Friday, August 29, 2008

Abbey Move: Part 1

As of the point that I'm putting this post together, we still don't have a connection at home.  But thanks to Meredith and her tip from a while back, I was able to download Windows Live Writer when I was borrowing WiFi earlier in the week, so at least now I can compile a post from home and just put it up when I get a chance.  Not a bad deal.

So Julia and Ryan were here last week with me for most of the week while Braska was at Grammy's.  They were a HUGE help, and we got a whole lot of things moved and loads taken over during the week to get ready for the big move.  It was handy to have Ryan around for the things I couldn't reach.  I couldn't hardly reach the top of the wallpaper with a stepladder, but Ryan didn't need anything at all. 


The plan was to do some moving on Friday night, then do the "big" part on Saturday morning.  It became apparent quickly that we better just capitalize on the hands available on Friday night to get done everything we could.  M's parents came first, mid afternoon on Friday, and they had a handy little enclosed trailer that we made a couple impressive loads with. 


I scrambled to find a moving truck and ended up only able to get one for about 5 hours on Friday evening, but we used it to get all the rest of the stuff from the apartment and clear out the tons of stuff from the storage unit as well.  Amazing, let me tell you!  Appliances were moved into the basement, along with ALOT of boxes that will have to be dealt with later.


At the end of the night, we were in.  There was no Saturday move.  It was crazy that it got done.  There were alot of problems with things that wouldn't fit where they should go.  Door frames ended up being removed, alot of scrapes and scratches will live on to tell the tale.  But in the end, we did it...with ALOT of help!!

Braska's room was in ok shape, at least there was room to walk.


Pepino's room is kind of a storage/holding area for now. 


Saturday, Braska returned to find her new place kind of crazy, but she's done well.  My mom helped us get organized a little, and M's parents came back to help with some more moving around in the house and did some super good cleaning at the apartment to get it ready for the final walk-through later today.

So we have a long way to go, but we'll get there.  I'm really hoping and praying for good health for all of us this week so we can accomplish a bit more.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Still offline

Nope. No internet yet. I've caught a stray signal from a neighbor a couple times, but it's fleeting and barely pulls in one or two emails. So for now, it's no go. We hope by Saturday afternoon we'll be in business. We're about to go nuts with no internet and no TV. It's a very telling experience, but that's for another post....or not.

I'm at my sister's place to drop some pics so I thought I'd throw up a HI! I've got pics to share and stories (no guarantee on how exciting) to tell, but for now they wait. Maybe I'll need a quiche at St. Louis Bread Co tomorrow morning and can get on there for a bit.

Oh, and I am feeling some better, still not 100%. It's just rough not to be able to medicate immediately like I would normally do. Hope this little Pepino appreciates my suffering for it's sake.

Hope you're all having a good week!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We're in but not on

It's been a crazy few days. We're in the new place in record time and with more frustrating elements to an actual move-in than I've ever experienced, but we had a GREAT crew who helped us get the job done! Family rocks!!!

We don't have internet at home yet, so I'm at St. Louis Bread Co borrowing for a moment. I'll be slow to post and respond to emails until we go live, so feel free to load me up with hi and hello notes so I'm all surprised when I get to check in. I could use the sunshine! In the midst of it all, I've been sick with a cold that's really messing with my energy and sleep (not that Baby Pepino wasn't already doing that...) so it's been a fun one. But we have a house, and we are blessed to do so, complaining over!!

I'll get to the blogs in my Reader as I can...sorry for not being on the quick as I try to be. Have a great week everyone! Do something fun and tell me about it! I'll live vicariously through you when I can get email again. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quality painters. And cheap!

Yesterday, the fam came and got the living room and hall primed and painted along with priming the door in the living room. We took them to grab supper before Mom and Dad took Braska and headed home.

Here's the before (brown door) and the after (primed door, Sugar Beige walls, trim will be white). The color is so subtle, but I'm not going to change it to darker til we live with it for a while. Plus, I don't really care at this point. It's a good paint job and a nice color for neutrals, so it works fine.

Today Ryan and Julia helped me a great deal by packing up tubs of kitchen stuff and making a few trips over to put them away. Initially, I just started unloading stuff into any open cabinet, thinking I'd worry about organizing later. But it was quickly apparent that having less than half of the cabinets from our last house is going to be quite the challenge. So tonight, as Ryan and M went to a movie, Julia and I began to unload and try to reload in proper places. It became very frustrating. Moving is such a chaotic experience!

The other element is of course that I cannot reach (at all) the top TWO shelves in the cabinets. So I suppose I'll be keeping a step stool very handy. I'm trying to be optimistic, but I'm also realizing that yet another purging might be required.

The carpets were cleaned today. They look like they'll be much better, but still pretty worn in the traffic areas. For now, they will remain. At least, they are much cleaner. I just have a thing with carpet. You never KNOW it's clean. Hardwood can be swept and mopped and you KNOW it's good, even for a moment. But for now, we'll leave the carpet and maintain a no-shoes house to try and keep it as good as possible.

I also finished the stuff on the new front door today, too. They'll be out in a couple weeks. We bought a closet system to make the most of our master closet's "cozy" space. Things are coming along. We'll begin with some light move-in on Friday evening, then hit the big work on Saturday morning. Here's hoping for clear, cool, weather. (In August, in St. Louis. Yeah...who's dreaming now?!?)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The fam came today and primed and painted the living room and hall. It looks nice, though the color I picked is a bit lighter than I thought. It's good though. Sugar Beige, it's called. Yum.

Tonight and the rest of this week, Ryan and Julia, my youngest two sibs are staying with us to be my extra hands and helpers in these last few days before the move. And in exchange, you might say, Braska went home with Grammy and Papa for a few days.

I packed all her little things, wrote out all the instructions for feeding and such, and off she went. It's weird to think I don't get to get her up and have our morning playtime in the big bed for a few days, but she'll be fine with Grammy. I hope she's not mad at me by Saturday. She'll be happy to be home, to her new home, I'm sure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Phase 1 done

The first of the contruction/remodeling projects are done, except for priming and painting, which will happen tomorrow. Here's where the fireplace used to be. I've never been so happy to see a plain jane wall.

And here's the new kitchen pass-through, though I am sure it is more likely to be a look-through only.

We spent a few hours tonight, Rachel and I, cleaning and wiping everything in the kitchen down thoroughly, as there was a ridiculous amount of drywall dust on everything and in every little crevice. Amazing. I'm sure I'll be finding it for a long time to come. But at least the kitchen is ready for some preliminary move-in of items tomorrow.

My parents and the two youngest siblings are coming to town tomorrow to do the painting and help out with getting things ready for the Saturday move. This is a lifesaver since I've been completely non-efficient lately. I'm accomplishing nothing. In a funk, maybe. Overwhelmed, maybe. It's bad. Thank goodness Rach kept me moving tonight, or we'd be even more behind. I want to run away and come back to a perfectly organized house with a smiling husband and happy kid. Since that's not an option, my fam coming to get things done is the next best thing. They are workers like no others!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chillin' with Whirlpool

Today the fridge came. It's pretty and shiny white.

The delivery guys were supposed to be there between 10 and 12 noon. So we went to the house and waited. We did a few little jobs, but we mostly waited. They arrived at about 12:20 pm, of course. Thankfully, they were nice, so we forgave them.

Here's a you tip delivery guys when you've been charged a delivery fee already??

Edited to add, since Teresa mentioned it and reminded me: M did offer them each a cold soda, which made one very happy especially because we had Dr Pepper. But of course! They were very glad for the cold drink (from the cooler).

Friday, August 15, 2008

First loads

Today was a long day... but we got some work done, which is very good. I started the day with the necessary supplies. No, it's not much, but when you've got a Hello Kitty boombox, what else can you possibly need?!?

I worked some more on the bathroom wallpaper. Of course, I'm quite short, and I didn't take a stool, so I was limited in my range of reach. But the good thing is that the top layer is coming off in nice big sheets, and the paper layer underneath is coming off that way also when it's sprayed with water...yep, just water. How cool is that! Now THIS is the way to remove wallpaper!

It appears that they put up the wallpaper before they put in the cabinet and lighting stuff, fixtures, etc., and that makes it difficult to get it clean. But it'll help when I have a screwdriver available to take things like light switch plates off. At least one main wall is done, mostly.

Tonight M and his brothers and their oh-so-helpful Pop came up and made a couple trips to the storage unit and back, bringing boxes and such to the new storage area in the basement. We are waiting for the big things til next weekend to allow for the drywall dust to be cleaned up after the projects are done early this week and then the carpets get cleaned on Wednesday. Big moving day is Saturday, some may be done on Fri night. Come on...doesn't that sound like fun?? Who's available?? :o)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My favorite carpenters

This morning I was planning to meet the handyman at the house to go over some things we've asked him to take care of for us. But the call I got before 8 am was not the one I expected... it was Rick, the project manager for the construction company. He said since they were able to finish demo yesterday, he had a couple carpenters who could come and finish us up today. Yeah, that's right! Construction that will be done a week ahead of schedule!! I was way excited and Rick just laughed at me.

Here's what it looked like when I got there. Outside...

And inside... the hole is slowly disappearing.

So I went over to meet them and give the final ok on the opening to be cut in the kitchen/living room wall. Anthony had the opening drawn out on the wall so I could see it. (If you click on the left picture, you can see where the drawing is. The other is the opposite side of that wall.)

I looked at it and said it was good, then as I looked more, I decided maybe I wanted it bigger from top to bottom. But then I changed my mind again. Anthony was oh so patient as I waffled and debated. I ended up going for the bigger opening, calling it final and walking away. Of course I've questioned it for the last few hours, but oh well. The end result will be down about 3/4 of the way through the lower flower border.

OK... by the time I got around to getting the earlier part of this posted, I had been back and taken more pics... so here's the progress. The left is from about 3pm and the right is from when I returned at about 5 when the team was gone for the day. They'll be back Monday to finish, and that's fine with me! I love that I can see it coming together!!!!

From the back sliding door, looking through the eat-in area toward the front door.

From the front door through the living room and kitchen, to the back door. Does that open things up or what?!?

Here's how the new wall looked at the end of the day. Inside and the outside/garage side.

Rachel came over to see how it was looking tonight and helped me start to take down some border as I was waiting for the handyman to get there. Even with that oak paneling still there, (it's leaving this weekend), it already looks better with the lower border gone. (Capt Belgium, the paneling was trashed from the other you want this batch??)

And I started on the bathroom after she left. Thank goodness it's coming off in sheets...the rest won't be bad at all.

Tomorrow it's more wallpaper work, the handyman is returning to get things fixed up, just several little things from the inspection, no biggie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Anyone got some spackle?

This morning I went and let in a team of guys to do some demolition. They did. Here's how it looked when we went back tonight to close things up. Well, to close the windows, anyway.

In case you missed it, here's what was there prior to 11:30am today. (Don't fret. The new bookcase on the right got saved for use elsewhere.)

If the schedule doesn't change, the great big pet door/alternate garage entrance will remain until Monday/Tuesday when the framing crew comes to finish up. That's why we're not moving in yet...make sense?

The first visit

Braska and I went to the house last night to check things out. Not sure what I thought I'd find but an empty house (and it was dirty...what's that about? Clean your house when you sell it, people!! We left ours spotless!), and that we did. But there was a big dumpster in the driveway. That's for the demo that starts today. Pics of that when it gets underway.

You can check out Braska's tour of the house on her blog.

There's work to be done cosmetically for sure. We'll get to some sooner, some can wait. This is the border in Braska's room. Pandas are her theme anyway, so it works. The blue is not what I would choose (not that I would ever choose any border either) but we're gonna leave it for now.

This is the border in Pepino's room. Noah's ark is always good, but the green is a bit much for me. But again, it'll stay for now. Looks like Pepino's got a theme picked out for him/her already.

There's alot of wallpaper in the bath and the kitchen, along with ALOT of oak (have I mentioned that I'm not an oak fan??) so we'll deal with some of it down the road. Right now, the goal is to get the demo/construction done, carpets cleaned after that, move in and settling. Cosmetic has to wait this time...

Heading over there in a couple hours to let the demo team in. Should be interesting...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another big day

Today we close on our new place. It's exciting and kind of scary too. There's alot going on in my head about it, but not much that I can share for various reasons. I'm glad to be getting in there soon to get cleaning and prepping for the demolition and construction of the next 7 days. I'm looking forward to seeing the new changes in place. And mostly I'm praying hard that this will be a good thing for our family as we move forward, something that marks another step in our healing and recovery process.

M's home today from work, feeling horrible and looking it. This is a rarity for him to miss work. Hopefully he's able to sit up and sign his name a hundred times in a few hours. For now we let him sleep.

I hope to be more consistent about posting as this process moves forward, more for my own record-keeping than anything, but feel free to follow along.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A must see--SCC on GMA

This morning Good Morning America aired the first interview with Steven Curtis Chapman and the rest of the family since the very sad accident that took 5-year-old Maria from them 11 weeks ago today. I had my DVR set from last week, making sure I wouldn't miss it. I woke up this morning and happened to remember at 8:04 am, so I found ABC and it wasn't hardly 30 seconds before they started the intro. Both Braska and I sat silent during the whole piece. She didn't move, and I only moved to wipe a few tears.

Steven and Mary Beth speak as parents, desperately missing their youngest little girl. The older three kids, including Will Franklin, 17, who was driving the car that hit her in the driveway, speak of their pain and how to help each other get through. In mid-July, Steven returned to his tour, with sons Will Franklin and Caleb, as they are part of his touring band. What better example of his faith in the God he sings about and tells of every night than to return to sharing how this same God has brought him through the darkest time in the family's life? The response has been AMAZING at every show, with close to $700,000 raised for Maria's Miracle Fund, benefiting families trying to adopt children. This was done *without* any kind of plea or request. Fans just wanted to do something, and how wonderful that so many children will be helped in Maria's honor.

I know I'm biased since he's my favorite artist and has been for close to 20 years now, but I believe anyone can benefit from their story. It's amazing, and it's a testament to the true Hope we have. Please take a few minutes to watch as this family remembers their little girl. Tomorrow evening they will be on Larry King Live also.

Click for Good Morning America interview.

In case you haven't heard the song they're referring to "Cinderella," here's the explanation of why he wrote it, and then another video of the song itself. It was a long-running #1 for him several months ago, but it has more meaning now, I'm sure, than any award or album sales record.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hot mama--and baby!

100 degrees is hot. 105 is even hotter. That's what it was today here. (The heat index, that is, but come on, if that's what it "feels like" then isn't that what counts?? M has a nice perspective on this too.)

Our apartment is on the top/second floor, has a big sliding door and a large double window that face West, right over the lake (love that reflection of the water). Our air conditioner has been an issue since the day we moved in. The maintenance guys, one particularly who is nice, have been out at least 3 times to "fix" it since it runs non-stop during the day, especially on the hotter days, and the line to drain the condensation gets clogged or something and overflows. So we get water draining down into the area below the unit in the apartment where the cold air return is. You can imagine how that makes for pleasant smells coming out of all the vents in the apartment. So now there's a small trash can under there to catch the water, and it fills up every day. Ridiculous. The maintenance guy told us that they'll probably replace the unit after we move out this month.... but we get to pay the exorbitant utility bills in the meantime and deal with this horrid musty smell. We apologize to everyone who walks in the door.

The worst part is that even with the A/C running all day long, it doesn't get cool in here. It is often up to 82 or 85 degrees IN the apartment. That's no fun. So this weekend we put up dark sheets and dark fleece blankets over the windows in the living room to try to insulate a little more and keep the light out. It's not a chic look at all, but we think it's helped some. I just knew I wasn't going to go through this week when they predicted over 100 degrees for the highs with the same old plan.

Suffice it to say that we are excited about getting this move going in the next few weeks. We went through the Abbey house again yesterday with the contractor for the final measurements for the demo and construction. We should be on target for our timeline of getting the two big jobs done prior to move in, so that is good. We close this coming Tuesday, 8/12, and I'm ready. I was actually able to get excited this time through the house, just because I felt it was finally ours and things can't fall through now.

The weather is supposed to "cool off" for the next couple days, highs in the mid to high 80s, so that's good. In the meantime, we sit and sweat. Thank God for fans!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

House shuffle

For those of you who have asked about all the house transitions and transactions, glitches and gaffes... we're getting closer to being in the clear.

We closed on the house in C-U on Wednesday, 7/30, so we are currently not homeowners. It feels weird to say goodbye to that place, especially since we didn't really say goodbye. I thought we'd go back for closing and have some kind of ceremonial last picture or something, but we had an attorney handle it all for us, so we didn't make the trip. I'm glad it's over, but that place will sure be missed. I hope the new owner enjoys it and uses the heck out of that pool! I'm actually sending a card to the new owner today with a "congrats on your new home" kind of thing. Just thought it would be nice.

We will be closing on Abbey on 8/12. We got a GREAT deal on the house and the sellers also gave us a nice credit for the repairs that needed to be made, so we're in really amazing shape, thank you God! Maybe I'll put a few pics below since the deal is solid and everything's in place. After we close, we'll be having a week or so of some demolition, construction, remodeling, and minor repairs around the house. We'll be getting the new appliances delivered, and maybe, if we have time, I'll tackle some of the wallpaper that simply must be removed. (It might have to wait...we'll see.) We hope to get moved in over the 3rd and 4th week of August, not sure what the "big stuff" day will be yet. (The house is less than a mile from our apartment.) But by the end of August, we have to be all out of the apartment and the other storage unit, so that's the ultimate deadline.

The demo/construction/remodeling stuff is basically two projects to start with. There will be another soon, but not right away. (New bath added in the basement.) The most important one prior to move in is complete removal and rebuilding of the wall between the living room and the garage. There's currently a wood-burning fireplace there that doesn't work properly and is actually considered a hazard. The wall is also not code for a few reasons, so we opted to take it all out and re-do. I'd rather have the wall space since the room is SO small anyway, so it's all good. This is the wall that will be gone. (Yes, that's the whole wall.)
I can't decide if I want to re-use that bookcase on the right somewhere else. It's new, but I'm not so much into oak. But it is good storage, so we'll probably find another place for it. (Sorry the pics are pics. Camera batteries died.)

This is the other side of that wall. Part of the issue for us was how much space this takes up in the garage too, preventing us from getting both cars in. (It was previously an exterior wall before the garage was added on sometime back.) We're big believers in the fact that garages are made for cars. So this will be just a smooth wall.

Then this wall, in the kitchen eat-in corner, will have a rectangle hole cut in it so that it's open some to the living room. (Love that border?? Not! And see...more oak!! That's for a later project.) It'll be most of that space that is currently white. I think it'll really make for a nice bigger feel in the living room and kitchen, and it's a super easy project for the valuable results.

So that's the plan for now. Monday the 4th we go meet the contractor/project manager at the house to get the official measurements and get the dates scheduled for the work, hopefully right after closing. The mortgage stuff is done, the down payment is ready (thanks!!), the contract is signed. Now we just wait 11 days.