Sunday, July 08, 2012

Farewell to West Bentley

I was reviewing the blog this evening when I realized that I never posted my official goodbye to our home. Better later than never...

Written April 26, 2012

5 years later and our journey at West Bentley is complete. Tomorrow morning, we load up a rental truck and start the long drive to Maine. It is hard to capture that 5 year journey in a single blog post, so here are the highlights:

From vows written in home repair analogies to quiet hugs during stressful times, love has been the center of our life here.  We've gone from being engaged, to married, to acting like an old married couple, to acting like the 30-something married couple we actually are.  We couldn't get to where we are now without where we have been, so I am grateful for our time here, both good and bad. Thankfully, love travels well and will continue with us on the next adventure. 


The day of our first house showing we lost our beloved Boxer girl, Xena.  It was quick and painless for her, though painful and shocking for us.  I picked up the dogs at noon, I noticed she didn't feel well by 1pm, and by 5pm she was gone.  Xena was our first pet together and our first dog as adults. You can see my tribute to her on my Wynkyn Boxers blog, Lessons from a Parking Lot Puppy.  In a way, her death was the beginning of our goodbye to the house.  

While the house is in chaos all over and there are many photos I could take, this is the one that felt most significant.

Funny how some of the easiest things are the hardest to pack.  As we plowed through all the things we needed to box today, I kept saying I would start packing my clothes and then find an excuse to switch to something else.  Somehow packing clothes felt more difficult than boxing up dishes or sheets.  Maybe because once your clothes are gone, you really don't live there anymore.

New Beginnings
I will be starting a new blog to chronicle our new lives in Maine.  Aaron has informed me that the next home isn't West Bentley because only Bentleys will be living there.  I know that isn't exactly true since I am very much a West, but I agree that a new story deserves a new name and space.  I'll let everyone know where to look once when the time comes. In the meantime, you can keep up with our other new beginning - our new Boxer pup, Delta (named after the mathematical symbol for change) on my dog blog, All Around Dogs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pretty progress

I'm working to put some of the finishing touches on bits and pieces of the house and overall I think things are looking pretty spiffy.

There is one part that I feel a little mixed about. When Aaron made fresh door frames for all the hall doors back in 2007, he used nice quality wood. He wanted to leave them as bare wood with white trim accents... I didn't like the idea. I put some off-white putty in the nail holes, intending to paint them in the near future. Fast forward 4+ years later, and they hadn't been painted and the white/wood combo had actually grown on me. But the putty was there and it wasn't coming out, so in order for things to look finished, I had to paint them white.

Here is the wood:

Here is the white:

A reminder that thinking you are right doesn't actually mean you are... I'm going to do my best to keep that in mind for our next house.

The other easy-to-see beautification I've done is putting up curtains for closet doors. It was kind of fun picking out classy gray drapes to match the newly lightened walls. The closet was already neat and presentable:

But the curtains add a nice touch:

Dash approves, as does Shady. They were playing a fun game hide 'n go seek a minute after I had them hung.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Now that the fumes have cleared...

I did so much painting the bedroom and hall bath on Wednesday, I actually fumed us out of the bedroom for a day. I spent the night on the couch with Dash liberally applying his own version of accupressure (more like accucrusher). Aaron spent the night on the office futon, which actually allowed him to catch some Z's.

I must apologize for the lack of "before" pictures. When I finally get up the motivation to get things done, I don't dare stop for fear I'll find some reason not to do it. I did scrounge up some older pictures that should give you an idea of the previous wall colors.

The hall bathroom is now just some trim paint shy of being completed. The original color was my own combo of some leftover white paint and leftover "Stampede" from the livingroom. The only picture I could find that showed it was this one of Dash being a nosey nuggins, back when we'd just moved in. The toilet was in two parts and the door frame wasn't finished, which is why Dash could barge in whenever he wanted.

The hall bathroom is now the same color as the master bathroom - "Gravel". Very clean, but very bland. Aaron actually said he liked this color better than my homemade creation. Insert pouty face here.

Here is the bedroom's original color - "Blue Oasis". It is darker than the picture shows and was meant to be soothing and calm. It ended up more annoying because the shade of blue did not go well with any of our blue bedding.

The bedroom is now painted with a color called "Secret Passage". Yeah, I know... bedroom, secret passage, insert innuendo here. It is one shade lighter than the color, "Flagstone", that we painted the office, which I've always loved.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Accidentally Over-Committed

Last night around 8:30, I decided I'd be productive and put the first coat of paint on the shelves for our new linen closet.  I grabbed a can of white paint and a screwdriver to open it. Unfortunately someone forgot to clean the lip of the can before they closed it up and the damned thing was painted shut.

I could have just given up then and there, but I'm stubborn (The hell, you say, not our Julia!). So I kept hacking at it, chiseling out crusty dried paint, until finally I PEELED the top off the can of paint. The paint mixed well but it was a bit on the thick side. So now I have a problem - there is no way the lid is going back on and this paint is not gonna last...

And that's how I got to put my sheets and towels into my freshly painted linen closet this morning.

Another project down, so many left to go...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Bathroom MASTERED!

Somehow, I never got pictures of the disaster that was the original master bathroom. Just picture ugly wallpaper covered in small flowers, ugly yellow-lighted medicine cabinet and a sink set into a bright turquoise countertop.

Now we've got nice room with clean lines and simple colors:

Shady says "Why are you standing in the tub?"

... hey, it's a small room, how else could I get a good picture of the vanity?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Progress... 4+ years in the making

When we started work on the house, I had two projects very dear to me - Upgrade the master bathroom and build a linen closet in the empty corner of the hall bathroom. But we never got beyond clearing out the corner and a failed attempt at removing the awful master bathroom wallpaper. Finally, we hired a contractor (who showed up on time, loved our animals, and came in on budget - you're jealous, I know) and we now have...



Ok, actually it's only partially finished. I'm guessing the toilet in the tub tipped you off. The contractor ran into some snags with faulty parts in the sink and shower, so he's coming back next week to finish it off. In the meantime, he left the walls fresh and clean so I could choose the color of my choice and paint to my heart's content. And since he's coming back on Monday, that's keeping me motivated to actually do the painting.

Have you ever noticed that painting a small room is a lot more prep and cleanup than actual painting? I have. I put the first coat on the ceiling as part one of the process tonight.

To prepare:
  • Go to Lowe's, agonize, pick out a paint color, buy it
  • Find the paint tray, roller handle, brushes... discover that we have no rollers
  • Go back to Lowe's, buy rollers
  • Get home, change into acceptable painting gear, put my hair up
  • Turn on the tunes
  • Stir, and stir, and stir the ceiling paint..
  • Grab damp and dry cleaning clothes

To paint:

  • Pour paint
  • Roll for 2 songs
  • Do the edges with a small brush for 1 song
  • Peer up and attempt to see thin spots... hard to say with that bare bulb blinding me

To clean up:

  • Pick up all paint covered items and carefully transport them to a room with running water
  • Close master bathroom so dogs don't play with supplies
  • Wash edging brush and stir stick
  • Wash paint tray and roller handle
  • Wash paint roller until you are certain the manufacturers have created trick fibers that constantly release milky paint water ad nauseum
Tomorrow, or later tonight if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll be painting the walls. The paint color I chose is pretty bland and has a name befitting a bland color - Gravel. It's meant to compliment the new shower curtain and bath rug that are of similar non-offensive color schemes. I'd love to be more colorful and creative but with a 5 x 7 room, I figured less was more.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun with appliances and tight space continued...

So the installation is not finished. Why? Well before they left, the Lowes guys said we'd need a 6' dryer cord to reach the plug from the other side of the closet. So I had Aaron pick one up on his way home. Only problem... the cord we already had that didn't reach WAS a 6' cord. We would need an 8' to 10' foot cord. So Thursday morning, I went on the hunt. I found some 10' online, but they weren't UL listed and well, Aaron wasn't gonna touch them with a 10' pole. I scored a big goose egg calling around to all the local specialty stores and a couple of those guys even told me that 10' dryer cords don't exist!

Finally, some kind soul on Facebook posted a link to a 10' dryer cord at a supplier I hadn't seen before. The description did not say it was UL listed, so I called them up. A very nice man confirmed it for me - it was UL listed! It could be ours for just $30 + shipping.

I told Aaron of my success, thrilled to have found a solution. Which is when he said he'd rather move the plug. Which involves electrical work AND drywall. Ugh. So right now we've got the washer/dryer set up in the middle of the closet - it had to be done, I was out of socks.

It's half-in, half-out of the closet so Aaron can move around behind it.

And the garage door JUST clears it, so you have to skirt around it to get out that way.

Did I mention that we still don't know for sure that we'll even be able to get the closet doors back on? And that was sort of the whole purpose of getting a pair instead of just replacing our washer...