I started this almost two weeks ago and completely forgot to add pictures and post it… so my apologies… though it does feel like yesterday…
I think perhaps winter is settling into my bones (it is either that or old age- and I prefer the seasonal excuse). Last week felt long- really long. For no apparent reason long. I survived the week and spent a wonderful Friday evening with some good friends and their awesome kids. Nothing like an evening with awesome kids and catching up with one of my dearest friends to set a good tone for the weekend.
And what a weekend!!
Saturday morning I dragged my tired self out of bed rather early to head to my parent’s to pick up a trailer (and the car to pull said trailer). Then I headed for the local bakery to pick up treats and went to pick up my brother. Naturally I had treats for his kids so we visited for a few minutes and then headed out. I had this appointment set up with some random people from the wonderful world of craigslist to buy new (to me) couches. When we walked up to the door, the lady of the house answered it, took one look at my brother and said “Oh are you Miss Hannah’s husband? Jane’s dad?” (Cue “It’s a small world after all” song in my head). Their kids go to the school Hannah teaches at and the kids are classmates. (It’s a small world still going). They are moving back to a Guatemala and thus were unloading nice furniture in great shape for a good price (score!)
Of course I had somehow overlooked the detail about the couch being a hideabed (aka the HEAVIEST furniture there is). Thanks to my brother’s inside connection with this family, the husband helped move that monster of a couch to the trailer. We got the furniture loaded and home and unloaded it to the appropriate rooms. Then we loaded the existing chairs from the living room into the trailer, and leaving my disheveled, un-arranged house with things strewn in all directions to make room for furniture moving behind for another day.
I delivered my brother back this his home and took the chairs to my other brother’s apartment. (Cue: The Circle of Life song in my head). Those chairs have quite a history. We have photos of my dad at age 12 with those chairs. My memory of them was at my grandparents big house, and then their retirement house, then at Brendan’s house, then my house. And now they are in Emmet’s apartment. I have to say, sometimes good furniture is worth the investments. Knowing my grandma, I’m sure she paid top dollar for that furniture, and 50 years later, it is still comfortable (and was reupholstered once by her and then slipcovered by me). I am confident my second hand ikea couch- though perfect right now- will not be seating my grandchildren when I am 70. Thank you Grandma for your expensive taste. It has served all of us quite well.
Meanwhile, my oldest brother called to see if he could drop off a mattress I had lent them and a bunch of bedding. Sure. Use the hidden key. (Two weeks later, I still haven’t moved the mattress from the hallway -hangs head in shame).
After unloading the chairs, I headed for my other brother’s house. It was kitchen day at Casa Cous. The funny thing about being part of a close knit community and part of my dad’s complicated life is that sometimes you end up buying a house from someone you know. Someone who may or may not have grown up in that little house. Someone who may or may not have done repairs or upkeep through their many years in said house. Someone who may or may not have put in
now-outdated wallpaper in the kitchen 20 years earlier. It is one thing to curse the previous homeowner in any home you buy for their bad taste, the hack jobs, wallpaper of any kind. It isn’t necessarily better knowing who is responsible, by name, for putting up horrible wallpaper. It’s also awesome to post a comment about improvements on facebook to have the original homeowner comment on their fond memories of said “improvement” (aka bane of the next homeowner’s existence). Awkward!
Meanwhile my old roommate and her husband stopped by to use the large car I was driving to go to my house and pick up her furniture. Hooray!! So they took the big TV, TV stand, furniture from the basement, and returned the car while I was still working on the kitchen project.
Right, back to Kitchen Day… so my brother and his wife moved into the house 4 years ago and painted the rest of the first floor immediately and have been slowly doing repairs and updates ever since (so yes, they are your typical homeowners). Currently they are in the midst of gutting and re-doing the upstairs bedroom and adding a bathroom– no small task!
A few weeks ago my sister in law was commenting on the horrid wallpaper in the kitchen. I offered to come over and help take it down. It was long past time. (I believe that wallpaper would have lasted approximately 3 weeks if I had bought the house- so it was driving me crazy!) We borrowed a wallpaper steamer from a friend, mixed up an internet-suggested wallpaper remover (fabric softener and hot water in a spray bottle–fabulous!) and got to work. The wallpaper was not in great shape- taped to itself in some cases- and came down fairly easily (for wallpaper). The fabric softener / water worked great, the steamer helped with the tough spots, too maybe an hour to get most of it down. Underneath was a lot of mold. Awesome. Purple, pink, red mold explosions. Mmmm mold.
And the border- a country folk art farm (I really should get a copy of Lindsey’s before and after pics for you) – good heavens the border!! It appeared to be glued with something stronger than wallpaper paste. Some kind of tacky glue perhaps? Awful, awful, awful to get off. The steamer didn’t really help. The removal spray didn’t really help. Thus Lindsey and I took turns chiseling and scraping that horrid stuff off the wall– for HOURS. We were also scrubbing the walls to remove the mold and adhesive at the same time.
Meanwhile Donal was on project errands- looking for cabinet doors- which they apparently recently stopped selling at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. And then at the Reuse it Center – also no luck finding the right size. Finally going to Lowes to get boards to make his own (big sister is so proud). Keep in mind the idea with this project is not to re-do the whole kitchen — someday, that would be great– but to do the small things that would make it live-able (and pleasant) for the next few years. Even homemade cabinet doors are better than 4 of the 8 doors just missing.
Donal made it back to scrub the cabinets down and help prep for the primer. The caulk made a huge difference- caulking gaps in trim, cabinets, etc. makes it look so much more finished!! Lindsey spackled 60 years worth of holes in the walls and some cracks in the ceiling. And finally we were ready and primed everything (ceiling and walls) before calling it a day. Whew.
The young people involved in this project showered and went out for dinner and a movie. The old person involved went home and collapsed face down on the new and very comfortable couch for awhile. Fed the pups. Showered. Fell asleep on the bed hours before intending to. And then woke up to take some pain killer for the throbbing arms before going back to bed.
Sunday was another packed day- although less physically intense. Late Mass. Brunch with the fam. Dinner with friends. Downton Abbey watching with bookclub friends. And finally home- to that house that still has furniture strewn places it doesn’t belong. Cushions for the new furniture not on new furniture, and general mayhem.
It took me a few days, but the living room is generally together. I need to do some staging, change around some pictures, get a new TV stand when the roomie decides to buy a new TV. But it is at least livable for right now. And Christmas is down, cleaned up, put away. On to Ordinary Time.
So far, January makes me tired. Productivity bursts. Cold weather. Change. Decisions on the horizon. Over-socializing. I find myself craving some quiet time, alone time. On the other hand, I certainly haven’t had time to sink into winter depression yet 🙂 So that’s something! And I do realize being SO invested in someone else’s home project might indicate I have some sort of problem.
Hi. I’m Reenie. I’m a home project addict.