It's been a long time, little world. I'd the best of intentions to begin blogging again, but…no excuses. So, to catch up, here's a portion of the latest. This is a chapter in our Snohomish adventures.
Back in June, I inherited a house in Snohomish, Washington when my aunt died. Gladys was a hoarder and to call it a house is really a misnomer—it was a hovel, less than affectionately known as Toxic House. It was very unhealthy and mentally disturbing to think about Gladys actually living there, considering that Mick and I couldn't even think about eating a meal in the house for at least the first two months of working on the place. Sleeping in the house was out of the question and we tent-camped in the backyard (amid a slug infestation which was one of the most disgusting things imaginable—however, I recently was subjected to a look at a client's infected tattoo and that was far worse). We kept all the windows open in the house in a futile attempt to air the place out. And when the summer breezes blew, the stench filled our sleeping nostrils and awoke my gag reflex. Those were good times.
Fast forward to three weekends ago. I didn't accompany Mick, but Miranda did and his cousin Nick met them there for a fun-filled day of learning how to hang doors, apparently learning the hard way (if I had to do it, each door would have a shower curtain rod and curtain). The Toxic House has been transformed.
After months of digging through layer and layer of papers, books and everything imaginable (think archaeological dig), the house is empty! Everything was scrubbed multiple times, bottles and bottles of Mr. Clean with Febreeze were used and still the nicotine freely ran down the walls and pooled on the floors. Every wall and inch of ceiling, every closet, every cupboard, was treated to Kilz primer. The house was painted beautiful, but uncharacteristically (for me) pastel shades. Foul sub-flooring was replaced with new sub-flooring and then topped with Allure vinyl flooring in dark bamboo throughout. The place looks fantastic!
All that is left to do is put the trim boards in place, remove a few things from the garage and rent it.
And speaking of renters, there are some crazy people on Craigslist—now that's a news flash. I refuse to rent to the woman who named her cat Donkey. I refuse to rent to the woman who over-shared and told the world and potential landlords that she needed a new place to live after getting closer to her male roommate than she should have. I'm not going to rent to anyone who thinks they can get a 3 bedroom house in Snohomish for $500.
Two weekends ago: I went to Snohomish with Mick to help do trim work and have an open house for potential renters. Mick had received a lot of calls during the week, but only two parties showed up to look at the place. One had no idea what 1000 square feet looks like and told us it was too small. Well, Mick did advertise that it is 1000 square feet. It is what it is. The other party that looked at the house liked it, wanted it, left a deposit with us, and just needed her boyfriend to check it out. In other words, we didn't know if we had it rented yet.
I had a good feeling about this woman and her teenage daughter and they seemed both eager and a little desperate (the house they're renting is being sold and they need to be out by the end of the month). So we are waited to hear. Her boyfriend was away on a job, but back that week. I hate waiting. Waiting is hard.
So is doing finish carpentry when you have no idea what you're doing. Mick was frustrated because our good friend and former neighbor Jon could have trimmed out the entire house in four hours. Jon would have insisted on setting up a more efficient work area for the saws. Mick, being genetically bull-headed, insisted we cut and rip boards the most awkward and inconvenient way possible. We got one room done. Don't look. People have furniture. Now it will be easy for them to decide where to put the couch. Mick assures me that putty and paint will take care of all the places that can't hide behind a couch. His mantra that weekend was, "It's just a rental, it's just a rental."
Some couples have date night. Our last date night had two kids included. Some couples indulge in romantic weekend get-aways. Mick and I do dump runs.
Other couples will get the hotel room with the plush king-sized bed. We had the queen-sized air mattress that had to be re-inflated three times during the night. Awkward, more awkward than you want to know. I think both of us suffered from our spines going out of alignment.
I had an undergarment emergency at work that Friday that we left. It was determined that a quick trip to Victoria's Secret was a must. Hey, I can't work when I'm being stabbed in the back by an uncooperative hook. My friend Ashlee accompanied me and indulged in a little retail therapy herself.
My new beautiful bras fit fine in the dressing room, but rather tortured me when I was actually wearing them for real. Thank God, I just ordered the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution system and this won't be a problem for much longer.
The underwear are a different matter.
"I like these," Ashlee said, "they actually make me look like I have a butt."
I looked at her behind as we were standing in front of the display. "Yeah," she said, "it's flat, no curves."
"Mine, too!" I said. "I'm not saying mine is small, unfortunately flat and kind of lumpy".
"Well, these underwear looked really good on," Ashlee assured me.
Mmm-hmmm. I bought three pair. They are very cute. However…
While in Snohomish with Mick, we visited his Victoria's Secret, commonly known as Home Depot. I was walking along, trying to keep up while we looked at boring stuff, when I realized that the waist band of these cute new panties was tucked under my butt cheeks. There was someone standing in every single aisle. I'm thankful that I was slobbed out in sweats. Had this been truly a romantic getaway, possibly in summer, I would have stepped out of those over-priced undergarments and lost them in aisle. There is something to be said for giant granny panties. Just ask Sam, she swears by them.
In any case, undergarment emergencies and disasters aside, we came home and waited to hear from our potential renters. And waited. Friday rolled around and we hadn't heard. Then we got the call Friday mid-morning: they were moving to Las Vegas instead.
We didn't panic, but there was momentary disappointment and a hint of something that wasn't quite desperation. This property needed to start making us some money and not just costing us money. It cost a lot to work on Toxic House. There is the price of gas alone. Plus Miranda can't stay the whole weekend alone with Sam. She doesn't have her driver's license yet. Then there are meals, dump runs, and of course, supplies. We had to use an unreal amount of cleaners. The house required new sub-flooring through most of it, Kilz primer, a bunch of paint, new doors, some new plumbing parts, some new switches, and the lovely new Allure flooring was $1.79 per sq ft.
So I had a child care warden set up. Ashlee of the underwear debacle was going to stay with the girls. That's a major obstacle every time we go up there and I hate having Mick go by himself. I couldn't imagine him trying to do trim by himself. Unfortunately, Sam was sick and as the morning progressed we realized that she was really sick. There was no way I could go. And Mick had placed another Craigslist ad saying we were going to have another open house. He almost went online to change it, but decided at the last moment, "to heck with it, I'll go." There was no way I could, though, not with Sam that sick.
Mick called me an hour after he left.
"I'm broke down on the highway and you've got to come pick me up."
He started laughing.
"Too bad," I said. "I guess you're on your own."
He laughed again. "No, I was calling to tell you I've got the house rented."
"Yeah, a guy just called me. He was sitting in front of it when he called and said he wanted it."
We were both amazed and very pleased. Mick continued to get calls but that is the guy who is our new tenant.
So we are ready to begin a new chapter.