More than a lot!

There has been so much visible progress in the last week, I’m not even sure which pun to go with for the title!

More house updates...

…one hour later…

Well, since I’m struggling where to start, let’s go through the week!

All of the freshly mudded drywall was sanded smooth as can be when we stopped by the house Monday night. I had an email from our project manager outlining that the walls would be textured yet that night with schedule for paint the next day if the texture material was dry enough by the next day. If we were going to do any custom painting, we would need to do so sometimes between Tuesday evening and tonight, Sunday.
The mason's name is Rocky. I am the only person who giggles at that. He's working on the rock under the "tent" in this photo.
What “custom painting” you ask? When we drafted our construction contract, we weren’t decided on what paint colors to put in each room (how could we?—it was a mere idea then)…thus, it never went into the contract. We were told that we could add the work later if we paid for it out of pocket (instead of adding it to the loan total). As it stands, our construction loan covered the cost of one paint color throughout the house, and any other painting in other rooms could be completed at a certain cost per linear square foot. When I had our PM quote a price to paint the master bedroom and hallway a different color, it wasn’t a figure Nick could stomach.

Paint has been a point of contention for a few weeks. I wanted to stick with one color all over until inspiration hit for the different rooms. Honestly, by this point, I’ve made so many decisions and our stuff has been in storage so long that I don’t even remember what half our stuff (past and present) looks like anymore. Even so, I went with Nick to Home Depot that night to look through paint swatches. You see, the logical side of Nick was prodding him to paint before flooring and trim just because it’s easier (not because it actually makes sense).

After almost an hour at Home Depot, we were further away from consensus than ever (I drift toward muted while he jumps to vibrant). After another 12 hours, Nick conceded that paint could wait until we both fell in love with the same color. I quickly notified the PM so that he could speed up the schedule without waiting for us to paint (and so Nick couldn’t change his mind).

Screen porch progress!

The texture material was too damp on Tuesday to paint, but a tent-like structure was set up with heaters around the front of the house for the mason (humorously, his name is Rocky) to set stone in the right temperature. Meanwhile, serious progress was made on the screened porch in back!
Paint! Kilim Beige everywhere!
We have stone!
Hard surface flooring materials were delivered and stacked in several rooms, full of promise for the days ahead. Work on the stone outside continued, and we continue to peek behind the curtain to see the magic unraveling before our eyes.
Thursday was more of the same…a bit anti-climatic to be truthful.
Our floor designer contacted us to gain our okay on a late change to the shower tile design. At this point in the process, I’ve become blasé about these types of changes. Trust the professionals, choose your battles, blah blah blah. It’s the difference in a design with an expected 18″ square tile to work with a 17¼” actual tile. Nick went to the house to meet with her and grant final sign off, but I think we’re both in the same boat with the whole “just don’t make it sucky” attitude. I’m glad I went through a lot of the selection process early-on when caring about ¾” would have mattered more to me.

More house updates...Anyway, I had more going on Friday—mostly, getting the fluffy gray one we call Sophie to a vet appointment. A shot of antibiotics later, she’s a new feline ready to take on the world. Luckily, she only had an upper respiratory infection (she’s prone to them…they say she was likely exposed to something as a baby so it just is what it is), and her lungs were clear (which is what I worried about). That was a hyper run-on sentence, sorry. I’m just so relieved she’ll be okay!

The unveiling! In more ways than one, because while it was the first time I saw the exterior stone driving up, it was also my first glimpse of the inlaid rug pattern in the foyer. And FYI? It’s gorgeous.
Foyer flooring fun!

Laundry room flooring Fun!

The flooring design in the foyer and laundry room took a bit longer than anticipated on Saturday, so the work extended to Sunday. We stopped by the house before the basketball game to look around, and the men working on the floor graciously stopped what they were doing to clear debris and lift paper for us to take some pictures when they saw that we had a camera. They still need to be cleaned and oiled, so ignore the dust and pretend they’re shiny and perfect!

26 days to go.

Don’t let yourself go

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts…sometimes.

                         —”Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

I’ve had a hard day. Really, I’ve had a hard week, but today just took the cake. If I had to make a bet (and I dislike gambling), I’d put my money on the wintry front headed our way. I have had some big decisions to think through at work, I’ve been worried because Sophie’s sick, and then there’s the house. I’m doing my best to stay upright and look like nothing is wrong through the haze of narcotics…but I’m worn out.

A friend at work gave me PowerStrips to try over the weekend to see if they would help. If anything, they made yesterday miserable because I let the pain get out of control hoping that the strip would be able to replace the controlled substances that I’ve been prescribed for breakthrough pain. Wishful thinking, I’d say, to believe that I could replace a lion with a caterpillar and no one would be any the wiser. Once I accepted that I needed narcotics, I couldn’t get an upper hand over the pain; I eventually took muscle relaxers to knock myself out. Today, a cloud of Bengay surrounds me everywhere I go.

I wasn’t expecting to have to go anywhere (wanting to lick my wounds in private, naturally), so I loaded up on medication. Then Nick tells me that he needs to clean gutters for someone before the snow arrives. Great, have fun, I thought. He didn’t expect anyone to be at the house, so he needed someone to spot him, to be there in case he fell from the roof. Okay, I guess that’s a good reason to bring me out of private wound-licking.

Later, we were chastised for not spending enough time with someone. While it cut me deeply because I feel like I’m just barely keeping my head above water as it is, I am reminded of something Mom always used to say: “Everybody has a story.” We all have needs, and sometimes those needs aren’t met. Everybody does hurt sometimes, be it emotional or physical, and for many different reasons. I don’t think we ever mean to hurt the people we love, but it happens just the same. The important thing to remember is that we need to step outside of our own sagas now and then to appreciate what is happening around us.

I know this is a crappy post so far, no sunshine or roses to be found. I think some house updates are in order!

House visit...still mudding.

The taping/mudding process is ridiculously long! I mean, I get it…a coat of plaster has to dry completely before it can be sanded and before additional coats can be applied…but still! I can’t remember if we stopped by the house on Monday, but I know mudding was underway when we stopped by on Tuesday, and it was still happening yesterday (Saturday) when we stopped by to see if a light fixture fit in a space. In any event, texturing and paint should happen soon.

What else…hmm. Siding is done on three sides of the house, and the platform for the screened porch has been built. The siding is a lot darker than I was anticipating, but I actually like how much it pops with the white trim. As a cost saving measure, we agreed to a siding in what we were told was similar to a color in a less expensive brand than the color we liked best. We thought we were getting a creamy mocha but got milk chocolate instead. Oh well, at least it’s still chocolate, right?

House updates...

Speaking of the screened porch, we also decided on the color of the Trex product that will be used throughout the porch: a multi-tone color called Tiki Torch. I’m not sure when the material will be delivered, but I am excited to see the porch come together. I believe the expected accumulated snow has been downgraded in our area, but I had hoped that we would have seen the screen porch complete before any of that silly white stuff tickled the ground just the same.

Front porch and garage floor poured!

Last but not least, the garage floor and front porch were poured on Thursday! They will need to come back to pour the driveway, sidewalk to the front door, and some stairs yet, but it’s exciting to see these pieces done! We are supposed to get locks on the doors in the next week, and our light fixtures are scheduled to be delivered in just over a week (I am very excited to see those installed).

The hurry-up-and-wait of it all

One side...sided!

Siding has commenced!
Last Wednesday, we stopped by the house to find boxes of siding had been opened. The boxes had been stacked in front of the house several days by that point, and seeing them suddenly open was seriously like being in second grade and watching the chicks hatch from the eggs in the incubator. Nick led the way to the back of the house as our relaxed gate became bouncy: MUST FIND THE SIDING! And we did find it, and it was awesome (even though it was only a tiny bit)!
Outside stuff!
I thought that for sure, the siding would be finished by the end of the week! But. No. Either I am guilty of gross oversimplification (possible, likely), or there have been delays that I don’t understand (possible too, likely too).By the end of the day on Thursday, two-thirds of the back were sided. By the end of the day on Friday, the northern side was finished. Workers were out on Saturday morning, and by the end of the day, the southern side was finished. Going into this week, we have 1/3 of the back and 100% of the front of the house left to complete…so, [knocks on wood] I hope to have pictures of a fully-sided house by this time next week!
We have drywall!
All drywall was hung when we stopped by on Wednesday, and it’s amazing how much difference a little drywall makes! I’ve been staring at studded walls for a very long time now, but the rooms all seemed so different with the drywall. Much like the siding (see “possible, likely” notes), I had assumed that with drywall all hung at the end of Wednesday, that left two full days to at least start mudding the seams. In my mind, this was perfect because the materials would have all weekend to dry, meaning that wall texturing and painting could move up on the schedule. Take off your PM hat, Laura: this isn’t your project to manage (it’s just so hard to keep out of it). Nothing else happened on the interior after Wednesday. So, pin a rose on your nose, Laura.

After months of carrying buckets of details around with me everywhere I went, months of worrying that I wouldn’t make selections or contact vendors quickly enough, months of stressing over pretty much everything in my life…here I am with nothing to do. I started thinking about towels and other linens that I need to buy tonight, but my husband scolded me—Why wouldn’t you wait until the after-Thanksgiving sales!? Because, Nicholas. Because I…well…because if…because…okay FINE: YOU’RE RIGHT. Man, that was hard to type.


My shadow...she follows me everywhere I go when I get home from work!

(This picture is from June, so don’t be thinking we’re negligent parents for letting our ward walk around without a proper coat in the steadily-falling, late-autumn temperatures!)

Sophie, Sophie, Sophie. You all know by now that she has Nick and me completely whipped, and we all but worship her. (Okay. Sometimes We worship her too.) She’s earned it though, because she is kind, protective, loyal, and affectionately demonstrative ALL THE TIME. I’ve never known another cat like her, and she has handled all the upheaval of the last 20 months like a pro.

She lived with her grandma Joan, Nick’s mom, for a few months (enough time for her to put Joan under her spell too, I think), because we were worried how she would be with other cats in residence—our subterranean loft living arrangement came with three cats already included. I was trying to be unselfish with the situation; I wanted the best for Sophie even though I missed her like crazy. Upon returning home from a week of travel (for work) in 2013, Nick surprised me by reuniting our little family. Sophie was back with us, and I don’t think she stopped purring for more than a couple minutes that first night.

Her royal highness...

Best of all, she has adapted well to life with other cats. She is actually quite chummy with a couple of them, leading Nick to continually paraphrase Shawshank Redemption: “…thick as thieves, them two are!” Now it presents a new problem for us since language continues to be a barrier, meaning that Sophie cannot tell us herself: should we get her a companion when we move? Will she now be lonely only having dopey humans (who leave her alone all day long) available for socializing?

Sleeping Beauty

We’ve been waffling for months. I know people who bring home new cats and it disrupts the peace in the household with the existing animal(s). Lord knows we melt and make mewling sounds when we see kittens, but we need to make sure that if we adopt another cat that it is for Sophie, not us. She’s our baby, after all!

Meanwhile, I’ve got rescued Maine Coons on my radar…my love for the “gentle giants” of the cat world has only grown since knowing and loving our Sophie. Stay tuned for the developing story, I suppose…I’m pretty sure I can make out the writing on the wall though.