Friday, October 27, 2006

Slow day at the office

Yes, this is another slow day at the office. Of course, it's Friday, which means that we might get something big or complicated or just plain pain-in-the-butt right at 5:25pm. Our clients have done this to us before, so why should today be any different, right?

Anyway, I know, I haven't posted for a while. But here's the thing - there was nothing new to talk about. My days are spent in the house, more specifically, in the kitchen. Not like I cook that much, but my work desk doubles as a dinning-room table for the time being. So as I said, I sit here all day, staring at the computer screen or at the bushes in the yard, which is a much nicer view with all the little birds and squirrels and sometimes a big grey cat. And then in the evenings, after Chris comes home, I cook food and then go upstairs to the only other piece of furniture that we have, the mattress, to read.

The only distractions from this routine that I have are tours of the house that I give to the contractors. Yes, the renovation saga has started with no end in sight. Chris does not have much time, between full time work and full time college, to do much work around the house. Plus a lot of it is pretty specialized. So I called around and so far had 5-6 people stop by. I wouldn't call it fun, since after the first couple of tours it gets very repetitive and boring. But I'd definitely say that it's an appropriate activity for the Halloween, since most of the quotes sound very scary.

We started with our master bedroom. Chris took the nasty popcorn off the ceiling. That didn't take long nor was it very difficult. But then he had to mud the drywall. Hmm, who knew that it'd be such a complicated process. So he spent his whole weekend last week on mudding the drywall and then priming it. Some butthole advised him to not waste time on painting with a roller and a brush, but get a sprayer instead. Right... After countless hours and many cans of primer, the room looked downright scary. You see, one needs to spend several hours practicing with a sprayer before starting a job and even then, each sprayer is very different. Of course, Mr. Butthole forgot to mention that to Chris. It's a good thing Home Depot has a great return policy.

Finally, today the contractor sent his crew in and they mudded the ceiling. This took them about 2 hours and cost us about $200. It should all be dry by tomorrow and Chris plans on sanding and priming/painting it himself. Thus he'd save us about $300 - our furniture fund.

In the mean time, we met with the kitchen designer, Susannah. She came over and measured our kitchen, something that we proved to be absolutely incapable of. Now we have to go see a guy at Lowe's since he's the one actually developing the plans for cabinets. So that's going to happen this Saturday. After that's done, we'll be pretty ready to order the cabinets and appliances and countertops and a sink and a faucet and light fixtures and other odds and ends that make this project such a nightmare.

Other than that, things are going pretty well here. It's been rather cold, so I mostly stay home (since I don't have a lot of warm clothes). Yesterday I finally bought a cheapy fleece jacket. Usually it means that the next day it would get considerably warmer. It sure did, but also it started raining. So I'm locked in the house again and my only escape at the moment is a potential trip to one of the area's malls.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More About the House

So, we're settling into our new surroundings. A couple of days ago we had a new washer/dryer delivered and installed and now I can finally do laundry (can't wait, right!). Other than that, we just committed to spend some major dough to replace half the windows in the house. Why only half? Well, some day, when we get rich, we'll take care of the other half. But for now, at least we'll have nice new well-insulated windows in the kitchen and in both rooms upstairs. We hope it'll all be in place by Christmas.

The much-needed kitchen renovation is not happening right now. We tried to contact 2 designers to come out and do measurements and just kick some ideas around. As luck would have it, one was sick all last week. And the other one is waiting on some additional information from her sources in order to come up with a ball-park estimate. So there goes my plan of having a great new kitchen just in time for the Thanksgiving!

Chris started work at CarQuest. He didn't do much yesterday since they hired so many people at once that they didn't have enough computers ready for everyone. So I imagine it was pretty boring for him. The good news is the work hours are flexible - he can start any time from 7:30am to 9:00am and can even take 30 min for lunch instead of the full hour, just as long as he works his 8 hours a day. And since he has no problem waking up early, he plans on starting at 7:30, cutting his lunch break short, and being home early as well. Great plan!

I'm not posting any pictures yet because there's really nothing to post. But hopefully we'll be starting and finishing our bedroom re-design in a couple of weeks and then I'll post the before and after pix.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We finally moved to our new house in Raleigh, NC. Well, the house is actually not new at all, it being almost 30 years old. But it's new to us, so there you have it.

The first couple of days were pretty miserable, to put it mildly. We didn't get here until Saturday night and there's nothing worse than arriving to a new place at night. It is completely disorienting and demoralizing. Plus the weather was really bad - rainy and cold.

My brother, who was helping us move our meager belongings, and Chris brought all the boxes into the living room. I brought Xander in. He got so scared, poor thing, that he ran straight for one of the closets and refused to come out even when I was trying to coax him with his favorite treats. That was very much like the episode of the South Park in which Tom Cruise locks himself in the closet - very funny, but a bit sad too.

We had cold water and electricity, but no heat since our forced air system and water heater run on gas. We also had no phone service and no Internet. And did I mention we had no furniture at all? If this did not add to the misery of the whole thing, then I don't know what would've. Our realtor, Galina, stopped by with some home cooked food which we ate off of paper plates and with our hands (couldn't find any silverware).

It was really getting late and very cold. The best thing seemed to just go to bed. My brother rolled out his sleeping bag and made himself semi-comfortable in the corner of the kitchen. Chris and I huddled under a couple of blankets on a squeeky air mattress upstairs. All in all, we looked much like some bums at a bus station.

The next morning, after my brother left, we went shopping. Basically, we need pretty much everything for the house and it does feel like we're starting completely over. There were so many little everyday things that we had to buy, that we kept forgetting something or other.

But today is day 3 at our new house and things seem to be getting back to normal. Three major achievements were getting Internet connection, hot water and heating (read - showers and warm bedroom), and a new mattress. Yes, we're the proud owners of a brand new and a very comfortable Sealy and since we upgraded to queen sized one, there's plenty of room. It feels so good after months of sleeping on an old crappy mattress and especially after a couple of nights on a tiny air mattress.

Xander is back to normal and he runs around exploring all the rooms, jumping on counters, tearing toilet paper to shreds and being in general a pain in the neck, but still adorable. And that's all the news for now.