Category Archives: Rants

Hobo Cat

Today was spent cat-proofing the front porch and more gutter cleaning (my favourite). The neighbor’s cat has been using our porch as his/her second home and, judging by the smell, a litter box. I dug out the area that Hobo Cat was using as access to discover that there had been chicken wire laid down when the garden was originally excavated. Chicken wire is a pretty good deterrent, but any skunk or cat worth it’s salt will rip through it in no time. 2x2cm hardware cloth, buried a foot down and extending a foot from the porch wall, is a much better deterrent and will surely foil the evil Hobo Cat. He spent the afternoon watching me from across the street with pure feline loathing in his hateful little eyes.

Meanwhile D spent the afternoon in the upstairs bathroom cleaning off the dried grout that had been left all over the hastily finished tile with vinegar, Comet and elbow grease. My dad always told me, “if you’re gonna do it, do it right the first time”. If only the previous owner’s father had imparted that little piece of wisdom to him, we wouldn’t be fixing or redoing a lot of the stuff that we are.

Tomorrow the contractor is coming by to take up a section of the main subfloor to have a look-see at the joists to give us an idea of what it’ll take to level the floors out. While we’ve got the floors up, I’m having a basement specialist come by to give us a quote on waterproofing the crawlspace. I don’t think it’s done very well right now and in the spring/summer things could potentially get pretty “earthy”.

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Gutter Balls

Today I went by the house to try and clear out some of the gutters, which have apparently never been looked at before. Maybe the previous owners didn’t own a ladder (we just bought our first one the other day). Unfortunately there’s a nice hard pack of frozen dirt in them, but I managed to chip away an inch or so off the top and clear out most of the leaves that have been blocking them up. The weight of the crud has caused the gutter over the porch to noticeably sag and drain water in the center, so I did my best to relieve some of the strain. My new heavy duty Wonderbar, having previously put to use prying up the linoleum tile, also makes a great icepick/scraper.

A few days ago, we arrived at the house only to be assaulted by the unmistakable scent of skunk(s?). We figure they are getting under the porch or possibly into the crawlspace. There’s about a 10″ gap between our neighbour’s house and ours and it’s never been properly sealed, so there’s a good chance that the little buggers have dug down into the most inaccessible part of the house. Great. I’ve researched a couple repellent suggestions (naphtha flakes and ammonia rags) that we’re going to try out before calling in the pros, who charge $300+ just for trapping the animal. Properly sealing these cozy areas will have to wait until the ground thaws, but once we know the critters are out – and hopefully they do leave – I’ll put up some temporary galvanized wire mesh to discourage any more unwanted tenants.

The front Clogged gutters Kitchen and back office Living room looking into dining room Backyard

The Cute Factor

‘The Cute Factor’ refers to a term our real estate agent used in describing the two houses that we were interested in during our house hunt. Both had what he described as a high ‘cute factor’, which I think means that they were both small, old and full of the quirks that come par for the course with 100+ year-old houses. We’re both suckers for things small and cute and I’m sure that we were swayed by our little Junction house’s high ‘cute factor’.

Now that we’ve taken possession I thought it’d be a good idea to document the preparations for our move in February for the family and friends who don’t have the privilege (ha!) of listening to my ranting and obsessing daily. I’ll do my best to keep this up-to-date with our progress and hopefully it will act as an impartial sounding board for all the frustrations and joys that are sure to follow.

Cheers,
B