A Moving Question

Today, Mary Carol asked: “When are you moving in?”

It’s a good question.

It’s a question I cannot answer though.

From day one the following issues have precluded my moving in:



When I purchased the house in 2014 wind freely blew through it via cracks and through all the windows and doors. One day, snow was IN the round receiving room.

The previous owner, Bob Rodak, was never able to get the inside temperature above 55 degrees and this was with all four boilers going full blast.

Since 2014, as each window has been restored, it is sealed in place with peel-away caulk. This stops air infiltration, and offers additional benefits such as cutting down on noise (the house abuts a highway) and dirt.

At present, about 85% of the windows in the house are restored and sealed, and even many unrestored windows are sealed. This has done wonders in helping keep the house warm. And quiet. And clean.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 is no longer really an issue.



The radiator system was working when I purchased the house in 2014. When spring arrived, I shut it down. In 2015 and 2017, I spent a scandalous amount of money to redo the system. Broken radiators were replaced, cracked pipes were repaired, radiators were relocated, and radiators were installed in locations which never had heat (such as the main pantry, and original second-floor bathroom).

All this $$$$$$$$$$$$$ work was finished in January 2018 and at last, praise the Lord at last, the boilers were restarted and, after some dramatic and $$$$ surprises, all was well. And the house was gloriously…warm. Oh, it was heaven.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 is no longer an issue.



In 2014, the three-zone AC system was working but the house could not be cooled because it was so porous (see above). Then I disconnected the three condensers, moved them away from the house, buried their lines, and built a fence to hide the condensers. This work was finished late in the summer of 2017.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 is no longer an issue.



Heat rises. And because all the ceilings on the second-floor are either missing entirely (the sewing room) or are riddled with huge holes (all the other rooms), my $$$$$$$-created heat vanishes through the hole-riddled ceilings and does me no good.

And what was a problem in 2014 is still a problem in 2018.

It’s important to note that BEFORE and ceilings can be fixed, all the wiring in X room has to be redone, AND all the wiring and plumbing in any area on the third floor above. And this is a massive amount of work.

I have however come up with a temporary solution: I am going to cover over all holes with several layers of thick plastic, duct-taped on. This will not fully stop heat from escaping but will do wonders in reducing its loss.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 may no longer be too big of an issue.



My cats currently enjoy a huge yard which is surrounded by an eight-foot-high solid metal fence. Which means my cats are safe. They also have a heated winter house.

The Cross House has a tiny yard. And this needs to be fenced. In 2017, I received permission from the city to install an eight-foot-high fence. So, whoee!!!!!!!! I began this process in 2017 but then ran out of money. I thought the work would be finished in 2018 but available funds were sucked up by more pressing restoration issues.

And with such a huge house, in such terrible condition still, there will be pressing restoration issues for years, it can be presumed.

Recently though, the kitty fence received some unexpected help…


My friend Patricia has a cat named Tinker. Last week, a card arrived in the mail. Inside was this note and a $100 bill.


I do love a stealth cat.

But I estimate the fence at like $6,000 to $8,000.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 is still a huge issue. I cannot move in without assuring that my kitties are safe.



I have about a dozen goldfish which live year-round in an eight-foot-wide pond in my yard. They are, mostly, about 15-years-old.

And these aquatic creatures also need to move to the big house. Which means a pond, pump, filter, and waterfall (which helps aerate the water).

And there has not been funds available for this.

In short, what was a huge issue in 2014 is still a huge issue.



In 2014, there were six major issues stopping me from moving in:

  1. WIND

The first four issues are now either no longer an issue or are no longer a big issue.

The last two issues however are stopping me from moving in and I don’t, at the moment, see when these issues will be resolved.

After taking on the restoration of the Cross House, many people just assumed I was rich and I have worked hard to correct this myth. Every year has been a struggle to pay the restoration costs and I have jumped through many hoops to keep the work going. The big push for 2019 will be the restoration of the south facade and all my available funds will go into this work. The south facade is part of the 2017 Heritage Trust Fund grant but the grant does not pay for the work in advance, it reimburses completed work. So, with this huge project looming, I cannot financially justify cat fences and fish ponds.


Today, Mary Carol asked: “When are you moving in?”

It’s a good question.

It’s a question I cannot answer though.

But I do know one thing. This afternoon I will buy a lottery ticket!




  1. Sandra Lee on October 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Optimistic Ross warring with pragmatic Ross & of course pragmatic wins because there are beloved creatures involved …kitties & goldfish! However the Herculean task which is Cross House has been broken up into bite sized tasks spread over years… but the end is in sight for 2019 & the south facade! The cherry 🍒 on top of the wondrous cake 🎂 that is the beautiful Cross House or Temple 🏛of beauty; the day safety of kitties & the zen of goldfish solutions… come to fruition. Then with fabulosity you can move in and enjoy your labor of love!

    I so love ❤️ the contribution from Tinker toward a kitty fence!

  2. Miriam Righter on October 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Ross, many kitties live quite happily entirely indoors. I have 15 in my house since I run a rescue in collaboration with my shelter. They do love the screened in porch. Could you install screening in the round windows of the second story porch to turn it in to a cat-porch? Put some plants and places to climb and play, and it may meet their desire for being outdoors? A plus of indoor kitties is that they live much longer, have fewer pests like fleas and worms, and are cleaner! There is animal proof screening that would hold up if they climb on it. I have it in several windows and always replace torn screens with it.

    • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Hi, Miriam!

      My outdoor kitties were all born outside, and have spent their life in the fenced yard. About half are pissers meaning that, if inside, they would spray all over the Cross House! That is soooooooooo not something I want!

      In addition, a bunch of indoor kitties would shred the rugs, the furniture, and curtains. My mother used to have 16 indoor cats. They literally destroyed the home. When the house was sold, the new owner demolished it.

      So, I am fine with a cat or two inside, but not a zillion!

      • Miriam Righter on October 14, 2018 at 6:47 pm

        Spraying is not good. And you do have fine furnishings. Five of mine are strays that I had fixed, vaccinated, and provide medical care for as well as feed. In bitter cold they sometimes come in, but I do find that they have marked on the window panes. My furniture is all vintage or antique, but not fine antiques. Those I leave in the stores. Well-used antiques, so it doesn’t matter if I have to sand out a few scratches. And I don’t do curtains- I crave sunshine. My rescue has definitely dictated my interior design. I thought you only had the two cats. By the way, if there ever is an accident, I highly recommend Odoban. It gets rid of any urine or feces odors and kills bacteria and viruses. It also kills fungus.

  3. pk on October 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    My Tinker cat did WHAT???!!#

    I thought I was missing money …

    Well, if Tinker hadn’t of sent it, I would have. I too have a colony of outdoor kitties that have found there way to my home. I know how much you worry about your cats Ross, getting eaten by a coyote, running off, or getting hit. I think the kitty fence is a total necessity before you move in. I hope and pray you do win the lottery as I would love to see you move in soon.

    • Dawn Rocco on October 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      You’re awesome!

      • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 7:01 pm

        She is.

  4. Dawn Rocco on October 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I would love to see you move into the Cross House. Your paying to live in two places right now which isn’t cost effective but necessary. So how do we fix this? I’m not a rich person either. In fact I am quite poor but I would love to donate to the fish pond and kitty fence if it means you could move into the Cross House sooner. I wonder how many people would be willing to pitch in and help either with a donation or materials? Anyone with me on this? Just think of the time and money you would save not having to drive back and forth and pay for two places.

    • Dan Goodall-Williams on October 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      I’m with you on this. Not wealthy but I could chip in to help Ross move in waaaayyyy sooner.

    • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks, Dawn!

      Yes, the daily drive is a real drain on me.

      And, after I move into the Cross House, I will rent out my Strong City house. When it’s renovation is finally finished, I can then sell it.

  5. Ramona on October 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Please let us know what address should be used if other kitties decide to donate!

    • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      And kitties wishing to follow Tinker’s lead can either click on the green GoFundMe button (just above the comments here) with their paw, or they can send a check to:

      Save the Kitties!
      POB 454
      Strong City, KS 66869

      • Ramona on October 14, 2018 at 8:03 pm


  6. Annette on October 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Cuddles told me that she would like to donate. Do you have a PayPal account? Or a go fund me? If not you should set one up. It will be incredibly expensive to move your animals but I’m with you on this, they must have a good home to move to.

    • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Cuddles! You are SO sweet!

      I already have a GoFundMe account. The green clickable button is just above the comments.

      A second ago, Mary’s kitty sent a donation and the fabulous comment made me laugh:

      “MEOW!!! Build that fence and install a computer somehow so we kitties can watch Randy Rainbow YouTube videos to keep us sane during this administration’s continuing reign.”

      I am going to separate any MEOW donations from the general fund.

  7. Jason J on October 14, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    It is funny, we are living in our restoration project which is just a little ol 1000sqft -/+ house..

    It is funny because all the issues you are experiencing with that big ol houses, is exactly what we are experiencing in this tiny ol house…

    We’re struggling to keep the heat/cold in the home with no ceilings, we’re living in one of the rooms and it was impossible to keep it at 55 and OMG the heating bill!

    This year, we managed to get insulation to code, in two rooms ceilings but are still experiencing issues with all those cracks/gaps n holes…We’re also struggling to keep the heat from going into the other two unrestored rooms…

    I guess why I find it funny, is that regardless of the size of the restoration project, the same issues are felt across the board…

    I keep saying…one day!! we’ll be able to keep this place heated with a space heater but man the work to get there!

    • Ross on October 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      I feel your pain, Jason.

      In 1993/94, I spent the winter in an unfinished tiny house with just plastic sheeting covering the windows and zero insulation. In Rhode Island.

      I had a single kerosene heater. The fumes made me high. And dizzy. I swore I would NEVER do that again.

  8. Mary Carol on October 15, 2018 at 3:58 am

    I’ll buy one, too, and split it with you if I win!

  9. Monika Bredesen on October 15, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I don’t have cats or goldfish but enjoy to watch fish swim. I can only provide a youtubechannel for some inspiration: Greg Wittstock, The pond guy.

  10. Debbie on October 15, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Would there be anyway your present kitty fence could be moved to the Cross House? I am sure you have thought about that…

    I know the fish pond could be moved because we have done that for several for customers! We just store the fish in Rubbermaid cattle troughs (with air pumps running). They store for a long time that way.

  11. Amy Wang on October 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    We are restoring an 1890 home and have addressed many of the same issues you have (and still have several more to go). We cannot move in until our county inspector okays it, including a kitchen, full bathroom and ability to keep all bedrooms at 50 degrees (which would be easy if we only had any HVAC system already). But…even when we do achieve those items we will only have 120 days to finish all the final plumbing, electric, etc which could be very difficult. Do you have inspections and code issues that you have to follow? Anything we touch (and the definition of that is vague) we have to bring up to current code and if we “touch” more than 50% of the home we have to have everything up to current code. Tell me we’re not the only ones that are drowning in code requirements.

    • Ross on October 15, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Oh, Amy. My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine dealing with such bureaucratic nonsense. Restoring a house is overwhelming enough without having to deal with that.

      My city government has been nothing but generous and helpful to me. I imagine that they are grateful that somebody is fixing up the Cross House.

    • Jason J on October 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      That is horrible!

      I was born and raised in California and was used to all those rules on homes…It was even worse for historical homes…

      We bought our property we are restoring in Missouri and we have zero codes to follow, no rules and permits aren’t required. I don’t even have to pressure test the gas line before the company hooks up the meter…

      When we moved here, we were living in a tent in the church and flushing the toilet with water from a subpump pit…we were in a tent because of the huge holes in the roof and raccoons….no one ever said anything to us….The city even hooked up the electric with out any complaints…Plus they allowed us to use the campground showers!

      I look back to California and there would be no way this would have ever flew…and I know we would have had the same issues your having….These small towns are great to live in and restore a home!

  12. Dan Goodall-Williams on October 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Ross’s goal on his GoFundMe is 10,000.00. There must be 100 followers. Therefore, if 100 of us donate $100.00 we would fulfill Ross’s goal. I would love to see this goal met!!

  13. Ramona on October 16, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    And since the GoFundMe site takes a chunk out of the donations for administrative fees- if we send directly to the address he listed above- he’ll get more of the money!

    • Dan Goodall-Williams on October 16, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Oh no, I didnt know that.

  14. Dawn Rocco on October 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Ross, I have a stupid question, Do we make the check out to you or to “save the kitties”?

    • Ross on October 17, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Hi, Dawn!

      You can just put ROSS.

      But my small-town bank will also cash SAVE THE KITTIES if I ask them to.

  15. Dawn Rocco on October 17, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I’ll have to send my gift of 100.00 in a couple of installments but consider it done. When I told my birdie (Gabby) about what Tinker did she said “Oh I like Tinker”. I said “What! But you’re a bird and Tinker is a cat!” She said, “But we have so much in common. We both need our humans to take care of us, we both need love, and we both love to eat CHICKEN!”

  16. Thomas McLean on October 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    So where are you staying now?

    • Ross on October 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      I live 20 miles west of the Cross House.

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