Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Picture Journal of the Painting Process

Here are the pictures I promised of the house while it was being painted yesterday.

The living room with the furniture from the master bedroom.

The kitchen with stuff from the master bedroom and guest room.  And paint.

The hallway with our headboard from our bed.  I was glad for the opportunity to dust it off in detail.

The guest room as it was being painted.

Another angle on the guest room.

The master bedroom being painted. Do you see the transient stereo from the corner? We totally had a salsa manana.

The master bedroom once it was finished.

Our nice, clean hallway.  We haven't finished painting it yet- that's our project for tonight.

The finished guest room.  I am so happy with it!

I also want to add, just in case I didn't mention it yet, that the process of sorting, packing, cleaning, and preparing these two rooms was taken on by The Man himself: my wonderful husband, David.  He rocks!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Step Closer

There has been so much accomplished in the last four days, and I wasn't even here to see most of it!  Amazing!

On Thursday I left for the churchwide women's retreat, and I had a great time.  I stayed Thursday night, Friday night, and then came back home on Saturday afternoon around 4.  David missed me quite a bit, I gather.

On Saturday morning, the contractors came to our house and put a new roof on it.  I wasn't here to see them do it, but I got to see the results and they did a fabulous job.  David supervised.  Plus, he also cleaned up and cleared out our bedroom and guestroom because this morning the contractors came back to repair some tiny waterspots on the ceiling and paint our bedroom and guestrooms.  The rest of the house that looked so so amazingly clean a few days ago are now cram-packed with the innards of the two rooms being painted.  At least the bathroom is still accessible, since we only have one.  And things would get kinda messy if it was off limits. ;)

Another big step that we took yesterday was looking at our final set of houses.  We only saw one that was likeable, but then I got a splinter from the railing in the stairway, so I had a grudge.  It was off the list.  My finger is still sore, and I'm not sure if I got all the splinter out.  It will be more apparent once the swelling goes down a little more, and as of now I am just keeping it doused in Neosporin.  My realtor's suggestion after I showed him my boo-boo was to smash one of my other fingers to get my mind off the splinter- you can tell that sympathy is his forte.  At least he was helpful for a laugh. 

And, an even bigger step that we took at the end of our house-looking yesterday was to take a second look at one of our favorites so far, and after giving it another look, we decided to make an offer.  We decided to go ahead and go for it because Greg (our realtor) had been contacted twice by the realtor selling that house and basically told him that the situation was highly open to negotiation on the price and closing date, and that the sellers were very motivated because they were closing on another house, ready to move out, and didn't want to have two mortgages at once.  I can understand their point of view, and I hope there is enough desperation in their hearts to accept the bid we gave.  Because we basically offered the exact amount that we could really afford to pay right now.

And we really like that house.  It's the perfect size, the layout is great, it has a nice yard (and a separate fenced-in sideyard with a patio!), it looks unique, and it is in a mature and safe neighborhood with lots of shade trees (David's particular caveat).  The only drawback in my opinion is that it's not quite as far north as we originally intended to get.  But, it's well within the distance from David's work that we had hoped for.  He'll only be about 12-15 minutes away from work now instead of 30-40 minutes.  That is, if they accept the offer.  And I'm hoping they will, but I'm also praying for the will of God to be done in all of this, and if you're reading this and wish to pray for that as well, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Progress and Happiness

We are now officially finished with the renovations on the kitchen.  Pictures to follow.  We are almost finished with the living room, too.  Last night and this evening David and I have been busy as beavers painting- David with the roller and me with a paintbrush, doing the details.  I have so enjoyed working on the house together with him- I love feeling like a team, getting things accomplished. 

And a shout-out:

I'm feeling happy because I had a nice, long conversation with my lovely sister this afternoon, and she told me that she is proud of me.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive sister in my life.

Welcome to my blog, Melanie!  You have no idea how much it means to me that you are proud of me!  I love you!  :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Wonderful Husband

I wanted to take a minute and note what a wonderful husband I have.  We have been working really hard together over the last couple of weeks getting the house cleaned up and doing repairs.  He has really shown a dedicated, patient, and thorough work ethic.  I am amazed at his character and wonderful heart.  He has taught me a lot and inspired me so much by his attitude.

Whenever you are fixing up a house to sell, and doing difficult or tedious projects, it's hard not to be tempted to just do the bare minimum to make it look alright long enough for someone else to buy it.  It's been in the back of my mind the whole time that the fruit of our labors will primarily be enjoyed by the next person to live here.

This is the part where my heart swells with pride and appreciation: The other day, David and I were going over our to-do list and schedule, and he said something along the lines of, "I want to make sure I spend enough time on each thing to do a really good job, because I want the person who buys this house to have a really nice place to live.  If I'm going to do a job at all, I want to do it well."

*Long pause for his amazingness to sink in*

He was completely meticulous in his efforts, did an excellent job, and I am so so impressed with his attitude, ability, and finished product.  You go, David!  :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Update on Bathroom

The Bathroom is Finished!  Three Cheers All Around!  A picture-journal:

David cut out a new board to replace the warped one from a spare piece of plywood that he had laying around.... We won't mention that he remembered about his spare building materials that he had squirreled away at home after he and my dad had already gotten to Home Depot and spent time deliberating over what to get.  We'll just let that little tidbit slide out of the memory bank, won't we?

Dad, holding down the floor.

This is after they had done some stuff to it and installed some stuff [Insert technical explanation with big words here....] and were waiting for some component to dry.  Didn't my super husband cut out a nice piece of wood?  :)

He found a nugget of something in the crevice of the wall.  Unfortunately it was not made of gold.  Which reminds me, we now know the reason why Trinket was perpetually sniffing, probing, and examining the base of the toilet every. single. time I was in the bathroom for the last couple of years.  When David and Dad lifted the toilet up and put it in the tub, they found a substantial stash of ponytail holders. Trinket is addicted to them. They are her favoritest toy, and cannot be resisted.  So she hides them in "safe" places for later.  For example, inside the couch, under the couch, in her litter box, behind the desk in the office, in her water bowl (all. the. time.  Just try and keep her from it, I dare you.), and apparently, in the crevice between the base of the toilet and the floor.  When they found them, David was disgusted.  Trinket was delighted.

Getting it ready to install the new tiles.

The laying of the first tile.

David is excited because he is getting to figure out how to do this for the first time.  Things that would paralyze me with fear (over my lack of knowledge and experience- being afraid that I would make a mistake) give him an odd, indescribable delight.  Dad is enjoying spectating and throwing in an instruction here and there.

Absolutely, painstakingly meticulous.  I love that about him.

Sweeping the dust and debris away before laying the next tile.

Still hard at work.

Dad got out a light after awhile to give David some extra help in seeing where to trim the tile to make it fit just right.  I thought that the light gave this picture a cool effect- it's like David is glowing.

The finished product- completed just after midnight.  I thought David did a beautiful job.  He spoils me rotten!

My new bathroom!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Continuing House Renovation

Well, it's time for an update on everything going on at El Casa.  We have finally finished putting the kitchen back together, including painting the new wall, scrubbing the floor, and then putting the stove back in.  It looks really pretty now.  The beginning of this week was not so productive because I came down with the stomach ick on Monday evening and only began feeling back to normal yesterday.  The good thing is that I finally got to catch up on my rest, and I lost 6 pounds in 3 days.  Plus, David was able to focus only on his work, which helped him to get a lot done on his job without the added stress of doing house repairs after getting home in the evening.  Note to self: it's okay to take a night off every now and then.  Our marriage has gotten a lot of benefits from taking it easy for a couple of days.  And, I gained some new insight and learned some things about being a partner and helpmeet without torturing those I'm working with.  Thank you God for teaching me.

Anyway, I was feeling better yesterday, so Mom and Dad came back down and helped us get back on track with our home improvements.  Who knew that selling a house could be so much work?  Certainly not I, apparently.  Last night we finished touching up the kitchen, including nailing the trim back onto the edge of the cabinets along the floor, putting down new contact paper in all the drawers and cabinets, installing a new door on the back of the garage (it needed one since we had some very bored little furbabies in the backyard who believe that shredding a wooden door is soooooo much fun), and power-washing the outside of the house.  Plus, I cooked a very nice dinner for every one, served on the finest paper plates (sort of- more like the cheapest possible that would withstand dinner).  We had chicken lasagna, fresh fruit- oranges, bananas, nectarines, and pineapple, cajun mixed vegetables, and dinner rolls.  Plus chocolate chip cookies and hot mochas for dessert.  I feed my helpers well.  Then, while Mom and David finished putting the final touches on the cabinets, I helped get Dad up-to-date on the awesomeness of "Big Bang Theory" (the TV show- I know, the name is unfortunate, but the show is hilarious) thanks to my wonderful TiVo, and kept everyone current on their hot drink, dessert, and medicinal ointment needs (there were several boo-boos).

The yard is looking pretty fantastic now, since our new yard guys came last weekend and took care of fallen branches, leaves, trimming, and edging.  It was sooooooo worth it.  Our house is looking almost brand new on the outside now.  I absolutely love using the power-washer.  That thing is just so cool and fun to use.  I love being able to blast away dirt and grime that have been there for ages, and seeing how pretty things look afterwards.  I wish I could just use it on the inside of my house too.  I could clean the whole thing in a few hours that way.  Hmmmmmmmm. Too bad.

Today Dad came back down and is helping put new floor down in the bathroom.  I am so, so excited about that.  I have been waiting for four and a half years- ever since Gizmo was a kitten and chipped several of the bathroom tiles sharpening her claws in protest of being locked in the bathroom- to put down new floor.  I feel so lucky and blessed that we are finally getting all these repairs done.  The difference after just having the bathroom sink fixed is amazing.  It is ridiculous how much bigger the house feels now that we have two working sinks.

Anyway, Dad and David are putting the new floor down in the bathroom today.  It's ending up being a fairly complicated process, since the wood floor underneath the tile had a lot of water damage from the leaky sink.  Dad and David are gone to Home Depot right now buying more wood to put down, and then once that is done the new flooring is a fairly simple process- just peel and stick.  It will probably be more complicated than I am anticipating, but isn't it always? ;) 

We are also planning on painting the new door on the garage tonight, so that project will be completely finished after that.  Then, if we have time, we might do a little more painting on the inside of the house.

Here are some pictures of our projects so far:

Mom, Dad and David

Dad and David putting in the sheetrock

Mom holding the trim for the bottom of the cabinets, and a view of what our living room looked like with stuff in the process of being sorted, packed, and loaded into the car.  Plus, the kitchen drawers on the coffe table waiting to be lined with our new contact paper.

The culprits of the destroyed back door.

Mom putting the new contact paper into the drawers.

The kitchen cabinets with new contact paper in them.

The kitchen wall now that the stove cabinets, and counter are back in place.

Our living room now that we are finished (sort of).

More of the living room and kitchen

Our kitchen table, all clean and happy.

The "Before" picture of the bathroom.

Dad, after putting the toilet into the tub and removing the tile.

Just in case you wondered if they had any fun....

David, gleeful after getting to play with tools and accomplish some demolition.  He's holding a piece of water-damaged flooring.  That's right- he did it all with his bare hands.  What a man!

Dad, with his plethora of tools.

Hard at work.

Prying the last bits of warped flooring out.

The destructed floor under the sink.

They are both having a blast.  Really.

I'll post more pics later when the status changes.  I'm looking forward to my beautiful new floor!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Fear of the Lord

I've been enjoying several books by Mary Pride recently, namely "The Way Home" and "Schoolproof", both of which are excellent.  David and I are actually reading "The Way Home" together, and it has been a great conversation piece and devotional topic each night before we go to sleep.

I was just reading Schoolproof, and I came across the part where she explains that the beginning of teaching your children to be lifelong learners is to teach them fear, or respect.  She quotes an idea from several verses in the Bible that say that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:

Proverbs 1:7
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.

Proverbs 9:10
The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.
This idea struck a chord within me.  Isn't it interesting when you can feel the Spirit of Truth work in your mind and heart and cause a familiar text to penetrate deeper than ever before, and "click"? 
For exactly one year I worked with kids in the projects as an after-school activities coordinator, and it was something I really struggled with.  I got very attached to those little ones, and even some of the big ones, too.  Something that used to strike me about them (and hurt my feelings at times...) was that they were completely unafraid of being disciplined.  It seemed to me like they didn't care whether or not they participated in the program, no matter how kind and loving I was or how good the food and candy was. 
So, I had an epiphany whilst reading the book.  To the same degree that those children were unafraid of discipline, they were unwilling to exert themselves.  Their level of investment emotionally was the same level of perseverance they had in times of low benefits.  This is the reason why many or most of them will not escape the poverty cycle-- they are unwilling to persevere when the going gets tough.  Unfortunately, most of them will remain on welfare, sell drugs, sell themselves, go to jail, and so on. 
So, another part of the epiphany was that beating your children (or spanking them, whatever you want to call it) is not necessarily the way to instill "fear" in them, of yourself, the Lord, or anyone else.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I do believe that there are appropriate times to spank-- I just don't believe in it being the first and only method of discipline.  But I'm also not a mom yet, either.  One day I may eat my words.
If there was one thing that the kids in the projects had an unending supply of, it was beatings.  The really bad kind.  Like, "my momma's gonna pound my head into the pavement" kind.  And yet they never seemed afraid of anything.  Especially anyone in a position of authority.
This leads me to believe that the fear we are to instill in our children is not based solely on the idea that very bad things will happen to me if I disobey.  I think there is another huge key component, and that is the desire to please.  And the desire to please comes from the relationship you have, first with your parents, then with God.  The problem that the kids in the projects (at least the ones I worked with) had was that they had very very little positive interaction with their parents.  They had very unstable and violent homelives.  There was no certainty or warm haven in the home environment.  They had no feelings of love and security in their relationships with their parents, especially not their fathers.  I believe that a child has to have an experience of feeling esteemed by his/her father in order to build the proper fear of authority.  Knowing that it is possible to please our parents, and enjoying the warm fuzzies when we do, causes us to fear their displeasure. 
We shrink from the idea of losing the joy and security of the relationship, as well as the consequences of our bad behavior-- that is the real fear of the Lord. Valuing the relationship with God, maintaining a worshipful, reverential fear of Him, is truly the beginning of knowledge.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kitchen Demolition

So far I have managed to check several things off of my to-do list for the house.  Today was the day.  You have no idea how stressed I was about the whole plumbing thing.  You see, the sink in the bathroom has never worked.  Or at least has never been in working condition.  Not since even before we moved into the house.  When we bought the house, we figured, "oh, no big deal, we'll just get a plumber in to fix it before the end of the month."  Well, the month stretched to the end of next month, which became the end of the year, and kept getting put off until five years later, and we are now wanting to move and only now getting around to fixing the stinkin' plumbing.

So, two days ago a plumber came over.  He strutted through the house, made several tsk-ing sounds and some snide remarks about my wonderful husband and father trying to figure out how to fix the plumbing themselves, and then said that his time and labor to fix the problem would be "hundreds of dollars".  So, my wonderful husband and father decided to go ahead and try to fix it themselves.

This effort included the help and presence of my mother, Shayce, and Kylie.  Kylie wanted to help, too.  And since Mom and Dad were supposed to be babysitting them, she got the chance.  Any time the door needed closing, she was Johnny-on-the-spot, with an exclamation of "I got it!"  And between times of closing an open door here and there she found the opportunity to divest ever shelf within reach of its items, turn the TV off and on a few hundred times, dump every board game we own out of its box, and chase Trinket a few laps around the house.  She also worked out a strategy of her very own for giving David's knees a squeeze and kiss about every ten minutes.  She was especially delighted whenever he would sit on the floor- this was in itself an open invitation for head-rubbing, ear kisses, and choke hugs around the neck from behind.  Plus, she kept tabs on where everyone was at all times- particularly me and David.  If either one of us stepped outside or into the bathroom, or pretty much anywhere out of sight, it would take long before we heard the pleading toddler siren song of "Oh Sitty [i.e. "Cristy"], where are  you?!?"  or "Oh! My David! Where my David GO?!?!?!?!!!!"

Shayce was alternately overjoyed to be at our house and in hysterics over the idea of us moving.  She has become quite attached to our cozy little home apparently.  At one point I had a quiet moment with her to talk about it, and she "I'm scared that if you move, you will move far far away and go live with the Indians!"  And no, our family is apparently not all that politically correct.

So, Dad and David got workin' on the plumbing.  Originally we thought that they would be going through the cabinet, so David and I cleared the cabinet out.  Then, they decided that they needed to tear the cabinets and counter away from the wall. So they did.  Three holes later, they decided that the worst part of the leak must be coming from behind the stove.  It was.  So, then it was time to go to Home Depot for our long list of needed supplies for pretty-fying my house.  Apparently picking out supplies at home depot takes longer than 30 minutes.  Two hours after arriving at Home Depot, the kids were both clawing at each other and wrestling to get out of the cart they had so delightedly picked out.  Dad and Mom were pretty much dead on their feet, and David and I were just getting around to picking out our paint color.  So, we let the kids down from the cart (bad idea- do not try at home....er, at the Home depot near you...) and within two minutes Kylie was hanging from a the bars on an industrial cart like a monkey.  Half a minute later, she was sprawled on the floor gathering her breath to scream.  All of this before I had a chance to tell her not to.  So, I scooped her up and she and I went out to the garden section, where I showed her how to jump in the puddles and splash.  That was the funnest part of the evening.  After a few minutes we went back inside, picked out a paint color, waited fifteen more minutes for them to try to get some butter out of it (joke...), and we were headed out to the car.

On the way home, we stopped at a little Hispanic grocery store, and got everyone a strawberry ice cream bar.  There's just something about Ice cream bars from Mexico that is sooooo good.  We went ahead and let the girls have theirs on the way out the door.  Then we got to the car and realized our mistake.  We decided to live dangerously and just strap them on into the car complete with ice cream bars and head on home.  How bad could it get, right?  When we got home, there wasn't any ice cream on the car seats, but both the girls had sugary, sticky hands and faces.  Kylie started freaking out after we got her out of the car over the stickiness.  So, I decided to just take them straight to the bathroom and let them eat their ice cream sitting in the tub. I didn't care if they bathed in it after they got back there, as long as it didn't get on the furniture, it was all good.  Both girls were delighted with the novelty of being in the tub with all their clothes still on!

Then it was time to cuddle on the couch with blankets, pop in a movie, and have some popcorn.  At least for me and the girls.  Dad and David got the honor of making another trip to Home Depot to take back the old parts that they had taken an hour and a half choosing in the first trip, and try to find different parts, since the first parts were too big.

An hour and half later, they came back home, took five minutes to try the new parts, discovered that they also would not work, and decided to call it a night.  David wanted to just call the jerky plumber back and let him fix it.

So.  Today was the day.  This morning we called the plumber, and left a message for him to call us back.  Then we called our realtor to discuss a contract, and while we were on the phone with him, he was like "Hey, if you need a plumber, I know just the guy!"  And inside, I was all "Yessss! Now I don't have to listen to the other guy's lip!"  So we called the new plumber, who was willing to come over right away, and then we called back the old plumber and told him thanks, but no thanks.

The new plumber was soooooooo nice.  And now we have a working sink in the bathroom.  And a lot of glue fumes.  But we have a working sink!  Yay!

Here are some pictures of our adventures:

Ice cream in the bathtub!

This is what my kitchen looked like once Dad and David had given up for the night.  They worked on it for over 10 hours.

Having their popcorn and watching Peter Pan- it was little intense.

After the nice plumber was finished.

David, being so happy that the plumbing is fixed!

Trinket would like everyone to know that she objects to the smell of glue.