It’s here! Moving week is here!
This past week was a really long one for me, full of 11 hour days and coming home to basically shower, eat, then sleep, and start all over again. We’ve been pushing hard towards the goal of being able to move in on Tuesday, and we’re going to do it!
I really hit my wall on Friday. Just feeling so done with the mess, the constant dust, cement and people in the house. When we built our current house, we were able to do things differently, mostly because we had tile installers come and do the whole house in one week. This time around we did it in house with a “boss” that we had on staff. That was probably one of the most painful parts of this whole process, because one person laying tile who has no sense of immediacy and his own stuff going on takes a very. long. time. In our case, he started at the end of August, and on Monday I delegated the last bits of his job to two other people, and told him he needed to get the shower finished that day. Because 5 days to tile a shower is crazy. It’s hard when you like a person, but have to keep things focused on the work level. He did finish the shower on Monday, and then on Tuesday we paid him any outstanding pay and said thanks and sent him on his way. The other bosses that got the rest of his work finished things up and we basically have a house we can move into.
Like I mentioned in my last post, we chose priorities, and that’s been the big push this last week. I’m happy to say, that aside from needing to run some caulking around the tub and bathroom sink, we did it!
The storage room shelves are all in, with the exception of the pantry, but that’s for good reason. They are built and ready, and we’ll be using each section in the kids closets until January when I can get the actual closet built ins done. This past week I moved all my tools into the storage area under our stairs, that will eventually be where the pantry is. They’ll live there until the workshop depot is done and we can move them all there, which will probably be sometime in January. I was going to hold off on assembling the shelves for the pantry until after Christmas, but the guys got into a rhythm, and I figured it would be better to get it all done. Glad we did because we can use the shelves elsewhere for a while.
The bathroom looks amazing, though still very dirty right now. Tomorrow it’s getting a good cleaning, the caulking I mentioned, and a couple little things like toilet paper holder and towel hanger installed. We still need a couple plumbing things, just little connectors, before we can connect the shower head, so we’ll be bath tubbing it for about a day. Other than that though, that room is almost done.
One of our friends came last week and got all of the upstairs doors hung on the jambs, and another friend came on Monday and installed them all. The guys followed up with the cement work around the jambs, and paint. Out of the 5 we only have one sticky one, and I can take a sander to it, so not bad considering wet concrete makes wood swell. The doors jambs have been my least favorite project because what I thought would save time ended up being so much more work than if we’d just made them from scratch. Lessons learned!
And the kitchen? Remember how I said I wanted to get all the drawers in so we could at least use the kitchen? Did it. Yes I did. Johnny had ripped down all the long pieces of plywood and edge banded them the week before, then on Monday (seriously, was that only 6 days ago???) we cut everything down in about an hour, and then I spent the rest of the day, and part of the next getting them assembled. Got interrupted a lot that first day or I would have gotten them done in one. I was able to varnish them on Tuesday as well. SO thankful for the fast drying varnish that I bought! I gave myself 2 days for installation, because I hate doing drawer slides, and because someone (ahem) decided to design a kitchen with 19 drawers in it… I blew myself away when, by quitting time at 5 pm on Wednesday, I only had two left to install. I could have finished them that day, but I was tired and starting to not think clearly, and I knew it would lead to me making stupid mistakes, so I left, and came back and did the last two in about half an hour the next morning.
All the cabinets have been painted and touched up, and we’ll do the drawer fronts in January.
The entry way is all done. I finally put on that last drawer front that was being a pain… The downstairs bathroom is done. The downstairs storage room is done. The upstairs storage room is done. Our bedrooms, except the closets (can we count those as their own rooms?!?) are done. The nook, because it’s just walls, is done. The living room is done. And, the stairs got done!
You know when you get an idea in your head, then wonder if you’re crazy? I got one of those last year while we were talking about layout and design and all that stuff. That idea was to take something we love – the mosaic tiles – and use them in an unexpected way.
I shared this picture earlier in the year – can’t remember if it was here or on Facebook:
I’ve already shared that we have a sun design in our current place, and while it’s fun, it gets old after a while. I wanted neutral floors so that over the years, as our tastes changed and life happened, they would be something that we could work with. BUT, I still love the mosaics, and Chris really wanted them. We used one pattern for our backsplash in the kitchen, which we LOVE. But, that actually came after my initial idea.
What was that idea you ask?
The stairs actually come down to a landing, and then down two more steps into the living room. I didn’t take a picture of that yet because the landing was covered in plastic and cement pavers to weigh down the wood so the adhesive would firm up. Our friend that hung our doors on the jambs last week came back this week and one of the the things we did was go buy the wood, then he measured and pre-cut every tread. I pocket hole joined any of the larger pieces, like the landing, routered the bullnose edges, then sanded, stained and varnished everything. We had to dry fit each step, and things were pretty darn close. They look way better in person. I will be taking better pictures after we move in and I don’t have a pile of boxes in the middle of the living room limiting where I can stand :) There are some touch ups that need to be done, but it’s all minor and part of working with two very different mediums – cement and wood. Those will get done either this week, or in the new year. Depends on how much energy I have :)
On Friday we took Marthe out with us and she started cleaning for me. So thankful for that. I’m so sick of cement dust. So sick of it. But, as of yesterday, all the cement work in the house was done. Actually, there’s one line of joint mortar that needs to go in at the top of the stairs. Then we’re done :) I’m so badly needing to not have people walking through the house, and to be able to really clean it and have it stay that way. I know it’s going to take a good week or so of wiping things down a few times to get rid of all the construction dust, but we will do it!
Last week we got power running, which has been so amazing and wonderful. This week the excitement was getting the water all running. I wish you could meet Evens and see how incredibly talented this guy is. I have no idea how he does it all. He not only beautifully wired everything, but the plumbing is amazing too. I think he’s actually had fun working on the house and facilities, because we told him right from the start that we wanted to do things the right way. Good wires, good connections, good plumbing, etc. And that we would spend the money to do it right. He’s meticulous when he writes up his parts lists, and doesn’t waste anything. I think it must have been fun for him thought to not have to cut corners. He’s been much less stressed this week as things have come together and he’s seeing all his hard work finish up and that we love it.
And, because we’re talking about water, I just need to show you this:
That’s my kitchen sink! Isn’t it pretty? Crazy thing – that solid ceramic, beautiful sink, was cheaper than a stainless steel double basin sink. No joke. By about $50. Yes, I did have to go back about 3 times until they had it in stock, but when they did, I bought it and almost ran with it I was so excited. And the faucet – that’s a Moen. Originally I was going to get something that had a knob on each side of the base, but it was out of stock every time I went to the store, and I finally just had to decide. There was a Moen one that was similar to the one I was originally wanting, but it was $150. I realize that for some people that wouldn’t be a big deal for a faucet, but it felt like too much. This baby was $95 – only $15 more than the faucet we have in our current kitchen. I love it so much. It’s substantial and just looks great. I love the goose neck too. So easy to get big stuff under there now.
This week Chris started moving the work yard stuff over. And, it’s almost all there, and it took way less time than we thought it would. Honestly, we were going to move the house first, then move the work yard later this week. In so many ways we’ve gotten ahead. The guys built new storage shelves for one of the rooms, and as stuff was put away we just kept looking at how well organized it was and how much space was still there. We still have the work pads to build, and the welding/workshop area which will have it’s own storage room. Some of the stuff in the three rooms of the depot will get moved over there once it’s done, and we’ll have so much more room.
After work yard stuff was moved, Chris started bringing loads of house stuff over. There are some bigger pieces of furniture that we’ll need for the guest house that we’ve arranged to let the new buyer use and store for us, and then we’ll just pick them up when we need them and are ready to move them in. Works great :)
Anyway, we’ve now brought about 3 loads of stuff to the house. I’m talking boxes and furniture. On Friday, Chris brought the white truck, filled totally up with boxes and big stuff, and we had brought out three big pieces of furniture that morning. As the guys unloaded we told them where to take it so we didn’t have to move things from one pile to the next. After it was all unloaded Chris said, “We just unloaded a truck load of stuff, and it just disappeared into the house!” As in, there’s so much storage space that as things were put in their general areas, it didn’t feel like we were doing this overwhelming moving thing. There’s a pile in the middle of the living room, but only because we haven’t asked the guys to take it upstairs yet.
Today I packed up most of the kitchen and Olivia and I went over and cleaned and started unpacking. She needed some time at the house because she’s feeling more anxious about things. She’s older, and hasn’t spent as much time there as the rest of us because she’s been in school most of the time when we’ve gone. It was some good time for the two of us.
I literally moved 3/4 of our kitchen today, and put it away, and there’s still so much room. Cupboards that were overflowing at our current place are half empty at the new place. I was a little anxious about some of the drawer spaces not being big enough, but now that things are being put in them, they’re the perfect size. We’ve got so much open counter space because we’ve moved the microwave and water cooler to a table by the fridge and water filter. I honestly can’t get over it. I’m excited to see how things feel once everything is there and we’ve decided on final resting places for everything. After literally two years of planning, it’s so fun to see it all come together and to see that the days of pacing things out and working things out was totally worth it.
And so, here we are. The last two days in our current home. The place where Chris and I met. The place we brought our first baby home to. The place both of our kids have called home for their whole lives. I find myself thinking about things as we get closer to tomorrow and Tuesday, and part of me is sad. I’m not going to lie, there have been some incredibly difficult times here, but there will be things that will always be special to me. It’s been a decade of living here. More than a quarter of my life. And now we’re starting a new chapter. I’m thankful for the last 6 weeks of working out in Kan Marie, because it’s given me a chance to feel more comfortable in what will be our new home. To get more used to seeing our neighbors, and all their cows, horses, donkeys and goats go by. To learn the names of some of the local kids. To visit with our neighbors more. And, to get to know our staff better. I’m happy to see the building phase for the house done, and am excited to get settled. It’s a lot of transition, but it’s all good.
This week, after we move, I’ll be doing a much needed trip to Port so I can get groceries. We’ve been emptying out the fridge and pantry, mostly because things have been so busy. Chris has been amazing in the past six weeks. He’s cooked dinner almost every night. He massages my feet when I’m exhausted. He’s done a great job of getting the kids ready for school and picking them up and being the parent while I’ve been there for breakfast and supper and to tuck the kids in. He’s even started having fun in the kitchen and trying out new recipes. Before this past month and a half his repertoire was Shake & Bake chicken, baked potoates and steak. In the past week he’s started getting really creative and I told him yesterday that I’m excited to have a kitchen big enough that we might be able to enjoy making dinner together. This is a whole new thing for us :) I know I’m definitely going to let him cook dinner more than the one night a week I had given him before, that’s for sure!
We have a HUGE surprise for the kids on Wednesday and it’s taking everything in me to not say anything. Since they can’t get online, and don’t read this thing I can spill the beans here :) We knew we wanted to get a dog for security at the new property. Initially we were looking for a fully grown dog, and put word out on an expats Facebook page that we’re part of. Often people will need to go back home and have to find places for all their stuff, including their security dogs. Nothing came up, but we went ahead and built a dog enclosure anyway, just to be ready for when a dog did come available. Chris wasn’t keen on getting a puppy, mostly because it would be a puppy that would need extra attention and what not, and not be super useful for guard dog duty for a while. We had talked to the kids about getting a dog, and told them that we might actually end up with two because two is better than one when you’re rural and needing security. The idea is that the dogs would stay in the pen during the day so they don’t get familiar with staff, and then after work is over and everyone has gone home they’ll be let out to roam the property all night. In the morning they go back in.
Well, our plans changed a bit about a week and a half ago when a post came up on the Facebook group. It was for three puppies. All rescue dogs that have been loved back to good health, and were free to a good home. I called Chris over to look at the post, and he loves FREE, and said yes. I responded right away, and within minutes they were ours. We asked the family if they could hold on to them until after we moved, and on Wednesday on my way home from Port I’m picking them up. The kids have no idea. They think that we’re maybe getting two dogs, whenever that happens. They’re going to freak when I come home with three puppies. I can’t wait!
Well, it’s that time where I wrap this up. I need to pack up everything on my desk, and then run out and get some supper. That’s my version of cooking this week :)
Pray for our family and staff this week. Pray that the rest of the move will go well, and that we’ll be able to say good-bye well to our old home and facilities. Pray for our kids. I think they’re the ones feeling the most unsure of all this. I know they’ll be fine once we get moved and we settle in, and I’m very thankful that Friday is our last day of work before two weeks of holidays where we can just hang out as a family. We desperately need that time together. And, we all need some rest. Our workers are tired, we’re tired, and we all need a good break.
We’ll see you on the flip side!