The bright spot of having your basement fill up with your and your neighbor's waste water is that you're forced to do a little home remodeling. Once you're writing fat checks for new carpet and tile it's easy to say "fark it" and start painting all your trim white and buying new chairs.
Here's my latest obsession: Remodelista
It's the hottest design porn that I've seen in a while.
I finally have an excuse for not blogging.
Henry came home with a note from school and all of his belongings in a dark, plastic bag, something about lice.
And I have a basement full of raw sewage. Again.
I'm not sure which one is worse, but maybe after I sit down with a bottle of vodka I'll figure it out.
Feng Shui, put simply, is the art of placing objects and furniture in your home in a way the promotes the flow of good energy. This, in turn, is supposed to bring harmony, balance, prosperity and abundance into your life. Prosperity would be great, but I just want a decent night's sleep and if putting my bed perpendicular to the door is going to help, then I was going to move some furniture around...
After consulting several books and websites, I discovered that my entire house, by design, is a Feng Shui nightmare. Apparently in 1908 Sears Ro. & Company didn't give a damn about upstairs energy co-mingling with downstairs energy, because there is no place to hang a mirror at the bottom of my stairs and if abundance comes through my front door, it can way too easily escape out the back door.
What I read sounded like a bunch of home decorating tips for the extremely superstitious, but I figured incorporating a few principles couldn't hurt, so I moved all of the furniture out of my bedroom and put back only things that were essential. Fancy hotel bed alone was not cutting it; I moved it to the other side of the room. Now my feet no longer point towards the door as I sleep and all the clutter and noise is gone. Immediately my room felt more balanced and harmonious.
The good energy is flowing strong and I can't wait for bedtime.
My Feng Shui bedroom
As the cleaning crew descended the stairs equipped with masks, boots and gloves, to clean up the sewage that swamped my basement, I tried to put the image out of my head of Henry splashing around barefoot in the mystery puddles last week, as Nick vacuumed up the water and I tested different theories of what could possibly be leaking.
I was sure that it was the dishwasher. I conducted several very scientific experiments. It HAD to be the dishwasher.
It didn't occur to me for even a second that it was sewer water. The realization was horrifying, but not so much as finding out about the sewer rats that are now escaping from the holes in our collapsed main and up into our yard.
When the man from Minneapolis Public Works came to poison the rat holes that litter my lawn, he asked me if I'd seen any rats in the house yet. (Yet??) I started laughing hysterically and told him that he shouldn't make jokes like that. Especially to a woman whose husband is currently out of the country. Rat-Poison Man made a face that suggested he wasn't kidding and then warned me to look in the toilet before I sit down.
Last night I stacked heavy books on all the toilets and slept with a ski pole.
Sometime next week, this terrible, disgusting mess will be behind us. Until then, picture me heavily medicated and armed with sporting equipment.
In my mind, after the kitchen, the number and condition of the bathrooms was most important when we were looking at houses.
My house has three of them and I think they are all lovely.
In fact, the master bath is so lovely that it overshadows the terrible view from the staircase.
For probably the first time ever, I unpacked my suitcase within hours of arriving home, just so I could get my dirty laundry and try out my new washing machine. Thankfully, the appliances did fit down the stairs, so no walls were destroyed and sanity was retained.
Henry and Nick had a splendid weekend without me and I certainly had a good time in the city without them. The old house felt a little more like home after being away for four days and I'm fully rejuvenated and motivated to unpack, organize, repair and clean.
In other news, the neighbors from across the street came over last night, along with their little boy, to introduce themselves and bring us a loaf of homemade bread. As I thanked them, Henry hid behind my leg and then ran inside only to return with an armful of toys, which I assume was to entice his new friend to stay and play.
It's too bad that when the doorbell rang I was wearing my bathrobe (it was 6 pm) and that Henry wasn't wearing pants and that I had a porch full of shrink-wrapped furniture that doesn't belong there. I felt so awkward and I think our new friends couldn't get away fast enough.
It's only been a few days since I last posted, but I feel as though I've aged 300 years. Even though I was happy to move, it did not happen without tears. I have a porch full of furniture that won't fit up or down the stairs and a shower that drains through my kitchen ceiling. Both of these things caused mini spaz attacks on my part.
Plus, I don't remember where I packed my underthings or my make-up or anything really. Does anyone know where the baby is?
Problems aside, I love our new 105 year-old house and feel proud to be the owner, but if my new washer and dryer don't fit down the basement stairs, I will take an ax to the wall.
All my friends claimed that they didn't want me to leave, but I had so much help packing in Brooklyn that maybe I should have thought otherwise. For this move, Nick and I seem to be in some type of packing denial. The movers are coming very soon and I've not yet picked up the boxes. We took possession of our new house on Friday and we spent the weekend purchasing appliances and a whole bunch of other boring things that are necessary for home life.
You want to know something? It's really, really hard to spend money on things like dirt. The dirt is needed to change the grade around the house, so water doesn't seep into the basement. Good times.
I tell you what will truly be a good time from now on --laundry.
We move into our new house in three weeks.
Last night over cheap wine and even cheaper oysters we got the call from our Realtor saying that our counter counter counter counteroffer was accepted and the place was ours.
I've not bragged about this house yet, because it feels a bit like taking your chubby friend to the prom after the really pretty girl turns you down. Of course, you'll end up having a great time and if the light is just right, probably fall in love and be happy, but you still kind of wish the really pretty girl had said yes.
Honestly, I'm thrilled and can't wait until move-in day. We have a million things to accomplish in the next couple of weeks and I should probably rename this blog to Blah Blah Housecakes, because I'm going to be asking questions like this:
Which color should I paint the dining room, since I'm not a fan of burnt orange?
And what kind of trees or bushes should I plant around the house to add some curb appeal?
I plan on watching Home and Garden television all day, because I don't know anything about anything when it comes to homes and/or gardens. I have a lot to learn.
ETA: There is a show on H&G called Curb Appeal!! I've added to my TIVO.