Friday, February 1, 2013

20 Months, 7,000 Hits, and a $25,000 Check

Kids and, more importantly
at this point, cabinets!
Before I start, I just wanted to marvel in my own awesomeness.  Seriously, folks, I have 7,000 hits on this thing now; that's pretty awesome. :)  Thanks for reading along.

Anyhow, it's February.  Today marks our 20-month anniversary of Maryland homeownership.  Twenty months of paying two mortgages.  And we're not quite destitute yet.  Actually, we got some good news today at the draw inspection: we're going to get a reimbursement check of just over $25,000 this week!  Granted, it's not like the money we'll actually get back at the complete end of this process from the Historical people, because this is money we spent already and have been paying interest on for these past twenty months, but still, it will make my bank accounts look and feel so much better... at least until it's spent again all too soon.

The reason behind that "windfall," however, is because stuff's actually getting done.  More than half of that is to reimburse us for the kitchen cabinets, which started going in yesterday after that slight delivery glitch earlier this week.  Yeah, but don't get too excited.  They do look great, but there's an issue: apparently, even after having been measured twice, our crazily-shaped room has thrown the installers for a loop.  Between their measuring tapes and the computers, some of the cabinets don't fit.  I have no idea why not, but I do know that, most importantly, it's not our fault, and will not cost us any money.  Phew!  What it does mean, though, is that the kitchen won't be truly complete for a few more days, and we possibly won't be able to measure for the countertop until it's all fixed.    It was pretty cool, though, to walk into the house the other day and see half of the great room stacked up about eight feet with enormous cardboard boxes.  Not to mention, Abby and Lola had a ball today when they got to pop probably 50 linear feet of bubble wrap.

Nothing else has gone in this week, which is slightly annoying, but things are being delivered like the dickens-- that is, if things can be delivered like the dickens.  Earlier in the week it was the vanities and the cabinets, then the sconces for the kitchen and porch, then tiles.  Yesterday, Abby went to Home Depot to pick up the toilets, and couldn't pick me up from work because every square inch of the car that wasn't filled with her or the kids was filled with toilet.  While there, she found some clearance tile that she thought was perfect for the laundry room and storage room-- finally, something on clearance!-- so she put six boxes of the stuff on hold overnight and went back today to pick it up.  That might be the first flooring that goes in, which'd be fine because it'd mean we could get the washer and dryer installed, and start moving stuff into the "basement attic."  We've been watching this microwave online for a while at several different stores, and the price has fluctuated up and down from about $325 to $400.  Finally when we're ready to buy it, pretty much everyone has a 3-week wait for it, whether we want it delivered or picked up at a store.  But I found a Sears about 45 miles away that had a new floor model marked down 20% so I grabbed it, and hope to pick it up tomorrow.    Sure, I've gotta drive all the way out to White Marsh Mall (which is the one where we discovered we didn't need to bundle Isaac up like all of our older female relatives were instructed during the winter, because he turns bright red and screams...), and I'll spend ten bucks on gas, but the price difference will be about $80, and we'll get the thing tomorrow instead of who-knows-when.

Isaac's wall will be Bills colors.
Let's Go, Buffalo!
Probably the most house-interesting time this week was Wednesday.  Abby spent the day painting Isaac's room and taping the stripes onto his wall, and we came by after I picked the kids up from school.  After hiking down to Purple Playground in the park, Abby picked us up and whisked us out to the flooring store in the driving rain.  There, we finally bought our hardwood floors.  I know, right?!  So the floors are expensive, but we decided to go with them and abridge where they'll be.  So at $10.25 a square foot, we'll have DuChateau flooring's Danube flooring, from their Riverside collection (all three terms sound totally douchebaggy, don't they?) in the kids' bedrooms, the guest room, and the family room.  And the 99-cent clearance tile in the downstairs rooms that really don't need such fancy stuff.  So the kids are running around in the store, the guy's writing up the order, and something truly weird happened: I noticed I was on my phone, texting, while Abby checked her voicemail and actually answered an incoming call.  Seriously, folks, not only were both of our phones charged, but both of us were on then at the same time, of our own volition.  It's times like that that make me understand that, yes, maybe we can get this darn project completed.  Anything's possible!

From there, it seemed like a hop up Rockville Pike to the fireplace store.  But it was rush hour in the driving rain, and an hour later we pulled into the parking lot of Acme Stove, which had closed nine minutes before we got there.  Argh.  No matter, though, because that would have been bonus points for the day, and the fireplace isn't a must-finish.  (Gonna try again tomorrow anyhow.)  So we went back to the house to meet up with Lee, the contractor for some of the neighboring houses.  He wanted to take a look inside our place, and we had asked him for his ideas on what we could be doing.  We're not going to drop our contractors, but anyone who has read any of my blog entries can tell that we're not confident in their ability to be proactive in letting us know what to expect next.  It was nice to talk to him, because even though he brought up a bunch of issues I hadn't thought about-- like when we should be getting the trim, and why isn't there an obvious water service to the water heater?-- most of his comments were positive and constructive and not intimidating.  Seeing that we've really taken control of the direction of things over the past ten days or so, I think we can steer this thing to a good place by the end of the loan period.  (Remember, anything's possible!)

Granted, nothing's happening.  Which is why I emailed the contractors tonight with a list of questions and information for them to use to get cracking.  First off is the paint-- Abby's been picking out colors, and only priming is included in our contract, so if we are cleared to paint, we're going to go ahead and do that, partially by ourselves, and partially with painters.  (I ain't getting up on a ladder to paint no 20-foot ceilings!) We'll get a quote from them, and from a couple other places, and go with the best quote and the best timing possible, which is cheap and now.  And at this point, while I'd certainly have no problem with giving them the business, I'll have no issue with finding another outfit to do the work if it means it'll get done.  So, until that stuff gets sorted out, I'll leave you with the letter and you can judge for yourselves as to whether I got my point across.   Now to go chase a ground hog...

Hi guys: I wanted to follow up with you as to where we stand right now, based on what's been delivered to the house and what can get moving at the beginning of next week.  We also have some questions for you, so if you could get back to us on all of this before the end of the weekend, that'd be great.

  1. The cabinets have hit a snag because of apparently faulty measuring.  But it's okay with us, because it's either Home Depot's fault or the installer's fault, but not ours.  So while they sort it out and possibly order one different cabinet-- on them, of course-- there are several kitchen-related things.
    • Rory, we're going to pick up the microwave tomorrow.  However, there's a kit to have it fit into the opening that is only sold online, so we'll have to wait for that to be delivered to be installed.
    • At what point does the cut have to be made for the range hood vent?  Would that need to happen once the exact placement of the range hood is certain after cabinet installation?
  2. What ever happened with Washington Gas?  Are we all good with the HVAC now?  We never heard anything back following the scheduled Wednesday appointment.
  3. Can you guys take that horrible smoke detector away from the middle of the joist in the Great Room?  That thing is ridiculously ugly.  I'm sure it will be fine with code if a detector is put somewhere on the wall or something, but it definitely doesn't have to be where it is right now!
  4. The tiles for the laundry room and storage room have arrived, and can be installed.  I think it'd be a great idea to get those done, because that'd also get the washer and dryer to the point they can be installed and taken out of the way.  I'm guessing some sort of underlay is needed for those floors before the tile can go in, and that's something you guys are going to have to get, since we can't fit stuff like that in the Prius.  
  5. Our light fixtures have arrived for the front porch and for the kitchen-- 2 in each place.  They can be installed whenever.
  6. Are the walls all set for painting?  We are assuming so, but wanted to make sure.  Since the painting is not included in the contract, we wanted to get a price from you guys as to how much it will cost before we go ahead and do it.  We might choose to do some of it ourselves.  We're pretty sure, though, that the painting should be done prior to laying the wood flooring, since we know what kind of mess paint is on wood floors.
  7. That said, the wood flooring has been ordered and should be in by the middle of this week.  You guys will have to pick it up; the place we ordered it from is in Rockville, right near the White Flint Mall.
  8. Do we need to buy a water heater?  If so, what specs?  If that's something you guys are going to do, please note we want something really efficient, but also really capable of pumping out mass quantities of hot water... I do have a wife that likes 45-minute showers, and we often use hot water with more than one appliance at a time.
  9. Any word on the windows?  Last Wednesday, Mark noted something about communications with the company in Wisconsin, but nothing more... Those really need to be getting back to us soon, no?
  10. Sheyy came by for a draw inspection today.  He just sent us the paperwork, and I am going to try to get it to you by Sunday afternoon.  Even though this entire draw is money owed to us, and not to you, we will still need your signature.  Hopefully we can get it to Patty on Monday.  There will just be one more draw, on or about February 13; after that point, we won't have to deal with the loan anymore, and we can just work on a project-by-project basis until we finish.  We're still very much needing to move in before the end of this month, so let's all keep our eyes on the prize!

Thanks, and I hope to hear back from you shortly.

1 comment:

  1. There's a saying when it comes to home improvement... You can have it cheap, or quick, or right, but you can't expect all three. You can work for two.... E.g. Quick and right won't be cheap. Right and cheap won't be quick... And quick and cheap won't be right. Just a little thought that came to mind as you were talking about painters.