Friday, September 5, 2014

Revenge of the Closet Systems

A few months ago, b heard a crash in the middle of the night. Accustomed to hearing crying babies, I heard nothing. 

The next morning, I stumbled into our closet to find all of b's polos and pants sprawled on the floor. The closet organizer failed. 

We knew this could happen, or at least suspected as much when we moved in. When you shop for houses, you see what's there, like full pantries and organized closets. When you move into a house, you see what's left behind, namely dust bunnies and patched holes where the organizer had already torn from the drywall. Twice. 

So we weren't too shocked when it happened. We got it fixed and vowed to swap it out for a better system, or at least get this one into the studs. 

Imagine my not-so-huge surprise when we moved upstairs this week. I'd put my clothes in the guest room and cleaned out the closet in what would be our room for b's suits. 

Let's set the scene. It's about 11pm. We're hot and exhausted. B is just starting to move the first of his hanging clothes, namely two suits, when he hangs those hangers on the rack and, you guessed it, total failure. 

Being the fixer I am, I get b's suits downstairs to the closet below our basement steps. I hang them, even testing the racks before leaving them alone for the next 6-8 weeks. 

Tonight, b needed something from that closet. I hear him open the door and the language start flying. He came back upstairs and said, "well, that one collapsed too." I got up and told him is move them to the laundry room when he finally pointed out my lunacy and begged me to stop breaking the systems and simply lay his suit bags on the couch, which is where you'll find them now. 

We have three remaining systems. One full of baby clothes, one holding all my clothes and one supporting our entire wedding gift collection. I'm not hopeful, but I am sending my father in law to reinforce at least that last one ASAP. In the meantime I plan to continue my one-woman show explaining insanity and moving b's suits around from rod to rod. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What Shower?

Remember our bathroom?
This is it 8 hours later:
No biggie. I'll just be eating a tub of ice cream in the corner.

Oh, and good news. No new valve, and no more leak in the basement.

First Hiccup

Getting a "call me" text and missed call from your Project Manager is never ideal, but I like mine, so I thought maybe he was calling me to tell me that he was D.O.N.E. with the project and to come take a bath in my new tub.

Instead, sadly, he was calling to say that, when turning off the water to our master bath, the 40 year old value broke loose (something about balls or bearings or something) and, well, did what you would expect a water line might do when faced with a broken valve.

The good news? It's fixed and he's shop vac'ed out the water (insert slight panic here). Also, if B and I ever had a problem in that bathroom again (leaky sink, broken shower) in the middle of the night and had gone down to turn off this valve... well, let's just say that it wouldn't have been resolved and cleaned up within the hour. And that's just referring to the profanity we'd have to erase from O's memory.

Bump up the plumbing budget, it's Day 1!

Reno Debrief: Conversations with B

Me: I'm having a lot of trouble not going into the bathroom and salvaging all the old fixtures.

B: Um. Why? Why would you do that?

Me: To donate them.

B: The old, gold fixtures.

Me: Yes. (Sigh) I know.

One Hour

In one hour, my bathroom went from this:

To this:

I left at 8am and drove back by at 9. That's a lot of unnecessary wall, people.

And yes, my toddler was still sleeping. Wonder Baby.

Renovation Day 0: The Kitchen Before

Last night, B and I (with the help of Nana!) scurried around the house clearing kitchen counters and the space in the basement below the bathroom. Our Project Manager had been by earlier to ready the house, laying down protective flooring and installing zipper doors.

Now, let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for how choppy the house is. They made a tunnel from our master bath straight out the front door, which cuts the front doors off from us, unless we want to go into the dust zone via a zipper door.

There's another zipper door from the keeping room into the kitchen, so if you go into the kitchen door, you have access to the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room, but have to go through a zipper door to get into the keeping room, our bedrooms, or the basement. Alternatively, you can go into the keeping room doors, but then only have access to the upstairs bedrooms and basement. Still with me?

I say all that to say that it would've been easier to move things around before those doors went in. Picture me moving our bags of clothes to donate to the front yard for pick up. So the bags are in the front living room, but to get them out, I either have to take the out the back door, down the steps, around the driveway, to the front sidewalk, or lug them through two zipper doors (and around the entire first level) to get out the front door. Needless to say, taking out the trash, stashing the stand mixer, and even just remembering to get O's water cup have become true efforts that require a little forethought.

The great news is that O slept through our cleaning and prepping last night, and was still asleep this morning through the bathroom demo. Y'all, they gutted the bathroom and my 16 month old slept through it with nary a sound machine in sight. This kiddos is tired.

Here's a few before shots of our kitchen (and yes, my counters are always this clean. Why do you ask?):

I'm definitely ready for a change, and it's not that we're doing a huge one-- new counters, appliances, and backs splash, but I'm also a little sad. This is a very happy kitchen, one in which I've spent a million hours feeding that sweet baby and making dinners for B and myself. 

Once again? The good: This happy room will now have insulation! I've always whined that this kitchen felt way too hot. Well, now that the zipper doors have shut it and and dining room off from the rest of the house, there's a clear distinction in temperatures, and that's without even turning on the stove. They're adding insulation, which I hope will make a huge difference!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Found: Lost Paci

There are no words to describe the agony of finding long-lost paci here, of all places. There's just no coming back from that. 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Bath Reno, Day -1

Normally a call from your project manager is a good thing. He's invested! He's timely! He's... early?

That right, G was calling to tell me that our project was going so well (the one we hadn't started), that we needed to bump up days on the schedule.

Typically, you base everything around the items you can't rush. In our case, that's the cabinets. They need a four week lead time, meaning that demo would begin two weeks before that which meant... on and on.

So imagine my surprise when our cabinets are arriving in two weeks, which means that demo starts tomorrow. Imagine B's face when he got home from work and I told him we had to be out of the bath AND the kitchen this week. We're still married.

The blessed thing is that O is a super baby. We put her down at 7 and got to work about 8, calling it a night at midnight. Our closet is packed away, our bathroom is empty, and I'm left with a few thoughts:

1) If you have ever fixed your hair to go get your hair cut, you will understand this: It KILLED me to not to clean for the contractors. When you move out, unbelievable amounts of hiding dust and dog hair tumbleweeds materialize. We knew we were demoing our shower, so we hadn't cleaned it in... a while. But we left it. And it is shameful.

2) We have too many clothes. I gave away four trash bags full last night, with more to come as we unpack. As B was folding his 50th Polo, he agreed, saying not nearly all of that was coming back in post-reno.

We did have a few icing-on-the-cake moments. Let's be honest: This is a luxury. That we're getting to upgrade our living space is a huge and wonderful blessing. It's also a monumental pain in the arse. I can be blessed and still be whiny, right? At least a little?

It's a stressful time for both of us at work. B has a trial coming up and I'm blessed with huge assignments stemming from a successful ad team. O is wonder baby, but wonder babies still need food and fun, and clean clothes, and bedtime stories, and maybe just one more cookie. We could've stayed home this weekend and packed leisurely, but then it just ruins a whole weekend (instead of just one night!). We'd already spent our lunch hour at the tile place selecting floors, counters, and back-splashes, so the two of us were pretty tapped out going into the night.

So B was soldiering through work, packing, a fantasy draft, and my requests to move heavy things (because I am five months pregnant), when he finally moves his first handful of suits upstairs, where we'll be living for the duration of the reno (see? Blessed! We have space to move into!). He hangs four suits, that's literally four hangers, on the bar in the closet system only to have the entire thing collapse. Y'all, it was so sad that it couldn't even be funny.

It also couldn't be infuriating because the baby was asleep just a few feet away.

All that to say, we're underway. The sheeting and floor covering is going up. Tonight I need to clean out part of my kitchen and clear all the counters, plus make sure that the space under the bathroom in the basement doesn't contain anything too precious.

In theory, we'll be done by November 1. If not, I'm coming to your house for dinner.

I leave you with the before pictures of our bathroom. So long, lovely golden hardware!

Looking in the sink area from the hall beside the bathroom. There are a LOT of doors right now. Be prepared.

Turning to the right. More doors! This one to the water closet-- toilet and shower areas. We have what our contractor calls an "elbow knocker", a shower just wide enough to knock your elbows, but deep enough for the Blue Man Group. Meanwhile, our toilet area could seat five for dinner.

Turning to the left. The double vanities! I'm not going to lie. This area was part of what sold me on our house. Double sinks! Huge closet! Separate shower! But I'll be happy to have my bathtub... I hope. And less wall paper. And separate mirrors.

Looking into the main closet area.

Standing in the main closet area looking at the double closet doors (yes, we have a TON of storage space. Had. Had.) Insert new double vanity here.

Stay tuned, and start me a KickStarter for marital counseling if this goes past November 1.