28 November 2016

Help I Moved Into A Giant To-Do List

I've been working my butt off around the house, though I feel like I have nothing to show for it - which is the problem with maintenance and upkeep tasks - they're not flashy, or pretty, or fun.  But things have been accomplished, all the same (I can tell by my aching muscles, the cuts and bruises all over my body, and the spray paint on my legs).

Since last we spoke, I've: 

  • replaced most of the outlet and switchplate covers in the house with new ones (old ones were yellowed, dirty, and encrusted with paint)
  • hung blinds in my bedroom (white, 2" faux-wood "plantation shutter"-esque) 
  • gutted and mostly-organized the garage (everything had been just thrown in there in a hurry and I couldn't get to anything to use it)
  • purchased and assembled the following items from IKEA: 
    • FORHOJA kitchen cart (squee!)
    • HELMER metal file cabinet (I have one serving as a "leg" on my 8'-long sewing table, I wanted another one for the other end, for even more small-items storage) 
    •  DALFRED swirly-stool, used as a plant stand in my bedroom window (I've always wanted one of these, and for once, by the time I got to Ikea, they still had it!!)
    • pillows, comforter, sheets, bathroom rugs, towels (not "assembled" so much as washed and put into use, and OMG is my bed comfy.  It's been like sleeping in a hotel bed!) 
  • spray-painted all the iron decorative things I had hanging on my front porch at the old house.  Not sure what I'll do with them, but at least they've been freshened up
  • spray-painted all the decorative push-in garden edging and placed it around the border in the front yard (no plants yet, but I'm working on that).
  •  gutted this little shelfy-nook in the living room wall, which had about a million plastic clips which were caulked (?) to the wall and had been painted over a few times;  I removed them with pliers (!!) and then scraped the holes flat and patched them, and primed over them. Here's a before picture: 
Aw, there's the old flooring. I do not miss it.
  • This isn't a me-thing, but we got Google Fiber installed on Saturday!  We had had our AT&T U-Verse transferred from the old house, but it would NOT. WORK.  Seriously, we didn't have tv, and only barely had internet and spotty wifi, since October 1.  THANK YOU GOOGLE OMG.  
  • Installed a towel rack in the master bathroom; and a towel rack, toilet roll holder, and vanity towel ring in the small bathroom. 
  • "Repaired" loose sink faucets in the master bath (they just weren't screwed together all the way)

Next Up: 

New blinds for Sylvan's room
Prime and paint everything, ever
Hang a pot rack in the kitchen
Put up new covers for the exhaust fans in both bathrooms (one missing, one broken)
Repair a leaky, running toilet - first the flapper, and if that doesn't work, the whole fill tube and float
Start looking at fabrics to reupholster the couch and wingback chair in the living room

Also, I need to take a good hard look at the way I'm scheduling myself.  I am not happy.  I am, in fact, staggeringly unhappy, frustrated, sad, and angry all the time.  I've been busting my butt on this house, and even though the stress from the sale of the old house is over, I don't feel better at all.  I'm not allowing myself time to rest, or to do things I enjoy that lift my spirits and make me feel good.  I haven't ridden my bike in over a week, because I keep having to do something else that's more pressing than cleaning my bike and getting it souped up and ready to ride - which I need to do.  Bike makes brain run smoothly.  And I literally can't even remember when I last played my guitar, or painted a picture, or did anything, really except either get a house ready to sell or fix up a fixer-upper house.  I gave myself a little manicure one day after work last week and I felt SO guilty and angry with myself for not getting anything done for a whole two hours.  That's a bunch of self-induced, unhealthy stress that I can really do without.

Even at my busiest, I used to always allow myself the entirety of Wednesday evenings for a "spa night" - it's when I would do my nails, my toes, take a hot bath, dye my hair if I needed to, and generally just sit around and pamper myself all evening.  I also used to have a "noise night" on Thursdays, when Sylvan goes out for a coffee and writing date with a friend of hers.  Noise Night was for guitar practice, or for throwing on the radio at top volume and painting until I couldn't hold a brush anymore.  I miss doing those things.

If scheduling time to chill is what it takes to get me to freaking chill, then that's what's going to happen.  I am officially putting myself on my to-do list.
So there.

14 November 2016

Bedroom: Accomplished

My weekend was extremely busy.  I was off work on Friday; I basically woke up, had some coffee, and got to work - and didn't stop until Sunday night.  I painted walls and fixtures, moved furniture, repaired furniture, worked in the yard, cut pieces of wood into smaller pieces, worked on my bicycle, rearranged rooms, hung curtains, knocked out a bunch of boring, regular ol' housework - so many things!  I'm actually sore all over, I worked so hard. 

My biggest (and favorite) accomplishment from the weekend was this:

At last, a bedroom that looks like my actual bedroom!  Literally, actually - like 90% of the things in here came from my room at the old house;  even the paint color is similar (this is Glidden "White Bucks," a very, very pale gray;  the old room was Behr's "White Clay", which was a warm white with yellowy-green undertones). 

All of my old bedroom furniture is here.  I didn't exactly want to throw it all into the same corner, but, that's the way the room works.  Believe me, I'm perfectly willing to sacrifice options for that huge, glorious box window. 

It ends up functioning like a little "work triangle", like you hear about in kitchen design - it definitely makes getting ready for work in the morning fairly hassle-free.

Interior With Woman Reading,
Carl Holsoe, 1863-1935

In case you're wondering - and I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it before - my inspiration in this room (and its predecessor) comes largely from Carl Villhelm Holsøe's paintings of his home.  I like Victorian interior paintings in general; but there's a contented tranquility in Holsøe's work that I really love. 

 I cannot get enough of this amazing, 16"-deep box window. 

 Rabi likes it, too. 

In case you missed it in the pictures above, this is my Aardvarkadile.  It's a crocodile with enormous, floppy, lopsided ears, because...well, why the hell not, right?

Just in case you forgot, here's what the room looked like before I moved in - not a terrible blue on the walls; teal and gold inside the window box and all over a decorative shelf that spanned one wall of the room; linoleum tile on the floors. 

There's also a hand-painted ceiling fan;  it's still there, but I flipped the blades so that the plain, pale-wood-look side shows. 

The pink duct tape on the window was actually holding one of the panes in place - about a week ago I removed the tape, the pane, and all the old caulking, and re-set the pane into the frame. 

Things left to do in this room:  

  • baseboards will be installed soon by the tilers, who removed the old ones when they installed the new (gray, ceramic, wood-look) tile throughout the house
  • there's no door on the closet.  If I catch that curtain on my face and pull it down onto my own head one. more. time...
  • what was left of my bedframe finally collapsed!  Time for a new bed. 
  • The windows desperately need blinds, or some other privacy-protecting covering, underneath the sheer, white curtains.  That window film, though lovely - even though it's mismatched - is practically transparent at night when the lights are on indoors. No bueno. 

07 November 2016

Bedrooms Underway

I've begun painting - well, okay, priming - my bedroom.  I'm nowhere near ready to show you a whole room yet, but here's a shot of the inside of the box window in progress:

The room itself is a medium/pale blue; inside the box window is a deep teal with a metallic gold paint sponged over it. 

I'm painting the room white for now, because that's what it was before, and I loved it; and also because white paint is what I have (left over from last month when I spent two weeks painting the old house out in a "neutral" color that turned out to be a bit lighter than I thought it would be (Glidden "White Bucks", which is actually a very pale, warm gray. Very pale).  I may change the color later, but for now, I'd really like to be ONE color.

Other plans include purchasing blinds to go into these windows; hanging curtains (blue or white sheers from the old house, not sure yet); and decorating that big, glorious window seat with cushions and plants. I'd also like to replace that window film so that the film is the same on all the panes - something low-e that offers a bit more privacy. (These swirly and frosted-looking bits are lovely, but I can see every detail in that room from the outside, and my eyesight is terrible).

(For reference, the "White bucks" on every square inch of the old house, just after we moved out).

Meanwhile, over the weekend I painted Sylvan's bedroom.  I still have to finish the trim and doors in there, and then paint the ceiling; I'll have pics of that when it's all finished, too.

More soon!

28 October 2016

Bit By Bit

We're still deep in the throes of unpacking and trying to find places for things; but we've reached the point where along the way, some spaces are beginning to come together.

The "breakfast nook" area is now an open storage/pantry area.

It's not done yet, but it's a good start.

The yellow will be going away VERY soon.  We hates yellow, Precious! 

The baker's rack on the right side is now a coffee bar. 
It's so fun to use!  No more giant coffee machine taking up counter space.

This baker's rack originally had a wooden work surface on the top of it, which I chopped up and made into cutting boards, oh, six or seven years ago.  And guess what it needs now?  A wooden work top.  One of about a frillion items on my to-do list.


The entryway is blue!  Or is it?  Maybe it's green.  No, no, definitely blue.  Wait...it's green!  WHAT COLOR IS THIS PAINT?! (Sherwin Williams' Comfort Gray:  for your Mood Hallway) 

Now, if I can just locate the box that has all the entry stuff in it...

Just for comparison's sake, here's a shot of the old paint job, in the process of being primed.  You can also see a bit of the old entry way tile in this pic. 

The gray wood-look ceramic tile in the pics above goes throughout the entire house.  I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but it definitely makes a good, neutral background for everything.

More soon!


19 October 2016

On the Enumeration of Unhatched Poultry, and Other Such Nonsense

Ah, October 1st, that exciting day.  We were all packed and ready to go - in fact, we finished early and had time to sit around talking about how we'd planned to decorate our new space.  A moving truck was going to show up n the morning of the 1st, whisk away our things, and by that evening we'd be happily neck-deep in unpacking and beginning to make our new home beautiful.

What actually happened was this:
  • The moving company underestimated somehow, and sent us a truck that was too small.  The actual movers were fabulous to work with - they even called to see about getting a second truck to help out, but none were available.
  • When we got to the house at noon on the 1st, the floor tilers were still at it, and we couldn't go INTO the house - at all.  The movers packed our things into the garage, and a few pieces of furniture were left out in the driveway.  We camped out in the driveway and waited.  Turns out, the tilers would be there late into the night, and there was no way we were getting inside the house - except for the master bedroom, which was not being done that day, and which has a sliding glass door that opens into the backyard.  A couple of friends came over, and we all carried everything from the driveway around to the backyard and into the master bedroom; after that we went to their house for dinner and a shower, and then back to the old place to sleep on air mattresses for the night. Thankfully, by the next night, the bedrooms were finished and we could begin to sleep there.
  • It would be nearly two weeks before the rest of the floors would be finished.  The work crew was actually great - they did an awesome job, and were really friendly and fast. It took a while to get the job done because the crew was on loan from a construction job - the foreman is a cousin of my landlady's - so their availability was sporadic, is all.  Still, until there was a floor in the kitchen or laundry room, the stove was unhooked - we couldn't cook.  Also, there was a problem with the gas shutoff valve on the clothes dryer - we couldn't do laundry until a plumber could come out and replace the valve so that we wouldn't all, you know, die in a fiery explosion. 

However, as of Sunday morning, the entire floor in the entire house was finished, hooray! We've spent the last few days beginning to arrange the house - and finally, after two weeks, now that our stuff is beginning to fill up the place, it's finally starting to feel like home. the only problem is...where the hell is our stuff??

Here's the thing: although we labeled our boxes according to which room they were to go in, we completely omitted labeling the boxes with what was inside them - I mean, why bother, right? We were going to be unpacked in a day or two, and all the boxes, so helpfully labeled by room, would be deposited by the movers right where they go - we were only going to have to open them and empty them.  Tada! 

So, for the last couple of days I've continually kept markers and pens clipped to my shirt, knowing that anything I open (a) could be anything, and (b) probably isn't the thing I'm looking for, but (c) needs to be LABELED so that the next time I go looking for something, it won't take me as long to find it. I'm pretty sure I've opened every box in the house at least six times each. (Btw, cardboard cuts suck). At the moment my biggest Mystery!Box peeve is that while I've located and sorted all of my SCA garb, I'm missing one single box - which just happens to contain literally everything I need for an event I'm going to in two days. 
*sad trombone*

It's all been an extremely difficult and painful lesson in staying strong while being flexible.  It's [forcibly] expanded the limits of my ability to deal with stress, uncertainty, anger, frustration, panic, and despair.  It's expanded my physical limits, too.  The whole time this was all happening, I was also putting in about 20 hours a week working on the old house - painting, cleaning, landscaping, repairing things, climbing up and down ladders, replacing bits of the laminate floor - as well as moving everything I own around the new house at least four times each.  I almost wish I'd had one of those fitness tracker armbands through all of this - I'd love to know exactly how many squats I've done in the past two weeks.  (Interestingly, although maybe only to me, I hadn't ridden my bike since September 14th - and I ride nearly every day.  I was worried that 4+ weeks off the bike would have ruined the fitness level I'd previously built up; but when I got back in the saddle a few days ago I felt like I was actually in better shape than when I'd last ridden - probably because of all the squats!)

But the real moral of the story, kids, is LABEL YOUR BOXES.  Even if you think you don't need to, even if you're literally only putting them into your car and driving them three blocks away.  LABELS. 

29 September 2016

The Fixer Upper

We move in two days, and I am not even stressed about it. I've finally reached the point where I've sat down and strapped myself in for the ride.  Whee!

 I've brought some before pictures of the house we're moving into this weekend:

The front entryway, in the process of being coated with paint primer.  Terra cotta tile on the floor, 90s sponge-paint job on the walls, in terra cotta over yellow.

Yay, a front door with windows! I've always wanted one of those!

The living room is enormous, with a 12' vaulted ceiling. The fireplace is gas (and needs to be refinished/restored).

The floors here are concrete, once painted blue with a darker blue rag/bag job over it. 

In the next few days (as we move in, hooray?) there's a contractor coming in to replace the flooring in the whole house with a wood-look ceramic tile, in a pale grayish-pine color.

Looking into the dining room from the living room.  There's laminate floor here and in the kitchen, which will also be replaced with the ceramic tile.

A yellow kitchen with a popcorn-encrusted soffit above the upper cabinets. 

The island will be removed by the tile guys; Sylvan and I plan to get a rolling work cart instead, that we can move around as needed.

The stove and fireplace are gas. I haven't cooked with gas since my last apartment, back in '03.  I LOVE cooking with gas!

The sink faucet, sprayer, and disposal were replaced just last week.

Looking through the dining room door at the other end of the kitchen, into a breakfast nook.

Sylvan's bedroom - it's Smurfy!

More painted concrete flooring and popcorn (there's popcorn throughout the house).

My bedroom, with peel-n-stick brick-look floor tile and a decorative wooden shelf across the top of one wall.

CAN you believe this window? I can't think of the name for this type of window (it's not a bay); but I LOVE it! The seat area is 16" wide, and some of the panes are covered with a decorative privacy film.  I can't wait to fill it with plants.

The ceiling fan in my room.  LMAO.  (This was a kid's room, once upon a time).

I am so happy that there are ceiling fans in every room. This is Texas.  The heat does NOT screw around, y'all.

The master bedroom, which will become a shared craft space for Sylvan and I, just like in our current/old house.

Red walls, clean but old carpeting, and some gold wall stenciling.

The master bathroom.  Lavender walls with gold glitter mixed into the paint, pretty vintage-y shell sinks with brand-new faucets...

...and a ginormous walk-in shower with a tiled bench and body sprays. Woohoo!

There are also two closets here, one on either side of the shower. Those will be great craft closets! (I wonder whose will fill up first. I bet it'll be mine - I'm a costumer. I have a LOT of fabric).

As you can see, there's a lot of work to be done here. The new flooring will be going in over the next few days, and we've already begun priming and painting - the whole house needs to be painted from top to bottom.  Those two things will make a huge difference; everything else is small stuff like replacing outlet covers and doorknobs.  Most of the fixtures and about half the appliances have been replaced in the past year, and everything works great.

The next couple of days is going to be all about moving, but after that's done and everybody's toothbrush and underwear are unpacked, I can get back to painting. It's already making a HUGE difference.  I can't wait to see what this house can become! :)

27 September 2016

The Final Push

Well, my (old) house is a total war zone right now. You've moved, you know how it is.  Boxes everywhere, nothing on the walls or windows, walls full of spackle and half-painted, and so forth.  The dogs are mostly okay with all the chaos - Daisy's being clingy, but is calm; Shelly's enjoying the ever-expanding empty floor space to lay on. The cats have pretty much lost their collective mind, but, you know, cats

I've also been losing my damn mind; though the more information I have, and the more I actually get *done*, the better I feel about everything.  My roomate has been a freaking rockstar throughout all of this. She's handling most of the packing while I tend to repairs and painting; but more than that, she's been a rock and a source of perspective and calm when I've needed it most. She must have the patience of a saint to deal with how nuts things have been with both houses lately.

Most of the house is packed; we're down to just the things we'll use this week.  I've taken off this Friday to do last-minute stuff; the movers are coming at 8am on Saturday.  Eek! 

The new house is kind of in limbo at the moment.  It's empty, and there's someone replacing the flooring in the whole house this week. At some point before Friday, I have to go over there and paint the two small bedrooms - I'd love to have time to paint the entire thing before there's furniture in the way, but I'll have to get to everything else later as I have time.

I also need to stop for five seconds and take some pictures, in both houses.  Hopefully, I'll have some to post here soon.


20 September 2016

The Fun Part (?)

Here's a very rough floorplan of the house we're moving into in a couple of weeks a week and a half:

When I say it's a rough floorplan, I mean it's *extremely* rough.  As in, none of the measurements are even remotely correctly sized, but they're at least in the right place with relation to each other.  Later this week I'll be able to get into the house to start cleaning and painting, and I'll get exact measurements then so that I can fix this, and so that I can have a better idea of what's going on here. 

But you get the gist.  It's a big house. There are lots of rooms. When I'm overwhelmed, or when I'm on a break at work and stressing about a house while I'm miles away from being able to do anything about it, I like to play with this and try to figure out where all the furniture will go, what colors to paint the walls, etc. Which, you'd think I'd have that figured out by now, considering that in the next 10 days, I have to:
  • finish packing
  • finish cleaning out the garage so I can start staging boxes out there to get them out of the house, because I live in a box fort now and I'm tired of tripping over things
  • clean two houses
  • paint two houses
  • finish fixing up the backyard in the old house so that the nice lady who's repairing the back fence next week can do her job
  • Oh yeah, and MOVE on the 1st

19 September 2016

Rollercoasters and Butts

So far, I've learned two big things about the process of fixing up a house to sell/fixing up a house to move into:


This process is like a roller coaster.  Everyone says that, and I get it; but I'm actually living it right now, and it's more than the "emotional rollercoaster" that I keep hearing about.  There's:
  • waiting in line for hours and hours and hours - when it was just an idea and I wasn't sure if it was actually going to happen or not
  • climbing the hill, clicking along on the rails trying to reach the top, getting more and more nervous the closer I get to the drop - *click* omg there's so much to do *click* I have no idea what I'm even doing *click* I can't even *click* what if something horrible happens? *click* can I get this done in time?? *click* where am I going to get the money for ____? *click
  • reaching the top of the track where you pause for a second and can see for miles - wow, this is really happening! and it's going to be great! just look at it all, isn't it grand? :D
So yeah.


Deferred maintenance is nobody's friend.  Don't ever do this to yourself again, me.  To be fair to myself, there have been lots of things I should have/could have done to my house years ago but couldn't because I couldn't afford to.  But there are SO many things that I'm killing myself trying to get fixed or completed all at once, as fast as I can, so that I can list/show the house that would have been (1) free and (2) easy/fast to do if I had done them years ago instead of doing the fun stuff first and putting off the tedious stuff I didn't feel like doing at the time.

Complete your projects. Don't half-ass things and make more work for yourself (myself) later!  Always use your whole ass.

So anyway, 

This weekend was awesome.  And by "awesome" I mean that I worked myself to the bone on 3 hours of sleep and pretty much feel like I've been run over by a truck. But I got stuff done!  I cleaned up the backyard and disassembled old garden beds, pruned trees, packed, filled nail holes in walls, installed a new garage door (with the help of a friend, and OMG I am SO thankful he was around! That was HARD!), cleaned and reorganized and packed half the garage.

And there's still SO much to do! ACK!

16 September 2016

Damn. If Only We Had A Holocaust Cloak.

When this is all over I'm going to write a beginner's guide to selling a house (as in: written by a beginner who understands exactly nothing. There will be lots of foul language).  I know this must be just one phase of however-many are involved in this process, but right there it seems like there are nothing but questions, and it's eroding my brain tissue as we speak. 

When is my exact move date? 
What if I don't get any offers on the house at all?
How do I balance fixing up two houses when both have time-sensitive issues? 
How do people stay sane throughout all of this? 
In what order do I paint the rooms in the new house?
How do I ask my neighbor politely to put her scary dog away so my contractor can repair the back fence?
Should I be keeping count of all of the things I'm signing for, like, posterity, or something?
How much do auto-signers cost, anyway?
How often is too often re: going to the hardware store for "one more thing"?
What's the best way to store all of my receipts so I can track all this stuff later? 
How the fuck do you even organize a side-by-side refrigerator?
Once we get into the castle, how do I find Count Rugen so I may kill him?
Once I kill him, how do I find you again?
Once I find you again, how do we get out?? 

 Going to go soothe my soul by looking at pretty paint colors and the Ikea catalog now, bye.