I’m choosing, intentionally, to not think about the mass amounts of money which are about to flood out of my bank account and into that of the roofer. But the new roof is about to commence. We’ll get to that later. We did chose a lighter color, just based on energy savings, and also based on the fact that when it does come time to paint the place, I doubt we’ll keep the pukey beigey green. So it may look way weird for a few years. But like I said, not talking about the roof.

Instead, I’ll talk about the other massive financial outlay as of late. This one is more exciting. I finally, FINALLY, went to Lowe’s to order the ceiling tiles last night. I had a 10% off coupon, and yesterday was the last day. So I sucked it up and drove over. And ordered 25 panels of this for the kitchen ceiling:


Gorgeous! But you’ve gotta know it’s a bad sign when the special order dude types the code into the computer and then looks at you and says “You realize these are really expensive, right?” Uh, yeah dude. I know. Don’t make me second guess this. (Or fourteen guess it, more likely.)

While we were on the much needed vacation, the magical renovation fairies (ie mom and dad) came over and hung drywall and cabinets. So our kitchen looks more kitchen-y now, and less like a weird room that happens to have a stove and fridge in it. The room actually looks more spacious with the cabinets installed, which is weird.

And yesterday we made contact with the countertop folks, so we may actually make good on my promise of “we will have a kitchen sink before inviting anyone over to this place.” Whew.


Evil Evil Tree.

tree cut

There is a catalpa tree next to our house. Technically, it belongs to the (absentee landlord) owner of the neighboring property.

The catalpa “fruit”(?) is an utterly evil thing.  They look like long green beans (as long as my forearm) and they dry out when they fall to the ground, turning into horrid, sharp dangery things. Things which like to stick in our push mower and stop it dead.

Turns out the tree itself is also evil, as it has been EATING OUR HOUSE.

We noticed a suspicious wet spot on the ceiling of the back bedroom this week, and figured it had something to do with the fact that the tree is now touching our house. So we called someone to come trim back the tree, out of our airspace.

When they got up on the ladder, the damage was way worse than we’d thought. I actually watched this man stick his arm, up to the elbow, into the roof over the bay window.  Then he came down the ladder and showed me photos of the roof (he offered to let me up there, but I’ve been having bad luck with injuries and mechanical things in the past 2 days, so no thanks, 30 foot ladder!)

It’s bad. Really really bad.   The estimate is yet to come, but I’m feeling really guilty about the vacation coming up in two weeks.

At least we know why the south wall of the basement is so wet now.

Deep breaths are increasingly necessary.

The extent of my home improvement in the last week or so has been successfully obtaining a stack of cinderblocks, stacking them up in an odd configuration (see mom, all that Tetris did pay off!) and getting them up on their perch.

Have I installed the diverter yet to fill them? Um, no.

Also, I have clearly not weeded the yard.

Baby steps folks, baby steps.

Argh. The bane of my existence at present.

I was saying for a while that we could have people over once the kitchen was finished.

Now I’ve amended that thought and have started saying that we can have people over once the cabinets are in. I don’t even care about a sink (which was the original touchstone) or countertops. Just cabinets in the kitchen, instead of in cardboard boxes throughout the living and dining rooms like they are right now.

There’s a lot of stuff that’s gone on.  Mostly, it’s stuff that’s hard to photograph. Like plumbing and electric.

There was stuff that as we started to do it, we figured out that it would be easier – in the long run – to do an extra step or two. (Delay.)

So when we took the walls off in the kitchen, it became clear that if we really were putting a shower in the downstairs bath (eventually) it made more sense to go ahead and put in the plumbing for it now. (Delay.)

And there was the hooking up of the washer and dryer in the basement, which necessitated a bit of plumbing work. (Delay.)

And the discovery that the water pipes in the basement were pretty much braided together, and then the extended guesswork that resulted in trying to lay them out in a more rational manner, and that led to us living with a toilet with a hot water supply for the next two weeks. (It was weird. Also, delay.)

And then there was this:

That tree fell from our neighbor’s yard one night and took the power lines for three houses, both sides of our fence and our opposite neighbor’s fence, and all the cable and telephone wires. The power lines are back up, but we’re having fits trying to get the cable and phone companies to bring up the others, so they are still in our backyard.  AT&T doesn’t seem to get that even though we only have DSL yes indeed it is their line that’s in our yard. Grrrr…. So, delays.

And then, the sewer line problem we’d had disclosed by the previous seller happened again, necessitating a quickie emergency call to the plumber to clean the roots out of the line. Luckily, that did not cost the multiple thousands the prior owner suggested, and instead was merely a few hundred. Still, delays.

At this point, we are slogging through and overcoming the delays, and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We’ve gone from my first half-assed demolition attempt:

To real destruction:

To that which is best left to professionals (like my dad!) and Nadja:

To drywall and a hole in the wall (the doorway to the eventual pantry):

and the eventually smaller bathroom:

To where we are now, with roughed in plumbing and electric. That–of course–I forgot to take a photo of. But also, 2x4s screwed into the ceiling, which – let me tell you – is exactly last thing you want to be doing in Ohio when the weather is in the high 90s and 800,000% humidity.

Mom helped:

Next steps: we’ll get the electric boxes and switches installed, and then it’s time to hang the cabinets.  When dad found out the sink weighs 250 pounds, that’s when I found out I need to get the countertop folks to install that also (hey, at least I got it into the trunk of my civic by myself!) Then, people can come over, and I will no longer fret about how on earth we’ll get the glasses and plates clean. And also, I’ll get to use the dishwasher that’s been sitting –brand spanking new — in the bay window for three months now.

And I’ll be able to make a salad in my own house, which right now sounds like paradise.

Bedroom – Done! (Mostly)

OK, so clearly my aspirations of blogging this house project have gone a bit by the wayside in the past month of two. Which probably makes you, my dear reader, think I’m getting lots and lots done.  You are so kind, dear reader.  Alas, progress is slow. At least it seems as such to me, who really really really thought I’d have a complete and functioning kitchen by the end of May. Ha!

The one room that is functional and mostly put together is the bedroom, and of course I’ve just realized I forgot to post the finished photos here. We’re still looking for a dresser, and in fact did come across a couple of them that matched our night tables at one point on overstock.com, but we decided that $1700 was too much to pay for something that wasn’t quite going to fit appropriately into the room spacewise.  So the search continues.

In the meantime, you can bask in the loveliness that is this wall in desperate need of art (though having added taller bedside lamps since this photo was taken helps:

And an action shot:

We’re in!

It’s been a full two weeks in the house now. I wouldn’t exactly call us settled, but 95% of the stuff is now in, and this evening the remaining 5% will be well on its way.

But even if not settled, we are living there. We took advice on setting up bedrooms first, and I think I slept better the first night than I have in roughly 5 years.  The new double-pillow top mattress had something to do with that, but also, we realize now something in our old apartment might have been making me sick, because virtually all my asthma symptoms are gone since moving.  Craziness.

No majorly visible progress has been made recently. We did have some masonry work done in the basement and glass-block windows installed on the day we moved in, and my dad installed new kitchen windows and shored up a floor joist under the kitchen floor.

In the kitchen, the cabinets have been ordered but we’ve got a lot of prep work to do.  We’re somewhat using that room right now, so it’s kind of hard to both use it, and clean off all the crud off the walls and ceiling without grossness happening.

This weekend will likely be devoted to the outside though. I bought enough seeds at the home and garden show to start up a small farm, and that’s what we’re planning on, in an effort to avoid yard-mowing and such.  So more exciting posts are on their way.

Plans for the Kitchen

The (lack of) wisdom of moving into a house with a completely gutted kitchen is not lost on me. I know it’s nuts. But given timing with our upcoming roller derby schedule, there’s no way we can wait until closer to the date our lease is up to move. And given the problems we’ve had with the management of the apartment complex, we’re not even going to entertain the idea of trying to extend the lease. I’m trying to make myself feel better by rationalizing that if we’re living in the house, we’ll have an opportunity to work on small things throughout the week, something which has been rather difficult with two residences, disparate work schedules, and derby practices.

We’ve got quite a bit of planning done, even if this is the state of the kitchen right now:

Habitat for Humanity is coming tomorrow to pick up the cabinets and such that we ripped out. And we have most of what is going to happen planned out already.

Where the stove used to sit will be a door into a pantry, which will be built into the space which is currently the washer/dryer area in the World’s Largest Half Bathroom.  That means there won’t be that many cupboards since they are focused in the remaining corner. I’m going tomorrow to order them with this door:

Hard to see, but a nice cherry color, with a glass door above this kitchen sink:

Trendy, but traditional.

The octagon-and-dot floor tiles, we already have, and they are neatly stacked in our basement, despite the fact that it’s going to be a while before that project gets tackled:

And then there’s the ceiling, which we’ve gone back and forth on several times due to cost. But we’ve found something I think will work, and we’ll have the look of faux-tin (or really, faux-copper) and hopefully it won’t be too-too expensive. It’s close to this:

The walls (what little will show) will be pale green. And then cabinet knobs will be lilac cut glass. Sounds REALLY eclectic, I know, but I really do think it will work, and most importantly, it will be functional, despite the ridiculously small size of the kitchen.

For now, we are going to be setting up the grill that we recently were gifted by friends who moved out of state and living off grilled things (which can be difficult as vegetarians, but will hopefully work.)  Fun!