Tag Archives: first home

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!

CD Shelves IMG_7415

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.

IMG_7367 IMG_7401

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.

IMG_7402 IMG_7404 IMG_7394

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…

Long Time No See

I wish I could say that, after being in the house for a month (already!), that we have made huge strides toward getting the place set up and ready to go.

But, let’s be honest. We are lazy. And we like hanging out and doing things that don’t involve a lot of work. Like drinking beer. And taking walks to downtown Maynard. And watching Pretty Little Liars. Even Jesse admits addiction to this show. It seriously cut into our unpacking/cleaning/painting time this weekend.

We have made a little progress though! We have:

  • Finished painting the dining room
  • Finished painting the kitchen
  • Sealed around the thing where the electrical comes into the house (I’m not sure what the technical name for this is…)
  • Filled in a hole in the field stone foundation that apparently a mouse had found its way through
  • Filled in ANOTHER hole in the BOTTOM of the field stone foundation that Crafty Mouse had chewed his way through AFTER digging about three feet underground (why Bean hasn’t killed this sucker is beyond me…)
  • Discovered that the fridge was leaking and, with the help of my dad, stopped it from leaking

 

When I first look at that list, I am a little disappointed that we haven’t gotten more done. I get really overwhelmed on the weekends and think that we should be doing so much more, but then I step back and I sort of like the slow progress of everything. We’re waiting for items that we really like. We’re waiting for everything to settle in. We’re waiting to see what we really want, and not what the internet tells us we should want. We did just buy this house a month ago, and while a month seems like a long time, it’s not. Our weekends are pretty busy! We’ve taken day trips to Portsmouth, NH. We’ve come back to the Fitchburg/Leominster area to pick up our veggies, hang out with my parents, and check out flea markets. We spend afternoons hanging out with Allen and Robin and their Most Adorable Child. We eat ice cream. We watch Pretty Little Liars. I make soup.

So while we’re not super fast at getting things done, I think the stuff we have done is starting to make the place feel like home.

Oh, you want pictures of progress? Ok! Don’t mind the crappy iPhone pictures… I can’t find the power cord to my computer monitor. Or, I haven’t really looked for it. Whatever.

The kitchen! I love the colors. LOVE. The backsplash looks awesome, and I’m so happy that we painted rather than tiled for now. It makes it so easy to change if we should get bored (ha, we’re too lazy to get bored). For paint, we used Behr Ultra Premium Plus in colors I cannot remember the name of right now (but will update when I can find the chips). The trim was already painted, and could probably use a touch-up, but that’s for another day (month? year?). I originally wanted to get rid of the grey laminate counter tops, but with the new color scheme, I can totally deal with them for another few years. They don’t look half bad, and they’re super easy to keep clean (aka they hide everything). I also originally thought I would want to paint the cabinets eventually (I’ve seen so many beautiful kitchens with painted cabinets), but I think they look great now. It’s amazing what removing a little yellow can do. This was the before (crappy pictures from Zillow, which still has our real estate listing for some reason):

I am SO GLAD the yellow is gone! The colors in the kitchen now look GREAT with our awesome dining room:

Painting the dining room was a trying experience. Covering white walls with dark blue paint is not the easiest  thing in the world. It took us four coats in places, and a couple of spots still need to be touched up (including that taped-off pipe that I haven’t started on yet). The color we chose was Deep Blue Sea by Behr, and these pictures really don’t do it justice. In the sun, it almost takes on a blue-green color and it looks so much brighter (or as bright) as we were expecting. The room itself is obviously not done. The chandelier NEEDS to go, but we haven’t really looked for a new one yet, and aren’t quite sure what we want. The round table will eventually (before Thanksgiving I hope!) be replaced with a farmhouse table that we’re going to build ourselves. There are a ton of pictures I want to get up on the walls after I paint their frames white, and I would love to get some shelving up too. Maybe next weekend. Or while Jesse is drugged out from his wisdom teeth removal. He’ll wake up and EVERYTHING will be painted grey. He’ll love it.

So! That’s it for now. In reality, it’ll be another month before another post, because that’s the rate we’re moving. This week, I plan on finding the (a) power cord for my computer so I can take real pictures of the house, painting some frames, and maybe narrowing down some chandelier choices. In reality, we will probably finish the first season of Pretty Little Liars and make a good dent in the second. At least we’re being honest with ourselves.

Retailer Review: RugsUSA.com

A few days before we closed on the house, Groupon had a fantastic deal: $95 for $245 worth of rugs at RugsUSA.com. I had recently read some positive things about RugsUSA on one of the blogs I read (I forget which one), and also read a whole bunch of positive reviews elsewhere on the internet. I did my research to make sure they weren’t a scam, and aside from a few general negative reviews (the colors weren’t right, the shipping was slow), I decided to pull the trigger. After all, $95 for a large area rug seemed like an awesome deal to me.

Fast forward a few weeks. About a week after we moved in, we decided it was time to go rug hunting. Our boxspring had to be cut in half to get up the stairs at our old place, which required the removal of all of the fabric on the outside. Did you know that most boxsprings are cheap-ass wood shoddily nailed together into a rough box shape? Yeah, we didn’t either. Anyway, because we had to remove the fabric, and because the construction was so shoddy, there are a lot of places on the bottom of the boxspring where nails and staples stick out. Nice, huh? This wasn’t a problem at our old place because the bedroom was carpeted, but we didn’t want to take a chance on scratching up our hardwood floors at the Schloss. Therefore, rug = necessary.

After some general indecisiveness, we decided on this guy:

Not bad, aye? We liked it too. And, it was only $218! In order to use the Groupon, I had to spend the full $245, so I ordered this guy for the kitchen as well. The total, after the Groupon, came to $12. So I spent a total of $107 on two rugs. Not too shabby.

The day after I ordered, I received shipping confirmation for the smaller rug. Should arrive in a week. Perfect, no rush. Four days later, I got a shipping confirmation for the larger rug. This was to be expected… I believe the site said that the rug would ship in 3-5 days. I clicked the tracking link they gave me, because I like to obsessively check these things, and… not found. Hmm. FedEx says it could take up to 48 hours to show up in their system. Okay, fine.

48 hours later? Not found.

But guess what! The UPS guy (not the FedEx guy) showed up with our rug as Jesse was coming home from work. Except the rug was tan. Not black. Jesse sent me a text with a picture of the label. “Didn’t we order a rug with red in it?”

YES WE DID ORDER A RUG WITH RED IN IT. The stupid thing was also OPEN and DIRTY:

I was pretty irate. I (theoretically) spent $218 on this rug (actually spent $95), and for it to arrive that dirty is unacceptable. What is even more unacceptable is that IT WASN’T THE RUG I ORDERED. Unfortunately, RugsUSA’s customer service closes at 6, so I had to wait until Tuesday morning to call.

At 9:15am on Tuesday, I got in touch with customer service. After the MOST ANNOYING hold music/talk ever, a meek-sounding girl answered the phone. How could I yell at someone who sounded so sad/bored with their job? I would have to play nice. I explained my situation to the girl (WRONG, DIRTY rug), and she quickly said she would put me on hold and get in touch with the manufacturer right away. I guess RugsUSA goes direct through the manufacturers and doesn’t have a warehouse of their own. After sitting on hold for about 5 minutes, my meek friend came back on the line.

They would be sending me packaging that would arrive in 1-2 days to return my rug. Then I would have to contact UPS for a pick-up. Once the rug was received at the manufacturer’s warehouse, I would receive a refund.

Um, okay. What about the rug I actually ordered? I want it! In black!

Oh, the manufacturer doesn’t make that color in that size anymore.

Wait, what?

I asked the girl to clarify this, and apparently she meant exactly what she said. RugsUSA sells rugs that don’t exist anymore, and when the manufacturer gets an order for one of those rugs, they just send whatever color they have left. Yep, that’s how it works. So because they didn’t have black in the style I wanted, the company just assumed that I would be okay with getting a rug in an entirely different color. Yeah, no.

So now I guess I’m just waiting on my refund. I am curious as to 1) how long that will take and 2) how that’ll actually work. In a perfect world, they would just credit my debit account for the amount of the rug. However, I didn’t actually pay RugsUSA $218. I paid $95 to Groupon. So will RugsUSA refund me my Groupon purchase price? Or only the $12 that I actually paid? Will I have to make another call to Groupon to get them to refund the price I paid to them? It all seems stupid and complicated.

For now, I’m out $95. And our mattress is still on the floor. From now on, I’ll stick to buying rugs in stores. Hrmph.

UPDATE (9/5/12): So. We eventually received the packaging to return the rug we ordered. Eventually, as in two weeks after I spoke with Customer Service. Two weeks to receive a FexEx package containing a giant bag, two twist ties, and some tape. Nothing else. Where was I supposed to send the rug? How was I supposed to send the rug? I called Customer Service again, and after sitting on hold for 10 minutes, the girl told me that I did the right thing by calling, that they would put in a pick up order with FedEx, and I would receive an email in a few days about when to set the rug out for shipment. A week later, I finally received that email. At 11:30 AM. Telling me that they would make the first pick-up attempt that day.

Okay, that’s fine, except I work. Like a lot of people. And I can’t put out a rug for pick-up when I’M NOT HOME. Also! When I got home, there was a FedEx sticker on the door saying they showed up for the first pick-up at 11:50, a  mere 20 minutes after I received the email. HA. Ok.

That night, Jesse and I packaged up the rug, and in the morning, we set it out for pick-up. The FedEx guy came by, lugged the 8′-tall rug into his truck, and left us a pick-up tag with a tracking number. Sweet.

The rug made it to the manufacturer yesterday. I have yet to receive any confirmation that they received the rug. We’ll see how this goes.

UPDATE (9/6/12): Today marks the day that I am done with Groupon AND RugsUSA. And maybe “too good to be true” discounted things in general. After not hearing from RugsUSA yesterday, or all of today, I gave them a call to find out what was UP with my order. I spoke to a very nice woman who told me some not very nice news:  Because I purchased the rug using a Groupon, I should have processed the return with Groupon. Also, because I had to order two things in order to use the full amount of the Groupon, they had to CHARGE my account an extra $17 for the smaller rug and I had to contact Groupon to get my $95 back.

Hrmph.

I was on the phone with Groupon for about 20 minutes speaking (or not speaking?) to a woman who is typing more than she is talking. That’s fine–I get that customer service works in different ways–but to have your (potentially pissed off) customer just sitting on the line while you’re typing away doesn’t make me feel very confident. In the end, I get my $95 back after Groupon verifies that I’m not just full of shit. I guess that’s all I can really ask for?

While I will NEVER order from RugsUSA again (this entire ordeal took a month, and I still have no bedroom rug to show for it), and I’m most likely done with buying things from Groupon,  every customer service person I spoke to from both companies was helpful, and if they didn’t know the answer to something, they figured it out. I guess you have to have good customer service when you mess up so gigantically.

I’ll stick to buying rugs in person from now on, even if it costs a lot more.

Indecisiveness

Jesse and I have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same music, movies and TV shows (I know he likes Dance Moms and Teen Mom. He just won’t admit it). Aside from his aversion to certain vegetables, we like a lot of the same food. We both enjoy being outdoors, aren’t particularly keen on the beach, and like long drives. We have similar temperaments most of the time, and are pretty much equal on the lazy scale. But. The one thing we have in common that is actually detrimental (not to our relationship, but maybe to other things) is our indecisiveness.

We are  incredibly indecisive. I don’t want to make a decision because I want to make sure that Jesse is happy/comfortable/whatever, and I generally don’t care what we do/where we eat/who we hang out with. I think he feels the same way toward me. Most of the time, we go back and forth for what feels like forever with things like, “What do you want to do?” “Doesn’t matter to me, what do you want to do?” “Well, I decided last time, so you should decide.” “No, I’m pretty sure I decided last time.” “No, I gave you two choices and you picked one, so that’s pretty much like I decided.” And so on.

Normally, one of us eventually makes a decision and we get on with our lives. After all, what we eat for dinner is not a dire decision. However, this home stuff?

We’re useless.

The past two weeks have been a lot of me showing Jesse paint chips, and him saying “Those shades of grey look the same to me.” I have to explain to him that one is a  cool grey and one is a  warm grey and they are, in fact, very different. He shrugs, points at one, and I come back with, “Do you actually like that one? Or are you just picking because I’m making you?” and he grins and walks away.

We do have some ideas, and some of them we will hopefully start putting into motion this weekend. We agreed that the dining room will most definitely be a shade of navy blue, and we have even narrowed it down to two choices. Jesse likes Planetarium, mostly because of the name. I don’t really care, because I think they’ll both look good, albeit slight different, once they get up on the walls. The only thing I am slightly worried about is the gigantic hole in the plaster where the thermostat is “attached”. I think we’re going to have to patch the plaster, which is going to take some time away from actually getting the room painted. BUT, we want to do it right, so we should probably do that. [Edit: Since I started to draft this, we bought plaster and patching mesh, pulled the thermostat off the wall, and you know what? The “gigantic” hole is only about 2″ x 1″ and there is plenty of lathe for the plaster to grip onto. This means we can return the $8 patch and get away with a little bit of plaster! Go us!]

A navy dining room for inspiration:

The other area that we have mostly decided on is that the major walls in the kitchen are going to be grey. I believe we have even decided on a shade, and I think it’ll look great. What we haven’t decided on, and this is all my fault, is what to do with the backsplash. Originally, I wanted to tile the backsplash with white subway tiles and charcoal grout. Looking at the pictures of the kitchen before we moved in, I thought that subway tile would be too large for the backsplash area, and maybe we should parse it down a little. Use the smaller subway tiles instead. Jesse agreed that this would look nice. Then I panicked a bit because 1) we’ve never tiled anything before and 2) what if we want to replace the counter tops? Will all of our tiling have gone to waste? So I concluded that we should just paint the backsplash, and we agreed on an awesome teal color.

Then last night, I saw a Reader Redesign on Young House Love with a tiled backsplash that made me swoon a little. Maybe we should tile the backsplash. Maybe we should learn to tile. It’s not that hard, and I’m pretty sure some friends of ours own a wet saw. On top of this, I got realistic with myself. We are not going to be able to afford to put in new countertops for quite some time (years maybe), and frankly, I’m not sure I really want to just yet. Sure, we have pretty average looking laminate counter tops, but they’re incredibly easy to take care of and, because they’re grey, go with everything. They don’t look that bad. Really. What this does mean, though, is that the time we spent deciding on paint colors has to be re-spent on picking out tiles. White? Teal? Something else? Can we actually do this? And measuring for tile requires a lot more calculating and forethought than measuring for paint (1 can. done.). After looking at tiles, I think we’re swaying back toward painting, but the decision won’t be made until we leave Home Depot with either a quart of paint or a box of tile. And then it has to stay made for awhile, because I’m sure as hell not painting and then tiling.

Then there is the living room. A few days ago, we came up with the idea of painting the walls white and the ceiling… some other color. I want to keep it relatively low-key since the dining room is going to be pretty intense. But then I saw a picture of a lime-ish green ceiling and I really liked it. Totally doable. It would totally match our curtains. It would look so good.

Maybe something like this, but not carried down onto the walls? Or maybe carried down onto the walls?:

And, guys, that’s just downstairs.

People keep telling me that this doesn’t have to be done all at once, and I realize this. We have thirty years (and longer!) to get everything taken care of, and once it’s done, it can be changed. We can re-paint if we want! Yes, it requires more work, but it can be done! What I do want, though, is to have everything downstairs at least painted relatively soon because, honestly, the place doesn’t feel like home yet. We don’t have any of our pictures or prints or band posters on the wall, and it makes the place feel pretty sterile (that, and the eggshell-colored walls in every room). The neutral creme in ever room has. to. go.

We just need to get off our asses and make decisions.

P.S. Congrats to our friends Jocelyn and Jeff for closing on their Housey Home and successfully ripping down the World’s Ugliest Wallpaper! Good job, guys 🙂

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!

Dreamin’

I would be embarrassed to count the number of hours I have spent flipping through the pictures on the Redfin listing of our new house.

I would also be embarrassed to count the number of times I have berated Jesse with, “What do you think about this?” and “What if we did this?” and the number of hours I have spent on sites like Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge.

While probably normal, this behavior is slightly embarrassing because 1) we have been in the house exactly two times (once for the viewing and once for the home inspection) and 2) buying a house is a lot of money (duh), so to think that we can do some pretty epic decorating and overhauling in the first year is, well, stupid. But if you think this has stopped me from dreaming and scheming, then THINK AGAIN.

I have made a list. A lofty, dreamy list. This list contains all of the things that I want to do to our little schlöss, based on the two times we have been in the house and the pictures on Redfin ONLY. I fully expect this list to expand change once we move in, and I also fully intend on drafting a more realistic, immediate list once we move in and get a better idea of what we are dealing with.

But for now, a girl can dream, right?

The Number One thing on my list is painting. Everything. All of the walls. Currently, all of the walls (except those in the kitchen) are white. I have been reading some a lot of design and decorating blogs, and painting everything white seems to be the current in thing. I hate it! It’s so sterile! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to paint every room lime green (got that out of my system in college, although I did love it), but having every room be white is too much.

Now grey on the other hand… (cue Jesse groaning… He thinks I actually want to paint every room grey).

I want to paint every room, but I don’t have all of the colors planned out. Yet. I would love to paint the dining room a rich, deep navy blue. Like this:

It looks so sexy. Actually, the dining room table I want to build will be very similar to the one in the picture, too. I also want to paint the kitchen grey. Yes, for real. It is the only room I actually plan on painting grey. For now. The counters are a light grey laminate (that’ll be replaced eventually, when we have money again), so I was thinking that a medium grey color for the walls would compliment the counters and the dining room.

I would also love to paint the porch. We have this awesome three-season porch that I think would look great with painted floors, walls, and ceilings (it is currently just natural wood).

And the front door! This is actually the very first thing I would love to paint. We talked about painting it teal-ish (although Jesse is convinced that we decided on plaid. Or argyle. Hmm), and we’ll likely settle on something in the blue range. I think this is a really great way to make the place feel immediately like ours.

Ok, so painting isn’t that lofty. What else? I’m already imagining knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space a bit. Also, opening the doorway between the dining room and the living room to make it a little more open there as well.  I’d really love a house that is mostly open-concept, but that was unfortunately not in our budget, and also relatively uncommon in the area we were looking in (probably a budget thing?). However, my not-so-expert instincts tell me that maybe just maybe we could knock down some walls to open up a little space. Because I know so much about construction.

As for the kitchen, I probably shouldn’t even get started. Our kitchen is cute. Really cute. It could, however, use more counter space (as with most kitchens). Whenever we have people over, most people tend to congregate in front of the TV (we have a HUGE couch) or in the kitchen. This means we need space for at least two people to sit down, and more to congregate. My first instinct is to put in an awesome kitchen island, which I think we’d have the space for. Then we could put stools in, and everything would be great. The second option is to put a small table in the kitchen, but I really want an island. I also really want to install a backsplash, buy a new stove (This one, perhaps. In 6027, obviously.), buy a fridge with an ice maker, and install new countertops. I don’t imagine this happening any time soon though. Dreams.

One thing that we’ll hopefully be able to conquer next summer is the installation of a small patio, complete with a fire pit that we can cook over. The back yard is currently fenced in, and I think we’re both in agreement that the fence probably should come out (it’s just chain-link) and a patio should definitely go in. Jesse has dreams of a smoker out back, and that could definitely be a reality if we plan it right.

Further down the line, I would love to be able to figure out a way to put in a second bathroom. Piece of cake, right?

I realize that these are all gigantic undertakings and most of them are things we are not going to be able to do for at least five years (minus painting). Like I said, lofty! But I can’t not think about these things.

For now, I should probably just focus on packing. And getting ready to move. Although, moving should be extra cushy, since our landlords didn’t find anyone to move in a month early and we’re on the hook ’till the end of August. Plus: more time to move! Minus: paying rent. Meh.

Three days until the closing! Five until moving day! I think I’m going to have a heart attack.

Little Boxes, On The Hillside

Packing is a bitch.

Packing is a bitch because it never feels done. Ever! How does that work?

Last weekend we made some real, serious progress on packing up the apartment. We have packed:

  • All of the coats
  • Shoes
  • Our closet
  • The junk in the spare bedroom closet
  • All of our books
  • All of our DVDs
  • About 3/4 of Jesse’s CDs All of Jesse’s CDs!

We have also successfully cataloged all of our DVDs and what has been packed of Jesse’s CD collection.

Did I mention that Jesse’s CD collection alone is fifteen boxes? And that the CD count right now is about 2,000?? I think someone has an addiction… Intervention?!

What’s left?

  • Everything hanging on walls
  • Clothes in the dressers
  • The bathroom
  • The kitchen
  • The basement

Not bad! And this time is approximately one million times less stressful than the last time we moved:

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Bad picture, but note the tower of furniture and the lack of ceiling above it. We threw away so many bags of stuff. We purged things we would have normally taken but were too frustrated and burnt out to move and things that were too smelly/dusty/gross from all of the water damage in the apartment. We tried our best to organize things while packing, but it was nearly impossible with the chaos of the apartment.

Moving wasn’t any better. The first was on a weekday, and we wanted to be back in our own place so badly. We rented a UHaul and loaded it up while the sun was setting. We made two trips between apartments. We loaded the second trip in the dark. There was no electricity at the old place, so we were finding boxes by flashlight. We had a pizza delivered to the unlit apartment and ate it in the back of the UHaul. It was awful. Better than the time I smashed a pickle jar in the UHaul parking lot at the end of moving day (Worcester, 2009), but still awful.

This time will be different! We have an entire weekend left before we move, and we are moving on a weekend, so we’ll have plenty of time to get everything out. Everything will be packed nicely into organized boxes! We have enlisted people to help (tempted by the promise of pizza and beer)!

However, I look at the apartment, one week before our closing date, and I feel like we have done nothing. I suppose it won’t feel done until we’re out, right??