The New House of Oo

Written March 29, 2004

Until now, the most recent page in this section spoke of the house we were about to purchase and move into. Since then, I have changed the name of this section, which was formerly called The House of Oo, to Oo’s Writings, because we sometimes refer to the house we now live in as “The House of Oo” (there is still a house on the logo, since now I do my writing from a real house).

The question most frequently asked me throughout 2003 (even in December!) was “How’s that house?” which was usually followed up with “Are you all settled in yet?” I heard this so often for a while, that I felt like punching the next person who asked it! How was I supposed to answer, anyway: “It’s magnificent! The place is in perfect condition, and we now have a designated place for everything…” Give me a break. We’re poor, so we bought a 1,072-square-foot bungalow that’s a century old and needs a lot of TLC (major understatement on that last one). Naturally we are still getting the bugs out of homeownership—literally (as in lots of bug spray)! But it isn’t all gloomy. We now own a real house with a yard and driveway, in a real neighborhood. Wendi no longer has to face two flights of stairs the moment she steps outside the door, and Joe has an upstairs room of his own, with a closet. We can now do laundry without having to trek to the laundromat, and unloading groceries is a cinch.

A Year in the Life of Our House

What follows are the highlights of the adventure we know as our first year at the House of Oo. Please bear in mind that this is the condensed version; a lot of smaller details have been omitted for the sake of brevity!

February 28, 2003

Several people from our church helped us move (2:30 to 6:45 p.m.). Two of them brought trucks. They took our house keys and went ahead of us to the house, where they began unloading without us. For some reason, someone moved the love seat in front of the front door, where it would stay for weeks after the move. Boxes were piled on top of it. Stuff was piled everywhere in haste, because I could not direct everyone quickly enough to keep up with the rapid progress. When it was all over, boxes and furniture cluttered every room so badly that one could scarcely walk through the house. Situating everything would prove to be a lengthy nightmare. I cleared up some of the mud room that night to make room for more stuff.

March 1, 2003

I moved much of what was left the night before, and cleaned up the apartment as best I could. Others arrived and we finished moving stuff between 10:30 and 11:38 a.m. The children helped carry small stuff while the men moved the refrigerator and other large items.

Phone and cable were hooked up that day; we also got Joe a new mattress for his twin-size bed.

I moved the clothes in our closets at the apartment, between 9:00 and 11:40 that night; I also swept floors and vacuumed the rugs. After living there for 19-1/2 years, I wanted to do the best I could for the place. Many of our best times had been spent there; yet I knew that the move was for the best.

Joe slept in his new bed that night, although the rest of his room was still quite a mess, full of the previous owner’s old junk. But our bed was now covered with boxes, so Wendi slept in the recliner, while I slept on the living room floor with a blanket.

March 2, 2003

I cleaned part of the mud room; cleaned up the second fridge, then turned it on and stocked it with soda. Cleaned cabinets in the bathroom; unpacked medicines and toiletries. Cleaned bedroom closet and put Wendi’s clothes in it (but not mine yet). Helped Joe haul old junk out of his room, situate furniture and vacuum the rug, which was filthy.

March 3, 2003

Put my own clothes in the closet. Tore bed apart. Mattress was warped from being slept on with the frame partly disassembled. Cleaned bedroom. Moved large bookcase into corner of the room.

March 4, 2003

Joe and I moved dining room table in from the front porch, after dusting the snow off of it. Unpacked more stuff in the bathroom. Replaced unsafe 3-outlet plug in the kitchen. Started cleaning kitchen. Moved smaller bookcase into the bedroom.

March 6, 2003

Finished unpacking kitchen, except for dry food and a few plastic items, by 2:51 a.m. Later, cooked sausage and waffles, our first homemade breakfast at the house. Worked on clearing and cleaning the dining room much of the day.

March 7 and 8, 2003

Set up two metal shelving units in the dining room and stocked dry food and plastic items.

March 9, 2003

Cleaned dishes and appliances in the kitchen.

March 11, 2003

Cleaned and arranged stuff under sinks in the kitchen and bathroom.

March 12, 2003

Cleaned some in Joe’s room. Found computer stuff and set up computer (yes, after 12 days!). Hooked up extra phones and answering machine.

March 13, 2003

First repairs at the house: electrical circuits were wired wrong, and the breaker for the bathroom outlets kept popping.

During the next several days, I hauled away loads of junk and replaced light bulbs and the shower head.

March 18, 2003

Sorted clothes and junk in bedroom; put away clean laundry from the apartment (yes, after 18 days!). Moved some boxes; put sofa sleeper in place (it was sitting in our bedroom when we moved).

March 19, 2003

Finished arranging the living room on the same day the war began in Iraq. Removed insulating plastic from north window in living room (the previous owner had plastic on all the windows, apparently for years. It was horrible).

March 20, 2003

Did first laundry at the new house; set up the stereo in the living room.

March 21, 2003

Did Joe’s laundry and straightened out his closet and dresser drawers. Unpacked VCR and DVD player; hooked up by 3:35 p.m.

March 22, 2003

Joe helped me put the big picture shelf on the east wall of the living room.

March 25 and 26, 2003

Bought all new curtains and hung up.

April 10, 2003

Loaded an old car transmission that was left in the back yard, into the car and took to the dump (1:12 p.m.). Also hauled away a splintery wooden table with rusty legs; a rusty old bucket; a crate full of junk from the back deck; and some other junk. The transmission was so heavy that I was quite sore two days later.

Installed the new flag holder that came with the American flag, and had the flag flying high by 2:42 p.m.

Opening up the back door was quite a job. Two large boards were nailed over it, and the plastic underneath was secured by no less than 33 thumb tacks! Open by 4:41 p.m. only to learn that the door itself is old and warped and doesn’t seal tightly. And there is no screen door.

Lower towel rack on bathroom door was wobbly; I fixed it by 10:12 p.m.

Fixed bathroom door so you don’t have to slam it to close it. Repair complete by 11:35 p.m. Whew! Busy day.

April 15, 2003

New queen size bed delivered from Verlo Mattress Factory in Janesville.

April 17, 2003

Cleaned three mini-blinds in the dining room and living room—a very time-consuming job.

April 20, 2003

First gathering at the house, on Easter Sunday.

Moved large shelving unit to the master bedroom and cleaned it thoroughly; it had been sitting out on the porch since we moved in.

Moved weights into the mud room for storage by 5:03 p.m. Now everything is inside the house, finally!

April 22, 2003

First cookout at the new home: steaks, brats and burgers (Joe helped with the burgers).

Climbed inside the bathroom cabinet and cleaned out the terrible mess. There was an open space to the left of each shelf, and all sorts of things had fallen into it over the years. There was even a dead mouse that probably died before the turn of the 21st Century. Finally I vacuumed out the floor of the cabinet as best I could.

April 24, 2003

Found 1/4" plywood in the shed; sawed boards to cover gap in bathroom cabinet. Nailed boards in place 10:38–10:57 a.m.

Replaced switch box in bathroom that stuck out over an inch from the wall, with a new one.

May 9, 2003

As I finished dishes this morning, the “fun” began. I turned on the garbage disposal to drain the sink. When it was over, there was water all over the kitchen floor! One of the sink pipes had come loose. Everything in the cabinet under the sink was soaked; I had to wipe off each item and place it on the kitchen counter, then remove the wet newspapers underneath.

It wasn’t hard to push the two pieces of pipe back together. I checked the ring on the pipe; it was fairly tight, but I could still pull the pipes apart with a bit of effort.

I went to True Value Hardware and bought a pipe wrench (the guy warned me not to overtighten the ring) and some thread seal (yellow gunk), which I used to fix the pipe so it should work safely and properly.

May 11, 2003

Strong winds (25 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 46) woke me up several times during the night. This morning, tar paper from the porch roof littered the driveway; a bit later this morning, a few downed branches were seen in the back yard. The deck chairs were off the deck, in the grass. I had to use weights to hold the back door shut.

I replaced the porch roof myself, using what was on it before: tar paper and rolled roof sheeting. Tearing the old roof off took from May 16–20; I had the tar paper finished by May 21. The rolled roofing took me from May 23–29. This was in addition to working, cooking and cleaning. I lost several pounds during this time.

June 3, 2003

Mowed lawn for the first time. The previous owner had left a lawn mower in the shed, but I had never used it before. Some of the grass was nearly two feet tall!

June 4, 2003

Picked up twigs in the back yard, that were missed yesterday because the grass was too long to see them. Cleaned up twigs from front yard; cleaned up some leaves by the tree in the back yard by the driveway, and pulled some weeds. Still more to do there. Pulled up a tree that was growing by the side porch step; I went flying when it came out, and dirt flew all over! Hauled away branches and twigs from the back yard (some were from the May 11 storm) along with two bags of leaves and weeds, to the composting facility.

June 10, 2003

Finished weeding around the tree at the end of the driveway, in the back yard; the area around it had been buried in leaves, about a foot deep. When I removed the bottom layer of leaves, all types of bugs and worms were seen skittering in all directions! Later I took the bug spray and treated the area. Took five bags of leaves, weeds and brush to the composting facility this morning.

June 14, 2003

I removed the plastic from the west bedroom window outside, at about 4 p.m. Also trimmed up the tree by the shed, in the back yard.

June 16, 2003

Fixed carpet joint at the top of the stairs, using a leftover piece of metal from where the west window had been sealed with plastic. Also laid down seven rugs in the house.

June 20, 2003

Disassembled an old bar that sat on the back deck (the previous owner used to host beer parties); it was weathered and falling apart. Also took apart the old table he left in the dining room; it had met the same fate. Hauled all of it away to the landfill at 2:15 p.m.

October 31, 2003

First Halloween at the House.

November, 2003

Joe had pneumonia.

December 13, 2003

First Christmas decorating at the house. We were all out of sorts and didn’t know where to put anything! A friend of Joe’s, who was spending the night at our house, helped quite a bit.

See our January 7, 2004 News Archive entry for details of our first Christmas and New Year’s Days at the house.

January 13, 2004

I finished taking down the Christmas decorations. We had never been this late before.

February 16, 2004

Bought new computer (which led to Version 11 of The Oo Kingdom); set up old computer in Joe’s room upstairs. Got cables for networking the following day.

March 4, 2004

New car: a 1997 Ford Escort. Old car had head gasket problem, second time in 16 months.

I know this is more than a year, but I was on a roll here.

So What’s Left to Do?

I said all that to say this: We’re here now, but we’re not there yet. Oy vey!