Sunday, June 30, 2013


I've moved back in, and I love it!

The movers brought in as much as they could Saturday without overcrowding us with boxes and furniture that we couldn't put against the walls. Everything is in the middle of the floor while we waited for the painter to catch up with us. I picked him up this morning at 8:00, and he got started. He finished the baseboards and window sills, so as soon as they dry, we can move the furniture back - but wait, we have the brown trim around the perimeter to paint first.

I talked to the painter about adding the brown stripe, and he agreed to do it. Then we discussed finishing the floor with quarter-round or caulk to make it look finished. He suggested quarter-round. so that's what we'll do. I have enough paint to take care of that, and I'm thinking that by next weekend, we'll be done!

I started unpacking boxes. I put things in the pantry, my dresser, and my closet. I had a huge trash bag of hangers that I had to untangle and I filled the bar in the walk-in closet with them. Where did they all come from? I don't think I took clothes off hangers to pack. At least I didn't for the other closet. It was so easy to put things back because I just grabbed a section at a time and put them in the box. One box held all the clothes from one closet. They're wrinkled, but I can fluff before I wear.

I've probably emptied about 10 boxes, and you can't see any progress yet. There's an overwhelming number of boxes in the garage still.

I took the painter home about 12:30 and had the rest of the day to myself, all by myself. What to do? I sat in front of the TV for a while, then I realized I was wasting time, so I put the TV on the jazz station and got to work. I showered, washed my hair, and put on a different outfit and makeup for the first time in days.

My daughter and I went shopping for drapers and rods. She suggested a soft green, very pretty drapery panel for the living room. I would have never thought of that. I was looking at neutrals or reds. I only bought one panel so we could test it before I committed to buying 8, actually 15 more. I like the grommet panels because I like opening the curtains during the day and closing them at night. Having the rings or grommets will make that much easier. I'll have double rods with ivory sheers behind. We picked out clear ball finials that are absolutely stunning. I'm so excited.

I'm only going to be here 6 more years, or at least until I retire. Then I'm moving close to my family. I'm 20 miles from my daughter and about 27 miles from my sister. I'd prefer to be closer to them, but it's nice being 4.5 miles from work.

My daughter isn't crazy about the floor, but she likes everything else. She said it looks so light and airy. I think it's because I don't have curtains on any windows yet. But the colors on the walls are really nice, neutral, and relaxing to me. I'm very pleased with everything that's been done.

There's just a little touch-up painting, the perimeter brown stripe, quarter-round trim, caulking the bath tubs, installing the microhood, replacing the ceiling fans, adding drapers and bookcases, and I'm done. My boss told me to think of Murphy Brown and Eldon. Remember that show? Her small home improvement project took on a life of its own. He said that he had the same thing happen - scope creep kept their floor covered in brown paper for 6 months.

I'm thinking of having a dinner party for my crew to thank them for all their time and effort. They've spent so much time here that they consider my home their second home. They're here every evening and weekend. There would be the packer, main man, painter, Superman and his 3 sidekicks, the electrician, and the AC guy.

Then the "reveal" party. Knowing you're going to be invited to check out my handiwork really puts the pressure on me to get 'er done right!

I'll tell my landscaper, who has been conspicuously absent the last couple months, that I'm having this party and I'll be glad to mention who did the landscaping. It can be a good thing or not - it depends on him.

While I'm unpacking, I'm purging and putting everything in meaningful places. If I don't need it, use, or absolutely love it, it's going. My cedar chest, which was a hope chest that held things for the future, will now hold things from my past like wedding photos and things I can't bear to part with but don't want to get rid of.

Nesting is the period between chaos and order when I get to really bring it all together.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Home again!

I'm back in with furniture!

We emptied the POD, and it's gone. Some of the contents went into the house, the rest is in the garage. The painter hasn't finished the painting and touch up, so much of the big furniture is in the center of the rooms.

Wait! That's the end of the story.

Wednesday, after I took my car to the shop, I couldn't think about anything but the house and the floor. My emotions were raw, and I cried at the drop of a hat. At 2:30, I finally ask my boss if I could leave for the day because I wasn't doing anything productive at the office. I went to Home Depot, got some floor shine and new mops, and that evening, we swept, mopped, and waxed the floor. I still didn't like the way it looked. We moved in tables to set the TVs and computer on for the cable guy the next day.

I was so excited! The appliances were actually going to be delivered Thursday, and the TVs, phone, and internet were going to be reconnected! Life was going to be back to normal soon.

The fumes and concrete dust were gone, so we set up the air bed for me. I had the day off Thursday; I thought I'd be able to sleep in. Because I couldn't turn off my brain, I was up at 4:45 Thursday morning, ready to do something - anything - to make the floor look better. I decided to paint the perimeter of the floor with a dark color to hide the divot patches and paint residue. I headed to Home Depot to get my newest batch of supplies. At this point, I've spent so much on little things that I was complaining of hemorrhaging money. I chose Cafe Urunia for the perimeter stripe, and headed home with renewed enthusiasm. I spent an hour or more taping the stripe from the dining room all around the kitchen. I started painting in the kitchen because the appliances would be delivered first. Once I painted the first stroke, I freaked out. It was purple!!! What the hell? I sat there for a few minutes trying to decide my next step. I didn't have the paint chip or the booklet it was in, so I had nothing to compare what I had with what I requested. The cable guy was going to arrive at the house between 11 and 12. It was 10. Did I have enough time to exchange my paint because surely, she mixed it incorrectly? I decided I would make it, so off to Home Depot I went again.

I complained that the paint color was purple, she calmly opened the can, put a spot of color on the paint chip, and it matched. DANG! In anger and frustration, I chose the red above it and ordered a gallon if it. I shopped around for some more painting supplies and low-luster sealer and the supplies that go with it. By the time I got back to the paint department, I had calmed down and looked at the paint color sample chips and realized I chose the wrong paint color AGAIN! I chose tile red, when brick red was what I really wanted. Now, instead of purple, I had dark pink! But, dang it, I was going to make it work. I went home, painted the kitchen, then the dining room because that was where the china cabinet was going. Then I did the laundry room because I was desperate for my washer and dryer, and I was taping the office where the computer armoire was going when the cable guy started having problems getting things to work, so I spent the rest of his time there answering questions. He replaced my DVRs with some from his truck, and they still didn't work. He realized I removed a very important little piece of equipment (a splitter) that he needed to make everything work. Of course, it was packed somewhere, so he gave me another. Once he left and the TVs were working, I turned on some Jazz and started to tape off the office floor.

The cable guy took the focus off getting 'er done, and I stepped back and took a look at the color I was putting down. It's a cool red, the floor is a combination of warm colors, so it doesn't look as good as I had hoped. Plus, there are still spots that need to be covered. I decided to make the stripe wider and to paint it walnut - a deep dark brown.

The appliance guys arrived with a huge refrigerator, range, microwave, and dishwasher. The refrigerator is black on the sides - something I didn't notice in the store. I guess because they're displayed side by side, and I didn't look at the sides; I focused on the front instead. So, now when I look into my kitchen, instead of seeing white (like my old fridge), I see a black hole with silver, which makes me think the door is open. I'm getting used to it. I figure it'll be covered with stuff as soon as I find my magnets ;o), so no big deal. The refrigerator is about 8 feet tall. I couldn't even reach the top shelf, so I had to lower it. I thought I'd try a freezer on the bottom, now I'm not so sure about it. Instead of just opening the freezer door and reaching in for ice cubes, I have to open the drawer, and pull out another drawer. Hmmm. I didn't think this one through very well either. I'm hoping I'll get over this too. The delivery guys had to remove my front door and the little catch for my storm door to get the fridge in. They replaced the door, but not the catch. I put it back, but the door didn't close properly. This morning I figured out how to adjust that. I'm becoming so resourceful!

I truly wasn't expecting all these little problems when I started this project. Problems crop up almost every day. When mowing the lawn, someone hit a sprinkler head. I heard it, but they told me it was a rock. I knew I don't have rocks in my front yard. Then when I saw the broken head, he admitted he thinks he hit it. Someone broke a light in a ceiling fan with the 8-ft ladder. Someone cut the telephone wire and removed the box in the living room (trying to be helpful because I was having them remove dead boxes), so the phone base has to be in a room I wouldn't normally have a phone. The clamp to hold the washer drain hose was inadvertently thrown away. I have to figure out what to do with the concrete dust all over the back yard. Someone broke the glass on one of my hall wall sconces. I bought new hinges for the kitchen cabinets, and after a couple hours of putting them on, we realized they don't work because now the doors don't align with the panels and drawers above. Of course, all the little plastic bags they came in have been hauled out with the trash. Luckily, they didn't cost a fortune, but I'll still have antique brass hinges when all the other hardware in the house will be brushed nickle or chrome. I'll just keep my eyes open for something else to use. Pity party over.

By the time my crew showed up Thursday evening, I had my plan. I told them we were going to reseal the floor, and while that was being done, I wanted Superman to clean off the back porch and front sidewalk because we were constantly tracking in concrete dust. So, do you know what we had to do first? We had to disconnect the TVs and get them and their tables and my bed off the floor!

The Behr sealant I got was soooo much better than the stuff we used before. I think it did the same job but without the horrid fumes. I only got one gallon when I should have bought 4, but they made it work. The floor feels amazing. It's smooth, consistent, and I am much, much happier.

When all was done and dried, and everyone was gone, I was left without a bed. It took 2 of us to get it into the garage. Hmmm. I managed to wrangle it back into the house. Except for my coffee pot, suitcase of clothes, and a shower curtain, the house remained empty looking. The TVs and their tables were in closets.

After work yesterday, we started moving furniture back into the house. The POD people called to say they would be by between 10 and 1 this morning to pick up the POD, but our plan was to have it empty because Superman and his sidekick couldn't be back this morning until 11 at the earliest. AND they're bringing the painter with them! Yea! The painter hasn't been well, and now that he's feeling better, he's been having car trouble. He's been trying to get his car fixed so he could get to my house. Superman tracked him and told him he'd bring him to my house because he's holding up the progress. Plus now the painter will have more spending money to fix his car.

While we were moving things in last evening, a coworker came by and hooked up my computer, wi-fi, TVs and phones! Yea! No more having to go to the library to check emails, turn on the AC, and blog.

The POD was empty, swept, and ready to go. I was told it had to be empty, swept, and unlocked. I received it dirty, but I swept it because I can't afford to be charged for anything else! They're refunding $29 because it's not going to a storage facility, but they're charging $74 to pick it up. I don't understand why the $74 isn't included in the total cost. Oh well.

I'm certainly enjoying being back home. I want to do something to nest. While I'm waiting for my crew, I guess I'll wipe concrete dust off whatever I can.

I've decided to replace my drapes and rods with the new style with grommets. I had rings clipped on them before, and I really liked the ease of opening and closing the drapes. The grommets look so much nicer. I'll have double-hung drapes with sheers behind. I had ivory sheers with gold linen-look drapes and they were on one rod. When I opened the gold, I just spread the ivory. It functioned well, but it looked tacky. Actually, I've lived without drapes for 2 weeks or more, and I really like the natural light. I'm even over the privacy issue.

I saw some drapes at JCPenney that I like. Even though I have paint chips that I carry with me at all times to match colors, I think I'll buy a panel and bring it home to see if I like it here. I was really disappointed that JCPenney doesn't carry inventory in the store for most of their drapes. You have to order them online. They don't even have the prices by the panels. They have a range of prices. While you're in the store with credit card in hand to buy, you can't buy. Sigh. My daughter and I will shop for the drapes and rugs. I can't buy anything else until next Wednesday, so this will help prevent impulse buying.

I talked to the electrician about replacing all the ceiling fans in the house - 7 in all. Home Depot has some for $60 and they all match. I currently have at least 3 different styles of ceiling fans in the house, just like my door knobs. It will be nice to have everything matching. Then there's the floor, which is crazy. Now that I see furniture on it, I like it much better. But it still needs the perimeter stripe. So, I'll spend each evening either taping or painting until it's done. Once the baseboards are painted, I'll have to tape them off because I'm not a detail painter by any means.

So, you're up to date on the house update. I see little things that have to be done, and I'm putting blue tape on everything. We'll all have to go through the house hunting for blue tape before it's all done.

Monday the microhood will be installed, and the dishwasher will be installed with the granite counter tops. That's at least 2 weeks away. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps to have some of the comforts of home in the house to calm my fears.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'll go to the Library and turn on the air conditioner

How many times have you said that? Let's see, I've said it twice this evening. I have the CPS Home Manager programmed thermostat, so I need the internet to turn my AC on or off and to adjust the temperature. Normally, it's great. But when you don't have internet service, you have to find the closest Wi-fi you can borrow. And for me, that's our local library branch. Thank you God that it's just about 1/2 mile from the house.

I had a great morning after a wonderful sleep. I really enjoy having coffee and conversation with my friend every morning. One more, then I'm back on my own. After lunch, things started slipping down hill. I had a doctor appointment, then I was to meet with my sister to close on my Dad's little house. The AC in my car decided to stop working today. I got stuck in traffic in the Medical Center for 10 minutes, until I finally u-turned out of there. I was late to the appointment, which made me almost 1-1/2 hours late to meet my sister. I rushed out of the doctor's office so fast that I left all my prescription meds on her counter. DANG! I was stuck in stop and go traffic on 10 and 1604 from the Medical Center to Huebner and 1604. Needless to say, when I arrived at the title office, I was pretty scary looking. Everyone was still there - Yea! And we took care of business. This was one more piece of the final things "we" have to do as a good-bye to our parents.

I've been using the term "we" very loosely lately. I guess it makes me feel like a part of a team, even though I'm more of a cheerleader and a wallet than a team member.

Today is the final step in the floor preparation. We are supposed to wax the floors, so I needed to rent a buffer with a stiff bristle brush (critical, the instructions say) and a soft bristle brush and a buffer. Well, since I was running late, I suggested to my crew that they replace the door knobs until I get home.

To save time, I decided to stop at the Home Depot at Bandera and 1604. They didn't have tool rental, so I couldn't save time in traffic, I had to go all the way to Culebra. DANG!

When I got to the house, I was reminded that I had locked the garage door and they couldn't look for the doorknobs, but they did remove the ones in the house and they wiped down the baseboards. They are such good workers. I can trust them to keep busy if at all possible.

I got them all set, read the instructions a few times, left them to get started and I headed to the library to turn on the AC and to get sodas at Sonic. When I returned, they met me outside. I looked at their faces and said, "What!" They just said, come in and see.

Applying the wax with the stiff bristle brush is taking some of the stain off the floor. I reread the instructions, and of course it didn't say anything about this happening. Maybe my bristle brush is too stiff? They were uncomfortable using the brush and preferred the buffer. I told them we'd follow the instructions, and if some of the stain came up, that would be OK because the floor was much darker than I had anticipated in the first place. Once they finished the first bedroom, the floor had to be swept because it was actually smoothing the surface again. It was dull like the instructions said, so I told them to continue. I noticed we were a bit warm in the bedroom, That was because the AC wasn't on. It was 85 in the house. So, I had to head to the library yet again to turn on the AC.

Here I am in the car in the library parking lot, windows down, enjoying the breeze and birds, blogging about my life. Will it get any better than this? I thought I'd wait to see what the temp was in the house before I head home. The program manager will tell me the temperature in the living room. How cool is that? or warm in this case. Well, it's cooled from 85 to 82, so I can safely guess it's still on. Until the morrow!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Are we having fun yet?

I can tell you what NOT to do when acid staining your floors. I think I'll have to write a book about it.

Saturday morning I decided we were ready to begin staining the floor. If it doesn't look good, I can always carpet it or add laminate flooring or something. 1-800-588-2-300 Empire! kept running through my head. I figured, it's not the end of the world if it's not beautiful.

So, we neutralized the concrete and prepared it for the acid stain.

It dried pretty quickly, so we put down the first stain, waited for it to dry and then the second coat. Sunday morning I took a friend to see it because I freaked out when I saw the floor Saturday night.

She was trying to make me feel better by repeating what I said - the imperfections are part of its charm. Well, it's pretty darn charming because it's definitely imperfect. Once the stain was down, all the places where we didn't remove the glue and paint and the divot fillers, which blended in with the concrete before, practically glowed. She reminded me that that was what area rugs are for. But the main problems are along the baseboards, where the rugs wouldn't be. Hmmm.

Friday night I decided I could always paint a dark stripe along the perimeter of the floor to hide those imperfections. But, by Saturday, I was done with it. No stripes, no more delay!

Sunday we did the second color and it actually looks better. We neutralized the stain and called it a day.

This evening, we'll seal it, and tomorrow we'll wax and buff it to a beautiful lustre. Then Wednesday night, I'll sleep in my bed for the first time since June 1. Of course, it won't compare the comfort of the bed I've been sleeping in at my friend's.

Thursday I'll take delivery of my new appliances and have the cable guy come by to reconnect and hook me up with cable, internet, and a phone. Thursday evening the crew will start throwing everything back into the house. A friend volunteered to connect my computer and TVs. We'll see how much actually gets done. Friday we'll finish unpacking the POD and Saturday, I'll start the fine arranging. My daughter volunteered to help with that.

I'm so stressed out. I've been eating tortilla chips and dark chocolate for my main courses. I'll have to detox once this is all over.

Thanks for the encouraging words and sharing this experience with me.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ready for this to be over!

It's nice to have a great crew, it's nice to see progress, it's nice to have a great place to shower, sleep, and veg, but I'm ready for it all to be over so I can get back to "normal."

I miss my family, I miss relaxing, I miss having a meal at my dining table, I miss being able to check my emails and blog at will. Right now I'm sitting in my car in the library parking lot using their wi-fi so I can check my emails and blog while I'm at lunch.

I've come up with a plan and schedule so we can empty the POD in time. I'm supposed to have the POD from May 30 to June 30. But, since June 30 is a Sunday, they'll pick it up the day before, so it has to be empty by 7:00 am so they can pick it up. Hold on! Not only am I NOT getting it as they said all along, I'm losing a whole day because it's Sunday! I had to negotiate to get the POD person to say she'd request a PM pickup! That means with my schedule, we'll have Friday night to move everything from the POD into the house. We still have to paint the baseboards and touch up the walls. Yikes!! I talked to my muscle and asked for them to bring as many hands as possible. We may only have Friday night. I'm going to make sure they realize they can't leave until the job is done. Not just 4 hours and then leave like usual.

Can you tell I'm grouchy today?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The right tools

It's amazing how having the right tools makes things happen faster and better.

On Monday, when my guy started sanding the floor, we didn't have the right sander, and after 3-1/2 hours, he barely "scratched" the surface. Having the right diamond tipped grinder worked so much better and faster. And the difference was amazing.

Then, once the dust settled and we saw what was needed next, we grabbed the tools at hand and got to work scraping the edges along the baseboards. We used trowels, 5-in-1 tools, chisels, whatever we could get our hands on, but we weren't making any progress. Finally after 3 nights, we realized we needed a sander. Of course, we knew that, but we were hoping a couple would fall out of the sky. When they didn't, it was up to me, so again, off to Home Depot I went. My car has been there so many times, I think it can go without me next time. I bought a RIGID 5 rotary sander with a dust bag to cut out "90% of the dust in the work site." Yea! It was amazing how fast and easy it was to get rid of the paint on the edge. But the dust was almost as bad as having the big sander or grinder. If that's 10% of the dust, what would 100% be like? I was told that the secret to dust collection was having the proper holes in the sandpaper. Why didn't they tell me that? Well, they might have if I had read the instructions. We pulled it out of the box, put sandpaper on it, plugged it in, and went to work. The 4 of us were fighting over the sander. We still have lots to do before we can start staining.

The deadline to return the POD is looming very closely at hand. I have a picture of my furniture in the house upside down, with boxes on top of it, whatever could be done to get it out of the POD as the rig is backing up to take it away. I have a week! Pollyanna here thought we'd be using the POD to clean out my garage this coming week because everything would be back in the house, done. Wow! Was I wrong!

But, I still have a week . . .

Another tool I found was an amazingly comfortable bed at a friend's house. I can't believe I didn't bug her the first night. She offered her extra bedroom, and, although I've been a "lone reed" for almost 4 months, I took her up on it. First, I had so much fun talking and catching up. And she has a furry family that I got to pet. I love animals; I miss having something to pet - I just won't have any in my house again - except to visit [well, maybe a housebroken (not litter box) cat]. Once I was showered and I climbed into bed, I knew what heaven was like. That bed was so comfortable and I slept so soundly that I didn't realize my arm had gone to sleep until it was beyond painful. Once that was relieved, I was right back to sleep. Awesome! And that amazing night's sleep was followed by coffee and conversation on her back patio this morning - something I've wanted to do, but never started. Maybe I'll sell my house and rent a room in hers.

Not only did she offer her amazing accommodations in her well-appointed home, she mentioned that I could have borrowed her sander. Well, I couldn't pass up that offer. Now I have 2 sanders! Watch out world - I'm armed and dangerous.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Red Roof Inn

I managed to function pretty well on the weird sleep I had Monday night. But I decided it was time to sleep on a real bed so I spent the day deciding where I should go

Tuesday evening I returned the grinder. My Jaguar has been a real trooper hauling cardboard boxes, paint, floor stain, sanders and grinders. I hope it survives all this. My funds are running thin, so when I returned the grinder and he said the balance was $89 (after a $175 deposit), did I want to swipe my card to pay the balance, I choked. Naive me. I expected a refund. Oh well, it's still cheaper than tile.

While I was at Home Depot returning the grinder, I had 3 guys (Superman, his brother, and a friend) at the house scraping what the grinder couldn't get around the toilets, inside closets, along baseboards. Again, I was dusty and disgusting. My back yard looks like it is covered in ash. The workers didn't know what to do with the dust they gathered, so they were sprinkling it around the utility box in the back. They had the windows open with a fan blowing out the window and the flowerbed below looked like it was covered in ash. One of the workers said it looked like the house was on fire with all the dust coming out the windows. I wish I'd taken a picture of the dust in the house, but the less evidence, the better, right?

I saw that Red Roof Inn, less than a mile from my office had a room for $49.99, so I made a reservation. I assumed it had a blow dryer and coffee maker. Not the $49.99 room. For that, you don't get bells or whistles. But it was clean, and it had a bed and wi-fi. 

Well, the wi-fi didn't work. Or maybe it was the 3 pages of terms and conditions that put me off. A TV! I forgot what it was like to have a TV! Once I settled in, I turned it on to HGTV. Isn't that what got me in there to begin with? I sat down with the floor stain instructions and finally had a chance to read them. Well! We're doing it all wrong. But it is what it is, and we'll just muddle through.

The shower was great. It felt good to be clean and in a normal room. I finally crashed about 10:00, and the bed felt like cardboard with an inch of cotton on top. The sheets were really soft, and it was a bed. I slept pretty well, but actually, I was more comfortable in my car the night before. Nothing beats a Jaguar for comfort, right?

I ran by the house for some food. The fridge is still on the back porch, and rather than buy meals out, I decided to stick with my diet as much as possible. It's really funny - normally I can barely make it to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee to get started and I'm starving. Yesterday, I got up, dressed, ran by the house, withdrew money from one credit union, deposited the money into another, got to the office, blogged, checked my email, and before I knew it, it was 8:30 and I hadn't had a cup of coffee or eaten yet.

Last night, Superman and I mopped the floors. They are really looking good. I'm concerned because you can see the swirls from the grinder. I don't know if that will affect the stain - I'm assuming YES! There is still a lot of scraping and hand sanding to do. But you know, I'm just about to say, after tonight, let's go with what we have and consider the flaws "character." I'm not into perfection. Perfection has to be maintained. The painted concrete that I had wasn't perfect. As a matter of fact, we started out with 3 or 4 of us splotching it. I gave each pie pans with paint, pieces of sponge, and an area to work. I gave them general instructions and left them to their own creativity. You could tell exactly where each worked by the different type of pattern they did. I took photos of the progression of the living room floor. It was fun looking at it the other day when I was packing and unearthed it.

Before we left, I washed the dust off my hibiscus and lantana in the flowerbed below the window. I watered down the concrete dust they left sprinkled on my granite pathway.

I made reservations to stay at LaQuinta, another hotel close to work. As I was checking in, a friend who lives about 3 miles away from me, and I completely forgot about, called and asked if I needed a place to stay. I told her no because I was checking in. DANG!!! I can't believe I forgot about her! And she has animals I could pet. It's funny, I miss having pets. 

Again, I didn't sleep well. The air conditioner sounds weird, so every time it turned on, I woke up. I couldn't get comfortable in the bed, and I woke up every hour. There's no place like home.

So, you're up to date. I'm thinking I can sleep at the house tonight. My goal is to have the guys scrape while the packing/cleaning maniac and I wipe down everything to get rid of the concrete dust. I managed to find the wood grain in my antique dining table last night. The lion claw feet still need a good pedicure, but it looks better than it did.

The best part of all this, besides the obvious is the physical activity I'm doing. I feel awesome! I actually had to keep pulling my jeans up last night. I had become such a slug sitting in front of the TV or a computer, or at times both, but not doing much. This has been such a blessing. My Chiropractor is surprised that I'm doing so well after being rear-ended in April, and I think it's because I'm so active. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Out of house and home

Sunday, Superman and his brother spent 4.5 hours cleaning the edges of the rooms - removing nails, carpet fibers, and wood pieces, scraping paint, removing the door stops - preparing them for the sander. We rented a sander from Home Depot and had it ready for the guy to sand Monday.

Monday I headed to the Stain Store, and they loaded me up with stuff to do the floors. The owner told me then that I needed a diamond bladed sander to get rid of the painted part of my concrete. As I walked out the door, the last thing he said was, "If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call."

Then I headed across 281 to the granite showroom to pick out my slab. That was difficult. I think I would have been just as happy having someone else pick it out. The nuances were difficult to determine. The lighting was different for each slab. One was deep in the building with only the high overhead light, one was in the center of the room with half daylight and overhead light, and the third was by the doors with daylight. Very difficult. I went with the first one I saw.

After my doctor appointment Monday, I stopped by the house to see if the sander was ready to return (hoping) and to drop off the stain products. I could barely see them in the cloud of concrete dust that filled the house. In 3.5 hours, he barely scratched the surface. The unevenness of the concrete was causing a huge problem. The sander hit the high spots, but it couldn't get to the valleys. The difference in height is minute, but the sander couldn't maneuver into the low spots. I had a question, so I called the Stain Store, and the guy told me exactly what to rent at Home Depot. Off to Home Depot I went. This one was much more expensive than the first, and I left both for them to use.

After work I swept and swept and swept. There were 2 of us sweeping and one sanding. The dust cloud continued swirling through the house. Even though we discussed that I couldn't stay there once this started, I hadn't made plans. I figured I could just sleep on the couch in the ladies room at work if necessary.

About 7:30, I decided it was time to get out of there, so I grabbed some clothes and necessities and hauled buns to the fitness center at work to take a shower. I was pretty disgusting. I had 10 minutes until they closed. There was hardly any water pressure in the shower, but it was water, and it was free. I had packed a bottle of shampoo that was almost empty and a tube of face wash that was empty. I decided to use the supplied shampoo, but it didn't seem to even penetrate the concrete dust in my hair. Then I struggled with the empty bottle of shampoo and managed to get enough in my hair to do the trick. I only had 10 minutes, and I spent 5 trying to get shampoo on my hair! Even though I was still sort of wet, I threw on some clothes, towel dried my hair, ran a comb through it, and headed out, scaring the employee who thought he was alone.

Alright! I was clean and ready to get to the office to work on the newsletter, blog, and sleep. DANG! There was an employee still at work at 8:15! I know she's a night owl, so I figured she'd probably stay until 10 or so - no problem. At 11:15, when she started unpacking boxes to move back into her office, I gave up and headed home. Why? I don't know. I just didn't want to discuss anything with her. Why? Who knows. I could have stayed at my daughter's house, but it's so far away. I called a friend who lives on the other side of Bandera Rd., but she's in Florida visiting family. Hmm, my options were dwindling.

I parked my car in my driveway, cracked the windows a bit, locked the doors, and got comfortable with my "packed and ready for an adventure" diaper bag as my pillow. I was parked right next to the POD, so I wasn't visible to anyone on the street, and it was pretty quiet. I actually slept very well. A couple of times, a body part went to sleep, but I'd adjust and go right back to sleep. Then at 3:30, a dog started barking. I woke up and headed back to the office. DANG! She's still there! What the heck! Was she living there and sleeping in the ladies room? I went into my office and kept the light off. I sat there working on my computer (in the dark) until I got the feeling that she left, so I checked, and her car was gone. Actually, I think she left right after I got there. We must have just missed each other. I bedded down on the couch in the ladies room with the diaper bag as a pillow and fell asleep. It's funny, the diaper bag wasn't as soft as it was in my car. Go figure.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

House update

This blog post is a combination of emails I've sent in the past week. I figured rather than rewrite, I'd share some of what I've told my friends.

I'm having a blast ripping out wallpaper and flooring (the easy part - I leave the hard part to the paid crew) and making decisions. They textured the kitchen and dining room where the wall paper used to be and where I ripped off the backsplash tiles. 

It's all so exciting! I'm hoping the appliances can be delivered next Wednesday (probably Saturday is more realistic). In the meanwhile, my packing maniac has started cleaning the windows (on the outside until we can safely clean them inside). Then by next Saturday, we'll have everything back in the house and life will start getting back to normal.

I have never liked the minimalist style, but the older I get, the more I like it. As a matter of fact, after being in an empty house for 2 weeks, I don't know if I want to put too much back into the house. It would be so much easier to clean without all the stuff. Now that I have Superman, I think I'll be more apt to move things around more until it feels right. He's so patient and polite.

We've been hard at it for 2 full weeks now, and I feel we're on the home stretch. I can't wait to sleep in my bed again. I remember the first time I tried to get out of the airbed. It took a couple of go's to get my butt up. But, now it's easier, and I barely need to use my hands. 

Unfortunately it'll be 5-6 weeks until the renovation will be complete because of the granite countertops. I don't want to have the "reveal" party until everything is done. Maybe by then my landscaping will be complete too.

The painting is complete. Tomorrow we'll get all the nails out of the floor and move the large appliances and the dishwasher out. I'm moving the fridge onto the back porch, and if I do my laundry tonight, I'll be OK without the washer/dryer for a week, although I am getting tired of the same clothes day in and day out. That means my car will be outside for a week or so.

For the floors, I've decided on a Tuscan stone look - sort of gold or tan base with red accent that will offset the coolness of the dark granite countertops and light kitchen cabinets. 

The painter will sand the floors Monday, and during lunch I'll head over to the stain store on Nakoma to buy the acid stain for the concrete. I've studied all the products, watched videos, and read reviews. I'm convinced Valspar and Behr are not the way to go if my current concrete floor is any indication of their lasting power. There are places on my floor where the "stain" has worn off, and it's not even in high-traffic places. Until I saw the reviews from people who had the same problem, I got excited about the colors in their glossy brochures and completely forgot about the problem. Once I decided to go with an acid stain, I had to investigate where to get it. Every day or so, I've told my painter that I'm going with product A, then product B, then the acid stain. He said that's what he has used before. The only problem with acid stain is its unpredictability. You don't have any control over how it looks. You can pick a color and hope it looks like that, but it's the concrete that determines the actual final color. It's a gamble. They have quite a few colors, including blue, cola, black, lawn green, English red, Malay tan, vintage umber, and golden wheat. I think I'll start with either Malay tan or cola and follow up with English red as an accent so the color looks more like stone. This is a $500-600 investment plus the labor - still cheaper than carpet or tile.

It dawned on me last night that my old cabinets might not be strong enough to hold the granite. Everything will be done and looking awesome. Then I'll set a cup of coffee on it, and it will all collapse. I'm definitely reinforcing anything I can. Don't want that to happen! My house will be mine - finally after 33 years - all mine.  My design, my colors, my choices. The outside is butter cream (gold coast white to be exact) with red trim, and the trim on the inside is the same as the outside (butter cream, not red). The walls are the same gold as they were before, but it'll be all the walls of the house, not just most of them. 

I gave away my bedroom set, the bookcases in my library, and a flip-top desk that I had. Then one of my workers hauled off my range (it was so greasy they could hardly hold onto it), vent-a-hood, and the scrap metal from the gable vents I had replaced. The basketball goal on the front is gone too.

I have my Mom and Dad's dresser and night stands. They're not my style, but they are much more functional than what I had before (until I can replace them), and I'll replace the pulls with new knobs. I'm rearranging the rooms so I'l have a guest room, a library, an office, and a workout room, along with my room, of course. I have a 4-bedroom house, and I think it's big enough for me now. 

Truly, the only things left to do are the floors and the baseboards. I'm hoping I can have the appliances delivered Thursday or Friday and start moving things back in Saturday and Sunday. Then I'll have to unpack (ugh!). My sink will be here within a few days. I ordered a Kohler 16-gauge stainless steel one-bowl sink with sound protection that's 25 x 22, which will give me 8 more inches of counter space. Since it's one-bowl, it doesn't need to be as big as the 2-bowl one that I've never liked. I'll be able to bathe a small child and wash cookie sheets in it. Can you tell I'm excited?

One more major purchase before long is bookcases to replace the ones I gave away. The old ones were mismatched and not very sturdy. I found some online that I'm excited about. I want to get 4 for the library and 1 for each of the closets in my room. One of the closets has a big space that is actually wasted because I don't hang clothes in that area. It's too deep to get to. So I figured a bookcase with shelves for storage would be much better. Then I want one in my walk-in closet for my shoes. I used to have 4 pairs of shoes. Now that I've had my knees done and lost weight, I have about 20! I don't think I've ever owned so many.

I'm thinking that since I have the POD until June 30, I might load everything in the garage in it, power wash the floor and move everything back in a more organized manner. I talked to Superman about using the POD to store the remaining things from the garage so we can give it a thorough cleaning and rearranging, and he's all excited about that. Plus, he'll haul off anything I don't want that isn't worthy of giving away. Might as well put that POD to good use.

This has been a blast. I would love to do something like this as a job. I'm not a decorator, but I've been able to pull together the manpower to get the job done, and it hasn't cost an arm & a leg. I pay the guys every few days so it's not such a burden on me at one time. And that way, when I run out of money, we can quit ;o).

At work, I should be back in my office early next week. I keep thinking it will be great to have life back to normal. But I'm really beginning to think I don't have a normal anymore. Or maybe this is my normal. Anyway, I'm enjoying rolling with it.

No photos posted on this blog yet. I haven't really taken the time to figure out how to upload them yet. I'm learning how to set up a website for the Friends of the SA Public Library right now in my spare time. 

Hey, I just figured out how to send photos from my phone to messages and email. I've only had this phone 2 years, and I'm just learning how to do things with it. Now I know why my son thought it was so awesome. And this has all been made possible because I don't have a TV. 

If you're still reading this, God bless you! Thanks!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Granite countertops

I got home a few minutes late, and everyone was hard at work. Superman was busy moving boxes out of the living room. The paint expert wasn't here, but the guy who can do everything was painting away. I paid them and headed out.

I just returned from Home Depot where I ordered the granite countertops. Ubatuba! I love the name. I compared the stone piece I had to the counter display they had, and theirs was much more colorful than mine, which I like better. She said it was 7 years old compared to the sample. I'll get to pick out the slab! How exciting!

The website had all the paperwork and a measurement sheet that I filled out. Because I did all the homework, the sales associate kept saying I was so good and it made her job easy breezy. The only thing I did wrong was not round up the square foot count. I calculated 30.5, and she calculated 31 square feet. I don't have the appliances in place, so I'm going to see if they'll wait to take the final measurements. I have to have my sink bought, but not necessarily in place. HD doesn't have single-tub stainless steel sinks, so I'll have to look elsewhere.

I boxed up everything I didn't NEED to live, and Superman put it all in the garage. There's barely enough room to get around my car, but it still fits in there with all the stuff. The biggest problem is the breaker box is behind 6 feet of stuff. Oh well!

So, now I have a coffee maker, microwave on the dining table, dishwasher (full of dishes), and refrigerator in this end of the house. My bedroom has 2 suitcases, a laundry basket, my bed, and a telephone. There's a large towel by the bed so I can wipe my feet off before I climb in each night.

That's all the news worth reporting.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Work so far on the house

Boy was I wrong! I thought we'd start with the floors and work up. Instead, they're starting at the top and working down. Tuesday night the painters started spraying the ceilings. I had to go to Home Depot for paint for the rest of the house. I couldn't face another paint chip, so I decided to go with the same color as the exterior walls for the interior trim. I'm so glad I did. It's close enough to the old trim color that I can't tell the difference.

Wednesday, while I celebrated my birthday having dinner with my beautiful daughter and precocious grandson, the painters touched up the ceilings and started prepping for painting the doors and trim.

Thursday we had a night off. I got a hair cut and looked at tile possibilities for the entry.

This is progress?

The word seems to be out that I'm hiring. Superman called last night to tell me a friend of his is looking for work, could he bring him? I said of course. The more the merrier. And today, the packing maniac came along. I invited her in to see the damages (progress) and she stayed to help the painters, packing, moving things, etc., while I spent 2 hours at Home Depot getting paint. I bought 6 boxes while I was there; good thing because we used 4 of them! Where is all this stuff coming from?

I went to Home Depot this morning to get the upper cabinet that will hold the above-the-range microwave that will be delivered next week. While I was there, I got 2 new toilet paper holders and paint thinner. Last night I bought 9 nonlocking door knobs, 5 locking, and 2 with deadbolts for the outer doors, and door and drawer pulls for the kitchen cabinets. Then when I went back the second time this morning, I got hinges to replace the antique brass ones on the cabinets. I bought 14, but I needed 15. Dang!

Note to anyone who's painting anything - take the lid with the formula to the paint store. I headed to the store (for the second time by 11:15 this morning) with the can label and a paint chip. I didn't notice the paint chip was Glidden and the paint was Behr. DANG! The HD paint guy tried 2 gallons before I called the house to get the paint formula on the can. That was what we needed. I knew that! I even suggested I take a lid with me. But we didn't take me seriously. The painters have painted the kitchen cabinets (upper and lower) and the linen closet in the hall the same color as the doors and trim. He's spraying all the doors and trim, and they're beautiful. The front door looks so good I may not replace it after all.

The kitchen is demolished. The fridge is in the middle, the vent-a-hood is on the back porch. The range is at Superman's house, and the microwave is on the floor under the dining table. I told the painter he didn't have to cover the countertops, so I HAVE to replace them.

I'm really roughing it now. I won't be able to wake up to brewing coffee. The timer was packed and I don't know which box it is in. Dang! I'm going to miss that most of all.

Superman's friend put the dirt back in the flowerbed and mowed and trimmed the yards. The backyard still needs to be edged. He helped Superman remove the linoleum tiles from the master bath, closet, and all the other closets. I'm glad he needed work. He was the extra hands we needed today.

Tomorrow night I'm going to order the granite countertops. I picked out a dark (almost black) piece called Ubatuba. It's from Brazil, and it's actually one of their cheapest. The sales person at HD was so patient with me. He got a door from the rack that is about the same color as my cabinets, and he held it up with my paint chips to every color they had. It was difficult because they looked good with almost everything. Do I want monochromatic? Do I want dramatic? I decided on dramatic. HD has a special going that I can upgrade the edge to the next level at no extra charge. If I pick bullnose or half bullnose, it's free. Normally, it costs extra. Plus, if I get a stainless steel sink, I can get that free. But I don't know if I want a stainless steel sink. I was hoping for a granite composite. I found it on the HD website, but one of the reviews said it was broken when they received it, and they ended up with a stainless steel sink because of the installation time crunch. The replacement composite sink arrived broken as well. Hmmm.

I'm in my freshly painted bedroom, smelling paint fumes. I've slept with the windows open the last 2 nights. It was cool both nights, and I really slept well. The birds woke me up this morning. I may have to do this more often. One of the reasons I don't do it is because there has been a huge dresser in front of the window. I really like being able to open the windows. Am I the only one who has something in front of almost every window so it is difficult to use them?

I'm working with these guys just like I do at work. One step ahead of them - or at least I thought. This morning I realized they were going to paint the upper cabinets, so I had to pack the dishes and things that I left in them when I ran out of boxes. I found what I could and got started. Then we talked about painting the lower cabinets as well, and while I was at the store, they opened the cabinets and found stuff in them too. Not too much, but that stuff was everywhere. When they moved the refrigerator, I was not surprised about the things they found. They also moved the stove. That was disgusting! The sides were covered in spills. I didn't realize I had spilled so much between the stove and counter. The stove was so greasy that they had a hard time carrying it out. Another sign that I need a housekeeper.

After everyone left today, I packed all the stuff that had accumulated around the house. Everything is covered in a fine white coat of ceiling paint. I scrubbed the dining table this evening to make sure it isn't ruined. My eating schedule is completely off these days. Now I don't have my blender or range, so I'll have to figure something else out to eat. I don't have a microwave at work, so if I take anything that needs to be cooked for lunch, I'll have to get on my hands and knees to cook it in my microwave.

I have a few days to figure out where everything will go once we start putting it back into the house. I wish I knew the dimensions of the furniture, in particular my Dad's dresser.

Anyway, now that I've thought of that I'm itching to work on furniture layout ideas. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Almost Empty House

I had a crew here yesterday to help me finish packing and moving everything out into the POD. The POD looked so small once it was delivered that I thought I wouldn't be able to fit all my stuff into it. Luckily, I found someone who knows how to stack furniture so the POD will probably hold everything. We're strategizing about how to get it all in. By noon we had a great deal done. I ran to Bill Miller and got fried chicken and tea, and we all sat around the table and ate lunch. It was like having a party of strangers. Fun times!

I've given away my bedroom furniture to my main helper, and it was hauled away yesterday. (If the POD wasn't enough to get the neighbors wondering, I'm sure watching some of the furniture leave in a pickup will get them thinking.) I thought I'd sleep in my recliner during all this, but I'm using the blow-up bed Daddy had instead. It's much more comfortable than my recliner would have been, except it's low to the ground, and it takes some doing to get off it. I have to say that it's getting easier.

I have bookcases to give away - or maybe I'll use them in the garage for storage. Some of the shelves are wide enough for boxes . . . hnmmm!

The furniture to be moved still includes my chair in the living room, the entertainment center in my room, the armoire, bookcases and dresser in the office, and the exercise equipment - not much, considering. I hope there's enough room in the POD.

An acquaintance helped me pack yesterday. She's a packing maniac! We packed at least 30 boxes yesterday! Of course, my original plan of going through everything before it was packed had to be scrapped in the name of time. My workers don't want to do this all month, so we're moving and grooving. I'm hoping this will all be complete by June 15 when the appliances are delivered. That would be nice.