Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Three Years Ago

I was going to wait until the morning to post this blog entry, but since it is after midnight, it is technically August 1st. So here goes!

Three years ago today, I married my best friend. Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday I was walking down the aisle towards the man of my dreams. My husband is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel incredibly lucky to be with him. We've been together for a total of six and a half years. In that time, we got our first  home together - our condo - and had our first experiences with remodeling projects. We both graduated from college. We adopted our dog Sadie. We have been apart numerous times due to military schools in other states and a year-long deployment to Kuwait and Afghanistan. My husband left the Army after almost 13 years of service - huge sigh of relief! We've been together through the loss of three of my grandparents and the loss of our cat Chewy. My husband put up with me during my year and a half long venture with adult braces! And one of our most fun experiences is that last year we became an Aunt and Uncle to the cutest human alive! 

We are looking forward to the memories we will share in our new forever-home. This is the first - and hopefully the last - house we will have together. It makes it so much more special that we literally picked out just about everything about it. From the builder we chose, the community and lot we fell in love with, to the model we selected, and then all of the upgrades we added on. This house has our own personal touch and it is exactly the way we dreamed it would be. Sure, there are things we will add later, like a media room for my husband and a patio out back, but this house will be perfect to us from day one. It has even been fun to pick out our furniture, appliances, and home decor to add an even more personal touch to our home. For our first two wedding anniversaries, we celebrated by going skydiving. It was something that my husband had always wanted to do. I surprised him the first time we went. We had planned on keeping up the tradition every year but since we are building a house, we decided that was all the excitement we would need! We close on our home in five days and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary together!

Happy Anniversary John! I love you with all my heart! 

Now for the photo montage! 

2006 - The year we started dating.

January 2008 - Saying "Goodbye" for a year.
Last name removed for privacy.
Reunited at last!

Last name removed for privacy

2009 - A family pic! That's Sadie! The closest thing we will ever have to a child!

2009 - On our honeymoon taking a Canopy Tour

Our first wedding anniversary.

You can't see it but my shirt says, "Army Wife Est. 1 August 2009"

October 2009 - Military Ball

2011 - Me with braces!
This picture almost makes me want to chop my hair off again. Almost!

January 2012 - Our first cruise to the Bahamas!

March 2012 - Starting our journey in building our home.

May 2012 - Our Nephew's 1st B-day party. It had a nautical theme.
Also, check out my brace-free smile!

Cutest human ever. Our nephew, James <3

I know this stuff is irrelevant to most of my readers but I write this blog primarily for myself. I plan on saving this blog and looking back on it in the years to come. It is a fun way to document my memories!

P.S. We are visiting our house today. I may post a house-related blog entry later!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Must-Haves for the New House

Let me just start this blog off by saying WE CLOSE A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!

I feel like every time I buy something for the new house, my list of things I need keeps growing! We already purchased our washer, dryer, fridge, morning room furniture, and family room furniture last week. You can read about those here. This week I picked out a rug for the morning room, a dehumidifier for the basement, a new light fixture for the study, an invisible fence, and a battery backup for our sump pump! I also bought new toilet paper holders, if you want to know why, read my last post.

I literally looked after over 1,000 rugs for the morning room and only found 3 that I liked. Apparently I am extremely picky. Who knew? I was looking for a neutral rug since I haven't even picked out paint colors yet. We aren't going to paint for at least another year so I'm not even going to stress myself out about choosing colors. We already have a color picked out for our family room but that's because we worked with an interior designer to pick out our furniture, artwork, and paint at La-Z-Boy furniture for this room. I wanted to make sure our morning room rug looked good with the family room rug since the space is open and you can see them both at the same time. Here it is!
It is 8x10 and will fit our table and chairs, even with the chairs pulled out.
This is from Overstock.com

I felt the need to replace the light fixture in our study because the one RH provided is too small for the space. We also accidentally ended up with a tray ceiling in the study and I felt that we needed something a little nicer for this room. The lady at the light store said I should get something larger and a semi-flush mount instead of a flush mount. If you want to see the fixture that RH installed,  read my last post. We are going to move the fixture that is already in there to the laundry room so that we can replace the hideous mushroom light RH installed. Then we are going to move the hideous mushroom light to our rental property. It's musical light fixtures! I haven't purchased it yet because I'm still looking around, but I like the one pictured below.

Found it at Lowes.

Here is the toilet paper holder I picked out. I ordered four, one for each bathroom. I am very detail-oriented. I don't like the holders that RH installs. I guess this just goes back to me being picky. Seriously though, if you want to read my story about my TP holders, read my previous post.
Found this at Home Depot but it's only available online.

Since RH pours their basement walls, they strongly suggest that you use a dehumidifier in your basement for at the least the first year. You should leave it running constantly. Make sure you buy one that can handle the size of your space. Also, get one that you can connect a hose to so that you can drain it straight into your sump pump. This will save you from having to constantly empty it out! I don't know much about dehumidifiers but we found one that had good reviews, is energy star compliant, and  is quiet. It even includes a 3ft drain hose. Most of them do not and you have to purchase them separately.

DeLonghi 45-Pint Dehumidifier

Model # DD45

We decided to purchase an invisible fence after talking with our future neighbor about them. I never realized how inexpensive they are and how easy they are to install. Our neighbor put one in and he said it was pretty simple. We aren't getting our sod until about a week or two after closing -- that was per our request -- so we will be able to get this into the ground before we have grass. Our neighbor already had his sod when he installed his but he said all he did was lift the sod up and put the wire under it. Our PM also installed a pipe under our drive at the bottom so that we could fish the wire through it. If you want to see our pipe, click here. We chose the High Tech Pet Humane Contain Electronic Fence Ultra System - wow, that's a long name! We chose this particular system for many reasons. It had great reviews, the dog collar is much slimmer than most others, and it has a tone-only mode. We are going to try to train our dog with the tone-only mode first. We want to avoid using the shocking method if possible. She's a pretty smart dog so hopefully she will catch on. This system covers up to 50 acres but only includes 500 ft of wire. We had to purchase an extra kit with more wire and flags because our lot is larger.

Home Depot Model # HC-8000
Extra wiring and flags. Model # BE-500

Now for the battery backup for the sump pump. Your sump pump pumps excess water from your house. It is operated by electricity. If your power goes out and it is raining, the excess water will not be pumped from your house. It will end up flooding your basement if there is enough water. A battery backup is a little pricey but it's much cheaper than repairing any water damage to your basement. Our sump pump failed in our condo and now we have to replace a 2-year-old floor down there due to water damage. We are not going to let this happen in our new house! This sucker is getting installed within the first week of living there! I was under the impression that it was literally just a battery that you somehow connected to your sump pump. Wrong. It is actually a whole other sump pump that you install. Also, when you buy the kit, the actual battery isn't included. Say what? Yeah, it's weird to me too. The kit is about $140 and the battery itself is $94. We chose the Basement Watchdog Emergency Battery Backup Sump Pump from Home Depot. We love Home Depot, can you tell? It helps that we get a 10% military discount on all in-store purchases :)

The kit: Model # BWE

The actual battery: Model # 24EP6

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hardwoods, Carpet, & Mistakes

I already broke my challenge of not visiting until the final walk-through. I only lasted two days! My mom really wanted to see the house because she hasn't been there since only the first floor was framed. Who am I to deny her a visit? :) Part of me wishes I wouldn't have gone. There were a few mistakes that I noticed that just pissed me off a little bit. I'm sure they will be fixed but I'm still annoyed. It's a Saturday so I can't call anyone about it. Also, our PM is on vacation all next week. Great timing. All of the gashes and nicks in the walls are also starting to get to me. I know these will be taken care of but they are caused by people not being careful in the first place.

I'll start with the positives. The hardwoods were installed yesterday. From what I can see, which isn't much, they look beautiful! The floor in the powder room wasn't covered up so I got to see a big section of it in there. Ever since the selection stage of this process, I've been worried about how our hardwoods would look with our cabinets. Well, the verdict is in and I'm so happy that I love the combination! That has been my number one stress point since the beginning. Seriously. I think about it almost every day.  Also, the carpet installers were there doing their thing.

Now the negatives. We upgraded the master bath and this upgrade was supposed to include a swinging shower door instead of a sliding one. Well guess what was installed? A freaking sliding door. I hate any type of sliding door so much! We were wavering on whether or not to get the 4' extension in our family room. Our SR told us that if we didn't get the extension, we would have a sliding glass door in our morning room. If we did get the extension, it would be a single 15-light door. That's probably what pushed me into getting the extension. Sure, having 4' more in the basement and family room is nice, but I really did not want that damn sliding door! My hatred runs that deep! No offense to anyone who has one. I'm just not personally a fan. But I digress. This is one mistake that better get fixed. How can they even tear out the door they put in without causing damage? Now I get to stress about this. Here's a picture:

This thing has got to go.

Another negative. We put in a change order a while back to "delete" the shelf in the laundry room. We plan on installing cabinets after closing and we didn't want to deal with having to tear out the shelf, especially since they use drywall anchors to secure it. Guess what got installed? You guessed it! The laundry shelf! Part of my knew this would happen. Our SR even warned that it might. It will get taken care of, but I'm still annoyed. We also requested to not have our toilet paper holders installed. I don't like the ones that come with the house. I want the kind that you can just slide the roll on or off without having to pull the middle part off. This type only has one anchor screwed in the wall where the RH ones have two. We didn't want to have to patch the walls in all four of our bathrooms. Our PM said this would not be a problem. Well, guess what got installed? They only put them in two of the bathrooms so far but I'm sure the other two will get installed before someone catches the mistake. The one in the master bathroom was installed out of reach, which is totally ridiculous. I hope they don't install the one in the basement on the side of the vanity. Then I could never change it and I will be so freakin' pissed!
Laundry shelf that isn't supposed to be there.
Also, I'm not very happy with the lighting in here. This room is dark.

This is in the master "water closet."It looks even farther away in person. I could never reach that.
It wasn't even supposed to be installed in the first place!
Hall bath. Also not supposed to be here. They also jacked up the wall. Was it their first time installing one of these?

This is the kind of TP holder I want.

Van with our carpet and padding in it. I'm glad I saw this because I've read blogs where people didn't get the padding they paid for. It's hard to verify once installed!

Love the hardwoods! The color is Saddle. This is the 1st floor powder room. Only part not covered up.

Crown molding is still missing in the study. This light fixture is just ok but I don't think it's fancy enough to be installed in a tray ceiling. It will be getting replaced.
Vented Microwave was installed! It's HUGE!

A peek of the floors up against the cabinets. I hope that's not paint on the floor!

Yes, my cooktop will sit just below the microwave. Not against code in Ohio!

Double wall ovens on the right, cooktop and dishwasher on the left!

The door leading from the garage to the house is jacked up. It won't close all the way and my husband had to yank hard to get it to open. The wood is also split. 

Food pantry. Looks bigger with the shelves installed.

Chandelier in the foyer!

Linen closet in the upstairs hallway

Carpet about to get installed in the formal dining room.
I really wish the carpet installers didn't wear shoes. Seriously.....

Love the french doors to the study!

This is also one of my annoyances. The light to our basement stairs is installed on the WALL not the ceiling! This wasn't a mistake either. That's where it's supposed to be. It looks ridiculous! It doesn't help that the fixture is fugly. Couldn't they have at least installed a wall sconce?

Air conditioner. 

My husband set up our utilities and trash service two days ago. They are all scheduled for the week we move in. They already delivered our trashcan. That was fast! Trash day isn't even until Monday!

I didn't even notice until looking at this picture that they installed the rest of our outdoor lights! I'll have to remember to a get close-up next time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Driveway, Sidewalks, Mailbox, Electrical, & Guardian Installs

I made an unplanned stop at the house today. I just had to see what was going on! I had to park pretty far away because there were so many work vehicles there. Conveniently, I also ran into my PM and he walked around with me! I got to ask tons of questions! Much easier than trying to remember them all and sending him a text. There were so many people working inside and outside our house that I couldn't keep count. Even a guy from Guardian was there installing their stuff. I wish I could have seen the in-ceiling speakers but he was just about to start those when I was leaving. The house was just too hot for me to stick around! It was 87 degrees in there!

Starting with the outside: Our driveway and sidewalks were poured yesterday! I walked right past the mailbox without even noticing it! The PM had to point that out to me! In my last post, I mentioned that our PM placed a pipe under our driveway so that we can run our invisible fence through it. I have a picture of that below. We even bought some tool thingy that we will attach the wire to and then turn a reel to fish it through the pipe. And by "we" I mean my hubby. I asked my PM when our sod would be put in. I told him that we asked our last PM if we could wait a little bit after closing to have it installed. This would make it easier for us to bury our invisible fence and we wouldn't have to worry about watering it while dealing with the stress of moving. Our original PM said no. Our new PM said yes! I hope my old PM isn't reading this :) The two houses across the street close about a week and a half to two weeks after us and I asked him if it would be easier for him if we just got our sod when they got theirs. He said it would be helpful so that's the plan! We will have to walk our dog a little ways away from the house to an open field for a week or two but at least we won't have to worry about the yard. We are closing on a Monday but we aren't moving until the weekend. It would have been a pain to make the hour round-trip drive out every day to just water the lawn. Also, RH told us our lot is half an acre. My husband did the math and it turns out it is a little larger. It's more like 2/3 of an acre.

The guys on the ladders were painting the trim.

Close-up of the drivway
This is the pipe we will run our invisible fence through under the driveway!
(Left side of driveway)
Pipe sticking out on the right side. I should have measured how far out it was....

Sidewalk leading to front door
This is where our lampost will be.
I LOVE the mailbox! 

Light outside the morning room door.

As for the inside: There were so many people working inside and outside our house that I couldn't keep count. Even a guy from Guardian was there installing their stuff. I wish I could have seen the in-ceiling speakers but he was just about to start those when I was leaving. The house was just too hot for me to stick around! They were installing light fixtures, outlets, switches, plumbing fixtures, toilets, and probably other stuff I couldn't keep track of!

I also made a request to my PM about our kitchen cabinets. The cabinet above the fridge is pushed back and doesn't sit flush with the cabinets to the left. I know this is usually pretty common but I will never be able to reach that, especially since our fridge will stick out even farther. I asked him if it could be pulled forward to be flush. Seems like a simple request. He said he would have to get back with me about it. Here is a picture of what I'm talking about:

The fridge goes on the right and the double ovens on the left.

Master vanity

Love shape of this bathtub fixture!

Toilet in the master water closet. I was worried we would get the off-white toilets that I have seen on some other blogs. I really wanted my toilets to match the white of the sinks, shower, and bathtub. So glad they do!

The big hole is for a ceiling speaker. The white circle is our wireless router. Next to that is a smoke detector.  Small hole will me a carbon monoxide detector. We got our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors wired through our security alarm.

Hall bathroom

Hall toilet

I really wanted brushed nickel but RH over charges for that upgrade. I had planned on switching them out myself later but I kind of like these. The shape just makes it look so much better than I expected.

They can just leave the switches like that.... I kinda like it. Ha ha!

We got a wireless router installed in our ceiling from Guardian. 

This is the siren for our security alarm.

So glad we get a thermostat in the master bedroom!

Chandelier in the formal dining room. I was hoping I could see the huge version of this that goes in the foyer but they hadn't installed it yet!

Ceiling speakers!

Thermostat on the first floor.

Motion detector from Guardian.

I clearly don't take very good pictures. I make everything look crooked!
I wasn't so sure about the eyeball lights when we were making our selections but I'm glad we got them! I like them!

Close-up of my eyeballs!

So glad RH installs energy savers!

This is the light in the laundry room. That will definitely need replaced. It's hideous!
Laundry room hook-ups

Accidentally free laundry sink rough-in!

Handles on the outside of the morning room door are ORB to match the outdoor light fixtures.

Handles on the inside of the morning room door are brushed nickel to match the indoor light fixtures.
It's weird to me that these are different. 

Door bell chime thing on the inside

Guardian security alarm pad. 

Recessed lights in the kitchen! There is an extra one on the left because it follows the curve of the gourmet island.
The hole left over is where one of our in-ceiling speakers will be.

Our hardwoods should be installed tomorrow, carpet on Saturday, initial cleaning is on Sunday, and granite gets installed on Monday. Our PM is on vacation all next week. I'm going to try to challenge myself not visit again until the final walk-through. That's in 11 days. Can I make it?