Thursday, July 16, 2009

Living Room Paint

Got to make this post quick- I'm supposed to be throwing some things in the truck and letting the dog out to pee. It's 2:35 am, I've not done much packing, and I am a good hour or so from the house- blah!

Last night, as I pulled into the driveway, my husband found a stray beagle/basset dog outside. We brought her in the yard. A few minutes later, we found a black lab puppy. Neither had tags and we assumed from their friendliness that they belonged together.

Later, the people who live behind us came home. The beaglish dog is theirs. The other is a stray. We let it eat Chinese food (our first meal in the Winkler) with us and gave it some water. This morning I came out to find it had a dug under the fence and gone on it's merry way. For those of you wondering, we won't be bringing our pets over until we get the furniture in- and we need to go buy a rabbit hutch. The bunny's just had free reign to the bathroom for the past 8 months and has outgrown her cage.

My little one, covered from head to toe in sweet and sour sauce. She likes to dip her lo mein- which she eats without utensils...

My daughters, keeping themselves entertained.

Painting the living room:

My husband's new fancy-pants tv. (It's not hooked up yet.)

Fridge story, short version: Saleslady forgot we were supposed to have one, gave us a promisory note that it would arrive the day after we closed. It was supposed to be a basic black refrigerator. It did not arrive. Was rescheduled to come the next morning- it did not. Called our builder and our saleslady. Extremely accomidating team pulled the super upgraded fridge from the just-built house next door and installed it my house this afternoon. Hooray!

empty, painted nook, waiting for it's fridge

Appliance guys had to remove our front door to get it in. It's enormous!

I went shopping grocery shopping after this.

Current verion of the front room:
egg-crate covered with throw blankets, empty card board boxes

Girls watching a movie in their room.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First Night In Our Own Place

Last night the title people dropped off our keys at the model home office in our neighborhood. I had gone back to the apartment for a load of goods- met my husband at the Winkler.

Had to make it official:
He carried me over the threshold.

(Apologies- my camera is still acting up, so the pictures are from a camera phone, and they were taken by my seven year old.)

Our To-Do List started with Stain Gard-ing the carpet and sealing the grout. We ran out of product for both projects, so today I bought more. Last night I also started on the painting.

My shirt has a turtle on it- and it says "Speed Kills," AND it glows in the dark! heeheehee (I bought it when I was 19.)

If I could start a new club, it would be the I Hate Painter's Tape Club. I only painted the 5 little angular walls that make up the refrigerator nook and pantry walls. I did the stop lines for the ceiling by hand and thought they looked darn good- until I got the idea that placing painters tape across the ceiling line would make my lines perfectly straight... I put the tape around the pantry door frame as well. BLARG! Once it was dry, and I removed the tape. To my horror, little tiny bits of paint had oozed under the tape, so my formerly pretty straight hand-done lines, now had many, many, many paint blobbies- all around the ceiling edge and actually on the caulking around the pantry door!

At this point I had already cleaned up my painting supplies and moved on to other chores- so I had to get the paint back out and the drop cloth and go back and do the lines again, making them go even higher than I had intended. poo.

At least it was just on the tiny walls. Now I've learned not to second guess my handiwork, so tonight's round of painting should run much smoother.

So, for now, the fridge nook and pantry corner are painted Gentle Fawn- the color of a warm cup of cocoa.

The fridge was delivered to our builder late today, so he'll install it early tomorrow. I plan on painting the dining room walls tonight. I went to Home Depot today and got a gallon of Behr's flat enamel paint in Neptune Blue570F-6. It's in the middle, one row up from the bottom. You can enlarge the image by clicking on it.

Well, it's back to packing!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 71: Closing!

We were supposed to close last Friday- I'm not sure why we didn't. But they rescheduled us for today at noon, then moved us to one o'clock. The house is technically in my husband's name, so he had to do most of the signing. I did get to initial a few things. :)

This page made me laugh- it's a "Certificate of Achievement."

We gave them some money, they gave us copies of everything. All we're missing now are our keys... the courier hasn't arrived yet. blah!

So now I'm at the apartment, loading some stuff for tonight. The plan is for my husband to pick up the keys when he gets off work- hopefully they'll be there!

If not, we're hoping the saleslady will let us in- seeing as we have the documentation proving it's now OUR house... we're officially home-owners!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 69

The USDA paperwork came in yesterday- we're definitely approved! Unfortunately they couldn't fit us in yesterday over at the closing place. They have scheduled us for Monday at noon!

Did I post about my cactus? I can't remember, so I will just tell you now. I have wanted a prickly pear cactus for some time. So pretty- and I think they'd be a great theft deterrent if planted under our windows.

I love the drive to our aunt's house. The road is lined with them- sprawling green teardrops with lovely yellow blossoms. I enjoy the red variety, as well. I'm also curious about the prickly pears themselves. I saw some in the produce department the other day. I think I'll buy some next time. The stem part of the cactus is also edible. You can buy it in jars at the grocery store- they are called nopales. Tasty in scrambled eggs.

Cactus ripe with pears- also called figs. (image from Wikipedia.)

I stopped at Lowe's a few weeks ago to look in the garden center. They have several ornamental mini cacti, but no prickly pears. I asked the sales clerk and he told me I could just put on some heavy duty gloves and go find a wild one, lop off one of the segments and go from there.

Last week I had to run an errand on the square, and there- in an enormous flower pot, was a massive prickly pear cactus, yellow flowers basking in the sun. And laying on the sidewalk were two segments! I grabbed a bag from my car and brought them with me. One segment is the standard size, the other is so tiny! I stopped at the library and checked out a few cacti books.

Prickly pears are in the Opuntia family. Members of the opuntia family have two types of spines- the big obvious ones, and little tiny, nearly invisible ones called glochids- which hurt severely I must say. You have to carefully peel prickly pears before you eat them- injesting the glochids will cause severe discomfort. Opuntia varities are easily propagated by simply placing a severed segment in the proper type of soil. I've planted mine in a pot for the time being. After they have sprouted roots I'll transplant them to our yard. Oh, joy!

Another Wikipedia image- hopefully our flowers will be this pretty.


Today we took a trip to Home Depot. We had a gift card. After brainstorming everything we might possibly need immediately upon move in, we bought the following items:

  • 2 emergency escape ladders for our bedrooms- they have hooks at the top for placing over the window ledge, and drop down rope ladders for escaping in case of a fire.
  • vacuum cleaner- I've not had one for the past year. yuck!
  • fire extinguisher
  • drop cloths for painting
  • oven cleaner- to clean the apartment's oven
  • Murphy Oil- to care for our cabinets
  • hose, sprinkler, spray nozzle, hose mount
  • Scotch Gard for carpets
  • broom
  • hand-held vacuum with pet hair removing feature
  • grout sealer
  • paint guide, tape, brushes, rollers, paint tray and liners
  • 2 door mats, green and tan striped
  • small nails and pictures hangers
  • tan paint for living room (will deepen leftovers to dark brown for master bathroom)
  • blue paint for master bedroom (wiil deepen leftovers for dining accent wall)
  • light turquoise paint for girls' room
  • purple paint for girls' bathroom
  • Pur faucet mounted water purifier
  • extension cord
Here are the paint colors we bought:
It's all Glidden paint in a flat finish, except for the purple- we got it in a satin finish because of it's improved mildew fighting abilities.

We bought one gallon of Tropical Lagoon GLB20, one gallon of Steel Blue GLB21, a quart of Lilac Bouquet GLV09, and 2 gallons of Gentle Fawn GLN02.

After I've finished those rooms, I'll take any remaining Gentle Fawn back to have a chocolate brown and some mildew repellent added to paint our master bathroom, and some dark blue added to the Steel Blue to do the accent wall in the kitchen/dining.

We're having conceptual issues at this point. The archway in the living room presents an issue- the corners there are also rounded so there's not a defined "stop painting here" line. Should we even paint that wall? Or will we have to continue the paint into the entry way so it doesn't look weird. And I really want a blue accent wall in the kitchen. So that big room would have one blue wall, two tan walls, and if we don't paint the archway wall- it'd also have a cream colored wall. Isn't that too much?

Also, I want our powder room to be a deep red- but it's a small room. Would that be overwhelming? I already have the towels and rug for in there... Help!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 67: Walk Thru #2

Went out sans husband (he was at work) for the final walk thru today. Just about everything from the list was fixed.

This is what was lacking:
  1. Mutant ants were still there. The exterminator was scheduled to come at 5- I was there at 4. He's supposed to leave a slip on the counter as proof that he did his thing.
  2. The fridge will arrive on Tuesday.
  3. The light above the powder room sink will be fixed tomorrow. The guy was there trying to do it during my walk thru but was missing something and will come back tomorrow.
  4. The back sidewalk was repaired, but it is quite obvious. Supposedly, they stained it to match after I left today.

Here's what our door and post look like now that they are the right color. The door looked a little streaky- maybe because they just painted it? It's an olivey- forest green.I tried to get a shot from further back to give you the over-all effect, but it was just too sunny for my camera phone. (My actual camera has lost it's mind. Or it's eye-sight I should say. It keeps saying "lens error" and won't take any pictures.)

The shelf in the master bedroom's walk in closet is a thing of the past. The new shelves in the front room's closet nook look fabulous. (There was no charge to rip them out and relocate them. Am I supposed to tip someone?)

Our blinds are in! Reuben, our builder, was the guy who did this walk thru with me. He's in charge of all the ordering and such. He had ordered the blinds for our house prior to the paperwork for us being turned in 2 months ago. He thought it was going to be a "spec" house- and they always do lots of upgrades in those. Therefore, we got faux wood blinds instead of the crappy metal ones. They close with an overlap, reducing your A/C's struggle to heat or cool you home. Awesome- especially because our blinds were free. When we were doing our upgrades, the saleslady talked us into some pretty cool stuff and then felt bad when we hit our budget cap- which is why she threw the blinds in for free. (An A/C note: we only have one unit, but it has some sort of a switch on it so we can set the upstairs and downstairs to different temperatures.)
This is the front window- the front door is on the left and the coat closet on the right.

dining/living rooms

Reuben gave me a reference sheet for the house- when to clean things and with what, how to care for the tile and how often to treat the cabinets. He said builders don't seal the grout on tile- it's the home owner's job. So he told me what to buy at Home Depot and how to do it. Sounds easy enough.

He also said that during our first week, if we need anything, to call him instead of the warranty company. They still have about 400 houses to build in the neighborhood so he'll be around. One example he gave: When we move in furniture, it's likely that we'll hit the wall and corners by the stairs which can chip the texture off the wall or scuff the paint. Instead of using our patch kit, we can just call him and he will touch it up for free.

He gave me a typed up paper from our saleslady promising that our fridge will be in on Tuesday, and have an icemaker. Reuben ordered it- he confirmed that it will be black. I had him write on that sheet that the light will be fixed and that the exterminator is supposed to come.

When I was leaving I met the neighbor that lives directly behind us- another police officer. (A constable lives a few houses down from us. Anyone know what a constable is?)

We were supposed to close tomorrow. However, we applied for a USDA loan. The paper work has net yet returned. There is a possibility that it could arrive some time tomorrow and we can go close, but if not, we'll have to wait til sometime next week.

(The USDA gives loans to get people to move out to farm land-type areas. Our house is on the furthest edge of town, by goat farms and cows. Fortunately, it's also only 10-15 minutes away from downtown.)

After closing we'll have two days to get all our utilities switched over. Reuben said the first thing we should do after closing is head to the house with our keys. Apparently the house has magic locks on it! The builder and sales key work until the home owner keys are inserted. At that point, some little metal thing inside flops down and locks out any other keys. Neat-O.


We went to Ikea last week and I found a large area rug on clearance for $125. My husband scoffed at the price, but I've been in the market for some time now and know that's an excellent price for a rug of that size. It's actually the perfect funky shade of green to match our existing living room pieces. And I'm insisting on an area rug because our carpet is just so lovely. I want to protect our high-traffic areas. If that rug is still there after we close, it's as good as mine.

This isn't the rug- although I like this one- but it's in that color family.

I'd also been searching for a train table for my daughters. They are very pricey new ($100+) , so I was hunting Craigslist. None of the people I contacted got back with me. Their loss- as I went to the Pottery Barn Outlet and found my own version. Technically it's a media base, but it'll certainly work in the playroom. Found it in the clearance section for $40 plus everything in the store was an addition 10% off for the holiday weekend. The outlet sticker says $149.99 and the Pottery Barn website has it listed for over $350!

This is what it looks like, but the one I bought is red. It's a little scuffed up on one side, but I can paint it. I got it for less than I would have paid for a used play table, so I won't complain. Lots of storage space with the drawers and cubbies. As a bonus, we can still use it when my girls have outgrown trains and doll houses. Score!

I realize this bedding is pretty youthful looking, but I still like it. It's my favorite colors, so it's my inspiration for the down stairs color scheme. Plus it has such a nice worldly pattern, reminds me of those Mexican tiles I love. This is part of the back-to-college collection at Target. And now it's my kitchen inspiration. I tried to find pictures of the things I bought, but no dice. So I will simply tell you. There's this fabulous little 4x6 picture frame- I think I want to mount it on my pantry door. It's white, with turquoise and brown bloopies around the glass, and green flowers with blue dots along the edge. Lovely. I might go get another one. I also bought the case for one of those huge body pillows. Originally, I was going to make pillow covers for my couch pillows. I hate the ones we have. However, I don't want my living room to be too feminine. I took it out of the package and it is nearly the perfect size to be a table runner. After I get my sewing machine fixed I think I'll remove the back and line it with a nice contrasting fabric. Then I might take the back piece and turn it into a couple of place mats for the bar top. I also like the idea of buying a few more and making chair cushions- but again I don't want to overwhelm the eye with flowers and bloopies, so maybe just solid cushions with pops of color on the table tops.

I also bought a package of kitchen towels at Target. There's a yellow one in there that I'm not too keen on, but I really like the brightly colored one. It's blue and white, with yellow and I think some green. It's one of the few things I've already packed...

My daughters' bathroom will be shades of blue, green, purple, and white- with a puppy and kitty theme. I found this frame at Target on clearance for $2. I LOVE this picture of my girls, fresh from the tub, wrapped in their puppy towels! I want to install a shelf in their bathroom to showcase it.

An extended member of our family recently moved and has an abundance of boxes. We went by their house last weekend and loaded up the truck. My dining room table is covered in them. Now if I can just muster the motivation to pack! This will be our 3rd move in less than a year... and hopefully our last for some time!

What a bundle of nerves I've been. Well, it'll all be over soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 65 : Walk Thru #1

Today we went out and met with our representative from Warranty Pro. I believe his name was Ken. Warranty Pro is a 3rd party company, hired by our builder. Ken gave us a Home Orientation and did a home inspection.

Together, we did Walk Thru #1 and compiled our Pre-Close List- the official "fix list." The list will be submitted to the builder, who will fix whatever we've pointed out. Then -without the warranty guy- I'll go back for Walk Thru #2, also known as the Acknowledgment of Completion inspection.

We also went around with little circle stickers and marked things- blue for paint touch-ups, orange for drywall repairs. The baby went around behind us, peeling them off...

There might be some items on our Pre-Close List that won't be taken care of. They'll explain those things to us then.

Walk Thru #2 is set for Thursday at 4, which gives them just one day to complete everything, or give us written statements that the remainder will be taken care of. I've transcribed our "fix list," and added a description beneath it.

This is what our Pre-Close List looks like:

Home Orientation List, Attchment "A"
  1. Bath (2nd/hall) - cabinet- repair/adjust (cut off nails of the toilet paper holder)
  2. Bath (2nd/hall) - floor-vinyl- loose at tub
  3. Bath (2nd/hall) - tub-repair (slow drain)
  4. Bedroom (2nd/middle left) - outlets- mount (secure/1)
  5. Hall (2nd) - attic pull down - repair, too long
  6. Bath (hall) - cabinet- reapir/adjust (shelf not installed left of oven, needs clips)
  7. Bath (hall) - light (toilet) center over sink, aprox. 1" off
  8. Bath (master) - cabinet trim (toilet paper holder screws)
  9. *Bedroom (master) - rod closet repair (buyer wants shelves removed, rod extended Buyer Issue
  10. Hall (foyer) - door (hall) adjust (strike plate/latch does not engage)
  11. Hall (foyer) - DW/texture- over cut at door>1/2" on both sides of the door on the closet side
  12. Hall - door (closet/exterior/linen) hardware ALL 1st floor strike plates have been painted
  13. Hall - Thermostat repair (not cooling/ very little air flow)
  14. +House - blinds- install [complete only if in contract]
  15. Kitchen - appliance- dishwasher- repair EL (door will not latch)
  16. Kitchen - appliance- oven- install anti-tip
  17. +Kitchen - appliance- refrigerator- missing [complete only if in contract]
  18. Kitchen -door (exterior) adjust strike plate/ >18" of excessive daylight is visible upper right)
  19. Kitchen - door (exterior) clean (threshold tape residue)
  20. Kitchen - door (exterior) weather weather stripping improperly installed in jamb, not in the groove
  21. Stairs - first riser>1" wide gap, right side of riser and the wall
  22. AC Cond. - Repair, out of level >1"
  23. *Door (entry) - inspect- wrong color, so is column [Buyer Issue]
  24. Flashing (right) - missing (cornice return, left and right side of home)
  25. Flat Work (walkway) - edge damaged (rear 2nd panel from home, corner repair is detaching)
  26. *Landscaping (front) - buyer wants red ant nest killed [Buyer Issue]
  27. Address -incorrect
+indicate an item that is contractual and WarrantyPro has no information or opinion
*indicate an item which WarrantyPro does not see as an issus but the home buyer does

Explanation of our list:

(1,2,3,8) The screws that hold the toilet paper holder to the cabinet poke into the cabinet- they're sharp! It's the same in all the bathrooms. In the girls' bathroom the flooring near the tub is curling up and the tub has a slow drain.

(4) There's an outlet in the girls' bedroom that is not tight enough- it wiggles.

(5) The ladder on the attic's drop down door is too long and makes climbing up awkward and probably dangerous seeing as it's at the top of our regular staircase.

(6) It's actually one of the cabinets in the kitchen. There's some sort of pipe coming out of the wall in the cabinet, so the shelf is just laying inside. They'll attach it high inside so that I still have storage.

(7) The light over the powder room sink is off-center.

(9) After we made an issue about having the shelves installed in our master closet, we decided we don't want them. They had to take out most of the closet rod to get them in there. So now there's not really mush closet space. My husband said that because it was my idea in the first place, I had to tell the builder to take them out...Instead, we'll have shelves put in the playroom closet. There's a nook in there, perfectly suited for shelves- not costing us any closet rod space.

(10, 11) The door to the under stairs storage closet does not close all the way. Also, they had to rip out the wholr door frame to reverse the door from when it was hitting the archway. It looks fine on the outside, but it is a large walk in closet- from the inside it's a mess. There's a huge gap in the drywall all the way around the door.

(12) Not a big deal to us- My husband HATES that the door knobs and locks are all silver, but the hinges and banister supports are gold. Apparently that's standard in our subdivision. We asked to have the gold hardware painted. The WarrentyPro guy said they're technically not supposed to do that so he had to add it to the list. The paint on the door latches is already scratching off- but that's on the inside of the door frame- not something you typically look at.

(13) MAJOR ISSUE. The AC doesn't work. It was faintly blowing air- but the house registered at 90 degrees during our walk thru. It was set at 72. The baby was all sweaty and moody. blah!

(14, 17) The blinds haven't arrived yet. I don't have written confirmation about them yet. We've been told by the saleslady we'll have faux wood blinds. I also do not yet have written confirmation about the black fridge with ice-maker.

(15, 16) The dishwasher doesn't close all the way. When you open the oven, the whole stove tips over.

(18, 19, 20) The back door has a few issues. Light pours in around it when it's closed. There's gunk on the floor by the door, and the weather stripping is not on the right way.

(21) At the very bottom of the stair case, to the right of the first stair, there's a gap between the stair and the wall.

(22) Outside, in the backyard, the air conditioning unit tilts to one side.

(23, 27) They painted our front door and post, but they painted them the wrong color. Presently, they are what I'd call a burnt sienna color. They are supposed to be forest green- and when they took down our house numbers to paint the post, they put them back up in the wrong order.

(24) I don't know what flashing is, but he pointed to the place where it's supposed to be and there's a big yellow blob of hardened liquid insulation type stuff there. Looks yucky. It's between the two stories of the house. Apparently the flashing will cover it.

(25) The back sidewalk that leads from the driveway to the back porch was broken at some point. The repaired section is now pulling away.

(26) Those giant ants are still there. They've ripped all the leaves off the shrub in the front yard. I don't know if they bite, but they are at least as long as one of the letter keys on a computer keyboard. They are huge!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 62: Carpet

We got the call that our carpet had been installed. It's lovely! A soft, mild shag in a tan color, with dots of brown throughout. Still lots of minor things to finish, but it actually looks like a house now.

The windows have all been installed. The fence is up.

There's a sold sign in front of the house next door, but the one on the other side of it is still available. It's a two bedroom, mortgage is estimated at about $670 a month- beats an apartment! Come be our neighbors! Now back to pictures of our house:

right inside the front door, looking to the back of the house

The door frame to the under-stairs storage closet needs to be painted. They reversed the door for us because it was hitting the archway.

standing on the stair landing, looking down

The hardware is still a mix of silver and gold- a major offense to my husband. They'll be painting the gold white- like on the banister supports. Eventually we plan on replacing all the painted hardware with silver.

standing on the stair landing, looking up

The attic door needs to be painted. Also the ladder for it is too long. It's on our fix list.

walking into the kitchen

We got a bonus with our island top. The other neighbors with the Winkler model complained to the saleslady that the bar top was barely deep enough for a dinner plate, so she had our builder put in supports and make the counter deep enough to be a functional eating area.

standing in the dining room

I'm pretty non-confrontational - and I know the house is still incomplete, so I was hesitant to just come right out with what I was thinking. Instead I said "So all that's left is our blinds and refrigerator?"

The saleslady said "blinds? refrigerator?" We reminded her that we were promised them for free during the initial meeting. She said she needed to go back to the office and look through her paper work. Later she called and confirmed what we had said. Another bonus- instead of the basic metal blinds, we'll be getting the faux wood blinds.

standing in the living room

The fridge goes in that hole to the left of the pantry. It is supposed to be black and have an ice-maker. It worries me that it isn't here yet because the black fridge in the model does not have an ice-maker, and we are scheduled to close on the 10th.

upstairs, in the play room

This was one of the last windows to be installed. Prior to having the electricity turned on, this window was the main source of air circulation, hence the nails and strips of plastic hanging from the top- remnants of the sheeting that kept out the rain.

master bedroom

You can see one of the many air return vents on the ceiling. Every room has one. They keep the air in each room moving. The filters inside should be replaced every few months, with the main filter for the A/C being replaced every month.