Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting Ready

I went by the rental on Friday.  I have to be perfectly honest:  I love our house.  But seeing this house, with its wonderful craftsman charm and BIG BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS and a GROWN UP REFRIDGERATOR made me feel a little ungrateful towards our home.  We have a wonderful living space in our house.  The heart of our house is our very open kitchen, dining room and close by (but small) family room.  Considering I spend most of my time in the kitchen, because it is that nice, I love our house.  

But our bedrooms are so small.  Our closets are tiny:  I have about 4 feet of usable hanging space. And the bathrooms, while nice, are just not big enough. It doesn't help that in the mornings everyone including the cat and the dog tries to get in the 7 foot long "master" bathroom. 

So we are pretty excited about the rental, our new home while they pop the top here.  Dave put a gate in the fence between the two houses, so now we'll be able to move back and forth without driving around the block.  And we're hoping it makes clear to the renters after us that We Are Friendly People and We Get Along With Our Neighbors.  Unlike the nutjob renters who moved out---and painted the room that will be Conors, wait for it, black!  We'll be repainting Conor's room next weekend.  

We also moved plantbeds this weekend to get them out of the way of the construction.  The hardest plants were my grandmother's hydrangeas, which have grown quite large.  We moved one to the front of the house and one near the back.  I'm hoping they will both like their new homes.  

And I am pooped.  I did not do that much today besides digging, but I am just whooped.   

I have to start packing this week and determine what we take with us and what we leave in the garage or my home office.  I don't want to move everything, but I also don't want to spend the next 6 months skimping on things.  Of course, the remodel will be done right around the time twins are due so minimizing repacking is a goal, too.  Advice is welcome.

That said, whatever we decide to do, it won't be "wrong."  There is just going to be slightly more convenient and  slightly easier.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holy Cow

I think we're going to do this remodel thing.  Last week, after the Kumbaya post and the meeting of Squiggle and Peanut, we met with our architects and the man who is more than likely going to be our contractor.  He came back with a very, very reasonable estimate for the remodel.  It involved us doing a non-trivial amount of work and all the extras we said we could cut out, he cut out.  Nonetheless, it was still about $50,000 more than we could afford.  

We decided that although we loved this plan, we needed to go back to the original plan, Plan A. It had the square footage we could afford, but did not have the extra bedroom we needed.  We figured that the architects could just get rid of the loft (a "landing area" off the stairs) that served as an open room, and just add a bedroom there.  It would not be nearly as cute, but it would be functional.  

Folks, this is why you hire architects.  Tonight, we had a charette with our architectural team.  Although one might imagine that a charette is a short game of charades, it's actually a intense design meeting to figure out our home issues.  Our architect's goal was to keep Plan B but to reduce it in size to meet our budget. At that point, she had easily been able to delete about 150 sq feet for a $20,000 savings.  However, one might note that $20K NE $50K.  So although that was nice, that wasn't going to cut it.  I actually was feeling disappointed because I had in my head that we had to go back to Plan A and try to make that one work.

Then....Then....THEN!!! Dave suggested a new location for the master bathroom and everything fell into place.  She figured out how to arrange everything and cut off 4oo sq feet.  Our closet will be a little smaller than before, but still a boatload bigger than anything we've had before.  The loft (we still have a loft!) will be smaller, but can still serve as a small bonus room.  The child's bedroom/nursery will have a fine closet *and* the ceilings will be high enough to build  a sleeping loft later on.  Our bedroom will be the same size and will still have a sunroom off of it.  And all this will be within our budget.  It's Plan B writ slightly smaller.  And all because Dave suggested moving the bathroom!  In fact, we needed the entire addition to be 1000 sq feet and at this point, we're looking at about 972 sq feet.  

Holy Fracking Shite.  I think we can do this!!

In fact, I think we're ready to call our neighbors and move into the rental behind us March 1st.  


Yes, there's still the whole business of getting the remodel funded.  But so far, all the signs point to yes.  And now that we have a realistic plan with a realistic budget and we're still going to have everything we want, (holy cow!), this may work!

Ok, yes, we are only going to have one bathroom upstairs.  This means that middle of the night pitter patter to go piddle pee is going to go through our bedroom and is likely to end up the rest of the night in our bed.  But really, how is that different than now?  It's not.  And when whoever is sleeping up there is older, I have no doubt he/ she can figure it out in a way that keeps everyone's privacy.  (There will be stairs down to his or her own bathroom.  Take them.)

Oh my goodness.  I think this is going to work out.

Hooray!  YIKES!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Peanut and Squiggle

I've had a hard time coming up with nicknames for the babies.  The main reason is that Baby A and Baby B works ok.  Another is that we used a lot of the gender neutral names with Conor and the subsequent miscarriages.  

But today, after our Level II ultrasound, it became clear that their names are Peanut and Squiggle.  Peanut is Baby A because she (!) is measuring a little smaller than her brother (!), Squiggle, who is very, very active.  

The ultrasound went perfectly normal and we are so excited to be having a boy and a girl.  I will tell Conor today when we pick him up from school.  But his request this morning was for a boy and a girl.  He gets to have a little brother and a little sister. 

Everything seems just wonderful for our growing little family.

As for our (hopefully) growing house, we're meeting with our architect and preferred contractor Thursday afternoon to figure out if we can build the house for the price we want as-is or if we have a do-over on the design.  

It's all going to work out.  That, I'm sure of.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


We ran into a good friend of ours, who is a developer, today at lunch.  Once we told him about last night's estimate, we are feeling much better that we can do the remodel "as is" for the budget we want.  Just one example of how this guy was way overbidding: he was proposing that just the electrical part of the addition would be about $20k.  Our friend had the electrical stuff done on his entire house  for about $12k.  Granted he is a developer and thus has better connections, whereas we are just regular lame folks.  Still, that estimate is stupid.

And though it's been on my mind, I haven't even broached the topic of the mini-van we are going to have to buy.  The night we found out about the twins, I found a used Odyssey for about $12k.  We should have bought it then, because now we can't find anything better than a 2005 Odyssey with 60K miles for, oh, $20,000.  One might note that a new 2009 is $25,000 or so.  YIKES. 

So then we started looking at Mazda5's which are mini-mini vans (micro vans) and start at $17k.  The good news is the price and the gas mileage.  The bad news is that it's small, and that we're sure Dave could fit in it, much less 3 kids, a dog, and luggage.  We don't travel all the time, but the only other car we could travel in right now is 13 years old, can't go up a hill without losing power, and may not fit two infant car seats at the same time.  So, um, yeah.

Now we're leaning towards a Toyota Sienna with the 8 seat option; Conor could sit with the twins and Patches and the luggage could sit in the back. Mom and Dad could even ride with us out to dinner when they come up to visit.  Dave even found a 2008 model with the options we want for $22k.  

We are, by the way, going to be selling the Jetta which should help us pay for this thing.  The Jetta's gas mileage is so good it's going to sell itself.  

In any case, I wonder why I'm having a hard time sleeping lately?  I mean apart from the fact that my uterus is twice the size of mothers of singletons at 18 weeks. And that I have an horrible stuffed nose and am sucking the paint off the walls with my snoring.  The result is a dry mouth that takes about 45 minutes to recover from when I wake.  And that my ginormous husband's nobby knees keep drifting over to my side of the bed.  It's not generally a problem when by belly isn't bigger than my boobs, but for some reason, his knees are inhibiting my ability to stretch out in a position that, theoretically, could be comfortable to sleep in.  And yes, I'm ending that sentence in a preposition and I don't care. 

Whatever.  Kumbaya.  It is all going to work out.  Right?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Financial Bleah

The first contractor just came back with an estimate on the model, at THREE times our budget.  It freaks me out more than it freaks Dave out, well, because that's how we are as a couple.  (Hence, I'm a nut and he is kumbaya boy)  

What worries me is that even if this is an outrageous quote, how can the quote we think is the most realistic be 1/3 what his cost is?  Seriously.

Then, we did a little math.  We've been told that square foot building cost around here was $135 at the highest.  We're hoping it's much lower now, or we still can't afford it.  However, this dude was coming in at $225 per square foot.  You have GOT to be kidding me!  That is a generous square foot equity estimate right now.  So this dude is on drugs.  We are not going to pay someone to remodel our house at the exact same amount of equity we would be adding.

So Dave, Kumbaya boy, came up with that reason for why his estimate was outrageous.  I, on the other hand, still am not convinced that our cheapest estimate is going to be within our budget.  Our budget is not flexible.  We cannot afford to go to a jumbo mortgage.  

Thus, I am getting ready for Plan B:  going back to the architect for a do-over.  We live on a half acre of land.  SURELY, there is some way to economically add another bedroom and a master suite.  And if it all stays on one floor, then hooray!, we won't have to move out.  But yeah.  I'm not thinking the current "dream plan" is going to work out.  


And yes, I know no one reads blogs over the weekend, but I have been in the weeds this week, and exhausted when I come home.  I don't think that's going to change any time soon.

Like Mother, Like Son

I swear, he was just showing me a boo-boo.