I was woken up by my phone at 5am this morning. School would start two hours late due to the snow. Awesome. This was fantastic news given how late everyone got to bed last night and we could all use the extra snooze, especially Isla who takes after me with her need for sleep. Alarms were turned off and I went back to bed. An hour later another call – school is cancelled, it’s a snow day. Tennessee is funny with the weather. It doesn’t snow a ton here but it’s the perfect amount in my opion. Just enough that you get to experience a gorgeous white world every now and then, not so much that you have to shovel your driveway. But any snow at all and the world kind of just stops here. Everyone seems to stay home and avoid driving, and schools close. The snow seemed to bring a miracle along with it and all the girls slept til 8am. This does not happen in our house EVER so this is a pretty big deal. We were all (except for Ronny who was actually working) still passed out when Hector walked through our front door and said good morning. I’ll get to Hector in a minute.
So back to why we were so exhausted. I haven’t ventured further than the neighboring county in all of 2020. No, I’m not a gold medalist in lockdown living, I’m just..pathetic. It’s partly that we’ve been busy with the house and partly that Im demotivated by excursions now since I miss the old days…you know when people smiled at you and you could see their smiles and places could serve you food that they might have even sneezed in a little, who knows. But it’s mostly because we still have PTSD- road trip PTSD from driving out here from CA. This past weekend we decided it was time for something huge: traveling to IKEA. Our house is still largely unfurnished and there’s some basic stuff we need that won’t break the bank- important since our kids are gonna ruin it anyways. Planned departure time was 7am. Just like my dad in my own youth, I was frustrated, honking and yelling by 7:30 about how much time we had already lost. No one cared. No one. I kid you not, we were 3 miles from the house with breakfast snacks distributed and they started asking how much longer it would be. Well not Saylor, rather, her screaming kicked in which is pretty much her way of asking that same question. The nearest IKEA to us is just outside of Memphis, 3 hours away. Good times. I like TN, a lot, but I don’t ever need to do that drive again.
IKEA, like most things this past year, lost some vital aspects of what makes it a pleasant experience. First off, the childcare is closed. Enough said. Second, for some reason, the cinnamon rolls are gone. You can still get Swedish meatballs and lingonberry everything, but the cinnamon rolls are nowhere to be found. Third, a lot is out of stock and apparently now gets shipped via tugboat from Sweden cause it takes like 6 months to get to you. None of that mattered to the girls however, who had a complete hay day. About an hour in we gave up to be honest. Our 18 month old opened just about every cabinet there was. At one point she was doing 360s with a shopping cart and I’m not gonna lie, I was texting. Finally, while Ronny needed to speak with an employee about some specifics, I plopped down into the kappalogan loveseat and watched the girls transfer an entire set of dining ware from the kitchen display cabinets to the table. Listen IKEA, If you make mini kitchens where everything fits into 100 square feet and is nothing short of adorable, and then you close the childcare, it’s your fault my kids played tea party not mine. So one full day and 6 total hours in the car later, and I think we are good on the road trip thing for 2021.
Ok back to Hector. Hector makes the list of the best things to happen to us in 2020. Granted, there wasn’t a lot of competition for that list…but still, he’s up there. Pre-Hector, the plan was for Ronny to do all of the trim work and shiplap ceilings on the weekends. While we aren’t replacing all of the trim, we are replacing most. The majority had to be sacrificed since we are moving so many doors and walls, and all of the floor trim pretty much had to go since we are redoing the floors. We are replacing the floor trim with wider 5” trim.
Some of the trim is good to leave like the windows which we are just patching and painting. So before you think I’m bashing my husband here, I will stress that he is truly gifted at learning new things when he wants to and he’s pretty talented with wood as well. His estimates of how long a given project will take however, that doesn’t score as high. Also just to clarify, trim is NOT easy. I have more respect for skills such as tile, drywall, and now trim, every time we do another project. Our house is old and the angles are not perfect 90’s. We have changed some walls meaning some things are straighter than others now. All of this makes trim work even trickier. Ronny spent a few weekends starting the trim in the girls’ rooms. I’m just going to leave it at…things weren’t going great. I became concerned that I would be completely gray before the upstairs was ever trimmed out and Ronny was getting frustrated at those inevitable old home angles I referred to.
We have always believed strongly in the value of referrals and we were recommended Hector for trim. I was dragging my feet for two reasons: 1. if I feel like we can do something ourselves, I feel like we should, and 2. we have not had good luck with detail work we have hired out so far. Till now. Hector did all of the upstairs trim – floors and doors – in a day and half. And that included hanging several doors. That’s fast if you lack context.
I deeply admire skill and perhaps even more deeply admire hustle, and Hector has both. Ronny and I looked at each other after day 1 and it was very clear: Ronny was fired and Hector was hired. And no hard feelings from anyone. We realized (albeit a little late) that Ronny’s time is definitely better utilized working his regular job than cutting wood trim.
More on the details of this project coming as it is still in progress, but next Hector tackled the buildout of the girl’s reading nook. We took most of the space from two oddly placed dark hall closets to build this.
We have had the basic opening in their room for a while but just recently had the base built with storage underneath, shelves for books on the right, and trim added. I’ll share the plans for this later when it’s finished. The girls are already fans of the space as you can see!
The next thing we have tackled is our eyesore ceilings. Textured ceilings are just a tad dated, but besides that obvious fact, ours are super dirty and stained. So our possibilities are leave, scrape off, swap for new drywall, or shiplap over them. We debated scraping them before we moved in but this is not cheap either not to mention incredibly messy. New drywall wasn’t enough of a monetary save for me to want to skip the shiplap which adds a great element in my opinion. We aren’t sure yet if we will do all of the ceilings this way, but we are definitely loving it so far. Ceilings are my favorite place to use shiplap. I think it’s a bit more timeless than walls. While this is definitely something you can DIY with a little research, we are using Hector here as well and I am glad we are. Not only will our ceilings be finished before 2050, but cutting around the recessed lighting and fixtures is not easy. Definitely something a decent woodworker can figure out, but it’s a skill to get this right and not waste a ton of boards. We still have plenty of work ahead of us ourselves as we need to wood fill the nail holes and paint it. We are using 5.25”, Arauco pine shiplap boards from Home Depot.
Here is a section of our master room with the textured ceiling looking into our master bathroom which is now shiplapped. Yep we have brown walls in there too but the square footage of this color is shrinking every month as we get closer and closer to that bottle of champagne (getting popped when the last brown wall is eradicated).