run & jump & dig & explore. And I am excited to finally have a proper laundry line. Grumpy Bear is excited to have a proper workshop for all his tools.

So for now this still just seems like a dream.

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Any future house we live in will not have the family entrance directly into the kitchen, because what this set up has meant for us is that there is constantly non-kitchen stuff piled in our kitchen.

This morning for the first time we had a babysitter come to watch Diaperbutt for a few hours so I could have some time to do projects without his “help”.

So after 3.5 hours of hard work our kitchen no longer has tools in it, or dirty laundry, or a camp stove, or…. well, you get the idea.

I even had time to wipe down all the cupboard doors, sweep, vacuum, mop, wash the windows & for the first time in quite some time get us to a point of having no dirty dishes (although that lasted about 5 minutes).

And I finally sorted through the pile of first-aid supplies & put together a proper kit for the house & one for our second car.

We may be cute "washing" the dishes but he's less help than you might think.

Sorry no new pictures – it was too embarassing to take the before photos.

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We finally have air conditioning. Well, ok, we finally have air conditioning in our bedroom. The rest of the house… still hot.

Originally we had been planning on putting in central air figuring it was a good selling feature & didn’t block up the few windows we have in this house. But the more we thought about it the more it didn’t make sense.

You see, we only have two registers upstairs, one in our bedroom which is pretty ineffective due to the long duct run & one in the hallway which is also pretty ineffective due to our habit of closing all the doors to keep the critters out of the rooms. Even if we did keep the doors open it would still take an awful lot of energy to cool upstairs (where we most want it cool) & in the meantime it would be FREEZING down here.

So, we’ve settled on window air conditioners. Of course, all the windows are different sizes so we’ve purchased the smallest ones we’ve found for our room & the office but haven’t found one small enough for Diaperbutt’s room yet.

On Saturday we spent the better part of the morning getting the one for our room installed – this was after our installation fail of Thursday night. We don’t have sliding windows & so had to make our own installation plan.

But it’s in & it’s lovely.

Hopefully the next two are quicker to install.

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Our washing machine broke again a couple weeks ago so we were once again running to the laundromat & using disposable diapers. A friend of mine exclaimed “Again?!” but to be fair our machine is now 10 years old & unfortunately with the planned obsolesce of these things they usually don’t last 10 years.

In fact I count us lucky that we have my Mom around & she knows how to do the repairs & more importantly how to get the parts – ’cause that is often the most challenging part. What you need to do is write down the machine model # & serial # & often there is a number printed on the part itself as well. The model & serials #’s are on a little label on the inside of the door on my machine – it’s not very obvious if you’re not looking for it.When you call the repair place you need to make it clear you want the part & don’t answer a lot of questions about what you’re doing or they will try to convince you every time that it is not worth doing the repair or too hard or even not possible.

So this time it was the shocks on the machine. It was making a horrendous knocking machine & moving around when spinning. The shocks are located under the tub of the machine & support it so they are very important. One of them had snapped right off.

In this photo from our pump repair you can see one of the shocks in the background - it is the white tube. We noticed at that time that this particular one was leaking a little bit of fluid so this repair was not altogether a surprise.

But when we do repairs Diaperbutt likes to get right into the middle of things & “help”. Although cute as sin he’s usually more of a hindrance so my Mom requested that for this repair she would prefer if we were not in the house. Apparently she needed to stand on her head to get at the shocks from the right angle!

See - cute but with his own screwdriver poking around while you're working the cuteness rubs thin.

So while Diaperbutt & I went to the Early Years Centre to hang out she fixed my machine this morning. It’s awfully nice to come home to find something fixed!

Let’s hope that this is the last repair our aging machine needs for a little while longer anyway.

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Our stove came with our house & was in rough condition then. As a result I have always disliked it. It’s pretty rough looking & a bit battered but I just could not justify replacing it when really all it’s faults were cosmetic – the darn thing works perfectly.

This stove top has seen better days - unfortunately they were before I owned it.

Ok – yeah, part of the problem was just built up grime – oh how I hate to clean the oven!

OY! I swear we have cleaned it before! To be fair a good chunk of this was from our renters who did not clean the oven before they moved out. Oh how oven cleaner makes me lungs burn - next time I am definitely going to try something different.

But the rings around/under the burners were beyond cleaning – I did try, several times, to wash them by hand & in the dishwasher but the finish on them was just destroyed. Plain & simple they needed to replaced – unfortunately it took about 4 different stores before I found one that carried four of the same variety – everywhere seemed to only have 2 or 3 in stock.

I don't know that wrapping the ruined metal in tinfoil helped the overall appearance or functionality.

Oh - shiny! Unfortunately I haven't been able to find new buttons for the center of the burner - the old ones were so blackened I figured it looked better without them at all.

I gambled when standing in Canadian Tire & bought the one piece ring/bowl but they don't sit flush with the stove like the old two piece ones did. As I didn't realize this until after I had destroyed the packaging removing it we will now live with this slight imperfection.

Then there were all the little repairs that needed to be done that had been bothering me for so long. Replacing the light bulb in the oven, levelling the darn thing (the levelling foot is missing so I used a folded up piece of cardboard under the back foot), reattaching the drawer slide to the drawer front (ok – I actually did some damage to the finish in doing this repair but the drawer is finally functional again!) & putting a dial thermometer inside so I could verify the temperature is correct (shockingly it seems to be right on every time). Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about the tear on the control panel cover (how the heck did that even happen?!) & one day this summer I am going to take the drawer outside & spray paint the inside of it as the metal is rusting some so despite my thorough cleaning it looks rather dingy.

After all the scrubbing involved to get this so clean I vowed not only to be more careful with messy dishes in the future I also put in place a disposable oven tray in the bottom to hopefully catch the worst of future messes.

Best things I discovered while cleaning the stove - the oven racks fit in the dishwasher & the whole top of the stove lifts up making cleaning underneath much easier.

So, just like the toilet refurbishment, with a little bit of money (I spent under $40), some elbow grease & a chunk of time (about 2 hours in total – that oven was DIRTY) we have a stove that is pretty much like new. Makes it much easier to tolerate the scratches in the finish when it’s all shiny & working perfectly!

Shiny & (almost like) new!

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