The House Strikes Back

Our Homeownership Saga

Marc DeOtis

Halloween Display

Pictures from Halloween night 2017 with all of the lights and fog machine in action!


Pixels out and more songs to sequence

We currently have 3 pixels that are out on the mega tree and need to be fixed. Sadly they went bad somewhere between putting the strips together and hanging them on the mega tree. Hopefully I can get those fixed sometime this weekend so we don’t have a few random ones were the colors don’t match correctly, but one is fairly high on the tree so that will be fun to get to.

Other plan for this weekend is to sequence a third song for the display. Two songs seem too short (probably about 7 minutes currently), so if we at least get a third song in the mix maybe it will keep people parked out front longer.

But as for right now, the display seems to be a success. Most times looking out the window, there is at least 1 car watching and lots of times there are multiple cars. People seem to be enjoying it again this year, in even greater numbers than any years before.

2 Songs Complete!

After another 5 hours of sequencing last night on my birthday, we have a second song done. After finishing that song, we finally started up the display and had it running the rest of the night. (about 7:30pm to 10:30pm) There are some tweaks to make here and there to some of the sequences, but overall they look pretty good.

Songs completed and running currently:
Christmas Can-Can (by Straight No Chaser)
Sandstorm (by Darude)

Hopefully we’ll have time to throw together another song or two within the next week.

32 candy canes to go

Almost everything is complete with the display this year, but we still haven’t started sequencing any songs yet, so that’s the next task.

Happy holidays!

Yard Waste

Since the house we bought was one that had gone into foreclosure, the yard had sat for months without any real work being done to it. A company seemed to mow the lawn, but they did as little as possible to get the job done. We went through and trimmed back lots of the bushes to make the yard seem larger. At the same time we wanted to clean out all of the weeds and small trees that had taken over the area by the side of the house. It took a few days shoveling and raking everything out of there, but it ended up looking fairly good.


Backyard Garden

When we first moved in, there were two “gardens” set up in the yard.  The garden in the front yard is surrounded by stones and we plan on keeping it the way it is for now.  While the garden toward the backyard was surrounded by planks of wood with some cheap wire fencing stapled around it.  We had decided right away that it had to go since it made the yard seem a lot smaller by being in the way.

Backyard Garden Fence

Backyard Garden Fence Removed

As you can see, it had been overrun with weeds for awhile.  It took a bit to tear the stakes out of the ground, but it all came out in one piece.  The wood was torn apart and we took a weed-whacker to all of the overgrowth.  The area still has a lot of weeds that we will do more with next year along with the rest of the “grass” in the yard.


Another reason we will claim that has kept us away from house blogging is sushi.  We have a small hobby (very small…) of making our own sushi, since the store bought stuff is usually quiet pricy.  So we figured we would throw a picture out there of what we have made.

Water Heater Discharge Pipe

One of the simplest repairs we had to complete for the city inspection, was the lack of a discharge pipe connected to the pressure relief valve on the water heater.  We went around to a few hardware stores and there were a few different styles and prices.  We only needed the cheapest one for a few dollars.  It consisted of cutting the pipe to the right length and then screwing it into the relief valve.  Pretty simple.  Here is a before and after.

Water Heater Before Pipe

Water Heater After Pipe

The pipe is really only there so if the relief valve opens, the scalding hot water will spray towards the ground instead of everywhere around chest height.

Argh the internet is distracting

So as many of you may have noticed, we have been on what we will call a blog hiatus.  We have been working on the plumbing in the basement on and off for the past month trying to get it perfect for the upcoming inspection.  There has also been this problem we will call the internet.  It distracts you from projects for many days at a time and sometimes even longer.  Much has gotten done with the house.  Many new ideas for the blog are starting to surface.  Many new projects for the house will be tackled (once this heat wave dies down).  Now that all of the major repairs our done, it is time to play catch up and let everyone know how it went.  Hopefully we can have most of the major news up within a week, but as you can see our ability to stay focused on one project seems to be limited.

We have also added, as of right this second, a contact us page at the top. Feel free to contact us about anything you want to. Maybe someone could send us some ideas on how to stay better focused. Also if we don’t update the site in awhile also feel free to send us messages nagging us to make an update. It might help us to stay on top of the task at hand, the making of an awesome web site! 🙂 Thanks everyone!

Chimney Cleanout

Our house, being an older house, means it has a small chimney that may have possibly been used with some type of coal burning furnace.  As with all chimneys, this one has a cleanout, which is a small door placed at the bottom.  I am too curious just to leave well enough alone, so I have to open the door and see what is inside.

Chimney cleanout full of ash and dirt

As the picture shows, it is packed full of dirt and ash.  With no idea how much of what was inside the chimney,  I started to dig.  Using a small dust pan I kept digging and shoveling stuff out of the cleanout.  Sadly though, we can not find any pictures of the pile we ended up with.  We can however tell you that the pile was around 2 feet in diameter and all the way up to the bottom of the cleanout door.  We found ash, dirt, leaves, cut up pieces of metal chimney flue pipe (probably from when they installed the metal flue liner, since it’s not their problem that it’s in there) and a screw box from Whitney Screw Corporation which stopped production somewhere in the late 80’s.  We are curious as to how long that empty screw box has been down there.  Now that the pointless cleaning out of the chimney has been done, we should not have to do that again anytime soon (or ever).