Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mr. "Mom"

Justin received devastating news at work last week...his company is going from a (4) 10-hr day work week to working (5) 8-hr days starting on April 4th.  He is mourning his last-ever 3 day weekend by sanding down our fire pit and drinking a Blue Moon.

I have to admit though--I'm celebrating the news!  Justin will be off by 3:30 pm each day.  Therefore, HE--not me--can play "Mom" of the house.  Supper can be going when I get home from CASA...he can meet with any contractors/exterminators/whomever after any cant-wait-til-the-weekend errands...get laundry folded...HOURS before I get home.

I just can't express how excited I am about his schedule change!  I was never a fan of the 10-hour days. The only time Justin's 3-day weekend was of any benefit to me was if we needed to travel anywhere.  Otherwise, I was at stuck at work on Fridays while he did whatever.  With his job, there is no flexability within his schedule and I work long days as well, so it is a terrible combination.  My biggest frustration: by the time he got off work at 5:30 and fought traffic anywhere, a lot of businesses were closed--so it was up to me to figure out how to get all my work hours in AND take care of business.  Also, if we had any early evening appointments, we were always pushing it to get him home, showered and where we needed to be. 

My excitement level decreases a bit when I realize that in just 8 weeks, school will be out.  I will go from working 60 hours a week to 20--while Justin continues to work his 40.  Therefore, I will return to being "Mom" of the house...but in the meantime, Justin will have a chance to experience what it's like to be "Mr. Mom!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Assembly Required

Yesterday, I accepted a temporary Furniture Assembly Woman.  Thank god the job lasted just one day.

I've been wanting a bigger patio set forever.  For the past 6 weeks, I scoured Craigslist in hopes of finding something cheap and pre-assembled.  Nothing was to be found so when Justin returned from Dallas on Sunday, we went to Sear's to pick one up.

By 5:00 yesterday, I had the table put together and all 6 chairs assembled.  My legs hurt, my fingers ached....

Our new set, but definately not our backyard...The "patio" currently looks like a field of firewood and sawdust, so no real-life pictures for now!
At that point, I called it a day and went around front to get the paper off the porch...only to find that our replacement headboard had been delivered.  Finally!  But wait, this meant even more furniture to assemble...

Long story short--we ordered our headboard February 4; it was delivered 3 weeks later in a pile of fresh snow and sleet, complete with a ripped headboard and wrong size of bed frame.  Two weeks after requesting the replacement parts, we found out our order had never been submitted.  I called the manufacturer directly and the problem was solved :-)  The only downfall was that it would be at least another 2 weeks before the headboard would arrive as they are custom made.  Oh, the joys of doing long-distance business when the items you want cannot be found locally.

Once Justin got home from work last night, we started assembling the bed...and in just over one hour, we had the whole thing assembled!  It's amazing how easy it is when you have the right parts!  Lol.  Our room is still a disaster, so once again, no real-life pictures of our new bed...but here is the stock photo.

In fact, I'm dying to go to bed and lay against the soft headboard for a few minutes before I pass out.  Working as a Furniture Assembly Woman is a hard job and I'm still worn out from it!  But considering both the inside AND outside of our house is a disaster right now, I have more important things to do than sleep!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A New Coat of Paint

I haven't had a Spring Break in forever....well, 5 years forever.  And I'm loving all the time I have to get things done! 

I had a pretty lengthy to-do list made up for this week and some of it has been accomplished.  Some of it is still waiting for me to get to it.  I had intended to paint our fence this week but for a variety of reasons, it hasn't happened yet.  Instead, I decided to tackle a smaller painting project...

After we moved in, we never got around to painting the hallway.  It was the same hideous peachy color that the living/dining room had been painted.  Not only did the color drive me nuts--but the paint job was horrible!  The peachy paint was splattered all over the white woodwork and there were corners around the door frames that had never been painted.  For a detail-oriented person like me, I couldn't handle it.  Therefore, it automatically made my Spring Break To-Do list.

Considering we have turquoise, purple, taupe and light blue rooms coming off the hallway I wanted a "neutral" color to anchor everything.  The only problem--I can't imagine living with a neutral wall color.  Blah!

I picked frosted pine and decided to give it a try.  It was one shade lighter than sage on the color deck so I was hoping it would do the trick.

As soon as I put it on the wall, I became hesitant.  It was MUCH lighter than I expected it would be.

As the paint dried, it became MUCH darker.  However, I'm just not sure if this is the right color.  I purposely picked something that wouldn't be very saturated...In person, it is a lot more green.  However, it's a little too traditional for my liking but maybe it will grow on me.  Especially if I can find some fun wall accessories...right???  Considering all the cutting in and touch up work I had to do, it will stay up for a while regardless of my final opinion.  But I do know that it makes the hallway a little brighter and it really brings out the color of the floors--that, I do like!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Step in the Right Direction

The first time we looked at our house, we noticed one of the steps had a chip on the right corner and some cement was softening on the underside of the left corner.  It wasn't the prettiest sight ever but we figured we'd make due and eventually get it replaced when the time came.

Throughout the summer, the crazy step held up pretty well.

July 2010--Cutting down the awkward, unnecessary and bent handrails
Around Halloween, we noticed the step had started to chip some more so we had an estimate done.  The price was significantly higher than we could justify spending on a new step so we decided we'd save up our money and have it done next Spring.

Wellllll...needless to say the step didn't survive the winter too well. By late February, this is what it had turned into. I hated stepping on the stupid thing out of fear that the entire step would just crumble down to the ground!

We had another company come do an estimate and it was MUCH more in line with what we expected a step to cost AND the price was ten times better.  The company wasn't the fastest--in fact, it took them more than a week to get the cement poured after they removed the step and framed out everything.  But after living with the crazy step for almost a year now, we had gotten pretty used to telling our visitors, "Watch out for the step!"

This past Friday, they came and poured the cement.  Something looked different but I couldn't put my finger on it...
I showed the above picture to my parents this weekend and turns out--we now have 3, not two, steps! 

The subcontractor came back this morning to remove the framing and this is what we have:

It already looks SO much better and I'm sure it will make the mailman's day when he delivers to our house today!  The guy is out there sanding it down and putting the finishing touches on's amazing what you get excited about once you become a homeowner ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Picture Perfect

I did not want to get up this morning.

We had company in town this past weekend and all the fun wore me out.

Saturday night was Daylight Savings Time and I really, really wanted my one hour of sleep back when my alarm went off. 

Justin received a text at 5:15 this morning saying they were called off work for the day.  It's only the second time it has happened ALL winter.

Thus, I was convinced we had a blizzard last night and school would be cancelled.  Then I remembered they have state testing this week and had to laugh at my crazy idea.

I finally crawled out of bed, put on comfy clothes and headed to work.

As I turned the corner from our house, this is what I saw...

I was too lazy to get out of my car so I took it through the windshield...I'm kinda impressed with how well it turned out!

I've said it before--I'm done with winter for this year.  However, the beauty of the morning temporarily swayed my opinion!  The sights reminded me of images from Christmas cards.  The best part, though--the snow was gone by the time I got home from work tonight.  Now that's how I like it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

House Projects

We have been out of our duplex for one year now!  Justin and I love being homeowners.  We are not fans of the price tag that comes with owning a home but we more than enjoy being able to do what we want to the house and property.

It doesn't really seem like we've done much to the place--until somebody stops by and makes a comment and even that doesn't convince me.  I guess it's kinda like gradually losing--or gaining--weight...unless it happens overnight, you really don't notice!  Thus far, most of our projects have been pretty simple and painless.  Thankfully the house was in great structural shape so our projects have been mostly cosmetic!

Next month, we start in on the kitchen.  On our to-do list is new flooring (it's scheduled to be installed in mid-May!!!) followed by a new countertop, backsplash, hood over the stove, extra shelving and wall paint.  We're hoping we can tackle the projects over the summer when I have more time to be home, but it will be up to our bank account to dictate if and when everything happens.

Once we get the kitchen done and the landscaping put in/fence painted, we should be done with the major stuff.  Right?!  Or do homeowners continue to find things to fix/improve? 

Just the other day, I was trying to find a bookmark on my computer and I came across the visual tour from when our house went on the market.  THAT convinced me that maybe we have changed a few things so I decided to compile some Before's & After's.  I wasn't smart enough to photograph the entire house & the link has since been deleted...but here is our progress thus far!

6 months before it went on the market--appx April 2009...Thank goodness for the pending paint job!
After--Early March 2011...we can only take credit for the fence & pruned trees, the previous owner tackled the paint job!

Before--The landscaping, or lack thereof, that we inherited.  We have our work cut out!
After--The hostas and Brazilian Firecrackers that we planted, July 2010.

Before--The crazy, bent-up handrails that came with the house.

After--Handrails no more!  July 2010

Our crazy step in Feb 2011, it barely survived our first winter in the house...notice it's condition in the above picture

After--the replacement step, March 2011

The chimney cap that we had put on--no more "breeze" in the fireplace or jagged bricks.  Oct 2010

Before--Inside the house on closing day--living room looking into the dining room, March 2010

Before--Inside the house on closing day, living room fireplace.  March 2010

After--view from the front door/living area into the dining room, March 2011

After--Dining room facing hallway/bathroom

After--Dining room looking into part of living area

After--more of the view into the living area

After--our "entryway"

After--Living room, facing the front porch

After--Living room, facing the fireplace
After--From the couch, looking into dining & kitchen area

After--from the kitchen, looking into the dining & living area
Before--the bathroom when we bought the house, March 2010.  If the house wasn't an obvious bachelor pad, the bathroom was convincing!

After--the bathroom with new paint & border, May 2010

After--the Guestroom, it used to be white, white and white!

After--Now it's the "J-Money" Shrine

After--some of our K-State wall.  I just wish I had pics of the rest of the room!
Before--the hallway was the same color as the living/dining area

After--a fresh coat of "Frosted Pine," looks better in person!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Roasting the Neighborhood

I had my first Landscape Design class last week.  The instructor spoke plenty about establishing "rooms" within your landscaping and deeming those spaces as public or private.

That made sense.  Some of our yard constitutes public space--our front porch, front yard and even the side yard by the alley.  Some of it constitues private space--our sideyard to the south of the house and our backyard.  With private space comes entertaining!

We really didn't do much outdoor entertaining last year--we just didn't have the sitting area to do so.

The concrete pad is what we have been using as our patio.  We found that our itty-bitty green patio set fit in the nook very easily and the porch protected the grill from the elements...but it left very little room for anything else!
Our current back porch...I would love to have it decked in someday!

Our house came with an extra parking pad that butts up to the garage...we have never utilized it and it goes unused.  I have always thought it would be the perfect outdoor dining area.  Justin, on the otherhand, was not a fan of the idea.

The parking pad is between the yard and garage. With the right decor, it could be a nice retreat in the evenings.

But wait--Justin decided he wanted a fire pit all of a sudden.  Something about what the Landscaping guy said had convinced him of the need for heat.  And thus, he decided the parking pad would be a great place to entertain!  Add a rectangular 7-piece table set, some tiki torches, window boxes of flowers, the grill, a radio and the fire pit and he is convinced we could have a great time.  Why--why--why will guys never accept a suggestion unless it's their "own"?!

Far right end of the parking pad

If it takes an Extension Agent to convince Justin of creating an entertaining area, that's fine with me!  I'll take what I can get!  It just so happened that a fire pit was posted on Craigslist this weekend and the price was perfect.  Justin went to pick it up last night and this is what he brought home...

The thing is ginormous...the picture really doesn't do it justice.  From the picture posted on Craigslist, I was not expecting anything of this size.  It's has to be almost 3' wide and is as tall as a young adult.  I'm almost a little scared to build a fire in it for fear we could roast the entire neighborhood.  Justin, on the other hand, is pumped.  He brought home some firewood this evening and ordered a rack to store it on.  Our entertaining area is finally starting to happen...Justin has his fire it's time to wait and see if I can score a great deal on "my" dining set!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Refinishing Project

When mentally re-designing our bedroom, I was super excited about reusing a little table I had in the basement.  In my head it made the perfect nighstand!

Well....once placed next to the bed, it was WAY too small.  The search was on for something new.

I came across the perfect nighstand on Pottery Barn's website...I especially loved the green one!  Then I saw the price tag.  $600 before taxes and shipping?!  I fell out of love with it in about 2 seconds.

A few days later, Joanie's Junk--a store in Morganville--posted an old wash stand on their Facebook page.  It was the perfect height so I told her to hold it for me and we'd get it picked up ASAP.  I should rephrase that--Mom would pick it up ASAP.  The price was just right and I didn't want to risk someone else taking it home!

The little oak stand was a perfect fit for our bedroom.  But oak floors AND an oak night stand?  I hadn't thought about the wood-on-wood effect so I decided to refinish it.

After all, it had TONS of storage...just what we need!

After a fresh coat of lavendar paint, new hardware and painting in the carved flowers the former wash stand no longer lost itself against our flooring.

A close-up of the detail work...

The inside of the top drawer...great way to put scrapbook paper to use!

The middle drawer...

The bottom right cubby...

The bottom square drawer...

After moving the night stand back into the bedroom, Justin took 1 step back and said..."This room looks way more cozy then it used to...almost like a baby-making room."  WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?!  Please--trust me--that is not my intention by any means!!!  I just want a room that is welcoming at the end of the day.  A screaming baby does nothing to help me achieve that goal.

Hopefully, our bed will be put together by next weekend.  That is...if the correct parts arrive by then.  They were supposed to be here this past week.  And now next week is the new deadline.  I'm not holding my breath.  That story warrants its own post!

Hoewever, once we get the headboard up I can start accessorizing around it.  A tray on the nightstand and a different lamp orange pom-pom area rug...a new coat of paint for our dressing mirror...and finally some wall art.  I absolutely love our second-hand dresser but my feelings wouldn't be hurt if I stumbled upon something else that would be an even better fit for our room!