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Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Obama

Thank you so much for the generous housewarming gift! It was very stimulating. You'll be pleased to know that it's already been earmarked for various projects around our new house, and we're sure our local contractors recommended by ServiceMagic thank you as well. We have a feeling you'll ask us to pay you back in the next few years, but the timing couldn't be any better for us!
Yes We Can (Renovate This House),
Steven & LT

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On The Inside Looking Out

Today's stunningly beautiful evening sky, looking out our bedroom window:


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Psychedelic Bedroom

Good news: I've finally worked out the right method for removing the wallpaper adhesive from our horse hair plaster walls, and I've even successfully fiddled with joint compound to get a feel for skim coating. (Kind of fun actually, like icing a giant flat cake.)

Bad news: It's going to take a lot longer to get that room done than I originally thought. Not only do I have to remove the wallpaper adhesive, which is slow going, but I need to repair some cracks and significant holes before I can then skim coat, prime, paint.

Here's a shot of my joint compound test. I was pretty pleased with the results, and enjoy imagining how the room will look with 4 freshly skim coated walls.
In other news: We've temporarily moved into another bedroom. Steven had had enough of the twin-air-mattress-in-the-living-room set up, and decided we should just wipe this room down with Murphy's Oil Soap and set up our bed. I initially resisted, thinking we should wait until we have a fully-renovated bedroom available, but joined the clean-up effort anyways.

When I started wiping down the dusty walls, the weirdest thing happened--the wallpaper pattern dissolved and smeared as soon as water touched it. Now, this wallpaper is really old...and seems as if someone took a brown paper bag from the grocery store, painted it with chalk-based paint, and left it out in the sun for 75+ years.
Add water, and you have blurry, psychedelic wall decor:
Let me just say this for the record: I am a foolish woman with a very smart husband. Living upstairs, in a bedroom, with a real bed, is SO much better. It's only temporarily thrown together...mattress & boxspring, bedframe, bedside table, and 1 dresser...but it's such an upgrade!
Good call, Steven. Good call.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And We Are Back Online...

Woo-hoo! We are reconnected to the modern world--the cable company came by today to hook up our internet, cable, and landline. Funny how the latter 2 represent a major shift for us...we haven't had cable since May '08, and a landline since...college? Yup, settling right in.

And (bonus!)-we are apparently getting a free Dell Netbook as part of the Comcast Triple Play promotion. No idea if we get to pick a color...but if we do, I'm loving the blue one! And the red one...

Okay, where to begin? Ah, yes--WE HAVE MOVED INTO OUR NEW HOUSE!

Moving was a trip! When a certain die-hard family member (cough*KEVIN*cough) suggested that we pack and move everything on Friday night, Steven and I initially balked...but 2 minutes later Steven had that crazy look in his eye and, well, we pulled an all-nighter, packed every last worthwhile belonging (as well as tons of JUNK) into the UHaul, and set off for our new home. We arrived at our house at 4 a.m., went to sleep at 5:20 a.m., and started unloading the truck about 5 hours later! Luckily, Steven's bros and dad were around to help us...otherwise we might still be packing! ;)

After a week+ of living here, I can honestly say it's great. Primitive and disorderly, but awesome nonetheless. I still can't believe we're in our own house!

More updates coming up soon...but for now, any guesses as to what this plant is?:
Steven went all Tarzan on a HUGE weed near the foundation, and this guy got caught in the crossfire. Apparently "a little pruning" and elimination of competition was just what it needed, because it's been growing like crazy since then. Nice, huh? But it'd be even better if we knew what it was!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

MOVING!!! :)

Biggest news...we're moving on Saturday!

The house is nowhere near being ready for normal living (read: we'll be camping out in the parlor for a while), but we're just so eager to start living there full time. It's been so difficult to be an hour away from our new house all week...we just want to BE there!

While we're technically renting our apartment until 9/19, our landlords had a showing last night, and the prospective tenants were definitely interested. It would be GREAT if they could rent it out early. (Bring on the refund!)

And in other news...
Auctioneer. So it turns out that we don't have any amazing hidden treasures, a la Antiques Roadshow, among the contents of the house. Definitely some value, but more of the "hundred bucks here, fifty bucks there" type. And since the auctioneers we spoke to take anywhere from 25-40% commission, it's definitely better for us to sell the stuff we don't want via ebay, craigslist, and a yard sale. We've also been contacted by relatives of the previous owner that are interested in purchasing some of the furniture, so we'll see how that works out.

Last Weekend. Priority #1 was to prep an area for the washer and dryer in the basement. Since there's already plumbing down there for a utility sink, the obvious location for the washer/dryer was right next to it, smack-dab in the middle of a monstrous obsessively-built cedar closet. So we demo'd that, leaving the back and bottom to use as the washer/dryer station. With a little quick trim work, it'll actually look pretty okay. And we snagged a used dryer off of craigslist for $50, so we're all set for the electrician and plumber to do their respective things.
Our bedroom is coming along, but I gotta say...stripping wallpaper backing is a rewardless job. It's tedious and time-consuming, with no satisfying visual impact. The walls still look dirty whitish and crappy, whether it's covered in whitish paper (back wall in pic below) or stripped down to the plaster (right wall on pic below). Unfortunately, I'm not going to get any significant visual reward until these walls get skim coated and painted.
To get a mental break from the wallpaper drudgery, I went out to the garden to play. First I did some weeding and pruning around the row of peonies. Then I checked out the rose of sharon, which is in full bloom:Much to my delight, the whole thing was abuzz with honeybees! I'm quite sure I haven't seen any ALL year, and I've been keeping an eye out, since there's quite a bit of hype about their disappearance. (If you're interested, check out the 60 Minutes report: Part1 and PartII)
On Sunday, Steven worked on framing the new wall between the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen. It's pretty much done and we've selected most of the fixtures, so we're nearly ready for the plumbing and electrical work for this project as well.
And lastly, here's a shot of one of the beautiful flowers that Steven's parents planted in the flowerpots on the frontporch. Luckily it's been a pretty wet summer, so they're flourishing despite not having everyday care.
But that won't be an issue after this weekend! :) :) :)