Sunday, January 28, 2007

Our House- Part 2

Thanks for all the sweet comments about our little money pit--you are all welcome to join the neighborhood anytime! Come on down!

Well, we got a lot done on the house-work today (the work on the house, that is--the housework still needs some attention! :) ) We got a wall opened up and moved and widened the opening into the kitchen. The work continues today as well, hopefully we will get the new powder room framed up.......We have been renovating our house for what seems like half my life. In reality, we bought it almost 5 years ago as what is affectionately known as a "fixer-upper" or a "handyman special". It was set up as a duplex with one unit upstairs and one downstairs with a common foyer. We moved into the downstairs and commenced to making a lot of very needed cosmetic repairs and gutting and rebuilding the bathroom--(all upstairs). We scraped off over 80 years of painted-over wallpaper down to the plaster in the two bedrooms and then painstakingly repaired all the cracks and loose areas. When it was livable again, our friend Katie lived up there for two years while we redid all the landscaping, had the exterior painted, built a large deck, and started to renovate the downstairs.......which we thought we would do one room at a time while we lived down there. Well, we got halfway done with the sun room and figured out that was *not* a good plan! We sectioned off that room with plastic and lived that way for over a year. After two nice years with Katie sharing our house, we decided it was time to kick it into gear if we ever planned on this adoption coming reality. Our plan was to get the upstairs to a point that we could move up there and get through the home study and work on the downstairs while we waited. We basically started all over again. Mind you, we are doing almost all of work ourselves...on the weekends.....We have passed up many an invitation in order to "work on the house" because in our minds, a day or a weekend without house progress was that much longer in pushing the day we could start the adoption paperwork. It had already taken longer than we would have liked. We took all the plaster down to the studs except for the two bedrooms that we had worked so hard to save. We worked with an electrician and rewired the entire upstairs (and if you have ever lived in an old house, outlets are hard to come by--I now have an outlet on almost every wall!), had central air added, added a pair of french doors & access to the attic, hung and finished all the new sheetrock, etc. Finally the day came and we moved up and we soon afterward set out to start all the adoption paperwork. Now that the ball is starting to roll along with the adoption finally.......Now the renovation begins again. The goal is to convert it back once again to a single family residence, but it must remain separated until the downstairs is almost complete. Since we have some months to wait for referral and travel, the time has come to start it all over again downstairs. We are in the demolition phase at the moment. We hope to be pretty close to finishing by the time Buttercup comes home and plan on hiring out some of the very time consuming parts that we learned the the hard way..... such as plaster removal and sheet rock (the absolute most frustrating and slow labor I have ever done!) so we are hoping it moves along much quicker than the upstairs did. It will make the wait pass very fast, I'm sure. So, now you have the low-down on another "member" of our family--the member that keeps us safe and warm....... and very busy!

I will try to update as we progress on the mess!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Our House: A.K.A. The Money Pit :) Part 1

" If you sweep a house, and tend its fires and fill its stove, and there is love in you all the years you are doing this, then you and that house are married, that house is yours." ~ Truman Capote

This is our house. It has been the center of our life so far since we encountered it. It truly does contains our blood, sweat, and yes, tears. I really identify with the quote above. The house was built in 1923. We are the third owners. Each owner has lived here over 35 years. We plan on staying in this house and raising our family. It is not a flip. This house has become a part of us. Our neighborhood is the old kind you don't see anymore--there are sidewalks and alleys, green parks, and we can walk to shopping and the library and to the neighborhood school. Every house is different and charming in it's own way as only old houses can be. They are quirky. They're not meant to be perfect. There are Easter egg hunts, July 4 parades, Labor Day cookouts, progressive dinners, lemonade stands--you get the picture. Even though we haven't participated in much of these activities yet, that is what we wanted for our children. We fell in love with the house and the neighborhood. Now, if we can just get it finished!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Whew!! It's OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look closely, can you see my blood, sweat and tears on these documents????
Well, believe me, it's all in there. I finally got the whole thing authenticated, but not without yet more incident that entailed me actually having to run (yes, I did the real, actual Dossier Dash--and I am out of shape!) back to my car, fly home, get something else they needed and go back before they would authenticate the last document-- (And YES, they were the docs I had been waiting on that set us back two weeks!!) I wasn't about to let them push me off another day, and yes, I did tell the lady I was going to lose it. :) She wasn't amused, but I really was (about to lose it, that is. Amused, I was not.). So whether Vietnam likes it or not, they are getting my attachments that they did not ask for, because the SOS says they have to---just thought they might need a couple more bits of our life!!!! Ha, ha.

BUT, the important thing is.......the dossier is OUTTA HERE and on it's way to our agency to be sent for authentication and then on to Hanoi. Whew! Dossier, check! Bring on the next step! Bring on our referral!

I think I'm gonna have that glass of wine now! Happy Friday everyone, and thanks so much for your comments of sympathy!!!! I needed them!

It's Ready!!

I just called and it's ready!! I'm off to go pick it up--Wish me luck--I will update later! :)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A little Snow and Dossier Roadblocks

Well, I was so close to getting my dossier state authenticated today, but it SNOWED!!! It has been 70 degrees for the last couple of weeks and the morning after I get my last, long awaited pages, it snows. (I was supposed to authenticate 2 weeks ago, but had to order updated documents, as they had just past the 6 month shelf life). Until that time I was zipping along at a nice speed of dossier dashing, so proud of myself, then I stopped dead in the water for two weeks of waiting for these last pages. I scramble out this morning in the nasty snow-turned-to-rain to get to the SOS Office so that I can drop off and pick up same day and then FedEx it off to my agency (I even had the FedEx envelope ready!), and what do they tell me when I finally get there?....................... No one is in the office today to authenticate due to the snow!!!!!! UGH!!! I just can't get a break these days. The roads were really pretty clear and melted by this point and it was only 10 am. I actually shed a couple of tears as I was walking in the rain back down the two blocks to my car. Oh, well, I've waited this long, what's a couple more days, right? I can only hope it won't matter in the long run, but I just feel like I am missing some preferred log-in date by a matter of days and Tet is coming up soon........ Hopefully I will be updating tomorrow that it is on it's way to the agency. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2007 Catch-up:First Post of the New Year

Wow, it has been a while since I posted! We have had a lot going on.........let's see.....

We had a good time on our New Year's trip to the mountains. It was quiet and very, very rainy--we braved the inclement weather on New Year's eve and went "into town" to the cute little town of Blowing Rock, NC. Cute shops and it was nice to get out. Our dog, Ayla, even loved pretending she was a mountain dog and made a break for the hills until Matt caught up with her. Unfortunately, she is not an off-leash dog! The trip was very low-key compared to our former New Year's trips--we used to go with a group of eight of our friends, but sadly a divorce and a break-up have put a wrench in the plans with that bunch for the future, but that's really okay with us about the low-key part--this year we hung out with the friends that are still married and their 4 year old daughter (our adorable god-daughter). We hope to have buttercup to add to the crew next year!

On the adoption front, we are almost finished with our dossier. I have been ready to state certify for a week and a half now, but had to reorder one set of forms that I am STILL waiting on to arrive in the mail. Then I will rush it to the SOS office (which luckily is in our city) and get it overnighted to our agency. Man, I'll be glad to have that step done and on to more waiting, officially for our referral.

Also, we had gone gung -ho with the demo of the downstairs. I promise the upstairs is completely finished and livable, so don't worry about buttercup's safety! :) Here is a little peek of what's going on......
That was then.......

This is now.

Quite a difference don't you think? Really, you may not be able to tell in the pics, but the plaster was in horrible shape and unable to be saved and the butler's pantry, though I had a soft spot for it, was not well-made and needed to make way for a much needed bathroom. This is what progress looks like! :)