Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adding some chaos to the mix...

Really wonderful things are happening lately!
We got a new front door which is absolutely beautiful. Our new slider in the dining room was installed as well - it is so nice to have a door that seals and locks there. What a difference in the temperature!

Today, the electrical is being made functional - outlets and switches are going in as well as light bulbs and trim for the ceiling lighting. We also have our favorite cleaning crew here to help get rid of the drywall dust. By the end of the day, I suspect we won't even recognize the house.

The kitchen cabinets are up and we can really begin to see the kicthen take shape!

We do have a few significant things to do before the family arrives tomorrow. We need a shower curtain rod and a sink in the bath upstairs. I'm not sure we are going to get there. We also need to put the closet doors back on both of the guest rooms. Speaking of guest of them will not be a guest room for very long. As you know we love chaos and what better way to create it than to have another little one?! Yes, we are expecting - and the due date is the same as Peanuts was - imagine that!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh my aching...everything!

We have been working hard this weekend. What else is new, right? Our most exciting event is that we installed our new Caroma dual flush toilet in the hall bath upstairs, and put the bathroom door back on so we could actually use it! So far, it seems great. It was really easy to install, and we have both tried it out and it works fine. We will need to put some instructions on the top of the tank for guests, so they know which button to choose :) The only issue with the toilet is that it is really long, and we bought two - one for the downstairs bath - which will be too long to allow access to the shower. We need to some up with some solution to that. I've already contacted the company to see if they sent the elongated bowl vs. the round...I think that may be the case. If so, it is an easy fix.

On the kitchen front, the walls are primed and the ceiling is painted (as of about 30 minutes ago!), although there is a little more sanding that the guys will do tomorrow. I'll need to go back and prime/paint once they are done. Honey and I put together the last few cabinets today - we just need to build the drawers now. The plan is for the cabinets to go in this week, but we have another snag. I pulled out one of the cover panels to check the size, and discovered that it is white instead of beech! AHHHHHHH! SO I had to recheck the entire IKEA order again, and it turns out that all of the upper cabinet cover panels are wrong as are the deco strips that hide the under cabinet lights. Another phone call to my buddy Cindy at IKEA was made. Hopefully we can work this out quickly. Maybe these are in stock and I can go pick them up at the store.

We did some trim work too - put a few thresholds in. We framed out a small wall to cover the water main in the guest room closet. It is crazy how the main travels through the house, but the worst part is that it is really loud - sounds like a waterfall whenever the water is turned on or a toilet is flushed. Our guests will be very unhappy in the leaking room. We found some soundproof drywall and are supposed to have a sheet delivered tomorrow. We'll cover it up and make a little access door for the shut off valve. We hope our guests have sweet dreams instead of dreams of rushing rivers.

I'm struggling with insulation and lighting right now. I'd like to do an eco friendly insulation, but it is tempting to go with the cheap and easy pink stuff. I'd also like to move towards LED lighting and away from CFL's and incandescents, but I love dimmer switches (we have them all over the house) and they are not really compatible. There are LED specific dimmer switches, but they look like the MUZAK controls in the office, and I'd have to but a whole lot of them. I think I'll keep researching both options, and probably just start putting LED's wherever I can. Make a slow transition - we can't do everything at once, right?!

I need to stretch. Painting ceiling can take a toll.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We have kitchen walls! Drywall has never been so lovely. The kitchen is walled, taped and plastered, and they will come back tomorrow to sand - we can likely paint this weekend! I am beyond excited about this. The bar wall is built and will be inspected tomorrow, and the outlets, lights and switches will be installed next Wednesday. Cabinets should start going up on Monday - which not only means we are one step closer to a functional kitchen, but I get a living room back and we can unpack all of the boxes laying around. Enjoy the view as much as I did...

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Now I am at the point where every time we finish a project I no longer feel elated. I just know the next project is right around the corner and am trudging ahead to finish that. I think this week will be a big one though, because our kitchen contractor starts tomorrow! I am hopeful that having drywall in the kitchen will make that whole section of the house more pulled together, safe, useful, and, oh yes - warm! It is freezing over there because there is nothing but plywood between us and the sky. I still look at it every day and yearn for skylights. I'm thinking it is still a possibility...

I'd like to clean the living room floor, because you can see under all of the furniture when you walk in the front door, and it is really dusty from all of the work. Sounds simple, but it is not. It is like a domino effect - once the kitchen cabinets go up, more than half the boxes that are all over the house can be unpacked of their dishes and pots and pans. Once that is done, we'll have room to move things around downstairs and finish our painting. Once the painting is done we can put up the artwork that lines the living room walls right now, and once that is up we can clean the living room floor! Seems like everything in this house is like that right now.

We have gotten a lot done this weekend - Honey's mom and a friend of hers came to stay with us and watch Peanut while we worked. We finished the baseboard and quarter round in the hall and the rec room, built a few more cabinets (IKEA did have the second pallet at the warehouse and delivered it yesterday - thank goodness!), and put up some blinds. We had begun to feel like we were in a fishbowl with our big picture window in the rec room where we spend most of our time. The blinds really make it feel cozy and far from any eyes - like people are that curious!

We are hosting Thanksgiving here in a little less than two weeks. I made reservations as our plan B, so should we have no way to cook, we'll still get turkey. Now, I am on to worrying about the number of functional toilets. We have three bathrooms. In the master bath, the toilet and sink are usable, and the shower probably is too, but we have yet to use it as the door leaks and it is really gross and cavelike. The hall bath has a tub, but no other fixtures, and the bath downstairs is fully functional although the toilet is a "hold it down forever and hope it really flushes" model. I am hopeful that our toilets come in this week and we can add a john to the upstairs bath so whoever sleeps in the upstairs guest room doesn't have to go all the way downstairs in the middle of the night to go. We are having some issues with the hall bath sink and counter as well - we have an odd size vanity and so anything we do has to be special order which = expensive and a long wait. We will have to do something though - even if we do plywood with a drop in sink as a temporary solution.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not so very green...

Without a real kitchen, cooking for our little family can be a tad difficult. We are healthy eaters, and I really do cook most meals at home almost every day in our real life. In this efficiency kitchen world, eating well has become really hard, and we have entered the world of processed and packaged food. I am astounded by the options in the grocery store - and I am talking Giant as my beloved Trader Joe's has little we can prepare easily right now. I am awed by aisles of boxes with "express" and "steam in the bag" and "no cook" written on them. It really took me about an hour to shop today because I am not used to the size of a Giant, nor am I versed in all of the types of microwavable and just add hot water meals, so I had to do a lot of label reading. The cost is astronomical as well. I am always amazed that I can get out of Trader Joe's with good fresh foods for the whole week for about $100. Now I am even more amazed as I spent well over that today and probably have enough for three or four days tops. Not to mention that little of it is fresh. Oh we have fruit and all, but storing salads in this mini fridge is hard, and trying to do real cooking in a toaster is tough too. We had microwave lasagna tonight - not horrid, but not fabulous either. I am a little concerned with the amount of sodium and MSG we are taking in with our Chinese and Thai microwave noodle meals, and little tubs of fruit or jello. I am also keenly aware of the amount of packaging we are tossing. I took for granted that most of our trash was compostable. We now fill up a kitchen bag every few days because of our high volume of boxes and tubs, and plastic wrappers. I am feeling not so green today and wishing for a real kitchen and real food.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy

Today was much more productive and fun than we had anticipated! Our IKEA trip went well -somehow we had really calm and helpful people on hand today. The consensus is that the shipping company only sent one pallet and still has the other one at the warehouse. A really wonderful manager (who helped me in the end last visit) is following up for us. We hope to have the rest of our kitchen shipped this week. We also got our 10% off that we should have gotten when we originally made our purchase, so that's always nice to have money back on the credit card. We made a day of it - had lunch at the store and shopped around for bookcases and desks while we were there. I had no idea they had such great food - I had salmon - yes I said salmon - yes at IKEA - and it was excellent! Peanut enjoyed her fruit cup at luch and listened to a Santa looking guy play the guitar.

When we got home, Honey hit the yard - and really seemed to make no headway with his little rake. It was a little distressing to watch, but we went out to join him and play. Peanut LOVED walking and jumping in the leaves - her smiles were ear to ear and the piles were way bigger than her! Our neighbors couldn't help but notice our plight - first one came by and loaned us a leaf blower. Then our next door neighbor came with his huge leaf vac/chipper/shredding machine and just tore it up! It was amazing - in an hour or so the whole yard was cleaned up! By tomorrow morning I'm sure we'll have a new leaf carpet though - one of the trees has yet to lose all of its leaves.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - our neighbors are great. We hung out at one of their houses for a while this evening around a fire pit while folks roasted marshmallows. We had another neighbor stop by yesterday to introduce herself and bring us a little cake! How sweet! And she has a daughter who babysits - I've already got her number:). I'm looking forward to getting to know all these people better and having them here when we are more put together.

This evening, we finished another section of the cork flooring by the stairs. It looks so warm and it feels so nice to stand on. We hope to have the whole lower level floor done by Tuesday. Speaking of which - Honey has off on Veterans Day! This new company really does things right.

So my favorite thing of late is my new washer. We got a high efficiency top loading washer and we have done several loads of regular wash in it which have been fine - easier than before but nothing earth shattering. I like that you can choose your settings and times and all - really customize it. Washing diapers in this washer has been a gift from heaven! Peanut uses cloth diapers and we have always washed them at home - never used a service. Well - I think it has never been easier or cleaner to do this! I can set it up to do a soak, and then it does a "super wash" with a sanitation cycle and an extra rinse. I used to have to do three separate wash cycles to get this all done, and now I can do it in only one or two AND they are cleaner, AND we are using way less water! The things that make me happy - sometimes I wonder...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This and That

When you are looking at homes to buy and see beautiful trees, please remember the fall. We did not think about this at all, and we now have the most leaves continuously falling that I think I have ever seen! They are all over our front yard, so you can't even see what a nice job mowing Honey has done, and are covering the sidewalk too. Our gutters were cleaned last week and already are filled up with the most gorgeous yellow leaves. We wouldn't trade these trees, but we certainly did not consider the tools or time it would cost! Off to borrow some rakes and a leaf blower from the neighbors before we splurge on our own.

We have been living here for a little over a week now, and we have a functional bathtub, two working toilets, and a little kitchen efficiency downstairs. We are hoping to have work start on rebuilding our kitchen by the end of next week. We have hired a green building contractor to do our drywall and hang the cabinets as well as lay the flooring and help with the countertop measure and ordering process. We can't wait to get started as we'd like to have Thanksgiving here, but we are preparing for plan B. Here is what our kitchen currently looks like -

Today we made a horrific discovery. We were building our IKEA kitchen cabinets and realized that a) our initial order was wrong b) we did not get what was on our initial order, and c) we are missing some very important parts of our kitchen (doors, the sink base...) and have lots of extra stuff we don't need (two extra pantry cabinets and a zillion 12" base cabinets). I've already called them and left a message but we plan on going there tomorrow first thing and trying to figure it all out. It just doesn't even match at all - the receipts are different from the original order and the packing slip is accurate for what we got - we just got the wrong stuff! Oh - another day at IKEA that I'm sure will be really entertaining.

We do have a few rooms that are starting to come together, though. The rec room is looking pretty good - just needs a little quarter round and we are done there. Our bedrooms are pretty well set, and the bathroom in the upstairs hall is starting to look more like a bathroom and less like a closet with a tub. We got the vanity in, and just need to install the sink top and toilet. We did decide to do the Caroma dual flush thanks to a comment on this blog! Hopefully it will work out for us - we should get it next week I think.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ah Verizon, how I have missed you!

As you can see, I have been a little out of touch lately! We had our internet, phone and TV all set up just before we moved in and though all was well with the world. Last Wednesday, our old systems got shut down, and we were all set to re point our email addresses and transfer our phone line, until...
Monday when we were told that in order to re point the emails, our old DSL account and new FIOS account needed to be in the same name. Well, Honey had set up the new account when we had our division of labor, so the names were not the same. Verizon can't have two people on an account - that would be crazy. So we had to cancel the service and have it disconnected and then do a new order for service in my name. OY! Of course, it took about three hours on the phone with them to figure out that was what needed to happen. And then another several calls each day since then to follow up. Finally this afternoon we have all systems go (although, our email addresses still do not work - I was told to give it 24 hours and then call back!).

So I am back on the blog and have a lot to catch up on. The short story is that we are working hard and are very tired! More to come...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A little slice of heaven!

We are in! While it is total chaos, and we are still trying to find a towel of toothpaste, we are so glad to be here. Yesterday morning I took a walk with crazy dog and Peanut and it was so wonderful waving to the neighbors (and them waving back!) and just enjoying our new space. It made me think of a song "Another Day In Paradise" - it's country - I know - a little corny - but here it is We just got our hot water on yesterday, and we have a little makeshift kitchen, but we are here and together and so happy I could just cry!