I’m singing in the Stain

After delay after delay after delay because of rain, the staining has FINALLY begun on my house. My little brown cabin will still be a little brown cabin, so it won't appeal to someone looking for a Cape Cod or Ranch house. But my oh my, it will look sooooooooooooooo much better.

Newly Stained Section

Cross View of Stained & Unstained Sections

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Speechless


Oh, sigh…

Now that my grad school search is over, which I have been stressing and fretting and worrying and obsessing about for 11 months what the heck am I going to talk about?

Ack!

Perhaps my cats? They have been sadly un-bragged about recently. Here they are, my two lovelies…

Still no luck on selling my house. Lots of people are telling me I should hold onto it, hire a property manager, and rent it out. Anyone have thoughts/opinions on that? It scares the poop out of me financially. All those "what if's"…

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

My House is Finally on the Market!

At long last, I am excited to announce my house is finally on the market. The info from the Realtor's website:

Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 2

CIRCA: 1981
Acres: 0.287

Livable SqFt: 1326
SqFt Basement Fin: 494
SqFt Basement Unfin: 338
Basement: Full, Outside Entry
Garage/Carport: None

Style: Ranch
Construction: Siding-Wood
Remarks: Bright, spacious, updated home. Master suite up and down, or second family room downstairs. Storage space in basement. Updates include: carpet, vinyl, exterior stucco, landscaping, front and rear deck, french doors, light fixtures, ceiling fans, appliances, countertops, driveway, woodstove, attic insulation, roof and more. Come see for yourself!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Home Improvement Project Update

Welp, I'll probably be putting my house on the market in the next month or two. Here's what I've accomplished to date:

power wash house & decks……………….decks are done, house has not been started yet
paint trim on house………………………….no clue how I want it painted yet
paint lower part of house……………………ditto
add window box to house…………………..not yet
fix driveway……………………………………..nope, but probably not going to
build up block wall……………………………nope, but probably not going to
landscaping…………………………………….done
fix broken rail upstairs deck…………………nope
add railing to downstairs deck………………done
replace 3 hallway lights………………………fixtures bought, just need to install
caulk ceiling crack by wood stove…………not yet
paint living room & top part of stairwell……nope
replace window glass (broken vs all)……….done
new carpet……………………………………….going to get quotes during the (hopefully) amazing Presidents' Day sales
new floor in kitchen…………………………….bought the tiles, just need to install them
fix ice dispenser………………………………..done, thanks to the power outage
paint shelves in pantry white…………………done
replace sinks & toilets in bathrooms……….nope
replace bathroom light fixtures……………….nope
new floor in downstairs bathroom……………bought the tiles, just need to install them
add closet downstairs………………………….85% done

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Home Improvement Progress

power wash house & decks……………….decks are done, house has not been started yet
paint trim on house………………………….no clue how I want it painted yet
paint lower part of house……………………ditto
add window box to house…………………..not yet
fix driveway……………………………………..nope
build up block wall……………………………nope
landscaping…………………………………….done
fix broken rail upstairs deck…………………nope
add railing to downstairs deck………………starting tomorrow
replace 3 hallway lights………………………not yet
caulk ceiling crack by wood stove…………not yet
paint living room & top part of stairwell……nope
replace window glass (broken vs all)……….done
new carpet……………………………………….not yet
new floor in kitchen…………………………….nope
fix ice dispenser………………………………..nope
paint shelves in pantry white…………………done
replace sinks & toilets in bathrooms……….nope
replace bathroom light fixtures……………….nope
new floor in downstairs bathroom…………….not yet
add closet downstairs………………………….starting tomorrow

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Adpoting my Kids… I mean cats… Part Two

Last weekend I decided to tell the story of adopting my first cat, Dunkin. Today, Isabel takes the spotlight.

As I mentioned in Dunkin's story, when he was a kitten he thought everything and everybody was put on this earth to be his friend. He walked up to each animal or person he encountered without fear, sniffing them and rubbing on them.

It was amazing to watch because he literally seemed to be without fear even of things it should have been in his natural instinct to be afraid of, or at least wary of. Like deer. And dogs. And other cats. And cows. There were times I wished wished wished I had my camera as he went nose to nose with something many many times his size. Remarkable.

It was absolutely clear from Day One that Dunkin needed a friend, but I was already hiding him in my apartment, so I needed to wait. As it happened, I was in the final process of buying my first house, so I knew it wouldn't be long.

I moved into my new house, a cabin in the mountains, on September 7th, 2003. That date is very important because on September 18, 2003 that category 5 Hurricane Isabel rocked Virginia like a canoe in a tidal wave. Being that it was (1) within my first two weeks living in my new house, and (2) the first hurricane I can remember to make it all the way inland and still retain some force, I was freaked out. My friends clued me in to sleep in the basement because of all the tall trees in our neighborhood… thank God… because I woke to the sound of running water at about 1am. Isabel, b***h that she was, had pushed a crack in one of the walls of my basement up to 1/2 inch wide and water was pouring in like a spigot.

I cannot even tell you how depressed I was. Buying my first house was a HUGE mental and emotional hurdle because

of the commitment it took. I was freaked out because of the money. I was freaked out by the responsibility. I was freaked out by living alone. I was just generally already a walking nerve. Then, to have such devastating damage to my house ELEVEN days after I moved in was almost too much. I sat in the basement and cried.

Honestly, I was pretty depressed and numb for about 6 months afterwards. Every time it rained more than 3-4 inches water would come pouring into my basement. It got to the point where I could not sleep at all whenever it rained because I was on alert for the sound of flooding.

I bought a wet vac and would sit on the floor by the crack sucking up water as it poured in. It was not entirely successful, but it was the best I could do.

A lawyer friend suggested I contact FEMA because they were in the area looking at hurricane damage. I did, and a really nice lady came out to look at my house. I am sure she felt sorry for me because I was clearly so sad and depressed. I'm also sure she must have taken pity on me because I was honest with her and did not try to claim a bunch of things not related to the storm damage. Whatever the case, I got a grant from FEMA that paid to repair my driveway, the crack in the basement wall, and most of a drainage system under the floor. All in all, when I had originally thought I was going to be shelling out upwards of $25,000 in repairs that my insurance company would not help with, thanks to FEMA I ended up paying about $1500 out of pocket because the grant covered the rest. I know FEMA has gotten a bad rap over the years, but I am nothing but grateful and thankful.

Before the hurricane, I had already planned that this was the weekend I would find a friend for Dunkin. He had been quite the trooper through his scary transition from his family to my place then moving to a new house. I decided despite the damage, I was going to soldier on and went to visit a local fostering agency. I visited a man who had 24 cats and 16 dogs in foster care. They were friggin EVERYWHERE! In a garage out back, outside in the yard, and in every room of his house. Holy guacamole.

I've gotta admit it was really fun to get down on the floor and get smothered by a gaggle of sniffing, licking cats,

kittens, dogs, and puppies. As it turns out, there were only two cats they were adoptable because I was looking for a female about the same age as Dunkin. What cinched it was the foster dad said "Amy" was the biggest lap cat he had ever seen and would immediately jump in his lap whenever he sat down. SOLD! That's exactly what I wanted – a snuggly, loving cat.

Enter Isabel…

So, Amy, now re-named Isabel to forever commemorate the timing of her entrance into our lives – came home to live with Dunkin and me. It was love at first sight for Dunkin, who took to her immediately and welcomed her into our home with a great show of kitty love, excitement, and playfulness. Isabel blended in right away and she and Dunkin quickly became inseparable.

I live in the world's best location for cats – in the mountains and woods, hardly any traffic, and lots of animals and critters to keep them interested. For the first year, I would let the cats out when I left for work in the morning and call them back in at night. They were usually cooperative and this went on without issue for most of the winter. But there came the night when I called and called and neither cat came home. I tried again an hour later. NO luck. I walked around with a flashlight. Isabel, by some really hysterical force of genetics, absolutely cannot ignore a flashlight. She goes into psycho kitty mode and chases the beam of light. But that night, not even a flashlight could get them back in the house. I went to bed worried because it was cold.

The next morning I made the rounds of my neighbors, describing the cats to see if they had seen them. No one had. That day came and went and still they did not come home. By this time I was worried sick.

The second day a neighbor knocked on my door to tell me he had seen two cats that looked like mine making a

beeline down the mountain towards my house. Literally two minutes later they arrived – together – at my door. I can't tell you how relieved I was and I knew then that as long as they were together they would be ok. Kinda like the Wonder Twins from the old super hero cartoon on Saturday mornings.

To this day it is the same way. When I take them to the vet, they cry and cry if put in two separate cages but curl up together and seem much more relaxed if they are together in one. They are more like brother and sister than boyfriend and girlfriend and it is always fun to watch them together. They are my heart.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend