Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Live from Shangri La...Part Two!

With both of us feeling relatively lousy, and with the shorter than expected time to be up here, we are tackling smaller projects rather than attempting any big projects.  After posting yesterday I got a small second wind and installed the new shower head.  That was it for the second wind, and we called in a night pretty early.

We woke this morning around 6:30 and took our time getting our butts moving.  We finally got ourselves cleaned up and fed, and then headed in to Rogers City to pick up a few items for the planned projects.  On today's agenda:  Installing a new wax ring on the toilet, installing a shampoo dispenser in the shower, and connecting the TV to the outside antenna.

The toilet project went smoothly.  I was concerned that the old wax ring had been leaking long enough to cause damage to the floor, but was pleased to find I was unnecessarily concerned.  We did find that the back and bottom of the toilet tank was covered in black mold.  The water from the well is ice cold, even in the hottest part of summer.  That, combined with heat and humidity in the house has the outside of toilet tank sweating like a glass of ice water on a hot day.  We bleached the wall and the tank to kill the mold, and now that we know it's a problem we'll be keeping an eye on it.  We're thinking that a spray of Lysol into the narrow gap between the toilet tank and the wall whenever cleaning should keep the mold from reoccurring, and we can make sure to wipe down the bottom of the tank whenever cleaning the bathroom fixtures.

The shampoo dispenser was a simple project, but one that makes a huge difference.  All of the bottles of shampoo that are currently cluttering up the shower will be gone!  We have one of these in our shower in Columbus, and it makes a huge difference.  I like the one that Shelly bought for up here, as it allowed for corner installation and takes up less space.

The last project planned for the day was to connect the outside TV antenna to the TV.  This was complicated by two things.  First, the antenna cable coming into the house was run to the master bedroom.  We wanted the TV in the living room but the cable wasn't long enough.  An adapter to convert from the two wire antenna cable to coaxial cable and a 25' length of coax solved this problem.  Second, the TV up here, though a nice unit, is an older model and is not capable of receiving digital stations.  We had to track down a digital converter box.  We hunted for one yesterday.  Wal Mart didn't have any, the Radio Shack that the GPS led us to was shut down, and the next closest GPS recommended Radio Shack ended up being a private residence.  Oh, well...we had a nice drive.  I went online today and found that Rogers City has a Radio Shack.  They had just one converter left on the shelf.  That left just running the cable and hooking everything up.  I drilled the necessary hole to get the cable from the basement to the needed spot in the living room, ran the cable, and hooked everything up.  Now, we both agreed that we'd be happy if we could just get a few local stations with a good signal.  We ended up with eight channels, all coming in extremely clear and strong.

The house is fully equipped with Dish TV.  I hooked it up to see if it all works, and it does.  The only hitch, we're not up here nearly enough to pay for the service.  Eight channels for free that we can watch whenever we're here, or satellite TV with a ton of channels that we can pay for even when we're not here to watch it.  Eight channels it is!  Heck, we've got too much to do around here to be sucked into watching TV, anyway.  It is good to know it works, and when we eventually move up here I'm sure we'll end up switching to satellite.

One small add-on project was to add a clock in the living room.  I found an older digital clock/radio in the basement, and with a bit of elbow grease it cleaned right up.  The radio even works well.

Not sure what we'll be tackling tomorrow.  I'm pretty much at the tail end of being sick, and am feeling better today than I have in a while.  Shelly feels better today than yesterday, but it's still kicking her butt pretty good.  I may start the prep work in the spare bedroom for the eventual painting project.  If I can get a good portion of the prep work done tomorrow maybe I'll be able to paint over the next long weekend up here.  Shelly's talking about clearing out the hall closet and maybe installing some shelving in the spare bedroom closet.

As promised, pics will be forthcoming.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Live from Shangri La!

Hello from Shangri La.  We finally made it up here yesterday (Tuesday).  We originally were planning to be here on Saturday, but between a major family upheaval and some vehicle problems, that just didn't turn out to be realistic.

There's about two feet of snow on the ground, and temps are ranging between the teens at night and the 20's in the daytime.  Fortunately we're surrounded by trees, so any wind is pretty much blocked.  We're not sure how much we're going to get done this trip.  Shelly and I are both under the weather, with her just getting sick and me just getting over it.  Damn flu bug is vicious.  I've been sick for over a week, and it's been kicking my tail.

Had a very cool moment last night.  I woke up around 3:00 AM, thinking, "Man, it's bright in here."  I looked out the window and found a full moon shining.  With the snow on the ground and in the trees and with the icicles hanging down from the eaves, the moonlight reflecting off it all actually had my breath catching for a moment.  I must have stared out the window for a good five minutes before I remembered that it was a full bladder that woke me up in the first place. 

The insulation in this place continues to impress.  We're heating with only a wood stove, and it'll chase you out of here.  We haven't stoked the fire in hours, and with temps in the 20's outside it's holding at 70 in here.

One nice new addition to the place:  We bought a small, bar style dinette set for the kitchen.  Space is short in there, so the bar style table is ideal.  The windows are high on the wall, and the taller table and chairs allow us to look out the windows while eating.  There are only two chairs, but it'll mostly be just the two of us up here.  When there are more folks up here people can eat in the living room, which is what everybody ended up doing even when there was a larger table in the kitchen. We plan to buy a nice wood set of TV trays.  I was wired after the drive, so I put the table together last night.  We had breakfast and lunch at the table...very nice.

We needed to buy some supplies, so this morning we took a drive to hit the Wally World in Cheboygan.  We picked up some food and sundries, and a new toaster oven.  There is a gas stove/oven in the kitchen, but due to it's age and tired condition we're a bit hesitant to fire it up.  There is a newer stove in the basement that we'll eventually move upstairs.

After getting back I fired up the tractor to see how well the snow thrower attachment works.  This is the first opportunity to use it since doing all the work on it at the end of October.  It works like a charm!  The driveway, which extends from the road to the house, around the house, and then back to the road is all clear.  I don't know how much life the old tractor has in her, but I'm going to run her until she drops.  We're hoping she'll keep running until we're ready to move up here.  Nobody is going to steal her, as she looks like a derelict.  If we buy a new tractor we'll have to haul it from and back to Ohio, as we would have no way to secure it up here when we're down south.  I'm dreaming of getting a nice zero turn mower, and there's no way we could leave an investment like that unguarded up here.

That's pretty much it for today.  It's now about 4:00 PM, and both Shelly and I are whipped.  We're going to relax this evening and hopefully hit things harder in the morning.  I need to replace the wax ring on the toilet.  I'm going to replace the seal between the tank and the bowl at the same time, as that'll be the next thing to go and it'll save me from having to take it apart yet again.  We also bought a new water saver shower head.  The current head is far from being a water saver.  It's an old shower massage, and the hot water heater is emptying way too fast.  The water doesn't cost us...well water...but the electricity to heat the water does.  That, and the second person to shower runs out of hot water before finishing.  :)

More to follow as the week progresses.  I'll post some pics as well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Been a while, so Dave's stepping in. :)

It's been quite some time since this blog has seen an update, so I'm going to try to get it caught up a bit.

Our last update was in August, and there's been quite a bit of activity and progress since then.  Thanks to a ton of effort from Shelly's aunt and cousin both of the barns are cleared out.  They provided the labor in exchange for the ability to sell anything we didn't want/need at auction.  This was a win/win for all parties.  They needed the money, and with our limited time to be there this job wouldn't have been done for a LONG time if it had to wait for us.  Even better, they found somebody to clear the steel and aluminum scrap piles, and to take all of the 100 or so windows that were laying around the property.  The place is looking GOOD!

One problem we had been having was a roof leak, which was coming into the house around the vent for the wood stove.  Shelly's uncle said that he had been up there and had tarred the heck out of it, and that the problem must be further up the roof, with the water running under the tin roof and in around the stack.  I figured I'd take one more shot at tarring around the stack.  Once on the roof I found cracked tar and some gaps.  I filled it all in, and we haven't had a leak since.  Afterward I told Shelly's uncle.  He said that his son had been up there, but when I talked to his son he said that his dad had.  OK...lesson learned.  :)

At the end of October, when the grass stopped growing, I did some work on the tractor to get the snow thrower attachment operational.  It's running like a champ!  It's backed into the barn with the battery conditioner attached...just waiting to be put into service when the snow flies.  Okay...we're so late in updating that the snow has already begun flying.  :)  I also did some work to get the walk behind snow blower up and running.  I also performed a temporary fix for the "window" between the master bedroom and the bathroom, tacking up some Reflectix.  We'll be drywalling this in.  Also did some work on the futon to make it usable.  The bars on it could be felt right through the mattress, so I attached some 1/8" plywood over the bars.

During all of the trips above Shelly has been cleaning and organizing.  She reclaimed all of the rooms, getting everything cleared out, cleaned, and organized.  It is really beginning to feel like it's ours.

All of the trips up weren't about work.  Shelly's brother and I headed up there to do a bit of Salmon fishing in October.  We did some work getting the trails to the deer blinds cleared, and laying some feed.  More recently, he and I went up in November to do some deer hunting.  Shelly's dad and uncle, and a friend of the family also went.  We didn't get any deer, but we had a great time. 

I did end up having to do a bit of work on the place during the hunting trip.  We got a call from Shelly's uncle, who had stopped by the house to check on it just a few days before we were heading up.  He let us know that the basement was flooded.  The sump pump had failed, and it had rained so much that the root cellar filled up so much that the water backed up into the drains in the basement.  I installed a new sump pump, and mopped up the water in the basement.  I got a burn pile going and cleared out all of the ruined boxes and such.  I also bought a dehumidifier, and set it up in the basement to drain in to a floor drain so that it could be left on.

I mentioned that Shelly's dad was up for the hunting trip.  This is the first time that he has been in the house since giving it to us, and I was surprised that he was staying at the house instead of with Shelly's uncle.  See, he and Dale, the previous owner...and resident until he passed away 2 years prior...were extremely close friends.  Shelly's dad is not comfortable in the house...too many memories.  He is also not comfortable with the changes we've made, even though he realizes that everything we're doing is necessary.  He stayed two of the four nights, but then packed up and headed back south.  Honestly, he stayed longer than I thought he would.  I think he had a good time, and the next time likely won't be as difficult for him.

With the cold weather and the snow flying we're going to move the work indoors.  We plan on heading up for the week between Christmas and New Year, and our plan is to seriously tackle the basement.  Shelly, when she was still at Lifecare, was gifted three gallons of Kilz mildew resistant paint.  I'm hoping to get the walls in the basement painted, which should help to keep the moisture down.

So, that gets us caught up.  Hopefully I didn't miss too much. Here are some PICS back from September that will show some of the completed work.  We'll be updating more regularly after this, so plan on coming back after the first of the year to hear and see about the work done just after Christmas. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reclaiming The Woodshed

Our latest trip to the house was spent reclaiming the woodshed. Not only was it full of garbage but it was leaning precariously. We knew that if we didn't take care of it we were going to lose it. Not to mention, in Northern Michigan winter is just around the corner.

We started our trip on Thursday evening, as usual, and got in around midnight. A nice little addition this trip was that Mike and Liz came with us. I don't think they really knew what they were in for!

Friday morning we got up and headed in to the hardware store. We needed lag bolts and a small gas can for the new chainsaw. Yep, Dave got another toy! When we got back to the house we dug into the woodshed. The sheer amount of garbage just boggled my mind. We did find some items that could be given to my aunt for the garage sale and some items that we kept. We piled all of the garbage into the trailer, and we ended up making two trips to the landfill. With the help of a very large chain wrapped around a tree and one of the upright posts we straighten the woodshed. Dave and Mike start putting up the new posts while Liz and I start dinner.

Dinner break was nice. We grilled under the "picnic pavilion" since the weather was a little wet. As we're all standing there talking Liz notices a pipe in the rafters and asks what it is. Of course we don't know so Mike starts to pull it down. I said that I picture it being full of dirt or water or mice. As I start to say mice one pokes its head out, focuses on Dave and starts to leap. As that happens I, of course, let out a girly scream and make everyone jump! It was hysterical. This tiny little mouse wasn't bothering anyone and we totally disrupted his home. After dinner Dave got the tractor going and knocked down the five weeks of grass, while the rest of us cleaned up and settled in for the night.

Saturday morning was a little cool outside but we got right to work on the shed so we can get it finished. We want to have time to show Liz the area. We discover that working on the back posts of the shed are a little harder than the front because it slopes down, making the clearance a lot shorter. The post hole digger kept hitting the roof making it really hard to dig. Liz asks how expensive the poles are, so maybe we can cut the poles down. Great idea! It just happens that there is another post hole digger in the large barn, so now we have one that is regular sized and one that is midget sized! Worked like a charm. Poor Dave though, his arms were killing him. We got all the posts in, the shed is sturdy and straight. Yeah! We re-stacked the wood that was already there and I raked the area free of debris. For now we put the garbage cans under there so they won't fill up with water. (remember the gagging incident?!)

BEFORE


AFTER

One other thing we took care of was the clothesline pole issue. For some reason the clothesline poles were in front of the woodshed and right along the driveway. Dave and Mike took one of the poles out, which was right in front of the entrance to the woodshed. We'll dig the other one out later but it isn't in the way like the one we took out. I do want a clothesline, but not there!

So while we're working on the woodshed my aunt and cousin are in the small barn pulling stuff out that can be put in their yard sale. They weren't only pulling the sellable stuff out but cleaning as they went. They worked their butts off! You gotta love family. Their hard work will make it easier for us when we get to the small barn.


We still had daylight left after finishing the woodshed, so we took Mike and Liz for a bit of sightseeing. We took them to Ocqueoc Falls, which was really flowing from all of the recent rain. Liz has never seen any of the Great Lakes so we took her to see Lake Huron. Then we drove over to Black Lake, drove by Dave's old family cottage, then headed to Onaway State Park where we walked the shore and hiked a trail. A very nice end to a busy weekend.



Note: Click on "August, 2009" under "Pictures" to view all of the pics from this trip.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Long time coming

I have been remiss in posting on our last trip up. Our last visit was July 10th (Dave's birthday!) and we were able to get quite a bit accomplished.

As usual, we drove up on Thursday night after work, getting us in after midnight. We slept a little later than usual but got up and started in right away. Dave had to go into the hardware store and I got to work on the back porch. Let me tell you, I almost didn't know where to begin in there it was so nasty. I made three piles, keep, sell and throw away. I know, it sounds like an episode of Clean Sweep, but I think this place would make even that crew run away screaming! At the bottom of all the junk I ended up finding 3 mice skeletons and 1 squirrel skeleton (shudder). By the time Dave got back I had the porch empty except for the shelves and the freezer. We then proceeded to take down the shelves and put them in the throw away pile (there was no re-using these elsewhere).

Dave and I loaded the throw away items into the trailer and decided we had room for the stuff in the garbage cans. The stuff in the garbage cans was from our last trip up, from me cleaning the kitchen and clearing out the mostly OLD canned goods. Little did we know that water had got into the cans, leaving them smelling like a sewer. Dave dumped the first can right where we were standing and it was AWFUL. He was gagging and getting pissed, while I was trying not to laugh at him. After all this we decided we would empty the freezer on the porch and take the stuff to the dump. We have no idea how long this "stuff" has been in the freezer, or if it ever defrosted due to a power outage...yuck. We got it all loaded and off to the dump we went. Forty dollars later, and we have an empty porch and have whittled down the garbage on the property.

(Before)

(After)



We got back and took the freezer out of the porch and put it with the scrap pile, which my dad is supposed to come up and take away. This brings me to a funny story about the scrap piles. A couple weeks ago we received a letter from the insurance company, notifying us that we needed to move the LP tanks that are by the house, and remove the debris pile. My reaction was "Which one?!" My aunt and uncle took care of the LP tanks and Dave had to make a call to the insurance company regarding "the" debris pile. He makes the call and says "I have a question and you're probably going to laugh, but which debris pile?" The lady's response was "There's more than one?" with laughter in her voice. Dave had to explain that we aren't bringing items onto the property but cleaning it up and organizing stuff into piles. She agreed to call the underwriter to request and extension, and to let them know that theses aren't permanent piles and will be removed. It is very difficult to describe the sheer amount of "stuff" there is.

While I worked on the porch Dave was using his new toy in the yard. We bought a gas powered weed whacker, because there just is not enough extension cord available to take care of business in this yard. He was like a kid in a candy store, actually enjoying the work. He was also pruning trees, especially the ones hanging into the drive. He got as much done with the pruners as he could...or, until the handle snapped...and came to the conclusion that our next purchase needed to be a chain saw. By the time he's done with all that it was evening and time to stop for dinner.

We decided to clean up and go into town for dinner. It was his birthday after all! We went in to Rogers City and decided on a place called Waters Edge. We sat out on the deck, which overlooks the lake. Wonderful view, good cold beer and the weather was perfect. That's where the good ended. The service was horrible and the food was lacking. Oh, well...we still enjoyed ourselves, and the drunken crowd next to us was entertaining. Back home for a good nights sleep.

Saturday morning we're up and at it again. Dave went out and sprayed the driveway with weed killer while I get started in the master bedroom. We usually don't like to use chemicals if possible but the driveway is gravel we need to keep it clear of weeds or they'll take it completely over. After he was done with that he fired up his tractor and got going on the mowing.

The master bedroom....well, again it's filled to the ceiling with junk. I start in the closet and then move on to the dresser drawers. We decided to bag up all the clothes and donate them to a thrift store. I counted 23 bags of clothes and some linens from the one room.


In the closet was a lot of ammo that everyone uses when they come up hunting. For the hunters, we're talking about eventually making an apartment in the basement for them to stay. This will help get all the ammo and hunting gear in one place, and when we're living there it won't be too crazy. The hunters are usually my dad and brother, and sometimes they bring a friend or two. Since there is already a kitchen (so to speak) down there it wouldn't be that hard to do.

Around lunchtime I went out to Dave and told him I just don't have the fire to keep going. I did get about 3/4 of the room done but I was just not feeling it. We had already agreed that we need to do something fun when up there, or we'll end up resenting the house and property. So, knocking off for the day and having some fun was the agreed upon plan. I suggested geocaching so that we could do some sight seeing. Don't know what geocaching is? Check it out here http://www.geocaching.com/ We enjoy this because it gets us outdoors, and going to areas we might never have been to otherwise.

After getting cleaned up we headed out and hit a few geocaches. One of them led us to a place that Dave used to go to with his family when he was a kid, which they called simply "The Ranger's Grave".


After that we drove by the cottage that his family used to own, for nostalgia's sake. He said that it looked exactly the same, it just has a different family name on it. Then we decided to go Atlanta, MI for dinner. We found a nice little bar and had a wonderful burger and a couple beers, while dropping quarters in the jukebox. Great time, and just what we needed! On our way to dinner we stopped at Clear Lake State Park. We quickly learned the reason they call it Clear Lake...it really is crystal clear. The color of the water reminded us of the Caribbean. It's fabulous. The campground on the other hand has very small sites and it didn't look like it had too many bathroom/shower houses. We figured the lake makes up for all that. We also stopped at the sink hole observation area. Yeah, that wasn't what we expected. The one we went down was just a deep (very deep) valley. Dave counted the steps on the way back up...217! I had to stop half way up to catch my breath, that's all I remember! The other one we checked out was basically a lake and it was clear and quiet, very nice. We'll probably go back and hang out there in the future. Back to the house, then, for another good night of sleep.

Sunday, time to wrap things up and get on the road. I loaded all the bags of clothes into the trailer and we hit the road. Seven plus hours later and we're home, time to order pizza! The perfect ending to a very productive weekend.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is not an optical illusion...

This pic is of the kitchen tile. No, this is not a picture from one of those optical illusion coffee table books from an eye doctor's office. There really are two different types of tile. :)

Update from Dave - Solo Trip

Hi Blog! I'm providing the update this time around, as Shelly didn't make this trip. She took Kyle and four of his friends to Cedar Point. The jury's still out on who got off easier. :) Peanut and I headed up for an extended weekend to see what we could get done. First on the list, knocking the grass down. It's been a month since we've been up, so it's going to be pretty darn long.

I hit the road right after work on Thursday, and arrive at the house at 1:30 AM. Friday is to be split between working for Motorola and working on the house. I get up at 7:30 and head outside to put the charger on the tractor and to let Peanut run around a bit. (Note to self: I need to get a battery conditioner.) After some breakfast and coffee I get the Motorola stuff out of the way. With rain in the forecast, and with current clear skies, I want to get outside to get the grass cut. The tractor fires right up, and after a couple hours the yard looks like somebody actually cares about the place. I pull out the electric weed whacker and about 150' of extension cord. After struggling with the cord for about an hour I decide that a gas trimmer is definitely on the "Things To Buy" list. With the grass taken care of I head back in to make some dinner, and to do a couple loads of laundry


Up early Saturday morning...same routine...coffee and breakfast. On the agenda today...washing the walls and ceilings, and scouring the shower...WOOHOO! First, a trip into Rogers City to the Ace Hardware for cleaning supplies. I also pick up the needed battery conditioner. Back at the house I start in the shower. I had cleaned it previously, but at the time I lacked strong enough chemicals to get the job done right. With the shower done I head to the kitchen to start on the walls. I'm hoping that orange scented Mr. Clean will be able to cut through the soot on the walls. The paint on the walls is the original stuff, so it's 20 years old. It doesn't look like anybody has ever taken the initiative to wipe 'em down, so the soot from the wood stove is pretty thick. From the first wipe I can tell that I'll be changing the water in the bucket pretty frequently. Got the kitchen done, and move to the living room. Shelly had already cleaned the kitchen, so in there I could focus solely on the walls.

I know that the living room will take more time and energy, especially around the wood stove. People had been bringing wood in and throwing it on an improvised wood rack (a small, metal shelving unit turned on it's side). This marked up the wall and left all of the debris, and bugs, to fall on the floor. Remember...we don't ask why. Our plan is to place a large wood rack, one of those wrought iron hoop style jobs, out on the enclosed back porch. Shelly's uncle recommended placing it on the front porch, since the front door opens off of the living room. May be worth considering. My concern with this is that snow slides off the roof and collects on the front porch, and will likely make it impossible to get to to the wood when you'd need it most.

Shelly's Uncle Donnie and Aunt Lorraine stop by. Shelly cleared out quite a bit of redundant stuff out of the kitchen cabinets, and they're going to sell it at yard sale. I think they're impressed with how much we accomplished, especially in the basement.



Yes...even 'ol Billy the Bass had to go...


After they leave I get back to work on the living room. I'll get about 3/4 of the walls cleaned, rearrange some furniture, and vacuum the place up.




A few other things I knocked down: I removed the fridge from the front porch.




I also loaded up the small tractor to take it home to Grove City to work on. I'll take it back up north after I get it running. Two tractors means grass cutting in half the time!




Our next trip up, for all of us, is in three weeks. We don't yet have a game plan on what we specifically want to accomplish. I'm thinking that cleaning and throwing stuff away will be on the agenda. ;) One new thing that cropped up that will need to be addressed: With a heavy rain coming down on Saturday morning there was a leak coming in around the exhaust pipe for the wood stove. I went up in the attic but couldn't find anything to indicate where the leak was originating. I decided to not go up on the roof until I have somebody with me to call 911 in case I fall. :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Long Weekend

Woo Hoo, Labor Day weekend. More time to get stuff done.

Divide and conquer. That's the plan for the weekend. Dave is going to get the belt on the tractor so he can mow the yard and get other yard work done. I'm going to get the kitchen cleaned out if it's the last thing I do! Kyle brought a friend and they pretty much did whatever we asked them, which turned into a lot of garbage hauling.

Saturday bright and early, boys still asleep, we have to make the trek to the grocery store and hardware store. Thirty minutes later we arrive at the closest city with a walmart so we can stock the food, get toiletries and other what nots. The hardware store recommended for the tractor supplies is just a couple blocks away.

We get everything we need and head back. It's a gorgeous day, perfect blue sky, Lake Huron is so clear and blue it looks Caribbean. Then we pull up to the clutter shack which we lovingly and tongue in cheek call "Shangri La". Time to work.

I dig into the kitchen and Dave heads outside. A few minutes later he comes in looking for bug spray. The mosquitos are trying to drain him dry. Finds some, big shock, with all this stuff there was bound to be some, heads back out. I'm finding boxes of gun shells, some empty, some full and some partially empty - in the kitchen. Hmmm, wonder what's in this drawer.....used bread ties. Huh, NO I WILL NOT ASK WHY!! Empty that drawer, move on. Bags and bags of old icky food later the boys are hungry. Well it is dinner time.

Call Dave in, get the grill going and dinner on. As we're cooking dinner Dave fills me in on the tractor situation. He got the blades changed on the mowing deck, they were pathetic rusty little stubs. He still cannot get the belt on, swears it must be the wrong size. Ok, it's starting to get dark now, time to shower, read a little and fall asleep.

Sunday. Back to the grind. Dave asks me to come out with him so he can take a piece of string and wrap it around all the pullies to make sure we have the right size belt. Huh.....we have the right size I go back in and leave him to it. I have found so many old and repetitive spices that I'm still shaking my head. Remember, he was just one man, all this wasted food is just sad. There was so much that he must have forgot what he had and just kept buying. Working in a food pantry makes the waste so much worse to me.

What's that I hear? Dave is mowing the yard. WOO HOO. Uh oh, what's that I hear? He keeps running over stuff because of course, there is stuff EVERYWHERE. Peanut keeps running in front of him and dropping her ball so he'll play with her. She doesn't quite get that it's not play time all the time. Yard looks soooo much better mowed. We're starting to see what a gem it really is and not just what we imagine it can be.

I finished the kitchen and we decided to go get pizza. We worked our tails off so it was treat time. We really enjoyed ourselves at the Woodwinds Restaurant in Onaway. Pizza was excellent and everyone was really friendly. We also took the boys to Ocqueoc Falls and walked around a little bit. So beautiful, and almost in our back yard. Ok, time to hit the sack. We have a long drive tomorrow.

Dave and I get up early and think, "Hey, why don't we get a little more done and then hit the road?" So, Dave heads back outside and I decide to tackle the bathroom. SIX garbage bags later I have a clean bathroom. If you look at the pictures you'll see a weird window on the one wall. Believe it or not that window is between the bathroom and the master bedroom. Why? Oops, forgot, we don't ask why because there are no answers. Eventually that window will be gone, but for now, no one wants to sleep in the master bedroom because of the possibility of stinkiness! Dave got a few more things done outside.

Quick showers and time to hit the road. Oh man, we will never leave that late again. I-75 is crazy heading south after a holiday weekend. Whew. Seven hour drive took nine but it was uneventful. Kyle's friend even said he would like to go with us again. Suprisingly the state of the place didn't scare him off. Of course taking the quad and letting them ride on the property probably didn't hurt.

I'm going to post links to photo's on the side of the page. Take a look. You won't believe what we're up against. Yet, we love it there and can't wait to head back. It'll be a few weeks until there is more to post because we have vacation taking up the next two weekends.

More Cleaning

This trip Dave had to make on his own. He found that all the snow had melted and the mounds of snow in the yard were generally hiding piles of stuff. Can you say pile of hammers? Why? Oh that's right we don't ask why anymore!

This trip he worked on the yard tractor so we could mow the massive yard. He managed to pull the tractor out of the sunken spot in the yard where my dad parked it. Why was it just parked in the yard? We do have an answer this time! Because the outbuildings are too full of stuff to park it in. When Dave originally asked him if it ran, the response was "It worked when I parked it." Ok, so he gets it out of the parking spot, and was able to get the plow off the front. He did all the routine maintenance but just could not get the belt on so that the mowing deck would work.

Well, the tractor runs so he drives it around pulling a little cart, picking up stuff to take to the dumpster, put in the scrap pile and start a keep pile under what we call the picnic pavillion. Well, that's what it looks like to us. Just little odds and ends that needed to be taken care of.

This was also the trip that Dave realized that it gets really DARK in the country! He had to use a flashlight to find the bathroom, so he decided to leave a light on. Poor baby, no residual light from a city. Night lights were put on the list of things needed to buy. He also found himself talking to the dog quite a bit!

Speaking of the dog, Peanut, she LOVES the country. She has tons of room to run around, lots of sounds and smells, awesome. One problem, Dave had to physically pick her up and put her in the truck. She walked away from him when he told her to get in the truck! Now Peanut loves Dave and will do anything he says, so that just shows you how much she likes it up there.

Another truck bed full of garbage into the work dumpster. Whew, just a million more trips and we should be golden!

The Begining of the Clean Up

Unfortunately, we only get to go to the house on weekends which doesn't leave us much time for cleaning. We usually leave after work on Friday and drive the 7 plus hours and hit the sack. If it's winter we have to get the fire going so we don't freeze during the night!

This first planned cleaning trip my brother and sister in law joined us and gave a hand. Knowing the basement was filled with home and store bought canned goods that dated back to 1990, we took a pick up truck bed filled with milk crates. Saturday morning we get up and head straight to the basement to clean. We filled that pick up truck with some NASTY food. I mean some of the cans had leaked and sat there long enough for the food be dried out inside the can. Some of the home canned items looked so gross that our son was actually gagging! Thank goodness we can use the dumpster at Dave's office because the dump isn't open on weekends.

Once we filled the pickup we continued cleaning so we could have a staging area. We figured there had to be one place in the house we could put stuff we wanted to keep. We were covered with dirt and cobwebs. I did realize that I probably shouldn't wear my cream colored fleece while cleaning.

The main task we gave my brother and sister in law was to dispose of the items in the chest freezer. I was the first to open it and discovered in baggies, two perfectly frozen pheasants. Hmmm, well maybe he was really fond of them. Fast forward a couple hours to when I realize the picture on the fridge in the kitchen is of the birds alive in their cage! Funny story about the food in the freezers (we'll discuss the other one later), my dad totally felt that the food in the freezers was fine to eat. When Dave brought to his attention that we had no idea if the power had gone out in the past two years long enough for stuff to defrost, there was a long pause (insert him thinking "Huh, hadn't thought of that.") then he said again that it would be fine! YIKES, what is he feeding my mom??!!

So, we clean like maniacs. One surprise was no rodents. No droppings, nada. LOVE that. Another surprise is the plethura of wonderful tools. The man loved tools, lots of tools. We're afraid to buy anything because we just know the minute we do we'll find the exact item in a pile somewhere.

We still have about a fourth of the basement left to clean but had to move outdoors now that the weather has broke.

We learned quickly to have a sense of humor about all of it. While trying to find an extension cord to charge a flashlight I hear Dave laughing hysterically. He has found at least 5 cords but one end or both has been cut off. Why? We don't know and we've come to the conclusion that we just need to stop asking why.

The Inheritance

We inherited a very solid two bedroom home in Ocqueoc, MI with almost 11 acres of land and a few outbuildings, which we're VERY excited about. After a couple of trips we decided to start this blog because, as wonderful as the house and land is, it is a MESS. We've had some pretty funny experiences already in just a few trips.

The standing joke after a really good look around the place, is that the reason we inherited it is because no one else wants to take the time to do all the cleaning!

The friend of the family that my parents bought this from was unfortuantely a pack rat. Here's a link to a few pictures just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davwoj/sets/72157615155505672/

These were taken the first time Dave went with my dad to check out the house. That trip was short and sweet and only some paperwork was taken care of to transfer the title and such to us.

Next post will discuss the first time trying to start the clean up process.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009