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Friday, September 18, 2009


Okay, we're officially living the high life--we have a dishwasher! :)

Steven deserves a standing ovation on this one, as he spearheaded the effort. He found a used dishwasher for $60 on Craigslist (it was one of those "it works fine, we just wanted to switch to stainless appliances" castoffs.) Then he installed it all himself! Because we were just adding the dishwasher to an existing kitchen, this meant that he had to:

-Upgrade the outlet to a GFCI.
-Replace the dishwasher's electrical plug, since it had been cut off when it was removed from its previous home.
-Tap in to the existing plumbing under the kitchen sink, for both the water source and the drain.
-Construct some kind of structure around it, and something resembling a counter above it.

Here's a BEFORE shot:
And here's the AFTER:
Steven salvaged some cabinet materials leftover from his demo work to construct the little cabinet to the left of the dishwasher, and picked up a piece of butcher block from IKEA for the top. All in all, I think it's an undeniable upgrade to our "For Now" kitchen, and a prime example of Yankee ingenuity!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things I'm Loving Right Now...

This Book. I checked this book out of the library a couple weeks ago, and it quickly became a go-to resource for me. It covers a huge breadth of information, yet it's concise and well-organized. I've already used it to read up on the basics of lawn care, growing raspberries, caring for roses, and pruning rhododendrons. To make it even better, this Reader's Digest publication employs organic gardening methods only. Definitely a must-have book for my future home library.This Treat. My loyalty to Dunkin Donuts was completely squashed when my girl Brenda brought Honey Dew Donuts to our yard sale a couple weeks ago. OMG, Honey Dew, where have you been all my life? Their coffee is just as good as DD's, but the Dew Drops (accurately described as "fantastic little orbs of deliciousness" on their website) blow DD's Munchkins out of the water. Hopefully this is just a fleeting infatuation...my waistline does not need this to be a long term affair!
This Product. There's been a lot of hype lately about using vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda as affordable, eco-friendly household cleaners. While I love the idea of it, I just can't get myself to jump on that wagon--I need fresh-smelling SUDS, people! Enter Dr. Bronner's biodegradable soaps. Steven and I have already been using "Bronner's" for bathing while camping, or using the outdoor shower at the Maine house, for years. But after reading the suggestion in Real Simple magazine, I decided to try a mixture of Bronner's and baking soda to clean the used dishwasher we just bought. It worked great, smelled great, and won me over. Give it a shot! (We love the lavender scented one!)


Crunch Time

Time to put the full court press on the bathroom renovation! Steven's ACL reconstruction surgery is exactly 2 weeks from today, and our tenant is moving in the weekend before--as in, 11 days from now--so we really need to get that 2nd bathroom up and running asap.

Since I haven't mentioned the tenant thing before, here's the story: Upon hearing that we might actually succeed in buying this house, a friend of Steven's from work just threw it out there and asked if we would be interested in renting him a room. He's a fellow RhodeIslander and he wasn't interested in leasing another apartment in the city, so a casual tenant-at-will situation south of Boston works well for him. For us, it's a smart move...we have plenty of space, and can put the income towards whatever...funding renovations, paying extra on the mortgage, whatever. Plus, I hear he loves to cook. :)

So, back to the bathroom. This is the look we're going for, almost to a T (In fact, we're using this same exact sink, toilet, and mirror, from Kohler's Bancroft series.):
(Image from House Beautiful)
We LOVE this clean, classic look--the chrome, subway tile, octagonal floor tiles--and while it's definitely trendy right now, it's also timeless and appropriate for our early 1900's house. Love it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Family Movie Night

Steven couldn't resist any longer--he hooked up our new fantabulous TV (a housewarming gift from my BIL, Brian, who is definitely spoiling us) on Friday night. While watching The Express the next night, I realized that Steven and I were not the only ones enthralled by the new toy:
No joke, she was actually watching the movie...and yes, that is a normal position for her when she's relaxing. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Staycation, all I ever wanted...

Yup, Steven and I are both off this week! There's so much we want to get done that it's hard to pick something and get going...we've got high hopes, though.

  1. Install the used dishwasher we picked up yesterday. (done)
  2. Have the town plumbing inspector come by and *approve* the rough-in in the downstairs bathroom. (FAILED!)
  3. Have the plumber fix the toilet hookup, which was installed in the wrong orientation.
  4. Finish cleaning the bedroom walls (done), TSP the moldings, patch the holes (done), and skimcoat the whole room.
  5. Maybe even prime the bedroom, and purchase the paint for it. (We want a warm, buttery yellow.)
  6. Get a medicine cabinet for the bathroom, and frame in a box for that, as well as the ceiling fan.
  7. Select and order tile for the bathroom.
  8. Trim the bushes in front of the house.
  9. Plant raspberries. (done)
Look Into:
  1. Replacement windows.
  2. Changing electrical outlets.
  3. Refinishing the floors.
  1. Get front brake pads replaced on the Element. (done)
  2. Get car inspected. (done)
  3. Maybe another yard sale on Saturday? (heck no)
Doesn't seem too bad, does it?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yard Sale

Yesterday's yard sale was a huge success! We had a great turnout, purged a ton of stuff from the house & garage, and made enough money to make a sizable deposit into our Travel 2010 savings account. It's funny--when Steven & I were trying to organize things in the garage on Friday night, we actually felt like we didn't have that much stuff to sell. But on Saturday morning, when we started spreading all of the items down the driveway, we suddenly realized why we had been feeling so overwhelmed...we had been living with what seems like 4 households worth of STUFF. No wonder we felt like we were buried alive at times! ;)

Besides the obvious benefits of clearing out the house & making some dough-dough, the yard sale also ended up being sort of a 'meet & greet' with the community. It was such a pleasant surprise and everyone was so welcoming. It was downright heartwarming. We just felt so...supported. People seemed genuinely happy to see a young couple moving in, who have an appreciation for a nice old house, and intentions to shine 'er up a bit. We met a bunch of people who knew the previous owners, too...and I think one of them is going to be my new BFF. She's a super cute, little old Italian grannie...and she had me laughing out loud. We made loose plans to go out for lunch sometime and I'm really looking forward to it. From what we've seen so far, this town has a special breed of Golden Girl, and it just makes me want to say "now that's a spicy meatball!" :)

There was one hiccup in an otherwise wonderful day--we were blindsided by some disgruntled relatives of the previous owner, who are apparently bitter about being left out of her will and chose to lash out at us. Their behavior was extra shocking considering that I had been contacted by, and communicating quite amicably with, one of them regarding the items they would like from the house. It's fair to say that after their appalling behavior yesterday, the sense of good will I had towards them has been replaced by a decidedly less charitable attitude. Ummm....yeah....don't try to appeal to my sense of family and sentimentality and then come by and disrespect my family and my home. (We're talking about some pretty audacious stuff here.) NOT. GONNA. FLY. As my mom said, it's a good thing because this "defined it". We were a little skeptical about their story of woe, but gave them the benefit of the doubt. Now I can very comfortably send them a "this is what's up" email, and never deal with them again.

I'd be lying if I said that I'm not relishing the idea of composing and sending said email. >;]