Good news, Bad news

So we’re still elbows deep in projects over here. When I say this house has been humbling, I mean this house has been HUMBLING. It’s half the size of my last house- humble city- and it’s 1000 times the work- steep learning curve- but it’s ours. We’re loving it. All of it. The good and the bad. And there is a lot of each of those things. And perhaps the most surprising part to all of us, including some of you readers, is that we actually still like each other. Not just Thomas and I, but I seem to like my kids even more here!

We made the choice to move out here and only bring one car. We left our Mercedes on the west coast, as I plan to visit often for business. So being a one car family means a lot more family time. Someone has to go to the store? We all go! Actually, we haven’t spent much time apart in over a month, given all the togetherness on the road trip. It’s brought us closer and I actually am not even at the end of my rope yet! #bonus

The farm house is still a touch in shambles. Every time we think we’re rounding a bend, we realize we’re not rounding said bend at all. My father in law has been out here for closing in on a week, and we had big plans to be more than moved in by the time he leaves, but that’s just not happening. It’s been helpful to have another set of eyes on kids, and a cook for 3 square meals a day, but we’re just not seeming to make progress at the rate we had hoped or expected.

But then again, who are we racing? We’re not exactly in a hurry. Thank God for our trailer that has allowed us a safe, clean, good smelling place to sleep. AND we have the extra bonus of a place outside the loud construction zone for kids to nap and go to sleep on time! This also means that we can paint, nail and saw in the house well into the evening after they’re asleep!

So this brings me to the good news, bad news side of this blog…

Good news is we have a trailer that is suited out with things like spider free beds and a microwave! Bad news is we don’t live in our house after a week of working around the clock.

Good news is we ordered a microwave off Amazon for a killer deal, compared to the store prices. Bad news is, it arrived completely dented in on one side. The upside of online shopping is that it comes right to your door. How amazing. The downside is definitely the fact that no one prioritizes finding a UPS location nor do they ever think of putting the microwave in the vehicles that goes to town.

Good news: The house came with an amazing washer and dryer so we were able to sell ours on the Nevada side and add money to our furniture fund- which I love. Bad news is the dryer vent immediately clogged and is now making our clothes smell like death. Good news is this farm has an amazing clothes line set up and we’ve been able to wash clothes and hang them up to dry! And it’s actually super fun to do with the kids! Bad news is the vent that we need to unclog, is basically the longest run a dryer vent has ever seen. The clog could be anywhere. We’ll probably have to tear the whole thing out and reroute it… God knows where. In the meantime, it’s at the bottom of the priority list as long as we have that clothes line.

Good news is obviously the clothes line. But the bad news is that it rains A LOT here. I don’t just mean that it rains frequently, although that is true, I mean that it rains a lot of water. Like A LOT! So when you have the clothes out on the clothes line, and the rain hits ya out of nowhere- you get a good news bad news situation! Bad news- not drying. Good news- re-washing!

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Some more good news here is that we get those awesome thunderstorms that I’ve heard about. You know, the Southern summer rains that are actually torrential, aggressive storms. I have to be honest, in my head, I was picturing something like the Bahamas. It rains there almost everyday a little bit, but you stay at the pool and get cooled off a little and then it passes. Here, if you happen to be out somewhere and you have to, let’s say, run into a store or the house or something like that, you’re going to need yourself a working dryer or a sunny clothes line. That’s all I have to say. It is amazing how much water can come from the sky out here in such a short period of time. But it’s so beautiful. And the thunder and lightning only add to the excitement. The kids think it’s great, that’s the good news. The dogs on the other hand, are not so sure about all the booming. But more good news is… rainbows. Big ones.

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So yes, thunderstorms and rain and rainbows are all relatively good news… the bad news comes into play when you learn about these thunderstorms and how terribly drenching they can be, when you’re driving back from Alabama with a new couch hanging out the back of your truck. And to make matters worse, google maps was totally messing with us. Don’t fall for the whole ‘there is a shorter route’ game because there isn’t! It’s a washed out road that leads to a dead end that leads to a soaked couch.

Good news, there are fans and space heaters. And they work.

In terms of projects here in the house, we’ve got a lot of really great things going on. The original house was built in the 1950’s as a two bedroom, then renovated by the former owners to give it another two more bedrooms- by way of a new second story- and semi updated kitchen and bathrooms! So that’s pretty great. But living in an old farm house is new for me and filled with quite a few good news, bad news situations.

For example, we have a pantry! I understand those are quite rare in old houses! So that’s the good news. The bad news is it was absolutely one of the scariest cabinets I’ve ever opened. LOTS of spider webs, a terrible smell, and plenty of mildew. Mildew is kind of the thing around here. I’m guessing when you take an old house and add severe humidity, and then leave it vacant for over a month, it’s pretty dang hard to avoid. Either way, we had to pull the entire pantry apart. When I can’t clean it, I have to destroy it. So we did. And now we’re re-building it! While destroying it we found a dead mouse- yes, in the pantry!!- and we found a giant brown recluse. I can’t say I wasn’t expecting him. It seemed like absolutely the perfect brown recluse mansion. NO one would want to go in there. He’d have the place all to himself for sure.

So the bad news is obviously the recluse- no one wants to find one of those- but the GOOD news is that upon very close inspection of this very obvious brown recluse, I’m ready to confirm that the two recluses I saw before we’re NOT actually brown recluses. So instead of being up to three recluse kills, we’ve only got one confirmed KIA. And I’m okay with that.

The whole spider thing… I’m calming down about it. We’ve now been here a week, and at the beginning, every time I saw any sider I would immediately panic and begin googling and staring at picture after picture of terrifying looking spiders. Now, I just squish them. And I am reminded of the clip from the movie ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ where Murphy Brown slaps a mosquito on her neck and says, “One down, ten thousand to go.”

Swinging back around to appliances…

We have a killer refrigerator that we saved when we moved into our last house, even though we didn’t need it anymore, and now it’s back in action and I forgot how much I love it! Bad news is, it broke shortly after we bought the parts to custom connect the water line. Good news is, my father in law took on the project and WON the day so that our newly refinished wood floors didn’t keep flooding!

Bad news is, we don’t have a dishwasher. Good news is, there is plenty of room to install one. Interesting news is, I don’t really care- yet- if we do. Moving out here, I basically told Thomas that the dishwasher was priority number one, but I then quickly allocated the funds elsewhere when I had the chance to stand at the sink and look out the most amazing window. If I can’t have baths in this house- and I haven’t decided if there is a suitable tub that I’ll want to take my baths in- then I may have to take up doing my praying standing at that sink. I imagine I’ll spend a fair amount of the day there.

When you’re washing dishes, however, you’re painfully aware of the fact that there is no disposal. Remember how I said this house was humbling? I’m a clean freak, okay. I’ll admit it. Like, it’s a problem. So moving into this house is a step WAY outside my comfort zone just right out of the gate. The fact that I have to reach into the bottom of the sink and scoop out all kinds of slimy God knows what… that’s been hard on me. BUT, good news is we are going to make some great compost AND I have two dogs that like leftovers. I’m getting the swing of it.

Some other really good news is that our furniture- other than the new couch of course- made it off the front porch and into the house before the rain hit. My bed and my clothes are now indoors. Bad news is, when we were moving one of the wardrobe boxes in, we discovered a little spider pack- as my sister and I call them- posted up on the outside of the box. It did not appear that any of the million spiders inside the sack had hatched before we killed them all, but I haven’t opened and unpacked that box- or any box from the porch yet, so stay tuned for some more good news (let’s hope) when we start to unpack.

Other than the downstairs bathroom and most of the kitchen, everything else is still boxed up. We’re very much living out of the camper still, which isn’t really good news or bad news. It’s fine. I don’t mind it. It is keeping things at arms length a little bit. It still feels surreal, especially because we’re not yet IN our home. So yea, we’ll see how that continues to play out as things go in closets and drawers.

Speaking of closets… the two downstairs closets- again, super old construction, and then left unattended- were in no shape for putting clothes in. You guys have to realize that I’ve lived in new construction basically my entire life! So one person’s perfectly fine closet might be my nightmare. I get it. Thomas was talking to me about putting liners down in the drawers and in the cabinets, and of course I’ve never done that. He asked me if my mom ever did that when we moved into a house and the answer is absolutely not. We were always the first users of those brand new drawers and cabinets. But now I get it! Again, humidity causes mildew which causes dirtiness which causes smells. Thomas is waging war on the insects outside and I’m waging war on the smells inside. The back porch smells funny. The old cabinets smell funny. The downstairs bathroom smells funny. Each time I investigate, mildew is always the culprit. Last night I had to step outside and clear my sinuses of the bleach smell before I started to kill brain cells. Dang that humidity! 

I digress, the closets are now BEAUTIFUL! Thomas has painted, caulked, base boarded and SEALED those bad boys up! And we’ll be putting diatomaceous earth around the edges (google that miracle worker) and fly paper in the corners! Bring it on spiders!

All in all, the good news behind the beat up closets and the unfamiliar smells is we’re making it our own and I love that about us. It’s been such an amazing project to do together, as a family. Even the kids are painting and helping! I’m learning all kinds of helpful skills (who knew I was an excellent floor stainer?) and, together, we’re fixing it all. We’re pealing back the layers to discover the stories and the quirks of this old history book of a house.

It’s been fun to learn to play a little game I’m calling, ‘Guess the purpose.’ There are so many things in this house where we just have to stop and ask ourselves, ‘why would they build it like that? What was the original intention? Or what was the original way that was used?’

For example, right in the front door to the right, there is the standard outlet at floor level. And then on the wall, where there would be a light switch- at that height- there is another four outlets. I mean… for what? How many things could you possibly need to plug in just inside the door?

Another example are the amazing baseboards here. Some walls have just one 1×2 board at the foot of the wall. That would be fine, it looks styled to the original house. However, at least half the time, in any given room, there is a short 1×2 against the wall and then a taller 1×2 inside that. So basically there is a trough around each room. Currently they’re being used to collect dust and MANY dead bugs, and also to be the bane of my existence in terms of painting trim, but I can’t possibly imagine the original reason they were put in that way. Perhaps it was to have a protected place to lay the diatomaceous earth! God knows that’s how we’re going to use it! But it’s not all the way around the room. Perhaps it’s because the floor guy didn’t cut any of the wood right, and had to cover up the gap with more base board than expected? Well, we’re adding even more base board to cover up the remaining gaps and seal up the house from the crawl space, so I’m guessing not. I really can’t figure out why on earth it was done that way, but we’re making the most of it.

(You can see in these pictures… in some cases there is just one board and we’ve added 1/4 round to seal the floors and make them pretty, and in other cases there are TWO boards at different heights, in addition to the 1/4 round we’ve added. Thomas has coined them ‘claw foot base boards’ and they actually look pretty rad)

So long story short, the good news is we are dang near finished with the first floor. That means furniture is coming in, food is going in the pantry- and I’ll actually want to put food in there- and clothes will be brought in from the clothes line and put away in closets and drawers. Bad news is… there is still an upstairs that we haven’t touched. And my office is a 300 square foot studio outside the house that is currently being used as storage. So… we’ve got our work cut out for us. Good news is, the downstairs of the main house was BY FAR the biggest project. So we’re really coming around the bend… I promise, we are.

A dear friend of mine, Kirsten Costello is coming the week of June 5th. That is our deadline. By then, our list includes:

New lighting in the kitchen.

Office painted, cleaned and set up.

Upstairs painted, cleaned and set up.

Back porch- oh the back porch- floors pulled up, mildew attacked, cement grinded, cement painted, cement sealed, porch painted, and deep cleaned so it’s more of an indoor space than an outdoor space (it’s inclosed).

Hot tub attended to and reclaimed.

Two bathrooms painted.

Missing furniture pieces needed, found and acquired.

And if we have time, we’ll want to dig into that amazing garden and see what we can see.

So when you put it that way, that list doesn’t look intimidating AT ALL! #goodgod

Say a prayer for us and share our adventures with whoever you feel would enjoy it. Stick around… the fun is only just getting started. #weekonedown

Oh yea, and last good news… ‘Turdy’ the Turtle has joined the family…

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