Thursday, January 2, 2014

Twas The Night Before Christmas (And a Bunch of Other Days)

Warning: Long Post. We've been up to tons!

This morning I am nearly giddy with peaceful delight (that's possible right? Giddily peaceful? Must be.) as I settle into my life here.
Its really only this morning that I finally came to the conclusion that I really actually I live here.
So I'm just a wee bit thrilled as it sinks in.

I haven't been writing because I have been nonstop doing.
And with each moment of work I somehow couldn't get the idea out of my head that I was working a job. It started because when I was working on the floors I was commuting back and forth to this house like a job. And it was my only real experience of "working" as a mom, so it felt really convincing.

Our moving in was really hectic, really unconventional, really spread out, and sporadic.

Before I back up and tell the tale, I wanna make sure you know I'm not whining about any of this. I was fairly stressed out a few days there before we all moved in here, but since we've been all together again I've been a lot more relaxed. Of course I still have had some mommy burn out moments -- but that's me no matter the surrounding circumstances.
The tale I'm about to tell is full of craziness. But I just don't want it to come across as a pity party, because I'm actually really, really excited about living here. And I walked into the idea of buying this house knowing it would be tons of work. (And it's really not very much work at all when I compare it to my parents' house they re-did -- now THAT was a lot of work! But I digress.)

The Friday before Christmas the movers brought our stuff here. The floors had just been finished two days prior -- giving it just enough time to cure. (Like I mentioned, it was a GOOD thing we hired a pro because his floor chemicals dried way faster and better than what we were using. The Minwax stuff may have literally taken a week or more to dry through...despite the can stating otherwise.)
Blake was still in Iowa finishing his last minute stuff there.
So the movers packed up our stuff in Iowa with Blake (although he was at work) and then they brought it here to me. I left my mom's house really early (but not as early as I meant to because I didn't correctly hit snooze on the ipad -- oops) and got down here to meet them.
They were really nice, a father and son, and as the moved things in the kept asking me, "Where would you like this, Mrs. Johnson?" and it was throughly entertaining to me. I don't really have any instances where I am referred to so formally so it was giving me the mental giggles. Being in such a grown up situation and feeling still so non-grown-up. I also was feeling like I was falling back into time. This house was built in 1962, and I was starting to feel like I was back in 1962. I was starting to feel like I was in a Mad Men episode or something.

Saturday Blake got to the new house.  I was with the girls at my parents. Then I tried to do some last minute Christmas shopping, because we were going to try and make it to both our families for Christmas. I did have a bought of freak out right around then. The chaos of Walmart mixed with the chaos of my life was doing me in. I wanted the world to post pone Christmas like we are doing. But I can't ask the world to do that.
When I got home I prayed with my dad again -- helped.
Next thing I know, Jasmine is having an allergic reaction to a mystery something. Suddenly she is covered in hives and her face is starting to Quasimoto-ify. Stuff like that is so hard because I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I wasn't sure if I should use the epi-pen because I didn't know why she was swelling up. We hit her with a ton of benadryl and watched really close. She was breathing fine the whole time, and the swelling started to go down. We were all relieved. We never figured out exactly what happened. We are guessing a towel we had used as a bib might have had milk, butter, egg or all of the above on it and bothered her.
I had been planning on leaving earlier and taking the girls "home" to the new house (despite it not feeling like a home yet at all) but with that reaction I didn't wanna leave until I saw what was happening, I wasn't about to leave her in the back seat where I couldn't see her while I drove, until I knew she was in the clear.
So once she looked good, we left. She was fast asleep from the benadryl and Ruby was fine watching a movie on the way down.
When we got here, we were happy to see Blake, but basically all a huge mess since it was way past bedtime, were drugged up, and mommy fried.
Then we had to set up the crib -- which turned into "just use the pack and play." Find some sort of bedding. And just pray they sleep in a new place.

I can't remember how that went -- I think awful -- because we needed shades on the windows -- Ruby's room is bright from neighboorhood lights -- so she didn't sleep.

The next day was a day of "musts" like a washing machine and dyer (we were, and sort of are, still living out of suitcases, so we need to wash stuff.) (Blake had to crawl in the crawl space to fix the dyer vent). Doors on. Room Darkening Shades. And a baby gate on the top of the stairs.
Having one of those has vastly improved our lives. Not JUST because I'm worried about them falling, or escaping at night time. But also because half our downstairs is currently "under construction" -- just subfloor and tons of tools and ladders -- not the place for an 18 month old! So that gate can keep them from that while we are upstairs. And we have two more moveable gates that can keep them from it while we are downstairs.

The next day was more of the same (all that stuff didn't get done). Mixed with wall paper pulling in the laundry room. Part way through the furnace (which is IN the laundry room) shut off. I totally assumed I broke it by getting the wallpaper-pulling-down-water sprayed into it, or getting chunks of wallpaper in it somehow. (These crazy people wallpapered BEHIND the furnace, and water heater!! I have no idea how or why! There were two layers -- so someone had to do that while the furnace in place at some point! CRAZY I tell you.)
I called my dad, he talked me through turning it off, restarting it and stuff. It started working again.
But by 10 at night it was no longer working. This is the night before Christmas Eve. Basically everyone  is out of town, we haven't met our neighbors, our little girls as asleep in their beds and the thermostat is reading in the mid 60s and dropping, and it was a COLD night outside. We weren't too excited to call a service guy, but we had to, otherwise I didn't see a way not to have to evacuate, and we didn't know to where.
A guy came out, wasn't too excited to be out either its now like 11pm. Made the thing come back on, but tried very hard to sell us a new furnace. We were now thinking that we would have to get a new one -- and starting to feel rather "money pit"-ish.
The next day we had a service guy come and set up our internet. (He was so nice, totally talked it up with Jasmine, she was eating it up.) And as soon as he left, we hit the road to Blake's families house (2.5 hours away) for Christmas eve.
The state we left our house in for Christmas Traveling
Somewhere in this mix I had been able to go grab a few more Christmas gifts to bring with us.
And we got there feeling kinda a bit blurry behind the eyes (or at least I was.) But it was a nice day.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Then we drove home. Went to sleep. (Didn't get much again)
And in the morning drove to my family's house (1.5 hours away) for Christmas.
Another nice day.
And after the two combined, our new big house is almost filled up with toys! The girls were quite showered!
While we were there my dad and grandpa decided they would come to our rescue since our furnace still didn't fully work after the service guy came out. (My grandpa has been in the heating and cooling business I think his whole working life. And my dad was for years. They had worked together for a while too.) It was sooo nice of them!

So they day after Christmas, down came my dad and grandpa. They brought with them some treasures. My mom's mom's table. (My mom's mom died, when my mom was 12, so its a very special piece.)
Also a bed frame, a grandfather clock, a cute side table.
When they got here, all three guys ended up in the laundry room/ furnace space. Seeing them all in there, suddenly I felt really emotional and deeply grateful. It was my dad's father-in-law, and my husband's father-in-law. Or my grandpa's son-in-law, and my dad's son-in-law. 3 Generations of father/son-in-laws all working together as this adorable team. Guys that aren't really related, but all family. Guys that don't have to like eachother, but instead love eachother, and all because of some girls. I just felt so moved by it.
At another point in the day, I overheard my dad and grandpa pray for our heater and I totally teared up. I won't ever forget that day. I'm so so so blessed.
Oh, and yeah...and furnace works now too. But that's almost beside the point. :)
My dad and grandpa agreed that the furnace is actually pretty new, and should work great for years and years -- that the service guy was just trying to make a sale.
I guess it was just pretty dirty and some parts were out of balance because of it. That doesn't surprise me in the slightest based on the state of this house. (When the old fridge was pulled out, there was a stinky fur-ball back there so big, you could have used to create two purse-toted-pups out of! The place was nasty!)
They also helped get our dishwasher installed. Blake had been wrestling that thing all week. When my dad and grandpa worked on it they had all the same issues -- the copper tubing was too soft and would always end up leaking --- eventually they ended up soldering it -- which that was hilarious to watch -- my grandpa and dad's interactions were priceless. And after all was said and done we had a heated house and a working dishwasher. Pretty awesome.

After that we've just been plugging away.
I've had to do a lot of deep cleaning -- everything here was gross.
I scrapped tons of crap off the glass stove to with a razor blade (after letting it soak with wet baking soda topped by wet dishtowels for 30 mins.)
Upper two: Before. //Lower Left: The stuff I scrapped off. // Lower Right: After
Some vinegar, Barkeeper's Friend cleaner and tons of elbow-grease later the stove top doesn't look too shabby.
Also cleaned the oven (which wasn't nearly as bad as the stove top thank goodness.)

I also finally got a chance to clean the master bathroom. It too had a moldy toilet seat, so it got a new one. Everything got scrubbed to death. Especially the sink which had a lime build up in it which got stained a nasty color -- it was so stuck on I can't really believe I got it off -- more elbow-grease! (My elbow literally hurts most the time anymore.)
It's amazing how nice clean is. I mean this room is far from how I hope it will look one day. But after all that scrubbing, I was like "Wow this place looks great!" And Blake came in and was like "Wow this bathroom is amazing, Sweetie."

But those loving thoughts of cleanness came after this adventure:
I was working on getting the mold out of the shower, so I plugged the drain and filled the shower pan with hot water and bleach. I did this a couple times over before Blake came upstairs to tell me the shower was leaking through the dining room ceiling. Crap.
Well there was a line of caulk in the pan, over a crack, that had come loose. I'm pretty sure that's the only problem. We've left it alone to dry out for now. I think we might be able to get away with just resealing that crack for the time being. We'll see. Eventually it will need a new shower in there. But we have the other upstairs bathroom, so we are fine no matter how it goes down.

Other than that, I've been working on painting the closets. They were all strange colors -- I'm bringing them back to white. I wanted to just get it done before I unpack stuff into them -- otherwise its twice the work, putting it all in just to take it back out to paint. (Even if it is annoying to have stuff in boxes longer.)
I underestimated how much work a closet can be to paint. In small spaces I always think, "Oh this will go fast" but inevitably there are all these extra things to go around and it takes forever. Like all the shelves, or an attic access. So this process has been a little disheartening because I'm starting to face the reality of how long it's gonna take for me to get things done around here -- especially with small kids. But oh well. Stuff gets done. And when it does it so good.
And I've been watching The Dick Van Dyke Show while I paint. I like old stuff. And this again entertains me because its the area of our house, somehow connects me through time to everything. So that's been fun. (Also I decided that Sally Rogers of that show is kinda Liz Lemon of 30 Rock in  yesteryear.)

At some point, I also got to get some new (to me) furniture for our kitchen from Restore (Habitat for Humanity's thrift store.)
It gives me a bit more storage. The cabinets here don't have adjustable shelves and there is nowhere to stash tall things like oil bottles or cereal boxes. So I found this cool old used-to-be-a-radio cabinet and am using it as a pantry. When I get more time I'm gonna take out the stuff in my way, for more storage --but I'll leave that cool drawer cause it can still act as storage.
I also got a fancy credenza/buffet table for near our table. Love that fancy baby.

Anyway, on Monday a friend of Blake's came over and helped him finish changing out our outlets -- they were all two prong, and they switched them over to three prong and added some GFCIs. (The ones that pop if they get overloaded.) And then they put in our new door knobs.
I had the HARDEST time picking out door knobs.
We had seen some gorgeous antique ones at a cool store in town, and after that I couldn't get them out of my head. But at $26 a pop they were too much. (Plus likely wouldn't fit our doors, or have enough for all our doors.) But they were just stunning. Beautiful brass (in the best way) with these clear glass knobs with is sort of nautical star in the depths of them. Plus cool brassy goodness around the knobs itself, ya know? Holy cow. LOVE!
So after falling in love with those, no accessible door knobs looked good anymore.
Plus to add to my confusion: that Brass is cool again (when done right.) This really throws me off. I mean for the longest time everyone was dying to get rid of all things brass. But now the up and coming cool is to bring in back in in perfect doses. So if that's true, I felt like there was no longer a "right" or "wrong" for door knobs. But I was nervous that there is a "wrong" but I just don't know about it. I wanted to make a lasting choice, not a trendy one.
Now had I been able to do those fantastic antique ones -- I KNOW those would be timeless. But plain old knobs -- I wasn't sure.
Jasmine voted BRIGHT gold! Blake wanted more of a gunmetal kinda of look. And I was just lost.
Blake and I finally decided silver made us feel like we were at work -- too officey for us. Plus I didn't think it fit our house -- its a 60's colonial. I'm having fun trying to bring in the essence of real colonialness -- but leaving respect for the 60s in the mix. Silver doesn't feel colonial or 60's to me. The Brass that's in our price range -- not good (sorry Jasmine.) So we went with Oil Rubbed Bronze. I'm nervous that might be a trend. But whatever. We like them. And they look more colonial to me.
The french closet doors are the old knobs. The center door is the new.
I also have a surprise (for you, I know what it is) add-on from ebay coming in the mail which I think will tame my need for antique door knobs at a price I can handle. Stay tuned for that!

New Years Eve Blake and I were looking forward to relaxing together, watching a movie, having pizza, ringing in the New Year. Instead, sickness struck. And I ended up having to go to bed with Ruby at 9pm because she was such a wreck, she would only sleep in my arms (that's NOT her way normally.) So I watched a movie with headphones on my ipad mini. And Blake ended up getting sick that night too -- falling alseep alone on the couch soon after I went up with Ruby. Eventually all 4 of us ended up in our bed, not feeling well. (Well, actually I felt fine -- other than getting no sleep through all the craziness.)
And New Years Day was more of the same. I was confined to the couch because Ruby still wouldn't stop screaming unless she was sleeping on me. She slept most the day. (Also not her way.)
I had planned on painting the rest of the two closets left, but that was canceled.
And Blake and Jasmine spent a lot of the day laying on a blow up mattress in our family room while we watched endless kids Netflix.
It was an interesting New Year.
But there was a sweetness to it too.

By night time I was able to get Ruby to sleep in her bed. And I was able to clean a bit -- just normal day to day kitchen and toys -- and that felt fantastic after being pinned down for hours.

Today is Blake's first day at the new job. He mostly just has to set up his office and get things in order. He called home really excited about his office. They don't know if it's his permanent office yet, but it's his for now. And its really nice.
And I'm just hanging out with the girls with no agenda. They are both coughing, but on the mend.
I figured we'd ease into life with out daddy around -- no real attempts to fix the house yet. (Not so sure how I'm gonna get around to it --- but it will happen somehow.)

So that's life right now.
My view this morning
(Can't wait to get these walls un-yellowed. And we need a new table and chairs here.)
You can see why it took me so long to really come to terms with the idea that I live here.
Sometimes I flash back to Iowa and think I live there still. Its so odd to move.
But I'm feeling so grateful right now that this is our life.
I'm super thrilled to be here.
There is TONS to do...but it gives me something to do.

I'll try to write more regularly now that we are more settled in. (But no promises.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Why I don't read your blog more faithfully (& never post) I don't know! But from now on I'm adding it to my regular rotation of iPhone reading material for putting baby to sleep! So excited & jealous (in a good way) about your house! ~ Naomi


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