Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Penultimate Passage

I won't beat around the bush, because I'm sure you all want to know: Yes, we have passed our plumbing inspection! Weeks after the plumbing was "done," and at least a double-digit number of days since it was actually completed, we finally got us a sticker. Despite having an inspection scheduled for last week (supposedly), it took until yesterday to do it, since we had to secure an inspection on the fireplace beforehand. Wish we had known that sooner, because last week, while thinking "hell, we might as well get some stuff done on our own," we called our trusted fireplace people and had them cap our flue and do some pointing. So of course, as soon as I pay them, I hear we need to find a chimney guy. "Nope, we're calling my guys and that's it." Within 48 hours, we had our certificate. (Granted, the inspector had a whale of a time trying to discern what the paper actually said, because of poor penmanship, but hey, maybe the guy was Dr. Chimney, thank you very much.)

But it's not just a piece of paper that we've scored since I last wrote. Our two straggler windows were finally delivered from the custom shop in Baltimore and installed; the one in the balcony doesn't make that big of an impact, but the one in the dining room is amazing, because it was the one window we never actually saw light through-- it had been boarded up since the first time we saw the house 28 months ago. Now? I sit at my dining-room table and am actually a bit distracted by seeing the top of the windmill on the right side of my peripheral vision. It's a distraction about which I will never complain.

Speaking of the dining room, we finally got our chairs. Or rather, we finally ordered our chairs, and they were delivered crazy-fast. We had been holding off until most of the construction was finished, and once we reached the point where we needed to self-propel, they were an obvious choice. We got six, and plan to get two more, either matching or complementary. They're uber-modern, metal chairs-- three with white coating and three copper. They look really great with the striated table from my grandma. They arrived in pieces, and we had to put them together; IKEA definitely didn't write these directions! After wrestling with the first chair, I got an expletive-laden voice-mail message from Abby about the experience, but by the time numbers five and six were constructed while I watched House Hunters Sunday night, they took about five minutes apiece. For metal chairs, they're really comfortable, although I did have a bit of an accident while constructing #4, and have a gash on my right wrist to prove it.

Also completed recently is the switch of our hot and cold controls on the kitchen sink, as well as the installation of the dishwasher. No more washing dishes in the bathroom, and the machine is really, really quiet, which is great. So quiet, actually, that it's already been opened twice mistakenly during the rinse cycle. Gonna have to learn how to lock it! Although it is working, it's not anchored to the cabinets, so when you empty the contents it lurches forward just enough to make you think that this is the time it'll fall completely out, just like my recurring dreams as a kid of that strong wind knocking my house over to the extent that the mailbox post across the street would come through my window. Yeah, not gonna happen, but not taking any chances. The fridge also leans too far forward, and the freezer opens every time you close the fridge door. But it's wedged so tightly in the cabinets that I can't pull it out to adjust the tilt. Gonna have to wait for the cabinet guys to finish up to see if they can do it for us.

Ahh, the cabinets. Still unfinished, but supposedly the last door is going to be delivered to Home Depot tomorrow. Once it's in, they'll come out, switch out that glass door for the solid wood one they mistakenly installed in April, and do a couple other tweaks--like anchoring the dishwasher. Also hoping they'll install all of our handles and drawer pulls, despite us having purchased them online rather than from Home Depot. Abby's not so sure they will, but I have faith.

We've done a lot of buying lately, but the fun kind of buying: home furnishings, rather than home improvement.  There were the aforementioned dining-room chairs, which are BluDot Real Good Chairs from Fab.com.  Then there's the computer desk we got on clearance from West Elm.  And the painting we bought from an alternative art shop in Old Town Winchester during our anniversary weekend-- I haggled them from $150 to $100, so I feel productive on that one.  There's the mailbox we found on eBay and bought, only to have the letter carrier say we should really have one on the curb instead of the house, so we just put it on the porch for the time being, but today we found it to have been installed by our contractor on the wall.

On the flip side, there's the storage-room door we swear we bought but is nowhere to be found, so we had to reorder it from Home Depot and it's due in later this week.   And of course the bathroom hardware for the upstairs bathroom that we found online and had shipped to us, only for Abby to decide she doesn't like it; it's already on its way back.  Oh, and the still-nonexistent upstairs-shower door that we had measured last month, received the quote for yesterday, and think we can do better on.  So obviously, WE still have some work to do; the ball's not entirely in the contractor's court.

But for now, our next big date is Thursday; that's when we have our big, final inspection.  Pass that, and we get our Certificate of Occupancy.  In other words, we won't be squatters here anymore.  We refinanced a few weeks back-- had our mortgage payment cut by more than a thousand bucks a month, which is like getting a KILLER raise-- and I had been worried that we'd need the Certificate of Occupancy in order to finalize the closing.  I don't know why, other than my mortgage company told me I would.  But here I am, with a new mortgage and my old one so officially closed that my website login has been disabled.  So all the inspection will mean to us is that Maryland blesses the work that's been done.  But we also have to pretend we're not living here for that to happen.  And by pretend, I mean pack up a bunch of our stuff and seriously pretend we're not living here.  Seriously.  So tomorrow, on what would normally be a fun half-day at work picking up the kids from their half-day, it'll be more about making sure the kids are happy and occupied while Abby and I repack the most important things we have here, into the boxes that have been sitting in the living room for a month awaiting this day.  Our clothes will go back into bags, our food... um... maybe into the community room fridge for a few hours?  (Luckily, I haven't been grocery shopping in a week and we're running low on basically everything.)  But hopefully, come Thursday night, we can forget about permits forever, and start focusing on the end goal: living here, with no more work to be done by the contractors, and beginning our quest for landscaping and that big Maryland Historical Trust payoff.  

In the meantime, though, off to repack our house.  

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