…..No?? Okay

It turns out, when you have a dog, you need a fence. DJ and I weren’t about to try the whole “let the dog out on a leash” thing, so before we could move the dog into the house, we had to get a fence built. No problem! A few posts, some chain link, good to go! Except you must…


So we did that! DJ went down to the city, let them know we were going to dig and they said “Great! We’ll swing by in a couple of days and mark the lines” and then they gave DJ a guide to what each marking meant. I.E. Blue lines are water, etc. The water lines were of course what we were mostly worried about, and the city doesn’t charge for this so we figured no harm no foul.

Except when we got to the house, they marked everywhere except where we actually needed to know. To appropriately depict this, I must draw you a picture. Please excuse the simpleness, I am NO graphics designer :


Okay, So now that you have the wonderful visual, you may notice that every line (Blue red and green) is in the alley way. NEVER do these markings go into our property. All this tells us is where it is hooked up to the main line (especially the water). So BASICALLY we need to guess which, out of the thousands of possible angles, direction the water line actually goes. We guessed diagonally from where it hooked up, since all our plumbing is on the right side of the above drawing. We guessed wrong.

The moral of this part of the story, do not expect the “call before you dig” to actually help YOU with anything. The city seems to just want to make sure that they are covering their own property, not yours.

I digress… Back to the actual WORK of the fence. It turns out there is a lot more to fencing then you may originally think. We needed:

  • 15 posts
  • 2 bundles of chain link fencing
  • several bags of concrete
  • something to mix the concrete in (wheelbarrow perhaps)
  • a hole digger (thanks grandpa paul!)
  • connectors for the fencing to connect to the posts
  • rounded tops for the posts
  • weather that did not include rain or snow
  • tension cables

DJ and his father were taking on this project. Which I much appreciated since my parents and I were still working on the walls on the inside of the house. I was pretty separated from the majority of this project until one defining moment. Mom and Dad and I were inside the house finishing up one of the last walls to wash, I believe , and we had just been talking about how terrible it would be to spill anything on the unfinished wood flooring that we have. (Note to self, pull up carpet AFTER painting). Then a bucket of water got knocked over and went over the entire floor, seeped through the flooring, and began dripping through the roof of downstairs. PANIC!! With no huge damage done, my parents left to run some errands and to pick up a few things.

No sooner had they left do I hear screaming from the back yard. I poke my head out the window and see Jeff (DJ’s dad) elbow deep in water and DJ running towards the house. Turns out, the water main did NOT run in the most direct manner possible. It actually ran within inches of the entire fence they had just built, and JUST SO HAPPENED to get hit on the last post being dug. Jeff told me afterwards that he thought it was just another rock, because there were tons in the ground.

They shut off the main water, and were luckily able to just replace the piece that had gotten damaged. It was fixed within half an hour.GO TEAM!

This project took them a couple of days to allow for the concrete to set properly. They installed one post at a time, until they were all up, and then came back the next day and ran the fencing right up to the side of the house. It was interesting to us that only one side of the yard was fenced when we moved in, but since we didn’t have to fence the entire yard, we were pretty ok with it.



Fencing is expensive. For 2 sides of the yard, we spent a little over $600. The photos above were taken recently, since we didn’t think to take any at the time. We got a wider gate then is standard because it just seems easier for us. The only thing I may have done differently is that there are sections that are not tension cabled at the bottom, and the dogs seem to know it so they try to dig under it. Especially the longer section towards the back that you see. We are going to add a decorative rock wall soon to avoid any dog trouble. The side on the left that you see above was already done.And yes, the paths in the grass are created by the OCD dogs we have. GRASS IS KILLED BY FEET! GROWS BY INCHES PUPS! oh well..

What was interesting to me was that it didn’t take as long as I expected. When I was a kid my parents did a huge wooden fence that, in a child’s mind, took FOREVER to get up, but this was relatively easy once we had the supplies and all the water under control.

DO’s of fencing

  • Call before you dig, You are required to, but try to get them to mark the lines in the yard
  • get all of your supplies up front. There is nothing more frustrating then having to stop and get more
  • Let the concrete set long enough. If you don’t then you’ll probably have a crooked fence


  • Expect the city to do anything for you when you call before you dig
  • hit a water main
  • panic if you hit a water main, it should be easy to fix.
  • think you can do this project in one day. Take your time and do it right.

Cost and time:

Around $600 plus a weekend of time. If you want a fancier and bigger fence, then I would put it off for an extended weekend or even 2 weekends of hard work.

Thanks for reading everyone! Sorry about the delay in time since the last post! We are currently working on our bathroom still and I promise to post some progress on that (if we ever make any). That will definitely be a more than one blog project. Keep checking in and don’t freak on DIY! If I can do it, so can you.



I’m pretty sure this was easier on tv!


We’ve been working on our bathroom! Dj and his dad started beating up the walls a couple days ago. It’s amazing how little time it takes to destroy something with simple tools like a hammer and a shop vac. The cleanup is ridiculous though! I’ve been tentative to start destroying the walls but once you get into it, its tons of fun! Until you hit a pipe… Or almost bust a hole through your kitchen!

So far

  • Shop Vac: $80 this just made things easier, and as new home owners we will need one again many times in the future.
  • Bigger better hammer $25 the bigger the easier, but keep in mind, it’s also easier to bust through more than you had intended!
  • Face masks (a must!) $5
  • Garbage cans for debris $20

As always our priceless time.:p

Painting is SO EASY!

From the moment we bought the house, maybe even a little before hand, all I wanted to do was take down the “atrocious wallpaper” that was glistening at me in every single room. Seriously, living/dining area had grey metallic wallpaper. The 50’s were really good wallpaper producers, apparently, because it was still on the walls. We lucked out completely with the wallpaper removal in these rooms because it was literally falling off the walls. Our real estate agent came by one night and helped us “pick the scabs” that was the wallpaper for a while, and it was enjoyable! It came off in such HUGE chunks that it was a ridiculous piece of cake. That is until we hit the points where some “patch work” was done, and I believe elmer’s glue was involved. Note to all wallpaper people: DO NOT EVER try to patch wallpaper that is falling off with elmer’s glue. Not only is it delicious to small children but it also adheres to walls extremely well. And the DIF brand wallpaper remover ($5 a bottle, great stuff) turns it into paste. Super fun process that my very helpful parents got to help me with. 

We tackled the ugly spots with the Gel type DIF, which actually worked great. It didn’t have to sit very long and it peeled what wallpaper was left right off. We ended up using hot water and a scraper for the difficult glue spots, but I imagine you won’t run into that annoyance very often. You can also buy it in concentrate form, which I am using currently for the hallway wallpaper. Stay tuned to see how well that works. By the way, we didn’t need it for this room but for difficult wallpaper I highly recommend using a Paper Tiger in conjunction with the DIF. It pokes little holes in the paper to allow some soakage. Has made my hallway a dream to strip! 

 For some reason, before even owning a home, I’ve always wanted to be involved in the painting process. It’s like coloring for adults, right! Sure, only if you have drippy crayons, only one color , and the upper body strength of a God!! Once I got into it, it wasn’t so bad, but it definitely was not as fun as I had hoped. I was not prepared for the hours, and I mean HOURS spent trying to decide on a color. I’m a pretty done deal decisive person but for some reason the color of the living room was giving me the worst anxiety! It’s like choosing the name of your child (I imagine). If you name is something stupid, like fireplace red, then everyone will make fun of you and your child! With the house being my child, I was pretty sure me or it wasn’t up to the ridicule. I had so many shades of green and blue that they all started to look the same. It got to the point where i was asking co-workers, customers, and random people at the grocery store which color they were “drawn too” first. Dj and I were not in agreement at all with the color. To him everything was too dark and to me everything he wanted was too boring (of course I Got my way eventually). 


 My Mother, being the wonderful person that she is, was kind enough to prime the walls for me on her day off so that I could paint after work the next day. We used a primer called  Bulls Eye 1-2-3, which covered very well. Which I’m not sure about the different types of primer, but my mom’s a professional so could make anything work. (Mother not for hire) 


I went to home depot once I decided on the paint and painters tape, and I felt like the dumbest person on the planet. I had no idea what I was asking for. I became a cave man for 10 minutes. “Sam want this color in paint can” and the nice lady asked “Great! Do you want semi-gloss, high gloss, matte, gloss, no gloss, blue gloss, chumbawumba gloss….”. I literally stared at her “Sam want paint living room”…. with a response “Oh honey! It’s your first paint job! How cute!” and she set me up with what was appropriate. I ended up with a semi-gloss. Which works great! I’ll probably learn more down the road about what the effect different shines have but, not yet! I grabbed whatever painters tape was highly recommended, which had a frog on it “Cute! I want this one!” Thank God it worked. 

My mom and my Dad set me up with a roller, a paint pan, some drop cloths and brushes. I have since purchased my own and it cost me approximately $40 for all the items. A very easy investment to make when you have so much wallpaper. I taped off the ceiling and the windows and after work for 3 nights I painted. The first night that I painted alone I thought it would never end! My technique was off, I was working way too hard, and I was afraid of messing up the floors (see prev. blog for advice).  I wasn’t using enough paint, but managed to get enough coverage because I was basically squeezing every ounce out of the roller that I could between dips. Paint isn’t even that expensive, so I don’t know why i was concerned ($40 spent on paint). Advice to new painters: As long as it isn’t dripping down the walls, you’re fine!   I wanted to do it myself because I’m stubborn, but that quickly became impossible. I had a few paint parties, one with Chinese food, Dj and Katie, of which Katie and I did the painting and DJ ate the chinese food, and another with my parents. It went by so much faster with help. And the second coat was a breeze and totally worth it. Always do a second coat… seriously… always. There’s no reason not to. Do it……Always.

The picture below is before….


 And this is After


 Image You’ll have to excuse the color changes, lighting, cell phone etc. doesn’t make for teh best color accurate photos. We did NOT do the white trim. This will most likely a project we will do down the road, but as I mentioned before, we just wanted to get in the house. 

Do Not’s :

  •  Do not think painting a huge room like this is a one man job. Especially if you are in a time crunch, ask for help. Beer and pizza are great ways to get people to help. 
  • Do not leave buckets full of water resting on top of unsealed wood flooring. Guess what happened?
  • Do not try to be conservative on paint. If it feels like you are working too hard, you probably are.
  • Do not stress over the paint color. The cool thing about painting is you’ll probably be sick of the color before you’re even done. And worse case, you can change it! 


  •  Always prime before painting. It makes the color stand out so much better
  • Use painters tape to seal no-paint zones
  • Remove socket covers and nails from walls. 
  • Wash the walls first! We lucked out with little glue, but you may not be so lucky
  • Make a mistake! Seriously, you’ll learn from it. 


This will vary from person to person based off of what you already have but…

  • Paint tools : $25
  • Floor coverings: $25-$40. Get the ones with the plastic lining under the fabric. The label may say paint won’t bleed through but it will!
  • Paint: $40
  • Primer: $30
  • Total Cost Approx $155 and time


Here’s how we live in the house today. We still haven’t gotten the trimming done, but once the floors are sealed it will happen.

The next project we did was the fence. I have very few pictures of the process but fun stories to share about it! Stay tuned!

Up Next: Fencing 

This entry was posted on March 28, 2012. 1 Comment

Mission: remove shag

Before we moved into the house in January we had the most atrocious wallpaper and flooring. don’t get me wrong, it was extremely well taken care of, and because our home only had one previous owner, you could see in all the carpeted rooms where the couch used to sit, the bed, the night stand even where the pictures hung on the wall. Weird, yes, gross, kinda, but it made us extremely aware of how much love went through this house throughout the years. See pictures below to absorb the shag-ness.


Cookie Monster Blue


Some sort of Muppet Orange


Yes this is blueish purplish faded weirdness…. no clue

I’m the type of project doer that jumps right in without a plan whatsoever and try to overcome things as they pop up. DJ, his father, my dad and me pulled up carpet for what seems like days (but it was really only 2 nights) The Shag (Capitalized for the immense respect we have for it) was the easiest thing to pull up. In some of the rooms theres was a padding underneath that seems more like a thin layer of foam that stuck to the hardwood underneath. We removed all of the trimmings around the walls and one by one pulled all the nails up from the floor as we removed each layer. The bedrooms were a piece of cake. The living room was the worst. Dad and I spend several hours on our hands and knees literally rubbing the foam off of the hardwood. If the hardwood was sealed underneath we probably could have mopped it, but since the wood was still raw and unfinished, we didn’t want to ruin it so alas the hand rubbing (and later some wicked blisters) ensued. I used a simple pair of pliers to remove every last staple from the wood floor. The next day my hands were soo sore, it was unbelievable. The end result, however, was extremely worth it.



The next step we decided to take was to paint the walls. If I had it to redo, I would probably have done the walls first and then removed the carpet (just for ease to cleanup and to avoid future problems, see next post,)  but we really wanted the carpet up and we were moving in in 2 days. I also would have allowed for more time before move in so that we could have gotten the wood floors finished and sealed but we’ll do that this summer anyhow.



  • Do not assume because something looks easy that it will be
  • Do Not assume that you can do it all yourself. Help is always better then solo work
  • Do not pull up bad carpet and then paint…


  • Think about the order in which your projects will arise
  • Take your time. Pulling up each and every staple might be tedious but boy it’s worth it to not catch your foot on one later!
  • Do as much messy work as you can before moving in your furniture
  • Borrow as many tools (and people) as possible but keep in mind the ones you will need again later! Might be worth it to purchase for future projects.


  • This project actually cost us $0. We borrowed a lot of tools and spent our own time ripping up carpet. We are recycling the trimming to use ones the floors are finished and we had people who actually wanted the carpet for the garage, so we didn’t even spend money at the dump! *dirty little secret* We actually kept the orange shag and are going to make an area rug out of it! It was in such good shape I hated to see it go.
  •  Eventually the refinish and sealing of the floors will cost us money, but we aren’t there yet. This was one of those wonderful projects that the only thing you need to invest is your time. MY KIND OF PROJECT!


Next up: Painting!


OK. So as some of you may know, this is my second blog. The first one kind of turned into a self pity party to make make feel better about the annoying things in my life that annoy everyone. (chorgie.wordpress.com)
I’m trying something new. I’ve purchased my first home ever and am going to (try to) keep a running blog on the How I did it’s the Why I did it’s and the What Went Wrongs. If anyone is brand new to home making it’s me. So be prepared for some hilarious misadventures that me and DJ will go through making our new home the perfect home!

This entry was posted on March 19, 2012. 1 Comment