Monday, September 3, 2012

I've been held house-stage.

So.  Um. Yea. Blogging.  See I have an excuse...

I've been held house-stage.  That's like being held hostage, but with less weaponry and more paint brushes.  See, so we bought this house, right?  And I figured, that we'd paint and what-not, and I would blissfully update my blog with copious before/after pix weekly.  Yea...not so much.  Sorry if this is picture heavy. 

(Here's a pretty hydrangea from the yard to break up the text.)

Firstly: Buying a house is a Learning. Experience.  I learned more about the financial industry than I ever wanted to know.  I signed more paper than I thought humanly possible.  I signed a sheet of paper that I acknowledged that I would be investigated by the FBI if I committed mortgage fraud and/or laundered money for terrorists.  Whut?  Why do I have to sign that?  Aren't they gonna do that anyway whether I sign that or not?  So much for the paperwork reduction act.  Also people who work in this industry use industry terms.  It's like another language.  They also assume you know what they mean.  If they aren't willing to explain themselves in English a 5th grader would understand, get someone else.   They will not explain anything over email. 

Secondly: Owning a house is a Learning. Experience., and it's a completely different one than buying it.  Here are some of the things I have learned so far:

1.  Things will start to break before the ink is dry on the closing documents, and it will be different things than you are expecting and/or budgeting for. 

For us that list includes one toilet leaking into the basement like it was raining, part of the deck railing getting broken by a piece of tree falling on it, and more than half the lightbulbs burning out, especially all the specialty ones.  I won't count the light fixture Mr Belfry broke.  That wasn't really the light fixture's fault.  Though we still haven't found the circuit breaker for it.  I was gonna replace that one anyway.  

(The white bits are pieces of deck railing.)

2.  The fun-ness of painting decreases in proportion to the amount of it you have to do.  See graph:

Painting one room is fun.  Painting two rooms is sorta fun.  Painting any more than that is drudgery.  I figured it would be fun and quick and we'd be done in no time.  We painted my sister's house in a week!  Of course, I conveniently forgot that even though it was about the same number of rooms, she has about half the square footage; there were between 4-8 people working the whole time; and my knees were almost 10 years younger. 

    2b Cathedral ceilings suck. Invest in the best ladder possible or hire it done. 

3. Washing a wall before you paint is Very Hard Work.  Washing walls and having the previous paint job (not ours) peel off is demoralizing. 

    3b. Primer stinks, but sometimes it's the best and fastest solution.  

4. Painting the trim makes a huge difference. 

 (before)                                                            (after, Olivia's happy)

5. If you're painting one room, it makes less difference.  But if you're painting a bunch, buy the highest quality paintbrush and roller handle.  Yes, it hurts to spend $15 or more on a single paintbrush. The higher the quality, the less the brush weighs.  That makes a difference after 4 or 5 hours.  You can either spend $15 on the best paintbrush or you can spend $20 on the cheap paintbrush and the best paintbrush you use to replace the cheap one you bought first. 

5b. You can use cheap roller pads if you first wrap them in painter's tape to get the fuzz off.  

6. Oven cleaner takes latex paint off a stainless steel sink.

7. Buy the best quality of furnace filter you can afford.  What?  You'd rather dust? 

8. Don't talk your spouse out of replacing all the carpet.  No really.  Spring for new the carpet/floor refinishing before you move in.  Do you really want to move the furniture twice?  At least spring for a professional carpet cleaning.

(This is the water tank off the carpet cleaner after working on the carpeted stairs. No the black part isn't plastic. The whole thing is clear.  Yea, I know.)

9. Just because you moved it into the new house is no reason to have to keep it, whatever IT is.  Thank goodness there's a Sally store down the street. 

10.  Hanging a towel bar and getting it level is really damn satisfying.

Someday we will sell this house.  Here are some things I have learned that I will do (or not do) before I sell.  Maybe this list will benefit you too.

1. Scented candles, especially in mass quantities, are Very Bad.  Do not use them or paint often.  Besides not everyone likes Hollyhock Pomander Citrus Brownie.   (Beside the issue of the smoke, anything scented and heated uses oils for the scent.  Those oils linger and turn rancid over time. Do you want your house to smell like rancid oil? Ask me how I know.) 

2. Wash the windows before you list.

3. If you have machine washable curtains, wash them once in awhile.  At least wash them once before you sell.  

(This is the wash cycle with most of the curtains in it.  Yes, it looks like coffee.  I can't tell you how bad they smelled.  Seriously 100% polyester curtains really can be washed once a decade or so.)

4. When your rugs sound like toast when you walk on them, it is time to throw it away.  

     4b. When the non-slip backing is crunchy and no longer keeps the rug from slipping, do not adhere it to the floor with duct tape. 

5. If we are not living in the house while we are trying to sell it, I will hire a cleaning company to come in periodically to do touch-ups. 

    5b. I will clean the oven.  With Easy Off No Fume oven cleaner, it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.  1 minute to spray the whole thing; 3 hours to soak; 14 minutes and one roll of paper towels to wipe it out.  (Not paid to say that. Two ovens later, just damn impressed.  Gas ovens even.)

I have been doing a little quilting and a fair amount of knitting.  I've been working on one quilt since January.  It's only 4' square,but it's got close to 1000 pieces. Pictures after the intended receiver gets it.   I started some mindless sewing while perched on boxes of unassembled Ikea furniture.  Eventually, my studio is gonna be awesome.  I love the paint color.    But right now, it and most of the rest of the house are still adrift in a sea of cardboard.