Saturday, July 28, 2012

The suite life

Bright and early Thursday morning, the movers arrived to begin the packing.  Y'all.  The ONLY way to move is to have someone else do it for you.  Bless Drew's company for paying for all of this, bless them.  The big rig pulled up, the guys rolled out and they got to assembling all the packing materials and in no time, our house was a mess o' boxes.
Have you ever seen such a beautiful thing!?
It was so beautiful that I was just walking around the house,
 taking pictures of all the boxes.
It's just so pretteh!!
A separate company came to make the crates for the 
TV, washer and dryer, and our mirrors.  
I was fascinated by the power tools and I was totally hovering like a weirdo.
Power tools are hot.

They left the beds intact so we were able to stay in the house Thursday night and they were back Friday morning to start loading the truck.  Us girls left so we wouldn't be in the way and when we got back, my beloved precious house was empty.
Did you know my bedroom curtains were too short?  
It's not like it was a big deal because they were hidden by the furniture.
That wasn't there anymore.  *sniff*
Uh.  Mah.  GAH.
My baby's bedroom.  Empty.  Desolate.
Echoing with memories.  
I changed my mind.
I want them to put everything back just the way it was 
and I'm going to float balloons up the chimney 
and we're taking the whole house to Pennsylvania.
I can't take it.  
This is my HOUSE.
Picture me whimpering and whining and sighing melanchol-ily.

They finished around five, Drew and I finished cleaning and painting and that was that.  I was elated that this was it, but oh my GAH I was sad that this was the last time I was going to be in my house.  I stood in this living room in my wedding dress.  I cried on that bathroom floor when I couldn't stay pregnant.  I climbed those front steps with my newborn daughter.  This was my HOUSE.
A parting shot of the truck that now holds my life.
I know you're not supposed to be attached to material things, but
I had a mild panic attack as they go ready to leave. I told them to drive safe, 
that they hold my baby's crib, her toys and
suddenly I wanted to go with them to keep our things safe.

I very nearly started running after them when they actually pulled away.
Moving day from Desiree on Vimeo.

With our life on its way to storage in New Jersey, we put our suitcases in the car and went to our hotel.  We'll be here until tomorrow, when my mom, the baby and I fly to Kansas for the week while Drew drives to Pennsylvania with his things and the dog.  I wanted no part of a five day road trip with a toddler, a dog and a car stuffed to the gills so we'll be hanging out with my family for the week while Drew and our friend Harrison make a boys' trip of it.
We don't have TV in our house, I mean
 in our OLD house so watching the Olympics is a treat.

We have an awesome suite at the Aloft and it is so amazing to simply breathe.  The packing is done, the travel arrangements have been made and there is nothing left for us to do but get started on our new life.  After the hectic planning and frantic sorting and packing and preparing, it seems odd to have nothing to do.  Our going away party is this afternoon and we're just chillin in the suite until then.  

You guys.  I think we made it.  I think we did it.  We're at the finish line.  I need to make my sentences longer.

But seriously, it's time to celebrate!  This moment is the culmination of ten LONG months of STRESS With A Capital STRESS and we made it through alive and together.  When I think about all the nonsense and garbage we've been through, I am supremely confident that we can make it through just about anything.

Not that I need a test anytime soon.  You hear me Universe?  Leave me the F alone for at LEAST a year.  You owe me that.

So, with that, I'm hitting publish and I'm off to get ready for our party!  It's going to be so great to just celebrate but I'm anticipating some ugly crying because this is our last day in Dallas.  Our flight leaves bright and early Sunday morning and that will be the end of our story in Texas!

Huh, guess the ugly crying is starting a little earlier than I thought.  Excuse me while I look for a tissue.
A final picture before leaving.
I love you, house.  You were good to us.
We'll miss you so much!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The final countdown

In two days the movers will arrive to pack our house.  Friday, they load the truck.  Saturday, we tie up loose ends and have our going away party and Sunday we are gone.  For 17 years, Dallas has been my home and in just a few short days we will start a brand new adventure and it really hasn't hit me yet.  

The appraisal on our house went well; it was the last thing we were waiting on and to hear that the house appraised for our asking price was an incredible blessing.  I'm pretty sure Drew was literally holding his breath until he heard the news and if it had been anything other than positive, you would have been hearing about me on the news because I would have set fire to the whole neighborhood.  We have come TOO FAR to get sent back to the starting line because of some dumb appraisal.  So it's a RILL good thing that the appraiser did his job well because I don't look good in prison orange.

Not that we're completely in the clear.  Stress levels are still high and there is still a lot to be done.  There has been tension, there have been arguments but most importantly, there has been making up because the light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright and we're almost there.  We may be bruised and battered and exhausted but we WILL make it.

You should see the house right now.
We've got boxes of things we'll need at the apartment.
Drew had to strategically pack and figure out what he would need in Reading and what could go with the movers.
All the pictures are off the walls, the holes have been patched and I'm painting tomorrow.
And we're throwing away the things we're not taking with us.

I would like a moment of silence for that last picture.  Those are my binders of notes from my college years.  I kept them because they are representative of the blood sweat and tears that I spent those four years that I took a full courseload and waited tables for forty hours a week.  They represent all that time sitting in class taking notes, answering questions and studying for tests.  I was near tears when Drew said I really needed to throw them away.  I knew he was right but I just couldn't bear the thought of throwing all that hard work in the garbage and I seriously needed a minute.  I thumbed through some of them, remembering where I sat in that particular class, reciting some of my notes from French class, explaining to Drew and my mom about the particulars of Hinduism versus Judaism from my Intro to World Religions class.  

I loved school and throwing away my notes seemed like blasphemy.  I had to go in the house when Drew took the box out to the trash and I'm still sad thinking about it, but at least they are immortalized on my blog.  Rest in peace, my notes from college.
We also went ahead and threw out my first suitcase from when I was a flight attendant.
We have so many suitcases and it was so beat up, it didn't make sense to keep it but it was my first suitcase!  From when I was a flight attendant!
In case you haven't noticed, I'm a huge sentimental mushball.  I have birthday cards from when I was in sixth grade.  I'm not telling Drew where they are because he'll just want to throw them away.

We spent all day Sunday like that, going through stuff in the garage, me gasping all happily when I found something I thought I'd lost and Drew being like You didn't even know you had that, so let's throw it away and me being like NO!  I can use that someday!

We took a short break from cleaning/throwing things away when our realtor stopped by to give us the 'Sale Pending' sign for our yard.  I was so excited to have them that I insisted that Drew take pictures to document it!
The only thing prettier than 'Sale Pending' is 'Sold' but since we'll be gone when that actually happens, I'll take it!

Drew was kind enough to even take videos of the whole thing.  And yes, I'll go ahead and show it to you but I have to tell you a few things first.
  1. I threw the sign on there because we FINALLY get to do that and simply placing it on there all nice and sweet just wasn't cutting it.
  2. I apologize in advance for my 'singing.'  If I was good at making movies, I'd put the real Hallelujah Chorus over it and I'm sure it would be much better.  For now, you'll just have to use your imagination.
  3. I do have a bra on.  I don't know why it looks like I don't.  I apologize for that as well.
  4. Finally, do not adjust your screen.  I am that big of a dork.  That, I don't apologize for.


I don't really know if there's anything else I can say after that video.  I only showed you because we're all friends here and y'all already know how much of a dork I am and you know I rarely take myself seriously.  As if you couldn't tell, right?

Anyway, after he left we got back to cleaning the garage, in the billion degree heat.  We were sticky and smelly and when Drew suggested we bring out the sprinkler, nothing in the world sounded better in that very moment.  
I feel like I have to say that my mom was inside with the baby the whole time we were out in the garage and I was nearly done with my beer when she snapped this picture.
It's not like I regularly have a beer in one hand and a kid in the other.
But you know what, it was hot and the beer was cold and the sprinkler was wet and it felt pretty damn good.
Sofia liked the sprinkler too.
We even got my mom to jump in for a second!

You guys, it is so amazing to finally be at this step.  The mood around our house has changed so much, you can feel the lightness.  We have so much hope now and it's only because we have it again, did we realize just how little we used to have.  

We're going to be a family again.  Drew is going to be home for dinner.  We're going to get to do family things on the weekends.  There will be no more showings, not nearly as much travel and we're going to be together again.  Seriously, I'm getting kinda choked up just thinking about it.

Drew is in Reading until tomorrow night because he had to sign the final papers on the house and he met with the contractors this week to talk to them about the work we're going to have them do and I'm so excited!  I can't wait to finally be there and begin exploring our new city.  Together.  As A Family.  Gah, the nightmare is about to be over.  After ten longasHELL months this is all going to be OVER.  Please reference the above video when I say, HAAAA-le-lu-jah!

Once again, yes.  I'm that much of a dork.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pin all the things

Don't miss out!  Get caught up and join the party!

I just realized I forgot to tell you the rest of the reasons why we chose our house.  I got all excited with the before and after pictures because I couldn't wait to show you that dining room!  

The house is a five minute drive to Drew's office and a ten-minute WALK.  There is a jogging trail behind his office that passes right by our neighborhood.  And it's a legit jogging trail, not all wooded and scary.  He could come home for lunch and hang out with Sofia when she's not in school!  And when she is in, YOU KNOW.  I'm just sayin.

It's also ten minutes from everything - Target, the main street with all the cute shops and the farmer's market.  I love the farmer's market in Reading - it is so serious!  I'm talking fresh everything and everyone shops there instead of the grocery stores.  It's totally the hang-out spot and I have such daydreams of us going there every Saturday to get our fruits and veggies and buying milk in the glass bottles directly from the farmers.  That part actually isn't a daydream.  We bought milk for the baby while we were there this past weekend and it totally came in glass bottles!  How cool is that!

So once the papers were signed and the house was officially tentatively sorta kinda but for the most part off the market, I got busy brainstorming design ideas.

After I got over my initial fear of a small house, it became a challenge:  how to live in a smaller space without feeling cramped or cluttered.  And honestly, if you count the basement it's actually a little bigger than our current house.  It's just the small main floor that has me thrown, but only for a moment because I'm going to make this work!

The name of this game is STORAGE.  When you have a small house, you have to find a place for your stuff and that means two words:  BUILT INS.  Like this:
Having stairs isn't all bad because you can do this.
from here
Or this
from here

One of the first things we want to do when we move in is finish the basement.  It's almost 1000 square feet which is plenty of room for another bedroom, another full bath, a playroom for Sofia, room for hanging out and maybe even a crafting zone for me!  So you know I was all over the basement makeover pages.
Now that's my kind of basement!  Not at all dark and scary!
from here
How cute is this playroom!  Granted, our basement doesn't have windows this big, but lots of lights would fix that, no problem.  Plus, I love the built-ins to hide all the clutter.
from here
The living room is going to get a wood accent wall and some built ins where the old
"built in" is now.
from here
The current closet is a hole in the wall covered with two sliding doors and that is not going to cut it, not even a little bit.  Mama needs a place for her shoes and I like the way this looks.  Some variation on this will happen in our closet.
from here
Seriously, I'm nervous about that teeny bedroom so we'll probably need one of these storage beds.  Our current bed frame will go downstairs in the guest bedroom part of the basement.
from here
And here's the fun part of DIY - maybe I'll get crazy and BUILD our storage bed!
from here
 I love the idea of something like this for Sofia's big girl room.  Her room actually is about the same size as her current one, so we won't need to do anything to it for several years.
It's just fun to daydream.
from here
I'd also love to change the kitchen countertops and maybe even the sink and floors, but like I said before, I can stand the kitchen the way it is.  Again, it's just fun to daydream.
from here

As you can see, I've got a lot of ideas for our new house and I'm getting more and more excited to get up there and get started already!  In the meantime, I'm pinning ALL the things and you should follow me on the great and mighty Pinterest so I can follow you and repin your home ideas!

With that, I'm out because I'm going to watch a documentary about people who live in small houses.  This guy lives in a 78 square foot apartment and makes it look cool!


Monday, July 16, 2012

House hunting: Welcome home

Part 1    Part 2  -- Read those first if you haven't already

While I am a fan of a good cliffhanger, I actually didn't do this one on purpose.  I wanted to make sure that we actually had the house before I went and wrote about it.  I didn't want to be all excited and be like Hey look at our new house! only to have to come back and be like Hey look at the apartment we're staying in because we didn't actually get the house!

But we got it!  The seller signed the contract late Sunday night, our realtor got everything early this morning and we are officially under contract!  What's more, the buyers of our current house agreed to all terms and we're under contract here too!  It's happening you guys, it's really happening!

*Desiree.  Shut your face and show the house already.*

All right all right!  Meet our new house!
She's such a cutie!

So, to tell you how we arrived at the 1960s ranch....And wait till you see the pictures!

I really liked everything about the house when we first saw it.  The hardwood floors, the main floor laundry, everything all on one level.  What I didn't like was the size.  Specifically, the master bedroom - it was teensy and I was nervous.  For the past three years, we've been spoiled with a bedroom *and* sitting room and I didn't know if we'd be able to squeeze it all down to one bedroom, much less one that was smaller than the one we currently have.

We went back and forth between the ranch and the storybook stone house.  
This one

The stone house was in a great neighborhood, but it was on the upper end of the surrounding houses.  We'd have to be careful about any work we did so we wouldn't price ourselves right out of the neighborhood.  And remember, the kitchen needed to be completely gutted and that's $$$$$$.  Doing that, creating closets and redoing the bathroom from scratch would put us dangerously close to the most expensive house in the neighborhood and from what I understand of real estate, you don't want that.  I'm not sure why but you just don't.  

With the ranch, there were million dollar homes just around the corner so no matter what we did, we definitely wouldn't need to worry about that part.  Plus, this was a flipped house so everything was already redone.  Any work we did would be purely aesthetic and that's a-OK.

Additionally, we're looking at living in this house and maybe even in Reading for only 5-7 years.  We were going to have to put a lot of work into the stone house and to do that only to move seemed wrong.  The ranch is move-in ready and if we decide to stay, then we can undertake a big project like a room addition to make it a little bigger.

Plus, with it being move-in ready I get to focus on the fun part of DIY -- Decorating!  I don't have to mess with living without a kitchen.  We don't have to stay in a hotel while the floors are getting redone (yet.  In the future, I'd like to restain them darker.)  I get to jump straight into making it a home rather than taking the time to make it simply livable.

Not that there aren't tweaks and changes I want to make and PS, get ready because this is about to be an epic post!  So let's look at some pictures!!
The seller bought the house in April and got to work right away.
Ahhh, much better!
That living room is the HOTNESS!
Although I like this living room much better.
And how 'bout that DINING ROOM!  My favorite are the macrame planters.  
I think the pom pom on the bottom gives it something a little extra, don't you?
Of course, this dining room is a billion times better.
Yikes *and* wow with a side of WTF
That linoleum and wallpaper almost made me miss the countertops with the matching backsplash.  There is just so much awesome happening here.
Although I still want to make some changes to this kitchen, 
I can actually stand to be in it without dry heaving.

Because, DAMN.
I'm actually looking forward to having that little desk thing because I'd really like to have a dedicated place for my computer that's not the bedroom floor.
It's a pink bathroom y'all!  Have you seen those pictures 'Save the Pink Bathrooms'?
Apparently, pink bathrooms were big in the 50s and 60s and people want to preserve them for their kitsch factor.
I'm GLAD this one didn't get saved because pink shell sconces?  Really?
Even though this isn't my style preference, at least I can take it seriously.

These are the kind of pictures that I would rant about when Drew would make me look at houses.  Like, they KNEW their house was getting photographed for SALE that day, right?  I mean, you'd THINK they'd at least move the paper bags out of the shot.  And maybe empty the trash.  It's like they wanted people to SEARCH for reasons to buy their house.
Clutter free, but still smaller than our current bedroom.
And THIS is where the magic happens.
Check out the pimp-tastic bar!
Although I can't even lie, we had a sofa like that when I was a kid.
Thank god, the seller cleared all this out, ripped up the carpet and left us with a nearly 1000 square feet basement to finish.  PROPERLY.
 It's just shy of a half acre lot and there's lots of room to expand.
But we could leave it as is, and that would be fine too.

So that's the hizzouse!  I've been going nuts pinning design ideas and if all goes well, we'll close on the house August 26th.  We have our temp housing until September 15th and we plan to use that in-between time to do work on the house.

What work you ask?  Oh, let me show you.....

No cliffhanger this time.  I'm hitting publish and getting right back to writing!  Please please let me know what you think!  You've been on this journey with me this long and I'd love to hear your thoughts!



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