Home Headaches

What a weird day.  If I’ve learned anything from buying a house, it’s that there is always something going on or needing to be fixed.

We all remember our battle with the floors, and then our air conditioning breaking at the beginning of the summer.  Add to that a dozen other small things, and it’s been something every few weeks.  Home ownership is like a full time job I tell you!

This morning when we woke up, we made our way downstairs to the kitchen and when we flipped on the kitchen light, two of the fluorescent bulbs were burned out.  So after we scrambled our eggs and finished breakfast, Chris ran to Home Depot for new light bulbs.  When he got back, replaced the bulbs, and it still didn’t work, we realized we had a problem. We also knew we needed some help, so we enlisted my dad who was playing golf in the area to come check it out.

We had a few hours to kill before my dad could come over, so we decided to start working on assembling the wedding invitations.  I had a rough start (um, putting things on backwards, sideways and upside down…I suck at being crafty), but we made it.  Chris even sat and helped the entire time.  I’m seriously so lucky to have such an involved fiance.

When my dad came over, Chris and he immediately jumped in the car to go to Home Depot for parts.  Blah blah blah was broken and X, Y and Z needed to be replaced, so off they went.

While they were gone, I finished the invitations and even stamped every last one.

Once the guys got back to the house, they worked on the light for a good three hours.  They had to remove the broke stuff, pull pieces down, drill holes, add the new stuff, avoid getting electrocuted and test everything out.  They did an awesome job, though, and with the new light thingy, it doesn’t flicker when we turn it on anymore!  Also, Chris got a new cover for the fixture so it’s nice and bright instead of dingy and yellow.  Hooray!

Work in Progress

….Oh, but tell us how you really feel, Dad:

Once that unexpected little project was over, we had dinner, cleaned up and finally got around to cleaning out the excessive amount of beer we had in the fridge.  When we had our housewarming a while back, we ended up with a ton of leftover beer that we thought we’d drink gradually, but, we didn’t.  Today was the day that it all finally went down the drain and straight into the recycling bin.  So proud of our recycling efforts!

All that beer, down the drain.

Upcoming house excitement?  New sliding patio door!

On Tuesday, we came home to a completely shattered door, and after covering the glass with giant trash bags to hold the glass if it fell, we thought it was time to look at our new options.  So,  last night, we checked out new doors at Home Depot.  Did you know they make doors with mini blinds in them now?  No dust!!   We’re so excited to get these installed and have the hideous, broken one gone for good!

Hopefully that new and beautiful door will be installed next week!  Can’t wait!

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A Shattered Surprise

Life is just full of neat little surprises, right?

I got a call from Chris around 4 o’clock today and he had a little bit of excitement in his voice when he asked if I was sitting down.

“Uh, yeah, I’m at my desk,” I told him.

“Okay, well, I just got home, and the sliding glass door in the kitchen is shattered,” he told me.

I immediately had visions of a giant hole in the wall, glass on the floor, Hunter in the backyard and Delilah hopping the fence.

“Oh my god, where are the animals,” I whispered in a panic from my desk.

“They’re fine, the glass hasn’t come out of the frame yet,” he told me.

Then I was confused.  He said the glass shattered, why wasn’t it all over the floor?

It turns out, we have double pane doors, so the piece on the inside shattered and was being held up by the outside panes. Lucky break?

Chris acted quickly and called the general contractor we used when we had the floors done a few months ago.  Lucky for us, he had availability first thing tomorrow, so he’ll be on our front steps at 8am tomorrow to check out our interesting situation.

I met Chris at Home Depot right after work to try to determine what this mess was going to cost us, but unfortunately, they weren’t much help.  I swear that place is hit or miss.  One day there is someone to help you every 10 feet, and on days like today, you wait 15 minutes for help to arrive, and they never show.  We decided to leave and let our contractor access the damage before dealing with the Depot.

The house is almost 20 years old and we knew the door was going to have to be replaced sooner or later, but we didn’t think it would be in this manner.  There has been condensation in between the window panes since we bought the house (apparently a seal broke at some point, I really don’t care know), so we think that with the extreme heat we’ve had over the past week, the water in the window built up pressure until it literally exploded.  Either that, or Hunter really wanted to go outside while we were at work.

Fingers crossed our contractor friend can resolve the problem tomorrow.  I’m hoping we can just replace the door and not the entire thing.  Though the frame is totally warped and we have to wiggle the door closed the last 4 inches, so maybe it’s just best to replace the entire thing all together at one time as opposed to doing it in pieces.

Ah, home ownership is fun.

Plumbing, Purchases and Pain

It’s interesting how being a home owner becomes a second full time job so quickly after the papers have all been signed.  I feel like we have so much work to do in our house, but Chris is good about keeping reality in perspective.  We have a lot to do, but we have a lot of time to do it, too.

We decided to give ourselves some time to enjoy the house once the kitchen floors were finished, and we have definitely been enjoying a clean house with limited work, but then on Saturday, our kitchen sink decided to throw a temper tantrum and refused to drain.

Chris did everything under the sun to try to fix the problem.  He dismantled the pipes, removed the garbage disposal, bought a snake and ran it 25 feet down into the pipes, and even after all of that, the sink still refused to drain.  We gave in and called a plumber who was luckily able to fix it quickly.  He had a 45 foot snake and once he found the clog, he attached it to this machine that spun it around to break up whatever was blocking the pipe.  Ahhhh, the things you learn in home ownership.  Money down the drain (literally), but the problem has been resolved.  Thank god.

Plumber Carl, doing his thing.

Saturday held a special surprise for me because I had the pleasure of doing something to my back which made me wince in pain if I sat down or got up.  It was bearable and and a mild annoyance (no idea what triggered it), so the productive day I had planned resulted in a minor bust.  I got a lot of what I wanted to get done finished while Chris was at the Caps game, but there is still a lot of junk left on my “to do” list for this week.  I need a maid.

Yesterday, we made two big home purchases we were really looking forward to:  A lawnmower, and a grill.  You know you’re getting old when you get excited about those things.  I also surprised Chris with a little Easter basket of candy and other small things he needed.

About midway through Sunday, my back really started to hurt, and not just when I got up or sat down.  It started to throb no matter what I was doing, but I popped a bunch of advil and just pushed through.  We ended the day by having dinner with Chris’ parents at Don Pablos (yes, chips and salsa on Easter!!), and it was great.

Today, I woke up, and I literally felt like my lower back was a rubber band stretched out to it’s full capacity, ready to snap at any second.  It took all of my being to roll over in bed, and in order to get out of the bed, I had to actually roll off the bed onto my knees, and then get up from a squat.  I was completely horrified and worried that I’d be like who one of those old people in commercials yelling that they had fallen and couldn’t get up.  I could not bend one bit, and if I accidentally moved the wrong way, my muscles screamed at me, forcing a yelp from my mouth.  I’m used to getting colds or headaches, not having random physical pain from nothing, so it was really frustrating and I don’t do well with it.  I was able to get an appointment with my doctor this afternoon, so I rode the couch on the heating pad until I saw the doc.

Turns out, it’s a strain.  I could have diagnosed that.  Unfortunately there isn’t much they could do except give me a shot of Toradol (super high speed Aleve – it works faster as a shot), and send me home with super high speed Aleve in pill form.  The only other thing I can do is lay on the heating pad and stretch as much as my back will allow.  Oh, and they gave me a stupid tetanus shot, (I guess it was just time) so now my arm hurts, too.

The shot definitely helped, and I was able to get off the couch without grunting or hollering around 5pm, so that was a good sign.  Chris decided to put the grill together, (another thing I didn’t think of !  Who knew you had to assemble your own grill!!) so I helped him sort out the screws and bolts as he navigated the instructions.  I did attempt to help since I was feeling better, but after about 10 minutes of sitting on the floor, the throbbing took over, and the tears came, so I got right back on the couch.   I wish I could have been more helpful, but obviously I was limited in my abilities.

Chris assembling the grill while Hunter provides support.

Happy guy with his new grill.

I’m desperately hoping that my back feels better tomorrow.  This hobbling around like a 90-year old woman is not fun or attractive.

Oh, and PS:  Is the wedding in the UK over, yet?  I am so sick of hearing about it.

Flooring Adventures

Lessons I’ve learned from our adventures in flooring:

1.  Always consult your significant other before doing anything major to the house.

2.  HGTV makes home improvement look so much easier than it really is.

3.  Small projects can create mega headaches and turn into big messes.

Our floors are finally finished!  After six weeks of living on plywood and in a construction zone, it’s done!

Just for good measure, here are some pictures of the “during” process so y’all can see what fun times we had during construction.  Oh, and it didn’t take the professionals we hired six weeks to finish the floors – it took them two days. We’re (actually, I AM) the reason it took so long.  We attempted to fix the uneven floors ourselves, bought all kinds of supplies, and tried our best, but we lacked the supplies and time to do it right, so in came the professionals.  Truthfully, I’m really glad we had it done because they did a fantastic job.

The construction zone we created.

The pro's ripping up the uneven floor.

Hole in the floor! Ahhhhhh!

Uneven floor is fixed!

Putting down the 1/4 inch smooth plywood before laying the tile.

Starting to lay the tile.

Finished! Minus the installation of our new stove.

I’m so relieved.  It starting to feel much more like home.  Yay!

Fish for Non Fish Eaters

I’ve never been a fish person.  The extent of my fish consumption consisted of fish sticks and ketchup when I was a kid.  I never order fish as an entrée and hate it when people bring leftovers to work and microwave them and smell up the room.

Chris loves fish, and with us cooking a lot now, he has been asking me for a few weeks to be open to trying a fish recipe.  So, after talking to some friends who cook fish and also finding some somewhat yummy looking recipes, I finally got the courage and added a dish to our menu for the week.

I found an appetizing recipe for broiled tilapia (I hear you yelling, D), so I gave it a shot tonight and was pleasantly surprised.  It was super easy to make, quick and actually pretty tasty.  It wasn’t fishy at all, either, so that was an added bonus.  I served it with couscous & green beans sautéed in fresh lemon juice.   Chris loved it and his biggest complaint was that there wasn’t enough, so I can take that as a compliment.

I think we’ll start trying to make fish at least once a week, and change it up as I learn to like and cook different types of fish.  I feel a new sense of confidence for not only making, but also eating something from the ocean other than crab.  It’s refreshing.

After dinner we let our food settle and then made our way to the gym.  I had challenged Chris to a rowing contest to see who could row a mile the fastest, and lets just say that had we been on actual water, I would have fallen over and probably drowned.  After about 500 meters, my arms and legs were burning, but I made it the entire 1,609 meters.  Chris killed me by a good four minutes, but I like to think it’s because of his longer legs and upper body strength that I lack.  Either way, it was a fun competition and a good way to start the workout.  After that, I hit the elliptical for 30 minutes and got 2.15 miles out of myself.  Slower than my normal pace, but my legs were like jello from the rowing. I have a feeling I’m going to be extra sore tomorrow.

In excellent news, we finally found someone to finish our kitchen floors and they’re coming tomorrow!!!!  Just as a reminder, this is what we’ve been living in for the past month.

I might cry with joy when the floors are finished.  I think once it’s all done we will feel a sense of “home” that we’ve been lacking.  We’ll finally get to put our kitchen away completely, get our new stove installed (it arrived a few days ago and we haven’t been able to hook it up yet) and we’ll be able to start other tasks that have been put on the back burner.  Let me just publicly say that I learned a huge lesson from this incident…NEVER tear up floors without knowing what you’re doing.  I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.  Before/After pictures, coming soon!

Tilapia Recipe!

Servings:  6 servings

•Time:  15 minutes

  • 6 tilapia fillets (6oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon

Wash fish and pat dry.  Line broiler pan with tin foil.  Place fishon the tin foil and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley.  Drizzlewith olive oil and top with crushed garlic.

Set broiler to low and place fish about 8 inches from the flame. Cook until fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes (be careful not to burn garlic). Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice.