Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finally Back!

Wow! I completely fell off the blog wagon! So much has been going on here, something had to give, and sadly, it was the blog.

Things are relatively under control, so I hope to be back daily!

Why was I gone? Well, I mentioned this before here, but we are hoping to sell our house.  I know I said our neighbors are moving.  This inspired us to get off of our butts and take the plunge.  We need to move- our house is just not working for us anymore.  I just did not want to do all of the things needed to get it ready to sell.

Getting a house ready to put on the market might be easy for some, but for us- not even close to easy.

This whole thing started about 5 or 6 weeks ago. We made the decision and  we knew what Realtor we were going with- the ones that sold Jenny and Gene's house next door. I had Tom call the Realtors and set up a time for them to come over, check out the place and give us some advice regarding what we needed to do before officially putting it on the market.  I knew we needed to clear out about 60% of our stuff, but I didn't know if we needed to change paint colors, get new carpet or things like that.

I asked Tom to give me a couple of weeks to kind of clean up before they came. Yes, I would need WEEKS.  You could not see the floor in the laundry room or the uncompleted craft room.  Instead, Tom gave me three days.

To say I was irritated would be an understatement.

After venting to my friends who calmly and kindly told me not to worry, I accepted that maybe this was for the best.  I was able to kind of pick up before Lou and Mary-Ellen, our Realtors, came over.  Still, I was so embarrassed about the state of our home. We were just over flowing with toys, junk and more.

They were so nice about the house.  They said that yes, stuff had to go, but to keep the colors, leave the carpet and really, just clear stuff out.  We all agreed that the basement bathroom needed something done with the ceiling- we never had it dry walled- it was just rafters. Other than that, they didn't think we should put in any real money.

Still, there was a ton of work to be done "staging" the house.  After they looked around and asked us how long until we were ready to put the house up, I said "I'm not doing a thing unless you tell me I can get over $X for this house". They looked at me, smiled and showed me the numbers.  They wanted to list the house at "X" plus 30,000. Needless to say, I acquiesced and said- "give me three weeks!". 

Those were some of the most difficult three weeks of my life.  I swear, I barely slept.  My workouts were cut by 40%, at least. I didn't journal anything.  I was swamped.

And I didn't take pictures!  I am kicking myself.  This would have made an awesome before and after series.  It was fantastic blog fodder- but I was so busy and so overwhelmed, the thought of taking a moment to snap a picture seemed beyond wasteful.

Looking back, I really cannot believe what we accomplished.  You may recall my "To-Do" list on the chalk board?  That was a joke compared to the new list.  I made a spreadsheet of what needed to be done.  In a nutshell, carpets cleaned, walls washed or repainted, 75% of all things packed up, donated or thrown out.  If you want details, you can actually view the spreadsheet here!

It was a insane amount of work to do and we could not have done it without many people helping us.  My father in law was over painting, power washing and more.  My mother in law helped with the kids and is storing a house full of our junk in her basement! For free!

Our neighbors- wow! Where to begin? Gene helped Tom fix all kinds of things and Jenny was our main landscape engineer and labor!  That girl is a machine.  We dug up four boxwoods, transplanted three, pulled out and transplanted about half of our garden plants.  We added some new boxwoods, mulch and more.  We filled up three or four lawn bags of weeds. Oh, and this was all in one day. Tom had surgery on his foot earlier that week and had a follow up procedure the morning of the day we did the landscaping, so he couldn't do much of the hard stuff.  That doesn't mean he didn't work though.  He was running back and forth to the store for supplies, dealing with kids and helping out in general. It was a true team effort.  Jenny and Gene got a gift certificate to Shorts for their help.  It was just a token of our intense gratitude.  We are so thankful for them!

We also could not have accomplished it all without daycare taking the kids extra days, our babysitters stepping up not only to babysit, but to do odd and tedious cleaning jobs, our contractor doing the basement ceiling, fixing the toilet and more and a couple of my girlfriends who deep cleaned my laundry room and more.

The big day finally came.  I was so nervous.  The house still wasn't 100%, but it was good enough.  Lou and Mary Ellen walked in and they didn't say anything!  I began to get nervous.  Then they looked at each other and Mary-Ellen shook her head and had a bewildered look on her face.  "wwhat?", I tentatively asked.  Mary Ellen replied, "I'm speechless"- which if you knew Mary-Ellen, it's probably a rare condition for her to be in.  "This is the most amazing transformation I have EVER seen".

I was thrilled!  And they agreed that the house should list for about $15,000 more, based upon what we had done in just three weeks.  All that hard work really paid off and it felt great.

I will post pictures in the next day or two, but I really just wanted to get back posting- with or without pics.

Now the house has been listed and we are still continuing to make little improvements and we have to keep it spotless for showings, but things have settled down enough that I can workout as much as I want, plan meals and blog.

There is so much I want to talk about!  I want to talk more about the house transformation.  I had a really hard time finding info on staging and getting a house ready to sell, so I'd like to go into that a bit more. I also want to do an in-depth post about the craft room.  I am just thrilled with how it turned out!

I have created some new recipes that I need to share.  New egg cups and muesli! I also want to try out a few new recipes (protein cinnamon swirl bread anyone)and share those.

We are going to be on vacation most of July.  There will be much to write about, from packing, how to eat while away and what to do about workouts.

Speaking of food and workouts, I was lucky.  Even though I relaxed on things a bit, I did not gain any weight.  I tried to be aware of what I was eating, even though I was not logging it all.  I also think my body needed the break.  I had hit a plateau and I really could not physically sustain eating any less or working out any more.  The cut back allowed my body to regroup and adjust.  I'm back working out, counting calories and keeping to my macros, but I am less strict.  And wouldn't you know it, I lost a pound!  Not bad, huh?

Thanks for letting me begin to catch up and I will be back later!

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