Category Archives: My House

Happiness is a Front Porch

2014-05-19 16.34.09Now that the warm weather is upon us again, I’ve found that working on the front porch of our new house makes for a very pleasant way to get through my work day, especially for the more tedious parts of my work.

We’ve been in this house for a year now, but we didn’t make much use of the front porch last Summer because there was still a lot of construction going on around us. This is a new neighborhood and there were still 5 lots around our house that were undeveloped when we moved in.

In the course of the past  year, all 5 now have homes on them, and the final one is nearing completion. With that all winding down the noise and dust of construction is settling. We finally bought ourselves a little “bistro” patio set for the porch, so we can enjoy having a drink after dinner in the evenings. It also makes a great spot to set up my laptop and work during the day, especially in nice weather.

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All in all, I think this is going to be a nice Summer …

Moving House

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Our new house!

Well we’ve finally done it! Dave and I have bought a new house! Contracts are signed, appraisal is scheduled. In fact the appraisal is the last piece that we’re worried about now – if the home doesn’t appraise to what we offered on it, we still get the option to back out of the deal. I’m hoping that won’t happen, since the builders already made the one big modification we requested in the house (it had a *huge* upstairs loft, and we asked them to wall it in and   make a 4th bedroom, which I will use as my home office).

Yes I said builders – when we viewed the home, it was only partially finished (ok mostly, but still needed plumbing fixtures, flooring, etc.). So this is a *brand new* house (squee!). I love the colors they chose for this house and it’s a nice contemporary/modern look on the interior. It had almost everything we wanted too (and our list of wants was pretty extensive).

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Our new kitchen! :)

When we move in, the landscaping won’t even be quite done yet, but there are lots of great areas to walk the dogs in, so Dave and I will get our share of exercise doing that until the landscaping gets put in (which may not be until late May or early June).

Be that as it may, we’re pretty excited (ok, I’m really excited, Dave is slightly excited but mostly stressed because of all the stupid hoops the government has put into place for securing a mortgage these days.). Look for more updates and a full set of photos once we’ve closed on the house! :)

Reflecting on 2011

2011 was quite a year for me. I started out in a good position career-wise with my clients from 2010 having lots of projects for me early in the year.

We also spent the early part of the year getting our upstairs bathroom remodeled, which almost turned out fantastic. The tile work we had done came together really great and replacing the carpet with laminate cherry flooring looks good too, but the other contractors got sloppy and left some work unfinished. We still need to deal with that. However all the major work was done and the new bath/shower looks amazing.

I managed to add some more clients to my roster this year and that kept me busy throughout the Summer, along with taking care of our dog Joey, who we adopted in 2010. He’s turned into a very fine dog.

In late Summer we purchased a new vehicle. I traded in my 2004 Saturn ION-3 Quad Coupe for a 2011 Subaru Outback. Dave wanted me to have a safer car to drive and we both agreed we needed a “puppy-mobile” for Joey.

In the Autumn we took a trip out to Telluride, Colorado for vacation. My Aunt and Uncle also were vacationing in the area, so we were able to spend some time with them. We also visited a family who had adopted Joey’s sister Lexi and we ended up bringing Lexi home with us. Her family decided that she wasn’t the right dog for them and we didn’t have the heart to send her back to the rescue we found Joey at.

After we got back home my Aunt and Uncle also joined us back here as well for a few more days. It was nice to see them and to show them around where I live. My Uncle has been out here before, but my Aunt has never visited me until now.

Also late in the Autumn I finally added my coveted 2nd long-term agency client that I’d been working to add to my client list. Having 2 clients will hopefully give me more steady, regular work in the long-run.

The holidays this year have also been great. We decided to stay home for a change for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have a lot of travel planned in 2012 and so we just wanted to enjoy some quiet time at home this year. I also celebrated my 40th birthday and to honor the occasion started my own YouTube channel where I’ve started vlogging. I did a special birthday countdown to commemorate the milestone this year.

I managed to also negotiate myself a higher hourly bill rate with my clients this year, while also almost doubling my earnings Year over Year from 2010. It was hard work, but all the networking and late nights have really paid off!

In December Dave and I also became engaged and we are set to marry sometime in 2012 (I guess the world really is ending!).

On that note … I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Adventures in Bathroom Remodeling

As of yesterday the remodel of our main upstairs bathroom began in earnest. The contractor came and first we went shopping for materials. We use a service called Handyman Connection and they only charge for labor. You have to supply the materials, and the contractors will go with you (to either Lowe’s or Home Depot) and help you select the materials if you don’t know what you need. This is a great system because then they cannot mark-up the cost of the materials like some contractors can (and do).

Last year when we had the basement bathroom quoted out by both Handyman Connection and an independent contractor – the independent guy marked up the materials cost 3-4x what we ended up being able to get them for at Home Depot. His labor costs were also much higher. Needless to say, we’ve been very happy with all the folks Handyman Connection has provided to us for our projects and we’ll continue to use them as we work on the rest of the house.

Anyway after the shopping they began tearing out the tile and the drywall around the shower/tub area. One thing I feared was mold – and sure enough there was lots of it in the wall. We’ll need to replace all the insulation and they are going to use proper water-proof wall material this time instead of standard gypsum board. They also put in the new window we purchased (low-e, tempered glass, vinyl frame). Will be much nicer than the old single pane, rotting wood frame window we had.

Besides the bathroom, we’re also redoing all the flooring in the upstairs – replacing the old carpet with laminate “wood.”

Today the laminate is being laid down, the old bathtub has been smashed out and will be replaced, along with the new fixtures we picked out. Once that’s done the new insulation and wall materials can go up so the new tile can be added tomorrow. If things go according to plan the bathroom might actually be done by this coming Sunday (we’ll see!).

You can follow the progress of this project on the Bathroom Remodel 2010 photo page.


I finally got one entire room cleaned up and unpacked – the master bedroom! Now it looks like a bedroom. All I need are some curtains and it will be a nice cozy sanctuary. Not too much else to say – just wanted to share the photos.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Moved In

I am now finally moved in! While the movers did most of the work and heavy lifting last Friday, I still had to do several runs back to the apartment for items I hadn’t been able to pack in time. I’m thoroughly exhausted but very glad that this part is finally complete.

The old apartment also got a good cleaning yesterday thanks to Molly Maids – they actually did a really good job and I may ask them to come in once a month or so and help me keep the townhouse clean too.

So with that I handed in the keys and now I only occupy one dwelling again (yay). The apartment I had was definitely a great aparment – as far as apartments go. They did a great job with rennovations last year too. But I was definitely ready to move into something with more space. It’s amazing but I’ve filled out the 1400+ square feet of finished living space in the townhouse nicely already. I can’t believe I had crammed so much into that 800sq ft. apartment!

Now on to the final adventure – unpacking!


I’m sitting in the master bedroom of my new townhouse, “borrowing” a wi-fi signal. I’ve spent the past 2 days after work carting over any odds and ends I didn’t want the movers to move for me. I am at the point of utter exhaustion, but am also still exhilerated at being able to spend time in the townhouse.

Only 2 more days until the move!

Painting 101

Well its now Monday morning and I’m incredibly sore *all over*. Why? Because I really wanted to paint my new living room before moving into the townhouse. I’ll have to admit the living room looks goreous (I’ll post photos once I’ve completed the last of the touch ups), but now I’m sore and exhausted. I’m actually glad to be at work sitting down all day today!

The rest of this week my goal is to move a lot of things in my apartment that I don’t want the movers to move (dishes, other breakable items). If I get it all done this week, then the movers will move everything else and I can relax next weekend.

More later …

First Day in My House

Yesterday was the first full day in my house and we did a lot. I had to empty my old 29 gallon aquarium of water and rocks so I could get the aquarium stand to take with to the house. I also packed up all of the things for my cats and Dave helped me get it all to the house (including a very large planter I filled with the rocks from the aquarium that was *very* heavy). We also packed up my kitty cats and brought them to the house as well.

The poor kitties were quite traumatized by the car ride to the house (they are not used to travel, except for the occasional vet visit). I released them in the basement which is where I am keeping their litter boxes, dry food and water. Poor Mori immediately left his carrier and went into Maxi’s carrer for comfort and cowered in there for 2 hours. Maxi instead found a hiding place under the stairs. I had to take both – one at a time – and carry them on a tour of the house, ending in the master bedroom upstairs.

Maxi, surprisingly made a beeline right back for his hiding place in the basement. Normally he’s the brave, curious of the two. Mori on the other hand stayed upstairs, cautiously exploring, and finally settled in one of the closets in the master bedroom.

It wasn’t until evening that they both seemed to recover from their trauma and start to truly check out the house.

In the mean time Dave and I worked on painting the primer in the living/dining rooms. We got it all done with the exception of up near the ceiling as I don’t have a ladder yet (need to get one today). The color I picked looks really good (I had the primer tinted to match the paint color). Hopefully today we’ll finish the last bits of painting on the primer and then putting on a coat of paint, including the accent color in the nook above the fireplace where the TV will go.

Of course it was just after we finished painting the window sill that Maxi decides to come out and jump right up on the window sill, getting primer all over his paws. He had to endure more trauma as I washed his paws clean with a wet cloth, but he quickly recovered this time and kept trying to get back up on the window sills. *giggle*

We’re both really exhausted already and I look forward to getting this move completed and settling down in the house for a very long time!

Big Day, Part Deux

Front View of New Town HouseHere is the front view of my new townhouse. This was taken just before the final walk-through with our realtor. Aftwards we enjoyed a nice lunch before heading to the closing for all the document signing that’s required.

Afterwards we headed to the house and I unloaded my first carload of items from my place. I brought knick knacks, towels, blankets, pillows, and some plastic china and utensils.

Then I went shopping for some bread, cheese, fruit, wine and other refreshments so we could have a little picnic in the new house to celebrate. I also enjoyed a nice soak in the large bathtub in the master bath, surrounded by scented candles.

All in all today was a very good day.