Monday, January 31, 2011

To Do: 1.) Stop making lists.

I have a bad habit of making lists. 

Now making a to do list is not necessarily a bad thing!  It can actually be a very useful tool for people who have trouble prioritizing, maybe for people who are over committed in their activities, or people with no short term memory, like say my husband, who frequently gets to the store and calls me to say "I forgot what you needed me to get."

Me, on the other hand.... I have love affairs with lists.  So much so that it can drive me to the brink of despair and Dave to insanity.   How is this possible, from one tiny little list, you ask?????  Well I may have the tendency to.............. overdo it.

I know, right.  Me?  Not possible. ;)

For example, YOU might make a list like this:  
1.  sweep the floor
2.  take out the trash
3.  give the cat a bath.  

I would interpret those tasks into my own list and it would probably look more like this:

1.  Sweep the floor, swiffer dust residue, mop, strip the damaged part of the wood, refinish with poly.
2. Take out the trash, go through closets, gather more stuff for goodwill, throw out old cassette tapes, organize sock drawer while you're at it, clean make-up brushes, organize hair products under the sink
3.  bathe cat, clip nails, brush, dry, apply flea treatment.

So while your list has you maybe putting in 45 minutes of work, my list takes about 300% longer, and results with me sitting on the swept, swiffered, yet not refinished floor, holding onto a drowned cat who is hissing and tying to get away from me as fast as possible, while I sob about not having time to get to that sock drawer.   Why do I add all those extras to my list????  I have no idea.  But I fail every time.  And I feel awful afteward.  I'm sure this means I need therapy of some sort, but right now I have about 18 gallons of paint to buy so it'll have to wait. 

So I am trying VERY HARD at not getting too carried away with the list of things to do at the house.  Here is a basic rough plan of what we need to accomplish:
1.  Fix cracked plaster
2.  Refresh and update kitchen
3.  Fix damage and refinish wood floors.
4.  Fresh coat of paint
1.  Pressure wash
2.  Get landscaping under control
3.  Curb appeal.

That's all she wrote!   Yes!  I can do this!  You see what I'm trying here?  I think its called.... restraint? 
Obviously we have a lot of little minutia in each of these steps, but if I don't write it down... well there's more of a chance I won't wake up in a panic attack at 2am right??

Just go with me here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Renting is for the birds.

Ok.  Its official.  We are fixing up the old geezer and putting her on the market.

Please! - please people!  Just everyone calm down!  Put down that check book... We're not quite ready to list it yet.  I know, you're chomping at the bit to make an offer, but Mrs. Belmonte needs just a few improvements before we try this again.  Its not like we're doing a ton.. but she just needs some "freshening up" before we put her out there for all the world to see. 

It's been suggested to us that maybe we should try listing it "as is" and then we wouldn't have to make any of these improvements.  I'd be lying if I said we didn't consider that.  Yeah it sounded very appealing... But I just couldn't stop thinking about how sad it made me feel.  Even more so for Dave.  He bought that house when he was 23 years old.  (the only thing I was committing myself to when I was 23 was a seriously bad haircut)  He poured a lot of sweat equity into it in the five years before I came along... and then we continued with the fun as a young married couple, being weekend warriors and having a blast.  Ahh good memories...  I just can't leave it, all sad and worn out from renting, and stick a sign in the yard?! 

So we are committing ourselves to revamping our 1922 house so its ready for someone new who will love it just as much as we did.    When is it going on the market?  I have no clue.  On New Year's Eve when we made this resolution, somewhere in my mind I was thinking Feb 1 we would have it show worthy.  Now I realize that may have been the champagne talking...

Stay tuned for all our updates!  I will try to post pictures and progress reports in between painting and sanding and replacing, and updating, maybe a little stripping and refinishing.... you get the idea...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Come in and meet the old lady!

So now that you know a little but about us, I can jump straight into the house talk.  Hmm maybe we should go over Belmonte’s stats?  Just so you know all her qualifications.  Hmm. This kinda feels like an interview, no?  I’m starting to get really nervous, ahhh!  Sweaty palms!  Look I’m just nervous because a lot of people misunderstand the old broad.  She’s a GREAT old house.  Just don’t expect her to do more than she’s capable of, ok?

Age built:  1920 or 1922 we think.  Records are spotty.
Number of Owners:  2 total, that we know of.
Sq footage:  1,009
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Plus a 1½ car Garage!  The “half” overhangs with the house, so you can enter through the kitchen.  One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that it’s always on the market?  ALWAYS available for anyone… that just wants to… swoop right in and make an offer.  Yup. Uhh… we’re always open to offers!  So uh, just open up you’re checkbook and uhh  HA HA HA HA Ha ha !  Just kidding!  Ha.  Good one.

Unless you really want to make an offer………..?

Back to square one. Literally.

Ahh Belmonte.  Yes.  Here again.  Please say it isn’t so.  Last weekend I found myself sitting on the floor of the dining room with paint chips spread out all around me in a gigantic fan.  I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry.  Am I really painting this house AGAIN?  Please someone pinch me because I must be having a nightmare.

Maybe I should back up slightly so you can catch up…

Hi.  My is Kristen and I am married to the most wonderful man on the planet and we have a diabetic furbaby Arnold.  (Is that one word?  Furbaby?  Fur-baby?  Fur baby?)  More on the cat to come – but first the story of us.  I am from New Jersey, Dave is from Mississippi, and we met and fell in love in Florida.  Yes – we called our wedding the civil war.  No – people did not have to wear red or blue uniforms and there was no fighting.  Well.  It was quite the throw down, but in a good way, as in a kick ass par-tay.  Thankfully no one was injured; maybe just a few hangovers the next day.  

We decided to stay here, because, well, it was… easy.  My family lives here, our jobs were here, there’s the beach, the golf courses, the whole “no snow” thing… and Dave already had… this… house.  The Belmonte house.  Belmonte Estate as I like to call it.  It’s actually a cute little thing, 1,000 sq feet, built in 1920, nestled in the heart of the historic district.  So I moved in after saying I do.  Since then, we’ve gown up, we’ve changed, we added to our family (remember the furbaby?) and started acquiring lots of STUFF as George Carlin used to say.  So we decided to move it on up like the Jeffersons.  Unfortunately the real estate market tanked just as we made this life changing decision.  Anyways, I’ll spare you all the details but like so many Americans we ended up buying a new house (got a fantastic deal!) but couldn’t sell the old one (oh wait, now its not so good of a deal).  Yeah.  You can say that again.  UH OH. 

So.  Here we are.  The proud owners of 2 old houses, 5 miles apart.  Yes.  We are those crazy neighbors.  The ones running back and forth between the two houses, all hours of the night, patching plaster, fixing kitchen drains, and pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion.  Why at night?  Oh maybe because we ALREADY HAVE DAY JOBS.  Yeah.  It’s a crazy life.     

But back to the paint chips…  So for 3 years we’ve been renting Belmonte.  But I have this feeling like maybe we should try selling again.  We already tried that and were totally unsuccessful.  BUT the market seems to be coming back right?  Although what’s one more year of renting!  At least its money coming IN instead of an empty house just sitting there going unloved. 

Either way I am going to have to paint.  This house.  Again. 

Now – who needs a tissue?  I’m getting up to get one anyway… along with my roller.