So I'll begin today's ramblings by directing your attention to the posting time at the end of this entry. Guess who forgot to set the clocks back last night? Sad. So that delicious little perk that we only get to enjoy once a year - a little bit of happiness when an extra hour of sleep just falls out of the sky. Kind of like finding a $20 in your winter coat pocket. And I missed it. Oh well not like there's nothing to do. On the bright side we get an extra hour of playtime in the kitchen and den, which by the way are READY TO PAINT!!!
Whoo hoo! The worst is over! And by "worst" I mean all the drywall sanding is done. In my opinion, that is the most wretched task in all of home improvement. Perhaps it goes back to my summer job right out of high school - working with my cousin Bill who owns "Tops of the Town." We built and installed countertops, and when he was just starting out we worked 4 out of 5 days at an underpriveleged apartment complex called Ravenwood where we had to remove the closets in each bedroom (they had these huge ugly folding doors) then rebuild new ones with nicer doors. Plus we got to tear out the old countertops and put in new ones. Ever get to take a 20-year old countertop out of an underpriveleged apartment? Go ahead - stick your hand down the crack between the counter and the stove. And while you're at it stick your nose in the plumbing under the sink... Anyway I spent that summer sanding drywall, and 75% of the time on a chair inside a closet. So there are still some negative associations rolling around in my pumpkin for sure.
Have to say though, I did have a pretty good time since working for Bill was a non-stop comedy hour. We had a lot of laughs. And besides, that is where I picked up my first skillzzz in home improvement, invaluable experience that has served me well. So that brings us back to the point - the cabinets are set and today we're painting the kitchen and the den. One more fix in the den - the baseboard heater started leaking during the demo. Upon closer inspection it had apparently leaked some time ago and the previous owners packed about 12 pounds of caulk around the joint which held for decades until I managed to break it last week. Sigh. So that had to get torn out in order to install a new one. Oh yes, what special sauce lurks behind a nice warm leaky baseboard heater...
OK it's time for breakfast, cheerios or cold pizza? Pizza - the official food of home improvement. Nah I'll go for the cheerios - just have to wash out a bowl in the bathroom sink. But it's really starting to look like a kitchen again!
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Well she made it. Shannon's last day at WWE was yesterday - they had a small party for her over at the TV building. So many people very sad to see her leaving, yet all of them are so happy for us and for our road ahead.
So we celebrated last night at our favorite New Haven restaurant - "Roomba" - a Cuban/Carribbean/fusion restaurant. Although everything is awesome, the highlight would have to be the soup of the day - pumpkin/apple/spice - oh so harvesty and yummy.
Posted a few pics to the vineyard site yesterday. Most remarkable is seeing the wedding site before/after pics right next to each other. Holy rock wall Batman... Have a look.
So now we're in the critical stage of the renovations. We have to finish this place because next weekend Shannon moves down - :( - to start her new job - :) - and I'll be up here holding an open house on Sunday. I really want her to be able to relax and rest this week (salon appointment on Wed - thanks Memom) so we have to finish all the construction/painting this weekend so she can get some rest.
As for the move, we're renting a small house just outside of Hillsboro about 10 minutes from our land. 1 bedroom, living room (wood stove), den/office, kitchen, garage, on 6 acres with a fishing pond. After the insanity of these past months, we are going to be hibernating this winter for sure! Here's a few pics:
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Made great progress on the kitchen renovation. Here's where we started yesterday morning: view 1 and view 2.
Quite a few surprises and setbacks along the way, the most notable being the discovery of the main drain line in the back corner. That is one of those stories where you suspect something is amiss and hate to find out you were right. Prior to tearing out the old cabinets I was taking measurements and found some of them confusing - the back counter top wasn't the typical depth (short by 4 inches.) I said to Shannon "that counter top was shortened for a reason - that wall has a surprise for us..." Sure enough once I got all the old plaster off - SURPRISE! Oh well, small change of plans and essentially ended up just building out the wall slightly with some new studs so the drywall would lay flush on the pipe. Have a look.
Just to backtrack a bit, the first step was to get the old cabinets off the wall. This actually wasn't too bad and only took about 3 hours to clear down to the bare walls - view 1 and view 2.
Next step was to get down to the bare studs (and find the surprise...) and this is always so messy. Meanwhile we set up an assembly area in the den so that Shannon could build all the cabinets. Note the dust mask - the cloud of krud from the demo has pretty much covered the entire house!
Once the studs were in, then it was time to re-run the electrical work and install new switches and boxes. Once that was done up went the drywall, including a tricky cut that had 3 electrical boxes and a window cutout then went in (almost) without a hitch. Once the new drywall was up then it was time to hang the wall cabinets. We got them all up and the range hood back in place, and now we are two sore, sleepy people. So as we head off to sleep, I figured I'd post this shot so I have something to look at tomorrow at work, cuz I know my shoulders are going to be cranky, and Shannon's back is buggin' from putting together all ten cabinets. But when it's done, the before/after shots are going to be awesome. Take a peek and say goodnight...
Well the house is coming together great. And thinking about all the work we've done so far, and how important it is going to be to sell this house quickly, a gnawing, unsettled feeling began to eat at me. I think I almost had an anxiety attack about the current state of the kitchen. For anyone who's been to the house, or seen a picture you know the eyesore of all eyesores is our kitchen. Ugliest floor that looks dirty even after you mop it, but the worst is the cabinets - PINK LAMINATE. We've been pondering solutions to this disaster - thought about painting them, re-laminating them, new doors - and while considering some of those lame options it hit me: any potential buyer with half a brain is going to walk away from a viewing thinking "that is one ugly-ass kitchen - next house..." They won't remember the perfect new siding, or the 6 other rooms that have just been renovated.
So I started shopping online for do-it-yourself cabinets, and after a trip to IKEA last night (awesome stuff - you have to check that place out!) they have an ordering delay of 2-4 weeks. I hope to have a contract in that timeframe so that didn't really work. So over to Home Depot to look around, and actually found some really decent maple build-them-yourself jobs.
Moral of the story - I'm gutting the kitchen today and doing this right. I figure all the materials will total just under $2,000 - so for that price it just doesn't make sense to try and fix the old crap, especially considering we have a dumpster sitting right out back just waiting for the pink laminate cabinets. After all the work we've done on this house, it's impossible to leave the last component (and depending on the buyer potentially the most important) not done correctly.
Heading to HD now to pick up the pieces. This is going to be a long weekend...
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Finished the bathroom last night! Just couldn't go to bed knowing there was one last wall plate to be screwed in place... For a small half bath it turned out pretty nice - have a look.
Also finished framing the pantry (view 1 and view 2) and completed the electrical work. Will finish the drywall today and get the first coat of mud applied.
Shannon is making great progress outside - has both of the doors and mailbox painted, plus all the trim scraped and painted, plus the porch railings. Today's task is painting the brick foundation. We'll post outside shots once it's all done - so far it looks great!
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Very productive weekend for the CT house! The siding is complete (pictures soon...) and the bathroom is painted - just need to finish the floor and re-install the fixtures. Will be done this weekend. Doesn't look like I'll reach my goal of staying injury-free this move. Already gave myself a pretty severe strain in my shoulder/chest whilst framing in the new pantry. Time to buy stock in Advil.
Lupe Esmerelda (Rebecca) had a great time visiting this weekend. Our camping trip was divine! Have to put up some of the video, especially the shot where I go in the tent, and Lupe looks up and growls "I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Demille..." Ewww... It wasn't all play, Lupe did a great job planting the front flower beds and mulching. House looks so nice.
Had a great chat with Kim Mendes, our neighbor on Sagle Road. Her and husband Mark are in the final stages of completing their log home, and I asked if we can get together soon to talk about the challenges of their building process. She is looking forward to it, and I'm sure they will be a tremendous help in steering us clear of some of their troubles (not to say we won't find our own anyway!)
Not a lot of vineyard planning going on right now - everyone is focused on finishing the house so we can get it listed this month.
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Work is progressing nicely on the CT house. Getting ready to sell is always a big job! This past weekend I got the outside fence powerwashed and painted. Have to tell you about spray painters. Wow - what a mess. I mean I pretty much spray painted the whole yard white. Looked like a blizzard hit. Thankfully I was able to keep most of the overspray out of the neighbors yards using a backing board. But I'll trade the mess for the time savings any day. Painted the whole fence in 90 minutes. Took Shannon three weekends to do it by hand when she bought the place. I figure a good low mowing and the white grass will turn green again...
Also got the bathroom drywalled and sanded (another fine mess...) and will get the trim on tonight and get painting this weekend. Have a look once, and twice. Am also putting a new pantry in the kitchen so hope to get that framed in tomorrow night (started anyway.) Got the den cleaned out and will be starting on some drywall patches. Found a dog hair under the couch. Actually I found one hundred billion of them under there but who's counting...
New siding is looking great!!! Wow what a difference, and Shannon is really happy to see the house looking so nice, even though we're leaving. Just feels good to see your first home realize it's full potential.
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This weekend my seester Lupe Esmerelda Sanchez (a.k.a. Rebecca) will be visiting. We're excited, since we'll be going boat camping on Sunday afternoon -> Monday. Then back to the house to put Lupe to work on the outside of the house - mulching, planting a few posies to nicen up the joint. Looking for the magic of "curb appeal" to aid in the sale!
Found a do-it-yourself service that allows you to get your house on the MLS listings. We're going to go the FSBO route and try to save a commission. Hopefully it works out, but if we get separated for too long -
more than a day??? :(
- with Shannon in VA and me in CT, then we'll get a real estate agent to deal with it. Just racing the clock right now because we really hope to list this month. Tons to do yet!
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Well it's (halfway) a done deal. Just got off the phone with Dave Haggmark of Vintage Nurseries. Ordered vines for two acres:
(950) Viognier - clone 1 on 3309 rootstock
(950) Cabernet Franc = clone 332 on 3309 rootstock
Still deciding on what varietals to plant for the remaining two acres. We will be consulting with Doug Fabbioli over the next several weeks to determine that, but we're considering:
It's an awesome feeling right now - knowing that the plans are finally coming together. The past two years here in Connecticut have been tough, both of us focusing on careers with little (or no) passion, in order to position ourselves financially to fully realize what started as the spark of an idea, a brief notion that is now coming to pass. An enormous amount of work is ahead, but tonight will be one of those nights to relax, smile, just be happy, and think "This is really happening."
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