Any single women homeowners out there?

A meeting place for regulars to discuss the lighter side of old-houses.

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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby nowwhat? on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:28 am

I am single and have a 90year old house. I have had many frustrating times but also very proud moments. I can relate to the washing machine fiasco but with other repairs. A lot of things are manufactured with parts that are so hard to get at and a lot of times instruction manuals are impossible to understand. The internet is my friend. At first I was afraid to try anything on my own. I've learned what I can and can't do safely. I have found the house has a mind of its own. I will plan for a repair then the house will say nope its time for this or that. I had a fight with the toilet for a long time but I fixed it, one of my prouder moments! For the things I can't do, I arm myself with as much knowledge as I can then hire it out and good luck finding someone. I've had bad experiences and good ones too. I've come to the conclusion that I love my old house.
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby kitchenwitch on Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:40 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but this thread caught my eye. I’m also a widow in my old house. My husband died a little over a year ago. He was a carpenter, and we spent close to 10 years restoring our house. So the house was basically done, the kids were out of college and on their own, and we were planning our next chapter. Then he died suddenly in his sleep. The thread about someone dying in your house? Yeah, that happened to me.

Geoff was going to start one of our last projects that very day. Our front porch needed new columns, railings and deck, and then we were having the whole house painted. Geoff often hired my son and my son’s friends when he needed helpers, and he taught them all carpentry. Geoff’s carpenter friends and the kids showed up almost every weekend last summer and built the porch. It took longer than we expected, of course, and the painter, knowing the circumstances, told me that whenever we were ready, he’d fit me in, so the house was painted last fall. It turned out beautiful!

Since he was a carpenter, I relied on his expertise, so I’m not very good with his tools. I have my son to help me with some stuff, but he has a demanding job and a house of his own, so I am learning to do things myself. I’ve fixed toilets, and the dryer vent. I do all the yardwork, the mowing, and pick up the animals the cats kill, and I’m getting better about the bugs and spiders, LOL. I learned how to how to jump my car battery from U-Tube. I’m lucky that now it’s mostly maintenance and not restoration I’m doing, but there’s always something to paint or patch. I’m beginning to feel that the house is bigger than I need, and it and the property take up a lot of my time and my income, but I don’t know what to do next. I’m not going to live in a townhouse or condo, so for now I’m just cleaning out and fixing up and I’ll be ready whenever I find the right next thing.

So sorry for everyone’s loss – I know how awful it is.
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby eclecticcottage on Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:25 am

I am not single...but I'll pop in anyway, lol.

My grandfather was a carpenter and mason, and I always found what he was doing a lot more interesting than whatever my gram was doing. I ended up watching much more than being invovled though, I think if I had been a boy he would have put effort into teaching me what he was doing. But I did pick up some things. I also had an obession with shows like This Old House, even as a kid and teen. I never realized how much I absorbed from them.

My parents were divorced when I was very young, so when my mom wanted something done, she just did it herself (except anything electrical, she was and is terrified of that). We always lived in apartments so it was never big repair stuff, more like building a shelf or something. I never did pick up her upholstery skills though, I wish I had. I am still scared of sewing machines I always feel like I'm going to sew my fingers, lol.

DH does a lot of the big tasks in our remodels. A lot of them are because he's bigger and stronger, and some, like the electric, are because he knows what he's doing and I don't. I will do things though-last weekend I added some shelves to some crates while he was out. I usually do my power tool projects when he's not around to "advise" :D. One of his fav "you won't believe what she did" stories was from the old house. We had bought a new toilet, but he had been putting off the install and I wanted it done. He had to work on day I didn't. So, I took out the old toilet and used some extra lumber we had to build an H brace below where the old leaking one had left rotted wood (I also cut out the rotted wood). (side note, the H brace was between joists to support the new floor, the joists were fine) In the mean time, my father in law stopped over and got a big kick out of the whole thing (he was NOT a DIYer and had no constructive help). I had to wait for DH to come home so we could buy new flooring, but I had everything else ready. He called and asked what I was doing and I told him I put a hole in the floor...I don't think he believed me until he came home!!

As for contractors, I think it pays to research the project a little so you know what needs done so you can listen and speak with some confidence about it. We are lucky in that area, an old neighbor from the Old House is a GC so he's out go to if needed. He heloped with windows at the old house (although once we watched him do it, was also did a few) and the sliding doors and sill replacement in the living room at the Cottage.
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby utopia13 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:31 pm

Count me in this strong group of ladies!! I got my old place in May 07. (personally, I couldn't believe the bank gave a 30 yr mortgage to a 48 yo woman!) I have always had a certain mechanical ability and I've always enjoyed seeing how things run/work, so working on the house is just an extension of that.

I live in a fairly small town & over the last 5+ years I've been lucky to have found a good group of electricians, plumbers, boiler techs & whatnot.

Shortly after I got the place, I wanted to fix the leaky valve at the back of the toilet & the sink needed a good snaking out too. Called a somewhat local "big" plumber & they wanted $300 each for the valve & snake! I gave them a pleasant boot out the door. Shut the water main off, took apart the valve & took it to my local mom & pop hardware store. $6 in parts later...no more leaky valve!! :D .

The snake was another story...couldn't get it past the bend, so I called a different plumber. This guy was at my place for over 2 hours. Checked all my plumbing in bathroom, kitchen & basement. Snaked the drain, put in a new sink drain & elbow in bath. Under $150.00!!! Now that was my idea of a great plumber!

I still do a lot of my work in other areas. Front bedroom closet has always been a meat locker in the winter (no insulation & block walls), so I framed it up & put in insulation & drywall (80% done!) & will get it painted & such. I'm just happy to have insulation.

Picking up a 50's stove in the next several days & this will need to be converted from gas to propane. I might try doing the swap myself. If I need help, my oil burner tech will assist.

It's a tough road, but just giving certain tasks a try, we can all be amazed at what we're really capable of. Living alone...if you try to work on something & things don't go as planned, no one is around to see your blunders! :mrgreen: Well, except the ghosties, of course...thank goodness mine have a sense of humor!
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby pqtex on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:49 pm

I wish there was a "Like" button or a "Pat-on-the-back" smilie, or maybe a "Group Hug" smilie!

My great-grandparents' 1913 farmhouse

Too bad the spam got so bad. Some of us have been spending time at the new community for folks with a love of old houses at wavyglass.org
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby cberhomengarden on Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:57 pm

I agree, it is great to hear the stories from all these amazing women!
I also am not single, but my hubby has zero interest in anything DIY, yet we have a limited income.
As a result, I spend time to research fixes and do them myself.
Thanks to the internet, I learned how to fix my washing machine and paid only $26 in parts while the repair company wanted $300 just to come diagnose the problem.
Sometimes I need a little more muscle to get stuff done, so I'll ask hubby to come give a quick turn on the wrench or something. But I am very happy when I figure out fixes and do them myself.
Kudos to all!
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby Alexander on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:38 pm

Interesting thread.

I am a single guy living alone and I have a single mother age 85 that lives alone also. I find it disheartening when contractors of any gender try to take advantage or talk down to anyone. My mother was widowed in her 40's and has lived alone for over 40 years and is a very strong woman. She is tiny, wears dresses and gloves to church and is always wearing jewelry and her hair is always nicely done. She was raised by her grandmother and does very fine needlework. That said when my father and mother built their house ( my father was a builder), while he was at work she was putting down hardwood floor. She primed and painted and did a lot of the landscaping and finish work. Her sewing abilities carried over to cutting moldings and flooring. So much was just having the confidence to do it. Many times she and my father would talk through building something ( I remember a wall of china cabinets in the dining room) My mother had better vision I think and my father had the drive to make it happen. They made a great team.

Today she still does many things herself. Unfortunately we had an incident where some contractors feel a "little old lady" was ripe for the pickings and tried to talk here into tossing out all her Anderson windows and putting in plastic windows. She did not bite but they were very pushy so she called me and I went there and sent them off in a hurry. I really think it is important to establish a relationship with " the trades". I have a plumber who is a wonderful man with a wife and a few kids. He charges me more than my mother for the same thing as she is a single woman and elderly so he has a deep discount for them. I ask him why he charged so little and he said he was banking in it coming back to him when he was that age via karma.

There are great men and woman out there and I try to form a good relationship and pay promptly. Also I encourage people to know what they want done as it is such a waste of time to keep changing mid stream.

When anyone works for me ( I have had a lot of work done) I always show them where a bathroom is they can use and ask if they need fridge space for their lunch if they bring one. I have had people tell me that they are told to go to the local gas station to pee. I have found if you are good to the folks working for you they treat you better. Respect going both ways.
My mother bakes cookies and has coffee for anyone that works at her house and they often fix small things she needs done also.

All in all the world is changing slowly, more woman are into the trades and science and math and more men do not see it as a threat but an enhancement in the workforce. In my working career ( retired now) I had several bosses and by far a woman I worked for, for 10 years was the very best. She was so logical, smart and never pressed the woman button she expected you to work as hard as she did, shoulder to shoulder and it was a fantastic working experience. She taught me to drink scotch but I never did do the smoke thing. lol

Now this is a ramble sorry for that but I find it interesting.

Good luck,
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby nowwhat? on Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:39 am

Your mother sounds wonderful and she raised a good son.
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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby Alexander on Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:54 am

Thanks she is an example to all her children. She actually raised 5 sons and a daughter. My sister was the only girl on the block so she played baseball with us all summer long and is as handy as any of the brothers. Sometimes it is just confidence and feeling you belong.

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Re: Any single women homeowners out there?

Postby Joseph1 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:19 am

Hey, i can only suggest you to inspect your home properly. It would be dangerous to live alone in a house that having so many problems. I know a home inspector whose services are cheap but good. You should try their services once so that you can live fearlessly.
Hermosa Beach property inspection
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