Friday, January 31, 2014

Draft Dodger

So this home has been a thorn in my side since the get go. It has so many little and not so little issues that I get overwhelmed. I'm tempted to just bulldoze it and build a series of cob houses instead. At least I would have control over what's going on that way. Ah control. It's more of a pipe dream at this point. I am going to start out by making a cob playhouse for our daughter and go from their. I'd love to build a little cob cabin with a cob stove and everything. One thing I have way more than I need of is red clay. You don't even have to dig for it, it's all right there! Difficult, sticky when wet, hard to grow grass on, clay.
I've scouted out where my first attempt at growing will be. A sunny patch just to the right of the fence. It's a south western facing plot. While digging the soil samples though I kept hitting gravel. Was this a drive way at some point? Out to the barn perhaps? Is this why the grass here is so scrubby? Hmmm. Do I need to find a better plot? It's a 10 acre tract, but it's anything but flat. The land is either going up or down. Same goes for the house. It's folding in have over the main sill beam like a Salvador Dhali clock.
So what am I to do? I need to go into the scary crawl space and see just how terrible the foundation and under belly of the home is. It need to be cleaned and sealed. But that cost money. We have a moisture issue for sure. There's mold in the attic near the eves and at the roof top above the chimney. It's kind of a mess if you ask me. Just sloppy construction, and even sloppier renovation work. I mean, if you're going to go through the trouble of a reno, why not do it right? Yes, I am an idealist, it's why I'm so miserable, but I'm right.
Today I decided to investigate some of the drafty spots in the house that have been driving me nuts. There's a lot of cold are coming out from the bottom of the cabinets on the north wall, and cold air literally blowing out of the outlets on that wall. I tried outlet insulators, they help some. I tried putting some expand foam in the gaps at the bottom of the cabinet, but that didn't do much. I notices a hole in the outer wall near an electrical box and put foam in it. I think that helped the outlet draft. I found it weird that the cabinets are drafty when in front of that outer wall ins the furnace house which covers 3/4 of the outside wall, as it's own building. I peaked inside the furnace house and looked around. I did see two large openings into the homes outer wall to accommodate the ductwork for the furnace. Perhaps this is my culprit? I need foam board in the worst way.
Another drafty place was the kitchen window facing south. It's a tall window, about six feet high, almost from floor to ceiling. I noticed there was a lot of cold air on the floor by it. So I tried stuffing draft foam into the gap between the window and the sill. It was still really draft. I tried putting a rolled up towel on the ledge. Still drafty. So I finally look at it from the outside, now that the ground is dry. I see the issue. Missing siding? WTF? The siding moves down at an angle and creates a large opening into the exterior wall and window unit. Maybe this is the issue. I get my expand foam and seal it up. Now, it's not 20 degrees out like last night, but about 30, but I think I'm noticing a big improvement. It's still cool under the window, particularly where the wall corner is next to it. I've noticed that the floor is molding at that corner too. It's also molding by the draft cabinet bottoms. I think these spots are more of an issue coming from the crawlspace than the outer walls. I'm not sure though. There are moldy, or dry hollow and crunchy boards throughout this tiny home.
Now you can't give me, "It's an old home argument" I've lived in older homes. This home was built, or somewhat thrown together, hand hewn rafters and all, in 1943. I lived in a house from 1920 in Milwaukee and it was beautiful. The original floors on the first floor didn't have a single gap. The floors where level, no sloping, and they didn't creak. The windows where original on the first floor and need some of the ropes replaced in a couple units. It also still had it's original built buffet with leaded glass doors, and beautiful stained glass piano windows.
So what's the difference? Oak floors versus this sift pine? I swear if I so much as drop a pillow on the floor the wood gets a dent in it! Maybe it is the oak. What is the frame of the Milwaukee house made of? Oak or pine? Good question. I can tell you this house is pine, pine, pine. What am I going to do with these floors? every board has a gap. What a pain. I read on This Old House to use jute rope as a filler since it will allow contraction in the summer. You know, when all that warm moist air comes up from the crawlspace.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Who Needs TLC?

Why fret about being turned down by the Discovery Channel and friends, when I can film, star and edit my own boring reality show/documentary myself. I've been doing it since the 90's anyway. You can tune I if you want, I don't care, it's more for my own enjoyment. It will have it's own YouTube channel, maybe. I should have been filming already, but we'll pick up 2 months into the homestead process. Watch us grow, watch us fail, watch us blossom. Who knows what the future holds for 3 would be homesteaders in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath 1082 sqft house on 10 acres with not much left to spare.

My Friend in the Attic

This is what vermiculite looks like, incase you're curious.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rain Today

Well I guess my little winter blast is over. It's back up to 50 and rainy. This appears to be an area that receives more precipitation than than other areas, like Brunswick, and Kennesaw. I guess that's why it resembles Wisconsin with it's dairy, goat, beef, and agriculture. Lots of different agriculture going on around me. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1082 Square Feet

Living in a house that's only 1082 square feet with a 4 year old that has some form of ADHD, OCD, or is just 4, and a husband with OCD, who tends to practice the same song over and over again for hours on end is, difficult, to say the least. I try to spend as much time outside as I can. And when it rains, it's just hell to be here. I pray for my old home to be mine again one day. Sometimes I drive to Athens just to have some peace and quiet. Or time to listen to my music, as loud as I want. Me time is in short supply. I think I might just hate this house.

Flip This House

I'm thinking of starting a new blog, it's called, "How Not to Buy a Home" It's probably already been done. It would be a comical cautionary tale. Anyway, maybe a rich, retired couple from Atlanta will buy the home for the land, tear down this death trap, and build themselves a nice new, efficient McMansion. You never know. It's our only hope at this point. Then we'll move north, at least to Kentucky. So I can have some snow. This is just to far south for me. Sorry, my family can shun me, I really don't give a shit any more. Maybe it's fair. After all my mom shunned my grandma for 10 years and I missed out on seeing my grand parents from the age of 9 until I was 19. Talk about some fucked up shit. So don't tell me where I can or can't live.
Yikes, I just noticed chunks of vermiculite stuck to the bedroom door and just painted over. I tell you, if the seller knew about this stuff, tried to hide it, and then sold this home to a family with kids. Well, there's just got to be an extra special place in hell for him. Plus, I'm starting to understand why his wife left him and fled 1300 miles away to California. Run Margaret! Run!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Failure Number 1220975947064069575097859707869643962.2

I will be remembered as the person who tried many things, and failed at most of them.

Making the Most of Things

Just went out to check the ice again. It appears to be completely solid. I know the shallow spots are, but I can't say for sure about the deeper spots. Either way we should have a nice little rink to play on when we get up.
Regardless of my personal feelings about what ever circumstances I find myself in, I always try to make the most of it. Sometimes I'm so depressed that the most I can do is get out of bed and take a shower, maybe make it to the grocery store. But rare opportunities like this record cold spell, and a-typical weather pattern, has to be taken advantage of. I sprang to life organizing tarps, framework, hoses, and water. All in hopes of making my own ice skating rink. Even if it only lasts one day. Why even make the effort most would say. But I have to do it, or at least try. Because when you stop trying, you die. It's a survival adage. I know I could drive 45 minutes to Conyers and skate at a real rink. But there's something magical about being able to make a rink in your own yard. It's something I always wanted to do as a kid. We had a rink at the park a few blocks away, but I always wanted a rink in the back yard I could skate on all day and night, and come in when I was cold to warm up. We tried it once, but our yard had a downward slope into the neighbor's yard behind us, so we couldn't get the water to pool. All we needed was a tarp and some supports. I think my parents didn't really want to try. My mom insisted it would kill the grass. It's sad, for me anyway, to think that after tomorrow the weather will return to it's normal temperatures. 41 degrees and rainy. So I'll just have to enjoy it while it's here. Really appreciate the cold I took for granted. I have to admit, when the mercury drops below 30 I really come alive, I could stay out in it all day and night, as long as it's not too windy. Tomorrow might be a short lived triumph over some of the bad luck, failures, heart ache, and over all disappoint , and homesickness that continues to plague me. Tomorrow it will be like being home again, minus the snow, but you never know. I prayed for this cold air mass, maybe a little snow will come my way too. I've asked the Lord for bread, will he give me a stone? No, he will deliver me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Town is in a Tizzy

I noticed at Walmart last night that the entire bread isle was empty. I thought maybe they are just letting stock get ridiculously low before restocking. Then today, in a panic, my husband was looking for a light to keep the pump house warm. Oh, by the way, it's going to be cold here, it's about 12 degrees according to our thermometer, and it's not going to get above freezing tomorrow. The expected low is 9 degrees tonight. So the whole town is freaking out. Want to know how to scare a southerner? Tell them it's going to be below freezing for 24 hours. All the lights where gone at the Lowe's in Madison, and Athens. And all the bread was gone at the Madison Walmart and Ingles. Is this really cause for panic? It's not a damn ice storm or a hurricane. My reaction to the weather forecast, make sure my ice rink is ready. It was really windy last night and this morning and one of the sides got blown in and water started to leak out. Even though it was 30 degrees all day, the wind and sun kept the water from freezing. It was also blowing leaves into my 12' x 24' wading pool. So I ventured out before sunset, when the wind calmed down, to rake the leaves out of the pool/ice rink. Then when the sun started to set the ice began to set as well. But I think I might have ruined it. I decided to add water to the low corner, and the water started to make the ice melt. I turned it off to allow it to refreeze, but when I came back to check on it an hour later it was still just barely freezing and there was puddled water out side of the spot where I had the hose on the ground, and that water wasn't frozen either, even though it was now 20 degrees out and dropping. Maybe it was more like 12 degrees, because that's how cold it was when I finally came in. This worries me, is there a leak? Is the ground too warm? Is the well water too warm? It's about 60-70 degrees once you start tapping into the fresh reserves. Will I have a rink by morning? Well this is what we have land for, to conduct frivolous and un-important experiments, such as these. I also tried flooding a flat spot in the back yard, and down in the low cold spot behind the barn, but it didn't pan out. The water sank into the yard, and the grass behind the barn is to high. I don't want to drain the well over this.
Well I just went out to check the rink. It's freezing, not complete, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 frozen. There appears to be a leak near the top corner, because the puddle there near the border is not frozen, cold, but not frozen. I hope that the leak or the rest of the water freezes before too much more leaks out. I did opt for the cheaper thinner gauge Walmart tarp.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

So My Mom Thinks I'm Crazy

What else is new. I actually prayed to my deceits father last night. That was new. I don't believe you can communicate with deceased loved ones, but I figured, what they hey, maybe the man up stairs would be nice enough to relay it to him. No doubt he's out in the garage with Princess, working on God's model-T, making it shine just right. You see, I'm like my dad, not my mom. And my brother is like my mom, not dad. But growing up I guess he just didn't want to embrace that. I was the one who liked building models, using tools, building things, I was interested in fixing cars. Maybe he realized it when my brother and I both had our first cars. My brother's turned into a mobile trash dumb, but mine shined, even the rust shined. I would wash it, armor all the inside. He was so proud he even filled the tank for me once. So I knew, he'd understand my plight. We always liked Wisconsin, my mom and brother never seemed to attached to it. My mom openly hates it. I fled the stet in 2005 to get away from my ex-husband and all the disappointment, not the state itself. That move has retarded me in ways I have yet to recover from. I just thought all states where like Wisconsin, with good roads, industry, jobs that pay well, and offer benefits. Not so. Not so. Not so. But let's put money aside, because it's not about that. I just realized that even though the cost of living here is less, so is your paycheck. Everyone is breaking even, so live where you want to live. I miss my home. Nothing has been right since I left Badger and moved to Milwaukee in 2005. I should have bought the home from my mom. I guess I thought moving to a new place and hopefully on to better things would help me forget about my house. Well just like our move last year, it wasn't enough to offset the truth. I'm still homesick. I need my house, and it's location: 2 blocks from the new grade school/middle school, to blocks from the sledding hill, 2 blocks from the ice rink, and 2 blocks from work. Perfect. 4 season, each with it's own extremes. A Goodwill with the best stuff to this date.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Almost Like Home

Don't think just because you live south of the Mason Dixon line that the north has a monopoly on winter fun. While I'm sure folks in the northern southern states regularly enjoy winter splendor, i.e "Appalachian Christmas" ect. But what about us in the deep south? Must it always be about heat and humidity? No, every once an a while a cold air mass from the arctic makes it's way as far south as coastal Georgia. Middle Georgia will have snow every now and then, maybe not every year. Even if it doesn't snow, you might have a few days of freezing temps, so why not build yourself a home made skating rink like I did? I got off to a rocky start and squandered the first 2 cold evenings. I can't afford to squander any cold evening, because they won't last long. Here's what you need to make yourself a decent little rink. Or here's my recipe:
12x24 tarp
logs, 2x4s, or what ever you can use to prop up all 4 sides at least 3"
And of course a hose, der
From what I've read you need at least 3" of ice to support a grown up skater.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Just What I was Prayin' For

No not more money, or a job, but a large sinking cold air mass from Canada, or even better, a permanent change in the weather patterns which would bring regular cold temperatures, freezing, and snow to the south. sure southerners hate me, but now they can hate me even more. Still, the forecast calls for some of that brutal midwestern weather to sink our way. It's already in the 20's tonight, and the high tomorrow is near 40, and low over night temps around 20 for the next few days and high day temps of around 40. I was hoping if I could flood the yard or some low spot, maybe by tomorrow I would have a nice little ice rink. Well the hose was too short, and the house doesn't have a spigot, so I had to run the house from the pump house. There are a few low spots in the front yard that pool water when it rains, but I couldn't reach them. The best spot in my estimation, would be the low area behind the barn. It's always colder there than any where else on the property. Again, the hose couldn't reach. I need to come up with a temporary, portable rink. Maybe plywood, and a tarp? I also don't want to drain the well dry trying, in vain, to recreate  winters of my Wisconsin childhood. It's what I really want. I'll just see how my first attempt looks when I get up tomorrow.

Many Still Being Left Out of Obamacare

Do you make less than the $23,500 as a family of 4 or are you an individual making less than $11,500  a year, or are you like us a family of 3 with no individual breakdown, but make less than $23,500 a year. Are you a family of 2 with no income breakdown? Is your state not expanding medicaid this year? Well get ready to be left out of any and all market place tax credits. Oh, you'll be exempt from paying a fine when you file your taxes, but what about that health coverage you needed? Unless you want to pay full price, you probably can't afford it on your $15K yearly income. Welcome to life below the board walk, where millions of people are still falling through the cracks, despite having re-elected the self proclaimed people's president. The Volkswagen of US politics, at first her appears unique enough to fit what you need, but within a few years his shorty workman ship makes itself known. So what is going on here? Why of I not qualify for any tax credits.
Here's the words from

If your state isn’t expanding Medicaid in 2014

Some states aren’t expanding their Medicaid programs in 2014. If you live in one of these states, you may not have as many options for health coverage. It will depend on where your income falls.
  • If your income is more than 100% of the federal poverty level -- about $11,500 a year as a single person or about $23,500 for a family of 4 -- you will be able to buy a private health insurance plan in the Marketplace and may get lower costs based on your household size and income.
  • If you make less than about $11,500 a year as a single person or about $23,500 for a family of 4, you may not qualify for lower costs for private insurance based on your income. However, you may be eligible for Medicaid, even without the expansion, based on your state’s existing rules.

Why this coverage gap exists

When the health care law was passed, it required states to provide Medicaid coverage for adults between ages 18 and 65 with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, regardless of their age, family status, or health.
It also provides tax credits for people with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level to buy private insurance plans in the Marketplace.
Under the law, the federal government will pay states all of the costs for newly eligible people for the first three years. It will pay no less than 90% of the costs in the future.
The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that the Medicaid expansion is voluntary with states. As a result, some states are not expanding their Medicaid programs in 2014.
Many adults in those states with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level fall into a gap. Their incomes are too high to get Medicaid under their state’s current rules. But their incomes are too low to qualify for help buying coverage in the Marketplace.