Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome to home ownership!

As with any house, ours is far from perfect and there are tons of things that I would like to change/decorate/renovate. Shocker, right? Travis and I (me mostly) decided that the best plan of attack is to write everything down. That way we can prioritize, check things off, and basically get them out of our (my) heads. I'm proud to say that we kept it all on one sheet of notebook paper, but there are definitely about 25 things on the list. Ranging anywhere between gravel for the driveway, new windows, to a hot tub for the backyard (guess who put that one on the list?).

If you know me in real life, you know that I am a planner. I make lists. I like to check things off. I like to get things taken care of. I'm kind of anal about it. So this list, which is hung up on our refrigerator so it won't be forgotten, is mocking me. I know that we can't do everything all at once, but I'll be damned if we can't spend every weekend doing projects!

The first items on the to do list are as follows: replace basement windows, put up gutters on east side of garage, replace rotting fascia in southwest corner of family room. So we had some people come out to give us quotes on these three things, since I wasn't sure if we could do any of this stuff. Heck, I can't even pronounce fascia - I say it like fascist. Well, when the first quote came back at $1200, including almost $400 for the fascia, I said "heck with that! Let's go to Lowe's!"

Fast forward to tonight:

Tada! Fascia replaced and repainted! You can barely tell too. The new part is from that screw thingy sticking out on the left side, to the corner, and down about a foot or two on the right side. Travis is up there with some kind of roof sealant. (Umm yea, this is where my girl genes kick in). Then we'll put up a new gutter along the right side. Good practice for the one we're planning on putting up on the garage. Total costs for this project: ~$80 or so. Take that Mr. Contractor!

Luckily we did have some handy help by way of one of Trav's friends, and his brother. Although his brother mostly just pointed out what they were doing wrong, bought a new hammer for us, had lunch and then left. Ah well, at least we got a hammer out of that, right? Oh, and ignore the big ugly smoke stack sticking out of the roof behind Travis. We think there used to be a wood burning stove in the family room, because we have a big hole thing (filled in of course) on the ceiling in there. We're thinking that if we take down the smoke stack, there will be a big hole there, so we'll take care of that when we redo the flat roof next summer.

So that's one thing I can check off the list! We're still going to have someone do the windows though - that seems like more mess than I want to deal with. But I'm pretty proud of my husband's handiwork and our ingenuity.

Besides our projects around the house, things are going swimmingly. Travis has had a lot of business lately, so that's keeping him busy during the week. I think the home show really helped get him some exposure! I've been doing a little more training at Disability Specialists (DSI) for my new job, even though I still have a week until I start. I'm glad about the training though, because I wasn't sure if I would get any. Just doing data entry doesn't really teach you anything! So that's been good. One of the highlights of my day this past week was coming home to these cuties:

Wine bottle house numbers! Courtesy of my fabulous brother and sister in law in Missouri. Love them! I'm very excited to put them up, we're just not sure how we want to do it yet. They have sticky strips on the back, so technically we could just stick them to the house. But with our extreme cold temperatures, I'm not sure if they would stick all winter. So we're thinking of getting a board to mount them to, then mounting that on the house. That's an upcoming project too!

Our weather is warming up quite nicely. We've reached 50 a few times already! That means it'll be landscaping projects soon. This is a completely new area to me, and it's a little intimidating. Mostly because I have no idea what to do here. But we'll start small - like grass seed for some of our dirt patches in the backyard. We just need to see 60's a few times before we get to it!

Until next time!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Funny thing when you have no furniture - your house looks really empty. And boxes tend to stay right where they are. Well, not all of them, just a few. We've gotten mostly everything unpacked, hung up, put away, etc. But I only have a few pictures to show you. Let's call them "progress pictures", shall we?

These are the curtains that took me forever to find and decide on. We originally bought two different sets before these, but I think they look pretty nice. We're going for more of a casual look in the family room. Our one and only couch looks kind of small in here, hopefully we'll be able to find some more furniture soon. Right now all of Trav's office supplies and files are piled up in boxes here. I know, I know.

Here is our kitchen complete with our new stainless steel stove, and of course Maya the modeling dog. I know that the microwave does not match, but it's brand new so I didn't see the sense in replacing it just yet.

And our beautiful refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. Score! When we were measuring for this bad boy, I just measured along the wall for depth, and not how far it would come into the room. So you'll notice that there is only about a foot in between the edge of the counter top and the fridge. Travis and I are never allowed to get fatter than that, or we can't get to the back of the house. Good plan!

Our lovely bathroom. All of the colors in this house are great, we didn't have to change a thing. Most of them are what I would have picked myself anyway. And yes, that is a Jacuzzi tub! Don't be too jealous ;o)

Our latest project - blinds! None of the windows in the entire house had any sort of covering, so that's been a big project for us. We've put mini blinds in all the bedrooms (6 windows) and the plantation style blinds in the living room/dining room area (5 normal sized and one 60" sucker). But I'm so glad they're up! Now I can dance around the living room at night with the lights on and my neighbors can't see me!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: today was yard day. The old owners didn't pay too much attention to the outside areas of the house it seems because our .75 acre lot is covered with leaves. We have no less than 10 trees, so there are tons and tons of leaves littering the yard. Who rakes leaves in the spring? We do. I'm expecting that Jacuzzi tub will get some good use tonight!

Did you know that yesterday was the first day of spring? We're ushering it it with balmy 5o degree temperatures today, although two days ago we had snow flurries. Hopefully the weather is beautiful where ever you are!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Not yet. I know what you're thinking though. "Geez, they've been in this new house for a few days now. They could at least show some pictures!" Well, here's the funny thing. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Just a teeny, tiny bit. And we've been busy doing all things un-house related. So naturally, I don't have anything unpacked and I have not taken pictures of our new house. Don't believe me? Well here's our schedule for the past few days:
Wednesday: Move, in the mud and freezing rain. Oh boy!
Thursday: Ali goes to work, Travis unpacks the vitals like the computer and the guitars
Friday: Set up for the Perrella Home Show. Later, Travis and Ali try to buy curtains at Walmart. Giant fail.
Saturday: Home show from 8-5. Return to Walmart with ugly curtains, buy new curtains. 2nd giant fail.
Sunday: Go to old house to clean and get the remaining items we left behind.

I know you're thinking that there had to be time in between there for general unpacking and picture taking, but I promise you there was not. I have literally fallen into bed every night, asleep before my head hits the pillows.

Luckily I don't have to do anything tomorrow but unpack and get the house organized. The plus side is that we do have all our new appliances and they all seem to be in working order. (*Knocks on wood*) However, we have already identified 5 "projects" that need to be taken care of ASAP. We have some leaking in the basement due to runoff/window problems, two pipes that need to be refitted due to one leaking issue and one "sellers were idiots, what the hell were they thinking?" issues, and one fascia issue that basically runs along the same lines. Lucky for us, a good friend works for a construction company that can take care of all these things. We'll be calling him tomorrow to come out for a quote. Hopefully we get the "friend" discount!

The home show was a great success, but a lot of work. My company puts it on, so we're the face of the entire operation. Which means lots of meet & greet, lots of checking on vendors, and just general goodwill all day long. Being nice for that long is tiring. Travis had a booth though, and he got a lot of interest and some good contacts (thanks to our greenhouse gift certificate and two lawn chairs raffle), so it was a good day!

As you can see, we've been busy beavers lately. I promise pictures will be here eventually. I need to find the camera anyway, so just sit tight - I know it's hard but you can do it!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Well, today is the big day! We're closing! I am amazed how fast this process was, usually it takes at least 4 weeks to get everything to come together. But here we are!

Travis and I also had our 1st anniversary this weekend. To celebrate we went appliance shopping. How romantic! You may not think so, but it was fun to me. We went to a local store to check prices, but ended up buying from Lowe's. They were less expensive, had a better selection, and still offer free delivery and set up, as well as hauling away the old appliances for free. Not that there's anything to haul away, but still - nice to know!

We were going for black appliances because stainless wasn't quite in our budget. So we thought! We ended up getting a pretty, stainless stove with a glass cook top for $499. It was actually the cheapest one they had! Well, besides the little apartment set ups. So then we cruised over to the refrigerator section. I really wanted one with the bottom freezer style, because they are pretty and a side by side would be to big for the spot in our house. We ended up getting a sweet deal on a "silver" fridge (you know, the "fake" stainless but still looks like stainless). The last one they had in stock was the floor model, which had a scratch or two way on the bottom, so they knocked off $60 on top of a 10% discount for being energy star. So we got both for under $1500! I have to admit though - I didn't like spending that much money and walking out of the store empty handed. That's rough!

Also, my brother's will be relieved to know, we're getting a new dryer! Mom and Dad are springing for a new one, since ours looks like it came over on the Mayflower. This has been a running joke for a while now because my brother's helped us move in and out of our apartment in Missouri. They have been worried since day one over my dryer (and the potential for it to set our house on fire), although I still don't see the big deal. But it will be nice to have a new, more energy efficient one.

So closing today, and move in on Wednesday!!!! The U-haul is booked, we have slave labor coming over, and we're almost all packed! We ran out of boxes, so we have to go grab some more from the grocery store. Or, heaven forbid, buy some at Lowe's. I'm thinking I should buy stock in Lowe's now, so at least I'm making a little bit of my money back!

In other big news: I have a new job! Well, I officially start April 5th with the company I've been working for part time, Disability Specialists. I had "orientation" with the owner of the company last Monday, which was 3 hours long and he gave me tons of information about the representative position. It kind of threw me because I didn't think I needed to know how much they got paid and how their pay structure works. Then at the very end he said "I'd like you to consider becoming a rep for us" and completely floored me! He told me to take some time to think about it, which I did and then accepted!

In a nutshell, I will be helping clients with their disability and social security claims. Going to meet with them, helping with paperwork, even representing them at the hearing level if need be. I'll be training under the local rep here for a year, and then next June I have to take and pass the Social Security Exam. If I pass, I get a generous 36% raise from my already very generous salary. Yippy! I'm hoping that I love this job and it really works out, since it plopped in my lap just when I needed it. Fingers crossed!

Work has been under way on Trav's office for about two weeks now. They have the windows all boarded up so you can't see inside. Pretty exciting though! They should be done at the beginning of April, finally!

So that is what's been going on in our lives lately. A roller coaster for sure!