But in the meantime, we're biding our time by trying to tackle some of the big, boring projects that have been long-neglected. I started by writing a list of all of the projects I'd like to tackle in our home, at some point. The list is very l o n g . And even if we really dedicated ourselves (and had infinite cash reserves) it would take a couple of years to complete. So we're being selective. We've only managed to start tackling a couple...
- Radon. When our neighbors sold their house over a year ago I noticed that the new owners installed a radon mitigation system. Once I realized what it was, I became nervous because (1) Iowa is known for the highest radon levels in the country, (2) we spend A LOT of time in our walk-out basement and (3) unmitigated radon can cause health problems in the long-term. So we tested the house, and when the results arrived my jaw dropped. Needless to say we are in the process of completing mitigation now, and have found a reputable local company to complete the process. I've become well-versed in all things radon and have been told that with proper mitigation it's truly not an issue. The bright side is (a) we would have had to do this eventually before we one day move and (b) there is a possibility that we may be able to use Flex Spending money to cover at least part of costs. But there's a lesson here: if you haven't already, get your house tested.
- Windows. Our house was built in the 1980s and I'm confident that the windows (along with a rather unfortunate brass wall sconce which exuded Miami Vice charm) were original to the house. Unfortunately, the windows are a bit drafty, particularly in our kitchen. And we live in Iowa, and if you didn't know, it gets really cold in Iowa. This is definitely a project that I wish I could snap my fingers and have it completed. Unfortunately, the process of getting quotes has been difficult enough. Last Friday we had one company stand us up TWICE. In one day. Who knows if we'll get this one completed. Luckily, the chimney sweep gave our fireplace a clean bill of health, so hopefully a fire this winter will help offset the drafty windows.
Otherwise, we're trying to declutter - cleaning out closets, making trips to Goodwill, and just generally trying to lighten the load in our house. I started cleaning out our small pantry last weekend. But by the time I found and recycled the 5th partial box of Wheat Thins, I gave up.
But of course for every step forward, there's a couple steps back. Which is precisely what happened when I noticed a strange noise coming from the refrigerator and a dripping noise in a basement wall. Luckily I have super-human hearing in my one good ear. Turns out the hose to our ice maker sprung a leak. Which means that we have to get that fixed and the kitchen put back together before we can do anything else project wise (actually, it has to be fixed before we can even prepare a meal in our kitchen). So that's what we've been up to this week. Next week we are headed to Louisiana.