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.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

October 3,2009

It was one of those times in life when it all feels so right the moment you walk in. The home we purchased was an estate sale. It was built in 1978 by a Catholic priest and was the first home in a small subdivsion on the flanks of the Tucson Mountains near Gates Pass in west Tucson.

Father Grenwald built the home to take advantage of the natural surroundings and views of the Oro Valley, Catalina Mtns and city. According to Bruce, the lot is worth more than the home; just what we were looking for! To me, the charm of the home is priceless. It's 1676 sq.ft., a 3 bd, 2 bth, 2 car garage, small kitchen and great room..that's it....well, one added feature is it's central atrium/courtyard. The great room faces the best views with large glass doors and all rooms have a view. This home was built to let the outside in and to live inside and outside.....kinda like the homes in Mexico.

It had been on the market for over a year, 63 ppl looked at the home, a few offers came in but the sellers wouldn't accept. Turns out we made the same offer 2 mos later and they accepted....right time, right place, right ppl. This home is a fixer-upper and fortunately we have the time, energy and desire to bring it back to life and augment its full character.

Our first task is to make it livable as it's been vacant for a year and neglected for several. We have to clean it thoroughly, tear out the AstroTurf-looking carpet and get some furniture. We sold all our stuff on Craigslist and now we're buying it back. We should be spending the night in our new home by Monday.