Saturday, May 9, 2015

What I Have Been Doing

It's been a while since my last post. I wish I could say that my husband and I took a month long vacation to some remote tropical island but who would believe that? Actually every extra bit of time we have had outside of working over the past 6 weeks has been spent fixing up our house to get it ready to sell. Because we have been so focused on our present house there has been little to no time spent on our future dwelling place. But, thanks to an on fire housing market in our area, we listed and sold our house on the same day. Halleluiah!!!! Now comes the time in the home selling process that I call "home selling purgatory". During this time, we wait for the sellers financing, the home inspection, and the appraisal to all come back. If all goes as planned we will close on June 5th and start the long process of making our little Eunice livable.

Don't judge - I named our future temporary home Eunice.

We visited Eunice for the first time in many months this past weekend and I'm telling you we both had a sense of overwhelming discouragement as we went through all that needs to be done to her. It was made more evident by the new patch of black mold that popped up on one of the walls since the last time we were there. Obviously putting a new roof on Eunice will be major project numeral Uno after we close. Well maybe major project numeral Dos since the extensive mold removal will need to take place immediately. Sometimes it is all too much and we really kicked around alternative living ideas this weekend because I think we both briefly lost sight of the big picture. But then last Sunday night after talking with some friends about all of this, they dug out some pictures that they took of our current home on the day we got the keys after closing. Seeing those pictures made me realize how far we have brought this home, and gave me the "want to" to keep plugging along on Eunice.

Here is the entryway. First pic is circa 1999, and the one on the right is 2015.

Master bath back in the day and now:

Kitchen now and on the day we closed:


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cleaning Ductwork Redneck Style

****Warning this post is long and picture heavy****

Progress has been slow for a couple of reasons. First we both came down with some sort of crud. So a whole weekend was shot and we were both down and out and basically lived on this therapeutic combination:

Thankfully we recovered, and the following weekend was wonderfully spent getting to know our newest granddaughter. I am SO in love!!!

After a weekend of snuggles and kisses with baby Jane, we decided the first thing we would get done up at the homestead in the making was to clean out the duct work. We only have a couple of weeks before it will be too hot here to work on the place without some sort of air conditioning. The unit that is there is basically kaput. In fact I'm quite sure it hasn't been operating in many, many years. The previous owners had some window units in place, and had even covered the floor vents in a couple of rooms with laminate flooring so if I had to guess, I would say it had been at least 7+ years since the AC had been in use. 7+ years of ick and possibly critters living in the duct work.

While at least one of the window units is still working, the windows themselves are pretty rotted and there are huge gaps where the units don't quite fit properly so one of the first things we will do is get a new AC unit. But until we get the cash flow for that type of repair, IE.... until we sell the house in the burbs... we will continue to do the least expensive items on our need to do list. Hence the decision to clean the duct work.

Now I have to say the duct work in manufactured homes is pretty straight forward. Basically it runs in a straight line from one end of the house to the other on each side of the home. This no frills set up makes it pretty easy for the average DIY person to clean them on their own. I definitely recommend getting a partner for this job as it will speed things along. Also, I highly recommend using a mask while doing this and I'm pretty sure this method only works on metal duct work. I don't think it would work with flex duct. Here is the cast of characters we thought we would need when we started the project:

It turned out that some of the items where not going to work, but fortunately I married Macgyver, and he can pretty much figure out and fix anything and he came up with a much better solution using some of the old garbage that was lying around the place. Just a side hubs ( Macgyver) is basically a genius when it comes to figuring out stuff. Proof positive that opposites attract since I can't even figure out the TV remote, and don't even attempt it. But I digress....

Here is our unorthodox slightly redneck way that we cleaned out our ducts:

First we removed the old rusted vent covers and vacuumed the vent with a shop vac that had an extended hose on it. I would be lying if I said this was not the least bit yucky because in reality it was very yucky! There were bugs, spiders, numerous Popsicle sticks (?) one fork, one earring, twenty two cents in change and clear cut evidence that some sort of varmint had made a home in there out of insulation and leaves. Macgyver rigged up the vacuum so that most of the filth would go out the window because he knows what I don't see won't freak me out.

Next we planned on using a mop head to run through the duct to loosen and collect any stuff the vacuum didn't pick up. However we realized a mop head wouldn't get the job done so Macgyver found an old cushion on the trash heap outside and came up with a clever way to clean the inside.

First he cut it so that it would fit snugly in the vent.

Then he cut a slit in the center so that he could fit a paint roller that he had cut the handle off of into the center. He also cut a portion of the foam so that the handle would poke out.

It's hard to see in this photo but the roller portion fit in the middle of the foam and he cut a little channel so that the end of the handle that he cut off would poke out so that we could attach the fish tape to it.

Here is the fish tape which incidentally has nothing to do with fish or tape. Who knew? It's basically a ridged wire with a hook thing on the end. I'm told it's used a lot by electricians for feeding wire and such in walls. We picked ours up at Home Depot.

Starting from the vent on the end of the house, he ran the fish tape until it made it to the next vent. This is where your partner comes in. Once the end of the fish tape was through the vent we attached the foam block to it.

Here is the foam block attached to the fish tape:

Then Macgyver stuffed the foam block into the vent while I pulled the end of the fish tape. As the foam was pulled from one vent to the next, it effectively pulled all the gunk with it. When it reached the vent, it had a bunch of yuck with it that we just sucked up with the shop vac. Here is a picture of the foam as it is being pulled through the vent.

You can just see the edge of the foam peeking out.

We continued this using the dry foam block going from vent to vent until there was no more stuff that was being pulled through. It took a couple of sweeps until we felt we had gotten all of the big stuff out. Now it was time to actually "clean" the ducts. I got online and ordered the big gun stuff.

When I was researching cleaning stuff, this got good reviews for effectiveness, but a lot of bad reviews about the smell so that had me a little worried but it turns out I actually like the smell. It's clean and slightly minty. We poured this into a bucket and then saturated the foam block in it. We wrung it out pretty well and then repeated the fish tape/drag through the vent technique. (Which we had down to a science at this point). We did have to rinse the foam with water after each pass as it got pretty dirty each time. We were just sure to wring it out really well so that the vents didn't get saturated. All in all it took us about 6 hours, but I feel so much better knowing that they will be clean when we finally get some air blowing through them.

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Fluster Buster

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let The Games Begin

Demolition has begun. So far we have pulled out most of the cabinets in the kitchen and all of the carpeting in the extra bedrooms. One of those rooms was the "bird room" where many birds had free rein of the entire room and sadly they all eventually died when the owners left. Ummm... Yeah.. Icky.

The other room was where the dogs were kept. This room is also next to a bathroom that at one time had a pretty significant leak. The water from the leak made its way into the bedroom. Not pretty.. The carpet in that room was pretty difficult to remove as it was stuck to the flooring underneath pretty securely. I'm just going to believe it was stuck down with some type of awesome glue and the animals that lived in that room had nothing to do with the carpet adhesion.


So once the carpet was removed the flooring was treated with a bleach and water solution and left to dry. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the carpet that was in there but it was a nice forest green with a kaleidoscope of stains in varying colors. I do however, have some pictures of the kitchen demo.

Sink side of kitchen pre-demo:

Sink side after demo...and yes that is a random deep freeze right next to the refrigerator thank you very much

Stove side pre-demo:

Stove side after demo. Removing the cabinets revealed some circa 1998 wallpaper.

The stove/oven is in good shape and will stay. Confession time - the oven is actually WAY cleaner than the one at my house. I was not brave enough to open the refrigerator or deep freeze because quite frankly I'm sometimes scared to open the one at my own house. Thankfully my husband is way braver than I am, and he opened both and surprisingly they were clean and empty. The deep freeze was moved to a storage building and the refrigerator will most likely stay. I would love a new stainless one but we are doing this remodel on a strict budget and why get rid of a perfectly good refrigerator right? But a new one sure would be purty....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Over Whelmed, Under Funded, and Lacking Time

Well, We closed on the property and we now have 38 acres that are in need of some serious TLC. We also have a house in the suburbs that needs some serious attention in order to get it ready to sell. I'm anxious to get the house on the market as the money we will make on the sale is needed to make the property livable. Fortunately in our area the housing market is still pretty strong. While this means our house could potentially sell quickly, it also means we could have no place to live for a while. The place we bought came with an older mobile home that is in less than perfect shape pretty dang crappy shape. Like " I would rather use a five gallon bucket to do my business just so I don't have to go in that bathroom" shape. So we went back and forth on what to do with the trailer. Should we just sell it to someone looking for something to put on a deer lease somewhere and focus on building what we want, or do we drop some coin ( not to mention a lot of sweat equity) to make it a TEMPORARY home. (I felt the need to capitalize temporary just to reiterate that to my husband - who could basically live in a barn and be content.) After kicking around many ideas from renting an apartment to buying a travel trailer to live in while we build, we decided to suck it up and work with what we've got. Here she is..... be it ever so humble.... Oh this girl needs some work! Parts of her are falling off, she has no working A/C ( we live in the Houston area A/C is Important!!) she is dirty, and smelly and pretty much past her prime but she is ours.

Monday, February 23, 2015

In The Beginning....

Once upon a time there was a country-at-heart boy living in the city who met a dyed in the wool city girl. They fell in love, got married and found themselves immersed in the suburban lifestyle - three kids, four bedroom house in a master planned community, PTO, Soccer, Dance, Careers, etc. Almost thirty years went by and country boy and city girl found themselves in a now quiet and empty house with a yearning to get out of the city to a more quiet environment. This is where I will chronicle our shift from suburbanites to a more rural existence. I'm sure there will be a steep learning curve with a lot of trial and error but just maybe this city girl will learn a thing or two along the way.