Friday, August 28, 2009

Although We've Come To The End Of The Road ...

It looks like soon “Elle” and I will part ways, “Elle” is the name of my house - fitting because it is located on Elwood and because I adore Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. After some serious prayer, discussion and number crunching it looks like we are going to put my house on the market. It seems like only yesterday I bought this place – and I guess it wasn’t that long ago about 2 years – and now she is all ready to make her d├ębut on the for sale website. I have to admit that although I am very excited to be moving forward with upcoming plans, I am going to be sad to leave the house. We put so much time and energy into making “Elle” special, she was a labor of love to say the least. I can’t even think back to a weekend when my parents, my sister, my friends or Matt wasn’t helping me on something. I couldn’t have had such a warm, cozy abode with out all their help. And if you look back through some before pictures you can understand what hard work went into making the house what it is today. We decided that now was the time to list the house since there is the first time home buyers tax credit and because we have heard of some homes sitting on the market for months. We are hoping that by December we have the ability to streamline down to one mortgage and consolidate our possessions to one house. I went and signed the paperwork on Wed. and it will be officially listed this afternoon – I was surprised that we already had a showing today…


I might be a "smidge" type A - so I thought I would help my realtor by creating a flyer to put on the front side of the MLS listing..
























Here are “Elle’s” glamour shots, plus the shots from the previous post... And here is a fun link to see what she used to look like - a total makeover!


Exterior



Basement "Family Room"



Erin's Room



My Bedroom



The Living Room

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Are Still Hammering In Our Sleep

Well we did it. We finished the garage roof in one weekend. After the rocky start with the “wild animal” and the pouring rain on Friday night, I didn’t know what to expect of the weekend. But to tell you the truth it went surprisingly smooth. Saturday morning we were up bright and early and started stripping the old shingles right away. Matt had seen on This Old House that a pitchfork was a good way to remove old shingles. I was a little skeptical – with flash back to the opossum event, I didn’t know what to expect. But to error on the side of caution, with a pitchfork on the roof at least we didn’t have to worry about a sneak attack. And it did work really well. We got into a pattern of Matt on the ladder stripping as many shingles as he could reach and I sat on the ridge of the roof and got loose nails and the rest of the shingles with a little crowbar. The removal went really fast. Then it was on to putting out the tarpaper – not my favorite part of the day, too tedious for me to enjoy. I also was not a big fan of having to mark chalk lines, what a mess. But once the lines were set – it was on to the shingles. Within a few hours we had half of one side completed. That really surprised me, I thought it would take a lot longer. We figured out a system where Matt laid the first shingle in each row and then I hammered the rest of the row in and he finished up the other end. I cannot even express how tired my arm is – today while in a meeting, my arm started twitching in a hammering motion. We could have opted for an air nail gun, but it would have been costly to rent one and the whole point of doing it our selves was to save money. So, we hand nailed four nails in every stinking shingle on the roof. Anyway, with half one side of the roof complete we called it a night and I am excited to say that we were able to stop working before dark – that NEVER happens on our projects. Sunday, we started up after church and flew through the rest of the one side in a matter of an hour. We moved to the far side of the garage and had an easy time of snapping the lines and getting the rows started. The one dramatic event of the weekend involved Matt hammering a little too close to a hidden wasp nest under the eve of the garage – there were about six wasps around him in a matter of seconds. With some quick thinking he was able to get off the ladder and get some bug killer and he only suffered one sting. I patiently waited, rather was stranded on the roof, while this was going on. But, luckily I didn’t get stung – I think I was too stinky from working too hard. Once the wasps were eradicated and I was able to move about the roof again we finished up the rest of the shingles in no time. I have to say if nothing more, I sure have learned a ton of new skills from owning this house. I seriously want to start a TV show with Candace Olsen, a combination Toolbelt Diva and Divine Design.





Thursday, August 20, 2009

Working On Elwood

The last couple of weeks I have been focusing on finishing all the little details in my house that I never wanted to get to. The dreaded caulking, the polyurethane-ing, the patching, the dreaded tasks that take you hours to complete and you feel less than satisfied with the work. I do feel good now that it is complete, but in the process of doing it I was down right cranky. I took a few shots of the finished rooms ..


Kitchen



Dining Area



Bathroom



I need to complete a few more things in the living room, my bedroom and the family room and I will post pictures of those as well.



In the meantime Matt and I are about to embark on a slow boat to shingle hell. We NEED to get new shingles put on the garage and this weekend seems to be the time to do it. I can only imagine what this adventure is going to be like. Let me just share with you what we have already experienced in the prep work. I think it started with the fact that several months ago we cleaned out the garage to find a squirrel nest in an old stroller up in the rafters (I still don’t understand how that happened). Then we had to move trash and debris from the side of the garage (I believe it has been there for at least 5 years), in moving the debris Matt calmly tells me that he thinks he found a skunk living under some of the brush… well let me just say that it why it has taken me two years to clean the debris out, I knew it was a no good situation back there!! So anyway, Matt calmly tells me he thinks there is a skunk, in which I not so calmly start yelling about how it is a wild animal and they do wild things and there is no way that I am going to climb back into a confined area and verify his claim. Imagine what a howler monkey might sound like saying that – that is probably close to what I sounded like. So, being the trusting wife-to-be that I am – I get as close as possible to appease Matt and his animal recognition skills yet far enough away to safely make it to the house and close the door. Well, after a terrifying look at the beast I recognize it to be an opossum.. Vaguely remembering that they are mean, have sharp teeth and are very mean – the situation turns into every person for him or herself, I am not going to die of some freak opossum incident. I of course very calmly back away from the area, whilst Matt pokes at the thing with a metal garden rake. I am pretty sure the animal loved it, as it stayed in the same spot. I offer up the suggestion that we should spray it with the hose. So, I go over to the spigot to get the water flowing … it sounds like an easy task, but I have my hoses in a complex system to water my yard on a timer. Which means that you have to find the appropriate hose, with the appropriate shut-off valve and dial everything correctly or you get a trickle. So, I am working on the water pressure as Matt continues to poke the beast. We spray it with the water and it drives the opossum out of the pile of wood. At this time I think we have solved the problem so I shut down the water, about a minute long process, and just as I wipe my hands in success and I see Matt running after the thing with the metal garden rake and then I see it run up to the top of the lilac bush. Matt then politely prompts me to bring the hose – but really this sounded more like some hick farmer yelling at his wife to herd up the cows – so you can imagine what our neighborhood is thinking at this point. So, I scramble around to get some water again, a mensa puzzle at its finest. We spray the thing out of the bush, which pretty much meant that the bough of the bush was breaking under the weight of this thing. In the fastest speed a opossum can go, it runs towards our neighbors house only to have the get away foiled by the neighbor kid being outside playing on a tricycle. So, it doubles back and Matt chases after it again with the metal rake. My neighbors at this point bring all of their children indoors and lock the doors. The furry nuisance makes it way in to the neighbors bushes and we call it good. Matt and I are such a good team - just call us when you need to remove pesky animals. :) We got a lot of work done after that – strike that, Matt got a lot of work done after that. I stood with in fleeing distance of the area and practiced my best impersonation of working – hey I need to be free to flee if necessary. So, that was the prep work, now on to the actual roofing ... I will be sure to let everyone knows how that goes.

Here is a before and after of the debris removal:




Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer In The City

This post is a little delayed, things have just been so busy this summer, and I can’t believe how fast time has flow by. I guess it was two weekends ago when my “Grad School” girlfriends, Teri and Rachel, and I went to Chicago. It has become a tradition for the three of us to take a get-away weekend once a year, last year we went low key and did wine tasting in the Traverse Bay area, this year we went for big city thrills. When we got into town on Friday we went straight to shopping – or at least window shopping – can you believe that we were around some great stores and we didn’t find anything … it was quite disappointing. So, to improve our mood we went to the Blue Agave for dinner – yum. Jessica Carter first took me to the hole in the wall Mexican restaurant several years ago, now every time I am in town I have to eat there. The food is amazing especially the fajitas and carne asada and it is in the near north part of town so it is less touristy. Dinner definitely improved our moods so we headed off to the Hancock Tower to look over the city – it was perfect timing going right at dusk, as we could see the city come to life in lights. And since you have to walk through the Cheesecake Factory on your way out of the tower – we were forced to get some cheesecake for dessert. Saturday was full with more shopping, a trip to the planetarium, popcorn shopping, dinner at Ben Pao’s and watching the Venetian festival. The festival is touted to be an amazing show of boats decorated in lights passing by followed by fireworks. We did find a good place to watch the boat show, but it was disappointing that there were not many boats. We opted to watch the fireworks as we walked to the bus stop to hop on a bus for the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop. Of course thrown into all this activity there were several episodes of Deadliest Catch to watch, lots of catching up to do and plenty of laughs.