Tuesday, January 28, 2014

House Paint Choices

I've been on the fence about how I feel about the house color and I decided to try putting some of my inspiration photos next to the finished house to prove to myself that I chose the right color, or should I say the color I was going for.  The collage below shows the two houses that I was most trying to copy and our actual house in the middle.

I don't think I'm too far far off.  I'm slightly more green which is funny because I almost went one step greener.  It's almost like our house is missing something (landscaping, obviously).  And although I have a pretty cool historic looking screened door and a porch swing you can't see in this photo, I still think it needs something.  I was thinking about a flower box on the left side.  Also I don't have any of my porch stuff on the porch because someone still has to paint the porch floor.  Also the camellia is in a sad state and even my liriope is like, "Isn't winter over yet?"

But this makes me feel a little better about the color. Maybe I'm just in the wrong season to get the full effect.  Ah, if I went just slightly bluer.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Venter and the Optimist

I just need to vent out these first world problems and I'm hoping I'll feel a little better.


First of all, we have to save up money to do big projects on the house so when we can actually do a big project, to us, it's a big deal.  A really big deal.

So we were very fortunate to check off two projects recently in the midst of everything else that's going on.  1) We replace the decaying, rotting old plywood flooring on the front porch with old fashioned tongue and groove wood panels.  2) We had the exterior of the house painted.

1) The porch.  When we bought the house the porch flooring was that plastic green lawn stuff people sometimes use outside.  When we ripped that up there was plywood.  It wasn't that big of a deal, they were large sheets of plywood except the closer you got to the steps, the pieces got small and it looked a little ghetto.  Still, paint it all glossy black and be done with it, so that's what we did.  And it was fine.  Then it started getting soft in all the smaller plywood areas.  And the paint started to fade and it was like a gray with peeling streaks.  And I could see in the front under the plywood was the old tongue and groove so I thought about it almost every time I saw the front of the house.  I could have had it ripped up and put in decking and it would have not cost much at all.  But, this is downtown and it's historic and what's the point of being here and having a little bungalow in the hood if you aren't going to try to reach for "charming" whenever you can.  So I just left it as long as I could.  Finally it was time, we were going to get the porch done.

And it looked amazing.  Amazing.  Then I asked the handyman to move the giant office armoire for me and bring it to Brian's office.  And right away just like that, there it was a huge scratch in the brand new floor right where you walk in the house.  And then it rained and all the water stayed on the porch.  The handyman forgot to grade it so water runs off.  So now every time it rains we have to sweep the porch.  Right over that scratch.

2) We had the house painted when we bought it.  I picked a historic blue with slight green undertones.  I thought it was really pretty, blended with the yellow house and blended with the neighbor's beige house.  It started peeling off a couple years ago.  The house wasn't properly prepped, more on that later, and so the paint lasted as long as it could (about 3 years) and then it started flaking off.  A little at first but about a year later the house was a mess.  It was so bad our home owners insurer said they would not renew us this June if we didn't have the house painted.  I didn't even know that was a thing.   We were dry from having the porch done so we were hoping to get it done in the Spring.  Then we decided to use some credit we had laying around so Brian started calling for paint quotes.  I got everything from complete refusals to super high quotes with hazmat suits to there's no way your going to paint the house the way it needs to be painted with that kind of quote.  We took that quote.  It was the only one we could afford.  And again, we stressed how the house needed to be prepped but it didn't take long for us to just kiss that dream goodbye.  We were now just going to be happy with a fresh coat of paint.  I think we imagined hours and hours of scraping and sanding - for that to be the main focus and then a quick painting (the house is tiny after all) and be done with it.  There was scraping, don't get me wrong but nothing like what we wanted and it was clear, you know... you get what you pay for.

But no bother.  It's STILL going to be a huge improvement.  Also, I was plain tired of this blue color.  What once seemed almost faintly aqua was now just steel blue gray and dirty.  I just didn't like it anymore.  I was pinning photos of houses that were painted aqua and that's what I wanted.  I live in a beach town, in a historic neighborhood, if there's ever going to be a time to go aqua, this was it.  So I went for it.  I didn't even try to go subtle.  I painted huge swatches on the back porch but you just can't get a sense of a color until you see it on one complete side.  And when the day came when they painted the first full side, I went into full on panic mode.  What have I done.  And Brian's like, I like it, but change it if you want to.  The painter said I could change the color for $350 more.  That's not a lot of money.  Except, it is.  It's a car seat and a changing table, two things I still really need for fostering.  I did what any girl would do in this circumstance, I called my mom and she came over.  She said she liked it.  Well, okay, maybe it's just me then.  I guess we'll go for it.

After two more days of painting my mom wavered just slightly, she probably doesn't even know she did it, but I spent the night venting to Brian about it, how it's too late now, I could have changed it but now I can't and I FUCKING KNEW IT WAS TOO BRIGHT!

Brian did what he does best which is calm me down with logical thoughts and then I was fine again.  I don't know how he does it, I really don't.  I wish I could do that to myself.  I guess that's what marriage is for. 

So the color isn't even the issue anymore.  I still think it's too bright but I chose too bright, I knew what I was doing, and once the bright white trim went up it looked downright cute.  This is the issue.  The painter guy, who is not our handyman (he didn't want to paint the house because he knew about the scraping and he's way smarter than all of us), took like 6 weeks to paint the house.  All together maybe 32 hours of actual work.  He used every excuse in the book and then it's like one day he decided he was finishing this house.  (Brian of course says he got to a point where he needed money).  Yesterday he knocked on the door at 1:30 and was all, "I'm going to be done today at 4, so can I get my check from you at that time?"  And I'm like thinking dude, you have at least 2 days of work here and by your time, you have like a couple more weeks.  But I'll text Brian.  And Brian came home and we walked around the house and he was so sure he was going to finish and there was a lot left to be done.  But Brian got the check ready for him to pick up at his office.

It was 4:56 when he knocked on the door and asked me if I would call Brian and have him run to the bank.


I tell him, it's 4:56 and the bank closes in 4 minutes. 

He says, (I swear to god) "Isn't the bank just a block from his office?"

I say, "No, it's like 2 blocks and the bank closes in 4 minutes."

Then he starts arguing with me over what time the bank closes, then says, "Fine, I'll just take it to my bank," and gruffs away.

After that exchange I look up on my phone and the bank closes at 5.  And my husband can't run errands for you he's an attorney.

It was like 60 degrees and sunny yesterday but the temperature began falling around that time and would end up raining and like 20 degrees last night.  It was getting dark because it was starting to drizzle after gruffy-pants gets mad at me.  I hear them slamming around the porch swing on the porch hanging it back up collecting all their stuff.   Finally he leaves and I go out on the porch and turn around and come back inside to get my stepstool and spend the next 20 minutes trying to rehang my porch swing properly, it was cocked to the side like 4 inches higher on one side. 

But the biggest problem is the drips.  All over the front porch, all over the back deck.  It's a mess, it's a crazy mess.  Brian had to calm me down again when he got home last night.  I tried going out to scrub it today but it's crazy cold and all my cold weather clothes are my good clothes, not clean dried latex paint with hot water and bleach clothes.  I put on a ridiculous ensemble to try to clean the back porch and I had a little luck but I got cold and a huge splinter.  I got half way across and it was the less drippy half.

I'm just so tired of having some work done on the house that costs a lot of money and means such a big deal and something ruins it.  I can't enjoy my new porch because of the GIANT scratch in the floor.  Now I can't enjoy my newly painted house because of paint drips all over the same brand new porch and the back deck (and the air conditioner).  I also found areas where he didn't finish painting because he was rushing and not giving himself enough time.  I'm just so upset.  I want it fixed.  If I have to fix it fine but I can't fix it when it's 30 degrees outside.  I'm just so mad about it.  Who uses drop cloths and spills paint everywhere?  I drip paint all the time when I paint because I don't use drop cloths.  But I fix my shit.  I fix my shit.

Brian's like, "I think the house looks good.  This is not a big deal."  Ever the optimist.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Damn You Craigslist!

I'm on the lookout for a wooden high chair, I just can't seem to find a plastic one I like that doesn't cost an arm and a leg or have reviews that make you want to pull your hair out.  I set my craigslist search to arrive on my rss feed and today I hit the motherload (no pun intended).

I already have a crib and I've just been waiting for our cash flow to build back up to buy the changing table but all three of these are for $100.  Then there's this part of me that's like do I really want to paint that changing table (in a super high pitched questioning voice).  I mean, that's a lot of spindles.  I can get one on Amazon for 80 bucks (one day) in the color I need and save me a lot of pain and anguish.

But the high chair.  Come on.  I love it.  Top that shit Stokke with your endless accessories.

We can't do it right now and I'm going to regret this later.  Bye bye wooden high chair.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

You Get a New Car

It was a few months ago that the mechanic told us our car was pretty much done.  It would make it maybe a year if we were lucky.  The Jetta had over 212,000 miles, had been paid off for years, and although the engine was apparently the last thing that was going to go, the car was literally falling apart.  We would joke about how every piece of plastic on the car was broken and it was true.  The center console lid was broken and just set back in place, the slidey thing where the charger goes slide all the way inside the innards of the car and we started losing things in the hole it left behind.  We were extra careful not to put our parking pass near the hole but Brian had to slam on his brakes on day and it slide right in there.  The back right passenger door stopped locking and unlocking.  This is a bigger problem than it may seem.  I challenge you to manually lock and unlock the back right door for a week or so to see what a pain in the butt it is.  Plus you have to tell passengers about it and you feel like a jackass from the 70s.  The moonroof stopped working a while ago.  A couple of panic-stricken moments when it wouldn't close is enough to just stop using it completely.

Our credit was destroyed by the housing market crisis, and is why were are living in this tiny house in the hood, so I really thought no way we could get a loan.  We've made really awesome strides paying off all our issues, a few still linger and feel impossible, but we'll get there.  On a complete whim we decided to randomly pick a car dealership and see what they say.  I was really ready to just be completely humiliated and leave with my tail between my legs.  We had been talking about car options when we heard our car was not going to make it and my choice was Honda CR-V so we went to the Honda dealership.

Somehow, someway, we left that night with a black 2011 Honda CR-V.  I still can't believe it.  I thought it was sweet justice when we were cleaning out the Jetta and I went to open the glove box and the entire locking mechanism fell out and I couldn't get it back in.  I was one glove box opening from having to drive around with an open glove box.  We are so excited about how roomy the car is.  A car seat will fit with plenty of room.  We can even take our car now when we go out to eat with Brian's parents. I can't wait to take it to the Adirondacks.  A whole new world, I tell you, a whole new world.

The New Year

I'm not usually a fan of New Year's Resolutions.  I think they are pretty much meant to be broken.  The are either too short and have giant impossible goals or it's some long list that goes on and on and you just get tired of it after a while (January 14). 

Not to mention what business do I have making any other resolution beside losing weight.  In all openness here, leading up to New Year's I had high hopes of the new year.  I was going to make  it happen.  Sadly, I'm completely and hopelessly unmotivated.  I have no desire to count calories, no desire to walk on a treadmill and feel like I'm punishing myself.  I just don't want to punish myself.  I've been through enough.

As a matter of fact that's exactly how I feel about 2014, I've been through enough.  No need to pile on.

But here's the deal.  There are a couple things I want to do and what better time than the new year.  Number 1, I want to put better descriptions on my pinterest links.  I can't tell you how lazy I am about leaving what someone else wrote and then I look back and I think I never said that brownie was the best I ever tasted, I never even tried these brownies.  So that's first, better pinterest descriptions.

Two, it's this blog.  It's so ridiculously haphazard.  I'm not going to sit here and say I'm going to write every day, especially considering it's the 7th today and I'm already 7 days behind.  No, I'm just going to say this.  I want to make a better effort.  I want to make sure I'm writing down things I want to remember.  I want to go back to telling a story.  I feel like this is a good year to do it.  There were a lot of years I was just sad about my infertility and writing about being sad about your infertility gets old so I really slowed down.  Not to mention the troll business and switching my blog around for a few years losing about 95% of my reader base in the process.  That'll jut you, let me just be the first one to admit that.  But this year is exciting.  Things are going to change.  I don't know where they'll wind up but I'll write about it, whatever happens and it'll be exciting.  We could be foster/adopting as soon as the end of this month.  Can you imagine?  I can't, I really can't.  But it's super exciting.

I also felt it was important to update on Zimmy.  One of Brian's employees wanted to adopt Zimmy so he went to live with here after Halloween (I think).  It seemed to be going really well but her boyfriend developed an allergy to cats so about a week ago Zimmy came back home.  He immediately ran under our bed but less than an hour later he came out sniffing around and checking things out.  Andy saw him and freaked out and chased him under the bed.  He was growling and his tail was fluffed out.  My hope was things would settle down but in a weeks time I never even had a chance to pet Zimmy.  He stayed under the bed most of the day and slept on the dining room chair overnight while we slept.  I felt really bad for him, this is a terrible life and all the cats were getting on edge, it was a complete disaster.  We asked around to our friends but no one would take him.  Brian suggested I put an ad on Craigslist so on a whim one morning I did.   Someone came over to adopt him that night.  I am so hopeful.  It was traumatic having more people come and take Zimmy but I hope, I really hope, that he's not too far gone now and he settles into his new home and has a wonderful life.  Back at home things went back to normal and everyone is way less tense (everyone being the cats and me).  I'm still trying to figure out how things went so bad so quickly.  Andy and Zimmy have lived together for years.  Maybe it was after Aidan died.  But even that was a year ago.  I can't figure it out.