What I Did This Summer/Fall: The Home Improvement Edition


Last year I had fun writing a post about our busy summer and this year's season in the sun has gone by even faster still. Clearly…since I'm posting this in November.

When we bought our house five years ago we knew we’d have to put some money into it. Right away we discovered we'd need to put much more than we thought, replacing electrical work, rebuilding the HVAC system etc. Then the appliances went out one by one… the water heater, the dishwasher and the fridge too.

So this year, after a second winter of major ice dams leading to water backing up into the house, we decided it was time for a new roof.

That was the big work done this summer. I'm not going to say how much it cost but it wasn't much more or less than what most people expect to pay. We had added insulation put in too and a proper vent for the range hood in the kitchen, which previously had been venting to…well, no one knows.

Now, for most people a new roof is plenty of work but the frigid winter of 2013-14 also took its toll on our plants and a bunch of our bushes were dead. We had landscapers come out and give estimates of "designing" an entirely new front yard but in the end we simply had the dead bushes removed, some of the living ones moved around and a new tree put in to give some shade to the front of our house where it gets quite warm in the summer sun late in the day.


Landscapers did most of the work but we also wanted to get rid of this giant bush that jutted out to the side of the front yard. It was ugly and had been ridden by bugs last summer. I sawed off all the branches down to the stump and then the landscapers removed the stump.

That left me a ton of dirt to somehow get rid of and level off a large area to plant grass seed. I recall that day as my Rocky IV workout. I shoveled and wheelbarrow-ed dirt to the back of the property for hours but it wasn't winter like in Rocky, just hot and humid summer. I did not need to go to the gym that day.

Then we had to have a painter touch up the interior where the water damage left some unsightly stains on the ceiling, and hey, why not touch up the main level where weather had warped some other paint.

What about the 30 year old front door that doesn't really close properly and lets cold air flow through in the winter? Yep, that needed replacing too.


And since the new roof gave us a chance to change the color scheme of the house that left our detached two-car garage not matching so of course I had to paint over that mismatched trim color and the garage door too.

If you look at it all in a snapshot versus the months it all took, it almost feels like we were featured on when of those home repair TV shows…except we had to pay full price for all the upgrades ourselves and do some of the work ourselves as well.

In the end I'm hoping we ride into winter with a better insulated house (please no more ice dams!) and I think the place looks better than it has since we moved in. The fact that I'm blogging about all this however really illustrates just how far I've fallen down the suburbia rabbit hole.