1. We have a buttload of ants. EVERYWHERE.
They keep getting into the house and crawl up and down the porch rails and steps and brick support columns and we cannot get rid of them. See the post about "The Hole" to see pictures of the ants pouring out of the new GFCI. So far, we've tried the ant traps that takes the chemical back and supposedly kills the colony within 24-48 hours. WRONG. Finally, I caved and did something very toxic and unfriendly to the earth and bought a can of Raid ant spray. My parents were coming and there were ants in every room except the bedrooms. Basically, we did some spot shots and haven't really used it since. Next plan = Borax mixed with essential oils? Other ideas??
Example: All of those tiny little specks are ants. In this picture, there are at least 12 of them within a 4" area. They weren't just chilling there, but seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere.
TIP: We just found out this weekend that sprinkling cinnamon around an ant path keeps them away. They refuse to touch the cinnamon. Right now, we have lines of it sprinkled on our doorway entrances, around the base of the deck posts downstairs, around the pillars on the front porch and some other places... Try it out. Cinnamon is cheap. It works. It smells good. Unfortunately, there is not enough cinnamon in NC to cover the base of our home well enough to keep these ants out.
2. We also have lots of crickets and beetles.
As much as I love forensics anthropology, cadaver dissection, osteology, blood, guts and gore, I HATE HATE HATE small disgusting creepy crawling things (minus snakes) and rodents. So far no rodents, but definitely a bird that somehow got into our house. Not crazy about birds either. In the past, I've had far too many run-ins with bats to like small flying creatures. Living in this house, I am going to learn to have cohabitants of the creepy, scary kind.
No pictures to accompany this one. Shocker, right?
TIP: No solution thus far, but we have found out that crickets don't crawl into the upstairs when we leave the AC or fan on.
3. Our range vents into the basement stairwell.
What the heck? Guess we aren't turning that on for a while.
SOLUTION: Eventually rearranging the kitchen to make an island that has a drop-in cooktop in it. For the last several months, we have been combing craigslist for it. This will probably take QUITE a while. At least it will be a while before we can get to that.
4. We have three at least partial chimneys in our place.
One is just above the kitchen in the attic. One in the living room actually is used as a fireplace (or has been sometime somewhat recently) and goes from the basement to through the roof. There are partial remnants of charred logs in the fireplace and a rack outside to stack firewood. The third fireplace goes from the basement to the attic.
SOLUTION: We do not plan to knock any of these down since that seems dangerous and time consuming. Instead, in the two back bedrooms, we are prying the plaster off of the walls, then the layer of concrete until we get to the exposed brick. I've always been a fan of that brick facade which is usually fake. We will, however, have a REAL brick wall...at least part of a brick wall.
5. There is water leaking under the porch.
A portion of the bricks on the outside wall of the porch are caving in. It is compromising the integrity of the porch and speeding up water damage. At one point, I saw a cat trying to squeeze in there. We have to fix that soon...somehow.
SOLUTION: We are probably going to combine #5 and #6 on this one. We are going to temporarily remove the decking on the right side of the porch where the crumbling bricks are. Then, we will be able to get under the porch and into that space to reinforce existing structures and to redo that crumbling wall.
6. Our deck boards are starting to disintegrate on the ends of the boards closest to the yard.
SOLUTION: Instead of replacing them, we are just going to rotate them (the boards we pulled up for #5) out for other boards in good shape on the porch. Since the ones that are in roughest shape are the ones leading to the steps outside, those are the worst ones. Another way to NOT spend money - just a time investment.
7. We have .68 acres and a 20" reel lawn mower.
Ugh for trying to be all environmentally responsible. At least when I am trying to cut the grass in 90-100 degree weather for hours.
8. Our bathroom toilet seat is soft and squishy.
Apparently lots of people think that is weird and that it feels uncomfortable.
9. On our deck, the treads on the stairs (the part you step on) are all curling up.
SOLUTION: When you build a deck, make sure the face on the lumber is sad. By that, I mean to put the tree rings that are in a semi-circle face down onto the board you are screwing them into.
Currently Listening to "Get Ready" by Rare Earth
Example: The Happy Face on the lumber makes the edges start curling up and going crooked. The Sad Face shown is the decking we just put in. Of course I made sure Tom knew the sad and happy faces before he started screwing the decking on (even though I was totally going to do that).