Category Archives: This Old House

Dear Lord, please help me stop being a crazy person

If I weren’t a stay at home mom, I know two things for sure.

  1.  My house would be a complete wreck 24/7.
  2.  I would be mean.

We are closing on the sale of our house this Friday morning at 10.  We are hoping to close on our new house by the end of the month. (please let it be sooner!)

In the meantime, my house is a disaster.  I mean it.  Boxes everywhere.  Full boxes.  Empty boxes.  Halfway full.  It is making me insane.  I’m trying to be positive and all that crap, but seriously, it’s hard.

I like having a clean house.  It makes me happy.  And nice.  It does, it makes me a nice person.  Because it keeps the peace & balance in my life and right now, there’s neither.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I do.  Just a little longer and it will all be worth it.

And then, because I truly am a crazy person, I will probably go into a state of sadness & missing all the good ol’ times at our old house and just how in the world did 9 years go by so fast???  What happened to those little babies that used to live here? (which BTW, I’m SO SO glad I started this blog when we moved in here.  I absolutely LOVE going back and reading about our life these past 9ish years)

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BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

Ah well…it’s a new season of life for us.  New house.  New neighbors and such.  Teenagers. (well technically just one, but another one quickly approaching it – yikes!)

Bring it on. 😉

 

 

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New Year, Big Changes!

Whew!  2015 was…weird!  I guess because it was kind of a blur of crazy busy days, selling our old Salt Box house, finding a new house, softball softball softball, and me kind of falling off the wagon with my fitness a little bit, only to come to the realization that that is totally normal & even sometimes necessary in order for me to keep going with it.

I am currently running what will probably be my last fitness group.  I’m making less social media a goal for 2016, and Facebook is the portal that I’m using for those groups, so I, at least for the foreseeable future, will be hanging that up.  I’m also fairly certain that I won’t be renewing my training certification when it expires in June.  Not because I’m turning my back on fitness, but because I don’t really plan on using it as means for income anymore.  I found out soon after getting my certification, that most of the one on one training I was able to do had to be done in the evenings, which took me away from my family at night.  No bueno.  Plus with practices, hitting lessons, and catching lessons our evenings are pretty booked now anyway.  It was fun & I’m glad I did something for myself outside of just being mom/wife/taxi driver, because I think sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and the things that are important to just you when you are wearing all of those hats all the time.

So, with all that being said, I won’t be renewing my certification & I won’t be running any more groups for a while after January.  I will, however, be returning to more regular blogging and am planning to make fitness a huge feature here, so for all (5? lol) of my readers…stay tuned for that!

I hate not being in my normal routine.  With Christmas break and a house that is half in boxes, I’m going insane over here.  But soon we will be moving into our new house!  And oh man, I am so excited about being warm in the winter & never running out of hot water & not having to slay camel crickets in the basement every time I need to do laundry!  It’s the little things in life, folks….

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 So, I’m hopeful that I will be back into a routine soon after we get settled in.

Yes, 2015 was crazy.  And 2016 will likely follow suit, but I can’t imagine it any other way, so here’s to the new year & new beginnings!

Happy New Year!

 

How I Finally Learned to Stop Hating this Old House

This house….boy, where do I begin?  This house….well, before I start with this house, let’s go way back to 1997.  In 1997 we were living in a new house on an acre out in the country.  I loved that house.  I mean LOVED it!  It was new.  It had 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.  It had a GINORMOUS kitchen.  I had a big garden.  We had horses behind us that Katie loved to sit out back and watch every day.

So why in the world did we move, you ask?  Well, it turns out that that beautiful new house had a very hefty house payment.  We were making it, but not comfortably and little did we know, but big financial changes were just on the horizon for us.  We didn’t know that, but we did know that we weren’t comfortable with scraping by.  The other negative was that the house sat on a road that is a very heavily traveled road that links our small town to the nearby bigger town.  There was a lot of traffic and nobody was obeying the speed limit.  The girls were 5 & 3 and I was scared to death that at some point they would get out of my sight for a minute and out to that busy road.

We listed our house and were completely unprepared for it to sell in only a month’s time.  Worse than that was that the people needed to be in right away.  We had nowhere to go!!  I was looking to move into our cute little town.  I had grown up there and I missed it.  I wanted to be close to the school, park & library.  The problem with a small town is that there isn’t always a lot of real estate to choose from.  And the other problem with this particular small town is that the houses are O-L-D.  So odds are pretty likely that if you are buying a house here, you’re going to have lots of fixing up to do.

It just so happened that my parents had just purchased a big farm house out in the country and their realtor had bought a house in town to flip.  I remembered them telling us about it and about all of the work it needed.  So when our house sold and I saw that there was absolutely nothing for sale here, I thought of my mom’s realtor.  A few phone calls later and a walk-through and we’d made an offer that was accepted!

Prior to this house, all of the houses that Brian & I had lived in (with the exception of our very first rental house) were modern and nice.  So, when you go from that to an old, crooked, drafty house it can be quite an ordeal.  Not to mention that our girls were actually frightened of their new home.  Yes, for real.  Frightened.

Everything in the house needed attention.  There’s no other way to put it.  The roof…oh my the roof!  Old, single-pane windows and several of them were broken.  The old original wide-plank wood floors with huge gaps.  And everything was crooked.  The floors, the stairs, the walls.  No wonder the kids were scared!

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The previous owners had done some of the work themselves.  Siding, furnace, air conditioning….but there was (and still is) A LOT left to do.  But, the beauty of it was this:  we had bought this house cheap and we could afford to fix it up.  Maybe not all at once, but we could do it.

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This is what she looked like when the previous owners bought her! Can you imagine???

 

However, life had other plans and not long after we’d been here…maybe a year?  The economy tanked and Brian was laid off from his job.  Talk about scary times.  What a blessing in disguise this ugly old house was.  Because of it, we were able to scrape through that time.  And the remodeling has been sloooow going ever since because #1) we used a lot of our remodel money to live on during those lean times and #2) we are now so busy that it has just taken a back seat.  And finally #3) we are NOT do-it-yourselfers, a fact we quickly learned once we moved in and started projects.

My hair was so short!!

My hair was so short!!

But we have managed to do some things over the years…windows, floors, roof, a new deck, paint (most of the rooms).  The kitchen cabinets are still ugly.  The ceilings are still hideous and my bedroom still hasn’t been touched, but it’s home.  The girls are 13 and 10 now and we are crazy busy with life now.

I’m ashamed to say that I have sometimes been embarrassed to have people over.  You know, it’s all so hip and cool to have an old house in the middle of remodeling because there’s proof all around that it will one day be updated and nice.  But when you’re just living in an old house & the renovating is nonexistent?  Not cool.  Not cool at all, my friend.

We are no longer kidding ourselves.  The remodeling is not happening anytime soon.  We can’t afford it now.  We don’t have time for it now.  We don’t even have time to paint for Pete’s sake!  And even when we do have time, we don’t want to.  We just want to sit.  And play board games or go to the movies.  Or some other fun thing because seriously, life is flying by us every day.  Perhaps the day will come when I live to remodel.  But that day is not today.

And so, I’ve learned to stop being embarrassed by my unfinished home.  And quite frankly, the people who visit us here could care less about what our house looks like.  And maybe there is a lesson somewhere here for my girls that says something like, your true friends will love you for you.  Not for your house.  Not for you possessions.  A house is a home when love lives there, crooked floors and all.  ❤

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WE ARE COMPLETELY INSANE…IT’S THE ONLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION

When we moved into this old house 7 year ago (7 years ago!!!), it was with the intention of living here a few years while the girls were little and wouldn’t mind sharing a room and fixing it up a little, possibly make a little money off of it and then buy something newer, bigger, better.  So, fast forward a few years and Brian gets laid off from his job and our world gets turned upside down for a period of time.  Then enter travel softball, which now consumes a huge portion of our lives and here we are.  7 years later.  There have a been improvements to the house here and there along the way, though it’s FAR from where I’d like it to be.  And those girls who were 5 and 2 when we moved in?  Well they are now 12 and 9.   That sharing a bedroom business is about to push this woman over the edge.

Over the years, we have gone back and forth a thousand times on whether to stay or go.  And just recently we had said, Okay!  We are going!

Until…

One day, Katie and I took a walk.  We were talking about all the things we still needed to do before we could sell the house.  And how in the world we were going to make that happen with softball season approaching.  And then out of the blue, my daughter, the one who has said since she was 7 years old that she just couldn’t wait to get out of this old house and have her own room, stopped me in my tracks with this:

I don’t think we should go.

!

?

!?!?!?

She proceeded to tell me that she would be so sad if we left.  That she has so many good memories here.  Not to mention a neighbor boy who, though they fight most of the time, has become like a brother to her.  And our awesome sledding hill?  How could she survive a winter without that?  And walking to the library and park and cafe on the corner?  How could we possibly go away from that?

So, I did the best I could to not just bawl and hug her to death because honestly, as mad as I get at this old house and all of it’s inconveniences, she is right.  Those things are so wonderful.  They really are.

And here’s the next crazy thing, when I told Brian about it, even HE said he would like to stay.  And he has been the BIGGEST hater of this house from the day I decided we should buy it.

Now Hannah?  That girl lives in the moment.  She wouldn’t care if we lived in a barn.  She goes with the flow and she’s got way more important things to do than sit around caring about where we live.

Of course, that doesn’t help the bedroom situation at all.  And that’s going to be a big, costly project that I have no idea how we will pay for, but we’ll work it out.

In the meantime, I am breathing easier knowing that at least we have finally made a decision.  And honestly, I’ll be 39 in a few months.  My drive and energy for doing things like buying and selling houses….well that train done left the station.  I’m ready to be settled in and enjoy my old age. 🙂

 

 

February. Oh how I loathe thee.

It’s February.  The worst month of winter if you ask me.  I’m a spring/summer/fall girl and winter about kills me every year.  One month of cold weather is about all I can handle.  Which makes for a long, cold, dark, depressing winter. Especially in this drafty old house where one can never be truly warm.

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I am longing to get outside and walk, ride, run, plant flowers, play ball with my family in the yard…anything outside.  This winter has been especially bad.  I don’t remember the blizzard of ’78 (I was 3), but this is the worst winter that I can recall.

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Our days have been filled with reading, playing games (on our phones as well as board games), lots of coffee and watching TV, a little bit of playing in the snow when the temps have been high enough.  But I am absolutely longing for some sunshine and greenery out my window!

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What’s the Haps, Chaps?

Time is flying and we are already to the middle of September!  I can’t believe it.  We had some lovely cool days, only to now be back into the 80’s.  That’s okay, the winter chill will be hear soon enough and I’ll be pining for these hot days.

Aside from volunteering at school and subbing a little, I’ve been busy with other things.  Monday & Tuesday are my free days, which when you consider the fact that I have to clean or sub on those days because the other days are full, it kind of feels like a rip-off.  Wednesdays, I’m in Katie’s class.  Thursdays, that’s when George & I hit the town.  Fridays, I’m in Nanner’s class.  It’s a full schedule, but I’m really happy to be able to keep busy.

I just finished a crochet project that must remain a secret for now.  I will show you as soon as I can, I was really pleased with how it turned out.

I’ve got another one in the works.  I want to make an afghan for our living room.  I’ve got it narrowed down to two, but I just can’t decide, they are both so adorable.  I may just have to make them both and let one of them be my own personal one.  🙂

We’ve been through the world’s worst roofing nightmare and we are close to having it all done.

Here’s a before pic of our ugly roof.

And here’s what it looks like almost completed.  I hate the way my porch looks with nothing on it, but didn’t want to take a chance on the workers breaking something.

This is the lovely view that I have out my front door.  I’ll be so happy when it’s gone.

The hole in the girls room has been fixed and just needs to be sanded & painted and then the carpet has to be cleaned.

This weekend, the girls and I are going to do the big bike ride that our town sponsors every year, so I’m really looking forward to that.  I’ll try to remember to get some pictures.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately, how about everybody else?

Oh, the Joys and Sorrows of Owning an Old House

Back in the spring, we had a nasty storm.  There was large hail that left most of the town with damaged property, us included.

So for the last several months now, the whole town has been getting a face lift.  There are bunches of houses with new roofs and new siding.  About a month after that storm, we decided (finally we made a decision!) that we wanted to stay here in this house.  We needed a 3rd bedroom and for the longest time we couldn’t decide whether to deal with the headache of renovating and adding on to the house or deal with the headache of trying to sell.  And I’m still not sure which one is worse.

We started calling contractors to have estimates done on what was the best way to add a 3rd bedroom and do the other renovations needed for us to stay here.  We contacted the bank and got approved for the financing.  We had an architect draw up the plans and we were just getting to the stage where we needed to pick out carpet and counter tops and cabinets, etc.

We had an appraiser come in and consult with us on how much value we would be adding to the home with all of these improvements (adding a 3rd bedroom, another full bathroom and moving the laundry from the basement to the upstairs where all the bedrooms would be, a wraparound porch, new roof and a large deck on the back of the house).

And that’s where we got stopped dead in our tracks.

You see, we were going to spend almost $50K doing all of these renovations.  However, the appraiser informed us that all those improvements were only going to raise the value of our home about $20K in this economy.

Oh.

Well that changed everything.  Especially in this economy, we don’t want to be upside down in our house.  If the time ever came that we had to sell the house, we’d never get what we needed to out of it.  We nixed those plans and decided to just fix the roof from the hail damage, do some more updating and put it up for sale sometime in the not too distant future.

We had an estimate done on just the roof and picked a contractor and were excited that at the very least we would be getting a much needed new roof.  However, once the guys starting tearing the roof off our nightmare started.

You see, most houses have a layer of decking under the shingles, right?  Well ours didn’t.  In fact, the only thing under the shingles was an old shake roof with wooden shingles and under that were a bunch of 1 x 6 slats.  Major fire hazard, not to mention that they also found evidence that there had been a fire in the attic at some point.

Great.

But that’s not all, friends.  Once they got to tearing all that shake off, they found that all of our rafters were rotted out!  They told us they were really surprised that the whole thing hadn’t collapsed by now.

Not only are we getting new shingles and decking, but all of our rafters are now being replaced!

I thought that was the end of it.  I really did.  I thought, surely nothing else can go wrong now, there’s nothing left to take off!

And I was wrong.

Yesterday I went upstairs to the girls’ room to hang some clothes up and when I looked in their closet, I found this.

Yes, that would be daylight that you are seeing through their closet.  Here’s another look in case you can’t quite believe it, as was the case with me…

Upon closer inspection, you can see the nasty mess of drywall dust and insulation all over their shoes & clothes.

And this is what their room looked like after we removed everything from their closet.  Ugh.

So now, after they finish the roof, they are going to have to come in and replace the drywall in the ceiling of their closet.

Here’s what we see right now if we open our little attic door at the top of the stairs.

Here’s a look at the back of the house.  You can see the difference really well in the new rafters vs. the old that haven’t been replaced yet.

On the brighter side, I found this box in the attic today.

It’s full of receipts and invoices from the 1950’s.  One of the previous owners, a Mr. Howard Robertson, owned an auto parts store on Main Street. I thought that was pretty neat and plan to thoroughly investigate the box later to see if there are any treasures buried down deep.  🙂

Robertson's Auto Supply invoice from 1955

Canceled checks from Robertson's Auto Supply Store

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