A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Greetings From Starbucks

Hello from our home away from home these days: Starbucks; (send giftcards. The lattes are getting expensive).

You guessed it. We still don't have home internet.

But what we don't have in internet, we make up for in snow.


School was canceled again on Friday due to winter weather conditions. Do I even remember how to teach? I'm not so sure.

How have we reacted to the extra time off? Let's just say I've spent a lot of days in my pajamas trying out new Crockpot recipes (Poached Eggs on Spicy Lentils was a favorite and up next is Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup) and Brendan started and finished the novel Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

We finally managed to get dressed around 4:00pm today for a trip to Target to pick out some curtains for the living room...we ended up buying five sets just to see what works. I better not lose that receipt! Our house has a lot of windows, which is nice, but we're pretty cold since the average temperature these days is 28 degrees. Lined curtains seem to do the insulating trick, so we're looking forward to getting them up in the room we spend most of our time in.

I'm most looking forward to tomorrow's high of 67!
Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.
<3



Monday, February 23, 2015

A Surprise Long Weekend

Our weekend was...perfect. 

We worked out Friday after work, came home to a clean house thanks to the cleaning service, and I made us stuffed peppers in the crockpot, and we watched Fargo, our new television show obsession. 

Saturday, it was nice out, so after making whole wheat apple pancakes and mimosas, we headed to the apartment for a couple of hours of cleaning. How I cannot wait to turn in the keys and stop paying rent on that place! We had friends over for drinks and snacks on Saturday night, and it was awesome to be able to entertain. We didn't have people over at the apartment much--the stairs, parking, and smaller space just didn't make it totally ideal for guests. Our friends loved the new place. We ended the evening in the jacuzzi tub, which is like having an indoor hot tub. It was so relaxing. 

Sunday was cold and rainy, so we stayed in all day. We watched a lot Fargo. I read Lorrie Moore's new collection bark by the fire, and we made baked potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and salad for dinner. We spent time with the cats, and I even did a little laundry and called the day productive.




At 5am this morning, I got a text that school was delayed until 10am, so I set the alarm for 8am and went back to sleep. Then, at 7:45 another text: school was totally canceled. Since it was and is 21 degrees out, I was totally thankful not to have to bundle up. We slept in, read more, and I made a big pot of chili and we lunched by the fire. 


All in all, it was just the perfect surprise long weekend. We are really enjoying the house. Plus, sometimes the nicest thing is to just be able to break the routine and get some rest! 

We hope your weekend was just as wonderful and maybe even surprisingly long! 

<3 
S, B, L&Z 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A House Tour

Happy Friday!

Well, I wish I could post perfect pictures of our house beautifully decorated, fully furnished, and completely done, but my first lesson learned as a homeowner has definitely been we will NEVER be completely done. Yesterday, it finally dawned on me that all the projects are supposed to be enjoyable...so I started letting go of my dreams of perfection and started embracing the craziness for what it is: we have a house, also known as a never ending project and expense!

We've lived in the house three weeks tomorrow, and recently, it has actually started feeling like home. The past three weeks have been the most expensive of my life, but I honestly can say that I love our house. Compared to living in the apartment, I am enjoying: no stairs, a garage to keep my car ice free, reverse osmosis water in my fridge and sink (we used to carry gallons up the stairs since our tap water here tastes so bad), crushed or cubed ice from my fridge (again, no more carrying ice bags up three flights of stairs), purified tap/shower water due to the water softener we had installed, an amazing dishwasher (or maybe it's the water softener? No more streaks!), the double oven and gas stove with a griddle (Brendan loves it for grilling veggies), a lot more space, the fireplace, the heavenly jetted tub, the patio and backyard, and the fact that we share walls with no one.

Moving is stressful, but I would definitely say our move feels worth it. Sometimes I can't believe we have a house. It's still pretty surreal.

Okay, without further ado, here is the tour of house!


First up, the entryway and hallway: 


To the left is the formal dining room (also known as where we are keeping all the empty boxes/we haven't found a dining room table yet):


At the center of the house, our kitchen, featuring our new fridge (would you like crushed or cubed ice with that?)! 




The kitchen is my favorite place in the house. Notice how Brendan has hung our onion baskets in the pantry (this is funny because my mom bought them off our registry for Christmas 2013, and we just now hung them). 

Connected to the kitchen is the laundry room, nothing too exciting here:


And connected to the laundry room is the garage (my dad and Brendan cut, painted, and installed all the shelves):



Okay, back to the house...next to the kitchen is the breakfast area. Our friends Jill & Ryan gave us this table, and we love it:  


Next to the breakfast area is the living room:


And out the back door is the patio/backyard: 
I once, naively, referred to the backyard as a "weekend project" hahaha...we'll be working on it until we move again. We have a lot of yard on the side, so it's a lot of space in need of TLC. 


To the left of the kitchen (under the arch on the right in this photo of the back view of the hall) are the extra rooms and bathroom. 


The front room is the office, which has also become a bit of a catch all for storage. Recognize the mini fridge? We had to do something with it once our real one arrived, so now it is the beer cooler. 

In the middle of the two rooms is the second bathroom:


The back room is the guest room (we still need to hang pictures everywhere!):

To the right of the kitchen/breakfast area is our room:
Hi Zoe!
We ordered furniture (two nightstands, a dresser/mirror, and chest) for this room, but it won't be here for another 2-3 weeks.

 I love my curtains :) I'd like to put a big comfy reading chair next to the window.


And our bathroom, my second favorite spot in the house:  


I love to use my jetted tub...it's the perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day. 


The walk in shower is nice too. Though Lola cannot, for the life of her, figure out what we're doing in this big glass box.

The closet is still a work in progress...hahaha


So that's our home, 3 weeks in! 

I'm sure one day we'll get it perfect...

and then we'll have to move. 

c'est la vie. 

<3 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Heart Day!

I'm back from my blogging hiatus! 

A quick check in to say...we're 95% unpacked but not nearly as arranged (we have a lot more empty space here). 

We still have no internet, thus the lack of blogging, but we should get it by the end of the month. 

We've had pest control and seen no more scorpions, (but I continue to live in daily fear). 

Our fridge came and it's made us better people (just kidding, stuff can't do that). 

My parents came last weekend and helped us unpack, hang curtains, mount the television, install shelves in the garage, etc. We were happy to see them and thankful for the help. 

Our cats are happy. 

And, we're having a record great Valentine's Day. I love that it fell on a Saturday...Bren made breakfast and I'm making dinner. Then, we're watching a movie. Easy and relaxing!

I hope there is chocolate, roses, and cheese and wine in your future friends! 

I love my cats, my husband, and...my fridge! 



Happy heart day! 
<3 S&B plus L&Z 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lessons Learned in the First 101 Hours of Homeownership

Hello from our first 101 hours of homeownership! 

We've only unpacked 1/3 of the boxes, but we've already learned some important lessons. Some of them relate more to moving than homeownership. Here it goes:

1.) Moving is exhausting, but combine that with the stress of being first time home buyers, and you have a recipe for an extremely stressful and tiring week. We got our first good sleep in two weeks last night, and it made a huge difference. Put things aside to get rest. Unpacking can wait! 
2.) Don't freak out prematurely. Knowing that you are responsible for a property can bring out paranoia about problems. Yesterday, we were both convinced that we had major plumbing issues when the kitchen wasn't getting hot water. The building company sent out a plumber who fixed the problem in 20 minutes. I wish we hadn't worried without cause. 
3.) Hiring movers is the smartest idea ever. Shop around for a good quote. We paid less than half of what the first two companies I called wanted to charge us. A friend gave me the tip to move breakable items yourself. We did that and everything is intact. The movers took only 3 hours to move stuff down 3 flights of stairs and into our house. 
4.) make your bed first when unpacking and pack a bag with toiletries that you will need right away. Wash all clothes before packing. Unpacking clean clothes is easy and it takes time to hook up the washer and dryer. 
5.) wardrobe boxes are amazing. They make packing and unpacking your closet easy. 
6.) make unpacking your kitchen a top priority. Eating out is expensive and not so healthy but almost impossible to avoid without access to a kitchen. 
7.) don't wait to order your refrigerator. We'll be using a 1.7 cubic foot mini fridge for the next 10 days because the fridge we ordered needed 3 weeks to get here. 
8.) I worried about the cats, but they did great. We quarantined them while the movers worked and transitioned them after we had spent the first day unpacking. They did great and seem to love the new place. 
9.) champagne is necessary, even if you're so tired that you can only drink it in bed. 
10.) the quiet of a house takes some getting used to after a decade of apartments. 
11.) you will develop a wish list that's quite long, but know it all can wait. The basic necessities are all you need and taking time to finish rooms is fun--don't rush it. You want it to be perfect but no home looks ready right away. 
12.) don't expect a new home to feel homey right away. At first, it still doesn't feel real. 
13.) Brendan already saw a scorpion. You gotta call pest control asap! 
14.) no one wants to service our new neighborhood with Internet yet...something to consider with new construction. Hopefully we find a solution soon, or I'll be typing every post on my phone! 
15.) sealing all of your own grout and backsplash is exhausting and takes forever (7 hours) but is necessary (to prevent stains) if it has never been done. 
16.) having a garage is the best! 

Well, that's what I learned so far. It has been an emotional and exhausting week...and I don't expect we'll be totally settled anytime soon. At least I have Brendan, Lola and zoe! 



Happy February, and happy 4th birthday to the blog. Please share a post in celebration of the blog's anniversary!
<3 
S&B + L&Z 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Building a House, Month 9.75: It's Finally Ours

When we last left off in the building a house posts, we were beginning final walk throughs and starting the inspections process.

Our house has now had two official inspections, and we've been to four walk throughs. Finally, with only a few cosmetic issues being tended to today, it was time to close on our home.

When people say closing is nerve-racking, they aren't kidding. I read most of the 123 page document yesterday (some of it was contracts I had already read in advance). We went in ready to sign, and signing the documents only took one hour. We paid all of our closing costs with a cashier's check and signed and dated all the lines, but the keys wouldn't be ours until the loan was funded. We were informed at the end of closing that there was a hold up waiting for the appraiser. The appraiser had to visit our house and declare it finished (since it is new construction) before the lender would officially fund the loan, thus making the house ours.

We finished signing documents at 2:30pm, and then we went down to city hall to put the water utilities in our name. I assumed we'd get a call shortly after that, but we waited and waited and waited. At 4:30, I called the lender, who said the appraiser was at the house and going to take ten minutes to inspect things and that she would call me back. Brendan went to school for his office hour and creative writing class. At 5:00pm, there was still no word, so at that point, I was getting a little nervous. At 5:15pm, I got the call: we were funded. I had time to call Brendan and let him know, before his class began, that the house was finally ours.

It took nine months and three weeks and a whole lot of signatures, but it was every bit worth the wait.

Today the house is ours! January 28, 2015

After signing at closing
It still doesn't really feel real, but I know one thing is for sure: I can't wait to make our house a home. 

<3 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Snowy and Stress Filled Week

I'm so relieved that it is Saturday morning. I just slept in and then cooked breakfast. It's an amazing feeling to be relaxing with Zoe on the couch.

Our week was anything but relaxing.

After being sick with food poisoning all day Monday, I made it to work at 8:00am Tuesday for a long workday. I wasn't feeling great, but I managed to make it through everything. I haven't taken a sick day yet, and I won't unless I absolutely have to. While I was at a meeting, Brendan met the inspector at our house. They were there for two and half hours. The inspector found a long list of things that needed to be corrected. They were mostly minor things, and no one was really shocked about anything, but we were definitely glad we had an inspector, as we would have never found this stuff on our own. The part that was discouraging is that we had pushed the inspection back five days at the builder's request, and they really hadn't seemed to make much progress in those five days at all. There were certain aspects of the house that could not even be inspected yet (air conditioning and the jetted tub are two examples).

On Thursday, I met with the builder and our realtor while Brendan was at a work meeting. It had been snowing a lot, so I got a picture of our home in the snow. This is also the first picture I have that shows the stained front door.

January 22, 2015
Basically, we wanted a chance to communicate that if the list of corrections couldn't be completed in time for our Wednesday closing, we wanted to push it back. The builder seemed confident that he could get it all done in time for Tuesday's re-inspection. If the closing gets pushed back to February, it would be a hassle, as our lender would have to re-check our bank statements, collect new pay stubs, etc. etc. It's definitely a hassle we hope to avoid. While at the meeting, I was happy to see the pendant lights finally made their way to our kitchen.


On Friday, we had a delayed start at school due to snow.





We got a phone call that morning about some surprise fees added to our closing costs. Not what you want to hear five days before closing! My aunt is a real estate agent, so she was able to give me advice on how to handle the situation. As we drove to work, I was looking forward to putting aside the stress and teaching my class. I walked into my classroom, and what I saw was horrifying. Another instructor, who has never used a Smartboard, had taken Expo markers (for dry erase boards) and written all over the classroom board. The markings are permanent, and the instructor had tried to erase them, creating an even worse effect. This meant my only method for showing my class notes, videos, computer skills, etc. was effectively ruined. The boards are quite expensive, and I don't know if we will have to replace it, which could take weeks. I was really disappointed, as this throws a wrench in my teaching, and my classroom had been a nice aspect of life staying the same (half of our apartment is in boxes).

After work, we drove to Home Depot to place an order on a fridge. We found the perfect one, and I'm happy to say, it's going to be ours (I'm nerd level excited about the two bottom freezer drawers and finally having an ice and water dispenser), but unfortunately, not until February 12th. Note to self: don't wait eight days before you are going to need a fridge to order one. I see purchasing a mini fridge in our future.


Last night, I filed our taxes, which was actually really stress relieving. I'm one of those people that LOVES doing taxes. Brendan was happy to make dinner instead. We've done more packing this week, but I already feel behind on my grading, and I spent last night grading discussion boards until midnight to make up for it.

I know next week will be stressful, but I hope that, for the most part, it plays out according to plan (Plan: final inspection Tuesday, close Wednesday, seal our grout Thursday, move our fragile stuff Friday, movers come Saturday, unpack Sunday). However, I also know that plans are written in life planners, not stone. I'm going to try to keep focused on the positives: I love our new house, and I cannot wait to move in. I know once we live there, the stress will have all been worth it.

And I have my cuddle cats and my sweet husband to help me through the unexpected!


Here's to the weekend! I needed it.
<3


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