The To-Do List Gets Real

The Gingerbread Diaries

I don’t remember, now, exactly what issue we were addressing a couple weeks ago when I said a frequent refrain around here:

Well, add it to the list!

So I don’t know why I was surprised to find Todd with pen and pad before turning in for bed that night, making an actual list of things that needed to be done around the house. Of course, this isn’t anything decorative, these were just things we needed to do to make the house more easy to live in. Since I like to work in some semblance of order, when he asked for my input I suggested we take it room by room. This is what we came up with:


  • Paint lower cabinets with Kilz
  • Fit cabinets and drawers with shelf liner
  • Buy & install water filtration system
  • Buy & install garbage disposal
  • Replace floor register, add diverter

Dining Room

  • Remove doors to kitchen & back hallways
Those doors are taking up some prime real estate!

Those doors are taking up some prime real estate!

When we re-do the kitchen we’ll install a swinging door between the kitchen & dining room. In the mean time, we never close the one that’s there and since you have to either go outside or through the dining room to get to the kitchen, I doubt we ever will. If we remove the door it frees up that corner to unpack the bar. Same goes for the door into the back hallway (which used to be the back porch); it stays open all the time as a main traffic route and blocks the other corner of the dining room where the other half of the barware would go.


Nothing needed here except to unpack it!

Main Hall

  • Install programmable thermostat
  • Relocate wireless router (requires running cable under house)
  • Replace front door & reorient opening direction
Ironically, the door is standing in the way of my pretty hallway plans.

Ironically, the door is standing in the way of my pretty hallway plans.

Again, the way the door opens blocks me from using the corner towards the living room. I’d like to put our antique desk in that corner but not if it’s going to get banged into by the front door. But there’s plenty of room on the opposite side of the door and the doorway into the library is too close to the exterior wall to have that space be usable anyway.

Living Room

Nothing needed here except to settle in.

The Abyss

  • Fix ceiling fan
  • Fix weird outlet on the south wall.

I’m grateful to have an outlet on each wall of my studio but it never fails that the one I depend on (aka the one closest to my computer) is a bit wiggly.

Back Hall

  • Clean wall where water damage occured
  • Re drywall/sheet rock wall next to bathroom
  • Add draft dodger or something to back door to prevent loss of climate control (floor is beyond not level back here)

The back hallway–what used to be back porch–is probably the worst area of the house. Extensive water-damage semi-concealed behind shelves, this are is prime territory for a mudroom-style makeover, but first it needs some triage. The floor was replaced as part of the 203k renovation, but there’s still some work to do.

Downstairs Bath

This is okay for now, but it’s the second item on the rooms to fully renovate list. (The first room on that list is the kitchen.)

Back Porch

  • Install outlet or two

Utility Room

  • Install outlet for chest freezer.

Technically, we have an outlet for the freezer, it just puts it on the same wall as the washer and drier and we want it on the other wall for a variety of reasons. Mainly it’ll prepare the room for the eventual moving-in of the water heater and fridge when we redo the kitchen, but that’s farther down the road.

Upstairs Bath

  • Get sink taps working
  • Install shower head (stationary or handheld, I don’t care which)

Right now we’re doing all our showering downstairs, which means I cart my clothes for the day down each morning and use The Abyss as my dressing room to avoid multiple trips up and down stairs first thing in the morning. While it works for now, I’d really like to not have to use that cramped cave of a bathroom or have clothes and makeup and toiletries strewn among 2 floors.

Guest Room

  • Install window coverings (this is the only room without blinds and it gets really warm during the day)
  • Fix ceiling fan

Master Bedroom

  • Flip door.

I know, me and the doors. While I understand that closing off rooms was for practical reasons as well as privacy (you can save money by only heating one area or another, a definite advantage over open plans), I have serious issues with closed doors and only sleep with a closed bedroom door if there’s a guest in the house. So when the most logical place for the bed means that the door opens alongside it–along my side of it–when it could just as easily have opened the other way alongside the door the adjoins the main and guest bedrooms, well, yeah, I want it flipped!

Of course, since the frame will need a little man-handling to make that happen, we’ll most likely be sans door for a while. I’m cool with that since it solves the main problem: the door creating this little half-wall on my side of the bed that makes me think someone’s going to jump out from behind it at night. I think there are something like 20 doors downstairs (not including the kitchen cabinets but counting the coal/wood doors next to most of the fireplaces) and another dozen up. That’s a lot of doors to deal with.

Todd’s Office

  • Install additional outlet(s)
  • Seal up some open spots in his closet

Upstairs Hallway

  • Install programmable thermostat
  • Install second wireless router, direct-linked from downstairs
With the second router right under the thermostat we should be able to get a decent signal in the 3 upstairs rooms. I'm envisioning a repurposed pie safe or similar to hold linens, and the router could hide in there, eventually.

With the second router right under the thermostat we should be able to get a decent signal in the 3 upstairs rooms. I’m envisioning a repurposed pie safe or similar to hold linens, and the router could hide in there, eventually.

We have quite a bit of signal interference thanks to the thick walls (mind you, they made up for it with thin outer walls…) so a hardwired set of routers seemed the best option to ensure full access upstairs and down.

And that’s “it” for now.  A bit of electrical work, some door issues to be resolved, but the only major must-do is the downstairs hall wall. That thing is contributing quite a bit to the musty smell back there and just can’t be good to keep around in general. Having replaced the roof it’s no longer getting worse every time it rains (seriously, how they managed to ignore it all those years is beyond me) but it doesn’t mean it’s miraculously getting better on it’s own, either.

But hey, now that we have a list, we can start to check things off it!

The Bloom Is Off The Rose

The Gingerbread Diaries

No, we’re not suffering from buyer’s remorse or anything like that, but this past weekend hit the back-and-forth wall and decided not to bother. The novelty is gone after two months of traipsing up to the Dollhouse to sleep on an air mattress in the living room* and get a few hours of work done before packing our things back up (and hiding what’s staying from the contractor’s crew**) and driving back to Tallahassee to try and accomplish something with the rest of our Saturday when, really, we’re just too tired from the back and forth to get much of anything done.

It made me tired just to type that out.

So we bailed this past weekend and didn’t go up to the Dollhouse. We slept in on Saturday. We relaxed. And we packed up the Library so we’ll be tripping our way around a cardboard jungle for the next 2 weeks or so.

This is maybe half of the library boxes...

This is maybe half of the library boxes…

Never underestimate how much space you save by storing on the vertical!

I left a total of two cookbooks unpacked: one is the Mug Recipes book I reviewed a while back that we may be cooking out of once the kitchen goods start heading box-ward. The other is a book I still need to review sometime soon. There’s a few tchotchkes still to wrap and pack, but otherwise the library/living room is done.

What order do you pack a house up? I’ve always done books first, kitchen last, with the other areas being packed by layer of necessity. Most moves also involve grabbing my clothes still on their hangers from the closet and just laying them across the backseat and filling the trunk with shoeboxes on a last trip, along with the computer in the passenger seat. I foresee this habit continuing with the upcoming move.

And when will that move happen? Good damn question.

We’re hoping for the 28th for a variety of reasons, the least of which being that it suits my record-keeping to move at the half-year point so we can have a clear demarcation for tax purposes: 50% Florida residents, 50% Georgia residents. It doesn’t hurt that Todd will have a good part of the following week off from work and it’s better to use that time settling in, clearing the Tallahassee house than still packing and waiting. Not to mention who wants to move on a holiday weekend if we have to push it a week, right?!

Of course, all that depends on the contractor finishing the painting. If the weather holds out, that could be end of this week/early next week, but there’s a chance of rain pretty much all this week so we’re at Mother Nature’s mercy right now. When I first started haunting weather reports last week, this week was supposed to be rainy and the following week clear, so we at least had that chance, right? But now next week is looking dicey, too, so who knows when the house will get painted at this rate.

Oh, how I'm glad we never really considered white as a color for the Dollhouse!

They did at least get the primer coat on and, well, let’s just say I’m so very glad we never even considered painting the house white for real.

Couldn’t we move in if that’s all they have left to do? Yes and no.

Yes, because we own the house and we can do pretty much whatever we want to it, including putting our belongings inside and taking up residence. No, because the current homeowner’s insurance is a rehab policy and is not intended for contents or occupancy.

Why don’t you change over the policy, then, you’re probably asking me. Because to get the best rate (or, hell, even options other than the state-sponsored coverage) the painting needs to be all-but done so that the insurance agent can take the required pictures to shop us around.

So we’re in limbo. As we’ve been for–oh, hey, in 2 days it’ll be 6 months from when we put in the original offer on the Dollhouse! And we’re still not done with this Catch-22 foolishness.

Just a few more weeks…

In the mean time, here’s what else is on our to-do lists before moving in:

  • Replace the downstairs bathtub faucet (waiting on special cone-shaped washer, on order, hopefully will arrive soon)
  • Have upstairs AC unit checked out/repaired (it’s not being super-efficient at the moment, so sleeping downstairs might just continue after we’ve moved in as it will be, you know, July and all)
  • Clean out supply-lines for downstairs bathroom faucets
  • Mow the back yard (that’s all Todd)
  • Clean the wood floors (I’m sure we’d love to refinish them before moving in, but with time growing short, a good cleaning will have to do for now; I have a feeling most will just need a hit with the orbital sander before being sealed, anyway, not a full belt sander treatment)
  • Wash down the kitchen and fixtures
  • Shop for a new dishwasher (there’s either no water supply to the current one or it’s just broken, and we’re betting on the latter)
  • Purchase and install water filters (local water tastes kinda bad, and we drink a lot of tap water)

*Why are we sleeping in the living room? Because at first the upstairs bath needed repair and I was a bit concerned about having to traipse downstairs in the middle of the night, not being used to a 2-story house and all.

**Why do we feel the need to hide our things from the work crew? After the roof went on we came up to the house to find someone had commandeered a brand new pair of work gloves Todd left on the table, ruining them in the process. Then I found one of the bath towels I’d brought up that first weekend had been removed from the shelf, used to wipe up something heinous and dark (the towel started off as a light-peach color) and gritty, and then was wadded up, wet, and left stashed in the hall closet. Charming right? They also used up every freaking paper product in the house and, well, we figured since they can’t police themselves, we will remove temptation!

Double Digits and I’m Okay With That

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

When Mr. Road Trip and I first set a date our countdown was in the low 800s. Now we’ve dropped under 100 days–actually 3 months until the wedding–and I’m surprisingly calm.

So is T, for that matter. He even did a little happy dance when he announced we were at 100 days–he’s so sweet!

The fact that we’re both rather calm is slightly surreal–I fully expected to be a tiny bit panicky over the length of the DIY list yet to finish. And while that list is still somewhat daunting, the biggies are coming along nicely.

Projects in progress | personal photo

Peeks at progress! | personal photo

And what’s even better? I’m back to being excited about the projects I planned so many months ago. The Abyss (my home office/craft room) is filling up with bags and boxes of supplies, and I look forward to working on the next thing. I’m hoping this last–I need this to last–and that the throw-the-hands-in-the-air-and-press-the-fuqit-button stays way in the future.

Lurking in the back of my mind, though, is the feeling like I’m forgetting something. Like I’m forgetting something major. The feeling that just had me checking the checklist features over on The Knot and Wedding Wire. According to them, the Road Trips and heading in the right direction, but I still feel like something’s being missed.

Does anyone else have that feeling?!

4 Months and Counting Down!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

It’s really starting to feel close, now, but I’m happy to say we’re continually ticking things off the to-do lists! Most items have been shopping-related, more on the specifics in their own good time. In fact, most of the mainstream wedding highlights have been accomplished, what’s really needed is some serious DIY time.

Things recently accomplished:

  • Secured T’s suit & tie for the wedding (still need shoes)
  • Prepped a helluva lot of wine bottles for further DIY
  • Ordered and received linens for reception tables (buying was cheaper than renting)
  • Found the perfect fabric for table runners.
  • Ordered glassware for the wine-blending ceremony.
  • And started scripting the ceremony.
  • Shopping for honeymoon essentials (get your mind out of the gutter–not THOSE kind of essentials).

According to the experts now is the time to get on with:

  • Cake tastings
  • Hair and Make-up artists
  • Music Selections
  • Addressing Invitations (according to–personally I think it’s way too early for that!)

Like I said, mostly this month I need to finish up the DIYs-in-progress and get cracking on some new ones–including the invitations! T’s got some projects of his own that need working on, for that matter.

Something else cool that happened was I received one of the Something Blue Vox Boxes from


Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

The Something Blue box is, of course, geared towards bridal party members and features Luster whitening toothpaste, Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot shoe inserts, 2 sets of Kiss false lashes, 2 containers of Qtips Precision Tip cotton swabs and a packet of Urgent Rx powdered pain reliever.

The aspirin powder contains caffeine so I won’t be able to use it, but I’ll keep it handy for the next time Todd needs it. It certainly sounds like a good thing to put into emergency kits or bathroom baskets for the day-of! Other than that, though, I’m looking forward to trying out everything else in the box, especially the Ball of Foot inserts–I’ve used Dr Scholl’s keel cups in my flats before (for tendinitis) and they work great, so I’m hoping these will work just as well to keep my tootsies cushy all day.

So far my attempts at using false lashes have been dismal, I’ve yet to get a pair successfully on, so the fact that there are a total of 4 sets might be a good thing! Kiss includes a pair of curved tweezers to help with application, so we’ll have to see if that actually helps me or not!

Of course, the Qtips will never go to waste, especially with those pointy little tips to help correct make-up mistakes. And the toothpaste, well, it’s certainly worth a shot to see if it really does whiten like it claims. (I didn’t notice a difference when I brushed after dinner last night, but we’ll give it a few goes before passing a singular judgement.)

Coming up: our first planning meeting and how it galvanized me into action!

What’s the Buzz??? 5 Months and Counting!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

150 days, to be exact. And that makes things feel really close. Especially since our countdown officially started in the 800s!

Didn’t mean to leave this blog hanging for 2 months, but some exciting things have been happening and that’s what I’m here to update you on.

See, as I was finishing up my Disney posts I finally got the word and it was good: I was picked to be a Bee!

Weddingbee the wedding blog | wedding vendor reviews |DIY wedding invitations | DIY save the dates | wedding resale

Yup, as of early April I’ve been hanging out on Weddingbee known under the name Miss Road Trip!


So while I haven’t been creating new posts, I’ve been retooling a lot of the old posts to fit the customs over at our new digs. Going forward (starting in a couple weeks I’ll be back to posting new stuff, once the archives are caught up) you’ll see instead of Jenn & Todd it’ll by Miss and Mr Road Trip (or RT, or Mr Trips as I sometimes refer to Todd). It’s been wonderful getting to know the other Bees “in person” and we even have another Bee right here in Tallahassee.

Not that it’s been a champagne and roses. To tell the truth, some of the comments my posts have received haven’t all been kind. Sure, it’s something you expect when you post your inner rambling for the outer world to read, but it doesn’t make the rude ones any easier to take when they land in your inbox. Still, you take the little bit of bad and compare it to the whole heaps of good and the scales definitely tip more in favor of that.

Our plans are picking up speed–we finally had a meeting at our venue and now a lot of little things are falling into place–and things will keep happening at a breakneck pace for the next 5 months. To continue the to-do list tradition, here’s what is on the docket for 5 months out:

  • Rehearsal dinner: make plans, reservations, and decide who all’s going to be there
  • Wedding Invitations: confirm your order or start/continue the DIY
  • Cake time! Tastings or test recipes
  • Showers: if you’re having one, get your guest list to the hostess
  • Wedding shoes and dress fittings
  • Hair and make-up: if you’re outsourcing, make your choice and schedule your trials, otherwise brush up on your supplies and try out some things at home
  • Music: decide what’s playing when

So where are we? Not too bad off. I have the plan for our invitations, have my shoes and need no fittings, nor am I encouraging any showers in our honor. Just doesn’t seem fitting. I do need to come up with a guest list for the “bachelorette” party (though I prefer to adopt the term Hen Night from our friends across the pond; just sounds better, like the “hen parties” Mom used to call the gossips who’d congregate up the road when I was a kid).

All in all, we’re good on the broad strokes, now I just need to get cracking on the long list of DIY decorations, especially now that I know exactly what we need!

In the mean time, I’ve been keeping up with the Wedding Year Scrapbook. Here are the January and February pages–I’m getting caught up 🙂


Happy New Year!PW_week10_spread

A low-photo week (silly SD card crapped out on me) leading up to our e-shoot.PW_week11_spread

And then a surfeit of photos thanks to our fabulous photographer.PW_week12_spread

Gaming and fun with foodie things. A common thread throughout out life.PW_week13_spread

I won tickets to HAIR so we had a double date night this week!PW_week14_spread

Actual work on actual wedding-related crafty things.PW_week15_spread

Geek love just in time for Valentine’s Day.PW_week16_spread

We’ve got rings–one more step taken toward being ready for the wedding.

Monkey shines! Todd (I can still call him that, since this post won’t be going up on the ‘bee!) frequently arranges the monkeys cutely to surprise me when I get out of the shower.

And that’s us for now. I expect us to be back to our regular scheduled planning sometime this month.

Until then…