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Posts Tagged ‘home improvement’

Hello world! Sorry to be MIA for so long but we’ve had a lot going on. I think in my last post we were headed out-of-town to visit friends in Boulder, CO. The day before we left, my company laid off another 30 people. I, luckily, was not one of them. So it was a much-needed getaway after that chaos and we had a great time eating lots of yummy gluten free food and drinking some gluten free beer. But more on that later! Boulder and Denver are both very gluten free friendly. Check out the Boulder Farmer’s Market below.

After we returned from our trip we packed up our house (except for the kitchen and master bed/bath) and put everything in the garage in order for our concrete floors to be stained. It took the contractor quite a bit longer than anticipated – six days to remove the existing paint from the floors and then two days to stain, seal and wax it. Ugh. And during that time one of our dogs got kennel cough so he couldn’t stay at the kennel, making things a bit more complicated than they had to be! Isn’t that always the case? So we spent two days at the Days Inn down the street with two dogs. (Days Inn is one hotel/motel chain that allows dogs.) During this time we had no internet connection since everything was unplugged in the office and our laptop, when we had a connection at the hotel, is slower than molasses and about to croak. So I didn’t get a lot accomplished online during this time. Sorry!

And in case you’re ever thinking of doing it, can I just say, don’t ever paint your concrete floors!!! The previous owner ripped up all the carpet in the house and painted the concrete slab. And while they didn’t look horrible painted, they were starting to show some wear. But the amount of work to get paint off of concrete so that you can do anything to the floors is incredible. A couple of months ago we attempted to remove the paint ourselves. Can I just say that there were a lot of swear words and tears involved with that? Don’t. Do. It.

So I called a contractor I had met on the USGBC-NM Green Built Tour. We ended up paying him as much money to remove the paint as it cost to stain the floors. But now we have beautiful floors!

And now for the past week, we have been working on putting the house back together and purging some of the unnecessary stuff we’ve accumulated. My husband has also been working on sanding and refinishing the baseboards, which aren’t back on yet.

So…it has been busy around here and we’ve been eating a lot on the fly and simple stuff that doesn’t take too much time to prepare. Those tamales we made a while back and stuffed in the freezer sure have come in handy!

We also needed a new car. So we finally bought one! During the rest of the chaos! Yeah! Yes, we’re crazy to do so many things at once! A new Toyota RAV4 with plenty of space in the back for two pups and 4 adults! We already took it up to the mountains – to escape from the contractors working through the weekend at our house. We found a lovely stream to walk along where the pups could splash.

The wildflowers were gorgeous, the butterflies and dragonflies were flitting about and there were plenty of mushrooms for my husband to discover. We can’t wait to get out more and explore this beautiful state with the two dogs and our new car.

This week we have visitors coming to town, my mom and stepdad, and so we will be getting in the new car again and traveling south for the first time, down to Carlsbad Caverns and/or White Sands.

Do any of you have any recommendations for particular trails to hike, things to see, places to eat or stay in either of those areas?

I will be checking in tomorrow with a Meal Plan and I will post more now that we have our internet connection back and the house put together!

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Hello, world! Sorry I have been away the past couple weeks, but we have had company – and we worked them like slaves!

No, really, we did.

Well, somewhat. You see, my husband’s parents came to town for their annual visit and we like to do home improvement projects with them while they are here. I should probably rephrase that… my husband and his father are really good at doing home improvement projects together! My mother in law and I are good at buying supplies and new home goods and supervising their work!

We’ve been in this house for about two and a half years now and there are a variety of cosmetic things we have wanted to do. But my husband and I prefer to work outside on the yard instead of inside and so we haven’t done much inside. My in-laws help to motivate us, especially since we have more helping hands to get things done! Last year they helped us figure out a good lighting solution for our kitchen, which had horrible, poorly located, contractor-grade lighting. And of course, while we were at it, we had to repaint the kitchen ceiling too, because for some reason, the previous owners liked to paint the ceilings the same color as the walls and the dark beige ceiling in the north-facing kitchen didn’t help the lack of proper light in the kitchen.

This past week we tackled a couple of projects. We, by which I mean they, my husband and father in law, hung cabinets in my tiny laundry room – now I can easily reach the detergent and rag towels – and I can hide all the dog paraphernalia in the cabinets – yeah! I love hiding things out of sight!

We also are preparing to get our concrete floors stained and sealed later this month and figured it was a good time to do a  couple of other things before that chaos begins. Like repaint the office/third bedroom. Once again, the ceiling had been painted, and this time it was dark blue. Along with one wall. I am not sure how I lived with it so long, actually. Probably only because I placed two giant bookcases on that wall which hid most of the blue. But nothing could hide that dark blue ceiling, except a couple of coats of paint! Now the office has four nice creamy walls, a white ceiling (I love white ceilings!), and fun, new curtains, which my mother-in-law and I shopped for while the boys were working on the cabinets.

We (they!) also hung a ceiling fan where there had previously been a horrid old light fixture. It looked like something that would be in your grandmother’s house that hasn’t changed in about 30 or 40 years. I am already loving the fan! This room doesn’t get the best circulation and we can’t leave the window open very far in here since the rain frequently beats this side of the house during monsoon season (now), so the fan feels wonderful here as I type.

Please don’t notice the messy, messy desk…I am a “piler” – I organize by piles. But I have 4 weeks to get this room organized and some stuff thrown out before we have to move our entire house into the garage so we can get our floors finished. Firm deadlines motivate me. But wish me luck. I am not good at organizing and throwing things away.

We also tackled another project that has been lingering for over a year now too. Once again, we had these horrible 1990’s-era brass and oak handles on our cabinets. They matched the cabinets fine, but they just looked so 90’s. (I guess the house was built in ’98.) But, they totally dated things. So over a year ago, I found some brushed nickel handles that looked really nice and changed all the cabinet handles in the kitchen, except for two. The two on the small, ‘fake’ cabinet fronts in front of the kitchen sink, the ones above the big doors below into the cabinet. You know which ones I mean? We could not find a tool small enough to get between the sink and the cabinet to be able to unscrew the handles. (Why the fake handles are there in the first place is a whole other question.) And we also had a sneaking suspicion that one of them was not screwed on, but glued on, for some reason. (Please, think before you do weird home improvements!! We often ask ourselves, why did they think that was a good idea?) So we decided to tackle removing the sink and replacing it, just to FINALLY change out those two stray, fake cabinet handles. Of course, my mother-in-law thought we might as well get a whole new sink and faucet while we were at it. So I let her twist my arm and we picked one out for the boys to install. Luckily it all went fairly smoothly and I now have a new, pretty, shiny, non-hard-water-stained sink and faucet to go with my final two cabinet handles! Yeah! Project finished after a year!

So after all that, we did take at least one day to do something fun. We drove up to Taos and visited the town and Pueblo, between summer thunderstorms. We also ate some yummy, gluten free food at Rellenos Cafe (more to come on that). My husband and I have visited Taos previously but we normally just headed for the hills for some hiking. This time we stopped at Taos Pueblo and took a look around. It was such a beautiful spot and I would recommend stopping and touring. It is one of the few Pueblos where you can take photographs (for a fee) and so I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite photos from the day.

Tomorrow it is back to reality and back to the daily grind. And I will be posting more now that we’re back to a regular schedule. See you around!

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