Monday, June 28, 2010

Rules of Engagement

Staying focused this afternoon seemed completely impossible. I can attest that being engaged doesn't lend itself to high levels of focus and profitability; but, looking forward to getting your marriage license after work definitely makes matters worse. Yes, that is the point of this entire post - we got our marriage license today! Joe and Liv picked me up just after four this afternoon and we breezed off towards the courthouse. Although we were very excited and the very thought of our wedding coming to pass is a beautiful thought; signing a stack of forms, paying $68.00, and swearing that we weren't previously married or second cousins to each other was almost enough to take away the magic of the moment. But not quite enough! Even though Joe thought it was the most ridiculous and trite thing to do, I made him take a photo with me so that we could forever remember this special moment. Ahh, how sweet! We then floated off to get a quick dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant... which in return rendered us useless in "floating" anywhere else. Afterword we attempted to grab a quick coffee but were thwarted by the unpredictable business hours of the waterfront coffee shop. I'm thoroughly convinced that they are running a front for a major Colombian drug operation! Oh well, as soon as we turned the corner and saw two large wooden ships in the port and docked just around the corner, the thought of coffee was already far gone. Curiosity obviously got the best of us and we were off like a four year old chasing a red balloon. They were quite an amazing site to behold and we were quite awe inspired by the craftsmanship and details. After perusing the docks for a while, marveling at the two boats we headed back for the car. Other than Joe almost getting in a brawl with six teenagers because they said some slightly indistinguishable comment to one of us girls as they passed, the rest of the evening seemed to fade into the obscurity of daily eventfulness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One step at a time; now start over!

Well I thought it only right after Grace's neat little last post to offer a little more honesty into the inner workings of our projects together. To start, the tile that we laid on Saturday happend to be the first thing in our house that we actually worked together hand in hand; well, metophorically speaking! This meant that Grace wanted to try everything that I was doing throughout the process. Mix up a batch of thinset, "Hey I want to try!". Spread thinset, "Ooh that's me!". Lay the tile, "I'm on it!" (which she litterally was!). The funniest moment was when I finished laying all of the tile and spaced it properly (Grace was the official spacer, handler, installer) only to find that Grace had been crawling on the tiles all of the way across so each tile had shifted the moment we moved onto the next tile! Oh well, what's the fun in doing things right the first time anyway!!!

All in all we had a great time, didn't do a whole lot, but still felt very proud of ourselves when we finished. It is only the beginning of an infinite number of things that we have to work on together but I think we're off to a great start!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

One step at a time

This is how our weekends always seem to turn out: we get started on our house projects it's already incredibly late and we're scratching our heads wondering where the morning has disappeared to. Today was no different- by the time we'd grabbed a quick coffee, went to Home Depot to pick up necessary materials, and got everything unloaded back at the house it was already past one o'clock in the afternoon! (How time flies when you're having fun...)
Today's mission was to complete the next step of our living room/fire place remodel. First, while I tidied up the house, Joe cut pieces of hardi-backer to size (That was a very loud endeavor which left a thick cloud of dust lingering in the room). Next he had to screw them to the floor around the fire place. After this was done, we mixed up a batch of thin set. It looked easy as Joe spread a nice even layer of the mixture over the hardi-backer so I wanted to try- well, it wasn't quite as easy as it looked - Joe was much better at it than me so I just let him finish. The next step of setting the tiles was quite fun. Joe layed the tile on the thin set while I held & set the spacers. Using a straight piece of wood as our guide and leveler we set the next tile, and the next, and so on until it was all done. Now we'll wait for that to dry so that we can grout the space between the tiles.
One step at a time and working side-by-side is our mode of operations from here on out, and how we'll get it all done.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Just Keep Moving..."

Well folks, its about that time of year again that I personally make a post on our blog; at least the blog that has my name on it and tends to meantion me a lot. This however is only due to the faithful updates from my wonderful Fiancee! By the way, did you know that there is a "Fiance" and a "Fiancee"? Look, I didn't know until I was sending Grace a note and spell check decided to confuse me. I have a Fiancee and Grace has a Fiance; and there is the full extent to my french. Where was I? Right, I wasn't anywhere yet! Then I'll start with current run down on our to-do list. As far as we can tell we only need to finish the upstairs bathroom (install vanity, top, sink, and toilet), two light fixtures upstairs (deal with 60 year wiring that was originally done by a nutcase!), patch the paint in the dining room and kitchen (from moving the new heaters around), finish the hearth, set fireplace, build bookshelves (Thanks Chris Willy!), finish hearth wall, and the all important last step - flooring (You da man Stef... and Tabatha who is really the one doing all of the work in actually finding us our flooring - your prize shall not be forgotten!). This list is everything that is remaining on my "What I promise will get done before we get married" list that I made Grace a couple of weeks ago. What happens if it doesn't get done? Hmm, not a good thought, maybe I need to post this blog as it is and go work on my house right NOW! No, the true reality is that the more pressure there is, the more friends you will need. And we have some GREAT friends! We are very blessed to be surrounded by many aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins (some times way too many!), and many friends (both near and far) that are truely committed to both Grace and I; even to the completion of our house. This may be, if only in one form, the Lord appearing in his church as the servant of all. Which in turn creates, such as Paul became, "A debtor to all men".

Removing tile in the living room.

Grace, Ellen, & Crystal organized our garage.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

O, I get by with a little help from my friends

Break of day dawned upon us with glorious rays of sunshine. It was obvious that this was to be a hot day. We took it easy throughout the morning, and of course could not begin any work on our house before watching USA in their first World Cup match against England. (Joe has already begun transforming me into a soccer fan- I think I see a new addiction looming on the horizon.) Once we’d seen the game’s conclusion, Joe & I headed to our house because we’d asked friends to volunteer to help us with some of our home renovation projects. Since the weather was so beautiful we decided on primarily outdoor projects- weeding flower beds and dismantling the fireplace/water fountain feature that no longer worked and was truly an eye-sore to our lovely patio area.

After the outdoor fireplace was dismantled, all the blocks and stones had to be hauled off to the scrap pile.

We also did a bit more painting indoors and completed a few small, next-steps for the living room fireplace remodel. But, truth be told, it really was too gorgeous a day for anyone to do much work. When a sunny, 80 degree day finally arrives here in Olympia, you have to capitalize on the moment.

Our helpers take a break and soak up some sun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Nearly" Weds

Today is a BIG day! Today officially marks one month till our wedding!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time Well Wasted

Monday and Tuesday were both very profitable evenings in terms of work accomplished. Tonight turned at to be very profitable in other regards. It was the perfect night to take a step back, regroup, look at the progress we've made thus far, assess the necessary next steps and materials needed. In other words, we didn't do much "work" of anykind, but we did have a truly enjoyable evening. Joe spoke with Chris Williams, our friend and contractor, and together the came up with a plan for building new book cases for the living room and also a plan for how to apply the trim/crown molding around our new tile fireplace area. After this planning session with Chris we went up stairs to see how Jordan Williams was progressing with installing the new light fixtures. Well, the plan to hang the new light sconce in the upstairs bedroom went majorly awry- but not to worry! When something goes wrong, what do you do? Head off immediately to the nearest Dairy Queen and order yourself a blizzard, of course! And that's exactly what we did. Mmmm... mint oreo blizzards.

Joe has a very unique technique for removing masking tape.
(He is now applying for a patent for this new method.)

I loved this photo of our house.
From this angle it truly looks like a cozy cottage.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

That's what friends are for

As the big day draws nearer Joe and I have come to the conclusion that weekends alone do not provide us with enough time to complete the necessary renovations. Therefore we have decided to jam pack our week nights with profitable work projects at the house. Of course, what better way to get alot done than invite over some friends. Afterall, what are friends for?

Tonight we decided to get a jump on things by heading over to our house right after work and eating a quick meal there at the house while we worked. Daylight hours are too precious to be spent eating long drawn-out meals. Well, not really, but for now I'm trying to convince myself that is true in an effort to stay totally focused on getting our house ready. Anywhoo... Tonight's tasks included painting the downstairs ceiling, painting the upstairs bathroom, touching up the paint throughout the upstairs and in the downstairs bathroom. --- Might I just say that painting has turned out to be the most tedious of all our tasks- its never ending, but I think I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel (and that light's a good sign just so long as it isn't a train coming straight for me). --- My sisters Olivia & Bonnie, Naomi Williams, and Emily Frost made up my painting crew. Joe was joined by Jordan & Joe Williams who helped him patch some rough areas on our walls and begin replacing light fixtures.

I'm getting pretty excited now as the progress we're making is actually becoming visible and I can now glimpse how lovely our new home will be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tell me how your garden grows

This evening was so gorgeous; I almost thought summer had arrived. While my sisters were gainfully employed doing some clean up in our house, Joe and I finally got around to an outside project I'd been wanting to do for some time. Several weeks ago I'd purchased some plants but never got a chance to plant them because inclement weather had been proving a great hindrance. But Monday the golden evening hours allowed Joe and I a wonderful time to be together while creating a lovely garden niche. We used the rocks which had been dug out of the yard on a former day's weeding project, to create a layering rock wall which would contain our plants. So far its just a handful of colorful perennials but we'll keep adding...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Making Progress

Thomas Edison once said "Discontent is the first necessity of progress." Well, that's proven true yet again. When we first purchased our home, Joe and I were discontent with the shabby state of our living room but that has propelled us into greater realms of home improvement.
Over the memorial Day weekend Joe and my dad began the next step of our living room remodel project. The ugly brick has been overlayed with a beautiful tile. The wood box area has been reframed so that gusts of cold air can no longer seep into our cozy abode. We've also begun applying sheet rock over the existing wall so that "built-in" entertainment center that was too deep and just plain ugly, along with the cut out vents will no longer be visible. All this is going to creat a lovely backdrop for our new wood stove.