A few months ago, I wrote about the big decision to buy a new home. We did close on Sept. 23rd with no other last-minute surprises, thankfully. We got to meet the previous owners during the inspection of the repairs to the sub-flooring and joist under the shower. They told us the house was a duplex before the renovations, which completely makes sense with the layout. Basically, my bedroom is a big as a living room, because it once was a living room! The sellers took a few days (they legally had a week, but they surrendered keys 3 days after closing) to finish packing and moving. I was able to host an empty house party with our friends who staying with us while day-tripping Coronation.* I could not have been happier spending the first night in my new home knowing that many of my friends were also sharing the night with me.
I have been so busy since then! We moved into the house the weekend after Coronation. Since we had an extra week from the time we took possession of the home and when we moved in, I decided to personalize with some paint colors. The entire house was painted a neutral beige – top to bottom! One of the things I loved in my previous home was the beautiful ocean blue paint that I chose for my bedroom. While B wasn’t sold on the idea of a dark color (even though the room is big enough to paint it a dark color), he did compromise on a darker accent wall and a lighter coordinating color. B really does have a good artistic eye, so when I suggested the same approach for my office, he suggested a chair rail and a top/bottom color scheme. I picked an ice blue and dark sky blue (called Rhodes) for the bedroom and a mint green and jade green for the bottom of the chair rail in the office.
A good friend, and artistic consultant, came and helped me paint. It took 3 days. We got mostly done with the walls in the bedroom the first night (remember – the size of a living room), when I remembered that the ice blue wouldn’t go with a beige ceiling. So I had to paint the ceiling the next day. If you have never painted a ceiling, I don’t recommend it; I was exhausted after using a roller on the ceiling. I should have sprung for the one coat paint! If I would have planned better, we would have painted the ceiling and saved some much time taping and retaping. If the walls aren’t painted yet, it doesn’t matter if some white paint gets on them from the ceiling. The third day was spent on the office, where thankfully the beige ceiling doesn’t contrast with the color of the walls. B and I did go back and forth a bit about the height of the chair rail, but basic design rules won out and it was put 1/3rd of the distance of the walls.
We moved in that weekend. Our friends are amazing and we loaded and unloaded a 28ft U-haul in about 6 hours. I unpacked enough that weekend to sleep and work the following Monday.** The next weekend I had to unpack my craft/sewing room, because I had to finish vigil and elevation clothing for a friend of mine who was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel. B went to the old house to work on a few things left over from when the tree fell on the house in order to be able to sell it. And to get out of my hair, I’m sure. Over the next two weeks, I slowly unpacked the new house and B worked on the old one. At some point, we learned how to block print together in order to finish the aforementioned elevation clothes and I helped out with last min vigil clothes when someone who committed to helping had to back out. We had SCA events on the weekends, the first being a war hosted by our barony and we were committed to help out and the second being the elevation of said friend.
We have been in the new house for a month by this point, and only had one weekend free – which was spent only partially on furthering the progress at either house. I just paid both mortgages for the first time.*** For my birthday, B spent a few evenings putting up the chair rail in my office, so I could finish unpacking the room (although my desk is way more cluttered now that I have actually unpacked it) and we found a great desk on the local Facebook yard sale group. Finally, we had another free weekend. B began the fence at the new house so the dogs could go outside unsupervised, and so that he could move the dog run to the new house. The pole for the run was preventing him from finishing one of the projects at the old house. I spent the weekend cleaning the old house. We needed the house to be in the best condition possible, without putting a lot of additional money into it, in order to list it on the market for a reasonable price.
Then the time change occurred. With sunset falling before 6pm, there was little that we could do outdoors in the evenings. As I looked at the calendar, I realized our next free weekend wasn’t until a month later. We committed to fighting in Crown List,* and the following weekend was one of our favorite out of kingdom wars in Ansteorra (BAM). Then it was Thanksgiving and then the next weekend we could work on the houses. I freaked out a bit. I talked to B about not going to BAM in order to finish up what was needed at the new house. Apparently, there was a miscommunication somewhere along the way, and B thought he had 3 months to get his house ready to be on the market. I thought that when we decided not to do everything on the to-do list (not invest more money that we won’t see returned from a sale), and that meant we didn’t have to wait 3 months. Our agent confirmed that we shouldn’t do much to it, but we still needed a weekend’s worth of work. While it was a hard decision to make, we ended up not going to BAM.
B went through a house inspection walk through to prioritize the “must do” repairs needed. Then we painted inside and out. I touched up all the baseboards with white that was left for us at the new house, and spackled the nail holes in the walls. A five gallon bucket of paint can easily paint 2000 sqft of surface and we had one about 75% full. (New it’s only about $50, though.) We used it to paint the outside of the house and brought a paint chip to get a gallon of color matched paint ($25 – interior paint is a bit more expensive) for the inside to do touch ups. Since the color was a match to what was already on the walls, we were able to blend the paint to cover the dings and give the appearance of an adequate paint job without springing for another 5 gallon bucket of paint (and another 2-3 days painting). We finished up with mop-n-glo for the wood floors and made sure the windows were clean.
The old house goes on the market this afternoon/evening. I’m hoping our agent is as proud of the work we did this weekend as we are. Our neighbors noticed the difference and commented their approval yesterday as we were wrapping up. We know that selling a house in the winter is a tricky option. We have priced it very competitively – splitting the difference between the nearby foreclosures and full listings. While the market has fewer houses for sale, there are also fewer buyers. Those that are buying normally need a house quickly, though may not want the hassle of “as-is.” We are hoping that our empty house sells before spring when the rest of the market become competitive. Wish us luck!
*In the SCA, we rotate who becomes “King and Queen” twice a year. We have a tournament, called Crown List, to determine who will become the next king, and the winner and consort become the heirs to the crown. They are Prince and Princess for about 6 months, then the current King and Queen step down (my kingdom has a dramatic death tradition, but some kingdoms just abdicate) and the heirs become the new King and Queen. This event is called Coronation (obvi) and both events are held twice a year.
Day-tripping is only attending the event for the day, not camping or staying on the event site. Since you are responsible for travel back home, it’s generally a less party fueled way to attend an event.
**Not relevant to the above story, but our younger cat escaped during the move. We had a cat door to the backyard, but I forgot to close it and lock the cats inside when we went to pick up the U-haul. By the time we returned, our friends had also arrived, and with the noise of a huge truck and lots of people, Tug ran off. He didn’t return for 4 days. We went back to the old house every day – B in the mornings and at lunch and both of us in the evenings. He had eaten the food I put out for him, but wouldn’t go near the live trap we got on day 3. Thankfully we spotted him on the 4th day and were able to shoo him into the house and catch him.
***Since I work from home and B travels a good bit for work, I manage the finances. We don’t have shared accounts, but I have access to everything to be able to pay all the bills. So, I personally didn’t pay both mortgages out of my finances, but I set up both payments. It still wasn’t pleasant.