Things are chugging along very nicely with the house. The developer called Seth last Friday and told him it would be done in three weeks. Sitting here now, that projected finish date is only two and a half weeks away. This time last year I couldn't have guessed that this would have been possible. In fact, I remember writing a very disheartened post just seven months ago about how sure I was that buying a house was nothing but a pipe-dream. My, how things can change. I'm starting to get into the nitty gritty of packing - kitchen cabinets, closets, junk drawers, etc. The books are already packed (which took several days of doing a couple of boxes here, a couple of boxes there). I need to disassemble our living room book shelves next, so that I can use that long wall as another place to stack the packed boxes.
It's overwhelming and surreal, but as long as I pack a few boxes each day, or tackle a specific spot in the apartment, it's getting done. I've already made two trips to GoodWill to donate things that we no longer need (my car has another load in the back of it to drop off tomorrow). Yesterday I threw away two large bags of trash, wondering how we accumulated so much stuff that we have no use for. I can't believe how I used to buy random foodstuffs in large amounts simply because they were on sale. I had to dispose of almost a dozen boxes of long-ago-expired cake mix... what a waste. I'm glad that I've gotten in the habit of instead buying what we need, when we need it.
When I left Safeway last July I just thought of it in terms of how much pay I was losing (which wasn't much, since I never got past $9/hour in 3 1/2 years of working there), but now I can look at it also in terms of how much less impulse buying I'm doing. Working in a grocery store can really drain your wallet if you're not careful. I wasn't very careful. Being frugal and, dare I say, cheap, is a skill I've spent the last year honing. I'd done it before, but out of necessity more so than out of a desire to save money for a specific goal. Being very young, very married, very much the mother of a baby, and VERY poor was quite difficult and I'd never want to re-live that experience, but I'm glad that my penny-pinching ways can now be applied to a much happier, relaxed and well-rounded life for me and my family. I'm still a little bit in disbelief that we've scrimped and saved to the point of being able to buy a house...
Here is what our little cheery house looks like in the neighborhood next to the giant muted house. The lot to the right is sold, but still empty and wooded. We aren't sure if/when the owner plans to build on it, but for now it's quiet.
I haven't been by the house since last Saturday, so I'm not sure if the counters and cupboards have been installed yet, but from what the developer told Seth, that was the next step and is supposed to be done this week. I'm not sure if the floors are technically the step before that or if they cut the linoleum to go around the counters, I've never lived in a brand new house in my life. Either way, the cabinets will be in by the end of the week!
One of the details I love most (that we got to pick ourselves) are the interior doors. They're kind of old-timey looking, with the five horizontal panels. They remind me of the doors in my Grandma Dorothy's house, which were the original doors from when it was built in the 1920's. She moved into it sometime around the mid to late 1950's and lived there until her Alzheimer's set in badly enough that she couldn't live by herself. I have very fond memories of growing up in that house (she was the one who watched me when I was small and my parents were working. After we moved to Port Angeles I spent nearly every moment of school vacation time with her in Seattle). After my parents sold her house, the next owner did a bunch of remodeling, and while the house looked really nice and stylish, they had destroyed all of it's charm and character. I'm really glad I get to have a little piece of something that reminds me of that amazing house in my own home.
The front door still has a ramp up to it, but sometime in the next couple of weeks, it will get a proper porch. The porch will be small, but hey! We'll be able to get to the door without risking death. That's always good.
If you go to the right of the front of the house and look towards the back of the property, this is what you'll see. Our property extends beyond that narrow walkway, they put that netting there to hold back the trees and brush for painting and all that. The property is on a diagonal and goes about 8 or 10 feet into those trees. Our plan is to clear out all the underbrush, but keep all of the trees. Except for maybe the skinny ones.
Here's the back of the house from a different view than what I've shown before. Behind where Seth is standing, we'll be installing a fence. We're thinking we'll build a very basic wood-frame fence with wire fencing stapled into it, kind of like this. Though I want to use chicken wire instead. I'm in love with that honey-comb pattern. Our reasoning for building a fence that doesn't provide any privacy is that our lot is small and we plan to utilize every last inch of space for gardening. We're going to need all the sunlight we can get and can't really afford to block any out purposely.
Plenty of light is especially important along the left side of the house, because it's so narrow. I doubt this long strip will be used for any utilitarian plants, probably just flowers and decorative bits. Seth and I have discussed all of our ground-cover options and have decided we want to do stepping stone walkways surrounded by beauty bark. Seth will lay down that protective garden fabric that keeps weeds from popping up, and we'll cut holes where we put in flowers and things. At one point we were discussing living ground-covers like this, but decided we aren't interested in maintaining something like that. We're going to have enough work to do already...
And finally, my painting plans... I know it's bright and overwhelming, but that's kind of my style, in case no one had noticed. I originally planned to paint the ceilings as well, but I'm rethinking that. My only previous experience with painting ceilings was in a place that had standard height, completely level ceilings. The ceilings in the main living area here are diagonally pitched to the center of the house... and really high up. Also, a friend pointed out that I may want to retain some of the white paint just to break things up and keep it light and airy. I think she's right. Maybe I should pretend it's simply a design decision and has nothing to do with how lazy I am. That's the ticket!
I swear, all I can talk about these days is painting and gardening and sewing curtains - I feel kind of boring and repetitive... except that I'm loving it. Seriously loving it. I've only got two curtains left to sew, one of which is the smallest in the house (kitchen window). I tackled the EIGHT FOOT LONG sliding glass door curtains in one day and I felt like my middle finger on my right hand was going to fall off and become a bloody stump. I used Ikea fabric for the curtains in the main living area and that fabric is hearty and thick, which makes pushing through it with a needle more challenging than if I was working with a knit or muslin or something. Though it's going to kick ass for light-blocking purposes when the curtains are pulled shut.
So close... so close... so close!