Small Updates

Home improvements at The Manor have stalled for the last few weeks. I attribute this slowdown to three main causes:

  • I've been working crazy hours. With my new office space and a new employee, plus a last burst of travel, I haven't been home nearly as much as usual.
  • The kids are out of school and that means a lot more "quality time." Basically, they are constantly in our personal space and that isn't particularly conducive to swinging a hammer.
  • It has been f***ing hot, and I refuse (on financial and also sadomasochistic grounds) to turn the A/C on. It's hard to see the potential glory and grandeur of your home when you are sitting in a sweat puddle. (Thanks to Bill for that endearing term.)

Nonetheless, we plod on.

Last weekend, Bill and I walked through the main floors of our house (not the attic, because it's hot like an oven -- or "hot like a turkey being cooked" as the kids say) and made a list of all the things we'd like to do to each room. It took several pages and included things as big as "gut the kitchen" and things as small as "remove dead bugs from window wells". 

So we picked a handful and got to work.

Sadly, the kitchen renovation wasn't at the top of the list. Instead, we chose small items that could be accomplished with a minimum of effort and perspiration. (Did I mention that it's sweltering down here?)

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It began in the linen closet, where the overhead light had been too high for me to reach. For the last three months I have been rummaging around at night in the pitch black to find random things that had been stored in the closet. So first on the agenda was tying a pretty ribbon to the cord so that I can reach it without hauling out a stepladder.

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Next on the list was organizing the closet. I whipped out my sadly neglected label-maker and got to work. (While there are still a few more organizational pieces to add to this closet, I'm generally pleased with it's progress. Now we'll see if the blue towels can be successfully segregated from the beach towels...

Oh, and Bill fixed the bi-fold doors that keep coming off the track. I think we'll eventually replace them with something else (curtains, maybe?) but for now they do the trick.

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Then Bill tackled the much-awaited crib removal from Sarah's room. We had converted it to a toddler bed, but since she is thoroughly enjoying her new big-girl bed, we decided it was time. I wanted to move it straight into Bill's office (which I am determined to turn into a nursery "just in case") but Bill wasn't on board. Instead, he dismantled it and stored it up in the attic. From here on out, you will note that he's especially sweaty after braving the top floor.

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There is still so much to do in her room that I'm ashamed to share photos. But we're trying to be thoughtful about new furniture. She will need a proper dresser and a desk, but we want them to be something vintage (circa 1910) that we can refinish in a modern palette. Once we get those bigger pieces in place we can decide on toy storage and lighting. Oh, and we intend to eventually replace the carpet with hardwood. 

One small thing we did, however, was to put up her "art pocket" -- a series of 4 vinyl pockets that she can showcase her latest artwork in. I hope this will help us tame some of the clutter around her "drawlings" -- so far it is a hit.

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And last but not least, we finally got around to removing the religious decor that the previous owner left. This one is a mixed outcome -- our walls got barer (which is already a problem) but we don't have random Gothic portraits of bibles confronting us at the top of the stairs, so I'm going to call it a win.

What's Next?

The weather forecast says it will be in the mid-90s with thunderstorms every afternoon for the next week, so I don't anticipate the sweat issue to abate any time soon. I think we've talked Jason (the least squeamish member of the family) to remove the dead bugs from the window wells -- so that might get checked off the list next.

As ever, I dream of renovated kitchens.