, , ,

It was all good just a month ago…

Life has been really weird for the past month. Surreal. Bizarro.

We are all safe and healthy. But our house…our house is not right now.
But it will be again (like hopefully by October when our short term apartment lease runs out).   It’s a long, annoying story.  And generally I’m not really one to blog about my feeeeeeelings. But the series of events that have let up to today have been nothing short of surreal. And as crappy as what has transpired is – I also don’t want to forget this weird time in our lives.  You know, when we allegedly want to look back on all this and laugh in 5 years, as everyone keeps telling me.  And I also know that once it’s over and we are home again – the memory will feel fake. So I’m going to chronicle what I can chronicle now. Some parts I’m intentionally leaving out for privacy as we still don’t know how this story fully ends. Yes I’m being vague. But you can probably put two and two together as to why.
Screen shot from my IG account the morning of July 18, 2016:

Oh that silly asshole Irony.  Amiright?  So let’s rewind a little bit more to late June. Theodore (who has turned into suuuch a happy, smiling, go-with-the-flow baby) was still sleeping in our bedroom at 8 weeks old.  The plan was to get around to painting the new molding and doors in his nursery before moving him in. Yeah, remember when we had all the molding and doors replaced at the end of March while working on The Big Boy Room? So I never got around to painting them because I had Theodore a month early.  I was beginning to get some sleep and was gearing up to start painting. As everyone knows, this summer has been particularly hot. Our old AF HVAC had been running constantly, and because it’s old AF it was installed in our attic in like the 1840’s or something (just kidding our house was built in ’59). Apparently it’s way more common to install them in closets nowadays. Anyway.  
We hadn’t walked into the nursery in a few days. It was basically serving as storage so I honestly can’t tell you how many days it had been. But I walked in to get something, and out of the corner of my eye (or Tom’s eye, I can’t even remember who saw it first), there was BRIGHT GREEN FUZZY MOLD on the ceiling.  Like, this ish was new. And very happy in it’s environment. My plants outside the house are not that happy. I wish I could take credit for cultivating that amazing atmosphere for that mold on purpose.  We quickly realized the AC unit was directly above it in the attic. So we turned it off. We were leaving to go on a mini-vaca to a lake house on the NY/NJ border the next day for 4 days. We decided it could wait to be dealt with unpon our return.
We came home. We had one bumbling plumber come over and break stuff and tell me he had no idea what the problem was after 2 hours. Thanks guy. This was the last week of June and temps were hitting 100 degrees on the reg. I packed up the babes and high tailed it to my parents house in the Catskills. We did a little more due diligence the second time around in looking for an HVAC company and waited to get on their schedule. In the meantime Tom managed to put his foot through the ceiling one day while trying to poke around up there. Add it to list.

See that tiny patch of mold that we were losing our minds over? 

Skipping some of melodrama of the exact issues, at end of the day we needed a new HVAC system installed. I brought the kids home on July 5th to sit still in the stifling heat (there were not enough box fans in the world for those two days, luckily the boys handled the heat better than I did) so the workers could install the new system. And the guys were great. They stayed late 2 days in a row to get that system up and running for us, and our attic was easily well over 100 degrees. 

 ‘Your attic is a mess – this is going to take a while’

We called our usual interior contractors to come over and cut out the affected sheetrock and assess any other potential damage/treatment needed. As scary as the word ‘mold’ is to a homeowner (or a parent), the truth is that if the source is eliminated (broken, leaking HVAC) and the growth is removed, and everything is cleaned properly (patch of sheet rock, some insulation, lotso bleach), you really have nothing to worry about going forward. We breathed a nice cool sigh of relief.  Approximately two+ weeks of hot hell was over. Yipee! Our bad luck streak had officially ended. 

Let me just pause to say that it is f*cking comical to write that sentence out now. Folks, we thought that tiny patch of mold, a foot through the ceiling, and replacing the HVAC was the worst thing that could ever happen to us as homeowners.

In the meantime, we had gotten word that another set of contractors we had hired to basically redo our exterior (roof! siding! deck! fence!) were finally going to to start the work…you guessed it, the last week of my maternity leave.  July 18, 2016. See IG picture above if you already forgot what the real story is about.

To be continued…
  
, , , ,

ORC: The Big Boy Room – The Reveal! {Week 6}

You might be asking yourself “Wait, what happened to Week 5’s post?”

And if you’ve been following along on this challenge (or noticed my instagram feed to the right), you might have also guessed this happened:

Yup, Theodore Raiden decided to join us on May 1st, when I was just a day short of 36 weeks. Good thing we transitioned William into his big boy bed literally a week before, when the wallpaper was up, but the finishing touches were not quite there. Lots of big changes in a very short time period for this little big brother, but I am happy to report he has taken it all in stride.  I’m really regretting not doing a baby birthday pool sooner.

But enough about babies, onto the big boy room!

Yes, that is a pillow with a picture of Tom and I getting ready to sky dive. Seems fitting in the room.

William really digs his airplane bed. We picked it out without any input from him, so we are glad he likes it. He did fall/roll out of it pretty much every night for the first week, but since then he has been staying in it at night.  Luckily, we found a really plush shag rug (my nod to the original decor) that softens the fall, so we didn’t even know he was falling out until we would check the monitor and realize we couldn’t see him.  I’ve slowly been taking the extra pillows that were stacked around the bed away as he seems more and more comfortable.  His instinct is to go straight to the corner when we say its time to get into bed, which is why there are still a few blankets and pillows to the left, but he eventually crawls into bed as we sing songs or read.

I especially like the toy box on the front of the bed. We added two hinges so the top doesn’t have to come all the way off. There isn’t room for much else in here, so it’s nice to have a place to toss the handful of toys that get dragged up here in the course of the day.  We are still lacking in book storage – I’m on the search for a small magazine rack or basket.

The rocket canopy was not my idea. (Something like this was actually my original idea for the corner, but, you know, time and energy.) I still think the store bought version is a little too big for the room, but, I was outnumbered by Dad and William 2:1 (I should get use to this feeling I guess). We hung it from a stud, so its a few inches farther from the corner than I would have liked in an effort to minimize how huge it looks, but it is damn cute, and best of all, *hopefully* safe in case a kid decides to try to climb it or something.

We weren’t planning on bringing the glider from the nursery into this room.  And it wasn’t in here the first week. However, while we were in the hospital, the grandparents were really having trouble getting William to bed, and suggested we move it back in.  Sitting in this glider and reading before bed is a huge part of his bedtime routine, and it seemed like there were enough changes going on and we could concede on this small aspect to make his bedtime smoother.  It has already made a world of difference. The baby is in the crib in our room for the next 8 – 10 weeks or so, so nothing is in the nursery right now.  Hopefully we will be able to move it back when Theodore gets transitioned into his room.

I’m still looking for just the right diaper organizers for the closet.  The pocket hanger we bought from Amazon is a touch too small.  We have made good use out of a few simple hooks for clothes, hats, and the wet diaper bag for now though.  The clip on light has really helped with making diaper changes more efficient as well. It helps when you can see what you are trying to clean. Go figure.

The shelving between the windows were borrowed from other rooms in the house, so they are legit vintage brass brackets.  The wood tones match the hand-me-down dressers perfectly.   The olive green blackout curtains are velvet and match the rug which was a completely happy accident. I wish they were a little bit longer (I cringe at too-short curtains) but they only came in one size. Eventually I have great plans add a strip of fabric (I’m thinking something black and white with a small pattern) to the bottom so they look longer.  For now, I’m telling myself it’s a good thing the heavy fabric ends right at the radiators, so the heat isn’t completely trapped behind the curtains this coming winter.

Seek adventure, William Odin!

Airplane Bed Rocket Canopy Glider Rug Curtains Owl Hamper Seek Adventure Frame

I’m so glad I participated in the One Room Challenge.  Thanks to Calling it Home for hosting this great event once again!

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 6

, , , ,

ORC: The Big Boy Room – Wallpaper & Closet! {Week 4}

So last weekend, Tom and I tackled the wallpaper wall. Cue the dramatic thunder and lighting sound effects…and then sweet birds tweeting as a rainbow emerges.

Maybe it was because I over worry, and Tom under worries, but putting up the wallpaper was surprisingly easy.  We did some mental prep work during the week, discussing our plan of attack to get the wall done in the limited hours we would have with the grandparents over.  I read and re-read this great post from Red House West about their experience putting up two sets of this particular wallpaper in Mera’s play room.

The wallpaper package itself suggests starting from left to right on your wall, and drawing a plumb line about 1 inch short of the actual width of the first panel (18 inches, so we drew our plumb line at 17 inches from the corner). This is to accommodate for not so straight sheetrock corners, so that excess inch gets trimmed in place.  It also ensures your next 6 or 7 panels should be parallel going across the wall.

We knew we were only going to use about 6 and half of the 8 panels because our wall is a little smaller than the mural itself. We thought about trying to start with the middle panel, so we would have a more symmetrical mural (the trees lower in the middle and get taller on the sides), but given the good advice on the package to start left to right, and my pregnancy brain turning to complete mush lately (more on that later) I couldn’t mentally deal with the math (I’m an accountant IRL. This bodes well for my co-workers my last few weeks of work).  Short story long, we did left to right.

We really found 4 of the 5 tips in the RHW post helpful, especially #1 – when it says soak for 30 seconds, they mean it.  We timed the first one (we had a plastic table out in the room and were soaking the paper in a large shallow tupperware) and about 15 seconds in, Tom and I were arguing over whether or not to wait the additional 15 seconds.  The argument went something like this: Tom “This is gooey, lets take it out” Me “No, can we follow the damn directions? Let’s wait” Tom “I’m telling you Kayla, this shit is ready” Me “Fine, what do I know” (Because I’m a real defeatist like that. This is why I’m not a lawyer).

You know what, Tom was right (as usual). The paper was definitely adequately soaked.  As was our floor as we gently pulled the paper out. And it went up just fine. We had more than enough time to iron out wrinkles and shift the paper on the wall. There was a lot of goo, and we had a bag of new lint free rags ready to soak it up. We also used my 18 inch plastic fabric ruler to help smooth out bubbles and excess goo. We didn’t buy any other supplies, and I’m glad we didn’t waste money on it. We didn’t even need the giant sponge I found in the garage.  Another tip we especially appreciated from RHW: we had extra razor blades for trimming the excess paper, and went through about 8 blades on the 7 sheets we used.

We continued this way, soaking for about 20 seconds, and putting the paper up and played around with it for about 10 minutes. We actually realized “booking” the paper wasn’t working for us. I think if you had to put up paper yourself, this is probably great, but we had Tom on a stool attaching and shifting, and me crouched near the floor, holding the paper away from the wall ever so slightly so we would only attach it as Tom was ready to smooth it out.  We did the whole wall in less than two hours, with a little lunch break in between while my MIL put William down for his nap. Granted, this was a shorter wall, no windows, nothing crazy to cut around. And the print itself is VERY forgiving. But we were definitely impressed with ourselves (and petrified that within three days we would walk in and the paper would be peeling away from the wall in resentment). But I’m happy to report, a week later it still looks good!

We do have one tip of our own to offer up: When trimming the excess paper around any outlets with your box cutter – turn off the electricity!  Figured that one out the hard way (Tom, not me).

And now the closet.  When planning out the room, I was all for the monochromatic black and white look, but Tom was itching for some more color on the walls. I really wanted to keep the other three walls white, so we compromised on painting the interior of the closet. I’ve previously mentioned when we removed the old sliding doors, we opted not to put on new accordion doors as we did in the other rooms because we knew we would use this nook as a changing area.  The bed we purchased had some royal and navy blues in it, and we had found dark olive black out curtains for the windows.  I wanted to marry some of those colors in the closet to make it all look more purposeful.

While contemplating design, I came up with this sick MS paint rendering to send to Tom:

The light blue was meant to be some leftover paint we had from our master bath that I thought we might reuse here and the black lines depict the shelf above the dresser, the green was a sample pot we had on hand, and we knew we would have to buy the royal blue if we wanted to use it. We ended up making life easier on ourselves (or so we thought) and just buying a single gallon of the royal blue color (Deep River by Behr) and adding a single, angled stripe with the sample green (Grape Leaves by Behr).

Single, 4 inch angled stripe. How hard could that be you might ask?  Apparently VERY hard for me. I thought we would just start in one corner, tape at a slight angle, and let the tape determine the placement.  Sounded easy as I put up the top piece of tape. The bottom piece, not so much.  What started out at a 4 inch gap, turned into a 3 inch gap as I taped around the three inner walls.  So then I tried  to measure down 4 inches in a few spots and connect the dots, so to speak. Still wonky.  I could only assume the tape itself was wonky from being rolled, or our walls were not straight enough because they are old and we have found some seriously questionable construction decisions in this house.  CLEARLY, it could NOT be user error.  I spent two different lunch breaks up here (I work from home) trying to figure this out.

Thankfully, my mother happened to visiting for the week and by the third day, I enlisted her help. Remember when I said I’m a paint hog? It was time to let go.  She figured it out in a matter of minutes. (Also remember when I mentioned my pregnancy mush brain earlier?  Totally pulling that card again). Once we were satisfied with the tape, I painted inside the stripe with blue to help with bleeding, and gave it two quick coats of green. Voila! Abstract stripe.

So yeah, 2 hours to do a wall of wallpaper, and about 3 combined hours to paint a friggin’ stripe in a closet.  Who knew.  So what’s your favorite part?  I assumed it would be the wallpaper (which I LOVE, don’t get me wrong) but this pop of color in the closet has made me surprisingly happy!  And coincidentally, one of William’s cars totally matches this paint scheme. It was meant to be…

Next week – STUFF!!! Don’t forget to check out the other participants.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 6