Moving again already!

I know we all just got here, but we’re moving already.

Head over to follow all the fun at where you can read See Jen Eat, The Little Red Project, and maybe someday, even Rogue Designs projects and inspiration ideas.

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Floors Galores

Alright look, if you groaned when you read the title, let me be clear on something: if you’re going to follow this blog, you may as well get used to bad puns and innuendo now.  Patrick and I are both prone to it, so if you’re averse, this probably isn’t the blog for you.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. . . .

Upon receipt of keys and entrance into Little Red on Friday, April 15th, 2011 – we were ready with a game plan.  Stain the floors first.  Tear out the closet that was added to the master bedroom, then stain the floors.

Oh yes, yes, we know, “You should really paint first.  Why didn’t you guys paint first?”  Simple.  We have jobs.  And deadlines (we have to be out of our apartment on April 30th).  And staining floors is a whole lot easier BEFORE one moves all of their worldly possessions in.  So that’s why.  Next week, when I’m off work after we’ve moved, I will carefully (so as not to scratch the floors) shuffle boxes to and fro out of my way if necessary, or I will work around piles in the center of the room.  No big deal.  The moving things around that is – the sanding and painting acres and acres of woodwork, is however, a VERY big deal.  I’m achey just thinking about it.

Moving right along – the staining of the floors.  We selected a color, nice and dark, but not so dark that we’d have to be cleaning the floors ever day, even though we think that particular breed of dark is gorgeous.  We just know our limits and we’re kinda lazy and cleaning the floors every day is not even close to something we’d do. 

The problem with the internets is this: there are a million ways to do things and hardly anyone agrees with anyone else.  When one is DIYing by popular opinion, this makes things challenging.  When two are not so fond of reading directions and prefer to “skim” more than “study closely” because, come on, how hard can it be?  We see it on HGTV all the time!, it becomes even more challenging.  Our adorable plan of attack follows (items in italics were NOT part of the initial game plan, but hey, that’s home projects for ya):

  1. Set aside two three five days for intensive floor refinishing.
  2. Pick up all necessary items at my paint store (yes, I have one that I frequent enough to consider it “mine).  Be horrified at cost.  Reason that it’s still cheaper than hiring someone.
  3. Fill any 80 millioncracks or holes with wood filler.

    Look at all those filled spots!

  4. Rent a  Rent three  Rent four sanders (drum sander, two edgers, and a buffer) and buy some tons of sand paper.
  5. Go to Home Depot a lot to pick up sanders and/or ask why things aren’t going so well.  Get more sandpaper.
  6. Sand.  A LOT.

    Patrick doing the easy job.

  7. Sand more.  Freak out because the edger is taking huge circular swipes out of the floor.  Sand more to try to get rid of them.

    Before and After Sanding

    New and improved, down a closet, master bedroom.

  8. Stain by brushing oil based stain onto wood, let stain sit for several seconds, and then wipe off with rags to remove excess applying stain with floor pads picked up at paint store for sealer and top coat application and using a brush for the edges.

    oooh, dark and sexeh

  9. Forget to wipe stain off and have to go back over floors once twice with paint thinner to pull some of the stain up the next day.

    Thank the Home Improvement Gods for paint thinner and resourceful boyfriends.

  10. Let floors dry completely – 24 hours.


  11. Seal floors.
  12. Lightly sand if necessary before putting top coat on.
  13. Two layers of top coat.  Freak out when first layer of top coat beads up and pulls away strangely, much like our paint guy cautioned it might if we applied it before the floors were completely dry.  Convince ourselves that can’t possibly be the problem here since those bad boys dried for 24 hours.  Press on to second coat.
  14. Let cure for as long as possible before The Great Before/Patrick’s 29th Birthday Party.
  15. Make everyone take their shoes off and scream if they ever start to drag anything across the floor because OMG that was a lot of work.
  16. Eventually get scratches and nicks and bumps and a dog with claws who likes to skid around corners/to a stop using claws as brakes and give up on protecting the floor.
  17. Vow to not refinish any more floors.
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Invasions of the Yuppiesnatchers

Forgive the disjointed nature of this post – I am transcribing this as Patrick excitedly relates his day.

Patrick cracked me up tonight by outlining JUST how yuppie our lives have been lately:

“Oh, you know, we’re moving from Pacific Heights over to Alameda because we bought a historic home that we’re restoring.  We wanted more space so we could raise chickens and have our own vegetable garden.  Yeah. . . while we’re refinishing the floors, we’re staying at the <hotel name redacted for top secret security reasons> in downtown San Francisco.  Why yes, that is the one where President Obama is staying – he’ll be just upstairs once he wraps up the dinner he’s attending in our neighborhood across town.”

Little Red updates:  our friend (a pest inspector) came out to poke around for us in his down time, and he said that some of the issues that we were most worried about when we bought the house (termite damage and a foundation that needs replacing) weren’t really that bad after all.  Our neighbor went on to mention that our roof (which we also thought would need replacing) was only put on 10 years ago.  Score!

Speaking of neighbors – seems some of our neighbors are car hoarders which screws up parking for everyone, so that’s super.  But the rest of the neighbors are apparently the bees knees.  Patrick is already inviting them to The Before Party on Saturday.  We’ve got two Johns, a Ronnie, a David and a Suki I believe.   We’re drilling each other to try to remember their names since they’ve already suggested coming into our backyard for various reasons.  Good fences make good neighbors or something I’m sure, but if it means chicken sitters I’m all for it.  Especially since neighbor Ronnie actually built one of the fences.

In Little Red History news, Patrick was talking to one of our new neighbors today and found out a little bit about Little Red’s previous owner (Ruth).  She and her husband lived in the home together until he passed.  She was an old school WWII wifey, but once her husband passed away and she had to fend for herself, she got her drivers license and set out gallavanting around town, joining singing groups, having her hair dyed blue, getting boyscouts to help her cross the street and what have you.  She was mostly deaf after working in the factories to build parts for tanks during the war, but was apparently super sweet.  Both of our neighbors helped her to maintain the home, which just makes me so ridiculously pleased.  The guy across the street was her painter and he is responsible for the pink that I am sure made her happy (which is just how I imagined it, sickeningly enough).  We have been wondering about Ruth since we got the house, and now that I know a little bit more about her, I am even more excited about our decision to get Little Red.  She reminds me of Olive.  🙂

In a final, bit of crazy island news, the turkey we first saw strutting around the Gold Coast neighborhood (that I assumed had escaped from someone’s yard)was one of several WILD turkeys, which we may have to occasionally shoo across the street as we drive through town.

I think we just bought a house on Wisteria Lane.

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The Girls

I don’t think I can go too far into this blog without commenting on our animals.  Well yes, it’s true, we don’t have any yet, but WE WILL!

Not counting Stitch (the dog), who we’ll find someday, we will be hosting a flock of lovely ladies in our back yard.  Well, laundry room for the first month and a half, but after that it’s straight to the outside with them!

Thanks to the fine fine folks over at My Pet Chicken, we will have four (assuming we have no losses during shipping OMG please cross your fingers that we have no losses during shipping!) sweet little chicks peeping our ears off and scratching up clouds of dust and pooping on everything come early July.  We can’t wait!

First we have to fix the fence, then we have to build a coop that will put Fort Knox to shame (I don’t need raccoon gangs or sneaky, slinking rats trying to eat my feathered friends), then we have to keep the girls inside and warm for a few weeks, and then we get to wait for them to start making our breakfast.  And our friends’ breakfast.  And possibly our coworkers’ breakfasts too.  Four chickens means a dozen eggs or so a week once they get going, and folks, that is a LOT of eggs for two people to get through on a regular basis.

Let me introduce you to our breeds, via photos from the aforementioned My Pet Chicken.

First up, we have Rose, our little Rhode Island Red:

Then we have Dorothy, our sturdy looking Easter Egger:

Of course we have Blanche, our fancy Silver Laced Wyandotte:

Last, but certainly not least, we have our little white Silkie bantam, who has yet to be named though I would like the record to show that I am strongly in favor of any Fraggle based names, for obvious reasons:

Yes, that really is a chicken.

And thems our girls.  Stay tuned for their escapades, as I’m quite certain they’ll be having plenty.

Posted in Backyard, The Girls | 3 Comments

Looking for a new home

Don’t let anyone tell you this is a fun process.

I mean – it is, but only for a minute.  Then it’s a grueling, exhausting, emotional roller coaster hunt for mediocrity.  You’ll find that your price point doesn’t get you NEARLY what you had hoped it would (unless of your course your price point is over $500K, and maybe not even then), and that even homes you aren’t crazy about can be snapped up in minutes making you wonder if you missed something or if you’re just supposed to bid on everything.

I know you watch those shows on tv, but HGTV IS LYING TO ALL OF US.  This is not a “look at three houses, pick the one you like, and tie it up with a bow and a gift from your friends at HGTV” world.

Add into the chaos: foreclosures, short sales, homes for sale by owner, trust sales, as-is monstrosities, the perils of finding a trustworthy and hardworking agent, whether or not to use a less traditional agent (like Redfin), whether or not to use a mortgage broker or a more defined lender (like a bank), who will offer you the best deals, who is not trying to screw you over, who IS trying to screw you over and how many different ways, just what all that legal language means you’re getting into, FHA sales and their restrictions (and benefits). . . . oh man.  I have a headache just thinking about it.

I recommend a book first and foremost.  I got this one and it seemed great.  Pity I didn’t read more than the first chapter before we dove in head first.  Timing is everything folks!  I thought I’d read the book and we’d save for a year, but we were counseled to strike while the housing iron was hot, so we got hand-outs from our amazing parents, and pounced.

Next, I recommend getting a stellar agent.  How you find them is up to you.  Referrals are probably the best way to go.  Having someone you know is on your side and is working to make this process as easy for you as possible is key.  Their advice and experience is going to make or break the entire journey.  Your sister’s best friend may have just gotten her license and you really want to help her out, but if you’re a first timer as well – heed my warning and don’t.  Your favorite cousin may have been selling in the market you’re interested in for years, but if you know he’s a slacker who will try to do as little as possible to get his commission, don’t bother.

From there. . . .who knows.  Cross your fingers and hold on tight.  Keep aspirin close by.  Pack snacks so you don’t put on stress-weight eating soothing junkfood after another long night of fruitless searching.  Take breaks when you need to.  Shop around for mortgage rates.  Fire your agent and find a new one if you think you need to.  Ask people for advice, and feel completely free to take it or ignore it entirely.  Check into the town you’re looking at – do they have the highest taxes in the state?  That might be good to know before you’ve made your decision in case it’s a factor.  Do you dream of becoming an urban farmer and keeping chickens or bees or goats or whatever in your backyard?  Make sure it’s allowed or it’ll be a LONG time before those particular dreams can be realized.  Drive by the house at all times of day.  A charming and quiet neighborhood at 11 am on a Sunday might be frat row or drug slangin central by nightfall.  (Yes, those are technical terms)  Hang out in the neighborhood if you can.  We stalked so many houses and neighborhoods while we were looking that I’m surprised no one ever called the cops about the weird couple lurking around and peering in windows at all hours of day and night (JUST the unoccupied houses, thankyouverymuch).  Get excited if you want to, but be prepared for the heartbreak if it all falls apart (and it probably will.  A lot.).  Whine to your friends and family and share the insane stories about the houses with no back walls or running water.  Get ready for even MORE stress and chaos and roller coastering once you go to contract.  Keep a sense of humor!!  TRY to have fun and enjoy it, and scale back a bit if you find yourself getting jaded and angry at the entire process.  Listen to your boyfriend when he says he needs a night or * gasp * weekend off.  Push him a little when he says he will not cross a bridge.  🙂

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A new chapter

Well, it has finally happened.  I’m a homeowner.  Well, not just me.  Me (Jen), and this handsome guy (Patrick) that I’m lucky enough to live with.  Here we are in front of our adorable new/110 year old house, Little Red.

The nest!

photo courtesy of TM

Welcome to the blog!!  Watch as we make a mess of home improvements, curse at the unexpected during remodels and DIY jobs, and make a completely cozy and perfect for us little love nest.  (feel free to horf)

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