Friday, September 16, 2016

A trip to the cottage and non-buyer's remorse

Late last month we road-tripped north, to Ithaca, then Toronto, and then to my family's cottage. H. and I hadn't been to the cottage since 2012, before L. was born and before I was even pregnant.


It was a lovely 4 days, despite brief fevers for both L. and I.

There have been many times over the years where I've entertained the fantasy of moving to this part of the world. What would I do there? I don't know, and I don't think it matters. The idea of seeing this landscape every day is just so appealing to me.


Yes, the winters would be long and hard, I know. And maybe part of me would miss corporate life, or even New York City. But there's a big part of me that finds the roughness appealing.


Since I first learned about the history of the Nipissing Road, I've found myself obsessively fascinated by it, which is just one reason by I'm not intimidated by the potential hardship. It actually draws me in even more.

In truth, I'm probably never going to have my Susanna Moodie Roughing It in the Bush moment, but it's a nice daydream, now and then.


While I'm up there, I like to scour the antique markets and junk sales for unique souvenirs. Well, frankly, that's something I do everywhere. On this trip I popped into an antique store while H. sat in the car with a sleeping L. That was mistake 1. I also left my phone in the car, and that was mistake 2. Mistake 3 was that I saw a gorgeous charcoal sketch of a naked (nekkid) lady and I didn't buy it because it was 1. too expensive, 2. I didn't have H. there to advise and 3. I was stupid. I didn't even have my phone to take a pic. I left and then thought about the picture for two days, until I eventually convinced myself to go back and buy it. Of course it was gone, and I can't stop thinking about it. I have non-buyer's remorse. Someone is a very lucky owner of a nekkid lady.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Updating a drab bedroom!

With roofing and plumbing issues behind us, we can turn our attention to something more fun: decor upgrades - starting with our bedroom.

This project has gotten moving faster than I had anticipated. We knew we wanted to make this room nicer, more comfy, and more serene, but thought it was something that could wait. And in truth, it will take us some time to complete it. Here's what we're starting with (forgive the realness of these pics - ie portable a/c, trim taped up ready for paint, etc.)


I challenge you to find more fug sconces!




The room has a definite "cave" vibe going, with the low, angled ceilings. it's a small room, too - and some might run to their nearest contractor to expand asap.

Here's the vision:
1. Paint (done this past weekend).
2. New bed! Actually, the catalyst to getting this whole project moving was a sale at West Elm, and a stockpile of giftcards. The bed will be delivered this week!
3. Replace fug sconces
4. Replace fug blinds with curtains
5. Maybe hang a picture or two

Basically, everything from 3 onwards is yet to be determined. I mean, they will happen, but when? I don't know. So I must find the right sconces, and then I will have to hire an electrician... and if I'm going to hire an electrician, I'm going to get them to upgrade various things around the house. So, it will take some time.

I'll share paint & bed pics when the bed arrives, but beyond that is a work in progress.




Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Joys of Homeownership - Tell Me What They Are

So, it's been a 3-week pity-party. Verdict is: we need a new roof. Faaaaaaaaaaacccck. So, we'll probably do that in October, and then we won't ever have to think about it again. Now, let's move on.

Let's discuss the other joys of home ownership. Well, we have learned all about the circuit box, certainly. And I've been tackling my weed forest slowly, with aims to do some fall planting for next summer. And you've seen my retro kitchen, so why don't I show you my retro bathroom.


It's yellow. It's kind of adorable, with its mini tub and yellow toilet, sure. Like the kitchen, if this isn't original, it is definitely pre-1960. It's actually impressive that the tile is in as good shape as it is. Though it isn't in great shape and actually we got a credit from the sellers because it is not great in one area.

I actually kind of love the floor though.


And it's the perfect home for Kareem.


Alas, this bathroom is high on the list of things that must go. Not immediately, and certainly not before the roof. But we knew we'd want to put something a little more modern in, maybe with a normal size tub, a different color scheme, and with a shower that doesn't leak in the wall. Say what? Yes, if it's not leaking in my ceiling, it's leaking in my basement, because the shower leaks in the wall. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

The funny thing about this leak is that Izzy found it. No-good Izzy! Well, he did good. He likes to follow me into the basement to snoop around, and as I was folding laundry, I saw something had caught his attention.. I went over, and he meowed at me. On closer inspection, he had found a puddle. Good job, Izzy.


Well, let's try to stay positive, ok? Next week we are heading to Toronto and to my family's cottage. It's L's first trip to the cottage, if you can believe it. We haven't been there since August 2012 - before I was even pregnant.  

Oh yeah, did you guys watch The Tragically Hip last night? I did, thanks, internet. I have never been a huge fan, though I do appreciate them and Gord Downie is amazing performer. Thinking back, I've seen them live 4 times, which is impressive for someone who describes them self as "not a huge fan", but their shows are the stuff of legend, you'll agree if you've seen them. I enjoyed last night's performance - I've been thinking about it all day.

Finally, I leave you with this - we've been meaning to buy a kite all summer, and finally found the perfect one: an Izzy kite.




Tuesday, August 2, 2016

When it Rains, it Pours

Like, literally: in my living room.

Alt title: Honeymoon is Over.

Anyway, before I get into it, let me take you back to last week, where I joked with my friend about how we don't own a lawnmower. It's on our shopping list, because we do have a lawn, but we've owned this house for about 32 days, and the lawn has not been cut once. So, I joked to my friend that it doesn't matter, there's been no rain and the lawn is dry and dead anyway. Haha!

So, of course the torrential rains start. Downpours here and there. Then Saturday, it rained all day. All friggin day. And as I sat on my couch playing with Snapchat filters - as one does (follow me: thecrabigail), I feel a drip on my leg. Hark! Where does this damned drip come from? I look up, and I see above me this heathen ceiling boob.


These heathen boobs lactating on me. What am I even on about, and apologies to everyone who I've grossed out with that one.

Anyway, as you can see. My roof is leaking. One month after we closed.

When we had our home inspection, the inspector noted some soft spots on this part of the roof. He said we would probably have to replace the roof in a couple years, but that these could be patched easily. We asked the sellers to do this, and they refused, saying there was no leak. No leak, no work, they said. Anyway, we accepted, and here we are with a leak that's probably been stewing for awhile.

To make matters worse/more aggravating/infuriating - it look like this area has been patched (see the different textures of the ceiling - smooth/bumped), suggesting that there was a leak, and that they knew and tried to hide it.

Argh! Writing about it makes me angry all over again!

Trust: I wrote to both our realtor and lawyer. The realtor basically says "tough luck", the lawyer basically is on vacation. I don't think there's anything we can do, I don't think there's any way to prove they patched this and knew. But let it be known, Sellers: a pox on your new house. I wish you ill, you rotten scumbag.

Anyway. I've called a roofer, laid my heart out that I cannot afford a new roof right now and asked them to come and just make it not leak for one year and they laughed and said they would try, so wish me luck.

Otherwise, things have been great. We've been building track shelving, sorting toys, still unpacking, and generally getting there. Also, we bought a car, which is just crazy.

I have a vision now, of making the bedroom a beautiful, relaxing space. I'm bugging H. with paint chips and wallpaper and ideas. I hate waiting, I want to get on this, but will  have to wait and see what the damage (literally and financially) on the room before I dive into that one. Argh!

Monday, July 18, 2016

New House Tour: My Retro Kitchen

This house was built in the early 1930s, and (according to a neighbor) hasn't had many different owners in its lifetime, and it shows. One of the reasons why it was so affordable, and also why it appealed to us, is that it hasn't been updated very much. In one of the crawlspaces we even found a very dusty old washing board - I'll take a picture of it one day after H. crawls into that spider pit and retrieves it.

The most obviously dated room is the kitchen.

excuse the mess

Having just bought a house, and a car, I don't have the funds to renovate this baby for awhile, but it needs it. The appliances are new-ish, but those cupboards! OMG.

cherry-patterned window treatment came with the house
I have some wild ideas of how to live with these for a couple years, until a kitchen reno might be on the cards. Paint them white, replace the hardware (including hinges!). Still more work than I want to do right at this moment, on this 95 degree day though.


I'm also entertaining the idea of removing the beadboard, and replacing the counters with Ikea butcher-block. But removing that beadboard seems ambitious.

I'm not really a hardcore diy-er. Or, I don't think I am - though I haven't really had the opportunity to discover if I am. Please, point me towards any and all "win a kitchen makeover" competitions. Major hardware stores, come at me with your sponsorships. Bob Villa, I'm right here, baby. Barring any of those opportunities happening, I'll keep my visions small for the moment, and see where we end up. For now, I'm happy to have so much room, and so many cupboards.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Painting the new house

Here I am, resident of New Jersey. Will I ever get used to saying that? It's still weird that I'm not adding "apt. 4A" to my address forms.

Last Sunday, we packed up all our belongings, and said good-bye to that apartment.



In the days after we closed on the house, and before we moved, we came in to do some painting. I'll share with you the pics, albeit with the following warnings: these pictures suck. They were quick photos - I didn't sit and wait for the right light and the perfect moment.

First we painted what will be our TV room/play room. It was a yellowish-green color.


And now it's teal - a Behr paint color called Real Teal.


Then, the room that will be our office. It was beige.


It is now charcoal. I don't remember the actual paint name, but if you really want to know I could go look. It is also by Behr.



Finally we painted L's room. It wasn't really that bad - painted in a very Pinterest-y kind of way with green stripes. It just wasn't my style.



It's now a dark blue color, which is called English Channel by Behr.



I debated taking off that weird chair rail. Why have a chair rail in a bedroom? But when I looked at it, it seemed like too much work - which is why I will never really make it as a diy blogger.

Also, yes, this photo was taken before we did touch ups - that stupid chair rail made painting a hassle.

I'm very happy with how all these colors turned out, and will probably do more painting in the coming months. Just wait until you see my kitchen!

Now we're four days in the house, and loving it. We're still unpacking - without any exaggeration, H. has been unpacking his books for the last 36 hours. I've hardly had a moment for a tweet or an Instagram, but I stole this quiet moment while L. is napping to post something here for you.

More to come soon, I promise!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Done Deal

Yes friends, it has finally happened. We have bought a house.


The yellowest little house in New Jersey.

We don't move until July 10, and before then we're painting a bit, and prepping. I'm sure I'll share some updates on our progress, and hey - now maybe I will have some content for this blog! Fancy that.

It was so strange on closing day, that after all the mortgage paperwork and applications and the money (!!), I felt calm about receiving the keys and signing my name to the deed.

Now we have to wrap around our heads that in just ten days, we'll no longer be Brooklyn residents, or even New York state residents. Wow.
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