Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A One Day Break

Roger here....  This will be a short post to update everyone on the progress of our work here in Pendleton, IN.  We have several things on our plate right now that we need to work through before our departure on Labor Day weekend.  

Our immediate concern is getting the small house that our daughter lived in, until her move to Florida, ready to sell.  The sooner it is ready, the more likely we can sell it before we leave.  We are hoping it can be ready in a couple of weeks.  We are definitely making progress.  

You already know about the ceiling tile fun and the yard work.  The next task was dealing with a few of the wall boards which had separated from the sheet rock behind.  I reattached the loose places with wood screws and was very pleased that they readily found purchase and pulled back to the wall.  

The next task was to recover the walls to give them a more finished look.  Dianne did some investigation, resulting in a trip to Lowe's.  She put sheetrock mud

on the walls, then rolled them with a loop brush roller to give them a textured look.  She then repainted the main room and the dining area, first with tinted drywall primer and then the finish coat.  She picked a neutral light tan color called "mushroom."  (Dianne here:  I found the idea using Google.  Here's a link to the instructions for the project that I followed:  When I opened the five-gallon can of mud and first scooped some up to spread on the walls, I thought to myself "Oh, my gravy, what have I gotten myself into??!!"  It took a while to get the hang of it, and was a two-day process to get both really small rooms done, but worth the effort.)

  Hours and hours (Rather, days and days.... - D) of work with a good result.  Both rooms look a lot better, and Dianne has finally been able to wash all the mud and paint from her arms, hands, and face.  (By the way, I am not trusted to do interior painting, for some reason.)

While Dianne was working on the walls, I tackled a new floor surface for the utility room.  Last summer we ripped out the old carpeting and put temporary carpet scraps over the sub floor, knowing that we would do something more permanent when we returned.  I definitely wanted a hard surface on the floor, as it is the only pathway into the house from the garage.  It now has a neat looking dimpled-rubberized surface similar to those that you see in school locker rooms.  It looks great, and I am sporting a nasty blister on my thumb from cutting the tiles.  It will heal, but Dianne's lack of sympathy is quite hurtful. (Poor Baby....) 

We faced a similar situation with the bathroom floor surface.  After ripping up the old nasty carpet (why does anyone put carpet in a bathroom?), I cut a vinyl linoleum sheet to fit the floor area.  When it is glued down, it will have the appearance of terrazzo. 

Which leads me to the reason for our one-day-break:  When I pulled the carpet remnant from the toilet area, I noticed that the sub floor was damp all the way around the toilet bowl.  Uh-Oh.  When I touched it, it felt soft.  UH-OH!  We certainly did not need another expense, but what can ya do?  It had to be fixed.  So today we are relaxing by the TV in the house while a very likable and conscientious plumber is repairing the leak and installing a new section of subfloor in the toilet area.  The good news is that the floor joists all look great.  The better news is that Dianne did not collapse with the toilet into the crawl space this past month while doing her business :-).

Our issue of the day is that we have no water until the work is done.  Normally, that would not be a problem, as we would simply use the motor home for water, showers, rest-rooming, etc.  BUT, the motor home is at Mt. Comfort RV (a business that we truly do trust) for its annual service.  We really have no access to water, and we can't leave for the day with the plumber in the house.  So, we are taking turns finding public restrooms in town - lots of fun.  Dianne visited the Village Pantry (convenience store), but felt guilty doing so.  (Dianne here:  I didn't really feel guilty, because I bought a chocolate bar, but couldn't bring myself to keep going back there time after time!)  I (Roger) found public restrooms in the park.  The neighbors must wonder why in the world we keep leaving on foot, separately, every hour or so.  Oh well, gotta get rid of the morning coffee some way.

Dianne again:  Such is the disadvantage of a one-bathroom house!  On the other hand, we mentioned before that this little house has a great location.  One aspect of that is that it is a short walk to the Village Pantry convenience store or to the park (restrooms), library, community swimming pool, and/or downtown shopping area.  This came in really handy today.

Our next blog should be more interesting.   All three couples on our camp-out have Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks, so an excursion down the Flatrock River is definitely on schedule.  Menus are being planned and anticipation is building!  Hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend, too.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oh, to be free of the Stix & Brix....

Hi all -- Dianne here.  Roger is talking at an awards ceremony at his former school corporation this afternoon, so I thought I'd bring you all up to date on our progress.

The first thing we did after arriving in Pendleton was to get the yard cleaned up and flowers planted.  That was actually fun.  I even planted a couple of tomato plants in case the house isn't sold in August.  The part that was NOT fun was cutting back a row of forsythia bushes that had taken over the entire back yard.  (Roger had that little chore.)
 From a "pyro-queen" perspective, one of the bonuses of cleaning up the yard was all of the sticks that we were able to pick up from the yard that had fallen over the winter.  (This is a yearly activity when you have huge, mature oak and maple trees in the yard).   Last fall we had purchased a fire ring, so we were able to have a camp fire in the side yard (backs up to a woods) and pretend we weren't house-bound for the summer.   Burning the sticks and twigs was the most enjoyable chore from our list of 55.   The wine was flowing freely....
One chore that was NOT enjoyable at all was replacing the old ceiling tiles in the bathroom and utility room with new ones.  You would think that it would be a simple matter of lifting the old tiles out and replacing with the new, since the grid was already in place.   Let's just say that with the heat ducts and other overhead obstructions, heat vents, light fixtures, and so on that it took us two-and-a-half hours just to replace three of the tiles!  This was a two-day activity; one day for the small utility room, then another for the even-smaller bathroom.   It looks great now, but I wouldn't want to do it again EVER.  

This little house is 110 years old, and the old ceiling tiles had been in place since 1991.  Twenty years of dust and debris wafted off the upper surface of each one that we lifted down.   Not only that, the very first tile that we replaced had a dead mouse laying on top of it!!!!  (The house is next to a vacant, wooded lot and across from a farm field, so we had put mouse bait out while we were gone last winter).   That gave us a thrill, to say the least.   Luckily, that was the only "surprise" we had while removing the old tiles.  Roger took a photo of his lovely bride,  decked out with goggles, face mask, and shower cap to avoid the dust and debris as it showered down upon us.   (I consented to posting this for a little comic relief.)

  I remember when Roger and I lived in this same little house as newlyweds in 1972, when his parents owned it, and how well we worked together back then.  Well, let's just say that 38 years of marriage has made us both a bit more "lippy" and uninhibited as far as voicing our "concerns" to each other!   You'd think we'd kill each other living in the small motorhome 24/7 together, but for some reason we usually get along just fine in that tiny space. 

Next we will tackle the walls.  That should be a blog unto itself.  We bought this little house about seven years ago for our daughter (a single mom) and granddaughter to live in rent-free, like Roger and I did when we were first married.  I'm pretty domestic:  I bake my bread (even in the motor home) and love to cook from scratch.  My daughters -- let's just say they are not exactly domestic goddesses.   Must be a generational thing.  Anyway, there is much to be done to rehab the walls.  I found a neat project on the internet that will make the old paneling look like textured dry wall.  I'll let you know how it turns out, so check back soon, if you're interested at all.

Next week we take our motor home in for its 60,000-mile maintenance.  We can highly recommend Mount Comfort RV on the east side of Indianapolis for service.  They are a Workhorse chassis repair facility, and they have always done a good job for us.  We trust them and their advice.  We've saved up a list of items for them to deal with.

As soon as we get the motor home back, Memorial Day weekend we have reservations to camp with our friends, and hopefully do a little kayaking on the Flatrock River.  I'm sure we'll be MORE than ready to hit the road for a brief break by then!  

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Craigs List Deja Vu

Hi all -- Dianne here.  We've been making some progress toward our goal of being truly "home-free."  Yesterday I spent all day photographing, cleaning, writing ads and then posting on Craig's List for various things such as a lawn mower, snow thrower, hedge trimmer, patio chairs, snow shovels, etc. etc. etc.  (Listed on the Muncie/Anderson Craig's List, for my local friends.)  It was worth it, though, because I've already had a phone call early this morning from a man who is coming to buy our 8-foot step ladder.  

This Craig's List stuff brought back tiring memories of all the work we went through last summer when we sold our main house in Pendleton and almost everything in it.

This time, it's on a much smaller scale.  We're getting rid of things we thought we'd need if we kept this little rental-type house as a summer home base.  Now that we've bought the lot in Texas, we won't need to do ANY yard work, and certainly NO more snow.  

The appraiser came and did a thorough job of appraising this little place.  Kind of disappointing, but realistic nonetheless.  Our next endeavor will be to take on the "For Sale By Owner" task, possibly using Craig's List for the house, too!  

One thing that hasn't changed from our mobile lifestyle to settling in here is that "wine-thirty" comes around every evening (or late afternoon, depending upon what kind of day we've had!)  Jasper has an inner clock and starts badgering us right around 4:30 each day, because he knows that wine-thirty means treat time as well.  Here's the plate I prepared for yesterday's time-out:

It is pleasant to sit outside in the yard and gaze at the farm field across the street.  Roger saw a red fox run across the field the other day.  Last summer when we were here, it was soybeans.  This summer, I guess we'll be watching corn grow.  Pleasant as it is, I know that as soon as we're able to get our chores done here, we'll be anxious to see some new and different views on our way to California next fall!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back to the Midwest - Bob Evans Farm, Southwest Ohio

Hi all, Dianne here.  This is a quick update blog to catch us up, now that we're back in Indiana.  We will be busy here this summer (my to-do list is up to #55 already!), so we might not be updating as often.  Plus, how much can you really say about yard work and mundane chores around a stix and brix house??

We will update from time to time with progress reports on getting the little house ready for sale, selling off yet more "stuff," etc.  

Friday morning (April 30) we left Pipestem Resort State Park in Southern West Virginia.  

The entire day was pretty much the same scenic views out our large motor home windows.  As we neared Beckley it became evident by the rock face next to the highway that we had entered coal country.  My thoughts naturally went to the recent mine disaster.

I've been through West Virginia several times, different parts, and if there is a flat square mile there I haven't seen one.   After crossing the state north on I-77, west on I-64, then branching off on State Road 35 near Point Pleasant, we crossed into Ohio.  

As part of this new lifestyle, we are struggling to stay out of "vacation driving" mode -- you know, the drive-till-you-drop mindset.  So, as soon as we crossed into Ohio we stopped for the day around 2:30 at the original Bob Evans Farm homestead campground.  It's a small campground with only 12 RV sites, but we have water and 50 amp electric (no sewer).  It's quiet and pretty here except for the traffic on state road 588 out front.  At only $15 per night for water and electric, it's a bargain and perfect for a relaxing overnight stop to break up the long drive. 

 As you can see from the photo, Chaplin found the grass to be very relaxing!  You could almost read his mind:  "Um-m-m, soft midwestern grass!  No spurs, no fire ants, smells so good...."
As soon as we got set up, we drove across the street and down a "bit" to the original Bob Evans homestead to pay for our camp site.  The homestead is open for tours with no admission fee.  We were so hungry by that point that we skipped the tour and made a bee-line to eat at the original Bob Evans restaurant on the grounds.  I didn't photograph it, because it just looks like the normal Bob Evans restaurants you see everywhere. Not exactly gourmet fare, but a fitting start to welcome us back to the Midwest.

Saturday morning we traveled on until we were truly "Back Home Again in Indiana."  We spent Saturday night at Summit Lake State Park (mainly so we could dump our tanks to have them empty), then arrived at our little house in Pendleton Sunday morning.  

Now I understand why Indiana state parks are NOT popular with out-of-state travelers.  Always in the past we have had an annual pass to use for the various state parks.  This time, being South Dakota residents, we had to pay $7.00 just to enter the park, then another $25 or so for the camp site.  Not a viable option for just an overnight stay!  We might as well have found a private campground.  

We're currently in Pendleton, Indiana, parked in the driveway of the little house, plugged into the 50 amp outlet we installed last summer when we thought we'd be keeping it.  (Our two posts from this little house last year can be found under "Pendleton" in the sidebar).  An appraiser is coming this evening to appraise it for us, so we'll have a ballpark figure on what to ask for it as we try to sell it.  Wish us luck!