Lipstick on a Pig

It’s the American Dream – set goals, work hard, and achieve those goals. Brandon and I set some pretty big goals early in our marriage. One of those goals was to buy a home. That’s not too unusual really, but we wanted to be very careful not to get ourselves in a financial mess.

Our first 9 months of marriage brought 3 moves, not counting when we moved in together after the wedding. And after 15 months of marriage we made yet, another move. All of these were rentals. They weren’t ours. We couldn’t re-landscape, paint, or anything without asking first. And even then we would just be making improvements to someone else house. That was not our long term goal.

We worked and saved; saved and worked. We were following Dave Ramsey’s plan and had managed to get out of debt before we began saving for our home. We knew we needed a big down payment, and the bigger the house the bigger that down payment would need to be. Finally after some tough breaks in our rent house we decided enough was enough. We were tired of renting and waiting for some one else to fix problems. It was time to buy.

Our savings was not quite as large as we had hoped, so our house hunting price window was super small. We found a little place in the country that we decided could be just right for us. After all kinds of set backs, moved closing dates, dumb banker moves, and LIFE we finally closed on our first home.

We knew the place needed a lot of work. And we were excited to get started on that. Unfortunately, the house needed some major repairs right off the bat. Things like repairing a big electrical short. That was a scary one! It got so bad we couldn’t have the light and TV on at the same time. And my kitchen light pulsed with the rhythm of the washing machine. Yikes!  And we learned the whole house needed to be repiped. We attempted to do that work ourselves, but soon learned the crawl space was too small for novice plumbers. So we hired the professionals.

Meanwhile, we haven’t painted any of the scarred up, cracked walls. There are dead trees to be cut down and burned. And the kitchen is a dis-functional nightmare at times (poorly planned out cabinets and such.) For this reason we have adopted a new battle cry. Whenever I hang new curtains on bare windows in an otherwise ugly room; or if I hang pictures on the walls, we say we are putting lipstick on a pig.

Some day we are going to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. In the meantime, I hope you all get a kick out of reading our remodeling adventures. maybe you can even learn a little something from our mistakes!


Burning Brush

Our house needed (okay, still needs) some major work in the “curb appeal” department. The house sits on 3 acres in the country. Three acres of dead, dying, and ugly, unkempt trees. Last Thursday the weather was beautiful so we went out to work in the yard. almost a week later we are still spending all of our extra day light hours working out there.

We have cut and burned dozens of small trees, over grown bushes, dead and overgrown limbs… the place is looking so much better already! We still have several weeks worth of work to get all the dead trees out; but it is amazing how much improvement has been made for $2 in chainsaw fuel and a whole lot of manual labor.

What projects have you done for little or no money, that have made you beam with pride?


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