Category Archives: Owning A House

How To Replace a Fucking Toilet

This is a little late but it’s been quite hectic around the ol’ homestead what with CAH-RAZYLEGS last weekend (I beat Spacebee and her sister!) The weekend before that, however, I delighted in replacing my fucking toilet when it broke such that the water in the tank ran all over my floor.  Knowing how terrible I am at home repair I decided to record myself attempting to fix the dumb thing, and only slight hilarity ensued.


Apologies again to all of our pals that spent the weekend up in Crandon! We wish we could have come with but we’re supposed to be partying at our place on the 24th and shit still needed to be done.  We’ll be at the Badger/NIU game at Soldier Field next weekend so we had to finish painting, decorating, and start cleaning this weekend.

The good news is that we got everything on the -to-do list finished up.  This slophouse is as decorated as it’s gonna get at this point; all we have left to do is wipe it down from top to bottom.

I also learned a few things this weekend:

  1. When it comes to cleaning paint brushes, I am an idiot.
  2. The Brewers got way exposed by the Phillies- I hadn’t seen shitstorm like that in some time, and thought the 2011 Brewers were immune to that sort of thing.
  3. The Packers were great, but I got a little scared at how the Saints were able to squash the secondary.  The defense came up with a stop when it absolutely needed to, but not before I screamed at my TV.
  4. Wwhazz was absolutely correct about Trees.  The suck, and they’re the messiest fuckers in the plant kingdom.  Every day they drop one ton of bullshit into my backyard, which I then clean up, only to have them re-dump the next day.  Fuck you come winter, assholes. Die slow.
  5. My dumb cat’s new favorite activity is to sit at the screen door in the back and launch herself at it (the screen) trying to get at the chipmunks running around having sex outside on the patio. Idiot.
Example: literally as I was writing Point 5 in my above manifesto a squirrel came up to the back door and the cat just stared at it- you see, it wasn’t a chipmunk.  That idiot is only concerned with chipmunk.

Idiot Cat

Work Continues Apace

Things are fairly settled here at the new homestead; everything’s unpacked, all of our furniture is delivered, and my tie rack should show up today from Amazon.  Now that the upheavel from the move has subsided, and because my shoulders and ribs have healed nicely from overwork in the spring, I’ve gotten back onto the workout track.  Runkeeper’s iPhone app has really improved by leaps and bounds since I first used it back in the day.  Couple the GPS route tracking with my Fitbit and I’m getting really great tracking of my workouts.

I’ve been speccing out the new and I have to warn everyone; this shit’s gonna be a rough turd for awhile after it goes live.  I’m going to start out with the simplest shit possible: posts and comments.  Once that’s live and the bugs are worked out then I’ll start branching out to more interesting aspects (~HAIKUS!).  I need to put in anti-spam stuff or it’ll be flooded with garbage, but I’m going to whitelist frequent commenters’ names so that even if you don’t log in you shouldn’t be flagged for spam.

The new site will also look like a Grade A turd; you’ll be wishing you were in a fabulous dungeon when I’m done with you. Say lah vee.

In The Meantime

So yes, work will commence shortly on Chaos Central TNG.  Out of my inability to design will come a boring-ass thing that no one will like, but at least then I’ll have the power to implement whatever features we want to create.

In other news- I have a new awesome thing that’s been happening: people drive by on the bike path behind my house, see me in the office/sunroom in the back, scream out ‘MONEYPENNY!’ and then CONTINUE ON THEIR WAY.  I don’t know who these people are because by the time I turn my head they have cruised away.  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?~!  Is it anyone on this site?

Things have been moved in and put in their place at this point.  Thanks so much to everyone that helped or stopped by to check out the new house.  We somehow moved all our possessions, cleaned the old house, cleaned the new house, unpacked the possessions, and partied all in three days.  We’re settling in nicely at this point.  Spacebee and I have taken to strolling up Monroe St and sampling the one of the many (four) fine restaurants in the area. Jac’s is pretty incredible. Bluephies is great. The Laurel is good.  No opinion of Taste of India yet.

Ok, so HOLLLLARIT and Go Brewers!

Quick Update

Yes, yes… why I thought you jerks would ever actually like a CMS is beyond me.  There are problems to be fixed, and once the new house shit is taken care of and such I’l get right on customizing errythang to madd’s liking.

In the meantime, their spam blocking has so far let in one errant piece of shit.  But I suppose if you live in a world where a wall is holding back twenty million tons of the stuff, finding a piece on your shoe shouldn’t be that vexing.  I’m monitoring it closely.

So, yes, The House.  Inspection went terrific last week, and we’re in full (on the way across the sky) negotiations with the bank this week.  We’re coordinating homeowner’s insurance, lease transfer, moving arrangements, new furniture purchases, and mortgage approval- itsa lotta work I tells ya.

We’re still targeting a close/beginning of move-in sometime between May 23 and May 26.

Rambling Man

Maybe Our New Joint
Maybe Our New House

I’m out in California for the week on BIZ-NASS, and in the meantime my honey-pie is ensuring that the house we put an offer in on last week is up to our high standards (oh, you didn’t know? Yes, we’ve moved on.)

It’s a very nice place, all new and stuff! And all credit goes to the inestimable peapods for carefully sifting and winnowing the available properties in Madison and presenting us with The Perfect House.  She sifted and winnowed a winner on this one, people. Big round of applause.

So, unless there’s a portal to hell in the basement or an indian burial ground in the backyard I hope this one sticks.  It’s got a badass kitchen and a badass-ier backyard, and it’s right on the bike path.  All in all very nice!

Not much else to report. CAL, if you still read this dumb website then I’d like to hang out with you on Saturday and present you with a bottle of Dom P for winning the goddamn football pool… goddammit.  HOLLLAR at a player when you see ‘im on the streets, cal!





Before word spreads via text messages and homing pigeons I thought I’d let y’all know that the house we were gonna buy? The one I gushed about in the post just below this one? The great big house in a nice location? Not buying it.  *waves hand* Portal to hell in the basement and all that rigamarole- it’s much too boring to speak of at length (and anyways, a gentlemen doesn’t get into such things as framing deflection “estimated to exceed the L/360 that is the industry standard.”)  Long story short is that we would have had the luxury of wondering whether we would first burn to death, be killed in a collapse, or burst into flames during the home’s collapse.


We’re in the market for a house that abides by the following criteria:

  1. Spacious, 4 bedroom or 3 bedroom+office
  2. Finished basement or a good basement space to finish off
  3. Close (relatively) to UW-Hosptial
  4. Wiring that won’t start the house on fire
  5. If existing additions exist, they were not built by two drunk fucking idiots on a summer weekend
  6. A nice kitchen or an older kitchen with enough room to bring it up to date

I’m fairly certain that this fantasy house does not exist.  As in, there is no house that meets our space/configuration requirements that is also close to anything we want to be close to.  Lots of time to search, yes yes.  We’ll soldier on, but I’m starting to really want to dropkick the Madison housing market to the fucking moon.  Fuck these dumbfuck yuppies that built terrible, horrible, badly-designed-and-constructed additions on nice classic homes.  So many fuckface yahoos have lived in these areas over the years and imposed their stupid-as-fuck visions on them that it’s impossible to see a simple house anymore.  All of the terrible fucking additions fall into three catgeories:

  1. Nicely designed, well-constructed additions that enhance the existing space (One house)
  2. Nicely designed, incredibly poorly constructed pieces of garbage that will fall apart at any minute or qualify for a guest spot on Holmes Inspection. (Vast majority of house we have seen)
  3. Poorly designed, poorly constructed nightmares that only a fool would pay money to own. (The rest of the houses we’ve seen)

Say lah vee motherruckers.

Boom, Home: Acquired

1815 Madison St
1815 Madison St (Living Room)

Well, well. Looky here. Those dudes accepted our offer, and we’re tentatively closing May 26th.  Scientist is a shrewd negotiator;  I wouldn’t want to have to sell him my house.  For those who are way interested, we’ll be walking through the house on Thursday morning with our parents- stop on by if you want to check out the place.

Based on what we’re hearing from our current landlord we may be moving in a blaze of glory between May 26th and June 1st so that we don’t have to pay rent for June, July, and August.  I’m conceiving a Moving-Party-slash-Memorial-Day-Cookout-Spectacular.  Raise your hand if you’re down- and no, you’re not forced to help us move, just show up for a hamburger.

1815 Madison St


The house we're interested in
1815 Madison St., the house we're interested in


Right here on this very website the MADDDDDDDDDD SCIENTIST taught us how to appropriately welcome a baby into the world: with PLOITers and remote observation of ice-fishing.  The result: HWK, a name worthy of the Whazz 99 leaderboard.  First column? In time.  When our descendants return to the long lost .tar.gz files of zipped up ‘web-sites’ to learn the history of their clan, it shall be written that the child’s birth was HERALDED by the RETURN OF ARLO.  Who was this stranger whose presence was almost invisible, yet whose return was celebrated so excitedly by the ancient weirdos who hung out at

I wish I had more profound things to say before I pivot to Current Events; I’m sure the comment thread will overflow with good tidings and links to articles so I’ll let that take care of itself.  Good luck HWK, and don’t let your old man fool you into thinking that it’s a good idea to hit a driver from the fringe. IT’S DUMB! 5 IRON 5 IRON 5 IRON 5 IRON!

Soooo, see that house up there? We really like it.  We’re thinking seriously about trying to buy it.  It is very expensive, but includes everything we want in a house that will grow with us for the foreseeable future.  Five bedrooms, large kitchen, two car garage, one block from the Monroe St shops (including Trader Joe’s). Location, space, and really nice interior is a perfect storm that we’re willing to stretch to try to get.  If it doesn’t work out then it’ll be back to the MLS mines to try to dig out another gold nugget, but for now I’m really excited about this one.


Housing Bubble

My brother is supposed to get married near the end of the year and up until recently he and his fiance were looking at homes around the Racine area. I had a few words for him considering my recent foray into (and then retreat away from) the real estate arena.  This morning while reading a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article my blood starting boiling, and as you’re well aware my blood boiling usually results in a whazzmaster post.

One of the things I told my brother is not to get too wrapped up in the nonsense realtors and mortgage bankers spew. They want your commission, and they aren’t going to be hanging around when you can’t make your monthly payments. That doesn’t mean they’ll try to bankrupt you, but it also means that whatever magical number you’re “approved for” is what they’ll try to find for you. I’m here to say: take that “magical number” with a great big grain of salt. Most people assume that some sort of rigor goes into the generation of what you’re approved for, but in reality it’s just another company who is looking to get your money. You need to find out how much you’re willing to pay per month, and once you have that number find out if you are approved for that much. Don’t go and just see how much you are approved for and think, “well, I guess they think I can pay that much per month.”

The reason the article made my blood boil was because of a few choice quotes from assholes in the industry:

Subprime lender Jim Howe, also broker-owner of Real Estate Professionals in Racine, said most defaulting borrowers he sees are people who bought and borrowed beyond their means.

“It’s not the lenders. They’re just going by their (regulatory) guidelines and doing what they can do,” Howe said. “Now you’ve got the people who got the loans not living up to their obligations.”

No, in fact it is the lenders who looked at these people who obviously couldn’t afford at $500,000 mortgage and said, “We like the cut of your jib! Here’s $500,000!” If someone in the financial industry supposedly looks at your financial situation and says “We think you deserve this much money”, most people will think there is some justification in their determination. As someone who has gone through the ‘game’ I can honestly say that I got caught up in the lies and exaggerations, all in the name of finding “my home.” The real estate industry loves to play that up: you aren’t finding a house, you’re finding your ‘home.’ That obviously involves some serious emotional manipulation.  But all the platitudes about finding ‘your home’ don’t pay the bills.

For example, a radio commercial currently in rotation in Madison exhorts people to buy a condo because of “pride of ownership” (“you mean like I can paint the walls any color I like?” exclaims a super-excited young woman) and “tax benefits”.   The Don’t-Ever-Look-Behind-The-Curtain salesmanship technique when selling people into crushing debt is probably what bugs me the most about the entire real estate industry.

And so, I’ll leave you with a summary of my opinions.  I’m not some financial wizard who traces every up and down of the market.  But I am a regular schmoe who got caught up in the housing game and managed to extricate myself before it went south.  If you want to go buy a house right now, I don’t begrudge you that.  IF you have the means.  If you have money saved for a down payment, and you can get approved for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at a monthly rate you’re comfortable with then you currently have maximal negotiating strength.  But, a few caveats:

  1. DON’T take whatever the bank extends to you.  At the moment lenders are tightening the reigns because of the soaring foreclosures, but if you have good credit and healthy income they’ll still fall over themselves to throw money at you.  Instead, work out what monthly payment you’re comfortable with and see if you can get approved for that much.  If approved for more, who cares.
  2. DON’T fall for the ‘it’s not a house, it’s a home’ emotional bullshit.  It’s a house. You will live there.  You’ll probably live in several before you die.  It’s a place to put your stuff.  It’s a gigantic financial commitment that you should look at rationally.
  3. DON’T extend yourself into a crazy mortgage (by which I mean anything BUT a 30 yr fixed) at this point.  Your house will not appreciate $100,000 in one year with the rates tumbling so that you can flip it for a profit.  Again, keep in mind that you are about to engage in a transaction that’s a healthy percentage of a MILLION dollars.  Do you have a plan to eventually get it paid off in some way?

I’m just an idiot that almost got burned, and I don’t want to see any friends or family tumble into a pit of debt and bankruptcy if they can afford it.  It’s a house. That’s all.  Come stay at my place for awhile, homey.

Also: I was super busy yesterday but cannot use that as an excuse.  Happy Birthday Rumthumb!  Looking forward to The Magnus Der Magnussun tonight for booze and tapas.