Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The saga continues

Monday: Larry and I were watching a HGTV (Home Garden Television) show a while back and they were saying the average home owner spends around twenty-five hundred dollars a year to maintain and fix up their homes.  We both looked at each other in a dazed, bewildered, uh-oh look on our faces.  We have taken care of little things around the house and garden, done improvements like pave the really long driveway with asphalt instead of driving on crushed rock, and  installed a French drain when we moved in, but other than that, everything has been minor.

Note to family and friends, it might not be a bad idea if you can set up a savings account labeled home and put whatever you can afford into it for the bigger things in life that pop up unexpectedly.  Wish we had heard this information several years ago and we would be way ahead of the unexpected surprises that hit us upside the head in this simple kitchen remodel.

My credit card statements arrive by email and I just forward them to Larry.  I don’t really want to look at them or think about them because all the appliances, building supplies, miscellaneous everything goes on my card and while I am building air miles for travel, I would rather not see those large numbers rolling in.  We do have an account for the remodel expenses to come out of that has been sitting in the bank for a year while we did our final preparations and planning, but it does fall short of covering new plumbing for the entire house, and three full and partial bathroom remodels.

So when the first really big credit card bill arrived and Larry scrutinized it carefully and then said you need to check this.  I pulled out a handful of receipts and accounted for all charges but was missing one big credit.  When the company we ordered the first island light fixture from kept changing the ship date, I went back to internet searching and not only found it but found it cheaper and bought it.  I then cancelled the first order but it seems like Home Decorators, a division of Home Depot, doesn’t want to give us a refund until they get theirs from the supplier-- but I didn’t pay the supplier.  The bank agrees with us and a dispute has been issued we will be issued a refund. 

I told Larry I was going to put him down on a corner in town with his crutches, leg boot, and a cup to earn the extra cash to pay for the difference in our home remodel bank account and the actual cost.  Kelly has a much better idea for him though, she wants him to write a children’s book about the fraidy cat dog, which of course is Deuce the dog.  It wouldn’t be the first children’s book he has written and sometimes at night in his dreams he writes whole books, so maybe I should just put him out in his sporting goods room (the man cave) and put his writing skills to work.  The third idea Kelly and I had is he could sue the person who has plagiarized one of his books and continues to sell.

Well given time to think it over, Larry and I both came to the same conclusion Saturday morning…we don’t like the vinyl we “settled” on for the downstairs bathroom.  Larry called James and left a message not to order it and told him our new idea is wood look vinyl plank flooring.  Looks like wood, installs like laminate, cleans like vinyl, a much nicer finished look in the guest bathroom.

The Simplehuman ten gallon trash can that is fingerprint proof has been ordered for the kitchen as has the Kraus eighteen inch square countertop vessel sink for our bathroom.  Both should arrive within a week and I picked up the new Delta single handle open channel vessel faucet from Lowes today.

Larry and I talked to James today with Lay Me Down Floors (love the name) and told him of our change of plans for the bathroom floors.  He will be bringing more samples out this week and I am going to pick up samples from Sherwin Williams today.

Who would have thought finding slate would be so hard.  I only need fifteen square feet of twelve inch and sixteen inch tiles that Bill will cut into a mosaic pattern for the fireplace surround.  Lowes’ slate is too red and green, Home Depot is too grey and yellow, this store doesn’t have any, this store is overpriced, and this store has the wrong size.  Do we switch from slate to stone?  I have to go to Mt. Vernon Tuesday to pick up the subway tile for the kitchen backsplash so I will check the big box stores there to see if their tile selection is different. 

Our local Lowes received bisque subway tiles but not the white and Mt. Vernon has twenty-three cases.  If they are sold out before I get there then Larry and I will need to drive to Everett later this week.  Lowes has orders for twelve hundred pallets but orders being shipped are only for 780 pallets.  Each store will get a small amount and I was told this two by four white subway tile is their most popular selling tile.  Figures!

We wanted to put the laminate flooring from the main rooms in the guest bathroom but everyone said no…you can’t put it in the bathroom.  Bruce from Sherwin Williams who sold us the flooring said it is all they install in new homes on all the main floors and guest baths.  So we are back to our original plan to install it.  Now we just need to decide on what we put in the two upstairs bathrooms. 

Curtain rods…so many choices, colors, materials, and so expensive.  We need one that has to be at least one hundred thirty inches wide and really should be a double rod.  If we don’t mind spending several hundred dollars no problem—lots of options at that higher price--but finding a bargain would be so much better.  We have exhausted all local options and eliminated most major internet sellers.  Looks like we may need to make a trip to IKEA where price meets budget.  Although a trip to IKEA could be really hard on the credit card. 

No workers in the house Monday or Tuesday so we have had four whole days of quiet.  I don’t really mind the workers, the jokes, the laughter, the music, it’s just the unexpected expenses that drive me wild.  This week we will start to see our home be put back together and that is exciting.

I bought white paint on Monday to paint our bathroom and linen closet.  As long as the flooring has been ripped out and it is sort of a blank slate, now is the time to freshen it up.  No slate to be found and that leaves me a little unsettled about what to do around the fireplace.  I picked up samples of plank vinyl flooring for Larry to look at for the bathrooms.  Bruce at Sherwin-Williams said is commercial grade and will hold up really well in the bathroom.  Bruce also said it was fine to put the laminate flooring that we installing in the rest of the main living areas in the guest bath.  He said no more water in the guest bath than a kitchen so that so we are back to where we started for that room.  Check….another thing off the list to do.

Tuesday  morning I drove to Mt Vernon Lowes they had exactly twenty-four sheets of twelve by twelve white brick joint subway tiles in the two by four size we need.  I called ahead and had them hold the tiles for me.  I wiped out their inventory and still need to keep checking for a few spares because when you are handling, cutting, installing tile you never know if you drop on, break one, or just need one extra piece.

Larry and I are going to IKEA because they sell the oversized curtain rods we need and the price won’t break the bank.  Maybe next week we will go shopping and have lunch.

I walked into Mt Vernon’s Home Depot not expecting to find the slate I was looking for and when I did, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t all grey.  More to my surprise was a very helpful young woman managing the department who opened box after box of slate, helping me pick just the right tiles that looked good together and did it with a smile.  Such a difference in staff between Mt. Vernon and Bellingham.  The manger in our local store opened two boxes and she was done helping me…she didn’t want to open any more boxes and the whole time she was helping me if you can call it that, she had a frown on her face. 

I felt successful after driving to Mt. Vernon and then Larry called with the icing on the cake….the sink, faucet, and specialty tile for the kitchen had arrived. Yay!

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