Reno. Week 8- When nature calls… hang up!

The calming sound of the wind rustling the leaves overhead, the smell from a wood burning stove in the air, the beautiful array of oranges and reds and yellows as you drive up the road to your house. Autumn is here, and it is fabulous. Seth and I love this time of the year, and we are excited to be here in our house for the change of the season. We are making great progress and finally got to sleep in our bedroom this week. We were so excited that it was seriously hard to fall asleep that first night! We felt like kids on Christmas Eve!



I realized as I was laying in our room that I never got to show off pictures of our awesome bedroom ceiling. We decided to leave the beautiful tongue-and-groove ceiling open (it is fully insulated) and it makes for an open, airy feel to the room.

We also got some of our clothes put away in the room, although we are going to wait to complete the shelving in the front closet until after Liam’s room is done. It took a whole day to get all of the boxes of fall and winter clothes out from the workshop across the street and put away upstairs. But at least now I can stop wearing flip flops to work.


It felt great to finally be getting settled in the house. And apparently, we weren’t the only ones who want to be in the house. Mice and bugs and big ass spiders seem to think our place looks cozy. I’d love to say that the theme of this week was work on the house, but in reality it has definitely been… unwelcome intruders.

It started off immediately after my last post when our dishwasher just suddenly stopped working. We figured it was an electrical problem because, well, everything else has been an electrical problem so it just made sense. But the more we looked into it, the more we realized it was something else; it was turning on but wasn’t filling up with water. So while Seth instantly wanted to start tearing the machine apart, I figured it would be best to look up videos and tutorials on how to troubleshoot the problem (silly of me, I know…). We pulled the dishwasher out from under the counter top and were horrified with what we discovered. Poop… mouse poop… ALL OVER THE PLACE!


We knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. It took a little while to get the dishwasher out from it’s spot (we actually had to do some impromptu wiring because it was hardwired right into the basement breaker through the floor and the wire didn’t have enough slack to let us pull the machine out… ugh!) but when we did, we discovered WAY MORE than poop. This mouse had decided to make a home for itself, a huge nest, right under the dishwasher.


Not going to lie, that freaked me out. I think mice are cute but their poop so close to my clean dishes and my food, not cool! We got the shop vac out and Seth took care of the nastiness. Hopefully, the mouse finds a new place to make a home, and not inside MY home.


After an hour or so of pulling random hoses and plugs out of the dishwasher, we decided that we truly had no idea what we were doing and we needed to call a repair man. DIY only gets you so far sometimes. So for the rest of the week, our dishwasher remained out of commission.

A few days later, an appliance repair man came by and diagnosed our problem. A wire underneath the dishwasher had been mysteriously chewed through, most likely by an animal, he suggested. Hmm, I wonder what animal might have done that. Perhaps the one living in my kitchen!! Ugh, that’s it mouse… you now cost me money AND grossed me out. This means war.

I wish I could say the mouse was the only intruder this week, or that the dishwasher repair guy was the only professional we had to call in for help. But that would be a lie. After the first few nights sleeping upstairs we started noticing little winged ant-like bugs on our mattress when we went to lay down at night. Some were living, some were dead (probably squished by us in the middle of the night, a sad fate). We were afraid these were the dreaded carpenter ants mentioned in a previous post, although they were much smaller. We decided to call an exterminator (who I later found out was a parent of one of my students… I seriously hope my bras weren’t hanging out when he was inspecting the bedroom, awkward!) to have the situation properly assessed as we are definitely not bug experts. After I had the appointment scheduled, Seth mentioned that he had found a second good reason for the exterminator to come out. He mentioned it sheepishly and I instantly knew what he meant.

He must have found spiders.

Big spiders.

Wolf Spiders.

(google what they look like, I can’t even put a picture on my blog of one without making my own skin crawl)

Sure enough, he confessed that he had found two wolf spiders in our bathroom two days in a row (and hadn’t told me yet because of the obvious freak out that would ensue). They were big, and one of them had been in the bathroom with me while I was brushing my teeth because Seth saw it on the floor right after I walked out. It had been in there… WITH ME. Oh this was so not okay. I mean, I don’t mind most bugs but certain kinds, and spiders (which, I know, are not classified as insects) are definitely NOT okay. I realize that we live in the woods now, and that it is common to have spiders come in the house during the early fall to seek warmth, but by no means do I plan on letting them stay. I had another pep talk with Ted, similar to the one we had about the rat, but he just blinked at me. Oh, exterminatorrrr! I have a jobbbb for youuu!!!

So at this point in the week we had been invaded by mice, ants and wolf spiders. It was shaping up to be an interesting week. Luckily, the weather was gorgeous for most of it and we could get some things done outside. Part of the deal when we moved into the house was that Jordan was going to get a basketball hoop. This has been all he’s wanted for years and we were never able to have one in our condo (association rules are rough). We obviously had to wait for the septic craziness to be over but finally, we were in the clear. After waiting 6 weeks for the hoop to come in (Dick’s sporting goods really needs to work on their customer service!!), we received it and Seth set it up. Jordan hasn’t seen it yet, and I am pretty excited to see his reaction! 🙂


Even though the weather outside has been great during the day, the nights are getting pretty chilly. We decided it was time to get our wood burning stove checked out, and the oil-burning furnace as well. It is a good thing because the oil furnace downstairs was so clogged that we were very much in danger of a carbon monoxide issue! Dodged a bullet there (PSA to call your furnace guy, people!). We really wanted to try and avoid using the oil heat all together and just stick with the wood burning stove to heat the house. The previous owner said that’s basically all he used in the winter. How difficult can it be?? The first task was getting the wood.


Luckily the guy who came to clean the furnace told Seth that he is welcome to come by his house and take as much wood as he needs. We also have offers from my step-dad and another family friend. Free firewood=free heat… I am all about free!


Plus it just looks so nice and cozy 🙂

Turns out though, using a wood stove is not as easy as you might think. It is hard to get it hot enough with kindling to get the flames really going, and if it is even a little bit colder inside than it is outside, the smoke doesn’t get pulled up the chimney as easily and you can smoke out your house (not that we know from experience or anything… who am I kidding, yes we do, it happened). It is also hard to control the amount of heat that comes off of it. The first night we had it going we were sweating watching tv and then woke up in the middle of the night freezing. So yea, this is going to take some getting used to. Any suggestions are welcome!!

Given all the craziness this week, it has still been a good one. Seth got some sheetrock done in Liam’s room and I moved over a lot of stuff from the workshop across the street. We have a wedding this weekend in Gettysburg so we will be taking a few days off of the reno-work but we will be back at it next week! Ted will also be resting up for a few days because, well, that’s all he ever really does…


We wanted to open up the blog for any questions our readers might have! We have gotten a few in person asking specifics about certain projects, or the layout of some rooms, so we realized that many of you might be wondering the same things! Let us know in the comments here or on Facebook if you have any certain questions you would like answered or topics you would like featured.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your first few weeks of this beautiful season 🙂

Costs this week:

Furnace Guy: $125

Dishwasher Guy: $107

Exterminator (Hero): $125

Home Depot (sheetrock): $80

Total Costs this week: $437

Total Costs for Weeks 4-8: $2027




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