Slow progress…and my messy life.

When I was a toddler, I was notorious for making messes.  I was the baby whose highchair sat on a plastic drop cloth.  On spaghetti night (my favorite!) I ate dinner in little more than a diaper, and I was taken straight from the highchair to the tub.  I would have spaghetti in places my parents wouldn’t have thought possible, including in my hair.

Since then, things have gotten better, but, if I’m being completely honest, I never grew out of the mess making.  I rarely eat without dropping food on myself.  I can’t cook without creating chaos in the kitchen.  I am positively incapable of doing barn chores without turning myself into an absolute hot mess (and “hot” is probably wildly inaccurate).

So you guys can maybe imagine how painting turns out for me.

Two days ago at a restaurant:
“You have a mark on your face…?”
“Oh…I know.”

Yesterday at work:
“So what color are you painting your cabinets?”
*I search over my arms for a second, find a relatively large swath of paint, and point.*
“That color.”

So far, I have sacrificed two shirts, a pair of shorts, and a pair of jeans to the painting gods.  I have found paint in my hair, but only once so far.  I have also gotten paint on the floor, the countertops, a mirror, and the walls.  (As well as on various limbs I  can’t seem to scrub hard enough.)

But…so far…I am digging the new cabinet color.  When I finish, which is a while off with my schedule, I will show all of you, but in the meantime, if I happen to cross your mind and you wonder what I’m up to, there’s a really good chance it’s painting…

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DIY: Renovating the kitchen

So, as you all know, we have been undertaking massive renovations on not one, but three houses.  Right now, the most important to me is the main house at the farm.  It isn’t terribly functional yet, and it is the one we’re planning to live in.  As such, we’ve kept busy with constant projects.

The thing is, there is a bizarre-o event that takes place when your house is updated: Suddenly, the rooms you thought were fine, the one you thought you could deal with, start to look shabby.  In my case, that room is the kitchen.

Originally, we thought we would use some of the equity in our Heights house, once it sold, to re-do the kitchen.  Later, when realizing the inherent troubles that come with attempting to heat such a large house with propane, it became obvious that the reasonable thing to do would be to use the money to put in geothermal heating.  Given that gutting and reconstructing a new kitchen will probably cost us our arms, legs, and firstborn child, I decided to deal with the kitchen as-is.  It became the “one day” project.  One day, when we have less debt and fewer projects that HAVE to be done, I will get a new kitchen.  I have no issue with that, but the more we updated around the kitchen, the more dated and out of place the kitchen started to look.

In addition, it isn’t terribly functional for my purposes.  The oven works, but is quite small.  The stovetop has one working burner.

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That’s when the crazy voice inside of my head–let’s call her my Inner DIYer (ala Mother Hen’s Inner Comedienne )or Di–began to follow me into the kitchen.  Every time I crossed the kitchen threshold, she was there.

I’m pretty sure I first met my Inner DIYer when I was seven, and she convinced me to cut my own bangs.  That turned out about as well as you might imagine.  Since then, she has gotten me into a lot of trouble…

“You know what would be nice in here???”

“What?” I mumbled, paying very little attention to her and sorting through likely the millionth llama halter that I probably don’t need.  (Hopefully I will check “donate extra llama halters” off of my list eventually, but at the moment, it’s just one more thing I need to do.)

I have to be honest, it’s dangerous to let Di talk to much.  She has big ideas that will quickly unleash chaos.

“A coffee bar.”

“No.”

“But why???  All you would need is a small island, and like, a few other things, but it wouldn’t be that hard…probably.”

“Because you’re pointing to the washer/dryer…”

“Oh yeah.  Those would have to move, which, by the way, is totally cool because you don’t want house guests to see your dirty underwear on the way to the sunroom ANYWAY!  Besides, think about how bad your barn clothes smell!  Do you really want that in your KITCHEN!  Your food is here.”

I glanced up.  She had a point.  I mean, who wants dirty underwear in their kitchen…and my barn clothes are pretty bad…and Jeremiah’s shoeing clothes are way worse.  Gross…

Di grinned.  She is excellent at reading the room and always knows when to push an issue.

“Know what else?  If you knocked down the wall in front of the washer/dryer, you could put in a breakfast nook.”

“What about the coffee bar?”

She shrugged.  “It will probably still fit.  Or you can just put it in the sunroom.  You’ll be repainting, right?”

“This room?  No.”

“Because you’re in love with the orange and blue floral wallpaper?”

“Because it would require me to REMOVE the orange and blue floral wallpaper.”

“But just think of how good it would look.  I mean, I wasn’t going to say anything, but this room looks ridiculous next to the new dining room.”

I glanced around.  She had a point.

“And it’s dated.”

Also true, but holy cow, whining much?

“And really, I mean, I know it looks small now, but this is a big space.”

I looked around, confused.   “It really isn’t.”

“No, you’re looking at it all wrong.  You have to sort of wipe the slate clean in your head.  Just, like, mentally remove all of the cabinets and appliances…and the washer/dryer.”

It took a moment, but once I did that, I realized she was right.

“So,” she continued, “if you take out this island with the cooktop,” (she slid a finger across it like it was going to infect her with unimaginative design or something) “which only one burner works anyway, and  you took out the cabinet where the stove sits and replace it with a standard oven, you can maximize floor space and open the floor plan.  It will look way bigger.”

“If we take out the island, we’ll have to replace the floor.”

“And…?”

“And that’s expensive and time consuming.”

“Well…yes.  BUT, you could wait on the floor.  Put a rug down in the meantime.  You don’t even like the current floor so who cares.”

“That’s true…but really it’s the cabinets…”

“Yes?”

“I mean, if I could only change one thing…”

“Yes???”

“I would change them.”

“I knew it!”

“But it would be WAY too expensive.”

She scrunched up her nose and looked around.

“We’ll paint them.”

“Oh god…”

“Yeah, I saw it on Pinterest.  Can totally be done.  And it’s going to look great.”

She grinned.

“But first, the we’re going to take down the wallpaper.”

 

 

So, we’ve been tearing down wallpaper (big thanks to my friend Vicky who helped me remove almost all of it), sanding cabinets and prepping for paint, both on the walls and the cabinets.  And we’re discussing tearing out the island, putting in a few new appliances, a new backsplash…

Maybe a breakfast nook…

This is the room I wasn’t going to touch.

 

 

A week at the ranch.

It’s been an eventful week at the ranch. Despite not living there, we’ve been busy!

For example, I pulled in yesterday morning and found this.  He started with power washing and proceeded to paint by the end of the day.

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Not sure if you can really tell, but by evening most of the front of the house was done.

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Fall has officially made it’s way to Central Illinois.  The weather yesterday was perfect: sunny, no hotter than 70 with a beautiful breeze.  We’re doubling down on outdoor efforts.  Lady Fall is enticing and beautiful, but she’s followed quickly by Old Man Winter, and, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, he’s going to be a doozy.  It won’t be terribly long before we get weathered out of the outdoor work, and neither of us want a half painted house all winter.

We also bought the most perfect dining room table last week.  Jeremiah and I found it in an antique store a few towns away. (In addition to all of his other wonderful qualities, Jeremiah actually enjoys going to antique stores on occasion.  I’m a very lucky girl…)  It’s a farmhouse table, new construction, but made out of 100+ year old barn wood.  I’m a little bit smitten with it.

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Jeremiah and his little brother bringing it in. Apparently it’s absurdly heavy.
The table, moved into our dining room.
The table, moved into our dining room. (The middle piece of wood you see is actually a table runner made of a 200+ year old barnwood beam.)

One of our friendly neighborhood hummers got caught in our mudroom while it was opened up to dry.  Jeremiah eventually got it to go outside.  The little bird was not overly grateful.  (If you’re not familiar with hummers, they are very cheeky little things.  We love them anyway.)

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This one may gross some of you out, but I think it’s funny.

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The chickens have been thoroughly enjoying their free range time, and a few of them discovered the manure pit.  I know the phrase is usually “happier than a pig in poop,” but as I understand it, pigs actually prefer to be clean.  The chickens, however?  They think it’s pretty great.

Also, see below for the inherent hazard of letting your chickens free range:

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They are pretty darn thrilled with their discovery of the hay stall.  It has excellent dust for dust baths, AND there’s a nifty, secluded corner to build a nest.  Now I have to check for eggs there every time I let them out.  But c’mon, how cute is the little nest with the colored eggs?

And finally, we took out Vinny’s stiches yesterday.  I expected a total freak out, as Jeremiah wanted to try it without sedation first, but we were pleasantly surprised when Vin stood like a champ.  He’s come so far since he came home with us!  This horse used to run away like a maniac anytime we came in the pasture, and now, this.

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He stood and chomped down grain the whole time.  God love him.

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All done!  He’ll probably always have a scar, but this one ended up way better than it might have.  It healed up very well.  Thank God for great vets and good horses.

Over the next few days, we’re hoping to move back in.  (We’re both losing patience with the constant driving back and forth.)  The house is vented with airmovers exchanging air in the basement 10 times per house.  The vents were cleaned earlier this week…  Hopefully, that will be enough to make the place livable again.  Fingers crossed.  If not, the movers are hopefully coming at the end of the month to clear out the basement, and then we will be free and clear to get the mothballs and the mold professionally mitigated.

The one where we moved in and then moved back out again…in less than a week.

I spent the morning riding a 17.3hh Friesian Sport horse.  It was a nice change of pace to do something purely for the enjoyment of it, not because it had to be done.  My lesson went exceedingly well, and I left feeling positively gleeful.  That was also a nice change.

The past few days have involved a lot of…erm…poo…hitting a really big fan…metaphorically speaking.  (Probably literally as well, but that’s just life in a barn that runs fans.  We don’t like to think about it too much.)

August 22nd marked the first night actually sleeping at the ranch.  (If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting so much, that’s why.)  Over the past week, we have been nearly frantic with packing, then unpacking, painting and cleaning, and, of course, all of the things that we have to do every day to keep the animals happy and the farm running.  Our moving day began with a massive thunderstorm, then progressed into one of the hottest, most humid days of the summer.

And that was the good part.

After moving to the ranch, Jeremiah and I started to get ill.  First, I blamed my allergies.   My eyes were itchy.  I was sneezy.  (Incidentally, “Sneezy” is one of Jeremiah’s nicknames for me; I call him Grumpy in return.)  I had a vaguely sore throat.  Jeremiah had a headache.

Allergies, right?

But then it got worse.  I was fatigued.  I had stabbing pains in my abdomen.  My eyes went from itchy to burning (as in, I couldn’t even wear my contacts).  My sore throat became almost unbearable.  Jeremiah’s headache progressed from mild to near-migraine.  We both started having respiratory problems.

Turns out, the house has some issues.  We discovered the first issue when Jeremiah went downstairs to light a pilot light in the water heater.  To get to it, he had to make his way through one of the rooms with the previous owners’ belongings.  When he did, he discovered that the downstairs bedrooms have some serious mold going on.  That would explain my increased allergies.

The next day, when his mother came over and commented on the moth ball smell in the house, Jeremiah explained that moth balls are all over the place in the house, and that we had been removing them as we cleaned upstairs.  However, there are tons of them in the basement as well; we can’t remove them until the previous owners’ belongings move out.

She started thinking.

About an hour later she sent the two of us a text explaining the effects of moth ball poisoning.  Actually, it’s naphthalene poisoning, but you get naphthalene poisoning from moth balls, so moth ball poisoning.  Turns out, our symptoms read like a checklist of the early effects of exposure to naphthalene.

Did you know that moth balls are incredibly toxic?  Yeah…me either.

They can make you very sick if you breathe the vapor they produce as they break down.  They are also highly carcinogenic.  They can burn your retinas.  They can cause cataracts.  Turns out, they can even put you in a coma (but I’m pretty sure you would have to stir them up in your tea for that to happen).  Either way, nasty stuff.  If you have kids or pets, you probably shouldn’t have moth balls, and if you choose to use them, make sure that they are in a sealed container, like a garment or blanket bag.

But I digress…

Once my mama-in-law sent over that information, we started packing up (again).  Let me tell you, repacking household items only days after you had unpacked them is depressing.  I have no words really.  The first thing we did was load our pups into the car and take them to my mom’s place.  Tomorrow, I will bring them back to the Heights house, as we are temporarily set up again over there, but for the last day and a half they have been having a sleep over.  After that, we packed up the necessities and high tailed it back to the other house.

There is a plan in action to clean up the mold and the moth balls, so this is far from permanent, but for the time being, we’re back to managing the ranch from across the river.

This sort of thing is often referred to as a bump in the road.  Over the past few days, our road has gotten pretty darn bumpy.

The good news?  (And there is A LOT of good here.)

First, we figured this out RIGHT AWAY.  Long term exposure to either the mold or the moth balls can cause pretty nasty damage, so it is a huge blessing that we figured those things out when we did.  Props to Jeremiah’s mama for putting two and two together.  (Also, in case you were wondering, we’re both way better now; it took about 12 hours of being moved out of the house for pretty much all of our symptoms to go away.)

Second, we weren’t fully packed up, and a lot of what we unpacked can stay until this is remedied.

Third, we hadn’t moved any of the small critters.  The cats and hedgehogs were still in the Heights.  The moth balls could have caused serious problems for our hedgies delicate respiratory systems, so it’s fantastic that they won’t move in until this is cleared up.

The cats last night.  I think they were pretty happy to have us home.
The cats last night. I think they were pretty happy to have us home.

Fourth, even though it made us sick, living at the ranch gave us a bunch of time to get stuff done.  Half of the upstairs is newly painted.  The exterior of the house is about a quarter painted.  We got a bunch of cleaning done.

The house before Jeremiah started his work on it.
The house before Jeremiah started his work on it.
Slightly different angle on the same part of the house yesterday.
Slightly different angle on the same part of the house yesterday.

Finally, we both got a good taste of what it is like to wake up and be able to meander up to the barn to take care of the animals.  No drive.   No rush.  Bliss.  Even with all that has happened, I cannot wait for the day we can do that every morning.  I just have to get past a few bumps in the road first.

(SNEAK PEAK: Our fourth wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days.  I cannot wait to introduce you to…ummm…I mean show you…my present.  Stay tuned.)

 

The Seven Emotional Stages of Painting

The end is drawing nigh.  And by the end I think I mean the beginning, or possibly the middle.

(Is it apparent yet that I almost never have any real idea what I’m talking about?)

For the past week or so, we’ve been cleaning and painting in preparation for actually moving into the farm.  Now, we don’t have the whole house yet, as the previous occupants are storing some of their belongings at the ranch until they can have them moved (their new home is still under construction), but we do have most of the upstairs at our disposal, and, given that just the upstairs of the new house is more than twice the size of my present home, I think we can manage.

My goals before moving are as follows:
1. Finished Bedroom.
2. Clean and Functional Kitchen.
3. Clean and Functional Bathroom.
4. Clean Sunroom.

I have attempted a cursory cleaning of the whole upstairs, but the living room, for example, won’t really be cleanable until the window is replaced.  (We’re thinking the contractor will be getting back with us today on that…)  Plus, at the moment, it’s where we’re putting all of the other furniture as we clean other rooms.

Anyway, about a week or so ago, I undertook the project of painting our new master bedroom.  It’s 300+ square feet all on its own, so it was no small task.  If I’m being honest, I’ve had the primary paint color for over a month.  It’s just one of those projects that I really didn’t even want to start.

The master bedroom before.
The master bedroom before.
Lots of natural light
Lots of natural light
Down the hall out of the bedroom.
Down the hall out of the bedroom.

The above pictures were taken several months ago.  I think it goes without saying that there is a ton of potential in the room.  For one, it’s huge!  There is a ton of natural light.  It takes up the entire end of the house.  It also needed a lot of updating.  The carpet, original to the house I think, had to go.  The previous occupants left the furniture you see in the photo for us to keep if we wished.  The walls, white throughout the house except where there is wallpaper, needed an update.

So, last week, I started updating it.

I should tell you, once upon a time, I enjoyed painting.  My experience thereof was mostly a room here and there in my parents’ house or a room or two helping out a friend.  Then, Jeremiah and I bought our first home.  It’s only 800 or so square feet, but we basically painted every single room.  That was only three and a half years ago.

I don’t like painting so much anymore…  But over the last few weeks, I’ve realized that painting is an emotional process, as well as a physical one.  It’s almost cyclical, really.  Somewhere between the first coat of “Beach” on that first wall and the last coat of high gloss white on the crown molding, I’ve come to realize that there are definite stages of painting.

The Stages of Painting

Stage One: Optimism (AKA – Wall Number One)

I started on this wall...
I started on this wall…

During Stage One of painting, everything is coming up sunshine and roses.  It is during that stage that you congratulate yourself.  Paint that had been in a pail is going on the wall.  It’s a step in the right direction.  You are doing it!  You’re awesome.  Go you!  Not only are you being productive, but you have excellent taste.  Not just anyone can pick a good paint color.  (We’ve all been to those houses where someone else’s “sunny yellow” looks more like “dehydrated urine”…you know what I’m talking about.)  But you?  You picked “Beach” grey from a myriad of other greys.  And “Beach” grey, it appears, is probably the best grey in the history of ever.

Stage Two: Boredom

Stage Two moves past the initial self-congratulatory stage and into tedium.  You’re bored.  Also, you’re pretty sure gnomes have come in the night and have slapped white paint up where you had painted grey.  Beach grey, to be exact.  Though, now that you’re looking at it, you’re not sure it’s quite so “beachy.”  How do they come up with those names, anyway?  And seriously with the gnomes…you are sure you had more done.  And what was wrong with white, anyway?  Other than the vaguely clinical feel it had…you can totally deal with institutional white for the rest of your life, right?  Right?

Stage Three: Reinforcements

This is the one where every girl on the planet (or maybe just me) starts to consider calling in the cavalry…

“Daddy!”

And he comes over, and he slaps a second coat of paint up way faster than should have been humanly possible.  As you look around, you briefly revert to Stage One.  Wow – look at that; two whole coats!  Looks pretty good if you do say so yourself.  Totally Beachy!  You are a master of paint choosing!  And it wasn’t THAT bad.

You are practically done.  Except for that bump out wall, and all the trim, and the baseboards, and the crown molding.

You start to look around at all the detail work, and the optimism vanishes again.

Stage Four: Doubt

You may never finish this.  Between the detail work and the gnomes, this will probably never get done.  It is with a sigh that you choose your second color.  Your “accent” color.  You pick something with a coffee name.  MMMMM…coffee.  You totally need coffee. Coffee would probably make everything better.

You briefly wonder if you picked the color solely because you’re tired and need coffee.  It doesn’t really matter though, because you will NEVER, EVER finish.

For some reason, I decided this needed to be a different color.
For some reason, I decided this needed to be a different color.
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The ceiling fan changed. That is one of the things the boy was working on while I painted.

Stage Five: Insanity

The coffee color looks pretty darn great.  You realize that it would look fantastic on the baseboards!  And the trim!  And who cares if it’s a super dark color with no room for error?  You’ve totally got this!

Stage five doesn’t last very long.  You move almost immediately into stage six.  Regret.

Stage Six: Regret (AKA Trimming and Weeping)

During this stage, you get to be exceedingly good with tape, but not quite good enough.  You paint the baseboards and trim with two coats of an absurdly dark color (what were you thinking?) and then manically correct tiny imperfections with a craft brush roughly the size of your pinkie nail.  Why?  Well, because the crappy paint lines in your current bedroom have been bugging you for almost three years.  And you won’t have it again!  (This stage mimics insanity quite nicely…)

Stage Six: Rage!

Note the newly painted baseboards.
Note the newly painted baseboards.

The trim is nearly finished.  Then the unthinkable happens.  All is takes is one poorly applied piece of tape above the window frame.  That line is crap, and you flip your lid over a paint line that follows a poorly applied piece of tape (the one and only piece of tape stuck down by your poor, unfortunate husband).  It’s on the last freaking piece of trim before the crown molding!  You are very lucky that no one else is there because at this point you would probably be institutionalized.  You are especially lucky that your husband is no where to be found, because the rage that is burning within your soul is completely unreasonable.  You need a moment to quell it…and to fix that freaking paint line.

You call it a day because painting is no reason to turn into the Hulk.

Stage Seven: Acceptance and Relief

You are now a pro.  The tape below the crown molding is almost perfect, and it has been applied as one consecutive piece.  You slap it up in minutes.  And even your husband, who you are no longer unreasonably furious with (luckily that passed quickly and internally) is impressed.  Two coats of high gloss white go up without much issue.  And, amazingly, you are done.

Seriously.  You are done.  It is finished.  You thought this moment would never come, especially with the gnomes.  But it’s here.

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And it is magnificent.

But, if you’re honest, you feel very little satisfaction.  Just relief.  You are so relieved that you don’t even mind that you got white paint on your favorite Doctor Who t-shirt.

One room down, all of the rest to go…

 

The last few days

The past few days have been exceptionally busy, even for me.  With my guy gone (for the last four days) I was handling everything from the house and dogs to the llamas and horses (including our new boarder).  And that was on top of preparing for vacation, hammering out the details of an aircraft sale, and all the normal house chores, like dishes and laundry.  We did get a $60 city code citation (apparently our grass was too long at the Heights house) while he was gone, and the sump pump stopped working without me noticing (so the basement at the Heights house flooded…a little), but those issues aside, I would say that I successfully negotiated the craziness. Mostly.  I mean, everyone is alive and well.  And I had help.

For the past few days, I’ve stolen Jeremiah’s little sister (who is still in high school) and dragged her out to the farm with me.  She loves the horses and the llamas, and they love her.  Plus, the feral barn cat (who I aptly named Will Ferrell (Feral)  because you get to say things all day like “Will Ferrell is peeing in the garden again” or “Has anyone seen Will Ferrell in the barn today?”) has befriended her and lets her pet him.  He will let no one pet him.

Despite all of the relative craziness, we’ve gotten a lot done.  Cleaning the runs outside of stalls, planting, and finishing up a good chunk of my tack room…the two of us have been busy bees!  (Side note, I’ve decided I’m keeping her.  She is a lot of fun to have around and so helpful!)

The last few days:

Cleaning pastures.

Totally clean llama run!  It won't stay that way long...and I refuse to post a before.  Just appreciate the after.
Totally clean llama run! It won’t stay that way long…and I refuse to post a before. Just appreciate the after.

 

New shelves for the tack room.

Unfinished wood crates.  Soon to be the shelving in the tack room.
Unfinished wood crates. Soon to be the shelving in the tack room.
Finishing and staining the crates.  I won't lie, this step took us several days.
Finishing and staining the crates. I won’t lie, this step took us several days.
Mostly finished
Mostly finished
End result.  I think I will add a few more crates to this in the future.  But it's done for now!
End result. I think I will add a few more crates to this in the future. But it’s done for now!

A new kitty tree for the tack room.

Started in a box with visual instructions.
Started in a box with visual instructions.
Putting the pieces together was a trip.  I think I had to take pieces off again and restart three times.
Putting the pieces together was a trip. I think I had to take pieces off again and restart three times.
Finished product!
Finished product!
She wasn't really impressed.
She wasn’t really impressed.

Helper

She spent 5 minutes watching us from just outside the room.
She spent 5 minutes watching us from just outside the room.

Oh – And this!

We found tadpoles in the kiddie pool!
We found tadpoles in the kiddie pool!

And now I’m off again!  There’s plenty to do at the farm before we leave tomorrow (and I’m still working on that sale), but, starting tomorrow, I have a few days of vacation from everything.  I cannot wait!

OH – And just a reminder. You can like almostfarmgirl on facebook now. (facebook.com/almostfarmgirl)

 

 

Before and in-progress photos.

Remember when I wrote about the guest house and how it needed dramatic updates before it was remotely move-in ready?  Well, I thought I should share some before and durings (we’re not quite at after yet).

 

Jeremiah walking into the little house.
Jeremiah walking into the little house.  The mudroom still needs to be cleaned and possibly repainted.  One door needs replaced, and tile is in its future.

After walking into the little house via the mudroom, we were greeted by a very small, very blue kitchen.  The cupboards are 1950s retro like I’ve never seen.  The stove had been disconnected for a long, long time.  I love to cook, and so does the future occupant, so we knew the limited space would be an issue.

 

The kitchen
The kitchen

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The whole thing had to go.  There was no place to cook, and, frankly, I’m not sure the inside of those cabinets could ever be completely clean again.  It was one of the first things we gutted.

Now the living room.

 

The living room actually has pretty nice floors and a beautiful view.  It needed a fresh coat of paint.
The living room actually has pretty nice floors and a beautiful view. It needed a fresh coat of paint.

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Jeremiah took out the half wall…

The bathroom.  Yes, that is a wooden cover on the back of the toilet.  Also, tile was coming off the walls.  There was a hole in the bottom of the shower that had been roughly caulked and was leaking into the frame of the house.  The previous tenant had painted over wallpaper (peeling) and the adhesive floor was coming up.  We had to gut the room down to the studs.

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The bathroom.

I affectionately deemed the small bedroom “the pink nightmare” or “Barbie vomit.

Small bedroom
Small bedroom

The big bedroom – Not a good picture.

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Now for the in-progress photos:

The kitchen

2014-03-21 12.12.28

2014-03-21 12.12.19

2014-03-21 12.12.09

We put in new cabinets, opened up the wall, and took over some of the living room space to expand the kitchen.

The bathroom

2014-04-26 17.43.09

New tub, tile, and backsplash so far.  I LOVE the wood tile backsplash.  It’s going to look like an old barn!

Small bedroom:

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Repainted in a shade that doesn’t give me a migraine.  The floor need to be resealed, but that’s the last thing that needs to be done before move-in.

The big bedroom:

2014-04-26 17.43.15

So, that’s my in-progress photos for the little house.  Give me enough time, and nearly everything on the property will have some form of make-over.  Also, my husband has done ALL of this work himself, including new plumbing and electrical, which you don’t see in the pictures but took many hours.  How awesome is he?

Overwhelming, wonderful insanity… Or, a move of a lifetime.

I had several windows open in Microsoft Word when I got up this morning.  One was a letter I edited for my husband’s business.  (He’s a farrier, among other things.)  The others were grading sheets, my Spring syllabus, and a sign up sheet for grammar presentations that, God willing, my students will pull off Monday without a hitch.  I’ve decided that this is my last semester teaching English 101 at the local University, giving me the chance to focus full time on my job in aircraft sales; in a couple of months, I won’t need those documents anymore.

Other than the immediate area around my desk, which is only sort of organized, the office is complete chaos.  It’s been the catch-all room since we moved into our current house in 2011.  The printer is sitting on a stepladder.  My guitar amp is functioning as a pseudo-shelf for our router and a box of files.  If I try to pull my chair back too far, I hit a pile of airstone boxes, some weird metal conduit, and a bag of mortar mix.  This room serves as a constant reminder of the renovations that haven’t stopped since we bought this place.

We both thought we’d live here for a long time, and we renovated accordingly.  Quartz countertops, expensive tile, landscaping for days…we never meant to flip this house.  But now?  Now we’re preparing for the move of a lifetime, out of the city and onto a working ranch complete with twenty-five llamas.  Our three horses moved onto the property in October; our plan had been to join them in early March, moving into the guest house before our current property went onto the market and living there until the current owners move out of the big house themselves.  The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Our current house when we moved in:

house move in

Our current house last summer:

Our house last summer

The guest house surprised us, needing all new electrical and plumbing, a new bathroom, and a new kitchen.  I will admit that we budgeted neither time nor money for those repairs to begin with, but now we’re waist deep in a whole new set of renovations.  My husband, God bless him, has spent every spare moment over there since the last tenants moved out.

It’s insane, and overwhelming, and wonderful.  Sometimes all at once.