Thursday, October 21, 2010

Renovation Nightmare

Two years ago my husband was driving to work and having a chat with God. He jokingly asked God to give him a new truck. Not five minutes later he gets plowed by a hit and run driver. Thankfully he was fine, but his Pontiac Grand AM was NOT. The car was totaled, and yes, my husband got his truck

This spring my husband told me we needed to paint our house. We were also in need of a new roof and some other outside repairs that we just didn't have the funds for. We jokingly asked God again to provide for us (we do realize that God is NOT a magic genie in a lamp). A few weeks later we were pummeled by a hailstorm. We had MASSIVE damage to our home. Looks like all those things we were needing to get taken care of insurance would cover.

God has a funny sense of humor when we ask him for things doesn't he?  Or is this just US?

I need to be a little more careful what I ask for. We are four months after this hail storm and still knee deep in the process of trying to get our house back together. Dealing with the insurance company and the mortgage company has proved to be a nightmare. On top of it I decided to be my own contractor to try and help save on my deductible. I've learned NEVER to do that again.

This is a long story so I'll try and keep it brief.  We had a claim for A amount of dollars.  B amount of dollars was our deductible.  C amount was our depreciation amount, so insurance cut us a check for amount A-B-C which I will call amount X.  We get our amount X Check and it is made out to us AND the mortgage company.  So, we called the evil bastards our mortgage company and they told us to get the check cashed we must send in the contractor information, their license, insurance the report from the insurance adjuster and a check for $35.00 for a home inspection when it's complete.  We explained to them we were working as our own contractor and that we would be completing some of the work ourselves and the work would be done by various companies.

Here is where things got messy.  Here is where I wish I would have thrown in the towel and just called a contractor.

The mortgage company said we would need a materials list printed from a supplier (Home Depot or Lowes), we would need insurance and license info for every company working on our house, and the estimates from all those companies.  So, we comply of course.  Problem is the people at Home Depot look at us like we have two heads when we ask for a materials list.  We decided to just send them a spreadsheet with the materials, the cost, and the item and where it will be purchased at.  10 days later, no word, and no money.  I have ROOFERS on my house installing a roof and I have NO MONEY.  I call the mortgage company and they tell us that they are missing information on a materials list.  The one we sent them wouldn't suffice.  Really?  So, my wonderful savvy husband prints a shopping cart from online and sends it to them.  10 days later we call and they tell us that a check has been issued.

Thank.  God.

So, we leave for vacation expecting a nice fat check when we come home.  We get home and yay!  We have a check!  We open it up and it is for HALF of amount X.  HALF.

I feel bile rising in my throat, and anger pulsing through my veins.  In the memo line it says "50 percent contractors material draw."  Really.  You have GOT to be kidding me. 

So, my wonderful husband gets on the phone to the mortgage company (because at this point I was about to postal on these people).  The representative explains to my husband that we can't get more money until the entire job is complete.  We ask her how we are supposed to cash flow the project and she is nothing but nasty to us.  She said we could release some of the funds for the roof, but we would have to pay to inspect ($35 remember?) every time someone comes out (roof, windows, paint, gutters get my drift).

So, we decided to get out of their nasty system, and pulled some strings to cash flow the project to complete it.   Once we get it done we will get the remaining funds from amount X from our mortgage company (granted that they don't need our blood type and a kidney from us).  THEN once it is all completed we will get amount B (the depreciation) from our insurance company.  THEN we will pay off the project.  Sigh.

It's October.  Hail storm was May.  My house is NOT done yet but we are getting there slowly.  My husbands truck was also damaged in the storm, when we found a repair shop insurance asked us "do you want the check mailed to you or the repair shop?"  I said "REPAIR SHOP."  I am backing out of the system and washing my hands of it.  I will let the repair shop argue with the insurance company and I will keep my hands clean of this mess ever again.

Here are some photos of my home and the hail damage it sustained:

Now we have gotten almost all the painting done.  We just need to finish the painting, do the gutters, get the windows fixed and new screens and we will be done.  I can see the finish line the end is near.

Here is where we are at so far:

One thing I can be completely thankful for is that through this entire process God has provided, and we have a gorgeous new roof, and we were able to redo the colors on our house and get a really great garage door.  The house looks a MILLION times better than it did and I'm loving it!  Final reveal of the home will be coming soon!
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Decrapification - The Medicine Cabinet

I'm stealing the word "decrapification" from my new-found hero Thrifty Decor Chick.  I just love that word...decrapification.  Anyways decrapifification of my home has begun.  I do not want to appear on an episode of "Horders, Buried Alive," and if I continue on in the chaos I've been living in that's where I'll end up. 

I decided to start with my bathroom medicine cabinet.  It has been pretty much a total mess ever since we moved in.  I think I've cleaned it maybe once in the past two years.  Stuff just gets thrown up there and never really sorted through.  So I decided to dedicate this afternoon to organizing my medicine cabinet.

If you think I suck at decorating stuff, I REALLY suck at organization, but with all the couponing I've been doing it's been nagging at me that I was gonna need to eventually do something to control the chaos.  I start organizing and get into a total tizzy on how to organize stuff.  Like, do I go by ailment or do I organize by kids medicine vs. adult medicine, or both?  For GOD sakes it makes my head spin.  If you don't believe me check out my post on organizing my kids clothing.  It's enough to make me insane.

So, I actually GOOGLED "how to organize your medicine cabinet."  I'm not kidding people.  The consensus is to organize by ailment like "cold and flu" and "pain relief", I started on the daunting task of going through all my meds.

So, for those of you who are organizationally challenged like me, here is what I did.  Maybe it will help you, or maybe you can give me ANY advice for the future ;)

Here is my before shot.  It's NOT pretty.  It's downright embarrassing.  It's a total pain in the rear to try and find anything in there at all.

I cleaned it all out, and wiped down the cupboards.
Then I organized categories of meds into piles.  It about threw me into a tizzy when one medicine would fit more than one category.  For example:  Hydro-cortisone.  It could go into anti-itch or it could go into first aid.  I think I debated this one for twenty minutes.  Have I ever talked about my inability to make a simple decision?

  I then took out all expired medications, and put them all into baskets according to their category.
Then after about 30 minutes of cursing and screaming trying to get a label maker to work, I just decided to write the labels by hand with a Sharpee.  I put all the labels on and put them up in the cabinet, and finally I was done!  I wish my shelves were adjustable so I wasn't wasting space, but this is much better than where I started.  I'm pretty proud of my progress!

I learned some things I learned while doing this:

  • I have enough feminine hygiene products to get me through the apocalypse.
  • I have purchased Benadryl probably EVERY time I felt allergy symptoms. 
  • I've purchased sunscreen every time I've gone swimming.
  • I've bought aloe practically every time I've gotten a sunburn.
  • Sunscreen actually DOES expire.  I never knew that.
  • I had items in my cabinet that expired in 2007.  That's before I MOVED.  That means I MOVED this crap.
  • I had BREAK FLUID in my medicine cabinet.  Not sure why, but that's a bit scary.
  • As technically savvy I think I am for the life of me I can't figure out how to use a label maker.
  • When left to their own devices, a three year old will try and mix water and Play-Doh to make a cake.

Tomorrow it's the linen closet.  Yikes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Half Bath

So, we have this small half bath in the downstairs hallway and for two years I've been meaning to put stuff up (including a hand towel bar), but just never got around to doing it.  So, I finally got STUFF on my walls in my bathroom. 
So here are my photos of what I've done to make this room a much nicer place to pee for about $20 bucks:

(You think I would have at least emptied the trash)...I've had this photo for ages in my bedroom.  It worked much better in the bathroom in the space above the toilet.  Oh, and that's a magazine rack from Ikea I've also had for a while.  I thought it may work as a toilet paper holder.  I was wrong.

A hand towel ring!  Finally!  Woo hoo!  Total cost of towel ring $10 at Wal-Mart.  The candle holder I found at a thrift store for $1 this weekend!

The purple towels I've had, the painting was my moms (or my grandma's) when mom and grandma passed away I got one and my brother got the other.  The frame was absolutely hideous though so I never had it up on the wall.
So, I went to Lowes spent about $2 on dark brown spray paint and refinished the frame.  Looks totally gorgeous now and works nicely in the bathroom.  It's a family heirloom, so it's nice to keep it for sentimental reasons.
I was lucky enough to score this mirror when we moved in.  I love it.  Found the cross today at Hobby Lobby for $4.00 on clearance.  My final plans for this bathroom are to refinish the cabinets this winter and add new hardware to the doors.  That medium wood stain and grain of the wood is KILLING me.  Also I may get some vinyl wording to go above the mirror.  I saw one that said "our aim is to keep this bathroom clean.  Your aim will help" ....ummmm ok maybe not.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Underwear Parade

Holy cow two posts in one day!

This is a short one, but cute.

My middle daughter Evie comes into the room with only her underwear on, dancing past me in a line back and forth, hands on her hips, shaking her little booty and humming. After about three laps in front of me...

"What are you doing silly?" I ask.

"I'm having a parade!"

Of course.

The Decorating Bug

For two years now I've been in my home, and for two years I've had blank walls. The reason for this is two fold.

1. I consider myself to be a bit artsy and crafty, yet I don't have any works of art I feel worthy of putting up on my walls, but I refuse to just "buy" something made by someone else when I'm perfectly capable of making something.
2. It takes MONEY and TIME to make things. Both I always come up short on.

So, for two years my walls have remained empty and projects are left unfinished. SO, I'm dedicating this fall/winter to taking care of my walls and unfinished projects little by little. Thanks to Thrifty Decor Chick she has got me totally motivated with her savvy thrift store salvages and restorations.  I'm in awe of some of the stuff she comes up with.  Totally gorgeous and totally within budget.

So, I admit I kinda suck on decorating.  I just don't know how to arrange things properly on walls and what should go where.  I'm pretty awesome at copycatting things, so that's pretty much what I plan to do but add my own little flair to it.

So I started last week with my wine bottle project (which I totally stole from somewhere but can't find the link so I can't give them sorry).  Anyhow, I primed them, painted them a color to match my Asian tablecloths and then looked up the Chinese words online, crossing my fingers I didn't accidentally stumble across a dirty word ;)  I added some cherry blossom to them and plan to put them on a shelf in my dining room.  I really love the way they turned out.  I can't wait to get them up on the wall!

And yes, I'm missing one cherry blossom.  For some dumb reason when I went to Hobby Lobby and got them I only got four instead of five.  Waiting for them to go back to 50% off again to buy another.  Total project cost (since I had the wine bottles leftover and the paint on hand) about $5.00!

This was the old mirror to my dresser we got at a thrift store.  We don't use the mirror and it's been sitting under our bed for two years.  I pulled it out, cleaned it off and painted it black.  It's not the best mirror out there but it was FREE (oh and it had to be THIS weekend when I ran out of Windex...).  I found the candle holders at a local thrift store this past weekend, brought them home, painted them with a little ORB (Oil Rubbed Bronze by Krylon), and voila.  The whole project cost me about $12.00!  Now I have one wall in my living room done at least.

Anyhow, I have MANY more projects in the mix, just trying to find time to do them all!  Will post them as I get finished! I'm not quite as innovative as my guru (Thrifty Decor Chick), but I'm trying to get there.
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