New Homeowner Update: Weekend #2

June 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | Leave a comment
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Thank you for all your support and encouragement.  As requested, here’s an update on the wonderful world of first time homeownership!  We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled snark soon…

After a brief home-improvement hiatus, we (and by “we” I mean: Big Charlie of Costanzo Tile & Marble fame, Andrew and I) attacked the house last weekend.  And, I might add, we rocked “demolition couture” (think “Derelict,” but dustier):

The latest in home improvement couture!

Remember that cute little pile of demolished blue bathroom materials?

Our former bathroom

Well, that pile has grown to epic proportions and taken over the garage, swelling with kitchen demolition debris, structures formerly-known-as-walls, ancient flooring and appliances, etc.

Home Renovation: The Good, The Bad and (mostly) The Ugly.

And speaking of the formerly functioning debris, here’s how we got rid of the supporting wall between the kitchen and the dining room…

Please note: Charlie is not in a cage… he’s working between the two temporary “walls” built to support the house while he put the LVLs in the attic.

On a more tranquil note, our yard (which we affectionately refer to as “the jungle”) continues surprising us!  Every week a new type of flora blooms, so we’ve seen lots of gorgeous color since spring!  Last weekend’s floral showcase included white roses and a sea of green vegetation punctuated by flashes of yellow flowers:

 

Stop and Smell the...


What’s next in the ever-evolving home renovation plan?  Well, this weekend we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day by putting our dads (and my Mo!) to work (again) building a closet, removing more carpet, prepping the walls for painting, etc.  Lucky them?  Rhymes-with-Father-of-the-Bride and Charlie truly deserve a special place in heaven.  Happy (early) Father’s Day!

~Sarah

Our First Weekend As Homeowners

June 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | 6 Comments
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Adventures in home ownership... weekend #1

Well, dear reader(s), I’m happy to report that, as of last Wednesday, Andrew and I are officially first time home owners!  And like most things, we didn’t do it alone: our families have been there for us every step of the way, from encouraging us to take this purchasing leap to counseling us about mortgages and loans, from house-hunting to cheerleading, our dads (RWFOTB and Charlie) and moms (Lisa and Kathy), not to mention siblings (holla Elizabeth – the most tenacious wallpaper remover in the world!), helped make this post… errrr… I mean, this grown-up step possible.

As I mentioned in my last home-buying post, I think buying a house (especially a “fixer-upper”) is more stressful and more work than getting hitched (and we all know how cuckoo that process is for some people).  There’s not an emotion out there that we haven’t experienced since we signed 30 years of our monies away.

We felt excitement, fear, joy, frustration, elation – and most of all, we were overwhelmed.

When we literally scraped the most ridiculous wallpaper for two and a half days/nights, we were overwhelmed (and boy, does this house have a LOT of wallpaper… hello 1970s!).

When we realized we spent more time in Home Depot (aka our second home) in one weekend than many of their staff has all week, we were overwhelmed.

When Big Charlie and I had to push down a wall together because it was too darn solid to do alone, we were overwhelmed.

And when we think about all the money we… never mind, it’s too overwhelming to think about.

We are overwhelmed by everything we accomplished this weekend – knocking down closets and rebuilding them elsewhere, designing our new kitchen and bathroom, pulling down walls, ridding the house of wallpaper, ripping up carpets and padding and staples, power-washing the house, gardening and cutting down trees, etc. etc. etc. – and everything left to accomplish.

And when we think about how much support and encouragement and love and kindness – not to mention MANUAL LABOR (I’m looking at you, Big Charlie! We adore Costanzo Tile & Marble) – we received from our families, we are overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thank you, family, for everything. And if I never see wallpaper again, it’ll be too soon.

~ Sarah

Finding Our Home Sweet Home

May 11, 2011 at 8:16 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership, Married Life | 8 Comments
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Well, dear reader(s), Andrew and I have taken yet another step toward the impending doom that is adulthood (Kidding!  Mostly.).  After just a month of house-hunting, we pulled the trigger and are under contract to buy a home in a lovely Boston suburb.  We’re saying goodbye to the days of renting (read: the joy of having someone else plow, garden and perform maintenance) and hello to the days of home ownership (read: the pride of having our own place, and all the fabulosity of back-breaking upkeep and renovations).  Yay!

Buying My First House, A Self Portrait

I’m gonna level with you, folks: buying a home is STRESSFUL!  If you think planning a wedding is the pits, you’ll be even less psyched when the time comes to buy your first home.  Why?  I don’t know.  It makes no sense.  But for some reason, the idea of signing a 30-year mortgage is far scarier than committing to one person for the rest of your life.

I’d like to think that it’s because spending forever with someone so well-suited to me isn’t frightening in the least – that I’ve found my better half and that, just like in the movies, we’re headed for a happily ever after complete with rainbows sparkling over all our picnic dates and puppies who never pee in the house.

But let’s be honest: it’s a numbers game.  I never give “till death do us part” a numerical second thought (probably because I want it to be a long, long, long, long time).  But there’s a BIG number associated with this grown-up step.  Thinking about how much money we’ll be paying over the next three decades frightens the rhymes-with-spit out of me.  Seriously, despite what Patrick Swayze said, mortgages would put Baby in the corner.

All kidding aside, we’re really excited about our first home, and our families are, too.  In fact, they’ve already volunteered to help us begin renovating Chez L-ski after we close on the house Memorial Day Weekend.  I’m not sure they know what they’re in for, but we appreciate their kindness (and potential naiveté).

~Sarah

What I Learned in San Diego

April 25, 2012 at 10:10 am | Posted in Family, Home Ownership | 2 Comments
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Nota Bene: If you have a weak tummy, skip to the second paragraph. 

When I last blogged, I was sitting in the airport terminal after having tossed my cookies on the Logan Express.  My Mo’s guess (that it was a result of taking ‘roids on an empty stomach) may have worked for that first instance, but the rest of the flight will need further explanation because I ralphed the entire way.  Seated between a very proper gentleman and a 15-year-old boy, I was that girl in the middle seat who got sick over and over and over again.  The one who used every barf bag within a two-row radius, and who grossed herself out, along with most of my fellow passengers, on the flight now known as The Great Disgust of 2012.  I arrived in San Diego exhausted, ill, slightly dehydrated and thrilled to see my besty, even in the state I was in.

Anywhoodles, what I really wanted to talk about today is the surprising insight I had about my parents while visiting Rhymes-with-Tzarina.  Tzarina and I did not make any plans for our visit (other than attending a Padres game).  We hung out, watched silly TV, ran errands, walked her dog and did some apartment decorating.  And then it hit me…

I finally get it!

One night Tzarina was making dinner and I started cleaning her refrigerator door handles (of all things – weird, I know).  She gave me that look – I know because I give it to people, too – the one that says “please don’t judge me; I know I’m not perfect.”  And this realization hit me like a hipster on the latest iGadget: when my parents visit and My Mo cleans my counters or puts away dishes or brings groceries or does whatever she does, when RWFOTB works on my jungle of a yard or makes suggestions about future home improvement projects, it has nothing to do with my inadequacies (of which I have many, though they would certainly contradict that statement in the public domain) and everything to do with how much they love and want to care for me.

What I was doing had nothing to do with critiquing Tzarina (who is amazing) or her refrigerator door handles (which were fine before I even touched them), and everything to do with demonstrating my affection for someone who is the closest thing I have to a sister.

I traveled across the contiguous United States and felt closer to my parents – and that’s what family is all about. 

And because I rarely write anything too saccharine, I’ll bookend this blog with the ridiculousness of my journey home.  Waiting to board the red-eye back to Beantown (cough cough never again cough cough), I noticed the fella standing in front of me was none other than the very proper gentleman who was unfortunate enough to have had to sit next to me en route to SoCal.  He did a double take when he saw me, and, in the most polite way he could, said:

“I hope you’re feeling better… what row are you in on this flight??”

Awkward, people.  Very, very awkward. 

Fortunately, I Have Optimistic Friends

February 9, 2012 at 9:40 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | 2 Comments
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Everyone knows that fortune cookies are trustworthy and accurate prediction mechanisms for everything from personal milestones to financial and linguistics-related changes.  Want to win the lottery?  Check out your lucky numbers.  Want to learn the most spoken language in the world?  The dessert will teach you one helpful Chinese word at a time (for example: roast duck is, apparently, pronounced “kăo yā”).  Curious about your personality, friendships, relationship status, etc.?  Turn to the cookie.

Which is why yesterday was so distressing for me.  After some yummy Chinese food (read: always too salty, bloat-inducing, hungry-in-an-hour-but-do-this-to-myself-every-time-anyway), I opened my cookie with great expectation, only to find this:

Fortune Cookie Fortune

Move to a wonderful new home this year??  WHAT??  After all the shenanigans and tomfoolery that has ensued from the house we purchased less than a year ago, I’m supposed to move again???  I’m sure you can empathize with my tumbling into a pit of despair upon reading it.  Honestly, I don’t think I could take moving again so soon!  And I’m pretty sure my family, friends, colleagues and random passers-by couldn’t handle listening to me have to move again, either.  But the cookie decreed it, so it seemed I was doomed.

Until my friends reminded me that sometimes the wise cookie speaks in metaphors.  Home, my friend Michael said, is not where you hang your hat; it is where your heart is.  And Dipika echoed that sentiment, saying that the cookie meant within the year our house will be in good enough shape for it to start feeling like a wonderful home – we’ll be metaphorically moving from our “in progress house” into our “happy home” soon!

Thank heavens for optimists!  Because of friends’ proclivity toward silver linings, my faith in the wisdom of the cookie is intact, and I’m feeling more optimistic about Chez L-ski, too!

The Great HindJew Pact of 2012

January 25, 2012 at 11:00 am | Posted in Heebs, Home Ownership, In The Kitchen, Married Life | 4 Comments
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When I last obsessed about focused on my “healthy lifestyle initiative” (who am I kidding?  Let’s call a spade a spade: my diet), I was desperately trying to be the perfect bride. Since that time, I got hitched, got a new gig, bought a fixer-upper and started to fix it up, and, as a result, resumed eating my feelings. And I have a LOT of feelings. So now there’s a lot more of me to love than in my wedding photos…

Enter my gal pal and colleague, Dipika, and our brand new initiative: The Great HindJew Pact of 2012. Together Dipika and I are vowing to battle the bulge, to rediscover our skinny jeans and, most importantly, to feel better about ourselves. How? By making smarter food choices (cough cough portion size cough cough) and committing to a torture regular exercise routine.

Why am I telling you this? Well, we read somewhere that “publicly declaring your goals significantly enhances your chance of success.” So yeah, we’re using you. Thanks for your inadvertent assistance!

And if you’d like to join us in The Great HindJew Pact of 2012, we will welcome you with soon-to-be-unflabby arms!

Hurricane Irene Blows

August 30, 2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | 15 Comments
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If I hear one more person talk about how they weren’t at all impacted by Hurricane Irene, I may lose my… errr… cool.  Because, as you can guess with the way my life has been heading lately (my house is only considered inhabitable to drunk twenty-something boys, my husband’s armpits burn, and our kitchen and bathroom are, well, practically nonexistent), we are still feeling the love from that rhymes-with-witch, Irene.

But given the choice between dissolving into a puddle of tears or utilizing every magnifying glass in my purview to find the elusive silver lining, I’m doing my best to look for that Ag.

Always look on the bright side... and that's an order!

Take, for example, the fact that we still don’t have power at Chez L-ski.  Can you imagine more flattering light than that generated by candles?  Seriously, those sticks of wax hide every flaw!  I’m practically a supermodel when there’s no one else around and my house is almost dark but for the light of the Yankee Candle (which I managed to unearth even though I can’t unpack anything substantial yet).  Win!

Or consider that the basement flooded (again) and without electricity, we can’t wet-vac the water out.  Arps found the best of that situation, encouraging me to reflect on how romantic my situation is.  Don’t believe her?  Just think about Venice… if I could locate a gondola, I could mimic the canals and create my very own romantic – and private! – honeymoon spot in my home!

You might say: yeah, but what about the dead deer on your front lawn?  Well, dear reader(s), that one is harder… but after much consideration, I’ve found the plus with that, too!  You see, this morning we were “alerted” to the fact that there was a deceased Bambi sprawled across our front lawn (looks like someone hit it with a car last night – you know, without street lights it’s tough to see in the wilds of Boston’s Metro West), by a distressed jogger who was startled by the sight.  The plus: with no electricity, the jogger’s scream worked even better than my silly old alarm clock.  Let’s just say I wasn’t late for work this a.m.!

And I’d like to give a special shout-out to my staying-classy colleagues!  Megan, who brought me a kickass sage stick straight from New Orleans to help cleanse my house juju!  And to my browntastic gal, Dipika, who has treated me to many a meal during which I could eat (and sometimes drink) my feelings!  My disastrous living situation has shown me how lucky I am, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

But I think I’ve learned the lesson well enough, and it’s time to move on…

Please.  Now.  Seriously.

~ Sarah

Breaking News: 30-Year-Old Woman Lives in Frat House

August 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership, Married Life | Leave a comment
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unAssociated Press – August 24, 2011 – Earlier this week, officials discovered a 30-year-old married woman living with a younger man in a frat house.  When questioned by mental health workers assigned to the case, the unidentified woman reportedly responded with confusion, stating she had no idea how it came to this…

Old School

Even Will Ferrell can't make living in a frat house appealing to me...

Oh wait, that’s me.  You see, a few days ago, the hubs figured out that the best way to describe living in our new home was to compare it to Greek life… and not in the awesome parties, lack of responsibility kind of way.  In the day-to-day existence as a smelly, dirty, immature boy who gives Martha Stewart nightmares kind of way.

As a former frat president, Andrew noted the eerie similarities between our current home and his life as big man on campus – mainly, you can’t leave your bedroom without protective footwear and the ratio of beer to food in the refrigerator is shameful for even the booziest of boozebags.  Seriously, we have three bottles of ketchup, a few frozen dinners and innumerable cases of beer.  And that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong, having a bevy of brewskis on hand at Chez L-ski is an awesome thing.  And we’re grateful that everyone who comes to visit brings truckloads of liquid courage (because lord knows we need all the courage – both liquid and otherwise – we can get).  But I do wonder what this is doing to my reputation…

L’chaim,
Sarah

Strong Enough for a Man, pH Balanced for a Woman?

August 17, 2011 at 10:15 am | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership, Married Life | 2 Comments
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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about home renovation, it’s to do it when you’re NOT living in said home.  But if there’s another thing I’ve learned, it’s that there really is a difference in men’s and women’s toiletries. 

armpit smell

Well this is awkward...

Because we can’t actually unpack anything yet, Andrew and I have been “making do” with what we have.  So I’ve been using his Pert Plus and yellow Dial soap in the shower (my hair and skin have never felt so stripped of moisture – seriously, I’m a walking desert!), and he grudgingly uses my deodorant.

Yes, you read that correctly: Andrew has been using my deodorant.  He tried going without any for a few days, but we were afraid the EPA was going to get involved, so he broke down and used mine.  And he smelled delightful for a few hours.

Then he started asking if my armpits ever “burned.”

Ummmm… no, dear.  There is no Usher song dedicated to my pits, because my deodorant has never made my armpits burn!

Oh, he replied.  Maybe there’s something to that pH thing they talk about in the commercials after all!

Poor hubs and his burning armpits!  Before you get all judgy on me, please know that I’m stopping at CVS on the way home to buy shampoo, conditioner, body wash and MEN’S deodorant.

I heart home ownership!

~Sarah

Movin’ On Up!

July 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Home Ownership | Leave a comment
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Who needs a toilet, anyway?  Or a shower?  Or a sink?  Or faucet? Or even a kitchen?  Not Andrew and I… or so we hope!  On Friday we’re finally moving in to Chez L-ski, and as you can guess, we’re a little behind.  Okay, a lot behind.

Photo by Betsssssy (flickr).

The closets haven’t been painted so we have nowhere to unpack our clothes.  And while the fridge is being delivered on Saturday, the water line isn’t in yet so it can’t be installed.  And even though we ordered a fancy new Toto toilet (I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to flush a small country!), part of it is back-ordered.  Our kitchen sink and faucet, bathroom sink and faucet, even our counter-tops haven’t been delivered.  We don’t have a dining room table or chairs, or enough furniture to fill the place.  I could go on and on.

But I won’t.
Anymore.

Instead I’ll just tell you how excited we are about this new stage in our life (we’re grown-ups!), and how grateful we are to our families for all their help and support (especially Big Charlie of Costanzo Tile & Marble fame).

So here goes nothing…

Time to pray to the moving gods, the shipping gods, and the plumbing and electrician gods.  And any other gods that’ll listen!

~Sarah

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