Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on the Update

Did I say the shower would be finished by the end of the weekend??? I meant, the end of TODAY!!!!

Our contractor was able to come back yesterday and install the rest of the tile, now he just has to wipe and seat the grout. Eric will install the showerhead and thingy that turns on the water (under contractor's guidance), and then we'll have a shower. Now, just keep your fingers crossed that it actually works and we don't crash though the ceiling into the kitchen.

I didn't mention one other project we're hoping to do in the last update--a deck. Right now, we have just a little stoop off the back door, purposefully kept little because we're going to move that door during the kitchen remodel. I'm thinking that if we're able to find a nice door on sale, we may just go ahead and move it--would be pretty easy, I think, as there's no plumbing or electric in the wall where we'd put the new door, and we have plenty of siding left over to put over the hole for the old door. We'll see, I guess.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We got the extra tiles for FREE! Sweet. As it turned out, we had miscalculated in the beginning. Still no reason why it took a month for 6 tiles to get to us, but all in all, this worked out okay. Our contractor is coming back on Friday, so barring any disasters, we should have a working shower in the guest bathroom by the end of the weekend!!! HOORAY!!!!!!

I guess protocol is that whoever did your plumbing has to come back and install the shower head and knob that turns on the water. As we've got an unofficial restraining order against our old contractor (as in, if I ever see him again, regardless of where we are, I will go batshit crazy on him), we're enlisting a friend of our new guy.

So, taxes are done. We're getting back about $8K with the new homeowner tax credit. SWEET! I think our next projects will be:

  • Beadboard ceiling for the attic - Under the premise of "needing to insulate", Eric totally destroyed the attic. As of now, he's put the baffles in under the insulation, because HA!, whoever did this before had neither soffit vents or any sort of venting system to get the hot air out of the peak of the roof, hence the 110 degree temps up there in the summer... We bought a solar attic fan for up there, as well, so we'll need to get that installed on the room. We're just going to go with the pre-cut sections of beadboard, paint them white, and screw them up there. Will look nicer than drywall for a fraction of the price.

  • New carpet for bedrooms and attic - I mentioned a couple months ago that our current carpet situation was starting to wear on my psyche. We've got very limited carpet in the house, which is nice, but what we do have is absolutely disgusting. So much so that I have to sort of suspend my instincts when walking upon it in anything less than tennis shoes. It will be delightful to have new clean carpet. I'm thinking a neutral color, maybe with a pattern? If we were smart, we'd go with black carpet to hide the dog hair, but that would be ridiculous.

  • Carpet runner for stairs and foyer - We went to a Progressive Dinner in our neighborhood last month. Our neighborhood is full of really neat old houses that people have really brought back. One was an old Victorian over on Delaware that particularly impressed us. The owner had laid this great runner down the stairs with those neat little rods to hold it in place. So that's what we're going to do. We're also going to extend it from the front door to the kitchen. I didn't realize how inconvenient it is to not have a mudroom or little foyer to put your shoes and coats until this winter, when I've gone through at least 3 bottles of Swiffer Wet Jet floor solution cleaning up all the bootmarks and salty pawprints.

  • Refinish the hardwood throughout the house - Oh, our hardwoods are delightful, and original! They've been through a lot, though. They're nailed down, every 4 inches or so, and someone in their infinite wisdom used a beltsander against the grain of the wood, so there are some black marks around the nails. It also looks like someone spilled a can of stain and didn't bother to wipe it up. Anyway, we're going to do some surgery and replace the couple boards that are bad, sand it all down, and then stain a darker color to hide the burn marks and spill. If I could do the whole house again, I think I'd go with a charcoal undertone--I think that looks so cool--but that doesn't match the other woodwork, so we'll just go with a dark brown.

  • New fireplace tiles - Ugh. I thought this was going to be one of the first things we'd get done. When we bought the house, the fireplace had this gross faux brick tile, and honestly, I don't think it was ever even cemented to the backer. Pieces were falling out, so one day, I just decided to tear out the whole thing. That was about 5 months ago, and I've had a bare, ugly fireplace since. We're going to go with a nice neutral green color, I think, and once Big Sweetie has completed the built-ins, the whole thing will look something like this, minus the big-screen and stained glass:

  • Master bath: Our master bath is totally weird. It's HUGE, for one thing, but is oddly shaped and even more oddly-laid out. When we bought the house, the master had a teeny-tiny little shower--one of those pre-fab things, and it looked ridiculous. Now, in retrospect, we probably should have kept that shower there for a while, used it, and not had to traipse up to the attic every morning, but that is neither here nor there at this point. When the contractors took out the old shower, we had them build a very large stall, more fitting the size of the room. So, we'll have our new contractor do the pan, and I think we'll try our hand at tiling. We'll do the shower, a new floor (currently slate--in a bathroom???), and there's a Jacuzzi tub (which works!) that is tiled in, too, so we'll replace that stuff. Our closet is basically carved out of the bathroom space, and is pretty small, so Eric's going to move the closet door into the bathroom, and extend the closet walls a bit. This will also mean we'll have a window in the closet, so it'll be more like a dressing room. Sweet.

So, there's my wishlist for the time being. I hope it translates into reality.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I just received word that our tiles, all 6 of the standard, white subway tile with a bullnose edge that somehow took more than a month to travel from wherever they were manufactured to Indianapolis, have arrived at the store. Actually, Eric called the store manager to complain, and the guy checked and said, "oh yeah, we can get those right away." Eric said, "How soon?" and the guy said, "I've got them in my hand." So either this was fate that we called today, or our salesman was a total incompetent. I'm guessing the latter.

Yeah, you'd better believe we're getting 75% off those tiles. Ridiculous.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tax Day!

As I've mentioned before, I'm actually looking forward to getting our taxes done this year. As first-time homebuyers, we're qualified for a $7,500 tax credit! Whoop! Plus, I seriously doubt we will have any liability at all, what with the copious student loan and mortgage interest we paid last year. I have tried to figure out (okay, I looked online for about 5 minutes) whether people without liability, ie, getting a refund, still get the credit ON TOP of the refund. So, if I was going to get a $2,500 refund, would I get a check for $10K?? Because that would be awesome. AWESOME. 

Anyway, we're evaluating where we stand. Given the economy and my general paranoia about everything from recessions to zombie attacks, we're going to avoid using any of our savings. Plus, we're 90% out of credit card debt now, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside...

Sidebar: I just saw a commercial of pets singing about being too far away from their parents--it was about Bounce dryer sheets with pet hair repellent. I need some of those. And I need to wipe the entire house down with them. 

Anyway! Like I said, we're evaluating. Even if we're just using the credit, I could do some major damage with $7,500. The question is whether we attack one big project (the kitchen) or a bunch of small ones. I figure we could finish the following:
  • Master bath (shower build out and tile)
  • Fireplace tile
  • Built-ins on the fireplace
  • Floors refinished
  • Deck
  • Maybe new carpet??
But I really want a new kitchen! But it would be very nice to get all these little things done, too.... I guess we'll find out this afternoon!

In other news, the Pix got another bath last night. I don't know how it happened, but she was the stinkiest she's ever been, despite just having a bath a couple weeks ago. She's being uber-annoying right now because Daddy is upstairs sleeping (I got up 2 hours ago--he said he'd be right down) and she SO wants to go wake him up. She's staring at me, making little yipping noises, but she sure looks cute and fuzzy. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

We're Still Here...

Yes, we're here. But our tile isn't... After being promised several times in January that our tile would be shipped to us by February 10, we still don't have it. Hence, the bathroom is still sitting 99% completed, and Haley is 100% ticked off.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wild Nights, or "Pixie Gets a Bath"

Yes, it's Saturday night and our big plans included bathing the pup and... actually, that's it. We're making a pizza for dinner and will likely finish a bottle of wine. Whooo. 

Today was glorious. Got up to about 55 degrees, and the snow has nearly all melted. It left behind a hot mess in the backyard, though. 

Hence the need for a bath. Pixie is PISSED at me. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shower's Still Not Finished, Or "Haley Hates the Tile Shop"

So, yeah. The shower still isn't finished. I looked longingly at it as I passed to trudge up the 3rd floor stairs to a serviceable, but not cool, working shower. It makes me crazy.

Because we're being frugal (both on purpose and by nature) we ordered only as much tile as we needed. We were either about 6 tiles short, or the shop ran out--I let Eric handle the negotiations with the tile guy, as they were mixing business with football talk, and I just can't deal with that crap. We've now been waiting for a week for 6 white ceramic bullnose tile to arrive. Suckkkkkkkk.

In other news, it has been cold as hell here, and I am just about fed up with winter. I'm not outside nearly as much as I was in Boston, what with the traipsing around town back and forth to work every day. But it seems to me that this winter has been especially hard. Maybe it's because I'm a miser with the gas bill, and we keep the house at 57 degrees. That's what the thermostat is set to, anyway--I think it's calibrated wrong. It CAN'T be 57 degrees in my house, right? Anyway, we recently got on the year-round gas bill thing, and boy, has it been a godsend. Yes, it would be nice to not have a payment at all in the summertime when the gas is off entirely, but an extra couple hundred dollars in the winter months is both nice and necessary. What a racket, though... Eric was talking about doing a woodstove. Which I would love, but I'm kind of nervous about. We're going to have the chimney cleaned and inspected next week, so that will at least let us know if we're providing a nesting spot for any squirrels, and will, I suppose, clarify the feasibility of a woodstove.

This is one of those years where I can't wait to do our taxes. We're poised to get a rather massive refund, what with the move, mortgage, student loan interest, and stimulus plans. This may be the spring of the kitchen! I sure hope so. I've been doing some research (ie, looking at pictures) online and even though when I'm in the store looking at cabinets, I'm drawn to the darker wood, when I'm looking at WHOLE kitchens, I'm really into white cabinets. HOWEVER, we have massive black appliances, which would probably look lame with white cabinets. Mom and Dad, maybe you guys could plan to come down here when we're doing this. I'm going to need some guidance from people who have a sense of style. I have no confidence in my taste anymore. Eric is still good, but he is prone to choosing anything and everything that is Mission-style, which is great, but might not be the perfect fit for this house. Too many decisions.