Friday, 21 of November of 2014

The Land of Mostly Done

Is your house done yet? For anyone who has ever renovated or built a house, it’s the question heard most often. And the only answer any true DIYer will give in response … say it with me: Houses are never done!

No, The Money Pit isn’t done, but I am THRILLED to report that there are no more unpainted surfaces, no more yet-to-be-tiled surfaces, no more flaking paint (excluding the flaking windows, which are hidden behind strategically placed curtains or blinds, and therefore have ceased to exist), and nothing waiting to be caulked. Can I get a halleluiah??? Give it to me Handel style! Everybody sing: For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth …

This is what much of the door trim looked like: flaking latex paint with the original oil-based underneath. What a pain!!

This is what much of the door trim looked like: flaking latex paint with the original oil-based underneath. What a pain!!

It really is a moment worthy of the “Halleluiah Chorus”. The appraisal is done — the value was disappointing but not prohibitive — and the refinancing is almost complete, which officially frees us from the shackles of the weekend warrior rosters. [Insert images of us dropping our hammers and paintbrushes, dirt and grime falling away, our disheveled and paint-stained wardrobe transformed into freshly laundered weekend attire and half-crazed smiles of disbelief replacing our once furrowed brows.]

We look forward to weekend bike rides, bonfires and camping in the country, weekend getaways and anything else one can do when not laboring on a house in need. We even look forward to working on the house.

Yes, you read that right.

But now, rather than rehabilitate flaking trim and other equally mind-numbing tasks, we can work on projects that improve our enjoyment of the house, like screening the side porch or building a pergola for the hot tub and planters for the “veranda” (currently cleverly disguised as a patio/driveway).

The Money Pit has moved up a rung from almost done to mostly done. One day we may proclaim it pretty much done, but that will take a while, and he may sell it before then.

To all of you out there still stuck in weekend warrior mode, we will light a candle for you in the hopes that you can join us soon in the land of mostly done. I like it here!

 

Here is the den "wall" before. The previous owner had torn out the plaster. Sad.

Here is the den “wall” before. The previous owner had torn out the plaster. Sad.

Here is the same wall with the entertainment center Rush partially bought and partially built. And I painted ... and painted ... and painted ... and painted ...

Here is the same wall with the entertainment center Rush partially bought and partially built. And I painted … and painted … and painted … and painted …

This is a wall in the master bedroom after the sheetrocker fixed the electricians holes.

This is a wall in the master bedroom after the sheetrocker fixed the electricians holes.

This is that same wall with the new paint and new entrance to the master bath.

This is that same wall with the new paint and new entrance to the master bath.

Here is another view of the master bedroom before with the baby-poop brown paint on EVERYTHING, even the trim. Ick!!

Here is another view of the master bedroom before with the baby-poop brown paint on EVERYTHING, even the trim. Ick!!

And here is the same corner with the fresh paint and furnishings.

And here is the same corner with the fresh paint and furnishings.

This is a shot of the back door after we finished the kitchen built in.

This is a shot of the back door after we finished the kitchen built in.

This is the back door after a coat of paint and several tubes of caulk. Can't take credit for this one. Thank you Kevin!

And this is the back door after a coat of paint and several tubes of caulk. Can’t take credit for this one. Thank you Kevin!

 



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Excavation

When I jotted down “clean out attic” on my to-do list, I never dreamed I would need to add, “call therapist for emergency appt.”

Although I’ve only lived in my house for eight years, the attic houses a collection of boxes and plastic bins, harboring the artifacts that chronicle my entire adult life.

I unearthed T-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with Greek letters from college, a dress I wore to college formal, my wedding dress that my mother sewed for me, even one of my high school prom dresses and a skirt from homecoming; the sweater I bought with my first paycheck from my first “real” job at Sears, the robe my family decorated to celebrate my doctoral graduation, and several bins of clothes—all two and three sizes too small and a couple decades too dated, that the rational side of my brain knows I will NEVER wear again, even as Halloween costumes.

A bin of Amelia’s prized possessions from childhood, each with a long string of memories attached

I rediscovered clothes from my daughter’s childhood and my own that my mother and grandmothers lovingly sewed for us. I literally cried with joy when I found a Teddy bear and doll, which I feared were lost forever during a previous move, that my Grandmother and aunt handmade for me as a very small child.

I repacked boxes of books and files from my handful of years as a college professor. I discovered enough music to open the Calista Sprague Non-Memorial Music Library: music bound in books, stacks of sheet music, file boxes of alphabetized music, and yes, really, even binders of music [Insert Romney joke here], piano music, guitar music, vocal music, choral music. I may be the world’s first music hoarder.

I opened boxes of Amelia’s favorite childhood toys, her bunny collection (stuffed toys and ceramic figurines, none that reproduce or require a vet bill), shoe boxes filled with memorabilia from each year of middle and high school, and each of her Halloween costumes, ages 3 & up.

Most of the memories, conjured by what would otherwise be Goodwill fodder, brought smiles and joy, but melancholy eked its way around the tightly packed boxes, too, and clouds of self doubt materialized within the dust plumes. My life flashed before my eyes in a series of carefully boxed vignettes, leaving me to ponder, “Am I on the right path? Have I made the right decisions? Where am I headed now?”

I mourned the loss of my sweet baby, my happy toddler and my smart school-age girl (although less so the snarky teenager) as all have since given way to the all-too-grown-up 20-year-old now living, working and going to school several hours away. I mourned two failed marriages, I mourned the loss of a career I loved, I grieved again the loss of my grandparents—three of whom died within a few months of each other a couple years ago, I regretted the miles separating me from my family, I had flashbacks to past houses and hometowns, past friends, past parties …

You expect cleaning out the attic to be tough on the sinuses from stale, dusty air and on the back from maneuvering in tight spaces, but not on the heart, not on the psyche. I’m precariously close to the precipice of a full-blown mid-life crisis, brought on by an innocuous stack of boxes.

My recommendation, folks: Stay out of your attics! It’s not safe up there.



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The wa-a-a-ai-ting is the hardest part.

Tom Petty sang it best. I think he was singing about waiting to see his lover again, but his observation also aptly applies to real estate.

The waiting is not only the hardest part of selling a house, it’s pretty much the ONLY part. You stick a sign in the yard and wait for a potential buyer. When a buyer looks, you wait for feedback. When the feedback is good, you wait for the offer. In my case, for two years I waited for one potential buyer after another, and even waited for an offer a couple times, but no such luck. Just more waiting. Month after month. Waiting. Season after season. Waiting.

Finally this week … WOO-HOO! The offer came! Hallelujah!!

The waiting is over, right?!?

Wrong.

I have been waiting all day for someone to give me a quote on a termite bond so I can submit an informed counteroffer.

Tomorrow I’ll wait for a response to my counteroffer.

Even if all goes well and they accept, I still won’t be done waiting. I’ll wait a couple weeks for the buyers’ bank approval. Then I’ll wait some more for the inspection. I’ll wait for the report. I’ll wait for FHA inspection. I’ll wait for FHA approval. Then I’ll wait for a closing time.

When the day of closing finally arrives, I’m sure we’ll do some last-minute waiting in the lobby and probably a little more in the boardroom while the final Ts get crossed and Is get dotted.

The tentative closing date is set for May 9. That’s 50 more days of intense waiting.

It has been brought to my attention that for some, waiting is not a big deal. Some speak of a mystical, Zen-like state they refer to as “patience.” After two years of waiting, with this patience, I’m told, 50 days should be easy.

Unfortunately you cannot run out and buy patience at Target, and there is no pill to achieve instant patience — at least not without also achieving semi-unconsciousness. I’m sure there are self-help books on the subject, but who can wait to wade through all that? I need patience NOW!

I’m sure many of you reading this could just calmly wait out the 50 days, doing whatever it is that you calm people do. But we’re talking about a gal whose favorite phrase is: I can’t wait!

I can’t wait for the weekend. I can’t wait to have a glass of wine. I can’t wait to see a show. I can’t wait to go out of town. I can’t wait for pretty weather. I can’t wait for dinner. I can’t wait to see my family. I can’t wait to visit with friends.

50 days of waiting. Yes, Mr. Petty, I concur. The waiting IS the hardest part!!



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