Thursday, May 10, 2018

Converting the Hall of Shame

I have been working on the Hall of Shame this week.  I swear that hall grows as I work on it.  I have almost finished one side of it now.  But, I have a tendency to get sidetracked and I have started working on the staircase while I'm working on the upstairs hallway.  So I have two projects going at the same time.  I'm not sure why I do that but I do.  Tomorrow, my schedule is to get up early, have my coffee and get the other side of the hall walls done in white. Then, I can start working with the white enamel.  I need to paint all the doors, door facings, baseboards and the fake wainscoting.  I still need to replace the door handles too.  That should pretty much finish up the hallway.  We'll see if I get all that done.  I do have a lunch date tomorrow at 1pm.  I still need to put on a second coat on the staircase rails as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Hallway of Many Colors ...

Today I'm upstairs finally painting the hallway walls.  When we moved into this house we called that "The Hallway of Many Colors".  I think they used this hallway to test their color choices for the other rooms.  It had quite the variety.  In the beginning I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.  It had two small recessed lights one on each end that gave a very dim light and it's a very long hallway.  So first thing I did was have the electrician put in some light fixtures that lit up the passageway.  Oh my gosh what a difference that made.  Then I painted the walls and ceiling white just to give me a blank canvas to work with.   It's a very long hallway, I don't think I can stress that enough.  So next I built fake wainscoting out of quarter rounds on the lower half of the wall and then topped it off with a thick chair rail to give the hallway some character and break up that long bare wall.  The wall across from it has a staircase and two doors that break it up.  Having done this ... I never finished it.  So today, I'm upstairs painting everything. That hallway is still a very long hallway.  I will post pictures of it when I finish.  I do intend for it to be my art gallery when I finish it.  Can't wait now to get it finished.  Of course one the wall paint is done then there is the white enamel for the baseboards and the doors and the door facings.  Good grief, probably why I never finished it.  And, while I have the ladder up there I should take the light fixtures off and wash them and put them back up.  I need to change out the door knobs as well.  That hallway will be finished today though.  It may be midnight, but it will be finished before I go to bed and then I get to check it off my list!  Trumpets show sound! That's a huge check mark!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pick up my Career ... or Retire

I'm a Realtor but for the last couple of years I really haven't been practicing much.  I took a year off and became a lender - I really hated being a lender ... these people are so under appreciated for all they do and then last year we had medical emergencies that kept me from working ... so basically it's almost like starting over again.  So my dilemma the last couple of months has been do I want to continue with a career in real estate or do I want to retire?  To continue is to almost completely rebuild from scratch like a new agent.  I went to lunch with a friend of mine that's also a Realtor and we had a four hour lunch and discussed this.  I really don't want to retire and I really don't want to give up my career.  So we both made plans, her to boost her career and me to jump start mine back to where it had once been.  So today we met in the office and began step one in our planning.  I've still been doing some real estate here and there but it's been more like part time.  I need to get serious about it so now it's time to get serious again.  

Rachel and Phoenix will be here in a month!  I'm so excited to see them.  I'm trying to get a few things done to the house so there will be new things for them to see when they get here.  I've already got the tickets ordered to Shakespeare in the Park in OKC for when they are here and Rob gets to go with us.  I'm just waiting for them to come in the mail.  We'll go see the Drunkard and the Olio (Phoenix hasn't seen that in quite a while and loved it).  We'll go to the Philbrook and take pictures - that way I can practice with my camera and we get our museum fix while we're at it.  The two of them will go to the Cereal Bar (yes there is one in Tulsa!) because they love that place to have breakfast one morning while they are here ... I'll have coffee and watch them eat the crazy stuff they shove in their mouths.  We'll have to find a few interesting places to eat lunch while they're here because Phoenix is such a foodie these days and I love that side of him.  We'll go to Poteau to visit family one day and find something of interest near there to do while we're in that area.  Fifteen.  He'll turn fifteen while he's here visiting this year.  How does that happen?  Where has all the time gone?  I'm hoping that he and I will have time to do a set of paintings for the middle bedroom.  We both love abstract art so I thought I'd prepare the canvas by painting it black first and getting it ready for us and then we can work it from there.  It will be so much fun to work on it together with him.  Rachel and I are going to make her winter coat.  It's going to be a busy visit but a good one.  

Rob's second rental property closing is scheduled for Friday.  I'm very proud of him.  I need to get things set up for him with a handyman, plumber and electrician to schedule as well and picking out flooring at lumber liquidator for the bedrooms.  Locksmith for the doors.  He wants to have it ready to rent in just a couple of weeks.  A couple of the windows are missing screens so I need to set that up as well.  Get all this scheduled so he can get it going right after closing.  It was pretty clean when we looked at it but we need to have it cleaned and curtains hung and then it's done and ready to show for renting.  I'll take the pictures and we'll get it listed on Zillow.  

So, I should have a busy next couple of weeks.  Really a busy summer and rest of the year.  I have it planned out but as usual I'm sure life will throw me a few curve balls.  I'll just have to make sure I swing wide and knock it out of the ball park.  

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Maintaining a Home - Don't forget to

I've posted so much on the negative aspects of this house, about how ugly it was when we moved here, how dirty and what a mess they left for us.  This was truly the ugliest house in the neighborhood.  But you know, not everyone is cut out for home renovations, not everyone can afford them and not everyone has the patience or the ability to overcome the obstacles that crop up along the way.  I'm a very stubborn woman and there have been many times I've been reduced to tears over this house.  I do know the husband was a high school teacher who had lost his job.  Here in Oklahoma that means he was being paid low to begin with.  They had three teenage daughters and the wife was working a job to keep them afloat.  When we were looking at the house, the husband told us he thought they should have turned the master bedroom and the bedroom above it into an efficiency apartment with a spiral staircase.  I'm assuming he had intended to include the master bathroom in that plan which would have taken out the only downstairs bathroom and would have reduced the now four bedroom home into a 2 bedroom home one bath with an efficiency apartment 1 bedroom, 1 bath.  I'm not sure how that would have worked in this neighborhood of 4 bedroom, 2 bath homes or even if it would have been legal.  I'm not sure how he would have financed such an undertaking.  I think he was a dreamer and there's nothing wrong with that.  Dreamers are necessary but he didn't know how to fix anything.  Nothing was repaired in this house or I guess I should say, nothing was repaired correctly in this house.  Now, lets move on to his wife.  She had a truly gifted green thumb.  I think that's where she found refuge was in the yard in her gardens.  She spoke of the unbearable heat here.  There was this sun room at the back of the house that was actually being used as their dog house because they found it unbearable to sit out there.  I find the greatest comfort sitting in the sun room with the windows open, on very hot days the ceiling fan on low helping to circulate the air but the large trees in the backyard give a wonderful shade that bring the temperatures down a great deal.  When it's 105 in the summer it's like 80 in my sun room.  It's a most pleasant room.  Her choice of plants were beautiful, I just didn't find them practical for this part of the country.  The tall wheat like grasses near the house, we have a greenbelt behind us and a creek which means snakes, copperheads mostly.  I would prefer not to give them places to hide so close to house.  But the one choice she made was the peony plant near the street in the front yard and I love that one.  I built a flowerbed around it.  It is so beautiful.  I'm sure you're suppose to trim it, or do things to it but I have no idea what and I'm so not the garden type most plants cringe when they see me come near so whatever I put in the yard has to be hardy and a survivor because delicate anything will faint away just from my reputation alone.  But this peony must be a kick-ass survivor because it comes back stronger every year and it brightens my day every time I see the first bloom.  I know that winter is over and Spring has arrived.  That is the one piece of happiness the previous owners left behind and it brings me hope each year. 

This house has seen a lot of owners.  It was built in 1973, the year I graduated from high school.  It had so much of the original markings of the first owner still in it that sadly you realize very few made it theirs while they lived here.  It was just a stopping place.  A place to hang their clothes, watch a little TV, wash a few clothes and move on.  A house should be made into a home.  It needs to be loved, it needs to nurtured.  It grows old and worn out just like we do if it isn't taken care of.  It isn't so very expensive if it is taken care of yearly or seasonally.  Upkeep on a home is part of the responsibility of becoming a homeowner.  You have a fireplace, every fall you have a chimney sweep check it to make sure it's safe to turn on or burn wood in.  Every spring or fall you check the chalking around your windows to make sure they are sealed properly.  You walk around the outside of your house checking for tiny/small trees that are trying to take root from (in my case pecans) seeds that have fallen the previous year and you pull them up (or donate them whatever your conscious tells you to do). While checking for trees near the foundation you check your brick to see if the mortar is intact and if there are any tiny cracks that need attention.  Lift your eyes up check your siding, has it separated at all?  Is there any way that water can get beneath it?  What about the fascia, does either the siding or fascia need painting?  You want to prevent wood-rot so you make sure all the wood is covered well.  This sounds like a lot of work but really it's just a few minutes walk around the house.  Clean your gutters!!  Clean your gutters!!  This protects your roof and your fascia.  In the house, those little valves that turn water off an on near the toilet, under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom sink, by the laundry?  You really should turn those off and on at least once a year to check that they are working.  Almost all small maintenance problems now are on YouTube.  Check them out.  Get a good plumber and electrician.  I have a great AC/HV company that comes out twice a year for a small sum that does a thorough cleaning and check of my units each spring and fall.  They are awesome and to me it's worth it because if there is a problem they find it before it becomes a big problem.  Get a home warranty (American Home Shield is the one I'm partial to).  Don't let things build up until they become a problem, take care of things a little at a time.  Keep your house happy and I promise you, it will repay you in the long run by increasing in value.  I mean really, a home is one of the largest investments you'll ever make ... treat it like that.   


 
The first bloom on my peony bush
 
She's starting to bloom a bit more
 
We really thought we had lost her this year but here she is
 
Part of the flowerbed that I built around the peony bush

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Raising Free Style ... Should We or Shouldn't We?

I guess my daughter wouldn't really appreciate being called a kid, she is 39 years old but in my mind she will always be my little girl.  I am so very, very proud of her.  I'm proud of her accomplishments as well as the woman she has grown into.  I'm proud of the wonderful, patient, understanding, kind and fun mom she is.  I'm proud of the wife and helpmate she is to her husband and the wonderful relationship they have developed.  I'm proud of the teacher she is to her students and the friend and support she is to the other teachers she teaches with.  I'm proud of her intelligence and independence, her individuality and acceptance of all, her strength and her softness.  So yes, I am so very proud of her.  This child was born at the end of the 70's I used to tell her she was born in the wrong generation.  She would have made such a great hippie. (Being that she was raised by two hippies at the time LOL)  When she was little we lined the walls with paper so she could draw on the walls ... that free style you know ... she became a remarkable artist.  We didn't believe in playpens ... we felt that would restrain her too much ... again free style... so while I cooked dinner I would sprinkle cornflakes on the front porch (we lived out on a farm that was sort of a community while in college with about 12-15 small houses for college students on it) and the chickens would come up on the porch and entertain Rachel while I put her on a blanket in front of the screen door to watch them eat the cornflakes.  Before a house fire destroyed most of our pictures we had pictures of her on the back of a Brahma bull when she was about 18 months old (he really thought he was a puppy and just followed you around to be petted) her feeding the chickens when she could barely walk.  Rachel with two Dalmatian dogs that she adored named Popper and Pepper.  Feeding horses carrots and cows in the front yard with her on the front porch.  Gary wasn't a big fan of that place, he never did like the big animals but the rent was great.  Rachel thrived on the free life style though and grew up pretty much the only child among most of our friends.  We moved to town when she was about 18 months old but we continued to keep the free style upbringing with her.  She was really an easy child.

We had our son almost 6 years later and chose a different way to raise him.  He turned out to be a great kid but I often wonder had we continued in the manner we had with Rachel would he have had an easier way in life.  When he was born we had graduated college and become established.  Gary was out of law school and was practicing.  Things had changed for all of us.  So life became more structured when Rob was born.  Rob's life was more structured.  Sometimes I think we can set our boundaries too tight, too strict and because of that we get push back ... we get rebellion.  I'm very proud of my son as well.  He too has accomplished a lot.  He chose not to go to college.  He couldn't wait to get out of school.  He worked, he saved his money and bought his first house at 24 and now he's getting ready to close on his second house.  He's investing in rental properties.  He says these are his retirement.  He has a good head on his shoulders.  He knows what he's doing and he manages it well.  He told me once that too many kids go to college, owe so much for the loans and make as much as he does working in a factory.  He didn't want to come out of college owing money.  He didn't want us paying for it either.  His sister went to college on a full scholarship.  But he's right.  Not everyone is cut out for college and not everyone should go to college.  It's been drummed into us for how long now ... the only way to have a future is to go to college ... but that isn't true.  There is nothing wrong with blue collar jobs.  We need them.  They are honorable, true occupations and it's time people acknowledge that.

Anyway, the kids (Rachel and my grandson, Phoenix) will be here in 5 weeks and I'm doing the count down.  I'm getting so excited.  We have a few things planned this trip but not a whole lot because I want them to be able to plan a few things while they are here as well.  We are going to visit the Pioneer Woman while they are here.  I would love to go see Shakespeare in the Park in OKC  as well.  Of course there are a few other things I have in mind I'll run past them.  I try to find things we haven't done when they come home so it's new for them.  We always go to one of the museums because it's what we love and we will again of course.  I'll take lots of pictures and try to remember to post them.  I always promise and never post.

TaTa for now

Monday, April 30, 2018

Loving Bright Colors

My grandson and I both have such a love for abstract art.  One of my favorite artists is Picasso, you can't get much more abstract.  I did a paper on him in college that was 1/3 of my grade.  I really love his work.  He was such a pioneer is so many ways.  Well, my grandson has this same love for abstract.  Picasso may not be his favorite but he too is drawn to abstract so I was absolutely thrilled when he painted Rob a couple of abstract paintings for his living room when he was 12.  Since then Rob has moved and the paintings were stored in his closet and last night he let me drag them out and they are going to hang in my living room.  I'm going to make some floating frames for them but of course (LOL) that will change my whole color scheme in the living room to bright colors so I'll visit the fabric stores for the right textures and colors (I love mixing textures and colors).  This is such a good time to do this ... right when I'm going to change my floors!

 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I See The Light!

I have spent a couple of hours trying to find good YouTube videos on 'How to wash windows without a ladder and through a screen" .  Amazingly that's very hard to find!  I really don't want to climb up on a 24 foot ladder balancing a bucket and squeegee and sponge and towel and everything I might need to clean those windows.  I could hire someone but then I end up standing outside watching them and stressing over whether they will fall or not and then our house is a colonial so there is the recessed window upstairs in the middle so you basically have to climb on the roof to reach it.  All-in-all it would just be nicer if I could find an answer to my search on YouTube.  Well, I did find something by Fuller Brush and I've ordered it and if it works I'll be sure to blog about it because I'm sure there are many other people out there that have the same problem.  I haven't had my windows washed in five years because of this problem.  The last time I hired a company the guy slid on my roof and almost fell off and my heart skipped several beats.  I just can't do that.  I want clean windows stress free. 

Spring has finally arrived!  That means flowers are being planted and windows cleaned. closets are all almost cleaned out and it's time to decide if new paint is in order.  The sun is so bright and beautiful you want your house to be the same.  I am looking at my house with a fresh look.  This always scares my husband.  He says he can see dollar signs in my eyes ... well maybe just a few.  I'm thinking it's time to rip up this carpet that he promised me would only be here for four to five years (it's been ten now) and finally lay that hardwood floor that I always wanted.  He was pricing them online.  (BIG SNORT!)  Like I would let someone else do it!  I know I can do it myself.  He's saying I think we should wait another year or two ... it's going to cost this ... no it isn't ... because we are going to do it ourselves.  Now ... I'm getting the push back here because he said he's not going to be involved so it's going to take me a little longer because I'll do it by myself which means he won't have a living room for a while but I WILL do it myself. After almost 43 years you would think he would know better than to tell me he doesn't think I can do it ... that's almost like a dare to me.  So off to Lumber Liquidator I go ... I will have a new floor by summer. 

Now a new floor means new paint, new curtains ... oh there is so much to do.  See what washing windows and letting in a little light can do for a person?