Friday, October 3, 2008

fair enough

You're right, you're right, I should have updated by now. Here's the breakdown:

Actually, after typing several different versions of the breakdown, I guess I should just sum up by saying that closing took longer than we expected, cost more money than we expected, and probably took a few years off my life expectancy in sheer stress and tooth-grinding. But it's over, we closed last Tuesday (the 23rd), it's possible that we got the last mortgage EVER in this crazy crazy economy. So that part is done; our name is on the deed. We celebrated with sushi after the closing, then spent that afternoon at the new house with Dad coming up with a Master Plan.

And then we started Operation Make This House Ours. It began with a long Wednesday night spent ripping up layers of berber carpet, indoor/outdoor carpet, disintegrating carpet foam and beneath all of that a layer of that green and beige marbled tile like from elementary school hallways. It was hard work but extremely gratifying, and now the Man Room has exposed concrete floors that we will leave unfinished for a while until we're sure all the moisture issues have been solved. The only other major projects we had planned for pre move-in were painting the whole main floor (including trim and doors) and a potential laundry room overhaul (and paying a professional to fence in the backyard). Friday night we drove to Greenbriar and picked up (part of) a new sectional couch that I found on Craigslist. Saturday we met Dad again to talk about the Painting Plan, and somehow over the course of that conversation decided to completely renovate the bathroom.

I don't remember if I mentioned it before, but neither Austin nor I are fixer-upper people. We were not looking for a project house. We don't walk around our house and itch to rip things down. We wanted to move into this new home, put away our things, and start having our normal life again, complete with an outrageous amount of free time and plenty of good home-cooked food. Even after we fell in love with this house, which most certainly needed updating, we figured we could spend a couple weekends with paintbrushes and rollers and be ready to go. A bathroom renovation was not in the grand scheme of things. But after looking at the recommendations from the Home Inspector, and realizing how much we truly, truly hated the tile on the walls and the sink cabinet (and the medicine cabinet. And the lighting fixture. And the weird little gray toilet. And the totally unnecessary striped wallpaper) it was determined that IF we were going to do something about this, now was the time, with three weeks of unoccupation and lots of volunteer labor.

So Sunday morning Dad and Patrick started demolition on the bathroom, while 9 other kind and amazing members of my immediate family (including Badness plus Brett plus Bill, who basically count) picked up screwdrivers and painter tape and trim brushes and fanned out throughout the house. We got a REMARKABLE amount done in that first full day, including a first coat of white paint on almost every bit of trim in the main floor. I was so excited and honored by all the help that I managed to (*mostly*) not freak out at the crashing and crunching sounds emitting from the bathroom. Kam suggested that, instead of having a panic attack every time I walked past and saw gaping holes in the walls, we have a photo of what we want the bathroom to look like (sky blue and white, please) screenprinted on a sheet and hang that over the door.

Progress throughout this week has been a bit slower. Monday night Austin and I got the second coat of trim on the office and most of the hallway, and otherwise realized a major glitch: there is almost no lighting in the front half of the house. Obviously this will be remedied when we install new fixtures and move in with our floor lamps, but in the meantime, painting at night is going to be severely limited. Tuesday some of our loveliest lady friends pitched in and helped me blanket the kitchen with a swath of white paint while Dad and Austin continued their ruthless barrage on bathroom demolition. Wednesday night Austin finished up the demo while I attacked a weird patch of fake parquet flooring in the basement that was apparently attached directly to the concrete floor with Gorilla glue. In 1959.

Then the nicest thing happened: we took Thursday night off. It was a rough week at work, too much to do and an apparent total inability to focus, and I was ready for a break. We made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and watched as much as we could stomach of the VP debate. I climbed gratefully into bed at 10:15 and felt completely refreshed the next morning. Tonight we cleaned up the demolition debris. This included vacuuming up an apparent 50 year supply of razor blades - razor blades!- that were stored in the back of the old-fashioned medicine cabinet (this means they just fell through the "safety" slot into the wall), a fascinating and horrifying endeavor. The bathroom is now down to stud walls and once we remove the bathtub (tomorrow) we'll be ready to start building everything back up again.

So tomorrow we're back at it. We'll get as much painting done in the front rooms as we can while there is daylight available, and I think by the end of the day we'll be rolling beautiful colors on the walls. I'm taking tons of pictures and will start assembling them into a before-during-after home improvement diary for those of you following along at home. I didn't expect this to turn into a big life-dominating project for a month. I'd just been thinking, "First we close, then we move." But I think we're doing the right thing, and with every blister this house becomes, more and more, ours.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I'm just thrilled for you guys! Congrats!!! Can't wait to see more before (and then after) photos! Good luck!!