In which Lanny reveals her tenuous (at best) grasp of the behavioral patterns of the universe.

4:16 PM
My husband will be co-starring in an off-off-off-off-off Broadway performance of Mary Poppins in which he'll play Burt. Here he is in his full chimney sweep costume! Super believable makeup job... especially with the Victorian-era cellphone. Nope. That's his regular phone and regular face. Rather, it's his regular face immediately after he's been working for hours upon hours deep inside the guts of our house, immediately after working hours upon hours at his regular job. (not pictured: top hat)

We've He's had some important breakthroughs lately; like LITERALLY breaking through the 2" thick floor joists immediately above the electrical panel to accommodate the updated wiring! We've He's also come up with some creative potential workarounds when we he discovered the ... uh... challenge (?)...  of being unable to move a structural wall.

Damn you, Newton! You won't keep us down. I'll get the last laugh, mark my words. So maybe I never studied physics, but it's safe to say that Murphy's law continues to be the prevailing governance for this renovation.

So, without giving away too much information* or naming-names, I can say that there have been more than a few inclusions of phrases like butler's pantry in a certain someone's** Google search history.

* So, we haven't actually made any "plans" to "execute" the aforementioned "epiphany". Or, "anything at all" for that matter.

** Mine.


How to get everything you want without actually doing anything to get it: The Sassy Girl's Guide to Home Renovation!

11:56 AM
Just a quick rant today y'all, so bear with me ...

Have you ever noticed ridiculously improbable teasers for articles; the kind that claim to have all the answers to your EXACT problems? Last night, I found myself searching for some applicable solution to our current restoration dilemma and answering an enthusiastic "YES!" upon finding a cache of information that seemed to apply to our situation. I was quickly let down when I discovered the advice being offered which supposedly pertained to my query (below) was not even a little applicable. Like... at all.

How can I finance a home restoration when I've half-finished some of the work? OR How can I re-finance my current home loan with our house in shambles?

The short answer seems to be "You can't, so just get comfortable living in hell house dummy!"

I found this article last night that outlines five non-traditional ways to fund home renovations without tapping into your home equity:

  All my problems are solved!

 Me too, Liz. Me too.

 Seriously? I personally relate to exactly none of these as viable option:

Savings: I have spent the last 10 years working, basically, as a babysitter. As a matter of fact, I earned more (proportionally) as a babysitter in high school ($2 per hour, per child .. adds up). I think we can all just accept that there wasn't anything left to save after I indulged my extravagant tastes with such frivolity as "eating" and "paying the utilities" .. downright scandalous, I know, but I am not about to cut holes in my safety net this early in the game.

Credit Cards: Really?! I'd sooner take out a HELOC than finance something with a credit card. If that's an option for someone else, terrific. By all means, you go girl! For the rest of us, it comes down to the most basic math: Estimated equity loan rates between 5-9% (which is still stupid-high in my opinion) and average credit card interest rates at double and triple of the conventional rates, it isn't exactly hard to decide which is a better idea. The downside, of course, being that you've financed an imaginary value and if you default, you will lose your home. Dumb!

Yard Sale: This one is my favorite. A yard sale! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!? GOOD THING IT'S PRIME YARD SALE SEASON GUYS! ALL MY PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED BECAUSE IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT I HAVE ALL THIS REALLY VALUABLE SHIT TO SELL! Oh. Wait. No. None of that. Currently, the most valuable items in our house are our tools, so that won't end well. Besides, we already sold all non-essential belongings on craigslist over the last few years and have LITERALLY nothing left to liquidate. Again - might work for someone, but that someone is decidedly not me. Unless you know someone who wants a sweet tube TV from 1998. Contain your jealousy, folks and form a line to the left...

Sweat Equity: Okay, this isn't even a little bit helpful because we're ALREADY lousy with this. I actually kind of hate this term "sweat equity" because it's imaginary and worthless (at least to anyone writing a loan). You'll never walk into a bank with a list of home improvement tasks you've completed and walk out with a bag of cash. "A loan, you say? Let me just look at your hands for a moment ... yes, those are the hands of someone who has invested a lot of sweat equity. Here's $25,000. BYEEEEE!" Listen, that's the kind of thinking that got us into this mess. We knew what we were in for when we took this on (mostly. okay kind of. Sorta... okay... whatever. Shut up.) and understood that we were trading cost for time. A longer timeline and lower cost SEEMS like a great idea up front, but the time has come to get stuff done. Moreover, the tasks at hand aren't suitable to DIY - Do you know how to install a new electrical panel? No. Me neither. As luck would have it, we're fresh out of electrician's certifications as well, so we'll just have to go out into the world and find a new one. Do you know what this costs? It's not exactly couch-change, yo.

Personal Loan: Okay, again: a great idea if you can tap this resource. Unfortunately for us, this just isn't on the table. I guess, maybe it might be, but I have no idea. I don't make a habit of inquiring into the financial status of my close friends and family members; but even if I was fully apprised of someone's ability to give us money neither of us would ever presume upon that relationship and leverage it for money. It is SUCH a tricky dynamic, to balance family or friends and money that it simply isn't worth the risk involved.

I'm not sure this qualifies as a legitimate update, but I hope it was at least entertaining.


In which: an old house is in shambles. Soldier on.

5:30 PM
Once upon a time, I came home and discovered the doorway between the kitchen draped with plastic sheeting and a project light burnin':

Evidently, my husband ... Oh, did I neglect to mention why I have been absent for nigh on a year? Turns out, weddings (even the smallest, most intimate affairs) are tedious, cumbersome and demanding of all the spare times. We were left with nothing left to give to our dear neglected house, ipso facto, this blarg has been neglected. Is there some government agency to ensure proper care be given to all blogs? Alas, there is not. Anyway, my husband started doin' stuff! Progress!

Dining room demo! Thankfully, we have literally never used this room as intended; therefore, our routine has been minimally inconvenienced by this process. The cats, on the other hand .. NOT INTO IT. They spend the majority of the day in their respective corners, soaking up whatever heat they can find. Nights, though ... This is when all the magic happens. Our cats transform, magically, from the floppiest, almost-lifelike creatures we know and like okay... into a mother f*cking herd of elephants. On that note, is it too late to to officially suggest that the barrier be made permanent?

As you can see, there is a small section that doesn't quiiiiiiiite match up with the rest of the lath in the wall. In my expert opinion (expert is currently defined as 'woman who has done exactly 0% of this demo as of the publishing of this blog post, but has looked at the project long enough to take a few pictures and study them later in order to draw a conclusion.') this was intended to be either a secret passageway to Narnia that was never completed due to geographic complications and current passport requirements ... OR (and this one is less-probable if you ask me .. which you did) it is another doorway to access to the master closet, located on the other side of the wall. Smart money is on Narnia, though. BRIDGE TO NOWHERE! No? Whatever.

 The alcove pictured above is going to be enclosed - hopefully by New Year or so (typed with a meaningful look shot in the direction of my husband) - to create a powder room. You may or may not (probably don't) recall my post detailing the bathroom that was in that space before -- the one with the fan that vented into the dining room. IT VENTED INTO THE DINING ROOM YOU GUYS! THE DINING ROOM! In the immortal words of Mike Holmes: "Unacceptable"

 Would you look at that? Another secret entrance. This is clearly a window. I am not some idiot who believes that Hogwarts is real or that this window could be for owls delivering wizard mail ... That said, I don't think we should close it in ... for an unrelated reason that I don't really feel like typing out... anyway...
 Under the stairs. Because this joint wasn't creepy enough - let's open this shit up and leave a pitch black hole to sufficiently terrify the lady of the house!
Ugh. You guys .. we LIVE HERE ...

Thankfully, progress has been made elsewhere! The living room!
 This is the vintage mantelpiece that we (haha - not "we" in the sense that "I had something to do with it's acquisition"; it's "we" in the "it's community property now" way!) purchased five years ago at a now-defunct antique market. It was an eclectic assortment of goods, but most notably, it's ample statue collection. With 10 - 12' cast iron eagles flanking our walkway, who would miss us? It seems we've missed our chance. Alas...
 D assembled the mantel so that it would wrap the stone now that it has been stripped of it's fugly paintjob.

"Do you want to help?" - D
"No .. this is for the blog!" - me 
I swear I'm a good wife, you guys .. I just can't remember what I was doing that day that kept me from contributing to this project.

 Here is the mantel, assembled and attached to the wall! Photographed with my shitty phone camera because my (equally-shitty) digital camera died a long time ago and I haven't bothered to replace it yet. CHRISTMAS IS COMING! (Not for me though... I'm Jewish)
 However, this fireplace is DEFINITELY fit for Santa.  At least, it will be....when it's done.
 Sorry about the other photos! The door was catching the sun from the window and it wasn't metering light properly. PROBABLY BECAUSE I TOOK IT WITH A PHONE.

This photo details how to enhance the mood of the living room, simply by changing the color of the floor! For instance: Any color applied to the original, 120 year old fir flooring will result in a bad mood. Why? BECAUSE YOU PUT PAINT ON THE DAMN FLOOR! The paint has largely been stripped in the picture above, but you can see the point.

Don't paint your floors. It's bad for you, and it's bad for me. If not for me, do it for the children... of the future...who will be forced to spend countless hours crouched in a corner, wearing a respirator that costs as much as my car payment as they melt away your poor life choices with a heat gun from Harbor Freight.

 As you can see .. progress is being made. The mantel is attached and primed. The floors are being stripped of paint.

In case you were worried that we had suddenly changed our minds about the original plaster vs. drywall argument: This amendment is only being made to the walls between the kitchen/master closet. The dining room is going to yield some of it's ample square footage in favor of a bigger kitchen and master closet.  This is a good thing.

Oh, and that little nugget about the wedding? It was incredible :

 "You're going to finish the house now, right?"

We're one good-lookin' couple.  I am not even going to feign modesty.

.......Hogwarts is real.