Monthly Archives: December 2015

Home Remodel: Day 3

Sunday night neither my KISA nor I got much sleep in part because we couldn’t stop thinking about the house and the other part because I’d come down with a terrible cold and was sniffling all night. Around 5 am we gave up with trying to sleep and instead starting doing individual planning on the house before work. On my mind was that smell. Granted, we had hardwood floors coming in two weeks after we moved in, but there was no way I could sleep in that room (or possibly the entire upstairs) until that happened. And, I was worried about what would happen if the hardwood floors didn’t mask the smell. Since replacing all our subfloors was out of the question, I started researching solutions to cover it up and remembered my father-in-law telling us about a Kilz product when we remodeled our last house that had smelled like smoke. After reading a couple of blog entries, I found the exact type of Kilz we needed to get rid of pet smells on wood. At the same time I told my KISA about it I saw he had the same product page up on his phone. We were on the same wavelength and knew something needed to happen. I was also worried that while the carpets were up in the master and hallway, they were not in the other bedrooms. What would those subfloors smell like? There was only one way to find out. We both agreed that if we bought the Kilz early enough, before the painters came, maybe we could convince them to apply it for us as well. The local Home Depot to our new house opened at 6 am and I had a 7 am call scheduled. In fact, I had a packed day and felt like absolute crap. So, I did what any other woman on a mission would do – I called in sick for the day. Granted, I had one late morning meeting and two afternoon meetings I needed to attend remotely, but it would give me time to get some things done and an afternoon to rest. My KISA also let his boss know he was going to be out for the morning.

We stopped to get some coffee for my KISA and then headed to the Home Depot. I asked the guys at the paint counter their opinion on Kilz and their solution was to actually put straight bleach on the subfloors, buy a scrubber brush, and scrub it around. He said that if you did that the Kilz was merely an optional additional step. I made sure my KISA was paying attention to this since we both knew I wasn’t going to be doing it (bleach and babies don’t mix). We weren’t going to take any chances and bought a gallon of bleach, a scrubber brush, four quarts of oil based Kilz (they only came in quarts), and a heavy-duty dust mask for myself.


Filling in the intercom holes

When we got back to the house my husband got to work at removing all the intercom cords, wrapping each wire with electrical tape, and then patching each hole. And, he did this five times over to cover all the interior rooms with intercoms. (Of course there are three of them on the outside of our house as well.) I put on my dust mask and got to work pulling up the carpeting and padding in the nursery and spare bedroom. As I pulled it up I was happy I had done it as I realized the pet urine had essentially glued all the padding to the floors. I was literally jamming my feet at it, trying to get it to come up in a lot of spots. And the soot that was below the padding was equally as disgusting.


The nursery carpeting

My KISA took a break from his work to help me carry the two bundles of carpeting outside onto a pseudo deck that would later need to be removed. When I saw all the soot that was remaining on the subfloors I knew I had to take another Home Depot run to buy a ShopVac as a broom was not going to even be feasible.


When I got back I vacuumed up as much as I could and then went to work with a crowbar to lift all the nailed down carpet tacking in each room. During this time the seller stopped back as she had a Bagster that was being picked up, holding a lot of her debris. When the WasteManagement guy pulled up to dispose of it I asked if we could throw that extra carpeting on top of her things and he obliged since I was pregnant and it wasn’t over the weight limit. I figure if we weren’t charging her additional rent to get her stuff out I wasn’t going to feel guilty for doubling up on her investment. (As a side note, by this point in time she had moved everything out of the house and into the garage and backyard so that she wouldn’t get in the way of the painters…who thankfully called that morning requesting to start a day later as they had to finish up some touches at another place.)

The head painter had swung by before we had to leave to assess all the paint we’d purchased and to make sure he understood what was expected. At that point in time we also negotiated for him to paint the interior of all the closets, the bedroom ceilings, and the Kilz on the floors, none of which were agreed to, for a mere $100.

We left the Oakland house feeling better about our situation. We had to get back to the city for my KISA to get to work and for me to get some rest (runny noses and dust masks don’t mix very well). I also had to order a couple extra gallons of paint for the ceiling, closets, and trim as the painter was worried he’d come up short. I took it easy all afternoon before heading downtown to pick up my husband after work to go finish up our work at the house.


Pulling up carpet tacking

When we got to the house I still had to finish the tacking in the spare bedroom and my KISA had to get to work bleaching the floors once I was done. We had thought to go to Home Depot before that to buy a new floor lamp to have some light while we finished. We’d just gotten back from grabbing some dinner before the last push and were at the house. This is when my newfound pregnancy experience happened. I had my dust mask on and from out of nowhere I had three strong sneezes in a row. Granted, I’d been sneezing all day from the cold, but evidentially not with a full bladder. And not out of nowhere. So, I wet my pants. I called for my KISA as I stood there in total shock. Him being the sweetheart he is offered up the jeans he’d worn to work. I’m not sure even my pre-pregnancy body would have fit into them, but it was kind of him to offer. And, everyone knows that when you wet your pants it’s more your underwear that make you uncomfortable than your pants. Or at least I’d just learned that. So, I took advantage of the high waist on the maternity jeans and pulled them down low-rider style while I waited for them to dry. At least my KISA hadn’t bleached the already pee-riddled floors before that.


Home Remodel: Day 2

On Saturday night when we went back to the house it was mostly vacant. We had to order our paint for the painters, even though we hadn’t truly gotten to sample the paint colors. When I say “truly”, I mean I got to slap them on the walls at 6 pm that night when each of the bedrooms and living room were dark, forgetting that all the light switches powered outlets, not light fixtures. They looked ok wet by the light of our phones and there wasn’t much more we could do. My amazing KISA had found a coupon for $5 off each Benjamin Moore gallon, so I took the liberty of ordering them all online that night for pickup Sunday morning. I found that it allowed the discount for only up to five gallons, so I placed multiple orders to the local hardware store. When you’re buying 15+ gallons of paint, every dollar counts.

We got up early Sunday morning and I called the local hardware store shortly after they opened to get a timeline. Of course they didn’t have the right base for the master bedroom color I’d picked out, but were helpful at calling their other stores upon my persistent suggestion to see if they stocked the base. Luckily there was one on the way to Oakland that we could swing into. When I was told our paint would be ready I swung in to the hardware store with my KISA waiting in the car while it rained. I spent the next 45 minutes waiting for the clerk to figure out how to ring up my orders because the dollar amount didn’t match how it was ringing up. I really tried to be patient, in hopes the karma would pay off in the day ahead. Thankfully at the other location, with our master bedroom paint, I was literally able to swing in and swing out. They didn’t seem concerned about the price not matching and let me go on my way.

By the time we made it to the house neither my KISA nor I were in an especially happy mood given the crappy weather and the extended time it took to start our day. I realized I was going to have to sacrifice the Packers game that afternoon to get done what we needed to do. The seller stopped by to continue loading her belongings, so I tried to ignore her and go about my day. My day was going to consist of pulling all the nails and screws out of the walls and washing down the walls. My husband’s day was consisting


80’s intercom we decided to remove

of doing other cleaning and inspecting the 80’s intercom system that was in every single room to figure out how to remove it. I went about my business, realizing how disgusting a person’s place could be. I know my KISA thought I was just being anal with the walls until I showed him what I was washing off. It was everything from smoke residue from all the incense burning to food remnants on the walls to filth from the knees and below from the dogs. I was fearful that with the ridiculously low price we were paying the painters that they wouldn’t spend any time washing the walls and would rather just paint over the lumpiness.


Removing the curtain rods. If you look closely you can see a soot-outlined cross above the fireplace.

While I was going about my business my KISA made a couple of trips to Home Depot. During his time he bought all the products to not only patch the intercom system holes, but to also put a knock-down texturizer over the top to make it look like the texture on the rest of our walls. He’d also made a return trip at my request to buy an electrical tester so that my child wouldn’t be born without a father.

By the time he returned from his second trip, not yet started on his project, I was five hours into scrubbing the walls and removing wall hangings and had finally made it upstairs. Upon working upstairs I realized that the disgust of the walls was only getting worse, not better. And, that the seller burned all the incense and removed the carpeting on the steps and in the master because her four housedogs peed everywhere. And, since the carpeting had been removed, that now meant they’d also peed all over the subfloors. Being 22 weeks pregnant at the time my sense of smell was rather acute and I didn’t know what we were going to do once we moved in. So, my hormones took over and I started crying. My poor KISA came leaping


The disgusting master with pee-stained subfloors.

upstairs, wondering what was going on and if the baby was ok. Between sobs I explained to him how dirty the house was, how tired I was, and how awful the smell was. We had also run out of daylight again and I didn’t feel like the house was ready for the painters to come. My KISA grabbed the washcloth from me and did a quick scrub job of the three bedrooms that weren’t Sarah-quality, but I was too exhausted to care. We had dinner plans with our newly engaged friends that night and someone coming to our apartment to buy our old mattress, so we had no choice but to leave the house and call good-enough good enough.


In case you’re interested, here are the paint colors we picked:

Home Remodel: Day 1-ish

Our home remodel is officially under way! We did a rent-back to the seller while she moved her items out. She was a pseudo-hoarder and was moving into an apartment, so appreciated the extra time. She informed us she would be out the 11th of December; so we set up time with her at 10 am on the 12th (Saturday) to do our final walk-through, get the keys, etc. We also brought our paint samples, as our first project was to finalize our paint colors and remove any nails/screw holes before the painters came on Monday. (Between my KISA’s herniated disk and dislike for painting combined with my pregnancy we decided it was probably best to keep that to the professionals since we were repainting every room in the house.

IMG_8221As we were preparing to leave our apartment to head to the house, the seller texted to see if we could back-up the walk-through to noon so that she could finish some cleaning up she wanted to do before we took over. Appreciating her desire to help us clean up, obviously we obliged. During this time drought-ridden San Francisco received a massive down pouring of rain…that wouldn’t stop. Our apartment master bedroom doesn’t have a window, but instead a patio door going out to our little enclosed patio/light well. As the rain kept coming down we noticed the gutter at the rooftop was blocked as the water level kept rising on our patio. There is a small drain on the patio, but there was enough plant debris and leaves that it was being blocked. As the rainwater was reaching the bottom of our patio door, that’s a good six inches above the patio, the reality hit that a bedroom flooding would mean ruining our brand-new king-size mattress that was on the floor – as the new bed was being delivered to the Oakland house. I called the apartment manager to let them know if the situation and then grabbed my goulashes and rain jacket. I found my way to the blocked drain as the sheets of rain tried to knock me on my behind. Thankfully I was able to swish enough of the plant debris away from the drain long enough to watch the water recede away from the door. Crisis averted, or at least temporarily.

We made our way to the new Oakland house and were rather surprised to see a U-Haul in the driveway with people milling about our new house. We found the seller inside with a house full of furniture. She’d originally told us she would be out the Monday before, but apparently things hadn’t gone as planned. She told us the guy she’d hired to help with the move the day prior didn’t come back after lunch. The seller said she expected about four more U-Haul trips before everything could be moved out. I was rather annoyed to say the least since we had things we wanted to do in our house, but there wasn’t much we could do about the situation.

IMG_8234As we were turning to leave and go kill time I realized all the appliances were gone. And I don’t mean just the washer and dryer, but also the stove and refrigerator. Already annoyed I confronted her about where they were. Nonchalantly she informed us she sold them. I told her it was in our contract, in fact itemized out. She denied it. And then started crying. The seller is a god-loving woman and I knew would never intentionally try to screw us over. During the home inspection the seller had made a comment to my KISA about selling the stove, which we immediately had our realtor take up with her realtor. We later had written e-mail communication from her realtor saying that if the stove were gone that she’d be forced to replace it. Apparently the realtor never spoke with the seller about this or any of the other appliances.

We left the house to go sit in the car and try to figure out what in the hell we were going to do about the circumstances. We’d already scheduled the painters to come that Monday and the movers to come to our place the following Saturday. In addition to that, I’d given notice to our apartment complex that we’d be out by the 24th and had hired a house cleaner to come to our apartment the following Monday. There was no way we couldn’t continue with our planned time-line. The next concern was how do you move into a house without appliances? Would we have to throw out all our perishable items and live without a stove and refrigerator for a while? Replacing the appliances was definitely not in the budget.

We decided our next course of action would be to call the listing agent to understand why the appliances were gone when we’d already called out to her that it was in our contract. The listing agent began with trying to deny that it was in our contract or that she didn’t know anything about the appliances being a concern…until we informed her that we had in writing the communication between her and our agent discussing it. She told us she’d have to review the contract in a few hours and that we should determine the value of the missing appliances. We followed up this conversation with a call to our buying agent to let her know. She pulled the contract while we were on the phone and recited what I’d remembered, with them all being listed. In addition to that, she forwarded us the countersigned copy of the contract along with the picture of the kitchen to help guide us with the appliances. She also told us that we needed to determine the REPLACEMENT value of the appliances, not the actual value, like the listing agent stated. We felt better about that and chose to look at it as a blessing in disguise as we now got to pick new appliances, minus the replacement value of her like items.

We spent the reminder of the day at Home Depot and Best Buy researching her appliances along with our choices for appliances. Being a couple weeks post Black Friday we realized we missed out on all the appliance deals and were somewhat limited on the stock of appliances to be delivered in the next week to have when we moved in. We knew there would have to be a bit of negotiation with the seller and listing agent on the value of the replacement of those appliances (the seller admitted she sold them all for next to nothing), but decided we had to take the plunge and order all the appliances to have before Christmas. We weren’t going to let a lack of appliances ruin our Christmas plans…

The First Trimester

The first trimester was a little tough for me given that we hadn’t announced our pregnancy yet. But, I did write you a blog posting at week 12 to let you know the 10 things I learned about being pregnant. Here they are:

1. Even if you’ve been on birth control for 16 years that makes you not menstruate, you can still get pregnant in a month of going off it. No need for a “buffer time”.

2. You can say and plan that you’re going to eat healthy when you get pregnant, but when you have constant nausea and starches and crappy foods are the only thing that make you feel better, that all goes out the window.

3. If you don’t eat frequently enough you’ll find yourself dry-heaving at a McDonald’s drive-thru waiting for your emergency dinner. And, it’ll take about 10 minutes after you’ve eaten for it to stop while your food works its way down to your stomach and into your blood stream.

4. The only thing to cure nausea is food and eating happens to be the last thing you want to do when you feel nauseous.

5. Don’t be surprised if you gain weight just trying to combat the nausea so you don’t feel miserable. But, be surprised when you don’t gain any weight after eating constantly for 12 weeks and question if maybe you could have been doing that pre-pregnancy with the same results.

6. You feel guilty for everything you do that might impact the baby – like riding a jet ski in the ocean or using massive amount of fingernail polish remover in an attempt to remove ink from plastic (don’t ask.)…even though your sane pre-pregnancy mind made you promise you wouldn’t be that person.

7. If you don’t have pregnancy fatigue, you could very well suffer from insomnia instead. Or either, depending on the night.

8. You need maternity pants just for the bloating and begin questioning if that bump is a baby or just gas.

9. Speaking of gas, you’ll wish you had a dog, because there’s a lot and you can’t control it…even at work when a coworker is sitting at your desk next to you while you explain a project.

10. Just when you’re fed up with being constantly miserable and wonder why people speak so highly of being pregnant, you’ll have your 12 week check-up and ultrasound and find your baby waving back at you. You’ll wonder when that blob from the first ultrasound formed a tiny human and no pregnancy discomforts matter anymore.