...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Love Walls!

We have walls.  And ceilings.  I quiver with joy at the thought of all that lovely drywall.

The drywall went up late last week at the Taj, so we're priming walls and ceilings and hoping to get everything primed and at least the master bath painted before we leave this trip.  The tile guy is coming Wednesday or Thursday of next week, so once he's done, the Sainted Singing Plumber can set the toilet and vanity.  Since those are tight fits, we'll need to paint behind the toilet and behind/beside the vanity before they're installed.

Because all the walls had these crazy little cracks in the painted surface and a few legitimate plaster cracks, I've spent the last 4 months patching and sanding the other rooms, as well.  It is an on-going process, and extremely unpleasant:

Tank's bedroom, ready to sand.

So far, we have primed the master bathroom and Tank's bedroom and begun the sanding process in the living room, hallway and master bedroom.  More patching needs to happen on the master bedroom ceiling and then the sanding needs to be finished before we can prime everything.  I am beginning to think this is far beyond a two-man, three-day job!  We'll just have to do what we can and it may end up that we spend Christmas at Uncle Todd's Cabin once again and move to the Taj in the new year.  Sighhhhhhhhhhhh.

Photos later!

We've Been Sentenced....

And no, I'm not talking about the speeding ticket I got a couple of weeks ago, thankyouverymuch!  I paid my fine online (yay, technology!) and that's a thing of the past.

What I AM talking about is....talking.

Tank said his first sentences last week!

His first ever sentence was uttered when I went into his room as he woke up from his nap.  "Mama, I poo-poo," he said.  And yes, he had!

A couple of days later, I was getting ready to go somewhere and he decided that he'd like to play in the bathtub for a while.  So, he said, "I take a bath."  And to reward his talking, he got to take a LONG bubble bath!

We've waited a loooong time for more than one word to come out of that little beast, so this is HUGE!

Won't be long before he's completely humiliating me in public.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In sickness and in health, so long as we both shall renovate...

I'm back with a Taj Update!

Tank and I made it to the Taj late last Thursday afternoon and by Friday night, I was sick with whatever crud Tank had been generous enough to share with me.  As far as my getting anything done at the Taj, it was a wasted trip, since I only worked a little bit on Friday and then threw in the towel.   I spent the remainder of the trip taking decongestants, nursing sore ears and generally being a complete wimp.


The Sainted Singing Plumber had completed his part of the job by Thursday and on Friday, he had put the subfloor down, making the bathroom look like an actual ROOM again!  When I left yesterday, he had torn out the ceiling and was putting up insulation, in preparation for the drywall guys to come.

Tank double-checks the contractors' measurements.

The tub/shower combo is in!

Marly considers the options for the threshold.  She's leaning toward a wooden transition strip.

Tomorrow morning, the drywall starts going up in the master bath, as well as the living room, den and kitchen ceilings!  We're actually making noticeable progress and we're getting close to being able to paint and MOVE IN!

Shawn and I will head up to the Taj a week from tonight and work over the Thanksgiving break, then return the following weekend to move furniture (or that's the plan).


We've spent more money than planned, to have the drywall and subfloor done in our absence, instead of trying it ourselves, but I think in this case it was the right choice.  We're also leaving the floor in the master bath to a tiling pro and we plan to learn to tile in time to tackle the kitchen floor later on.  The goal now is just to finish the items on the city's list so they will okay us to move in.  So, we have to finish the bathroom and cover the pool and from there on, we'll be working on and living in the Taj.  No more months with 3 sets of utility bills!  Hooray!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's the evening before my planned trip to Mayberry and...Tank has a cold.  Sigh.

We'll still make the trip, but I will likely not get any work done, as I can't paint with the Tankster underfoot and nobody wants to babysit a sick kid.  Shoot, I don't even want to babysit him and I love the little snotpocket!

When you're planning a renovation, these are the sorts of things that will happen constantly.  Little, seemingly insignificant things will turn themselves into fire-breathing dragon roadblocks from hell.  Not that I'd exaggerate or anything.

Well, we're still going to make the trip, since Tank is snuffly but still acting totally himself.  We'll see if my luck improves and I'm actually able to accomplish anything.  Next weekend, we'll all stay at Gilligan's Island and the weekend after that, both Shawn and I are taking a couple days off for Thanksgiving, so we're planning to get as much done as we can.  If I am able to do ANYTHING this trip, it will be a huge help, freeing up other projects for when both Shawn and I can be there.

It all hinges on the state of the Taj, more than anything.  If we're still a couple weeks away from drywall, there's no way we'll get done in time to move for Christmas, so it's a done deal.  If the drywall has been started, or is about to get started, there's a chance...just a chance...that we can pull this thing out of its nosedive and all live to laugh about it.


And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're off like a terd of hurtles!

Have you watched "Property Brothers" on HGTV?  It's a show where two brothers (one a realtor, the other a contractor), work with couples to give them their dream home within their budget.  They take them to a home that has all their desires and is move-in ready.  Then, when the family has fallen in love with the place, they reveal the astronomical price tag.  Then, the contractor brother says he can give them all their wish list items--within their budget--if they will purchase a fixer-upper.

Anyway, what happens then is that the buyers purchase a run-down property and then the brothers fix it up...usually in a 4-8 week time period.

Yeah, that last part always cracks me up.

When we bought the Taj, we anticipated working on it slowly, bringing it back to its potential room by room, saving money for the next project before we embarked on it. 

The City of Mayberry had other ideas and dictated that we pay $50 for 90 days of temporary power and said we could not move in until they deemed the house to be up to code.  So far, we have paid the $50 fee twice, in addition to paying the monthly power bill.  And we still can't move in until the pool is covered and the plumbing and electrical pass inspection.  You'd think the city would rather have us there, working on the place, than leave it languishing in foreclosure/auction nowheresville, but city governments are funny that way.

So, month after month has dragged by, each with its own twists and turns.  The wrong roof.  The discovery that NO sink will fit in the hallway bath.  The Termite Surprise.

But it looks like we've turned a corner.  Ever since the plumbing work began, the whole darn thing has felt more doable somehow.  I mean, I knew we were making progress before, but getting the master bath, the absolute worst room in the house, put together again is making me feel optimistic.

Or maybe it's just the sugar high from Halloween.

And speaking of the 'Ween, here's Tank (almost) in his pirate costume:

He was ripping it off as soon as I got it on him.

Tank still wanted to participate and trick-or-treat like the other kids, so I grabbed his baseball jersey and cap from the local minor league team and rubbed some black eye makeup under his eyes.  He was happy as a clam with that costume:

That's my boy!

Well, that's it for now.  The next scheduled Taj trip is a week from today and I am waayyy too excited about seeing the progress that's been made!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Was Telling The Truth!

If you've doubted my tales of the Sainted Singing Plumber, let me set the record straight:

He is a saint, because he is not only putting up with my ignorance and indecision, but he is also very kind and patient about Tank being underfoot a lot


Yes, he does sing.  He's the one on the left:

So there!

Next time I'll tell you all about the secret life of the Very Nice Electrician.  But first, I have to make it up.

The Taj MaHoard

You know those people who seem to be effortlessly "together"?  Their hair is always smooth and styled, their Saturday work-in-the-yard clothes look better than what you wear to work, their houses never seem to get dirty?

I am SO not one of those people.

I love to have friends over, but I really like about an hour's notice, or a half hour, if I've been keeping up with the dishes and laundry.  I can't imagine the stress-free living I could enjoy if ALL the rooms in my house were clean.  AT THE SAME TIME.  I just got chills thinking about it.  A moment, please.


When I was a singleton, working full time and living in rented digs, I was pretty doggone neat and tidy.  My TV remote was always in the exact right spot on the coffee table and my kitchen was always spotless.  It was depressing.  A house that's scarily scrubbed and sanitized is a house that needs a good dose of life in it, if you ask me.

Now, all that is not to say that I have learned to love clutter.  Left to my own devices, I would probably hang approximately 2.4 pictures in an 8-room house.  Every table surface would be bare and I'd never have mail sitting on the end of the counter.  Shawn.  Ahem.

But somewhere along the way to becoming the mother of an insanely active 3-year-old, I let go of some of my housekeeping strictness.  Sometimes, you just gotta toss the toys in a basket and say that's good enough.  I can live with that.


This is just freaking me out:

This is the room formerly known as the dining room in the Gilligan's Island house.  It has become the cram-it-all-in holding pen for items destined for the Taj MaHell.  Here and there, we found some great deals.  Remember the sofa and love seat from Craig's List?  They're in there somewhere.  And then Shawn's friend Amy sold some of her dad's furniture after he passed away, which is where the amazing, huge wicker wingback chair came from, along with the two bedside tables and some other little things.

The big white dresser was a $10 find at last weekend's Gilligan's Island Yard Sale Extravaganza.

And then there's the 40-inch stove:

Better view:

THAT was a lucky find!  The stove at the Taj is an old 40-incher, which apparently was common in the 1940's and 50s, but nowadays, any stove over 36 inches seems to be a professional (read: OMGexpensive) model.  One day, I was trolling the Internets and checked out local appliance listings on The Craig.  Lo and behold, somebody had a 40-inch stove up in there!  It wasn't the stainless, smooth top model I'd decided to splurge on and pay $1700 for....but it was WAY newer than what I had and only cost $250.  And it was literally just down the road from my house!

I took Tank with me to look at it and he so utterly charmed the seller that we got the stove for $200 PLUS free delivery to the house!  And the guy threw in some really neat kids' books for Tankie.  After a little love (new drip pans, new elements), it's looking pretty good.  A lot better than the current, rusty dinosaur at the Taj, so I am all kinds of happy.  I think the non-stick griddle and the additional 12-inch oven will be a lot of fun to play with.  Heck, I might even learn to cook!  Or not.

But....dayum.  I am ready to get all this stuff out of my dining room, especially since it's open to the hallway and the front door and everybody from the mailman to random Boy Scout popcorn salesmen get an eyeful and go away thinking I belong on "Hoarders."


The good news is that the Sainted Singing Plumber is making lots of progress at the Taj and before too long, I think we'll actually be able to put up some drywall and paint.

And then I'm going to sit on my big rear end and watch a full season of "Hoarders." 

Because, obviously.