Up and Coming

While I have been slacking on the blogging, I have been up to lots of actual projects! Here is a rundown of what to I am working to release this month and next:

How to Drain a Water Heater (a How-To)
DIY Magnetic Bathroom Jars
Spackling Sucks (A post on how much this sucks and some tips I can share to make it less-sucky.)
Before And After Gallery’s of the rooms

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Product Review: DRIcore Subfloor

Next up on the product review list: DRIcore. This subfloor product is intended for concrete basements and other such spaces to help keep them dry and mold free. My home is built on a slab, so I decided to look into this product when I was buying flooring materials per my Dads suggestion.

DRIcore looks like particle board on top and like a plastic version of diamond plate on bottom. That ‘diamond plate’ configuration allows air to flow freely under the subfloor. This design helps prevent mold in the event of a flood or a spill. Each square is slatted on the side to fit together (like laminate flooring). According to the manufacturing info, interior walls can be installed right on top of DRIcore. This subfloor is also has a R-value of 1.7 to slightly insulate. (Per their website, product stats state that this would bump up interior floor temps about 6F).

20140505-213320.jpg Continue reading

Product Review: Roxul Stone Wool Insulation

My opinion on using Roxul Stone wool insulation? In two words: use it! This stuff is great, man! It is more expensive than the fiberglass rolls but it goes up so fast that alone is likely going to be worth it for you. Better yet, it doesn’t make you itch like crazy when you have to modify the shape it comes in and it’s fire and water resistant. It’s made from stone and a byproduct from steel production, so it’s a sort of a recycled product. That byproduct would be in a landfill otherwise.

Also, did I mention that you can cut this stuff with a knife. A run of the mill, ordinary, kitchen knife! How crazy is that? While you are slicing and dicing insulation with your kitchen knife, you’ll find you have little to no waste left. You can use the offcuts to pack in and around odd pipes and other obstacles. I was even able to jam this stuff right up to my high hat casings! Continue reading

Updated Exterior Lights

Pretty straightforward post here, people: my old exterior lights were busted and installed incorrectly. Armed with a gift card I got from Coinstar, I headed to Big Blue and picked up two Portfolio Litshire outdoor lights.

Portfolio Litshire lights

Portfolio Litshire outdoor lights

The front light went on perfectly, but the back light needed some finagling. The awning was hung right-smack in the way of the old fixture. Light doesn’t shine through metal on this planet, so it was futile to put the new light in the same place. Relocating wasn’t going to create a huge eyesore in hacking up my siding, either. The old fixture was hung only from a small hole – just large enough for the live wire to poke though. Super safe.
Dad found a better spot and cut away the siding to properly allow for the light to be supported. In no time, he had the shiny new work box installed to hold all the electrical bits safe and sound.

Then I added a bit of caulk to keep the moisture and rain out.20131022-131234.jpg


Hangs low enough now

Pretty new light!

Pretty new Litshire light!

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

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One door closes…

One door closes…and you realize that your house has very old doorknobs. Old don’t bother me at all, but ugly sure does. My doors are durable and solid and they look so pretty. Time to upgrade those doorknobs – easy fix, right? Sure! I can do this one all by myself – no help needed. image I headed over to the Big Orange and bought loads of door hardware. I used Kwickset brand and settled on the Lido in brushed nickel. image Go time: I started with the bathroom as that’s the most complete room. I, with extreme difficulty, removed the doorknob that was on there since the house was built (the early 1950’s). It was really stuck on there. image Then there was a battle. A battle of epic proportions: Kwickset Blister-Pack versus girl. Armed with nothing more than a heavy-duty utility knife and unwavering determination, Girl did prevail. Let it be forever told throughout the land that Kwickset Blister-Pack did not go quietly. In fact, some say they fear that Girl may never be the same again…

After the battle of the blister pack, I took my recently liberated shiny new doorknob apart. Alright! Glanced at the instructions real fast, and took the rest of the lockset apart. Step 1: put one side of the knob on there, then fit on the other side: easy peasy. Lets get that going then! Here we go…just push this half through the hole in the door…here we go…thump. What? Hold on, it doesn’t go…let me turn this here and that there and yep…thump.
The standard bore hole for 1950’s doors was (something like) 1-3/8″ inches. Today it is 2-1/8″. That’s not going to work at all. It never occurred to me that this could happen, the doorknob package I recently defeated says “guaranteed fit“. That’s a bunch of – I don’t know what to call it – because I can’t even find an asterisk that says “except this or that” situation. That’s right, my darn doors are so old they no longer sell knobs I can use to pretty them up.


So I had to ask for Dad’s help. Again. He arranged to bring a 2-1/8″ hole saw and make me a jig for drilling out the doors. Good thing was, he actually had it already made from doing this before in one of his old homes. Woot! So much for my easy project, huh? At least the doors didn’t need to be taken off the hinges and dragged to Dad’s to be drilled out properly in the shop. image image image Dad got all the doors redone and we put the knobs on. We actually decided that the way the handles hung was kind of awkward so we rearranged it so that way they the little ball detail faces down instead of up as the manufacturer suggests. What to you think? I am not changing it if you don’t agree, just being polite. Haha. image image Steve was admiring Dads work, of which I only helped out ever so slightly in the end. He opened the last door with a comment of how nice they were and…thump. Yep, I said thump again! The darn doorknob went tumbling onto the floor and down the steps. We all laughed so much, we could not believe it! What now!? Turns out that very last lockset was a cross-threaded! What are the odds I would get one messed up from the manufacturer and install it last? I needed to take it back…just when you think you’re done, right? Them’s the breaks. Back to Big Orange.

Nothing could prepare me for how craptastic it was was trying to explain to the Big Orange returns lady why I was handing her a Wawa bag with a shredded blister pack and loads of little metal parts inside. She didn’t understand what cross-threading was and I had to show her multiple stripped hex tools before she understood. Here is a taste of how that exchange went:

Big Orange Lady (BOL): “We can’t resell that now – look at the package.”
Me: “Yes, I know. Its defective, as in not functioning properly, so really, you shouldn’t have sold it to me. Haha. I just need an exchange.”
BOL:”You didn’t like the style and opened it any way?”
Me: “No, its defective. It is broken. I needed to open it to find out that information. I want an even exchange for the defective cross-threaded knob. See, on the receipt here, I purchased 8 of these. Only one was defective.”
BOL: “We can’t resell that now – look at the package!”
Me: “Yes, I know. We did that part already. Its DEFECTIVE. See this here screw, won’t turn. Set wrong at the factory. Here are some stripped tools from trying to turn it. I need an exchange.”
BOL: “We sell stuff to spray and loosen that.”
Me: “Yes, I am aware of WD40. I will by that when I need it for old things in my house. For now, I bought this new, broken knob and would like a replacement. Its defective, from the manufacturer. I don’t want to buy products to fix something that came defective out of the box. I need an exchange.”
BOL: “Oh, I didn’t realize you bought it from here broken already. What you need is an exchange, Miss. That’s what you need. I can help.”
Me: Thinking: Sweet Heaven I want to just walk out with my new one and throw this mess right on the floor. “Really? Thanks! Yes. I should have asked for an exchange up front. I’ll do that next time.”
BOL: “Don’t worry about it.”

REALLY!? I didn’t freak – no Big Orange employees were harmed in this scenario. I just got my exchange and left. I love my new door hardware! I only hope they build a Big Blue here soon. I often drive to Philly or Delaware even though I can basically walk to the Big Orange.

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Jeepers, Creepers: Redux

Ok, so y’all know how much I hate creepy crawlies. Yet, somehow they keep comin’ around. Must be my charm.

Anyway, I have been religiously spraying Ortho Bug-B-Gon (r) out around the perimeter of the house. I have been overrun with Mosquitos and other crawlies. Biggest issue is the skeeters – with no water in the house, the hose is the only option. No fun being mosquito bait, I tell you!

If you have been around the disaster work zone as of late you will recall that there was a lake with a mountain of stuffs in it at a nearby back yard. Actually, I suppose the shining mountain is what caused the lake in the first place, but its not relevant now. That’s mostly cleaned up but there is still a smattering of, we’ll, just stuff. I mean lots of stuff. Stuff that can collect water and create a plethora of perfect damp hideaways. Hideaways for the unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces to happily continue to breed and raise nasty little baby unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces. I am outnumbered. I am losing the war, here People! The spray works sorta okay for a few days…then just sorta for a few days more. Oh we’ll, Fall will come soon enough.


In happier news, the carpenter ants seem to be gone, but now with the kitchen gutted I am getting beetles. I thought they were roaches at first, but after some research it turns out to be patent-leather beetles. Not too happy about that. Hoping they’ll go away after I get the walls back up in the kitchen.



Lastly, we have house centipedes. Just look at those mutha’s:

20130724-214255.jpg These things are TERRIFYING. Really. Don’t even mind the bazillions of spiders now that I haves exhanged pleasantries with these little monsters. They ARE monsters, too.

One such little beast challenged me to a battle.

(Place your bets now, please).

I had moved a slab of wallboard over to get to some supplies I had in the closet. He was chillin back there on the back and I passed by without noticing him, as the room has no lighting yet. I wish I took a pic of the insane bite I got on my leg now ’cause I think it was this little charmer. Mosquito bites usually get really giant on me but I had one with a silver dollar red blotch with two larger rings of lighter color red radiating out. Any-who, I was scurrrrrred to smash him since he was playing possum sideways on the drywall remnant since unholy things like bugs often don’t succumb to the laws of gravity. If I missed and he fell, gravity would, however briefly, apply to this creature – the floors are dark, the space is small and, again, no lighting to aid me. And he was about 3 inches long. I’d be creaped out forever knowing he got away. Can’t have that.
So I got my crap shop vac and went in with no cover. Lined it up behind him. Moved it closer…closer…easy now…closer…wait for it…I got him now….


Little jerk scurried a foot ahead on the wall board. Annoyed and feeling braver I jammed the shop vac hose right up to his hiney. He scurried another foot. This. Can’t. Be. Happening. Enter plan B.

I grabbed my ant killer stuff and sprayed him over and over. He just ran away. Never to bee seen again, I hope. Now I am creeped out forever knowing that he got away. Need to get these walls closed up so this type of evil monster cannot get in to the house. So, yeah, I lost that battle.

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Damage Control

Hey folks! So, it’s been awhile. Been busy doing stuff at the house, ran into a hiccup or twothousand since the post where my kitchen walls had been kind enough to reveal a pretty decent infestation of carpenter ants. We got that damage all sorted and started in on the bathroom. As you may recall from images in a previous post – the walls of the bathroom were rotted and were pretty much held in place with contact paper. To which I said, “Awesome!” I kinda always wanted a Florida Room. Though this is not quite how I had pictured it: 20130429-135139.jpg

Well, the walls are fixed up, reinforced or replaced and the little shed on the other side made the cut. It is still there – along with the rotting mouse carcasses that had lived in a two bedroom apartment located squarely on my property. They had it made. One room was a drafty shed – rather spacious for our little guests. The other was a tiny damp space under the tub IN MY BATHROOM!


Insert ee-bee jee-bees here


Now that my little friends have been evicted, on to the plumbing.* Simple drain fix. NOT. SO. FAST! Hadta jack-hammer the whole danged place up till good happy healthy pipes were located. Which, of course, was PERFECT! I had few thousand dollars I didn’t really want anyway…besides, being poor suites me.


In other news, the air unit got wired in. That was super great, except for the awkward hole they accidentally drilled through the wall-slash-ceiling on which the new thermostat was going to live. Not to worry, that was a truly easy fix for once. 20130429-195552.jpg

Amidst all the drama I decided to circle back on my plans and keep the second bedroom as a computer room that will double as a guest bedroom. This means I needed to move the washer and dryer to the second floor since there is no way I was putting them back in the kitchen. Here we found that the exhaust for the plumbing was not done correctly. Needed that professionally fixed, too.



Have I mentioned how horrible awesome an experience it was for me to get a home inspection? They are fantastic procedures. Here is how it works: you, the purchaser, have no firm idea what’s going on and you are scared you’re going to buy a lemon. You don’t know jack about plumbing, electricity, roofs or how to tell if the house is structurally sound or any of that stuff. So you give this guy a ton of money and he walks around your house-to-be with a clipboard saying how great it is for an old home. You know, to make you feel better. Then he points out one or two old bricks that should be pointed and little spot of cracked vinyl siding. You know, for dramatic effect. You ask when he will take look at the roof, he tells you it’s pitched too much and that you will need to pay more or hire a roofer to look at it. “Oh well, wish they told me that sooner” you think to yourself. But you are ignorant and this guy knows what he is talking about so you say, “oh, ok then lets skip the roof.” Later that week, you get pictures and a fancy binder with coupons for vendors *they* like. The report says that there is a leaky sink – it doesn’t tell you that the entire bathroom floor needs to be jack hammered up. It doesn’t tell you the home is drafty due to holes in the rotting walls that are only covered by siding and held up by old drywall. They point out a leaking pipe upstairs (that is right next to a faulty soil pipe rigging). They seem to overlook all kinds of obvious things that unsuspecting common folk like me would have no idea about, such as said messed up soil pipe. Every professional that has come into my home has pointed out things and said, you had an inspection? And they missed this (insert really expensive disaster here)? In fact, the roof that the inspector did not want to go on is the only thing that is turning out to be structurally sound in the whole shebang. C’est la vie. Next time I will just pay a plumber and an electrician to check out my potential digs, and that’s it. And it will likely be way less that 400 bucks.

Anyway, the point is, you haven’t heard much from me ’cause $#!t got real – real ‘spensive. There wasn’t too much to say about it – or shoot pictures of – more reinforced studs, tearing out rotten drywall, removing bug eaten wood, jacking up ceilings, it pretty much looks just like the previous few posts. It would have been duplicate photos and me whining about this and that. While thats all true, loads of work has been done. And loads of monies have been spent. If I can make it to destitute, I am trying so hard and am well on my way, I’ll know my hard work has paid off. Lol! I think destitute may even make my a-double-scribble look smaller. Ha!

Silver lining? Well, when I am done I will certainly have a brand new home.


*Back off and spare me the PETA hate-mail, please. No little mouses were harmed, they were actually already D-E-D dead when we discovered them.

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