The Countdown

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Home Sweet Home

The last 3 weeks have completely kicked our bums.  We have lived in this house for two weeks, and I'm pretty sure unpacking will take a decade, give or take an eon.  

Backing up.

That sod problem?  It was fixed pretty much right after I posted the last update. The REAL kicker?  Monsoon season.

Mother Nature Reigns.  

Mother Nature Rains.

We were supposed to close on Tuesday after Memorial Day, when wouldn't you know it, Monday night, one of the most disastrous rainstorms/flash flooding incidents to even happen in Texas hit.  We were extremely lucky, even as we watched updates from our soon-to-be neighbor on the status of the lake around our soon-to-be house.

The water got about half way up the yard, and miraculously the sod did not float down the river of our street.  I know that many were not so lucky and that puts the inconvenience of a minor closing delay in perspective.

So our closing was pushed to late Wednesday afternoon and dragged into evening because we had to make about 15 different corrections to our HUD.  In the past decade, I have had to review 6 different HUD's.  In the six years of our daughter's life, this is her fourth home.  I know my way around closing documents at this point, which is not a goal I ever strived to attain.  I'm officially staying here forever.  Maybe.  Famous last words, right? 

Thursday, sweet moving day came, and I managed to start with the delightful setback of breaking a toe.  My fourth toe on my right foot actually.  Which is a completely useless toe honestly, and with the amount of a pain it is, I would be tempted to lop that sucker right off.  Discounted pedicures?

Andrew pretty much orchestrated the entire move, and hustled for 4 days straight like I have not witnessed before.  We had movers, but he and his dad emptied out storage unit and dragged all those boxes upstairs.  It was pure chaos.  Moving with 2 kids running under foot is an exercise in futility.  I really really really  don't like the act of moving, and I am greatful that Andrew managed that part basically on his own.  I was kid-wrangler, unpacker and box director.

The pay off is very sweet though.  Living here has been a dream come true in many ways.  I thought my commute would be so much more difficult.  It's not.  It's pretty easy and I feel like it's easier to get through our routine here.  I'm not exhausted getting the kids in the car in the morning.  I have energy when I get home from work.  I didn't even realize how much effort was going in to our life as it was.  It's not perfect, but it's more than I could have imagined.

The kids have adjusted really well and you can tell they are enjoying all the space.  They run the hallways daily screeching and laughing the whole way.  Lilly got to walk home from school on her last day of kindergarten which is pretty much the coolest thing ever to her.

Life is good.

A week after we moved in, we started the next project because, seize the moment people!  Pool construction is in full swing and we are all counting the days until we can let the kids out without having a heart attack that they will fall in a gaping concrete hole in the yard.  Also, the pterodactyls posing as mosquitoes are eating us alive, literally.  Not as much outdoor time as we would like, but we're hoping that gets better soon.  Meanwhile, dreaming of cold drinks poolside.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Buggering Sod

Six days to closing and we have found the culprit.  There is always something that threatens to hold us up on close, and this time it is grass.



Last time it was a bath tub and plumbing permit - this time it is something that doesn't even go in the house.  It doesn't even require a permit.

All that rain we've had this year?  The incessant deluge that has been this winter and spring?  Turns out that is a problem if you want to cut sod.  We are having zoysia grass put in, which will likely be even harder to get cut because there is less supply of it.

We need 3 days rain-free in order for it to be dry enough to cut, and then we cross our fingers that we can find enough zoysia somewhere.  So we are doing the opposite of what we usually do when praying to rain gods and asking them to cut us a break for a week.  I'm asking for a full week on behalf of our pool contractor who also is chomping at the bit to start digging a big hole in our yard. Because I imagine non-stop rain can create cash flow issues for pool builders who are paid on milestone completion.

We had preliminary walk-through yesterday which over all went pretty well. We opened every drawer, flushed every toilet, ran every faucet, and checked every light switch.  Andrew even felt every wall surface to make sure the paint was consistently the same finish.  There are several items still in progress but we are fairly confident that by our close on Tuesday  they can all be completed to our satisfaction.  

Except for the dang grass.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pushing through the Ugly

We have 2 weeks left - it is the anticipated countdown - and tensions and stress levels are peaking.  Everyone (including ourselves) just wants to have this project done, but it is easy to overlook things when so many details are being slammed together in the last moments.  It's got to be done right, we worked too hard to let things slide now.  So we are being careful, and critical and dare I say picky.  Because the details matter.  I can't look at a slightly crooked wall sconce every day.  I just can't.

The Punch (Me) List has started.

Floor stain choices - we went for the second from the left.

A front door, a very tall one!  Those windows are above me head and I'm not known for being petite in stature.

Toilets!  These are very important things.

Bricking is done!  Tiling of the phantom door/wall area is in progress.

Finished floors, not finished mantle and ceiling beam.

Slate is going in on the balcony.

Cork floors and carpet upstairs are done now.

And we have a sycamore tree!  I was not at all prepared for the cost of non-sapling trees and may have choked a little when we were given the price range.  But trees are worth it (I hope.  Please don't die Tree.).

Waiting for the venthood extension, but we have all appliances, minus the refrigerators, installed now.

One day my pool will come.

Come on in and stay a while!  We have a (really big) dining light!

Bathrooms are getting there, we have the  sinks in the master bath now, just waiting on mirrors.

Lighting in the cellar is ready and waiting for Andrew and his dad to build the shelving/storage.  Also, we are waiting on the refrigeration unit, which is kind of important in a cellar (so I've been told).  I like to think of the cellar as a cold panic room.

And in addition to the cell/panic room for escape, we have the glorious iPad.  Because the pressure we are experiencing is felt by the kids as well, and sometimes we just need to chill out, PBSkids style.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Should be Fingerprints : Polished Stainless Steel Countertops :: Red Wine : Wooden Countertops but it's not for my personal OCD

Voila! Le problème du jour:

This is already the second island countertop we've had installed as the first was the wrong size.  This one has a veggie sink in it though, so there's that.

However, we should have looked closer at the finish on that first slab, because...yeah...

I may have been inundated in Disney rhetoric last week, but Mirror, mirror on the...counter...was not exactly the look we were going for here.  We were thinking more like this:

We neglected to specifiy a brushed or satin finish in the initial specifications and so here we are with a polished stainless steel counter top.  Which, let's be frank, will be a nightmare for anyone with even the slightest hint of fingerprint OCD.  So there is troubleshooting options happening, including sandblasting the countertop while in place (is that even possible? Who knows but we aim to find out).  

Appliances have showed up andare slowly being installed, which means the house is now locked and alarmed at all times that subcontractors aren't working.  This made life interesting when Andrew "broke into" the house on our way back from the airport Sunday and set off the alarm.  Thanks for fielding our calls on a Sunday for alarm codes before the police arrived Mr. Contactor! 

The microwave drawer went in, and Lilly was quite excited that she can reach it to use it.  I told her she would be in huge trouble if she ever tried to put anything alive (like her brother) in it.  Rarely Known Fact: I have an irrational fear of live things ending up in the microwave, likely born from some kind of urban legend heard as a kid.  Makes me queasy even talking about it.

The lighting has gone in all around the house and these lights, which we were very unsure when choosing, have probably ended up being my favorite.  I'm digging the hammered look of brassy gold against the stainless steel (ugh).

The butler pantry butcher block counter is in and the backsplash tile has been started - have to be a little spunky with the tile where booze are served.  Everyone's response so far has been "wooden counters where you have wine?" Which I get, but aren't wine stains a sign that it is a house that is well loved and enjoyed?  Or at a minimum abstractly artistic in nature?  I make no sense at all, and I realize that.

Guest shower tile has been mostly completed and didn't turn out too badly really.  Mr. Tiler was excited for nothing perhaps?

Kids bath as well, although that grout seems to make a royal mess of things all around the work area.

Tile backsplash in the master bath is in progress...

...with the very blue shower waiting for grout.

The barm door hardware went in to seperate the master bath and bedroom, but now I am on the hunt for a funky door to replace this normal one with, so leads for fun door places are appreciated!

We have fans and lighting in all the rooms, which may look familiar as they are identical to our current fans.  What can we say, we like them.  And we got burnt out on making design decisions by the time we got to fans.

On the outside, the metal roof went on, giving the house a bit more of a contemporary vibe.

The balcony railings all got a coat of white paint and the balcony is now prepped and ready for gray slate flooring.

Three weeks and counting to close.  And seeing as we officially became homeless today and sold our home, it's a good thing we are on track with the new one.  Fingers crossed.