Cat Lady

I was under the impression that the house had been vacant for close to a decade, but I was mistaken. Stray cats had taken over and claimed the property as their own. Two cats had laid claim to my front porch, and three more had taken over the garden as their territory. *sigh* Termites, cave crickets, and now cats. Awesome.

They didn’t appreciate the newcomer, and showed their displeasure by reminding me who was boss. Several times I stepped outside…and into cat poo.

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They would spray and mark their territory all over the garden. The last straw was seeing large clumps of cat hair stuck to my patio chair cushions.

I’m sure there are benefits to having an outdoor cat population. I’ll admit I have not seen a rat, NOT ONE, since I moved into the neighborhood. If you’ve ever lived in Baltimore City you are aware how impressive that is. I’m sure part of the reason are the cats.

I also learned about the pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor cats from a very long and unnecessary thread on my neighborhood Nextdoor site. Apparently, several of my neighbors have “outdoor cats” and lets them roam the neighborhood.

Regardless of your stance on cats, I don’t want my patio and garden smelling like cat piss all the time. So I needed to find a way to get rid of the cats without harming a possible beloved family pet.

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I called this one Gandalf. RATS SHALL NOT PASS!

First, I tried using coffee grounds. I read that this would keep the cats away, and fertilize my yard. I saved my coffee grounds and when I had enough, spread them around the yard and porch. Coffee grounds does not work. I found a cat hanging out under my shrubs, laying right on top of a pile of them. He just starred at me as I walked up to the porch. Mocking me and my coffee grounds.

Next, I tried moth balls. I put moth ball packets under the cushion chairs and in containers around the front porch. It worked! Apparently cats dislike the smell of mothballs and it keeps them away.

It was time to defeat the backyard brood. I didn’t want to go wild with the mothballs in the garden because frankly I don’t like the smell either. I had read that gardens often have plants growing in it that attracts cats. Considering how overgrown the garden was it was definitely a possibility. So I cleared out all of the overgrown ground covering and bushes in the backyard.

This seemed to solve my cat problem! Without the overgrown brushes and ground covering to hide in they had moved on. I haven’t seen or smelled evidence of cats in weeks!

 

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Laundry Room

Laundry room may be a bit of a stretch at the moment. Perhaps laundry corner is more appropriate? The house had a washer and dryer in the basement, but they didn’t work. The basement had flooded at some point and they were ruined in the flood. My washer and dryer were sold with the house, so I was out of luck. I’d have to buy new appliances. I decided to take advantage of the latest holiday sale and purchased a washer and dryer from Sears. Total cost, including delivery, was less than $700!

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The basement walls got a coat of white paint to brighten the space, and the floor was painted gray. Please excuse the dish rag curtain. Once the basement is spruced up I’ll invest in better window treatments LOL!

I’d like to turn this area into a proper laundry room with tile and cabinets, but the washer shares a wall with the Outhouse. Since I plan to turn the Outhouse into a half bath it makes sense to wait and renovate both at the same time.

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Over the weekend I checked out the Cedar Grove United Methodist community flea market in Parkton and scored a new laundry tub (with a nice faucet and hook up) for $15! Mine is covered in paint and has seen better days. I plan to install the new tub in the next few weeks. It was a beautiful day to ride around and check out the other sales and farmers markets in the neighborhood!

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When I purchased the house the basement had a cave cricket infestation. Apparently, these ugly and frightening creatures thrive in dark moist places and jump at their predators as a defense mechanism. Enter my basement, specifically the laundry tub drain and the area near the basement door.

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First day of renovations, I turned on the faucet to clean a paint brush and four of these suckers jumped out of the drain and into my face! I screamed bloody murder. At the time I didn’t even know what they were! *shudder* The crickets would migrate up to the kitchen drain, and it became a habit to wave my paint brush over any sink to avoid getting a face full of cricket.

Luckily the infestation was easily taken care of by spraying bug spray around the foundation. I also purchased a dehumidifier at Lowes to help rid the basement of moisture. By the time I moved in the cave crickets had been eradicated.

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The basement continues to be an ongoing project, and as the opportunity arises a little is getting done here and there. In the meantime, I get to enjoy my new washer and dryer!

Make it Work – 2nd Floor Bathroom Renovation

The second floor bathroom was a no-brainer. Gut it. The wall tile was yellow with age and had a giant crack running across most of the room. The floor tile was dingy and also had multiple cracks. Oh, and the pipes to the shower were rusted and didn’t work. Yup, this has to go…or so I thought.

My budget allowed me to renovate the kitchen and bathroom, but I’d have to make compromises for both. The other option was to renovate the kitchen, exactly how I wanted, and hold off on the bathroom. I chose to renovate the kitchen.

I was stuck with this. On the plus side, anything I do (including cleaning out the former owner’s toiletries) would be an improvement. I would have to channel Tim Gunn and, “make it work!”

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Rugs, shower curtain, medicine cabinet, wood toilet seat and the rest of the clutter was tossed. Luckily, the bathroom is right above the kitchen and the rusty pipes were replaced when the kitchen ceiling was ripped out. The wallpaper was removed and the wall patched. Finally, the room got a fresh coat of primer and paint.

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Even after a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint the bathroom still looked pretty rough. Something had to be done with the dingy wall and floor tile.

I looked into purchasing a Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing kit at Home Depot. The refinishing kit was a little pricey, and I’d have to purchase several to finish the bathroom. I also thought about hiring a company that does ceramic tile refinishing. I did this at my last house. It looked great, but cost $600.

Dilemma. Is it worth it to spend several hundred dollars on a bathroom I plan to gut in a year or two? I decided it wasn’t. I could use that money toward one of the many other things around the house that needed to be fixed.

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I painted the bathroom tile using white outdoor paint I had left over from my front porch. I figured if it holds up outside, why wouldn’t it work in the bathroom? Next, I traced the trim line using black floor paint to help break up all the white.

The floor tile was painted with a white floor paint, similar to what I used for the concrete basement floor. It made the cracks in the floor much less noticeable. Inspired by the ladies at Classy Clutter, I toyed around with the idea of stenciling a pattern on the floor. Since this is only temporary I decided not to, plus stenciling the uneven cracked floors would be a nightmare.

I kept the original light fixture over the sink, but painted it silver. The bulbs were swapped with large antique ones that I left uncovered. It gave off more light, plus it just looked cool. The hole from the medicine cabinet was covered up using a mirror purchased at Home Depot. 

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The paint I used was left over from other projects, so I ended up spending less than $50. It’s nothing fancy, but it got the job done and I don’t have to look at dingy tile for the next year!