Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend of Productivity

Hello! I appologize for not writing anything for a few days. All weekend we were busy painting! Justin's parents came to visit and we painted continuously all weekend. We barely took time to eat! I haven't taken photos of the painted rooms yet, though, so you will have to see them later...probably tomorrow!

Tonight I will write about our linoleum removal adventure last week. The wood was covered with carpet, except for a little piece of linoleum in front of the door. It was glued down with the intent that it would never be removed! We scraped at the glue residue for awhile. Justin finally figured out that shaving it with a planing tool made it easier to scrape. We eventually scraped it all away, and the floor underneath looks fine! I'm just REALLY glad it was only a small area, not a whole room!

Each thing we do makes it seem more real!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Not So Perfect Floor Covering

We now have possession of the house. We finished the closing process at around 4:00. It went fine and the real estate company even gave us a generous gift card to be used at the mall! New shoes and purse for me! Haha, that was a joke...sort of... We went over there right away to start pulling out the carpet. The carpet covered the living room at the two upstairs bedrooms. It wasn't bad carpet-we just like the wood floor it was covering better. We made an interesting discovery in the bedrooms. There were two layers of carpet! Under the current carpet, there was an older layer of brown and gold shag carpet! Under the shag was the padding, which was pretty gross. It was disintegrating into a dusty material in the high traffic areas, and around the edges of the rooms and in the closet it was resistant to removal. Fortunately, the living room and hallway didn't have the extra layer, so the pad in there was newer and was easy to removed.

Hopefully the leftover residue will come off with sanding. Don't worry, this task wasn't was bad as it looks.

This is the living room floor. I think it looks great! The person in the photo is our friend Jason Webster. He is pulling out staples and nails. What a good friend he is!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Perfect Floor Covering

We close tomorrow! I can't wait!

I was looking at a Pottery Barn catalogue today and I saw a picture of a beautiful, catalogue perfect room. There was a rug on the floor that I loved!

Imagine my delight when I looked at the information and discovered that those geniuses at Pottery Barn named it "The Maren Rug"!

I have to have this rug, or else a similar one!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Original Social Networking Site

This post is not really about houses...but I'm going to write it anyway! There are no rules for this blog unless I make them up!

This weekend I went canoeing and camping with sixteen friends and friends of friends from law school. We canoed 30 miles down the Missouri River and finished at Washburn. It was my first Missouri experience and it was amazing. The river and the surrounding landscape was so beautiful! Being from Eastern ND, I think of rivers as rather gross, weedy, and muddy. No one really swims or does much of anything on the Red River. Then there is the Ottertail River in MN which is famous for its tubing and also being a murky, algae and weed filled cesspool. Even most lakes I have experienced are rocky, muddy, and have a greenish-brown cast that is best ignored when you are trying to enjoy yourself.

I was pleased to discover that the Missouri River is wide and sandy! It even has sand beaches along the banks that are deeper and nicer than any lake I've seen around ND and Minnesota (sorry lake lovers!) The water is clear and you can see the bottom most of the time. Because the river is shallow, there are many sand bars and you can wade in most places. It doesn't hurt your feet because the sand is so fine and there are few sharp stones mixed in. (There is however, alot of flat, shiny pieces of coal and alot of coal dust washed up on the shores!)

Anyway, I had a great time with my old friends and getting to know new friends, and it reminded me of a current Coleman camping equipment commercial that features old time footage of campers and points out that recreational activities such as camping were the original way to connect with friends and family, and that Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging, even with their instant gratification, cannot compare. Here is a link if you are curious:

The canoeing was really fun, but my favorite part of the trip was when we stopped for the evening on a large island to camp for the night. It had a great beach, and the plateau was covered with wild sunflowers and native grasses. We had a great time playing "extreme bocce", grilling, indulging in cold beverages, and of course talking nonstop. The weather was perfect, and even though most of our clothes and sleeping bags got wet during the journey and had to be hung in the trees to dry, we remained "happy campers."
Here is a shot of a few of our tents (there were more).

I love this photo! This is a view from our camping island.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a Warning...

Since we won't have this apartment for very much longer and it will soon be torn apart, I've kind of stopped cleaning. Except for the obvious necessities, of course! We have alot to organize in the upcoming weeks, and most of it is mine. Here is a horrifying example of something I have to address before we move.

This is my yellow bowl, also known as my "files". I know it's really bad. I just don't know what else to do with all of it! In the new house I will have to get a file cabinet. This bowl drives me and Justin (especially Justin) crazy. Everything in it is mine. (That high fructose corn syrup juice behind it is not mine!) This poor bowl is supposed to be used to display fruit, or to serve a salad, not to accumulate all of my bills, rejection letters, and bank statements. Hopefully in the near future it will hold some cute little limes that I can slice up to squirt in a glass of beer or something else attractive.

Anyway, if you happen to be in Bismarck, don't come over here because it is a big mess! Just joking, anyone who visits is always welcome. Just don't expect me to go out of my way!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Is It

This is what EVERYONE has been waiting for...riiiiight...

Here are some pictures of the house. They came from the listing on the internet, so the furnishings are those of the previous owner.

This is the house from the front. It is on 16th Street. I am only slightly dissapointed that our address will not be something interesting and exotic sounding, like our old address on campus, which was "Tulane Drive". The avenues in this new neigborhood are called interesting names such as "LaForest" and "Braman" and "Harmon". (I wonder who LaForest, Braman and Harmon are?) If I ever play that game where you jokingly give yourself an exotic dancer name, race car driver name, etc. based on the name of your street, childhood pet, or some other silly thing, I will use LaForest instead of 16th! Hello, my name is Rascal LaForest and I am a race car driver!

This is the living room. It is the first room you see when you walk in the front door. I think it looks pretty generic at the moment. Under the carpet are wood floors. The first thing we will be doing next Wednesday is ripping that carpet out and throwing it away! It's actually not the worst carpet I've ever seen (not even close!), but it is 20 years old. The owner is moving out due to her advancing age, and she told us that she covered the wood floor after her husband died because she didn't want to worry about the maintenance. Hmmm...maintenance...I don't know about this wood floor business... Hopefully a swiffer cloth will be adequate!

This is one of the "non-conforming" basement bedrooms. It is the biggest bedroom in the house. All of this conformity business was news to me, and I never really thought about it before based on the fact that many of my friends grew up having their bedrooms in their basements. I thought basement living was great! You could sleep alot later because no light would disturb you after a late night of playing "Truth , Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat". I guess if there is a fire, you are more likely to get trapped though...who knew? Don't worry, if any of you visit us and sleep down there, I will give you a ladder so you can escape, OK?

This is the kitchen. I love that canopy thing over the oven. When were were touring the house, I noticed that inside the oven, the owner had stashed some excess clutter from the kitchen. She and I seem to have more in common that I originally thought!

This is a beautiful shot of the second non-conforming basement bedroom. It is the only room in the house with panelled walls. What was the deal with that, anyway? Every house we saw had some sort of panelling somewhere. Who came up with the idea, years ago, that covering the walls with some immitation wood was a good idea? I'm glad it's only in one room

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Hello everyone out there...I am starting this blog to document being a first time homebuyer! I decided to write this because so many people I know have bought houses this year or will be in the near future because the the First Time Home Buyer program. There will be a large group of us in America, and we are different than other homebuyers in some ways. We are young and many of us probably wouldn't be buying houses yet if it weren't for the program. We aren't necessarily buying houses to prepare for the imminent arrival of children. The opportunity is here, so we are taking advantage! It will be an adventure and I look forward to the future.

In the recent past, my sister Andrea and her husband Kirk, my cousin Kara, my cousin Greg and his fiance Lindsey, my sister and brother in law Jenny and Cory and my sister and brother in law Josh and Kelsey have made the big purchase (or in Josh and Kelsey's situation, the big build!). In addition to the relatives, many of our friends have also found thier first home (I guess I should say HOUSE! A home doesn't have to be a house. I've lived in enough apartments and dormitories to know that.)

Justin and I started tentatively shopping in July. I wish I had pictures of some of the sad places we saw! ( I don't mean that in a negative way. Every house has potential with the right owner! I mean that we didn't want to have to do extensive remodeling). We saw a former duplex that had two kitchens. I thought I could live with that, until I saw the place and discovered that the bigger, nicer kitchen was in the basement! Even the realtor has the opinion that the duplex was overpriced! We viewed several houses with the unmistakeable smell of dampness. We really aren't interested in dealing with a flooding basement every time it rains! One had a rotting deck, one had bedrooms that were smaller than the rooms in our apartment, and one was built on a concrete slab to compensate for the slope of the land. The slab had a concrete staircase leading down to the neigbor's yard...who owns the staircase? Fortunately, I will never know! When we found a perfect brick house about one month ago, we decided to make an offer the same day we saw it. The next day, it was ours! A week from today we close and will be tearing into it and getting it ready to accomodate all of the crap that is bursting out of this apartment. I can't even believe it because I feel like I am 20 (or maybe 21!) years old still instead of 26. Is it possible that I am doing something so "adult"?!

p.s. I'm not sure about the title or layout of this thing yet...I'm not sure John Mellencamp would appreciate me stealing his "Pink Houses" line...if I were him I would be flattered...