As promised . . . many weeks ago.
The old washer and dryer (the set that came with the house and exhibited the lovely gold color prevalent when I was learning to walk . . .) are gone, given away for free on Craig's List. In their place, a brand new (or as new as you get for $50) set
. Scott helped me pick them up and move them into my basement, and then we hit some snags in the form of completely nonstandard hookups (yet another present from the "Standards? Blah!" previous owner). The washer connected fairly easily after I figured out how to shut the water off (the cold water valve is hidden in the ceiling, and I had to turn the hot water off at the hot water heater because there isn't a valve for it in the laundry room).
The dryer was more of a pain. I ended up switching the power cords on the dryers (with some advice from my dad) so I could plug the new one in. At that point, already three hours in, I hit the real
problem. The previous owner ran the dryer vent line up and out one pane of the window above it; no problem. But then he built a wall around it
. And in the course of trying to connect the dryer to it the pipe came loose inside the wall (two pieces met inside the wall and he had them connected with duct tape
rather than screws . . .). After some exploratory cutting into the wall (which I need to patch before repainting), I decided anything with water pipes and live electrical lines is probably not something into which I should be cutting. That pretty much killed the project for that day while I moped. When I finally got over it, I spent $60 (more than the washer and dryer) on parts at Lowe's to do this
. In order, I stuck duct tape over the next pane over in the window and broke it out (the duct tape keeps most of the broken glass together in one piece - thanks to Lisa for the idea), then cut a piece of decent quality plywood to fit and gave it two coats of exterior paint in a color that matches the outside of my house. Into that I cut a hole to accept a new vent and then mounted the whole assembly
into the window, drilled holes through the window frame to secure it and used half a tube of caulking making sure the whole thing is leak proof
. At the same time I capped off the old vent and sealed it shut (inside and outside). Then I ran a new flexible vent line from the window to the back of the dryer. So far everything is working fine. It took me three times as long as it would have taken my dad and it's probably not quite as pretty, but hey, I did it all myself and it works.
A week later one of the washer hoses broke (the hose itself came partially loose from the metal coupling). That was a fun 2 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart for parts, but at least I was standing right there when it happened so I only had to clean up the laundry room floor and not the entire basement.
Next up after the washer and dryer was my cool new illuminated address plaque
(much to Cris's relief, "illuminated" in this case does not equate to "neon," which scarily enough is a semi-popular choice in my neighborhood; people, brick Tudors and neon do not go together). The wiring for another light was already over the garage door, so it was a fairly simple process to replace it (I'm growing more comfortable working with electrical fixtures after an initial refusal to even touch them). I did have to go buy a "wet location" junction box for it, but other than that and the extra money I shelled out for decent-looking metal numbers (to replace the crappy reflective stickers they sent that don't match the light at all
) it was relatively cheap. The design fits my house well, it's dark sky compliant
(which is important to me, even if the majority of people have never heard of the term) and it has a photocell so it turns itself on and off based on the light (which means I have a light to greet me when I come home at night).
The same day I replaced a couple of old, unused lights on the outside of my house with motion-sensing Halogen floodlights. That process was pretty slick, aside from trying to find the circuits in the fuse box that controlled them (one of them
was on the same circuit as my garbage disposal and dishwasher, and the other one
was on the attic circuit). I've since discovered that my neighborhood has a couple of wandering cats that are kind enough to help me verify that the motion sensors work a few times a week. This was a security upgrade I've been meaning to do since I bought the house, and I'm pretty happy now that you can't approach my house at night from the back or sides without setting off a light.
The final "substantial" improvements of note are the new light fixtures
on the main floor. I was queried for Christmas present ideas by my mother in November, and, lacking anything concrete, I sent her links to some light fixtures I'd planned on buying eventually, thinking that even receiving one would save me money. I was surprised, then, to receive all four that I picked out. Two identical ones went in the front hallway and bathroom hallway (they have a very Rivenish geometric look
to them that has pleased me); the other two are identical except in size (the two-bulb version
went in the breakfast nook and the three-bulb one is now in my bedroom). With the track lighting I put in the kitchen at the end of last year, that makes entirely new ceiling light fixtures on the main floor except for the spare bedroom (and the new fixture for that one has been in the spare room's closet for almost two years; hopefully I'll have it up before I have company again).
Up next is landscaping. Money and weather permitting.