Category Archives: Home Ownership

This Pipe is Going to Kill Me

Sometimes when I go about my day I start to write blog posts in my head. On Saturday morning, as I was standing on my front lawn in 18-degree weather watching a dude in a tractor tear apart our property in search of the leaky portion of our water main, I started to form a post about how it totally sucks having to spend unexpected money on house repairs, but the satisfaction of a job well done is totally worth it.

That draft is currently in the shitter, along with that uncharacteristic sliver of optimism.


Screw those happy couples sipping coffee at their kitchen table, THIS is the photo that should be on the mortgage tab of your bank’s website.

I really did try and have a good attitude about fixing this damn pipe, even when the excavator accidentally cut through our sprinkler line (meriting nothing but a jaunty, “Whoops!”). I even held it together when we realized the leak was coming from under the planter, meaning we had to rip the whole thing apart. Finally, Dave’s dad (who helps us with home repairs all the time and is basically a saint except for his love of the Seahawks) found the cracked portion, fixed it, and we all stood around and marveled at his handiwork. He advised us to run down to the hardware store and pick up some insulation to wrap around the valve before covering it back up, so we skipped off to Ace and returned 15 minutes later to find a hole full of water.

Oh, I should also mention that I had contracted some sort of stomach bug or food poisoning the night before, which required me to sprint to the toilet every 10 minutes and re-create the Dumb and Dumber Turbo Lax scene. Somewhere around my hundredth trip I thought to myself, “It could be worse; at least our toilet is working,” and then I realized HOLY SHIT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TURN THE WATER OFF TO FIX THE PIPE. I have never panicked or wished for constipation so hard in my life.

ANYWAY, that hole full of water means that there is obviously another leak further up the line. From the way it’s draining into the hole it looks like it’s either coming from the shutoff valve or under the house. Under the house would be the worst case scenario, as it requires digging around in rock-hard clay by hand, hunched over, in the dark, surrounded by spiders. We’re going to try replacing the valve first, but based on my 29-year run of the worst case scenario prevailing, I’m less than optimistic that the valve is the problem. On a happy note, the Olympics are only 17 days away! Yay hot athletes in tight ski pants!

Things Stressing Me Out Today

1. There is a growing puddle of water on our front lawn. We got some rain last week so at first I figured it was from that, but it’s been getting bigger every day and it’s not raining anymore. Dave thinks there may be a crack in our water main. I do not even want to know how much this will cost to fix, so I’ve been dealing with it the same way I deal with everything house-related:  burying it deep down inside. It’ll probably take 10 years off my life, but at least I don’t cry at work.

Source Me, for the last four days.

Me, every day since we signed the closing papers.

2. My sister is having a baby any day now, and I can’t afford a plane ticket to go meet my new nephew because I’m spending all my money on plumbing. If anyone reading this is thinking about buying a house, take my advice and RENT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Or buy a house without running water, Ingalls family-style.


My favorite thing to do when I’m stressed is look at adoptable animals on Petfinder. Currently I’m trying to convince Dave that we need this little guy. But then I start to think about dog hair and dog poop and our presently un-chewed furniture and I think maybe we should stick to small animals. Like rabbits! Or a ferret! I have problems.

I’m on Facebook! Tell Your Grandparents!

Thank you so much to everyone who posted encouraging things over on my Instagram yesterday … I’ve avoided posting about weight loss issues in the past, mostly because it’s hard not to post about that stuff without it sounding like a ploy for attention from Internet strangers. Because blogs offer such a tiny glimpse into the big picture of somebody’s life, it’s easy to read them and think, “that person’s got their shit together, why don’t I?” I guess this was just a PSA to let everyone know that sometimes, my shit is all over the place. Also, I know that my posts about fitness/health stuff have been sparse lately, but it’s something I aim to write more about this year since it’s obviously something I think about a lot.

Speaking of fitness, my mom texted me this morning to see if I wanted to run a half marathon with her and my dad in Maui later this year. At first I was like, “hmm, maybe we could swing that” but then I remembered the exposed drywall backsplash our kitchen is currently sporting, as well as the fact that the house needs new paint, a new lawn, and we’re currently in the middle of a plumbing job that is making me seriously consider bathing out back with the garden hose for the rest of my life. I told her maybe. Anybody in the market for a fully functioning* kidney?


Also, I wanted to let you guys know that there’s an official HeatherHomefaker Facebook page now. Which is probably pointless since the other day I was talking to a teenager who told me nobody uses Facebook anymore except for parents and grandparents. Apparently all her friends just use Snapchat, and as she was telling me this I nodded along like I totally agreed that Facebook was so over and prayed she wouldn’t ask me for my Snapchat user name since I have no idea what the hell a Snapchat even is, or if it requires user names. I mean, I kind of know what it is, but I don’t really get how it’s different than the group message function I currently use when I feel like all my friends need to see a boring picture of my cat for the thousandth time. Basically, I have never felt older than I did at the end of that conversation.


So glad I spent hundreds of dollars on a DSLR “for blog photos” so I can proceed to only post gifs.

ANYWAY, for those of you stuck in 2006 with me, my Facebook link is on the sidebar. Feel free to like my page and spam me with Patrick Dempsey photos and beer recommendations.

*Beer doesn’t damage kidneys, right?

You Feel That Steam Heat Coming? It’s From my Undercarriage

You may recall that when we bought our house in July, it was missing a bunch of things. One of those things was a door for the wood stove.

Because there were so many other things to worry about when we moved in (surprise black mold in the kitchen, anyone?) we just threw a bunch of LED candles in there, set them on a timer, and enjoyed our flame-less “fires” in the evening. And then we got our first electric bill of the winter and I realized that if we didn’t get that stove working, we’d be spending the equivalent of a Michael Kors handbag every month just to heat the damn house. And if I’m spending the equivalent of a Michael Kors handbag on anything, it’s going to be a Michael Kors handbag.

Anyway, I Googled the serial number on the back of our stove, and found that it has been discontinued (of course it has), and a replacement door was going to cost close to $400 (of course it was). I decided to give our local stove shop a try, mostly because it’s called Holy Smoke and anybody who names their stove business Holy Smoke is clearly my people. For once my completely logic-less thought process was correct, because the owner is the nicest guy ever, and offered to build us a custom door for only $150. We picked it up last week, and look how pretty:


It’s now 80 degrees in my house. Of course, I can’t enjoy it because my anxiety over paying the electric bill has been replaced with anxiety over the house burning down. I spent Saturday afternoon alternating between going outside to make sure the roof wasn’t on fire and asking Dave to go outside and confirm that the roof wasn’t on fire. I’ve been averaging about four hours of sleep, because I’m too busy playing the “was that a floorboard creaking or the sound of the attic igniting” game.

Dave keeps assuring me that there’s nothing to worry about, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can enjoy the fact that it’s 18 degrees outside and I’m in a T-shirt. We didn’t turn the heater on at all yesterday. I think that means I can buy myself this, right?

Twenty Thirteen

I’ll be honest: 2013 ended way better than it started for me.

I began the year living alone in a little apartment, having just gone through a sort-of breakup with Dave. I spent most evenings in January drinking red wine and channeling Bridget Jones.

(Long story short: We got back together in February).

Since I had some free time and an abundance of nervous energy on my hands early in the year, I started running for the first time in my life. I realized that I kind of liked it, so I slowly built up my mileage and started training for a half marathon.

Post-10 miles

Icing my knees after my first 10-mile run.

In February, I took a little mini-vacation and flew out to Colorado for some quality time with my nephew (and my sister and brother-in-law).

zooA couple months later in May, I took an awesome trip to Chicago. It was technically a work trip, but I had a few days free to hang out and explore the city. I love Chicago so much, and can’t wait to go back.

ChicagoShortly after I returned from Chicago, Dave and I said goodbye to our discretionary income and started house hunting.

Despite the slow torture that is house hunting, the month of June was awesome – I ran my first half marathon, and Dave and I took a trip to the San Diego Zoo, where I became obsessed with red pandas.

red-pandaRight before we left on our trip we made an offer on a house, and right when we got back the bank discovered that some dude stole my social security number in 2007 and used it to lease an apartment in Minnesota. Because of course he did.

We finally worked everything out with the bank, and got the keys to our first home at the end of July.

08-01-13-keyAt first we were all, “woo we’re homeowners” and then we found mold under the kitchen floor and the toilet overflowed every time it flushed and the wiring was all messed up in the kitchen and we were like, “OH MY GOD WE ARE IDIOTS.”

08-05-13-outside-2The house needed a lot of cosmetic work, and we’ve spent the last four months turning it into a place that we love.

In October I traveled to Phoenix (again, for work), where I spent almost as much time lounging poolside as I did working. In my defense, would you be able to work with this right outside your room?

20131021-143439November and December were kind of a blur, and I can’t believe that a new year begins tomorrow. I’m looking forward to completing a lot of house projects in 2014 (installing a kitchen backsplash, building a bar into our dining room alcove, landscaping the front and back yards, hopefully painting the exterior, I am getting hives as I type this list) as well as some possible international travel for work. Oh, and I’ll also continue to blog here. WordPress just informed me that in 2013 I wrote 220 posts, uploaded 848 photos, and that my visitors for the year would fill 7 sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House. Which is weird, because I totally woke up this morning wondering how many performances it would take to host all my readers at the Sydney Opera House. (No I didn’t.)

ANYWAY, thanks for enduring all my posts about cheese and beer and shirtless Chris Hemsworth this year, and I hope you have a fabulous 2014.

Weekend Photos

I was too busy eating all the things over the weekend to blog, so here are some pictures of things I enjoyed over the last few days:

I had a piece of the most delicious vegan chocolate tart topped with raspberries at lunch on Friday. Because Fridays call for lunch dessert.

CiderOn Friday night I picked up some Square Mile Hopped Cider. I loved it, and Dave thought it tasted like cat piss. Clearly one of us has some messed up taste buds.


We got up early and hit the gym on Saturday. I had planned on running outside but when I saw that it was 19 degrees I aborted that plan and wound up running 4 miles on the treadmill instead. I’m thinking about signing up for another half marathon — anyone know of good races happening in Northern California or Oregon early next year?


I saw this recipe for Rotini with Blue Cheese and Spinach on A Cup of Jo last week and made it for Dave on Saturday night. Because he loves him some blue cheese. I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but the half and half in the sauce really mellowed out the tanginess of the cheese and we both wound up loving it. (Also, I added chicken but it would be just as good without.) He made a fantastic pasta dish on Sunday night (we love our carbs) and promised he’d guest blog with the recipe this week.

Air FilterWe finally got around to replacing our air filter this weekend and when we were closing the grate, the two little clasps that hold it shut both broke. It looks like we’ll have to order the replacement pieces online, so we tried to hold it shut with duct tape in the meantime. That failed pretty quickly, so Dave MacGyvered this little number out of a block of wood and an old drawer pull. Do I even have to note that booze was involved? When I moved up here to the wilderness all my friends warned me that I’d turn into a redneck and I assured them that would never happen, but now I’m kind of afraid this is how it starts. One minute you’re duct taping your home together “just for a few days until you can get the part replaced” and the next day you’re roasting squirrels on coffee cans in the front yard. Send help.

Progress and Future Plans and Cat For Sale

Last night was the first night we spent in the new place (!), and after a long evening of moving heavy furniture in the pouring rain (after an already long day at work), we made ourselves feel better by listing everything we’ve gotten done so far. And it actually feels like kind of a lot. If you’re interested, here are the projects we’ve completed (with a lot of help from family) since closing on the house three weeks ago:

– Primed and painted all the walls/closets
– Ripped up old flooring
– Painted subfloor with Kilz primer (to seal in odors)
– Installed new laminate/carpet
– Removed, painted, and replaced baseboards
– Replaced water damaged floor and drywall in kitchen
– Fixed garbage disposal
– Fixed broken electrical circuit in kitchen
– Fixed leaky kitchen faucet
– Installed a new shower head in master bathroom
– Ran copper wire under the house for our refrigerator’s ice machine
– Moved all of the big furniture and most of the small stuff into the new house
– Installed cat door into garage
– Cleaned and disinfected every surface. Twice.

No wonder we’re cranky.

Even though we’ve gotten a lot done, our to-do list feels like it’s growing by the minute. Here’s our list of stuff we still have to do:

– Move low-hanging living room fan/light fixture to dining room
– Install new flush mount fan/light in living room (we already bought it; just have to install)
– Purchase and hang curtains in the living room and master bedroom
– Fix the kitchen backsplash
– Seal and stain the deck
– Build bar in dining room alcove
– Buy and install a dishwasher (there’s a spot for it; the previous owners took it with them)
– Paint exterior (this will probably wait until next spring – rainy season is almost upon us, plus we’re the poorz right now)
– Add shower to guest bath (currently it’s just a tub)
– Paint our mismatched furniture
– Landscaping, front and back
– Scrape off the awful popcorn ceiling
– Decorate

Do you like how I threw “decorate” in there as an afterthought? Everyone keeps asking me my decor plans and I’m like STOP IT I CAN’T TALK IT WHILE THERE ARE HOLES IN MY KITCHEN WALLS. The one thing I’ve done so far is buy this rhino bust from Anthropologie with a gift card my sister gave me for my birthday. We may not have curtains, but our living room wall sure as hell will have a rhino head on it. Priorities.

And speaking of priorities, last night the cat’s top priority was to keep us awake by howling nonstop before knocking a half-used gallon of paint off of a shelf in the garage, walking through the mess, and tracking it all over the new floors and couch.

Paw Prints

Anybody want a cat?