Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Since moving-in to our condo, my wife and I have been so busy that we really haven't had a chance to enjoy a full day there...so on Sunday we decided to sleep-in. Ah it was nice, nothing beats waking up late and knowing you have nothing to do but lounge all day. The best part about it was that we had an extra hour due to daylight savings, so we ended up waking up around 1pm. Gosh, I haven't done that in a while.

After getting up we just kicked it in the living room watching our new flat LCD TV. After getting the TV earlier in the week, it was amazing how it quickly defined the space. It was like the Matrix, I saw exactly where everything should go. So I placed the couches back into a sectional arrangement, found the peferct wall for the TV and bam we had a living room. I tell you, theres nothing better than lounging on a super comfortable couch and watching TV on a new hip LCD flat panel. Although, I really need to get an HDTV cable box to take my picture quality to another level.

Man, I hope I can do this every weekend.

Monday, October 30, 2006

$75 Lesson

Part of living in a second floor unit means that if you lock yourself out, you're probably not going to be able to enter through the window. Well, as I learned yesterday it will cost you $75 to get a locksmith to open your door.

I'm notorious for forgeting my keys, and usually (for some reason) when my wife goes out with me she relies on me to carry the keys. So when we went out for the night, as I closed the door, my wife asks me if I had the keys. I touched my pant pocket and realized I didn't. At first my wife thought I was kidding, but then saw the look on my face an knew I had done it again...left my keys inside.

Great, what to do? So I thought that maybe the security at our complex would probably have a number for local locksmith. So we went to the security booth and the guaurd lent me his phone book. I managed to track a locksmith that provided 24 hour service. When I spoke to the guy he said he would be over in 20 minutes, he also informed me that it would be $75 and he only took cash. Err, only had $60 bucks on me. So my wife left me at the security booth and went to a nearby ATM to get some cash. So as I waited for the locksmith to arrive, I sat on a bench close by. Who knows how miserable I must have looked, because when my wife returned I could hear her laughing at me in her car from like 40 yards away. I said to her, "Why is it that lately every mistake I make costs me money?" She turns to me and laughing says, "You're a homeowner now, remember." I didn't laugh.

About 10 minutes later the locksmith arrived. The guy arrived in shorts and loafers without socks. It seemed like he just grabed some shoes and came over. It later made more sense when he told me he had been barbcueing in his backyard. He had a hard time opening the door, and after trying to pick the lock with no results, he went to get his drill. I thought, oh great...I just changed the locks too. But fortunatley he tried something else and the door soon opened.
Forking out the $75 bucks hurt, but to add insult to injury the locksmith told me it was his birthday and that he left his party just to come and open my door. I totally felt like an idiot.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Breaking the Seal

Yes its official, I broke the seal on our new condo by putting my first dent into the new laminate flooring. Ahh, freaken aye.

The last few days have been filled with ups and downs for me, probably the biggest downer was making the dent on the kitchen flooring. Stupid me, decided to change the direction the refrigerator doors open. It had been bugging me that the fridge doors opend toward the kitchen and not away from it. Since I didn't have a manual, I thought I would wing it. I took out my power screw driver and began taking the doors off. So in the process, both doors came off at the same time and I fumbled around to keep them from dropping. I managed to stop the bottom door with my shoeless foot, which hurt like a mofo, but as I reached for the freezer drawer it slipped and hit the laminate floor with a big thud. Ohh, the pain! I don't know what was more painful, the fridge door smashing against my foot or the freezer door making a dent in the new floor. Nevertheless, I took it like a man and I didn't cry...even though I wanted to.

So I began to change the hinges and handles on the fridge doors and came across a small obstacle. How do you take the handles off? The screws on top were easy, but how do the ones directly on the door come off. I first tried to pull them off like many of the screw plugs on the fridge, no go. Then I tried to spin it around and unscrew it, negative. Dang, how do these things come off. So after 10 minutes of trying to take them off I yanked one off and snap it broke. Errr, this whole experience is not going to well, but I quickly noticed that there was a cover that slid off and covered the main screw. Ok, my wife is gonna kill me when she sees the broken handle. So I composed myself and began putting everything back together. I soon figured out the correct method of putting and taking the doors off. To put-on, work from bottom to top...and to take-off work from top to bottom. Lesson learned too late, but at least the doors now open away from the kitchen for much easier access.

After that little debacle, I felt like crap. So I used my wife's shoping therapy to make me feel better. When my wife came home she wasn't too upset, so we headed to Sears and bought a new 26" flat panel lcd tv. I had been researching this for a while and I found this great Sylvanian tv on the Circuit City site. Its amazing how much cheaper these televisions are these days. However I was still weary of the plethora of inexpensive no-name brands that are out there. So I read through all the online reviews for this model on the CC site and I was convinced that I wasn't going to throw my money away. So we ended up buying at Sears because they have a price match guarantee and they'll even take 10% off from the price difference. Ooh exciting...we got a new toy, which helped take away some the sting from the floor incident.

Yesterday, we had the contractors come in and finish the molding in our kitchen and bathroom. They came in and put the caulking, filled in the nail holes and painted them white...it looks very nice. Our stove was also recently delivered, so the kitchen's makeover is almost complete. All we are waiting for now, is the dishwasher and the range hood. Wow, this kitchen looks totally differnt now. I will post pictures when its complete.

Finally, another downer. The day the stove was delivered I came home from work early to wait for the delivery guys (whom I almost missed). I walked into the kitchen and noticed a small syrupy brown puddle under the sink. I immediatly thought my wife might have dropped some soda on the floor by accident, so I cleaned it up. I went to the bathroom for a second and when I returned to the kitchen the puddle was there again. Thats weird, something is not right. As I openned the door underneath the sink it smelled wierd and noticed an even bigger puddle. Oh great, were the new pipes defective? I began clearing all the stuff under the sink, and the boxes that were in the empty dishwasher slot. It was very moist and some mold had formed. I quickly began wiping everything down and put a fan to begin drying everything, but for some reason I couldn't find where the water was coming from. I finally stuck my hand behind the pipes and felt a tiny mist, it was a leak and it was coming from the pipe that connects to the dishwasher. When the plumbers repaired the sink a few weeks back they broke the old copper pipe that connected to dishwasher. Since we didn't have a new dishwasher yet, as a temporary fix they soldered the pipe to seal it. But I guess they missed a spot, which means that the mist had been running for 3 weeks. The sucky thing is that if the cabinets weren't already so water damaged I probably would have caught it sooner. I'm hoping we can put in new cabinets next summer. In the mean while I have a bucket to retain the water, just until we get our dishwasher installed on Saturday.

Ah, the joy of homeownership.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Laundry Room Blues

So tonight I decided to do laundry, this would be my first time since moving into the condo....ooh exciting. Our complex has a pretty nice laundry facility with plenty of modern washers and dryers. The best part is that its only 75 cents per load, what a bargain.

So as I gathered my dirty clothes, I quickly noticed that I was out of chonies (thats underwear for the non-Spanish speakers) and socks. Cool, caught it just in time. So it was just past 10PM and I headed down the courtyard to the laundry room. Since it’s about 100 yards away I decided to listen to music on my walk, so I was pumping some old Jamiroquai on my Ipod. Completely oblivious to everything I put in my clothes in the machine. My wife asked me to add some of her clothes, so it came out to two loads. On my way back I switched it to my new Amigos Invisibles CD I just got.....jamming to the Venezuelan Ultrapop.

When I get to the condo, my wife was watching Boston Legal in our bedroom. She started telling me she wanted to have a baby....aah ah baby? Whoa, easy there. Since my sister got engaged last week, my wife has this interesting theory that we will/should have a baby before the wedding. Change the channel, ah look NipTuck is on, and the dwarf manny is kissing the wife of the surgeon....gees what a weird show, but I love it. Oh yeah, I think my clothes are done washing.

So my wife and I head to the laundry room we get there and I realize I forgot the keys. Ok, back to condo got my keys and back to the laundry room. Hmm, something’s weird the door doesn't open and the lights are off. My wife says we should check the other side, so we do. Chingators! On the other side there's a huge sign "Laundry Room Hours 6AM - 11PM." Dang it! Ahhhhh, all my chonies are in there. So my wife asks me who is going to wake up at 6 tomorrow to get them, errr...no comment, but I know it will be me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sure Feels Good to Be Home

It's Monday the 23rd and its back to the grind, back to work and the city living. My wife and I arrived last night from our Hawaii trip and boy, it sure is good to be home. Not to say I didn't enjoy relaxing on a beach doing nothing...but there’s only so much relaxation one can take.

After being away for a week,
walking into our condo was a bit strange. The experience was reminiscent of when my wife and I returned from our honeymoon (in Maui) 3 years ago, and walked into our new apartment that we hadn't lived-in before. It was weird, thinking about it gave me goose bumps....its quite amazing how much we have accomplished in such a short time.

After dropping off our bags in the condo, my wife and I headed to get the mail. That was something that had me a bit concerned, especially since I'm convinced that the post office has screwed up my mail forwarding. Err, we had a lot junk in the mail box....but barely any forwards. Dang it, I hate dealing with the post office. I think I'll have to call 1-800-Ask-USPS, I've heard they can fix any mail problem.

Anyways, my wife pointed out something about me that tripped me out. She told me that she notices that I walk a little taller around the courtyards in our complex. When she told me that, I was like "Thats funny, but I guess," but in my head I thought "Hell, yeah! I'm a homeowner sucka!" (Baby, if you're reading this....I wasn't calling you sucka...it just a figure of speech.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Miss My Condo Already

After spending all of September getting through escrow insanity for our condo, we knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel. What kept my wife and I going was knowing we were going to spend a week in relaxing Hawaii. Well, we made it...but it really hasn't been that relaxing.

As we were in the air, our pilot informed us that a 6.6 earthquake had hit the Big Island and that it had impacted all the other islands. Being from California we're use to earthquakes, but come on not on our vacation. We landed in Honolulu around 11:30AM local time, and we were told that there was no power on the island, which meant nothing was working. We were manually exited off the plane and in the dark awaited for the airline to bring out our luggage. Man, it was so chaotic trying to find our bags.

After we got our bags we headed to Alamo to pick-up our rental. Luckily it wasn't crowded and despite not having power, the staff was pretty efficient. Cool, we got an Impala. We drove east on Nimitz Hwy to Waikiki. We arrived in about 10 minutes. Since the stop lights were down, everyone was driving extra slow. Upon arriving at our hotel, it was pitch dark and we were told our room wasn't ready. Err, not cool. The lady at the front desk was very nice and gave my wife and I a voucher for free lunch. This worked out, because we were starving. So after checking our bags with the bell desk, we were off to eat. Since there were only a handful of places open, everywhere you went (including the bathroom) there was a long line. Getting our free meal wasn't too bad, but when we wandered to the streets later to pick-up some supplies....we ended up waiting in line for about an hour and a half. It also didn't help that it started pouring rain while we were in line. Errr, not the relaxing time I was expecting.

Man, I miss my condo already.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Sectional Puzzle

All our furniture from Levitz has been delivered and its time to arrange it. We purchased a very versitle sectional that can be arranged in like 10 different configurations. Although, after 2 hours of trying to figure which one would work best for our living room, I'm not sure this was the best furniture for our place.

Dang it, what end goes where? Its so confusing and it doesn't help that they don't give you instructions on how the different ways to set up this sectional. One of the challenges with our living room is that it doesn't have a logical direction. So where does the TV go? I'm convinced that this will be my excuse to get a flat panel TV, which can be placed on the wall.

Anyways we decided not to set the furniture in a sectional style, but to place them as two separate pieces facing each other...hmm that works. Errr, but my wife is not too happy with the way it looks. I'm sure the more we see it, the more we'll get acustom to that setup. However, I do love the couch colors, they totally fit perfectly with the paint we chose.

Well, my wife and I will be taking a break from all this condo stuff, at least for a week. Before we decided to buy the condo, we had planned a trip to Hawaii for next week.....and I must say it couldn't have come at a better time. I figure with all the new expenses, who knows how much travelling we'll get to do.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Price of Fixer-uppers....a bottomless pit.

This morning I sat in my living room for like 10 minutes admiring all the amazing upgrades we've made in just one week. But it’s more amazing how the costs add up so quickly. We were fortunate to get a credit of $1500 from the seller, which now seems like it was not enough. I mean, around every corner of this place there is a new repair that is followed by an expense.

Just last week when were laying the flooring for the kitchen, our plumber which happened to be there, glanced over at the plumbing under the sink. He quickly asked me if an inspector had taken a look at it, because it was all corroded. What the previous owner did was cover the corrosion with tape to hide the damage. Thank goodness our plumber caught that, because I would've had a heart attack if the kitchen flooded after laying down new laminate flooring. Nevertheless, that was an added expense not in the budget.

To date we have put in about $2800 in upgrades to the condo that includes our credit. For the most part, I have been happy paying the guys who have worked on the place. Most of the work has been done by Latino immigrants (Salvadoreans to be exact), which gives me great pride because I too am Salvadorean. All our contractors did a great job and for very reasonable pay. There was time when I felt guilty, because I thought I wasn't paying the guys enough. Which leads me to wonder about all the anti-immigrant sentiment going around the country, these folks just wanted to work and for many they were moonlighting from their day jobs.

Anyways enough politics, we actually had our first guests last night. My 2 sister and laws and one of their boyfriend came over. They were very impressed with what we had done with the condo. The boyfriend described it as straight out of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," which made me feel good because I did read one of their books on home design before we began planning the renovations.

Today we get the rest of our furniture delivered from Levitz, my wife stayed home to wait for them this time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Waiting for the Furniture

Worked from home this morning and waited for Levitz to deliver our furniture. They had told me they would arrive between 10am and 1pm. I hate waiting for deliveries with long time ranges. I always think that I'm going to step out for minute, then they show up and we miss each other.

Anyways, the Levitz guys arrived around 11am and delivered part of our new couch set and our new dinning set. When they opened the table, it was all messed up from one of the corners. The delivery guy was furious, because that meant having to lugg that heavy thing downstairs and back to the truck. I don't know why they didn't have a dolly, it would have probably been less work.

The couch was a pain to get through the front door, after a half hour of attempts they finally made it fit by taking the feet off the couch. Once set up the sofa's brown color really went well with the brownish color we picked for the living room. Dang, this place is starting to look good.

Anyways, we should be getting the rest of the living room set and the new dinning room table on Friday.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Home Sweet Home

We did it, we finally did it. My wife and I bought our first home, a 2 bed 1 bath upstairs condo. Our new place is cute in a nice family-friendly complex. Its also a bit dated and needs a little love, but regardless it will be a work in progress.

Last week was crazy, we got our keys on Tuesday, began renovating on Thursday and moved in on Sunday.

But dang, I'm beat from this weekend. In less than a week we coordinated the all the contractors (paint, flooring, plumbing & electrical), hired the movers, packed everything and moved in. The last few days have been all about long days and short nights.

I can't even count anymore how many times I bought and returned stuff at Home Depot. Really saved a lot buying all the supplies for the contractors, but it was crazy finding my way through the halls of HD.

Anyways when it was all done, we painted our master bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, changed floors in kitchen and bathroom and updated our plumbing and electrical outlets. Phew.... the place is starting to look awesome.

Nevertheless, right now our home is disaster. We still have boxes everywhere and its kind of hard to decide where to start. I'm confident we'll get there. For now we just need to clear the living and dining room for when we get our furniture delivered tomorrow.

Ahhh, the work never ends.