Thank goodness! My home is finally being painted! I thought this
day would never arrive. For 16 years and 3 homes, we have lived in a
perpetual state of remodeling, reconstruction, repainting,
re-landscaping - but never in a finished, comfortable home. Maybe now
we can start to sit back and enjoy our home and our surroundings - and
so can the neighbors. There is hope for us after all. Yes, we live in
a beautiful home - if you are looking at it from the road. But, if you
were to own it you'd have one serious headache, and one massive "money
pit." That baby (the money pit) is so deep that if you look down,
there is no bottom. It is an endless pit. More like a sucking reverse
tornado siphoning every available dollar down the pit of doom to a
Since we've lived here (we moved in on August 4, 2005), we have:
Replaced all the plumbing throughout the entire house (poly-butylene to CPVC plumbing)
chi-ching chi-ching $$$$$$$$$$
Replaced the sink and cabinetry in the powder room $
Replaced all the plumbing fixtures, toilets, drains, connections for 3.5 bathrooms and kitchen
Replaced the single sink and cabinetry in our children's bathroom
with a double sink, new mirror, new cabinetry, new fixtures, new
toilet, painted, cussed
New towels from Target
New mirror from Home Depot
Replaced all the old, broken down appliances with new ones, of
course - going grayer, scratching my head, lying on stomach on bed face
down in a pillow, pounding on headboard and talking to myself about
how every inch of this house is supporting Home Depot. Typing in
chi-ching chi-ching $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ (and our kitchen still looks tragic)
Replaced all the carpeting
(Now this should
be a story in and of itself) We were forced to do this because our
new home here in North Carolina had a flea infestation that sent 2 men
who were ripping up the old carpet to the hospital and nearly sent all
of us there too. The fleas had nothing to do with us, but rather, the
previous owners had a real problem and no one bothered to tell us about
it. It could have been devastating to our own pets. It left permanent
marks on our legs.
The fleas owned this house - every square inch of it. Why the
inspector never found it, I do not know, except to say that North
Carolina has a few Yahoos that claim to be inspectors and plumbers, but
don't know how to screw in a light bulb. When the workers were ripping
up the old carpet, the fleas were jumping in their faces and hair and
all over their arms. It was tragic. We sprayed, swept, vacuumed and
then threw away a $500 vacuum because it was impossible to use it again
without risk of a re-infestation of fleas. Out it went.
Replaced the vacuum $
Every article of clothing, every pillow, every blanket, every
stuffed animal, every throw carpet, and anything that had fabric of any
kind went to Long's Dry Cleaning in Charlotte.
They came to our house with 4 (count 'em 4) huge vans and all of them
were filled to the brim with anything and everything that could
possibly have a flea in it or on it. They cleaned everything for
$900. I know that sounds like a lot of money for a cleaning bill, but
let me tell you something - If Mr. Long had charged us his regular rate
which is still competitive for a dry cleaners, it would have cost us
over $5000. We are so happy to have met Mr. Long and family at Long's Dry Cleaning.
They cared enough to help us through this crisis (like a horror movie)
and worked with us to make it affordable. Wasn't there a movie called
"The Flies" or something? Well, maybe they ought to make one called
"The Fleas" instead. Ours would have made the centerpiece for the
Imagine this - Our family of 6 sleeping on Aerobeds because we have
saturated our own beds with pesticide. We have no pillows, no linens,
no towels, and no clothes other than what was on our backs, and no
clean underwear for a week.
Replaced both garage doors
Replaced both heating and air conditioning units (upper and lower levels)\
Ripped up the old, narrow, bumpy driveway made of brick with a wide concrete driveway and real brick apron.
This was another experience from hell as the guy who laid the new
driveway had too much concrete delivered on a 100 degree day and it
dried too quickly. Then, we had a fireman who was visiting my hubby
about something, walk through the wet stamped apron of concrete at the
top of the driveway leaving permanent boot prints in the cement. Oh,
and the guys who did the stamping of the concrete for the apron were
clueless. They had stamp prints going in the wrong direction and
crossing each other. Some were even smeared. And, if we tried to talk
to them they "did not speaka engalis." So, the contractor had to rip
out all the messed up sections and re-lay the concrete, then we called
our family in Tennessee who are masons and asked them if they would
please do all the brick work for our driveway and sidewalk.
Thank God for family like ours in Tennessee. David and a crew of
about 6 came here and lived with us for a week. The work they did on
our driveway is magnificent. I’ve never seen such perfection in brick
work. Thank you David! Thank you to everyone! You saved us!
They replaced the sidewalk to the front of the house too.
Bob completely tore up our front yard to put in 2 enormous 5000 lb
concrete drainage systems to carry the water from the rain run-off
under our yard and into the lake where it belongs
He regraded the front yard with 21 loads of dirt and top soil
We put in an irrigation system in the front yard so that before the
year 2020 we have grass. We have discovered, however unfortunately,
that the soil in North Carolina is quite different from the soil in
Maryland and next to impossible to create a heavenly bed of grass. On
the other hand, maybe it is just impossible for Bob. (just kidding
sweetie, I know you are working so hard on this – that was just the
first thing that came to my mind).
We have a number of neighbors who have such beautiful grass and
landscaping, though, that I just want to run through their yards in my
bare feet if for no other reason than to refresh my memory as to what
it feels like to have soft dewy grass between my toes – and ask them to
please tell me what they did to get that beautiful grass. I pray that
this fall my hubby (aka Big Bear, Sweetie, Honey, Farmer Bob, Sugarbob,
Love of my life) will have figured out what makes this soil tick so
that we can have a bed of grass and not a bed of dirt. Oh well, he
sure is trying hard, and has been for 3 years.
We have succeeded in pissing off the neighbors with our state of
disarray and discombobulation. I think they want to be disassociated
with the family that can't seem to get a grip on their grass, their
the state of their driveway, their weeds, their dirt, their tractors...
their farmer Bob contraptions, and yada yada yada. God help us all. You'd think we lived on a 100 acre farm or something.
Even the birds are looking in the windows wondering when,
chirp-chirp tweet-tweet, this family is going to get it in gear and
clean up this God-forsaken mess.
This bluebird stops by on a regular basis to check on the progress. And that is no lie.
We sure are tryin’ to solve the state of this mess as quickly as
possible, but that costs time and money. Something that we never seem
to have enough of these days.
The good news (very good, yelling from the rooftop news) is that Ronald’s Painting is here with their crew painting almost every room in our home.
They got here Friday morning (which is why I did not post on Friday)
and started to navigate around our chaos to start painting. Friday and
Saturday I was stripping wallpaper and drooling at the colors going on
and these guys have been painting like masters. IT IS GORGEOUS! We
all feel like we are living in a new home. Wait till you see the
pictures of the finished rooms. It is so bee-u-tee-ful that I may
never want to leave home again. I may even decide to learn to cook.
They have been getting here in the early morning and working long
days. They will be here next week to finish it up. I am amazed. We
all are. Thank you Ronald. Thank you Ben. Thank you to your team of
men who are first-rate painters. Thank you to my Big Bear's employer
for a commission check that made it all possible. I never thought I’d
see the day when my whole house would be freshly painted – all at the
Progress. It’s a beautiful thing.