Tuesday, November 18, 2014
As we revealed on Friday, last month Alex and I took the plunge into second home ownership. Our "new" home, an early 1900s American foursquare, has great bones, an amazing water view, and enough projects to keep us both busy for the next decade or so. While the house is completely livable as is, we see a laundry list of items both big and small that we know want to tackle. But the looming question, "Where the heck do we start?"
We moved into this house "empty," meaning we had no substantial furniture to configure or items to deliver. That first weekend we were relying largely on duplicate items of our own from our house, and on the kindness of family for donating unwanted furniture. Nope, no moving trucks ready to bring our stuff, just single car loads of stuff we'd gathered up in our kitchen staging area.
My parents came into town the weekend we closed on the house, and not only were they a huge help in bringing no longer wanted items from their basement as well as from Alex's parents' basement, but they helped us tackle some of those critical first steps when you purchase a home.
The biggest time suck of the weekend was cleaning. We cleaned, scoured, vacuumed, dusted, and polished until we were exhausted, starting with the kitchen. There's nothing I hate more than a dirty refrigerator (and this one was relatively clean compared to some that I see when showing houses), and I didn't want to put any of our food in the fridge until I had my way with the beast.
Friday, November 14, 2014
It's been one month since we made the big announcement that we bought a second home. Now that we've shared our four top contenders from our home search, we're finally ready to spill the beans on the results of our more than two year search.
Though I fear we've led you all on for too long, it wouldn't be a true House Hunters inspired reveal without a little recap of the four homes we presented for consideration before telling which one we chose.
First we showed you all the Victorian farmhouse with a whole lot of land, a quirky floor plan, crazy kitchen, and several outbuilding.
This home had a lot going for it, including a great setting, guest cottage potential, a possible wood shop, classic farmhouse styling, and a ton of other possibilities. Oh, and it had a memorable kitchen...
Monday, November 10, 2014
Several weeks ago while we were having our hot water heater replaced with a tankless unit I shared a shocking photo.
While the picture may look quite a bit like a set prop piece from a dream sequence in A Nightmare on Elm Street, it was actually the deteriorated metal flue ducting that had long served its purpose of directing the exhausted gasses from our water heater up and out of the chimney. Though it had done its job for years, its structure rusted away to the point where it was becoming a potential hazard.
I was quite relieved to remove the whole vent duct when we replaced the water heater (new heater is direct vent with PVC), but this left a hole in the brick where the old vent entered the flue.
To resolve this issue I mixed up a little mortar we have leftover from the repointing project last year and used a half brick to patch the area up.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
This fall marked the 12th year in our annual tradition of throwing a Halloween costume party, but this year, for the first time, we had our party on Halloween night.
Though we typically hold our party the weekend before Halloween, with the holiday falling on a Friday night (along with Alex's now crushed hopes and dreams of the Nationals making it into the World Series, which in theory would have tied up a few of the other weekend dates), we decided to hold out until the last day of the month to throw our annual bash.
We're a few days behind in sharing the details, but this year's party was a spooktacularly good time. I guess when you combine friends, food, drinks, and some great costumes, it's really hard to go wrong.
After last year's Orange is the New Black inspired costumes of ours, lots of people were curious what we would dress up as this year. I'm a fan of couples costumes, as they really add a lot of options for creativity in costumes, so that's the route we went again this year. We kicked around a lot of different thoughts on the subject and tried to figure out something that would be relevant and fun without breaking the bank. Alex had the idea to dress up as a Scotsman representing Scottish independence, but tethered to the Queen of England. He enjoys every opportunity to wear his kilt, and I liked that the idea was timely and relatively easy to pull off and gave me an opportunity to embrace my inner queen. He ordered a "Scotland Aye" tee shirt to round out his ensemble, and I combined costume jewelry and sensible shoes with a new wig and monochromatic ill fitting dress and jacket I picked up for just $25 at our local bargain shopping outlet. Here's a look at the full effect.
While Lulu was dressed as a little bat, we really should've gone the extra lengths and had her dress as a little corgi. Overall we got a pretty decent reaction from our party guests, and Alex got the question of "So, your kilt...are you full Scottish? (wink wink, nudge nudge)" more than once.