Monthly Archives: August 2013

We Have Internet!

The day after I wrote a post bashing At&T for their terrible customer service, we suddenly had our Internet activated five days ahead of schedule. Maybe it’s a coincidence. And maybe tomorrow I will write a post about how it’s unfair that I never win the lottery.

Anyway, I’m finally able to upload photos of my living room so without further ado, here is the before picture for the thousandth time:

9 Living Room

And here is what it looks like right now:

Livinr Room 1

A good blogger would have thought to move the Hefty bag full of empty beer bottles off the deck before taking this.

Obviously it is a long way from being done, but at least it doesn’t look like a construction zone anymore. That shit was stressing me out.


All that space above the couch is making me anxious.

I get really overwhelmed when I start to think about everything that still needs to be done, so I’m just taking the house one room at a time for now. The living room is first on the list, then the kitchen/dining area. We plan to have a housewarming party in a few weeks and at the very least we want the common areas to look somewhat presentable.

I think with just a few additions, the living room will start to feel a lot more home-y. I love the idea of hanging a big mirror above the couch, even though Dave rolls his eyes every time I mention it (as if somebody who owns game chairs can have an opinion about what constitutes good taste). I’ve found a few options here, here, and here that I’m thinking about, although I’ll probably troll Target, Ross, and maybe even a few local thrift stores before buying anything online. Along with that, purchases for this room will include wall art, pillows for the couch, a couple of lamps, curtain panels for the sliding doors, and an area rug. I’ll probably do a little styled tray on the coffee table as well, since Pinterest told me to.

Speaking of Pinterest, here are a few pretty living rooms I’ve pinned recently that are making me hopeful that my living room will look pretty and styled someday. None of them were linked to the source, so if you know where any of these are from, leave me a comment and I’ll link it!
Gray Walls Big Mirror

Gray Walls Green Accents

Gray Living Room

You can view my Pinterest “Home” board here.

And for fun, here’s the view we enjoyed from the deck while eating dinner last night:

Back Yard

Mt Shasta

I hope you have a relaxing long weekend! I’ll be celebrating Labor Day by mainlining bad reality TV on Netflix in my unstyled living room.

AT&T Is Ruining My Life

Life has been so weird lately that I didn’t even realize I missed a day of posting. Contributing to the life weirdness is a) our current lack of Internet access at home, b) my crazy work schedule (but I’m not complaining because my late night events usually involve wine and cheese), and c) DID I MENTION I HAVE NO INTERNET AT HOME? Apparently they need two whole weeks to move the service to the new address. The last time I lived for two weeks without Internet access was in the 90s and I didn’t care as much back then because I was busy gluing my church directory photo next to every picture of Taylor Hanson in “Bop.”


I miss the 90s.

Anyway, the other day AT&T emailed us to let us know that they turned off the service at the old place, and we were like, “Are you seriously using the Internet to communicate to us the fact that we no longer have Internet? FOR ALL YOU KNOW WE COULD NOT HAVE SMARTPHONES OR JOBS WITH INTERNET ACCESS.”

And they were like, “Uh huh. Also, we are charging you $50.”

Thanks, AT&T, for charging me for the inconvenience of you taking two weeks to complete a task that all my other utility providers were able to make for free within hours. I will definitely not wipe the cat’s butt with service cancellation form I will be sending in the second our contract is up.

I was going to post some house progress pictures, but WHAT DO YOU KNOW, my 2G cell service won’t load the photos. Instead, please use your imagination to picture clean floors, a picturesque view of the woods out of the sliding doors, and me rocking back and forth in the corner muttering about AT&T. Or, come back tomorrow and maybe my pictures will have loaded by then.

Weekend in Photos

This weekend was the first in about three weeks where we didn’t have to get up super early to work on the house. We celebrated by getting up super early to run three miles while people threw colored corn starch at us.

Color Run Before

Color Run After

We had fun, but I’ll be honest … it was a little SPARKLE TUTUS! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! OMG HAPPIEST 5K ON THE PLANET BE HAPPY GUYZ! for my taste. I think Dave and I are just a little too cranky for events like this. It’s not that we’re unhappy or mean, we just aren’t the type of people who will dance with a guy in a rainbow unicorn suit to get an obnoxious DJ to throw us a neon fanny pack. We’ve both been so busy working on the house that we haven’t run in weeks, so we spent a lot of time power walking and planning a race of our own, the “Get Off My Lawn 5k.” Details to come.


After the race we refueled with some Chipotle before running some house-related errands. (We now have a shower curtain! Woo!)


On Sunday, I tackled this mountain o’clothes and got our closet situation semi-controlled. I’ll probably do a before-and-after post on that project in the next week or two.


It was stormy all weekend (my very favorite weather!), and after getting caught in a crazy downpour while carrying bags to the car in the Walmart parking lot we arrived home to see a double rainbow. Yes, I cried while taking this picture.

We did a lot of unpacking, a little relaxing, and I’m happy to say that our house is starting to feel a little more like home. How was your weekend?

Progress and Future Plans and Cat For Sale

Last night was the first night we spent in the new place (!), and after a long evening of moving heavy furniture in the pouring rain (after an already long day at work), we made ourselves feel better by listing everything we’ve gotten done so far. And it actually feels like kind of a lot. If you’re interested, here are the projects we’ve completed (with a lot of help from family) since closing on the house three weeks ago:

– Primed and painted all the walls/closets
– Ripped up old flooring
– Painted subfloor with Kilz primer (to seal in odors)
– Installed new laminate/carpet
– Removed, painted, and replaced baseboards
– Replaced water damaged floor and drywall in kitchen
– Fixed garbage disposal
– Fixed broken electrical circuit in kitchen
– Fixed leaky kitchen faucet
– Installed a new shower head in master bathroom
– Ran copper wire under the house for our refrigerator’s ice machine
– Moved all of the big furniture and most of the small stuff into the new house
– Installed cat door into garage
– Cleaned and disinfected every surface. Twice.

No wonder we’re cranky.

Even though we’ve gotten a lot done, our to-do list feels like it’s growing by the minute. Here’s our list of stuff we still have to do:

– Move low-hanging living room fan/light fixture to dining room
– Install new flush mount fan/light in living room (we already bought it; just have to install)
– Purchase and hang curtains in the living room and master bedroom
– Fix the kitchen backsplash
– Seal and stain the deck
– Build bar in dining room alcove
– Buy and install a dishwasher (there’s a spot for it; the previous owners took it with them)
– Paint exterior (this will probably wait until next spring – rainy season is almost upon us, plus we’re the poorz right now)
– Add shower to guest bath (currently it’s just a tub)
– Paint our mismatched furniture
– Landscaping, front and back
– Scrape off the awful popcorn ceiling
– Decorate

Do you like how I threw “decorate” in there as an afterthought? Everyone keeps asking me my decor plans and I’m like STOP IT I CAN’T TALK IT WHILE THERE ARE HOLES IN MY KITCHEN WALLS. The one thing I’ve done so far is buy this rhino bust from Anthropologie with a gift card my sister gave me for my birthday. We may not have curtains, but our living room wall sure as hell will have a rhino head on it. Priorities.

And speaking of priorities, last night the cat’s top priority was to keep us awake by howling nonstop before knocking a half-used gallon of paint off of a shelf in the garage, walking through the mess, and tracking it all over the new floors and couch.

Paw Prints

Anybody want a cat?

A Tale of Two Chairs and Bonus Idea For Closet Flooring

Remember that scene in “When Harry Met Sally” where Jess and Marie have a huge fight over the “stupid wagon wheel Roy Rogers garage sale coffee table”?


Look alive, Jess. Your man-jorts are stealing the scene.

Well, that scene was my life last night.

I showed you a picture of Dave’s game room in yesterday’s post, but I didn’t show you what I strategically moved out of the way before taking the picture:

Game Chairs

Yes, those are game chairs. IN MY HOUSE.

Last night one of our neighbors mentioned wanting to stop by and see all the changes we have made, and the first thing I thought was that when she sees that room I’m going to have to lie and tell her we have kids. Because I’d rather live an elaborate lie for the next three to five years than admit that my 29-year-old boyfriend willingly purchased these chairs. And sits in them. While playing video games.

To make matters worse, their smell is almost as offensive as their look. I carried a box full of games into the room last night and for a brief second I was horrified that the wet dog smell was coming back from the floorboards under the carpet. But then I realized it smelled more like chemicals. And I knew. I knew it was those damn chairs before I even leaned down to smell them. So then I complained to Dave about how he of course had to pick the chairs that came pre-scented with the smell of unwashed gamer and Mountain Dew Code Red, and he complained about the “ugly” pink armchair I bought at a thrift store earlier this year, and then I was tired of all the complaining so I bought some Glade plug-ins as a peace offering.

Now the room smells like vanilla, unwashed gamer, and Mountain Dew Code Red. I give up.

And because I want to end this on a positive note, here is a story about our closets: We knew we would be keeping the closets open in both this room and the second spare bedroom, which we plan to use as an office/guest bedroom. The original laminate that we tore out of the kitchen and dining area was in decent shape and not glued to the underlayment, so we grabbed some of that and put it down in the closets. I really like how it turned out, but more importantly it was COMPLETELY FREE. I think this might be our first house project to date that didn’t cost twice what we had budgeted and result in three other things needing to be fixed. Thus, they are currently my favorite thing in this house.

Now, tell me some stories – has your significant other brought something into the house that you hate?

Before and After: New Floors

Remember our old, dirty floors?

Yeah, those are gone.

In case you have more important things going on in your life than committing photos of my gross floors to memory, here’s what they looked like two weeks ago when we bought the place:

9 Living Room

Alcove Before

While the pictures showcase the big brown stains covering the carpet, I have no way of allowing you to experience the smell it contained. I’m not even sure I could accurately describe it. Maybe like a wet dog wrapped in old bologna that had been marinated in sour milk?

I don’t know … it was bad. Real bad. The end.

Thankfully that smell is now festering out at the county dump, and our house is filled with the aroma of new paint. You know how people say dogs can smell fear? If you breathe deeply enough, you might also be able to smell the death of my spirit that occurred during our new floor installation. But at least they are beautiful:

Living Room before and after

Alcove Before and After

Hallway Before and After

First of all yes, I am aware that my new floors are dusty . I was going to Swiffer them, but after a hectic day at work followed by packing a bunch of boxes and a trip to Walmart, I was not in the mood. The dark color definitely shows more dirt than lighter shades, but I don’t care because PRETTY.

My dad and brother worked on installing the floors Saturday, and then Dave’s dad and brother-in-law took over on Sunday. I am pretty sure there is not one good knee between them at this point.

The floors are Allen + Roth from Lowe’s, and the color is Burnished Cafe Maple (would have linked ya, but it looks like the color is not available online). We’re really happy not only with the color, but with the look and feel – even though all laminate is fairly inexpensive, some looks much cheaper than others. This looks a lot more like real hardwood than we expected. Plus, the underlayment was attached to each board, cutting quite a bit of time out of the installment process and saving us some money as well. Win-win.

We considered continuing the laminate into the bedrooms, but it gets so cold here in the winter that we wanted something a little more cozy under our feet in these rooms. I’m only showing you Dave’s “game room” since the other two rooms have boxes in them (the closets in the other rooms are white inside):

Game Room Before and After

It almost looks like the same carpet, except you aren’t bowled over by the smell of dog when you walk in the room. We thought about trying to install the carpets ourselves, but after reading about all the special equipment we would need (knee kicker! power stretcher!) we decided to bring in a professional. After watching him work, we knew we made the right decision.

Last night we moved the first boxes over. We’ll make our second trip tonight, and we hope to spend our first night there Thursday, barring any more surprises.

Out With the Mold, In With the New

Me: I can’t figure out how to start this post.

Dave: I have some suggestions.

Me: Pretty sure my grandma reads here.

Dave: Oh. I have no suggestions.

I guess I’ll start by telling you about Friday night, back when we were starry-eyed first-time home buyers who thought things like, “We can totally get the flooring done in one day!” and, “Paying for an inspection is not a waste of money!”


Here is what the left wall of our kitchen looked like on Friday morning (except for the walls; those are gray now):

5 Sink Wall

Cabinets! Counters! Shiny sink!

And here is what it looked like 8 hours later:

Water Damage

Rotting wood! Mold! Heather’s tears!

It all started when we noticed that the floor in the kitchen/dining area was a smidge higher than the floor in the living room, which is a problem when you’re laying laminate flooring. We peeked under the particle board in the dining room, and realized that underneath was a layer of linoleum, plus another layer of particle board. So we pulled off the top layer of particle board and  scraped away layers of linoleum, and things were rolling right along until we got to the area in front of the sink. A big, nasty water stain ran along the entire row of cabinets and disappeared under the cabinetry. We knew we had two choices: cover it up and hope for the best, or rip out the lower cabinets, sink, and countertops and assess the damage. I chose secret option number three, and ran out to the side yard to cry into my can of Hurricane High Gravity. My neighbors must be delighted they’ve got such a class act moving in next door.

When I came back inside, the cabinets were gone and we could see that the water had soaked all the way through the particle board and down through the 2×6 tongue and groove pieces right above the insulation. Black mold was growing up portions of the drywall, meaning that they had to be replaced as well. Luckily, Dave’s dad and brother-in-law are DIY geniuses and assured me they could totally take care of this mess for us, and that it would be way better than my suggestion of burning the place down and making it look like an accident.

On Saturday morning we got up early and headed to the lumber store to gather supplies, and then there was a lot of sawing and hammering and Coors Light drinking. At one point there was a hole in the kitchen floor.


I “helped” by blinding the workers with the flash on my phone camera.

A few hours later, I walked in to the kitchen to find the most glorious sight I’ve ever seen (aside from shirtless Chris Hemsworth):

Finished Subfloor

Clean! Pretty! Not harboring toxic mold spores!

And then, because we were still starry-eyed first-time home buyers at this point in the weekend, we rejoiced that the worst was over and we could finally start installing our floors. Our jubilation lasted until we finished the kitchen and moved all the cabinets back into place. Which is when we realized that our new flooring was thicker than the old flooring, meaning the counters bumped up against the tile backsplash, creating a giant gap.


This discovery meant two things: 1) The tile had to come out, and 2) I will be faking my own death and leaving Dave to handle this mess. DON’T TELL HIM.

Removing Tile

And of course, the damn tile was the ONE project the former owners actually took the time to do right. Sure, they laid a layer of linoleum over rotten floors, let their dogs defecate on the carpet, and ripped the dishwasher right out of the wall like Godzilla, but they made sure the one row of tile backsplash could survive the apocalypse. The glue was so strong that portions of the drywall actually tore off with the tile.

Hole in Wall

Luckily by this point we had given up on anything going according to plan and were just thankful there weren’t locusts flying out of the holes and frogs raining down from the sky.

While all of this was going on, my dad and brother got started on laying the laminate floors throughout the rest of the house. (We love the floors SO MUCH, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them as they are currently covered in about a foot of sawdust.)

I should note that our inspection report did not include any mention of water damage in the kitchen. I was ready to give the inspector a pass — it’s not like he was going to rip up the flooring during the inspection, after all — but the guy we had install our carpets on Saturday saw the mess and told us that this should have been found. He told us that even if the inspector couldn’t see evidence of the damage under the house, he should have been able to smell the rotting wood/mold. So now I’m psyching myself up to call the inspector, which is a HUGE DEAL for me since I am very non-confrontational a total wuss. I’d say wish me luck, but it is clear at this point in this house adventure that luck wants nothing to do with me.