During our first week of home ownership, I pulled apart and cleaned and lemon oiled all of our kitchen cabinets (except for 4 that I can’t get to right now, more on that momentarily); dusted/polished the wood paneling in the living room, dining room, entry ways, and stairwell; and super-cleaned the freezer in the basement. All of this stuff clearly hadn’t been done for a LONG time, though there were 1.25 bottles of Old English lemon oil, some weird ocean-scented Pine Sol (which I replaced with lemon), Pledge, and various other cleaners in the cabinet under the sink. Several of the walls were VERY thirsty and probably want another dose of Pledge–though I used a whole can. The freezer works, happily! I haven’t bothered with the refrigerator, because it’s very scary; we’ll replace it with a new one before we move in.

Dale’s been focusing on the basement, sweeping and washing walls and cleaning up the thick layer of dust(!) that’s built up. He’s found several neat things, both down there and beneath the kitchen sink. We’ll do a post just about cool stuff we’ve found, with photos, in the future.

He has also used “implements of destruction,” as we like to call our garden tools, taking down a sumac, a baby cottonwood tree, and a bunch of dead branches in the Drunk Bird Tree (a mountain ash, in our front yard, which is starting to grow this year’s batch of drunk bird food). That poor tree had a lot of dead wood weighing it down; we’re hoping that, having been pruned, it will come back happier and healthier next year. We’re disassembling the branches, for use in our fire pit–one big branch has been dead for long enough that we don’t even have to wait to burn it! (So there will be fire pit happening at our housewarming party. ;)) The others will have to wait a year or two for burning. I’m sorry I didn’t get photos of Dale up in the tree–I was busy spotting him, handing up tools, and tearing apart fallen branches.

I also trimmed back the rose bushes that made passage between the front and back yards unpleasant. I was probably a little conservative with my pruning, not taking anything that wasn’t 1) directly in the path or 2) dead, despite the bulk of the bushes being held up by old pieces of string. Once I harvest rose hips, I’ll do a more thorough trimming of all of the rose bushes on the property. There are MANY. Also, many lilacs. I like both and plan to keep them; they just don’t need to be quite as gargantuan.

OH! And we put in a mailbox!

We also bought a totally sweet two-seater table, for our kitchen, from Craigslist. It’s made of wood, has two wood chairs with it, requires no glue and no immediate refinishing, and only cost us $30. We got it yesterday, and it even fit in our car. Total win. Also a win: having a place to sit when we’re at the new place! We’ve been sitting on the carpet or the stairs outside to eat, all week. We are both delighted with our table.

To back up a bit: when I came in on Friday–having taken the day off to do some house-related errands and more cabinet oiling–I found that our carpets had been removed and were sitting in the dining room. Blocking the last four cabinets, actually. I’m hoping they’re gone now, but who knows? Good news: we have some pretty great wood floors in the two upstairs bedrooms. Not-so-good news: we have two different kinds of tile in the living room and reading nook (which are really the same room, separated by a big sort of arch/doorway thing). And boy do they not match. Have a look! We were going to stay in the house Saturday night, but there are staples sticking out of the floors, which is probably not so good for the air mattress. Plus, it smells kind of rubbery, from the carpet being ripped up. So maybe next Saturday.

Overall, I’m beginning to see that maybe this 203(k) thing is not for everyone, after all. Aside from the stress of the extra paperwork and “all the work has to be done in 6 months” deadline, it’s sort of weird, when people ask “So are you moving in now?” to say “No, we’re getting a bunch of work done by a contractor.” It’s super hard for me, an impatient monkey, not to be able to start nesting right away. I have wanted to own a house forever, and I am so excited, but it’s like it’s not even really ours yet. I mean, I’ve always had my new kitchen up and running within a week of starting a new lease, in the past (no matter how long it took me to do the rest of my unpacking), and all I’ve got in the new kitchen right now is beverages, plastic cups, and paper plates. And my kickass table. (First world problem, right? I’m impatient, but not totally lacking in perspective.) I want to start getting stuff out of our old place and into the new, in part because our landlords would love to start showing the old apartment, but there aren’t any rooms that aren’t going to be torn apart, painted, or in some other way messed with. Well, there was the dining room, but now we’re going to see if there’s money available to redo the flooring in there. Once the pile of carpets is gone, I mean. Even the main room of the basement: I really want to paint the walls a nice almost-white, to make the place more friendly for brewing parties. (I use the term “parties” loosely, but it’s FUN to have friends come over when you brew. It’s probably MORE fun if they don’t find the environment oppressive, though.) So I’d rather not fill it up with stuff, thereby making the walls harder to get to.

But, bummer of not moving in yet aside, things are coming together well. We’re getting good ideas about what we want to do with the house and yard. We’re doing maintenance that the house has been needing for a while. We’re really getting to know the house well. All great things. And while we can’t, you know, live there yet, we are still pretty freaking excited about the place!