Tag Archives: home

Tunguska in my backyard

OK, so maybe a comet didn’t hit my backyard.  More, it was a guy named Chris with a penchant for climbing trees with a chainsaw.

The arboreal carnage abounds.

But on the plus side, our front and back yards, once super-shady and overgrown and with more moss than grass for a lawn, now has light coming through!  As an added bonus, of the dozen trees (or maybe even more) that were felled, 8 or 9 of them were in varying stages of rotting.  Had they not come down now by Chris’s hand, they would have certainly come down sooner or later on their own.  And since all the trees were within striking distance of our house, that would not have been a good thing.

Frank and my father in-law helped the whole weekend, as Chris quoted us a price per day based on the amount of work that needed to be done vs. a price per tree.   Not only did this save us money, but because these dear men in my life labored hard all weekend, we got a LOT done for the money we spent.  The weekend was filled with the sounds of progress — chain saws, large pieces of tree slamming hard to the ground, hard enough to rumble the house a bit, and the steady groan of a huge chipper that many of the men in the neighborhood came over at various times to “help” but really they wanted to “play”.

Chris only started his own business a short time ago, so he doesn’t have the equipment to take away the large logs or rip out the stumps, so that’s work we’ll have to do.  We’re scouting around among family friends to see who has chain saws and if anyone has a log splitter.  I’m going to take pictures of some of the trees and advertise them on Craigslist to see if anyone wants to take them, whole, off our hands.  If you’re in the Rockland county area of New York state… want a part of a tree?

Trekkin’ around the state

It’s been a whirlwind few days!

As I mentioned previously, Lane went to Buffalo on Monday.  My dad was here visiting for one night with his fiancee from Sunday to Monday, and as they were preparing to leave, Lane started saying she REALLLLY wanted to go to Buffalo with Grandpa Jerry.  Well, he’s retired, and she wouldn’t miss anything more than a few days of preschool and a dance class.  So she went.  By all reports they had a blast.  Tuesday was an off weather day in Buffalo so they hung out at home and watched movies, and Wednesday they went to the Buffalo Zoo.  (I am happy to report no polar bears died while they were visiting.)

Then, Jake and I drove up there on Wednesday afternoon and got there about 9:00 p.m.  Thursday was general hanging-out-with-relatives, and my dad took Jake to see choo-choos (my dad used to work on the railroad).

I also had a very sweet, very frank conversation with my brother about life stuff and relationship stuff of which I will not violate his confidence by divulging the details here, but it make my heart sigh, in that good way.  He’s a good egg who just needs to sort out his priorities a little and really realize he’s more grown-up and mature than he gives himself credit for.

Then, Friday, the kids and I headed for the Albany area, where we visited with my friend Amanda and her new, perfect little baby, and where Frank rendez-vous’ed with us.  We stayed there last night, and then went to my friend Cari’s daughter’s first birthday party, where we also saw other friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, being caught up in the whole moving-into-our-house-and-getting-it-spiffied-up whirlwind, as we are.  But there are tentative plans to get together with the other friends in the next couple weeks, and for Amanda to visit at some point in November, so we’re getting caught up, socially, which feels good.

And now we are home, and I’m sitting on my own couch, and I’m relishing that we don’t have to travel anywhere until Christmas (unless we choose to do so otherwise, before then).  Not that we won’t be busy – we have a dining room that needs wallpaper stripped and a coat of the “tomato bisque” paint I bought before Thanksgiving, among a couple other rooms that need painting.  But after our last two busy weekends… bring on the paint.  🙂

Progress

Things are getting done around our new abode, which is encouraging.

Our living room is all painted — three walls are the same warm beige (“oat cake” says Behr) as our bedroom with one accent wall of Ladybug Red.  And Frank likes it.  Yay!  I’m fairly confident in my color choices and I like to go out on a limb sometimes.  Nothing that a can of primer can’t fix, right?  I figured he’d be wishy-washy on the red at best, and he’s actually digging it.  Cool!  Our next color challenge is to pick a color for our dining room.  I was, and still am somewhat, leaning toward a muted, darkish orange color for the dining room… but just now I started playing with some warm browns and ooooooohh.  I’ve never painted a room a dark brown before.  I’ve done navy blue in a half-bath, but never a whole room of something so dark.  It might be fun.

Frank and his dad tackled a bunch of clearing out the overgrown landscaping this weekend, and I conquered more of it this afternoon.  Then I dug a two-foot hole and set up our new roadside mailbox at the behest of the postal service (with a bit of help from my father in-law — but I did dig the whole hole myself with a post hole digger).

Frank and I just finished changing out all the switches and outlets in the living room to shiny new stuff and adding dimmers and all that fun stuff.  I gotta say, nothing makes me feel more like I’m a cool, confident adult than installing a dimmer switch, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  Just gotta shampoo the rug in there, and put in our furniture.  The cable company is coming next Tuesday to install cable for us, and our own internet service (right now my only internet is off of the in-laws’ router, for which we can only get a signal against the outside wall of our dining room, which is why I’m sitting here on a cushion from our couch instead of the dozen or so infinitely more comfortable spots in our house.)

The last couple days have felt quite productive.  Tomorrow, I’m spending a day with just Lane, while Jake gets to hang out with his grandparents for the day.  I figure since she’s starting pre-K next week, we should do some sort of send-off, to kind of celebrate her last days before she becomes SCHOOL AGED.  Ack!  So, she and I are going to drive down to Sesame Place for some kickin’ mom-and-daughter time.

Home, glorious home

We are moved in.

Surprisingly, trumpets did not blare when it occurred.  It felt like they should have.

It was just such a long process to get to this point, and we’re so far from being settled in, even though we’re technically habitating here now.  (Is habitating a real word?  It seems like it should be.)

Our bedrooms are mostly put together, save a couple stray boxes and no artwork on the walls yet.  Lane’s room has a full wall of tackboard that I want to cover with fabric, but right now it’s just tackboard and isn’t very attractive.  Jake’s room is more of a playroom since his crib is in our bedroom for the time being.

The kitchen… ahh it is the bane of my existence right now.  I hate it.  I don’t even feel like hate is a strong enough word.  The cabinets were refaced in about 1984, so they have that oh-so-chic beige formica look to them.  I am sure at one point it looked quite stylish.  They are cabinets and drawers without handles, and thus have a clicky mechanism where you push on the drawer or cabinet to open or close it.  Not so horrible, in and of itself, but add in that half the clicky mechanisms are broken, the hinges on half the doors are busted so they don’t hang straight, and that my ‘habit’ of resting myself against a kitchen cabinet subsequently opens a cabinet (because of course I choose to rest against a non-broken clicky mechanism door) and this kitchen drives me batty.  And take note — I said that the kitchen was refaced.  The original wood cabinetry is still behind all that glorious formica.  Since this house was built in the early 50s you’d assume that there would be some pretty good craftsmanship in that original cabinetry, but then you’d be making an ass of you and me.  It’s shit, to put it bluntly.  Drawers stapled together, not dovetailed.  The drawers, for whatever havoc time has wreaked upon them, simply do not slide without brute force.  And the corner cabinets are those lame cabinets where you have to practically crawl into them to access any of the contents, vs. being lazy-susan-ified.  So I hate the kitchen.

Problem is, we don’t really have it in the budget to do a refurb like we’d REALLY like to do a refurb.  When we bought the house we sort of planned that a new kitchen would happen in the 5-7 year time frame.  But that was before I discovered the kitchen is complete shit, where the only redeeming quality is the nice dishwasher and the presence of a working garbage disposal. We do, though, maybe have a plan.  We’re thinking maybe we replace JUST the beige formica cabinets right now… keep the beige formica countertop and the beige tile floor (notice a theme?), and get us some stock cabinets (maybe IKEA?) to tide us over for a few years, until we’ve saved up the bones to really pimp out the kitchen.  And maybe by doing so the full kitchen remodel gets pushed to the 7-8 year time frame.  We’ll see.

And beyond the kitchen, there’s the hot water issue.  Mainly, that when you turn on a cold water tap anywhere in the house, you get hot water for about a minute before you get cold water.  Well, first you get sort of lukewarm water, then hot water, then finally cold water.  Google has helped me diagnose the problem as a backflow issue from the hot water heater.  Apparently, situations can happen where turning on the cold water will reduce the pressure in the cold water line, and thus, as physics would have it, hot water will come up the pipe that feeds the hot water heater, and get hot water into your cold water system.  Google also tells me that it is something that an “anti-siphon valve” should fix, so hopefully I can find us an honest plumber who’ll fix it for what should be not too much money.

Luckily, though, when I’m about ready to pull my hair out, I take the kids and get into the acres-deep jetted bathtub in the shiny, swanky new bathroom and somehow that makes me feel a whole lot better about the house.  Now I just have to find time to do it without two kids climbing on me.  (Heh… somehow I managed to spend the last 40 minutes bitching about my kitchen though.)

Transient

We finished moving out of our apartment today.  Frank and I packed up the swarm of little things that don’t make it into boxes at first, and then don’t make it into boxes again, and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by oodles of things that used to live on shelves and in drawers and on tables, but then the shelves and drawers and tables are gone and you are overrun.

Lane even helped this morning.  Despite my mother in-law’s desperate pleas that we leave Lane behind with her, because she’d only get in the way.  But Lane and I had a very grown-up talk where I explained that we were going there not to play, not to make a mess, but to pack the last of our things up and clean, and mostly she was cooperative and helpful.  Of course, I gave her her own bottle of (mostly diluted with water) Windex and a rag, and told her to spray stuff and clean it.  She cleaned the refrigerator, and windows, and bathroom tile, and actually left stuff cleaner than it was before she touched it, which is highly unusual.

My goal was to be done with all the packing and moving and cleaning by about 6:30 today.  And, despite two insane thunderstorms – one this morning, and one this afternoon, we only finished an hour later than planned.

Thus, we are now without a home of our own.  We are staying at Frank’s parents’ house, which, have I mentioned, is right next door to our house?  Tomorrow begins the epic voyage that is getting our new house to a point where we can comfortably reside there.  Nothing too over-ambitious: some painting, a bit of wall-to-wall carpet removal, oh, and the demolition of the bed that we discovered during the walk-through  is actually built into the master bedroom.  Like, the wall-to-wall goes right up the sides of it.  Oh, joy!

We’re in debt again. Yay!

Before closing on our house today, we had zero debt.  No credit card debt, no student loans, no car payments, no mortgage.  It felt good.

Now we have a mortgage.

But we also have a house.

This feels better.

Not a great start

Within the first five minutes of being awake, I got clocked in the back of the head with a sippy cup, and smacked in the nose by a board book.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to realize I have a pretty bad headache now.

Yesterday brought some good news — our closing has finally been scheduled!  We’ll be officially homeowners again next Wednesday.  Yay!  And only two weeks later than originally planned.  Now, planning for what work we want to get done before we move in, and all the actual packing.  The good news about that is that we don’t have a ton of stuff here that needs to be packed in boxes.

Yesterday also brought rain.  Lots and lots and lots of rain.  We definitely needed the rain, it had been very hot and dry for about a week straight.  But I ended up out in two different downpours, and that wasn’t much fun.  Frank and I were supposed to have golf lessons yesterday but they were canceled.  The kids were already at my in-laws’, so I decided to go run at the gym instead.  Bailey is generally a pretty level-headed dog, but thunderstorms just make her a little nervous and she acts a bit odd.  Well, as I was trying to leave the house, Bailey decides she NEEDS to go with me and she sneaks out the door and darts down to the driveway.  In a complete downpour.  I’m sure we were a funny sight, out in the drenching rain, while I was trying to get her leash on her to drag her back into the house.  Even though I was soaked, I decided I wasn’t going to use it as an excuse to get out of exercising so I still went and did some time on the treadmill.

My second downpour foray was later, when Frank came home with the kids from his parents.  They left his parents when no rain was falling, and three minutes later when they got home it was raining buckets.  I went out with an umbrella to help get everyone in the house relatively dry.  Mission mostly successful, except I got pretty wet from the knees down.

So, today finds me pretty stiff from running and getting cold and wet, and now a headache to top it off.  But thinking about actually moving into our house almost makes up for it all.