Archive for the 'kitchen' Category

More Problems, Will This Ever End?


Well, tonight was a typical night in the fact that we discovered more problems that the seller left us with. I confirmed that the oven doesn’t work properly with an oven thermometer. Because the oven was so dirty we weren’t able to use it right away so this is only our second time cooking with it. The first was when we were cooking some really freezer burnt stuffed chicken breasts so we weren’t sure if the reason they weren’t cooking right was the oven or the fact that they had been in our apartment freezer since who knows when. But tonight Flannel Man was coming home for our once a week dinner and the oven thermometer proved that my preheated oven wasn’t anywhere near where it needed to be. I had to keep cranking up the temperature to almost 200 degrees above what I needed! I can’t cook anything over 350 degrees. How could the seller forget to put this on her faults list? She had put down that the front left burner doesn’t work and even that the timer doesn’t work in high humidity but she failed to remember that her oven is 200 degrees off?!? It’s taking me a lot of patience to not call her up and tell her how I really feel.


I’ve also found out we have an ant problem in the master bathroom. I saw one ant the other day and hoped we had dragged it in on our shoes. But that is not the case. Tonight I killed about 10 ants in our tiny bathroom. They were everywhere the sink, the tub, the floor, and the ceiling. My guess is they have a nest under the curled up linoleum next to the tub. We’re going to have to add ant poison to our ever growing shopping list.

When will this ever end?




Us vs. The Moths, Round 1


Today we took our first steps to getting rid of the moths. They are really starting to get to me. The kitchen is gross and creepy with them here. I’m normally not such a puss about bugs but the idea of them crawling out of my cereal or flour completely creeps me out. At first it wasn’t so bad but then I did some research about them and read stories like this, this, and don’t forget this. You know it’s getting bad when as you miss one with the swatter you curse and grab the handle so tightly you bend it like this:


We first took diluted bleach to the whole pantry area and the nearby kitchen walls. Then we got rid of all the empty cocoons along the ceiling and all of the dead moths we had recently squished. As Flannel Man was up getting the many cocoons above the refrigerator he noticed that the cabinet above the refrigerator didn’t go all the way back to the wall so there were a bunch of moth cocoons and dirty back there. Then he realized that the cabinet wasn’t even fastened to the wall so we decided to take it out.


Next, we caulked all of the upper corners and gaps in the pantry. And by “we” I mean Flannel Man because he’s much smaller and can fit in tiny places like that better. He also caulked up the gap in the wood paneling that separated the pantry from the built in bookshelf in the living room. The moths were using that as an escape route.


We also put up a pheromone trap that I got at the local hardware store. We didn’t have much luck finding these traps at the big box places but our local store has a nice variety of pest control products. We used the Safer Pantry Pest trap with good success if you’re trying to get rid of moths too. We got about one a day. (Edit: After a week we had about 10 moths and didn’t get many more so I threw out the old one and put up a new fresh one. I think the moths were weary with all their dead buddies in there. One day I saw one sitting on the edge where it wasn’t sticky. He was a smart moth…until I smashed him with the fly swatter.)



Our Many Firsts

So much has happened in our first two weeks of home ownership that I wish I would have started this blog before we moved so I could keep track of everything. I’ve been writing posts as I go but since I haven’t had time to upload pictures and I believe every good post should have a picture I haven’t published them. So here are my catch up posts broken into the actual posts:


In the last 5 days we’ve had a lot of firsts.

We closed on our first home. After house searching since last July we were finally able to close on April 30th. We first put an offer in on this in November but it fell through. We came back in February with a slightly higher offer and after lots of negotiating we were finally under contract in March.


We had our first flood. Within hours of closing our basement was flooded with water. I had hired carpet cleaners to come the day of our closing and as they were filling up their water buckets from the spigot outside our basement was getting flooded. The seller hadn’t taken disconnected the outside water hose during the fall so the water wasn’t able to drain out, froze, and cracked the pipe. The water was just pouring down our basement wall when we turned the spigot back on. We called our realtor to see if there was anything we could do about it but like we suspected there wasn’t. He called around to a couple plumbers and got quotes from $130-150. Thankfully, when my family came over this Sunday my dad was able to replace it with $20 worth of parts. But when he moved the insulation he found parts from the first time the seller had burst the pipe. The replaced parts looked very new, only a few years old. I guess she didn’t learn her lesson the first time.


We found our first mouse. As Flannel Man was tearing the shelving out of the basement he found a dead mouse on the top shelf. We think the mouse had been living up there a while from all of the feces and stored acorns that were up there. The next day we found our second dead mouse on the floor of the shop.


We had our first infestation. The previous owner left us with a large pantry moth infestation in the kitchen. That was nice of her. When she removed her food in the pantry we were able to see piles of moth “pellets” (I’m not sure what else to call them). At first we thought they were from mice because each pellet was so large. No, apparently pantry larvae produce pellets the size of themselves. They were everywhere and were embedded in the shelf liner because they had been there so long. Lovely. That also explained the brown cocoons in the corners of the kitchen and the tiny moths flying everywhere. When we first saw the moths flying around the house we were like, “At least they’re just harmless moths.” Ha, ha, yeah. Then we diagnosed what had infested the pantry and now we’re like, “You damn moths!” as we run around killing them.


We had our first gag moment. After the seller’s niece came to pick up the food in the refrigerator we noticed that it was never cleaned. The seller said that the cleaning ladies she had hired took out the food, cleaned it, and put the food back. The only problem is we’ve come to the conclusion that she is a compulsive liar. I first notice a shelf in the fridge had a 1/2” of syrup on it and the paper from a family size hot dog package. Gross. I started cleaning the shelf with the minimal cleaning supplies we had brought over. I had to soak it overnight and decided to leave the rest of the cleaning for the next day. The next day my friend and I decided to tackle the fridge. We took all of the shelves and drawers out and found a horrible sight. Sticky syrupy stuff all down the sides and bottom of the refrigerator, pieces of vegetables that were months old, two different colors of mold, and worst of all…brace yourself…large balls of dog hair stuck everywhere! We attempted to clean it but we couldn’t stop gagging. The next day I started back on the refrigerator armed with gloves, a spray bottle of diluted bleach, a putty knife, and a strong stomach. I liberally bleached every inch of the fridge, ruined a shirt, and couldn’t get the stinging smell of bleach out of my nose. After finally having the fridge done I figured the freezer would be easier, I mean everything’s frozen solid how gross could it be? Boy was I wrong. The freezer had four different colors of frozen yet somehow sticky goo. Oh, and more long white dog hair. *gag* Once again the putty knife was priceless. After four days we had a refrigerator and freezer I felt OK about using.


We had our first pissed off moment. During our final walk through we discovered that the seller had taken the washer and dryer. What?! They had listed the washer and dryer in their MLS listing and we had put it in the contract…or did we? Our realtor frantically makes a bunch of calls and finds out that though he had written it in our first offer he forgot to write it in our final offer. Crap now we don’t have a washer or dryer. And the kicker was that the seller didn’t even want the 35 year-old washer and dryer so she just gave it away. So we figure we’ll have to use the local laundry mat for now. But wait it gets better…we later find out the local laundry mat that has been open for over 20 years just closed down last week. Great.


We had our first confused moment. When I was trying to set up our computers I couldn’t figure out where the phone line was to plug in our modem. I know the seller had had her computer and modem in the same room but where had she plugged it in? There was a funny looking outlet with four small holes. I took off the cover plate and started poking around in there trying to figure out what the heck plugged into such a strange outlet. I finally broke down and gave the previous owner a quick call. Quick because I didn’t want to tell her how I felt about the mess she had left us with. Anyways, it turns out that the four prong outlet is a phone line! We had to go to couple hardware stores but we found a converter for it.


We had our first annoyed moment. So now that we had food in the refrigerator I went to go cook dinner after a long day of moving, cleaning, and un-packing. I opened the oven and discovered that the cleaners hadn’t even touched the oven. The burn on food was everywhere. In some spots it touched the heating coil! What is with this lady? Did she not believe in cleaning? If she couldn’t clean it herself why didn’t she hire someone to clean it for her? She had the money. She had just bought a BMW convertible as a second car. Luckily, Flannel Man came in to save the day and spent all night cleaning the stove. Again the putty knife proved to be an essential cleaning tool along with two rolls of paper towel and an entire can of oven cleaner. The grates had to be soaked in oven cleaner overnight and took on a kind of funky oxidized metal color but at least they were clean. Flannel Man said it was worse than the refrigerator because the oven cleaner just made the many years worth of burn on food soft enough to move around. He still had to try to scrape it all out. I shudder to think of what that must have been like. Flannel Man wasn’t able to get everything out so the next day I turned on the self cleaner for three hours or horrible smells. That’s also when I discovered that the exhaust hood barely works and makes a rattling noise like something is rolling around in it. Oh, and when I turned it on more dog hair shot out of it! It clearly hadn’t been used in a while.


We had our first wtf moment. The house has two large fireplaces that in the 35 years since the house was built no on has ever used, not even the original owners who built the house. The second owners (who we bought the house from) decided that instead of using the fireplaces they should add a wood stove. Well, we didn’t want the wood stove because we knew we wouldn’t use it, it was going to be in the room we were going to use as the dining room, and it was going to add an extra $200 to our insurance. So when my dad was over today he helped us take it out so we could give it to a friend who wanted to put it in his hunting shack. When we moved it we found that there were many, many bird skeletons and feathers in the soot. We’re assuming they had come in through the vent and accidentally gotten burned. But by the shear number of birds that were in there we’re not ruling out that they may have been purposely put in there. Even if it was accidental don’t you think you would smell or hear the birds? I guess no one will ever know the truth.



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