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Old 05-29-2008, 01:34 AM   #2481
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Oh man, your house must be a Money Pit! I'm guessing you got a good deal on your house to begin with to make you willing to tackle renovating the whole house.

My electrical system is so old, I have a fuse box with glass fuses. At least it's in the kitchen so I don't have to go far when we blow a fuse. The plumbing is almost 85 years old so it's very scary when there is any plumbing problems. I haven't had to refinish the wood floors yet, although they would look better if I did. Haven't had to tuck point the bricks yet except in a few places. No new windows either, although these are original and are nowhere near airtight. They rattle like crazy in a high wind. And I've never been in the attic - I send my sons. (There are raccoons and bats up there that scare me like crazy.) Do you and DW do most of the work yourselves?
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:39 AM   #2482
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My uncle calls his house "The Money Pit"! You gotta share some of the worst highlights of your Nightmare On Elm Street!
I wrote a big description of one room of our house and then lost it (I hate how sometimes my browser opens a new window and other times it writes over the old one). I will rewrite it tomorrow.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:52 AM   #2483
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On the subject of burning pics and video to DVD, it is often better to use a software program like Roxio or Nero (I prefer Nero and have a DVD plug-in that allows me to copy my DVD movies, handy with kids around losing originals and scratching them!) instead of the drag and drop method. Reason being, the software programs not only allow you to create menus so the pics can be viewed as slide shows and videos browsed on most any DVD player, but they also usually have a 'test' check box. By checking this box, the program will 'compile' the DVD image first, then 'test' to make sure it will burn properly without errors before actually burning the DVD. Doubles your burn time, but cuts way down on 'coasters'.
I make backups of my original movies too.
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:38 AM   #2484
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Okay, Fisher's Mom, you may regret asking, but I will give you just a sample of our Nightmare on Elm Street Money Pit!

We started in the master bedroom with our renovations. DH's sister had been living in the house for several years before we bought it from her and that was her room. She hated the house and didn't do anything with it. We couldn't believe she spent almost 10 years in that room the way it was.

The bedroom (and laundry room behind it) were actually an add-on in the 70's. The house was built in the mid 50's and was a tiny 2 bedroom rancher. The add-on was actually the old garage and they made a lean-to for storing firewood into the garage. The ceiling in the bedroom/laundry was a full 8" lower than the rest of the house, even though on the outside the roof was all level.

The ceiling was plaster and done in a pattern of semi-circles. It was yellow with cigarette smoke. The long wall and closet wall were covered in a horrid plastic wallpaper covered with vertical "threads" in shades of pink from light to dark. The other two walls were painted a very dark fuschia and the floor was covered in an ugly threadbare brown carpet that came to 2" from the window wall, revealing raw plywood underneath. There were obvious holes in this wall that were allowing ants of all sizes to enter the room as they pleased (we found out that these weren't the only "unwelcome visitors" but that's another horror story).

There was a hideous border in the corners of the ceiling that when we took it off revealed a 3/4" gap between the ceiling and the wall all the way around. When we filled this we had to plaster over the ceiling and couldn't match the pattern, so we ended up putting a new sconse around; however it was white to blend in. Oh, yeah, it took 3 scrubs and 4 coats of ceiling paint to get the smell and colour out of the ceiling. When we removed the wallpaper it took with it much of the drywall because there was no primer or paint between the two. We ended up putting up new drywall because patching was just too much. On the other wall under the paper were many very large holes (unfilled and up to 3/4") left by the removal of heavy exercise equipment, along with the black marks that outlined where the equipment had been. The fuschia walls took two coats of special cover-up paint and 3 coats of our pale mauve to cover it.

When we took the carpet out we found that there was a layer of really ugly linoleum underneath that also had to go. We put in a laminate floor, but because the room wasn't square and the subfloor was warped (we ended up replacing it but it didn't help), this wasn't easy. Also finding a nice light fixture that looked good and was flush enough to the ceiling because it was so low was not easy but I finally got a real bargain on one.

When we were done we really were pleased with ourselves; however we didn't get all the ant holes and eventually the yellow in the ceiling started showing through again. And this was just one room - the rest was just as bad or worse! We loved the house, but between the never-ending reno's and the mortgage we were glad to sell it. Our assessment showed that our huge corner lot was worth a lot and our little house was worth $3,000 - by the time we had left we had put more than that into reno's!!
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:23 PM   #2485
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WooHoo, Laurie! I'll bet you were glad to sell that home! You are so right about cigarette smoke being really tough to scrub off. I don't know how you managed it on a ceiling with that shell plaster pattern. Stripping wallpaper is an awful and tedious task, too. I've stripped so much of it now that I will never hang wallpaper again anywhere.

Installing drywall is something I really hate too because it's absolutely a 2 person job. I can't physically handle a sheet by myself - even just to carry it in the house. I hate cutting and installing subfloor, too, probably for the same reasons. The big sheets of plywood are too big for me by myself and using smaller ones means more joints to fill. Is your hubby good at this sort of thing?

When I bought my house at the coast, it had been vacant for over a year and was a HUD home. I made a ridiculously low bid and got it because it looked so awful. But it wasn't livable right then. The living room had cheap paneling on the walls and weird, styrofoam tiles stapled to the ceiling. I figured it was covering up something bad and I was right. I ended up having to install new sheet rock in about 1/4 of the room, including the ceiling. Lots of holes to patch and the only bathroom had no sink or toilet. Still, there were some good surprises like hardwood floors under the hideous, filthy carpeting and tile. All in all, it has turned out wonderfully and my boys are all pretty skilled in home renovation now.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:45 PM   #2486
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WooHoo, Laurie! I'll bet you were glad to sell that home!

Is your hubby good at this sort of thing?
In some ways I miss the old house, but mainly yes, we are glad to be out for more reasons than just the renos.

Actually DH wasn't good at manual labour (he was a computer programer/instructor for years until about 2005) but he sure is now. His brother and several of our friends helped and he really learned a lot. I did my share, but my main job was to be a gopher (as in go for this and go for that). I was becoming well known to the Home Depot Associates and even to this day know my way around that store better than some of them! I remember several times where I would just check out and my cell would ring and it would be DH asking me to get something else. So I would park my cart, run and get it and check out again. As for the wood and drywall, The guys at HD were really good about hauling it out and attaching it to my roof rack for me.

We have some reno's here (again we had to deal with cigarette smoke and I am highly allergic) but mostly what we are doing is because we WANT to and not because we HAVE to - there is a big difference.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:47 PM   #2487
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ok, with 54 approaching I do NOT do painting or major renovations.......been there done that for MANY years.......still recuperating from carpal tunnel syndrome...now if we were to buy a home it would be a small patio with no yard to mow and perfect move in condition...do not want to look at a paintbrush or roller as long as I live........but you youngins go for it..........
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:57 PM   #2488
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ok, with 54 approaching I do NOT do painting or major renovations.......been there done that for MANY years.......still recuperating from carpal tunnel syndrome.....
Hey, I am with you expat! My part of the renos of this place is picking the colours to be painted and where I want everything to go. I don't even do the running anymore. I am after all only 4 years younger than you and with carpal tunnel, osteoarthritis, FM, tendonitis, chronic back pain from a fracture and now this wonky knee, I think I deserve to sit back and watch. But DH has finally found a hobby and is always building or fixing something which is great.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:40 PM   #2489
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My husband ordered a protien skimmer for his reef aquarium from a private party off one of his reef forums..... paid $300 for it thru paypal. I wasn't too thrilled, I don't trust people.
The box just came, empty, with a note on it saying it was recieved at the post office in NH open and empty. It was coming from MA to MN. The post office sealed it back up and shipped it on its way here anyway.
I'm so upset, and he's still sleeping. I hope there's a way to be re-imbursed.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:47 PM   #2490
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I have to order cake supplies sometimes online and I tell you I am always nervous until it arrives. Even though I worked in the internet business for years (and we even took paypal), I prefer going into a store and handing over my money at the same time I receive the goods.
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