Wednesday (28 May)
Tom talked to our realtor and found out that the contractor IS NOT fixing any of the house problems before closing…including the MAJOR things the inspector found (like no insulation in the attic). HUH? The realtor originally told us that they typically don’t fix anything until [after] the walk-through, but since our contractor knew we couldn’t make it down during the week, and would not adjust his schedule for us, we had to schedule the walk-through on a weekday…and the only available day was closing day! (Typically, you would do the walk-through with them a week or so before, then they’d have time to fix the problems before closing.) So anyway, we were really ticked off. I mean, this is EXACTLY why we did our own walk-through two weeks prior—and faxed the list to the contractor! And our realtor, at the time, told us the contractor was going to fix the things! It was just a nightmare we didn’t want to deal with. We just knew we did NOT want to close on a house with major things still unfixed. We tried not to think too much about it.
Thursday (29 May)
It was a loooooong day for me at work. All I could think about was the house and what was going to happen. Of course, I was thinking the worst. We left town about 4pm and of course, had to stop by the house on our way into town. Since we had assumed some of our changes would have been done (especially the OBVIOUS ones), we were VERY disheartened to see that the shutters and front door—which had been brown but were supposed to be green—hadn’t been changed. We reasoned that if they couldn’t even change that one basic/obvious thing, what hope did we have of anything else on our three-page list being taken care of? Falling asleep that night, thankfully, was no problem…but we were both wide awake at 5:30am!
Friday (30 May)
We had checked out of the hotel before we even got our 7am wake-up call! We had time to waste but didn’t have anything to do, so we went and sat in our driveway and waited. The building supervisor showed up around 8 and chatted with Tom for a bit while he waited for the rest of his guys to show up. Apparently they were going to have painters and whatnot following us around fixing things as we pointed them out. That was all well and good, I thought, but what about the things that just couldn’t be fixed on the spot (like a broken drawer latch)? I did not want to close on a house that still had problems!
As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about. They had, in fact, been working on our list—and probably about 80% of it had already been fixed. We then walked through the house, room by room, with a painter and he touched things up (sanded, filled, painted, etc.) as we pointed them out. There were other guys there doing some of the bigger patching jobs, as well as our contractor, his son, and [what looked like] a buddy of his. There were about 10 people milling about—and I was a little overwhelmed. Things went smoothly, but I did feel a bit rushed. Then the supervisor walked us through the house and explained how things worked, we asked some questions (we found out that there was insulation in the attic—it just hadn’t been in when the inspector was there), and were done by 9:30. We did end up with a list of about five minor things that they needed to fix (including the shutters/door and shower rods) but it was nothing major (thankfully). Then it was off to the lawyer’s office for closing.
The closing went very smoothly. The lawyer was very nice—and funny. We signed about 30 sets of papers and were done in about a half hour. One good thing is that our mortgage is going to be lower than we first thought—at least until next year. Since the house wasn’t completed at the first of the year, we don’t get charged all the taxes—so our payment is about $75 lower per month than we thought. And next year, even after it goes up, it will still be a bit less than we thought. Bonus! We thanked the lawyer, thanked our realtor, then sat in the car saying “We just bought a house. We own a house. Oh my god.”
Then it was off to set up our water and electricity accounts. And eat a celebratory lunch. And head to Lowes for the first of many trips—we knew we had underestimated how much paint we needed, plus we had decided on the color for the main/guest bath (a medium turquoise). We went home (home!) and unloaded the car and got ready to paint! I taped up two rooms while Tom put the epoxy coating on the garage floor. Then our neighbors saw us so they came over and we stood in the driveway talking for about an hour. It’s so cool to have neighbors that we can talk to!!
After they left, we started. I had SO been looking forward to painting…but damn, I forgot how hard it was! And how painstaking it could be. And how frustrated I get when I can see roller lines. But I wanted it painted, so it was getting painted and I tried not to complain at all. It was after midnight by the time we finished the first coat of green (Misty Sea) and the first coat of red (Chilled Wine).
Saturday (31 May)
We slept in until 9, then I started edging the bedroom while Tom finished the garage floor. Then it was back to Lowes for more painting supplies…and a few other odds and ends (including a vacuum). I can’t recall what all we bought (it was mostly stuff we needed), but it was an expensive trip. The only bonus is that they had a 10% military discount until June 6! We grabbed lunch, then back at home it was more painting. Tom and I finally worked out a good system whereby he did the edging with a cool tool and I did the walls. Somewhere along the line, we took another trip to Lowes for more supplies—I wanted toilet paper holders—and we ended up getting a medicine cabinet (which he have to return because it doesn’t fit right) and a ceiling fan that we just fell in love with (that was a bonus because, unbeknownst to us, it came with a $25 rebate—but we had to get it because it will go PERFECTLY with how we want to paint the room). Then Tom was messing around with getting the washer and dryer hooked up and realized that we were missing a plug for the dryer (or was it the washer?) that was supposed to have been included. So, while he ran into town to pick it up, I started painting the bathroom. It was a small room, but it was a lot of work and I did most of it myself.
We had dinner at our neighbors at 6:30 (it was so cool to be able to just walk there!) and came home around 9…and started painting again! I didn’t want to AT ALL—I was SO dead tired and sore—but we had to get as much done as possible. And Tom kept reminding me that *I* was the one who wanted all the color! So, we got the second coats on both the den and bedroom, including edging. We also did a test run with the washer and dryer. OH MY. The front-load washer is the ultimate in cool. It is so quiet you would not even know it was running. Plus, it’s fun to watch! (Too bad it’s not inside so Fuzzy can watch it!) And the clothes came out almost dry! It was after midnight, again, when we finally went to bed.
Sunday (1 June)
I honestly thought I would die if I had to pick up a paintbrush or roller again, so Tom finished the second coat in the bathroom while I cleaned up, packed, and vacuumed the house. It was a GORGEOUS morning, so I turned off the A/C and opened all the windows! (I know there won’t be too many perfect days like that, so you have to take advantage when you can.) Tom planted our lilac bush (or, rather, lilac twig!) and I sat on the screen porch and made a few calls. We were done and showered and ready to go by 11:30. It was very hard leaving, especially knowing what we had to go home to (yucky apartment!) and that we wouldn’t be back to our house for three weeks!
Everyone warned us there would be bugs—lots of ’em. And believe me when I say they were NOT kidding. The mosquitoes are HUGE and they are all over. And in addition to the bugs, there are spiders (brown recluse, among others). And toads (those little mini ones). And bullfrogs (which are fun to listen to). One night in our garage, there were three mini toads, a spider, a cricket, and many mosquitoes. Lovely. I got pictures of them all just in case you don’t believe me.
Painters tape is a crock. We had two different kinds (brown paper with a tacky strip and blue tape) and neither worked well at all. The brown stuff actually came off on it’s own before we even got around to painting. It was actually pointless to use it—I did better hand-edging. Needless to say we have LOTS of touch-up to do on the trim and just a few spots on the ceiling.
After we completed our walk-through (and tested the facilities!) we went to visit Heidi and Neil and see their house. We loved it—seeing their vibrantly painted rooms confirmed our decision to paint our rooms! (Their living room is a wonderful golden color and their kitchen/dining area is a rich red.) Of course, the topic of conversation turned to “Where are you from?” and it turns out Heidi grew up in Michigan and lived in Traverse City for a few years! We knew all of the same places and hangouts—and she already put in an order for Traverse City wine when we come home! Then it was time to head home—saving money by not staying in a hotel for the second night!
One of the silliest things I am most excited about is having lights in every room! After six years of apartment living and having to have lamps in every room for ANY light at all, permanent fixtures are a wonderful convenience! But there are also quirks: There are cable outlets in the den and each of the three bedrooms—but not the living room! (And the one in the den is next to the fireplace?!?! Someone was NOT thinking on that one.) Along the same line, there are phone jacks in the kitchen, living room, and all three bedrooms, but NOT the den. Why??? And then there are the little things we can’t wait to find out what they’re for—like the pipe coming out of the house at about attic level!