0

Mi Casita

My December goal is done…. I got my little beach house! My goal to make it through the holidays and the house closing without too much stress was realized.  Well, I wouldn’t say there was NO stress.  All the various players involved in my life during the month made sure there was plenty!  My mortgage officer and title rep turned into the Wicked Witch of the West and her evil twin sister.  The sellers played every game possible to delay the closing. My realtor was a complete putz. And then all the family around during the holidays…ughh, all I can say is, thank god for liquor stores.  But, at least the house is mine now and I’m completely in love with it.  It needs a TON of work and it will be a while before it’s totally livable, but I’m still happy. I have a contractor in there remodeling the kitchen and main bathroom.  They both needed to be gutted because of rot.  My husband and I painted most of the rooms and scrubbed all the tile floors.  My mother got down there with a toothbrush to get the grout really clean.  God bless her willingness! It’s coming together, slowly but surely.

front

0

Indecision

So things were going along smoothly with the vacation home purchase and we were on track to close by Dec. 30.  Then yesterday I was hit with a little surprise – the current owners had their contract fall through on two different offers, so now they need to remain in the house as tenants.  Ugh!! I was so excited to get in the house and start fixing it up – especially since my office is closed through the holidays.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  On the one hand, I can charge them a hefty rent and get a few months of mortgage paid. On the flip side – they’re not the cleanest nor most responsible home owners.  I’m really not keen on messy people living in a house that I own.  Also, my insurance rate will need to be increased if I have full time tenants. Such a pain in the butt to have to deal with that! Any advice would be greatly accepted!

0

Old dry sink turned sleek modern liquor cabinet

I needed to come up with a solution to our adult beverage situation.  My husband and I entertain at our house a lot, and we also enjoy our own post-work quiet time with a vodka tonic (or two).  We therefore have quite an extensive collection of alcohol and it all sits on one of our kitchen counters, since we access it daily.   It took up so much valuable counter space and it was a total eyesore and embarrassment when anyone new came into our home.  I wanted to find a liquor cabinet/server that will hide all the bottles and have space for us to mix our drinks, and be the right size to fit on our main floor so it can be easily accessed.  I searched furniture stores and online for just the right item, but everything I saw that met my requirements was over $1000.  No way would I pay that much money just to hide our everyday liquors.  Then one day I was browsing a thrift store and found a beat-up ugly old dry sink, and thought, “Well now, that just might work as a liquor cabinet!”  I bought the chunky old cabinet for $50 and got to work on refinishing it to turn it into the modernized idea of what I had in my head. Here are the before and after pictures:

The crowded counter top, which is now a pretty coffee station:

countertop

My ugly dry sink, turned beautiful liquor cabinet:

liquor_cabinet_before_after

liquore_cabinet2

Image
2

I’ve been a busy bee! Really….

Ok, so apparently I suck at blogging. I started this blog to keep accountable with my goals, but I keep forgetting to blog my progress. Duh! Regardless of my failure to post, I promise, I’ve been keeping a good pace toward this year’s goals. I have proof!  Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last post:

1. I’m buying a vacation home!  I came up with this crazy idea in April when I last visited my mom in Florida; and made it a goal to reach before the end of this year.  I started a serious house hunt in September. I’ve been practically living on Zillow since the summer and lately feel closer to my realtor than I do to my husband…ha!  Luckily that will all slow down now that we’re in escrow and nearing our closing date.  Yay!  Stay tuned for all the fun projects involved with this new adventure!

2. Another goal was to come up with a solution to our adult beverage situation.  My husband and I entertain at our house a lot, and we also enjoy our own post-work quiet time with a vodka tonic (or two).  We therefore have quite an extensive collection of alcohol and it all sits on one of our kitchen counters, since we access it daily.   It took up so much valuable counter space and it was a total eyesore and embarrassment when anyone new came into our home.  I wanted to find a liquor cabinet/server that will hide all the bottles and have space for us to mix our drinks, and be the right size to fit on our main floor so it can be easily accessed.  I searched furniture stores and online for just the right item, but everything I saw that met my requirements was over $1000.  No way would I pay that much money just to hide our everyday liquors.  Then one day I was browsing a thrift store and found a beat-up ugly old dry sink, and thought, “Well now, that just might work as a liquor cabinet!”  I bought the chunky old cabinet for $50 and got to work on refinishing it to turn it into the modernized idea of what I had in my head. Here are the before and after pictures:

The crowded counter top, which is now a pretty coffee station:

countertop

My ugly dry sink, turned beautiful liquor cabinet:

liquor_cabinet_before_after

liquore_cabinet2

3.  I worked on another furniture project that had been sitting on my to-do list for well over a year.  I got a kids bedroom set for free from a neighbor, who was updating her now teenage daughters bedroom.   I needed more storage in my master bathroom, so put the nightstand in there to hold toiletries.  But it sat there for over a year with stained wood and little kid draw pulls.  Not quite a good look for a master bath.  My before and after:

bathroom_cab_before_after

4. And one more furniture project that was a year-long goal — my kitchen table.  I purchased this very expensive kitchen dining set a few years ago from a popular local furniture store chain. The set looked so lovely and well made, so I shelled out $800+ for it.  After about a year of use, the table started getting sticky and stained.  My kids homework would stick to it, and the table would look worse after wiping it down.  Clearly there was an issue with the finish.  I called in on the warrantee and was told the table would need to be replaced.  So I got a brand spanking new table, and within 1 year the same thing started happening!  I called the store again and was told by the repair vendor they used that the finish is made with cheap chinese chemicals and the same thing would happen each time I got a new table through the warantee. So I said screw it, I’m not going to live with this eye sore for a table – I’ll just refinish it properly myself.  Oh boy was that a major project to take on!!  I had to sand the table all the way down to blonde wood to get rid of all the crappy chinese finish. This project took me weeks!! I’m happy to say that I finally finished it!  Here is my lovely newly refinished table (and a very cute model!):

refinished kitchen table

For my next month’s goal, I’m going to focus on getting through escrow and closing before the end of the year, and with as little stress as possible.  Stay tuned! And have a Happy Thanksgiving 😀

0

Fall cleaning starts

As a person who suffers terribly from allergies, I think fall cleaning is actually more important than the much-publicized spring cleaning. With the windows open and fans running for 5 months, we pull so much dust, pollen and other allergens into the house from May to September. Today I am cleaning out the fans before storing them in the basement. I don’t just give them a quick wipe down… nooo that will not do for an allergy sufferer.   I remove he grates, wash them thoroughly and wipe down the blades and all other internal parts I can get to. I then put bags over them to keep out the winter dust and store them out of the way in the basement. It’s a dirty job; one my husband says is not really worth my time, considering fans don’t cost too much to buy new, but seriously, why would I spend that money when the fans work perfectly fine. It just takes a little time and elbow grease to get them sparkling clean and ready for next year. If you have those large box fans, it helps to clean them in the bathtub.  If the grates are coated with a couple years worth of grime, let them sit in soapy water for a bit, then take a scrub brush to them and hose down with the shower sprayer.  Cleaning them in the bathtub provides a bonus…. a clean bathtub!  Of course you’re going to wash away all the dust that came from the fan.  A quick sprinkle of your favorite bathroom cleaner, swish around with the scrub brush that’s already in your hand, then hose down again.  Woot! We just tackled an unscheduled bathtub cleaning!

I’m also cleaning the ceiling fans and window a/cs today. The ceiling fans collect an astonishing amount of crud.  It’s especially important to clean them well if you run them in the winter to help push the heat around.  I have very high ceilings in my home, so running the fans in reverse does actually make a big difference.  Now as far as cleaning them, Iv’e tried all kinds of fan dusters, swiffers and attachments, but I still end up with dust bunnies in my hair. What I’ve found works best is a simple damp paper towel and plastic grocery bag. wrap the paper towel around the start of the fan blade, then put the shopping bag over the end of the blade, as far as it will go.  Wipe downward toward the bag with the damp paper towel.  The bag will be there to catch any dust bombs that fall off. Once you’ve got the bulk of the dust off, you can go over the blades again with a rag to wipe down any remaining dirt.  Don’t forget to wipe the motor casing.  That collects lots of dust as well.

My goal for tomorrow is to start washing the windows.  That will take a good chunk of time because I have about 35 windows in this darn house :/  Wish me luck!

0

12 months??

Well now, what on earth happened here?!?  12 goals in 12 months…. hmmm…seems I lost my way somewhere along that time line.  Here it is September 2014… three and a half years after I stated this blog with my intentions of reaching new goals each month to improve my life.  Ha, well done, Girl (insert smirk here).

I am happy to report, however, that all was not lost.  Looking back today at these past goals, I have to smile and pat myself on the back because I did, in fact, accomplish something. Following is a run through of my original goals and where I am today.

1. Start a blog.  Well, I did START the blog.  Unfortunately, the “keep it running” part proved to be a bit out of reach for me.  I find it very ironic that I stopped writing around the same time Pinterest launched. bahahahahah!

2. The Marriage Thing. This one did get worked on.  And on and on and on.  I landed on a therapists couch in June 2011. Three years of therapy and counselling later,  we’re still not a perfect couple.  But I also learned that perfect couples really don’t exist.  Silly me.  I did learn many new tools to handle my anxiety, depression and discontent.  It’s a work in progress still, but so worth working on!  My husband has been a willing participant throughout, but it’s a work in progress for him as well.  Gentle, and not so gentle, reminders are a part of our daily lives.

3. Organize office & calendar.  I’ve done a few clean outs of my office space, but it’s still a mess.  For every 1 item I toss, 2 more land on my desk.  I’m starting to think that office organization can only be obtained after retirement.  As for the calendar, that’s come along nicely thanks to droids and iPhones. Also, the Mr. has taken over a lot of the calendared items.  I don’t even bother myself with soccer game times.  That’s his department.  My system is 3-pronged, based on my Outlook, Mr.’s Outlook, and the family fridge calendar.  All appointments that effect family are scheduled in Outlook with an invite sent to my husband (or vice-versa). These are synched with our phones so we’re alerted if we’re not at our desk. (As an aside, I switched from droid to iphone this year.  I totally prefer droid!  The calendar widget and reminders are so much better.) We then manually add the event to the calendar hanging in the kitchen.  I use Mom’s Family Calendar. It gives lots of space to write in dailies for each family member, has great stickers and a pocket to hold papers.

4. Create a Will.  Gah, not done.  The cobblers kids wear no shoes. (You see, my husband is an attorney.  You’d think we’d have one, right?? ha!)

5. Become a kayaker.  DONE!  Omg, do I love kayaking. We bought 2 beautiful kayaks that each fit a parent & child.  We’ve paddled oceans, lakes and rivers from New Hampshire to Florida over the past few years.  I’ve found the utmost serenity by waking up at dawn and getting out on the lake before anyone else has touched the water.  Being alone with nature and wildlife in silence with my kayak is about as wonderful as a morning can get.

6. Build a craft space.  I’ve completed that task, but it’s a pretty crowded, disorganized space.  I might add this to my next set of goals.

7. Happy 10th Anniversary. Mission accomplished! My husband and I took a wonderful trip to Florida without the kids.  That was the first trip we’ve had without the kids in years. We explored the everglades, fed an alligator, hung out by the beach, and sipped cocktails in the Keys.  We were happy and in love.  So much that we decided to go again for our 12th anniversary.

8. Be happier at work.  I’ve been working on little ways to make myself feel happier and valuable, like taking on more creative tasks and forcing myself to interact more with coworkers.

9. Christmas savings.  I can’t remember how I did with this goal, but my credit card debt is still pretty high, so I’m guessing I failed at it.

10. Lose the spare tire. Ummm… still working on this one.

11. Enjoy my 41st year.  I’m sure I had a fun birthday, but overall I was completely buried in stress, anxiety and depression. Luckily though, I think I’m easing up a bit on myself as I age. I’m now 43 and feel a lot more content. I still have lots I want to work on, but I don’t beat myself up as much as I used to.

12. Learn to make pottery. Accomplished! I started taking pottery lessons in January 2012. I’m going into my 3rd year as a studio member, and I’m loving every minute of it!  It feels so good when I turn out a beautiful piece of handmade pottery.  I’ve since bought my own wheel for my house so I can work at home when the studio is closed.  One of my new goals is going to be setting up a proper studio space for myself here at the house.

Looking back at the list, I realize that, though I didn’t accomplish all my goals, I still have done much to be proud of.  I am a work in progress and there will always be bumps in the road.  I’m looking forward to coming up with new goals for myself, continuing to work on the previous goals, and staying accountable with this blog!