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Sunday, December 30, 2012


I know it's been two weeks since I last posted.  But things here have been in such a whirlwind that I have not had time to post, nor to read any other blogs.  I will catch up, I promise, during the deep dark dregs of winter.....

But for now, here is the latest.   As you know, we put an offer in on a house in Chilton, WI.   Here is the blog post about the house in case you missed it:

We closed on the deal on Friday, Dec 28, after a lot of mishaps and mistakes by our un-named (for now)  Mortgage Specialist.  Arggghhhh   I sold real estate for nine years and never had this many mistakes in any of my client's mortgages.  Also, between Steve and I, we have had 8 mortgages, 5 or 6 refinances, a few equity loans, all through the same bank.  NEVER a problem, NEVER a glitch.  Till now.  Seems in their infinite wisdom after the mortgage crisis, the bank no longer has "loan officers" at each branch like they used to.   We used to know our loan people by first names, and dealt right with the head of the bank over the years.  Nope, now you get assigned to a "Mortgage Specialist" .... who travels from bank to bank and doesn't seem to know what the heck is going on.  The one we ended up with was a hum-dinger!   After EIGHT major screwups, we finally got to close the deal.  After she left the room, even the other professionals in the room were amazed at her ineptness.  One remarked:  "She sure is a Special Kind of Disaster, isn't she?"

But all in all, we got the deal done, finally, after having to drive an extra 80 miles round trip in a blinding snowstorm to go back in the afternoon to sign the corrected documents she was finally able to produce.  In the meantime, the lovely understanding sellers gave us the keys and garage door openers, and let us meet with the carpet cleaners at 11 am as planned at the house, even though we wouldn't technically own it till 4:30.  What a nice seller!

We drove up to see this wonderful sign with the SOLD tag hanging underneath it.... awwwww

We got in, got the carpets spruced up and moved in paint, ladders, tools and an air mattress.  You betcha we were gonna sleep here!   Besides, it was a very messy snowstorm going on outside, so the last thing we wanted to do was travel back and forth to Appleton.  Loaded in jammies, food and painting clothes... and of course the dogs!  We hauled along a trailer with a snowblower from my dad. We drove through windy blinding snow, eager to begin our lives in our new home.

Steve got the snowblower going and opened the drifts back up a few times during the day and evening.  Oh, and our wonderful neighbor's daughter was over shoveling out our doorways and garage when we got here!  What a nice welcome!

Our first night was exhausting, emotionally and physically I am sure.  We slept good!

Early the next morning, Steve blew snow again so he could get out of the driveway, as another 8 or 9 inches piled up overnight. Then he had to go into work to help with the snowplowing, so I was left alone to unpack and start some painting and tarping off areas. We removed light fixtures and prepped and I started the painting.  Just about the same colors as before, just freshening the walls up.

We brought along our chaise lounge chairs to sit in, because all of our new furniture won't be delivered till Wednesday, Jan 2.

We even put up our tiny Christmas Tree!  

 There are wonderful multi-paneled pocket doors that slide into 
each side of this doorway to the livingroom from the foyer. 

Today's project (besides more painting) was to move this built-in hutch from the diningroom over one room to the south to my studio room (from here on known as My Loom Room)   Steve used a sawzall reciprocating saw to cut through the nails holding the cabinet to the wall. It's been there since the house was built in 1913, and was not going to come out without a fight!  I swear he had to cut through 200 nails holding it to the wall!

Whew!  What a job!  But we got it loose without damaging the wall or the floor underneath it.  We did have to remove the bottom base molding, which we can put back on as soon as we move it to it's new place in the other room.

But now the next task was... how do we MOVE it?  It was wayyyy too heavy to be carried and it was built on site as all in one piece!

Oh, while moving it, underneath in the back some tiny items fell out that must have been pushed back beyond the drawers over the years.  I saved them all in a zip lock to return to the family.  There are old payroll stubs of their father's, some kids cards and game pieces, old colorforms and assorted odds and ends.  One wheat penny and one quarter from 1937.

Back to our problem of moving the unit about 25 feet.  Hmmmm ever heard of "sliders"?  Sometimes called "Moving Men"?  Those things are GREAT!   They are little flat disks that allow heavy items to slide across the carpeting.  Slick!

And here it is, in it's new location with it's base molding back on.
(I had to get the wall painted quickly behind it before sliding it into place)

And here is where it came from....
The marks on the wall will skim coated with some plaster before we paint over it.  Oh, this notation was left on the wall by some worker 98 years ago.  Wonder what it meant?

(edit:  from my friend Chili Bob:  "Karen that writing on your wall is a date.
Possibly in 1914 they used a emigrant from the old country to help build the house.
That is the way they wrote dates a hundred years ago in Europe.
14/2/6 is Feb 6 1914. I see it all the time in old documents when I do genealogy.

You may wonder why we moved the built-in hutch?  Well, our formal dining room set has both a large long matching buffet AND a tall hutch, besides the big table and 8 chairs.  To get all of the pieces in the diningroom area, we decided to move the original hutch into my Loom Room for my supplies and books and tools.  It will be a lovely way to keep it in the house.  If we ever wanted to restore it back to the same position, we could.

We will either recreate more of the "plate rail" to fill in the gap left from removing the hutch, or else figure out some artwork or a mirror to be hung there.  Will see. 

We hired some plasters to come and "skip trowel" some of the ceilings in the house, and they will be here this evening (after the Packer Game is over)  as a cash job weekend thing.   The ceilings are all intact old plaster and lathe construction.  No cracks or bad spots.  But Steve was looking at the rippled appearance of the aged plaster and thought some "skip trowel" texture would hide the long rows of lathes and and add an "old world" flair to the ceilings.  The house where we bought our dining set from had it done to their ceilings and they looked quite nice.  So if we are going to do this, we might as well get it done BEFORE we move in the furniture.  We are only doing the livingroom, dining room, loom room and master bedroom.

Sooooo we are watching the Packer Game now, they are losing...ack!

And my floors are all covered up waiting for the plaster guys to get here.  It's gonna be a busy next few days.

  • Monday- we are renting a Uhaul moving truck to haul the rest of the things from our rented storage space.
  • Tuesday- painting some more and putting things away 
  • Wednesday- the furniture store is delivering our new furniture items they have been holding in a warehouse for us.  Heh heh let them carry up both king and queen sized mattresses and box springs and frames up those foyer stairs with three turns in them.  Plus our couch and mission recliner will be coming too. 
  • Thursday- COLLAPSE! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mom P

With great sadness, we lost our loving mother today.  

Steve's mom, Mary Ann Pfundtner, passed away this morning.  After a long battle with cancer in 2010, we thought she had it licked. But it came back again to take her away from us.  We were by her side as she passed.

The very best mother-in-law a girl could ever ask for. We will miss her and love her and keep on remembering her twinkling eyes and gentle smile.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Closing Date on our New Home!

YEEEHAWWWWWW  We got a closing date and time! Friday the 28th at 9am...wheeeheeeeeeee

(whew, finally!) 

First we will go over and close the deal, and then go over to the warehouse storage unit and load up both the Tracker and the Lincoln.  Fill em up to the brim.  

Gotta take along all the stuff I have been gathering:  all of the painting supplies, some clothes and food and dogs and our air mattress. We will be working our tushies off over the weekend getting the painting done and maybe the carpeting cleaned by a local guy, (waiting for his quote) or else rent a machine at the hardware store and do it ourselves.  

Then we might be ready for moving in some furniture by New Years!  We will rent a moving truck to haul all the big stuff, and then call the furniture store to deliver all the stuff we bought there that they are holding for us.  

I have been shopping on a budget, mostly at consignment shops, resale shops, thrift stores and on CraigsList.  Amazing what a person can find if they take the time to look! 

Here are some of the newest things we have been gathering
 and storing over at the warehouse:

2 FRENCH DOORS FOR MY LOOM ROOM (will restain)  

(I glued new brown felt to the bottoms) 


(still new at a GREAT price - 12 place settings and serving pieces) 


(the padded lid also flips over for a tray/coffee table surface) 

We first bought the chandelier on the left (on sale) and brought it to store at the warehouse.  A few days ago, we were back at that same store and looked at the sample chandelier hanging up.   In tiny letters on the tag it says "LUCITE"  aaackkkk!  PLASTIC!   no no nooooooooo   we didn't open the box at all, so we brought it back, and for $80 more we got a REAL glass and crystal one!   (the one on the right)


Our daughter Erin had a sign just like this in her old house when she bought it.  Turns out she was planning on giving me HER sign as a housewarming present for our house here!  Oh my and here I ruined the surprise.  Oh well, I said for her to give me the other one too, and I can have one in the kitchen and one up in the bedroom we are preparing for the grandkids' sleepovers! 

It won't be long now...  Today I had to return some books to the library in Chilton, so I stopped by the house to see how it looked in SNOW!  

Awwwwwww, it looks cold and lonely and needs some LOVE! 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Old Oak Cabinets from Start to Finished!!!

Yes.. they are finished!!!

If you remember back a couple weeks ago, we found these wonderful old cabinets from the 1920's on Craigslist...

They came out of an old mansion in Fond du Lac, WI.  I was just thrilled to find such a wonderful complete set, and amazingly that space in the middle is right where we have a window on the wall of the kitchen!   We gladly handed over $850 for them, a mere fraction of what NEW cabinets would have cost us.

We hauled them home in brother-in-law Pete's trailer up the highway to our warehouse to work on them.

And I started to work on them... sanding... staining... polyurathaning....

I painted all the interior surfaces with a thick coat of "food safe" paint meant for dairy milk house rooms on farms.  It was a stinky oil-based paint, so I waited till a nice day when I could work in the open doorway.  Not too many days like that in November in Wisconsin, so I really got lucky with 2 days in a row to get this part done.  The fumes gassing off were horrible, but soon they dried to a hard shiny finish.

Soon it was time to start staining! 

 Two coats of polyurathane went on easily.. 
and the wood was just gleaming under my hands! 

I ordered new latches and drawer pulls for the cabinets. 

 I could not find the same shaped replacement hinges in black.  
Instead of buying new ones, Steve ground off the old painted hinge surface for me 
and I re-painted them with Rustoleum's Hammered Metal Paint.

Then I ordered a new copper sink and a tall gooseneck kitchen faucet to match. 

Yesterday I lined all the drawers and shelves with a granite printed contact paper.  Then I screwed on all of the latches, hinges and drawer pulls.  OH MY! It was all coming together!  Steve got here after work and helped me to lift the upper cabinets up onto the bottom base.  For now we set them on the older wooden countertop, but when we install them in the house, we will put on a newer granite patterend countertop of a dark color.

On one of the enclosed sides that will face the wall, I wrote a little message to people of the future who someday may be tearing the house down or removing these "old cabinets" to put in "new ones"  LOL

I can't stand back far enough to get a good complete shot of all the cabinets because they are situated alongside the motorhome in our warehouse for now.  Once they are installed in the new house, I can take a new shot.

You may wonder why I am so crazy gaa-gaa about these cabinets?  Well----

As I have been working on these cabinets, sanding and stripping and wiping ... then staining and wiping again... then sealing and now finally putting on the hardware... I have been thinking.

I identify a lot with these cabinets.

A long time ago, I was battered and bruised just like them.  I was told nobody wanted me and nobody would love me.  That I wasn't worth anything.

I was just like these old cabinets.

The lady selling the cabinets was told by her friends that it was just foolish for her to try to sell them.   The cabinets were junk, no good, ready for the garbage pile. Nobody would want them.

But someone did.

As soon as I saw them advertised on Craigslist, I knew they were for me.  I showed Steve and he agreed.  They needed to be saved, to be loved, to be valued and taken care of, to add new hardware.

Just like Steve...  He saw the good in me, and knew that I had value. He added "new hardware" to my ring finger and made me his wife.  The happiest day of my life.

So last night, as I was putting the final coat of polyurethane on the cabinets, I was enjoying their beauty, their strength, their awesome magnificent appearance.  I stand there between the two upright cabinets, over the place where my sink will go.  I pretend I am looking out my new kitchen window.  I dream of them all set in place in our new home---  surrounding me with the love that I put into them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sadness in our family

As we get nearer to the holidays, a heavy sadness is settling in.   My wonderful mother-in-law is slipping downward in her strong battle against cancer.  We can't do anything to stop it's progress, and we feel so helpless.  She is the most wonderful mother-in-law a girl could ever ask for.

Even in her weakened state, she was sure to get a present wrapped up for our granddaughter Allegra for her three year old birthday last weekend.  To be so worried about her little great granddaughter at a time like this is just a testimony to her caring nature and kindness.

We had a wonderful time at the party, and got in a lot of hugs and kisses with the grandtots.  I will let the photos speak for themselves:

Our home purchase is going along as planned... all is done and ready for closing.  One of the sellers is out of the country till after Christmas, so we will not be closing on the purchase until then.  In the meantime, we are trying to spend time with Steve's folks, and finishing up some more on my cabinets.  I will post more pictures in the next blog.