Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Room Down, Eight to Go

Well, we've been in our new house for eleven nights, and I only have one small room painted.  I feel so lazy and unproductive.

On the other hand, I have another room entirely primed and ready for a thick layer of paint (no lectures, trust me, this has to go on pretty thick).  I hung custom (homemade!) curtains in the living room, a whopping twelve yards of fabric.  We have unpacked just about every box and found a place for nearly all of our belongings.  I have a pull-out garbage can on rails under one cabinet that had to be installed.  Our custom and self-designed moving announcements went out just one week after we moved.  We put up an American flag on the front of our house this weekend, and we even put a solar-powered spotlight on it for at night.  The Man selected six solar-powered yard lights that light the pathway to our front door in the dark.  We now have Costco cards for the first time in our lives.  We transferred all of our utilities, other bills, and many other important contacts (doctors, church, work, etc.) to our new address.  We both have found the soaker tub to be working satisfactorily.  And I am starting to get used to cooking on a gas range again.

Oh, and we entertained guests on both Saturday and Sunday.

So yeah.

I have fallen into bed completely exhausted every day since we moved.  My knees and back ache, my hands are sore, and my legs are tired from all of this walking around a huge house as I do my many chores.  I know there's a light at the end of this tunnel, but for the life of me, I just can't seem to see it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Painting and Planning

I knew painting our new house would be a chore, but I had no idea how much my arms would hurt.  Our downstairs half-bath is progressing.  I've done the cutting in once, rolled three times, and will do the second layer of cutting in tonight.  I think I'll need one more layer all over everything again since our white paint isn't covering the denim blue color very well.  We shelled out big bucks for the Behr Ultra, so I'm a bit disappointed we'll need four coats of white paint to hide the blue.  Hopefully things will go faster in the living room and kitchen where we're repainting the same color.  Our bedroom and office will be a nightmare as we transition from dark blue and a medium purpley-taupe to a light grey, so I'm not really looking forward to those rooms.

We are on the market for a new dining table.  This has been a most difficult and frustrating search as we attempt to locate a relatively simple dining set at a price we like.  It's not that our price range is unreasonable!  It's that what we want doesn't seem to exist.  The trend toward dark stains and deeply colored furniture doesn't jive with our decor, so we're struggling big time on the dining set front.  We're not in a huge hurry, though, so at least we can wait on a great deal.

We got our Costco memberships yesterday.  We are now officially able to purchase insanely huge piles of toilet paper and lettuce and all sorts of things we probably don't need to buy in bulk.  Also, hopefully we will be able to pay for our memberships within the next twelve months.  I'm keeping track for you, have no fear.  We'll see if this pays for itself.

Our new yard hasn't been touched, but I'll try to find time to get out there to do some weeding this weekend.  I also need to get our new custom curtains hung (hanged?) in the living room and master bathroom.  After that, there's cleaning, sleeping, meal planning, visiting, and plenty of other things to keep me busy.

Quilting or crafting?  Pssh, like I have time for those... *whimper

Monday, August 20, 2012

So Much Space (And No Where to Put Anything!)

Last time I blogged, I was tucked away in a little corner of a tiny apartment.  I could literally reach over and touch The Man as he sat at his desk.  I could turn around and touch my craft table.  The door was two short strides away.  The kitchen was a whopping ten steps down the hall from my desk.

Tonight I am blogging from my new house.  The Man is sitting in the room with me, but he's two arm-lengths away now.  My craft table is eight feet away.  I have a shorter walk to the kitchen, but my bedroom is upstairs, down the hall, turn a corner, down another hall, and past a closet.  I have worn myself out just moving around so much space!

Between these two blogging sessions, The Man and I packed up all of our belongings and moved them to our new house.  I took Thursday, Friday, and Monday off to facilitate this move.  Thursday included hours upon hours of packing boxes.  Thankfully we had enough boxes this time!  We got our keys Thursday afternoon, and I came over to the house around 5:00pm to begin cleaning.  The Man met me shortly after, and my parents joined us later.  The guys went and got the locks all replaced while Mom and I cleaned the garage and kitchen.  It was very hot, and I slept poorly that night.

Friday was the hottest day of the year.  And we moved all day.  I hurried over with a full car load of stuff first thing in the morning.  The Man followed me with his stuffed car.  We unloaded while we waited for our moving army to arrive.  The Man's parents got their first look at our house before The Man and his father left to pick up our U-Haul and start loading it.  Mom came over a bit later, and all three of us ladies set out on an epic cleaning frenzy.  We were just wrapping it up and sitting down for lunch when the guys got back with the first big load of the day.  They ate, and then we all unloaded the truck in a crazy-fast time.  Did I mention it was insanely hot?  Yeah.  I had sweaty fingernails.  I had sweaty earlobes.  I... let's just say I was a hot mess for most of the day.  But after everyone left and I gave up trying to kill myself unpacking, The Man coaxed me (generally pointed, and I went running) into our soaker tub.  Best invention ever.  I soaked until my skin wrinkled.  So nice!  Sleep came relatively easy, obviously.

Saturday was blissfully cooler at nearly 90°.  I got up early and started putting together my kitchen and pantry.  The Man huffed and puffed trying to get our wireless network and cable to work.  We both spent entirely too much time listening to Beethoven on hold with Comcast.  We made a trek to many stores to solve little problems.  One thing I learned with this whole moving thing is that I have so much space! and no where to put anything.  Our old solutions for storage don't necessarily work in our new house.  It's such a terrible problem to have, you know, trying to figure out where to put the garbage can in the kitchen.  If only all my problems were so "tough."  We spent more money than we probably should have solving problems, but we got a lot of good solutions.  And paint.

Sunday was relaxing.  I got up early again and set out to clean the garage.  All of our boxes are now neatly organized out there and easy to identify.  The bookcases are out of the way.  The car stuff is in the car pile, and the garden stuff is in the garden pile.  We can get at least one car in there completely, but I'm not sure if we'll ever get both cars to fit.  It's a 1.9 car garage, I tell ya.  Both sets of parents came down to help us celebrate The Man's birthday.  We had yummy homemade ice cream and cobbler.  Our evening was also relaxing as we went out to dinner.  Very little "work" happened in the evening, which was a nice break.

And today was another non-stop-go-go-go day.  I picked out fabric for curtains for two rooms, took stuff to Goodwill, grabbed the last full trunk-load of stuff from the apartment, and met The Man for lunch.  I started painting my first room this afternoon while the Comcast technician was here fixing an outlet.  We located our mail box finally (don't ask, it's not exactly where we figured it would be).  I cooked dinner for the first time here now that I have my pots and pans unpacked.  I also readied supplies to go clean our apartment tomorrow for the last time.

Now I want to go to work tomorrow just so I don't have to work here.  I'm exhausted.  It's such a good feeling at the same time as being a horrible "what have I gotten myself into?!" feeling.  Hopefully I can clean tomorrow night, grab a quick dinner, and get home to start rolling paint in my first room.

We're moved in, mostly.  Phew!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jaggy and The Man: Homeowners

We did it!  We signed papers today!  We just have to wait for the funds to transfer tomorrow and for the deed to record, and we're officially homeowners!

After an agonizing wait for the lender to figure out what was going on and the title company to get the paperwork together (three days of mind-numbing torture, I swear), we were able to sign today at 4:00pm.  It was sort of a very-last-possible-minute ordeal, but everything went smoothly at signing.

Everyone I talked to said we'd be signing a stack of papers "this big," indicating with their finger and thumb spread three inches.  We only signed about twenty times and initialed maybe thirty, so it was much, much less painful than I expected.  Our stack of papers was barely over a quarter-inch thick.  Difficult or annoying I think not.

This time tomorrow we'll be sitting in our own house.  Holy freaking crap.  Finally.

Any suggestions on what we should do first in our new house?  Does he have to heave me over the threshold?  Should we have a carpet picnic?  Do we pee in all the toilets?  Do we light a candle or perform some sort of ritual?  Should we put our first dent in the wall or scratch the paint or scorch mark on the counter?  What would you do?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Boxing up Life

The Man and I assembled nearly fifty more boxes last night.  I took a solid hour to pack up all of my craft supplies, half of our bathroom, and two or three large boxes of stuff.  We seem to have a large quantity of the stuff.

Every time I move to a new house I feel like a hoarder.

I take stock of each item as I put it into a box.  Do I really need four colors of string and two full baskets of ribbon?  Do I absolutely have to take the old teddy bear to the new house?  Can I live without the box of crayons?  When was the last time I really wore that jacket?

Try as I might, I am unable to toss out the ribbons and string, my favorite teddy bear, and the much-loved box of crayons.  Of course I don't need them to survive.  They don't make the "end of the world" list.  But we're moving into a house with more space, and I have a nice set of useful ribbon and string that I won't have to run out and replace next time I need to embellish a project.  That teddy bear might not help me right away, but as we have children in the near future (don't even think about it), it might come in pretty handy.

Books are definitely our biggest hoard.  I've already filled twenty large boxes with books, and we have some stragglers on our nightstands and desks that haven't been packed yet.  We both know we "should" get rid of some, but we also know we can't start a library in one of our extra bedrooms without a substantial quantity of books.  Plus we both feel really smart looking at all of those books knowing we plowed through them and absorbed the knowledge and adventures contained within the pages.

Tonight's packing includes most of the kitchen, much of our closets, and hopefully a bit more of the other stuff.  Wednesday night is the last of our clothing, the kitchen, and office junk.  We'll hopefully make a trip to Goodwill that night and relieve ourselves of more stuff.  Thursday night should hopefully see us beginning to clean in our new house, and we move on Friday!

If I work hard enough, I can be functionally unpacked Friday night.  Baby steps, I keep reminding myself, baby steps.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Last Weekend of Apartment Life

It was 85° in our apartment for most of the weekend.  We have been sleeping poorly because of the heat.  I'm so incredibly over summer that I was dreaming about snow.

The Man and I had a quiet last weekend in our apartment.  We spent some quality time in front of the TV on Friday night catching up on the Bourne Trilogy so that we were ready to go see The Bourne Legacy on Saturday.  The movie was pretty good.  I won't review it here except to say it was pretty good.  We had a nice dinner out with my sister, her husband, and The Man's brother.

On Sunday, The Man went to Salem with his brother.  I stayed home by myself all day and had a great time papercrafting.  I made some little paper figurines that are super cute.  I now have all of the Avengers and Batman hanging out on my desk at work.  They fit right in with the ten crab fishermen paper figurines, and my cubeecraft creatures.  It would be safe to say I have a whole pile of geek going on in my office.

Later last night, The Man and I were feeling pretty overwhelmed with offers of help for our upcoming move to our new house.  That seems like such a high-class problem to have, abundant free help, and I feel so icky being frustrated by it, but it is a huge challenge for us logistically to get organized and plan to keep people busy when they are available to help.  We spent two hours just trying to figure out what we need help with, what we want to tackle ourselves, and what we need to get done in what order.  We've had to toss out any notions of painting or cleaning carpets before we move since we won't get our keys early, and while it will be nice to move in a day earlier than we anticipated, all of our packing has to happen very quickly.  All of the pressure of moving on top of the fact that we haven't even signed any papers yet to buy the house!  We'll make it, though, one box at a time, and with a carefully coordinated army of much appreciated helpers.

I'm counting the hours until we get our keys.  Not weeks or months or sometime later, hours.


Friday, August 10, 2012

We're Not Closing Early

The Man and I have learned that we won't be closing early on our new house.  While I was initially disappointed, I reminded myself that we're still closing on time.  It feels like forever until we get the keys!  Six days and counting...

We picked out our paint colors earlier this week.  Pretty much the entire house will need to be repainted on the inside.  While I absolutely cannot stand the bright blue in the bedrooms and the nauseating teal in the bathrooms, I've agreed to keep the green in the hallways.  That will saves us a little bit of painting.  You can go to Behr's website to see the colors we're considering: Burnished Metal in the office and master bedroom, Green Tea in the hallways and entry way, and either Hazelnut Cream or Ivory Mist in the living room and kitchen.  Paint colors crack me up, "ivory mist."  I'm going to start calling it "just normal off-white."  The burnished metal color? light grey.  Hazelnut cream color? tan.  Ugh.  We're going with a color Behr refers to as "Classic White" for all of the trim, doors, ceilings, and bathrooms.  I call that color "no color added, just-off-the-damn-shelf-white."  I mean this in all of the teenage eye-rolling I can muster: what-ev-er.

Between boxing stuff up and still trying to live, we're existing out of suitcases for the next few days.  Our brand new washer and dryer are being delivered to our house on Friday, so I'm even holding out on laundry.  Unless it stinks, or we need it, I'm doing my last loads of laundry in our apartment's crappy machines on Sunday.

Our apartment complex is making our move-out way more of a hassle than it needs to be.  I will be so glad to get away from the intelligence vacuum they have going on in the office there and the oxygen-deprived maintenance crew.  Let me put it this way: they're charging me to clean our apartment even if I already cleaned it.  Want to know how motivated I am to clean right now?

Monday, August 06, 2012

I'm Melllllting!

Is it hot in here, or is it me?

Seriously, folks, I am not cut out for warm weather.  I have an affinity for weather on the cool, wet, and grey end of the spectrum.  The Man and I knew we'd be in for a warm ride over the weekend, so we made arrangements on Saturday to go spend the warmest hours with my parents in their air conditioned house.  Sunday, however, saw us at home trying to get stuff done.  It was over 80° inside by noon.  We cleared 85° just two hours later, and we had barely moved.  At that point, how much hotter can it get, right?  That's what I was asking myself as I set out to do some kitchen chemistry and cooking.

How much hotter? I was pushing the inside temperature very, very close to 90° by 5:00pm.  It was the same temperature outside.  I have never actually had sweat rolling down my back before, but I reached that point. I had sweaty knees.  I had sweaty eyelashes.  Yeah.  I was pretty much melting.

But I was productive!

I have been researching some homemade cleaning chemicals after watching the documentary Chemerical on Netflix.  There's some good science behind not inhaling toxic fumes and effectively cleaning with non-toxic substances.  Also, I'm told it is cheaper.  My math didn't substantiate the cheaper end, but I quite like not coughing and wheezing when cleaning up anymore.  With our move into a new house soon and the fact that I was running low on most of my chemical cleaners anyway, it makes sense to jump into safer products.

I made a floor cleaner for my Swiffer-type mop (I have the Rubbermaid one with cloth heads that I looooove), and it did a fantastic job!  I was really surprised how well the cleaner worked.  Next on my list was homemade dishwasher detergent, and it seems to work pretty well.  I'm not sure if it will etch my silverware over time, but everything came out super squeaky clean and not spotty, so I think it's a good start (plus that recipe actually saves a LOT of money).  My all-purpose spray and shower spray came last, and while I think they are effective, they are not cheaper than commercially available [toxic] products.  I still have to try the shower spray in the shower, but it made my sink shine!  All of these products plus one homemade lemon body scrub came together in under half an hour including testing.  The apartment only smelled vaguely like vinegar for a little bit, but I'm learning how to appreciate that scent.

Then I set out to make some frozen meals.  Because apparently I like being hot and sticky in the kitchen.  Ugh.  I made a big pot of pasta, grilled up a bunch of chicken, and stewed some homemade tomato sauce (tomato chunk free, of course).  A bit of all of the items went into one of five sandwich-type containers and headed into the freezer.  I also made little cups of frozen broccoli.  Now I get to have my own homemade versions of those Healthy Choice lunches, plus mine have no preservatives or weird chicken parts or overcooked pasta.  The cost was about a break-even from the sale price of the commercial frozen meals, but my meals are a bit larger.  Also?  No weird tomato bits or excess sauce.

It was around this time that I concluded we needed to have ice cream for dinner.  So we did.

I am ready for winter.  SO ready.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, but mostly Reading

When I was little, my favorite thing to do was read.  I learned to read early, and my parents found me lost in piles of books more than once.  Dad took me to the library weekly, and I'd get a stack so big I could barely carry them out to the truck.  More than once I finished that whole stack in two or three days.  My parents must have realized how futile their efforts were to make me play outside since they only urged me to put down my books a scant few times.  When I was learning to drive, I didn't know how to get to my grandparents' house, a place to which I'd been hundreds of times, because I was always reading whenever my parents drove me there.

My least favorite subject in school?  Anything that involved reading.

Weird, I know.  My favorite subjects in grade school were math, spelling, and history.  I excelled--or rather, didn't even have to apply myself--in those subjects.  Math was only difficult because I got fed up with having to do forty of the same type of problem just to prove I could do them. (I then landed myself in "math detention," some sort of pretentious first-world solution where if I didn't do all of the work, I had to stay in at recess and finish, which was laughable.  I didn't even take it seriously as a twelve-year-old.  The teacher finally bargained with me to do only the odd or even problems on her assignments just so she'd have something to grade.  Long division can still kiss my ass.)

Reading in class, though, was torture.  I can read aloud fine, and, while not ideal or always desirable, I don't have any problem reading a book of someone else's choosing.  The problems for me involved speed, questions, and opinions.  Being an early reader also helped me to later be a fast reader.  I have always read much faster than my classmates.  I remember looking over at the pointing-at-each-word-as-he-read-it-aloud-while-wanting-to-die-of-self-consciousness student and thinking, "Why am I here?  Why do I have to listen to him read to me?  Why can't we both just end this torture!" (Apparently he mistook my look of pity as a look of disgust, which might have explained what happened later on the playground...)  My reading speed was a blessing in that I could read large amounts of literature and regurgitate it readily.  On the other hand, it meant I was stuck learning at someone else's pace, something I'm sure everyone can agree is not pleasant.

Questions also posed problematic for me.  I loathed book reports.  I still can't stand reading a book and then being expected to dissect it.  It feels like trying to interpret what a painter was feeling when he painted something.  "See this big green wall?  What was the artist feeling as he painted it stroke by stroke?"  Seasick?  I hate it.  I realize my teachers were probably trying to impart some great nugget of wisdom or life lesson or token of respect for great literature.  I just don't like being forced to read something and then forced to explain something that I didn't get out of the text.  "What was the character's motivation in that scene?" He was motivated to save the starving children because of his sense of human decency and compassion.  No? He was trying to make up for the loss of some ancestor to the Roman Legion in the third century?  Oh, how convenient. I never would have guessed that considering the book never even talked about it!

Opinions are the worst part of reading a book to me.  It grates at me when someone says they really like a book and then expect me to feel the same way.  Maybe I don't like it.  Maybe I think it is utter garbage.  But clearly you read the book and feel strongly that it should be taught in English 101 across the country.  Doesn't make you right.  If you want my opinion of a book, fine, but don't get mad if you disagree.

SO! The Man and I had a long conversation about this over dinner recently, and he agreed with my assessment of reading in school.  We are both avid readers now, and we like some of the same books.  We're considering challenging ourselves with a book club.  But there's no way we're going to let someone tell us what to read, and there isn't going to be a list of questions we have to answer at the end.  We're going to select a book of our choice and discuss whatever we want about it.

That's where YOU come in.  If I can convince him, I might post some of our conversations about books we've read here.  Share in our conversations if you want.  We'll get started today with a question:

What was your experience like with reading in school?  Were you a faster reader or a slower reader?  Do you still like or dislike reading?  Did or do you enjoy dissecting a book?  Would you rather just watch the movie?