Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes we are in! No I don't have internet!

UGH! It makes posting the new pictures really difficult when you don't have internet at home yet! We just got phone service 2 days ago. We hope to have internet up and running tonight. Apparently our modem decided to poop out after only 6 years of use! Darn modem!

Anyway, everyday has been a new learning experience. The 2nd day we were there we back up the sewer line into the bath tubs. That was interesting. Apparently the inspectors left the little inflatable ball used for testing the line, in the line! It was disgusting but now its all working fine - thank goodness.

They had to take the master shower door away on the 2nd day because the finish was messed up so taking our morning showers is rather cold in that WIDE OPEN bathroom! I hope to have the door back by next week.

The heat wouldn't come on so the had to send those people out to fix that yesterday. The kids were freezing on Wednesday morning when it got so cold.

Anyway, I shouldn't complain. It's beautiful - we love it and we are so happy and blessed. I was complaining about the boxes and someone said "you'll have the rest of your life to unpack boxes." And, they are so right! We are just going to enjoy it, every inch of it, even if it is still piled high with boxes!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So excited! It's Moving Day!

I couldn't sleep at all last night. I finally got up at 5 this morning and started moving the pantry things down there because I was so excited! It is going to be so nice to be able to put EVERYTHING in the pantry and not have stuff sitting out on the counter. Then I left for work at about 7. Bo is handling the movers. I don't like the packing part - I like the unpacking part!

Hopefully we'll have internet and phone down at the new house later today and we'll be able to post a picture of the FINAL thing!

It's so much fun putting things AWAY!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


If you change your moving date, expect someone to screw up! We moved our moving date from last Thursday to this Wednesday. I spent about 6 hours on the phone last week with all the utilities, movers, etc. get that dates set up and things changed over. Then I had to spend another 2 hours again after the date got changed, telling everyone the new date but of course 2 things got messed up. They turned off the Gas and our DSL on Friday. Internet is no biggie because Bo has a card so we can get on the internet. Gas, on the other hand, is a BIGGIE!

Saturday morning I'm trying to get in the shower before leaving to go watch our Red Raiders whoop up on the Aggies and all I get is cold water. Of course, the first thing I do is yell at Bo, "DID YOU USE ALL THE HOT WATER?" The answer was, "No, my shower was luke warm." Then we figured out that they must have turned it off sometime on Friday - ugh! So I called on our fellow Red Raiders down the street and they came through for me and we all bathed over there on Saturday - I actually took 2 showers over there on Saturday. Thanks - Hank and Jenn!

Since then we have been showering at the new house, which is sooo cool - literally. There is a limiter thing on the shower heads which won't let the water get too hot. In my opinion, it doesn't get hot at all. They are supposed to be fixing that but they have yet to do it. Today I hope!

And, they are supposed to be taking the port-a-potty away today and then we'll post a final picture of the house! WAHOO!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some recent pictures

48 hours and counting! This is going to be a short post since I am supposed to be working and I get on my guys about this all the time. We can't wait! Oh, and Texas Tech being ranked 7th is making my week! It was a fun weekend in College Station, now it's time to get back to work.

Special thanks goes out the Felix and Cat landscaping (still mad about that ordinance thing), At Home Media (Mark Gannon) and as always Waller Contracting for doing a great job. They will be working on our new office space soon so more on that later.

Master Bath

Living Room

Living Detail

My killer front porch! You should see it now.

Some Landscaping

The Kitchen

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Moving Day Postponed

Due to many factors, we are not going to be able to move in until next Wednesday. Talk about a huge hassle and a BIG disappointment. Originally, I spent hours on the phone calling all the utilities, movers, subscriptions, etc. to tell them to change our address, blah, blah, blah - then to have to turn around and do it all over again to tell them, "Wait, don't do it until Wednesday, October 22nd." UGH!!!!

We can't move in without an "Occupancy Certificate" from the Fire Marshall. The first time he came out, it didn't pass - grrrrrr! Hopefully it will the second time so that we can move it. At least, we can start moving in our clothes and closet stuff. We plan on doing that on Sunday. I think Hadlea and I are most excited about setting up our closets. I'm just excited about having a place for everything and everything having a place!!!

Cabinet Knobs

I swear the people at the online store where I purchased our cabinet knobs are going to think I can't count. Over the last few months I have placed 5 orders with them. At first, I ordered 12 different kinds of knobs to see what they looked like in person. Their prices are really good compared to what I found at The Great Indoors or Restoration Hardware. And, now that I look back thank goodness I found inexpensive knobs!

The 12 knobs arrived 2 days later. We picked the one that we wanted to go with on everything. Of course, we want them the same on everything - we're easy. I ordered 50 thinking this was going to be way too many. Well, then the cabinets went in. Paul e-mailed and said we need 129 pulls - 79 more than I had originally ordered, ugh. I got online again and ordered 80 more. Not 20 minutes later, Paul texted and said we need 4 more. He forgot about the bench seat in Hadlea's room and the laundry chute in Hannah's room. So, then I ordered 4 more. Those arrived yesterday.

Last night, I went into my awesome master closet to see 16 MORE drawers, thus I needed to order MORE knobs. Ugh! That company is going to think that I'm the biggest idiot that can't count! Thank goodness they have been working with me on the shipping and their shipping prices are really low and they always arrive only 2 days later. The knobs are very good quality and a really good price! And, thank goodness considering that all in all I really needed 149 cabinet knobs. I would not have wanted to pay $7/knob.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some thoughts about our city and ordinances

Bummer, a little setback today. We can't move in until next week now because of a City Ordinance. This is an email I sent to my neighbors to keep them informed. If I get more information I will post it as I might be wrong about details but this is the way that I see things right now.

An Email to My Neighbors

I just want to keep those of you in Spring Valley informed so if someone builds a house next to you or you are building one, you are aware. This type of planning should happen at the beginning when it is easier to move dirt around, I assume, but there seems to be a constant flow of new ordinances and requirements that the city is passing to both protect and control city development – some good, some may be not so good.

The city stated that all water needs to run to the front of the house, we did not know that. Now, the engineering to make this look good while functional seems to be a special feat of skill and budget. After speaking with Art, I am questioning the city's motives about this rule. It is in place to make sure that the water from my property does not flood my neighbor's. In theory this is a good idea, right? Except the following.
  1. We share the back of our lot with a home on Burkhart and the water currently flows away from our home from the backyard into an easement.
  2. We will be building up our lot to create a trough with drains so that no water can flow off of or ON TO our property.
  3. Did I mention the aesthetic issues in doing this?
  4. We are basically building a dam between the houses on either side of us and behind us.
  5. We now have to put in drains (no big deal) that we will have to make sure don't get clogged so that our yard/house will not flood. Plus having to have a yard that is basically not level, playing ball will be fun in the backyard.
  6. We already have gutters with drains that go into a drain that goes to the street on the sides of the house to keep that runoff from drenching our neighbors (no problem).
The spirit of the rule is OK in that it is keeping runoff out of our neighbor's yards. The problem I see is that it basically dams up water in our neighbor's yards. The response I received from the city was that people were complaining about flooding so they created this ordinance. This gives the city the ability to say "the drainage on new construction is right and no water from their property is on yours." Good luck. Here are the problems I have with this.
  1. It seems a bit short sighted in that the way it will work, we will either have to build houses below the current depth or dam the water into our yards.
  2. You are responsible for the water on your property, in theory a good idea except that this is mother nature and there is a natural flow to all of this.
  3. As new homes are developed it will put significantly more water onto the street causing more flooding as it is not running off or absorbing naturally.
  4. New homes will have to water more as much of the water from rain will be captured and moved to the street and not distributed naturally.
  5. My neighbors could still be inconvenienced even if we follow city ordinance because we have basically created a dam that water cannot flow naturally (imagine being between two new houses).
  6. As with many of our new ordinances, we have incurred significant costs including indoor sprinkler systems, warning lights, larger pipes, etc.
All in all, our experience with the city and inspectors has been a good one and it seems they are in a tough spot on this one. But, and this is my opinion, this ordinance puts more burden on neighbors to deal with the problem of flooding while making it easier for city to wash their hands of it.

Again, my opinion, I am no expert but I thought you all should be in the know. If there are some facts about drainage or studies the city did, I would be all ears but man, that is a lot of water in the street.


Wow! It looks like a real house now. They laid all the sod this weekend and took away the gigantic dumpster so you can actually see the house. It looks phenomenal. Bo and I wanted to sit on the front porch yesterday morning but they weren't quite finished. They still need to put a penetrating seal on it and then we'll move our patio furniture down there and drink a beer on our front porch. Something that we have been waiting to do since we started this process almost a year ago.

Only problem is the port-a-potty is still in the driveway - yuck! I can't wait until they take that nasty-smelly thing away, then I'll take some FINAL pictures of the outside because all in all they are DONE with the outside. Really there is just a bunch of punch work and minor things that need to be taken care of - like our master closet, the cabinet faces for the fridge, ice machine and dishwasher, door knobs, cabinet knobs, bathroom accessories, quarter round, sealing the wood floors, final cleaning, and a few more things. Well, I say minor, now that I'm typing it all out it seems like a lot and the movers are coming on Thursday. I hope it's ready, because I know we ARE!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Level Playing Field

Today they leveled out the yard to start landscaping. We're moving in five days from now, we can't wait. The carpet is on the truck so they laid the pad and tack strip today. By the end of the day Monday the house will look pretty darn cool. Not that it doesn't already.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blinds and mantle

Everyday I get so excited when something else is completed. They installed the blinds today and they look awesome! Thanks Steve! I haven't been able to sleep for the past few nights just thinking about moving and unpacking and putting things away. I'm like a kid right before Christmas! I can't stop thinking about it. I'm dreaming about how I'm going to organize the kitchen and my desk and unpacking all the stuff I haven't seen in a year. It truly will be like Christmas for all of us since everything has been put away for so long.

Mark Ford (the sup) is doing our mantle himself. We decided to use the heartwood from the pine tree that fell in our backyard. It is going to be really rustic looking. It won't be stained for a few weeks because you have to let it dry out before staining. I don't really care. I just think it's so cool that we were able to "save" part of the tree that has been part of this neighborhood for as long as it has been in existence. We started counting rings and lost count at 60 so that tree has been around for a long, long time. And, I hope that it will be around for another 60+ years as part of this house!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Week Away

Today was amazing! We are only one week before closing and the house is well on it's way. Paul, our contractor, has done an amazing job and we are excited about the house and cannot wait. While we are very appreciative of our friends Jacque and Terry for renting their home to us, it was a godsend being just four doors down, but man we are ready to be in our own house. We have been in flux for the last 12 months and it will be good to be settled.

Here is what has been done.
  • Completed the outdoor lights
  • Finished the wood floors
  • Put down the floor boards
  • Many of the lights have been installed
  • The appliances are in
  • Fixtures have been installed
  • A list of punch items have been done
This week, the appliances, carpet, landscaping and other things will be either completed or started. It is amazing how well this is going. Our closing is next week and we are ready to go. The pictures of the house really say more than any words can.

Master bath detail

Living Room

The stairs

Kitchen and living


Bathroom fixtures

Master shower

View from the front yard

Handmade craftsman exterior lights

Living room floors

Living room with wall detail

Finally, Ike is Gone

So, the last remnants of Ike were gone last Sunday. I am just getting these posted but they are amazing. Heather posted about this earlier.

As Heather said, a large piece of the tree fell into our backyard. We are having the contractor craft our mantle out of the heartwood of that tree.

You should have seen this hanging over our new house! Ugh.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Appliances Are Coming!

This week is the week. They will start the landscaping, get in all the appliances and finish up all the painting. We close next week! What a time to be doing that. I owe the internet some new pictures and information. I will get that online this week.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Toilets and sinks and faucets, OH MY!

I never thought I would get this excited about a toilet - HA! They have been working fast and furiously over this past week to get stuff done since we need to close by the 15th. Everything looks so good. The kids are so excited to get into their new rooms and I'm ready to have a place to put backpacks when we get home from school. Not having power for 15 days really set us back on construction. Apparently, in a humid climate such as ours, you have to dry out the wood floors for 3 or 4 days before staining them, so we are in the drying out phase. But, other things are happening right now, like installation of lighting, fans, light switches, faucets, cabinet doors, door hardware, etc.

Bo and I went down there last night at 11 pm because they have actually installed a lot of the lighting, so cool!!! It was really neat to see it lit up at night and how different everything looks. We're getting closer everyday!!!

Phone and Internet

Hooray! We have phone and internet back. I have been a little behind in posting because we haven't had phone or internet for 19 days - thanks to Ike! I need to call the phone company and see if I can get a credit. Maybe that will help offset a little bit of the cost of all the gas we had to buy for the generator - ugh!

Things are really moving on the house now. We are trying to beat a rate lock and need to close by the 15th in order to get a 5.5% interest rate on a 3/1 ARM. In this volatile market, we feel like this is the best deal we can get at the moment. We'll be refinancing in 3 years if the rate adjusts too much for our liking. I guess we'll see what this "bail out" does to the interest rates...

A crane comes to our rescue

Sunday was a big day for us, plus a tad bit stressful. The branch that fell off the neighbor's tree into our backyard and took out the power for 15 days, caused the tree itself to go into some distress. It was precariously perched over the neighbor's house. You couldn't really see the "break" from the neighbor's backyard but when you went into our backyard it was really scary to consider how much of the tree was actually gone and understand the enormity of this tree and the eminent danger that that tree has caused. The tree trimming people estimated that the top portion of the tree (from the break, up) weighed approximately 35,000 pounds. It only took a minute for the neighbor's to decide that the tree had to go.

It was SOOOO huge that they had to bring in a crane to take it out. They brought in a 100 ton crane around 9 am on Sunday. It was too small. Then they brought in a 250 ton crane along with another 18-wheeler carrying weights to stabilize the crane while they took the tree out. It was a little heart-wrenching watching this little guy being lifted by the crane and deposited in the tip top of this "broken" tree. He repelled down with chainsaw in hand, all the while wrapping rope around the tree. When he got to the break, he fired up the chainsaw and started cutting. The crane had to lift the tree up to get it off of itself and once it broke loose, it started to swing like a wrecking ball right toward our chimney. OMG!! The crane operator, like a surgeon, simply lifted it up high enough in the air that it didn't make contact - whew! I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest!

With the remainder of the tree, they were going to chop and push in 12 inch sections, however the tree was so big around they couldn't do that so they even had to use the crane to take out the bottom portion of the tree. I didn't watch that part but the neighbors said it was even scarier than the first part being lifted out.

I'll get Bo to post pictures later but they really don't do the whole process justice. You really had to be there. Needless to say, after we got power back late Saturday night, we had more tree debris to get out of the yard, which is still sitting out by the street. Who knows when they'll pick all that up?!? The electric people were great but they definitely aren't arborists. And, after cleaning up the yards (AGAIN!) Bo got poison ivy - ugh!

I am so ready to get settled into this new house and get some sort of normalcy back into our lives. I truly can't believe that it's October. September was a total blur!