Rental House Woes

Rental House Tour

So. For those of you that don’t know – we bought the house across the street from us.

The previous tenant passed away and her house and belongings went to auction in late October of last year. Kevin and I went to the auction. Kevin hinted he wanted the house, but I didn’t take him too seriously. As soon as I walked into the house, I knew it would be a money pit. It was run down, dated and simply OLD. It would take quite a bit of money and elbow grease to bring it up-to-date.

I felt sad as I walked through the house and saw other people pawing through her stuff. I feel this way when I go to garage sales too … people judge and barter for other people’s junk, or in this case, this woman’s entire life.

The auctioneer was doing his thing and bit by bit, the woman’s belongings left the premises. I couldn’t watch anymore and I walked back home. Kevin said he would let me know when the house went up for auction because he planned on bidding on it. Part of me was terrified, but most of me didn’t think he would actually do it.

He not only bid on it, it came down to just him and one other guy. Luckily, he DIDN’T get it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The morning of my birthday, I saw a “FOR SALE” sign in the yard. I groaned and knew, KNEW, Kevin would jump on that. He did. He went over and talked the guy into a reasonable price and, well, wenow have a rental home to fix up. I’m still not sure why the guy wanted to sell the property so quickly after buying it. I was very suspicious (and still a little am, if you want the truth), but it’s a done deal now. The guy who originally bought it had his guys go in and tear up all the floors – ripped out the carpet and the linoleum in the kitchen. That alone probably saved us about $5,000. The bathrooms were the worst – blue tub, blue toilet, blue walls, blue/white tile … and the master bath even had some sort of funky bathroom wallpaper, complete with naked people – classy.

The first “we” (henceforth also known as Kevin) did was demo the bathrooms. The bathrooms were impossibly small and ill conceived, so Kevin reconfigured them so that both bathrooms would have a tub and a shower (as opposed to the master bath only having a shower) and set to work with his sledge hammer and demo’d the crap out of the bathroom walls and floors.

Here’s a video of the aftermath …

Kevin put an ad in Craig’s list for a contractor and we lucked out with a father/son combo that set to work on the house. They put in new tubs, toilets, tile, vanity (just one – you’ll see in the video) and tiled the showers. They did a really nice job and they look 110% better than they did.

Then they put new tile in the kitchen. Which again, looks pretty awesome.

However, if there was one thing (okay, one of the things) that bugged me most about this house? The cabinets. They’re solid oak cabinets and Kevin swears he would have sanded them down and re-stained them, and I’m sure he would have done a great job, but they’re butt ugly. I hated them on sight. And thinking as a women, I think they would have turned away potential renters because everything else in the house will be new, and then you have these gawd ugly, 50-year old cabinet eyesores.

So I talked Kevin into going to Lowe’s and just looking at cabinets. Then, when we found one we really liked, I talked him into just seeing how much they would cost. No frills, just straight cabinets. And then we found out they were having a 10% off their cabinets sale, and then we found out we could get an additional 5% off if we used the Lowe’s credit card and what if we knocked another $800 dollars off if Kevin took the cabinets out instead of the cabinet guy?

NOW the price is looking a little more attractive.

And we went for it. And I CAN’T WAIT to get those puppies in there – it is going to look soooo good! We (I) picked a dark cherry cabinet and with the creamy whitish tile and a creamy whitish backsplash with brand new black (because they’re cheaper) appliances, it’s going to look AWESOME to a potential renter.

Our contractor guys haven’t been by in several weeks. We couldn’t decide on the type of wood floor we wanted so we encouraged the contractor guys to take another job they had lined up and told them we would call them when we were ready for them to put the wood floors in.

We looked for about three week(end)s for something and finally, FINALLY, a saleswoman at Color Tile found this rich pecan wood that we both fell in love with immediately. We thought at first we wanted lighter wood in the house, but again, I finally wore Kevin down and we settled for a darker wood. (Kevin was worried the darker wood would look too dark in the room with fireplace, but I think (hope) it’ll look okay together). I know it’s going to look good with the kitchen tile …

So Kevin spent yesterday taking out the old cabinets. He put another ad on Craigslist and practically gave the cabinets away to the second person who came to look at them. But it worked out great because the guy is a pastor at a church and they will shine them up and put them in a little old lady’s home who was with the pastor when he came to look at them and acted like a kid on Christmas morning (according to Kevin – I was at work). We feel good they will have a good home, we saved money by not having the cabinet guy take them out and we made a little money on the side as well as helped out a woman.

We did good.

Here’s a video of the house as it stands now …

I’ll post more as we make more progress …

Book Corner

Book Review: The Do-Over

Amazon Kindle link

My Grade: B-

Author’s Website

Plot / Premise

Just before her fortieth birthday, Mara Jane Mulligan, devoted wife and mother, runs out of bubble bath, and the ensuing panic attack drives her to Canada for more. She realizes that one foamy soak probably won’t cure what ails her, so she takes a 30 day vacation from her life. (What woman doesn’t need one of those?)

Surely her family will understand. Her son’s visiting Grandma, and maybe her husband won’t even miss her. Unfortunately, her husband doesn’t miss much and tracks her to Abundance, a Vancouver bubble bath company.

As her 30 days sail by, Mara Jane Mulligan discovers she has a decision to make that even Dorothy couldn’t avoid… Will she click her heels for home or kick them up for good?

My Thoughts

I liked this story – I was scared to really like this story.

I’m pushing 50, half my life is over. (Because I fully intend to live until I’m 100, with mind and body intact, thank you very much). So this story really resonated with me. It’s human nature to sit back and wonder .. what if? What if I had made different choices? What if I make a change now? What if I choose door B instead of stepping through door A. And what lies behind door C? I think we can all relate to the age-old question – is there more??

I confess, I almost stopped reading a few times. The character’s thoughts were all over the place and it was hard to stay in this character’s head, let alone try and empathize with her, for very long – there were times she wouldn’t finish a thought before another, even less rational thought, would pop into her head.

But that’s what happens when we’re confused. Nothing makes sense. When our normal day-to-day life changes, whether with, or without, our conscience consent, it’s hard to find a firm hold on an alternate reality. So … the character’s messy thoughts somehow … seemed appropriate, given what she was going through.

But here’s what I really liked about this story – the character didn’t just give up and walk away from her responsibilities or her life. She didn’t simply focus on her selfish motivations – she bathed in the sweet-smelling fragrance, liked it, didn’t want to give up her new-found happiness, but then made the decision to go back anyway. She gave her husband a chance to change WITH HER. She didn’t just write him off and decide she didn’t love him anymore, she made her wishes for change known, granted, she went about it in an overly drastic fashion (one would have to be completely dense to miss the furniture out on the lawn and the entire house painted yellow not to GET THE HINT), but she was not only brave enough to take the first step for change, she was even more brave to ask her husband if he would make the journey with her.

How many women would have simply written off the old in favor of the new?


It was refreshing to follow a character who made a responsible choice for a change. I get so sick of selfish characters, whether fictional or real, who think of nothing but, “I want a change and screw everyone else” mentality. (This of course, does not apply to women who decide to leave an abusive, or unhealthy, relationship – then one MUST be selfish in those instances to maintain one’s health, or even life).

I’ve been married for almost 24 years. Life DOES get stale after a while and change can be good. If there is one thing everyone can count one in life, its change. The beautiful part about this philosophy is when you have a partner who is willing to change right alongside with you.