Saturday, December 12, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Digression: I've spent enough time in the big box home improvement stores over the last 18 months to fall in and out of love several times with each of them. In one post, and another post, I vowed that never again would I go to Lowes. I have broken this vow many many times over, mainly because Lowes is the closest to downtown. Each time we go, I am disappointed, but that never seems to trump the time I have to spend getting to either of the other places. The Depot is like one of those hot-and-cold boyfriends--one date, things are perfect. You're wined and dined and you leave feeling like it's the start of a beautiful relationship. And then the next date, he shows up wearing a mesh t-shirt and a confederate flag handkerchief around his head, and you're like, what the hell just happened? Menards is okay. It's a nicer looking store, and I like that they have candy prominently displayed throughout. However, their selection really isn't that great, and I haven't noticed that their prices are any better than the others. Still, it's the store of choice for the crew at #2021, at least until they do something to piss us off. Which they will.
Anyway, the story is really about beadboard. As you may remember, we decided back in, ummmm, January I think that rather than re-drywalling the ceiling of the attic after the fam helped Eric totally destroy it. We thought that, given the weight of drywall, the height of the attic ceiling, and the fact that ERic would largely be doing this work on his own, that we'd just aviod the hassle and do a beadboard ceiling. Well... We went out and purchased a small forest worth of beadboard, and Eric started putting it up. Then we discovered that none of the rafters were plumb, so Eric went out and bought another small forest worth of furring strips, and then did something with string that I really didn't understand. He made everything line up just right, and then decided to just go ahead and put up the drywall anyway, and then put the beadboard on top of the drywall. This is the story of my life. We think we're landing on a cost- and time-conscious decision, and then end up doing the work required both for that time-conscious decision AND the decision we originally rejected because it either cost too much or took too long.
You may also remember from my descriptions, or know from personal experience, that Eric is not the type to just "get the job done" (I say this with love, as I am totally the type to just get the job done--as I say, together we make up a whole regular brain) He is borderline OCD when it comes to planning, and full-on crazy when it comes to executing his plan (except when we're about 90% done--then he seems to lose interest). The new beadboard ceiling and trimwork in the attic is something to behold. It's amazing. My Big Sweetie has turned into quite a little carpenter.
The point: the beadboard ceiling and trim are spectacular, and may almost be worth the 9 months we've spent messing with this project. It's going to look SO good, but... it's going to take a heck of a long time to paint.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I have blogged in the past about our somewhat antagonistic relationship with our neighbors. I wish them no ill will, and I understand that a "transitional" neighborhood, by definition, will include homes that are in some state of disrepair (or, let's be honest, should be condemned). Our neighbor to the north is approximately 174 years old, appears to survive on soda, cigarettes and pot, and lives alone, though her daughter visits daily, and they have daily arguments about any variety of issues. These arguments invariably take place on the front porch. Neighbor spends the rest of her time picking up leaves, helicopter seeds, and blades of grass from her lawn--individually. While bent over at the waist and wearing a house coat. You can see the danger this poses on a windy day. The yard is so picked clean, it can grow no grass. Ahh, the irony.
Anyway, she's old, almost certainly has dementia, and in general, leaves us alone, except for the half dozen or so times she's accused us of stealing her broom or rake or porch furniture. We can handle it.
However, last week, Eric was out on the deck doing whatever he does, and heard a scratching noise. Neighbor's soffits are hanging by a thread--literally. They're vinyl, which I'm sure is a violation of the Historical Preservation Commission (one of my colleagues at work calls it the Historical Persecution Commission--ha). Eric stops what he's doing and takes a look around, and sees a possum--a huge possum--emerging from the soffit.
It's my understanding the possums are nocturnal animals. If this possum was so bold as to come out in the middle of the day while someone was making noise nearby, I can't imagine what else is brewing up there in her attic. We've seen birds, dozens of squirrels, and mice making their homes in her house. I draw the line at a possum.
So, Eric and another neighbor put out some humane traps to catch this guy. Of course, nutty neighbor to the north stole the traps. We've spoken to the daughter, who, by all accounts, should be made a saint, except for the fact that she lets her old, dementia-afflicted mother live by herself in a 4,000 square foot home that is literally falling apart. She had a concerned look on her face, but a blank look in her eyes. I doubt this will bring about any change.
My issue is whether to be an understanding neighbor, or to do what I really want to do and call the city and force them to make the fixes. I take no joy in being "that person"--anyone who lives in a historic district knows at least one person who has way too much time on his or her hands and goes around reporting people for minor issues. But in this case, I'm just going to do it.
In other news, and I know I've said this before, Eric is nearly finished with the attic. We should be able to start painting tomorrow. We're going to paint all the beadboard and trim white, and will probably do a nice sage green for the walls. Then, it's nursery time. As I mentioned our progress, or lack thereof to my mom the other day, she said, "Eric doesn't have a timebomb ticking away in his tummy." No, he doesn't, but as more and more of our time is spent either at the doctors office, on the way to the doctors office, or doing some other form of preparation for this child, I think it's starting to hit him that we don't have a lot of time to get things done. We're kicking it into high gear.
We're also taking the dogs to get groomed this week. At this point, it's an expense I really don't want to make, but it became glaringly obvious this morning as Eric hugged Yogi and came away with half a dozen clumps of hair stuck to his shirt that something has got to give. We've attempted to preserve Yogi's fragile male ego while grooming in the past and just stuck to trimming his feathers. No more. Dude is getting SHAVED. I don't care if he looks stupid.
Note: I'm entering a contest. Check it out: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/blog/announcing-old-house-blogger-contest/
"Love writing about home renovations as much as doing actual home renovations? Got a home improvement-related blog post or story you’re especially proud of? Enter it in the Old House Web Blogger Contest for a chance to win a $250 Lowe’s gift certificate and the opportunity to be a paid contributor to the Old House Blog.
Five finalists will be selected by our judging panel and a synopsis of their posts will be published on the OldHouseWeb blog (with links to original posts). Visitors to the OldHouseWeb.com will be able to rate and comment on the finalists. The judging panel will then select a winner based on the highest ratings and the above the criteria. The winner will be awarded $250 and an opportunity to become a paid contributing blogger on OldHouseWeb.com.“
If you like my blog and feel so inclined, go to the link above and leave a comment "voting" for me. We could use a Lowes gift card (new nursery ceiling!!!), and we certainly have enough houseblog material to last a lifetime...
Thanks to everyone!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
We are finally starting to make some progress again. The downstairs half-bath is finished! New pedestal sink is installed, thanks to some hard work by Big Sweetie. We anticipated a pretty easy installation, but instead (of course) had to do a bunch of plumbing, including installing a p-curve (is that what it's called?)--that thing that traps water in a curve so gas doesn't come up out of the sink? Yeah, anyway, our old sink didn't have that, which explains why every once in a while it would smell kind of funny in the bathroom. I just figured, when that happened, that I'd followed one of Eric's visits too quickly. Anyway, it looks great. We just need to hang the mirror, and maybe find a small rug for the floor.
Eric is still working hard on the attic ceiling, and despite claims that he needs yet more wood (we could build a whole new house with the amount of wood he's already used up there), I think he'll be done relatively quickly. He was even talking about painting and installing a stair rail. And fixing the steps (which are held together by the carpet and are a source of irritation for my mom--I don't blame her). Once the attic walls and ceilings are done, we're renting a dumpster and doing some major demo, including a couple ceilings, all of the grossness that is our current carpet, and all the other crap we've managed to accumulate over the last year. Then new ceilings and new carpet.
Since the "big goal" in my mind has been to get to the new carpet phase of my life, I haven't thought too far ahead in terms of what comes next. Obviously, kitchen is the elephant in the room, but we need to do some major saving for that, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to hold off on doing anything until we save enough for the kitchen, because it'll be a long time. So, there are a couple other options:
- Finish the dining room. As you may know, this room was completely and totally gutted during our initial demo because of some water damage. We have brand new walls and a ceiling that was unfortunately sponged against our wishes, but we wanted the contractor out of our house so badly that we just dealt with it. I have since painted it a pumpkin-y color that I absolutely hate, and even worse, I did it in a semi-gloss. With our neighbor's red house reflecting light into that room, it's like freaking Kenny Roger's Roasters in there (remember from Seinfeld?). The plan is to do some alternating paint and fabric panels, separated by trim. VERY simple trim. Eric gets carried away with trim very easily. I've got something in my head for the fabric/wallpaper, but I'm not sure it exists in real life. That is one of the many reasons I'm thankful for my parents, who not only have great taste, but do this sort of thing for a living.
- Refinish the floors. This would have a bigger impact on our house than nearly anything else we could do, seeing as we have wood floors throughout, except the bedrooms, and they aren't looking great at all right now. However, I'm not sure I want to do this until we're sure we're done painting for a while. And until we're sure we're not going to be moving a bunch of heavy things through the house. I suppose my choice is pretty clear huh?
Anyway, in other news, baby is doing well. I can feel him or her kicking around in there every once in a while, mainly after dinner, and especially if I've eaten something not particularly good for me, like a meatball sub. S/he went NUTS after one of those last week. I felt a very small kick on the outside last night, but Eric hasn't caught one yet, and I think he's growing dejected. It's still a bit early, so I suppose he can just wait it out. I am officially, as of tomorrow, halfway through. That is nothing short of weird for me. I feel like I just found out myself. Now, all of a sudden, I'm massive, fully into maternity clothes (except for empire waist dresses and some skirts--thank goodness for the Bella Band) and January doesn't seem so far away anymore...
Heading up north this weekend to visit the fam, and Abby is throwing me a shower, which should be great. I always look forward to being in Roscommon. I wish someone would invent a teleportation device so I could LIVE there and WORK here. That would be awesome. Teleportation would totally be my superpower if I could pick one.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Anyway, everything's good around here. Saw the baby on the ultrasound this week. S/he looks like an angry little alien. Seriously. So angry that I almost didn't hang the pictures on the fridge.
House projects have stalled, but will pick up again this weekend. We went out and got a new pedestal sink for the half bath that matches the trim color. We'll also will eventually buy a new toilet in a lovely "biscuit" color, but that's eventually. We got a nice new light fixture, TP holder, faucet and towel rack, too. Wahoo!
Eric WILL finish the attic ceiling sometime within the next 10 days. I'm hoping he's reading this.
At that point, we'll soldier ahead with the ceilings in the guest bedroom (somewhat ruined by rain from a freak storm that blew through here several weeks ago and demonstrated a previously unknown gap between the window and wall...) and the baby's room. Instead of drywall, we're going to go with the decorative ceiling panels, which should be much cheaper and MUCH easier to install by ourselves. Plus, it'll look great. Eventually, we're tearing out all of the ceilings in this house, which for some reason are all sponged plaster. They must have been replaced in the 80s. Ugh.
In other news, Marion County has released its 2008 home assessments, which will be the basis of our upcoming property tax bills (due October and April/May). Here's the situation... Marion County is a ridiculous place, and is in the process of catching up on several back years of property taxes. Our first year in the house, we did not pay property taxes. The bank paid them, because we bought as a foreclosure and as a closing contingency, we did not want to pay taxes for a year in which we didn't live in/own the home. Immediately upon moving here, we filed for our homestead and mortgage exemptions, and filed for an assessment appeal. And were told that that appeal will take at least 18 months. Ahem... So our assessment for this last property tax bill that we had to pay in July, for our house that we bought for $139,900, was $360,000. WHAT!!????!!! Plus no exemptions because it's the first year, plus no appeal... Let's just say that this little bill put our kitchen plans on the back burner for at least six months.
Anyway, the good news is that our assessment has been revised down to $219K--still more than what the house is worth, but a more reasonable figure--our exemptions are kicking in, and the property tax caps that the legislature has been talking about for such a long time are finally working. We should not get completely and utterly screwed once again. PHEW!!! I don't mind paying taxes. In fact, when I notice my nice newly paved sidewalks, functioning sewer system, and running water, I'm happy for them. However, sometimes things just don't work. This past bill was one of those times.
I am very much looking forward to a visit from my darling Ashie and her sidekick/doggie Banjo. They're coming down this weekend from Chicago. We're planning a very low-key weekend that should involve a lot of dog walking, going to Target, eating, and, as always happens when we're in close proximity, giggling. Ash and I worked together at ANF in Boston, and shared an office. We got a ton of work done, but I tell you, if you'd put two less intrisically-motivated people with lots in common and a shared love of singing Chicago songs to each other in the same office, the results would not be the same. She's my special girl, and I can't wait!
Monday, August 10, 2009
This is one of the best and worst things about being pregnant. When I know what I want, I REALLY want it and feel justified in eating it (because the baby told me so). But I also feel as though I must MUST have it, creating drama when I can't have it. And often, by the time I get it, I don't want it anymore (evidence: the three containers of cottage cheese in my refrigerator).
I've had such a weird relationship with food these last several months. Couldn't stand to see it, smell it, let alone eat it for the first 12 weeks. I survived on Claussen pickles, saltine crackers, and copious Freezer Pops. I also went through a brief love affair with rotisserie chicken. I was at the grocery store, smelled it, bought it, and fell upon it ravenously when I got home. I did the same thing the following day, got it home and couldn't even look at it. Same thing with cole slaw a couple times, and potato salad. Anyway, I'm past that now, and eating whatever I can get my hands on except for meat.
So, in the immortal words of Westley from The Princess Bride, it appears as though we are at an impasse. I have no Rice Krispie Treats, or means to make or get them for quite a while. It will also require that I stop at the store, and invest the money and time to get the materials and make the Treats. Will I still want them? That is a chance I think I'm willing to take.
In other pregnancy news, I may be feeling the first little flutters--quickening, if you will. There is definitely something going on down there. Either this kid is going to be a sprinter or I'm responding poorly to the pound of salad I ate for lunch (still hungry). Whichever it is, it's made for an interesting afternoon.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Rest assured that virtually no progress has been made on the house in those two weeks, with the exception of some woodwork on the deck--pillars, railing, etc. I am very much enjoying the deck, but I am starting to resent the amount of Eric's time that it is taking. After all, I don't live on the deck--I live in a master suite without a toilet or a shower. And dammit, it's supposed to be sunny and nice all week, so no forced inside days either. Phooey.
Anyway, despite the lack of progress, we are gearing up for some big projects, the largest being new carpet for all of the bedrooms and the upstairs attic. I can't wait. It will be nice to lay down on the carpet with the puppies and not feel repulsed. Yogi is a shedding fool, and is loosing hair in clumps, while the Pix just lays down a fine layer of black hair wherever she goes. The combination is lethal. We picked up an entire vaccum cleaner canister just from an 8x10 rug the other day. And we'd just swept the day before. Disgusting.
Pix and I just got back from a lovely weekend in Northern Michigan. It was a bit chilly, so there was no beach or swimming--just as well, as every crazy person in Michigan descended upon Higgins Lake with their firecrackers, flag t-shirts, and mullets. I don't want to sound like a snob, but Dad and I went to the grocery store, and we just looked at each other with wide eyes. Got to the car, and we said, "Who are these people and what are they doing in my town?" It's like an up-north version of the 500 festival. Yikes.
Meanwhile, work is nuts, but that is a good thing. A state budget passed at the last minute means no mandatory unpaid vacation for Haley. Wahoo! I'm all about the vacation, but not so much with the unpaid part. I've got property taxes to pay...
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
- Removed approximately 250 linear feet of trim (which is still on the floor)
- Removed nails from 250 linear feet of trim
- Ripped plaster lathe and insulation from two rooms
- Insulated and drywalled two rooms
- Scrubbed drywall off of floors in kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer and upstairs hallway after contractors didn't put down a dropcloth
- Fixed 9 splits in copper piping
- Got a new water heater
- Removed tub, vanity and shower stall from guest and master bathrooms
- Build the frame for new shower stalls in guest and master bathrooms
- Painted the kitchen, dining room, living room, foyer (twice), hallway with 25 foot ceilings, master bath (twice), master bedroom (twice), guest bedroom, guest bathroom, third bedroom (twice), bookshelves, fence (now decrepit)
- Tiled, trimmed guest bathroom, and made a new shower
- Removed carpet and ceiling from the attic
- Replaced the ceiling with awesome beadboard
- Insulated the entire attic space
- Built a fence around the backyard
- Built a stoop, soon to be replaced by a real deck
- Replaced the roof
- Replaced all the rotten siding around the house
- Painted the house
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009