Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Say No to Crack(s)!

It's about time that I post some pictures of progress in the living room. My plan is to repair all of the walls and ceilings in the living room, dining room, and upstairs hallway during winter break.

Problem #1: Living room duplex removal aftermath: walls and ceiling

During the de-duplexing process I removed a couple extra walls from the living room. The walls still show extra joint compound from the transition from original walls/ceiling to the walls I removed. I've been working on scraping off the extra clumps of joint compound and then using some new stuff to level out the surfaces that were marred by the duplex walls.

If you need a refresher, here's where the walls were:

This is about where the ceiling is at right now. It still needs to have some scraping on the far left part there, then a good smooth coat of joint compound, then some horrible overhead sanding that will undoubtedly leave me with a mouth full of dust. Lookin' forward to this one.

Then come the walls. I finished scraping off any excess joint compound from the walls, then I've laid on a new smooth coat to level off the walls. Just sanding needed here. My favorite.
Problem #2: Stairwell walls

When I removed the paneling on the staircase I was left with lotsa lotsa cracks and nail holes. I've started patching up the cracks already, but haven't gotten too far. Here's some of the work. Please notice the smiley face stick figure I painted for the roomies. I thought it was classy. It might need to be repainted onto the finished stairwell. Or not.

First thing I had to do was gauge out the cracks so they were wide enough for the joint compound to get into. Upon my Aunt Bec's suggestion I used a wood chisel and hammer to widen out the cracks. Here's a shot of some of the widened cracks.
Then she suggested that I use the mesh tape to cover the cracks. I haven't gotten a chance to apply a second coat of mud yet, but after that's done I should be able to sand it down to a smooth appearance. Then I'll just have to texture, prime, and paint.
Problem #3: Living room walls.

I also started repairing the fireplace wall. I'm going to cut a strip of drywall to fill that place where the plaster's missing, then I'll be ready to sand, texture, prime, paint, hang some art!

Since I was already messing with the tape and joint compound I decided to rip out the horrible PO tape job over some of the cracks in the other walls. When the cracks turned, this guy just turned the tape over the crack and didn't care about the kinks that were left in the tape. He also didn't mud under the tape so it was peeling up too. It was bothering me quite a bit so I figured I might as well repair them before I start painting. So that's where I am right now. I won't be doing ANYTHING on the house until after I'm done with finals, so don't plan to be seeing anything amazing for a while. But, when those tests are behind me, look out!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm a Trapper; Anyone Want a Small Pelt?

When I got home last night at about 2:00am the first thing I did was scurry through the house checking the traps. Kabaam! The coffee cabinet trap caught my first victim! It must have worked pretty quickly judging from how rigor-mortis had already set in. It seems the winning combination for the trap was equal parts gum, peanut butter, and cheese. After disposing of the vermin I grabbed one of the traps from the basement and replaced the one that caught the mouse. If I learned one thing fishing with my Dad and Grandpa, where you're catching fish is where you keep fishing. We'll see if there are any friends for this little fella.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Death: Brought to You Today by Skippy Peanut Butter and Kraft Singles

Before Thanksgiving my roommate called me into her room sometime around 1am and said she heard a 'chewing' noise coming from the corner of her room. I, like an idiot, assumed there was a mouse in her garbage can so I *picked it up and shook it*. Dumb. Out it came and ran across the room. Roommate does the cliche 'girl on chair screaming' routine and I spend the next hour checking every purse, shoe, and bag in her room for vermin.

Soooo... I purchased some traps! I'm really more excited than I should be about this, but this is probably the closest I'll ever come to hunting (In ND babies are born in blaze orange with shotguns in hand). I purposly purchased the traps I thought looked most 'splatterly' for the maximum gore factor.

I got eight of the old school 'snap off your fingertips' traps and loaded them up with a combination of peanut butter, cheese, coffee (I found that the mouse likes the butter pecan flavor the hard way... grrr...) and some mint gum. The coffee and gum are pretty fragrant so they should attract the mice well. Peanut butter was recommended by the manufacturer, and well, cheese is kinda required by tradition isn't it? Check out this buffet of death!

I placed one in my room, one in the cabinet where the coffee was mooched, (see photo with mouse-munched coffee)three in the basement, and two in the roomie's room where the mouse was originally found. Don't worry, she's out of town all weekend so she won't be grossed out by the savage brutality about to occur.

Setting the traps proved to make me feel less like a brave hunter and more like an eight year old girl. I flinched whenever one snapped on me and clenched my jaw every time I set a new one. My jaw actually hurt by the eigth trap. I'm not proud. At least I didn't scream when I had one snap on me!

So, anyways, about two hours after I set the traps I was watching TV in the living room and I thought I heard something. I yelled to my roomie in the kitchen to ask if he flicked on a light switch or if a mousetrap went off somewhere in the house. He said he didn't do anything and suddenly I became like a kid on Christmas morning. I came tearing down the basement stairs only to find that, not only did the trap not catch anything, but the dang mouse BROKE the mousetrap so I couldn't reset it. JERK! Oh... his day's coming...

Monday, November 19, 2007

No, I'm Not Dead.

Well, for the last couple weeks my focus has been anywhere but on the house. At this time please feel free to check the date on the last post and frown at your computer screen.

The only real work I've done since that last post was to begin repairing the walls and ceiling in the living room where I removed the extra walls during the de-duplexing process. I also started repairing some of the cracks in the staircase wall where the paneling (eck) had been. I read on someone else's blog (I forget who *sorry*) that there's always a reason the paneling is there. It's hiding something! In my case? Cracks. Lotsa 'em.

I'll throw some photos up soon but I can't right now since I'm at Studio and the camera's at home.

I'm getting my 1975 oil-chuggin' heat machine it's annual check-up tomorrow so hopefully it'll last through the winter. If that thing goes out it'll be my roommates and I huddled around a fire in a garbage can in the living room. No, I don't trust the fireplace; It needs to be checked out/cleaned and, last I checked, I don't have a money tree anywhere.

Oh, yeah, and the dryer broke this week. I think it's the heating element because it still runs the same as before, just without all of the 'hot' needed to actually make clothes dry. Of course I figured out this little problem when I went to pick up my clothes from the dryer before work. Yup, there I was ten minutes late for work because I had to dry everything with the roomie's hair dryer.

We had our first flurries of snow this weekend. No I haven't finished the storm windows yet. Yes I'm a bad little homeowner.

I'm going back to my parents' house in Wahpeton (40 miles away) for Thanksgiving weekend and I really don't even want to think about the house.

With the holidays aproaching, I think that I need to pick up some Christmas lights. I finally have a house to decorate for the season, so I'm pretty excited. I'm trying to decide if I want to go simple and understated, or be the obnoxious neighbor with blinky lights of every color running every which way across the house. If I take the 'what was he thinking' approach I know my coworker who lives across the street will have words for me at work. He'd appreciate the humor in it though.

That's all for now, sorry to all who have been checking back to see the same thing over and over. I'll try to do better!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Look at My New Neighbors!

Here they are! Cute huh?
There are three of them, and they've moved into the roof of the house to the South. It must be a pretty swanky apartment; There's a front door, back door, and upstairs balcony!
Front Door: Back Door: (little squirrel shaped hole where the gable meets the gutter)
Upstairs Balcony: (squirrel shaped hole at the top of the gable)
Sure, they look like nice enough neighbors, but they have some odd habbits I really don't enjoy. Their downstairs neighbors have in-home daycare, and lets just say that diapers from their trash keep ending up in my backyard... somehow I suspect these little guys.
When I sit on the couch in the living room, the front and back 'squirrel porches' (the little part of the eave that wraps around to the gable front) can be seen through the two windows flanking the fireplace. I'm finding it really entertaining to watch them run in and out, but I know I should tell my neighbor. Maybe he can charge rent. 30 acorns a week?
In other news:
This weekend I only made it to one salvage place which proved to be the WRONG place, since after this little visit I've heard from numerous people that I should have gone to Bauer Bros. Next time. I think I'll be back in Minneapolis in two weeks, so I'll try again.

I also had the privelage of going to a 'before party' for a fellow houseblogger. You can find their blog about the Healy House, an awesome Queen Anne Victorian, at I'm really excited to watch their progress as they restore it.