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Jumping back to a reminder from Part 3, Jacob has fixed the windows and the busted pipes and we had to pack up our old location and move out in less than a week. Luckily, so we thought, we were able to treat the house for pests before we moved anything in the house. From here on out we will call the J.W. Houston house, “The Manor” instead of “the house”. This is our loving nickname for our new home.

Since we had little time to pack up, move, and paint the old location in less than a week, we couldn’t pack like we had wanted to do. We went from wanting to pack up each room and label the boxes properly, to just get it packed as carefully as possible. Not ideal by any means, but we did what we had to do. Now we have a bigger mess than what we started. Never a boring moment!

The way February started off wasn’t ideal and the weather, up until now, hasn’t always worked with us, but we do what we can where and when we can. Anyways, we came up with a plan. The plumbing needed a lot of work just to get us a working bathroom and running water, so that was what Jacob would be working on. That is, unless we ran across something that we needed his help to do, which has happened a lot. We would start upstairs and work on one room at a time until it was complete and everything was in its place. Do you know the old saying “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”? Well, astray they went and we are riding the flow the best we can.

We also knew that the HVAC needed to be looked at since “the Manor” stayed empty for so long! We called a company to come out and take a look at the “old beast”. They came our and checked the unit. Long story short, a new unit was needed, a new doghouse had to be fabricated, and missing duct work needed to be replaced. All but the duct work has been completed. To be fair, weather has been part of the biggest issue with this task. You just got to love Mother Nature!

Jake has been working on the plumbing off and on this whole time. He is a true champ! He does so very much to help us get “the Manor” ready for its numerous inspection! While working on the plumbing, the toilet bowl in the small bathroom shattered when we turned the water back on. It’s a good thing we have another bathroom and this bathroom is being turned into a small laundry room! As Jacob has been under “the Manor”, he has noticed that there are no hot water pipes any where to this hot and gas pipe needs to be run for the tankless hot water heater that we are going to install.

While all this was happening, we started work on the upstairs. We planned on the office being the first room completed since we still have administration work to do even with us being temporarily closed. First step was to clean up the room and remove the staples that were left in the floor after the carpet was pulled up. The carpet was already gone by the time we did our first walk-through of the property. We were careful while pulling out the staples, we didn’t add any dents in the floor or chip the old wood floors.

After all the staples were pulled up, we examined the floor and it was determined that the floors needed to be sanded, stained, and polyurethane put on to bring them back to life. We also decided to paint before sanding, just in case we dripped paint on the floor. We landed on Valspar 2000 Satin Finish Paint in Mariana Trench for the walls. It turned out a little more towards a Cobalt Blue in color, and we love it! For the trim and all three doors, we chose Valspar 2000 Semi-Gloss Finish in White. And for the ceiling, we chose a flat ceiling paint in White. Everything took two coats! The ceiling fan will stay the same as pictured below.

Now it’s time for the floor. Before we get into this task, please listen to this warning and disclaimer. LOL! WARNING: Do not try this at home! DISCLAIMER: We are firm believers of utilizing what we have on hand. Time to sand! We just knew that what we were thinking would work and it did, but…we are getting ahead of ourselves a little here. We decided that this task could be done with an electric hand sander and a sanding block. After some Google searches and some phone calls, we went and bought 60 grit and 40 grits sandpaper. We were ready!

See it worked! Upside…the floor was sanded and ready for the stain and then the polyurethane. Downside…we burnt up the hand sander and hands were cramping from using the sanding blocks, but it worked! LOL!

On to the staining the floor. The stain we chose is Minwax Stain in Gunstock. This stain dries in just two hours and it only took one coat. Now, granted it was a little redder than we wanted, but we hope that the color will fade to the color that is on the can.

After that we put a coat of Minwax Polyurethane for Floors Satin Hardwood Floor Finish. And guess what, after the twenty-four-hour dry time we noticed that the floor was thirsty! It drank up the polyurethane! We should have known that would happen, after all, those poor floors haven’t felt any love or fresh air in years! Remember there was carpeting in the whole of the upstairs for years!

Second coat here we come. After the twenty-four-hour wait time, we walked up the stairs knowing that the floor was going to need a third coat. We were wrong, thank goodness!

There was nothing left to do, but set up the office. This process is still on going, as we are still looking through boxes when we can to find everything. Remember, we had to pack in a rush.

At this time, you may be thinking “Wow, it has taken you a long time to do one room, and you aren’t really even finished with that room.” You are correct! Please remember that we have to stop and deal with unexpected issues as we come across them. Such as, the “Great Wasp Invasion of 2023”!

When we received the first of the “70° days” gift from Mother Nature herself, we came downstairs to find a wasp flying around. We walked around the downstairs and found a massive number of wasps. The pictures below are NOTHING compared to the number of wasps that we saw hanging around. SIDE NOTE: we did treat “the Manor” ourselves before we moved anything in to it.

Unfortunately, it was past business hours, which meant that we couldn’t do anything until the next day. The first thing the next morning we called Fortress Termite & Pest Control to help with the invading flying, stinging monsters. They are wonderful! Steve Christensen (the owner) came out and sprayed the inside and outside of the house. He made us leave, or at least sit outside in our cars, for a few hours. He came back a little while later to check everything out. Everyone one of the wasps that were out had now passed on to the other side. Mr. Christensen put us on wasp patrol to see if we could figure out where the nest might be. SIDE NOTE: He did look for himself, but couldn’t find the nest. We are still on the lookout for any more of these flying nasties. We have our fingers crossed that they are NOT in the walls. So far, so good…we haven’t seen any more as of yet. As someone that we know says a lot, “Yet means Your Eligible Too”! Let’s hope this is the last we will see of them.

If you’re in the need of termite and/or pest control, we would love to recommend…

Fortress Termite & Pest Control

485 E. South St., Ste 111, Collierville, TN 38017

(901) 853-8343

This seems like a good place to stop for now. We thank you for taking the time to follow our journey. If you would like to help you can contact us in the ways listed below. Thank you, Collierville, our friends, our family, and our employees for your time, support, and your love! All of our information is below if you would like to follow, volunteer, or donate to the preservation of the J.W. Houston House (“the Manor”).

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