Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Awakening

It's been awhile since I last posted, but in the meantime, we've been settling into the place pretty well. We're actually coming up on a year in the house, which is ridiculous when I think about it. More ridiculous, of course, is the fact that we have weathered our first winter in Forest Glen with a rather deficient heating situation. I've posted about this before, and since then, there has been very little movement on the issue. We went through the coldest winter in Metro DC in several years, and definitely felt it... downstairs.

The number of times we called, emailed, and texted our contractors is laughable.  Rory, the one who actually gets things done when you need, is now nowhere to be found. Instead, we are left with Mark, who always seems to have somewhere else to be, someone else who needs something, or an ailment of some sort. You know the guy in your office whose grandma died seven or eight times over the last year or two? That's him. Who knows? Maybe he just has a big (ill?) family. But I'm to the point with health issues that I just nod and zone out until they're done being discussed.

What does the Postal Service saw about
snow, sleet, dark of night?
Yeah, they all stop our contractors
from making their appointed rounds...
A few weeks back, we finally managed to set a time for Mark to come out, but there was a "snowstorm." Then, he had to cancel at the last minute for another appointment, which I actually was glad about, since it was pretty warm out that day, and I wanted him to experience the downstairs cold first-hand. Finally, our schedules meshed last week, and he came out. I was relieved that he seemed stumped by the issue of no wind at all coming out of our downstairs vents... But not really, since I'm pretty positive it's because he turned them off when he came back in February when I was out of town and Abby called him for help. He came by two days ago and fiddled with stuff again; presumably, he flipped the switch and redirected the heat downstairs again. Tonight, regardless of the temperature, I'm gonna force the heat to go on, and see if we can feel more than a trickle in the downstairs bathroom. You know, the one that was supposed to relieve my bathroom from the kids' mess, but instead sits pretty much unused because of its frigid temps.

Apart from the heat, Mark finally got Francisco to come over and install the hot-water tap they had to uninstall before our inspection last year. Since then, I've grown semi-fond of our disposal-- Abby still doesn't trust it-- so I wanted both installed. Plumbers off of ServiceMagic quoted us more than $600 (or was it $800?) to do the job, but Mark had said $250 way back when. It went in this week... But not without $150 being added to the bill. Oh, and it's plugged into the same outlet as the disposal, which means we have to unplug the disposal until we want to use it, then remember to unplug it and flip the switch back on afterwards. Ahh, the joys of getting "everything you want" in a house you renovate, amirite?

Speaking of getting everything you want, we got to check out the Swiss Chalet (not the restaurant, sadly) the other night when Lee invited us over. That's right: an honest-to-goodness cocktail party on a Friday night! (The kids were also invited, and played great with his.). Best of all, it was the first night of actual warmth, which meant we went without jackets, and the doors (and windows, I think) were left open. (This at the end of a week that started with a snow day, no less.)

The Chalet now
The Chalet is amazing. For those of you who don't know, it's the house that interested us in the neighborhood in the first place, back in February 2011. But the work was just too extensive (and expensive) for us to handle. Lee, however, has handled it *very* well, and has it on the market now, in case anyone's looking for a place with a genuine wine grotto, beautiful modern finishes, and a super-cool master bedroom suite with cathedral ceilings. My silly-favorite part of the place actually is the door: it's a substantial wood entry door split in half, so you can open just the top if you like, when the weather warrants. You know, maybe set a pie on it to cool or something. Mmm, pie. I showed my parents around in there today during the open house, and they loved it-- although it's got too many stairs for them, which is understandable.  But in my estimation, it's a masterpiece.

The next month has a bunch of stuff coming, not the least of which will be the expected arrival of our state historical tax credit, which will make us feel momentarily rich-- that is, until we remember we already spent that money, and we need to put it back in the mortgage... And of course, I will be able to start outdoor stuff in earnest.  Sure, the deer ate all of my vegetation that didn't die on its own before winter set in, but that was just a test.  In the meantime, I'm planning out the greenspace around my house, and hoping I'll be able to do so in a nice, warm family room, without the need for a heavy blanket, and with the kids' ratty toothbrushes and gunked-up toothpaste tube messing up their own, newly warmed bathroom, and not mine!  (Hope springs eternal, right?)

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