And so it begins.  Grab a snack or something cuz this is gonna be a lonnnnnng one.  And I apologize in advance for all the changes in tense (present, future, past, etc.).  This post was written across several days.  (And now that it’s complete and I see how long it is, I promise to not cram 7 days into one post again!  Er, not when there’s this much going on!)

We signed papers for the 4100 house on Friday January 17th.  We were told the seller would be signing on Tuesday or Wednesday and we would close and fund that same day.  Wow!

Tuesday I called to have the utilities marked – the “Call Before You Dig” hotline.  I also turned in the request to have the gas turned back on (scheduled for Friday between 8-noon), the water turned back on – well, specifically requested that they just cut the padlock and DO NOT TURN ON the water (fearing leaks).  Then I called PGE to have the power turned back on for Thursday….um, that call didn’t go so well.  Turns out since the home has been vacant for 12+ months, they require an inspection by the county and it must be “green tagged” before I can call PGE.  OK, so I call the county- at 4:40pm.  They tell me it’s “probably” too late to turn in a request for an inspection on Wednesday…it’ll probably be Thursday instead.  And of course they need access to the house (which I don’t have at this point)…someone has to be there during the inspection.  Ugh.  So I left a message with Scott (realtor) to see if he can help with that since we don’t have a key.  Once we get the green tag, then I can call PGE back and they’ll turn the power back on within 24 hours.  (Although one of my inspector friends said they can usually do it within hours.)  If things don’t go right, we won’t have any electricity for the weekend!  Nooooo!!!!!!

Wednesday Closing and Funding day!  Yippee! The county called me first thing in the morning to say they are scheduling the electrical inspection for Thursday.  Boo.  I have to call after 8am to talk to the assigned inspector and get a time from him.  Ugh.  Around 11am I got the confirmation that everything has been signed and that the Title co is just waiting for the funds to be wired from the lender.  Should be taking place any moment!  In the meantime, now that we are guaranteed new owners of the home, I posted the picket fence on Craigslist as “FREE- you haul away!” and got two calls back to back within minutes….the first caller went over and took it out!   I’m sure we could have sold it, but sometimes time is worth money and I didn’t want to have to make appointments with people, or take it down ourselves and store it.  Anyway- it’s gone! Two weeks ago it looked like this:

4100 jan14-2

Wednesday afternoon we got the calls from the lender and the negotatior- congratulating us and telling us that the money has been received and the sale recorded and yippee it’s a done deal!!!  We are the new owners!  Jim and I decided to go out to dinner to celebrate- we were supposed to go Thursday evening for our 15th anniversary but thought this momentus occasion deserved to be recognized as well.  As we were eating dinner we got a call from our agent- the lockboxes are gone from the house and there’s no keys!  UGH.  I knew John would figure out how to screw us AGAIN.  It’s 8:30pm as I write this and our agent has been bugging John since 4pm to get the keys….no response.  Grrrr.  AND, when we stopped by the house on our way to dinner, we could see that the guy who took the fence didn’t dig out the posts, he just snapped them off!  I’ll be calling him tomorrow to request the he please take the time to dig up the posts….if we were going to do labor we would have SOLD the fences, not gave it away for free!

Thursday I hired my sub to cover the daycare for the afternoon portion.  Scott called me just after 11:00 to say he had the keys!  Yay!  I went over to the house, hoping to be there for the electrical inspection, but no luck.  I did measure the fridge opening and it’s the same size as our fridge (whew).  That’ll make shopping easier- more options.  I didn’t have any tools with me or anything I could really work on, so I headed to Home Depot to see if I could match the Martha Stewart paint colors.  Success!  There was a color booklet with all the colors offered!  (I also bought a new “smartkey” deadbolt for the front door, and a replacement lock/latch for the patio door (it was broken)).  When I came back to the house- I saw that the electrical inspection had been done (I left him a key) so I called PGE to request the power be turned back on.  The locating crew was also there marking up our yard.  Yeah….the power line runs smack right down the middle of the yard between the two trees!  He did tell me the lines are 27″ deep.

I used the teeny tiny paint samples to determine the paint names for the green (Mossy Rock), tan (Natural Twine) and chocolate (Chocolate Truffle) walls.  I took that, and a sample floor tile, to Miller Paint so I could find a shade of tan that will work with the tile.  In our last rental house, we painted everything “felt” color.  This time I wanted to go a bit lighter.  But not too much lighter.  Since the family room and kitchen tile is also a tan color, I need to be careful with my color choice.  I have it narrowed down to three choices.  This will be whole house paint- the kitchen, family room, upstairs rooms, all three bedrooms.  The good news is that Miller has the exact same Martha Stewart colors- so no worries on matching the paint!  Whew!  I love Miller paint. It was getting dark (and it’s flippin COLD in that house!) so I went back home- called the power company again first and they reassured me that it would be turned on sometime tonight.

As soon as I got back home to MY home, my husband called and wanted to meet at the rental so we could turn the water on.  It was a whole family affair- one kid in each bathroom, one in the kitchen, Jim under the house and me at the water main turning it on….everyone waiting patiently and quietly looking/listening for leaks or bursts.  Success!  Everything was just fine!  Yippee!  (HUGE sigh of relief here!).  They even drained the hot water tank!  And the water running through the pipes smelled so fresh and clean.  Happiness. Now when I go back over there on Friday I’ll have water, and (supposedly) electricity…and the gas will be turned on sometime between 8am – noon.  Yippee!!

Friday I had my sub all day.  I went to the house at 8:40am and Baltazar was there waiting for me to see the work and give me a bid.  During our walk-through we decided he would repair the master bedroom wall (likely by removing the sheetrock and putting new stuff up).  He would put new sheetrock over the wall in Sarah’s room (Bedroom #2) because that is the wall that has painted over posters and stickers and no amount of skimming will cover that up.


He would retexture the main bathroom (severe wall damage in there) and retexture Bedroom #1.  Upstairs he would skim and texture the loft hall and the inside of the loft bedroom.  I asked him for a separate bid to paint the family room ceiling (cuz I don’t want that job!).  Anyway- he came back with $1,800 for the drywall work and $200 for the painting of the ceiling.  Hmmm….that’s way higher than I expected.

Shortly after he left the NW Natural Gas guy showed up.  Long story short- there were a few gas leaks outside that he had to fix before he could turn the gas on, then he had to bleed the lines for a lonnnng time (stunk up the whole house!), the furnace works just fine- happy to hear that it’s in good shape.  The water heater, however, has a small leak and has to be replaced.  Fortunately those are only about $350 at Lowe’s or Home Depot, we just need to remove the old, install the new.  Not too difficult, but it is a tiny crammed closet.  (Update: um, no, those are about $405-$600).

I spent the rest of my morning cleaning out the garage and sweeping it, raking up all the leaves that were in the driveway and front yard, I went around the house and removed all the wall plates (outlets, switches) which most weren’t even attached with screws- they were so covered in paint that they were STUCK to the wall.


I discovered that this gave me access beneath the wallpaper- so I started peeling and voila!  Ended up with 90% of the wallpaper off Sarah’s room (aka Bedroom 2)!


No need for drywall repair now!  Yippee!  Sadly, the paper backing is still stuck to the wall so I have some work to do.  The other problem I encountered was the paint peeling away from the drywall as well.

We had two different families (friends) walk through the house to give us their opinion.  The floorplan gets rave reviews, as does the wood flooring, the tile flooring and the carpet selection.  Everyone loves the upstairs enclosed loft room, which means it will stay.  I just have to learn to love it, I guess.  General consensus was the range needs to go, counters and cabinets are OK.  Bathrooms are too sterile and need color.  We need to get rid of the yellow color, paint all the rooms a neutral tan color, go ahead and leave the green walls.  And, they said the wall texture isn’t something that bothers them, so we don’t need to go overboard on retexturing everything.  WHEW!  

We will still do the upstairs loft skimming and texturing, and the master bedroom repair- but everything else is off the table.

We also won’t be doing anything with the trim.  In the last house we wanted everything to be perfect- so we filled holes and painted and caulked all the trim.  We were told that prospective tenants don’t really care about that- so we aren’t going to take the time to do that.  Nor will we paint the insides of the closets.  Or paint the doors.

The stairs….


YAY!  Look what we found when we pulled the carpet:


Bullnose solid tops!  A bunch of TLC (like, a lot a lot a lot of TLC) and we can have a nice looking wood staircase!!

Saturday  Our first FULL day there, if you count not getting there until almost 10am.  We loaded our utility trailer and the back of Jim’s truck with everything we’d need for the next 6 weeks.  I can’t even recall the order of things at the moment, so I’ll just list what was accomplished:

Both trees taken down and partially hauled away by day’s end


Carpet out of the upstairs loft & hall (yes, they DID build the loft enclosure wall ON TOP OF THE CARPET).  Geesh!


Carpet off the stairs


Carpet out of all three bedrooms


Our original wood floors are still intact in my old bedroom (Bedroom 1):


We thought about keeping it, but it doesn’t really “go” with the cherry floors in the rest of the house:


Carpet in the living room was spot treated/shampooed and looks like it will clean up well!

More wall paper removal in the loft room


Removed all the posters and wallpaper in the storage room





(The “quotes” are stuck and won’t come off no matter what)

More wallpaper removal in Bedroom 2


Kitchen cabinet hardware removed, the cabinet doors/drawers removed


Hot Water tank removed
New Hot Water tank purchased (but not installed)
Trash pick-up in the backyard
Leaf raking in the front yard
Replaced the furnace filter
Bought replacement tiles for the kitchen counter

We were home by 9:15 and in bed before 10pm.

Sunday  a quick stop at the store for more beer, some donuts and bananas.  We really miss having a fridge (we’re borrowing a mini-fridge and boy is it small!)  No microwave there either.  Makes snacks/meals a little challenging!

The guys came back and worked on the trees some more.  Just need stump grinding done!


Round 1 of cabinet deep cleaning was done- using engine degreaser!!


Followed by a wiping with Mineral Spirits.  First coat of spackling done to cover the holes from the center knobs. 

Finished up the removal of wallpaper scraps/goo from Sarah’s room and the upstairs loft.  Here’s some interesting information on Sarah’s room: turns out, at some point the wall was re-sheetrocked. Except when they installed the new drywall they didn’t seam the corners (there are GAPS!!!).  They skimmed and painted directly over the drywall with a pink crackle paint.  Then they painted it lavendar.  Then white.  Then put the wallpaper up.  Then put stickers over the wallpaper.  Then textured over the wallpaper and painted the walls raspberry pink.  Then purple.  Then glossy light blue.  Yep.


Here’s the room now:


I have to research what my options are for the drywall damage….and corner gaps.

We worked on pulling staples from the floor (where the carpet was) and did a lot of yard clean-up.    Here’s a couple before and afters:



4100 jan14-2


Stump grinding is in order!  And some serious landscaping!

The loft room is 100% wallpaper free now!


The left wall was originally blue and white stripes- about 6″ wide stripes!  Imagine that!  YUCK!

This week’s plans: install the hot water heater, continue prepping walls for painting, cleaning the kitchen cabinets, researching hardware options, drawer slide options (some of the drawers are missing rollers or guides!), clean, clean, clean, schedule carpet estimate (measuring), continue removing staples and such….get a plan for the staircase.