Monday, May 31, 2010

"Peekaboo!"

The Basil green in the dining room looked much better today, and for a good reason: apparently, the lids on two different greens (one Basil, one Palmetto, which is much lighter) had been switched accidentally at the store, and our guys couldn't see the problem while they were spraying the room, because they were basically working in a green cloud. The contractor spotted it this morning, though, and resprayed the room with the right color. Now it's the correct shade.

Colors shown here:
  • Den: Almond Toast walls with Cancun Sand trim

  • Dining room: Basil walls, trim not painted yet (but it'll be Cancun Sand)

  • Living room: Cancun Sand walls and trim
I love it that you can see three different, comfortably co-existing colors right from the front door.  :)  The effect is better in person, of course (or when shot by a better photographer than I).

Apart from checking on the progress at the new house today, A. and I packed a bit more--everything we could live without until after the move. We now have several open boxes sitting around, waiting for the last little bits to be packed and the boxes taped up.

Getting colorful


Newly painted den
Originally uploaded by lasmyth
Paint is going on up the walls of the new house and the place is starting to look colorful! They haven't been able to work on my bedroom and bathroom yet, because that's where the former owner has been camped (while puttering about the business of moving out), but other rooms are getting done. The den is calling out to me already--the Almond Toast paint in there makes that big room a lot more cozy. The Whisper Yellow in the sewing room is so happy, and the Olive Grove in Sister A's bedroom will be so gorgeous and soothing with her white iron bed and white & silver accents! The dining room has been also been painted, Basil green, just like we asked--but, holy crow, it looked a lot more "limey" than I expected when we checked it out last night! (Click the photo at right to see more pix on my Flickr site.) A. says the color will look more like what we picked out as it dries, plus we'll be putting our dark dining furniture, shelves, and china cabinet in there, which will provide a handsome contrast.

We're both soooo happy with the way things are going at the new house, excited about the closing June 2nd, and very eager to move in June 7th! Then A. won't have to forlornly visit her belongings in the garage anymore.  :D

Friday, May 28, 2010

Organizational progress

Sister A. and I both got a lot done on the organizational front today. I arranged for utilities to be switched on or off on the appropriate days and found a volunteer to help us load the heavy stuff into the POD on Moving Day Eve, and A. found a crew to help us unload on Moving Day. In fact, the moving crew is our contractor and his guys--jacks of all trades, those fellas! I'll need to find one more burly volunteer among my co-workers to help load the POD, but I have to wait until Tuesday when everybody's back from their Memorial Day weekend trips, binges, or whatever. My back isn't up to hefting my big ol' bear of a dresser yet (if it ever would be!).

We went by the house this evening and got to go inside and look at all the lovely tarps and ceiling scrapings and other signs of progress. It was a wonderful sight. The more I see of that house, the better I like it.  :)

Closing #2 scheduled!

Now we have a date for the closing on the old house--Monday, June 7. That's the day we move into the new house, too, so it'll be a very busy, very grubby day!

Since we're moving on a Monday, I decided to take that whole week off so we can get stuff put away and acclimate the kitties to their new environment. We hope our contractor will be done by then, but if not, there should be only a little bit left to take care of. At least all the fume-laden work (painting) will be done, so Sister A. can live there without risking an attack of "stupid-head".  :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Closing scheduled!

We just found out we'll be closing on the new house next Wednesday, June 2, and on the old house the following Friday or Monday! WOO-HOO!!! Time to pack up the last of my stuff!

Operation "Spiff My House" is underway

As of yesterday evening, the contractor already had the popcorn scraped off the ceilings in two rooms of the new house and, working around the still-in-residence former owner (who, thank goodness, is finally looking for an apartment), will finish the rest of the ceilings this week. The former owner will be gone all weekend, so Chase the Contractor says he and his guys (including his dad, from whom he learned all this good stuff) will be working hard on our new house the whole weekend, bless their hearts! Sister A. has been clicking away with her camera and we've got the "before" shots and even a few shots of work in progress up on my Flickr site. I'm sure we'll be annoying the workers regularly with more photos.  :)

It must be very strange living in a house while it's being transformed into someone else's house.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Move Part 1 accomplished, plus tile

Sister A. and I are totally broken today, but we got the first part of our move finished Friday and Saturday. Friday, we drove up to Memphis (Texas, that is) to collect her stuff from its storage unit. We discovered that the oak dining table and chairs had not been switched for the walnut 1940s dining set with six music- or lyre-back chairs (probably out of laziness), as previously agreed, so since we still had the keys to her former abode (thankfully empty at the moment) and, thank goodness, two big dudes who volunteered to help us load the truck, we very kindly switched the dining sets ourselves. I bet A's soon-to-be ex was surprised when he discovered the swap...assuming he noticed at all.

I wish we'd thought to get a photo of those chairs, because I can't find the exact style online. We'll shoot 'em eventually.

Saturday, we drove the truck (which was loaded to the rafters) back to the new house in Lubbock and, with the help of one of my co-workers, stored all of A's stuff in one half of the garage. We were totally wrecked by the end of that little chore, and, actually, I had to quit a little early when I got a warning twinge from my back while trying to move a big bookcase (if I'd ignored it, I'd be laid out on my back for a week, which is no good to anybody).

Both A. & I almost had fits of Meniere's/hydrops yesterday evening after all that work, but we caught it in time with the aid of friendly chemicals. I think we're going to need a couple more big volunteer dudes to help us move my stuff over to the new house and all of it inside. We've just about hit our limit. And we can't both be sick at the same time--who would nurse us??

We got a great piece of news on the way home from Memphis yesterday--the owners agreed to let us lease the house for the next ten days (for a minimal amount, yay) in order to let our contractor in there to paint & stuff. But, as we found out from Ray the Realtor after we hit town, the husband half of the soon-to-be-not-a-couple will still be living there, consolidating his stuff into one room. Um, OK, that's awkward. But Chase, our contractor, says he can work around him, so whatever. The seller-guy sure is being gracious about all this, and we definitely appreciate it. I can't help wondering, though, how comfortable he'll be living under a plastic tarp since every square inch of the place will have to be covered while Chase and his guys scrape the popcorn off the ceiling in every room.

Tile now: Friday, before we headed out of town for moving fun, we went to a local specialty tile place to find a substitute for the tile we had picked out at Home Depot to use as back- and sidesplashes (it turns out that the tile we picked there couldn't be ordered in any lower quantity than a case of 12 one-foot-square sheets, and we only need two square feet of each color). We ran into the same roadblock more than once at the fancy tile place, until we nearly despaired of finding anything that would match the custom-cut vanity tops we'd already ordered. Finally, at the end of nearly three hours of searching, we found a glass tile in much subtler colors than we'd picked out at Home Depot. Mine echoes both the terra cotta of my vanity and the yellow-orange of my walls; A's picks up the green of her walls, the beige of her vanity, and the cream in her vanity-top set (soap dish, lotion pump, etc.). It's a much less in-yer-face look than we went for originally, but we think it'll look very pretty. I'll get photos as soon as it comes in.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SOLD!

Mission accomplished--that landlord bought my house! Even better, he agreed to move the closing date to May 31 (actually, June 1 or thereabouts, owing to Memorial Day), so we won't have to lease it while getting our new house dolled up!

Speaking of the new house, we had our final walk-through yesterday to ascertain that all the things on our fix-it list had been taken care of prior to closing. Now, if the Faceless Bureaucracy would just get their act together so we can close...!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Housing update

  • We're an inch from closing on the new house, but we're at the mercy of whoever in the Faceless Bureaucracy has our closing info/papers right now. We and our realtor are trying to hurry things along because....

  • We got an offer on my house! Cash offer from a landlord who buys houses to rent out (which is the way I always expected my little house to go, when the time came; my neighborhood is almost entirely rent houses now).

  • Since it's a cash offer, that means we have to hustle our buns out of the old house soon, but since we haven't actually closed on the new house yet, we're kinda stuck. Sister A. and our realtor are going to try and either buy us some time so we can close on the new house and get it painted and the bathrooms fixed up before we move in or arrange to rent my soon-to-be-former house for about two weeks until we can move. It's all rather complicated and a bit over my head, but A's an old hand at this house buying/selling stuff.

  • The seller of our new house has agreed to let us store some stuff in the garage there until we can move in (the wife doesn't live there anymore, and the husband will be away over the weekend at least). So we're off to Memphis, TX, Friday to load up A's furniture, etc., into a U-Haul and bring it back here.

  • That idea about renting my old house for two weeks came right on the heels of a weird dream I had: I had sold my house to some landlord type so I could get out of paying for maintenance anymore, and he proceeded to trash the place and evict me! So you can imagine how freaked I was to learn that, indeed, we might be renting my house from its new owner for a while! I'm hoping he (the real landlord who's buying my house, not the mean one from my dream) will just agree to put off the transfer of ownership for a couple of weeks while we finish up with the new house. He just had surgery on his elbow, after all--can't very well work on a new rent house until he heals up.

  • At some point in that same dream, my car was filled with packing peanuts right up to the bottom of the windows.

  • My brain is weird sometimes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yes, we are Twinkies

At some point, I got it into my head that the hardware for our bathrooms in the new house should be the same model, but in different finishes. After many false starts, we landed on Moen Kingsley, mine in bronze, A's in brushed nickel. Here are the faucets and shower/tub parts.

  
     
Just try & tell me they aren't gorgeous.  :)  We also found Hunter vent fan/lights in our respective finishes.

     
All of these goodies, plus towel bars and other Moen hardware, have been arriving in the mail over the past few days. It's been like Christmas in my otherwise denuded living room as we open boxes and ooh & aah over the pretties.

We're also replacing the vanities, of course (the ones in the house presently are cheap junk with no storage). We still like what I picked for my remodeled bathroom in the current house, so we're doing the Shaker thing again, with matching medicine chest/mirrors.

  
A's vanity is the 30"; her bathroom is a little smaller. The knobs on A's vanity will be the pewter that come with the vanity; mine will be swapped for bronze. For vanity tops, we're again using the same material but in different colors: A's is beige, which looks like sand, and mine is terra cotta. Both will have white undermount sinks.

  
And instead of back- and sidesplashes in the same color/material, we found these tiles: green onyx for A., red onyx for me.

  
As far as paint goes, my bathroom will be Orange Glow (Behr), same as the remodeled bathroom in my current house; and A's will be two shades of green, light over dark. Her bathroom will look very beachy; mine will be very close to what I have now, and they'll both be really nice.  :)

On the current-house front, we have showings today and tomorrow. Rub your lucky kitty feet!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Creakin' Back Blues

Yesterday, I put my back out while picking up...no, not a huge, gold-filled safe. Just Minnie's scratching post, which might weigh all of five pounds. It's not necessarily the weight, I guess, so much as the position I was in at the time (which was nothing all that unusual, but there y'are). I was running around the house, taking pictures of our clean, decluttered space to send to the realtor (since he never got around to taking good pix himself and still has those messy, cluttered pix he took originally up on our listing). I started to shoot the dining room, realized the cat furniture was in the frame, moved the cat tree, went back to move the scratching post, and *POP* went something in my back and down I went like a sack of potatoes. Thank goodness I'd set the camera on the dining table beforehand, so I didn't drop it. I moaned and swore and carefully got flat on the floor while Sister A. went to get me some ibuprofen and other friendly chemical aids, then I gradually got on my feet again. That was really bad timing, as we had errands planned for the day. But I managed it, by gum! The only thing I missed yesterday was a concert of world music in the evening--I just couldn't manage to sit still that long.

We returned our fabric samples to JoAnn's and picked out a couple more (for the sewing room and my bedroom). We also agonized for a while over whether to go ahead and order all the fabric, instead of waiting until we actually close on the house. Yesterday was the last day of their 50% sale, and we had picked out some rather pricey fabrics, and we just couldn't justify paying full price.... Anyway, we went ahead and ordered fabric for all the drapes in the house. We will be moving into A house somewhere, and these are the colors we'll be using. And we really don't think there'll be anything to prevent our closing on the house. The only problem might be if the upcoming appraisal of the new house is less than the loan we need to buy it, because the bank will only loan us what the house is worth. But we think it'll pass muster.

After the fabrics were taken care of, we returned some stuff to Home Depot (we decided to go a slightly different way with the faucets and other bathroom hardware and ordered that online). We also picked up some other goodies and checked out some things that will have to be custom-ordered and so can't be dealt with until after closing. My back wasn't too bad, but I was ready to "get flat" by the time we were done.

No more work or errands today onnaccounta I'm busted.

BTW, just in case you're in the market for a nice little 2-bed, 1-bath house near a university, you can check out the pix on my Flickr site and the listing at Century 21.  :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Almost-friendly cats and more house activity

I'll start with the really important news: This morning, Sammi and Minnie came into the kitchen within seconds of each other and neither one ran away--everybody was hungry, so apparently it didn't matter who else was in the room. THEN, a little later, the two kitties sat on the vanity--together! at the same time!--while Minnie got a drink from the faucet! Sammi had gotten her drink right before that, and Minnie jumped right up there, too--unprompted--for her share. There was no growling or hissing until right at the end when Minnie turned to jump down again. Maybe she hissed then to remind Sammi who's boss.

We've been letting the cats just duke it out on their own, since they're not actually fighting and Minnie's not avoiding Sammi quite as much as she did at first. Things have really improved between them, and while their relationship isn't perfect, we think they'll eventually settle down amicably together, especially after we all move into the new house and get "normal" again.

As to the house: Yesterday afternoon, Sister A. and I met the inspectors (termite and building) at our future address and got a report on all the things they found--which was nothing huge except for the HVAC system, which the seller has agreed to have serviced for us to make sure it works. The only termites were found in discarded wood outside the house, but the seller will have the whole place treated (and the bad wood removed) just to be sure no bugs got in the house. There are a few other things the seller agreed to fix for us before we close, and the rest of the inspector's list of other, more minor defects will serve as a to-do list for us in the coming months.

We might be closing in as little as three weeks, as we've decided to carry both mortgages temporarily until my current house sells. That sounds bad, but we've checked our budgets (both joint and separate), and with the savings on utilities and groceries (two can always live cheaper than one), we can handle it. It helps that the mortgage on my current house has a very small monthly payment compared to most nowadays...even compared to the monthly rent on most apartments! In late May, college teachers and soon-to-be students start playing fruit-basket-turnover, lining up housing for the next semester, and we'll definitely benefit from that, if we don't get a buyer sooner. But it will sell--small houses are like catnip to college students who don't want to live in a dorm for four years.

Having control of both houses for a little while will be extremely helpful, as we can get the whole interior repainted before we put a stick a furniture in the place. We can also fetch A's furniture from its out-of-town storage facility at a separate time from moving the POD full of my stuff to the new house, so we don't have to do all that work in a single day. And all our furniture--from both households--will be in the new house when we bring the kitties into their new home (they'll have to be shut up in one room of the current house while we deal with the POD, but they'll be fine), so when they arrive, everything they recognize, with all its familiar smells, will be ready and waiting for them. They'll both be able to run around and sniff and rub on things to their hearts' content.  :)  And they'll have a lot more room to run around in!

Since we're going to have the interior repainted, why, of course we had to go pick out colors today! First, though, we went to a fabric store seeking inspiration (a la HGTV) and curtain possibilities. We found gorgeous stuff for all the rooms except my bedroom, and only skipped that because we'd already picked out some brown microfiber blackout drapes online for my room. But we got on a color kick at the fabric store, and now the drapes we picked for my room look boring by comparison, so we'll be heading back for something more fun, and A. will just sew a blackout-type liner into them. (I have trouble sleeping in less than pitch-darkness--that's why I need blackout drapes.)

After the fabric store, we went to Home Depot and picked out a bunch of paint chips to take home and compare to the various fabrics, plus we also looked at vanities, vanity tops, faucets and other hardware, pulls for the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers, and various other whatnot. We wrote down prices for later, as we'll be doing our major redecorating as we get the money over the next few years. New bathroom vanities and so forth, for instance, will probably happen after my next tax refund. In the meantime, we need to take out a tree that's much too large for the backyard, take out some shrubs that have gone wild and replace them with nicer plants, replace two storm doors and the patio door, and fix the fence gates. And A. will be slaving over a hot sewing machine, making drapes (hey, she volunteered!).

We've decided to hire out the painting, because A. has a condition that makes it bad for her to be exposed to paint fumes very long, plus it would take us waaay longer to paint the whole house ourselves than to let a pro do it. So we're meeting said pro over at the new house tomorrow to go over the colors and get an estimate on the work. Included in the job will be taking down the little dab of wallpaper in the kitchen (an icky maroon-and-cream floral); we're just not wallpaper people.

We're so excited and eager to move into the new house. It's going to be such fun fixing up, and a lovely place to live.  :)