Rental House Wrap-up/Getting With It

It’s been a while since I last posted, and I can only blame part of that on the rental (now flip) house. But that did keep me pretty busy through mid-May, and my husband much more so. That’s about when the work on the house finally finished up and we listed it for sale, even though I hadn’t finished the new master bedroom closet organizer. Close enough!

We put on an Open House on Mothers Day, and actually got some decent traffic (my family celebrated Mothers Day the next day). The following weekend, my husband turned 50 and we had a party. Party planning is not my forte, and being an introvert, stuff like this stresses me out a good bit, but everything came together in time, and everyone had a good time. For my part, I was especially grateful to have a lot of help from friends in putting it all together!

Amazingly, my husband held another Open House the next day, and again got some good traffic. But in the whole time the house was listed (on Zillow and Craigslist), he got a lot of phone calls from agents wanting him to list with them, but no buyers. I thought his price was a little high, so he dropped it. It was still pretty aggressive for the neighborhood, but we’re also talking a house that’s practically new, given all the fire restoration work plus the completely new upstairs.

We got a call from an agent with a buyer the next day. They toured the house the following day. My husband called me while they were in the house and said “I think they’re going to put in an offer.” After they finished looking through the house, my husband hadn’t driven more than two blocks when the Realtor called and said they wanted to make an offer. And they did–for pretty much the asking price! It was listed for less than three weeks before the offer–the market is hot right now! One agent told my husband there were ten buyers for every listing right now, so that sure didn’t hurt.

Inspections went well, and only turned up a couple of minor things which my husband and the contractors fixed. The appraiser was skeptical until he went inside. He told my husband the house was easily worth the asking price. Closing is this coming Tuesday!

But that’s not what you were hoping to see here, were you? Here’s what we all came for: pictures! I don’t have too many before pictures, as I just didn’t think to get many before the work began. So we’ll start with those, then go on to the bunch we took for the listing.

Exterior – Before


Dining Room Before (after carpet was pulled up)


Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before – yes, the fridge and stove were crammed in next to each other on this small wall.


Exterior – after. Really, it was fine before, but the fire damaged the roofing and siding, so we had to replace it all. We kept the roof and trim the same, but for siding figured, why not green?


Click any of these smaller pictures for a larger view

Living Room and Dining Room

Downstairs Bedrooms – the front bedroom (right) was originally this color scheme (go Bucks!).
We kept it to honor my husband’s late cousin, who was a big Ohio State fan.

Downstairs Bathroom, with fun decal on the laundry chute

Dining Room, with barn door I built

Kitchen – remember the pipe shelves I built? Very happy with how they turned out!
I’ll give my husband credit for the hard part–installation! Also, we moved the fridge.

Mudroom/Drop Zone I built

Pantry shelves I built (and cute decal purchased from Etsy)

Upstairs/Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom, with barn door I built

Master closet, with shelves I built, and Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Basement – not a dingy, creepy one

Screen porch, and even the garage got a new door and siding

Not bad for our first flip, huh? Of course, we owe a lot of the credit to our contractors–we’re even going to have them over for a cookout in a couple weeks to say thanks. We were really happy with how everything turned out in the end, especially since this fetched $25k more than the next highest-priced recent sale in this neighborhood! Finally, all those hours spent watching HGTV are paying off, LOL. I hope the buyers will love having this as their home!

What I’ve been Reading: Lots of blogs and books, both fiction and non-fiction. I’ll pick this up next time.

What I’ve been Writing: Uhhhh, not much. This is where I need to “get with it,” as my friend Stacy said in a recent blog. The flip house work was mostly wrapped up by the end of May (I still had to build the closet shelving). In June I didn’t really have an excuse, other than it’s been hard to get my mind back onto fiction. There is still house stuff on the brain, what with Tennessee and all.

Speaking of Tennessee, things are moving along there too. We went there in early June to meet with the builder and our lender. The builder is ready to go whenever everything else is. So right now, we’re just waiting on the final version of the plans–we had a few more minor changes–it’s by far the easiest and cheapest to make them now! I expect those back later this week or early next, then the builder can file for permits, and the bank can get an appraisal. Hopefully we’ll be able to break ground in late August!


But the writing… yeah. I realized I need some kind of accountability. Even if it’s to folks who are always nice and understanding when I don’t meet my goals, just knowing I need to report in to someone is motivating. That’s what ROW80 (“A Round of Words in 80 Days“) is for. So ROW80 friends (and anyone else), please keep me accountable!

I’m going to start out with baby steps. My main goals for this Round are to complete the “How to Write Villains” self-directed workshop I purchased from Holly Lisle, and to write at least one more chapter in my WIP. I’m currently one week into the workshop, out of eight. So this week, I want to complete the Week 2 reading and exercises. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s been a struggle getting to it–or getting with it, as Stacy says. Let’s hope this Round gets me back on track!

What about you–what’s been going on in your life? If you’re a writer, do you sometimes struggle to get to the writing, even though it’s something you really want to do? Or if you’re not a writer, is there something else you really want to do but just can’t seem to get around to? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you! And please click the ROW 80 seal above to go to the ROW80 Facebook page, and cheer everyone else on!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Jalape… No. Just No.

I like spicy foods. I like jalapenos. But this weekend, they put a bit of drag on an already-tight schedule.

Upstairs shower in the rental house (before the floor was done)

Things are moving along at the rental house. The restoration crew has the whole place painted, tile is done, and now they’re working on trim and accessory pieces, such as the #shiplap in the first floor bathroom, and the handrail along the stairwell upstairs.

The latter needed to be stained. That’s one of the tasks I’d agreed to take on to rein in costs when we found out we were going over budget. I found out about this on Thursday night, and they wanted it done and back by Monday. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but this weekend, I needed to do a Cooking Day. We were out of frozen meals, and I didn’t want to put off Cooking Day, as that’s my best shot of keeping healthy dinners on the table, especially on weekdays. I was already having a busy week due to it being the beginning of the month (meaning an evening of paperwork for rent deposits from our apartments, and another for bank statement reconciliation). I hadn’t even put the grocery order in yet for my husband to pick up the following day.

I did the grocery order Thursday night, after DH & I got home from our regular date night (we picked up the stairwell railing on the way home). I figured if I was going to stain and poly the railing, I might as well do our mudroom shelves and bench, and kitchen shelves too. On Friday, he picked up the groceries. As soon as I got off work, I cut the mudroom & kitchen shelves, and put on the first coat of stain on one side. After that, I did the food prep–mostly cutting vegetables.

Shelves and a handrail – so far, so good!

One of those was Jalapenos. I’ve chopped jalapenos many times before, and have never had a problem. But these must’ve been extra spicy, because wow, did my left hand burn afterward! It didn’t really become noticeable until an hour or so later, when I was watching TV. I had to keep running into the kitchen to dip my hand in milk. By the time Gold Rush was over, my hand felt fine, and I stained the other side of the shelves and rail before bed.

I slept great (for once). The next morning, I was all ready to get going with the second coat of stain and then cooking, but once I got out of the shower, my hand decided otherwise. HOLY COW MY HAND WAS ON FIRE!

I got the stain on, but it was a challenge. I kept having to dunk my hand in the bowl of milk I’d brought to the basement with me. I’m talking like every couple of minutes. It must’ve taken me twice as long to stain those five shelves and handrail.

I tried everything I could find online to soothe the burn–milk, heavy cream (more fat content), rubbing alcohol, vinegar… none was helping much. I slowly got a couple of recipes put together in the same way I’d stained the shelves, taking breaks every now and then to soak my hand for several minutes. I’d found an article that suggested lime juice–and what do you know, I had some extra limes from my cooking day plans. It took several times of rubbing my hand on the lime for a good several minutes, but gradually, it worked! I only had four of my recipes done by the time I should have had all eight. But at least my hand had stopped burning. I eventually finished my cooking day and got the second coat of stain on both sides of the shelves by the time I called it a day (and night).

The biggest irony here? I had a whole box of disposable gloves in the basement that I’d been using for staining! You can bet those will be used next time I have to cut jalapenos. I sure hope those recipes are worth the pain they put me through. Going by the little taste I took of one, I think they’ll be good!

What I’ve Been Reading: three short stories from Smith’s Monthly #40 by Dean Wesley Smith. Three of the stories were from series of his I’m familiar with and enjoy; the other I couldn’t quite get into. That story was intended to be humorous, and as a writer, I know how tricky that can be as humor is so subjective. So I skipped it and moved on to the novel. More on that when I finish it.


What I’ve Been Writing: As you might guess from how my week has gone, nada. Which is a bummer because I have the next scene in my head, it’s just a matter of sitting down to write it. So that is my goal for this week.

What about you–ever had a bad experience with food prep? What have you been reading lately? And how are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing-related or otherwise? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Shelves and Books

The blog was a little late today, because my husband and I had some shopping to do:

Shelves, barn doors, and more shelves (and my dog Skeet)

That’s the lumber for all the stuff I’ll be building (or rebuilding) for the rental house. Custom U-shaped shelves for the pantry, re-cutting and staining the shelves and bench for the mudroom, and the open shelves to go in the kitchen. When the fire happened, the pantry was finished, and the rest of those were stained and waiting to be installed.

After the fire, when our plan turned to selling the place, we decided to deck out the upstairs with a sweet new bathroom, and a 14′ walk-through closet. The latter will need custom closet organizers, since one of the walls is a 5′ high knee wall. It’s also getting a barn door, since the opening on one end is an odd size. There will be a second barn door in the dining room at the bottom of the steps. We could buy them for $300-400 each… or build them for less than $100, and get them custom sized to boot. I found this great online tutorial, and they don’t look that difficult. So my work is cut out for me for the next couple months! Oh wait, it’s not cut. I have to do that too. It will be fun. 😀

On another note, I promised last week I’d share some books that helped me learn about adrenal fatigue (I slept well last night for once, thank goodness, or that shopping trip and carry-in would have been rough).

I started out thinking maybe it was just the onset of menopause, so I found Female Brain Gone Insane by Mia Lundin. While I wasn’t having the dramatic mood issues many of her patients were in the anecdotes, a lot of the other things these ladies were dealing with sounded familiar. I had never heard of adrenal fatigue until I reached the last section in this book, and it was a major light bulb moment–these were the symptoms I was dealing with! I also got started on vitamins and supplements due to what I read here.

The next book I picked up was Is it Me or My Adrenals by Marcelle Pick. This went into a lot more depth, since it was focused solely on that subject. This was also the one that promoted diet as the main fix for adrenal fatigue–a time-consuming, labor-intensive meal plan that eliminated all processed foods and sugars. I tried one week of the recipes, and didn’t even make them all–who has the time and energy for that, on top of a full-time job? Not me.

I’m Too Young for This! by Suzanne Sommers focused more on menopause and perimenopause, but had some good info in it. I reviewed it here.

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson is probably one of the first books to come out on this subject, and goes into it in even more detail than Is it Me or My Adrenals. Wilson is one of the pioneers in research for it, and I loved that this book went over the history of the condition. Adrenal fatigue has been recognized since the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and was commonly treated then. This came in handy when I was writing Time’s Best Friend, when I needed a reason Florie’s mother couldn’t step in and help her all the time. I figured, why not get some use out of my own experience? 🙂

Author Fawne Hanson offered me a copy of her book, The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, in exchange for an honest review, after seeing me mention the above on my blog a while back. The book was good and contained a lot of good information, and I reviewed it here. The book isn’t available anywhere I could find except her website. Her website also has a lot of good information.

What I’ve Been Reading: Smith’s Monthly #39 by Dean Wesley Smith, featuring the novel Ace High. This is the novel he wrote in five days while on a trip to Las Vegas. It’s amazing what we can do if we prepare properly, have the right mindset, and are used to just sitting down and writing, which is his process. And Ace High was really good, one of his Cold Poker Game mysteries about retired detectives solving really twisted crimes–proof that as a reader, I can’t tell how fast a book was written, whether or not it was revised (he doesn’t), and whether or not it was outlined (he doesn’t).


What I’ve Been Writing: Unfortunately, again, not much. I think this scene just isn’t interesting me enough (which means it won’t interest readers, either). I need to just wrap it up quickly and move on, and trim it in the process. It’s not like my book isn’t already long. 😀 So that’s my ROW80 plans for this week: Trim and finish that scene, and begin the next, which should be fun.

What about you–as a reader, can you tell if a book was written fast or slow, or with or without an outline? Have you ever built shelves, and if so, do you have any suggestions for me? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.