Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kitchen complete!

The beautiful counter tops were installed yesterday. I love them! My nephew and family came over last night, and he installed the sink and dishwasher. With everything going on this week, I forgot to get the garbage disposer, so I had to run to Home Depot one more time. I ended up buying the quieter insinkerator, that can hardly be heard - well that is if there's nothing but water anyway. I haven't tried chicken bones yet.

My sink is 8" deep, and it's like a small stainless steel bathtub! I love it. The dishwasher didn't want to work right last night. It never filled with water, so when they left, I was to call Sears today to see what I could do about the problem.

This morning I read all the buttons on the dishwasher, chose the appropriate ones, and it filled with water! I was so happy. I don't know the difference between last night and this morning, I only care that it works now.

I thought we were done. Then I remembered the foyer. We plan to replace the tile, and I guess I'll find out if my chief is available soon.

In the meantime, I'm going out to see a man about a car.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on the icing

I can't believe it, but the only thing left to do is install the counter tops in the kitchen - and finish unpacking, well, there's the bookcases for the library.

All the hardware has been added to the kitchen drawers and cabinets, and a bin is on the pantry door to hold the boxes of sandwich bags and wraps. "We" even cut off the labels on the drapes.

The best thing is everything has been paid for. The bookcases are the only things lacking. They'll probably be here in a week or two. I'm thinking the open house will be in August sometime.

Then, in the fall/winter, we'll replace the roof and the fence between my neighbor and me.

So, it seems this blog has come to an end.

Thank you so much for your support and suggestions. It's been fun dragging you with me on this journey.

I'll post photos as soon as I can get them all together. But, photos don't do justice.

Monday, July 22, 2013


When I decided to renovate my house, the best solution for what to do with my furniture seemed to be PODS. I checked them online and found them to be reasonable. For 30 days, according to the quote, I would pay $200.45. Wow! How reasonable was that? They do warn that the quote is good for a week.

When I decided to actually reserve a PODS, the price had jumped to $365. When I questioned why it had almost doubled, the agent said the tornadoes in Oklahoma and flooding in San Antonio had increased the demand for their containers. Dang! They offered a discount, for which I was grateful. The total would be $329. I had already made plans and lined up the workers, so I felt like I had to reserve one. I arranged for the PODS to be delivered on May 30, which meant I would have it until June 30. The agent told me to call at least a week ahead of when I wanted them to pick it up to make sure someone was available to get it. Otherwise, I would have to pay for another month.

As they promised, the PODS was delivered on May 30. But the lock wasn't included. When I called, they said they would bring it by the next day. So I lost a day of being able to use the PODS.

The PODS was so dirty that my packer didn't want to put the furniture on the floor. We put a couple of rugs and blankets down first. We were able to pack quite a few things in the PODS. Between that and my garage, we emptied the house.

The work inside the house took longer than I anticipated, and we hustled so we could empty the PODS and have it picked up. I called the week before like I was told, and that's when I was told that since June 30 was a Sunday, they would pick it up the day before, and I had to have it empty and swept out by 7:00 a.m. WHAT?

Now, I was losing another day! What the heck? Oh, and there would be a $71 charge to pick up the PODS. But I would get a $29 refund because I wasn't storing it.

I asked the agent, who was obviously reading a script, why they told me it would be from May 30 to June 30, and now it was going to be a day earlier. Was there a way they could pick it up in the evening so I'd have the day? She kept repeating the same thing over and over. She said she would request a PM pickup. They would call me the evening before to let me know the time they would pick it up.

Just in case they were going to stick to the 7 am pickup, we hustled to empty it Friday evening. Then I got the call that evening saying they would pick it up between 10:00 and 1:00 on Saturday morning. Since the pod was practically empty by the time I got the call, it was no problem.

On Saturday, the truck picked up the PODS at 11:00. The process was fascinating to watch.

On Monday, I noticed that $187.89 was taken out of my checking account by PODS! What the HECK? When I called, they said it was a mistake and immediately reversed the charge on my PODS account, but of course, it took 3 days for the money to return to my checking account. I was livid. I had that money in my account for my medication, which was cancelled because of the lack of funds.

I had the opportunity to do a survey for PODS. I let them know exactly what I thought about their service and the way they treated me. It probably didn't mean anything to them, but it felt good to get the frustration off my chest.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


This past week, the electrician stopped by Monday to repair the plugs in the kitchen that didn't work. The wire had been chewed in the attic, and I guess when we installed the microwave, the activity in the attic taking care of the wiring may have been just what was needed to disconnect the weak spot.

Superman came over Tuesday, and we moved all the bookcases back into the house. Then Wednesday
we moved enough boxes into the house to clear a space large enough for my car to fit into the garage.

Now, there's only one box left in my room to unpack, and the boxes in the living room and kitchen have been unpacked. There are several boxes of things to give away in the living room and my bedroom.

When I first started unpacking, I had a hard time getting started because each box contained trash, things to give away, and things that I wanted to keep. Once I had a place for each, it was easier to zip through the boxes. I have a few left in my office and the guest room. Other than that, I'm just about done.

The air bed is in the guest room, made up with my quilted bedspread. The green bedspread my son used while he was here is now on my bed. It matches the green accent wall perfectly. I just have to find curtains that go with it. The ones I had in my room before were a warm green instead of a cool green like in the bedspread, which is more relaxing. I think I'll take my time and look for something on sale (what a concept!).

I've gathered everything that hangs on the walls in one place to hang when someone else is around to help me arrange the pieces into pleasing vignettes. I have a couple of my grandfather's mounted deer horns, and I plan to use one of them by the front door as a hat rack with a small mirror below. My grandmother decorated the other set of horns with crushed egg shells, then painted it gold. She went through an eggshell phase. Practically everything was covered in crushed eggshells and painted during that phase. My mom did the same things. They were both artistic and crafty. I digress . . .

When my Dad passed away, we had a photo of him at his 80th birthday party enlarged and framed. I have that photo and one of my grandson that I want to hang. I also want to find a photo of my Mom to enlarge and hang. I used to have a grouping of family photos in the hall until July 17, 1997, (I think) when my family came over and helped me clean up, repair some things, and paint the walls (sort of a habitat for Alana). I can't believe it has already been 16 years since we did that.

I logged in 11,052 steps Saturday, emptying boxes and arranging things in the house. Then I went to a neighbor's high school graduation party, and I ended the evening with a hot bath and started this blog.

It's Sunday, and I can safely report that we only have a couple of things to do, and we're done! We've done so much this week. All the touch up painting has been done, the front door was painted, all the door knobs have been installed, the drapes have been matched up and rehung, I had to move my computer to put it on the right side of the armoire. We encountered a problem trying to use the computer my son-in-law gave me. The USB wi-fi didn't want to connect, so we put it back in the box and brought my old clunker back out. Once I got mine set up and ready to go, I found it to be the slowest, most frustrating thing to use. I mentioned to my son-in-law that we couldn't get the wi-fi to work, so he gave me the one he was using on it before he gave it to me. I haven't set it up again yet. I will soon.

We cleared out the library of the boxes that had been hanging around. I'm expecting 4 90-lb boxes of bookcases, and we'll need the room to assemble them. Bulk pickup is tomorrow, so we cleared the back yard and garage of junk. Most of it was picked up and hauled off before we knew it. There were trucks filled to the brim with metal driving through the neighborhood picking up all the metal they could find.

I can't wait until the counter tops are installed. The counter top people will need a clear path to my kitchen. There are 3 possible ways they can bring the pieces in - through the front door then the library, through the front door then the living room, or through the back door straight to the kitchen. Honestly, I hope they choose that way.

Before Friday, we have to disconnect my kitchen sink, the counter tops, and the tile on the window sill. Then we have to rebuild a platform for the granite window sill.

With all the things I did today, I logged in 15,597 steps!!! I went to church, my daughter's for a quick visit, Target, World Market, back to church to help with Altar Guild, and I was all over the house all day. WOW, I never dreamed I would move that much in a day! I can't wait to show my pedometer to the nutritionist at Perfect Solutions! Of course, she'll probably expect that at least once a week from now one. ;o)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Car Is Back in the Garage

The good news is the garage is empty enough that my car fits. The bad news is I still have hundreds (not literally, but it seems so) of boxes to unpack. I'm amazed at the junk and volume of papers I've saved over the years. I have bills and receipts dating back to the 1980s probably.

Every year I start with an empty box in January and fill it throughout the year with everything. Then I tape it up and stow it. Now that I have them all in one place, it'll be easier to go through them. They've been all over the house - my bedroom, the garage, the junk room, the office - everywhere.

Once I have everything put away, I'm going through those boxes. I'm sure there are missed opportunities, good memories, savings bonds, uncashed checks, special birthday cards, and all sorts of treasures mixed with the junk mail that I just didn't feel like dealing with at the time. I can't just throw it away without sorting through it. 

My new counter tops will be delivered and installed next Friday! I'm so excited!

No much has happened in the house as far as construction, painting, etc. My detail painter seems to have abandoned me for a while, the chief has been in the hospital - no, I didn't work him too hard. I think he had heat exhaustion or heat stroke. He's been working in the full sun day after day, and I think it caught up with him. When he's at my house, he's in the air conditioned comfort of my home. I actually miss them, but it's nice to have the house to myself.

Superman and I got the bookcases and the last of the furniture back into the house yesterday, and today we got all the boxes that aren't junk, papers or library books in the house for me to unpack. I found the rest of my dishes, pots and pans, blender, stationery, shoes, and linens. Yea! All the boxes left in the garage are neatly stacked against one wall, so there's lots of room for my car.

I'm hoping we'll finish this weekend. I won't be home tomorrow evening because my sister and I have plans. A coworker is coming back Friday to help me set up my computer and peripherals (I hope).

All I really have left to do is the handles on the kitchen cabinets, finish hanging the drapes and curtains, remove the kitchen window sill and counter top and sink so when the granite counter tops are delivered everything will be in place and ready. I have ordered and paid for new bookcases for the library, so I'm waiting on them to arrive. I have boxes of books to load into the bookcases, and I still have to hang things on the walls - may have to invest in some command strips so I don't mess up these beautiful walls.

Last week I felt like I was losing my ability to make good decisions. I struggled with indecision and regret for decisions made. But, I think in the end, 95% of the decisions I made during his renovation have been good. And I know I will love the results. I'm thrilled about everything so far. It has been a huge learning experience. I've worked with some amazingly resilient people, and I think my leadership skills have doubled during this past 7 weeks!

People have asked for photos of the work in progress. They don't do the house justice. You have to see it in person. I will have an open house and invite you to see the results. And I hope to have some sort of poster with photos of the work in progress - from the ugly beginning to the stunningly beautiful end.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Moving back in!

I finished sealing the brown perimeter last night! Tonight we move the furniture in place, finish the last of the painting and touch ups (I hope), and we'll clear out the garage enough to get my car back into it - I hope!

I truly love the color of my floor and the look of the baseboards, and I'm ready to finish unpacking. The last thing I'll do is hang the objet d'art once everything else is in place. I saw a photo of a photo wall that I plan to copy on my main living room wall. I have a great photo of my dad and my other family members. I just need to have a print of my mom enlarged and hang it along with the other photos and memorabilia. I can't believe how many framed photos I found in closets while clearing out the house. Now I just have to put them all together and decide what to do. The leftovers will be unframed and put somewhere safe.

Anyway, I'm getting excited again. A friend mentioned how difficult must be to live in a construction zone, where I can't leave and have to work around the tools, pieces out of place, and boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff. That's true, and if I had it to do over, I'd probably still live in the "zone," but I'd try to make better decisions.

The good news is I'm moving back in today!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel

I'm getting excited again! Today I'll seal the brown trim around the perimeter and tomorrow I'll start moving the furniture back into place. The sealer won't be dry enough to slide furniture on, and hopefully, it won't still be wet enough to stick to the furniture, but I'm ready to put the furniture in place. I've been in a holding pattern for a week or so, and I'm ready to be done.

Since my last blog, the touch up painting is almost complete, and the front door knob and dead bolt have been installed. The electrician came by and found that one (or more) of the critters that have been in my attic chewed through the wire to the plugs in my kitchen. He'll be by tomorrow night to finish that up.

The drapery hardware has been installed, and the drapes were ironed and hung. Now I see that my sheers have to be matched up. We just grabbed 2 panels per window and hung them. They weren't uniform in length, so my helper rehung them so they are the same length, but the hems are different, so now I have to figure out that puzzle. I know for sure I need 4 panels of the drapes per window, so I had to order 6 more panels, which should be here in a couple of days. I love the hardware, and the drapes are pretty. I still have the hardware for the bedroom windows up, so I can hang those curtains soon, and the window above the kitchen sink still needs the hardware replaced before I can hang those curtains. I have privacy (for the most part) in the living room and library. Now that the windows are sparkling and actually clear, I think I'll see about replacing the windows that are cloudy while they're replacing the ones that are broken (the one I broke in the kitchen and one that has a b-b hole on the street side).

The landscaper came by and got my yard back in shape. We had to work out the maintenance miscommunication, which will help us move forward. I actually had someone tell me yesterday (OK, so he was a Jehovah's Witness) that he was admiring my yard. Yea!

The bookcases should be here in a week, I'm expecting the counter tops in a week or so, and as soon as I seal the brown around the perimeter of the rooms (today), I'll be able to put the furniture in place. That's what I'm waiting on - putting the furniture in place so I can actually unpack and live in my home. Currently, there's furniture, but it's all still in the middle of their respective rooms, waiting for the sealer.

The kitchen is the only room that needs the floor fixed. We had to move the range back and forth so many times while installing the microwave that the floor is scratched, so we have to restain and reseal, the shoe mould still needs to be added in the kitchen, and the brown trim still needs to be completed. The counter seems to be pretty level. I think it's an optical illusion.

Now, if only the Hallmark channels weren't running Christmas movies, I'd get sooooo much more done! I guess I could record them for when this done and I'm bored. Today, that doesn't even seem like a remote possibility.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Winding down

I think I’m more tired and sort of disoriented since the work on the house has wound down. I’m still not completely unpacked. I still haven’t found my silverware or most-used utensils or blender. I still haven’t figured out how to reset the clock in my range. The refrigerator still isn’t anchored yet, so every time I try to open it, I have to hold it back with my foot, and the door slams into the window behind it. My floor always needs sweeping because of the construction dust.  I still don't have doors on the kitchen cabinets; they're leaning all over the place, and the hinge hardware is on the one counter top that is useable. And I still don't have power to the plugs in the kitchen (I lost it last weekend).
I’m ready to put it all together - to finish the final details, and my crew is ready to move on to something else, but there is still so much more to do. PLUS, I'm not available Friday evening or Saturday after 1:30. I still need a “handy man” to do things like install drapery hardware. The door knobs have to be reinstalled. Before I seriously move the furniture into place, the brown perimeter needs to be sealed. The lower kitchen cabinets need to be leveled, and the kitchen window sill above the sink needs to be removed before the granite arrives (in about 10 days or so!!!)
On the other hand, the place is looking awesome! I love the floor - the spruced up baseboards with the shoe mould and brown perimeter are beautiful and really add class to the place. I have almost all the hardware and software to hang the drapes (I had to order one set of finials.). The landscape crew will arrive tomorrow to finish the yards. Hopefully, all will be finished by this weekend. I have Superman coming to help with the heavy lifting so I can get my car back into the garage. Although I might have to put him off until Monday evening. But I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the work has slowed down because the painter's car broke down, and he's struggling to find someone to fix it and the head crew member has had to work OT at his regular job. His girlfriend (the packing maniac) came over Saturday and recleaned the windows. They look awesome. What she has done in my bathrooms is nothing short of a miracle! My tubs and toilets look brand new. I was thinking I was going to have to replace them because they were in such bad shape with hard water spots and build up from leaks. Everything she touches sparkles!
While unpacking, I'm seriously considering if I should keep objects or pitch them. I already have a small load to take to Goodwill. I bought some bins to put in the unusable space in one of my closets to hold things like hair accessories, extra hair spray, and things that I don't use daily. The bins have cleared the space under my sink, and it'll be easier to find things. I also bought a shoe rack that fits in my other closet. No more over-the-door shoe rack with 3 pairs in each pocket.

I'm looking for the perfect rugs for my room and the living room. I'd also like one in my "work out" room that I can do yoga and exercises on. I found several at Garden Ridge that I like. They have a bunch of rugs, 5x7 for $99, that I'm considering. Do I want flowers, geometric shapes, solid? These are hard decisions. I brought some home the other day, but I took them back. None were perfect.

Anyway, normal should be home soon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Scope Creep

So far the $10K investment in my house has grown to about $18K! But, I'm going to like it A LOT when it's done! I mentioned before that my daughter said to call Empire because she doesn't like the floor -  but I do. There are a few rough spots that "we" are going to try to fix, but other than that, I'm chomping at the bit to have this end so I can live in my new house. They're finishing the floor (perimeter) today, the appliances are in, I put towels and shower curtains and new hardware in the bathrooms, clothes in my closet and dresser, linens in the linen closet, and my exercise equipment is all set up and gathering dust. Once the perimeter is finished, we can move all the furniture to the walls, and I can start filling the China cabinet and my computer armoire.

The living room furniture is back in place and I also arranged the library and my room. I still have to put the air bed in the guest room back on the floor (it's on its side currently), and figure out why all the boxes in the house don't hold things I want to unpack. For some reason, my everyday dishes and flatware have yet to make an appearance. I only have one coffee mug and 2 travel mugs. The only small plates I have are heart-shaped kid plates. 

I'm on my own until Monday. I may call Superman to help move some boxes and furniture back into the house Saturday. Next week we'll touch up some of the rough spots on the walls that appeared during the move back in, try to fix the rough spots on the floor, and hang the drapery hardware and drapes, and we'll be done! I just ordered the bookcases for the library. Of course, there's "some assembly required." My kids and I assembled an entertainment center, bookcase, and my computer armoire when they were teenagers, so I think I can handle straight forward bookcases. If not, I'm sure I can find someone to assist.

I still want to replace the ceiling fans so they all match (the electrician wants $100 for each fan + the cost of the fans - another $1,000!), fix the fence between the houses and replace my roof and patio cover. But those will have to wait until it's cooler.

For some reason, the plugs in the kitchen stopped working last night during the night, so I have an extension cord to my coffee pot. This morning, when the alarm went off at 5:30, I sleepwalked into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. It didn't turn on, so I tried a few combinations of timer on/coffee pot on/off. Then I realized the plug didn't work, so I carried the coffee pot to the other 2 plugs in the kitchen. They didn't work either. I had to move furniture in the garage to get to the breaker box, but it wasn't tripped. I finally took the coffee pot to a plug in the living room and put it on the floor. It worked there. I don't know what's going on. But it feels expensive ;o)

Once the kitchen countertops are installed, I'll feel like I'm home. I finally put up some curtains in the front kitchen window. I always feel a little exposed walking in there in the early morning with the light on. That's the only window with curtains. I have miniblinds in my room and the room directly across the hall from me. There's a mature crepe myrtle in front of the other street window, so I feel a bit protected.

At 11:30 this morning, I heard some police sirens and lots of talking and honking. It was our neighborhood 4th of July parade! We all took a break and waved to the people in the parade. It's been a tradition here as long as I've been in the neighborhood. I always have a front-row seat because they go right by my house. Now it sure is noisy outside with all the fireworks in a neighborhood where fireworks aren't allowed. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Renovation is winding down

We're thinking we can wind up this project this weekend. I have the paint and the chalk line for the band around the perimeter of the floor. We only needed 300 feet of the quarter-round to finish it off. I called a couple places to find the lower-profile quarter-round that we wanted to put along the baseboards. They said they didn't have it.

I was on the hunt, and just in case I could find it, I asked Superman to shop with me so we could use his truck to haul it to my house. After work, we went to McCoy's and found exactly what we were looking for. We were taken to the quarter-round, and we looked at some of the other things they had, both in white and natural. That's when I realized it wasn't quarter-round that we actually wanted; it was shoe mould that we were looking for. We started counting out the unpainted pieces. Then I realized the white was already primed, so I checked them out. They were $1.20 less each! Instead of $4.59 each, they were $3.39! And we'd only have to paint it once!

We hauled them home and I feel like that was a big success! Superman finished replacing the doorknobs, and we called it a night. I made myself comfortable to watch NCIS, and before I knew it, I crashed.

I'm still surrounded by boxes at the office and here at home. At the same time, I'm finishing 2 large projects at work, and the Friends of the Library newsletter is printed and ready to go to the preparer. I have so many things on my mind that I made a big mistake when doing the final details on the newsletter. I prepared the mailing lists and completely left out those people who only supplied mailing addresses. It was a big mistake, luckily, I realized it before it was too late. I could have taken it to the preparer this evening, but I left in such a hurry to look for the trim that I forgot it. So, I'll drop it off on my way back from weighing in.

I plan to spend the weekend unpacking. Once I can push the furniture in place, and I feel like I won't have to move it again, I'm going to tear into those boxes. We packed so quickly and there's so much that I really don't want to keep, so I'll take my time. I guess that's one of the things stopping me. The few boxes I have in my room have things I really don't feel like unpacking, but I don't have any place to put them until I can unpack. It's one of those catch-22 situations. I'll probably make a few trips to Good Will over the weekend as well.

Next weekend is my grandson's first birthday party. It'll be a 'stash bash where everyone will wear a moustache. The invitations are absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, I have a wedding to coordinate about the same time, so I won't be there at the beginning. I'll probably miss the first hour, I also have Altar Guild, so I'll be on that side of town Friday night and early Saturday morning. Maybe I can stay at my daughter's and help her prepare for the party. That would make me feel better for missing some of it.

The renovation is winding down, but it doesn't seem that my life is - yet!

Living like it's 1960.

I have a new refrigerator, a new stove, and a new micro(wave)hood. They are all installed, and they are all still covered in plastic. I feel like I'm living in the 1960s. I can see them, but I can't touch them. Actually, they're covered to protect them from us while all is still chaotic at the house.

I got my car back today from the shop. It's amazing how quiet it runs when everything is in working order. I thought Jaguars were supposed to knock and ping and sound like they're falling apart. At least mine did all the time!

Last night I crawled around the floor and installed the little door stoppers so we'd stop putting dents in the walls. The poor painter can't keep up with us.

Tomorrow I'll have to take a long lunch to weigh in, deliver some newsletters, and to hunt down the trim. McCoy's doesn't have it. They suggested Allen & Allen, which closes at 5:00!

I really like the trim above the kitchen cabinets. My #1 guy said it's not special, but I think it's altered. I guess I'll have to drag this long piece that I have with me to compare it to what I can find in the stores. It looks like I'll be trim shopping for July 4th. The members of my crew all have other side jobs waiting.

I mentioned in one of my first blogs about this adventure that we were a party of strangers. We have become family. It's going to be lonely once everything is done. But I'll be able to stop and think.