April 24, 2016

Mini-home tour...

*dear God in heaven...I have been writing this post since before Easter!  At this rate, it may get published sometime next year!*


Although this house is nowhere near ready for me to show off...I figured I'd do it anyway.

All the "before" pictures were pulled from the listing website - so this is what the house looked like with the old owner's things and color schemes.

BEFORE
The living room

While I do like terra cotta - I had it in my last house - this color was just too orange for me.  Particularly with the oak floors.

AFTER

Still not quite right...

This is pretty much how it looks today...minus the Easter eggs in the tall glass vase.  I still need to find a home for the things on the bottom of the table and I'm not quite finished figuring out the shelves above the television (which is a bone of contention in this house. I am of the opinion that we could use a smaller television in this space.  Can you guess what The Husband's opinion might be?).  And, can we talk about those shelves for a moment?  I don't like them.  I have told The Husband that they need to go and we need to do something that looks more "built in" (like in the picture below - which is not my house but an image I "pinned" from Pinterest.)  At any rate, we ended up going with Benjamin Moore Smoke Embers for most of the house and although I like it a lot, if I had to do it over again, I'd go just a titch darker...maybe Baltic Gray.  But still a major improvement over the orange, I'd say.

Once I obtain a new rug, maybe some new curtains and definitely a smaller chair than the one that is crammed in up there I have a feeling this room will feel much bigger to me.  The rug we currently have is very earth toned and doesn't play very well with the gray.  For some reason, the brown furniture seems okay with the gray but the earth toned accents do not.  Maybe that's just me.

With a few modifications, this might work next to our fireplace.:
That looks MUCH better, wouldn't you say?

Let's head on over to the kitchen, shall we?

BEFORE


I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the burgundy HAD TO GO, particularly since the top half was going to be painted in Smoke Embers.  This was another one of those "Make a decision NOW!" kind of moments - which, to be honest is probably best for me as otherwise I would stick a thousand paint chips on the wall and study them for MONTHS (true story.  Our second house had a thousand and one chips on the  wall for nearly a year before I finally broke down and picked a color for the hallway!).  I'm also not thrilled with the counters.  They seem to be some kind of greenish, solid surface something....but they are like shower tiles or something.  The grout in between the tiles is worn away in some areas, which makes wiping the counters off a major pain.

I swear this kitchen is the hardest room to photograph!

Here's a close up of the bottom half

Once we got rid of the beige and burgundy, I found that the greenish tone in the tiles was muted a tad and that the floor didn't seem AS brown/tan.  We ended up going with Glidden Silversmith Grey on the bottom half.  Considering I picked that color out at the very last minute, I must say I am very pleased with it.

The plants are there only because at this point in time that's pretty much the only place that isn't a bathroom or Man-Child's room that gets a decent amount of sun.  Eventually, some of them will be relocated outside for the spring/summer.  Currently we have two different pieces of furniture tucked into the corners of the kitchen.  If When we expand the living room, the large buffet piece (that you see a corner of in the above picture) will be relocated and we will add a small cart or something in the middle.  Until we decide what to do about the kitchen.  It's a decent size but the configuration is off.

BEFORE

Yes, that IS the same table moved from the kitchen into the dining room for photo purposes.  Apparently, the previous owners used the dining room more as a play area for their children.

AFTER

Another room that's hard to photograph

We, on the other hand, have opted to use this area to dine in.  And when we aren't dining in here (which is 97% of the time) it turns into a computer area / place to store our papers that need to be filed or shredded.  I have almost come to terms with the fact that our dining area will never be clear for any length of time.  Notice I said, "ALMOST."

BEFORE
Not our style AT ALL. But doesn't this room look HUGE?

The Master Bedroom.  Remember how I worried about the teeny-tiny living room?  That was nothing compared to this room.  This was the room that challenged me the most.  Despite the fact that the bed shown above is a king size and ours is a queen, we were unable to situate the bed in the same manner.  Considering our bed has a headboard and a footboard we couldn't close the door if we went with this layout.  So we had to situate our bed on another wall.  And even then we couldn't accommodate both the nightstands and the two dressers.  More on that later.

AFTER

What you can't see?  Immediately to the left is the door to the bathroom.  The other night stand had to be relocated.

So what did we end up doing with the extra furniture?  Well, the other night stand is currently hiding out behind the door.  And the two dressers have ended up in my "closet" aka the "extra bedroom."

My closet was supposed also house a daybed, futon, sleeper couch or bed for any overnight guests we might have.  The addition of two HUGE dressers squashed that idea immediately.  So, as Man-Child has so astutely pointed out, my "closets" keep getting bigger with every subsequent move...poor me.

BEFORE and AFTER

The Master Bath

This room is pretty much the same as we chose not to paint it at this time since the paint is in pretty good shape.  I'm sure it will get a makeover eventually.  The only reason I even brought this room into the mini-tour was because of this....



Despite me repeatedly closing that door to The Husband's closet, it has pretty much stood gaping open since the day we moved in.  Now, if that door swung inward, it probably wouldn't bother me as much.  Since it swings outward, it drives me crazy.

Finally, one day I asked The Husband, as nicely as I could, what he had against shutting that door.  He responded with, "Well, if it's bothered you so much why didn't you tell me?"  To which I replied that it did.  And he promised to keep it shut....

and he does....sometimes.  Still the majority of the time it looks like this. *sigh*
BEFORE


The above picture was what the room looked like before it became my closet.

AFTER


According to our painter - much to his surprise - the pink was actually harder to cover than the orange!  Even though we bought the paint with the primer.  And after posting this picture, it suddenly dawned on me that if I am doing a mini-home tour I probably should have taken more shots of each room, since this picture only shows the one dresser crammed in here.  The other long dresser is on the opposite side of the room.  Well, there's always next time.

BEFORE


The above picture is now Man-Child's room.  Because it is Man-Child's room; it is a disaster zone.  Hence, no after pictures here!  And, I can almost guarantee that this room will never be photographed as long as he is living here!  For some crazy reason, he has insisted that his bed was shoved up against the wall.  That boy has absolutely no decor aesthetic.

There's a few other areas that I've neglected to photograph/share...but they really aren't ready for public consumption yet.

You may have also noticed that, for the most part, the walls are still pretty bare.  That would be because I am still playing with wall art.  Most of my stuff just doesn't seem to "right."  Some of it can be (and has been) painted.  Unfortunately, other pieces can't - so I am slowly searching for replacements.  As I only want things that I love the search has been VERY slow!

One of those areas might be the yard.

I am SO excited about the possibilities that the yard brings!  The original owners did a "We plan - You plant" arrangement with a local, expensive nursery.  And it's really nice.  Unfortunately, the previous owners did not seem to be gardeners...or even yard proud.  But we are making headway.

And as of right now - my back porch is beckoning.

April 13, 2016

If it was going to happen to anybody - it would happen to us, of course.

What are the odds that we would be having dinner with friends who live in the neighborhood - less than a block away from us - when their neighbors would drop by with some day lilies for my friend.  And that the neighbors in question would turn out to be the people who refused to negotiate?  Of course, they are...with us being us, I really shouldn't be surprised.

With any luck they won't recognize us, although if they ever catch our last name, they will be bound to recognize it...why couldn't The Husband's last name have been Smith when I married him?  No, I had to pick someone with a very unusual last name.  *sigh*

The odds of us running into these people again are high, VERY high.  They live across the street from our friends, of course.  And our friends are sociable people.  The type who never meet a stranger.  We are bound to see these people again...multiple times.

Which means I have been running various scenarios through my mind as to how future encounters might be handled in the event they remember us.

The Husband tells me not to worry (easy for him to say) - that it was just business and that, in the end, we both ended up where we needed to be (true enough)...but still...can you say AWKWARD?

So what do you think?  How would you handle this if you were in our shoes?

April 7, 2016

I've been married for twenty-five years...you'd think I'd know not to make such a rookie mistake...

It all started innocently enough...I mentioned, in passing, to The Husband that the laundry closet door was wonky.

You'd think I'd know better.  Particularly after the recent incident.  The one where I mentioned the light in the laundry closet was blinking.

That particular incident resulted in a trip to Home Depot to purchase a new bulb.  Which worked for about an hour.  The Husband then determined that a new ballast was in order.  Only He decreed that it would be cheaper to replace the fixture than it would to replace the ballast.

I will freely admit that he was correct regarding the cost, so I acceded to buying a new fixture.

Which then led to an afternoon of him creatively cursing and otherwise making me crazy.

Eventually, the new fixture was up and seemed to be working.  But my brand new dryer now sported a big dent, which made me pretty unhappy.  Until...

Three days later when the fixture up and stopped working.  The creative cursing was raised to a new level.  He fiddled with it some more and eventually....it kinda worked.  "We" have decided a new light fixture is in order.  A bigger one, of course.  (Actually that was my idea since the "new" light fixture turned out to be much smaller than the original one - because...hello?  Who knew that actually measuring prior to buying should be a thing.)  AND it will be a regular fixture, not a fluorescent so we never have to worry about ballasts and new fixtures again.  The light goes out?  Just put in a new bulb and done!

After today, I have determined that the whole light fixture issue can be put on the back burner.

Because today, while glancing at the laundry doors, I noticed that they weren't level and kind of wonky and I said (without thinking...obviously) that these bi-fold doors weren't right.

This lead to The Husband looking at the doors.  Monkeying with the doors.  Somehow removing the doors.  And eventually trying to replace the doors.  And lots and lots of cursing - the creativity of said curses was actually kind of amazing.  This activity spanned at least an hour and half; finally ending with him spitting out, "You can call someone to fix this #*%$!@& door!"

Now this is what we are left with...


AND we now have to touch up the paint on the wall and the entire trim around the door needs to be re-painted.  *sigh*

Remind me...WHY did we want to be homeowners again?

April 2, 2016

Charleston, SC - 2016





I'm actually following up on a previous post...I know!  How often does that happen?  It's rare, I admit.  And the fact that this happened approximately FOUR weeks ago...it's unheard of!

And not only that?  This post actually has pictures!  I know, I'm getting ALL kinds of crazy over here.

Although, I did leave the actual camera (recently found, forgot I even owned one...much less two!  That's what unpacking will reveal) at home.

The trip down to South Carolina was pretty much an "adventure" as in Man-Child promptly fell asleep about an hour into the trip, which left me without a navigator.  He does this just about every time.

As I am still fairly "old school" and I print out the directions (easier to look at while driving than the phone).  These particular directions, which claimed to be the shortest route, had us driving through back roads of South Carolina.  Which meant that we were in the middle of nowhere.  Seriously.

At one point, I found myself turning around at least six times.  Finally, I admitted defeat and asked my phone for help.  Which is why I found myself cursing myself hours later for leaving my camera on the table when I was in historic Charleston with a deader than dead phone.

So eventually we made our way to Charleston, only to discover that not only was our hotel nowhere near historic Charleston, our room was nowhere near being ready.  Of course.

I snagged a map from the lobby and we headed to our ultimate destination.  Only to discover that ALL the marked parking garages were full.  Of course.  We also discovered that we weren't the only ones that thought Charleston was the perfect Spring Break getaway.

After battling epic traffic, we headed back toward the hotel and lunch.  We stopped at what was billed "Best Deli in Charleston" - I beg to differ.  It was mediocre at best.  Then we went back to the hotel where we discovered our room still wasn't ready.  We chatted with the check-in person.  This was key.  She knew of a parking garage that always had parking.  AND?  She was willing to share.

So we headed back to historic Charleston and were successful in finding parking and began checking out the sights.  This is when we discovered that both of our phones were completely dead.  So no pictures from day one.  Which meant that we had to go back to certain places on day two just to get pictures.

Yup, pretty much sounds like the way we roll.

Also, it has become apparent that I have a thing for old cemeteries, churches and trees.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church - home to the oldest congregation in South Carolina.
Unfortunately, it was locked and we couldn't get inside.  According to a conversation that we overheard at one of the local shops (so we can't attest to its veracity) this is the tallest building in historic Charleston...and there is a law that no newer buildings can be taller than this one.

This is the Old Slave Mart.


It gave us both the creeps to realize what went on here.  Unfortunately, this was a fact of life back then.

Then we found this cemetery and I loved it...it was hauntingly beautiful.



It was kind of shocking to see how closely the markers were placed...practically one on top of the other.




Between the windows, the moss hanging from the trees and the interesting markers...I was hooked.




I don't know if you can see the power line that is running between the branches.  I wonder how they do that.  Here, as you drive along our roads, you will see many, many trees that have been butchered by the power company.  It is their effort to keep the trees away from the power lines.  It's a crying shame how they ruin the trees.  Somehow Charleston has figured out a way around that - maybe Duke Power should take lesson or two or five from Charleston.


Right about now he is ready to move on from the cemetery.  And he also demanded that I stop taking pictures of him.

As we headed out, I took one last picture.


This is the back entrance of one of the several private residences that back up to the cemetery.  While I would love to have this oasis right outside my back door, I don't think I would care for the many tourists looking into my back yard on a daily basis.  Yes, I realize the hypocrisy of that statement as I took this picture.  I will say though, we were much more restrained in our touristy curiosity than others.  At one point I witnessed a woman hanging over a private gate, using her zoom lens to capture a shot of a private residence.  A feet down the road, I heard a man yell over a fence saying, "Hey lady! Can I ask you a question?  Hey!"  Finally, I heard her annoyed response drift over the wall, "Excuse me, I am on the phone!"

We next turned our sights to the south and headed off to see The Battery.

I'll pause here to note that Man-Child tried to kill me on this trip.  Apparently, there was a free tram to ferry people around but MC absolutely refused to use it.  So we walked.  And walked and walked. And walked some more.  See this map?



I swear in the two days we were there we walked every single street.  Some of them we hit multiple times.  By Saturday evening my feet were done with me.

Anyway...The Battery.



And the adjacent White Point Garden.


Then we headed back to The Market area in search of food, because Dear God in Heaven, Man-Child likes to eat every four hours or so.  I would have gained at least ten pounds in those two days if it hadn't been for all the walking that he forced upon me, so maybe he was actually doing me a favor.

Along the way, we stumbled across Philadelphia Alley.  I loved it.  But didn't realize the full story behind it until I went searching for link that gave the history behind it.  All I knew was what I had read on a plaque set in the wall - that after a fire the alley was named in honor of the aid it received from Philadelphia.  But according to that link up there it is also known as Dueler's Alley, as it was deemed the perfect place to duel.  Interesting.  I knew I should have booked a tour during our trip.  But Man-Child didn't want to be tied into a group.  Maybe next time.


It should be noted, that according to our very informal research, it seems that just about every building we came across had been burned down at least once.  With the exception of the The Powder Magazine, which is kind of remarkable when you think about it.  It is considered the oldest public building in South Carolina and it was where gunpowder was stored.  This was also the only museum MC had any interest in visiting.  During our tour, we read eventually the idea that lightening could hit the building and pretty much blow the whole city up finally dawned on someone, so they stopped using it to store gunpowder.

As we continued on our in our quest for food, we came across the newer looking church on a quiet street.  What caught my eye was the memorials at the foot of the church and the note posted on the marquee that said, "Thank You For Your Many Acts of Kindness."


And immediately I knew.  This was Mother Emmanuel AME Church.  This is where people of faith welcomed a stranger into their midst and kindness was repaid with an evil deed.  As I stood looking at that church, I was reminded that if evil could happen here in this beautiful structure and city, it can happen anywhere.  And I was saddened to again be reminded that this is the world we live in today.

After sending up a quick prayer, we walked away both pondering our own sober thoughts.

We finally settled on a place to eat and had a nice meal accompanied by lots of people watching.  The restaurant we chose had those large, garage door style windows that were open.  We were seated at one of the windows and we had the dubious pleasure of hearing the live music that was occurring on the patio of the bar just down the street.  I can say without a doubt that he was the worst singer I have ever heard.  But, I gave him points for trying and for his unbridled enthusiasm.

In our room that night, I determined that there had to be an easier way to get home.  So I pulled up directions on the computer and realized that yes, there was an easier route.  And?  According to the directions it wouldn't take us much longer than the route that utilized the back roads.

Sunday morning, we were up and out early as we not only had a four and a half hour drive ahead of us, but then MC had to hop in his car and drive another two hours back up the mountain.

As expected, MC promptly fell asleep when we got in the car...well, to give him some credit he waited until we were about 30 minutes into the trip before he was out cold.  Using the new route, I didn't get lost ONCE.

All in all it was another successful trip.  And although it was the last official "Spring Break" trip, I'm sure it will not be the last of our adventures together.

March 10, 2016

You know, you'd think the longer I do this mom thing, the better I'd get at it...

But, in my case, apparently not.

I know I've mentioned in the past that Man-Child and I are travel buddies.  That we have spent just about every Spring Break doing something together - just the two of us.  (I could go look for a post as proof - but I just don't have it in me right now, so you'll have to trust me).

The last time MC was home, which I believe was when we were in the midst of moving, he mentioned doing something this Spring Break...the last Spring Break he would ever have as a student.  I readily agreed.  And then promptly put it on the back burner because Spring Break was eons away, or so I thought.

The Husband informed me last Saturday that MC would be home on Sunday for Spring Break.  It STILL didn't register.  Until on Monday, when he said, "I guess we aren't doing anything for Spring Break then?"

And my heart stopped.  I had totally forgotten.

And then I may have murmured something along the lines of probably not.

Now to be fair, I have had other things going on.  Like MOVING.  And trying to settle in.  And work. And I was thinking of all the expenses we had just laid out for the said move.  And the ones coming up, like our Easter trip up North to visit my mother in law.  All valid reasons to dismiss this trip.

But still...his LAST.SPRING.BREAK.EVER.

This lay very heavy on my heart.

While at work on Tuesday, I began to look around online.  Then I shot The Husband an email asking what he thought - thinking would surely shoot this idea down.  But he didn't.  He knew how important our Spring Break trips have been and this was probably the last official one.

So I sent MC a text...


And just like that, I'd saved the tradition.

It may not be a leisurely trip as we leave tomorrow at a ridiculously early hour and have to return early enough on Sunday for him to make the two hour trip back up the mountain to get to school.

Because of my slackness, we weren't able to get a hotel exactly where I wanted and I may be paying a bit more since I waited until the last minute but we are headed out for our last "Spring Break" trip tomorrow.

And I'm going to enjoy every single minute of it with my boy.  And he is gonna love Charleston.

And?  I'm making note of any other "lasts" that may come up this year; so that I don't miss the boat on any of those.

March 1, 2016

New Routines...and coming full circle.

Currently I am sitting on my new-to-me back porch in the dark tapping away on the neglected notebook.

The past few days have been gorgeous weather-wise, but I keep forgetting that I have a back porch to retreat to as needed.

The townhouse/condo/cluster house (whatever it was that we were renting) had an teeny tiny outdoor space that looked out onto the main road that ran in front of our place...with a side view to the crossing street.  As a result, I never sat out there as I felt I was on display for the whole neighborhood to see.  This back porch looks out over our back yard which abuts up to land covered in trees.  If I get up and look over I can see the neighbor's houses - which come spring will barely be visible.  I'm loving it...now that I remember I have an outdoor retreat.

One of the concerns about moving back out here was my commute.  I reminded The Husband that I did that commute for ten years without complaint.  And it still isn't terrible.  I could probably be in town in about 30 minutes flat...except I'm famous for stopping here and there before I actually get to where I'm going.  Which, when compared to the commute I had when living in the Houston area is nothing really.

Although, I have changed my work hours to miss some of the traffic.  It has increased quite a bit since we last lived out here.  And it has made a huge difference but...

It has necessitated a new routine.  Back in the day, when we first lived out here, I would wake up super, super early to wash and dry my hair, read the paper and have my coffee, somehow miraculously getting the boy to school and myself to work on time.  After living closer to town for the last few years, I've been able to sleep in a bit more.  I've discovered that I really don't want to get up super, super early anymore.  So to still have my paper/coffee routine I must wash/dry the hair the night before.  I have a feeling before all is said and done, I will give up on the drying part and just live with the crazy curls...I'm beginning to think that life is far too short to be spent drying my hair.

We still haven't gotten around to "finishing" the house, so no pictures yet.  I've discovered that a good bit of my decor doesn't quite work in this house for some reason.  I can't decide if it's the light, the paint or if I'm just in need of something different, which well may be the case as I went with gray paint and not my usual earth tones.  But no matter the reason, I've decided that I'm going to take it slow and add in only things that I absolutely love;which I will share as it comes together.

So here I am...back to where we started (almost) when we moved to North Carolina all those years ago...and here I am back to where this blog pretty much started...on the back porch.

And I'm happy about both of those things.

****

I'm also remembering why I stopped using the notebook to craft posts...crazy slow.  I'm sensing another new routine in the very near future...

February 14, 2016

Eight days in...

A week ago we "officially" moved.  By "official" I mean that we actually started sleeping here.

But the actual move started a week before that which saw us ferrying boxes between the rental and the house.  SO much ferrying!

We had both taken the Friday before and the Monday/Tuesday off...thank God.  By Monday we were completely sick of each other and of moving, so we took Tuesday off from moving and dealt with regular life details, such as putting new tires on my car (oh joy, an added expense to the already stretched budget).

There were SO many moments that should have been recorded for posterity - but what can I say...they weren't.

But, we are in.  The rental was relinquished today - not without some kind of insanity, of course.  After the stress of the actual move last Saturday we agreed, there was no way we had it in us to go back to clean the rental.  So we hired someone to come in to clean the unit.  Yesterday we went back to the unit to make sure that the cleaning was up to par and to leave the keys/garage door openers.

The cleaning crew did an excellent job.  As we walked through the unit, we were pleased.  When I walked into the guest bath, we noticed that we had left behind a bath mat.  As I went to pick it up, I noticed it was sopping wet!  I turned on the light and found that the floor was covered with water!  Cue the sinking feeling of horror while I assumed the pipes had frozen or something more dire.

After cleaning up the mess, we couldn't find a leak or evidence of frozen pipes - much to our relief.  We turned the water off to the toilets in both bathrooms, just in case, let the landlord know and walked away.

Now onto the stuff you may (or may not - and if not, then why are you here reading this?) want to know...I LOVE this little house!

Yes, the very same house that has the teeny tiny living room.  The one where I still don't know where to put the Christmas tree but we'll figure that out next Christmas.

I love the color we picked out.  It's almost perfect.  If I had to do it over, I'd go a titch darker but really, it's pretty close to perfect.  One day I'll even get around to posting pictures....you know once all the boxes are unpacked and everything is "prettified."  Which, at this rate, may well be around next Christmas.

Despite the copious amount of cabinets, it seems we are running short on kitchen storage.  That may be because The Husband requires what I consider to be too much stuff/food for a kitchen.  He insists that it is all "necessary."  Which, to be fair, is the same argument I have regarding my shoes.  We have worked out a plan to add some cabinetry (eventually) to the garage for the overflow and the things that aren't used on a daily basis.

The master bedroom appears to be the one room that I should have been the most concerned about.  When we viewed this house we noticed they had a king size bed in there and it fit comfortably, ours is a queen so we figured it was all good.  What we did not notice was that they didn't have ginormous furniture like we have, nor did their bed have a headboard AND a footboard.  This all became glaringly apparent on move in day when the mover's placed the bed where I wanted and we discovered that the door wouldn't close.  I made some quick calculations and relocated the bed and the armoire and realized that there was no way we would be able to get the dresser or the highboy into the room.

Now, I had already planned to use the highboy in one of the other bedrooms, that I had appropriated as my closet since the master closet is ridiculously tiny.  Once The Husband's clothes went in it was apparent that there was no way the two of us could use this closet.  The builder should be ashamed to call that a walk in closet.  At any rate, once I realized that the dresser wouldn't fit in the master we made the call to move the dresser into the other bedroom.  Now I just need to figure out how to move The Husband's clothes from the dresser into the master.

Details, details.  It will all be sorted out in time.  But even with these details, I'm loving this house.  I'm loving that it's not too big and yet, not too small.  As Goldilocks once said, "It's just right."

We have many, many ideas for the future.  Changing the exterior trim color from cream to white.  A possible tiny expansion which would make the living room and master just a tad bigger - which could also lead to a reconfiguration of the master bath and closet.  The kitchen, while certainly livable, may face a renovation a long, long, long time down the road.  The bonus room will eventually become a Media Room for The Husband and Man-Child.  Although, I have informed The Husband that our current television would be perfect up there and a smaller one could be found for the living room - he disagrees.  Methinks he is on the hunt for an even larger television. *sigh*

Some of the above ideas may never come to fruition and that's okay, because in this house we feel like we are home.  Like we are where we were meant to be and it's all good.

Finally.  After all my grousing...I have my house.  And I am happy.  WE are happy.  And that's a good feeling to have, especially on Valentine's Day.