One Duke Energy Call From Heat

The two-man crew from Baker, Bauer, and Fish, my HVAC company, have been busy this week installing the remaining air ducts and Armstrong Air furnace unit in my basement.  It meant I needed to get back to patching floors on the first floor, so they could install the remaining air vents.  There are several areas in the kitchen that need patching, but the three pieces next to the rear wall were first priority due to the kitchen vent location.


Thanks to my neighbor Bill, the flooring I had left over from upstairs was ripped down to the right width to be used downstairs.  Both floors are pine, but the upstairs floors had wider planks than down.  I am really enjoying this newfound skill set. Patching floors is fun and for a rookie I do a pretty good job.  Too bad most of that patch will be covered by the kitchen cabinets.

It’s really amazing watching how they ran these lines.  I really hope this old house is the first of many I’ll work on (I want to be the Nicole Curtis of Camp Washington), but I wonder how central air/heat would be possible if I had not taken my house down to the studs.  I’ve taken on a lot myself, but I am certainly grateful to have Baker, Bauer, and Fish handling this project for me.  Tom Bauer has been fabulous to work with.

The thermostat has been hung in the living room and I’ve been told that I can actually run the fan now.  With the windows open the unit will pull air and circulate it throughout the house.  That will be needed as until I can get my backyard graded to slope 20180723_152003away from my house I am not going to have the unit for air conditioning installed.  It will be placed near the fence and although it may be hard to see from this photo, when it rains I get a large puddle that sits to the left of the steps.

I’ve been holding off having that work done in hopes that it can be done in conjunction with the building of the garage or at least with the pouring of the slab for it.  I unfortunately had a negative encounter with the architect that did my house plans, Sean Keith.  I paid him to do the plans for the garage and due to some personal challenges he’s experiencing he never produced them, nor returned the fee I paid.  Thankfully Couper Gardiner with M.Arch stepped in and completed the plans.



Don’t Live With It Update

After applying fresh primer coat could I tell it was not going to be a perfect patch, yes.  Can I live with it, ABSOLUTELY!!  The mistake I made was using the 5 East Sand for the first coat.  That stuff set so fast that I didn’t have time to smooth out and flatten the cut line to the left side of the hole.  There is a bump.  I tried sanding it away, but I actually applied too much plaster under the paper tape, so sanding only revealed the tape.  I could have started over, but I needed to get this done so I could move on to MANY other more pressing projects.

The only casualty was a light bulb, which was accidentally stepped on by a contractor.  The 6-8″ that I lowered the light will make a huge difference once the mirror is hung and I can’t wait to show off that DIY project. With that annoyance behind me I can now focus on getting that bathroom functional.  With the light fixture back in place and functioning (minus a light bulb) I turned my attention to applying the waterproof membrane paint, RedGard, to the floor.

Once the second coat turns bright red I’ll be able to finally start putting the tile on the floor, followed by tile on the walls, followed by installing the sink and toilet.  This room has come a long way from this.20171009_114454

Don’t Live With It, If You Can Easily Change It

The light fixture was too high.  I knew it as soon as I hung the light.  It bugged me every time I entered the room, so I lowered it.  Yes the wall had already been primed and painted, but for only $5.33 (price of a 2’x2′ piece of patch drywall) and some time I was able to put the light at the right height in relation to the sliding mirror that will cover the medicine cabinet.

20180916_140803Because my father and I had run the electric wires I knew I had enough wire to drop the light.  With the help of my handy Walabot gadget, allows your Android phone to provide a visual of what is behind drywall or concrete walls, I was able to locate the studs and I cut out the section of drywall.  The light needed to drop 8″.

As I did not 20180916_165118want to disrupt the seam where the wall meets the ceiling, my top cut fell right at the top of the light fixture, causing me to not have an anchor point at the top.  No worries I attached a 2×4 at the top before placing the new drywall, so I could anchor with screws.

From this point, this is where my skill set gets dicey.  The drywall crew left plenty of plaster supplies, four different types of plaster, but I did not have the proper trowel to apply it and I opted to not buy one.  Instead I used one that was only 5″ wide and the flat side of the trowel I use for thin set.  Knowing that I’d need at least two coats, I mixed and applied Ready Sand 5 for the first coat.  5 means it will set in 5 minutes and it really does.  As you can see from the pic I was only able to apply about half of what I mixed before it hardened.

For the second coat I used Easy Sand 90 and ended up with too much mixed.  It was very humid when I applied the product, so it did not dry on the wall as fast as I thought it would.  I will need to sand and possibly apply a 3rd coat if the wall doesn’t feel flat/even, but all in all once I prime, paint, and rehang the light you’ll never know aside from reading this post.

In addition to working on this, my friend Joan stopped by again and we applied primer paint in my office and dining room.  The office is complete and ready for its Sherwin William’s Passive, another color from the 2017 HGTV Urban Giveaway.  We got about 1/2 of the dining room complete before we lost our mojo.  Priming is an easy job with two people.  One cutting the corners and the other rolling.  If I can get a partner for the remaining rooms I could have whole house done by end of next week.

The Final Chapter

It’s been 43 years in the making, but my childhood home, 1108 Inner Circle Drive, is finally up for sale.  This means I have truly hit the home stretch at my Henshaw house.  I said home, but the sad reality is this house stopped feeling like a home for me on September 20, 2000 when my beloved mother took her last breath after a 7 month battle with colon cancer.  In the 18 years since her passing I’ve tried my best to put my own mark on this house:  remodeled the bathrooms, expanded the deck, added a hot tub, but nothing I’ve done has filled the void that her presence left.  It has served me well.  It allowed myself and my cousin Alex a place to grow up, but now it is time for another family to make it a home again.

I really thought I would have been further along at Henshaw, so that I could have listed the house early in the summer to take advantage of the prime selling season.  Fortunately my agent, Steve Petersen, shared that there is another window in September and October.  Armed with that information I was determined to hit that date.   Steve came out to the house last week of August and stressed the need to de-clutter and de-personalize the house.  The key is to allow perspective buyers the ability to imagine themselves living in the space.  We set September 10 as the day for him to take pictures, September 12 as listing day, and September 16th as the first open house.  A firm deadline was key for me to work towards, but getting this house ready for market has led to many sleepless nights, especially in the last 4 days leading up to picture day that got pushed back a day.

20180915_215235.jpgKey to decluttering………LET IT GO!  This was easier for me than I thought.  What I realized quickly is that I have been existing around objects that I never placed in this house and didn’t even know were here.  For instance, the laundry room closet was jammed with stuff.  Steve said he wanted to be able to see the floor.  Once I went through it I realized there were things in that closet I had not touched before my mother died.  The vacuum, iron board, and laundry supplies were never kept inside the closet until now.

The entry foyer closet was similar, but it was full of boxes and boxes of pictures, her year books, etc. I was able to condense 4 boxes of pictures down to two.  As a child of the pre-digital age where you can’t delete bad shots, it amazed me how many bad photos I had.  Images so dark you couldn’t tell who was in them or pictures of skylines taken from moving cars.  Oh, my favorite, an over abundance of zoo animal pics.  I have taken a lot of relative’s kids to the Cincinnati Zoo over the years.  Pictures I thought would be of importance to others, I mailed to them if they wanted.  Duplicates I pitched.  My mother’s high school yearbooks found a home with a neighbor that attended the same school.  He was greatly appreciative as he knew someone from her class that had lost his senior book in a fire.  I sent her college yearbooks to my father as that is where they met.

Goodwill, Habitat Restore, and Vineyard Church Healing Center were my go to places to donate gently used items.  I took donation slips from all and will take the tax write offs.

Once I got out all I, or my cousin Alex, did not want it was time to pack up and store offsite things I knew I wouldn’t need in the next couple of months.  This helped primarily with the de-personalizing, removing of pictures that sat on furniture in my living room, and de-cluttering of kitchen pantry.  The hardest rooms to de-clutter were the garage and office.  The garage has been the storage place for all the doors and some of the molding from my house.  With demo over there was really no reason they could not return.

20180910_120009.jpgThe office was a whole other beast.  I’ll admit, I had years of various statements piled on the floor and in boxes.  Basically when I needed to clear the kitchen counter and table I’d throw whatever was in the way in a box and into the office where I’d close the door during the gathering.  It took me about 6 episodes of the new season of Ozark to get through all the piles and decipher what could go and what should stay.  The vast majority of it went and I divided that material into two piles, trash and shredder.  Anything with account numbers (current or expired) I put in the shred pile and that filled two construction garbage bags.  I had hoped to take advantage of a free shred program Furniture Fair was holding to raise funds for Crime Stoppers, but their event was cancelled due to weather.  I did find Shred It, located in Fairfield, who only charged $75 for up to 10 bags or boxes.

Alex took her bedroom furniture and the kitchen table (she found a roommate and apartment), but I still have a house full of furniture that I can’t use at my new house, so the final aid to getting ready has been the use of online selling sites.  I started out on Ebay, but they charge a fee.  I then started posting on Facebook Marketplace where I’ve already made over $1000 selling my sectional sofa and an IKEA day bed.  My aunt Marsha hooked me onto Offer Up where I duplicated the items posted on Facebook.  Facebook Marketplace allows for more pictures and you can post on your computer.  Offer Up forces you to post via their app, which means a small keyboard to type (your phone) and they only allow five pictures.

Warning with these sites.  A man accepted my price for my brass etegere and sent me a “certified check” for an amount exceeding the purchase price with instructions that I was to give the difference, $1090, to the mover he had hired to haul several items for him.  The return address on the envelope had a different person named and a CA address, but the check was drawn from a bank in Utah.  9 times out of 10 these are fraudulent checks that would never clear, so a scam.  I promptly returned his check (I should have torn it up) and reported the person to Offer Up.  I haven’t heard from him since, so clearly he had ill intentions.  Here are all the items up for sell, so far:

Vintage Kent Coffey full-size headboard:
Vintage Kent Coffey Chest of Drawers:
Vintage Kent Coffey night stand:
Vintage Kent Coffey 9-drawer dresser with mirror:
Brass Etegere:
Stacking End Table:
Brass Chinese Noodle Stand:
Sleeper Sofa and Love Seat: (if doesn’t sell I will use at my house until I find the sofa I really want)
Miss Martha Original Hallie Music Box:

In addition to de-cluttering I painted all three bedrooms, laundry room, office, and touched up the dining room and entry foyer.  I got the windows cleaned by Blue Skies Window Cleaning, a company I found through Home Advisor and the carpet cleaned by  20180914_104232.jpgClean Steam.  I would not recommend nor will never use Blue Skies or Home Advisor again.  Stank, minimalist attitude by crew and Home Advisor bugs the crap out of you for more business.  Not to mention they only gave me one option for window cleaning, so I’m not likely to trust any future recommendations.  I highly recommend Clean Steam, owner Travis Landsdale, for carpet.  They were referred to me by a friend several years ago.  This was the fourth time I’ve had them out to clean and they’ve never disappointed and are efficient and affordable.

Inner Circle feels cavernous now, definitely too much house for one woman and her two dogs.  With Alex’s room emptied out upstairs echoes when I walk through the hall.  It is hollowed out in actuality, matching the feelings I’ve had for the last 18 years.  I’m so ready for the change that is going to come once the sale is complete.  Henshaw here I come!

Windows and Snakes

I attempted to cut the grass at my house Wednesday and got slammed by a severe storm.  It rained so hard I couldn’t load my equipment in my car, so I found things to do inside.  About an hour into the storms water starts dripping from the ceiling in my guest bedroom.  I still have one piece of drywall in the ceiling to install after the master tub is finally connected, so nothing impeded the water.  I go upstairs to discover water pouring through the boarded up window in the shower and through the gaps of the window next to it.  That window never closed fully and the shower window should have been boarded from the outside.

The windows had actually arrived on Tuesday, but due to the extreme high temps I told my installer to hold off for a cooler day.  Well that was thrown out the door.  Mr. Jackson got a panic call and request to come the next day to get at least those two windows 20180906_102356replaced.  He thankfully altered his schedule and arrived the next morning.  I have never lived in a house that had windows in the bathroom.  I have five in this room.  The trio on the side of the house are in the shower or in front of the tub.  I decided to make the two small windows picture windows, full glass non-functioning.  They are obscure (no peep shows) and tempered.  Only the shower window was required to be tempered, but I decided to 20180906_151154make them all that way.  The center window is normal double-hung, with obscure and tempered bottom pane.  The windows in the front dormer and water closet will be double-hung and bottom obscure, but not tempered.

Once again the vision I had is materializing.  I love the way these windows look and can’t wait to see the tile around them.

Now for the snakes.  While Mr. Jackson installed the windows I resumed my grass cutting.  During demo my guys were cleaning up debris from the backyard and found several snakes, one over 3′ long.  I thought, once I had all the trees cut down their hiding places would be gone.  WRONG.  There is an unpaved, city alley behind my house that stays overgrown with weeds.  I only cut my yard every two weeks because the city only collects yard waste that often, so my backyard gets pretty long too as it’s mostly weeds that grow despite lack of rain.  I was cutting the yard as low as possible in the beginning, so I have mowed and killed a snake unintentionally; I didn’t see it.

I had my yard treated for weeds, so I now cut it at a high setting.  Once again I mowed over a snake, but this time the blade wasn’t low to kill it.  That 2′ sucker coiled up at me and I had to tilt the lawn mower up in defense.  It slithered away when I dropped the lawn mower on it.  I HATE SNAKES!!!  So if anyone has any suggestions for getting rid of snakes, permanently, I’m eager to try anything.  My poor dogs are not going to know what to do if they encounter one and I’m still hopeful to have city chickens one day.  I’m afraid the snakes will eat my eggs.

Progress Without Me

You haven’t seen many updates primarily because I had to travel for work and I’ve been focused on de-cluttering my current house in order to get it listed in September.  However that has not stopped progress on my house.  The old adage that its not the “quantity” of friends you have, but the “quality” reigns supreme with me as my friend Joan took two of her afternoons to apply primer paint in my master suite while I was traveling for work.  I just need to paint the ceiling and storage closets and this floor is ready for final color.

I’ve decided if my house sells fast I’m going to move into a work in progress; no #FixerUpper reveal for me.  With two dogs in tow my options are limited as to where I could go, so its critical that I get a room completely finished and it makes sense to me that my Master SWEEEET be the spot.  With the exception of the walk-in shower I have every item needed to make this room live-in-able.  In addition to Joan’s contributions I had my carpenter back to complete the trim and set the salvage doors I purchased in the master bath.

Quality work again, but I actually discovered something he didn’t know and I did.  Both salvage doors had to have their swing reversed, which meant the latch bolt in the mortise lock was turned backwards; flat side hitting strike plate.  Fixing this was as simple as turning a screw, removing the plate, flipping the latch bolt, and re-attaching the plate.

I also discovered that mortise locks aren’t knob specific.  My Ebay knobs and plates came with a mortise lock and I thought I’d have to use them.  They, unfortunately, were thicker than the ones existing in the doors and I thought I’d have to chisel the channel wider risking damaging the door.  Before investing in a set of chisels I decided to try the plate and knob in the existing mortise lock and to my pleasant surprise it worked.