Dollars & Stragglers

Last week I mentioned that a series of unfortunate events left me scrounging around for pennies in the dusty corners of my house emergency fund, and listen, if there’s one thing you need when living in a 150 year old farm house, it’s a sizable emergency fund. At any given time I have the feeling that the boiler could literally explode with the force of a small nuclear bomb and blow this house into orbit. Around Mars. So, you know, I like to have a little extra cash on hand… just in case I need to rent a spaceship to retrieve my house from Martian orbit.

So I decided I really need to buckle down on my spending over the next couple of weeks, until I’ve got a little cushion in the emergency fund again. As it turns out, a not insignificant amount of the money I spend on the house goes to “home improvements”…


Sometimes these are necessary expenditures, and sometimes it’s just me indulging in the need to buy new tools more often than I buy food. Eh, what can I say? We all have our vices.

Now, right at the moment there are a ton of things I would like to be spending money on for the house (new light fixtures for the office, fabric curtains to replace the closet doors, bookshelves for the parlor, and bench and cubbies for the mudroom all come immediately to mind) but none of those things are actually critical to day-to-day life here on the farm. What is critical to my well-being, however, is that I still have projects to keep me busy. So I took a look around my house and realized that I have a ton of potential projects around here that I have all of the materials for already, and just haven’t gotten around to because who wants to spend hours rewiring outlets when there are desks to build?

So, it’s time to take care of all of those little straggler projects before I start something new. Here’s a little look at what I’ve got going on…

Outlets and switches… everywhere.


I’ve got boxes of these things waiting to go in, and just have never taken the time to do it. The parlor, dining room, mudroom, and office are the worst offenders.



I still need to do touch-up paint in the office and parlor, and there’s a whole section of baseboard in the mudroom that never got finished. I have all of this paint laying around and just need to get to it.

Finishing touches


I’ve owned the towel bar and TP holder hardware for this bathroom for, oh, six months. And yet I continue to keep it classy by just setting the toilet paper on the window sill… maybe I should take care of that.



Yeah. In my defense… most of these are books. But, you know, I think I’m going to be staying here for a while. Maybe it’s time to finish unpacking.

Odds & Ends


In the last year I’ve amassed a small mountain of little tables, dressers, lamps, chairs, and other things that I’ve always intended to do something with, and that time is now.

This is just a small sampling of some of the little straggler projects I plan to tackle over the next couple of weeks, but I’m still bound and determined to get the stairwell and upstairs hallway under control, so I did splurge on two gallons of paint and a set of angle brackets (for my workbench) so that I could still cross a few items off my current list (and actually show up for the Dueling DIY update tomorrow.)

Oh, and if you’re jonesing for more little donkeys, I have a gratuitous Monday donkey post coming up later this afternoon. (Mondays are always better with more donkeys.)


11 Responses

  1. We are in ramen noodle mode too as we’ve got a bid in on land now. With 4 kids (4girls 6-16, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 4 rabbits, and an unreal amount of duck fever) that’s real fun. The good news is our move to land will be a downsize from our HOA living so it’ll pay off nicely.

  2. It’ll feel so good to be caught up on the “left” behind projects. They’re not fun, but they definitely lead to a good state of mind.

  3. I’m in the same place…there are all these projects that I WANT to do..not necessarily that I HAVE to do. My little condo was a rental property for 20 years prior to me purchasing it 7 years ago(which basically means it needs a LOT of work!). I’ve lived in it with the intent of staying in it forever, but then fate smiled and I met the most wonderful man three years ago. He moved in two years ago and we realized rather quickly that my little condo was exactly that…little. While it was perfect sized for me, not so much for another human and all of his belongings. SO, we are selling my condo in about a year and a half and buying a SFH-which means ALL the projects I need to do now should be for gearing up for the sale-to get the best price possible in this market-not the projects I’ve been wanting to do (like reconfigure kitchen cabinets) because I’m going to live here for the rest of my life…sigh. It’s just that the projects I HAVE to do are all BORING to me and don’t get my creative juices flowing! Sometimes I really hate being a grown up… LOL

  4. I am in the process of FORCING myself to finish the tile in my bathroom. I’m tiling up and over the vintage arch in the bath area and its SO tedious. I can only do a little bit at a time because 1) Its up over my head and I’m straddling awkwardly on the bathtub, 2) I have to walk out to the shop to make every damn little cut, 3)I’ve been living with a non-functional bathroom and I’m used to it now. So – coffee should be ready and then its 1-2-3 go!

    So I understand needing to finish something before starting anything else!

  5. I hear you on this one! I’ve been trying to empty some boxes, get organized, and really tackle a couple of the catch-all spaces (er, rooms) in my house. It’s not as glamorous as the big projects, but it really feels good to get it done.

  6. The odds and ends straggler projects are always the hardest for me to get to. By that point I’ve done all of the big and fun stuff. I’m 1) over the project and 2) looking for more big and fun stuff to tackle. Plus, it’s easy to pretend I don’t see the ivory outlets or paint touch-ups. Those are minor! I’ve got more interesting/urgent things to do!

  7. We’re just coming out of a money crunch and I’m seriously excited to be able to work on big projects again! I can only work on so many “little projects” before I go crazy and need to build something huge. And now that we’ve got money again, all those projects we acquired half the stuff for and then had to stop (I’m looking at you kitchen sink, sans faucet) can finally get finished!!

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