The HOA of MCA

Welcome to the Home Owners Association of Middle Class America. Owning a home can be quite expensive, so this site is dedicated to finding ways to keep costs down while maximizing results. We'll try everything and let you know how it works and what it's worth. Also, be sure to leave your own reviews and comments. And don't worry...we don't collect dues.

No Bugs, Fresh Paint-My Newest Reviews

It's been a while since my last post, but I've waited this long for a reason. About 3 weeks ago I purchased Ortho Home Defense MAX and sprayed around the outside of my house and some problem areas in the kitchen. It's a nice product that can be used both inside and outside, but make sure you follow the directions. Find it here.

I like the results I've seen so far. Very rarely do I see ants in the house, and there aren't any bugs around the house on the outside, with the exception of these small spiders that seem to number in the hundreds. I can't figure out what kind of spiders they are, but if you have any ideas, please let me know what I can do to keep them away.

Also within the last three weeks, my wife and I decided to paint the interior walls. In order to save money we did the painting ourselves. We went to Lowe's, chose a color, and bought five gallons of paint and all the supplies. In hindsight, committing to five gallons of paint was not the best idea. You should definitely purchase paint sample cans.

Painting went well, and we've painted the front living room, kitchen, dining room, and a hallway, and we still have about a third of the five gallons left. We still have to paint the back living room, but we keep putting it off because we're sick of painting. Hey, at least we saved!

We purchased Valspar paint from Lowe's and it looks great. Make sure you get an even coat on your roller brush, and we found that it's best to paint in small sections.

Our biggest challenge in painting was the "accent" wall in the kitchen. We used the premium Valspar, the paint with the primer in it, and it covered the ugly brown that used to be there. We chose a mid-light green color, but it turned out lighter than we expected. I applied another coat, but to no avail. My wife and I took the remaining paint, about half a gallon, back to Lowe's and they were courteous enough to darken the paint at no cost to us. After four color changes, we had the perfect color and it looks great on the wall. It's exactly what we envisioned.

My evaluation: Ortho Home Defense MAX has worked and I don't have any complaints so far. The spiders are still around, but I can live with that. Lowe's has been nothing but helpful and we're constantly getting coupons in the mail and through email. The paint is durable and covers in one coat. Finally, the mower I bought still works and runs great. The blades are sharp and it starts in one pull.

Please leave me a note, questions, comments, and ideas.

Mowers and Lessons on Gas

About a week ago I bought a Yard Machine lawn mower, with a mulch bag, from Home Depot. It was relatively inexpensive compared to the others, only $179, and it came with a Briggs and Stratton engine, a brand my dad has always trusted. After a short assembly, it was ready to mow. Aside from having to empty the bag four times, the mower was great. That was last week.

Yesterday I pulled it out of the garage, checked the gas and oil, primed, pulled...nothing. This went on for about 15 minutes, much to the dismay and embarrassment of my wife (we still haven't met the neighbors), but I could not get the darn thing to start. I filled the gas tank up with what was left in the can the previous owner had left, then it dawned on me, "Does gas get old?"

Yes, folks, evidently gas gets old and 'stale.' I opened the owner's manual of the mower and looked up troubleshooting for starting the engine. Right there, first reason listed, "old, stale gas." Remedy-go get some new gas cheapskate.

Today, I bought the gas and a new canister, but I also had to buy a siphon to get the old gas out. My original plan was to use a plain tube, but my wife talked me out of it (once again, we haven't met the neighbors) and into buying the siphon made for that very reason.

So, at only two weeks old, the Yard Machine runs great. I may change my mind later, but that's why you should always keep the receipt (which I didn't). Solid body, great engine, sharp blades, all for a great value. Check it out here.