Apr 19, 2015: Making a House a Home

I think I’ll do this post a bit differently than usual, since the week was almost all about the house! We did have one non-house event, and that was Theo’s EEG. Tell me, have you ever seen a kid so excited to have an EEG?

photo 3All went well—they just wanted to be sure he wasn’t having absence seizures, since those are common in kids with chromosomal issue he has. And he’s not—the EEG was all clear! I think the EEG tech got a kick out of him, though. She said most kids are nervous and crying, but he was relaxed and talking her ear off. Sounds like Theo. 🙂

I had actually taken the whole week off work to get the house painted before the floors go in, but those plans were somewhat thwarted by a certain other child who ended up with a double ear infection! But he is on the mend now with some antibiotics, and everything got done…with a few londays put in by me and a few late nights put in by Chris!

It’s amazing what a little paint can do to warm up a house! Here is the work in progress for this week:

Sunny yellow office!
Sunny yellow office!

I’m thrilled with how the office color turned out—such a cheery, warm yellow! And by the way, ignore the fact that there is paint slopped all over the baseboards. All of the baseboards are being replaced when the floors are replaced, so I didn’t bother taping anything off. So much easier!

Bathroom demo!
Bathroom demo!

 

This is where we'll pee. Just kidding—there will be a new toilet there. :-)
This is where we’ll pee. Just kidding—there will be a new toilet there. 🙂

I’m pleased to report that the potential leak behind the wall turned out to be absolutely nothing. The toilet was leaking at the wax ring, and some had dripped down under the house. But it did not appear to cause any mold or rot problems. Naturally, Theo is fascinated by the gaping hole where the toilet used to be…and will be again.

He's a boy. Of course the toilet fascinates him. :-)
He’s a boy. Of course the toilet fascinates him. 🙂

I can’t take credit for ripping out the toilet—the handyman did that. He also helped with another easy fix, but one that would be tough for us because of its location: replacing a hideous chandelier that hung from a vaulted ceiling over the staircase.

Ugly chandelier, be gone!
Ugly chandelier, be gone!
Replaced with a new, simple pendant light.
Replaced with a new, simple pendant light.

We have purchased a couple of other replacement fixtures: a ceiling fan to go in the playroom, in place of an ugly chandelier; a simple chandelier to go over the kitchen table; and another simple hanging fixture to go in the entry hall. But those three fixtures are on regular ceilings that are easy to reach, so we can replace those on our own. Plus, installing a ceiling fan is always a good test of a marriage. Trust me; we tried it early in our marriage. I’m please to report that our marriage survived. It was touch and go for a few minutes, though. 😉

The handyman also replaced our awful kitchen faucet with a simple brushed-nickel faucet, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It’s pretty basic, but it looks much nicer than the grimy, rusted faucet that was there. Plus, the grimy, rusted faucet was leaking in three places, so that was obviously a bit of a problem. 😉 And the handyman replaced some hose from the garbage disposal so that it will function and the sink will drain. I think Chris probably could’ve done that, but I was warned that it’s a very stinky job (because it involves removing a hose with old, nasty, decayed food and grease in it), so I decided I’d spare Chris and just have the handyman do it while he was out there. As it turns out, it took him quite a bit of time and was a bit more of a job than he expected, so I’m glad we had him do it.

Oh, and here’s something exciting:

Behold! Porcelain thrones!
Behold! Porcelain thrones!

Doesn’t look like much, eh? Well, it will! That’s two beautiful new toilets right there! They were on back order—the third one has been sitting in our garage for more than a week. After the floor goes in, they’ll install all three new toilets for us. Ahhh, I can’t wait! Right now there are three bathrooms in the house, and here is the status of them:  Bathroom #1 has a hole in the floor where the toilet should be. Bathroom #2 isn’t functioning, but the painter didn’t know that and so he peed in the toilet. And there’s no water in the toilet, so it’s just a toilet full of pee. That I don’t know what to do with. I’m afraid if I try to manually flush it with a bucket of water, Bad Things Will Happen. Bathroom #3 is kind of functioning. The toilet runs constantly, so it’s shut off. If you want to pee, you have to turn on the water, wait for the tank to fill, do your business, flush, and then shut it off again. And I can’t say it flushes all that well, even when it does flush. So yeah…$900 worth of new toilets is pretty darn exciting. The handyman assures me that they should work once installed—he replaced all of the wax rings and such so that new toilets should function beautifully. They’d better—I don’t do Porta Potties. 😉

I also learned how to patch a wall! I patched this:

Yeah, I plastered that bad boy!
Yeah, I plastered that bad boy!

That was the worst of them—it took several coats of putty/plaster. I also patched a bunch of other cracks. I have to say, I’m pretty good at patching! But I’m not terrific at retexturing walls. If you look closely, you can definitely tell the difference between my texturing and the builder’s texturing, especially on this big one. Ah well, I have other talents…

Like painting! So…much…painting. Contrary to what you see here, I actually did get some paint on the walls, too:

No, that's not sand—it's paint splatter!
No, that’s not sand—it’s paint splatter!

The painters laughed at my tray and roller and were kind enough to leave me their five-gallon buckets with painter mesh—this little grate that you use to get the excess paint off your roller. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but it turns out that it leaves your roller rather messy, and thus there’s a lot of excess paint spray! I was pretty covered….

Here’s a look at the other painting that I hadn’t yet showed you:

Master bedroom accent wall.
Master bedroom accent wall.

The master bedroom is sky blue (look at the shorter wall on the left) with a dark-blue accent wall. All three bathrooms are the same sky blue as most of the master, but in semigloss instead of eggshell finish. I mentioned to Chris that I kind of wished we’d picked a different color for at least one bathroom, and he cheerfully said, “Well, we can always repaint one!” Um, no. No we can’t. Says the woman who spent more than 40 hours painting over the last week. No, we will not be repainting! Not for a long while, anyway. 🙂

And in case you didn’t see this picture when I put it in an earlier post, here’s the kitchen in progress (though I have since filled in the edging and soffits and such:

Kitchen
Kitchen

I was unsure about the bold green, but I love it! I’m not a fan of the yellow oak cabinets, so I went online to see what people suggested you do to minimize their yellow-ness. People suggested going with green or gray, but some found gray to be very “cold,” and it did seem that it might be. So we opted for green—specifically, this shade that a designer mentioned. And it may be my favorite room in the house, color-wise! I just love the bold, rich green! It’s called Pleasant Valley, by the way. Pleasant indeed… 🙂

So what’s left to do? Oh, so much! I finished the painting on Sunday morning (this morning), except I have to go back tomorrow and touch up the ceiling in a few places and finish one very small patch in the master bedroom. (I took out a phone jack and needed to plaster over the gap, and I had to wait for the plaster to dry.) I also need to get everything off the floors, because the flooring guys are starting to rip out the floors tomorrow afternoon! We need to install those light fixtures and fan that I mentioned. And we need to move as much stuff as possible, to keep our moving costs down. We hired a company that does small local moves, so they charge strictly by the hour—the more stuff you have them move, the longer it takes and the more you pay. So we’d like to try to move a bunch over ourselves to save a bit on costs.

After the floors are in, I need to give the place a good scrubbing—we did some cleaning when we got the keys, but all of the work we’ve been doing in there has turned it into a mess again. I’m just hoping the floors are done before Sunday night, because we move in next Monday morning! (And because we have sooooo much time to spare that week, the school district moved Sam’s mediation to the day after our move. So much for spending the next day unpacking and cleaning the rental house, right?!)

At some point, we need to install shower heads. There are shower heads in there, but at least one is a silly safety issue (the hose is too long, so technically, if it dangled into a tub of water, the “waste water” could back up into our water supply—though I don’t know who dangles a shower head into a tub of dirty water!). The other two aren’t great shower heads, so we picked up replacements.

We also need to replace all 59 outlet covers that we removed to paint. Can you say “tedious”?! And we need to replace the light bulbs. Many of them are burned out, and in a few fixtures the previous owner put in the wrong kind of bulbs. Like there’s one very powerful halogen floodlight that I think is supposed to be for outdoor use in a hallway light. You turn it on and it actually beams heat down on you! So we need to replace that. 🙂

Also, our very generous and kind parents gave us lovely housewarming gifts—my mom gave us money to replace the stove, and we have a new induction range on order. Chris’s parents gave us a check to do with as we see fit…and what we will likely see fit to do is replace the windows, which are in sad shape. For some reason, even though the house was built in 1993, the builder used those cheap, flimsy aluminum window frames that were popular in the 1960s and 1970s. They haven’t held up too well, and there are actually a lot of places where they’ve come unsealed (which I think may be part of why the bugs keep coming in—we are a haven for spiders and bugs! I need to set up a pest control visit for this week.). And at least four of the windows need the panes of glass replaced anyway. So our original thought had been to replace the panes of glass that needed it, and save up to replace the windows at a later time. But I suspect new windows may be our housewarming gift from Chris’s parents. Besides keeping out the bugs, I suspect they would make our heating and cooling much more efficient!

Speaking of housewarming gifts, I’m excited about our induction stove! I didn’t know anything about induction, and we had actually thought to put a gas line in and replace the electric stove with a gas one. But my mom mentioned induction as a possibility, so when we went appliance shopping, we checked them out. As it turns out, the salesman who helped us has had an induction range for six years and absolutely loves it, so he told us all about it. Basically, instead of the cooking coil heating up, the stove heats up the pan—and very quickly! So you have to use special pans (either stainless steel or cast iron), but the beauty is twofold: It heats very quickly, and only the pan gets hot. So the salesman showed us how you can boil a pot of water in about 45 seconds…but then the minute you lift the pan off the burner, the burner itself is only mildly warm to the touch. The salesman took the boiling pan off and placed his palm flat on it—no burn! Sam is Mr. Grabby Hands these days, so this safety feature was huge for us! Of course, he’ll eventually get past the grabby stage, and up until now we’ve just used normal safety measures to ensure that neither boy gets burned on a hot stove. But to have this built-in safety—well, it’s pretty awesome. Plus, supposedly an induction range is the most energy-efficient way to cook, so that was a plus, too. Anyway, it’ll be fun to play with it when it arrives! (It’s supposed to arrive a couple of days after we move in, but it’s on back order right now, so we’ll see. In the meantime, we have a 23-year-old electric stove that I’m sure works fine.)

We also got to meet three of our neighbors in the past few days. Our next-door neighbors (we share a wall with them) are two young guys—one is a chef for a senior living community, and the other is a fireman. We’ve met the chef, who seems quite nice, but we haven’t met the fireman yet. The woman on the other side of them was very friendly and told us the neighbors are all really nice. She commented, “You had a lot of work to do in there. I used to come in and take care of his yard for him. His wife passed away, and the landscapers were just charging him way too much to take care of it.” Poor guy… 🙁

We met our neighbor on the other side, too, and she also commented on how nice and friendly the neighborhood is. She invited us all back to see her backyard, in which she has a koi pond. Only thing is, apparently there were some raccoons partying in our backyard a while back, and they hopped the fence and ate five of her seven koi fish! I don’t know whether the raccoons still frequent our yard—I guess we’ll find out. 🙂 She was super nice and friendly—we’re getting a very good feeling about all of our new neighbors!

This week will be spent in a packing frenzy. The community garage sale (which is huge!) happens to be this coming Saturday, so that’ll give us a chance to try to sell some things that we were going to donate. And then next Monday morning, the movers come! Tuesday is Sam’s mediation. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent getting the rental house cleaned up and turning in our keys. And then that Saturday, we’re going to Down Syndrome Connection’s annual Gala for Giving…where I’m supposed to give a speech in front of 400 people. Eeeeeek! Apparently I’m going to be introduced by a local TV sports reporter who Chris has watched since he was a kid…so I’m teasing Chris about us being buddies who go waaaay back. Meanwhile, I’m fretting over needing some sort of cover-up to go over my arm-baring dress. That whole bit about making a speech in front of 400 people wasn’t shared with me when I originally agreed to go and bought a dress… 😉

I’ll leave you with a cute picture of Sam that his preschool posted this week!

Happy guy!
Happy guy!

 

 

 

 

 

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