Florida Home Short-Term Goals

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Never a dull moment in the Florida panhandle. Not now that we’re here! Our days and evenings have been filled with shuffling boxes, furniture and appliances from various PackRat containers and storage units into our new home. And our nights? Well, besides the two week-apart 3am tornado warnings (one ended with a lightning strike destroying a neighbor’s house and the other with an EF-3 twister causing mayhem a few miles to our northeast), our nights have passed in peaceful and restful sleep. More tornadoes on the menu for tomorrow though (today, for those of you reading).

Like I said, never a dull moment in the panhandle. Silly us – we thought we had moved into the slow lane of life!

Anyway, tornadoes, lightning and rattlesnakes aside (yes, apparently they live somewhere in the back end of the back yard, much to Handan’s delight), we started cleaning the moment we moved in. A new house needs a deep, deep clean, and paying someone to do it will cost several hundred dollars. But for all that money, they’ll never get it as clean as we can. So on day one, we armed ourselves with bleach and ammonia and set out to do battle with the toilets and the kitchen cabinets.

You wouldn’t believe how much grease, grime, and what-the-eff-is-this-stuff?!? accumulates on cabinets over the years if you’ve never rolled up your sleeves and had a go at cleaning them. It’s astounding. Remarkable, really. But nothing a little lot of ammonia, some elbow grease and a bit of determination can’t handle.

With the cleaning mostly finished (I still have a few forgotten toilets to scrub), it’s time we started eyeballing the rooms, hatching plans and tallying costs (translation: Handan comes up with ideas and runs the numbers while I shovel donuts into my cake-hole and wonder what I’ll be cooking for dinner). Don’t believe me? Here’s one from the Okaloosa Island archives showing the Bearded Weirdo hard at work figgerin’ stuff out.

Man Eating Donut

So here we go with our list of short-term goals for our new Florida home. Some are big, some are small, all are important. I’ll give the list first and then talk a little more about each.

Florida Home Short-Term Goals

Paint craft room walls and set up room

Can’t make crafts without a craft room, and what on earth would I do without my crafts? I’d be forced to go to bars, guzzle brewskies and watch football, I suppose. Yep, much better and safer for me to stay home, sip martinis and craft, I’d say!

So you’re all familiar with the color we moved into. It’s nearly everywhere, including the CROG (Craft Room Over Garage).

frog room

Well, with apologies to those who loved the color, our first order of business is to paint that green to white. Not only is it a nicer color to look at, but it’ll amp up the light in the room and make everything brighter. Brighter room, happier crafts…or something like that.

Once the walls are white, we can begin hauling up the furniture and boxes and setting up my workspace. For the first time, my craft space and writing desk will be in the same room. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time in this room. It already has its own bathroom, and Handan even offered to put a small fridge up there. Tempting, but I assured her I’m more than capable of descending into the kitchen to forage for sugar and caffeine.

Install smart deadbolts on all doors

If there’s one thing I’m really fantastic at it’s forgetting to lock the doors when we leave and then misremembering my actions. This causes Handan to fly into fits of panic which usually end in turning the car around so she can check the locks. All of that ended in Georgia when I installed smart deadbolts on all the doors that allow me not only to check the lock status from anywhere on earth (or presumably low-earth orbit), but to change that status with the push of a button.

I took two of our three Schlage Encode smart deadbolts with us from Georgia, and boy do I wish I took them all! Chalk up another victim of the supply chain fiasco. We have seven deadbolts here, and I want five to be smart. No biggie. I already had two, so a quick trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s should fill in the rest, right?

Wrong.

Home Depot and Lowe’s are sold out everywhere in this region and online. Ditto every other online outlet. You can only find a few selling for $100 over MSRP on eBay, and sometimes up to double MSRP.

Undeterred by this global shortage, my babes dug in her heels and started to methodically search every Lowe’s and Home Depot in the Southern United States until she finally found three in stock in Bainbridge, Georgia, nearly three hours away. We bought them on the spot, hopped into my new used Ram truck and enjoyed our ride across state lines to pick up what were likely the last three Schlage Encodes in North America.

You can’t put a price on Peace of Mind.

Pantry makeover

It’s not the worst pantry on earth, but it needs work to bring it to its fullest potential. Like everything else in the house (besides the hulking chandelier), it’s a builder-grade special – an austere collection of wire shelves arranged and installed with all the loving care a mother rattlesnake gives her young as she silently slithers out of the picture after laying her clutch of eggs.

kitchen pantry shelves

As you’ve no doubt guessed, my babes has better (and bigger) plans for this under-used space. I’ll be starting this project lickety split, so keep an eye peeled for it in the coming week or so.

Master closet makeover

Even with the ruthless culling Handan did upon moving out of Georgia (Goodwill never had a clothing donation so big!), my babes is finding it hard to fit into the spartan rows of wire shelving that the builders passed off as a master closet.

master closet

Two shelves and a puny shoe rack do not a master closet make. And why just one shelf up high? Are they expecting the homeowner to hang nothing but floor-length ballgowns?

Why does no one else pay attention to these details? It’s time to demand more from our home builders. It’s time to put an end to wire shelving once and for all! I’ve half a mind to launch my own home building business and start building the damn things right. Oh, who am I kidding. Just pass me a martini and I’ll shut up already.

Anyway, I’ll be building shelves and installing rods in there. We made a beautiful closet with IKEA Brimnes in Georgia. Here, I think we’ll do it from scratch.

Install 3 outlets in the lanai

There’s no such thing as too much power…said every politician ever. And there’s no such thing as too much electrical power – which is why I’ll be packing some meat on the lanai’s scrawny bones with 3 additional power outlets. There’s already one out there. I mean, it’s better than no power. But really, in this day and age, if you’re proud of your one-outlet room, you probably like to show your phone jacks off at parties, too. You better be careful how you read that last sentence. o_0

lanai

Anyway, it should be an easy install, even for a bargain bin Ben Franklin like me. There are already outlets on the inside of the house directly opposite of my intended lanai outlet sites. Should be a simple matter of punching through the wall and hooking up some wires.

Should be.

Fix the screen on the lanai

I’d love to blame my idiot dog Penny for this one, and make no mistake, that red-haired ruffian made the dog-shaped hole, but it was her dummkopf owner who caused her lapse of judgement. You see, I locked her and Pepper in the lanai one day when a landscaper came over to quote a job. He and I were just around the corner talking. Penny could hear daddy, but she couldn’t see me. Of course, to her pea brain, this meant I was in mortal danger and needed immediate rescue. Her quickest path to save daddy was through the lanai screen.

I should have known better. This was the same dog who I stupidly locked in our Jacksonville apartment bedroom when the movers came the day before we were set to move out. There was a snafu with the help – I had only hired labor, not labor and a truck. I had to run out to U-Haul (dogs forgotten) to get a truck. 30 minutes later when I returned to the apartment, I heard a curious ripping sound. Upon opening the bedroom door, I discovered that Nervous Nellie had been busying trying to dig her way under the door…through the carpet. As a final sayonara from Jacksonville, we got hit with a full-apartment carpet-replacement charge.

Yeah, that was my fault. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by the time we got to Freeport. Apparently I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Paint the front door

Remember what we did to our front door in Georgia?

How to Paint a Front Door - TheNavagePatch.com

Well, we’re fixin’ to do the same (or similar) thing here once receive the blessings of the Almighty Council of Architectural Overlords in our HOA.

Paint the outdoor lantern and energize it

This thing. This thing here.

lantern on house

It needs paint. But you know what else it needs?

Power!

This is another head-scratcher. They installed a legit outdoor light fixture, but they never bothered to run power to it!

Builder Bob: Hey Joe, we’re outta wires.

Builder Joe: Waddaya mean we’re outta wires?

Builder Bob: No more wires. Fresh out. Still gotta run power to this here lantern.

Builder Joe: No wires, huh?

Builder Bob: Nope.

Builder Joe: How ’bout you just stick that lantern to the garage and we go get lunch.

Builder Bob: Think anyone’ll notice?

Builder Joe: Bob, the light is on the outside. The light switches are on the inside. How could they possibly notice?

Builder Bob: You’re a wise man, Joe. Let’s eat.

Remove columns in dining room

Okay Handan and I had been operating on the assumption that the columns in our dining room were non-load-bearing.

dining room

We dug a little deeper into the issue today, and we discovered that they actually are load-bearing. Thank the stars I didn’t clobber them out with a sledge hammer! And I decided to drill a few more exploratory holes in them and discovered a tension cable running up their length. A quick research revealed that the cables in the middle of these columns are part of what holds the damn roof on in a hurricane!

Phew! Did I ever dodge a bullet!

So yeah, the columns are definitely coming down.

Wait, what? You just said they’re load-bearing AND keeping the damn roof from going all Dorothy Kansas! You’re still going to knock them down???

Indeed I did, madam, and indeed I am! Well, to be fair, once we learned of their importance, I excused myself from the job. We’ll let someone competent take over. Yeesh, can you imagine me monkeying around with the 4 things literally holding this house together? No thanks!

Install new flooring

We got some quotes on this, and it was so disheartening. Prices have gone through the roof on LVP since we got our floors done less than 2 years ago in Suwanee. Not unexpected, but no less annoying.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way to save a penny…or a few thousand dollars. So instead of hiring a contractor to do the job, Yours Valiantly and his beloved wife will tear out the carpet from the dining room, living room, sitting room and master bedroom alcove. We will then lay over one ton of cement board to bring the subfloor level with the existing tile, and then we will lay LVP on top of the cement board and the tile. Bada bing, bada bang, bada boom.

entryway looking in

It’s a big job, and I’m just the sucker to do it.

Install cabinet in staircase alcove

It sucks not to have a basement, but it’s so fantastic to live life on one floor! Still, no basement means we have 6 gigatons of crapola and only a 4 gigaton house. Those 2 gigatons need to go somewhere, so every cubic inch of storage space will help. Thus, the little alcove at the top of the stairs leading to the craft room will host some sort of pantry cabinet. Not sure what yet, but we’ll figure it out soon enough.

Smart and silent garage door openers

Not only are the current openers dumb as a box of scrap metal (which they pretty much are), but they are quite possibly the noisiest garage door openers this side of the Pacific Ocean. If a gaggle of shrieking banshees and a herd of drunken ogres started a heavy metal band, it might sound something like our garage doors.

As I did in Connecticut and again in Georgia, I will replace the noisy with the silent and the stupid with the smart with Chamberlain belt-drive wi-fi connected garage door openers. They are the absolute best!

Interior wall painting

This is a given, and it will be ongoing until every green wall has been whitened and every white wall has been refreshed.

By the way, for you Northern folk, have you ever seen or heard of knockdown walls? Well that’s what we have on every wall and every ceiling.

Knockdown texture…knockdown texture everywhere. I’m eternally baffled how this became a thing. When I get involved with painting, I’ll take some closeup pics of the walls so you can marvel at the profound idiocy of the knockdown texture wall.

Some dudes walk on the moon. Others invent calculus or the personal computer. Others still engage in feats of outstanding strength and athleticism. Then there’s the bozo who sprayed goop on a wall, ran a putty knife over it and declared it a thing.

I’m shaking my damn head at humanity right now.

Wage war with fire ants

The brochure said nothing…nothing about fire ants! I want to speak with the manager!
Karen – 2022

So what they don’t tell you when you’re looking at real estate down here is that every yard will have a thin layer of sod, perhaps an inch of topsoil, and approximately a 6-inch layer of fire ants under every square foot of yard. They will push through to the surface wherever sod meets concrete…hell, they’ll push through anywhere at any time and for any reason. You’ll soon learn of their hideous nature, and you will wage war against them.

This will be a war of attrition. And lest you think your mighty size makes a difference, their sheer numbers will grind you down over time. The 300 Spartans probably thought for a while that they had a chance against the Persians at Thermopylae, but Xerxes had near-infinite soldiers to throw against the Spartans’ spears. Numbers always win in the end.

Still, it’s war worth fighting. You don’t want to step on an active mound with bare feet!

Deploy snake shield

Did you know they make snake repellent? I didn’t know they made snake repellent. Apparently they make snake repellent, and when my babes discovered it in Lowe’s, she insisted I buy it to protect her from all the slithery critters out there in the dark on the periphery of our land. I just hope it doesn’t repel blacksnakes. They’re the good ones that eat vermin and other snakes of the poisonous persuasion.

*******

So far, I’ve managed to swap out all of the deadbolts, and we’ve got a good start on the craft room makeover. We painted the walls white, and the room already looks a thousand times better. Once we unload our boxed crafting supplies into the cabinets, we’ll be ready to rock. We’ve got some guys coming this week to look at our column situation and hopefully help us find a way to replace them with something a little more aesthetically pleasing.

And there’s still the matter of fitting all (or most) of our stuff in here. We still have two full 10×20 storage units to unload and one 10×10. We know we won’t be fitting it all in this house – at least not before we build a shed. Until then, we’ll be keeping some of those storage units for seasonal decor and future craft supplies.

Much more to come!




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61 Comments

  1. Greg, thank you for this post. We moved into our home 2 years ago and there are still so many things left undone. I need to make a list of short-term goals and cross them off. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.

    1. Lists really help, Dana. For the past few years, I’ve been using them in my day-to-day life, and I really can’t function without them. Thanks to Handan, I’m now much more planned than I used to be! 🙂

  2. Here’s a tip for the fire ants: I use a product called AMDRO, it comes in a shaker-container. Works well. And, I have to say, I have never been near a tornado or even seen one! Maybe a 7.2 earthquake might count? I lost 100 gallons of water from my pool, as it sloshed side to side during the quake. I am exhausted just reading about your to-do list. Your babes has an industrious man!

    1. Pools are great to put your yard chairs and tables into when a hurricane is coming if your garage or shed is filled with other stuff. Just sink it down.

        1. That dark floor color in the CROG is off setting. Any plans for that?
          You’re sure adventurous to take on another house. But, I (and your many followers) love all the projects and finished products. And I really enjoy your crafts.
          You’ve rec’d a ton of advice from fellow Floridians. You have a ton of work to do. Thank you for blogging your progress.

          1. Hi Cynthia, I agree that the CROG floor isn’t the greatest color. It’s bamboo, and it was a beautiful brown that the previous owners put a block gel stain over. Why? Lord only knows. But to change it would be a ton of work for not enough reward. Much of that floor will be covered with cabinets and carpets, so we’re going to live with it for now.

    2. Good tip for the fire ants – I’ll search it out! Wow, 7.2! That’s more than I ever felt in my 10 years in SF! I’m not industrious – I just follow orders, lol!

  3. Welcome to Sunny Florida! Been transplanted here since 2004 and I’m still learning. Just a word from the “experienced”… make sure all improvements to the exterior of your abode, including lighting and plantings, and painting and screen replacement- are approved by the Almighty HOA in writing. This includes the color, yes, the color of your screens and the hurricane strength of the screens. I’m sure you’re going to love living in the Sunshine State.

    1. Yeah, the HOA rules can be a bit of a nuisance, but they’ll soon learn that we’re only doing good for our home and for the neighborhood!

  4. Well first off Welcome to Florida, Second do you have septic or city water, if you have septic and you use bleach to clean those toilets, it will kill the stuff growing in your septic ( the stuff that eats the poop) If so you can buy something at Home Depot to feed it. Third smart locks, can they be opened with a key too, cause Florida just loves storms and with storms no power. oh fourth make sure you have a handheld can opener, electric ones don’t work with no power. And lastly flashlights and lanterns, check sale at the hardware stores. Stock up on them and batteries. I guess you know to have fire extinguishers, since your neighbor got hit by lighting. I can go on and on. But get unpacked have a beer or two or three. And again welcome to the sunshine state!!!! P.S. Lighting capital

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Bridget! We have septic. We’re judicial with our use of bleach. I had our system pumped when we moved in and stood with the guy, learned all about the system and asked a ton of questions. No need for Rid-X. And not much worry about bleach either – it’ll become inert quickly enough. The main active ingredient in a septic system comes from our stomachs and is replenished every time we flush. Yep, good old gut bacteria does the dirty work in the system. I hear ya on the flashlights, and yes, I’ve got two extinguishers I need to get out of storage and into the house ASAP!

  5. Approximately 200 years ago when I was a teenager my mother and I drove from California to Alabama to visit relatives. Long story short I stepped in a fire ant nest. That was not a lot of fun. My aunt soaked cotton balls in Clorox and rubbed it over my feet and legs and it took the sting right out of them. Stock up on Clorox LOL

  6. OMG…you said “fix’in”. That’s it Greg. They got you ~ hook, line, and sinker….ok so weekly tornadoes (no basement in which to huddle)—fire ants—snakes—you both are a healthy dose of brave and crazy. And may I say, you are looking tan and happy in the powdered donut pic, and you are holding a plate to catch whatever falls off your beard. Somebody taught you right !! Can’t wait to come along on the journey you two are embarking on. Never a dull moment, and always a beautiful end result….if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were professional house flippers…..😂😘

    1. LOL, it kinda feels like we’re house flippers sometimes, Cheryl! But we’re hoping this one’s permanent…or at least permanenter than the last one! As for the plate, I’m sure Handan taught me that one so I wouldn’t make a mess of everything! 😀

  7. I am SO looking forward to following along with you guys! Learning about all the “special” creatures and weather in Florida along the way will be a bonus!

    I would also like to understand about white paint. I have 2000sf of pale yellow walls and I hate ’em. But I’m worried that if I just paint with the parchment color I love for the bathrooms and guest bedroom, it will start to look a bit bleh. So tell me your secret about white walls please.

    1. You can’t go wrong with white walls, Jennifer. Nothing brightens a room like white, and it complements anything else you bring into the room. If the walls get too meh, just bring in color with plants or painted furniture, art or even a painted or wallpapered accent wall. I’m not saying there isn’t room for other wall colors, but if we had to choose one, it’d surely be white.

  8. Hi Greg!

    Be careful of the pygmy rattlers! My cousin was an ER doc and this is the season. The snakes like to hide in garden mulch. Don’t rely on snake repellant!
    Oh and did I reply to your 1st Okaloosa post about my cousin having 3 black bears on her street? She lives near Hurlbert Field.

    On the LVP – I like the “P”. Our daughter fell in love with 18″ square vinyl tiles. I told her that I’d help her put them down because I like doing that stuff. WRONG- seems like every dang piece needs cutting. The planks are wayyyyyyyy easier. The rental place only has 12 x 12 vinyl tile cutters. I could buy one for about $500 – no, thank-you.

    Anyway, you’re in gorgeous country and your house looks lovely. Once you and Handen apply your magic, it will be gorgeous!!!!

    1. HI Julie, I do remember your bear comment! As for the rattlers, I’m hoping when we clear the back and sod it, that will help somewhat. They can live up on the berm on the back of the lot. I won’t bother them, and they can do whatever snakey things they please! The LVP we’ll be installing are 9 inch planks, and I bought an LVP cutter, so I’m hoping it won’t be too hard. Hardest part will probably be laying down the cement board. I’ll be posting about that whole process when the time comes!

  9. I love the columns! However, I do agree with your opinion of fire ants…was bitten by one on my foot in Phoenix and not only had to have a steroid injection, but after that any ant of any kind would literally jump up off the ground and attack me. I apparently had been marked as a victim. Also, the snakes. If there is a way to buffer them and keep them off the lanai, yes, yes, yes!

    1. I’m hoping not to be bitten by ants and certainly not by snakes, but I have a feeling it may be hard to avoid the fire ants forever!

  10. Kudos on your list, Greg! There is a product found at Lowe’s called “Snake Away” that we’ve used with excellent results. It’s not snake specific, so bye-bye black snakes, too. According to the label the stuff confuses the snakes’ senses and so they leave the area. I’m not fond of any snakes no matter how beneficial they might be.
    We had a similar screen mishap but it was with our two cats. They got spooked at the back door, took off at top speed to the front door which had a full screen, and they took it out along with the frame. I think the cat that weighed in at 25 lbs. was most capable of plowing through the screen and his brother was just along for the escape.

    1. Yep, I’ve got the snake-away in the garage! I’ll get out there this week sometime and give it a whirl before the little buggers wake up and come to check out their new yardmates!

  11. One thing to know about fire ants – there are two kinds. The big red ones that most people associate with fire ants and small black one that most people don’t know about. The key is if there is a mound of sand/dirt, then it is a fire ant mound. I speak from experience because our young son thought he was playing in some sand but very quickly became covered with the black ones. I gave him an adult dose of antihistamine after washing off all the ants in cold water and rushed him to the nearby emergency room. The doctor asked if I was a nurse because most people would not have known to do what I did. I told him I was just a mother of 5 kids and always kept a well-stocked medical kit on hand. As it turned out it was what saved my son’s life because of the massive amounts of bites he had all over his body.

    1. Wow, that is terrifying, Barbara! We have the little black ones as far as I’ve seen, and they build those sand mounds everywhere! I’ll be sure to keep antihistamine on hand just in case…

  12. thanks for sharing. always enjoy your blogs. if i may, isn’t the room with the columns a sitting parlor. many southern homes have used the open column rooms as parlors. i may stand corrected and it may just be ones preference. thanks

    1. It’s possible that was the intention, Terry, but whomever installed that behemoth of a chandelier cemented its fate as a dining room. We’ll make a proper dining room out of it yet!

  13. Greg, I do so enjoy reading about all your projects. Your sense of humor is out of this world! Keep up the comical commentary
    Want to be a real hero when it comes to the snake shield? Line the perimeter of your property with black water hoses. Rattlesnakes will see them as black snakes, their sworn enemy, and will not come close. I learned this trick when I had a small goat ranch in South Texas…also a haven for rattlesnakes. I never had another problem with rattlesnakes after I put out the black hoses.
    I hope this little tip will do the trick for you.

    1. Oh, that’s a GREAT idea, Glenda! Handan will thank you from the bottom of her heart! I’ll lay one (or several) across the back of the property ASAP!

  14. For as long as I can remember which is way more years than I care to admit we’ve relied on moth balls to keep rattlesnakes at bay. They hate.. hate.. moth balls. My grandparents used them. My parents used them and now I use moth balls. I live in New Mexico, rattlesnake country but my yards are rattlesnake free. The local brown garden snakes don’t seem to mind the mothballs but the rattlers turn their rattley tails & quickly slither off to .. wherever it is they go. I toss new ones down every 3 or 4 months or so during snake season which around here here is most of the year.
    If you have a lot of fire ants be on the lookout for Phorid flies. They’re humpbacked & light brown. Wherever fire ants are prominent in large numbers.. Phorid flies are soon to follow. Other than humans they’re the fire ants only predator.

    1. Moth balls are a great idea. Between those, black hoses and snake repellent, I think I’ve got pretty good odds at keeping Handan safe here!

  15. I’m so excited to see what you do with this house! The Navage House is better than any HGTV show 😁. As if snakes and fire ants aren’t enough, do you have any gators? They are my biggest fear (besides palmetto bugs ). I’ve been trying to decide on a color for my CROG – love that term- so thank you for the advice on white. Which color white do you use?
    Looking forward to the first before and after pictures!

    1. Okay, I’ll spill a little secret here in this comment – one that I’ll write more about in a future post. We found a great white color from the Valspar collection. It’s called Swiss Coffee, and it’s a near-perfect neutral white. We still use a ton of Sherwin-Williams Bohemian Lace in areas that get a lot of natural lights, but we’re favoring Swiss Coffee (we get in Sherwin Williams paint from Lowe’s) for the northerner-facing rooms and the CROG.

  16. I am EXHAUSTED!!! OMG…you’al have taken on yet another monumental task…keep us updated. franki

  17. Always love your posts and I always look at the comments. On this one I have learned so much about ants and snakes. I am with ants as Handan is with mosquitos. If there is one nearby it will bite me. My mom taught me long ago to make a paste of baking soda and water and cover bites with that. It takes the sting out and leaves no mark if put on right away. Looking forward to the renewal of your new home.

    1. Another great tip. Thanks, Debi! We’re filing all these tips away for future use! (though I hope we never need to use some of them!)

  18. A product called Extinguish does just that to fire ant mounds and kills them quickly. They will not build another mound (who and how do they check this?) Did you know that fire ant mounds do not have an entrance hole on the top of their mound? Until the mounds are no longer active (test by putting a potato chip on the mound) you’ll have to learn the 1.5-second law, always check your feet every few seconds if you are standing still longer than1.5 seconds. It made me happy to hear your admiration of the blacksnake, there are corn snakes and other good ones around too. You probably know the advantages of ‘possums. Welcome to NWF.

    1. Unlike my babes, I loves snakes – even the nasty ones, but I certainly don’t want the nasty ones anywhere near Handan, Baris and our dogs. I have zero problem with non-venomous snakes living in and around the yard, but in the interest of keeping Handan sane, I will do my best to ward them all away.

  19. The houses in Texas have that stupid knock down texture. My take on it is that the drywall guys don’t want to take the time to make the walls smooth. And heaven help you if you need to “fix” an area!

    1. You’re exactly right, Carla – it’s a quick and cheap alternative to a proper taping job. They sells cans of the stuff at Home Depot and Lowe’s, so I’ll be practicing my repair technique.

  20. When we lived in South Carolina I was told by pest control that sprinkling the top of a fire ant mound with I stand grits would destroy the mound. The ants eat the day grits and then expand inside the ants. Pretty cheep and, in my opinion, the best way to use grits.

      1. No! Corn blows up to like 8-10x it’s size once inside them. The wheat will just make them stronger & healthier!

  21. We like to texture everything in the south. I think it’s so they don’t have to work so hard to make it look smooth. Surprised you didn’t have that in Georgia.

    1. Hi Karen, I’ve read that beneficial nematodes are not effective against fire ants, as the ants will just relocate away from the treated are. Have you had good results with them?

  22. Hi Greg and Handan,
    My nephew, Ryan, will vouch for the Snake Repellent. When they moved into their new to them but older home the property had lots of snakes. Nothing new in Texas but he has small children. Anyway, he has been using this product for a few years now and he swears by it. Good luck with your work list and enjoy the new home. Florida has so many great places to visit and things to do.
    Glenna W.
    Paige, Texas

  23. Hi Greg,
    I know I’m late to the party but I’m so impressed by all of the ambition! I did chuckle a little when you mentioned knock-down because my daughter has it and oh my gosh, the stuff is a disaster. Your walls have been painted but each room in her (new build) took 2 or 3 times the paint, horrible stuff.
    Are you guys ok with lvp? I badly need new floors in our 900 sq ft, no basement, bastion of loveliness. Everytime I mention it, my sisters and brothers go bonkers about off-gassing blah blah blah. But honestly, we live in the country (farm) in Wisconsin, our ground is ALL sand and the thought of keeping wood floors nice kills me.
    Our walls are going as white as I can get them, chantilly lace.
    Good luck on your projects!

    1. Hi Jean, thank you so much! Handan and I will be installing LVP, and we’re totally good with it. We don’t want wood in this humidity. I have no concerns about off-gassing. The whole planet is off-gassing from all the factories, cars and power plants, so what’s a few floorboards, right? 😀

      1. You are absolutely correct. I just don’t see it like my family. People have had vinyl floors in their homes for years! It’ll cost me 4x more for wood and sometimes it comes down to what makes sense in your mind and in budget sense.

  24. Hi folks! I was sick & must have missed when you moved across Florida! I knew you no sooner got to JAX when Hanson learned she was moving to the panhandle, but I don’t know where? My Dad was from Samsula/New Smyrna Beach area of Fl; we also lived in North Miami Beach when I was little. I spent all my holidays & vacations withered in one of those two areas or New Port Richey. We’d drive to Tarpon Springs & Pappas’ Restaraunt. Incredible Greek food adjacent to the natural sponge areas! (Load up for painting/crafting/faux painting as Well as bathing!). Run by the same family for close to 80 years. I’ve also got family up there in the panhandle who owns a big flooring/carpet/home stuff business if you need floors…. I Really enjoy following along with all your home projects And your crafts. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Leslie! Yep, we’re panhandlers now, lol! Life in Freeport is great, and the weather is fantastic when we’re not under tornado threat, lol! Yes, please email me that flooring contact, thanks!

  25. Greg (and Handan):

    You’ve got your hands full of projects, for sure. But the house will look so nice when you’re finished (are you ever finished?). The CROG looks like a great place for creating. Can’t wait to see how it comes along. Here in Northern Indiana we don’t have Fire Ants or creepy snakes. Happy to report. My only concern with chemical barriers would be your sweet dogs. Wouldn’t want them to ingest anything poisonous. Looking forward to further updates on the house. Wishing you the best of luck!