Where I Write

Jennifer Fulwiler from Conversion Diary is having a link-up of a tour of where people write.

Most of the time I write at my desk, which is in the bonus room over the garage. It’s reached through the master bedroom, and the previous owner used it as a dressing room. It’s an amazing amount of space that I couldn’t use just for clothes, so of course I took it over for my hideaway. My husband has a dedicated office (he works from home full-time), and a man cave in the basement, so don’t worry that I am making him suffer by using this space for myself.

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I wish I could say I have a really exciting desk, but I don’t. It’s a assemble-it-yourself job we bought years ago. It used to have a top, but that’s been left off now so that I have room for both computers. Yes, I have a Mac and a PC laptop. I usually use the laptop for blogging (and that’s what I’m writing on right now). I use the Mac for not a whole lot right now. It does have all my pictures on it, and all of my music.

The mountain of papers to the left of the laptop is mostly tax-related. Once I finish doing our taxes I’ll file them away, but for now it keeps me working on them.

Flanking my desk I have two bookcases. They don’t match, and it kind of drives me crazy. I’m not sure why, because it’s not like anything else in the room matches.

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I have one mug with pens and pencils. And a nail file. I’m not entirely sure why I have this mug – it was my mom’s but obviously it made the move up to Indiana with me. I keep my paper planner next on my desk, and it also has whatever random stuff my son has brought me. Today it’s kiddie nail clippers and a rubber band.

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Underneath my desk is a box for recycling. Doesn’t everyone keep their paper recycling in a diaper box?

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My chair is a disaster. Ripped and falling apart, it even has a bit of a list to it. Replacing it is definitely on my list of things to buy, but somehow it’s never a high enough priority to actually do it. One of these days I’m going to be annoyed enough by tilting to the right every time I sit down that I’ll end up insisting that I need a new chair IMMEDIATELY. And my husband will laugh because he’s been telling me to get a new one for years.

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The best part of the room is the two skylights. I positioned the desk right in between them, because at certain times of day the sun that comes in is fierce, and I wanted to be out of the direct path. This is my current view when I look out the skylights (it’s basically the same from each one, lots of sky and a few branches.)

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Behind my desk are two closets. The first one holds all my hanging clothes and shoes. The second has lots of shelves and it has folded clothes, more books, office supplies, knitting supplies, makeup, snacks I hide from my son, and various other random stuff that doesn’t have any other home.

I’m not taking a picture of that because I do have some pride and it is not remotely attractive.

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In between those closet doors (so directly behind my desk) is my lingerie dresser. Doesn’t that sound fancy? It holds all my socks and undies.

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At the end of the room is a big chair that I use to nurse the baby, and occasionally I even get to read in it. Yes, that’s a file cabinet next to it. There wasn’t any other good spot in the room for it thanks to the wall heater and wall vents. It does serve as a nice spot for a drink though.

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Someday I’d like to replace the overhead light with something pretty. Because this is not pretty:

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My biggest complaint What I like the least about the space is that it is cold in the winter and it was stuffy in the summer. And I wish it had a window that opened so I could get some fresh air in the room. Other than that, I am thrilled to have it and love when I can spend some time in it alone. With two small children that doesn’t happen all too often, but it’s extra sweet when it does.

Thanks Jennifer for asking to see our writing spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s!

House Progress

Since I last updated:

  • Mr. SJ has painted his office, and it looks FANTASTIC. The paint color, not the office. It’s still a mess with lots of unpacked boxes and computer parts.
  • We have also decided that we’re going to use that same paint color (Sherwin Williams Rock Candy) in the downstairs bathroom, to change it from the dark cave that it is currently.
  • I’ve started using my pot rack as a pot rack, but haven’t decided if I like it or not. It is handy having them right there, but it’s also more visual clutter in a house that doesn’t need any help looking cluttered.
  • We also moved the keyboard into the basement, which helped open up the dining room quite a bit.
  • Mr. SJ has gotten his new TV hooked up in the basement and added a furnace vent into the room to help get the temperature down there a bit warmer.
  • He’s also practiced his electrician skills and fixed the messed up wiring in the basement. I am so impressed with him – between helpful internet articles and pictures, and talking to his brother the general contractor, he diagnosed the problems, and fixed them. That just saved us some money now that we don’t have to hire an electrician to do all that! He’s thinking he might even tackle adding the ceiling outlets so we can add overhead lights to the kids’ rooms. His brother has him convinced that it’s not that hard, assuming he can get to the correct spot in the attic.
  • He also hung up my ironing board in the laundry room, and I added some DIY art to the wall. I need to finish it off a little more neatly, but I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to do the finishing touches yet. I’m still debating with myself over it.
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  • And he finally added brackets to the shelves I put up in my closet, so I can clean up the disaster that is the bonus room.
  • I unpacked all the boxes that had been put into storage, so I found lots of picture and other personal items. I’ve started filling in the living room shelves.
  • The guest room is put back into order, more or less. I need to change the sheets on the bed to a set that doesn’t clash with the comforter and decorative pillows, but I’m too lazy to want to do that just for looks. After our next overnight guest leaves, I’ll remake the bed with the correct sheets and add the bedskirt. The sheet set that’s currently on the bed will go back into the linen closet to be used when we have lots of houseguests and we use air mattresses. I do still need to figure out what to do about the curtains in that room, because of the extra-high windows.

I think we’ve done pretty well for what we’ve managed to accomplish this month! Has anyone else been working on their homes, painting or organizing or decorating?

The House Has Sold!

It was official last week, but it’s really sinking in now. We are back to a one-house family and that is wonderful.

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(Bye house! I loved you but I’m very happy you’re someone else’s responsibility now!)

We have an emergency fund again. And our cash flow has improved dramatically. :)

Our sinking funds are refunded too, enough so that Mr. SJ bought the TV he’s been wanting for his new man cave. We’re prioritizing the other things we want to do around the house as well, so we can start saving for them (like replacing the kitchen counters).

I thought it might be bittersweet, saying goodbye to our first house, but I think because it took so long there were no mixed emotions.

What do I want to get first for the new house? I have no idea! It should be curtains, but buying curtains stresses me out. I struggle to decide which ones will look the best. Yes, I am decorating-challenged.

House Progress!

Over the weekend Mr. SJ moved almost everything we had staging the old house, in anticipation on closing on the house next week. There are still two small bookcases and a plastic cart that was tucked into a closet, as well as all of the decor items (pictures on walls, mirrors, etc.)

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(We still need to get those bookcases that are shown flanking the fireplace at the old house.)

But if it can fit into my car and be carried by me alone, it’s no big deal. And once the bookcases are out, it can all fit into my car and be carried by me.

When I say that he moved almost everything, I do mean that. I was sick and wasn’t able to help much. He did get a friend who helped with a few trips, but the bulk of it he did himself. He worked super hard all weekend!

We also picked a paint color for his office and he put up a few test spots. Hopefully we’ll get that painted this weekend!

It feels *so* good to make progress on the house. I’ve still got lots to do, but we feel like we can really start moving forward on things here.

2012 House Goals

I’ve listed some personal goals for January, but I also have some house goals that I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. I’d love to get more done, but I’m trying to be realistic about what I can manage with two small children and no childcare. :)

  1. Unpack everything. Once we get all our our furniture back we should finally, finally be able to finish unpacking.

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    (A portion of the boxes still left to unpack.)

  2. Shelving in the basement. I’d like to get two or three shelving units so we can get the basement storage area organized. I’ve got baby gear, clothes, extra kitchen supplies (baking dishes and things that get used infrequently), and small appliances (waffle maker, coffee pot, griddle) that also get used infrequently all scattered around, stacked and jumbled.
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  3. Curtains. Our downstairs needs curtains. We have no window treatments at all on the family room, breakfast area, or kitchen window. We have unmatching, not really fitting curtains in the dining room & playroom. I’d like to get all these rooms windows covered better.

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    (These curtains are not very attractive, and not the best for privacy)

  4. Paint the playroom, kitchen, office, and downstairs bath. Honestly I’d like to get the entire house painted, but that goes under the “be realistic” part.

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    (The paint color is very misleading in this picture; in real life it’s much much darker than it seems here)

  5. New counters in the kitchen. This one may not happen once we get an estimate on what it will cost, but it’s definitely a high priority. The current counters are original to the house, and they are stained and chipped and really really ugly. The sink is also a mess and the faucet is awful, so if the money works out we’d like to replace it all.

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  6. Plant some trees in the backyard, behind the fence (it’s still our property for several feet beyond the fence). I’d like to get a row of trees along the back & side fence for more privacy, so some sort of evergreen would be ideal. This also might not happen, because I have no idea what trees cost and the work that goes into planting them. Maybe we can just get a start on it?

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House Thoughts

I’ve mentioned before that we are trying to sell our old house. We’ve been carrying two mortgages for a few months now, and we’re making it (thanks to underbuying on both houses according to what we’re supposedly able to afford), but it’s definitely tight so we’re looking forward to selling and freeing up monthly bills and reestablishing our savings from the equity we have in that house.

But so far we’re having no luck getting a buyer. We’ve had lots of people look at it, and we’ve been one of the finalists for a few people (at least that’s what the realtors have claimed, and why would they bother making that up?) We’ve lost out to a house with a bigger living room, and one with a bigger back yard, and one with more overall space.

Even ones that didn’t claim we were finalists for them have given great feedback on the house, its location, and its condition.

Last week however, we got very negative feedback from the showing, and I’d laugh about it if I weren’t so overall discouraged about not selling. They said that the curb appeal was terrible (it’s not super fantastic or anything, but it’s good, and that’s what every other showing has given as feedback – that curb appeal is good.)

They didn’t like the neighborhood (I think the location is awesome, just a block from a terrific park and yet on a cul-de-sac so not a lot of traffic, and convenient to shopping and the center of town). Specifically, they didn’t like the nearby apartments.

Honestly it never once occurred to me that someone would object to the apartments that are next to the neighborhood. They are not visible from our house, although you do drive past them depending on what road you use to get to the house. They’re nice apartments, so it’s not like a dumpy area or anything. I really kind of wish I could ask them what they’re talking about because really? Are apartments viewable from one of the nearby roads that objectionable? Good luck finding a house in this town then, because most of the neighborhoods in a similar price range also have apartments a similar distance away (as in, not all that close).

The final kicker for me to think that maybe these people were somewhat crazy was their complaint that the interior needs a lot of work. I’m just … baffled by that because I truly do not think that it does. The downstairs has all new floors & fresh paint & refinished kitchen cabinets & new countertops. All the bathrooms were totally redone in 2008, so they’re not brand new but they are very, very nice.

Pictures of our downstairs, as I try to look at it objectively to see if I’m being a delusional homeowner:

House Dreams

We moved into our new house in early June. Eleven days later I had a baby. There are still boxes everywhere, waiting for me to unpack them. There are windows begging for curtains. I am using a file cabinet as a desk.

I’ve got a list going with all of the ideas I have for the house, and dreams of tackling items on the list. We don’t plan on moving from here, so I can dream big and think about what we might do over the years.

This week though? I just want to pull out the ladder and replace the burned out light bulbs in my closet. Two left out of four means it’s very dim, and even in my sleep-deprived baby fog, I think I can handle light bulbs.

And for the rest of it, I’ll add to my list and pin ideas at Pinterest.