Celebrating our successes – before the internet…

I like lists.  I like To Do lists.  Since it is a new year, I was updating my To Do list.  As I was updating, I was sort of complaining to Tad that the list never seems to get smaller – and we need to get on it.  Picture me with wide eyes and a bit of an accusing look on my face.  I also commented that some of the stuff on the list has been on the list for 15 years!  Tad sighed, nodded his head, and started to remind me of all the things we have accomplished over the last 15 years.  I admit that I don’t often celebrate the successes.  I am most often focused on the next thing – and there is always a next thing.  So – before I get to the updated To Do list, I am going to “celebrate our successes.”  Surprisingly, the list ends up being pretty long so I am going to break it up into past successes and recent successes.

Here we go – our past successes – you know, before the internet and digital pictures…

Exterior painting – the house is mostly unpainted brick but the trim was pink and pale blue when we moved in. The picture below is a scan of an actual/non digital picture from oh so long ago.

Scan 10

I swear to you, I have never seen such a thing.  I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal to paint a little trim. I was wrong. The basement window trim was still pink when we replaced the windows 12ish years later!  Exterior painting is really hard work!

House 001

New roof – we knew that we needed a new roof from the get go.  It had the original wood shingles and 2 layers of asphalt shingles – thanks to a hail storm and a neighbor suggestion we got it replaced through insurance – yay!

Tuck pointing – you could see daylight through some of the bricks between the dining room (which has an exposed brick wall) and the outside.  After 90 years of weather and such, I guess it was time to get some new mortar between those bricks. I thought about trying to do this myself but I was fresh off the exterior painting thing.  I was tired. In the end, I am glad I hired it out because those guys did a really nice job and it ended up being much more extensive than I thought – the 2 chimneys had to be entirely reset.


Interior patching and painting  – everything was yellow when we moved in. Yellow is probably my least favorite paint color. So every room was painted – and has since been painted numerous times.  The walls are lath & plaster – enough said – well, except I am an expert plaster repair person now – and no, I am not for hire.  I like the sturdiness of the plaster walls, but the plaster is starting to fail so we have been replacing that plaster with drywall.


New windows – the historical people are probably cringing right about now, but I have to say that this made a huge difference in noise reduction and energy consumption/conservation.

Electrical/old knob and tube – Tad spent many a miserable day in the attic rewiring the place – thank you Tad…

Front porch – while Tad was in the attic updating our wiring, I was on the front porch.  I think I was supposed to be trying to refinish the wood floor or something.  Somehow there was a removal of an odd 2X4 that I didn’t know was supporting the ceiling.  You can see the pink 2X4 in the background of this picture.  Again, this picture is a scan of a real picture from a while ago  – Tad is soooo young!  And – no, that is not me on the leash!

Scan 4

Anyway, the porch didn’t fall down, but it did lead to an extensive demo and rebuild of the porch roof, ceiling, and floor structures. Check out the date on this picture 7.5.97.

Scan 12

Here I am priming the edges and undersides of the flooring.

Scan 7

Here is Tad finishing off the floor.  Notice the date on this one – 7.19.97 – 2 weeks from start to finish – not bad…

Scan 11

The porch was our first major DIY construction project and it turned out great! Well – except a lumber company employee stole my credit card number and used it to make some weird calls to a telephone dating service of some sort – but that is a story for another day.


Fireplace – Tad came home one day to a pile of bricks and a dismantled mantel on the front lawn.  We had a gas insert installed.  The surround remained unfinished for a long,long, long time.


There was a $6000 bid for some basic cinder block work.  We saved about $5940 by doing the work ourselves – the supplies were $60.


See the detailed fireplace renovation story here.


Window trim/baseboards – again, those of you that are preservationists are going to want to skip this.  We removed the old beat up and heavily painted baseboards and window trim. We also were left with weird window frames where the previous owners removed plaster from the dining room wall and slapped up some (s)crap wood as trim.  Surprisingly, this picture is a digital picture rather than a scan of a paper picture – it was taken with the first digital camera ever I think – haha!


Tad did some crazy, unbelievable woodworking and created new cherry/maple window trim designs.


To this day, he has visitors feel the window trim – he spent hours and hours sanding that trim.  It is as smooth as a baby’s bum.

Landscaping/irrigation system– we had some initial landscaping done that included huge rocks and a sprinkler system.


We did hire out that initial landscaping.  One of the landscapers said that our yard felt like a little mountain retreat in the middle of the city.


I liked that – over the years I have tried to keep the front yard with that mountain feel.

The list continues – our recent successes up next…