Woo hoo! The house projects are mainly done now. We have had workmen in here pretty steadily for a year. Some of the work was unintentional, but a lot of what we did was what we wanted!
This time last year, our central air went on the blink. We called for repair and the old unit was leaking Freon. They refilled it, but cautioned us that if we continued to have problems, we’d need to replace the unit. Lo and behold, we came back from New Jersey and Janet Evanovich and I felt like the a/c was just not doing its job. They came back out and said we needed a new unit, or we’d be paying $300 every two weeks for new Freon. (Is that supposed to be capitalized? Microsoft says it should be!)
So the day I left to go and tend to my dad and his heart attack, we signed a contract on a new central air unit. Because of the adoption, we wound up financing the majority of the cost of it, and so we paid it off all year until this spring when we finished paying it off with our tax return. In addition to the good cool air we are getting and the slightly cheaper utility bills (only slightly), we did get to use it for our energy tax credit, which was nice.
Over the winter, I decided I couldn’t live with the lighting situation as it was any more. I was good sick and tired of constantly having to lean over the dining room table to turn the light on. I was tired of not having any lighting in our living room, save one stupid floor lamp. I was tired of the kitchen light blowing bulbs every 2 weeks. You will recall that during the blizzard in December, we had gone around to visit our neighbors and bring cookies to everyone. Well, we spent a good amount of time, probably an hour or more, with our neighbors Manfred and Bobbie. It turns out that Manfred has an electrical business with his son, Wyatt. http://accurateelectricbiz.com/ *Ding ding ding* We have a winner!!! Time to call Manfred and ask him to help us out. We set up a time for them to come in January and they came an installed 4 pot lights in the living room ceiling, correctly wired the dining room light, and replaced the kitchen ceiling fan. They did an amazing job—they even vacuumed! All for about $450, plus the cost of the fan. I am so happy to be able to flip a switch and the light comes on over the table. I haven’t changed a light bulb in the kitchen yet. And the living room light, what can I say? AMAZING! We can sit in there any time now. I love it.
Well, lo and behold, we got to thinking and the General decided Leah needed a new ceiling fan. When we also got to talking about moving the office downstairs, he really wanted to have a ceiling fan in that room as well before putting all the equipment in there. So we went ahead and hired Manfred and Wyatt to come back and put up two more ceiling fans.
Then we started on ServiceMagic.com to find out where we could get the house painted, the landscaping cleaned up, the new doors installed, and the shutters replaced. Of all those projects, the only thing I demanded be done was to have the doors replaced. We finally found companies to work with that we really liked—the only bad thing was that there were 2 people we had to turn down, both of whom I really liked. The door estimates dragged on forever. It seems doors are big business. Eventually, we cancelled 3 appointments for even more estimates. My head was swimming from sales calls and pitches, and we finally hired Window World to do the doors, which I frankly suspected we would do all along. http://www.windowworldfredericksburg.com/ They did our windows 4 years ago and did an amazing job, and they did our gutters, soffits, and downspouts 2 years ago and I loved the old guy they sent out here to work on the house. I liked their salesman too, so I was disappointed when he didn’t show up this time, but I guess he had decided it was time to retire.
We hired World of Color (http://www.worldofcolorinc.com/) to do the paint and they kicked in a 10% discount if we let them do the shutters too, and their shutter price was mid-range of what the other estimates were. We had one estimate of $400 and one of $1000, and they were at $700, but gave us a nice discount on the paint and shutters if we bundled them, which allowed us to do both projects. I was ever so happy to get rid of that crappy green paint, you have no idea! I really liked the owner of the place too, he was so friendly and we had a lot of nice chats about babies and infertility and all that stuff of all things to discuss with your house painter!
For our landscaping we hired Kinetic Resources LLC. Mainly because he was the only guy that we requested an estimate for who showed up and gave us the estimate! http://www.servicemagic.com/rated.DHLandscaping.6676090.html But I really liked Brett, the guy who came out and who did all the work, and they gave us an awesome price to really clean up the yard.
There are still so many things I’d like to do to the house, but for now, I am going to bask in the doneness of these projects. All we have left to do is have our yard sale to get rid of a bunch of stuff (June 12, by the way, and 4 families are participating, so come and buy some goodies!) and then move the bedroom and office. This should all be completed by the end of June.
For the outside, I would like to put in a nice patio out back, do some actual landscaping, and replace the driveway and front walk.
Inside, haha, where to start? I’d like to gut the kitchen and replace it with a much nicer set up, bump out the back of the house and add an actual dining room, replace all the flooring throughout the house, have all the ceilings painted, gut and replace the bathrooms, possibly add a master suite up in the crawlspace over the kitchen/living room level.
There’s time. God willing, we won’t be leaving this house any time soon. It’s a good place to call home, and getting better one TLC project at a time.