Progress Is a Stack of Empty Boxes

The Gingerbread Diaries
It may be a small stack, but it's still a stack!

It may be a small stack, but it’s still a stack!

We’ve been able to cross several things off The List the last two weekends, for which I am truly grateful. We’ve penciled-in the most likely weekend for the housewarming/open house party so the clock is now ticking to get the rest of the functional changes dealt with!

First thing that happened? Todd took down the problematic doors and I did a happy dance. Now there’s more open space in the dining room and no more spooky spot in our bedroom. I am a much happier camper. Currently the doors are leaning against the back hall wall (the one not under near-constant water assault) but we may be swapping them with other doors that are staying in place but in not as good shape. Or not. That’s still very much up in the air.

A previously blocked corner of the dining room with a new bit of shelving from Homegoods--this side will half of the bar set-up when we're done.

A previously blocked corner of the dining room with a new bit of shelving from Homegoods–this side will be half of the bar set-up when we’re done.

The next big change was the kitchen.

I don’t remember if I said much about it, before, but the weekend prior to the move I was cleaning the upper kitchen cabinets and came to the conclusion that cleaning wasn’t going to be enough. The only way I was going to feel comfortable putting stuff in that kitchen (short of replacing the units) was if they got a good coat of Kilz before-hand. So, already tired and ready to be heading back to Tallahassee, we instead went to Lowes, bought spray cans of the encapsulating primer, and then busted it out, guerrilla-style, in about 20 minutes.

The kitchen before painting...

The kitchen before painting…

And 20 minutes later once the spray-paint dust settled.

And about 20 minutes later once the spray paint dust settled.

We didn’t have time to do the lowers, though, so that got put off. I also would not recommend the spray paint route without first removing anything that moves, because the little particles get all over. We wiped down the counters, etc. afterwards, but there are some places that still show a bit of over-spray, etc. Oh, well, we know the current kitchen is temporary and aren’t sweating it.

The very scary lowers (after prying up the old liner paper)...

The very scary lowers (after prying up the old liner paper)…

And a couple hours later--a vast improvement!

And a couple hours later–far from perfect but a vast improvement!

But two weekends ago, ready to finally unpack all those kitchen boxes, it was time to tackle the lowers, the drawers, and put down fresh shelf-liners. The painting took one afternoon and it wasn’t until this past Saturday that I finally put the liners down and started to unpack.

Ahh, the comfort of having your stuff around!

Ahh, the comfort of having your stuff around!

I still haven’t painted the cabinet doors and I’m not fully sure I will. Maybe the large ones for the lowers but, while I’m still not a huge fan of open shelving in general and neither is Todd, having everything open for now means we can find things a touch easier.

And it’s looking like it’ll be the first of the year before we actually do the big kitchen reno, because I didn’t want to be mid-project during the holidays!

Another big thing that greatly makes this feel more like our home and less like a nursing home was the removal of the ramp out front!

(Direct link for the feed readers: Gingerbread Diaries 1.5–The Great Ramp Caper)

Todd had been concerned that the bricks under the ramp would be in bad shape or crumbling. Thankfully, aside from a bit of moss growth, they’re in great shape just need some cleaning up. It’s so nice to be able to walk down the two steps to go out to the mailbox in the evenings instead of balancing on the ramp–no problem in flats, but in heels it’s another story!

It's the little things, folks!

It’s the little things, folks!

And in another case of using what we’ve got, we immediately repurposed the larger “half” of the ramp as a platform for the grill!

Waste not, want not!

Waste not, want not!

Our side yard is mostly sand and, like the rest of everything, tilts quite a bit. We’d used the grill a few times but it leaned back at an alarming angle. The eventual plan is to extend the bricks over to create a patio or maybe even pour a slab at some point, but for now this works.

One step at a time, we're creating a home out of a house.

One step at a time, we’re creating a home out of a house.

In the downstairs bathroom we added an etagere for some much-needed storage and, despite the fact that we added a piece of furniture to an already cramped room, it somehow made the space feel bigger. Maybe it’s the bright white covering some of the grey-mauve walls? Who knows! All I know is that it helped. Big time!

The bins on the etagere top and shelf are some I’ve been picking up at places like Tuesday Morning and Homegoods. Since we don’t know what color schemes or themes we’ll be using in the back hall and bathroom yet, I figured a good beige/khaki neutral is something that can go anywhere. And if I want to, later on, I can dye or paint them to match whatever we do.

We have lots of shelving in the back hall and can use this for a butler’s pantry if need be, but I don’t want various stuff just sitting out looking cluttered. Bins cover a multitude of organizational sins, so I’m still on the lookout for more (and cheap is good, too, since we need a bunch).

Finally, the programmable thermostats have gone in. This was fairly high on the to-do list but moved to the very top of the list when we got our most recent utility bill. *gulp* It doesn’t help that it was July, and a real scorcher of one, too. But our bill was over $500 this month!!! Yeowch! We expected an increase thanks to just having more space to climate control, but that bill hurt a bit to open.

It started so well...

It started so well…

Of course, nothing goes completely as planned at the Gingerbread Dollhouse, so of course the thermostat install had some hiccups.

Jenn: How’s it going?
Todd: Okay. They had the wires screwed in extra tight and the lead painted in place on the opposite side of the wall, but I’m getting there.
Jenn: Cool. Do you have the right number of wires?
Todd: Oh, yeah, I just have to get them in the right spots.

The above was a condensed paraphrasing but I jinxed us, really, by asking about the wires. Because sooner than expected what do you think happened? There may have indeed been five wires in the old thermostat set-up but were they all connected? As in to some sort of power source? Nope.

1 step forward, 2 steps back...

1 step forward, 2 steps back…

Having already mounted the back plate of the new thermostat to the plaster wall, Todd put the old thermostat hanging from the wires so we’d at least have air. He ended up having to crawl under the house and went so far as to open the access panel of the a/c unit to get everything working. Upstairs went much smoother, by the way.

While we didn’t go for the shinyness of a Nest thermostat, Todd did get a wi-fi accessible thermostat for the downstairs that we can control through our cell phones. So that’s kinda cool.

I’m still not sure we’re going to save much on the utility bill for another month or so, though, as any time the a/c units are off during the day just seems to mean they work harder cooling the place down in the evenings.  Oh, well, fall will be here soon enough.

Until next time, we’ll just keep on unpacking boxes!