It's NOT really a money pit, of course. The house was built in 1996 and passed our inspection with almost flying colors. Also, the changes we're making are primarily aesthetic; it's not like they have to be done today or tomorrow or even next month. But hot damn, Luke and I haven't even owned the place a full week and already it feels like we're in over our heads.
But first things first.
In my last entry, somebody asked for details on the closing. Closing...was very boring. Basically it was an hour and a half of signing papers and passing Kara between Luke and me and our realtor. Which is pretty much the way you hope those things will go. No surprises, no bad feelings, just hammering the final nail on the home ownership coffin, so to speak. Our sellers bought another house in the same town, and they said they had a horrible experience with the owners, so horrible, in fact, that the parties were placed in separate rooms at the closing. Yikes.
Anyway, by 4:30 p.m., the keys were in our hands. We forgot the camera, so there are no symbolic photos of us removing the "For Sale" sign from the front yard, but we did walk through the house again and talk out ideas for potential improvements. Good thing part of our negotiations involved the sellers paying for a professional cleaning service to give the house a once-over, because apparently four dogs leave behind one nasty smell. Also, more animal hair than I've ever seen at one time. It's STILL not up to par, but it's better than nothing, and it didn't cost us a dime.
Our first weekend in the house didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked. My parents-in-law came from up north to help, and Luke and his dad performed some crucial wall repair while his mom and I hung out with Kara. (I'm suddenly not so crazy about my pregnant self breathing in paint fumes for hours at a time, so I won't be much help in that area.) They had a slow start, what with the master bedroom ceiling eating up a gallon and a half of paint and a bunch of time besides. Then, when Luke went back on Sunday to start on the second-floor hallway, he found that the color we picked is considerably lighter than what's already covering the walls, so we'll have to prime the whole thing, something we didn't plan for.
With limited childcare options, a house forty minutes away from our current residence, floors too dirty (read: HAIRY) for us to want Kara horsing around there much before move-in, and no paid time off for me to spend on this project (we're saving my last eight days for the actual move, Christmas, and Kara's birthday), we're looking into hiring professional painters to tackle the more time-consuming aspects of the house like the hallway and staircase, and maybe even those blasted green cabinets. Tile and carpet installation begin in two weeks, and my employer pays me well, so if spending a little more money is what we have to do to swing a completely painted house before move-in without sacrificing our new floors or our sanity, the choice is a simple one, for us.
Kara approves our choice of carpet, which we decided to install in the living room as well. The sellers scratched up the laminate flooring something fierce when they moved out, and while they left behind plenty of spare planks to deal with the aftermath, I'm not such a fan of it anymore, especially with very small children who are learning to stand on their own two feet. Plus, I just think carpet is cozier.
Thanks for protecting my accident-prone forehead, guys. Much love to you.
As nerve-wracking as it is, though, to determine which tasks would benefit from professional help (tee hee) and which ones we can handle on our own, it's wonderful that these decisions are within our control, and we don't have to go through a landlord to ask about painting or adding a phone jack in the loft. This house is ours. The choices are ours. Apartment living served us well, and we don't regret our time as renters, but this new chapter in our lives? It's pretty effing cool.