That, and everything in between, about sums up my week last week. Here are the highlights of the fastest week ever because we don’t start slow, we dive in. Also, we fumbled Monday because it was a holiday and felt a lot like a Sunday so it was a busy and short week;
- First day of school! It went well, kids had stuff ready and were super excited to go. So excited they took showers and had dripping wet hair so we had to do some emergency blow drying. Where was the blow dryer? Still in a box, but, we found it. I went with them for the morning to help kids find their way in the new building and it was a joy to see the new building.
- First week of figuring out drop off and pickup and what exactly to do in between. There is not as much time as you think during school but after the longest summer every full of much togetherness, having an hour, followed by ANOTHER hour to do things made me dizzy with possibilities.
- One thing that was top of the list was a set of counter and cabinets that we didn’t have the builder do but needed to be done in order to set the rest of the kitchen up properly. It is not totally done because it does not have the sink and a few details yet but it is done enough for now. I had to really work to make that countertop flush because even brand new houses have non-level walls. Thank you Dad and YouTube. I’ll cut a hole and do the plumbing connections (rough in done by builders) sometime. Knobs are on the way and I have the base molding cut but not painted and shelf hardware but not shelves ready. Getting these guys together, level, anchored and looking good to this point took some time so worth a mention in a post.
- Another top of list item was to sew 3 flower girl dresses for a wedding this coming weekend. I got the cutting out done at a friends house because my sewing stuff was MIA. I ended up needing to do a thorough search and rescue for them though because every other pair of scissors I could find were dull as cspan and when I did find them I literally kissed them. I got through 1.5 dresses last week and today finished the half done one and did another half of the final dress. There is a fit component I don’t want to do until I get the body but then they are home so I don’t have time to do the sewing so they wait until the next chunk of time. All three need a little hand sewing but that is what car rides are for. Ps. Pink satin is not an easy first sewing project for the house.
- Friday I put away all the sewing and got ready for friends to visit from ND. They are the perfect houseguests in general but really perfect first house guests. They don’t care that their bedside tables were boxes. They viewed our blank walls and windows as opportunities to brainstorm solutions and it was a pleasure to have them (even if there was puke. Kids puke as often as cats. Your welcome for your daily dose of birth control)
- The event over the weekend had high points and low. I love to see everyone and I adore the two people that are now on the throne and they made the most gorgeous outfits and presence ever – they set the bar so high. The low was some stupid misses that I’m sure I noticed more than anyone else but I my hands were tied to try and fix it so it just left a bad taste. It was still a good event
- Last but not least, I launched my campaign for school board. After the referendum last year this is way less stress. If I don’t win nothing bad happens like when the levy failed and they had to close an elementary school If I do win I’ll be happy to take my turn on the board and making sure good choices are made for the kids in our community. If any of my readers want to help out my cause here is a link for donations. They are anonymous to others but per laws and stuff if you donate $100 or more I need your name, address etc for the report but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I also went to a school board meeting because I would never ask for a job I don’t have a high awareness of. I can’t believe there are people who run and never come to any meetings?
Now it is a new week and I have a PTO meeting and a fundraising event (for scholarships, not me) and we get to go to a wedding for some of our more fun friends so I’m sure it will be absolutely fabulous.
According to my schedule, this is the major pack week and we are major packing. The boxes are accumulating, the stuff in rooms is disappearing and I have a ‘safe space’ for things not to be moved. I said it before, but, my military sister with 10 moves in her adult life highly recommends emptying a single room and then putting in that room the things that you are personally moving in the car on the last day. For us, that is Lars’s work, and everything going to pennsic.
What better thing to do the weekend before you move? Go camping! A very large part of me didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did. I enjoy seeing everyone, Niamh and Zoe both won their fighting division, Zoe got a fighting award, and despite the soggy hot weather, it was a nice weekend. Vacation mom made it 10x better by showing up and puttering with me at the event and then whisking the kids away in the morning so Lars and I could pack in peace. I took zero pictures the entire weekend but a friend posted this one and I think it captures the beauty of the SCA. Our social club with a renaissance theme. That is my tent in the bottom right, and, you are looking at the battle field where the kids enjoyed many pool noodle fights, bubble blowing, and general joyous noise.
I was actually not wiped out coming home, we got a load from the house to storage, I grocery shopped for camp week lunch and snack and then we just chilled. Monday we got up extra early and got kids to camp and by 10 am, a time we are usually just getting motivated, I was already done with room #1 and rolling forward. I’m so glad we did the camp thing, they are happy, safe, and come home exhausted so I don’t feel bad packing up all their toys.
We took a batch of things to storage yesterday and then went by the house and happened to be there when the builders came in to look at ‘a situation’. I had noticed a ton of little things in the house but not the giant crack in the wall or the fact that the counters were no longer flush to the wall – the cement truck pouring our patio ran into our back wall…. You can’t make this stuff up! He was stung by a bee and hit the gas. The cement company is covering it all and I trust our builders to take down the wall and true up everything again but the worry is this will impact move in. Given I had planned for *something* to go wrong I put our closing on Aug 13, a full 10 days after they said it could be done because if I had to be homeless, I want to go to Pennsic and that is 2 weeks long. I don’t however, want to wait longer because then we run into hotel or staying with people and some legal deadlines on closing documents etc. I am going to hope for the best.
Today my energy is still up, we have a plan and Lars is now working in an empty room on a folding table and I’m back to laptop life. I hope to get the hall closet, kitchen ‘extra’ and clothing done today. I think keeping out 2 weeks worth of outfits should work. I’ll do laundry, it will be fine. I’m undecided on how many towels to keep out, but, if that is the biggest problem in my life I’m ok with that. Back to work for me, hope you all enjoy your day.
I’m starting to count down instead of up because;
- we actually do close on Aug 13 and since it is July 13 so it seemed like fate
- we finally have toilets (and other plumbing fixtures!)
other countdowns of note;
12 days until we are 100% out of this house
2 full days the kids will have in the house they were born in
Pictures first! (All photos in this post are taken by Niamh)
We have reached the phase of the project where things are getting complicated and annoying. I’ve never built a house, who knew all the little things?!? My complaints seem petty overall but this is not going to be an inexpensive venture – I’m compromising in my head by imagining if something would bother me if I walked into an existing house and just saw it that way – would it bother me then?
Yesterday in the middle of trying to pack for a camping trip I got the text that our patio was marked and since it would be made of cement and is of a pretty custom design, would we like to see it first. Yes, yes we would! One of the most hard things is figuring out size when out of context. The patio looks teeny tiny, but, I measured and the 10×10 thing I need to accommodate fits just fine with room to spare on the *half* of the patio that it is intended to go. Comparing the cement to the giant outside is unfair and makes my head hurt.
The nice surprise was seeing all the plumbing in. I had actually forgotten what I choose it was so long ago. The rain head shower is not as we imagined, we have to talk about that to the builders, and there is another odd issue with where they plan to put something in our yard. With a quarter mile of empty space, I do NOT need our septic field directly behind our house. “honey, look at our view from our upgraded windows! It is a septic field! Ooh la la so fancy” I was under the impression it would be in the side yard, you know, the place that does not have 11 windows facing it. It is a part-time job following the builders around, attempting to figure out what they are doing.
It is nice that all the things we were responsible for getting are now in. More than half the lights are up even. The appliances are paid for, the knobs and pulls are all labeled and waiting for install, and the lights… well, they are all there. The 3 I got for the kids’ rooms are incredibly dim, so dim they are not lights, they are ceiling ornaments. I got a refund yesterday at least but that does not really solve my problem. I think I can fix it… just need a ladder and some time. The pendants I ordered look great except somehow they don’t perfectly cover the hole in the ceiling where they electric comes in. Finally, the kid bath has MASSIVE electric boxes to cover with their lights and the ones I got are normal sized. Something about code and outside wall…. whatever, they really should have told me this in advance – I dragged the family out to get 2 new ones to cover, it will be fine I’m sure. They also bounced my choice of light for the closet. Be warned, you can’t have ‘exposed light bulbs’ in a closet per code. Code that every designer ever seems to ignore in the pretty pictures. Fine, the pretty light will be installed right AFTER we move in :). If I sound a tad frustrated I am because while they seem to make all the decisions they feel like about where to put septic fields without consulting they are calling me constantly about minor things that have easy fixes?
And like I need another thing going on – last week someone reported our car in a hit and run. The police called, it wasn’t us at all since the car in question was sitting in the driveway, and we thought it was over until yesterday we get a letter about ‘our accident’. No, I wasn’t packing for a camping trip, and didn’t already detour an hour for cement review, sure I can spend an hour disputing the insurance claim against us. A hit and run is a big deal, I don’t want that on our record. I sent pictures of every angle of our car that is perfectly fine. I hope that does it because I don’t have time for this.
So yeah, it is morning, I did manage to pack but now it is raining. I’m not keen on rushing out to set up in the rain but we will be on our way soon. I’ll have fun once I’m there and when we get back it is time for the packing phase. 12 days is not all that long, send good thoughts that we can get it done with sanity intact. If you are local and feel like coming to help you will have my perpetual gratitude.
Current Situation; Siding is (finally) going up. Floors at 99%, COUNTERTOPS are in. Me- 100% of knobs/pulls now ordered and 28 of 35 light fixtures ordered/in the house
Next; (me) buy the last few light fixtures, (them) finish in process things, get the driveway and patio put up lights and ‘trim’
Status; 900 of 1000 – My toilet mark might actually be the finish line, who knew they were last?
Progress pictures first;
I was good to my word and on Tuesday, after putting in the laundry and telling the kids I had to focus, I hit the list of things to get done for the house hard. There are so many categories of things but I’m making progress. Luck was with me because I found a few great deals on knobs on Amazon – tip – look at the 10packs, they were all way less expensive than buying the single of the exact same thing. For example, I needed 6 for a particular bathroom, 6 single pulls were $20ish and 10 of the same thing was $14. If you only need one, get one, but I saved about $100 overall carefully over buying. I know I could have saved more if I was willing to have basically the same thing in every room because the savings were even greater at 25 pack but I like different things in different rooms.
The fun continued with lighting. We dropped the kids off with friends and went to Menards. They weren’t really having a sale, but, we loved a few things that were ‘the last’ so we got the floor model. The poor sales lady was very gracious even though it looked like she was tortured up on the ladder getting the fixtures down. We kept finding great deals and by the end, we had all but a few on our list. I needed to pump the breaks because I wanted to do a budget check, and, see some sizes in the house so we brought all the boxes to the house and put them in the rooms they belong for install. It was a bit of a force of will by the end but I’m happy with our choices. The last few are being tricky, I need the master bath and 2 outside lights and those ‘matter’ and we also need the laundry room, master closet, and a hallway – I can’t quite decide if I should get the ones that matter first and just make the other 3 work in the budget left, or, the other way around.
I also did a ton of paperwork. I mentioned this in my vacation post but just in case you are building or moving it is a good idea 1 month out as you pay bills, call or go online for each thing to update the address. You might need to stop or start service and you might get a nasty surprise like your internet service isn’t available at your new address!!! Yup, that’s us. Well, we have a month to deal with it. I’m busy now but less busy then I’ll be the week I’m moving so this is a thing I can more easily do in advance. A mail forward will catch the stragglers but I don’t want that to be the only method. I’m also planning on doing our Christmas card super early this year as a change of address note to all the family and friends.
Today is the 4th of July but our parade plans got rained out. Instead, we watched Iron Man 3 and bbq tonight. (and I might just go get 1 more light I saw at Menards…)
It was a coin flip to either talk about our epic journey back to MN, or, check in on the house. For the record, we arrived on Sunday around 6 and after dinner, we went to go check the house because I could not wait longer!
Current Status; We have PAINT. The painful decisions of paint color and location made with consults both near and far turned out great. The stairs are also in! Trim and cabinets continue to get installed/finished. Flooring prep work underway. (me) 15 of 27 lights procured, chosen exterior stone, doors, and siding finally confirmed for the 4th time
Next; (me) buy more light fixtures, knobs for all the things (81 total). (them) floors, cabinet install finish, get the driveway and patio soon and all the fixtures come soon.
Status; 775 of 1000 – still no toilets! paint and stairs make a big impact but the fun finishes are coming soon.
We got 3 colors included in our quote, that is actually a decent number when you think about a more monochrome and cohesive design style. We choose Agreeable Gray, Dover White, and Navy for our main floor and public spaces upstairs and each of us choose a bedroom color. It was $100 per color but it was also a way for the kids to really love the move and be ‘ok’ with all the chaos coming in their near future. My designer friend advised taking their choice and subtracting 2 numbers to get a lighter tone and I only had to do that for Niamh – she went for a really really strong pink but it looks much better two shades lighter.
Fiona actually really liked the color I choose for my room ‘secure blue’ so in her opinion she picked our room color and I’m ok with her thinking that since it saved $100, and, I obviously like the color.
Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the front hall in navy but it came out very sharp with the white trim. I also neglected to take pictures of the vast spaces now painted gray or white but I did get a close up of the stain color “Koa” chosen half because we wanted it to stand out against our medium dark floors and half because it reminds me of Hawaii.
We also got back on track with selections and trecked up to the stone showroom to choose our exterior stone and address stone. It was an easy decision because thanks to my designer friend I actually have a good idea of what to do with the exterior. In brief; pick one color and one accent and stick to it – do not go crazy with all the color options of siding.
Finally, it is hard to take pictures of stairs but here is what I could do. Imagine them without protective paper.
I’m getting a little tired of the process, the builders work is great but their system is very scattered and I’m constantly following up or reconfirming something I thought was set. The story of the siding is annoying and long and I hope ends well, we will see… There is one vendor I just don’t like at this point because she is so disorganized but small price to pay for the amount of custom work we are getting. I’ll be on top of them again since I’m back and other than parenting, a 1-weekend camping trip and packing this house up, I’ve got nothing else to focus on.
We have cabinets!
I also picked colors and fingers crossed they will look good.
I’m going to ny so no pictures for a week but by the time I’m back I expect siding and maybe even flooring. There was a pile of wood that will become stairs so fingers crossed! 9 weeks to move in, the list is still long but working through it.