Saturday, February 9, 2013 in House stuff

We moved again

When we first got the rental here in Fredericton we knew because of the time of year we had to grab it quick – especially if we wanted someplace central so Meaghan could have an easy time getting to whatever work she could find.

After a while the small rental we had, which we knew was temporary, really was not cutting it. It was just barely big enough, with one bathroom. Most things were bearable but after time a few things tipped us over into “How soon can we move?”

One was the guy downstairs. He was super noisy and inconsiderate. His wife and baby were great though. I’ll skip mentioning their dog.

Then we found mould. Not just in dampo kitchen and bath areas around the 1960’s sliding windows, but sprouting up ont he ceiling and along the baseboards in the bedroom.

We started look in January and were lucky to find something just perfect for me, Ron and Emma. Meaghan has the old rental until the lease is up, then she is officially for reals on her own after that.

Our new rental is on the river on the north side, just near the outskirts of town. It’s a whole house, back off the road, loads of room for us without being too big, and a really good trial run for all the things we want in our retirement home. It’s five extra minutes to get to the grandkids, but it’s no longer an hour and a half to visit so I’m taking what I can get.

Our big old farmhouse is now for sale, so if you are looking for a house near Woodstock, Hartland or Florenceville, now is your chance.

If you go look at my flickr, I added some house shots. We are super happy about it and the more we settle in the more we love it.

I also bought a console table for a little room off the kitchen, and we’ve made it an appliance center. Love the table so much.

appliance center

In the same room, we also set up a coffee station. This room, while being off the kitchen, also has the master bedroom to one side and the bathroom to another. So when we get up, we cross the room, turn on coffee or tea, go to the bathroom, come out, grab our beverage and continue on to the rest of the house. Perfection!

coffee station

I also set up my sewing room again! This house rental has enough rooms I can have a sewing room. The old one was so small I was in the corner of the living room at first, then a corner of the bedroom. Neither worked very well.

new sewing room

So much happier here. I can see us spending a few years here quite nicely.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 in House stuff

This got long

Roundabout the time of this post back in May, we figured out a few things.

Did I mention Meaghan wanted to find work? Well she did. And when Sarah was living out here in the woods with us and had a job, the only way to get to work was have us drive her. Not only the cost of gas, but the cost of an hour of lost work. Each way. So.. one thing that occurred to use was the cost of gas etc was enough to pay to rent a room for Meg if she moved to Fredericton. Which, coincidentally she wanted to do anyway since there are more jobs in the big city. Go figure. And the scary part was – we could afford to do that.

The internet in the house was also the best we could get. We’d explored all the option and we were seriously considering renting a place nearby with better internet. We’d even found a place with fibre internet, 15 minutes away. And yes, we could afford that too.

So… we could afford to rent a place for our daughter to help her out until she had enough to pay for a place on her own. We could afford a second place for us to work.

Then we realized the place we were actually IN we did not want to be there any more. And that sucked. Also a five bedroom three bathroom rambling farmhouse we literally got lost in was just.. .yeah.

It probably took a month of thinking to ourselves, privately, how we could manage to finish what we could on the house and be able to sell it.

Meanwhile, Meaghan was getting antsy, so to kill two birds with one stone, we rented a place in Fredericton in the spring. We had to jump on it, because.. university town. We figured we’d spend half the week there with better internet, and half the week in our house, slogging through what we needed to do.

Somewhere in there, in a moment of lucid clarity, we called a realtor. Had her look at the house. She whittled our to-do list down by half, easy. Like, a manageable, do-able, work our asses off half. Something we could do that wasn’t an insurmountable mountain of money and work for a house that was quickly becoming … well… not fun.

Another brilliant idea we had? And I mean this with a completely lack of sarcasm. We started cleaning out our crap. All the “just in case”es and “somedays” and maybe stuff. We rented a storage container 20 mins away and drove back and forth too many times to count. We sorted we tossed and we packed up things we knew we did not need for six months.

Side note: realizing you can stuff a storage container with things you won’t need for literally *months*? Oh heck yeah that is terribly sobering.

I like to hang on to things.

I’ve been letting go of a LOT.

Somewhere in there, the house got emptier. Ron was able to start working room by room, to finish things up. Paint tin ceilings, finish minor repairs. Go over (and over and over) lists of all makings. Hired the neighbour guy to help out with a couple things.

Did not garden, did not buy flowers for the summer.

The house got emptier and we spent more time in Fredericton. Eventually, just Ron went on the weekends, working his butt off. Sometimes I’d go help. We’d lug stuff into storage and to our rental place and off to donation piles.

Everything took ages longer than we estimated. Some of it by a lot. And then? We discovered bats in the attic. That was a month lost of basically going “GAAAHHHH!!!!!!” It also explained the weird rash I’d developed and why my allergies lessened when I was not in the house.

The short version? We traded the tractor, which we no longer need, for the bat cleanup and new attic insulation. So that worked out well. Especially since we recently realized the new insulation that was in the attic when we moved in, was not done right. So now the house is a whole pile warmer too.

But by then we’d stopped calling it home. It was Lakeville or our country place. We’d started thinking of where do we want to settle next, and came up with our 5 year plan for the next little while, which is basically rent and be here in Fredericton close to our kids and especially the grandkids.

The house still needs a heating system and still is not on the market. We moved everything from a storage container near the old house, to one an hour and a half away, but near here. And we still go get boxes out and re-sort and clean out more crap. Amazing what taking items out of your sight for a few months does to help you decide if you really need it or not.

And honestly, if I had blogged everything while it happened, it would have added too much stress. Things changed weekly – sometimes daily.

It’s been a huge hassle.

It’s been expensive.

It’s been hard on my head.

It’s been hard on my husband.

But it’s been damn worth it – to the point we went a few days kicking ourselves why we didn’t do this sooner. Like, cut our losses earlier.

There are things about the rental we really do not like (one bathroom? oh heck no..) but the lease is up in June. This is easily fixable. Anything falling apart here is Not Our Problem and indeed when the bathroom vanity let go, it was handled by someone else for a change.

We don’t worry about our internet connection, or heat or if the water is going to stop or if something else is going to fall apart, or how many zeros is it going to need at the end of the bill.

We’ve seen the grown up kids way more often. We were here to help out Addison and Kaytlyn when their car broke down and they need driving around. We’re here to spend oodles of time with the grandkids. Usually we see them twice a week, and you know what?

That’s worth it.

Personal growth always hurts, and in between the work, there’s been a lot of thinking. Makes my head hurt. It occurred to me the other day, when I was berating myself for yet again not updating, that the me who started this blog would be so horribly confused by the me now.

But that’s okay.

He’s happier, I’m happier – the kids are pretty chuffed and the grandkids wail when we leave.

Can’t ask for much more than that. Everything else is gravy. It’s getting nice having time to be bored.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 in House stuff

Well well well, that was unexpected

As I sit here wondering where in my allergy sleepless haze summer went, I realize I do have a story for you.

Our water gets a little cloudy during the summer. No biggie – either a lot of heat (which we had) or a lot of rain )which we also had) will make it like this.

Then it got muddy.

And then the pump ran and ran.

And then we had no water.

This was Sunday.

Then we had a couple days of trying all of one day to fill the water pipe near the pump with water enough to try and pull something from the well. And we checked the well and tried to look in it. Water was a loooong way down. We trudged over to the neighbours with jugs to fill. We went into triage mode for Things That need Water and Things We Can Get By On. We did camping baths. We wracked our brains thinking up food to cook that didn’t take water.

And today the plumbers came! They were a couple of young taller beefy guys. Nice boys. 🙂 (yes, I *am* someone’s grandma, thank you very much.) They had a camera and a wire and a monitor to hook it up to. It was majorly cool and I am kicking myself for not getting any pictures. We got to see how far down our well goes and what it looks like in there.

Tho when you put things in the well and hear chunks falling off the side, that is not good.
When the camera goes by the foot valve and the plumbers start shaking their heads and telling each other something that amount to “look at the crap job” that’s not good either.When they get to the top of the water around 16 feet? Or the bottom of the well around 20? Yeah. Not fun either.

Not to mention the floaters. Ew. The boys explain it looked like there’s been a cave in as well, in addition to the stuff knocked off the sides. Imagine how much builds up after 50 years.

Then since we had to explain there was in fact no water in the pipe from the well to the house, the boys all went into the creepy basement to get the pump to pump what water there was.

And THAT was the kicker. Turns out there’s a leak in the pipe from the well to the house. The consensus we got was two choices:

1 – drill a new well.

2 – dig up the pipe between the house (running under the paved driveway) to the well (in our garage) and pretty much demolish everything in between.

We picked door number 1! We are delaying doing this, as we’re talking $25 a foot to drill, plus $15 a foot for however far down they put a casing. The guy remembers doing the well for the red house behind us and thinks it was a hundred feet.

For now, we implemented the temporary fix suggested by the super smart plumbers. (I heart them. One of them could marry one of my daughters. They’ve got job security.)

We took the pump out of the basement and put it in the garage, near the top of the well. We went into town and got 100 feet of pipe. Then we ran some from the pump down the top of the well to the water, and from the other end of the pump, across the top of the driveway, through the closed over window under the side porch, right back into the basement with the end hooked up to the inside pipes where the pump was.

Huzzah! Water in the house again.

Obviously we can’t leave the temporary fix there because winter come and everything freezes. Then we’d have no water and a broken pump. So! Making sure the boys come back at the end of September.

Nice shiny new well. Clean sparkling water. Was the one thing in the house we never thought we’d have to replace… “oh that house has the best well in the neighbourhood!”

It’s just the little things that make me happy, you know?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 in House stuff

I think I’m in love

I’m already married, right? Well if I wasn’t I think I’d be halfway to in love right now.

With the electrician.

Yeah, he was here. Yeah, he fixed the main breaker. (Wait till I upload the pics.) Yeah, he explained a few things that made us go “ooohhhhh… that’s why it was so freaky…”

So tonight we relax a bit and tomorrow we finish up.

Monday, September 21, 2009 in House stuff, what a guy I married

I think it may win

Remember how sometimes in the past I’ve written a blog post and you, the audience, are incredulous and amazed? And this one time, one of my friend even said “Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – it DID!”

Actually, I’m kind of shaking my head and laughing, since at this point we’ve been through a LOT and really this is just par for the course now, you know? At any rate, I’ll squash my flair for the dramatic and get on with the storytelling.

I think it was Thursday, late in the day. Ron was working on the septic field part, and the pump we’re installing. It need a plug, and all he had to do was run the wire, plop in a new breaker on the panel and hook it up. Pretty straightforward.

Except, you know, this is our house.

I mean, he did it right – it’s one of those things you either know how to do or you don’t, and if you know how to do it, it’s pretty hard to screw it up barring any ambulance showing up. But apparently just touching the electrical panel has set off a cascade of events to highlight every single ineffective and jerry-rigged piece of wiring in the entire house.

First, the entire right side of the panel kept shutting off. Just the right side. Fearing faulty breakers, Ron replaced a few of them on that side. Great – now we are at the point where at least more than half the house isn’t dark.


Now we’re stuck in the kitchen – a room that has 4 plug sockets, not including the one for the stove, where almost every one is on a different circuit. Every one of them is acting up. Including the stove, which is an entirely different voltage. It works, the clock is on, but now burners and the oven randomly shut down.

The plug behind the fridge has a new plug socket and the wire runs straight from it to the panel. It can’t keep a light on for more than a few seconds.

My office here was on the side of the panel shutting down. Weirdly enough, our bedroom is on the other side, so we’ve run an extension cord from there to here so at least we can work without things going *pouf* like they did a few times on Friday.

We’re waiting for the second electrician to call us back. Our phone was out too.

My mom says the house is winning. We kinda sorta joked before that we’d have to replace all the wiring in the house, and it’s looking like a reality.

As big as a whole shop

It’s bigger than I thought. My etsy/ebay/to sell pile that is.

See, in addition to the purging items I don’t want, some of it has been hitting another pile labeled “to sell on the internet”. Mostly destined for Etsy, but some for ebay.

I decided to do a “quick” sort of the to-sell stuff and make two piles. It was scattered around in boxes, and as I lugged each one into my craft room, it got bigger and bigger. I was laying out the “to fix” pile so I could take a picture. The “to fix” pile is any item that needs washing, repairs, a retrofit, or made up into some sort of goods (usually a tote bag) before I could list it.

To fix, then to list

I lost my floor again.

The whole time I was plowing through it all, the only thing I could think of was apologizing to the husband. You see, as we were taking things *out* of the house, a lot of my scoping out of yard sales and thrift stores has been with an eye for what sells online. (I’m not just guessing here, I’m paying attention to trends, picking up one or two to check out when I get home, and if I hit gold, grab more next time I see some.) So for that past couple of years – especially since we moved, although it started before then, I’ve been amassing things to sell online. In the words of my husband, “We’re supposed to be getting RID of things, not bringing new things IN to the house!”

I did have good plans, I was building a site to sell my own goods from, like my own etsy, run by me. Well, honestly at this point, I haven’t done squat except tear it down and partially rebuild it, twice. Plus I don’t have the time to market it. A slight change in plans, and this past week or two I signed up on etsy, plus listed a few things on ebay – just to start things off.

To list

Well, looking at the stack of items and realizing I could stock a small storefront tells me I’d better get cracking.

And Ron was right. (I hate when that happens.) No more yard sales for me until I make a dent in the pile. I’m feeling especially masochistic and wondering exactly how much I spent. Not all of it I bought; some is my old stuff, some inherited and willing to be let go of, and some just stuff people gave me. All told, I think there’s a good hundred dollars of investment there.

In yard sale prices, that’s quite a pile.

A small list for the curious:
– 28 items of clothing, 16 of them dresses, 21 of the items are vintage
– 6 aprons
– 73 books
– 18 linens of some sort
– 64 patterns, most 30 + years old
– 20 + different craft supply items (in my own defense, some of this is yet more leftovers from my craft store, which has been closed for 6 years)

ready linens

I’ll be allocating time on the weekends to list items, rather than go yard sailing. And yes I *am* embarrassed with myself.