Before and After

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Guess what?

I am writing this from the master bedroom in our very own house!  That’s right–moving day has come and gone, leaving a trail of sore muscles, stacked boxes, and happy new homeowners in its wake.  I am exhausted and elated in equal measures.  Recent days have passed in a whirlwind of activity, and I’ve barely had time to breathe, but at last I can sit down and catch you up on all the fun details.

We closed over a week early on the house, and it’s a good thing we did, because the renovating work I so flippantly planned to accomplish in one Saturday before the move actually took about five days, and all the helping hands we could recruit.

In the past week, I’ve learned a couple of things:

1) Home improvement projects always take longer and cost more than you think they will.

and

2) We have the best friends in the whole wide world.

Since we got the keys to our place on the 18th, a small army of generous, hard working friends has been crawling over the house like worker ants–demolishing the old floor, taping and painting, installing the thermostat, cutting laminate flooring, and generally making me all teary-eyed with gratitude for their willing hearts and hands.  They brought over every tool they own, and spent night after night of their own precious free time wrestling with baseboard molding and breathing paint fumes.  They bent their backs to every large and small task I had on my massive To Do list, and then came back after all that and moved our heavy furniture and our thousand boxes, all with cheerful hearts and unflagging good grace.

A million thanks to:

Ben–our very own Helpful Hardware Man, who has generously donated time, supplies, and his limitless knowledge of home improvement techniques.  Also, he let me use his pneumatic nail gun.  Have you ever used a pneumatic nail gun?  That alone puts him near the top of my favorite people list.

Jim–cheerful and resourceful, he isn’t afraid to dive in and figure things out.  He presided over the destruction of our old kitchen and dining room floors, trimmed down and installed closet shelves, and provided the saw and the muscle for getting our new floor started.  His wife, Alyson, brought lunch for the entire crowd on moving day, including diet coke and my favorite store-bought cookies, Fudge Stripes.

Michael–a jack-of-all-trades, he was there with his wife Jessica every single day, helping out wherever he was needed, from demolition to taping off the molding.  He just showed up and said, “Put me to work.”  What a servant heart!

Jessica–room painter extraordinaire.  She mastered the art of cutting in and using the paint edger without getting goop all over the place (I’m still working on that.)

Brenda–even with a sick child at home and a fast-approaching moving day of her own on the horizon, she showed up to wield a paintbrush and kept us entertained with her witty banter.  I can’t wait to return the favor next week when she’s painting her new home.  (My banter might not be witty, but at least I can guarantee it will be plentiful.)

Martin–taped up the high places and provided chairs and stools for those of us who needed a little help to reach the heavens.

Patrick and Allison–speed painters.  I left for a quick hardware store run and when I returned, the family room was almost completely painted!  Patrick also risked life and limb last night to help Paul maneuver our new fridge up the stairs and into the kitchen.  I just watched from a chair across the room, praying that he wouldn’t get squished.

Ryan–drove in from the Valley to help out on moving day (and to scope out the location of future WoW LAN parties, of course).

Kathy–cleaned out her van (and its impressive collection of kid-related detritus) to haul boxes and spent the day waging a campaign to get everyone to start calling the family room the rumpus room.

Dad–brought his truck, his trailer, and his years of experience to bear on the logistical puzzles involved in moving large pieces of furniture through a narrow split entry.  (Clue: removing the front door helps.)

Yvie–Shop vac operator.  She became a torrent of cleanliness in the crazy mess that was our garage.

Mimi–wheeler, dealer, floor joint sealer.  On Wednesday she helped us close on the house and on Thursday she called to see when the work party would be.  She showed up with tools in hand and proceeded to work until the last floorboard was pounded into place.  Now that’s what I call a full-service real estate agent!

Yes, this is the house that love built.  Or at least the house that love painted and installed new flooring in.  Here are some pictures of the whole glorious, messy process:

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Paul's dad loaned us his ladder for reaching the vaulted ceilings.

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Jessica and Michael bringing color to the washed-out kitchen.

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Well, this explains a lot.

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Our own home improvement Ace, Ben. When it comes to "how to" questions, he's the guy to ask.

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Brenda getting some practice in before painting her own house this week.

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The old floor was destroyed to make way for the new one. I think most of the guys enjoyed the demolition much more than the reconstruction.

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Jim and Mimi putting together the world's largest jigsaw puzzle.

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Allison making sure we didn't accidentally paint our taupe carpet...taupe. Hmm.

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Mimi and the dance of the seven saws.

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Our new entry floor.

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Ta da!

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Green paint: $25. Laminate flooring: $312. Being able to look directly at your kitchen without wearing sunglasses: priceless.

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Paul waiting for CSI to show up and outline him in chalk.

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The family/rumpus room.

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Caleb's blue room. I like the two different shades.

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Katie's purple paradise.

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Michael and Dad bring in the entertainment center.

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Pause for lunch and a little web surfing.

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Jessica and Michael taking a well-deserved break.

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Paul and the mercifully un-squished Patrick catch their breath after manhandling the Amana up the stairs.

Lily, the littlest member of the moving crew, with mom Alyson and dad Jim.

Lily, the littlest member of the moving crew, with mom Alyson and dad Jim.

Kathy eating "see-food".

Kathy eating "see-food".

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Caleb and Katie helping out with the move in their own special way.

So there you have it.  We are clearly blessed beyond what we deserve.

Thank you, Lord, for our new house–and for the friends that make it a home.

Now back to unpacking!

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13 responses »

  1. Congratulations!! We moved into our house three years ago, and we had a wonderful crew of helpers, too. Nothing like awesome friends to help the work go faster.

    Your house is beautiful….blessings on your new home.

  2. First of all your friends are awesome. What blessings! Thanks for the update on the house. I can’t believe the difference in the kitchen and what a gorgeous color. I want to move into Katie’s room right now. She will love those colors. The way you transformed things already is absolutely amazing. I hope you are on spring break and can now enjoy some time in the new house. Put your feet up some time!

  3. Yea, Yea & Yea!!! So happy for you guys, and loved the finished-product! The kitchen was the most amazing transformation…can I borrow some of your friends when we move???

  4. Wow! Love the new paint and floor in the kitchen. Makes me want to make a new list of home improvement projects. Yeah, I want to borrow those friends too. When we moved into our house four years ago, all our friends coincidentally had to go out of town that very same week.

    Enjoy the new digs!

  5. SO happy for you! And so jealous of your generous, knowledgeable and willing crew! We have an offer in on a fixer-upper and will have a very short turn-around time if we get it. Do you think your friends could wiggle their noses and appear in Georgia? They seem to be magicians, after all…
    Blessings on your new home!!!!!

  6. Katrina, How blessed you are! What a google of friends and a house, finally. It all looks so great and I can’t believe how cheap the actual materials were. Would love to see you this furlough. Blessings to you!

  7. Oooooo, I LOVE the kitchen! Caleb’s room turned out awesome. I like the two colors too! Katie’s room is beautiful! Glad your good friends were there to help.

  8. Congratulations! The colors look great and may God bless these walls, these rooms and all that will come to pass in this home in the years to come!

  9. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and your family! Your home is lovely, and your life is most definitely a rich one with all of those friends around!

  10. Wow!! The color completely transformed the kitchen! Your home is so warm with all the inviting colors:-) I am so happy for you guys!

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