Wednesday, March 16, 2016

DI[Y*] [*Yourself, With Help]

I've done things this Spring Break that I haven't done at least since college (which was only three years ago, but I digress). Today, I slept in until eleven thirty. Also, I'm still in my pajamas. I have caught up on all my shows. Maybe you thought I was going to say I have stayed up ridiculously late and done questionable things, which is almost true. I have stayed up really late (binging Netflix), but the only question around here is, "how much of Gramma Judy's homemade granola have I eaten?" All you people going on big trips and being super busy have fun, I'm at Grandma's house doing nothing. I think we know who really wins, here.

So, as you can see, we are not at our house doing any fixer upper work this week, but I still wanted to update those of you who have been so encouraging about this blog. Let me just ooze appreciation for a minute: I am the worst at playing it cool when someone says they have been reading all of the posts about our fixer upper. Many of you who know me understand my love for writing, and the high hopes I have; many of you who know me better know that I need a lot of accountability when it comes to disciplining myself to do the things I dream of doing when they don't feel successful (good things come to those who hustle even when it doesn't feel like it's working, right? RIGHT?!). When I started this blog as a house mom, it was my way of forcing myself to write with enough consistency to figure out how I would measure up as a writer and how I could get better. I was completely surprised when anyone said they read it, and it drove me to work harder. Once we knew we would be leaving the ranch, one of the many changes that occurred to me would take place was that I had no clue what to write about to keep pursuing my goals. Honestly, the decision to try writing about our fixer upper journey felt like throwing the baby bird out of the nest and not even hoping it would fly, but hoping it at least wouldn't fall to its death. My posts as a house mom would average about one hundred views per post once they had been up for a week. In the past month and a half, my posts have been averaging three hundred views within a few hours. While I hope that my writing has improved, I know that the traffic is because you all read, you care, you're interested, and you're sharing my writing with your friends and family. I am so grateful, and just completely floored at your encouragement.

Dining room floor work crew, consisting of Comptons and honorary Comptons.
Speaking of encouragement, we have had a few friends offer not only their interest, but their actual physical presence for help with our "little project." Any time people do this we get a little too excited, especially me, because let's be honest, Blake gets a lot more done with helpers other than me. For those of you considering a fixer upper, you should be prepared to do 98% of the work yourself; then, when others help you out of the pure kindness of their hearts (and maybe the slight hope of a free lunch or dinner), you can just fall to your knees and thank Jesus that there are still good people in this world.

When we first moved in, you may remember me sharing a picture of the floor in the dining room. What I neglected to post (because we were so busy), was how this floor came to be so beautiful, because it definitely didn't look like that when we pulled up the carpet.

First, nails had to be pried out of the floor. Next, with a little razor blade, the bigger white paint splotches would be scraped up. Then, one would use steel wool to scrub away the paint the razor failed to remove. Finally, after sweeping and mopping up the old paint and gooey mystery stains away, Blake would apply the...I'm going to call it sealer, but because we weren't completely refinishing the floors I'm not sure if that is technically correct, because surprise! I don't know anything about this stuff, I just write about it.

Littlest Compton window washers

Rachel cleaned and spray painted the vent covers for the dining room.
On move-in week, we had our friend Daniel, five of Blake's siblings and some of their friends help move in boxes, doggedly work on this tedious floor process, and wash windows. Last week, two couples from our community group at New Life Bible Church in Norman came out on a Saturday to also help with this same tedious floor work for the living room, as well as another big project: tearing out our rotted back deck.

Before: The decked back yard, once some of the foliage had been taken out or had died when it got colder.
Before: View from standing closer to the garage; this was in April or May, when none of the greenery had died yet.
Before: View from standing just to the left of the bedroom door. None of the deck used treated wood, so most of it was rotted.
Blake has spent spring break having to nurse his poison-ivy ridden hands, which is an unfortunate result of an otherwise extremely productive day. Blake expressed to me several times how excited he was to have help with that project, because he was absolutely dreading the idea of doing it by himself. While we haven't sealed the floor in the living room yet, I am also so relieved that when we get home from Spring Break, I won't be spending hours upon hours by myself scraping that living room floor while Blake is at class and work (our neighbors are probably also relieved that they won't hear me taking advantage of the acoustics of the living room and singing opera while I perform this mundane task).

After: our trash pile in the backyard is seriously out of hand now. That should be our last big project before being able to have it hauled off for us!

After (sort of): once the deck was out, and all of the dead or almost dead bushes/trees were being uprooted.

So, as for after pictures and progress, sometime next week the living room floor will be done and we will be picking up furniture that is being generously given to us to use, which means we will actually have the living room set up for a true before-and-after comparison. Also, next week I will be starting the detailed story of our kitchen, as Blake will begin construction! I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THE KITCHEN.

Once again, I can't thank you all enough for your interest in and support of this blog. Documenting this journey has been fun for me as a writer and encouraging for me as a DIY-er, but the Y of DIY is a little misleading. I have done a lot of this fixer upper stuff myself, and Blake has done a lot more by himself, but all of this has been done with so many of our friends and family's support and encouragement. Let's all have a big ol' party when our house is done, okay? Everyone's invited!*

We were able to get this floor almost completely scraped in a few hours, it would have taken me a whole week to do it by myself!
This scary looking backyard is slowly but surely being worn down into something usable; this is before anything had been done. Maybe by the time fall rolls around the panorama will be much prettier.

*pending whether or not Blake freaks out at the idea of hundreds of people in our house, I haven't actually asked him.

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