Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For remembrance: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

728 East Wall Street.
We are now close enough to leaving the rental house that I can bear to post pictures and write about it.  When I told Robert that's what I was going to do he said, "why now?"  It's not that it has been terrible, it has just been a "bit" of a challenge.  It's hard to explain but  I just couldn't post them before now.  I do want all of us to be able to look back and remember how we spent 7 months in close contact and we all lived to tell about it!  I don't want to seem ungrateful.  We have been very fortunate.  Our landlords have been very nice and are letting us stay our few days in February for free.  Nevertheless, I shall document the good, the bad and yes, even a little ugly.

The good:  Big screen, high definition TV.  I gave up Fox News for the Food Network.  Honestly, if we had
not had this we probably wouldn't have survived.  Sad, but true.
The bad:  The boys got addicted to Adventure Time.""

The good:  Large back yard.
The bad:  Large back yard that has a lot of cat traffic.
The good:  Such a sweet dog.
The bad:  She had to be on a tie-out in the large back yard.
The ugly:  She eats cat poop.
The good:  Robert's very clean room.  He didn't grow so fast that he couldn't fit in this bed.
The bad:  This bed.

The good:  A dedicated office space.  We managed to stay fairly organized.
The bad/ugly:  It sits outside both boys rooms and their bathroom.

The good:  an actual laundry room.
The bad/ugly:  I had to clean gum out of this dryer twice.

The good:  Large master bedroom with king sized bed.  Please notice Susie up there on the pillows.
The bad:  It's just not our bed.  Susie doesn't seem to mind.

The good:  A big enough kitchen to function in.  I have become more proficient at crock-pot cooking.
The bad:  Try cooking out of ziplock reusable containers and foil pans for 7 months.
The dishwasher sounds like a jet taking off.  Oh wait, maybe that was an actual jet...

The bad:  Pizza does not fit in this freezer.
The ugly:  Joe has been in pizza withdrawal and has become addicted to corn dogs.
The good:  a reasonable living room, and the aforementioned TV.
The seating arrangement allowed Jim to have lots and lots (and lots) of foot massages.
The bad:  Once Jim stretches out on one side and Joe stretches out on the other there is no
 room for the rest of us.  
Skipping the good and the bad... this is Joe's room.  7 months of UGLY.

The good:  The boys had their own bathroom.
The bad:  The boys had to share a bathroom.
The ugly:  Robert had to share a bathroom with Joe.
The good:  We had our own master bathroom.
The bad:  The vinyl shower curtain accosts the person showering.
The ugly:  Having to get the plumber out twice (and verging on a third time)
to clean out the tub drain:  standing in inches of water to shower.  
Sorry if that is too much information.
Another view of our master bathroom.
Here is Susie sacked out in the sun... poor baby will go anywhere to sleep in the sun, including the bare floor!

 The good:  The little house across the street.  It was our home for a week...
back when we thought we would only be renters for 3 or 4 months.
It housed Michelle and Miles twice.

For the last what-feels-like-17-months-but-has-actually-only-been 7, I have taken Susie on walks almost every day unless it has been too cold.  (Below 42 degrees.)  It is an interesting neighborhood with a lot of personality.  Yes, it also has good, bad, and ugly.  And just plain weird.

The good:  Susie loves to go for walks
The bad:  Susie knows when it is late afternoon and she should be going on a walk.
She is very good at making her wishes known by following me around and giving me a
look, as well as a lot of huffing and puffing.  
The good:  New construction in the neighborhood.
The bad:  Once a dog jumped over this fence and I thought it was going to eat Susie.

The good:  There is a large diversity of houses to look at when walking.
The bad:  Some of them are scary.
The good:  This house is condemned.
The bad:  This lady was a true hoarder.
The ugly:  According to the builder that bought the property, the lady lived in one
room with no running water and there were cats, raccoons and armadillos living in
the house along with her.  The city had to come and trap all the feral cats in the
neighborhood.  Sadly, there are still some left that frequent our back yard.
Here's a back view of the "hoarder house."  
Ok, so this doesn't really qualify for the "good, bad, ugly" routine.  It is just plain weird.
The sign is hard to read, but it says "Chair-ee Tree."  And those are little red plastic chairs
hanging from the tree.  I cannot think of a single other thing to say about it.

So we are just days away from moving.  Almost close enough to count hours.  This morning I had to count up how many more showers in the vinyl-shower-curtain 
wrapping-around-you-while-you-stand-in-soapy-water shower.  

At the house and barn, it's all good (other than the inches of rain that we got yesterday which prevented them from bringing trucks with sod and swimming pool plaster on the property today.)

The landscaping crews have been going gung-ho for the last week.  This is outside Jim's office.

Backyard pathway from pool deck to garage

Fireplace installation
I cannot wait to sit in front of a fire again!  This one will put off a bit of heat.
Here's the fireplace in Jim's office.  This one is unvented.  Clean burning.  Oh, but you should have
a window vented when it is burning.  And a carbon-monoxide detector.  And it puts off enough heat to
warm up the whole room.  I wonder if Jim will let me come sit by this fire when he is working.

It's a little hard to see in this light but the tub front is finally completely tiled.  I think
all of the tile is done now... Jim and I started looking at tile last January 25.  I am
tired just thinking about it.
This is how the concrete on the barn floor stained.  It is waaaay darker than I wanted.  It looks fine.  But
that little whiny voice in my head just says, "why can't they do things the way I have picked them???"  
This picture shows how rust colored it really is.  I wanted TAN.  Are they color blind?
Does this look anything like tan?  I hope that once we get moved in and I am busy
doing barn stuff that I can learn to ignore the whiny voice.

So, there it is.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I think the sheer relief I feel that we will soon be out of this rental house moving into our new house is keeping me from fully realizing the backbreaking work that is ahead in the next two weeks.  Ignorance is bliss.  Or maybe denial is the better word!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


This past week we have done a lot of remembering.  Friday, January 25, marked one year that Michael has been gone.  It has been a transformative year!

January 2012
Checking in at the airport.  He looks scared...
And here he is in January 2013.  I just can't get over how much happier he looks in every single picture.  
If this is what happens after one year, I can only imagine what it will be after two.  We miss him terribly, but we are so proud of Michael.

As far as the house goes, there are a lot of transformations going on there, too.

From this:

To this:

Yes, there is a garage floor under there.

From this:
Although we liked this light fixture, it simply did not give enough light for the area.

In addition to changing out the light fixture, we added LED lighting to the dome.

Up goes the new one

 To this:
Dome is much brighter now
Light hangs lower and is brighter.
From this:
Upstairs (bunk room door to left, bathroom in center, back hallway to right)
To this:
Love this carpet that Jim picked!

And this:

To this:
Media room!

Carpet laid out on the driveway for cutting

Finished in Joe's room

Rob's room

Front porch slate
And done:

This transformation still isn't quite complete, but it shows the progress:

Front stained, faucet added, towel ring added, plug moved, walls faux painted.
Still to be done: paint mirror frame and change plug color.
This is a dramatic change:

This one was taken awhile back...

Here it is after our giant magnolias were planted on Friday!

I don't have a before picture of this, but it is an important picture.  We have struggled with tile issues from almost the beginning of the project.  Granted, this is a difficult shower and difficult tile to work with.  The grout lines were uneven, the tile was chipped and we just weren't happy with it but we didn't  have much confidence in their ability to get it fixed right.  And we were right.  After the 3rd attempt to repair it, Jim finally e-mailed the builder and said we needed to be done with the current tile company.  Within 2 days a new tile contractor came in and  all of our tile mistakes were corrected and look absolutely fabulous. 
Thank you very much.

The biggest transformation this week has been outside.  The final grade was done:


Removing all the junk

Building the entrance gate.  The brown posts are for the horse fencing.
from a pile of stones...
To columns.  3 on each side of the driveway.

And back:
Here you can see the horse fence along the trees in the back and the posts for the backyard fence are set.

Friday afternoon:  backyard fence done, pasture cross fence up, beds prepared, and 2 trees planted!

I was going to just start another blog to show the barn progress... and then I though nah... I'll just put it in this one.  So here are a few more pictures:

All the doors and trim done, light fixtures installed.

Tack room

Garage-style doors installed

All the beams stained

Exterior ceilings painted blue.  This just makes me so happy!

Inside view--lights and fans installed.

And now for the burning question:  WHEN DO WE MOVE IN???  We were all set to start moving in as soon as we were granted a Certificant of Occupancy (CO) on Tuesday January 29.  

We had a meeting on Friday, in which we learned:  

1)  The City of Southlake is willing to grant us a 30 day temporary CO as long as we agree to have our 48 inches of tree trunks planted before that time is up.  Well, guess what?  We already have almost all our trees planted.

2)  Our project manager is calling for the first CO inspection on Monday.  That does not mean we get to move in Monday.

3)  Tuesday and Wednesday morning will be used to fix anything brought up in the inspection.

4)  We will have a second CO inspection on Wednesday afternoon.  That does not mean we get to move in Wednesday evening.

5)  The project manager wants Thursday, Friday and Saturday to finalize and finish everything else, such as final cleaning, final finish on the floors, and install appliances.  

SO, WE THINK WE ARE MOVING IN MONDAY/TUESDAY FEBRUARY 4/5.  I have only had to reschedule all the deliveries and movers once... and

6)  We're not 100% sure that the barn will be done by then, which could cause a snag with getting all the stuff that is supposed to go up in the loft moved in, so we hope we don't have to reschedule again!

It's all rather mind-boggling.  It makes me want to take after Miss Tia:

GO AWAY, Goats!  (In our case, it is GO AWAY, Workers!)
I'm so sleepy... I just want some peace to take a nap.

Ahhhhhhhhh.  Transformed from grouchy to graceful.  I can only hope!