Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How To Survive A Home Remodel (While Living In The Mess)

Leah: Adopt an "It's Okay" attitude.  "Turtle living in the basement?  Can hear a herd of mice running around in the kitchen ceiling?"  "It's okay!"  "Water from the upstairs bathroom is pouring through the pendant lights in the kitchen?"  "It's okay!"  "It's a 5-foot jump into dirt out the front door?"  "It's okay!"    "I spent my whole morning hurrying around to clean the house before I left, and when I came home this evening, the teeny-tiny piece of drywall you cut out left a thin coating of white dust on EVERYTHING?!?"  "It's okay!"

Nathan: Don't let your wife overwhelm you.  She will talk through ten projects in two minutes.  Those ten projects will take thirty days to finish.  Start to tune her out when she talks about the house.  Only take note of her ideas if she repeats them everyday.  That means she actually wants them.

Leah: Offer your husband a helping hand with his projects.  Watch him cut the 9-foot opening for the triple window in the kitchen.  Help him out when the header (a heavy, 9-foot beam) for the window needs to be installed.  As you hold the heavy beam up, be sure not to mention that you can't hold it much longer.  Instead, scream as your arms give out and drop the beam on his head.

Leah: Take advantage of  your sister-in-law's offer to help out on the house.  Unload heavy items you purchased together into the old garage on the property.  Let her shut the old, manual, single-panel garage door.  Watch and laugh as she somehow shuts herself into the garage.  Pull really hard on the garage door, the only exit, trying to open it up.  Go get other sister-in-law to help open the garage door.  When that doesn't work, call uncle to help.  Call other relatives to come look at her through the stationary windows as she is locked in the garage.  Take lots of pictures in 100 degree weather until her uncle can get her out of the garage.

Nathan: We didn't have a working shower for a month when we moved into our house.  We had to go to our relative's houses to take showers.  During that time I made a scientific discovery.  Well, it's more like a formula: angriness = dirtiness^3 + C where C is a constant = how much time Leah had to spend at the house on that day. What it boils down to is this: "Clean wife, happy life."

Nathan:  Listen to your wife when she finds a cute puppy online and tells you that it would be a great idea to get a puppy.  Everyone knows the best time to get a new pet, especially a 7-week-old puppy, is two days after you move into a house without a bathroom, running water and basic kitchen appliances.

Leah: DO NOT think through what it means when your husband tells you the bathroom might not be finished when you move in the house.  DO NOT be shocked when you realize that since the new toilet is not working yet, you will need to use a bucket.  DO NOT check the bucket you choose for cracks or holes.  DO NOT be surprised the next morning when you wake up in your new home, walk into the bathroom and wipe out on your shiny marble tile because your bucket leaked all night.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

I count down to Christmas (and my birthday) like a little kid...only 29 days to go!  This weekend Christmas cards were stuffed, addressed and sealed.  I really should make an Excel file with all the addresses because I send them to the same people every year (our families, some friends and all my students), and all three times I've done this since we've been married, I've had to use whitepages.com to find the addresses of most people.  After that, I'm left with a long list of people our age who only use cell phones and move every year, so Facebook messages are my ally for tracking those people down.  Searching for the addresses makes an hour-long job take at least two.  

 Is it way too early to mail the cards today?  I'm going back and forth between getting the project crossed off my list and waiting until December 1st to mail them.  It is such a miracle that these are done BEFORE Christmas, and I can actually have the debate with myself if it is too EARLY to send them!

I said I wasn't going to decorate the house this year since we're in such a state of upheaval with the remodel.  Knowing all those sparkles and lights are packed away in boxes makes me a little sad though...so I may decorate at least upstairs and pop some pretty wreaths on the outside doors.

Amazon is becoming my Christmas friend!  I  just ordered this scarf for $12.99, including shipping, found Christmasy flavored K-Cup coffee for cheaper than I can get it anywhere else, and ordered several gifts.  

Luxury Diva's Infinity Lightweight Scarf
$12.99 + free shipping!

In remodeling news, Nathan and his dad are working away digging out and framing in our new sidewalks.  The plan is for the concrete to be poured this Saturday morning.  We had some makeshift cement steps pushed up to our front door, but those were taken away to make way for the new half-hexagon shaped brick steps and landing that will be there soon and will look awesome.  Then, Nathan used the backhoe to dig out a place for the cement footer that will be the base for the brick.  So when I open the front door to leave now, I take a nice 5-foot jump into a pile of dirt!  You can imagine how much fun we had hoisting ourselves and our groceries inside the house on Saturday evening!

I saw two mice on Friday...so gross.  I did not stay calm!  I just can't stand those long, skinny, hair-less tails.  How do they make mice look so cute in animated movies??  I ran outside the house and was standing there, barefoot, in my pajamas.  After a few seconds, I realized that there was no where to go since I live here and went back inside.  But I did spend the rest of the day with socks AND cozy furry boots on my feet (after irrationally checking the inside of the boots for mice), since I just can't stand the thought of the little creatures running over my toes. Yuck!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Our third Thanksgiving together was so fun and sweet.  In the morning, Nathan went hunting with his dad and brother-in-law while I made a giant apple salad and cleaned the house.  I went into a panic earlier in the morning that all of his relatives would decide to come over (they didn't, but now I have a clean house!) and see our newly remodeled home, and it pretty much looked like a war zone.  How does that happen so fast with only two people living here?  I also made some snacks- sausage dip and candied pecans- to bring with for people to eat in the afternoon.  What were we thinking?!?  We were all way too full to eat snacks just hours after Thanksgiving dinner!  My college friend Evelyn joined us since her family lives in Taiwan.  It was a loud, happy afternoon with 50 people in one house, just the way holidays should be!

In the late afternoon, we went home for an hour and tried to pass into a food coma on the living room floor.  Well, Watson thought we must have wanted to play/wrestle since we were laying on the floor, so no napping ensued.  I got up and made Cranberry-Banana-Pumpkin-Walnut Muffins.  Yes, that was the combination of about three recipes.  I hate bananas and their smell with a passion, but somehow, I do like them baked in breads and muffins.  I was in the kitchen mashing them up and gagging, which Nathan found hilarious.

Around 6 pm, we got all bundled up to go stand in line for a TV at Walmart.  I was wearing four layers, boots, hat, scarf and mittens.  We went to pick up Nathan's mom and we found out that apparently we wait INSIDE the store.  Would have been good to know before I dressed for a blizzard!  Walmart, in general, was crazy.  We got to bypass a lot of that though because we went in for a specific TV.  They only had 35 of them so we had to get in line at 7 pm.  We sat on a couple cases of Dr. Pepper for three hours doing crossword puzzles and reading magazines across from the refrigerator section.  I started to regret shedding all my layers about an hour in.  Have YOU ever sat across from the eggs for three hours?  It's chilly!

That was probably our first and last Black Friday experience.  While we do appreciate a good deal, we already have so much, and for our warm home, family and friends, we spent yesterday being grateful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What We've Been Up To

-Considering that my 7-week-old car has 5,800 miles on it, I've been doing a lot of driving!

-Last week started with a studio recital for my cello and piano students on Sunday afternoon.  Recitals are a lot of work for all of us- me, the parents, the students- but it is totally worth it!  I didn't bring my picture-taker (Nathan) this time, so I don't have pictures and videos to show you this time, but each student did a great job.  We had lots of solos as well as a cello quartet and a couple piano duets.  I ended the week with a concert with one of the orchestras I play with.  Rehearsals meant that I didn't get home until 11:00 each night last week.  Nathan and I felt like we didn't see each other at all that week!

-Watson became an outdoor dog yesterday.  It breaks my heart to see him looking in the sidelights of the front door, whining and wanting to come in.  I know he'll be happy playing on our 3-acre lot and I'll be happy about how much cleaner our floors and furniture will be.  I wishfully hope babies are less work than puppies!

-I started P90X two weeks ago.  I was really nervous to start because I had heard it was so hard.  So, I bought it for $40 on Craigslist, hoping that if I couldn't swing it, I could at least resell it without losing too much.  What I found is that some days ARE really hard, but it's not impossible.  I cannot do a pull up to save my life, but the video gives you alternative things to do using exercise bands so you can eventually work up to a pull up.  The only downside is that it's so LONG!  60, 75 or 90 minutes a day, depending on the video scheduled. 

-Thanksgiving this year is going to be at Nathan's paternal grandparents.  We live two houses down from them so we can literally walk there.  They are having 50 people, so I hope that we have nice weather to hang out outdoors!  

-Our house remodel is nearly done.  I would guess that in about 6 weeks, we'll be just about done with all our major projects.  Right now, there is a backhoe parked in our front yard (classy!) and we have trenches dug where our sidewalks will be, hopefully by next week.  But with the big, dusty mess we have now, I think we'll skip cutting a tree and pulling the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the spare bedroom.  It makes me sad since I'm the person who put up our tree last year at our rental house two weeks before Thanksgiving.  But there's always next year, and this house will be so beautiful all decked out for the holidays.

-And speaking of that, I'm almost done with our Christmas shopping!  I need to buy Nathan's gifts, and then we have four more relatives to find gifts for.  After that, let the wrapping begin!