Friday, July 25, 2014

...two years later...

When I started this blog I had every intention of keeping it updated and answering every question as it came up. It's pretty obvious that didn't happen. There were two little curveballs threw us- one great, one not so much.

We  closed on our house in early June, and were taking our time moving. We were waiting on some new furniture, slowing sorting and packing up our old house. And then the derecho hit.

It blew in all the west-facing windows at our old house, and caused all kinds of damage. We had a tree in our family room, and the entire house was soaked and full of pine needles. We moved that night.

It was a horrible, horrible experience, and I was so grateful we had somewhere to go. My brother went to Lowes to get  us a generator, my husband left to take care of people who needed help, and the boys and I went to WalMart to buy pillows, some clothes and enough food and drinks to get us through the night.

I'm not going to bore you with details, but I will tell you the gentle transition to our new home didn't happen, and it took months to get settled. I'm sure you're wondering how our house fared. Well, these were our neighbor's houses:

 Note the blue tarps.  Our house:

No tarp. The only damage we had was on the west side siding. Considering those winds snapped trees in half and blew apart entire barns, I'll take it. Wayne Homes came out and fixed the siding, even though it wasn't their responsibility.

I hadn't thought about that storm in a long time. Time to move on...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Closing Time

In the last few days the painters touched up the walls around the ceiling, the electrician reinstalled all the lights and the HVAC guy came in to install a gas line for the dryer.

Everything has been done.

It feels a little weird.

Yesterday morning we closed on our house.

Kasey came over bright and early to do the final walk through with us. We went through all of the warranties, mechanicals, the particulars of the plumbing, furnace and electrical system. We discussed ways to clean things, preventative measures and possible updates in the future. He gave us a big folder with all of the papers we might need for everything in the house. It's all tabbed- divided by category. We also got a magnet as a reminder of what kind of home maintenance items should be done with each season. And finally, on a nifty little house key chain, we got our keys.

Now that the building portion of our journey is over, I can honestly say that working with Kasey was a pleasure. He always kept us informed with everything that was going on. Our build was very fast, and overall the process was very smooth. If there was a problem, he always addressed it right away. I never felt like I was disturbing him or that we were anything less than his most important client.

The build is done, but that doesn't mean that I'm done with this blog. When I have some time there a few more things I'd like to write about. And, of course, I'll keep you updated on anything I think you would find useful.

If you've been following along, thanks. It's been fun.

Putting It Together

This post isn't about the house, either. You've been warned.

Over the past week we've been moving in a little. The appliances were delivered June 1. It POURED all morning long which meant the truck couldn't pull around to the back. Where the French door is. It's the only door wide enough for our refrigerator. So for now the fridge is in the garage. As soon as the ground can hold a truck we'll move it ourselves.

The oven is ready to be installed as soon as we buy a cord.
To install the microwave we need to drill a hole in the cabinet so we can plug it in.

The washer and dryer are ready to be installed, once a gas line is put in.
Yep- no gas line for the dryer. Electric is standard, so I guess it was overlooked.
That's one of those things you don't notice until you need it.

 To recap, we have several fabulous appliances, yet can't install any of them.

Except the dishwasher. It's mostly installed. I only need to pick up one little part.

In other news....

I've started stocking the pantry. So far I have 4 bags of Everything Pretzel Crisps.
I blame Target.

B put together one of the bunk beds. The boys "helped."

 We finally worked on a sofa. That's right- singular.
Because Ikea prices are great, but their directions are horrible.
B figured out the sofa while a friend worked on the dishwasher.
We have amazing friends.

Someday I'll put on the slipcover.


The Ceiling Issue

Sorry about the delay, but between wrapping up the school year, the holiday weekend and work I haven't had a lot of free time.

The last time I updated I told you about painting and The Ceiling Issue. We had gone around the house with a pad of post-it notes to mark spots that needed to be cleaned up. You can see them in several of the photos from the last entry. There were some spots that needed sanded down, some brush strokes above doorways, spots that had gotten dinged somewhere along the way. The painters came back in and touched up everything.

The closet guy also came in to fix the utility closet (in the little hall outside the master bedroom). We had requested that this one have half shelves and half hanging rod, but he had only installed the hanging rod. As a coat closet it would be perfect, but I want to use the space for brooms, vacuum, garbage bags, batteries, cleaning stuff. He came back and added three shelves and left another for us if we wanted to put it in either below or above the others. Right now I like having a larger space along the bottom, but it's nice to have the option. Sorry for the horrid picture, but because of the space it's impossible to get a good angle.

And now The Ceiling Issue. In a nutshell, you could see the drywall seams because the texture was different in those areas. Apparently the plaster absorbed into the mud faster than into the plain drywall. Kasey brought it to our attention, which I give him a lot of credit for, because neither B nor I noticed. This isn't the greatest picture, but you can see the seams. This was taken in full sun, which it when it looked the worst.

The first thing Kasey tried was sanding down the seams and painting the whole ceiling. It was better, but still too many visible. So the only thing to do was to sand down the entire ceiling and redo it. The whole process took two days. They covered everything up with plastic to minimize the mess, which I'm sure was considerable. I didn't even go to the house while they were working on it, but J said it looked like the scene from ET. If you have no idea what I'm talking about you need to go rent ET right now. I'll wait.

The night they finished I went in to look and almost cried, because EVERY seam was visible. Kasey talked me off the ledge and said to go back the next day when it had a chance to dry. I did, and it was a LOT better. Over the next few days it kept improving, and now there's only one spot that I notice, but I'm sure no one else ever would. It's like telling you to NOT think about an elephant, then that's all you can think about. That one spot is noticeable to me, but only because I know it's there. At any rate, we're happy with the way the ceiling looks now. None of my after pictures are very good, so I'll keep trying.

The whole ceiling thing took place over the last week 2 weeks of May. Over Memorial Day weekend we went to Ikea. Here's a preview of that action:

And finally, the boys driving the golf cart down the road. That wide open space and big, blue sky remind me why we live in the country.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Great Ikea Adventure

I'll tell you right now this has nothing to do with building the house. So feel free to skip. I won't hold it against you.

B and I last bought a couch the year we were married, and it has served us well. But after 12+ years it's looking pretty rough, and would look absolutely awful in the new house. We also need a new bed, the boys need new beds, another table...the list goes on. Our furniture budget is about thisbig. So on what was probably the hottest Memorial Day weekend EVER we decided to go to Ikea to pick up a couch or two.

I did a lot of homework before we settled on Ikea. I read reviews, message boards, and several blogs of Ikea couch owners who were very pleased, loved the slipcovers, and told tales of couches standing up to small children. That's no mean feat. After talking to two friends who have the sofa we wanted, we settled on the Ektorp. Two, actually, because two sofas are more versatile than one sectional, which is what we currently have. Also, this way we can split them up in the future.

Not only did we get our two sofas, we also got a futon and ottoman for the basement from Garden Ridge. I also scored lots of stuff for the kitchen including plate racks (for the drawers in the island), cutlery tray and knife rack, and a colander that fits over our sink.

Even though it was HOT, we timed this trip really well, because Ikea was offering 15% of any sofa purchase back on a gift card. The sofas were only $399 to begin with, and we got back $120 on a gift card. Can't beat that!

Couch, futon, couch, very patient husband.

It took a few days, but we finally unloaded them into the family room.
At some point we might actually unpack them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 Weeks

After 10 weeks, for all practical purposes, the house is done. Now, there are still some things that need to be taken care of, but the house is inhabitable. Over the past few days the septic system was completed. While I do have pictures of the process they're not very exciting. Versus these, which are very exciting in showing the giant dirt patch that is our front yard. This is the view of the leach field from the front porch. It's 150 feet long by 50 feet wide. The septic tank is buried behind that in the back yard.

The view from the road. Seriously- the leach field is huge. And the yard looks entirely too big. Thank goodness the boys are getting old enough to mow!

The bathrooms have been put together. I do, however, have to buy more light bulbs.

The closet guys finally came. This is the coat closet.

Inside the master bedroom closet. There are double shelves running along the long wall, with a single high shelf along both of the short walls.

This is the master bathroom linen closet. The one in the boys' hallway is also set up like this.

And the best shelving of all- the pantry. LOVE the pantry!

The water softener was installed today.

Like I said- ready. But not really. Over the weekend we went through the house with post-it notes to mark anything that needed to be corrected/fixed. We knew there was going to be touch-up work with the paint, so most of them are paint issues. However, (there's always a however) there is one kind of major issue.

Last Friday Kasey called to update us on what was going on. He told us he wasn't happy with the ceiling- if you really look at it you can see the seams in the drywall. The mud absorbed the water in the plaster faster than the drywall sheets so it's uneven. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He discussed a few options to fix it and told us to check it out over the weekend as we were post-it-ing (Remember- my blog, my words.).

After really looking at the ceiling I could see what he was talking about. It's not obvious, but once I saw it it was all I noticed. In the smaller rooms you can't see it, but the lines are apparent with the longer stretches in the entry and kitchen/family room. There are a few things they're going to try, but it it comes down to it they'll scrape off all the plaster and start over. I'll keep you posted.

To end on a high note, here are some additional shots.

I did manage to get enough light bulbs for the outside lights. Also- the dirt was
backfilled at the front of the house. This was done before the open house, but I forgot to show you.

The post it note on the floor is where the outlet will be.

The kids have been having a ball. I've cut off the scooters, so they made 'carpet angels.'

I seem to have a lot of 'action' shots like this one. Kids.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seeing the Light... the end of the tunnel. This weekend we went through the house with a packet of post-it notes to mark spots that needed touching up. A friend walked through with me so I could have a fresh pair of eyes looking also. I'm sure the painters are going to love me!

I also figured out where the electricians are to put the floor outlet, and I finished up the lights. After seeing them all over Pinterest and the blogosphere I decided to paint a chandelier for the dining room. I found this at a garage sale for $10. The seller wanted $15, but I drive a hard bargain. This is our big brass lovely the day we bought it.

Today I finally had the time to break out the paint. Not the clever use of a shepherd's hook! And yes, that's a farm wagon in the background. There's a John Deere tractor behind that. One thing I'm really looking forward to at the new house is a farming implement-free yard. Anyway...

The boys "helped" me tape and paint.

I think I'll give it one more coat, maybe a matte protective coat. And then I need to work on the covers, which are pretty unique.

I've never seen ones that have the cap on the top and bottom.

Here's an interesting little fun fact: I found an identical painted chandelier on Etsy for $295. If any of you would like to pay me anywhere near that I'll come hang it in your house myself.

$295? People amaze me.