Thursday, August 19, 2010

My parents' new place...

G and I went to check out my parents' new digs last night. They don't officially close on the house until tomorrow, but their realtor is pretty awesome and unlocks the house for them whenever they want to show it to someone. My parents described the house as "retro" and reminded us - several times - to "look for its potential."

The house was built by a physician in the 1950s. He and his sister were the its only occupants. He died a while ago and willed the house to his church, but stipulated that his sister had the right to live in it for as long as she wished. She relocated to a nursing home and the church put the house up for sale over the summer. While I can't be certain, I don't think anything has changed - linoleum, light fixtures, counter tops, wood floors - since the physician built the house. I took a whole bunch of pictures but I haven't had time to download them yet. Maybe tonight. The coolest, most retro part of the house?

The vintage counter tops:

Yup. This is it, only the background is yellow and the boomerangs are blue and green (I think). Hanging above the peninsula in the kitchen is this amazing saucer-like light fixture that is brass colored and has a ring of small holes around the edge.

Some people travel and golf in their retirement. My parents? They take on remodeling projects. To each their own. Between their new home and our unexpected basement renovations, we'll have plenty of projects to keep us busy.

I'll try to post more pictures tonight or tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1. This is disgusting.

2. The look on my husband's face this morning after I reminded him that starting next Monday, when I go back to work full time, household chores go back to 50/50? Priceless.

3. I have so much laundry to finish before next Monday. And cleaning. Going to see how much I can tackle today...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Basement

Now that the basement has unexpectedly risen to the top of our "to-do" list, we need to start thinking about how we're going to tackle this project. We need to invest some time and resources into exploring the source of the problem, but once those tasks have been finished the fun can start.

The insurance estimate? Nonexistent. Apparently insurance doesn't cover water seeping up through the foundation.

While the basement will require some major time and and investment, the renovations don't have to happen within a particular time frame, so that's a big plus. That means we can take our time and do things right. I'm a little afraid, though, when I think back to how long it took us to finish the comparatively simple task of painting and installing new outlets and switches in our living room. Hopefully this won't take as long...

We have two big questions to think about as we contemplate the renovation phase for the basement:

1. Do we tackle the fourth bedroom since we're already finishing the main living space in the basement? This would involve installing two new small windows (the current windows are the only remaining "old" windows and need to be replaced sometime soon), installing new ceiling panels (as a temporary fix), ripping down the fake wood paneling and installing new flooring.

2. What kind of flooring do we go with? My parents installed tile when they remodeled their home's basement, and it looks really nice. Carpet, linoleum and vinyl are not options for me despite the cost benefits of the latter two. I just can't do it. That leaves tile and Pergo, which is the engineered wood-like flooring we have upstairs. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Thursday evening, we journeyed up to Park Rapids for my aunt's seventy-fifth birthday party. She and her husband planned a seventy-five mile bike trip for that Friday. They are both part of a cycling club in the area and in addition to the 10+ family members who made the trip to Park Rapids, there were about fifty other riders who biked at least part of the trip and even more joined us for a celebratory cookout after the ride was finished.

My aunt, a Red Rider, is a biking machine. She easily finished 80+ miles while G and I didn't quite reach the finish line. G wisely stopped at the halfway mark (my parents worked the food stop, so they gave him a ride back) and I suffered through a few more miles. I stopped seventeen miles short of the goal. There was no way I was going to make it too much farther. Despite the fact neither of us made the full route (note: the majority of the riders were 65+, and 21 of them all made it to the end), we were pleased, especially since it was the first time we'd cycled all summer. We spent Friday evening and most of Saturday nursing our sore butts and thigh muscles. I'm still a little tender, but G seems to have made a full recovery.

When we returned home on Saturday night, I went across the street to chat with our neighbor and ask if anything exciting had happened while we were away. He mentioned that he had heard we had over 5 inches of rain on Thursday night and that the sump pump in his house had been running ever since. I went back to our house and told G about the rain. He decided to go downstairs to see if our sump pump had been running, and soon discovered it hadn't done its job. We were welcomed home to a partially flooded basement.

[That box? Most of it was filled with my pictures from college. Oy.]

It could have been a lot worse. A whole lot worse. Fortunately, the water was restricted to a space covering about 1/4 of our basement. Unfortunately, our big storage closet was included in that space so several boxes, a few appliances and some other things - including most of my horn music (which is expensive when you add it all up!) - did receive some water damage. Some of our good friends immediately volunteered to come over and help us assess the situation. The boys ripped out the carpet and padding from the area that was damaged, sucked up the water that had pooled under the padding with the wet/dry vac, and carried the ruined materials to the garage to dry out. Now we're waiting for our insurance guy to assess the damage (we took pictures of everything as it existed when we first found it) so we can figure out the next step in the cleaning process.

So much for renovating our bathroom before the basement! Oh well, like I said, it could have been so much worse.