Tag Archives: budget

Getting Things Done

It’s sort of ridiculous how quickly three months go by. One second, I’m super psyched on this blog and silly DIY projects. The next, Christmas is over and we still don’t have an assembled futon in the spare bedroom. It’d be easy to sit here and complain about how we’ve gotten nothing done, about how all of the rooms look relatively the same, and about how many more things we have to do to make the house feel more like ours and less like an apartment that we’ve been renting for five months. I’m not going to do that, though! Because we’ve made a small amount of progress! And we’ve done what we can afford! And time goes by TOO FAST and the work days are too long and suddenly it’s Christmas and it’s snowing and it is impossible to do anything without my poor little fingers freezing off.

So what have we been busy with around the Schloss? First off, we got this little guy in October:Roland

Jesse found him on a park bench near where he works on one of the coldest nights in October. Naturally, we took the little guy in, got him checked out, tried to find him a home, and ended up keeping him despite our older cat, Bean, hating him. Roland has toughed it out, though. He’s doubled in size since October and just this morning, I caught the two of them sleeping on our bed suspiciously close to one another.

Speaking of beds, we also got one of those! I’d show a picture, but our bedroom is, unfortunately, not a room we’ve made any progress in. However, we bought an awesome frame from Boston Interiors. Having the mattress off of the floor made it feel a lot more like we were living in a house and less like we were crashing on some buddy’s mattress on the floor of some college apartment. Let’s hear it for adulthood!

Adulthood has also brought us other money-sucking endeavors, such as wisdom teeth removal, new tires for Jesse’s car, and astronomically high oil bills. These necessary but totally-not-fun things have prevented us from buying things like rugs, pillows, paint, curtains, and other way-more-fun things, but that’s okay. We’ve had the money to buy lots of awesome beer, so that’s really what matters. Priorities.

Despite how it sounds, we have made some progress on some rooms! Let me introduce the project I am THE MOST PROUD OF. Ready?? Drumroll….

TA DA! CD SHELVES!

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This project took far longer to complete than I would like to admit, but I did all of the sanding, staining, and installation on my own while Jesse was at band practice. Gotta be productive, right? It’s hard to grasp the size of the shelves in these photos (my wide-angle lens is sadly out of commission for the time being), but the longer shelves span the length of one wall while the shorter shelves go from the corner to the window. For the longer shelves, I mounted two of the brackets to studs and used toggle bolts for the middle bracket. This is the first time I’ve drilled a 5/8″ hole through ANYTHING, so it was terrifying and AWESOME at the same time. Everything went (relatively) smoothly. A co-worker let me borrow his sander after I tried sanding one single shelf by hand (never again). The stain came out EXACTLY as we imagined it. And! The shelves hold all of Jesse’s CDs! And they haven’t fallen off of the wall yet! Success! IMG_7414 IMG_7412

Before the shelves were installed, the office received a fresh coat of WHITE paint (not Contractor’s Off White). We also bought a new desk from Ikea and hung things on the walls! It amazes me how pictures on the walls make a room feel instantly more homey.

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For this room, there isn’t much left! I want to replace the mini-blinds with something more exciting, probably some homemade Roman shades with some funky fabric. As much as I like the white walls, this room needs some serious color. Stark just ain’t my thing.

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So what’s in store for the new year? PAINT. Everything is getting painted. The hallway, the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom. I can’t even start thinking beyond that right now, mostly because we don’t really have the cash to do anything bigger than that, and because I can’t get ahead of myself.

We also need rugs. My feet are cold.

As for this here blog? Maybe more frequent updates? Except before we know it, it’ll be March and the snow will be melting and I’ll have to start planning my garden. That’s fine with me…

We Bought A House!!: Moving

Moving sucks.

Always. No matter what. Unless you are rich and can hire people to pack, move, clean and unpack for you. We, due to the fact that we just bought a house, are not rich. Not even close.

Packing was the easy part! We started packing at the beginning of July, which gave us plenty of time to get everything organized. If you’re moving, I highly recommend you get off your ass and pack early. As much as it sucks to pack instead of, I don’t know, catch up on back episodes of Dance Moms (guilty), having everything (or almost everything) ready to go on moving day makes moving approximately 598% easier.

I also recommend calling and reserving your moving truck about 3 months in advance. Apparently two weeks in advance is not early enough. Especially because “reserving” a truck on uhaul.com does not actually reserve you a truck. I’m not sure what it does, to be honest. Maybe let’s UHaul know that you are interested in renting a truck sometime in the near future, and if they have one, you might get it? Or maybe they just want to see how many angry phone calls they can collect over the last three days of the months. They must be those weird collector types.

So this is what happened: I “reserved” a UHaul truck on July 10! I got a confirmation email! Yes, I did notice that the email said that the location of pick-up may changed based on availability. I figured this would be fine, considering there are no fewer than 5 UHaul locations in the Fitchburg/Leominster area. This was a mistake, obviously.

On July 26, the day we closed and two days before we were moving everything we owned from one place to another, I get a call from UHaul, confirming my reservation. For pick-up in Belchertown. Belchertown? Like, 30 miles away, Belchertown??

No. Just, no.

I called the guy back and (sort of) kept my cool. Then I called the gigantic UHaul place in Leominster.

“Yeah, we have no trucks available for this weekend. It’s the end of the month, you know.”

YEAH, I KNOW.

“You gotta reserve a truck far in advance. Like more than a month. First-come first-serve.”

Two weeks? Not advanced enough. So I called the UHaul headquarters in Worcester, because apparently they can check the inventory of all the UHauls in the area.

“Yeah, we have no 14′ or 17′ trucks available in ALL OF CENTRAL MASS.”

What?! None?! Apparently, lots of people are moving to North Carolina, and UHaul can’t be bothered to try and get some trucks back up north for one of the busiest moving weekends of the year. No big deal.

So I called Budget. We had to drive 10 miles to get the truck, and 10 miles to return it, but it was cheaper than UHaul and everyone we dealt with was a million times nicer than anyone I have ever spoken with at UHaul.

Moral? Screw UHaul. Use Budget.

After the truck fiasco, everything went smooth as it possibly could have. Charged up with munchkins and cold-brewed iced iced coffee, our team of superheroes had the cars and the truck loaded in two hours. We made the half hour drive to the Schlöss, ordered four pizzas, recharged with beer, and got everything unloaded in two hours. This includes the half hour it took to get the couch into the living room. Did I mention how our family and friends are superheroes? Our team consisted of my mother, my father, my aunt Maureen, Jesse’s father, Jesse’s brother, our friends Drew and Nikki, and, at the Schlöss, my aunt and uncle Patty and Bill, and our friends Jess and Allen. Superheroes!

Bean also tolerated the move as good as we could have expected her to. Actually, it was the easiest move I’ve had with her since I took her home four years ago. I mean, this house is technically her seventh home in four years (if you include where she was born, and the bedroom at my parents’ house that she was confined to for the two months we were displaced by fire), so she should be old hat at moving. She still hates it though. When I moved the litter box from the basement and closed the basement door, she knew it was time. She meowed at me once, and hid in the spare bedroom behind the futon pieces. When we moved the futon, she behaved exactly as I predicted and went and hid in our bedroom closet, where I had craftily stuck her litter box and the cat carrier. When I came back for her an hour later, she was sitting (unhappily) in the back of the cat carrier. SCORE.

At the house, I let her into the room that will eventually be the office, and she hid in the closet. She’s fine now, and will not stop running around. Success.

After we finished with the move, our sweaty staff made their way home, and we returned our truck. Me, Jesse, and Jess drank some Coors Lights. I unpacked the kitchen, and Jesse set up the TV. We watched half of Hesher. Allen and his wife, Robin came by with more beer. We stood in the kitchen, and Jesse and I accidentally got drunk. Everyone left, and we went to bed.

And really didn’t sleep.

The sounds of a new house are weird. We live on a fairly busy street, which we are used to, but the traffic kept me awake. The creaks of the house kept me awake. Our neurotic cat, coming into the room about five times and mewing once, kept me awake. And both Jesse and I got really confused when the Maynard clock tower chimed… We thought it was our alarm (which wasn’t set).

And even though Jesse woke up with his first hangover in the new house, it okay, because we were home. And Sunday night, I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30. It was okay, except our house looks like this:

Tasks for another day!