Monday, March 11, 2013

Crying Wolf?

It seems that every few months we have a fit of progress on the house and declare that this is the time things finally are winding to a close, and we are on the verge of moving in.  Well, folks, I'm here to announce it again: things are finally winding to a close, and we are on the verge of moving in.  I was out of town for almost two weeks, during which time Abby spent a great deal of time at the house painting and making sure things were getting done.  We're now to the point where there are just three places in the whole house that need a second coat of paint-- not counting the foyer that mistakenly was painted white instead of gray-- and nowhere in the house is there solely primed drywall anymore.  The flooring has been completely refinished upstairs, and completely laid anew downstairs, excepting three spots where we were waiting for special-order pieces to fit into steps or thresholds-- and those are now in and ready to be picked up at the flooring place.  The tiles have been laid and grouted, both on the floors and the walls where necessary.  The vanities have been placed on the walls, although the upstairs one needs to be adjusted, because I don't feel like stooping to brush my teeth for the next 20 years.  At this point, so much is done that it's actually more worthwhile to talk about what isn't done, and not in a complainy way, either; in a way that says we're almost there!

First, what's already scheduled: tomorrow, the cabinet people are coming back to finish the kitchen cabinetry.  You may remember that about a third of it went in probably a month ago already, but one cabinet was either mismeasured or produced incorrectly, so they had to stop, reorder, and wait for manufacture and delivery.  Well it came last week, and they're coming tomorrow to put it all together.  By the time they leave tomorrow, we should be ready for the final step in the kitchen, which will be the countertop measure, as well as placement of the range hood.  And although the kitchen cabinetry is coming tomorrow, the custom closet was installed a week ago already.  It looks great, although I was looking for it to look more like a piece of furniture in a fancy hotel closet than a really nice adjustable closet, if you know what I mean.  Abby assures me I'll appreciate the adjustability of the shelving once it goes into use, but I'm still about 3% bummed that it's got the little adjusty-dots going up the side.  I'll get over it, I'm sure, and I bet you can't see them once the shelves are filled with clothes.

Apart from what's actually scheduled with outsiders, Mark tells us they'll be staining the front porch late this week , which should appease some of our neighbors; more than a few of them have come up to us in recent weeks saying it looks as if work has stopped, though we assure them it hasn't!

In fact, we've been told there are just a few things left in the job until the house hits the magic "L" word: Livability!  We may be a short while from the finish line in terms of completion, but we're well into the home stretch now in terms of being able to move in.  In fact, I believe we'll be able to make the move before we go to Florida for Easter.  Here's why: the four things we supposedly need in order for the house to be livable are a working kitchen, hot water, a functioning back door, and functioning bathrooms.  
  1. Well, the cabinetry will be completed tomorrow, and I have no issue living for a few weeks in a counterless house-- any of you who visited us while we were "fancy camping" during our DC renovation would know that, and honestly our current situation is only a modicum of counter space better than absolute zero.  And heck, we'd have a complement of working appliances, which is more than the microwave and toaster oven we had to alternate on the extension cord way back when.  So that's a check for the kitchen.
  2. The hot water hookup is ready, but the heater is nowhere in sight.  That said, this is a simple purchase and install, so my guess is one day it will just show up.  If it doesn't before this weekend,  I will instruct Mark to let me know which kind to get and will buy it myself.
  3. The back door is more of an issue than you might think.  It's a really weird dimension: 33" x 78".  Normal doors are an even number of inches wide, which isn't a big deal, but almost all entry doors sold in stores are 80" tall, so we may be forced into a special order door.  Abby has been looking valiantly everywhere from here to Baltimore to find a second-hand door.  She's gone to Community Forklift in Hyattsville and Second Chance in Baltimore multiple times.  With Brass Knob in DC closed down, she followed the trail of their door stock to this place on Rhode Island Avenue in Edmonston, to no avail.  We've tried Lowe's and Home Depot and just plain Googling, but nothing.  Tomorrow, she's hopefully going to meet with Rory so they can work out the kinks on all the doors, including this one.  (She picked out a bunch of matching older doors at Community Forklift for the upstairs, but we're going to end up getting new ones for the downstairs.  I wouldn't be upset about getting a new entry door for downstairs either, except that they can get pretty pricey, regardless of whether they're special-order sized.  So, while this one won't be solved tomorrow, hopefully we'll get some clarity on the issue at least.  And honestly, I can move into a house with a bum back door; just board it up, and use the front until something better comes along!
  4. The bathrooms are nearly functional.  The water is on, the tile is in , the vanities are hung.  The toilets are sitting on the floor, but haven't been installed.  The mirrors are problematic in that the downstairs one has been hung so as to block all access to the electric outlets (d'oh!), and the upstairs one has not been hung because doing so would do the same thing in that room.  But again, mirrors may make vanity easier, but do not equate to livability.  And I use a manual shaver, so we can work that outlet thing out once my toothbrush is already safely in the drawer.
So there you go.  If you believe that those are the items that need to be completed in order for us to move in, then those are the obstacles in our way.  Following most of these things, we will definitely be needing a deep cleaning for the place, because there's a decent coating of dust over everything in the house.  But that's something that can be solved with a Groupon.  We're serious enough now that I've called our storage place, and they said as long as we pick our stuff up by the 27th we won't have to pay for April.  That'd give us 16 days from today to do ensure those four items are complete, and unless we're required to have all four, and the door issue can only be solved by special order, we shouldn't even be cutting that date close.  I personally would like to have our stuff moved in sometime late next week, and move ourselves from the basement to the Bungalow little by little over that weekend.  But you know what they say about best-laid plans, eh?

Our bedroom, with the new blue walls, refinished floors, and custom closet.
Oh, and with balloons for my birthday put there by the kids. :)
Cut-outs in the upstairs shower.
Too small for shampoo bottles, but just the right
height for Abby to shave her legs...

The upstairs bathroom as seen from the Great Room.
See how low the vanity is?  Yeah, we're tall, so that's an issue...

The family room with the new flooring

The downstairs bathroom with vanity installed.
Can you see what I mean about the outlets?
My dad uses an electric shaver, so...

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