This past weekend

I guess, looking over my last few posts, that I spend a lot of time on home improvement. And I guess that's true - it might be some of more interesting things going on that I think to post about.

I've spent a lot of money so far, but I haven't done a ton of work myself - until this weekend. Dad and Uncle Bob are coming tomorrow to start ripping out the kitchen and installing the new cabinets. I started ripping off the cabinet doors and emptying the cupboards - partly because it needed to be done, and partly because I wanted to surprise Dad with it.

Also, on Saturday, Bernadette came over and helped me prime and paint one coat of the new color for the guest room/office. I didn't really like the color on the wall, even after leaving it for a day, so Sunday I bought a new gallon of paint and painted two more coats. I pulled the tape off and set the room back up this evening.

Saturday night, I hung out at a local bluegrass festival in a city park with some friends. It was a good time - talking with Heather & Jenni while the guys threw a football, Nathan running around like a crazy kid. The music was a nice backdrop, though I think we would have had just as much fun with a radio playing just about anything.

New purchases, light updates, rearranged furniture

I uploaded several more photos with house changes.

Heather came over last night, and we rearranged the furniture in the living room. I was mostly humoring her, because I just couldn't see what she was suggesting, but once we got it into place, I really liked it (and still do). The room looks more cozy, there's more space for side tables, on both sides of the sectional, and the back of the entertainment center and associated cables are now hidden behind the wall.

I'd really like to get started on painting this weekend, and because of the boxes of kitchen cabinets all over my living and dining rooms, I'm thinking that the office is my best bet. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be moved out of there first, though - so we'll see.

Mom and Dad's visit

Mom and Dad are visiting this weekend. I made dinner (boy, are there a lot of dishes when there's no diswasher to throw them into) and afterwards I finished up my laundry. Mom and Dad came in and set on the sofa, turned on the TV, and fell asleep. I'm trying to convince them to actually go to bed so they'll be more comfortable, but no luck so far.

I gave Mom the tour, and she said my house was a "gem in the rough" and that I had my father's visiion. Which I'm taking as a compliment. I can't wait to have them down again when the kitchen, floors, and painting is done - this place will look so different.


I can handle bugs, they don't scare me. But slugs - I can't handle those.

I found two in the garage today, and I definitely screamed. It took me a while to get up the nerve just to go back in garage, and then only armed with salt. I couldn't find one of them, but I grabbed my laundry, dropped a healthy amount of salt on the one, and ran inside.

I checked a while later - completely gone, a just a little pile of salt left (I might have overdone that a bit). Now, I just have to figure out where the other one went...

Another shopping day

I spent some time shopping today, though I didn't spend nearly as much as I did last weekend. I bought a couple things for the house - a quilted throw to use as the bed covering for the guest bed, a bedskirt that matches, and a bulletin board that I may cover in fabric (unless I decide its not big enough and return it for another one).

Most of it was little things, including these adorable dog collar charms from Old Navy (so new they're not even available on their website). I bought one with her initial for Dakota (her old one broke a few months ago), and since they were so cute, bought one for Teddy and Barkley, too.

My new furniture arrived today - an entertainment center (the coffee-colored one) and a leather ottoman/coffee table (kind of like this, but more leather, no shelf, lighter brown leather and brown instead of black legs). My living room is mostly set up now, with a few things here and there to be put away.

Mom and Dad are coming for a visit this weekend, and I'd really like to have the dining room and office/guest bedroom mostly set up, as well. It would be especially amazing if the dining room was capable of actually having people sit down and eat there.


I've unpacked all of the boxes that I'm going to at the moment, so there's definitely visual progress, which feels good. I need to spend quite a bit of time getting my office/guest bedroom set up, and that means going through a lot of little things.

Four radiators down, three to go! The AC/heating upgrade began today, and my friend Robbie started pulling out the bushes in the backyard. My job for the next few days will be to get the microwave set up (sitting on the counter temporarily until cabinet and appliance installation), and continue to pare down the decorative stuff that's all over my office bookcase and dining table. Some of these things I know I don't want, some I know I do, and many I'm not yet sure of.

Adventures in home improvement

It's been a busy weekend, but we've got a lot of stuff done. Mom and Dad are coming to visit in two weeks, and I would love to be unpacked and mostly as set up (as much as possible, at least) by the time of their visit.

Dad hung my new chandelier, which looks great. I'm glad there's already a dimmer on the switch, though - because it sure is bright (5 100-watt bulbs came with the chandelier). He tried to hang the new vanity light for the bathroom, but shocked himself, so we decided to wait on that one until he has all the right tools. He also hung the medicine cabinet, but it's a bit shorter than the old one, so the drywall needs to be fixed before I can paint.

A funny thing about the medicine cabinet - apparently, old medicine cabinets had a small slot for razor blades, so when Dad pulled out the old cabinet, there were tons of old rusted razors in the wall openings. I took a couple pictures, and I'll post them as soon as Dad sends them to me.

Update: Here are the photos from removing the medicine cabinet.

Busy Saturday

Dad has been visiting this weekend, helping me with a few small projects around the house. So far, this has mostly been helping me spend money, but I think that tomorrow will be a work day.

I bought a chandelier for the dining room (to replace the nice but brass one), a pendant light and ceiling light for the kitchen, and a vanity light and ceiling light for the bathroom and hallway. I also bought the garbage disposal, faucets, and cabinet hardware for the kitchen and a medicine cabinet for the bathroom. And that's not even including the furniture - a tall skinny bookcase for a corner between the living room and dining room (a great deal, as it was marked down from over $100 to $28 because of a missing mirror that I wouldn't have wanted anyway), a daybed (Dad and Mom are letting me borrow two twin mattresses and a pop-up trundle bed for the guest bedroom/office), and a TV cabinet and leather cocktail ottoman to use as a coffee table.

On the way to Home Depot, I saw a woman riding on the back of a motorcycle with a sling on one arm and a lit cigarette in the other hand. I called Kelli to tell her that was the kind of balance that she needed to strive for. Then, while driving to the beach so Dad could compare it to Ocean City and Rehoboth, we saw a convertible pick-up truck - a lowered truck with all of the cab except the windshield ripped off and two grinning idiots sitting in the seat. Weird people.

More unpacking and kitchen stuff

This will be another post written before I have the Internet access to post it. As frustrating as that can be (I can’t remember the last time I went this long without checking my email – probably Young Life camp), it’s probably a good thing, because I wouldn’t get nearly as much unpacking done.

Dad is coming for a visit either this week or next weekend, probably with Jon and maybe one of his friends. He’s eager to see the house (and I’m eager to show it off) and I think eager to help with some of the work I’m doing. Unfortunately, we’re just not at a place where I’m doing much actual labor – most of that is with unpacking. Still, it will be good to have them hear for a visit.

I’m actually doing really well on the packing – more so than I expected. I’ve gone through all of the boxes that were stacked in the living and dining rooms (there’s one box of pantry stuff still to be unpacked in the kitchen) and have started pulling boxes out of the spare bedroom. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff in there is either Christmas decorations (needs to be moved to the attic and I can’t do that myself), office supplies (can’t put those away until I get the office cleaned out enough to have the furniture set up at least a little), and decorative stuff (which I need to decide to keep or toss, and then where it should be stored). I can see the potential for getting bogged down in that stuff, so I’m trying to move through it as quickly as I can and not stress about finding its permanent home for right now.

I also need to move the last remnants of stuff out my car. Since it goes into the shop Monday night for a couple days, that’s a good deadline.

I ordered the kitchen cabinets, countertops, and sink tonight. I worked with a great kitchen designer at Home Depot who kept her eye open for sales for me, and so I got 10% off the countertops, my sink base free, and then another 10% up to $500 off the whole order (I got the full $500 max). So – I used my savings to get a couple upgrades – a pull-out trash bin cabinet with two bins (one for trash, and the other I’ll use for food for Dakota), and a total of six roll-out drawers in the base cabinets. I bought a Silestone countertop (quartz composite – a little more durable than Corian solid surface, more of the colors I liked, and pretty comparable in price). I also bought a solid surface under-mounted sink. That takes care of most of the big purchases for the kitchen – just some smaller items left (the faucet, the garbage disposal, cabinet hardware, floor, paint, and decorative touches).

Overall, I’m really enjoying this process, though I do feel a bit like I’m trying to keep a lot of balls in the air. It probably helps that I’m still new to the area and don’t have tons of stuff going on all the time. Sometimes, though, I just want to stop making decisions of any kind.

Other updates

I got two quotes for updating to central air and transitioning from oil heat to electric, including replacing the water heater and pulling out the radiators. There are a couple other small things, too, like adding exhausts for the current bathroom and the to-be master bathroom, and changing the vent for the over-the-range microwave to tie into the vent that currently is in the ceiling. The quotes were actually very far apart – one was almost double the other. So, after making sure that both included the same things, I went with the smaller quote, and the work is scheduled to begin a week from Friday. In the meantime, the window units are working, but my allergies would appreciate the break.

There are a few other things I want to do the house, including repainting almost every room and doing some simple, mostly cosmetic updates. I’d also like to refinish the floors. I knew they needed it when I looked at the house, but seeing the floor without furniture, I think they need it even more. I’m just waiting for the radiators to come out before doing either (refinishing the floors or painting).

Kitchen Appliances

I ordered my appliances today for my kitchen. I have an appointment Friday evening to finalize the cabinet and countertop order, and wanted the refrigerator’s dimensions before then. The dishwasher, range, and refrigerator are Frigidaire with a silver mist color. They look like stainless steel, though maybe not as shiny, but the finish will hold magnets, won’t show fingerprints, and is cheaper. I’ll try to include links to the actual models I chose for each appliance, if I remember.

Here’s the big dilemma with the refrigerator. The current one, though a shallower model, still sticks out pass the door frame. I considered a cabinet depth refrigerator, but would need to be careful even then to check dimensions. Also, cabinet depth models are significantly more expensive, even the cheapest brands. Heather asked about the possibility of switching the refrigerator and stove, since there’s more room where the stove currently is (the doors to the garage and dining room aren’t quite opposite each other), and Dad said this would require an electrician, but wouldn’t be too complicated. But, even with the switch, a standard refrigerator would still stick pass the door frame, and I think with the money and effort I’m putting into this remodel, that would drive me crazy. So, Dad suggested creating a recessed area for the refrigerator, and because there’s currently a shall cabinet in the wall there that would otherwise be walled off, there’s room for that. I’m relieved not to have to worry about that anymore.


I’ve gone back and forth on this a lot over the past several days. I think this is largely because I’m just tired of making decisions for a while. Pulling out the shrubs that line the entire back perimeter of the house won’t be cheap, especially because some of them have a wire fence in them, but I definitely need a fence for Dakota. Right now, there’s a bit of a privacy fence on either side of the front of the house, the wire fence through the shrubs on the back and right sides, and nothing but shrubs on the left. So, I really think the best bet is just to clean it all up and get rid of the old stuff, even if it takes longer and costs me more.

Otherwise, the front of the yard is in good shape – just needs some landscaping right along the house. The backyard needs some attention, but other than removing the shrubs and adding the fence, that will probably wait for another time. There’s too much I want to do inside first.


I finally moved into my house last weekend. I drove to Frederick Friday night, and my friend Josh and several other friends picked up the rental truck and loaded everything from my storage unit into it. Then, Saturday we drove down to Portsmouth. Traffic, a blown tire, and seven hours later, we finally got here. Several friends from here helped unload the truck and set up a few things, then we hung out for a while. I crashed pretty hard Saturday night, and since I hadn’t packed everything from Nick & Heather’s yet, including my alarm clock, I slept in Sunday. I spent most of Sunday moving everything else from their house, shopping for a few necessities, and unpacking. I’ve been doing a lot of unpacking, and there is still so much to do. I’ve got one room’s door shut, just so I don’t have to look at it yet.

I picked Dakota up from the kennel Saturday morning. She handled the drive pretty well, even with the delays, and seems to be adjusting well. The backyard isn’t fenced in yet, but I’ll be glad when it is and I can just let her out to run around as much as she wants. Until then, I’m walking her out front.


It’s been several days since my last update, at a time when there is so much going on that I thought I would be posting regularly. The biggest reason for this is that I’m still waiting for cable setup at home, so I haven’t had much chance for personal Internet time. As a matter of fact, this will probably be posted several days after I actually write it (its Wednesday night now). There’s a lot of updates, so rather than a really long one, I’ll break it up into several posts.