Sunday, August 31, 2003

Before the Blog: Summer Wrap-Up

In addition to all the shopping, painting and packing, we found time to do a few other things over the summer.

We went on two camping trips with the LGBT camping club; WoodsInStateWithMuchConcrete in May (co-ed) and DifferentWoodsInNeighboringState in June (women only).

At the end of May, we went down to Texas for my nephew's high school graduation.

In July, I went back to Texas to volunteer for a week at the summer camp that I used to go to. This week was a special all-girls session planned and run by camp alumni, and I was on the planning committee.

I also organized a SomeStates for Dean information booth for the CapitalOfBlueState PrideFest at the end of July.

We saw Melissa Etheridge in concert at a music festival in TownWithBibleName and managed, again, to end up close to the stage. There was too much walking, way too long a wait for the bus back to the parking lot and it was hot as hell, but the concert itself was great.

Before the Blog: Our New Home

We Bought A House!

In April, we decided that we were close enough to being ready that we should stop by a local Real Estate company that was holding free "How to Buy a Home" seminars each week and get more information. Wow, what a great marketing ploy. The seminar turned out to be the two of us and a Realtor, and within a week, we were looking at actual houses.

After visiting fourteen houses, ranging from "The Wacky Shack" where we had to bite our tongues not to laugh as the owner showed us the "improvements" he'd made, to the "one that got away," with the gorgeous ceramic tile and tub for two (nevermind that it didn't fit any of our other criteria), on Memorial weekend, we visited number fifteen and fell in love.

Given what we'd already learned about how quickly houses were going in our area, we didn't want to wait long to make an offer. We went out to dinner to discuss it, although we'd really already made the decision. We called our Realtor from the restaurant, met her at her office and wrote up the offer that night.

The next day, we were at the grocery store, buying food to take to a party that night, when my cell phone rang. It was our Realtor, calling to ask if we'd be okay with closing at the end of June and renting the house back to the owner for a few weeks, because her new house wouldn't be ready until August. We said that would be fine, and she accepted our offer.

We did close on June 30, and spent most of June and July shopping, packing and planning. With some help from my parents, we ordered new furniture for the living room, dining room and bedroom.

When the previous owner moved out at the first of August, Iimmediately went to work stripping wallpaper in the kitchen and master bath. Throughout most of August, Shrike spent her days bringing boxes over and unpacking what she could, before going to work in the evenings. When I got off work, I went straight to the house and worked on the walls for a few hours.

We both worked on the kitchen walls for the last week or so, when Shrike was working the day shift. We got both rooms stripped, cleaned, spackled, sanded, taped and primed just in time for some friends to come help us paint on the Sunday before Labor Day.

I had actually painted the bathroom the night before, so that was all taken care of. We painted the kitchen, while our friends J and L, along with J's 15 year-old daughter a-different-J, painted the bedroom.

On Labor Day day, after a few tests and a few additional trips to the hardware store, I finally worked out a faux technique I liked and did that below the chair rail in the kitchen and on one entire in the living room, while Shrike painted above the kitchen cabinets and we both worked on various final touches.

On Tuesday, we went to BeachTownInOtherState with Shrike's family. We had a great time and would've loved to have stayed longer, but had to come back Wednesday, because the new furniture was delivered on Thursday.

After a weekend to finish packing and other final preparations, we actually moved in the next Monday. Now, we just have to finish unpacking!