Friday, July 30, 2010

Showered by love

Last weekend, on the way to (what I thought was) a meeting with our priest, I was surprised by my lovely bridesmaids and my family by a wonderful bridal shower!

This weekend, we're off for a (non-surprise) co-ed home-improvement shower hosted by Justin's mom.

In between all of the showering, we moved Justin to the house. It's beginning to seem a little like a home, now! While we finish sanding the floors in the den (Justin's temporary bedroom), he's got the mattress in the kitchen. When you don't have a kitchen table, it works!

We (actually, Justin) also hung up a new light in the kitchen. Although God got it right the first time He said "let there be light," it only took two tries for us to have the kitchen brightened by a lovely new ceiling light!

I have pictures of both the shower and the light (and some funny pictures of the transitional furnishing in the house) but can't seem to make things connect at the moment. Many apologies for the delay in postings - without any internet access during the last week, blogging has been tough! One of the next home improvement projects is to get the Verizon wireless set up, so I'll be able to send some updates during my evening work sessions over at the house. I'm also moving from my coworker's house to my new apartment on Sunday, so that's exciting as well.

Stay tuned next week for a "guest blogger" who is visiting Ithaca for some gorge-swimming, house-renovation, and sister time :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Take it off...

The title of my blog post this time does not refer to the fact -which you may have noticed in pictures- that my lovely fiance does the majority of his housework without a t-shirt (I joked that the neighbors might not think he owns any shirts since they usually see him in shorts only). Instead, it refers to our house, which Justin now deems naked.

We've been busy little beavers over at the house, trying to get everything ready for its first occupant next week. A lot of these preparations involve the dirty work of demolition - thus why Justin says the house is now naked. You already know that we ripped out two rooms worth of downstairs carpet. Since that update, we've removed two upstairs carpet, the [falling down] wood paneling in one upstairs bedroom, and pulled the carpet off the steps.

(No one misses the emerald green carpet from before...even though the current state doesn't look much better!)

I know, I know, the stairs are really ugly now, but I've got a vision for more scraping and sanding, then painting and a good runner. Stay tuned, I promise it will look nice!

We're racing against the clock with projects that create a lot of dirty dust (we rationalize that although we still need to spackle the kitchen ceiling, the dust created from that job will at least be from a known source, rather than potentially scary old dust in and under the carpets). We're also trying to get all the big stuff out of the house as soon as possible so that we can make a dump run and stop looking like red necks (we currently have a huge pile of debris, ranging from carpets to ramp wood to ceiling slats, in our backyard). Out of respect to our kind next door neighbor, Judy, we'd like to take that to the dump as soon as possible, but it seems silly to make little trips all the time, especially since such a visit requires borrowing the pick-up truck from our other neighbors. (I haven't mentioned it yet on our blog, but we have been blessed with AMAZING neighbors who have loaned us ladders, a truck, drywall equipment, a sander, and other tools, not to mention the food, water (and even a band-aid) that they have provided!)

Now that the carpets are out, we've been working on scraping the paint and removing nails and staples. When we went to Home Depot to inquire about renting a floor sander (prior to realizing that our neighbors actually owned one), a gentleman (who informed me that he had professionally stripped for 10 years) gave us a lot of good advice - and sold us a very helpful tool - to strip off all of the paint from the floors prior to bringing in the sander. We've heard it both ways - that you can just go in with the sander, or that you need to scrape first - but we're going the more conservative route, especially where we've got thick paint or remaining carpet glue.

I was scheming about a subtle blog post that requested visitors (read: laborers) when Justin's dad gave us a wonderful surprise visit yesterday. He was amazingly helpful in cleaning out the entire living room of paint, staples, etc, as well as completing a lot of other random tasks around the house. Justin and I both thoroughly enjoyed the magic of arriving at the house after work and having jobs accomplished while we were gone! I took a few pictures of the father-son team at work this evening. It's been great to visit, and great to have his help. We do welcome any visitors, and I'm just joking when I say that we'll put you straight to work (we like to have fun and show off Ithaca, too!!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh say, can you see?

During our car ride to the Poconos last weekend, Justin and I played our newly-learned game in which you choose a word, then take turns singing snippets of songs that contain that word in the lyrics. We went the longest with "see:"

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..."
"The bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see"
"I can see your rolling fields of green..."
"Do you see what I see"

etc, etc, etc...

This came to mind again this evening when I (finally) remembered to bring my camera and take a bunch of pictures of the house. So, without further ado, some visual proof that these projects really exist :)

Home inspection (April) -

Post carpet removal (July) -

Ugly carpet (before) -

Beautiful hardwood (in progress) - excuse the piles of sand, we still aren't sure why that was under the carpet!

We don't mind getting our hands dirty -

But we clean up nicely! (Amanda & Nick's wedding 7/10/10)

Kitchen ceiling drywall!

Well, those are the pictures for now. I have to share that I was very excited today to receive my first blog comment (thanks, Elizabeth!), so please don't be afraid to let me know what you think (or contribute additional "see" songs that we missed!)

It's all in a name...

This post's title is multi-purpose:

Post Title Purpose #1: To publicly laugh at myself. I have to admit that my number one reason for delaying in updating the blog is not having a clever title for the post. Kind of silly, but true. [As a side note, lack of pictures is a close second, but I convince myself that it's better to at least write something, even if I don't have photographic evidence of the work that's been done!]

Post Title Purpose #2: To explain yet another delay in house renovations. My closest friend from Bucknell changed her name this weekend! :) I had the ultimate pleasure of being the Maid of Honor for the very lovely Amanda. In addition to celebrating love and standing up next to a wonderful friend, it was wonderful to scrub the semi-permanent renovation dirt from under my nails and wear something other than work clothes. I also didn't mind riding out the remainder of the heat wave in an air-conditioned hotel!

Congratulations to Nick & Amanda on a beautiful day and a beautiful relationship. I love you guys! Congratulations, also, to another dear friend, Jillian, who also changed her name on Saturday. I was terribly disappointed at the overlap of dates of these two weddings, but I was there in spirit for Jillian as well! Kudos to facebook for confirming that Jillian was a beautiful bride!

Post Title Purpose #3: To expand upon the name of my blog. "Finding Former Glory." When we were house shopping, Justin and I tended to name the houses we visited. "Jail house" (the place with the metal bar divider in the living room). "Ugly chimney place" (name self explanatory). "Cozy danger" (a lovely place that we disqualified due to the scary landing at the top of the steps that was just asking for someone to fall down). One house that particularly stuck out for me was one that Justin called "No former glory." This house was (like most we saw) a fixer-upper. However, we noticed that being relatively new and relatively shabbily-built, there wasn't a lot of charm or previous beauty that we could restore. Seeing that house was a turning point in our house search, as it helped us to better understand our intrinsic wishes for a home (and, obviously, inspired my blog title!)

This is beginning to be a very long introduction to a very simple, and exciting announcement. I was thinking of all this former glory business today when we were at the house. We pulled up the carpet in the living room and den. After also pulling up the carpet pad and the linoleum, we found beautiful hardwood floors. (!!!!!) We had suspected that the floors might be nice [I have a picture from inspection of Justin pointing this out, which I would show you if they were easily accessible at the moment. Please see aforementioned lack-of-photo disclaimer], but after the kitchen ceiling discovery, my hope for the under-carpet discovery was hesitant to say the least.

However, this evening under all these layers, WE FOUND FORMER GLORY! The floors are not only beautiful wood, they may not even need refinished. The center of the living room is still practically gleaming (minus the dust we stirred up in the process). The outer edge has some black paint (we're not sure exactly why), but I've been pretty successful thus far in scraping this paint off with favorable results for the wood there, as well.

What a rewarding feeling to restore something to its original splendor. We're a long way from saying that for the whole house, but these floors certainly feel like a great first step!

In the other good news department, a few other announcements: 1) my first "solo" day at work (without the former coordinator) went well. 2) I found a fabulous little apartment to rent until October, so I'm pretty thrilled to be upgrading from the air mattress. 3) Word on the street is that people actually read my blog. Woo hoo for readers! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We bring you a break from your regularly scheduled programming...

As a result of the crazy heat wave and on account of having the desire to do nothing in non-air-conditioned locations (such as our new house), we have temporarily post-poned home renovations.

We're resting on our laurels of having hung drywall for the first time ever, and taking the time to have conversations that don't revolve around construction and going on dates that aren't to Home Depot. It's nice to simply spend time together remembering why & how much we love each other!

All that being said, I should note that we stopped by the house today to water the plants, and we ripped up a tiny corner of the carpet, just to see how nice the wood is underneath. We really can't stay away. And, the wood looks good! Stay tuned for rapid fire carpet ripping, kitchen scrubbing, floor refinishing, and wall painting. All this - and more - (hopefully) before Justin moves in!

In other good news, we've got some good leads on a temporary home for me. Yay! I'm off for now; even the laptop is making me unnecessarily hot. Hope you're all staying cool!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Looking up...

Well, for those of you who have been checking the blog (that is, assuming there are those of you who check the blog...), you may have been wondering if I fell off the face of the Earth. I am happily still here, although I will report that life as I know it has certainly turned upside down over the course of the last week!

Although I was planning to move to Ithaca after our wedding, a too-good-to-pass-up opportunity presented itself (or, more specifically, God presented it...) with Catholic Charities. So since last Tuesday, I've been camping on an air mattress at Justin & Brian's apartment. I'm currently searching for a more temporary-permanent solution before I move into the house with Justin in October. He'll head over there after his lease expires at the end of July. Which means that for the rest of the month, we're scrambling to complete all of the projects we want to do pre-occupancy.

To that end, I'm pleased to report that we (almost) have a kitchen ceiling!!! We spent the majority of the day on Saturday hanging the vapor barrier, and put in a good 9 or 10 hour day today hanging drywall! We're pretty sure that hanging a drywall ceiling will be the most difficult of all the projects we undertake (after all, even gravity is working against you on this one!) And although I'll say we're certainly not ready to quit our day jobs, the ceiling doesn't look too bad!

Tomorrow night, we'll hang the last sections (only 18 inches wide each, which will be significantly easier to handle than the 4 x 8 foot sections we hung, and won't require the big rental lift we borrowed from Home Depot today). We've got plenty of work still to do in the kitchen, but as Justin was screwing the 6th drywall panel onto the ceiling, I suddenly was flooded with exciting ideas for painting, curtain-making, and other projects that had previously been blocked out by scary images of the bare joists. Things are looking up :) (and yes, all blog post puns are most definitely intended!)