Archive for the 'This Old House' Category

Gonna have a yard sale

We’re not, but our church is. The purpose is to raise money for the mission team that’s going from our church to Niger this summer. I think the total needed is about $21,000, so we’ve all been encouraged to donate as much used-but-valuable stuff as possible to the yard sale. This is a great motivator for me, as we have a house and multiple out-buildings just full of stuff. With so much fodder, all I need to do is to schedule the and then discipline myself to start somewhere and go through stuff. I have about a month to accomplish this, and I have already ruthlessly culled my dresser. I think next will be my closet, then maybe Jo’s closet. . . I really just need Jessica to come stand over me and tell me which area to tackle and what to get rid of. My goal is to put at least three things in the yard sale pile every day, starting tomorrow. Anybody want to hold me accountable?  = )



On Scott’s side of the bed, he has a little “touch” lamp with a three-way bulb. You just tap its base to turn it on the dimmest setting and then each additional tap brightens up the light a bit.

Our bed comforter is rather lightweight and happens to be made of polyester. It’s great in the summer, but in the winter we add a heavy cotton quilt underneath it. I’ve noticed over the years that when I change the sheets in the winter, if I yank the comforter off too violently, I can actually create blue sparks with the static electricity. Since I know from experience that any exposed appendage (finger, nose, etc.) can get shocked, I am now fairly careful when I pull the comforter off. I don’t like being a human lightning rod!

This morning I decided to strip the bed and get the sheets washing while we were at church, but I must say that what happened in our bedroom had never happened before. Standing at the foot of the bed, I pulled the comforter off, and it crackled a little bit, but get this: When the comforter crackled at end of low end of the bed, the touch lamp turned on at the head of the bed! I thought it was just some weird coincidence (or as my dad used to say, “co-inky-dink”), so I turned the lamp off and tried it again – with exactly the same result!

Moral of the story: A static electrical charge can travel at least six feet through the air inside a very dry 105-year-old frame house.

Feel free to indulge your curiosity and try this at home. I actually think someone should figure out a way to harness the power of sheet-changing (or some other means of rubbing polyester against cotton) to charge a cell phone or something.

Jeopardy question: What is “clomp, clomp, clomp?”

Answer: The sound generated when a person going down the stairs wearing tennis shoes gets to the lower half of our main staircase, now that there is no carpet on those stairs.

Mr. Bill to the rescue again

This evening, our good friend, Mr. Bill, accompanied by his extremely delightful assistant – the one carrying the toolbox and sporting the maximally becoming headlamp, arrived to repair our more-than-a-year-old cellar leak.  Our hot water was only off for 10 minutes, Mr. Bill had all the tools and connectors and expertise necessary, and everything went very smoothly. The two of them made quick work of it, and we now have no more cellar drips!!! It cost us the price of the parts, a bit of money for his time and knowledge, and a pan of Batchelators. I think they were both more excited about the Batchelators than the money.  = )

“What’s making me happy?”

I listen to a podcast called The Simple Show, and near the end of it, the host always asks the guest to share one thing, “from the ridiculous to the serious,” that’s making her happy. Then the host shares her happy thing, too.

If someone asked me what’s making me happy right now, I would definitely say,”hanging out the laundry.” A couple months ago, when I was trying to come up with some small money-saving adjustments to make, I realized that we could probably use our electric dryer less than we were.

I started with hanging out our sheets, which is just wonderful. They feel so crisp and smell so good! I remember my mom hanging out sheets when I was a kid, and now I know why. My next step was to begin hanging out some other items like T-shirts and jeans, and before long, I was doing whole loads, not so much to save money, but just because it was so much fun.  = )

I have a pretty good system worked out now, what with where the clotheslines are positioned (partly in shade part of the day), which things take longer or shorter to dry, the realization that sun + wind = dry, Jessica’s tip to hang bright colors inside out so they don’t fade, and this truly amazing insight. Our dryer has a setting called “Fluff Air” which I had never used. It is entirely heat-free, and we I’m sure that running the heating element takes a lot more electricity than just running the motor. Well, let me tell you that with my new-found dryer setting, I can off the line a load of TOWELS that are totally crunchy (read: “rough as a Brillo pad”), throw in them in the dryer on Fluff Air for 30 minutes, and while they’re not quite as soft as they would be had they been dried on high heat for 60 minutes, they are certainly soft enough to use.

So, I’m just having a blast hanging out laundry these days; so much so that I’m frequently looking for reasons to do a load of wash! And on Thursday, when I was so diligent to get the (admittedly very small) load hung out before I left home in the morning, and when it poured down rain that afternoon while I was gone, and when even more rain was forecast that evening overnight, get this: I had the absolutely stellar idea to put those three very damp items, including a pair of jeans, on hangers and suspend them in the playroom from the garage door track right above the dehumidifier. By the next morning, they were totally dry

This clothesline experience really is making me happy.

We’ve been here for twenty years!

On June 28, 1996, we moved into our house in Walnut Shade. We had moved from Little Rock to Branson to plant a church, and a series of totally amazing “it could only be God” circumstances put us in this place.

God showed me the whole interior of a house in a vision while I was taking a shower in our second Birchwood house in Little Rock. I was stunned, thought such an experience quite odd (I’d never had a vision before), had no idea why God would suddenly show m such a thing, and figured that maybe someday we’d live in a house like that.

We retained a realtor who was absolutely positive she could find us a five-bedroom house within 20 minutes of Branson and in our price range – a price range Scott had made up out of thin air, as he had quit his job and had no income. We later learned that our realtor had never sold a house.

On the way to see the series of houses she had found, all of which ended up being unacceptably junky, she said we’d be driving past “this one really unique property” that she wanted to show us. It was tens of thousands of dollars out of our price range, and she knew we couldn’t buy it, but it was “just so very unique that you really have to see it.” We pulled into the driveway, and sitting in the back seat of her car, I was again stunned speechless. Every detail of that house looked exactly, uncannily like the house I had seen in the shower, even down to the white barn to left of the house. And when we walked inside, all the interior details I had seen in the shower were right there before my eyes in actual living color. I was totally freaked out. Scott was whispering to me, “Is this THE house?!?” and all I could do was nod like a zombie.

The story is way too long to tell here, but we ended up writing a personal letter to the owners, telling them some of the things God had shown us about this house (way more than just what it looked like), we offered to buy it at a ridiculously low price, and not only did they accept our low-ball offer, they agreed to finance it for three years! That was extremely helpful, as it can be, ahem, rather challenging to secure a loan from a bank when you have no income.  = )

We moved in on June 28, and six days later, on July 4, we hosted a big cookout for all our new neighbors. So much for unpacking gradually, setting up housekeeping, and easing into rural Missouri life!

Our kids were 6, 4, 2, and -3. They have grown up in Walnut Shade with trees to climb and read in, the post office next door, Triple Oak Landing, outside play time, a  thirty-minute video when it rained, the moo cow at the end of the road, the Indian house, kickball in the back yard, and plenty of swimming at Big Rock. It’s been a SUPER place to raise a family, and I am so very thankful to God that he chose to plant us squarely in downtown Walnut Shade in our big, big house, with lots and lots of room. It’s kind of hard to believe that we have lived here for twenty years – that’s two DECADES(!!!) – but we have, and I can honestly say that we have lived every one of those years fully. We are so very, very blessed.

Freezer burn

I recently decided to defrost the upright freezer in our cellar. This is now only a 15 minute task, thanks to my having figured out some years ago that I can melt the ice with water straight out of the water heater, also located in the cellar a mere ten feet from the freezer.

I had evidently let the job go longer than my usual six weeks, and there was a super thick layer of ice in the bottom. I attacked it with my trusty screwdriver – the one I keep on top of the water heater for opening and closing its drain valve – to break up and scrape off as much as possible first. Then I blasted it with hot water.

As I was running the hose back and forth against the lowest part of the back wall of the freezer, I suddenly burned myself and jerked my hand back. Initially, I thought it was the water, but that didn’t make sense because I use that same hot water all the time to shower or wash dishes, and it doesn’t burn me. But I was definitely, albeit mildly, burned on the outside of two fingers of my right hand. They had brushed against the back wall as I was hosing. . . And then I saw it! A somewhat scorched brownish place on the back wall of the freezer, almost down to the bottom. That back wall is metal, and I must’ve grazed my fingers against it while hosing. But why would the bottom back of the freezer be hot enough to burn me? Maybe that’s where the defrost heater is located and its thermostat is a little messed up? Hmmm. . .

I really have too many other things on my plate to try to figure that out right now, but at least the situation did provide me a satisfyingly catchy blog post title!