Sunday, November 30, 2014
Look at the pretty new window seat and storage bench! Our trim carpenter Jeff reminds me so much of my father...it's very refreshing in a lot of ways, but mostly because I just know that he's extremely capable and wants more than anything for us to love the end product. Whenever Nick and I stop by while he's there, he'll stop what he's doing to chat. We feel a little awkward about that because we don't mean to be disruptive—but he just loves people. He'd rather take time to visit and work late than get done early. I have to say that everyone who has worked on our home has been extremely friendly and personable, but some have made more of an impression than others.
My favorite person to work with, hands down, has been the person who designed our cabinetry. What's that you say? Oh yes, we have cabinets now! In more rooms than we don't actually (now that I think about it). Leland took very good care of us, and he was so extremely pleasant to work with. He actually has a background in psychology and told me that having couples therapy skills has proven very beneficial for his line of work with spouses building homes. He was a fantastic mediator (though I would like to believe that we weren't all that hard to work with for any of our vendors) and seemed totally invested in creating our dream. When the trim carpenter had questions about the cabinets delivered, it was Leland who came out personally to review the delivery and take measurements.
He's seriously the awesomest ever. I almost want to put cabinets in the rest of the rooms just to work with him some more...going over board? Perhaps.
The trim carpenter also installed all the locks on the house, so we are now secure enough for really expensive things to be delivered. You know, expensive things like light fixtures. Seeing all of the beautiful light fixtures we selected stacked in the office was...underwhelming. Depressing is a better-fit for what I felt when I saw how little space $6,000 actually fills. The money all goes poof so quickly...it's unreal. It all still feels worth it though. My home is my center, my grounding...where else should our money go but toward our foundation (in every meaning of the word I suppose)?
I could go on more about this, but really where one spends their earnings is a very personal decision. Neither one of us is independently wealthy, but we take pride in our strong work ethic and the quality of our work. Not becoming a parent in my 20s (as I had originally assumed would happen) altered my path through life. I've decided that I cannot write my own story—nobody can. All we can do is start a new chapter and see how it plays out. I finally feel like I am personally accomplishing something in my life, and being financially strong enough to build a home is only a small part of that...anyway: I thought my stream of consciousness tendencies were limited to pencil and paper, but not so the case here.
We are in the final stretch...twelve days to go. In the next week, all trim should be finished and painting should be touched up. The mason, Rocky (*snicker* - c'mon, what are the odds?), should be out to finish the fireplace, and the front porch railing will come to life. Oh, and let's not forget that expensive pile of cardboard. The electrician should be out in the next few days to assemble and install the light fixtures. I want to see a couple of those chandeliers REALLY, REALLY BAD!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
There has been so much visible progress in the last week, I'm not even sure which pun to go with for the title!
Well, since I'm struggling where to start, let's go through the week!
26 days to go.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts...sometimes.
—"Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.
I've had a hard day. Really, I've had a hard week, but today just took the cake. If I had to make a bet (and I dislike gambling), I'd put my money on the wintry front headed our way. I have had some big decisions to think through at work, I've been worried because Sophie's sick, and then there's the house. I'm doing my best to stay upright and look like nothing is wrong through the haze of narcotics...but I'm worn out.
A friend at work gave me PowerStrips to try over the weekend to see if they would help. If anything, they made yesterday miserable because I let the pain get out of control hoping that the strip would be able to replace the controlled substances that I've been prescribed for breakthrough pain. Wishful thinking, I'd say, to believe that I could replace a lion with a caterpillar and no one would be any the wiser. Once I accepted that I needed narcotics, I couldn't get an upper hand over the pain; I eventually took muscle relaxers to knock myself out. Today, a cloud of Bengay surrounds me everywhere I go.
I wasn't expecting to have to go anywhere (wanting to lick my wounds in private, naturally), so I loaded up on medication. Then Nick tells me that he needs to clean gutters for someone before the snow arrives. Great, have fun, I thought. He didn't expect anyone to be at the house, so he needed someone to spot him, to be there in case he fell from the roof. Okay, I guess that's a good reason to bring me out of private wound-licking.
Later, we were chastised for not spending enough time with someone. While it cut me deeply because I feel like I'm just barely keeping my head above water as it is, I am reminded of something Mom always used to say: "Everybody has a story." We all have needs, and sometimes those needs aren't met. Everybody does hurt sometimes, be it emotional or physical, and for many different reasons. I don't think we ever mean to hurt the people we love, but it happens just the same. The important thing to remember is that we need to step outside of our own sagas now and then to appreciate what is happening around us.
I know this is a crappy post so far, no sunshine or roses to be found. I think some house updates are in order!
The taping/mudding process is ridiculously long! I mean, I get it...a coat of plaster has to dry completely before it can be sanded and before additional coats can be applied...but still! I can't remember if we stopped by the house on Monday, but I know mudding was underway when we stopped by on Tuesday, and it was still happening yesterday (Saturday) when we stopped by to see if a light fixture fit in a space. In any event, texturing and paint should happen soon.
What else...hmm. Siding is done on three sides of the house, and the platform for the screened porch has been built. The siding is a lot darker than I was anticipating, but I actually like how much it pops with the white trim. As a cost saving measure, we agreed to a siding in what we were told was similar to a color in a less expensive brand than the color we liked best. We thought we were getting a creamy mocha but got milk chocolate instead. Oh well, at least it's still chocolate, right?
Speaking of the screened porch, we also decided on the color of the Trex product that will be used throughout the porch: a multi-tone color called Tiki Torch. I'm not sure when the material will be delivered, but I am excited to see the porch come together. I believe the expected accumulated snow has been downgraded in our area, but I had hoped that we would have seen the screen porch complete before any of that silly white stuff tickled the ground just the same.
Last but not least, the garage floor and front porch were poured on Thursday! They will need to come back to pour the driveway, sidewalk to the front door, and some stairs yet, but it's exciting to see these pieces done! We are supposed to get locks on the doors in the next week, and our light fixtures are scheduled to be delivered in just over a week (I am very excited to see those installed).
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Last Wednesday, we stopped by the house to find boxes of siding had been opened. The boxes had been stacked in front of the house several days by that point, and seeing them suddenly open was seriously like being in second grade and watching the chicks hatch from the eggs in the incubator. Nick led the way to the back of the house as our relaxed gate became bouncy: MUST FIND THE SIDING! And we did find it, and it was awesome (even though it was only a tiny bit)!
I thought that for sure, the siding would be finished by the end of the week! But. No. Either I am guilty of gross oversimplification (possible, likely), or there have been delays that I don't understand (possible too, likely too).By the end of the day on Thursday, two-thirds of the back were sided. By the end of the day on Friday, the northern side was finished. Workers were out on Saturday morning, and by the end of the day, the southern side was finished. Going into this week, we have 1/3 of the back and 100% of the front of the house left to complete...so, [knocks on wood] I hope to have pictures of a fully-sided house by this time next week!
All drywall was hung when we stopped by on Wednesday, and it's amazing how much difference a little drywall makes! I've been staring at studded walls for a very long time now, but the rooms all seemed so different with the drywall. Much like the siding (see "possible, likely" notes), I had assumed that with drywall all hung at the end of Wednesday, that left two full days to at least start mudding the seams. In my mind, this was perfect because the materials would have all weekend to dry, meaning that wall texturing and painting could move up on the schedule. Take off your PM hat, Laura: this isn't your project to manage (it's just so hard to keep out of it). Nothing else happened on the interior after Wednesday. So, pin a rose on your nose, Laura.
After months of carrying buckets of details around with me everywhere I went, months of worrying that I wouldn't make selections or contact vendors quickly enough, months of stressing over pretty much everything in my life...here I am with nothing to do. I started thinking about towels and other linens that I need to buy tonight, but my husband scolded me—Why wouldn't you wait until the after-Thanksgiving sales!? Because, Nicholas. Because I...well...because if...because...okay FINE: YOU'RE RIGHT. Man, that was hard to type.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
(This picture is from June, so don't be thinking we're negligent parents for letting our ward walk around without a proper coat in the steadily-falling, late-autumn temperatures!)
Sophie, Sophie, Sophie. You all know by now that she has Nick and me completely whipped, and we all but worship her. (Okay.
She lived with her grandma Joan, Nick's mom, for a few months (enough time for her to put Joan under her spell too, I think), because we were worried how she would be with other cats in residence—our subterranean loft living arrangement came with three cats already included. I was trying to be unselfish with the situation; I wanted the best for Sophie even though I missed her like crazy. Upon returning home from a week of travel (for work) in 2013, Nick surprised me by reuniting our little family. Sophie was back with us, and I don't think she stopped purring for more than a couple minutes that first night.
Best of all, she has adapted well to life with other cats. She is actually quite chummy with a couple of them, leading Nick to continually paraphrase Shawshank Redemption: "...thick as thieves, them two are!" Now it presents a new problem for us since language continues to be a barrier, meaning that Sophie cannot tell us herself: should we get her a companion when we move? Will she now be lonely only having dopey humans (who leave her alone all day long) available for socializing?
We've been waffling for months. I know people who bring home new cats and it disrupts the peace in the household with the existing animal(s). Lord knows we melt and make mewling sounds when we see kittens, but we need to make sure that if we adopt another cat that it is for Sophie, not us. She's our baby, after all!
Meanwhile, I've got rescued Maine Coons on my radar...my love for the "gentle giants" of the cat world has only grown since knowing and loving our Sophie. Stay tuned for the developing story, I suppose...I'm pretty sure I can make out the writing on the wall though.
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