Cart/Horse

img_3213As you may know from following along here, the kitchen chaos we are currently living in (more on that here soon, promise) has always been part of the remodel plan. When we first talked about staying in this house by making the basement more functional, we decided that the someday dream of tearing out the wall between the kitchen and dinning room to gain much needed counter space just needed to happen at the same time (*gulp*) because so much of the plumbing and whatnot was already going to be touched, so, why not?

We thought a majority of the work would be done by March. Or, at least, we thought most of the basement would be finished by March and the kitchen started.

As it went down, though, a lot of pieces in the house got started and none actually completed, so with the new month, we decided to go a new route with builders. In a total leap of crazy faith, on the day we let the previous providers go, we did not have new ones ready to come in and start working.

That was March 1.

On March 4, 5, and 7 we met with potential new hires. We walked them through what had been done and what was left to do (i.e.: a LOT).

By March 6 we had interest from a local building company, and I spent all of last Thursday (the 7th) in a mad scramble to empty out my kitchen because that is where they wanted to start.

Which leads me to the aforementioned cart and horse.

You see, part of the appeal to these new folks in starting the kitchen first was that we didn’t have to wait for 6-8 weeks for our cabinets to come in because they are already living in our garage and have been for almost a month.

Begin Rant: Our previous provider encouraged us to order through a different local company before price increases with the new year which turned out to be a huge mistake because said cabinet company totally bowled us over with a change to our upper cabinet height that was neither asked for nor approved nor caught by us until after the magical window in which to change the order disappeared. And then they refused to work with us to fix it. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of them (the company), but we had already gone too far with financial investment to back out, so I am hoping and praying the cabinets either A) look OK even though they are shorter what my previous kitchen had or B) can be fixed with some extra installments on top of them by someone – anyone – else later on down the road. But please, if you are ever doing kitchen work in your house, I’ll be glad to tell you who NOT to patron with your business and your dollars. End Rant. 

So that’s the long way of explaining why it is that we’ve come to start work on our kitchen before finishing the basement. Because, we can. And we need to, because having that much cabinetry living in my garage is NOT good for my anxiety levels for multiple reasons.

Instead, my anxiety gets to focus on keeping a family of seven going with no access to several major parts of our house, plus no oven, stove, sink, or dishwasher, which is bonkers making but so, so worth it because the new builders are amazing and doing such great work, so quickly for us.

I’ll post more about living in our living room soon, and if you have favorite tips for cooking with just a skillet, microwave, and toaster, trust me – I’m all ears.

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A Quiet Mind

img_3153For the first time in three months I am sitting in my house with a hot minute (actually 50) to just be here with my coffee and my computer while everyone else is at school or napping. While this is supposed to be normal every Tues/Thurs, it hasn’t been in ages because of construction. But today? No one coming and going. No banging or clanging.

Why the total quiet? Because we are in the middle of a Big Change in the middle of our Big Changes in our house.

Passing the three month mark as we did last week was meant to be quite exciting in terms of completion (at least some things should have been completed, you know?) but instead we are faced with the “exciting” prospect of starting over and finding a new team to complete our projects.

You all get the heavy dose of sarcasm living in those quotation marks, yes?

I won’t go in to details here, and of course no house project happens without some drama, but this total shift midstream is not something we anticipated when we began this journey the first week of December.

But now it’s March, even though the foot of snow still existing in my yard would say otherwise, and with the changing season that IS coming, so too comes a need for us to push onward and upward, to not be deterred by confusion and delay (yes, I realize I’m quoting Sir Topham Hat here. I have five children, so this is not unwarranted. Plus, Daniel Tiger and Thomas the Train have some legit, mad skills when it comes to parenting mantras).

This week also brings me the gap between terms of online teaching, so as I wrap up grading and prepare for the new sections incoming next week, I’m taking in the bubble of space we have given ourselves in our house and flat out appreciating the lull, the quiet that my system hasn’t had in months.

I’m trusting that this same quiet will help us find the right way forward and that all the chaos that brought us to this moment of pause will be worth it in the end.

Because, for the love of all things holy, there will be an end and we very much have a say in how we get there.

 

 

Home Improvement (Remodel Update)

Our house projects have been underway officially for over a month now, and updates here have been slow because progress has been a bit of the same. That’s partially because of the holidays, partially because of life, and partially because I don’t think these kind of projects ever go quite as one would hope in terms of time or cost.

Fortunately we’ve reached the point with the basement side of things that most of the potential “issues” have been uncovered. Don’t worry; I’ll go knock on wood now that I’ve made such a braggy boast, but with the bathroom and laundry room and floor plumbing and electrical all roughed in now, we’ve been able to see what is and is not OK down there.

Unfortunately, down there has shown us that some things up here (i.e. on the main floor) fall into the NOT OK category.

As it happens when you go poking around in an older home, taking down the ceiling in the basement showed pretty quickly that our main floor bathroom was struggling. Actually, just the shower, really, but that’s kind of a big deal. The grout we’ve tried to patch with in recent years just wasn’t enough to seal (literally) the deal, nor could it deny the fact that there was definitely a leak there for a while.

So, a new shower led us (*ahem* let the record show: it was my husband’s idea first) to decide to put in a double sink vanity in the main floor bath while everything in the basement is still open. The toilet started leaking, too (because, why not?), and the flooring has clearly taken a beating over the years, so when it is all said and done we are getting a 90% new main floor bathroom in addition to the previously planned projects.

Ooof.

BUT, this is good to discover now because who wants to spend all that money on new construction downstairs only to have the upstairs mess it all up anyway? There’s no need for us to suddenly have two showers in the basement, if you catch my drift.

img_2816It looks hopeful that we’ll have walls by next week which means we can move on to flooring and installments of all the things in both of the “new” rooms downstairs there soon. That’s good, because then all that main floor bathroom stuff is going to arrive, and so are the kitchen cupboards, because yes, that’s been part of the plan all along, too. And while I have some choice, choice words to say about that process already (many of them are colorful and contain four letters) if you ever want to hear them in person, I know that eventually we are going to have turned this house into SUCH a functional space for our not-so-little family.

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Be Here

Seven years ago this coming January, we moved in to our second home. Our current home. We have loved it in that time. Since the spring of 2017, however, when I found out I was pregnant with Baby No.5, we started flirting with the idea of a new-to-us house. Something with a different layout, perhaps, more kitchen space, and definitely an attached garage.

For over a year we looked, off and on, at homes and could not find anything in our price range that would outdo our current house. Oh, we put a few low ball offers in on larger homes around town but none of them panned out, and since that unicorn house that met all the requirements needed to go through the hassle of selling/moving/upping our mortgage never materialized, we decided to once again revisit the idea of what we could with do with some work in our current space.

The answer turned out to be: A LOT.

It took a couple tries and a few months of thinking time to land on the idea, but we eventually came to the conclusion that we could take the room that sold us on this house seven years ago and make it work for us in a whole new, multifaceted way.

Here it is: img_2482

Pretty, right? 😉

But for real, this bonus space in the basement (that quickly became a playroom for our kids after we moved in) is what made our eyes pop the first time we looked at this house. It’s a representation of just how much space the basement does have (there is also a full-size family room down there, a store room, and an unfinished laundry room and a couple closets); we just needed to get creative after a plumbing roadblock presented itself last spring to make it all work. Instead of just finishing the basement laundry room, we discovered that we could turn this beige box into a full sized bathroom AND laundry room, and take the unfinished old laundry room and turn it into a non-conforming bedroom/play room. And yes, trust me – this was the cheaper alternative thanks to the old plumbing in our old house. 🙂

And so the dominoes are starting to line up for this one-after-another project series beginning THIS WEEK!

I realize that we are plunging headfirst into A Thing by taking this on right now, but the work (and money) that will be poured into this home are equal to how much character and love it holds, too. We couldn’t find a different house for us because this is the house for us. Now we just get to take some of the bones of it and make them a little more (read: a ton more) functional for our growing family.

No, I won’t end up with my garage attached to my house when we’re all said and done, but we ARE going to move heaven and earth (just windows and walls, actually) as best we can (not we; a contractor!) so we can continue to live and love and be HERE for years and years to come.