Monday, December 12, 2011

Party Deadline

It has now been exactly one month since the big party.. which means that I haven't blogged in over a month.

In case you're wondering, we did meet our party deadline. Well, kinda. We didn't finish everything on the schedule, but that was partly because we lost a week and a weekend due to the power outage. But I was still pretty pleased with the progress we made.

The last progress post I made was on day 1 of the floor installation. Since then....

We finished the floor.
We painted the walls.
We painted the ceiling.
We installed the dishwasher.
We installed the lights.
We installed the door trim.
We installed some window trim.
We had a successful party.

I'll do posts for all of the work we did, but first... let's talk about the party.

It was the first time some of R's family had seen the house... and the first time some of my family had seen it in almost a year. So everyone got a tour :) Then everyone got to meet the chickens.
Then we ate. We had chicken parm (R's favorite dinner), ziti, spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad (plus a million appetizers!). For dessert, I made this cake for Ryan and these cookies.. so so good!! (Remember that the party was suppose to be in October.. hence the pumpkin/Halloween theme!)
By the end of the night, we were all exhausted... especially the dogs :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our New Kitchen Floor

This weekend R continued working on the Kitchen floor. It had been put on hold thanks to the power outage, so we were now very behind in our schedule!

He got quite a bit done Saturday.. but wasn't able to finish. Sunday, however, was a different story. He had finally gotten the hang of it.. and it was going down incredibly quick!

He first had to go to Lowe's to buy some more plywood. While he was gone, I put a second coat of paint on the walls (I'd prefer to paint when there's just plywood on the floor) and painted the ceiling. The ceiling looks so much better.. you can't even tell where the old upper cabinets used to be (we also used some spray "popcorn" to cover up that area).
This is how much he had done by dinnertime on Saturday...
Barely half of the kitchen.. and about half of that was from the previous Saturday. By dinnertime on Sunday, he was done! We still have to do the little hallway that goes to the Living Room and Bathroom, but we haven't decided what we're doing with the walls in there (lead paint that would take FOREVER to take down.. we might just replace the walls with drywall...). But we'll worry about that after the party.
Also on Saturday, he unpacked the dishwasher. It's not hooked up (again.. that'll have to wait until after the party. Sadly), but it's in place. Madison enjoyed playing in the dishwasher box for awhile. So much so that we're keeping it for her..
Because the last couple rows were pretty tight (with the wall/hutch there), I got to do them! It was a lot of fun.. and not that hard (especially seeing as everyone told us it would be impossible..torture..worse thing ever to install the floor).

And look how pretty it is!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Week in the Eighteenth Century.. Day 5

Day 5. Everyone in the state is complaining like crazy, but I'm still having fun. Madison has been sleeping in our bed with us, smack dab in the middle of us, for the whole night. She's so small I worry about her being too cold. So she's been spoiled all week... big bed... going to grandma's house everyday... everyone paying lots of attention to her!

When we drove up to my parent's house this morning she was excited, but not near as excited as usual (I guess the fun is starting to wear off). Despite the heat and electricity, I still plopped myself down in the living room on the floor. Only this time I had my laptop and cell phone charging next to me.

Before we both left this morning, we cleaned our refrigerator and freezer. It was killing me, the quintessential Yankee, to throw away all of that "good" food. Ugh. And of course R had stopped at the store on Friday night to get a couple things we'd been out of all week.. orange juice, butter, milk. All of which I had to throw away, completely unused.
Freezer before (please excuse my messy freezer that needed to be cleaned out before the storm!)
Freezer after (with the ice cream for the party)
I didn't do a refrigerator "before" picture... but here it is after. By the way... what do you think about condiments? We had 5 days without power... some websites say they're ok, some say to throw them away... I threw away all creamy dressings and marinades, but kept stuff like ketchup, bbq sauce, steak sauce, etc.
Fridge after (basically everything not on the door is all new, for the party)
Again, trying to be optimistic, my fridge and freezer really did need to be cleaned out. I hadn't cleaned it out since we moved in, so the last time it was cleaned/purged was a year ago. It was due. I just wish we didn't have to throw away so much good food. I also wish all the ice pops on the freezer door didn't melt and create a sticky mess all over everything...
This was empty before I cleaned out the fridge. I filled it up with all of the plastic/glass bottles full of stuff I had to throw away!
Around 6:00, I was on facebook, waiting for R to get to my parent's house, when I saw that one of our neighbors posted that our village was back in the 21st century! The entire village had been out for 5 days.. even stoplights (and let me tell you... that was a disaster! If a stoplight isn't working, the intersection becomes a four way stop people. You can not just speed through the intersection going 90!) I called our house, and the phone rang, meaning that she was right! R stopped by on his way home and took this picture, to "prove" it.
My poor cornstalk just did not make it :(

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Week in the Eighteenth Century.. Days 2-4

Bad picture quality because I was driving, but you can kinda see a tree snapped over, leaning over the road and power lines.
So crazy... this street was one of the last to get power in our area..
Woke up Monday morning still without power (Happy Halloween!). I'm still having fun. I've always loved losing power. Reading by candlelight. Walking around the house with flashlights. It's all fun to me.

R went to work today (the town he works in is along the shoreline and they only had 1% (so basically like 1 household) without power). I decided I didn't want to stay in the cold house all day by myself, so I drove me and Madison over to my parent's house. My mom and sister were home and we all camped out on the living room floor in front of the fireplace (which had only been lit once before... in 1979). It was fun! Madison loved it! Everyone laying on the floor with tons of blankets and puppy toys? It was her dream come true! And she even got to wear her Halloween costume (she was a bumble bee) all day! My dad came home about an hour later. His work had no power too.. so he had gone over there to talk to any employees who came in. My dad is worse than R when it comes to not having power. He was just walking around aimlessly... not knowing what to do.

My parents prepared a little better than we did. They got out the big beach coolers and filled them with ice on Saturday night right after they lost power. All perishables (that they could fit) went into the cooler. They were able to save mayonnaise, drinks, meat, eggs, etc. by doing this (our food wasn't so lucky..). My mom made tuna sandwiches and soup (boiled the water on the grill) for lunch. Mmmm...

My dad and I ventured out in the afternoon to pick up some things from the grocery store (ok, mainly I wanted hot chocolate...). We also tried to get gas... that was just a joke. Most gas stations were closed.. the two we found that were open, one didn't have gas and the other had lines to get in that were over a mile long. The cars at the end were turned off and just parked there they had been waiting for so long!

All afternoon I read and played with Madison and worked on a Christmas craft I'm making. R came after work for dinner. My dad made kielbasa and baked beans on the grill and my mom made some baked potatoes in the fireplace (soooooo good! a million times better than grill potatoes!). They only got 1 trick-or-treat group. My dad and R were out in the driveway cooking on the grill and the group (and their dad) walked right up to them (the house is up on a hill, on a long driveway) and wanted candy. My dad was like "uhh... Happy Halloween... Want some kielbasa?" (this is apparently Polish Halloween this year). My mom reluctantly gave up some candy (she's a first grade teacher and was mad that kids were out in the unsafe conditions... plus we had kinda been eating the candy all day).

Around 9:30 R and I left and came back home. Still no power... but we spent weeks last fall without heat, so sleeping here wasn't a problem. Also, it turned out that my parents still had hot water (gas fired, not electric), so we were able to take showers before coming home.. which was nice!
Tree in parking lot at work.. all of the trees in front of our building were like this. They were cut down by the end of the day :(

Tuesday I dropped Madison off at my parent's house (and picked up my car, which R insisted I leave there... he didn't want me driving home in the dark) and I went into work. I work from home normally and this was the first time I actually worked in the office. It was weird :) My boss was wicked nice and even said I could bring in Madison and take a shower there. For lunch, the receptionist and I got Chinese food (the only place open in town!).. and it was so nice to be warm all day! And have internet!! After work, I drove home and waited for R to get out of work. Then, back to my parent's house. Tonight we had pizza.
Branches down in my parent's front yard.
Two houses down from my parents... trees snapped and broke their fence and went into their pool.
Wednesday was pretty much the same as Monday, without Halloween. R and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts on our way to my parents and got everyone coffee and munchkins! I finished a whole book today, and broke my head (ok, not literally... but Madison and I were playing pretty rough and I smacked my head on a coffee table... I have a huge bump. I'm such a klutz). In the afternoon my mom made baked apples in the fireplace.... sooo much better than ones in the oven!!! Around 5:30 my dad came in from outside (he'd been cleaning up branches and stuff outside all day) and "fixed" the fire in the fireplace (my mom just wasn't able to keep it going today for some reason!). While he was doing that, power came back on!! For dinner my mom made basically everything in the freezer that was about to be no good anymore. We had chicken, hamburgers, kielbasa, two kinds of french fries and three kinds of vegetables. It was crazy. Still no power at our house though..
Mmmm... munchkins and hot cider
She loves to snuggle!
She also kinda really likes fireplaces... Too bad we don't have one. Oh wait..
Best baked apple ever!

A Week in the Eighteenth Century.. Day 1

We're all gung-ho about getting the kitchen done. We have a schedule. I'm posting every day with our progress. Then I drop off the radar for a week. Where was I?
See all that black? That means that 90-100% of the town doesn't have power. Guess where we live. Yuuup.

Here in New England we had a major nor-easter. In October. It was crazy. R and I enjoyed it at first. Saturday was a gorgeous day filled with snow (we love snow in this house!). R cut the grass early in the morning (in anticipation for the snow) and I painted the kitchen. Then we set up the miter saw and started installing the floor. By the end of the day we had 10+ inches of snow on the ground and a new floor in 1/4 of our kitchen. We realized that we weren't able to use our stove though (can't walk on the new floor for 12-24 hours while the glue dries), so we went to a local pizza place and got pasta take-out and sat on the couch with our warm food and watched American Horror Story. A fun night.
1:30 in the morning we were woken up by the volunteer fire department's siren going off. We had just lost power (siren goes off when we lose power). Ok. This is fun. No power. We went back to sleep. Woke up around 7:30. Still no power. Ok... now my eye is starting to twitch. We were suppose to have a long day of working on the floor! We had to finish the floor today!! I decided to look at it positively however. I grabbed It by Stephen King (my book club's October book) and took advantage of my hidden blessing.. I now had time to finish reading it in time for our Halloween discussion on Monday. R said he was going out to fix our SUV's heat, which he had noticed the night before wasn't as warm as it should be. I said ok, bye, without looking up from It.

2 1/2 hours later, he comes walking back into the house complaining about lines at Dunkin Donuts. Apparently he wasn't fixing the car... he had driven around for 2 1/2 hours looking for an open Dunkin Donuts (a man and his morning coffee... sigh). The closest DD to us was open, but had a mile long line. The other DD down the street had no power. He drove to my hometown (town of 17ish DD). One was closed. One was open. One had a long line. One had no coffee. You get the picture. He drove by my parents house to see if they had power. They didn't.. and there was a HUGE tree down blocking the road that had fallen from one of our neighbor's yards. He gave up and came home. Without his coffee.

Now, I'm a person who can adjust to no power with no problem. R can't. All of his "fun" consists of TV, computer, power tools.. and it was all taken away. He wandered around for a little bit. He ended up taking a nap upstairs without dog. Meanwhile, I'm plowing through It! This is awesome!! Then it's time for the Patriots game. And we still don't have power... He found an old battery powered radio the previous owner left, hooked up his ear buds and sat on the couch listening to it. While I read (almost done now!). Then it started getting dark. I pulled out some candles from the candle cabinet. It was pretty in here.. and smelled pretty good too! 
Then it was time for dinner. R grabbed some meat out of the freezer (might as well use it while it's still good!) and some potatoes and threw them all on the grill. If you've never had potatoes on the grill, do it. They were so good! Well, except for the bacon bits he threw in there that just got completely charred... other than that... a little olive oil and Sicilian salt... mmm so good!! We ate in the almost dark... with Madison sitting on the end of the couch staring at us trying to figure out what was going on. About an hour later (football game was over by now), R was ready for bed. I said I wanted to finish my book first. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, so I said fine. We'll go to bed. Then I looked at my phone. It was 8:31. Sigh. Is this what time people in the 1700's went to bed? I felt silly going to bed so early! Then I decided to be stupid. I read the last 50 or so pages of It in bed. In the dark. With a flashlight. Needless to say, I kept seeing and hearing things all night...

Luckily, we didn't have too much damage in our yard (we had more damage in the hurricane, when we didn't lose power). Our next door neighbor had some really large tree branches fall in her front yard, but luckily none hit her house!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Only Two Weeks Left!

Ok.. I'm starting to get freaked out... We only have 2 more weeks (4 weekend days...) before the party! In those 4 days we need to get the floor installed (most likely will take up 2 full days), install the dishwasher, install the window casing, install the door casing (only on 2 doors... 2 already have it), install the lower filler panels on the cabinets, install the toe kick and install the base trim. And install the light fixtures!

AHHHHHHH... I don't know if we're going to make it!! And on top of all of that, during the week I have to not only get my work-work done, but I need to finish painting the walls and ceiling, paint the trim and beadboard, unpack, bake and cook for the party, and finish everything else on my "party to-do" list (cleaning for our overnight guests, vacuuming, clean up the old plywood from the backyard, etc.). Because have I mentioned that my house is basically just a big disaster area??? I know that as soon as the floor is done and I can move some stuff into the kitchen it'll be a little bit better... but... AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

We really need to get our butts in gear. We're already planning on going to bed really early tonight so we can wake up really early tomorrow morning and get working immediately! It's going to be a long long day! If we can get the floor done and the dishwasher hooked up by Sunday night, I'll be happy. That will leave all of the trim to the following weekend... which shouldn't be too too bad... the windows will probably take the longest, but I've already primed everything, so that's a start!

Then this upcoming week I can tackle a lot of the cleaning and stuff, and the following week (right before the party), I'll finish up painting all of the new trim.

We can do it... we can do it... I just need to keep repeating that to myself!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Other Weekend Progress...

There were some times where I couldn't help R with the plywood this past weekend, so I found other ways to be useful. I worked on the sidewalk a little...
There's that rock that got in my way... It's kinda hard to see because of all the sand and leaves, but I think I worked it in pretty well..

Once I literally hit an impasse (asphalt with electrical wires underneath... a job for R), I moved back indoors and tackled the downstairs bathroom.

The downstairs bathroom is something on my "Things to Get Done Before Party" list. In the past year, this room has become our dumping zone (when we run out of room in the Dining Room.. seriously.. it's bad). We rarely use it, so who cares that it's so full of crap that you can't walk in there! But we have some people coming to the party would would rather not walk all the way upstairs to use the bathroom, so it needed to be done. I spent a couple hours organizing everything in the room into piles, then realized that I had piled myself into the room and couldn't get out, so I had to re-pile everything. Most of the stuff went in the basement, a ton went in the garbage and some got packed up in a box to go in the attic. Now all that's left is the window casing for the kitchen and a couple boxes that will be unpacked when we finish the kitchen. Yay! R's comment was "What? There's a floor in there?" I mean seriously... our Christmas tree stand was in there. And still had some dead needles and branches in it. So embarrassing!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hello New Plywood

This weekend we got all of the new plywood down in the kitchen! It went down pretty well. We started by the cabinets and moved toward the built-in cabinet. We started with full pieces and then cut smaller pieces where needed. Most of the time R would cut the pieces while I was screwing in the previous piece. On some of the larger pieces we had races though, to see who would finish their piece first (gotta make it fun!) (PS I won).
So you know what this means. Next weekend we're going to start putting down the new floor! I am so so excited!! Monday night R printed off the instructions and read through them, preparing himself. I think I'm going to cry tears of happiness when it's all done!

This is also means that I need to get my butt in gear and get the room painted before Saturday though. I need at least one coat on the ceiling and two on the walls. I'm not a super messy painter, but I've been known to get a drop or two on the floor and I just can't "ruin" my new floor so soon after we install it, so it needs to get done before the floor goes down! Especially the ceiling...

Once there's paint on the walls and a real floor, it'll finally seem like we're almost there. And we are almost there. The party deadline is coming up very quickly... Only this weekend and one more! That's two weekends! We definitely aren't going to be 100% finished, but I think as long as we have the floor done, the dishwasher installed, the walls/ceiling painted, the light fixtures installed, the window and door casing up, base trim and beadboard trim up, we'll be good for the party. The fridge cabinet and crown molding (and fireplace trim) can wait until after the party.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Proud Owners of a New Dishwasher!

R called Sears Corporate last week to discuss the issues we had trying to buy our dishwasher. The woman he spoke with was appalled at everything that happened. She said she would contact the manager of the store, who would put us in touch with his best salesperson. The next day we had a call from Al.

We went in tonight to see Al. As we turned the corner to the appliances section, there's our dear friend Laurie, plus 2 other salesmen. One of them is slightly apart from the other two, and I see that luckily, this is Al. I mention that he called us and we were here to buy our dishwasher. We walked toward the computers. Suddenly, guess who comes running around the corner toward us (but on the other side of the register) and stands right across from us, and starts telling another salesman that we were "those" people. So professional Laurie. So professional.

Luckily for us, Al was really nice. We walked over to double check that we had the correct dishwasher model number.. then back to the register, where we were happy to see that Laurie had left. Al entered in the model number, our $25 discount from Steve, plus another 5% discount. He then told me that Sears offered free shipping for any appliance over $499 (gee thanks Laurie). We could have it delivered on Monday. Umm.. yes please! He then asked for our phone number, and all of our correct information showed up. When he asked for an email address, I gladly gave it to him. Then it was rewards card time. He knew how to use it (scan it), and even better, asked me if I wanted to use my points. I said that I wasn't exactly sure what the card was, so he explained that you get points every time you use it, and those points translate into money off. So we were able to get an additional $7.86 off our order. May not seem like much, but I was definitely a lot happier than last time!

In the end, we brought the $799.99 dishwasher down to $546.24. Discount of $253.75. Not bad... not bad. Plus, did I mention the free shipping?? We also bought the installation kit (Al knew exactly what was in it... so we bought it). He also rang it up separately and we got another $5.39 by using our points from the dishwasher!

When we were all done, he apologized for our bad experience (and Steve came over and apologized too) and asked me who we dealt with last time. I whispered "Laurie" and he was like "ohh.... yea... sorry about that". Like it wasn't the first time he'd heard that.. Ugh.

We got in the car 15 minutes after we got out of the car. NICE!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goodbye Old Floor

Today was a little bit of a mis-match of work, at least for me. R was in the kitchen removing the last pieces of old plywood while I sanded the walls (still! It's never-ending!). However, I didn't last very long. I have asthma and the dust from sanding from the dust being kicked up from the plywood and the saw R was using were starting to really bother me. I went outside to get some fresh air and ended up working on my sidewalk some more.

Yes. I'm still not done. I had a good rhythm going when I first started, but then the kitchen schedule took over and I wasn't able to dedicate an entire weekend to the sidewalk anymore. My dad came a couple weeks ago to help me dig out the area between the lean-to and garage, but then it rained one weekend, then it was a rare humid October day... you get the picture.

This afternoon I was able to get around the corner and past the rock that was giving us a problem (this whole area was filled with buried rocks and buried broken dishes and cups... however, this rock, it turned out, was supporting some of the random rocks that are helping to hold up our lean-to. We're planning on tearing down the lean-to, putting in an actual foundation and rebuilding it next summer). At first I was thinking I'd just go around it for now and next year when we took apart the lean-to, I'd put in the missing bricks. But now I really like how it looks and am considering doing it in a couple other places as well :)

Then I ran out of bricks. Oh well.. until next weekend...

While I was doing all of this, R made good progress in the kitchen. You'll remember that we did half of the plywood last Sunday, and this weekend we did the cabinet side of the kitchen. It was not as easy as the other side (hence it taking almost 2 days). The sub-floor on this side of the kitchen wasn't the old, original flooring.. maybe it had too much water damage or something, but it looks like it was removed around the 50's (helping to solidify our idea that that was when the last major work was done on the house) and "new" 6" boards were put in its place.
Another issue he was having was under the cabinets. He couldn't get the saw in all the way, so we still have old plywood for about 3" under the toe-kick.. and we also left it under the dishwasher (technically it's new there because we had to replace it last fall) and under the stove. Also, because we ran out of time and weren't able to get the new plywood down, our stove was left out in the middle of the kitchen... which means tonight was the first night of a week of take-out (tonight it was pizza. We tried a new place... it wasn't that good).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Weekend, Last Year

It's hard to believe that we've been in the house long enough to say that..

Last year on this weekend (the 16th and 17th), my cousin got married on Saturday, so we wanted to find a project that would only take roughly one day. The upstairs bathroom.
At the time, we were not willing to use the toilet in there, so in the morning, we'd wake up, go downstairs to use the toilet, come back upstairs to take a shower, then go back downstairs to brush teeth, brush hair, etc. Kinda a pain in the butt. Plus the upstairs bathroom was carpeted (seriously.. who thought this would ever be a good idea??) and soaking wet all the time, even when it wasn't being used, which meant that it smelled horrible in here and the mold was not good for my asthma, even though I'd take the quickest showers on record. The sinks and counter had become my paint station and this was where I would store everything and wash out my brushes and rollers while painting upstairs. So it was pretty gross. Plus the previous owners left a bunch of stuff in here.

We started by removing the carpeting and putting down some inexpensive vinyl tiles (on top of a new 1/4" subfloor). We then painted the walls, trim and ceiling (wallpaper was stripped a month ago) first with a coat or two of Kilz to hide any stains and enclose the mold and then with a coat or two of white on the trim and cabinets and green on the walls (leftover from our guest bathroom in our apartment). New knobs, faucets and a toilet finished out the project.

Since then I've also refurbished the mirror, added temporary curtains, rugs, and organized everything in the cabinets/drawers and decorated a little. It's not a beautiful bathroom that belongs in a magazine, nor is it a bathroom we plan on keeping forever. In a couple years we want to add on to the house, and the upstairs will get rearranged slightly.. laundry will move to where the Twilight Room is and this bathroom and the laundry space will become the new bathroom (the addition will have a master bedroom and bathroom). As a result, we didn't want to spend a lot of money on this.. we just needed something functional and not smelly :)

Because I was able to re-use a lot (paint, curtains, rugs)... we ended up only spending $250 on the total room makeover.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's Here! It's Here!!!!! OMG!!!

THE FLOOR IS IN OUR HOUSE!!! Like, actually, physically here!! In it's boxes, in the Dining Room!!! That's a huge huge step for us!!! We have everything we need to install it, the pads, the glue... we just need to finish up the new plywood first!! YAAAAYYY!!!! We picked it up after R got home from work tonight at the flooring company's warehouse (that way we'd get it a week sooner). Best trip ever!!!