Weekend at Karl’s

I told you back in April that Karl bought a house.  It looks pretty rough on the outside but inside it isn’t too bad.  There were really no houses available in our area.  Karl had looked at several.  This one was by far the best.  Structurally, it’s in good shape.  Cosmetically, not so much.  The proof is in these outside pictures.


Karl lives four houses from my house.  We can’t see each other’s houses as he lives on a different street and is around the corner.  See the evergreen on the left. My house is the 4th house down from there.


Someone at some point started some remodeling…then it stopped.  This is how the house looked when Karl bought it.


The plan was to get on the contractor’s list and get the house sided and new windows.

We got word from our contractor that he’d be coming in a couple of weeks so we jumped into action.  They say in life you either have time or money.  We don’t really have much of either but in this case, time won out and we decided to do what we could before the carpenters got here to save some money.  That meant… taking off the old siding.

There were two layers.  The first is aluminum the second, wood.

On Thursday night Karl and I started working on it…his friend Lucas came and helped until dark.  Our goal was to get as much as we could off that we could reach.

Then Saturday Buck came and we were able to borrow a forklift.


Buck does construction for a living so he knew what he was doing.  He did much of the pull-off.  Karl and I did the haul away.

Nope, you wouldn’t find either Karl or me on top of a roof.

This had been a rental house for years and every person who rented added some type of cable service.  There were five dishes or antennas on the house.  Buck got all of them off the roof.

On Friday night Buck came and Karl and I ordered Mexican food from the Taco Truck in Decorah.  We both love it and wanted to have Buck give it a try.

The burritos are so big I cut them in half and only eat one of the halves.


Buck picked his up and starting eating…even Buck couldn’t finish his.  He agreed that the food is AWESOME.

After we ate we played Ticket to Ride.  (On a side note, this game has dropped in price plus Amazon is offering a coupon.  If you were thinking of this as a Christmas present, it’s about as cheap as you’ll find it)

I believe we’ve become a game board family.  When Kramer, my husband, was living, we played cards.  We’ve moved to board games as a variety of people can play.  We don’t have to have four people.  Everyone loves to play except Kalissa-she’s not a game person.  If you have a board game to recommend, please do.

It was just me and my boys that night.  It was so weird with no kids around.  I had a great time.  As a mom, and grandma, I never get enough time with my adult kids.  I just love hanging with them.  They’ve both grown into men I can be proud of.

Saturday we were up and at ’em in the morning and back working on the house.

Do you see the trailer and pile of siding in the far right?  All of that got there from Karl and me bending, carrying, and walking there.  I just knew by that night that we’d be REALLY sore the next day.

We worked again until it was almost dark.  We were all so pooped.  Normally more of the family would have come and helped but Kelli and Kalissa were working.  Craig was in the field combining corn.  Kayla and Spencer were both home being Kayla and Jasper had Covid.  They are both doing good.  We did well with our skeleton crew.

That night we played Ticket to Ride and introduced Buck to a new game, Sushi Go!.  This game is pretty good.  It’s a much cheaper game and goes more quickly.  There isn’t as much strategizing as Ticket to Ride.  It would make a great stocking stuffer.

We ordered pizza that night.

Years ago as a high schooler, Kelli worked making take-out pizza at the gas station in St. Lucas, the next town to the east of us.  Well, the gas station closed and I thought the pizza business did too.  WRONG.

The pizza was so good and everyone in our family loved it.  We missed it but as time went on we found other places to order pizza.  We all still lamented about missing the pizza.  The other day I was talking with one of my old childcare parents and they said they were making the pizza.  They only have it on Friday and Saturday nights.  So we ordered one of their pizzas.  Oh, my word.  It was so good.  We will definitely be ordering more pizza…and more pizza and more pizza.

Can you tell we are a foodie family??

Sunday morning we were up and at ’em again.  We worked for an hour and decided to call it quits.

Remember this picture I showed you at the beginning of the blog post?  This one…There is a carport attached to the house.  We had the siding cleared off below the carport but had trouble doing anything higher.  We were going to try to remove the carport but didn’t really have the right equipment.  Buck thought to walk on it but he could move it with a crowbar.  We didn’t think there was a safe way to work around it so we left that.


Our goal was to save some money and not pay the carpenters to remove it all…and although we didn’t get that upper side done, we did save some money.

All of us have some scraps and snags from the aluminum siding.  It was pretty sharp.  We learned quickly to work with gloves on.  I stepped on a nail.  It was so weird, it was a large nail with a head.  It wasn’t attached to a board but somehow the nail ended up through my tennis shoes and into my foot.  Thankfully not too far past the skin.  Kelli is already on me to figure out when I got a tetanus shot.  I’ll check into it.

It was hard work but I love big family work days like these were.  We are a good, hard-working bunch and I just love seeing what we can accomplish when we work together.

Karl has been a little in the dumps about his house as progress has been so slow.  The house looks so bad from the outside, it’s hard to say, “Look at my house”, and feel proud of it.  I really think the new siding and windows will be just the pick-me-up he and the house needs.

I’ll do a photobomb of pictures once it’s done.  I’m anxious to see the updo too.

24 thoughts on “Weekend at Karl’s

  1. Gail P

    It all takes time doesn’t it? And money too… Glad to hear it is underway! LOVE hearing about families that work together to help each other!

    Reply
  2. Hedy

    Tell Karl he’s not alone! We have waited six weeks fir two different contractors and we still don’t know when they are coming. I have a huge pile of mulch in the yard from having someone grinding a tree stump. It is frustrating to wait for your house to get fixed but by next summer, his house and mine will look great.

    Reply
    1. Judith Fairchild

      Helping your children at any age can be fun and hard work. Be sure to get a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 5 years. Do it a.s.a.p. please

      Reply
  3. Kate

    How fun for you to share this time with your sons. Yes, you worked hard, but such a good feeling. I hope all goes well with your foot. Do make sure your tetanus is up to date. It will be fun to continue to see the improvements of Karl’s house. Keep us posted. I had a family day myself on Friday. Sisters, brother, nephew and others picked apples and made cider in the press my brother constructed. We made about 30 gallons before we were rained off. Family time is fun!!

    Reply
  4. Sally

    Thank you for the update on Karl’s house! It really is a cute house. It’s going to be awesome when he gets it the way he wants it to be. Rummikub is a fun game. You play with numbered tiles….it’s really like a card game only you use tiles instead of cards. 2-4 players but if you buy two sets you could have up to 8 players. It says for ages 8 and up, but I am sure Carver could play it. I bought one of the $12.00 sets, but there are some very expensive ones too.

    Reply
  5. Judy Vivian

    Thanks so much for sharing, I love before and after pictures of remodeled houses, can’t wait to see more. You are blessed to have such a great family, which of course you already know.

    Reply
  6. Kelli

    Congratulations on all the hard work! What fun to work with your two sons on a project that big – lots of memory-making! Love how your family pulls together and then plays together. Our family loves Ticket to Ride. Someone recently gave us Skipbo but we haven’t tried it. Scrabble is an oldie but goodie and so is Monopoly. I look forward to reading what others suggest.

    Reply
  7. Sherrill

    MAN, you guys worked your BOOTIES off!!! I’m sure you were EXHAUSTED!!! I woulda been dead woman walking!! HA Hopefully the outside work will be finished in short order and he’ll be so excited to show his house off. It’s great to see you guys always pitching in to help each other and then sitting down and having fun together.

    Reply
  8. pat

    See if your Wal Mart has board game called Sequence it is for adults and play in partners our friends and us love to play itPat

    Reply
  9. Rita

    Rome wasn’t t build in a day . Karl needs to be patient . Every house I’ve every lived in we remodeled …we always had a really Nice house inside . We always remodel each part as we could pay for it . So tell it him it will all come in time and it will be a nice home for him

    Reply
  10. Andrea Hickman

    Y’all worked hard! Congrats on saving money. My kids like to play a card game called Exploding Kittens. Sounds terrible but seems fun. I think they bought it at Walmart. I hope Karl is able to find the supplies and workers he needs. They seem to be in short supply everywhere.

    Reply
  11. Joanne Lytle

    in our area, a tetanus shot comes with the dpt shot. you may have had it like that, but do check your records.

    rummikub is really good once a child can add to 21 and it challenges them to lean to rearrange the tiles. we really like double dominos and make up our own rules. going up or down for each tile is a challenge for many people (instead of matching). putting out as many of your tiles as you can (or want to) puts more strategy into the game.

    if you can find it, mille bornes is a fun card game. i found 2 sets of it at garage sales. it’s a car trip with hazards like flat tires, remedies like a spare tire and chances to stop the opposing team. guys like it.

    Reply
  12. Lynda Breegle

    I also suggest Rummikub and SkipBo for family fun. There is a SkipBo Jr. with funny bug pictures that the boys would probably enjoy. Our family also likes Ticket to Ride and SushiGo, as well. I could play board/card games all night!

    Reply
  13. Margaret in North Texas

    Making progress– always happens in stages The three of you fulfilled your mission. Yes, new windows and siding will provide the perfect pick-me-up for Karl. Waiting patiently for the photobomb!

    Reply
  14. Kayla

    Our favorite games to play with friends are Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride. We also like Jamaica- up to six can play but sometimes just Spencer and I play.

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth V k

    Thanks for the update on Karl’s house. I look forward to seeing how it looks after some work. I remember special family works days in my life. Good memories.

    Reply
  16. PAULA Y JAMES

    I love seeing your family working and playing together. So many family’s don’t have the relationship that yours does. By proud mama. I’m so excited for Karl and his house. He’ll be so proud when that siding and windows go in.

    Reply
  17. Jackie Trembley

    Wow you guys did a great job of prepping for the construction crew! My kids taught me to play Catan a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed it and I think even fairly young kids could play. My kids are all huge board game fans. They host game nights with their friends.

    Reply
  18. Lori G

    We need to do all of the same on our house! Did you take all that aluminum to the scrap dealer? It a $1 a pound here. Anything to help the remodeling budget!

    Reply

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