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When it rains…

11 Jan
When it rains, it pours. Or, more specifically in our case, when it leaks, it ruins the floor.
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But let’s back up and I’ll tell you how we got there….

Tuesday night I decided to look at our finances and figure out how we’re going to manage without me working full time. I should note that it is impossible for me to look at our finances without getting stressed. We could each make a million dollars a year and I’m pretty sure I’d still feel that way. It’s just how I am. The thing is, I know we need to be more diligent about our spending. But I also feel like just our basic expenses/debt add up quickly. And it’s not like we have any weird/crazy debt so I don’t understand how other people do it. Anyway, totally stress myself out before bed time which is never a good idea.

I go to get a glass of water so I can head to bed but notice that the floor is bubbly in the middle of the kitchen. Not near any of the appliances but in the middle. And, yup, the new kitchen floor that I worked so hard to find. I thought I was imagining things except then I got onto the floor and noticed water coming up the seams if I pressed on them. Certainly I had to be imaging that, right?! There wasn’t any visible water or damage by the sink, fridge, or dishwasher. Totally perplexed. It was at least 11:30 so Pete was already sleeping. I felt awful but I didn’t know what to do so I woke him up. He couldn’t figure it out either and we decided we’d call someone to take a look the next day. I’m sure this was not the best plan as any water leak/damage could have turned into a gigantic problem overnight but calling someone in the middle of the night didn’t seem like a good idea either.

The next day, Pete had an appointment about 30 minutes away at 9 am. He leaves in our old car (an important foreshadowing point…), I have to fight with Claire to take a nap, and eventually I cry because Pete is so much better at getting her to sleep than I am. After all that, I finally call my go-to person, Tony – aka my Mom’s boyfriend (though I’m not supposed to call him that, sorry, Mom) and the person who probably thinks I should not own a home due to my inability to take care of these things. Tony guessed it was the ice maker so said to have Pete pull out the fridge when he got home and call him back. All right. Good plan. Until….

Pete goes to leave his appointment and the car won’t start. Did I mention that this was his last day of an amazing 12 week paternity leave? Yeah. He was not too keen on being stuck away from home. So he called AAA but they had to tow the car because it wouldn’t re-start (the battery was just replaced a couple weeks ago so I suppose in some strange way it’s good that wasn’t the problem? I don’t know. I’m grasping at straws. I think that would have probably been better.) OK. So Claire and I have to now hop in the car and go get Pete from the mechanic. It’s not even noon and this day is not going so well. All the while we’re gone I’m getting more and more stressed about the kitchen floor/leak situation.

Are you still with me? It’s only 2:30 in the afternoon at this point. And the story goes into the next day too!

Tony was near our house so he meets us there. They pull out the appliances, check underneath them, and still can’t find the leak anywhere. We finally decide we’ll check with our neighbors and see if anyone else is experiencing any issues. And then, on his way out, Tony realized it was the hot water heater. On the other side of the kitchen, not in it. 50 gallons of water leaking down into the floor, pooling in the kitchen, and potentially about to burst all over our condo. Awesome.

Paranoid of that last scenario, we empty the tank into the tub (and then later over our balcony) using our building’s garden hose.

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Oh, and the car? Super expensive to fix. But out of sight, out of mind for the moment.

Tony comes today with a guy to replace the water heater. They can’t move it because it had filled back up even though we thought we turned it off. Apparently turning on any water back fills it (or something?) I didn’t know that. I go to get the hose again and can’t get into the room it’s stored in. The key that worked the night before doesn’t now. My only guess is that the door wasn’t actually closed all the way so opened when I pulled it. I run around the building trying to find someone to let me in all the while leaving sleeping Claire in Tony’s hands if she were to wake up. Which is fine, he’s actually really cute with her, but if she did wake up she was likely going to want to eat. Stat. I don’t like this part of the day. I’m annoyed we thought it was done and annoyed I can’t quickly get the hose.

Finally find a neighbor, get the hose, they get the tank drained again, and replace it. We should finally be done, right? No. Now one of the pipes going into the tank is leaking. Corroded, needs to be replaced. Claire, miraculously, is still sleeping. I keep checking on her to make sure she’s alive. Seriously, she never sleeps more than an hour at a time these days (another issue for another day) and this is pushing two. Tony goes to get a new pipe and replaces it.

He needs to leave for another appointment but the water won’t turn on at the kitchen sink. Or the master bathroom. So now he’s back, Claire is still sleeping (about to hit three hours), and Pete is home early from work. The muck from the pipes clogged the pipes and/or fixtures. Tony fixed what he had time for and will be back tomorrow for the other one.

And now, you’ll remember this all started with a bubbly floor. Guessing that water was still stuck underneath, Pete pulled up the warped boards so everything can dry out. The good news is we know where to get more (ha!) and hopefully we can find someone to come put them in quickly. I’m ready for this saga to be over. Have I mentioned I don’t particularly like chaos?

The amazing thing is, after a bit of initial processing and the part about running around the building for a key, I’ve taken this all pretty well. It’s a bit overhwelming and rather expensive but it will all be fixed. And tomorrow will be another, hopefully less eventful, day. I think the moral of the story is really just to never, ever try to budget or look at our finances again. ;)

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True (Laundry) Confessions

18 Apr

I am not good at laundry. I mean, I can put clothes in the washer and dryer and hope they turn out OK (disclaimer: I don’t even remember the last time I did that – Pete does all of our regular laundry) but ironing and stains have me beat. This isn’t usually a big deal because I a) don’t generally buy clothes that need to be ironed b) send clothes that do need to be ironed (like Pete’s work shirts) to the dry cleaners and c) am not that messy so don’t get a lot of stains on my clothes. (Also, now that I think of it, most of my clothes are from Target or Old Navy so even if I did get something on them it wouldn’t be a heartbreaking loss.)

However, this past weekend, I got on a spring cleaning kick and decided the couch slipcovers, window coverings, and our bedskirt all needed to be washed. In reality, they all probably needed to be washed months or even years ago which may be part of the problem here. But Sunday was the day I finally decided to do it. I treated the stains on the slipcovers with a stain stick and was pleasantly surprised that they turned out well.

I moved on to the white roman shades, sheers, and bedskirt. I figured this should be the easier of my tasks since they’re white and I could bleach them. The roman shades were the cleanest of the bunch. The sheers from our bedroom window were literally black. We open our windows whenever we can and I don’t really want to think about what we’re breathing in if that’s what they look like. The bedskirt was fine on the side of the bed away from the window, not so good on the side closest to the window (again, yuck.)

So I washed everything, with bleach, and they look the same as before. Did I do something wrong? Wait too long to wash? Not use the right bleach? Not use enough bleach? I didn’t dry them, so is there anything I can do to try again? Sigh.

Maybe if I had a laundry room like one of these I’d also (magically) be better at doing the laundry?

30 Before 30: Final update….before 30

17 Oct

One last update on my 30 Before 30 list before my birthday! You’ll (unfortunately) be hearing more of this list once I am 30 as I work to complete the ones that won’t be checked off by tomorrow. These are the items that are in progress or completed in a way that I’m checking it off even if not done quite as originally listed. You’ll see what I mean.

Item 10 (In Progress): Re-paint the second bedroom.

We are so close on this one. So close. It took a few different trips to the paint store but the winning color is one of the ones in the picture below!

Now we just need to set a date to paint.

Item 11 (In Progress): Re-paint (or replace) the kitchen cabinets.

This one’s a hard one. I really want to just redo the whole thing. I can actually see in my head what it would like and it’s great. The problem is, if things go well (i.e. we could sell our condo…or at least get it rented…) we won’t be here too much longer. And so it becomes a matter of how much we should invest vs. what we’ll be able to get in return. We had our real estate agent stop by to check things out and collectively decided to proceed by getting estimates for the renovation. Once we have those, we’ll be able to take them into consideration with her advice regarding what we could list/sell with and and without the updates. Still not sure where this one is going to land!

Item 25 (Completed…but not quite as outlined): Go on a one-month shopping hiatus.

I’m definitely taking some liberties with this one but hear me out. I knew this would be hard. The real point of it, though, was to get me to be more thoughtful about my spending. I don’t tend to spend or shop extravagantly, necessarily, but its one of those things where the little stuff somehow just always adds up. I wanted to get that under control. There wasn’t any one calendar month where I stopped shopping completely. I actually bet if I looked there would have been 30 days in a row, however, where I didn’t shop. But that’s not where I’m trying to get the credit either. More importantly, earlier this year, Pete and I implemented (though have been slacking on the last few months…) monthly household meetings to discuss our expenses for the previous month, set a budget for the next month, and discuss any big expenditures that we might be considering. We’ve always had a budget (I am an accountant, after all) but we’ve rarely had to stick to it (a luxury that I was always grateful for…I know that is not the case for many people.) Our situation changed when I took my current job though and, hence, the need to be more thoughtful if we’d also like to keep working towards our longer term savings goals. Creating a set time to discuss things kept both of us (mostly me…) more accountable to actually making it work instead of justifying things when we might have gone over our original spending plan. So I’m going to cross this one off since the goal was accomplished, even if by slightly different means.

So, what’s left?

6. Visit the modern wing of the Art Museum.

7. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio.

12. Replace bedroom carpet. (This will be next up after the second bedroom gets re-painted.)

13. Finish photo album from senior year of college. (I swear this will eventually be done if it kills me!)

14. Make honeymoon photo album.

15. Organize things saved from our travels. (OK, in my defense, these last three items were all meant to be last winter projects since I usually hibernate during winter. But then I was busy so it didn’t happen! I swear I will get to them this winter…)

28. Go to a movie with Pete. We’ve only ever been to one together. This is my fault. (We do have a Groupon though so hopefully this will be done soon. :))

29. Try a Pilates class. (Funny thing is, my gym used to have a class but must have recently discontinued it. That’s what I get for procrastinating! I’ll figure something out though.)

 

So, eight things left plus the two things in progress. Wah wah wah. That’s not a good completion percentage. But I swear I have not been sitting around doing nothing all year. I swear. In fact, I will have to start crafting a post full of my excuses and all the other things I’ve done instead. We’ll see if I can pull that one together soon…

Oh, that’s right….

11 Jul

….I have a blog.

But here’s what I did to our condo back in May –

And here’s the 5 page long to-do list to put everything back together again –

In fairness, the list includes some normal things like “Do laundry.” But still, I might be the only person who can turn something relatively simple such as painting a living room into a multi-step project which also includes installing quarter rounds and new closet doors. Unfortunately, we do not have all the king’s horses and all the king’s men assisting us so it’s taking Pete and I some time.  But we’ll get there one day.

Opinions, Please

21 Nov

My habitual tardiness in the mornings makes it very difficult for me to get creative with my weekday wardrobe. I’m generally rushing around, planning an outfit in my head, and then just putting that on and running out the door. To make this all easier, I generally stick with combinations that I already know will work since there’s no time for trial and error. Yesterday, however, I came up with something new. And even though I wasn’t sure about it, I left the house in a plum colored dress with grey tights and flats. In theory, I think this combination works. In reality, I felt like a Smurf. Or maybe an elf. The grey tights just seemed like a lot. This got me thinking about how much I miss having girl roommates who can give you an opinion. There are many times, especially when it comes to the really trendy stuff, where I could use the confirmation that I’m wearing things correctly.

And so, this brings me to my question about ankle booties. I’ve long worn them under jeans because I had a really hard time finding tall boots. For several years now, I have also watched women who pull these off with skirts. That seemed out of the question for me. For some reason, though, I’m deciding I might want to do it. It seems like they’d be a nice option with black tights and a skirt. Easier to walk in than black tights and pumps since your foot would be held in. So, what do you think? Can I do it? Here are the ones I had in mind from White House Black Market. Love the girly bow.

Feeling a little self conscious

18 Nov

So, even though I’m been doing it for a few months now, I’m still pretty self conscious about this whole blogging thing. When I started I only told 3 people. Eventually I told another 3. I don’t know if this is odd or just how blogging works, but there’s otherwise something nice about the anonymity of it all.

 

The only thing I didn’t fully contemplate was the fact that one of the original 3 people I told happens to be a social media expert. Let’s call her Elaine. So, naturally, she posted a link on her blog and tweeted a link to mine (which happened to result in the most page views I’ve ever gotten in a single day). I was OK with this because the only people who I knew who read her blog fell into one of the two groups I mentioned above (the 6 people I had told or people I don’t know). And I just don’t get the whole Twitter thing.

 

Two things have happened recently to bump up the anxiety level. First, my sister-in-law made a comment about following Elaine’s tweets. Which means she may have seen one about my blog. Second, Elaine posted a link to her blog on facebook. Which means all of our mutual friends have access to that and then, therefore, her links. Oh geez.

 

I’m not remembering why but I recently told someone they needed to “own it.” I’m going to try taking my own advice and not feel so weird about this. In the meantime, if I know you and you are reading (Liz?) maybe you can let me know so I stop worrying about it. Haha. Thanks!

Oh, Chair Cushions

11 Oct

Sometimes I get ideas that don’t quite work out. For example, I found some cheap chair cushions at IKEA a little while ago but I didn’t like the velcro that actually attached them to the chair. I thought, how about I take that off and just sew on some ribbon to tie a bow. Seems easy enough, right? Only problem is, I don’t sew and anything that involves a needle and thread is not nearly as easy as it really should be.

With a bit of effort I managed to get two of the four sewn on. But it was so irritating to me that the other two stayed on my to do list for quite some time. Then, to add insult to injury, the two that were done got pulled off when someone actually tried to use the chairs. Sigh. Poor little ribbons with no cushions attached. Back onto the to do list they go.

Sad little ribbon

This story is actually a little embarrassing because you would not believe how long the chairs sat with chair cushions on them but not attached. Clearly we do not actually eat dinner at our kitchen table very often.

Finally, I was in Target last week and found very pretty ivory cushions to just replace the originals all together. The material is like a raw silk so has a very pretty sheen to it. They were only $9.99 a piece. And, most importantly, they actually attach with no more effort on my part than tying a bow.

Ivory Chair Cushions

Thank you, Target, for letting me cross off “fix/finish chair cushions” from my perpetual to do list.