So much painting…

There is a lot of prep that goes into painting an entire house. Especially when the house was previously owned by chain-smoking, animal-loving, hoarders that had not painted or even cleaned the house in decades. All of the walls had to be washed, that alone made a huge difference. But the sludgey brown water that constantly needed to be changed was just gross. Then every metal window frame needed to be scrubbed, it took at least an hour probably 2 or 3 for each window to wash all that nicotine off. Then all the woodwork had to be cleaned just so we could stick tape on it. After all that came peeling off the loose wallpaper that covered all the plaster walls. In some places it felt like it had been absorbed into the plaster and was not going anywhere. And in other places it peeled off in sheets. Unfortunately, just about every where it peeled off revealed large cracks in the plaster that needed to be repaired. So lots of mudding and sanding ensued on the walls and the ceiling.

I did have some help through this process, Megan came over and helped clean windows one day and Beth was in charge of her bedroom. She has done all the scraping, mudding, sanding and painting in there. While Thomas didn’t really help with the walls or windows he did scrub all the hardwood floors several times, trying to wash off the brown gunk that was left behind under the carpets. A mixture of animal remains and grime. It was completely disgusting. And while the floors still need to be sanded at least they’re not gross to walk on anymore.

So after several weeks of prepping the walls and ceiling I was finally ready to paint. As soon as the painting started my mom was there to help. Not only does she come over and help paint but she also buys me lunch. She is the best helper!

I started with 1 coat of primer on everything, then 2 coats of ceiling paint. But I could still see stains bleeding though so my dad came over and did a 3rd coat of ceiling paint in the dining room and living room. I should also mention that while I have been working on all the flat surfaces in the house, Dan has replaced all the plumbing and is now replacing all the electric. Which means all this painting is being done with no lights, or heat or air conditioning. And depending on the day we have needed all 3. Some rooms have great natural light and they are so much nicer to paint in. The office only has 1 window so its like painting in a dungeon. When we finally have lights again it will be interesting to see how that paint job really turned out!

Once the ceilings were all painted the fun finally began. The dining room and office are completely painted. Here is the dining room with it’s freshly painted creamy yellow walls. It is so bright and cheery in there.

IMG_4270IMG_4272

And here is the office, one wall was painted with chalkboard paint and the rest of the walls are a grayish/blue. I can’t wait to see this room with the lights on. It’s a weird feeling painting a wall black. But I kinda love it. I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m crazy. That chalkboard wall will be a great place for Beth and Megan to work on their creations or maybe Daniel will solve some complicated programming problem. Most likely it will be full of obscene words and dirty jokes.

IMG_4273IMG_4275

And Beth’s room is almost done. The walls are finished but I’m still working on her ceiling. After removing the drop ceiling in her room, I’ve had quite a lot of repair work to do on the plaster.

She chose to do 3 walls white and I wall sea-foam green. She has lots of plans for this room. After spending most of her life in a basement she is really excited about having a real bedroom with windows and closets!

IMG_4281IMG_4282IMG_4283IMG_4284

I’m going away next week but once I get back home we’ll finish painting the rest of the rooms and hopefully Dan will be ready for me to start working on the kitchen and bathroom.

Advertisements

Rock Climbing at Geneva Hills

Thomas, Dan and I spent this past weekend camping, about an hour away from home, so that Thomas could do his first outdoor rock climbing. He has been climbing at Vertical Adventures for the past year, but this was his first time climbing on actual rocks! it was a great weekend spent with some really nice rock climbing families. We can’t go wait to go back again.

IMG_9583

This is Thomas’ first ascent up the boulder.

IMG_9594

I am amazed at how strong he has gotten this year. He is no longer my little boy, he has definitely grown into a man body.

IMG_9595IMG_9598

IMG_9602

IMG_9604

He looks pretty proud of himself. Actually, I think he’s laughing because his coach Justin chastised him for whale-rolling onto the top.

IMG_9607

And since this was a rock climbing trip of course he needed to bring the slack line.

IMG_9637

IMG_9642

IMG_9643

Geneva Hills is privately owned summer camp facility on 350 acres in Lancaster, which just happens to have some undeveloped rock climbing areas. In exchange for the climbers coming in and clearing out paths to the boulders and cleaning off the rocks, we get to camp for just a donation to the campground. It was a beautiful area, that we’re looking forward to returning to.

IMG_9704IMG_9728IMG_9700IMG_9702

IMG_9771

and here’s a few more pics of Thomas climbing some of the others boulders.

IMG_9736

 

IMG_9738IMG_9741IMG_9744IMG_9745IMG_9747IMG_9748IMG_9759IMG_9760

First Day of Demo!

Well we closed on the house Tuesdays, Wed I was by myself at the house and I got just  little work done tearing down the drop ceiling in Beth’s bedroom. But today was super productive. I had Daniel, Megan, BJ, Thomas and me all working most of the day. We almost filled the dumpster.

Thomas started on the pile of concrete bags and empty paint cans. He moved, all by himself, 3780 pounds of concrete today. It was quite the workout!. The drive way looks so much bigger with all the junk gone. I can’t wait to get that van towed away!

IMG_3985

While Thomas was working outside I started pulling up all the nasty pee stained carpets. They were so old and thread bear that they came up easily. But thanks to all the spills and/or pee the pads were all stuck to the wood floors. Megan got there just in time to work at scraping the pads off the floors.

IMG_3987

I then spent the rest of the day (when I wasn’t helping the boys with their projects) slowly lifting up all the tack strips and pulling all the staples out of the floor. I’m still not done, it will keep me busy for awhile tomorrow too. But I did take a picture just to prove that I was actually doing something, not just following the kids around with a camera.

IMG_3992

Once Thomas moved inside the house he tackled a wall in the kitchen that I wanted removed. Megan jumped in and helped for a few minutes before she had to leave for work. I love this picture of them both going at it. By the time I grabbed my camera Megan was cowering in the corner, just a little scared of Thomas with a crowbar. I made her jump back in for the picture.

IMG_3988

 

Bj was nice enough to come over and help even though he had school last night from 5-10pm, then he worked from 10:30pm- 6:00am, he was at the house by 10am with no sleep. He worked until 3, then only got a couple hours of sleep before he had to head back to work all night tonight.

Him and Daniel removed the very heavy cement washtub in the basement then got to work in the bathroom gutting it down to the studs.  The only thing we’re saving in the bathroom is the bathtub, hopefully it will survive the renovation.

IMG_3990 IMG_3991

 

 

When it was time to start tearing out the ceiling BJ got out the heavy gear. He had his firefighter gear in his car and thought that it would do a better job of protecting him from the falling cement ceiling than having no gear at all. He looks so official in his uniform!

The kids were amazing today, they all worked hard and kept at it until we finally called it  a day. The dumpster is 3/4 of the way full and we still have a full day of demo tomorrow.

 

 

The first day of Spring

And it is only 43 degrees, brrr… unless you’re working out in your yard, then you may build up a little bit of a sweat. I was motivated to clean up my flower beds because I bought myself a present at the antique mall today.

The antique mall where I have my booth is like my very own room of requirements from Harry Potter. if there is something that I am pining for eventually it pops up in one of the many booths at the mall. When I go in to restock my booth I will walk down just one or two aisles on my way out. Even while walking through such a limited part of the mall I happen upon treasures that I have been searching for.

Today’s treasure is something I’ve been talking about for a few months now. But I really didn’t think that I had any hope of finding one. Until I walked around a corner at the antique mall and right in the middle of a booth I saw a claw foot cast iron bathtub! Yay, I think I squealed when I saw it.

I love having two strong boys to help me move things around. Because this tub is HEAVY!

IMG_3931IMG_3934

BJ tends to get hurt at my house, so I don’t know why he is the one walking backwards through the rock garden.

IMG_3938IMG_3940

I’m not sure if that will be its permanent home, I’ll have to watch it for awhile and see how I feel. Whenever it does find it’s final home then I will start worm composting in it. I think I need to clear out some of the other yard junk around the tub, the tub put me over the maximum amount of yard junk for one area. No worries I have plenty of other areas to spread it to.

IMG_3950

The back story

Who lives in a house that is in such bad condition? We all had different theories about the previous owners. I had seen a google earth image of the house that had 4 or 5 work vans parked in the driveway so I imagined a house full of immigrants that were in the construction business. The kids were pretty sure it was a drug den. Dan just thought it was an old red neck. Whoever it was I imagined they were not very happy about their house being foreclosed. One day I tried to go to the house by myself to get some measurements and I was so terrified that I was going to be murdered by the axe murder hiding in the basement that I only lasted about 3 minutes before I had to run out of the house. Because, ya know, whoever lived there before still had keys!

Besides the bad condition inside the house there was one very bizarre clue left in the yard.

IMG_3904

Why was this broken down van left behind? There are no plates and 4 flat tires. Then when we looked inside it was completely full of hazmat materials. Cans of paint, blacktop sealant, stain, fire extinguisher, oxygen tank, propane tanks and that’s just what we could see on the top of the pile. There are no seats in the van, just a lot of leftover construction materials. So part of our demo includes getting rid of all the stuff inside the van then having the van towed to a junk yard.

Another bonus that was left for us is a pallet of cement bags that have been left out in the weather for who knows how long. Which means they are all now solid cement. Thank goodness Thomas has spent all this time working out and building up those muscles, he’s gonna need them!

IMG_3905

These items have added to the mystery of the previous owners. But the other day I was finally able to catch the neighbor letting her dog out. I went over and chatted with her for a bit about her cute dog, who is always excited to see us and runs along the fence whenever we’re over at the house. Turns out the dog used to live in our house but when the previous tenant left he couldn’t afford to keep the dog so they took him. No wonder he gets excited when he sees us, maybe he wants to come home.

And then I asked her what the deal was with the house, who lived here before? Turns out none of us were even close. A woman owned the house and her partner lived with her. And they were hoarders! Well that explains everything, no wonder the walls hadn’t been painted in decades or the carpets were so gross, they couldn’t even see those things because the house was so full of stuff. The five vans parked in the driveway were just more things they were hoarding. The neighbor said it made a (very ugly) privacy fence that blocked out all the other stuff that was in the back yard.

Recently the woman died and her partner couldn’t afford to keep the utilities on or pay the mortgage so he was eventually evicted and the house was foreclosed. Then the bank had many dumpsters of stuff removed (including some of the storm windows, I think) and 4 of the vans removed. Why did they leave 1 van and a pallet of cement for us to deal with? Instantly the fear of returning thugs has disappeared. I am no longer scared in the house and I am much more comfortable with the kids living in the house.

I’m so glad the back story was as benign as it was!

Dusting off the blog

It has been almost 2 years since the last blog post that I have written. Long enough that I couldn’t remember how to log in to my blog or even what program I used to use to write my blogs. Thomas and I are starting a new adventure and a friend suggested I should blog about it. I love the idea of documenting everything we’re doing but I’m not sure if I’ll have the dedication to take the time and write about it. We’ll see how this goes.

It’s funny how I have shared different interests with each kid. When Daniel was still living at home we watched a lot of cooking shows; Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man vs. Food. Mostly shows with exotic foods and chefs that travelled around the world. Then when he left for college I never watched another cooking show, it made me too sad to watch them without Daniel. Beth and I watched Project Runway and Americas Next Top Model again not shows I ever watched without her. Thomas and I also have our favorite shows, we love car shows; Top Gear, Fast N Loud, Counting Cars if we had the space we would buy an old car to rebuild together, sadly we don’t have the garage space for that. We also like auction shows, house flipping shows and renovation shows. Thomas has also been the kid that has had the privilege of living almost his whole life in a construction zone and helping with the many never ending renovations we’ve tackled in our very old house.

So on to that new adventure…I am buying a house for us to renovate. While I really want to flip houses this first one is for the kids to rent. At first Daniel, Megan and Beth will live in the house. Then in 4-5 years when Thomas is ready to start at the Police Academy him and BJ plan on kicking the other kids out and moving in.

I think I need to clarify my previous statement that “I am buying a house for us to renovate.” I have been wanting to do this for years, recently I started looking at house online and stumbled across the house we are now very close to owning. I didn’t mention any of this to Dan until the night before I had set up a showing, it was just an idea I was throwing around and I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. Dan couldn’t go see the house with me but Thomas and I fell in love. OK maybe I fell in love and Thomas was quietly stoic. Dan did go look at it the next day and agreed that this was an amazing deal and a house with great bones. Yes, it needs a ton of cosmetic work but structurally it is very sound. Without one word of complaint or objection Dan worked out the financial side of this endeavor and made it happen for me. I love that about him, instead of pointing out that our house is practically condemnable due to unfinished projects he just lets me go into something that is a little bit crazy.

I do have a big picture plan; Thomas and I will do all the work we can on this house (with a little help from Dan when his expertise is needed) and within 2 months it will be move in ready. Then I think we should move in so Thomas and I can gut our kitchen and bathroom and finally get our house finished. That idea is very dependent on our financial outlook at that point, but that’s what I’m hoping we can do. About the time we are done with all that the kids leases we be ending in their apartments and they should be ready to move into the house. And if all of this goes as planned then the next house I buy will be a flip and we can finally make some money from this new endeavor.

Everyone loves water parks

After our fun at COSI we all walked across the bridge to the waterpark at the Scioto Mile. It has been a ridiculously hot spring, which is hard for these Seattleites to take considering it’s only 60 degrees out west.

IMG_7747

IMG_7768

So contemplative

IMG_7777

and Zen-like

IMG_7779

IMG_7780

Even the big kids got in on the fun. BJ said he didn’t plan on getting wet, but how can you resist?

IMG_7757IMG_7773IMG_7789IMG_7794

Thomas was running towards me being silly, this really nails his essence, I think.

IMG_7798

It’s even more fun when the BIG sprinklers come one…

IMG_7823

IMG_7801

So mistyIMG_7808

What a great day with friends and cousins.

IMG_7819

Even G-ma and G-pa came along, it’s like they’re homeschooling parents now that they’re taking care of my niece and nephew while my sister is working on getting her house sold.

IMG_7753

IMG_7756