Monthly Archives: January 2015

D.I.Y. Here We Go!

So, since I pretty much publicly gave myself a few weeks to start figuring out DIY in my last post, I’ve been spending some time researching how to do fixes and such for the home so that I don’t have to spend a fortune on every last thing that breaks or needs fixing while we own this potential boondoggle of a house.

My thought is this: sometimes, things break and you need a professional to come fix whatever it is that broke. Plumbing or electric stuff for example. Sure, you can always tighten a leaky faucet or replace outlet covers and such, but if you find you have a serious plumbing or electrical problem in your home, you should put the wrench down and call an expert right away. I repeat: Put. The. Wrench. Down. Sure, you might get lucky and be able to fix the problem, but chances are you’re going to either screw things up way worse than they already were, or seriously hurt yourself in the process. Call a plumber. Call an electrician. Yeah, they’re expensive as hell, but it’s worth it in the long run, trust me.

On the other side of things, there are repairs that you can do yourself. You don’t have to call your sprinkler or lawn care guy to replace a broken sprinkler head, just google the process, figure it out and get it done yourself. I’m not advocating replacing a sprinkler line or digging up your yard or anything like that, as anything major should be left to the professionals (see above), but for small fixes, you should try to figure it out yourself. Aside from just saving a bit of money, I guarantee you will feel like a genius and a real hands on person if you manage to fix a problem that you would normally outsource to someone else.

A small example of this is when the latch to my son’s bike trailer broke this summer. Now, I could have headed to the local bike shop and bought a new trailer hitch, but I looked online, and the thing was twenty four dollars. That’s highway robbery! They know you’re in a bind if you need one, so they could charge $50 for all they care, and most people would probably pay it. Not this guy, though! I decided I’d try to see if I could find a way to rig it myself, and in the end I was able to take some wire from an old tomato planter that wasn’t being used anymore, bend it just right and thread it through the hitch onto the bike. Not only did it work, I daresay that it’s sturdier than the original hitch!

So, yeah, I’m taking the time to figure out how to fix things myself. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error at first, but I think it’ll not only save me a ton of money, but will be a cool and useful skill to cultivate. I’ll post some pics of any cool DIY stuff I figure out over the next few months! In the meantime, check out the sandbox I built this summer. I was pretty pleased!

Sandbox

Talk to y’all later.

Trying to get settled!

Feeding off our previous post of moving out west, we were greeted by a massive arctic snowstorm that basically kept us inside for the better part of the last week. Below is a pic of the snow in the front yard from a couple days ago.

car covered with snow

One day it was 7 degrees, the next day 9, the next day -1 at 9am, you get the idea. Finally today it’s about 25, which means all that time cooped up in the house and planning what to do with our cozy new home actually gets to take shape. After getting the carpets cleaned, we thought that we would simply hire a cleaning company to come in and whip the place into shape. The previous owners actually said that they did this, but whoever they used didn’t do the best job, as we found plenty of dust bunnies all over the place, to go with a bit of mildew that had settled behind the washing machine. It really is amazing when you buy a new home what the total amount of money is that you spend after closing on a mortgage.

Let’s add it all up shall we? New blinds for the windows. Potentially new windows because they look like they haven’t been replaced in at least 15 years. New fencing in the backyard. Replacing a couple of sheets of siding. Putting a small fence in the front yard so the kids can play and not wander out into the street. Most of these things are cosmetic, or simply things that we want to do with the house, but seriously, we might as well have a frequent flyer card at Home Depot, because it’s looking like that’s our second home for the next few weeks. Thankfully I have a good job, because if I didn’t, none of this stuff would be getting done anytime soon.

Fortunately, this wonderful small city seems to be very heavy on contractors, and we have already been referred to a few of them. So, if we get sick of doing all this work ourselves, we can simply bite the bullet and hire someone to come in and do what would take us much longer to accomplish.

If I don’t become pretty versed in DIY’ing over the next two weeks, then I’m not learning fast enough. The kids are banging on the walls with their plastic hammers whenever I use the real thing, therefore at least there’s some intent of help there, and amusement when I get frustrated. I only wish they could actually bang a nail all the way into the wall instead of just staring at me doing it!

Hopefully we get above 30 this week so the outside work doesn’t cause my fingertips to go numb within the first twenty minutes. That would be pretty slippin sweet.