The energy upgrade project is done! I've signed the final paperwork, had the electrical inspection, the works. The house is now fully insulated -- walls, attic, crawlspace, pipes and ductwork -- and the oil furnace is gone, replaced by a heat pump. That's one major goal accomplished!
Now comes the part where I pay for it, of course, which is less exciting. I did this whole thing through a local incentive program, Community Power Works, that hooks homeowners up with rebates and financial incentives for reducing their energy usage. The whole rebate/incentive package knocked about $6,000 off the cost of the upgrades, and they got me a low-rate loan for the rest. But it's still debt, which I hate carrying (I had been completely debt-free for a few years before I got a mortgage to buy the house) -- the early part of a big loan, where your payments are more interest than principal, is the worst. Obviously I need to write some popular novels so I have a second income stream that I can just pour into loan payoff.