What is it about a whopping big hornets' nest that just makes you want to poke it with a stick? It must come from the same primal part of the brain that makes you think, just for a moment, that jumping from the top of a tall bridge would be fun. Some kind of suicide-is-cool death wish.
This picture doesn't do the hornets' nest justice, either. It is freakin' huge, maybe twice as big as my head. And I have a big head.
I didn't end up whacking it like a pinata; instead, I saturated the thing with wasp and hornet spray, which *supposedly* you can use at a distance of 25 feet. Ha! Maybe if it was below me or on an even level could I get it at 25 feet. I was lucky to get a 10-foot range from the can, so I was standing just below and maybe two feet out--way too close for comfort. Sure, it was after sunset, and the hornets were all slumbering quietly, unaware of their impending doom. But I was a wee bit paranoid all the same.
It was just one of the fun tasks Mom and I took on this week at her other house.
We had taken a few days off to roadtrip to her place and do a little more work on it. We pulled the house off the market at the end of June, after firing her agent; it's been 90 days now, so we could relist it in the MLS with a new number and it would show up as fresh. However, with the economy tanking and no one able to get a mortgage, we're not hopeful. Instead, we'll be strongly pushing the rent to own or straight rental option. In a year or two or three, when prices (hopefully) improve, we'll revisit the idea of selling. It's not where we wanted to be, but at least the house is paid off. There are a lot of people in worse shape.
So, between general maintenance and priming and painting various things (the first time the garage had been painted, um, ever), I dug up the St. Joseph and Buddy Christ statues we had buried in the yard to help with the sale. They'll get a good bath and get reburied next week, with new prayers said. C'mon guys, do your stuff! If any of you out there have another charm we should try, let me know.
These are the kitchen cabinets. They are extremely outdated, the last remnant of a kitchen which once sported funky green and orange seventies wallpaper with chickens on it, or something. I'm not sure what that architectural feature above the cabinets is called. I call it a waste of space. It juts out into the room, taking up valuable space that could have been used to stack stuff on top of the cabinets.
We thought briefly about doing some sort of treatment on them; I don't know, paint them or something. But now since we're focusing on rental instead of resale, I don't know if I can be bothered. I doubt it would make the house rent out more quickly if they were freshened up. Still, they just bug me whenever I'm there. (The stained glass window, however, always makes me smile; it was done by my grandmother. We're taking that with us to put in The Box House somewhere.)
I checked out rental prices on Craig's List, and there's some good news and some disappointing news. Average rental prices are higher than I expected for the area, but there also seems to be a lot--as in a ton--of rent-to-own options. Last time I checked, back in the spring, there was only one listed for her town. Now there are seven or eight. So, perhaps a bit more competition than anticipated.
The only thing we have to really decide on yet is the carpet. When we were trying to sell, we had offered a carpet allowance, to be paid at close, so the new owners could rip out the stuff themselves and choose what they wanted. Now that we're focusing on renting the house instead, the carpet seems to be a detriment. It's very old, and has seen its share of pet action and spilled cokes. One room even has the original carpet yet, a not-so-lovely shade of peach once popular in the seventies. If we replace the carpeting with something cheap, we might be able to command a higher rent overall. And we could recoup the cost with a few months' worth of rental income. Does anyone have an opinion on that?
All in all, it was a productive couple of days. The only hitch was when Mom and I got into a bitching session, mostly my fault, and instead of staying at the house with me she went up the road to stay with my Aunt Marsha; she actually called her and said, "Joanne's being a bitch, I'm staying with you tonight instead." Sheesh. But it was my first night to myself in a long time, so I'm not going to say I felt bad for the spat!
On the way back to Evanston, we took a few pics. Sorry for the bad quality, as they were taken in traffic. Look closely at the house on the left. Go on, click the images to enlarge them. The top window actually shows the attic with the chimney right up against the window. It's very odd, and I don't think I've seen anything quite like it.
But it's this picture that takes the cake. We drove past this house on Oakton Avenue, where the residents are obviously taking out a very large tree. Several major limbs had been cut with a chainsaw. But it's the ladder I want you to look at. The bottom is resting against a lower branch and is at least eight feet off the ground, and sort of tied to the main body of the tree. I ask you, would you really want to be wielding a chainsaw from such a set up? Talk about an accident waiting to happen!
Really, it's worth renting a big ladder from Home Depot.