Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day: 2012

J and I got a pretty neat-o Valentine's Day gift: our new home was inspected! We used Long Paw Inspections because our realtor has worked with him before and trusts him, and he turned out to be great! He conducted the inspection without us there, but then we met him earlier this morning to walk through the entire house and listen to his summary of everything. He's supposed to e-mail us a complete report later, and it includes pictures of everything he noticed. It seems like he did a pretty thorough job, so I'm glad we used him!

The inspector said he's been inspecting 2 homes/day, 6 days/week for many years now, and he said our home was in the top 1% of homes he'd inspected. Yippeeee!!

Being back in the house reminded us of all the projects we'd like to complete... The following list is going to make it sound like we don't like our house the way it is, lol. Rest assured that we do -- we just want to make it ours! Here's our task list for the new house, in no particular order:

  1. Tear up the back porch (it's a weird, faux brick concrete thing...) and re-do it so it doesn't take up as much of the backyard space and doesn't look as strange. 
  2. Remove or relocate the garden in the backyard. 
  3. Remove the tether ball pole (and deflated ball) from the backyard. 
  4. Install a gate in the backyard fence. Our backyard looks out onto the greenbelt, and the HOA said it was perfectly acceptable for us to install a gate that lets us into that area when we have friends or family over. It's a great way to gain a little extra backyard space when we need it! We might also end up replacing the fence... 
  5. Possibly remove or relocate a tree and several flower bushes... they're pretty, but they take up SO much of our backyard space!
  6. Replace the rusty old storage shed in the backyard.
  7. Replace the dishwasher and oven in the kitchen -- stainless steel, please!
  8. Replace the kitchen counters and possibly re-do the back-splash.
  9. Stain all the kitchen counters darker and install handles/pulls on all the drawers and cabinets.
  10. Buy/make an island on wheels for the kitchen.
  11. Paint the entire house. *sigh*
  12. Install storage cabinets in both bathrooms. 
  13. Rip out the master bathroom's cabinet and sink, install another sink (so we'll have a double), and replace the cabinet.
  14. Contact the Container Store about getting an Elfa system for our closets and garage. 
  15. Find a skinny freezer for the garage so we could stock up on extra food and store it in the garage. 
  16. Make the living room mantle deeper and possibly dark wood.
  17. Install extra shelves in the mud room. 
Those are the major upgrades. I love adding little details to make it more personable and functional! :) Here's a fun idea I found on Pinterest about putting lighting underneath the cabinets (we could put them under the top ones in the kitchen, too):

Source

And here's a nice idea for all the cabinets: pull-out drawers -- even in the linen closets!

Source

We're also on the look-out for a large rug for the living room (although we don't know what color yet. Probably something light, like a light blue or a cream); a dark entertainment center; a futon for the office; a large, dark desk; and a lawnmower. If anyone has extras or comes across a good deal online, let us know, please! :)  I hope there are good garage sales this summer and that I can catch them all... :)

We love that our house is move-in ready, and we know all those changes are going to take lots of time (and money!), but we're excited to make it juuuuuust right.:)


Monday, February 13, 2012

Homeowners

We had a rather eventful weekend! On Friday, we traveled to my hometown to watch my not-so-little-anymore sister dance her final dances during halftimes of the basketball games. She's on the dance team, and it was senior night, so we got to watch a little pre-game senior ceremony, too. Unfortunately, little C was really sick this weekend (flu, maybe?), so I don't think she got to enjoy it as much as she deserved to. Luckily, we took lots of pictures (on Mom's camera) and a video, so she can remember it when she's not so doped up on OTC drugs. ;)

On Saturday, we spent 2 hours at the tire place to get my tires rotated. It was madness in there! I'm glad their business is doing well, but we started to get a little bored during that 2-hour wait. After that, we headed to the newest outlet mall to see if there were any good deals. Gap was having a fantastic sale, so I spent the rest of my birthday money on clothes for work (is this how I know I'm a grown-up now?). In the midst of our shopping, we got a call from our realtor that our offer had been accepted -- we are homeowners! Yippeeeee!! Our official close date isn't until March 12th, but we don't have to be out of our apartment until the end of May, so we have plennnttyyy of time to clean, paint, and decorate! Here are a few pictures of our house (that I snagged from the online listing, actually):

Front, obviously
View from the front door -- we love how open the layout is, and the wood floors are b-e-a-utiful!

Kitchen -- love the counter/storage space!
I'm sure I'll post more on the house after we sign all those papers. :)

After our shopping adventure, we went back to my grandparents' house and ate a delicious, home-cooked meal before hanging out at my parents' house the rest of the evening. Sunday was, as always, our lazy day. We left a little early and stopped by a furniture store to talk to the sales folks about some pieces we've had our eyes on for awhile. When we walked out of the store 1.5 hours later, we were the proud new owners of an entire bedroom set, a new couch, a matching chair, a new coffee table (which we actually got fo' free), and two end tables. Uh....? I'm excited about all these new purchases, but... I'm definitely not used to acting like Ms. Moneybags! But we're saving so much money by buying a house instead of renting (isn't that bizarre?) that we could afford all that new furniture, too. Fun! :)


New bedroom suite (minus the rug, plus another dresser)

I couldn't find a picture of our couch and tables online, so that will have to wait.

I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of signing papers for a loan whose term is longer than I've been alive (*gulp*), but P-U-M-P-E-D to be a home-owner! Our apartment is great, but we can't wait to be in a place that's all our own.

My mind is off and running on decorating the place, and we've already got a long list of things we want to add/revamp. I've noticed we have champagne tastes on a beer budget (isn't that always the case?), but we'll make it work. :)



Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Me?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." -- Proverbs 3:5


A client's mom sent me this e-mail the other day, and it really had a profound impact on my attitude, so I thought I would share it with you. I also thought it was particularly fitting to share it on a Monday. ;)


---
Why We Should Never Say, "Lord, Why Me?"


Me (very upset): God, can I ask you something?

GOD: Sure.

Me: Promise you won't get mad?

GOD: I promise.

Me (frustrated): Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

GOD: What do you mean?

Me: Well, I woke up late.

GOD: Yes.

Me: My car took forever to start.

GOD: Okay...

Me (growling): At lunch, they made my sandwich wrong, and I had to wait.

GOD: Hmm...

Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call.

GOD: Alright.

Me (loudly): And to top it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work. Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?

GOD: Well, let me see...the death angel was at your bed this morning, and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me (humbled): Oh...

GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that might have hit you if you were on the road.

Me (ashamed): .......

GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what they have; I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed): Oh...

GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to  give a false witness about what you said on that call. I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me (softly): I see, God.

GOD: Oh, and that foot massager had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I'm sorry, God.

GOD: Don't be sorry; just learn to trust Me in all things: good and bad. And don't doubt that My plan for your day is always better than your plan.
---
OK, so the chain letter is slightly cheesy, but you have to admit that it has merit. I often forget that my God doesn't make mistakes, and that everything that happens to me is part of His plan. I've been wondering this year why God didn't grant me a teaching job or why a million little things have happened (or not happened), but this e-mail reminds me that there was a reason for it. Although I may never know the reason, I can rest assured that He has my best interests in mind. What a profound reminder to come through my e-mail inbox....more proof that God works in mysterious ways. :)
"This God -- how perfect are His deeds, how dependable His words! He is like a shield for all who seek his protection." -- II Samuel 22:31