Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009!!

December 26, 2009

We hope everyone has a great holiday and a better 2010. 2009 has been a special year for us. It just keeps getting better.

Almost 3 months of fixing up the "fixer upper" and the major items have all been tackled. After we sold most all of our possessions in June 2008 to travel we had no furniture when we bought his house. Craigslist is our furniture store of choice, so if you come to visit don't expect matching style or color of furniture....however it will be functional and comfortable.

Here is what we have done so far:

Purchase Toyota pickup for Pat - Done (2001 Tacoma).

Scraped the popcorn off of the ceiling, then texturing and painting - Done.

Tear out the old carpet, cleaning and acid etching the concrete floor, scoring lines in the concrete with an angle grinder, then staining and sealing the floor - Done.

Paint the interior drywall after repairs and texturing the walls - Done.

Paint the interior brick - Done.

Scrape and paint the exterior (after changing colors!) - Done.

Install 3 ceiling fans after fishing electrical wires through the walls and ceiling - Done.

New roof - Done.

Termite extermination - Done.

Clean the disgusting, pack-rat infested shed! - Done.

Ten city dump runs! - Done.

DSL and DirecTV (with 52" LCD/LED TV)- Done.

Heat pump repaired - Done.

Strangler fig tree stump in atrium removed - Done (see previous posting).

Furniture for all of the rooms from Craigslist and estate sales - Done (almost).

Yard work galore - Done (almost).

Left to be done:

Repair outside deck and paint.

Build outside deck off of master bedroom.

Atrium paving, potting and central fountain.

Building kitchen counter.

Pat's garden.

Eventual flag-stoning small outdoor areas.

We didn't think we could ever have neighbors as kind and friendly as our Puyallup neighbors but our Tucson neighbors are right there. They have been very welcoming.

This is a very special home and now we can relax a bit and enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dos Meses y continuacion mucho trabajo

December 3, 2009

Bruce here: Well we have been working every day for 2 months now and the house is really coming together. It almost feels like a home.

Since the last post a month ago we have finished the interior painting and texturing, finished the floor(big job), installed 3 ceiling fans(no electrical outlets in ceiling), completely clean out the storage shed(pack rat city!), had the fig tree removed(major surgery), finally got Qwest DSL(what a nightmare!), got our 52" Sharp LED HDTV(Sweeeet!), bought a big sectional sofa, coffee table, guest bed, dining room table and chairs (Craigslist), finished the bathrooms and made numerous trips to the city dump.

Trash piled in rat doo-doo.

Shed after clean up.

Resembles the Clampetts.

We have been invited to dinner by several of our Mountain Garden Estates neighbors(Thanks Vicki, Floria and Brian, and Sue and Jerome) and all were great meals. This is a very pro-active neighborhood of about 40 individual-style homes on one acre lots and all cherish their view and natural surroundings. The neighborhood watch group meets twice a year to discuss neighborhood business and plan cleanup days and buffel grass squads.

We hired a pro-stump remover, named Zach, and we're glad we did. To our surprise there were several large rocks imbedded in the roots underneath we could not see. An anticipated 1 hour job turned in to a 3 hour job. The theme of a remodel.

Zach used his stump grinder and chainsaw as surgical tools. You can barely see the faucet in the previous photo. This is what remains of the "strangler fig tree"...had we'd left it the roots would have continued to seek out and possibly destroy the plumbing.

Our friend Tami came to stay with us for a few days while she gets ready to move back to Mexico. She prepared a Thanksgiving meal for us and we had a great time.

We've had to move the bed from room to room as we prep the floors. Our last stop prior to completion was the garage.....we slept there for a week.

I scored the floors with a small angle-grinder.

We have had a few missteps. We didn't like the master bath wall paint and changed colors. The kitchen counter grout job had to be redone. We had originally planned to use transparent stain on the floors but this concrete is just too old so we were forced to use a solid stain which is basically paint.

We still have lot to do but at least now we can relax a bit since we have the basic house necessities in place. Pat is released to play tennis twice a week now.

The deer visit on a regular basis sometimes jumping our back yard fence.

We have bought all of our furniture on Craigslist and estate sales...and sold a few things also. When we sold the Washington house we sold most of our "things" on Craigslist and now we are buying them all back. What a great idea that website is - the inventor should win the Nobel Prize. Has to kill the retail furniture stores though.

Buffel grass can be fined by the city if you have bufflegrass on your property. Its invasive noxious weed and damages the Sonoran Desert.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

28 days later....

October 29, 2009

Steadily working for the past 28 days has been gratifying. This place is starting to look more modern than we expected. However, that will be toned down by the used furniture, the home's original light fixtures and hardware.

At first we thought we'd change out the kitchen cabinetry but we've found it solid and well done that we can't bear to part with it..a little staining enhancement is all it needs. Also the appliances from the 1970s are functioning, unique, and of quality we don't want to exchange them (with the exception of deceased microwave Bruce tried to salvage). The counter and shower ceramic tile we thought we'd have to replace - no way, just over grout it and viola. A process that took much longer than we expected.

As for the windows, the home had a few windows and the patio sliders/wall-of-windows replaced with Pella brand....which are VERY nice and VERY expensive. The remaining windows are aluminum-frame double paned. It took 2 days to clean the tracks and the inner frame has the remnants of duck tape that is impossible to remove. Bruce and I have locked horns in whether to "make due" or get new windows.....a decision, we've agreed, to finalize in a year.

Our new roof, atrium removed.

The fig tree in the courtyard, we've decided, has to go. This plant will search out water and destroy the's a surprise it has not already done so.

Our most difficult task will be the concrete floors. We plan to dye the floors but there are many cracks, divots and imperfections that we will have to repair the best we can.

Meanwhile, we're so pleased with the quality, location, size and simplicity of the home even our toughest days are good and our good days even better. We are doing our best to avoid the "having stuff craze" that has dominated the American culture. So far our furniture (bed, table, couch) is all used and our dishes and cookware from Goodwill/thrift stores.

Deer and javalina are our neighbors.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Por fin, internet!

October 20, 2009

The most difficult part of moving into our newly purchased property was dealing with Qwest and getting our internet service. After 3 wks and hours on the phone with yes and no service we finally have our own connection. Hence, this latest posting.

Over the last 3 wks we've removed the green carpet, tacking strips, popcorn ceiling, fixed all leaks, had the roof replaced, killed the termites, repaired old drywall, busted out tile, and grouted any remaining tile surface. We are now beginning the build up phase, which includes re-texturing walls and painting. We're putting in 6-9 hours per day and it's amazing how some days you see progress and others, very little. All in all, it's coming together nicely.

We are doing as much of the work ourselves and obviously we left the roof replacement up to the pros.

Bruce has taken on the plumbing, appliance repair and electrical duties and I, the drywall repair, texturing and painting. We've both shared in the tearing out tasks.

Our first and easiest task was carpet removal. Not sure about the pink padding underneath. It was no thicker than 1/8th of an inch and part of it disintegrated upon human physical contact.

Our second day on our way to Loew's, the van blew off the transmission hose, spewing transmission fluid on a busy street. Luckily for us there was a transmission repair shop within walking distance. Unlucky for us, they could not sell us transmission oil since we had no container with us. We couldn't help but think, "in Mexico, they would have found something"...but, luck was with us in that the close by Cirle K sold transmission fluid. The van was spared!

The home appliances (and other hardware) were made in the day when planned obsolescence wasn't yet.....well, planned. Although, Bruce saved the 30 y/o monster 45# 1970s microwave for a couple of weeks it finally gave up the ghost and we bid it farewell at the city dump and picked up another one at Walmart.

One day, this atrium will hold a beautiful Mexican fountain...for now, our garbage.

Our south and west view is of the Tucson Mountain preserve. We receive no direct sunset or sunrise, but enjoy watching the day begin and end with the tangential sunlight in the Sonoran Desert.