Monday, April 14, 2014

Temporary digs

While prepping for the remodel, I emptied all the kitchen cabinets, drawers, cupboards, and shelves, and deposited the bulk of it in the dining room.

Where are the pot holders?

And this isn't even all of it, as books went elsewhere and whatever I thought I might need for the duration took up residence in the West Wing.

The toaster oven is under the table.

Without a kitchen sink, I've had to resort to washing dishes in the utility sink the the laundry room.
Like camping but without the s'mores.

I spend a certain amount of time opening empty cupboards and walking into empty rooms. The dislocation of all my belongings has taught me just how habitual most of my movements are. Unused portions of my brain have been put to work figuring out just where a particular thing is.

The bedroom I am using reminds me of the dorm room of a messy coed. The bathroom is crammed with two of everything. I can't wait to get my house put back together.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Remodeling, phase 1, week 1

In every remodeling project (nay, *every* project), there will be glitches. The first one was discovering that the start date was not April 7, but April 9. The (supposed) end date is still the same and, frankly, I would have been hard pressed to have the four areas cleared by last Monday, so I wasn't too upset about this. But still. It does not portend well.

Dust bunnies the size of jackalopes behind the bed frame

And yet, deliveries started on April 7: the shower and half a toilet. Not sure what would have happened to them had I not been home. Left sitting in the driveway?

Otherwise, the work is progressing, and very neatly. Tarps cover the floors, plastic drapes everything else, to the point that parts of my house resemble the kill rooms on "Dexter". There is even a tarp under the van to protect the driveway from oil drips. (I'll have to mention that to the carpet cleaners.)

Kill room

Body bag

The ceiling guy works on stilts. The plumber guy looks like Jesse Pinkman. Everyone is careful and meticulous.

So far, all the ceilings have been scraped of popcorn and laced, all painted except for the master bath, the crown molding primed. In the bath, the toilet and shower are gone, the new shower installed. That half toilet in the garage? Someone at the supply house must have had a brain fart; it is to be replaced with a new improved version of the same model (Gerber Viper). In the kitchen, the old counter top has been replaced with the new. (Kudos to my daughter for selecting the counter top design - it looks *great* with the cabinets.

More glitches:
  • The fancy schmancy kitchen sink that is 9" deep won't work because the cupboard doors under the sink are recessed, something I had never noticed before but which allows me to stand close to the sink without leaning forward. Fortunately, the plumbing guy realized the sink was unworkable *before* cutting a hole for it in the counter top. Just as well we need to pick something else, as the drains of that fancy one were not centered and would have caused some under-sink plumbing difficulties.
  • The vanity top with the integrated sink had a crack in it. Again, the plumbing guy noticed this prior to installation. A new one will need to be ordered, which may take a few weeks, in which case the cracked one (the flaw is not in the bowl itself) will be installed, then swapped out when the new one arrives.

I am really, really, *really* glad I can work from home for the duration. Invariably, there are questions and discussions and decisions that would be difficult to handle over the phone, but not so much interruption that I can't get my work done.

There was a glitch with my home work environment as well - the kitchenette I set up in the West Wing works well, but I discovered running the microwave and the toaster oven at the same time trips the circuit breaker for that room, which cuts power to the wi-fi router. I lost Internet access until I could get some help from Frontier; that took some time, but once I connected with the right person, the problem was solved in short order. (FYI: if this happens to you, recycle power to the router by pulling the plug *with the router still on*, wait a minute or so, then plug it back in. Simply using the switch to turn it off and on will not work.)

So. So far, so good, more or less. Worse things could go wrong (knock on wood).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Where did all this CRAP come from?!? Part 2

Today was clean-out-the-garage day, in case the crown molding guys need a place to cut up the crown molding. Again, there is a lot of stuff in my garage, but little to throw out other than cardboard. Hard to believe that once upon a time, we parked TWO vehicles there.

I did move the bales of straw to the garden and the patio pots to the patio, but the lawn chairs went back in for now. Some garden hoses found their way to the outside faucets, but I did not hook them up. That seemed to be asking for trouble.

Many a time I have lamented not having a basement, but the past few days have taught me that if I did have a basement, it would be full of crap.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Where did all this CRAP come from?!?

The remodeling starts in two one weeks. The rooms to be remodeled need to be cleared, including the closets, while at least some of the remaining rooms remain livable for the duration. Toward that end, I started shifting my belongings this weekend. It is amazing what one accumulates over a 20 year period. I used to share this house with other human beings, but now it is absolutely FULL of my own crap.

The logical thing to do would be to get rid of some of this stuff NOW, but I am feeling rather overwhelmed by the whole remodeling process. Maybe the culling will occur when it all has to go back to where it came from, but I fear there is not that much I want to get rid of. Things like xmas decorations make their appearance for a couple of weeks once per year. Some of the clothes are for those random events, like weddings and funerals, when you hope what you have fits and is not ridiculously out of fashion. What about high school year books? Can I pitch them? Even the one with David Hasselhoff in it?

Somehow I became the keeper of the family memorabilia, in the form of letters, photographs, and home movies. The latter I have had transferred to DVD and distributed to my dad and siblings (all of whom are greatly appreciative). I hope to do the same with the photographs, once I sort through them. The letters I fear I will have to scan myself, a good retirement project. Meanwhile, all this non-digital shit takes up space in my closets and spare bedrooms. In fact, as I cleared out some closet space this weekend, I found MORE.

Anyway, the plan so far is to use the guest bedroom/yarn haven as my sleeping quarters while the other spare bedroom will hold everything from the master "suite" that I can do without for two weeks. The kitchen and family room stuff hopefully will fit into the dining room. With no kitchen, I will have to set up a kitchenette of some sort in the West Wing, with the coffee maker and toaster oven. My microwave is an under-the-cabinet-over-the-stove thing, so I may purchase a cheap one for heating soup and boiling water.

So that leaves me with one bedroom, one bathroom, the living room, the West Wing and laundry for living space, good practice for when I need to downsize, which hopefully will not be for another 20 years.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Picking colors

Girls day out last Saturday, as my daughter and granddaughter helped me pick paint colors for the remodeling. I am color-challenged, plus I get distracted by the color names, so it really helps to have an expert (the daughter) along. The granddaughter was no help at all.

The master bedroom and bath have been two shades of blue for the past ten years, and everything else in the room is geared toward that. So I wanted to keep the blue, but we updated and brightened the colors by selecting 'Bounty' and 'Cool Sheets' for those two rooms.

Since the backsplash will lighten the kitchen, we chose a darker brownish color called 'Mushroom'. The daughter explained it has some purple in it (which I could not see), which will offset the more neutral color of 'Rotunda' that will go in the family room. So not only did the daughter pick good colors, she had a strategy as well.

The diningroom is part of Phase 2, but the ceiling-wall people are going to try to glue down the curled up edges of the wallpaper that is above the chair rail. Regardless of the success of that endeavor, we picked 'Skinny Latte' for below the chair rail. If the wallpaper does not behave, we will pick a different color to replace it. It is the last of the country flavored wallpaper, but I get so many complements on it, I haven't been able to let it go... yet.

We looked at light fixtures for the kitchen and family room as well, picked out one for the former, could not find anything we liked for the latter, but I am having second thoughts about the one that did make it home. Maybe we will find something better when we continue the search.

The countdown continues.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Start your engines!

The remodeling crew leads met at my house this morning, to get an idea of the size of the job and to set a schedule. The only one not on board was the paint-and-dry-wall guy because the other two times he was at the house, we talked about doing the whole house; he was not aware I had broken it into two phases. Start date is April 7, expected duration is two weeks. That covers the kitchen and family room and the master "suite" (bedroom and bath).

My daughter and I still need to pick out light fixtures for the kitchen and family room, plus paint samples for same. (The bedroom and bath are getting painted but in the same colors.) I also need to empty the bedroom closets and the cupboards in the family room, not sure about the kitchen ones, but I may empty them just so I can clean them, something I don't think I have ever done here.

I am also going to empty the bedroom of furniture. For one thing, I will need the dresser and nightstand in the guest room where I will be sleeping. For another, my bed frame is for a water bed and has built-in drawers. While I no longer use a water bed mattress, the whole thing cannot be easily moved around. Once the work is done, the carpet will be cleaned, and then I will rearrange the furniture from how it is now.

I am both excited and full of dread, but here we go!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Solar vortex

("I went to the animal fair/The birds and beasts were there/The big baboon by the light of the moon/was combing his auburn hair/The monkey he got drunk/and sat on the elephant's trunk/The elephant sneezed/and fell to his knees/and what became of the monk?" You are welcome.)

Thursday, day one of the Home and Garden Show, is the best day to go. The crowds are sparse and the vendors have not yet exhausted themselves. That does not stop a few (white middle-aged male) vendors from ignoring me. I guess my money isn't any good.

Now that the interior remodeling is in the queue, not much left remains to do to the house. There is the patio problem, so I picked up a few brochures on decks. My SO needs a new garage, so he scouted a bit for that. Earth Fare is opening a store near my home, so we stopped at their booth to sign up for their e-newsletter and get free reusable shopping bags.

And I asked around about solar. My employer has a plan they call COyou2, whereby they provide funds for the employees to put toward home improvements that reduce our collective carbon footprint. (Yes, insurance companies care about climate change because they have to shell out big bucks on weather-related claims.) I used my stipend when I replaced my heating-cooling system and bought a new refrigerator. But now my employer is rebooting the program, providing more money for more projects. I don't want a hybrid car - too expensive and I don't drive that much - but I have some south-facing roof, so solar is an option.

Solar is still expensive, but there is a 30% tax credit that makes it less painful. Also, in some areas you can sell SRECs - Solar Renewable Energy Credits - to others. Here in Indiana, any excess power I generate goes back on the grid, and the electric company I use will give me credit for it. Add my employer's incentive and the payback is greatly reduced.

My dream house is an octagonal place in the country that is (mostly) off the grid, but I think the window of opportunity for that is closing (because I am growing too OLD). I can live quite comfortably in my current location for another twenty years, so I am going to make it as close to my dream house as I can possibly can. Now if the city would just let me keep a few chickens.