Sunday, September 23, 2007

And so it goes, with the ownership of two houses...incessant home improvements for 3 months solid...working, working, working...

We've sunk in a lot of money into the old house, fixing it up, painting rooms, and updating it quite a bit -- fixtures and whatnot. Today, I planted some lantanas in the front planter and then mulched it. It needed it badly.

As for the new house, besides all the painting and landscaping we've done...our washing machine decided to die on us. It had died earlier, actually, when we were still in Leander. It was leaving black spots on our clothes, that don't wash out easily. Sean did some research and found that it is not worth having it fixed because it would cost a few hundred dollars to fix it. So we have to buy a new machine.

And also, our toilets in the new house suck. When we moved in, we noticed that they all (3) smelled like old urine. I cleaned the hell out of them. A few weeks later, the old urine smell was back. We weren't sure if it was something to do with our septic system, the water...our septic checked out fine. Scrubbed the toilets down again. A few weeks later...urine smell again. We've cleaned these toilets what seems to be a million times now. And Sean has gotten down on his hands and knees, with rubber gloves on and shoved a scouring pad up the rim using hydrochloric?? acid. He did some research and found that it's the way the toilet is built. There is a rim in the inside, where the water swooshes out of it. But it never really gets clean since not much water swooshes out of it. And when boys pee, they tend to splash, so the old pee goes up the inside of the rim, where it is more difficult to clean. We refuse to clean toilets the way Sean cleaned them last time. That's just too damn difficult! So we're on the search for three new toilets. We went to both Home Depot and Lowes on our search, and found that Home Depot had some decent ones for a better price than Lowes. Really, we're looking for cheap, but that doesn't have that crappy rim were old pee can fester. But nevertheless, that will be some few hundred dollars on new toilets.

Thank goodness we're both somewhat handy. We've done all the improvements ourselves (except for the carpet at the old house), and plan to do as many of them as we can. Cause hiring someone to do it is waaaaay too expensive!

Needless to say, we've been hemmorhaging money lately, for the past 3 months. And the hemmorhaging doesn't stop, especially since we're making two mortgage payments. Have to get the old house done ASAP! But we're almost there...just a few things left...

More hemmorhaging...Yesterday, we went to look at bamboo at Plantescapes and The Great Outdoors. Wow, bamboo locally and everywhere is expensive. Neither had quite what we were looking for. So I ended up ordering some online from Bamboo Texas. I ordered 6 of Babusa Tuldoides (punting pole bamboo) in 5 gallon sizes. The total cost, bamboo, shipping, and taxes...$423. Yup, that's more than my weekly income. But I told Sean that I'd pick up the cost of the plants since he's picked up thousands of dollars of cost on improvements for both the new and old house.

It's hard to just spend $400+ on plants, just like that. But the thing is...the longer I wait to do it..the longer it'll take to grow. Then I'll have to see the emptiness of the land next to us, then the house that is going to be right in our view. So it is justifiable. I haven't spent much on myself in these past few months at all. I told Sean that I wanted new clothes, so I started digging through my pattern files. I'll use what I have, fabric-wise, so I don't spend too much. Luckily, I've got a pretty full stash of fabric, thread, zippers, and that should get me through.

I've learned quite a few things with our second house. We lived in the old house for 5 years, and didn't do much to it. About a year ago, we planted about 8 crepe myrtles. We planted them post blooming season. And finally, they started to bloom about a week ago. But we're not there to enjoy it. Although our neighbor loves them :) For other projects, we never did until now..when we have to. We painted quite a bit, finally installed the cabinets and countertop in the master bathroom (a 2 year work in progress when we were living there), updated some light fixtures. And now the old house looks awesome...

So with the new house, I am much more motivated to put in the work, effort, and money early on, so that we can enjoy it while we're here. We'll probably be here for a while, since it is much prettier. And with the thought of surround sound construction, the landscaping is a high priority. I should be getting the bamboo sometime maybe late next week, so I'll get on that asap. And come springtime, I'll work on the other side of the fence, where the other builder will be deforesting. Trellisses and vines are my idea. A lot of work to be done...

Okay, I'm done ranting on and on...I need to put in some sewing time...I want some new clothes!


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