Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 goals

It's that time of the year when people reflect on what they've accomplished in the year gone by, and their goals for the future.  And with P due to start a new job 800 miles from here on January 15, we're reflecting and goal-setting with a particular urgency.

Let's see where we stand vis-a-vis the list I set out at the beginning of 2011, before everything changed....

Guest Bedroom

  • hang pictures
  • reupholster antique chair
  • install closet doors
  • fix hinge-bound door so it will actually close

  • make and hang curtains
  • reupholster footstool  not a priority
  • put laminate on top of craft table not a priority
  • paint and hang door

Hall Bath
  • skim coat walls a little more
  • repaint walls
  • really, really scrub grout--and if that doesn't remove yellowing, try one of those grout pens I realized that the grout is not just ugly--it's unstable.  Potential for water damage sooner than later.  Drat.  But in current panic state, there's no time for regrouting.  I'll either cheat and smear some caulk on the worst spots, or just not do anything.  I suspect part of the ugliness is due to a previous half-assed repair 
  • hang at least one picture/piece of art not a priority
  • install closet door knob
  • install hooks where I can hang my work clothes
  • install new light fixture

Hall/Living Room/Kitchen/Dining Room

  • knock down walls to make these all a single space
  • install structural beam to replace structural wall
  • patch existing oak flooring where walls were removed
  • make new attic hatch or just paint old one
  • replace textured ceiling in kitchen
  • remove wood panelling and replace with drywall
  • remove vinyl floor in kitchen, and lay new hardwoods there and over exposed subfloor in dining room
  • commit to new kitchen plans
  • build new kitchen cabinets (at least the lower ones)   no time for that now, plus no point in doing something that custom when we don't know what the next owner will like.  We have some IKEA cabinets on order
  • get/make new countertops
  • install backsplash will probably just cheat and do one of those laminate countertop lips that extend a few inches up the wall
  • run plumbing for gas range
  • install new sink
  • remove windows in dining room, and replace with french doors out to backyard this had to do with our plans for an eventual patio--would have been nice
  • buy fireplace screen and make the occasional fire
  • replace hearth tile got old stuff up, need something new
  • make living room curtains (purely ornamental) not a priority
  • figure out window treatment for front windows that will maximize both light and privacy bought some ENJE shades from IKEA--need to hang
  • install new baseboard and crown molding
  • install doors on coat closet
  • fix draft under front door not a priority
  • install lots of new outlets to bring house up to newer codes for required number of outlets per room
  • install new lighting the new switches are in, but we still need the ceiling junction boxes

Utility room
  • build utility room
  • buy and install new tankless water heater
  • run plumbing and install utility sink
  • run plumbing and vent lines for washer/dryer

Master bedroom
  • lay hardwood flooring over exposed subfloor

Master Bath

  • give ugly medicine cabinet a cosmetic face lift not a priority

Crawl Space

  • complete encapsulation
  • test house for radon oops
  • enjoy running lots of plumbing and wiring for new kitchen/utility room/great room in new, dry, clean space

  • fix roof leaks 
  • continue to work to make this a functional wood shop for P (so he can spend lots of time out there building me new kitchen cabinets!) plans definitely changed here...

  • paint foundation to complement new stair color
  • figure out how to make exterior brick look good after we cut into it to install afore-mentioned french doors that project didn't happen
  • paint front door a more lively color (it should be easy to beat white)
  • work with P's brother A, a professional landscape designer, to come up with an actual design for our landscape nope
  • remove a few more azaleas
  • add more plants and beds to continue moving toward cottage garden look 
  • grow a tomato that doesn't rot before it ripens I got two? before someone else discovered they were good eating and the weather got chilly
  • try to agree on privacy plantings for west property line, and plant them so they have some time to grow nope
  • buy and plant something on east property line 
I'll be back tomorrow with what we need to accomplish in the first two weeks of 2012....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best-laid plans....

P and I made a big decision this fall--we're moving!

It certainly isn't a convenient time to move, what with the ongoing renovations that we need to finish.  But it's the right decision for us.  This move will put us much, much closer to family, and is a good career opportunity for P.  We're sad about leaving the house, right as we're getting it the way we want it. 

Two years ago when we were talking about buying a place, we looked around at friends and family who had bought at the height of the bubble.  They felt trapped in their homes.  They were out of jobs and in areas where jobs simply weren't to be found, or in jobs they didn't want to stay in, or places they didn't want to live.  And they were staying because of their houses--underwater, couldn't sell for the price they wanted, etc.

When we bought this house, we decided that we didn't ever want to find ourselves in that situation.  We didn't tie up all of our finances in this house, so that we would have the freedom to move on with our lives, regardless of what happened with it.  (And we were so very lucky to be in an area where housing prices let us make those kinds of choices.) 

So with finances out of the way, all that stood between us and a move was the emotional attachment to the house.  And in a way, those conversations of two years ago prepared us for that part of the decision, too.  We like the house.  We've poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it.  But it's just a means to an end--and the end is the life we want. 

When this new opportunity came along, the house was no longer supporting the life we wanted--it was standing in the way of it.  We want to be closer to family and friends.  We want fulfilling work. 

So Secret City Ranch, we're moving on.  It's not you; it's us.  And we're confident that you will get a new family, one whose life goals you can support and further.

Because when we are done with you, you are going to be one nice house.

But we know we have a lot left to do before we put the house on the market, and we'll fill you in on those plans soon.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas surpise

I had thought this would be the year without a Christmas.  (More on all that and what we've been up to at another time....)  And then this morning, P came back from his trip to the dump and Home Depot looking very self-satisfied and carrying this:

And then he went back outside, and reappeared:

"Was the tree lot at Home Depot closing?" I asked.

"Not exactly."

Turns out he found them laying on a side at the dump--the first two contributions of the year to the Christmas tree recycling pile.  So back they came with him, forestalling their fate for at least a few days.

We're curious where they came from--I imagine they were the last two trees left on a local lot somewhere.  Neither shows any sign of having been in anyone's house, and are still nice and moist.  The first, larger one still has its original tag, identifying it as a North Carolina Frasier fir.

The fir turned out to be over 9 feet tall, so it needed a little work before being ready for our house and its 8 foot ceilings.

So P whipped out the sawzall....

What, isn't that the traditional way of trimming a Christmas tree?

Picking up a free tree on Christmas Eve turns out to be highly liberating.  For instance, why bother with a stand and water?  By the time the poor thirsty tree dries out, it will be time to send it back to the recycling pile anyway.  So P just knocked together a quick wooden base, and screwed the tree directly into it.

I ran to Kroger and Wal-Mart, and picked through the remaining decorations (with an eye on cheap), and came up with this:

I can't remember the last time I felt this child-like Christmas joy--at least not over a tree.  Turns out these freebies were just what we needed. 

The smaller tree was rather more crooked, but with some lights, he's looking perfectly festive in our bedroom.  When I was a kid, my family scored our own free trees by cutting down scrub pines from the property of family and friends.  And since they were free, why stop with just one?  So I always had my own in my bedroom.  I haven't done that for many years--I'm looking forward to once again basking in the glow of twinkle lights tonight.

Hope your Christmas also held some festive surprises!