Friday, November 30, 2012

So This Happened

So this happened today and the neverending fear the entire ceiling is going to come crashing down contractors in tote continues.

I stared at it for five minutes in disbelief until one of the contractors reassured me.

"Don't worry, we'll fix that," he said.

"Ok," I responded with no emotion.

I knew these things were going to happen. I expected them, but I'm still a little surprised by them. I'm considering not going back to the house until it's done. Then I can just pretend everything went perfectly.

Truth is, I'm beginning to picture Jack playing in the basement while I run on the treadmill. I can see him working on homework in the kitchen nook while I cook. I picture us walking Myles through the neighborhood while the leaves are beginning to turn. This old house is beginning to feel a little more like home regardless of the hole in the ceiling and the completely naked bathroom.

Truth is, I should be really nervous, but this is the most excited I've been since the day we made the offer.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just a Couple of Jack Videos

How About a Bath On Our Front Lawn?

A wise man or two or three once warned me to take our home improvement budget and double it because you don't know what you're in for until you get started. I laughed it off the first time. And the second time. And the third time. And the fourth, fifth and sixth. And today when I stopped by before my lunch meeting, the contractor looked at me and said: 

"We have a problem."

"Oh, I'll leave," I said turning around and walking back down the stairs. The last thing you want to hear from your contractor is anything about a problem.

Turns out the cement patch was actually covering the area where the toilet used to be. Very strange. The floor wasn't level which means the sub floor needed to be torn up. Oh, and the tub had some damage and if we wanted to replace it we should do it now. 

"So, what does this mean?" I asked. 

"You need a new tub and materials for sub floor," he said. 

Ok, I can handle that. I always wanted a jetted tub anyway, but add another $600 to the budget. I wonder what tomorrow will bring. That Power Ball victory would have really come in handy last night.

What can I say? We bought a fixer upper. It better look real nice when we're done with it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bathroom Gone

Warning, these pictures aren't pretty. They aren't even cute. They are pretty ugly and down right scary, but if I'm going to show the true renovation of this house, I have to show the in between stages thanks to my husband who got pictures.

They demoed the upstairs bathroom today. I felt a true range of emotions.

1. Sad. That bathroom was constructed in 1922. I was sad to watch it go. The old tiles were picked out by the original owners and although they are cracked and green, they are still beautiful to me.

2. Scared. Were they really going to be able to pick up the pieces and put it back together?

3. Overwhelmed. Just overwhelmed.

4. Relieved. I'm so glad we didn't attempt to do this project ourselves. We may have killed each other.

4. Excited. Man, it's going to look good when it's done.

5. Scared again. What if I made the wrong choices when picking out tile? I don't want to have to watch them do this agin.

Here you go...


Sidenote...remember that old creepy basement? Look what a lot of paint and a handy husband can do:


Middle stage:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Times, They Are A Changin

Oh how times have changed.

When I first had you, things were perfect. Your socks were perfectly folded with his freshly cleaned blankets and perfectly aligned stuffed animals on your spotless bookshelf. Seconds ago, as you were taking a bottle, you seemed a little cold so I covered you...WITH KYLE'S DIRTY CUT OFF T-SHIRT.

Oh how things change when you are finally comfortable with parenthood.

But there's one thing that hasn't changed.

Every night I drive 30 minutes home from work and on the way I have small conversations with myself about that little baby I'm about to see, the little baby I'm on my way to pick up. Every night on my commute home feels like Christmas morning on repeat.

I arrive at daycare and I hurry in and walk straight over to you usually on the floor laughing and playing with a new toy. You see me and your face lights up and a rush of complete contentment overcomes me.

The excitement I feel in that moment and the three hours that follow hasn't changed. We go home and I hold you so tight and walk through the house stopping to stare in every mirror along the way. One of these days you're going to figure out that's us you find hysterical.

I set you on the floor and lay down and tell you about my day and you laugh until you're bored with my day and turn to play with the same toy you've played with since you were 3 months old. I make your dinner and feed you and we read a book or two or three and do puppet shows which you also find hysterical.
You take a bath (and pee in the bath every single time). We read three or four more books, you take your night bottle and reluctantly at 7 pm I lay you down in the crib because I know it's best for you to get a full 12 hours of sleep.

There are many things that change when you finally grow comfortable with parenthood, but one thing that has remained constant is the adoration I have for you.

You are the most beautiful creation I have laid eyes on. Not because you came from me, but because of the way you adapt to every situation, the way you take the world in, the way your face lights up when your dad walks in the house. I understand, he makes me feel that way too.

You are the most beautiful creation because of the way you view the world with intense curiosity. You're beautiful because you haven't yet experienced heartache or disappointment or sadness in life. You're beautiful.

Hey, check out Bob Dylan. You may not always understand what he says, but he wrote some pretty deep lyrics that are still relevant today.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Once Upon a Bathroom

Kyle could renovate the entire house by himself, but the clock is ticking. We need to move sooner rather then later so we don't have a double mortgage payment and we don't really want to have Jack in a house that's being renovated so we found a solution.

Thanks to a referral from a co-worker, we met with a contractor who does it all with the exception of HVAC work.

His crew will arrive at our new house tomorrow to do plumbing and electrical. While Kyle works on painting and refinishing the hardwoods, the contractor will start here.
He'll move the toilet to where the drawers are. While he's at it, he'll swap out the sink to this sink which I bought off craigslist at a $125 discount:
And he'll install some really pretty white tile on the floor along with this chandelier 
And a simple mirror that we have in the old house.

I'm going for a vintage elegance in this small space. Once again, how many times have your guests used your GUEST bathroom? 

Next he'll go here, the upstairs bath and fix this floor:
Originally we thought we could do a makeshift job here and put tile on tile, paint the old tile, etc, but the contractor gave us a pretty reasonable quote to tear up all the old tile on the floor (this is a big job due to the thickness of the old tile) and replace it with new tile, replace the toilet, swap out the pedestal sink for a sink with counter space. I cannot wait to see the finished product here. 

And then he'll go here. One thing I cannot stand about our current home is the lack of light in the living room. The two story space does not lend itself to light when the sun goes down. So the contractor will resolve our future problem and install lighting in the livingroom. Once again, this is a big job which involves removing drywall, installing wiring. He's installing 4 can lights and a fan in the center of the room. I cannot wait to be able to READ in my living room.
He'll fix the short in the kitchen electrical:
Next he'll go here and install carpet. I'm not OCD, but I really don't like the idea of used carpet especially knowing the previous owner had pets. I can barely handle laying Jack in here even when I have a quilt on the floor. I can't wait to have new carpet in this space. Carpet and carpet pad at Lowes $225. Installation and removal by contractor: $90. Not bad. 
On a very surprising note, as I was negotiating the cost for the overall job he held his ground and offered to do more work for the cost. He offered to put up crown molding (which Kyle can do) and I somehow convinced him to refinish the upstairs hardwoods along with the stairs. This is also a big job  someone may charge $1,000-$1,500. He is tossing it in at no cost.

So he'll refinish all of these hardwoods leaving Kyle with the kitchen...
He'll rip up the carpet and refinish the stairs. 
The last thing he is doing is removing the junk from the garage and clearing out the landscaping disasters and clutters in the backyard. Could we do this ourselves? Absolutely. Do we want to do this ourselves with a newborn and other more fun house projects? Absolutely not. So he will haul it all away for us. 

8 Months!

Jack turned 8 months on Saturday. I think a monster climbed in his bedroom window at night and turned him into an acrobat. Right now he is doing flips in Kyle's arms as he tries to relax him before bedtime. Isn't he cute?

We took you to the tile shop yesterday and while we were in a corner where no one would see us, I sprinted with the stroller down the aisles of tile until a large man with a tile shop shirt on intercepted my sprint and gave me a half disappointed/half humored stare. 

"Sorry," I screamed turning a quick corner into the slate aisle.  

You squealed with delight at the tile rolled by. You love new places, new things. You take them in with such intensity and I have to make faces at you to remind you to be a baby. I hope you explore the world with a calm curiosity and remember it's still okay to be a kid. Don't take life too serious, but take people serious. Take feelings serious. Be a peacekeeper and a kind spirit. Be a peaceful spirt. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012



Contemporary or traditional? White or cherry? Light switch or dimmer? Chair height or lower (for the toilet that is).

Making an old home your own is exciting and exhuasting. Today I had a GMOOL moment. We were walking through the light aisle and my brain began to combust. Jack began crying and I joined him in my mind. The red flashing lights in my brain began to ring loudly. I convinced myself that my laser eye surgery was influencing my ability to clearly look at lights.

And it hit me.

I had to Get Out Of Lowes. I gave Kyle the "old tired man in the shoe department look" and he understood instantly.

I had reached my max. I had to get out before I began to hyperventilate. Too many decisions. I needed to regroup. So we left and I feel better now. I can't imagine if we actually had a renovation completion deadline.

This may explain the hives on the bottoms of my feet on Friday. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

See, here's the thing. We're redoing a kitchen and two bathrooms, arguably three of the most important rooms in the home. I'm not taking these decisions lightly. I don't want to walk into the bathroom for the next 20 years and hate the tile I picked out when I was really cranky at Lowes.

If you're redoing a bathroom and feeling overwhelmed by options, here are a few steps that may help:

  • Go to the Tile Shop (That's what it's called- THE TILE SHOP). Walk around and take some pictures on your super smart phone. Decide what you like. You may think you like a style until you see it in the flesh. And suddenly beige doesn't seem so boring. It seems warm and long term and something that may never grow old.
  • Go to Lowes and copy the look of the fancy tile work you just saw at the Tile Shop. Buy three different tile options.
  • Go to new old home and lay them on the floor or wall together. Suddenly the 79 tile options become 3. And the 3 become one. And there you have it...the tile you will surely love for the next 20 years.
Sorry, no pictures, but they will surely come this week after the contractor comes in to do some electrical/plumbing work for us.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Day After Thanksgiving


I'm writing you this letter the day after Thanksgiving in the quiet early hours of the morning when the world is obsessing over saving a dime at Black Friday. My gratitude for you is worthy of thanks for all the days that follow Thanksgiving.
You were a surprise. I didn't know it at the time, but you were going to change me in a way I cannot explain to anyone who has not yet experienced having a child. I can say a few words to any mom and she gets it almost instantly, but when I try to tell my kidless friends how I'm different now I can't seem to articulate it.

After a long exhausting day, seeing you renews my spirit. It doesn't matter what happens in life, holding you brings me back to my center, my happy place. I give thanks for you this morning and tomorrow and the next day and all the days to come.

You are my gratitude. You are my heart. My center. I am so deeply thankful for you today, the day after Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This is What Keeps Me Up At Night

Before I leave any meeting I always ask one question...What's keeping you up at night? I've received a variety of answers. Some of these problems I can solve. Some of them I can't. That's usually when I learn the most about my clients and when I get my best marketing challenges. How can I help my clients sleep a little easier when it comes to business?

Unfortunately I'm not sleeping so well myself and it's not because of Jack. He's been perfect. It's because I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THE THINGS I WANT TO DO TO THIS HOUSE.

Tonight my obsession is what to display in these shelves. I love these shelves because I am obsessive about decorating and changing and moving decorations every year. It's an expensive hobby, but my revised goal is to do it on the cheap so I've given myself a budget of $100 here. Sorry, honey.

Here are the shelves on display for the world to see:

Here is my idea tonight. When thinking about times in life I have been at my most calm state, it always involves the years I drank tea. Strange, I know, but there is something refreshingly calming about sitting at the table on a Sunday morning flipping through the paper with a hot cup of tea in hand. So tonight I'd like to find some very cool teapots to put here. No, not your Granny's tea pots, but your Anthropologie style teapots. Yes, you know the ones that cost you $280 and you regret instantly. 

Like these...Crate&Barrels 50th anniversary teapots available for the ripe price of $200. A PIECE. Aren't they pretty?

If you bump into me at Goodwill, chances are I'm probably shopping for teapots. 

I only need 6 white decorative teapots for around $15 a piece. I'll put mismatched china in the center thanks to the inspiration of my dear friend's vintage barn wedding. That'll surely get me through 2013 until I'm ready for a change. 

Did I mention how much I love the glass shelves? I do. I really love them. My teapots will too. Goodnight and Happy Thanksgiving. 

Our Little Black Friday Kitchen

Tonight we found our kitchen.

We didn't really touch anything in the kitchen, but we did take some serious advantage of Black Friday deals. 

After staring at refrigerators for so long, they all begin to look the same. And then this touch screen option at an $800 discount jumps off the wall and begs you to take it home. So you do. 

Stainless steel is great, however, it is not magnetized. Have no fear, this GE 2012 Profile allows you to upload pictures onto the screen. Absurd, right? We actually bought it because it has an water pitcher auto fill option. No, we bought it because it looks nice with our stove...

The stove. I'm nervous about this. Kyle's only request was to find a slide in range without a back and completely stainless steel. So I found Fort Wayne...with a small dent on the side. And I saved another $1,500. Now we have to figure a way to get this out of my parent's third car garage and into our new home.

Here is the stove:
Hope it cooks as pretty as it looks. 

The dishwasher...who cares? This wasn't really a priority for us. Found this GE Adora on sale at Home Depot for $599. Hope it actually cleans the dishes. 
And the countertops. I'm surprised. I thought I was going to choose the all white look for the kitchen and then I fell in love with these. It's a little hard to see, but these are Venetian Gold Granite countertops. This is not our kitchen. I tagged it on Houzz because I love the bench at the window and the countertops. 

Kitchen renovation savings:
Refrigerator: 2012 GE Profile-$800 SAVINGS-Home Depot Black Friday
Dishwasher: GE Adora-$350 SAVINGS-Home Depot Black Friday
Range: GE Cafe-$1,500 SAVINGS-Vans Appliance Outlet-Fort Wayne
Granite: Venetian Gold-$900 (Going to get another estimate tomorrow)

Total savings to date:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Renovations have begun...

Renovations have begun.

I'm daydreaming about bathrooms and the kitchen because that's where the people go. How many times has someone come over and asked to use the bathroom and then asked for a glass of water? It's important.

He is thinking about the basement first out of fear he'll never return to the basement if he doesn't start there first. Completely logical although I have this deep fear something will happen to him down there in that basement. I'm thinking about purchasing the "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up device." Wonder if they'll have a Black Friday Deal on that.

Friday night we pulled up linoleum flooring in the upstairs bathroom to reveal original tile underneath. It was beautiful, it was exciting... and then we got the the toilet. It was pretty obvious why someone attempted to cover the floor.


After. Bye, bye, linoleum.

Love the original tile. Hate the makeshift fill/patch job. Looks like we need to add a bathroom retile to the list. Tile work is something I feel I may excel at between the hours of 7:30 pm and 7:30 am after Jack has gone down for the night.

I have a feeling that's how the renovations will go. Uncover the old and attempt to restore the look without damaging the integrity. The more I study the bathroom, the more I like the style of it. Built in storage shelves, tile on the walls. This is how bathrooms were built with true craftsmanship.

Originally, I thought we really needed to replace that pedestal sink, but then I learned they were a thing of the 20's so maybe we should keep the look.

I like this from pottery barn. $499 is a little much for a sink.

I also love this from craigslist $115. Granite is chipped, but we may be able to  repair. Isn't it beautiful? This doesn't work in the upstairs bathroom, but it would be beautiful in the downstairs bath, don't you think?

Downstairs bath. You need some real work. I can't stand going inside of you. The toilet is against the wrong wall. The shelves belong in a closet. The flooring doesn't make sense. You're all wrong and I can't wait to get my hands on you.