Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Watco II: The Before & After

Here's my attempt at showcasing the miracle product I shared earlier. Photos don't do it justice. My digital camera isn't too good.

Anyway, all of these are in our master bathroom.






Sunday, April 27, 2008

First showing today!

We had our first house showing this afternoon. Mustang was on call, my mom was over helping me do a few last projects in the house, and we got a call at 2 p.m. that a person wanted to see the house at 3:30.

Quickly, mom & I scurried like little mice, since we were mid-project, and I was too frantic to think straight. Our wonderful realtor gave me some great advice to make a "showing" checklist, because when I get a call, I'll be so excited & panic, and it will be hard to remember everything. That was SUCH great advice, because indeed, I was like a chicken with its head cut off. Thankfully the handy checklist helped. A few of the obvious items:
  • Make bed
  • Wipe down bathroom vanities & toilets
  • Wipe down kitchen sink
  • Open blinds to let light in
  • Turn on lamps
  • Turn on soft music
The list also includes getting out items that come out only for showings:
  • New, fluffy towels in both bathrooms
  • Light candles (all are Yankee Candle Clean Cotton scent)
  • New soap dispensers in bathrooms
  • Chocolate in candy dish at entryway (with red wrappers to match the decor - and as I type this, I realize I've officially gone Lt. Intenso* if I've shopped for red-wrapped chocolate)
Our realtor also suggested to store/secure all valuables, bills and prescriptions. Interesting.

And, I store away Mustang's CPAP, which he wears as a mask every night to prevent snoring/sleep apnea. I'm sure people would wonder what the heck this weird mask machine is on our nightstand.

We leave at 3:15 and I return at 4. Mustang got there a few minutes before me and said the people were still at the house, so he had to circle the neighborhood for a while. So I'd like to think them taking 30 minutes is a good sign.

I planned with my realtor that I'd call him every Tuesday to get feedback from the showings. I can't wait.

*"Lt. Intenso" was my nickname in college for when I got really stressed out. I was lieutenant and my sorority big sister was sergeant, which now I realize is backward...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Before & after

Well, these are the best before & after shots I have.

The outside...
(granted, photo 1 was in winter, photo 2 in spring. )
The kitchen...
(Please ignore us dressed in costume for a murder-mystery party).
But notice the bad navy floral wallpaper is gone!...

Friday, April 25, 2008

We're on the Market!

As they say on Designed to Sell on HGTV...

"Let's sell this place!"


THANK GOD this day has finally arrived!!!

Pray for lots of interest! I'll post before/after pics soon!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So many movies...so little time

Believe it or not, one of my first clues that Mustang & I were destined for eachother was that he subscribes to Entertainment Weekly. Seriously. My maid of honor even referred to this in her wedding toast. I guess when I called her to gush about our first date, I must have mentioned it.

(Aside from Entertainment Weekly, which I learned about during my first phone call with Mustang, another clue of destiny was that he had a large collection of Calvin & Hobbes books, which I noticed the first time I saw his house.) A doctor who enjoys Calvin & Hobbes? I mean, really, does it get any better?

Anyway, I digress...the point of this post is how excited I am for summer movies. A couple of years ago, I finally figured out that:
Winter movies = Oscar attempts
Summer movies = Fun

So, this week's Entertainment Weekly previewed the whole summer (and featured a cover with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones - sigh). I will quickly summarize my faves & their opening dates:
  • Chronicles of Narnia - May 18
  • Indiana Jones - May 22
  • Sex and the City - May 30
  • Get Smart - June 20
  • The Love Guru - June 20
  • Wall-E - June 27
  • Hancock - July 2
  • The Dark Knight - July 18
  • Step Brothers - July 25
  • The Mummy - Aug. 1
I also want to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is already out.

Finally, I predict I also will see the following movies this summer, unless Mustang has some boys' nights:
  • Iron Man - May 2
  • Speed Racer - May 9 (please, someone take him to this)
  • Incredible Hulk - June 13
  • Tropic Thunder - Aug. 13
Oscars? Bah! Bring on the CGI! Bring on the risqué comedy! Bring on the fun!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Save the planet for this cute kiddo and all the others...



Go to HGTV.com for easy ideas you can do at home...change your lightbulbs, recycle, etc.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Miracle product

We had major drama at our house yesterday with our tile contractor...I'll share it with you soon, but I just don't have the energy today. As a teaser, I'll just say that there are now a few blood drops on our carpet by the tile.

So...instead, I'll post a positive note. I HAVE to share with you the BEST thing I've enjoyed while prepping this house to sell (well, aside from creating a house that causes pride, not embarrassment, if someone wants to come over).

Our real estate agent recommended this great product called Watco to cover the scratches on our cabinets, baseboards, etc. IT IS FABULOUS. Seriously, it looks like we have new cabinets in our kitchen.

It costs about $8 for a can, but it's lasted the whole house + extra for later. You can buy it at home repair places in the wood stain aisle. It comes in three shades. We use the darkest.

Tip: be sure to wear gloves when using it, and open up some windows. The fumes aren't great - but the results make up for it!

Off now to Watco the master bath...I think some before & after photos may be in order...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Accord drama continues

Damn it.

Honda recalls 353K Accord sedans over windshield wiper motor

Guess I'll call Honda this week. Really, I've already had enough from my transmission failure in February. And, I had my wipers repaired about 9 months ago because they were wayyy too forceful. They were crazy loud when they'd hit the windshield side. Cost about $100 bucks. Wiper problems...coincidence? I think not.

I think I may become a Toyota girl after this.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Home improvement is like china

I'm glad I went to Chicago. I needed a break & QT with Mustang. But like always, when you return to work after vacation, the lovely restfulness you acquired is completely depleted by 3 p.m. the first day back.

As you can see I'm posting late tonight. In times of stress my insomnia returns, like a bully who kicks me when I'm already down. Especially not good considering I have a dentist appointment at 7 a.m. tomorrow in Midwest City. WHY an unemployed person would schedule a dentist appointment at 7 a.m., I don't know. Clearly, the paint fumes have gone to my head.

I'm awake with millions of to-do lists running in my mind. I can't believe it's April 15 and we are STILL not on the market. Delaying this, in turn, delays all other plans: finding a place to live in Dallas, where we're needed by July 2. Finding a job so I can feel better about the money we're spending on "upgrades" to this house. And, of course, selling the house. I have GOT to bust my butt this week and get our house on the market next week. Granted, not all delays are my own. Here's a quick update of house happenings:
  • Started painting with my parents. Learned that house projects with: (parents+new husband) x 7 days in a row does not = good times. Seriously, people, don't try this. We quit after priming and painting 2 baths, kitchen & dining. Hired professionals for the remaining paint. To quote Mustang, "It was the best $300 ever spent."

  • The professionals did not come in, though, before the refrigerator was broken, the kitchen light was broken, and the newly-patched kitchen doorknob wall hole got dented in again. All of these by my father, who bless his soul, has good intentions but is like a bull in a china shop.

  • Painted guest bathroom twice. First color clashed with the tile. Second color, named "Suede," now matches tile but possibly has a slight pink tinge to it. I will pretend this is not so. Refuse to paint it again.

  • Painter's blue tape pulled off varnish of woodwork. Hence, I am now polishing the whole house's woodwork (i.e. baseboards) with lemon oil. If this doesn't work, will have to re-varnish, which I sooo don't want to do. Help me, lemon oil, you are my only hope.

  • In an attempt to improve a shoddy patch job in the living room, where former house owner cut into sheetrock to repair plumbing, we open the patch to discover...plumbing problems had returned.

  • Losing faith in construction industry. A tile guy stood us up yesterday, the handyman to repair the living room patch (post-plumber) stood us up today. Another tile guy won't return our calls.

  • And finally, this weekend, house #7 has gone up for sale in our neighborhood. Within a month, five have appeared. And I hear another will be on sale next week - not ours - so of course, I hope ours does, too.
Sharing all of this in part just to vent. But also to share this important message with you, dear readers, in hope that our suffering is not in vain: if you think you'll move in the next couple of years, do some home projects NOW! Don't put off "ideas" you casually mull in your mind, because by the time you're ready to sell your house, you'll realize many of those ideas are actually necessary and you'll wind up doing them anyway - only in a much more stressed pace. And, squeezing it all in within a budget instead of spreading costs out over time.

If there's a room you're always envisioning in a new color, go for it. Never fond of that wallpaper? Pull it off. Something broken that you're always intending to fix one day? Do it. Pick one project, one weekend, and feel good about it.

And most of all: you can enjoy the fruits of your labor while you live in your house, as opposed to doing all the work for somebody else to enjoy. I have a new theory that home improvement is like china: don't save it for other people to enjoy. YOU deserve to eat on your own china, and YOU deserve to live your house at its best.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm on the Magnificent Mile

Won't be blogging for a few days. Mustang & I are going to Chicago & will stay on the Magnificent Mile! (Doesn't hearing that just make you think of Oprah?) Home of 4 of the world's tallest buildings, including the Hancock Tower (right). Also home of the flagship stores for Pottery Barn & Banana. Must. Stay. Away. I will allow myself to go into Crate & Barrel because we don't have any in Oklahoma. Oh, how I miss it.

Also cool is that the Magnificent Mile's official tulip festival starts next week, so I'm hoping some tulips will be open early. Love tulips.

And the best part...we're staying here. SWEET. Probably the only time ever I'll stay there, thanks to Mustang's travel reimbursement.

Need to decide some things to do - this will be my second trip to Chi town, and Mustang will be in work meetings until 5, so that will limit us. I do know we'll be eating some deep-dish pizza, and will check if Sears or Hancock tower tours are open that late.

I'm really hoping to get Oprah tickets...they have a "late reservation" site online, and I'm checking it. Actually, tickets are open for Wednesday morning's taping at 7 a.m.!!! But we'll be in the OKC airport then. =( Maybe there will be more open later in the week. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

(April) Fools in Love

Yesterday marked 2 years since I met Mustang. With all the activity in our lives right now, we didn't celebrate much - just cards & he got me flowers. I cooked us a very sexy, romantic dinner. Manwich.

But seriously, it is amazing to think how my life has changed in two years. I'm married, I'm not working, I'm about to move out of state. Wow.

If I could travel in time to visit "past me," I would tell myself that the occasional loneliness was all worth it. And I guess that's a message I wish I could relay to all single women:
  • don't settle,
  • don't lose faith,
  • but also don't put your life on hold until he arrives.
Those who know me would agree that I don't like to brag, but I do have to say, I'm SO proud of my life before Mustang. That I took chances personally, that I didn't date just because I was lonely, that I learned my life ISN'T incomplete without a guy in the picture (a problem I had in high school).

I recall a discussion once with fellow single, female coworkers in DC. None of us were dating at the time. One was rather cynical and decided that "fireworks" is not reality. That all romantic comedies are just fiction, and quite frankly, that they are a social myth that women buy into. Sadly, the conversation shook my faith in love. I wondered, is a marriage only about compatabilty? A friend you can live with, who just happens to be the opposite gender? Have I bought into the world's greatest fallacy?

But also around that time, many of my girlfriends met their (future) husbands and were engaged. And in each instance, when you met the guy, he was the perfect complement to each girl. And every one of them was foolishly giddy and crazy in love. I have to admit, while I felt some selfish jealousy at the time that they found love but I hadn't, I also have to say how much I appreciated them. Their happiness gave me hope when I needed it.

And now that I think of it, many of my girlfriends were like me - didn't date too much before marriage, just didn't want to waste our time (or the guy's time) in relationships that weren't right. Sometimes we joke that we lived in our own "bubble," and were truly unique - or odd - girls, but now I see that God was just preparing each of us in our own ways.

Once in college, my friend Woot & I were studying late one night in the "old dining room" of the sorority house, and got to talking about how much we wished we had dates. She gave me fantastic advice: "I realized one day that God wants me to think about what kind of wife I should be, instead of focusing so much on what kind of husband I want." And that stuck with me for years.

So here I am this April, becoming that wife that God wants me to be. I just want to say how truly thankful I am that God has brought me here at this moment - and brought me Mustang.

I'll end with a Bible verse that I repeatedly wrote & prayed about MANY times before Mustang, in times of loneliness. One time at singles' Sunday School at our church (and Mustang was there, just an hour earlier), it was the focus of our lesson. When I got home, I wrote it down one last time & hung it on my fridge. It gave me faith when I had fear I would never find a husband. Just a few months later, I met Mustang. And for those reasons, it was read at our wedding.

And as a perfect finish, when moving into Mustang's house a few months ago, I found this same scripture framed, stored in his garage, where he'd received it as a gift years ago but hadn't hung it up yet. It's now in our bedroom.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. ~Hebrews 11:1