Friday, December 16, 2011

What a wonderful life

So I've been thinking over the number of months that we've lived in this house of ours how things have changed.
When we first purchased the house it had a bad roof, lots of mold and mildew, both bathrooms were horrible and it just needed an over-all update.
Since we've moved it we've done a basic ceiling to floor cleaning, had the roof replaced, demo'd both master and guest bathrooms, removed carpet in over half of the house, obtained a new central air conditioner, obtained a new washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, new faucets and bathroom sinks, and new toilets. Wow! We've done a lot...not even including the work we've done on the plumbing and electrical.
But more importantly we're not done. Like the Lowe's commercial says "Never stop improving".
I feel our family is blessed beyond measure.
Thanks to all who have been reading this blog. I know somethings its jammed packed and then sometimes its a bit slow on the updates, but it's been a definite way for me to look back and see how truly far we've come.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gloria's Christmas Present

With Christmas rapidly approaching I asked my wife what she would like for christmas. She promptly and enthusiastically responded a GARBAGE DISPOSAL. So we hit up our favorite shopping place Craigslist.


Day 1
We found a sink with a garbage disposal for $50. Score! We were excited. Because I had just told my wife I needed a sink in the basement for when I finish working on the cars my clean up can be done there instead of the kitchen sink or her bathroom.

I bring the sink and the disposal home and promptly remove the garbage disposal from the sink. And I start preparing the electrical work under the sink. We were in luck that there was already power under the sink. I just had to relocate the electrical box. I also poked and prodded the plumbing system. A move I would soon regret.

Day 2
I get a phone call from the Lady of the house, my wife, explaining that the kitchen floor is covered in water. Turns out that my poking and prodding disturbed the fragile plumbing connections. :( So right after work I head to Lowes, a local home improvement store, to purchase the supplies needed to finish the install. We have an unusual situation in that this sink uses an air admittance valve. Also the plumbing beneath the sink look like one of the home inspection nightmares from This Old House. So I purchased a new AAV (air admittance valve), a new 1 1/2" disposal waste plumbing kit, a p-trap with a waste arm, 10 feet of 1 1/2" ABS pipe, and some other items I don't feel like listing right now.

Everything is going smoothly. I shut off the power beneath the sink, and started disconnecting the plumbing. I then installed the garbage disposal so I could line out how the plumbing would need to run. When I discovered the disposal waste plumbing kit had the wrong type of connection. But I realized this 10 minutes before Lowes closed. So I had to stop that portion.

I decided to forge ahead and get the wiring done. I decided to use a GFCI plug switch combo. Just in case in the future Gloria needed a plug beneath the sink to run a steam mop or something. I initially wired the GFCI combo incorrectly. So I turned to google to search for how to wire it correctly. Of course, it turns out I still did it incorrectly again. Then I decided to sit down and explain to my son how to wire a plug. You may not believe it but by having to explain something it forced me to not make assumptions and think critically about what I was doing.

3 minutes later everything is wired correctly and I head to the basement to turn on the power. I shouted a quick warning to my wife to be prepared with the fire extinguisher just in case in a joking manner. I turned on the power and heard a electrical hum followed by a click. I start looking over the disposal and I smell smoke. My heart falls to the pit of my stomach. You know the feeling you get when you pass a parked police car while speeding. I flick the switch killing power to the dispsoal. Thinking maybe I wired it backwards and the motor wasn't able to spin. I kill power from the circuirt breaker and reverse the wiring, press the reset button on the garbage disposal. Power back on the ciruit and again same thing hum followed by a click. Looks like our favorite shopping site delivered its first lemon.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hanging Pictures

In our home nothing is truly square, close but not square as such we eyeball almost all measurements. So now we are adding some additional pictures to the wall.

We have plaster on our walls (an older version of drywall) Even so we still decided to use small nails.





Monday, December 5, 2011

Mystery Door Problem

Lately the front door has become hard and harder to close. It has gotten to the point I'm sure our neighbors knew whenever we entered or exit our home.

So I started looking around the edge of the door to see where the door was hitting first and lo and behold the threshold showed the most wear.


Since it was the threshold the fix is really easy. I simple tighten each screw in  in the door hinge. You have to be very careful not to strip the screw.

And now it is like a night and day difference when closing the door.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fire Extinguisher Install

Installing the fire extinguisher was really easy. It is an extremely comforting feeling knowing you are have plan in place in case something happens.




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Today we installed our carbon monoxide detector in our basement. 


Carbon monoxide (CO), also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal biological functions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide


Sadly
Carbon Monoxide Statistics:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, "there are approximately 2,100 unintentional deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) every year in the U.S. and the use of CO Alarms could potentially prevent many of these fatalities." In addition, more than 10,000 CO injuries occur annually from this colorless, odorless and tasteless poison.
http://healthandenergy.com/carbon_monoxide_poisoning.htm


We installed this one:
This First Alert Plug-in Carbon Monoxide Alarm has a battery operated backup. It easily plugs into any standard outlet with no additional mounting necessary. Battery operated backup ensures alarm works even during power outages. Mute button silences any nuisance alarms. Single button also tests alarm functions. Utilizes electrochemical sensor for increased accuracy. 7-year limited warranty. Meets UL standards.
It was really easy to install. I simply inserted the back up batteries and plugged it in. Easiest safety device we have ever installed.

 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Air Infiltration

Continuing our quest to stop the cold air drafts. This post we started placing plastic over the windows. In the store they sell the really clear plastic where if you do a great job of installing you don't even know it is there. Well because of our son 

I decided to go for a 4 mil plastic. It is much thicker and when my son grabs it I hope much less likely to tear.


You can purchase the same double side sticky tape. One word of caution is to make sure your walls are clean. If your tape doesn't stick this is all for naught. You can make an alcohol wipe to clean your walls.

Choose your window, measure a couple inches past the frame to allow the plastic to fully cover the window.  Measure your plastic. Cut and apply to wall. Really simple. Effective and Ugly.


The only good thing about this is that last week we had a contractor on site measuring to install new windows. They are currently on order. So hopefully by Christmas or the 1st of the year we will have all new windows throughout the entire house.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Master Bedroom Insulation

With old man winter just around the corner we are sealing air gaps and installing insulation. Currently our heat is set to around 75 degrees F. I know we should lower it but our ancestors are from Africa.

There are quite a few ways to discover air gaps around your house.

First just turn off all the lights in the house around noon and just look for light coming in.

Another way is to light an incense and slowly go around your house. Anywhere there is a draft the smoke will bend and you know you have a problem there.



Finally, you can use mother nature. Spiders generally build their spider webs where there is a draft. So next time you see cobwebs in a corner pull out a infrared thermometer to see if there is a difference. You would be surprised how accurate this method is.


And below is just a picture of some insulation we added to the master bedroom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Master Bedroom Demol

While we are waiting for the effiency kansas program. I started the demo of the blue carpet in the master bedroom. I had my trusty sidekick helping with the demo.

Yes that is my son in his walker. This was a simple job so I will let the pictures do the talking.


Normally when you remove carpet you should cut it into long strips. It makes the removal easier. And the disposal or recycle of the carpet easier..... I didn't do that for this job.
After the carpet and the padding was removed you can see the subfloor. And my son looking at his reflection.

And a job complete, hopefully one day we will be able to put the floor back.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Update, Update, Update!!!!

From: Peyton [mailto:p@*****.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:16 AM
To: Peyton
Subject: FW: 9-13-11 News from Governor's Office on Efficiency Kansas

Everyone,
From our understanding, $1.5 Million has been released back into the Efficiency Kansas system. From past experience, the average project dollar amount has been around $10,000. That means there could possibly be around 150 applications approved for projects. I have no way of knowing where all of you are on the waiting list (or if the waiting list is even that long), but I will let you know as soon as I find out. Keep your fingers crossed. Thank you.

Peyton
High Performance Homes, LLC

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September so far...


So the end of summer is already approaching...
Amazing if you think of it. Time has a way of flying by. Just think of it, we purchased this house in the spring and since then we have done some amazing things so far.

To add to that list I have a few updates that need to be made.
1.Our table lamp turned sconce!
>Taking the idea from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/chicago/how-to/diy-ikea-hack-turn-desk-lamps-into-wall-lamps-077428

We converted an old college lamp into a reading lamp over our bed in the current master bedroom. It turned out something like this:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And it begins...

So for those who have been keeping up with the blog, you know that we applied for the Kansas Energy Efficency program. You will also know that we had our energy audit, of which we did a complete fail and needed about 20,000 dollars worth of energy upgrades for the home.
Here's an article about it:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/17/kansas-launches-34m-energ_n_361145.html

So here we are today. It's been almost exactly 30 days since we submitted the bid for work to be completed to the State of Kansas. It's been almost 45 days since we had our audit. It's been almost 60 days since we've been approved for the Kansas Energy Efficency loan program. And it's been about 90 days since we first learned about the program.

And...we are starting to doubt the program will deliver on it's promises. About 30 days ago we learned that the program's money was pulled by the governor to fund subsidies on ethanol development. But we were assured that those who were already approved for the program would still be eligible for the money.

I'm disappointed but who knows it could be for the best?

So as an alternative for the loan program Phillip and I have developed a 5 year plan for the house.
1. Finish remodeling master by 2nd child
2. Complete modifications as per energy audit
a. Install insulation in attic, Replace back door and cracked windows- winter 2011
b. Paint the house- Spring 2012
c. Stop air leaks- Summer 2012
d. Replace Windows- Summer 2013
3. Cut down tree in front yard and southwest side of house - Summer 2013

We want to stay in this house till 2020 (9 years), so of course we will do more work then is listed here, but it's a good start.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hidden Treasure

The Picture to the right isn't the best. But beneath that pile of random items. There is a ratty fabric covering the window bench seat. While I was at work Gloria started removing the fabric with the intent to replace it.









However Gloria quickly discovered that the dust created by this may be harmful for the baby so she stopped.  And called in reinforcements i.e. me. While Gloria and the baby vacated the house.  I went to town removing this stuff.







A few hours later .... (where were little brads placed along every edge spaced less than an inch apart) But I was stunned to find this beautiful hardwood bench!


Gloria and I plan on refinishing it when we refinish the floor. I am really excited. I wonder what else this old house has in store for us.



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Efficiency Kansas

We have been working with the following program to do some updates to our house

Efficiency Kansas is a low-cost loan program that helps Kansans like you make energy-efficiency improvements to your home, rental unit, or small business. You'll be more comfortable and spend less on energy.
Efficiency Kansas connects you to qualified energy auditors who will pinpoint how your home uses (and loses) energy and give you a custom plan to make your home more energy efficient.
Efficiency Kansas also gives you access to low-cost financing through participating lenders or utilities. With the custom plan from the energy auditor and low-cost financing, you'll be on the road to greater comforter and savings, now and in the future.
For a limited time, Efficiency Kansas is an even better deal. Learn more about the $100 Energy Audit Program.

As my wife has said, the money for this program has been pulled. There are four steps
  1. Get a home energy Audit
  2. Review the energy report
  3. Get quotes for the work
  4. Get the work done (assuming you've been approved for the work)
When the money was pulled we had just finished getting some quotes. We are currently pushing through our paperwork hoping to get the work done.

The quote we accepted was for about $20,000 worth of work.
  1. A water heater blanket
  2. New efficient heating and cooling
  3. at least R-49 insulation in the attic
  4. Insulation in basement
  5. Seal air leaks around the house
  6. blow in insulation in all exterior walls
  7. New windows
We are currently hoping and praying that we will be able to get this work done. According to the report every hour our A/C has to cool down 99% of the air again cause all the cold air leaks out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pulled $$$

So Tuesday I went to our local Night Out Against Crime event.
While at the event I spoke with the original Board of Public Utilities representative who came to the Neighborhood group and spoke about the Energy Home program in May. It was while speaking with him that the rumors I heard about majority of the stimulus money set aside for the program was being pulled by the governor to be used in ethanol development was indeed fact.
Yesterday one of the contractors who was suppose to come for an estimate, pulled out saying they weren't certain about the money with the State so they weren't going to be apart of it anymore.

If you read this blog frequently enough...you know the drill....

insert sad face
insert really sad face
insert crazy glimmer in eyes
insert crazy woman with shot gun marching to Topeka screaming about new double hung windows
insert woman getting handcuff and put into nice white jacket
....hmm
O.K. scratch all that and just insert the stupid sad face

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Delayed...but still relevent

Sorry for the delay, but...
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Peyton
Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2011 7:45 PM
To: Phillip.a.brown
Subject: Energy Audit Report

Mr. Brown,
Your energy audit report has been approved by the State and is attached. Also, your approval letter from the State is attached. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know. The next step is to get bids for the work. Once you decide on the bids you want to use, you send them to me and I will send them to the State for final approval.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*(note- I've deleted the email contacts for privacy reasons)

So...you must be interested in what the report says right?
Of course you are...you couldn't possibly be reading this blog and not be interested in what an energy auditor would say about our d.i.y. home.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HERS Home Energy Efficiency Rating Index:
Existing: 208
Proposed: 69

Air Leakage is: 1 Air Changes Per Hour
What does this number mean?
1) 99% of the volume of air inside your home is lost to the outside every hour
2) If you added up the size of all the leaks in your home you would have a hole that is equal to a 5.0 sqft.
3) You are paying to heat and cool 2.8 times more air than is necessary

Overall, your home is considered to be extremely leaky



---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yep...couldn't get much worse then that. So here are all the recommendations for us they gave and how much it would save us money yearly.

Recommendation 1: Insulate Hot Water Heater -$18
Recommendation 2: Add Insulation to Attic -$243
Recommendation 3: Insulate Foundation Walls - $391
Recommendation 4: Reduce House Air Leakage -$220
Recommendation 5: Upgrade Furnace and Air Conditioner -$569
Recommendation 6: Add Insulation to Above Grade Walls - $151
Recommendation 7: Upgrade Single and Single Pane with Storm Windows -$131



So this is how we plan on fixing this problem. We have $20,000 in interest free loan from the utility company that we can repay over a long period of time. That money will need to go to:
1. A new Furnace (we just got a new air conditioner so it'll stay) - ~$2,000
2. All new windows throughout the house~ $200/window = $3,000
3. Insulation throughout the house: basement, attic and walls -~$5,000
4. Get new sealed and insulated garage door - ~ $3,000


We pretty much expect that is about the extent of how far the 20,000 will stretch (with a bit of elbow room)... so these are the projects we can financially tackle ourselves.

1. Purchase Water Heater Blanket - ~$40
2. Replace Back door to home with a more sealed door - ~$100
3. Use sealant and foam-in-a-can to stop up air leakages not fixed by windows and insulation - ~$100

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bathroom Remodel

So we are still working on the bathroom. This is originally how we conceived the bathroom. We built this model using Google Sketchup


As you can see the bathroom is very small. Due to the rushing to complete the bathroom as much as possible. This is where we are now.

Currently the floor is almost done, we need to caulk around the base of the bathtub. We now have a functional toilet that doesn't wobble and that flushes properly. The drywall is about 30%. We decided to place tile around the bathtub instead of the bead board paneling or wainscoting. Mainly due to water concerns.  

Just  for a cost comparison so far we have spent
$0 for demolition
$85 for the new toilet
$25 for the sink
$50 for the mirror
$10 for a new light
$33 for new electrical wiring
$15 for new tamper proof GFCI plugs and light switches
$0 for new Insulation
$5 (i think I don't really remember) for a new circuit breaker
$24 for dry wall
$44 for hardie backer board for the tile
$11 for all the tile
$25 for a large bag of mortar
$15 for a bag of grout
$15 for a starter kit for tiling
$15 for tub faucet and shower head
$10 for new sink faucet
$5  for a toothbrush holder and a towel holder

total thus far $387 or a little under $10 per square foot. .... and we still are not done. Gloria is going to start shopping for mistinted paint to paint the room.

Its a great project and I'm learning a lot but I can't wait to give my son his first bath in the bath tub.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wonderful Party

So with an hour left to spare before the guests come for the baby shower, we set the toilet in the bathroom and pat ourselves on the back. We have finished the main bathroom. Most of the walls are up, the floor is completely tiled, toilet and sink are in.

But alas,
Things don't go so easily after all.

Phillip notices that the toilet is rocking a bit on the tile floor.
Solution: put some wood under the toilet to level it out.
How: Use small slates of wood and hammer.
What goes wrong: Hammer hits back of toilet, breaking the drain basin
Okay this is Phillip talking I messed up. 

Phillip notices that he broke the first toilet,but no fear we have a second toilet in the house that we can just substitute. Problem: the 2nd toilet has a broken handle, must remove handle and replace.
Solution: use drill to remove stuck handle. This is Phillip again the reason I had to use the drill to remove the handle is because a lot of my tools were at a different location so I did not have any pliers or wrenches that could remove the old broken handle. However I had a spade bit on my drill so I thought I could get it out that way. 
How: put drill directly on the toilet water reserve near handle. Okay Gloria wasn't actually there when this happened. I was about halfway through drilling out the old handle when the drill bounced around and hit the fragile toilet.
What goes wrong: Drill breaks the water reserve basin of the 2nd toilet


*****Did I tell you my husband is talented?******

Wife's solution: Go out buy a new toilet and threaten husband that if he breaks this one, no sex for the next 2 weeks
Solutions: toilet is installed correctly in 15 minutes
How: threats about sex work
What goes wrong: absolutely nothing
I have no comment about the above paragraph LOL!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A/C getting installed now

So as I type, we have Stratton Mechanical Services putting in our new air conditioner. But of course with all the financial strain the past few months have put on us, we didn't have extra money to go out and purchase a new camera or camera cord, so alas no pictures. We are still broke but we realized our camera can use an SD card we had sitting around and our laptop has a slot for the SD card instead of using Sony's Memory stick. So now we have pictures to upload.


But I can tell you we have made major progress on the main bathroom. Phillip installed the insulation, though we need a bit more then we anticipated, so we'll have to pick up more today.



 We finally grouted the floor, so the that it looks beautiful now.



 It's only been 12 hours, so I'll wait another 12 before I run around in circles (because it's so small of a bathroom I can't go anywhere) in celebration!

I do have one moral question... last night Phillip and I was debating if we should take out all the copper in the old A/C before they replace it and haul the old one away. We decided not to, but would it have been a bad idea to have?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A/C countdown

The air conditioner will be installed on Thursday.
Just 4 more days of dealing with this heat.


Just so you guys aren't terribly worried, me and the baby do leave the house and stay with family during heat advisory days. It's been a blessing having family in the city! But it's nothing like being in your own house.

On other news, we haven't done much with our house, because Phillip's been doing paid work for various family. Mostly cutting grass in the evenings and doing repair construction work at people's businesses. The money's helped with beefing up our emergency fund again and we've been putting a good chunk of it into the baby's college fund.

The bathroom has a deadline of Saturday to be 80% finished, because I scheduled to host a baby shower for a church member at my house and I will not allow people to be forced to use the death trap of the master restroom. I scheduled this baby shower months ago and just happily assumed the bathroom would all be done now.... next time I'm going to triple my estimated time table for project for this house.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All blessings

Just in:


From: Phillip Brown (pbrown@***.com)
Sent: Tue 7/05/11 3:56 PM
To: Gloria Brown (gloria.brown@***.com)

A/C approved replacement 3 ton Lennox both condenser and evaporator
inside along with the metering and labor covered under warranty

3 non covered charges:
Duct Modification $150
Reclaim of refrigerant $100
Disposal of unit $75
Electrical whip $25

Total $350


Option 2
Reimbursed up to the amount
$1267.42 labor

Furnace $1400

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Heat, Hot, Sweat

So as the title proclaims, the weather in Kansas has finally decided to be summer. The only problem is we also just found out the air conditioner is a big hunk of junk.



 We called AB May to come out to evaluate it I want to say Monday. Hoping that all it would need is some cleaning and a refill. They did their evaluation and determined that it was leaking...but they couldn't find the leak, so...They proclaimed it JUNK.

insert sad face
then insert crying face
then insert bawling face
then insert crazy face
then insert crazy face blowing up the money pit that was our house
then insert calm relaxed face
then insert crazy smiling face

Ok...I think you got the picture.

Now for those who read this blog, you should know we are NOT made out of money, in fact all of our emergency money just went to fixing the roof on the house not less than a month ago.

How in the world are we going to afford a new 4,000 a/c and furnace system?
Well we are going to try a few options.
Options:

1. Go through our home warranty company. (yes it's a pre-existing condition...but we are hoping they don't notice the 20 year old a/c and furnace) *not high hopes riding on this one.
2. Bug the heck out of the Energy Efficiency Home program to see if we qualify for their loan program through our utilities company. *not high hopes since we don't have one of the requirements.
3. Finance this thing ourselves and use some of the Government rebates to bring down the cost a bit. *we know this one's good...we just don't want more debt in our lives


Either way we have to have a solution in the next few days, because it's already "excessive heat advisor" weather and we have a baby shower planned at my home for a church member by July 16, 2011.

Any suggestions would be helpful. If nothing else...just pray for either cool weather or money raining down from heaven on us.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bathroom Floor

Bathroom Floor is halfway done. Only have to wait 24 hours to begin grouting!
Making progress, YAH!


Friday, June 17, 2011

too busy for the house

So...we find ourselves too busy to do much on the house this week.
I mean we've done nothing, nada, zip.
I'm active in my graduate level sorority and my husband's also active in his graduate level fraternity...and we find ourselves crazy busy with "year end" programs and events!!!!!
Luckily Phillip will be done with his program this Saturday and I'll be done with my program next Saturday and then we can begin having family time and "house" time again. Until then it will be pretty quiet on the blog.
Here's our events if you want to come out and show support.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another week down

So another week has went by without the camera connector. I think we have just given up on ever finding the stupid thing.
Who knows it's probably in the most logical location, but of course we wont find it until we no longer even own the stupid camera.
Oh well, that's life.
So back to more exciting news... what we've been doing on the house.
To be honest: NOT MUCH!
We didn't really budget the roof costs into our monthly budget and so thus we are well over budget. To compensate for the remainder of this year's house budget we agreed to decrease how much we spent each month on the house from 500.00 dollars per month (which isn't a lot if you think about it) to closer to 100.00 dollars per month(which is almost like nothing per month).

:(

Sad, sad face.

:(

Which ultimately means that this blog is about to get really, really boring. Sorry everyone who has been following us. But we will keep updating it with interesting items, especially when we start getting creative and doing more dumpster diving and garage sales. So as far as the house has gone, we already spent about 80.00 dollars of our 100.00 dollar budget this month on supplies to finish up those small tasks in the house.

  • 1st we finally installed the water line to the refrigerator so that we could finally have ice in our ice maker! which is so wonderful because I hated being only able to serve slightly cool water from the water filter to my guest.
  • 2nd Phillip somehow miraculously found the broken part on the water heater and replaced it so now we have hot water in the house!!!! Can I get a whoop whoop anyone?
  • 3rd Since the hot water was working now and we already did the fridge, we didn't have any excuse for not installing the dish washer so we also finally got the dishwasher under the counter and installed. (Note: my kitchen is finally looking put together, just got to finish the stick and peel tiles and I'm golden)
  • 4th We finally finished the layout and cutting of the tiles for the bathroom, and purchased all the supplies to start laying down tile this week.
Note: the only reason we had the ability to purchase all the stuff to finish the bathroom and the kitchen is because we used a lot of Lowe's coupons.
  • Which brings me to the point that I never was a coupon/sales ad person. I just bought what I needed, when I needed it, at the normal price. But after the whole TV show dedicated to extreme coupon-ers and realizing how tight our budget is I realized that I don't have to be "extreme" about sales and coupons, but I do need to take 10 minutes of prep time to work sales and coupons around my life in order to save around 10% of my monthly expenditures. And 10% saved is 10% more we can put to our baby's college fund, emergency fund and whatever other "fund" we need for the future. CAN'T BEAT THAT WITH A STICK!!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Still lost camera connector

So the camera connector is STILL AWOL! So frustrating.
So once again I can't update with pictures but I can give an update at least.
So a LOT has happened since the last post.
....(I just noticed that each of my sentences starts with the word "so"...I wonder how long I can keep it going)
So the last thing we talked about was the roof. So guess what! ...( O.K. enough of that)
The roof has been fixed.
We had gotten some previous quotes for the roof from other contractors, but ended up going with a company called Murphy and Son's roofing. They were the most organized and professional. They showed us their outstanding BBB standing and a written contract for work. But the best part ended up being they showed up next day to do the work! What that means for me is no more using the restroom in a bathroom with the rain coming inside the house. Can I get an AMEN from all the ladies out there.
So the roof is done.
We've laid out the pattern and will being cutting and tiling the main bathroom here in the next day or two.
* Pout face b/c I wanted to show pictures of the floor here*

In the basement we've removed a ton of debris from the half attempt of a storage room the previous owners started, but had a lot of water damage from broken plumbing pipes and mold.
Otherwise, outside we've done some basic landscaping. We've pulled stumps from the front yard and a young tree from the side yard.

We still have some things on our agenda for the next 7 days including finishing the floor in the main bathroom and installing the toilet (which if I hadn't informed you, has been sitting on our front porch since before we moved in...we've been in for over a month). We also signed up for a program put on by our public utilities that uses the money they received from the American Reinvestment Act to loan homeowners money for energy star appliances and construction-grade updates for energy efficiency. The homeowner then repays the public utility company back over a period of 10 years or so on their normal energy bill interest free. Once paid off the money goes back into the fund to help other homeowners do the same thing. We turned in our paperwork a few weeks back and we have a confirmation date of mid June, for the initial evaluation.
Which is exciting because our air conditioner, furnace and water heater are so old and in bad condition they barely work. This program will help us out a lot, I especially LOVE the interest-free part of it.

Before I end this post...people please keep your fingers crossed that I find this stupid camera connector. I hate trying to replace stuff like that from the manufacturer's websites. *PRICE GOUGERS*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lost Camera Connector

So, we have a TON of progress and interesting photos to post on the blog, but of course somehow in the process of packing, unpacking and moving we can not seem to find the stupid connector for the camera to go to the computer to upload the photos. Which sucks, because a picture is worth a thousand words. Like how the rain is coming into the master bathroom through the roof...




or how the bench we bought off craigslist a few weeks ago is coming out in the breakfast nook, The bench is there but it is behind all the boxes.



 or any of our new purchases like the lawnmower.



But since we don't have the pictures to share, I guess I'll have to use the "thousand words" to describe things.

1st- Rain, rain go away
As we last explained, our main bathroom is gutted for renovation making the master bathroom the only usable bathroom in the house, it is also the bathroom with the leaky roof, so close your eyes and imagine...
it's 3am, it's dark, it's storming outside, you have to go the restroom, you step into the restroom and ....drip, drop, drip, drop, it's rain water dripping on your head. You run out the restroom and stare at this room with a floor filled with water and more drops falling by the minute. You don't have time or energy for this. You have to pee, and get to bed, because in a few hours the baby is going to be up, and you have to have energy to deal with him rather you like to or not. So you stand there and finally you yell... "S&#@!!!!" and plunge into the water works, do your business, wash your hands and then promptly drag your wet, soggy self into the clean bed. You do this same routine, every time it rains, day or night, because you already went over budget last month and you need to wait till the next 2 paychecks before you call a professional. Finally your yelling and complaining gets your husband on the roof to do a temporary fix by pouring tar over the problem spots. This SOLVES NOTHING, because now it just drips harder in a different spot in the bathroom. And of course it's the middle of spring....so it rains like every other day. But today.... thank the Lord...you finally pay 1/2 down to the professional roofing company and within 14 days the roof has been promised to be fixed. You do a happy dance, you take down the umbrella you put into the bathroom. You change the words to the song to "NO" dancing in the rain and then you post on your blog, but you have no pictures to post to show this excitement so you use a ton of words that tire out your hands to explain what a few sentences and a picture would have done instead.


I would like to tell you about some of the other things, but man my hands are actually hurting now. So I'll just wait till later.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 20 of Home Ownership (budget)

Keeping track of costs of a housing rehab is of the utmost importance especially when buying a foreclosure! We could easily spend $30,000 today on the kitchen alone if we wanted. But alas we do not have that kind of cash sitting around. So we made a budget.

Previously we were keeping track of our expenses via quickbooks on our home computer. I really liked it because it was secure in the sense that as long as we had our laptop we did not have to worry about anything. Also our bank allowed us to download the transactions in the appropriate form to import to quickbooks. So there was a little bit of work making sure the correct accounts were charged but it wasn't impossible. Nevertheless, we recently switch to a different bank which formats their documents differently. Resulting in me not being able to figure out the necessary steps to easily update our existing information.

So now we are using Mint again. We previously used mint and it is a great website. The only thing I do not like about it is that they do store your passwords. And if you followed the news at all you will realize how easy it is for a hacker to get your information even when following best practices.

Another knock against Mint is that the bigger it gets the more interesting it is going to be for a hacker. Which was why I left the first time. Mint was blowing up and it had recently being acquired by Intuit. (who I believe also makes quickbooks).

However, you can't beat mint at what it does. It does a great job of going through your online accounts and scrapping the information and putting together budgets.

So as of today we are over $300 over budget! (I purchased a lawn mower for $350).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 56

Bathroom Electrical

In the bathroom we are installing a new overhead light and two GFCI receptacles. We are also upgrading the electrical to current code. The drawing below is a rough sketch of how it is all going in.
The above picture is the east wall. There is also one light switch beside the door that controls the overhead light that is not shown in the above picture.

We know we eventually want to put beadboard along the walls. Our original plan called for beadboard to go from floor to ceiling. But due to budgetary concerns we dropped this
idea for now. However just in case we change our mind and decide to put beadboard up to 4’. I placed the outlets high on the wall so there wouldn’t be a conflict. Also by placing the outlets higher there is less chance for our young son to shove objects into it. As a secondary precaution we purchased tamper proof outlets. Hopefully Gloria and I will be able to figure out how to work them.

Another big advantage of redoing the electrical is that we finally have a room that is properly grounded. It is my goal to continue redoing room by room the electrical so that every plug is grounded. And then one day I want to get a natural gas back up generator but that’s far into the future.

Well we better get back to work. Gloria already set up a little get together so now we have a deadline to finish the major projects.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

House Day Number 56

I just want to say thank you for taking time out of your day to read our blog. You are the only reason we do this.


Since moving in we have been discovering something new.

The bathroom is still not complete. So far we only have the cement backer board installed on the floor, and today all new electrical will be put in. We have already hit our budget for the month.

We currently have a problem with the only toilet in the house. Because it is in the master bedroom the floor has experienced water damage. As such the toilet is not the most stable toilet. I can see it now instead of me leaving the toilet set up. My beautiful wife is going to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. Quietly sleepwalks through the house at 3 AM so she doesn't wake up anybody. Makes it to the toilet and as soon as she sits down.

CRASH!!!
The toilet along with my wife falls through the floor and into the crawlspace below the floor. She is going to be covered in raw sewage and her legs are going to be sticking up through floor and she is going to be IRATE! LOL don't worry I will take a picture just for you ;).

Plumbing
Since moving in we have stopped the leak in the shower on the cold water line, by cutting the line. The leak was coming from behind the wall in the nursery as such I just decided to put that project on hold instead of ripping out my son's bedroom wall.

We still do not have hot water. The hot water tank will light and heat the water but then it goes out after reaching temperature. Also the temperature and pressure relief valve leaks on the hot water tank. So we may have to purchase a new one. We have another water heater in the cottage that I may bring over to see if it will work.

We installed a under sink water filtration system. It was a breeze. The only thing is the water is not really cold. Which is normally fine except on the hot muggy days that Kansas City is known for. The dishwasher still has not been installed.

Electrical
The previous owners had ran a 240v Line out side to our back patio and left the wires exposed on the ground. Not safe at all. Currently the breaker is off to that particular Line. I plan to reuse the breakers as I re route the electrical for the other rooms. Which leads to the next discovery.

It turns out that the breakers are not labeled and that they do not follow any rhyme or reason. The kitchen for example has the lights on one circuit, half the plugs on a different, the other plugs on a third and finally the garbage disposal on a fourth! That doesn't even factor in the stove or fridge.

I managed to get power to the cottage, also figured out what the second light switch in the master bedroom turns on. It turns on a floodlight in the backyard. Who would've thought that! I now only have 1 light switch left to identify and 1 push button to identify. Also Today we got the doorbell to work. We also found the part to get the A/C working but we haven't tested it. So far we have only used the Attic fan.


Lawn
Our previous house only had a lot size of 0.12 acres. We now have over an acre! which we are thankful but that means the little push lawnmower we had before isn't going to cut it. On craigslist I found a 42" walk behind lawnmower for $350. It didn't have a brand on it anywhere. It had a craftsman mower and a generic deck. I quickly purchased it. Maybe a little too quickly. Turns out that the blades are so dull that while  cutting the grass it would leave random patches of grass uncut. I spent the last two days calling and driving around to find replacement blades because evidently someone was attempting to cut through boulders and the lawnmower blades were in terrible shape. Well it turns out that this lawnmower happens to be of a brand that doesn't have any support really around this city. I drove to multiple outdoor power equipment type stores before I found out I have a swisher walkbehind mower. Luckily today I found a place selling the blades for $8 or was it $18 .... I need to double check.


sorry for the long post I will be more diligent about posting so that they wont be as long.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sorry it's been a few days...

It's been a few days since Phillip or I have logged on and updated this blog. So let's do a quick run down of what we've been up to.
First and biggest: We finally moved into the house!!!!
Saturday was the move date, and we had lots of help from family members. We used 3 trucks and 2 SUVs, 2 trailers (one small, one extra large) and was able to move everything in one trip, in less than 2 hours.
We started at 10:00am and had everything in the house and was just placing furniture by 1:00pm.

A few days before Phillip and I tried fixing up the master bathroom, so that we could at least have one bathroom, ready for us, but alas, it's going to be a complete tear out. :(
I'm sure when Phillip does his post, he'll go into more technical terms but for me it just was one problem after another basically.

So now we're in this new place. Next on the agenda: get the main bathroom up and running ASAP, since going back and forth to the old house to take baths will be getting old quick, Then finish the tear out of the master bathroom, do a full investigation of the roof and get started on that part of the house project....oh and somewhere in all of this unpack and host a house warming party.


....Busy people, I know.

Monday, May 2, 2011

This Weekend

SO... Here's an update on what's been going on with the house.
But before I go into the update I must mention that Phillip's Father had a stroke after his surgery last week, so Phillip's been taken on A LOT of family obligations to fill in the gap.

With that said...
  1. Garage Sales- This weekend in Leavenworth, KS on the military base was a base-wide garage sale. So we drove the 20 minutes north and enjoyed getting throughly lost on base. We had a late start because this weekend was also March of Dimes walk weekend, but we did end up getting some great late day finds. See below:
a. Desk = $10.00
b. Floor Lamp that is also a side table = $5.00
c. Tons of "This Old House" Magazines = $2.00 (nothing like design inspiration!)
I know they don't look to be in the best condition, but give me some high gloss paint spray and some elbow grease and these old pieces of furniture will turn out to be some of the best furniture for us.
2. Circuit Breaker- Phillip labeled many parts of the circuit breaker, there are still parts of the circuit breaker that we still can't figure out what they run to. We'll have to keep trying to figure it out because bringing in a electrification will be astronomical!!!!
3.Plumbing (Toilet/Sink in the Master Bathroom)- The sink is still clogged. But the toilet runs fine. We found out from investigations that the drainage for the toilet and sink are different, so we might just need to redirect the sink's drain and tie it into the toilet's and maybe since the shower is tied into the sink, putting a boot on it for now until we get the complete renovation started.
4. Mystery Machine -We have a crazy looking machine that looks a little like a submarine down in the basement. We had NO idea what it was and could only guess it was an ancient sump pump. We do know that it was built in 1964 in Berkley, MN (that's from the label) but when we opened it up, all the wires were disconnected and the electrical tape on the ends appeared old. Kind of like someone unplugged it a long time ago.
5. Packing/Purging- At our current residence we purged almost half of our clothes, realizing we were about to pack stuff we haven't worn in months. That didn't make any sense to us so to donation company goes our old college clothes. We still have a TON of packing to go, but we are making small progress on a lot of the things we have in the house. Man, I didn't realize how much stuff you just collect over the years!!!!


This Week's To do list-
  1. Finish clearing out the demolition stuff from the living room at the new house
  2. Try to get the water going to the small detached addition so we can have a stable and safe area to use the restroom and wash our hands
  3. Cut the grass if possible.(the grass is getting ridiculously tall)
  4. Finish filling in the gaps in the kitchen floor with plywood and peel and stick flooring
  5. Finish removing staples and nails in baby's room
  6. Install water purification system in kitchen sink
  7. Install dishwasher in kitchen so we can finally turn on the hot water tank and have hot water for the big move
  8. Packing or Purging every single thing in the old house for the big move this weekend to the new place.
  9. Try to figure out what the remaining circuit breakers go to

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Plumbing Saga Continued

Last Saturday I finally finished installing all new plumbing throughout the main house. However, there was portion where an addition was built that I left the copper in place.
This was a terrible mistake.
Evidently, something has built up inside the copper line that is clogging the line. This happened each time I connected the line. Therefore, the moral of any story when it comes to remodeling is to cut it out and replace.
Aside from the water no longer working at the master bathroom sink; the master bathroom sink drain is clogged. I attempted to use a liquid drain cleaner but to no avail. The sink simply filled up and it sat there all night. It did not drain one bit. I attempted to use a plunger hoping! However, my hope was in vain. My next plan is to disconnect the drain line to where the sink and the toilet tie in together. Because the toilet has no problems but the sink does. So I assume the problem is in between the two. If the piping is old cast Iron, I will cut it out and replace with ABS.
My only goal right now is to establish a firm foundation where upon my beautiful wife can decorate without having to worry about me needing to open up a wall to replace something that is broken.


Over the weekend



So we were finally able to get back to working on the house this weekend. We had a ton of church things (Easter is always a busy time), plus our budget was kind of strapped.
So we've gotten a few things accomplished.

1. The appliances were installed and the bed was set up.
As you can see from the picture they are PRETTY!!! We still have to install the matching black dishwasher on the other side of the kitchen.

2. In addition to the installation of the appliances, we had to cut out some bad installation of vinyl on the floor of the kitchen, you can see a small bit of it in the bottom corner. We couldn't match the vinyl perfectly so we just bought some "stick and peel" wood looking tiles and installed it as a temporary fix. We will probably get to updating the floor before the end of the year, but for now, this works. There are also cut outs of the sub-floor around the fridge and stove that for some reason the previous owners did...we plan on using some plywood and more of the "stick and peel" solution until later.

3. You can also see in the background our beginning of the deconstruction of the breakfast nook faux wood wall paneling. Not only were they UGLY, but they also were glued on the walls, and they were now causing the walls to crumble behind them. After we finish tearing them out we plan on using bead board and wall paper to finish it off nicely.

4. Phillip stayed up past 2:00 a.m. on Saturday finishing the clean up and tear out of the main bathroom. The toilet is currently on our front porch :). But it's now a clean slate, ready for cement board, sub-floor and tile.

- On a side note: Went on Saturday to Lowe's and had a 30 minute tile- installation training class. We were on the only one's that showed up for the class so we got one-on-one training. It was fun and we will probably be back for another class, especially when we get to the time of installing the tile.

5. Trash Diving!!!!! Look at our dumpster diving find:
It's originally a sewing machine table, but I think it'll be the perfect entry table. It has a lot of scratches, so I'm debating either sanding and refinishing for a traditional look or painting for a contemporary twist. As you see Phillip is already using it for keys and wallet.

-Note: I do need to be honest 5 minutes after getting it in the house a HUGE roach came out of it, so it went into the yard to "De-bug" itself before we find ourselves with an infestation before we even move in. This is one thing about dumpster diving that NO ONE EVER warns you about. So you are now properly warned. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Appliances Galore!

So yesterday was the last day for Nebraska Furniture Mart's 24 month interest-free financing. After debating it for a couple days we decided to charge it now and pay it off monthly versus buying used appliances and hoping that they last multiple years.
So in three hours we purchased an Amana Fridge (black) to match our current (and relatively new Amana black dishwasher), an electric smooth-top stove, an upgraded washer and dryer, a new queen mattress set and sleigh bed.
Here's the break down:

General Electric Smooth-top (black) stove: 434.99
Amana Refrigerator (black) top-mount with ice-maker: 488.88
LG front-load washer and LG front-load electric dryer, group price: 1,199.99
Ashley Furniture Queen Sleigh bed set: 219.99
Queen Celebrity Pillow Top Mattress set: 179.99
add in plugs and accessories for a grand total purchase of :2,341.71

If we only pay the minimum of 125.00 per month, we can have it all paid off before 24 months is up with no interest paid! Not to bad of a deal considering delivery was only 30.00!

We have the items to be delivered by Saturday.

In other news: (mainly what have we been doing on the house)
Honestly- not much. We hit our budget for home repairs within the first week of April. We still have a few low cost items we need to finish, mainly plumbing and clean up, but right now we're saving as much money as possible to worry about the roof repairs first things first next month.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 20 of Home Ownership continued

Today I determined that the cold water bath in the master bathroom was clogged and that the pipes themselves were fine. That just saved us $100. Also replaced the flapper on the master bathroom toilet. So we can finally have a place to use the restroom.... I just have to do something about the weak floor surrounding the toilet.

Day 20 of Home Ownership

For the past 5 days or so I have been working on repairing the plumbing at the house. Here is a brief recap and the lessons I learned.
these
The day Gloria had the water turned on she heard the sound of water GUSHING into the basement. She attempted to operate the main shutoff valve to no avail. She calls me while I'm at work telling me whats going on.   I followed up by asking my boss if I could take the rest of the afternoon off. This was by far my biggest fear of having the water turned on while I was not able to be there. I formulated a plan to fix the leak. I stopped at Lowe's and purchased two ball valves that looked like the following:
At Lowe's (this is where I shop at almost exclusively) these are by far the most expensive valves. However they have the advantage of how fast and easy you can install them. You simply push it on to the pipe with a 1/4 turn and voila you are done. They are made for copper or plastic pipe. Meaning it needs to be a relatively soft material so it can seal against leaks. Needless to say even though I was able to fix one leak it turned out that we had many more. I repaired them all only to find out that some sections were made of galvanized pipe which had too much corrosion to allow the water to flow easily. The following picture is an example I found on the internet that is similar to what I had.

Currently on the market you have about 4 choices to replace your plumbing. There is CPVC, Galvanized, Copper, and PEX. Galvanized should not be a choice ever. So you really only have three
CPVC COPPER PEX
Ease of Install average most difficult easiest
Speed of install medium slow fastest
Special tools needed none propane torch crimper,  special pex cutter
Potential for leaks high medium low
Cost $ $$$$$ $$$$


CPVC is the cheapest and is easy to install. You simply cut it with a saw, remove the burrs and glue it together. One of the problems is over time the plastic has the potential to crack open, and if you don't glue well there is a chance for leaks.

PEX is the newest material on the market. It can handle being frozen (not recommended) and it comes in lengths of 100' and easily bends around obstructions. However you need expensive specialize tools. Also the special fittings are expensive.

Copper is great, has proven track history however the price of copper is at an all time high.

I originally chose CPVC because its the cheapest, and I installed it before and haven't had any problems out of it. As I was getting ready to install it my brother-in-law said I could borrow the specialize tools needed to install PEX!!! This alone shaved over $100 off the cost to install PEX.I originally spent $250 for all the materials needed. When I purchased the PEX it came out to be over $400 ... and I still need some more parts :(.

I went with Blue and Red 3/4" PEX to color code the water lines (sadly lowes was sold out and I had to head over to Home Depot to get the items). I also laid out the cold water supply in a different way than normal.

Traditionally, plumbers use a trunk in branch method to install water lines. However with PEX it is recommended to use the Home run method where each line has its own supply line. I choose to lay it out how  I design water mains at my job.

Once I draw the floor plan I will upload a photo showing how I laid it out. The PEX went in easy and allowed me to easily thread the pipe through areas where I would have had to tear down walls to put in anything else. I did have one problem because sometimes It was not easy to use the crimps in tight quarters.

So far all the cold water lines have been installed and I am preparing to install the red hot water lines.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears part 2


Ok, so I'm going to have to learn how NOT to hurt myself in at the house. I obviously not meant to work in construction in any form or fashion.
So here's my "after" picture.

I have a busted lip, a bruised nose and a scratch over my lip.

....So you want to know what happened this time?

Well long story short, I was patching up some holes on a ladder, baby cries, I go try to get baby, ladder wobbles, bucket spills and slams into my face. And just like a few days ago, I once again bleed all over the floor of our new house. (P.S. I'm glad we are finishing the hard wood floors).
I didn't have to use a baby's diaper this time though!

Monday's Neighborhood Watch

Instead of working on the house yesterday, I forced my husband and son to attend a neighborhood watch meeting. It's the first time I ever lived in a neighborhood that actually had a neighborhood watch and I wanted to see how it worked and be able to meet some of our neighbors. It was interesting, they meet at the old mall and had about 20 people in attendance. They talked about issues related to our small mile block neighborhood watch. Everything from police reports, suspicious activity, planing a new flower bed, neighborhood trash clean up and even a neighborhood garage sale. There was even a visitor from the local utilities company, who spoke about stimulus money for home improvements!
That sounds like just what we need!!! (Big Smiles)
Phillip agreed after all was said and done that it was worth the time we spent. We paid our annual dues of $12.00 (cheapest dues for a club ever!) and received a sever weather radio and a rain poncho. Not too bad for one day's work I would say so myself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

So this week our focus has been plumbing and roofing. Sadly with a new baby I haven't been able to do much with the house, until today. Today I finally got junior to relax and take a nap and I called myself helping Phillip with the plumbing. Everything was going smooth until I stepped on a long, rusty nail. Right in the meaty part of my foot. Ouch! Phillip had to carry me upstairs where I promptly began bleeding throughout the house until he got me to the only chair. Since I didn't think to have one of those nifty safety kits on me I continued to bleed until I realized that I could use one of my baby's diapers as a big bandage. :D Cheers and success!
Phillip felt bad though, so he told me I needed to go home and take the baby. Which I find funny that when he feels bad, he immediately starts dictating to me...but oh well, your not reading this for marital drama so I'll get back to my original point. So I leave Phillip at the new place and return back to the old house. Thank God, that it's only about 5 minutes between the old and new house, because after I get all situated with a proper bandage, I've got to pack junior back up in the car and go rescue my husband before he realizes he needs to "improvise" and completely screws up the hard work we just accomplished and have to spend more money to fix his "learning experience".
Note: after purchasing the patchwork plumbing stuff that didn't work and the new stuff and over a week worth of afternoons, evenings and weekends....maybe it'll equal out to if we had just spent money on a plumber to do it all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

House Day Number 15

I wanted to give you a status concerning how much this house has cost to date.

The asking price for the house was $23,000. After paying all the other associated fees and minus estimated property taxes to date, I think we came out around $23,329. (I need to double check but my son has other plans)

Currently we have spent about $1,183 on supplies and tools. Here is a more in depth breakdown on some of the supplies.

$186 for a cordless drill/driver
$56 for a ladder
$200 on door knobs
$50 on new light fixtures
$20 on 2" hole drill bits
$140 on tile
$200 on plumbing repairs (and sadly all that work was for naught)
The rest was for miscellaneous tools and other items we wanted/needed.

So far we have spent a total of $24,512.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No luck with Craiglist today




So it's been my job, in this home renovation project, to be the penny pincher. I have done this by limiting Phillip's desire to over spend at the big box home improvement stores. Namely Lowe's.
Thus Craiglist has been my saving grace. Last week I picked
up some nice ceramic tile for around 60 cents per square foot. Yesterday I picked up a nice small vanity with sink for $15! But alas today has been dead in the whole Craiglist world of unbelieveably cheap home supplies market. I do have hope though. Spring may have finally crawled out of hibernation for Kansas City. ( loud exaggerated sigh) FINALLY!!!!!!Last weekend was a pretty good weekend for estate sales and with this week's forecast looking bright and cheery for the most part, I'm expecting a plenty of yard, garage, "hey take this off my hands" and other like wise sales.



In other news: mainly how the house is progressing.
  1. The main box has received it's first bit of mail. WoHoo...junk mail and bills have a place to live now!
  2. We couldn't get insurance on the house until the ugly chimney flutes were removed from the basement windows. Boo... :( ....I was kind of hoping to make some kind of nifty smoker in the basement....but alas. :(
  3. The bathroom has been completely gutted now and we are beginning the clean up.
  4. We are in the process of getting quotes from roofing contractors to fix the roof on the addition and the guest house.
  • which if I was to be completely truthful Phillip is really upset about because he wanted to do the roof all himself. I'm really upset about as well because it's more expensive and takes a bit away from our D.I.Y. mentality.