Monday, March 28, 2011

A Four Bedroom House!

This week we really focused on getting the upstairs bedroom in decent shape for guests. We started with finishing up the drywall compound work and the majority of the painting last weekend. On Monday night, we finished up the detail painting and second coat as well as the trim and radiator covers.

We set aside all of Wednesday evening to install the carpet and padding. Our friends Kirk and Kat had given us their old carpet a long time ago when they were replacing it with hardwood. It is still in great shape so we thought using it upstairs as a temporary measure was a good idea. We ended up piecing together some of it but overall it’s a much nicer floor than was in there before.

The carpet had been rolled and then folded in half in order to get it home. When we brought it home, for some reason, we left it folded. This has not been good for the way the carpet lays. So after the carpet was in there were big mountains and valleys across the middle of the room. We had an extra rug so we decided to put it on top to make put a little weight on it (hopefully it will eventually lie down flat). The rug doesn’t really go with the room but it’s much better than what it was.

Once the carpet and rug were in the room, we were able to set up the bed and make it look like a real useable room! We even bought curtains to hang in the room so our 15-year-old niece wouldn’t have to change in the dark (she also wants us to call it “Anna’s Room”) but it’s not in this picture.

We also bought and hung curtains for the other bedrooms in the front of the house – every time we have guests stay, we remember that we need to buy some so they don’t have to change in the bathroom. Finally guests don’t have to be naked in front of the whole neighborhood.

On Tuesday evening, we decided to install the rest of the gutter guards so that we could miss cleaning all the maple tree helicopters from the gutters. Chris had installed some last week on the front of the garage and above the sunroom. I installed most of the rest of the full ones and got a huge blister on my thumb! Chris focused on the ones that needed to be cut to go around corners. (Chris didn’t think that my parents or the insurance company would like to see the picture of me above the high side of the house on the edge of the roof.)

Jenny, Bob, and the kids arrived on Friday night just in time to see the Ohio State game (too bad they lost). We went out to brunch with them on Saturday before they headed home.

Saturday afternoon we worked on stripping the dresser so that my parents can take the old dresser home with them next weekend. We didn’t completely finish but we’re very close to being able to stain and poly.

We didn’t do any house work on Sunday – I had worked 3rd shift on Sunday morning so I slept until noon and then in the evening, we went to the local dinner theater to see “Happy Days” (it was my birthday present). We had a really nice, relaxing Sunday.

This coming week will be spent cleaning the house again for our next round of guests.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has sprung!

With the weather warming up a lot, people are starting to come out of hibernation. This means that we’re getting a lot of visitors in the next few weeks.

We worked this week to finish some small jobs around the house but the major tasks revolved around de-cluttering and cleaning. It’s always amazing how quickly clutter accumulates on certain surfaces (e.g. the coffee table, the kitchen island, etc.). Hopefully we’ll be able to keep it relatively clutter-free so that the cleaning process for the next guests goes a little quicker.

Our first guests of the spring were Chris’ sister Jenny and her family (husband Bob, and kids Anna, Jay, and Luke). For spring break, they are spending some time in D.C., flying to Florida for several days, and coming back to spend the night on Friday. They stopped by the house on Thursday evening for a tour and we went to dinner before they continued on to D.C.

While they were at the house, the kids were able to climb a few trees and play ball out in the yard to work off some energy (they were stuck in the car for over six hours). While Bob was throwing the football to Luke, his wedding ring flew off his hand. We all searched for awhile in the area but couldn’t find it anywhere. We promised to rent a metal detector to continue the search this weekend.

Fortunately, we were able to find the ring in the yard on Friday. We had rented the metal detector and started using it in the area the ball was being tossed around. While I was using the detector, Chris went down the hill to pick up some tennis balls in the yard that Tucker likes to play with. When he reached down, he noticed the ring…so much for the metal detector!

Since we’ll have all five of them needing a bed, we had some work to do over the weekend (work that we’ve been delaying up to now). We have nice rooms set up for four people in the main level but needed to get the twin bed set up in the upstairs bedroom. The upstairs has been used as our tool crib and general storage area for awhile. It was hard to walk up there let alone find a place to climb into the bed. We decided that Anna (and subsequent guests) deserved a room that did not pose a major safety hazard so we got to work fixing it up.

On Saturday morning, we moved all of the tools and random storage items down to the basement (now hopefully nobody will need to walk down there!). The pictures below were taken after we had moved about three-quarters of the items downstairs (not as horrible as it used to be).

Once we removed everything, we finished applying the drywall compound to the ceiling (the ceiling was installed back in December 2009 and we’re just now getting close to finishing!). On Saturday evening, Chris stayed up late to prime and paint. On Sunday, after church, we continued with the detail painting in the room (I’ll put up more pictures next week).

Our friends, Cat and Joe, wanted to take me out for my birthday so we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory for a late lunch. It was great spending time with them – we’ve been out of touch since we bought the house. I had to work second shift that night so after lunch I headed to work and Chris continued to work on the house. From what I can tell, he was a very busy boy!

If you remember, we hired some guys to remove the yard debris (mulch, vines, branches, leaves, etc.) a couple weeks ago. They were finally able to finish up this weekend. It took them 7 very full trailer loads to get all the debris removed. It would have taken us the equivalent of 84 truck loads (give or take a few) to remove it all ourselves – definitely worth the money! We still have a ton of work to do in the yard to make it nice but the debris removal was the first big step.

I know that was way more pictures of debris than you ever wanted to see but I didn’t want to short-change the work that the guys did. Of course there were other piles in the yard and some of the piles grew substantially throughout the last three weeks but they took it all without complaint!

The rest of this week we plan on finishing up the work in the bedroom upstairs to make it a decent place to sleep!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A till of our own...and my birthday!

This week we spent a couple nights working on our taxes. Normally this would be a pretty straightforward task. This year, however, we have to learn a lot about how to complete the paperwork for our condo rental. Between depreciation, repair expenses, and limits on deductions, it will probably take us a lot longer to finish them.

This weekend we had wonderful weather. On Saturday, we went to a moving sale and came away with our own roto tiller. We have to fix a spring on it but other than that it works really well.

Since it’s the week of St. Patrick’s Day, we needed to work on the garden area in order to be able to plant our cold weather vegetables this week. So after bringing the tiller home, we headed to the dump to pick up a load of compost.

The area we plan on using for the garden had large piles of bricks so we had to move them again and stack them neatly nearby.

On Sunday, we spent a lot of time moving the compost pile and tilling the garden. We still have to till in the compost but we’re so close to being able to plant our cold weather vegetables.

The guys we hired to remove all our yard debris came and removed another 3 trailer loads on Saturday. They still have probably another couple loads to complete the job. I think we’re going to have to pay them a little extra because we keep adding to the piles after they leave!

Today is my 29th birthday – I can’t believe I only have one more year to the big 3-0! Yikes!

P.S. Happy Pi Day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playing in the Mud

I was out in California the majority of this week for work. While I was away, Chris worked in the yard after work each day – there are so many overgrown trees and shrubs in our yard and he’s doing his best to prune them back to a manageable size. Some of them will look a little funny until they grow a little!

Last weekend, we found a few guys that would remove all our yard debris and take it to the dump (they turn yard debris into compost). They definitely have their work cut out for them…

They arrived very early on Saturday and took two trailer loads away. They estimate it will take about 4 or 5 loads to remove all of it. We’re so glad that we’re paying them to do this – with our small truck bed it would have taken us upwards of 40 trips – that’s a lot of time and effort (not to mention $3.65/gallon gas)!

Saturday morning, we worked hard to get the rest of the debris on the piles so that they could take it away. It required a lot of raking and removing more vines from the fence (we finally have most of the vines removed from the fence top).

We had many years worth of leaves up against the high side of the fence around a bunch of trees and bushes. We worked on raking them all into big piles. Tucker apparently thought that they were just for him. He moved from pile to pile so of course we had to take some pictures of how cute he is!

We had visitors on Saturday afternoon – Michelle, James, and Emma came for a visit. Unfortunately Emma was a little cranky but it was great spending some time with them.

On Sunday, we had planned on installing crown molding. Instead, we worked out in the rain to dig up and re-plant some trees. It took a very long time because the trees we were moving were planted in tires (we have quite the tire pile!) and the soil had a lot of clay and rock. Chris also worked on pruning some more trees – mostly the fruit trees (apple, peach, and plum).

It rained so much that our yard is a giant mud pit again. This means it will probably take a lot longer for the guys to remove the rest of the debris. I guess since we’ve lived with it so long, another week or two won’t hurt!