Sunday, November 8, 2009



October 31, 2009

I’m a follower of the Dave Ramsey plan for financial security. We started the baby steps of his program in January this year and were making great progress right up to the day the guys lost their jobs. Through the following months we put the “snowball” in the freezer for a while until we got things worked out on how to meet our monthly obligations. I’m proud to say we have actually paid off four small bills and are back to snowballing a small amount despite the unemployment.

Two weeks ago the wiring harness and the U joints went out on our truck. I had an emergency fund put back and we covered it. I was very proud.

As the old saying goes, pride goes before a fall. On the Dave Ramsey group they call little extra expenses that pop up as Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law. Today is Halloween and Murphy started early for the holiday he crept through our back door into the utility room and snickered as he knocked the bottom out of our 22 year old hot water tank. We didn’t find until the utility room carpet was well soaked. It had apparently been leaking slightly for a while because mildew was already starting to form on a nearby wall.

I am not a fan of carpeting in any room that you cook or use a lot of water in. We had been planning on replacing the dark blue indoor/outdoor carpeting that was in there from the day we moved in 12 years ago. We’d already pulled up a piece of it in the kitchen and replaced it with floating vinyl flooring two years ago. It had been one continuous piece from the narrow kitchen through the utility and into the little 4’ X 3’ bathroom just off the utility. This is our heaviest traffic area in the house, we come in and out that door from tending to the ranch critters several times a day.

As I sniffed the air and smelled mildew, and looked at the mess I made an executive decision. The carpet was going NOW! Drying it out would take days and the idea of a moldy carpet just did not please me at all. Only there was the cost and how to cover it. We had very little emergency fund left to do it with and the hot water tank would not be cheap.

Then I picked up the mail and an unexpected small royalty check was there, would it be enough? I checked the price of the flooring we’d put in the kitchen online we had a small amount of it left—nope not even half enough.

Then I thought “How about linoleum?” The more I thought about it the more I thought linoleum made the most sense. It would be a continuous sheet and this is the room where the litter boxes are, Miss Amy is missing the boxes more in and more as she ages. I love her too much to get rid of her, but I won’t tolerate the smell either. Linoleum would definitely be better for that problem.

So I went back online and found for less than $100 (far less than the check) We could in fact do the utility room AND that tiny bathroom in matching linoleum, plus have enough money left over to take care of the mildew on the wall and paint it. So off to the local Lowe’s we went. They had a great paving stone look linoleum that I really liked so we are spending Halloween fixing Murphy’s Trick.

The “treat?” Hey, after 12 years I’m getting rid of that dark nasty carpet and making my utility room and bathroom will look great and be a LOT easier to keep clean in all circumstances. Plus I finally get to paint the wall some color than the basic white that’s on it.

Sounds simple right? Anyone that has ever read my stories knows there is NOTHING simple about life here on the Rock ‘n Tree Ranch. This two small room project ideally should be able to be done in a week end right? Again, have you read my posts?

We started “preparing” last night. Gary made a list of all the “parts” we’d need. When we went to check on the fittings on the hot water tank the lights wouldn’t work in the utility room—Thanks Murphy. We added fluorescent bulbs to the list—no biggie other than we would now have two long tubes to get rid of safely. We headed for Lowe’s so we could get an early start on the project first thing in the morning.

At Lowe’s I found the linoleum I liked immediately, the hot water tank was a no brainer. It had to be a 50 gallon electric one (we are total electric) and it had to fit through the 24 inch door opening of the hot water tank closet. There was only one choice. Of course we didn’t know all the measurements and such right off so we had to call Sean at home numerous times to get various measurements—including the length of the bulbs before we finished our shopping trip.

Lowe’s was closing as we left, they locked the door as we went out. A few minutes later Gary remembered he needed a hacksaw blade. We stopped at Wal-Mart where I picked up a couple of things we needed for the weekend and out of the sale ad.

Once home Murphy snickered again. We had purchased hoses with the male ends on them because that is what the box said. Turns out we needed female ones. The new bulbs didn’t fix the light. It needed something called a starter to do the repair. Then he had only got one compression fitting and we needed two.

Sean needed to go pay his car tag so they left had to go back to town this morning after all. While they were gone I did morning chores, laundered three loads of clothes, ran the dishwasher, and started emptying the utility room. How can such a little room hold so much. I also removed items from the bathroom and started clearing an area in the sunroom for the appliances.

After several “paper or plastic” calls from the guys they called to say they were on their way home so I started lunch, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Finally at 2:30 pm our early start happened.

Donning the shoulder dolly harnesses the guys moved the soggy footed washer and dryer into the sunroom. Jolie, the Aussie Collie mix gave an exasperated sigh as if to say “What MORE of YOUR junk in MY room.” We assured it would short lived. Yeah right!

A quick word about Shoulder Dollies. They are one of the best things I've ever purchased for the ranch.There are various brands and such out there.  The truly do work as well as the commercials say they do.  The guys use ours a lot to move heavy awkward appliances and other items all the time.  I can even help with big things like upright freezers using them and I'm only 5'1". Back to my story.

When Gary went to drain the hot water tank so it could be moved the valve was plugged, Murphy grinned. When Gary started talking about just poking a screw driver up the faucet to remove the sludge that was blocking the opening I mentioned the water coming out would be 120 degrees and then made my fast exit to go try and fold laundry with a hyper-active kitten pinging around the room and the bed that I was folding the laundry on.

Gypsy Skeeter is a huge help in such chores.  She lets me get a lot of practice in folding, by unfolding things for me and then racing off with loose socks and wash cloths.  She's a mess and Lizzie Borden still gives her 18 whacks whenever she can.

At one point I heard Sean say “Warm up the truck, Dad’s got an idea, St. Francis here we come”. I just folded faster, St. Francis is the ER we use and I wanted no part of going there tonight, I hollered back “We can’t afford it, I’ve not paid off the tree limb idea yet, RE-THINK!”

They did and Gary realized if he released the pressure on the tank the thing might drain. He did and it did. Take that Murphy!

Next blog, the saga continues in “Like Falling Dominoes, Murphy keeps on keeping on.”

Jan who says “Nothing is ever simple on the Rock ‘n Tree Ranch” in OK


  1. oh my friend.. Murphy's been hanging out here too, but you know what?? he's gonna get tired and give it up! Keep up the wonderful work that you're doing! {{HUGS}} and prayers!

    (thank you for telling us on the homesteading lists when you update!)

  2. Thanks Katt,
    I keep telling myself, this too shall pass and I know it will. So I might as well write stories about it and give someone a helpful hint or maybe even a giggle.

    Jan who is moving on to post 2 on this series of visits in OK