Tag Archives: New House

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.

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Today’s post was going to be the third in our We Bought A House!! series, but unfortunately, our “we still have lots of boxes everywhere” post will have to wait another day.

We have some big news! We called our first repair man! Less than one week in our new house, and it has already been christened with an over-priced furnace repair man. Hrmph.

When we acquired our Schloss, Janice, the previous owner, informed us that the furnace had been switched to the off position because she had moved out a few days (weeks?) before. No big deal! The day after we moved in, we flipped the furnace on and unpacked some boxes while waiting for the water heater to warm up. Then the radiators started hissing. What? I checked the thermostat, which had been turned off. I texted my dad, who said that’s probably normal if the system had been off for awhile. It was restoring pressure to the system, or something. We have steam heat, so I found this answer acceptable, and took my first warm shower in our new house. Ahhhhh.

Then I noticed that the furnace was kicking on frequently. Hmm. Not sure what to do, we turned it off. Because in our computer-age, restarting something is often the answer, right?

Wrong.

We left the furnace off for a few days, mostly because it’s summer and it doesn’t really matter. Except we have an indirect-fired water heater, and need the furnace on to get hot water. That’s an issue. After taking a cold shower last night, Jesse decided that this could not continue. We had to face the facts. We flipped the furnace back on and went to bed.

About an hour later, the radiators started hissing. Fine.

In the middle of the night, they were hissing more. I asked Jesse if they were hot, and he said no. Fine.

At 5:30 am, the cat was sitting outside our bedroom door meowing (she hasn’t adjusted to our new alarm time yet… hrmph). Immediately upon waking up, we noticed that the house was warm. This was weird, because temperatures dropped into the low 60s last night, and we had all of our windows open. Our bedroom was hot. Like over 80 hot. Hand on the radiator… HOT. WHAT?! Jesse ran downstairs and flipped off the furnace. Every. single. radiator was hot. The thermostat was STILL TURNED OFF.

A phone call to my dad left us still wondering what was going on. He had no idea… It could have been a number of things. A broken check valve. A defective thermostat. His recommendation? Call the oil company. Get a repair guy in.

And this, folks, is how we had a repair guy in the the house after owning the house for exactly six days.

Luckily, we got to kill three birds with one stone with this one. Not only did they fix the problem, they also performed the yearly maintenance on the furnace AND we signed up for oil delivery.

So what was the problem? The thermostat on the water heater was set too high. Yep, that’s it. In the summer, your water heater should be set around 130F. If it is set higher, excess steam builds up in the heating system, which will eventually vent to the rest of the house. This is why our radiators were hissing. Eventually, there was so much steam that it actually heated the radiators. In the winter, you can get away with turning the thermostat on the water heater up to around 180F, because the system is producing steam any way.

Hmm, who knew??

I was a little frustrated that we had to call someone in so soon after buying the house, but my dad made a good point. It’s worth it to call people in for these little things in the beginning, because then you learn. And you put any qualms at bay. So the $125 we had to spend on the oil guy? Probably won’t have to call him in for the same thing ever again (unless we develop amnesia), and our furnace has been properly maintained until next year.

One step at a time.

This homeowner thing requires a lot of brain power.

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!

The Hours are Ticking Away…

It’s almost here, the hour or more of signing paper after paper. So many papers that we’ve been told we won’t care what they say after the first ten minutes. I suppose I’m nervous for this gigantic step into adulthood. Nervous, but not too nervous. I’m more excited than anything, and it’s not even so much for the house itself (although, that is cool), it’s for the lifestyle we will have with the house.

I’ll finally have the space to set up my music gear and leave it set up. So, when I want to hide away and mess around I can just go upstairs and do that. Until now the set up time involved was generally enough distraction to shrivel any inspiration I may have had.

I’ll be able to ride my bike any place I may want to go. This might seem kind of silly but I’ve missed that bit of childhood where my friends were close and we could just pedal here, there and everywhere. Maynard is a small town and everything is easily reached on a bike. I also have a hope that this will chip away at this gut that I have been developing.

The biggest reason I’m excited for this move is simply that we are saying “Goodbye” to Fitchburg. It’s funny because Fitchburg’s shortcomings never really bothered me until I knew I was leaving. Now, every time I go out I see something that bothers me a bit. Stuff like, seeing needles on the ground when I go for walks or jogs, all the trash in the street and outside the house that never gets cleaned up or just the general lack of care for much of anything in the community. And I honestly can’t say that Maynard doesn’t have these problems or others but, as an outsider, I haven’t seen it. Yet.

So there it, and here it comes. I can say with sincerity that there hasn’t been another experience in my life that has made me feel more grown up than this. It’s a feeling I’ve been running away from since I was a teenager, but I’m seeing now that growing up isn’t like dropping a bomb on the life I have. I can still have fun and be an immature, heavy metal lunatic…

…as long as the bills get paid.