Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My 7-month checked-list

Today, I have owned my house for 7 months. When I bought it, it didn't seem like a fixer-upper, but it turned out to be (my boyfriend and I nicknamed it the Bubalou house, because it's so cute but so needy)! So after I began discovering all the problems, I set a personal goal of doing one house project a day. Sometimes it was cleaning up the mess the previous owners left behind; sometimes it was just the necessary day-to-day cleaning. Sometimes it was a big semi-construction project; sometimes it's just making yet another shopping trip to Home Depot. For the first 4 weeks, it was mainly just trying to get my dishwasher to work. But yes, for around 3 months, I basically worked on my house in some capacity every day.

The daily goals kind of fell by the wayside when I began constructing an epic Halloween costume, but there's still plenty more to do, and I'm continuing to plug away (if at a less strenuous pace).
Being a cheapskate and priding myself on my creativity, I refuse to enlist professional help for all but the most difficult jobs (no, the dishwasher saga didn't teach me anything, and yes, I did consent to calling a technician when the air conditioner broke, and yes, of course it did.) which means I've been McGuyvering a lot of DIY solutions to things that I probably shouldn't be!
  • "Waterproofed" the bathroom window ledge, by which I mean I glued a piece of painted wood to it and coated the edges with silicone.
    No water's gonna gather on that window ledge, now that there's
    an angled piece of wood and lumps of silicone all over it!
  • "Improved" the ventilation around the attic, which basically involved poking the huge sheets of insulation with a stick.
  • "Insulated" the hole where an attic fan should be but isn't. This involved salvaging all the insulation from the two dishwashers that I discarded during my dishwasher project, folding them up and stuffing them into the space behind the fan grate.
  • Grounded all the outlets Started an outlet-grounding project with high hopes and the aid of someone who knew slightly more about wiring than me, but after a series of snafus, settled for replacing just three of the 2-prong outlets with GFCI outlets.
  • Braced poorly made and poorly installed window screens so they could actually serve as screens instead of leaving gaping holes for bugs to fly through
  • Delegated the task of building a shed ramp (from salvaged nails and lumber found in backyard) to a visiting helper
  • Reattached all parts of shed ramp with screws after they got loose
  • Repaired the holey storm door screen with a needle and thread (later cutting new pieces of screen and gluing them on in a very attractive patchwork!)
    Wow, take a look at that artful screen fix!
  • Made a new threshold for the storm door with glue and a discarded piece of a friend's closet (it fell off after a couple months)
  • Hung three towel bars (all free, thanks to Freecycle and me taking the one I bought for my old house with me when I moved)
  • Tightened loose door hinges all around the house and replaced missing screws
  • Cleaned up the messy paint jobs all around the house
  • Cleaned (by removing years' of dust and dead cockroaches) and repaired (by straightening out the very deformed metal dampers) two heat vents
Eventually, though, I had to concede that some projects do require the purchase of brand new materials. Armed with about 300 dollars in Home Depot gift cards, I was able to accomplish the following:
  • Restarted the jammed sink disposal (it's easy once you have the right size hex key!)
  • Sealed the shed ramp with new wood sealant when it began to get mushy after it rained
  • Made one window screen from kit
  • Re-screened one window screen (using new screen and a screening tool but salvaged spline)
  • Opened a permanently sealed heat vent and added a (new) closeable grate
  • Re-bolted the toilet to the floor (with a new bolt kit, 2 wax rings, and lots and lots and lots of help)
    Nothing like a perfectly sized cap over your closet bolt, eh?
My friend tells me I'll have to take down my blog if I ever want to sell my house, because there are so many incriminating things in it! The easier solution would be to just stop writing about how horrible my house is. But I won't!

I tell every embarrassing story, because I can! And I write down every list of accomplishments, not because I imagine anyone will be interested, but just because it makes me feel better about the huge quantity of work that I have yet to do. I've made such progress, surely one day this struggle will come to an end!



OK, I guess I'm gonna go worry about my plumbing now. Laters!