Archive for May, 2008

Hey Hun, we have more than moths in our kitchen

Don’t tell Flannel Man I told you this but if there’s any creepy, crawly thing he’s afraid of it’s spiders. I’m usually the one who has to kill them.

Well when I went into the kitchen tonight I saw this big guy:


He was bigger than a quarter and just hanging out above the refrigerator. Maybe he eats the pantry moths we’ve been dealing with and is coming out looking for food since we’ve finally killed all the moths. Hey, I can dream can’t I? Don’t worry hun, I took care of him while you were at work.




Our Summer To Do List

Between all of the matches and kayaking trips we have a lot to do on the house this summer. Besides maintenance and upkeep these are the major projects we want to get done:

  • Re-roof the shed
  • Put gutters on the house and fix the gutters on the shed
  • Put in a new, working patio door in the basement
  • Convert the shop area back into a garage by cutting back in the garage door
  • Re-insulate the attic
  • Paint entire house


Re-roof the shed

We’re getting right on this list by re-roofing the shed this weekend. We had bought extra shingles from the roofers who redid the roof on the house before we closed so we don’t have many other supplies to buy to finish the project. I just ordered a dumpster and we’re picking up the flat shovels used for tear off from Papa Flannel tomorrow. Flannel Man and I will be tearing off the old roof and laying down the new tar paper on Saturday and Papa Flannel will bring his roofing nail gun and help us put on the new roof on Sunday. Hopefully everything will go OK because FM and I only sort of know what we’re doing.


Put gutters on the house and fix the gutters on the shed

The house currently doesn’t have gutters and never has in the 35 years since it was built. This has caused the windows and doors on the exposed basement of the house to rot from the water constantly dripping on them. By not routing the water away from the house the foundation has begun to settle on one side along with the front walkway which now angles water towards the house. We want to add gutters to the house and run the downspouts underground so that we don’t have to worry about moving the arms every time we mow. We also want to add some downspouts to the gutters on the shed because right now there aren’t any. The water collects in the gutter, falls through the hole where the downspout should be, puddles in front of the garage door, and floods the garage. In the winter time the water freezes and prevents you from opening the garage doors.


Put in a new, working patio door in the basement

Because of the lack of gutters water from the roof runs off the roof and hits the house on the two story side. This has caused the wood on the windows and doors in the basement to begin to rot. The patio door is the worst. It is completely rotted out so that it no long can move. When we moved in we discovered that the door was actually open by 1/4″ and also has a 2″ round mouse hole in the corner. So for right now we plugged up all the holes and gaps with expanding spray foam to prevent bugs, mice, and air from coming in and out of the house. I can’t imagine what all those hose did to previous owners heating bill. We would like to replace this door so that we can use the patio sometime this summer.


Convert the shop area back into a garage by cutting back in the garage door

The previous owner converted one of the garage spaces into a carpenter shop and then used the garage doors in the shed to park in the winter. They even left garage door on the ceiling so it could be converted back easily. We want to convert it back into a garage so that we can both park in the house and not have to tromp across the front yard in the winter. We’ll have to cut the garage door back in, remove the wall between the two garage spots, and close up the ductwork that was used to heat the space.

[Note the garage door at the top of this picture.]


Re-insulate the attic

There was only minimal insulation put in the attic of the house when it was built and over time it has compacted down to only three inches of insulation. There is also evidence of mice living up there in the winter time that have dug pathways everywhere though the insulation. The lack of insulation is most likely the main reason the previous roof was completely shot after only 11 years. There was a lot of ice damming that occurred because of the heat leaving the roof. We want to look into both batting and spray in insulation.


Paint entire house

With most of the house having white walls and almost white carpet we’d like to add some color to the walls. We also need to paint all of the ceilings because there are water stains on almost every ceiling from the previous roof. It would be nice to cover up the horrible goldenrod color in the study and the dog blood in the dining room, hallway, and master bedroom. We actually picked up some paint samples last weekend and now have spots of paint all over the house. I think we’re going to be painting the master bedroom first before our new bed arrives.



Tour Our House (With The Sellers Stuff)

I’ve been so busy posting the stuff we’ve been doing lately that I haven’t given you guys a tour of our new house. How rude of me! Since we still have boxes to unpack in every room here’s some pictures I took during our walk throughs with the seller’s stuff.


The Exterior

The front of the house faces the east.


The north side of the house.


The back of the house or the west side.


The south side of the house and the garage. Please ignore the Flannels and our realtor.


The shed/detached two car garage on the north west corner of the house.



The Interior

The entryway.


The living room (used as a great room by the seller).


The dining room (used as a family room by the seller).


The kitchen.


The screened in porch off the kitchen.


The laundry room also off the kitchen with a door out to the porch.


Now going down the hallway here is the first bedroom.


The second bedroom.


The main bathroom at the end of the hall.


On the other side of the hallway is the master bedroom.


The master bath.


Now down to the extra wide stairs to the basement.


The downstairs bath.


So what do you think? It needs a lot of work but has a lot of potential right?



Memorial Day Weekend

Flannel Man and I didn’t work very much on the house over the long weekend and it was nice to take a break. Saturday we did some yard work and burned some more tent caterpillars. [Note to ourselves: Don’t burn things on the asphalt part of the driveway unless you want a soft, gooey mess when you’re done.]


As FM was mowing the yard he ran over a small stick and punctured a tire on the riding lawn mower resulting in a three foot wide patch of shaved dirt that raps around our patio. It took him about 25 feet to figure out what he’d done.

Then Saturday afternoon we went kayaking at the nearby Indian Lake. It’s a little known county park with hiking into the bluffs and fishing in the lake. It’s popular with the locals since it’s one of the few parks that you can bring your dog and the best part is it’s free.


There were sparrows flying all around us on the water and I was impressed that our little point and shoot camera was able to catch this picture:


Sunday we woke up bright and early to go shooting which was a problem for FM since he was only able to get one hour of sleep because of his second shift schedule. Sunday’s match is one of the longest matches that is still run in the US. Instead of the typical 80 shot match it is a 100 shot match. It may not sound like much but it adds a couple hours onto an already long day. For having not shot in four years I did pretty well. It was fun to be shooting together again. I saw a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in a while, it was just like old times. This was also the day we met R. Lee Ermey.

Here are a couple shots of FM at the 200 yard line:


Monday we shot the long range portion of the match and at the 800 yard line I was second overall. Not to shabby. FM had some issues with his new front sight so it was a rough day for him. Hopefully, he’ll get everything figured out before the big Midwest Palma Match coming up.

Since the match on Monday was only a short match afterwards we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It wasn’t near as good as the first three movies and finished with a cheesy happily ever after ending. Then we went and got the lawn mower tire fixed while we shopped for a weed whacker. FM couldn’t wait to have one so he could trim up all the areas he couldn’t mow. Hey, whatever makes him want to trim the grass is fine with me.



Our Celebrity Encounter

This weekend Flannel Man and I shot next to a celebrity. The one and only bona fide celebrity I’ve ever meet besides Charlton Heston. You’re waiting for a name aren’t you….it was R. Lee Ermey! What?! You don’t know who he is? He was only the in-your-face Drill Sargent from Full Metal Jacket, the helicopter pilot from Apocalyspe Now, the host of the History Channel’s number one show Mail Call, and a voice for military characters in Toy Story and The Simpsons. Flannel Man and I shot down the line from him all day and didn’t even realize he was there until the end of the day. It’s not everyday that you run into a movie star on a range in Wisconsin. He came with a famous highpower shooter who is a former national champion from California to shoot with a Wisconsin “friend.” They are all sponsored by the same shooting related company so that’s how they met each other.

After the match everyone was waiting around for the results and to my surprise The Gunny (as he’s known) decided to sit next to me instead of sitting at an empty table. We chit chatted about how Flannel Man and I meet because of shooting, that he grew up in Kansas, and of course our new house. He was really nice and well..mild mannered (but don’t tell anyone else that ’cause I don’t want to wreck his reputation).

I was able to get a picture of all of the Marines who shot that day after the match.


I later realized I had caught The Gunny in a couple of my other shots too. It looks like he was having a good time shooting offhand…



Apple Bloosoms

In the last three weeks since we bought the house the apple tree down by the garden has bloomed and is now in full bloom. I love walking down there to smell the wonderful scent it gives off and to take pictures of course. I don’t think I can take enough pictures of this tree. I just can’t grasp the full beauty of it in a photo. I need a real photographer like Carrie to come take some pictures.


Here is a photo timeline of the apple tree since we moved in:


The last one is my favorite because of the beautiful bokeh.



Liar, liar, pants on fire

OK, so I couldn’t come up with a better title than that. Sorry.

Today we found out about yet another one of the seller’s lies. You’d think after three weeks we wouldn’t still be finding out about this stuff. But no.

Some background info: After the inspection we found a number of significant problems but the seller didn’t want to lower the cost. Instead after a lot of pushing she agreed to put on a new roof for us. Considering the seller has cut every corner possible when they lived in the house I didn’t doubt that they would try to cut corners on a roof they weren’t going to be using. So I did my research and wrote up a detailed specifications sheet that was included in our counter offer. Obviously, the most important part of the specification sheet was the shingle. We specified a 40 year architectural shingle since that’s what we would have put on ourselves.

Fast forward to two months later where after the closing we discover that the seller opted to put on a 30 year shingle instead without informing us! We would have never even known if we hadn’t ordered extra shingles for the shed. The spare shingles had been sitting outside under a tarp so we never noticed that they said 30 year shingles on the side until we started moving them. I called the roofer this morning to confirm the find out what was put on our roof and they said she chose to put on the 30 year shingle instead. The cost difference between the 30 and 40 year shingle was only $422. 422 dollars! She signed a legally binding document but decided to break it for $422. This is in addition to a whole slew of lies and made up stories about everything from me to how much land she owns. We’re come to the conclusion she is a compulsive liar. Too bad we didn’t know that before starting this whole thing. Don’t worry I plan to write out some posts that talk about our house buying process because frankly it’s one of those horror stories you hear but with a happy ending (we got the house).

In the mean time marvel at how much curb appeal our new roof added even if it will kick the bucket roughly 7 years earlier.


Before: Notice the algae and attractive satellite dish. Doesn’t it just say, “Come on in?”


After: The new shingles have copper in them to help prevent algae and no more satellite dish!


Before: Notice the 6 foot tall wood stove exhaust pipe?


After: Poof, it’s gone!



This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
DIY Savings