Renovation Update!

Renovating a house is a lot harder than I thought. And more time consuming. And more expensive. Initially I had envisioned slapping on a new coat of paint and doing some cleaning but the list of things to do just kept growing and growing and growing.

I’ve learned it is impossible to go to Lowes without spending at least $70. “Oh I just need outlet covers and light switches this time” you tell yourself. Instead, you leave with paint rollers, electrical wire, trash bags you could hide a body in, and an industrial sized shop vac. You get home and realize you forgot the outlet covers and light switches. Oh, and the Lowes is 20 minutes away.

I’ve learned you need dedicated painting clothes. I am not a good painter. I’m terrible actually. One day I went over to the house to work on it by myself. I envisioned getting so much done. I got there and stood staring into space, at a loss of where to even start. Pretty much the only thing I can do without help at this point is paint. Well, I couldn’t find the paint can opener and I couldn’t figure out how to get the lid off with a screwdriver so I gave up and drove back home. Zero work was accomplished that day. Oh yeah, back to the paint clothes. I decided that I didn’t have the patience for painters tape so I’ve been trying to manage without it. Well, I’m not very good at this so every time paint gets on the trim or ceiling, I just wipe it off with my hand and then wipe it on my pants or shirt. At this point, there is hardly any blue left on the blue jeans that I wear to paint in.

I’ve learned it’s not as exciting as the reality TV shows. If there was a film crew filming me and my fiancé working on the house, the audience would probably fall asleep. The first hour long episode would be dedicated to taking out a 50 year old toilet and installing a new one.

Me: “Maybe we can salvage this one. It might still work. Let’s turn the water on and see if it will fill up and flush.

Mike: “It’s not going to work.”

Me: “Just try. It could save us $80.”

We turn the water on. Toilet starts filling up. I think I’m the smartest person alive. 20 minutes later. Toilet still filling up. Only about 1 inch of water in back of toilet. Must not be sealed very well. Toilet will not flush. Running a snake down the drain does nothing.

Mike: “Okay, it’s not working and now we have to get all this water out.”

We look around the house for a cup or bowl to scoop water out of the toilet but all we find is an old cottage cheese container. Mike proceeds to scoop brown colored water out of the toilet with an old cottage cheese container.

The rest of the episode is filled with Mike trying to loosen 50 year old bolts holding the toilet down while I stand by in case of an emergency. Once the bolts are gone he lifts it up and puts it over in the bathtub real quick but not before water gushes onto the floor. We use an entire roll of paper towels to mop it up. The audience starts to awaken as I read aloud the instruction booklet provided in the new toilet kit as Mike installs it. The grand finale is, the toilet doesn’t work because we need a piece of pipe to connect the toilet to the water line and need to make another trip to Lowes for this miniscule part.


There you have it. A typical day at the rental house.

Our biggest endeavor so far has been tearing out the entire kitchen to update everything. The old kitchen had gross parquet flooring, handmade cabinets that had barely functioning doors and drawers, and dark paneling on the walls. It was very depressing.

It took a few days to get everything torn off the floor and walls and hauled off. Once we had a clean slate to work with, it was time to put up the drywall. I had no idea what to do so I pretty much just handed Mike a knife when he said “knife” and a drill when he said “drill”. The drywall is finally done. We just have to prime and paint it now. After that, we are going to install the cabinets I got from Lowes then install the new flooring, buy and install appliances and then it will be done!

Once the kitchen is finished I’m hoping the rest will go pretty quick. The only things left are minor like painting a second coat of paint in the living room, replacing the 3-prong outlets with 2-prong, installing a mailbox, painting trim, and cleaning. I’m debating hiring a cleaning company since I’m soooo slow at cleaning. Since this house hasn’t been lived in or cleaned in 2 years it would probably take me 2 years to clean it!

I’m excited to finally get this project finished and then sit back, relax, and enjoy the monthly rent check. At least until I buy another house to fix up!


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