Saturday, August 31, 2013

Week 31 & Plenty of Excitement!

This week has been full of excitement!

I returned to work from my week "vacation" and found out that the agent who was backing me up worked her BUTT off while I was gone!  During the seven days I was out, she got two houses under contract for me, started negotiations on an offer for a third set of buyers and also took care of the inspections for a fourth set of my buyers.  With that kind of productivity, maybe I should take more time off?!

The painters continued the work on our house.  They originally estimated the project to take 7-8 business days.  Let's just say that they've been here for 9 days and there is STILL a lot of painting to be done!  However, their attention to detail is impeccable and when it's all said and done, the wait will be worth it.  In fact, we've already noticed the neighbors down the street trying to sneak a peak!

We're also starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the garage remodel.  All three sides have been re-framed and new siding hung, so now we just need to get a new garage door ordered and we can finish up the front!  Last step will be insulating the interior and painting it to match the house!

With the front still unfinished, it looks a little crazy--BUT, the siding is a huge improvement from what used to be there...

While I'm thinking of our house projects--the one thing I wanted to achieve after putting on a new roof and getting a fresh coat of paint was to get rid of this HIDEOUS vent.  It's literally two metal vents screwed into a piece of plywood, that was then screwed into the opening for the original dormer window.  Whoever thought this was a bright idea was an idiot!

With some additional roof ventilation, our roofer gave us the blessing to make the switch!  With that, Justin crawled into our attic to remove the hideous vent and install the original dormer window! And of course, I had him do it on a day when the heat index was hovering around 100 degrees...

Even though I told him he won Husband-of-the-Year, Mr. Grouchy Pants wasn't too thrilled about over-heating after already spending all day out in the hot sun...but hey, the window is back in place AND his wife is beyond happy.  Once the dormer is repainted and the window re-glazed, I'm pretty sure he'll have a big smile on his face!

But to be honest, he's already BEAMING.  And it has nothing to do with the house!

For months, Justin has been studying for his International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist test...he'd wake up about 4am, study until it was time for work, come home and spend the rest of the evening studying.  He truly did nothing but work and study!  The test was on August 16th and they said it would take 4-6 weeks to receive the results...

Well, a packet arrived in Thursday's mail and the results were inside--he passed!  Not too surprising, considering he could tell you everything you'd ever want to know about trees--and then some!  But now, he isn't just a "tree expert"--he can tell you about all sorts of woody plants!  

And of course, if you live anywhere in Kansas, you know that Friday was the start of K-State's football season!  The new West Stadium addition was complete, the Bill Snyder statue was ready to be revealed, Purple Power Play ran for two nights--the town was abuzz with excitement!

I started Friday morning by making Justin help with a "festive" photo shoot.  I was pregnant during the Spring Game, but was fighting some major allergies that day (soooo can't wait to be able to get my allergy shots again!) so I missed the game.  Friday marked baby's "first time" in football purple!  And plus, we needed a week 31 pic!

The morning started out at the KMAN radio Campaign Chair for our United Way 2013 Campaign, I was interviewed alongside our Board President for our back Kick-Off Event that was planned for the following morning.  By the time we left, traffic had already picked up and because my office is within walking distance of the stadium, all I could think about was how I wanted to leave work at the end of the day and NOT get hit!

Well, I think I jinxed myself.  As I drove from the KMAN studio to my office, I totally got rear-ended at a stoplight by an out-of-town K-State fan!  The other driver was freaking out about missing the dedication ceremony for the new stadium...the hormonal side of me wanted to smack some sense into her!  I don't like to throw pity parties, but seriously!  There I am--nearly 8-months pregnant, standing around in the heat while we wait for the police to arrive and file a report, missing appointments with clients (and missing more work so the doctor could check me out that afternoon) and she's worried about being late to a $#%*@^# dedication ceremony?!  

Fortunately, my regular doctor was able to see me later in the day and after consulting with my OB-GYN, they both felt that baby was doing fine.  And I was fine.  But my concern--and Justin's, too--was that we wanted to make sure the impact didn't cause any problems.  And thank the Good Lord, it didn't!  But if anything, talk about a reality check--this baby hasn't even been born yet, and I was already about to go into Mama Bear mode!  

At this rate, we're looking forward to a less exciting Labor Day weekend.  Part of the weekend will be spent working, but we'll also be able to squeeze in some time for family and fun.  Oh, and hopefully, some rest!  I am becoming a HUGE fan of sitting on my butt for a few minutes :-)  I still haven't had a chance to make friends with our couch and TV, but I'm sure that in about 8 weeks, I'll have plenty of time to hang out around the house!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 30 & Life In a Construction Zone

Is it okay to admit that I want to run away from my house and hide?!

Around the first of August, my broker convinced me to take a week off from work.  It had been one helluva year for real estate--I hadn't taken any time off in the past 14 months and as luck had it, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, the market REALLY heated up.  And that was back in late February!  Since then, a "normal" week has been 70-80 hours and I've had one or two "slow" weeks that had me averaging about 40-50 hours.  And I managed to take off two entire days (Memorial Weekend) since February.  With a baby soon on the way, my broker knew that 1) I had to be just plain exhausted and 2) I would never have another chance to relax and have a little down time.  With that, I recruited another agent to work my transactions while I took a week off...and the countdown to having an entire week off began!

FINALLY, my week of down time was here!  And then the phone calls came in.

After a 3-month wait, our painters could start on the house this week.

Our windows (that had been back-ordered for nearly a month) were ready to be installed.

Justin's buddies had extra time to work on our garage.

And to top it off, the roofers figured out a way to make my dreams come true (and not in a dirty way, but more on that later!).

Holy crap.  Are you freakin' kidding me?!

Knowing that we needed to get the jobs done while the contractors were available, and before a baby has to live through the mess, we said COME ON OVER!

With that, the painters showed up Tuesday morning as I was getting ready to leave with my mom and niece for a Girls' Day Out.  I knew it would be a mess and was more than happy to leave town and do some shopping!  Mom's first stop of the day, ironically enough, was at a liquor much as I wanted to have a drink, I have to admit my niece was SUPER excited to be surrounded by bottles of booze!
Another ornery smile for the camera!  Some day she'll realize you DON'T want to give yourself a double-chin for pictures ;-)

Once we did all the damage we could do in Topeka, it was time to head home and check on the day's progress.  The painters spent an ENTIRE day prepping the north-side of our house...what a reminder of WHY we're paying them to do the work!
Lots of scraping, sanding and caulking!

Remnants of the home's 90-year history...and all the chalky residue from years of moisture penetration is now gone!

I feel like our yard looks like a flea market.  This is what it looks like (both side yards are full of crap, too!) when they're packed up and gone for the day!

After evaluating their progress, it was time to pack up the inside of our house to make room for the window installation.  Everything, in all the rooms, got pushed to the was quite fun waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and having your bed in a totally different spot!  And no side table to grab onto so you don't have to roll off the edge just to get out of bed....ooooops!  Should have thought that one through :-)

Wednesday morning rolled around and the window contractor was ready to start work at 7:15 am!

Replacing the windows was a hard decision for me--not so much for Justin, as he was always eager to do it.  I'm the first one to judge people for ripping out original windows and replacing them with vinyl.  Just drives me nuts--a GOOD storm window will do so much good and they're less expensive!  After purchasing our house, I convinced Justin we should just invest in those "good" storm windows that I've always been a fan of.  But we ran into a problem--we could NOT get the existing storm windows off the house...

So, we lived with the windows as they were for a few more years.  But the problems started to compound.  I couldn't open the windows on my own--most of the time, Justin struggled to open them, too.  For a few summers, we lost power for extended periods of time (meaning, multiple days) and our house became an inferno.  Numerous panes were cracked.  The weights were broken.  All the windows needed re-glazed.  I called my window buddy in because if anyone can save old windows, he can do it.  Unfortunately, the repair expense was going to be about the same as doing a total replacement.  And because I've referred so much business to him, he gave us an amazing discount so we said, DO IT.  The hormonal me kinda wanted to cry because I felt like I was betraying everything I had ever preached, but also knowing that we'd only be in our house a few more years, the Realtor in me accepted that new windows would help with re-sale.

Once they started in, I remembered why we decided to pay someone else to do the job...when it came time to remove the storm windows, it was a HUGE pain!  Took a good 20-30 minutes per storm!  Turns out, the storm windows were not only screwed into the frame, but also caulked over AND painted over.  They never before had so much difficulty taking off storms!

Once the storms came off, this is how the windows looked!

Then, the replacements started to go in.  And I started to smile :-)  For once, we could truly see out our windows!
Replacement window on the far left, original windows on the right

While the windows were being installed, the painters were still hard at work.  They had 6 people prepping the backside and south side of the house, while their carpenter tore into our porch columns.

Ohhh, our poor porch columns...the base trim had been separated when we bought the house and it appeared to have been that way for a LONG time.  The painters were going to pull off the trim and re-install it...

But once they removed the trim, they realized the columns weren't sitting on ANYTHING but the trim pieces.  And this supported our porch roof for 90 years?!  Needless to say, they had to jack up the porch roof, cut new (solid) base pieces and trim for all the columns in hopes that we will continue to have a roof over our head--literally!

On the upside, so much has already been accomplished!  The windows are all in and looking AMAZING!  So, so glad we made the leap.  Oh, and just last night, we already noticed how much sound they block!  Just can't wait to see what our utility bills start to average for the coming year :-)

The painters continue to labor away.  Today, they're prepping the front of the house--TONS of sanding and filling in gaps.  I truly pity the person who gets the task of caulking our beadboard porch ceiling...because most every single inch of that ceiling needs caulked!   At last count, there's at least 5 more days of prep and painting to be done, so it will be fun to watch it all unfold.

And fortunately, progress is being made with our garage...we just might have it done before the baby arrives!

In just a few afternoons, it went from this:

To this... 

To this.

The north and west walls have been framed and plywood hung.  This evening, the guys will hang plywood on the south side, then move on to the east side and figure out something with the garage door.  Until we figure out what we'll do about refacing the door, the guys can start hanging the wood siding and we'll be nearly done!  

In the meantime, baby girl will just continue to acclimate to lots of noise!

This week marked week 30 and because I never remember to have Justin take a picture when he's around, I resorted to taking some "selfies."  I feel so dumb photographing myself (okay, I even feel dumb trying to smile for Justin!) but I know that down the road, we'll be glad we were able to (somewhat) frequently document the baby's growth!

Until the shape changes, I'm going to call my bump my "camel humps."  Seriously--I thought that by week 30, your belly was supposed to be nice and round?!  But nope, mine just sticks out like there's a torpedo in there!
Definitely gaining enough extra mass in the front that, one of these days, I may just tip over!
As much as this construction mess and noise is wearing on me (and killing the "point" of my vacation), Justin keeps reminding me that it's good "practice" for the chaos that will ensue once baby girl is here.  And he's certainly right in that life will be more chaotic than we ever imagined...I'm just glad that the construction mess is temporary and she'll have a beautifully painted house to come home to and a nursery that's not leaking cold air or lots of street noise!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello, Third Trimester!

The title says it all.

The third trimester is here!

Where HAS the time gone?! I felt this way around week 21, but here we are 7 weeks later and that seems like just yesterday.  Literally!  And to think that we're just about 12 weeks away from our Halloween due date!  Eeeeek!

Considering how quickly time is flying by, I'm just glad we got a head start on a lot of the big things!

We enrolled in a bunch of childbirth/breastfeeding/baby CPR/daddy boot camp classes at our local hospital--they start in a few weeks and last through most of September.  Justin and I seriously need all the help we can get when it comes to this baby thing!  Though we know how to stare at a baby and go "ohhhhh, they're so cute!", we have no idea how to actually CARE for a newborn so you know we'll be all eyes and ears!

On a similar note, Justin's insurance has an "incentive" program that we're also enrolled in...if we attend  every-other doctor appointment and call them when the baby's born, we get a $250 gift card!  Yup, no joke!  It doesn't even require that we attend the classes!  Seriously, they have to bribe people to show up to just HALF of their prenatal appointments?!  Oh, that's right...I did work in social services and I do know that for various reasons, some people don't take proper care of themselves and their baby...beyond sad.  And beyond sad that insurance companies are now bribing people just to show up to only half of their appointments!

The nursery continues to come together.  Several posts ago, I shared my "inspiration" for the nursery...really, it's just a hodgepodge of stuff that has a similar color scheme.  VERY eclectic, to say the least!

And fortunately, we assembled the crib and changing some time ago.  At the time, I remember it felt SO premature, but now that squatting for very long is quite uncomfortable, I'm glad we did it when I still had the energy to move and boss Justin around :-)  It was also the motivation I needed to change the wall color from K-State purple to a shade of turquoise!

However, if you were to walk into the nursery at any given moment, it would NOT look like the above picture!  It's a total disaster zone!  We've hung the curtains (but they still need the creases ironed out!), hung up some wall art, found a lamp base for the lamp shade that inspired this whole thing and found a mirror that needs to be hung yet.  We've just been waiting for the final two pieces to be dealt with--the hutch and rocking chair.

The hutch is ready to be picked up this weekend---eeek!  I'm super excited to see it!  I found it on Craigslist (go figure!) and it dates back to the 1950s.  I never knew WHAT kind of wood the hutch was made out of, but according to the guy we hired to refinish it, it's solid oak that was given a "pickle" finish to make it more blonde.  The goal is to remove the pickling and return it to it's natural color (with maybe a bit of the white still deep down in the grain)--I have an idea of what the finished product will look like but I'll have to wait until I get off work on Saturday to see how it turned out!  Like I told Justin, who knows--if it refinishes as well as I think it might, my crazy, cheap Craigslist find might end up turning into an heirloom piece of furniture for our little family!
The "pickled" hutch--holding all our junk and just waiting to be refinished!

And here's proof of the nursery's current state!  On any given day, it's cluttered with stuff that still needs dealt with--and Mitzi.  Mitzi just LOVES the nasty rocker and fortunately for her, both she and I can fit in it together....but I'm not sure how well that's going to work once the baby arrives!
Just waiting for Mitzi's newest favorite chair to be reupholstered, as well!

Once the rocker is reupholstered and decor hung on the walls, I think the nursery will be finished!  At that point, we can sit back and watch my belly continue to grow!

When I hit week 26, I realized I hadn't taken a new picture so we waited until a play date with my niece so that she could be included in the "documentation."

Miss Marcella is now 20-months old and boy, is her personality coming alive!  If you ask her parents, they will tell you the she and I share the same personality...kinda scary, especially considering how stubborn they say she can be!  lol...oh well, at least they know what I'm like and they can start to prepare themselves for a hard-headed daughter!

Anyhow, for the pictures, I tried to get Marcella to point to where the baby is...and well, it didn't start out so well!  She first pointed at her knee and when we said, "No!  The baby's not in your knee!" she then started to cheese the most ornery smile and well, never stopped being ornery!  We tried everything we could to get her to flash one of her sweet smiles for us...

And finally, the orneriness wore off!  She started pointing at my belly and then put her hand on it!  Fortunately, Justin was able to capture one of her more serious moments.  In years to come, it will be a great picture to look back at and I just hope that I remember to put it in the baby book!

And now, here we are at week 28 and the start of the third trimester!!

This time around, Justin was out of town at a train-the-trainer workshop for Asplundh, if I wanted a picture, it was a cheesy self-portrait or nothing!

Quite obviously, I'm finally starting to grow and show!  People are still surprised to hear how far along I am--one of the gals at my office asked the other day if I was at 4 months and before I could answer, the other one said, "No--she's five months along."  No.  And No!   :-)  lol...the one downfall to carrying this baby high and tight is the lack of special "privileges"(cutting lines, being TOLD to back off, etc)  from complete strangers, but that will probably come with a bit more growth!  Per our bathroom scale, I've gained about a total of 15 doesn't really seem like it until I go to get out of bed and holy cow, I move like a beached whale!  I love, love, love our Tempurpedic but they're not the best for  helping a pregnant woman "boost" herself out of bed!

Well, folks--I think that's all for now!  Until next time...