Saturday, November 29, 2008


This Thanksgiving Marisa and I are especially thankful that the house is close to completion and we will get to enjoy the Holiday Season in the "new" house. This Thanksgiving was our first ever in Baltimore. It was our year to head back to Youngstown for Thanksgiving but having just seen my family in Hilton Head, we decided to stay in Baltimore and get some much needed painting done as well as take advantage of some Black Friday sales for needed items such as a couch, bed, etc...

Ferris and I started the morning with a frosty walk in the park.

We enjoyed dinner at Marisa's cousins', Philip & Lisa's, and enjoyed spending time with their son Gabriel (aka Primo).

Friday we braved our first ever Black Friday chaos. A man was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart in NY!!!...we chose civility in Howard County (it's a dumb bumper sticker the county gave to residents out there, apparently we are uncivilized in the city). We were on a mission: couch, bed frame, washer/dryer, television. We picked up everything but the W/D. Good deals and well worth waiting months to buy.

Come Saturday, we got down to work. We needed to paint a couple of areas so that the artist/electrician can install the decorative lighting on Monday. Marisa drew the short straw and was chosen to climb the wall of death (a 16' beast-of-a-wall in the stairwell between the 2nd and 3rd floors. This wall causes everyone on our block pain when its time to paint). I found my skill with prep work (taping, washing brushes, drinking beers). Big Steve, where are you?



A lot has happened around the other parts of the house. For those eager to take the tour (Chris C), enjoy:

The front window was one of the most awaited items to be installed. It does a number of things:
1) Replaces the shotty old split window we used to have (see below)

2) It swings open to allow us to get furniture into the house as well as tilting in from the top to get a breeze. The Marvin salesman had never sold this window before.

We also failed to mention that we moved back into the house exactly a week ago. The cats are especially happy to be given free range of the whole house. The move is bittersweet, yes we are back in, but we are sleeping on an air mattress with our clothes scattered around us in plastic bins. At one point last night I noticed we look more like squatters than homeowners. What's worse, the air mattress has a slight leak that requires inflation throughout the night. Oh well.

Until tomorrow....

Monday, November 17, 2008


Nothing! That’s what it seemed like they got done at the house while we were away for a week. In actuality, they did get a few small projects finished but it has been two steps forward, one step back lately. For instance, when they went to finish off the master bath by installing the racks, the wrong drill bit was used and a tile was chipped. But of course we didn’t have anymore of the tile so we had to wait for the tile to come in and wait to get on the tilers schedule. Till then it looks like this:

Another example…when they put the medicine cabinet in the 2nd floor bath, the cabinet was taller than originally planned and interfered with the light. So the light box had to be moved up and then the drywall needed to be patched and painted.

We moved all of our stuff out of the house in late June…this is going on 5 months! I’m beginning to think we’re going to have a permanent relationship with JD and his team…like Eldin on Murphy Brown!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home, Home, Home

Sorry for my absence, but this post is a catch up about our weekend back in Youngstown, my hometown at the end of October. It provided us a chance to spend time in my childhood home which my parents still proudly maintain after 30 plus years. I find that amazing since so many homes in our neighborhood here in Baltimore are resold after a couple of years and sometimes only a few months.

It was beautiful at home, the leaves still on the trees and changing colors. My parents' have great views surrounding their home. Growing up, the field across the street was used for corn, but now is just grass.

Our neighbors still raise cattle in the rear yard. They typically only have a handful of cows, which really don't do much back there but eat and crap.

Marisa and I are not the only ones in the family undertaking serious home improvements. My sister and her husband are building a new home near Lake Milton after they outgrew their lakefront duplex when they added my niece and nephew.

Touring their home was bittersweet. Why? Because their 3,000+ SF home started AFTER we started our process and they have since painted and are installing the finishes. When we toured it, they were dry walling on a Saturday, primed on a Sunday and were painting on Monday. That is news we can do without.

Meanwhile, we had fun at my cousin's Halloween wedding reception. Kudos to Marisa for finding our "old standby" costumes in the storage unit. We last wore these 5 years ago so saying they fit is a stretch, pun intended.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Well, here it is election day and we're not in the house...we missed my deadline! Though we could be in the house if we wanted to be so JD sorta pulled it off.
Steve and I still need to do lots of painting and the crews need to install light fixtures, electric outlets, and do some small clean-up tasks so we're probably a week away from being finished. But it will likely be Thanksgiving or later before we're actually moved back in cause we're headed down to Hilton Head Friday night and will be down there all of next week, not returning till Saturday 11/15.

Steve has lost all patience for the project. He was holding it together until his sister told him that they're already painting in her house...a big new house that they broke ground on in August. Our renovation has been going on since July!! Granted, renovating an exisiting house is more complicated than building new but it put Steve over the edge none-the-less. He was hitting the oreo cookies pretty hard to console himself last night!

We have a broomball game tonight and then an election results party. Hopefully the election goes the way we're hoping it goes. And hopefully that will cheer Steve up for a day and take his mind off the never ending home renovation project!