Sometimes, it’s helpful to be married to a car guy.

Okay, a LOT of times it’s helpful to be married to one!  I’ve lost count of how many times Jack has been able to diagnose and fix problems with my various cars over the years…  it’s saved me a ton of money and aggravation!  (Plus he loves to do it, so everyone wins!)  But it turns out his major car mojo has been extra helpful with our new home as well.

Jack with the other love of his life, his ’55 Chevy. IMG_0806

So, recently Jack surprised me with a cosmetic spruce-up of our double oven.  When we bought our house, the chrome surround for the oven had been pretty gross — dull and tarnished, pitted, and just blecch looking.  One weekend Jack pointed out the chrome, and I couldn’t believe the difference — I wish I’d gotten before and after shots, because it looked gleaming new!!!!  His secret?  Simichrome polish! IMG_1656

This is the same stuff that he uses on parts of his ’55 to get it looking so shiny — you can use it to polish up any metal, not just chrome.  So that includes stuff around the house!  We put it to the test a couple of weeks later, when trying to salvage part of our medicine cabinets.  See, when we first started our renovations, a very well-meaning family member took all the aluminum shelf clips that we’d set aside (these are the clips that hold the glass shelves up in each cabinet)…  and in the spirit of wanting to help, they ran the whole lot of them through the dishwasher to try to get the nicotine residue off of them and shine them up.  Instead of shiny, the combination of harsh soap and hot water left all of them dull and flat: IMG_1654

I panicked, because I wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to replace them.  And they’re such a visible part of the cabinets, keeping them as-is would just look bleh.  But Jack gave the Simichrome polish a try…  and although it was tedious work, it shined them up good as new! The one on the left in the photo below is post-dishwasher…  the one on the right is post-Simichrome.  It was actually hard to get a good shot because the polished one was so shiny!  🙂 IMG_1662

So this weekend, Jack finally tackled something that’s been driving him crazy for months — the fish detail in our shower door.  Same as the oven surround, it was disgusting — pitted, nicotine-stained, and tarnished. IMG_1232

Here’s a closer shot. IMG_1235

Jack with his Simichrome to the rescue!  Let’s see if he can try to bring it back to life. IMG_1236

First he taped off the glass to protect it.  The Simichrome doesn’t really hurt glass, but it’s a pain to clean off of it, so better to just prevent any from getting on that part of the door. IMG_1241

Time to start polishing!  You only need a little bit at a time (a dab the size of a pea can cover a decent amount of chrome), and just buff it into the chrome.  Ours is especially pitted from 60 years of steam, so Jack had to go over it a few times. IMG_1244

You can see that first area already coming up much shinier than the rest! IMG_1243

Here’s a short video to show how well it worked:

And now for the “after”!  The pitting is pretty deep, so at some point we’ll have to get the door re-chromed if we want it to look good as new…  but in the meantime, this is such a massive improvement!  Again, before: IMG_1235

And after!  Soooooo much better.IMG_1796

Yay shiny chrome!!!!!  Yay for my handy, smart car-guy husband!

It was another busy weekend at Biohazard Manor.

We’re down to the wire to get all of our major repairs and cleaning finished, so Jack and I put in some long, hard hours over the past couple of days.  On Saturday we started our day by fueling up with a big breakfast at our favorite local place, The Jem.  If you live in the Philly ‘burbs and haven’t been there yet, you need to check them out for breakfast!  It’s fantastic — packed with 50s memorabilia, owned by a local man named Tony for the past 40 years, and full of regulars who have been coming here since it opened.  Tony is an incredibly nice guy, and he makes the rounds greeting customers at their tables whenever he can.  And the food is classic diner fare, and lots of it for super cheap.

Jack power-drinking his coffee to get ready for the day


And preparing to house down his massive breakfast scrambler


But the best part of the Jem is their scrapple sticks!  I know scrapple is one of those things you either really love or really hate…  but the Jem does it right.  They cut the scrapple into skinny sticks and deep-fry them like french fries, so you get more crispiness in every bite.  OM NOM NOM.


Anyway.  Jack spent the weekend fixing yet another rotting wall that he discovered (if anyone knows a good real estate attorney, we’d love their contact info so we can get some advice on how to handle all of these undisclosed “treasures”).  I can’t even post about that because I’m so frustrated, so I’ll post about a couple of our accomplishments.  Accomplishment #1 was in the kitchen…  now that we have everything scrubbed, we’re ready to start unpacking our dishes and cooking stuff.  But we really wanted to line the shelves and drawers, because despite the cleaning we just didn’t want our eating and cooking stuff on those surfaces for now.  The problem: I just couldn’t find shelf paper that I liked.  It seems like the shelf paper you get in stores falls into one of two camps: non-stick (which we’ve used before, and it moves around too much), or adhesive but boring (solid white or wood grain).  I was really dying for a fun cheery pattern.  After searching a bunch of stores and coming up empty, I thought I was going to have to do an online search and wait a week or two for everything to arrive.  But THEN — I had a discovery in Target, and created a shelf paper hack!

While I was in the home decor section, I came across this: rolls of removable wallpaper!


I figured I’d give it a try; the patterns were fun and colorful, and they were adhesive but not permanent.  The biggest issue was cutting it all down to size, because the rolls are sized for walls instead of drawers.  It took me 6 hours to do the entire kitchen, around 40 drawers and shelves.


But I think it was worth it!  Much cheerier (and cleaner) than the original surfaces!

IMG_1568 IMG_1567

Accomplishment #2 – more cleaning.  This weekend we tackled the window screens, as well as the waffle-pattern covers on the ceiling light fixtures in the bathrooms.  If you’ve read our other cleaning posts, you totally know where this is heading.  I’ll just post 2 things here for you to enjoy:

First, let’s play “guess which screen hasn’t been cleaned yet”.


Next, here’s where we discover that the bathroom light fixture covers aren’t actually yellowed with age, just with nicotine.  This is another one of those “we have to take video for proof” moments.  😛

We used up 8 bottles of full-strength LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner this weekend.  (There were a lot of screens and light covers.)  And yes, Jack is using a power-spray bottle in that video…  our hands started cramping from squeezing the trigger on the cleaner bottles, so we had to get a little help.

So much to post in the coming week!  Lots of decorative stuff is going to start happening — carpet, wallpaper, etc.  It’s all starting to come together!