Tag Archives: home

July 2, 2013

A New Home (Sweet) Home: Part 3

(When we last left off, if you’ll remember, I had just dragged myself across the moving finish line only to begin a ten week home renovation sans my touring husband. We now return to our story already in progress…)

To be fair, there was no point in this home buying process that Todd said I had to get anything done to the house while he was gone, much less the whole thing by the time he returned. He’s not the kind of guy to make such demands of his gal, but I’m the kind of gal that (at times) makes crazy demands of said gal, and I really wanted to see if I could get the entire house done before he got home. By myself. AND, I also decided, that I wasn’t going to tell him color choices or send him photos of any of the progress while he was gone so he would be completely surprised by the finished product when he got home. Totally something a sane person would decide to do, right?

For the next ten weeks, my day consisted of the following schedule: day job from 8:00am-4:30pm, renovations from 4:30pm-9:00pm, dinner from 9:00pm-9:10pm, and more renovations from 9:10pm-1:30am. On the weekend, I stopped being soft on myself and put in two 14 hour workdays to really get the blood flowing. First I started with the ceilings. We had all of the ceilings in the main living areas and master bedroom scraped (that’s all we could afford at the time), so I had to seal them and paint them white when they were finished. Three coats total. Then I moved onto the trim in each room, and I sanded, primed, and painted all the baseboards, windows, door frames, and doors. Also three coats. After that, I moved on to the walls, and after hours of paint swatches and sample colors, I painted the master bedroom, two bathrooms, hallway, kitchen, living room, and dining room. Again, it took three coats. Oh, yes, and I also disassembled the cabinets in the kitchen and both bathrooms to cover those in (you guessed it) three coats of paint as well. About five weeks in, I treated myself to a drill so that I could install new hardware and pulls on all the cabinets and change out all the door handles as well. Phew! Are you tired yet?

Thankfully, I didn’t decide to try my hand at electrical work, or floor installations, so I at least had the foresight to pay someone else to install new lights and replace the carpet and wood floors. I didn’t want to move all the boxes in the house and then move them out again as I renovated, so I brought my suitcase full of clothes into the house and left almost all the boxes in the garage where they waited for their assigned room to be completed. This theory sounded great, but, again, I didn’t have access to hardly anything I wanted for months, and that made for some frustrating moments. A lot of my stress during this process stemmed from the fact that I was stubborn and wanted to do everything myself- I only asked for help when it was physically impossible for me to do something alone. In fact, I’m still not sure how I did it, but I moved a double dresser, a queen sized mattress, an eight foot bookshelf, and a 51″ flat screen tv by myself. How? I put down slippery blankets to slide things on and made a cart on wheels to carry the tv across the house. While I did have a few of my friends over to help me one afternoon, I didn’t want to ask people repeatedly to come and help. It wasn’t their fault that I bought a house and made ridiculous demands of myself, why should they suffer for my idiotic decisions?

In fact, those idiotic decisions actually earned me even worse back issues and tendonitis in both of my arms and shoulders. It was so bad at one point, I couldn’t lift my arms high enough to put my hair in a ponytail- but I kept painting, kept sanding, kept drilling to reach my goal. My lowest point was a full on mental breakdown caused by a lawn mower that wouldn’t start. I vividly remember sitting on my kitchen floor, hysterically sobbing, covered in grass clippings, and screaming obscenities into the open air as Charlie looked at me bewildered. So, with this mental picture of me, alone and broken, you can imagine why it was tough (at times) to see others that were in their new homes, with those they loved most, having so much fun making special memories of their new homes together. Thankfully, I did go out to visit Todd twice during his three month tour, so that forced me to take a break for a couple of days at at time, but it was actually hard to relax when I knew how much I had to do when I walked in the door at home. In fact, as the ten weeks dragged to a close, I had to come to grips with the fact that I couldn’t finish the two spare bedrooms in the house before Todd came home- I just didn’t have the time or strength left to finish my original goal of redoing the entire house.

While this story is mostly a tale of heartbreak and struggle, there is a giant silver lining at the end of it- a giant portion of the house was completed at the end of the ten weeks and I got to watch Todd’s face light up with disbelief and shock as I led him through a home tour once he came back to Springfield. He said it was like being on a home makeover show on HGTV and he couldn’t get over how proud he was of me and how amazing the house looked- he loved it. And while it took me several months to fully recover (physically and emotionally) from the three month ordeal, I couldn’t help but look around that first night Todd was home and take in all that I had accomplished.

I realized that I may not have met my original goal, as ludicrous as it was, but I pushed myself way beyond what I could ever have imagined I was capable of, and that was something to be proud of indeed.

xo. Laura

June 28, 2013

A New Home (Sweet) Home: Part 2

Ok, we left off Part 1 of our adventure by saying that Todd and I had officially decided on our first house (good!), that the house needed a ton of updating (bad!), and that he was about to leave for a three month tour and skip out on the move and all the work (kill me!). I wish this was the part of the story where I said we were moving from a one bedroom apartment so I was able to fit all our possessions in the back of a pickup truck, but Todd had nine different keyboards in our 3 bedroom rental house at one time (including a full size organ), so just his musical gear alone was going to be a major task. Side note: any man that has double digit amounts of keyboards alone should not complain if his lady companion comes home with “another” black dress. This dress is different than the others she has. It’s a little more dressy than that black one, and somewhat less pretentious than that other black one. Duh.

Anyways, we had to wait a month after we put in the offer before we could close and officially move to the new house, so I figured I had plenty of time to pack up the house by myself once Todd took off for his tour. In fact, I actually had too much time. On things that are important to me or that I’m excited about, I am not a procrastinator. Even in college, I was never the kid who was up all night the day before a big paper was due, I always got done early. Sometimes I would even go back to my dorm room right after class and do the paper the day it was assigned (nerd alert) and then watch all the other procrastinators freak out the night before, and I would silently laugh and enjoy their misery…too much? I think not. So I actually pre-packed way too early and was miserable because everything I needed was in one of the two hundred cardboard boxes stacked in our garage, and probably in the one on the bottom row in the middle of the pile. Almost every night I was at WalMart at midnight (because that’s when they have all their empty boxes out), muscling out older box hunting ladies for jumbo-sized cardboard monstrosities. I did some things I’m not proud of at WalMart, but I got my box in the end.

I should mention that I also pulled a muscle in my back getting all the boxes I packed into my garage, so I had to fit ice packs sessions and the chiropractor visits into my full time job and moving schedule as well. I will also let you know that all of this stress and hair pulling is happening as I get calls from Todd while he’s on float trips with Incubus and can only talk for a minute because he’s about to challenge Brandon Boyd in yard games. Shoot me.

Finally, it was time to actually sign the important papers and move to the new house, and I got a giant crew of friends to help me (thank you!!). My mom actually flew down from Pittsburgh to give me much needed moral support and was a giant help in so many ways. I tried to be as organized as I could with labels and color coded tape on every box, but moving is always a giant pain, even if you’re as prepared as you can be. Other than getting to spend a bit of time with my Mom, the best thing about the move was that I bought a ton of pizza for everyone that helped, but they didn’t end up eating quite as much as I thought they would and I froze the leftovers and had pizza twice a day for five days straight. I kept waiting to get too tired of it to eat it anymore, but I never did! It’s a talent.

So, at this point, I am exhausted beyond words, in pain from the pulled back muscle, I can’t find anything I want, and I’m all alone (except for our cat Charlie who is traumatized from the move). Normally, this would be a good point to take a break and start to recover from all that it took to get to the new house, but there’s a problem with that: I’m an idiot and still insisting on renovating the entire house, by myself, before Todd comes home in ten weeks. So instead of relaxing, I immediately start to paint, and scrape, and sand, and drill. And I have no idea what I’m really in for…

xo. Laura

June 26, 2013

A New Home (Sweet) Home: Part 1

I have mentioned on this blog from time to time how our “new house” is coming. When one hears someone refer to a “new house,” one is free to assume two things about that person: first, that the new homedwelling individual has previously lived a different abode, and second, that move from said abode has been somewhat recent. If you have made those inferences from my reference of a “new house,” then get yourself a tweed cape, a pipe, and a fat sidekick with a mustache, because you are a regular Sherlock Holmes. We indeed did move to a new house within the past year, and while moves from one house to another are relatively commonplace for the average gal, I wanted to share my story with you because it certainly has its own “Band Wife” spin to it.

Todd had actually lived in the same rental house for nine years (!!!) before we got married and I moved in with him. We talked about buying a house together, but I still had quite the mountain of school loans to pay off, so we decided to wait until those were taken care of before committing to a higher monthly payment. Once the loans were gone, the interest rates for mortgages were still so low that we thought we may as well see what kind of houses were out there. I, for one, was all for a house we could call our own and a space I could personalize. I had gone from a dorm room to three different apartments to a rental house and was tired of living in, what I liked to call, the “beige palace” type of decor. You know what I mean: the carpet is beige, the walls are beige, the ceiling is beige, and the trim is beige. And you can’t do nothin’ about it. No personality, just a general “BLECH” feeling. So the thought of painting a wall or changing a floor sent shivers of excitement down my spine.

It was last July when we decided to actually start looking at homes, and the second we started the online search we were obsessed. Every moment I wasn’t at work, we searching realtor websites until our eyes bled and then drove around Springfield scoping out our top online picks. We peeked in windows and through backyard fences as much as we could without risking arrest, and narrowed down our search to the top ten most promising properties. Todd cared most about having a private backyard that was perfect for a hammock and yard games, and I was all about the inside potential for a modern, but a bit quirky, interior. The problem was, however, that Todd was leaving in two weeks for a three month solid tour schedule (no breaks at all). That meant that if we were going to do this house thing, we had find a place that we both loved, and soon. Otherwise, we would have to wait until November, when he got back, to start looking again. After all, I wasn’t going to pick out this house by myself, now was I?

The day after we got our bank loan approved, we went off on a hunt with our realtor and finally got to see inside of our favorites. I’m a pretty decisive person when it comes to aesthetics, and Todd was being super critical of every backyard we came in contact with, so we narrowed down our top two choices that day and made a pen and paper list of “pros and cons” between the houses that night. One house had a much smaller backyard, but more updated features inside the house (and a community pool!) while the other house had a bigger backyard, was right by a great bike trail and park, but needed a lot of cosmetic updating indoors. It’s comical now thinking about the house we almost bought and how better off we are in our final choice, but it wasn’t an easy decision at the time. We finally decided on the house with the better backyard and bike trail access, and we actually put an offer in for our house the same day as some of our besties (Jeremy and Elsie) did on their first home together as well- how fun to go through buying our first homes at the same time! The other crazy thing was, the whole house buying process, from first conversation about houses to putting an offer, only lasted two weeks! That’s one advantage to being in a smaller town, you can see all the houses in your price range and desired area in a relatively short period of time.

I do have to admit though that I wasn’t quite as excited initially about the house as Todd was. I knew that the house had the structure and layout that I wanted, but the owners had built their own version of a “beige palace” in various shades of tan and brown, and I knew it was going to be a massive undertaking to get the house to a place where I would be just as excited about it as Todd was about the backyard. But if I was going to undertake the task of changing nearly every surface in our new home, from popcorn ceilings to gag-me-with-a-spoon brown shag carpet, at least my husband would be there to help me, right? Oh wait. Remember that three month tour he’s leaving on? Crap…

TO BE CONTINUED (dun, dun duuuuuuuuuun….)

xo. Laura