Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On the Move... again

It's our 5th move in the last 6.5 yrs and I swear the last place I'll call home (knock on wood) until I take up residence in the cemetery. Right now I'm keeping my sanity by focusing on setting up the house... not navigating the workshop and garage bay full of things still needing to be unpacked. Because that's just the beginning. Once it's all unwrapped and revealed, I have to decide where it will go at the remodel. If we can't use it, then I have to send it to the consignment shop, donate it or just toss it in the trash. 

Scariest part of this process - we've purged with every move. So yeah, I appear to have proof that the boxes multiply at night while we're sleeping. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Of Quartz it's Beautiful

Granite is nice, but we've done that. Ditto with tile and manmade quartz. I would have ADORED marble in the kitchen, but alas the husband and teen would have ruined it in quick time. So quartzite became the obvious choice for countertops. And I must say the island looks rather snazzy. It's got a bit of color and movement, but not so much that it's distracting. Muted. Soothing. The name of my select is Taj Mahal, which sounds rather opulent and borderline Vegas flashy... but it's not. And the fact that it's leathered (aka matte) rather than polished is just the icing on my kitchen remodel cake. I can't wait to see the quartzite backsplash installed once the range has been put in place this next week. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cruising into July

The time, it doth fly by on the wings of unicorns these days. I've got lots of tidbits I feel compelled to share here on the blog, but alas I've been busy with family vacation, the remodel, road tripping with the grad student to her new university and getting ready for our 5th move in about 6.5 years. All in the summer heat. And this middle-aged momma is tired of sweating. Bring on the fall cool fronts... PLEASE!

Until I can swing some blog time into my schedule, here is a pic of the girls in front of our floating home away from home during the Baltics cruise last month. It was fun and interesting and we enjoyed the trip, but 11 days on a 3500 passenger ship is just too long for me. So now I know. As much as I love exploring the world, Dorothy was right - there's no place like home.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Cabinet Fairy

The past couple days, we've been delighting in the arrival of custom cabinetry at the remodel. The bright white is blowing my mind. It's hard to believe human hands made these because they're so fabulous.

My favorite thus far is the built-in banquette area right off the kitchen.

The open shelving will house my blue and green vintage glass collection. The banquette seat will have a nice thick cushion sitting atop it, upholstered in the striped fabric. While the pattern will be used on the bolsters. Can't wait to see it continue to take shape!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Slip Sliding Away

I'm trying to decide if it's just middle age or the fact that the baby of the family will be a junior in the fall that has seemed to put my life's DVD on fast forward these days. Seriously, time needs to slow down and let me savor it a bit.

This has been a busy month for us. We kicked it off with the younger daughter attending cheer camp with her school squad, so that required two roundtrips to that big burnt orange university just down the interstate.

Our girl is the back spot with both hands on the fliers ankles. Hold tight and don't let her fall! You'll notice the black knee brace. Her wiggly kneecap wanted to start sliding out of place and aggravating her the week of cheer camp prep, and so it seems she's back in black for the duration of the season to try and keep her injury free.


Then the whole fam headed off to Copenhagen to kick of a two week vacation on a Baltics cruise, but that's its own post. Lots of history and pretty vistas and blessedly cool weather that gave us a break from the Texas heat.

Now the about to start her program grad student is purging her undergrad clothes and miscellaneous stuff to pack up her car. She and I will leave bright and early in the morning for the almost 20 hr drive to North Carolina. We'll be seeing lots of interstate, stopping for a couple nights along the way because my old hip can't take more than about 9-10 hrs in the car at a time.

This is what the grad daughter's room and hallway looked like yesterday as she got started on her car packing prep. It wasn't pretty, but it's mostly done. And so now we just need to toss and donate some stuff to cross that off the to-do list.

Totally unrelated and yet intriguing... I had no idea it is possible to buy color coordinated books by the foot. And so now we both know that's a real thing. I read about it in a house remodeling magazine and am digging it. Need some blue books - no problem. How about vintage kid's books - here you go, Dick and Jane. Coastal colors - ya SEA, they've got that, too. It's the perfect solution for the lazy shoppers and non readers of the world.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remodel Update

So yeah, the month of May is about gone and I swear the remodel house hasn't seen much accomplished. One big pain in the butt problem was the hardwood floors in the old original part of the structure. We had three separate hardwoods in there, so we found a great replacement, had it delivered and stored it for installation. But when they took it out of the boxes at the beginning of the month to let it get acclimatized, we were unhappy to discover there were huge variations in the stain. To the point where it looked as if it was something completely different from what we ordered, or two different dye colors. In addition, the boxes were labeled as a different type of wood than what we ordered.

However, none of that seemed to matter to the flooring company where we purchased it. We then spent the next ten days wrangling with Carlson Flooring that refused to stand behind their product and make sure the customer (ME!) was satisfied. Long story short, the company basically stole a 25% restocking fee from us when we attempted to have them right the problem with their manufacturer. There was lots of excuses and backpedaling and lying and acting as if they had no other choice but to charge us the 2K. And I was dealing with the owner's son and then the owner the entire time, not some flunky.

It was all super frustrating, as you can imagine. And losing almost $2K was crazy. I can't help but wonder if we're the first folks they pulled this my hands are tied routine with. Needless to say, we took the money they returned to us (minus that restocking fee they never mentioned in any of their paperwork) and now we're waiting on delivery of a different product from another building materials company that's even prettier than what we originally though we were purchasing with that other poorly run flooring company. Our new hardwoods are coming from the same place where we purchased all of the tile for our bathrooms. 

Hopefully we'll get back on track for a late July move-in. I'm getting tired of living like squatters in our rental and ready to get settled. Meanwhile... the search for furnishings continues. Some of the house will be outfitted with our current items, but we will need some new pieces to complete the transitional look we're aiming for with this remodel. 

Thus far the new high school junior has a tufted headboard, nightstands, and makeup table ordered. We're reupholstering her swivel barrel chair and have selected a dresser we'll order a bit closer to the move date. I'm happy her room is falling into place thanks to our amazing decorator. This woman works wonders with the teen. I suggested a custom tufted headboard, but all I got was disdain and the icky, ugly face. However, when the decorator suggested the exact same thing, the junior was all peachy keen and sounds great. Same with the dresser. The round pulls on the one I suggested were weird and ugly. When the decorator told her it was a cool and contemporary look, then she was all in with ordering it. I have to admit, I'm digging the teen's color scheme of gray and blush with navy accents.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Deciding on decor

I've just about finished with the selection and purchase of all materials for the remodel. So I've recently moved on to considering decor. We don't need a whole house full, thank heavens, but we do need some key pieces in the entertaining spaces so we aren't lounging on plastic chairs from Walmart. 

I ordered a four cushion sofa for the family room, with a matching tufted bench and two swivel chairs that the husband loves. He really got into lounging in the swivel chair we had in our England house. With that done, I've switched my mental power and search efforts to a coffee table. Something sculptural with a glass top is what I have in mind. I found the cool one below and fell in love, but of course it's not longer manufactured. Thanks, Pinterest, for teasing me with that one.

This one is my runner up at the moment. Not as fabulous, but still visually interesting. And very affordable. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The wrong side of the tracks

This morning I wandered into the area just north of downtown for a meeting, an area I seldom frequent, and got stopped at a train crossing. A very slow moving choo-choo made its way past us. I can't even remember the last time this happened to me. Upside - I had the chance to send a text or two while waiting for it to clear the tracks.

Happy 22!

The soon-to-be graduate student turned 22 this week. We celebrated a bit early on Sunday after church at a local restaurant, but then I made a brisket meal and got some cupcakes from a local shop on the day of to mark it. She shares the same birthday with her daddy. It seems like eons ago since she was born in Boston. The husband skipped his law school classes that day. We played Trivial Pursuit while the Pitocin dripped and the contractions got progressively worse. No epidurals for me... not that I'm opposed. The caudal spaces in my spine are just really narrow and so all I got was a hit of pain meds in my IV to take the edge off. 

She got a bit of a rough start in life with some medical issues, but she has persevered. We'll move her 1300 miles from home in early July to get settled before grad school kicks in. I look forward to seeing where this path she's on takes her in the coming years. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Doors

They're not particularly sexy and hip, but oh so necessary. We have a couple different types of original doors in the remodel, so today I plunked down some cash to order Shaker style single panel replacements that will help pull the design together. Bedroom doors, closet doors, pantry doors. And these contemporary looking Schlage doorknobs I really like in satin nickel. The only door still swinging in the unordered breeze is the barn door. The one our fabricator designed was just plain boring and it's in a very visible spot leading off the open concept living area into the master bedroom suite. So I'm gonna think about it some more. Maybe consider something out of wood and glass. Maybe toss in some stainless steel accents, too.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fireplace & Fan Friday

Yesterday I was rocking the alliteration on social media posts. Suicidal Squirrels. Fan Friday. I'm a former English teacher - what can I say. I've always loved to play with figurative language.

I've recently hit the remodel wall and am about ready to break out the little kid whine, "Are we there done yet?" The good news is that I'm about finished selecting and shelling out cash for the "hard" selects. All that remains are doors, knobs and the herringbone tile backsplash for the secondary bathrooms. We're waiting for the final estimates to wrap that up and move forward to furnishings/decor. Thankfully a lot of our current furniture will work in the new digs, and we'll only need a few key anchor pieces.

So back to yesterday... I paid for the last of the lights and fans. Then designed custom closets with the organization guru whereupon my inner OCD freak was thrilled beyond belief. Finally, I got to see the front room's new fireplace facade. The split face rock turned vertically is an interesting twist that makes it more contemporary and I'm really digging it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Pool Cabana, remastered

It's official... we're over budget on the remodel. Which I figure most fixer-uppers face. But we're WELL over what we initially wanted to allot to the updating. And then even more over what I thought would be the *real* price we'd pay to get everything done. Forget that early retirement at 55, honey. You're gonna be working well beyond that to pay for this 1950s to 1990s to 2017 spruce up on our property.

The cabana, AKA man cave, is just about finished. They still have some final things on the punch list to address, but it's nothing big. Here are some pics from the last couple weeks of how it's morphing into a more modern look to match the main house.

I'm just wondering how long it will take for the teen to step in and claim the cabana as her own personal entertaining space for friends. Sofas, a full kitchen, bathroom, TV and pool table. I figure she'll end up getting lots of friends in there for movie nights, sleepovers and tons of giggling over the next few years. And I'm happy about that, even if the husband has to fight her for cabana time... making memories in this house before she fledges the (now) overpriced house for college.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Aloha to Spring Break

The girls wanted to hit a nice beach for spring break, so we opted to visit Hawaii a couple weeks ago for some fun in the sun and surf. Which translates to them getting a burn and me slathering on the industrial strength 500 spf every day to keep the sunspots at bay.

We flew out of Houston Saturday morning, so we made the drive there on Friday after school. The traffic was nuts, but slowing down gave us the chance to realize this big rig was transporting BEES! I don't even want to think about how it would go down if that guy got into a wreck.

Our historic accommodations on Waikiki Beach in Oahu for the first two nights was in a prime spot to enjoy the tourist trade. Lots of cute shops, restaurants and a lovely stretch of beach. 

We dined at Duke's on the beach, which had a very filling salad bar. And by salad, I mean a whole lotta mayo based dishes and so it wasn't particularly light. But it was still good. Below is a statue along the beach of Duke and his surfboard, but he's best known for being an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.

One morning we trekked a couple miles to Leonard's for some malasadas. It was brought to the islands by the Portuguese, which sounds fancy and exotic. But it's really just a big lump of fried dough, often with a filling like coconut or chocolate, and then rolled in sugar. Fattening, for sure. 

One of my favorite things to do in new places is book a tours by locals. You just can't go wrong when you get a local guy or gal to give you some history about the place you're visiting. Our guide in Honolulu was great. He drove us up into the hills on a nausea inducing road full of switchbacks, but the view from the top was well worth it.

The hibiscus growing along the wide of the road were beautiful. We had the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and it was a touching tribute to those servicemen who lost their lives in the Japanese raid.

We had an interesting lunch at Pier 38, where I dined on Loco Moco at Nico's. This consists of grilled beef patties on a bed of rice, covered with brown gravy and onions, then topped with two eggs cooked however you want. The sides were an Asian style noodle salad as well as macaroni potato salad. It was carbalicious!

In the afternoon we visited the local military cemetery that's located in the Punchbowl, an old volcanic crater. 

In the late afternoon, we had a cyclo ride around the area adjacent to our hotel and ended up with a good view to Diamond Head.

Book 'em, Dano! Fans of the original Hawaii Five-O series will recognize the facade below from the opening credits. 

By the time we returned to our hotel, the Honolulu Festival's parade had kicked off. No matter where you go, you're gonna stumble across fellow Texans. And sure enough, the band from Littlefield was marching in the parade. God bless Texas.

After a visit to the local Avanti Hawaiian shirt shop - Elvis made famous with his wardrobe in "Blue Hawaii" - where I got a nice silk for the husband and one to use as a swimsuit cover up for myself, we enjoyed a great fireworks display from our balcony.