Sunday, February 9, 2014

Small Steps and Giant Leaps

Wearing a Snuggie® as a robe with fleece sweats, wool socks, and Ugg boots
on one of the nights I was without heat in the house.

I considered titling this post "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" because, although it feels like we're making strides in a number of areas around the house, there seems to be a balancing phenomenon at work that keeps pulling progress back a tick every time we get something done.

I've joked several times that living here has been a bit like camping for months and months. I grew up camping in an RV, which is a far cry from backpacking and tent camping, but still requires a lot of concessions. Water must be used sparingly, laundry is handled in a bucket, warmth is still primarily achieved via campfire, and cooking isn't quite as easy as it is in a home kitchen. It's not at all an unbearable way to live, but you wouldn't want to live like that forever.

Thankfully, we surpassed the laundry-in-the-bathtub phase in October, and were able to stop using the laundry drying rack in December. Being able to wash skeezy socks and dirty workout clothes at my leisure has been almost as exciting as being old enough to drive or buy alcohol. Except I think my taste in laundry detergent might be better than my taste in alcohol was at 21...  

Another hugely thrilling step out of campingdom took place this week when we had central heat and air installed. Prior to this, we were trying to keep the house warm using radiant heat in the ceiling. Whoever the brainiack was who invented that heating method should be bopped on the head repeatedly with a Nerf baseball bat. Hot air rises, so when you put the heating mechanism in the ceiling, all the warmth just kind of hangs out up there, above the inhabitants of the house. Brillzyant. I can't tell you how many times I've filled a 5 gallon bucket with kindling and schlepped wood in the house to make fires at night.

When the new HVAC system was going in this week, I had no heat at all for two nights. So the fireplace quickly became my BFF.

Once the installation team kicked on the furnace for the first time Friday, it was like the entire house transformed into a cozy, inviting, evenly warmed haven. Our Pinocchio house became a real boy. It is truly astounding what a difference it makes. And Mr. W bought a nest thermostat, which I'm fairly certain was invented on The Jetsons.

Amidst all the glory of the new gas line-fueled appliance bonanza, however, have been a few plumbing issues that make living here continue to feel like a prolonged weekend in my parents' motorhome. Our kitchen sink has been backing up, so there have been more than a few nights where dishes are done using as little water as possible (which is probably really good practice anyway considering the terrible drought we're having). I'm hoping this backward step turns around this week when we finally have a plumber out to poke around in the pipes.

The other plumbing issue is in the rockin' pink bathtub in the seahorse bathroom. The little tub pluggy thingee (technical term) somehow kind of broke off inside the pipe, so the tub takes about 20 minutes to drain after a shower. Super fun to stand ankle-high in shampooy body funk-filled water. I could move to the other functioning shower in the house, but I'm too lazy to walk that far down the hallway.

But that bathroom is the first room on our renovation list, so come April (or May, depending on how motivated we feel) she'll be getting a complete overhaul and her tub will be fixed. We made our first purchase for her makeover today at Costco. They had really nice, painfully inexpensive floor tile there. Total score.

For now the new tile shall serve as a side table for books and
magazines that anyone chooses to read whilst relaxing on the toilet.

This is what the tile looks like—sort of a faux wood grain with
nice greys and beiges woven into it.

We're hoping to go for a look kinda like this when we renovate:

After Costco, we also made some more headway on the chicken coop/greenhouse, but that's a post for another time. Hopefully there won't be too many steps backward as we continue making leaps on that endeavor.

On another totally unrelated note, one of my favorite blogger/writer/artist/former ad copywriter friends, Mrs. Janice MacLeod-Lik, just published a really wonderful book about how she quit her soul-sucking job in LA to go live a life of love and artistry in Paris. I just received it from Amazon and I'm captivated—even though I've been following her story all along on her blog. Do yourself a favor and go buy the book. It'll charm the pants off of you.


  1. I'm guessing you're especially thankful to be going through such a home renovation in California, rather than, ummm, pretty much anywhere else in the country that's ridiculously cold. So glad to hear the fireplace works and now the heating works, too. Yay!

    1. So true. There's no way I would have survived a heat-less night somewhere else in the country. I would have had to couch crash at someone else's house!

  2. As long as we keep making steps forward on the calendar I'll be happy.

    1. Yep those days between now and the day we break ground...or walls...are dwindling.

  3. This must hurt the bank account. I know when we had a run of things that needed repairing we were feeling the belt tighten so to speak. I would LOVE to renovate our downstairs bathroom. Right now I'm settling on fixing up the reading room and the guest room until we finish our fence in the spring. Home owners really weren't kidding when they told me you never quite finish fixing your house. We've been there almost 2 years and it feels like we barely made a dent.

    That bathroom looks amazing! And, yay for heat.

    1. The HVAC system hurt a lot. But it's so worth it and hopefully will last a long, long time. You're so right - it never ends. I wonder if we'd be bored if everything was finally *perfect* but I think we'd just be happy we could focus on other stuff in life! If you renovate the bathroom, you must blog about it. :) It's kind of amazing how much money you can save if you take your time to find deals and DIY as much as you can. I'm hopeful we can come in under budget on most everything we do this year. We'll see...

  4. In my opinion, a new addition to the house is always exciting. Especially an HVAC system, because it means added comfort and warmth to the house. Now, you will no longer worry when summer or winter comes. Just keep it maintained regularly, to make sure that you can maximize its usage. Enjoy!

    Shelley Coday @ C & C


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