Wednesday, October 11, 2017


We got our windows installed today in the condo, and oh my what a difference! I can stand in the kitchen window and not feel like I need sun screen because the heat reflecting in was unbearable!



We had to tape up little dudes room last night so the morning sun and evening lights from the neighbors wouldn't keep him up. They looked the same as the ones in the living room, but without the paper they were not "lookers." We actually used moving paper we had left over that we saved. (We plan to use the rest of the roll for Christmas gifts with some yarn or twine ribbons :)


It's hard to take a good shot of a naked window with light, etc... but original windows from the 70s or 80s when the building was first put in.


I was given an arrival window of 8-10 am. At 9 am I received a call from Home depot to see if the installers had arrived. I told them they hadn't and by 9:40-9:45 they were onsite with the windows ready to go! I loved that I didn't have to call them to see what was going on and they came in the actual arrival window... huge kudos there. I'm already loving Home Depot!

Amazing awesome bonus.... When they removed our living room slider, ants when everywhere... The ants aren't the bonus, the team home depot sent is!!! Now, we have struggled with ants at our new home, have complained to the HOA (I have a petition in to the board to have the outside of our building inspected and for entry points to be sealed at their expense because spraying common areas isn't the problem when there are cracks in the foundation letting the evil critters in and multiple units in my building are having problems still and its fall.) So when the installers removed the old frame, ants crawled everywhere.... because they were living there... 

Instead of freaking out, the installer asked me if I happened to have any spray. When I presented him with a gallon container and an easy to use spray handle, he killed them all for me, sprayed into the outside area.... then cleaned them up, and kept processing the install once he had created a clean area for my windows to live in. 

AMAZING! I officially love Home Depot. Crew was polite and neat and did a good job.

When one of the windows wasn't sliding right, he spent 30 minutes insuring it rolled correctly and quietly before moving on to the next one. When I pointed out a few areas that needed some touch up caulk during our final walk through, they took care of it.

I can't wait to have home depot do our floors... Such a great experience!

We did receive a defective latch on one windows, so the installer contacted home depot and a rep insured me that they placed an order for replacement and that it would be approved by the manager and someone would contact me in 2-3 days to schedule for the new panel to be installed.

We paid a 10% deposit ($690.03) when we booked our window and slider replacement job, so we paid $6,210.27 at the completion of the job today. This quote was $1,000 cheaper than the private company that came by to quote the job and comes with a lifetime warranty. So if Little Man, Hubs, or another family member walks though a screen door again, they replace it for free, for life...

So happy!

For now, we are purchasing some double curtains rods off of Amazon with some Grey black out Curtains accompanied by white sheer curtains for the windows to cover them. We want to make sure we have enough funds in  our remodel budget to take care of the larger projects (Like flooring and air conditioning) before we consider the sliding door shutters that I installed in our old place. :) So $320.42 later, we will have things to cover our new windows for privacy :)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Potty Training...

We're still here... but we have been potty training our little dude... He took to peeing in the potty fine after our 3 day holiday weekend.... and since then he's been a champ even in public.... but pooping in the potty is scary...

he withholds...

so we live in a land of fiber gummies and hidden laxatives every so often to make sure its coming out....

So, not much time for blogging between that, a new software launch at work and trying to stay sane. Things should pick up soon.

Our bathroom is completely done (sans tile and baseboard stuff)...

Windows get installed in a couple more weeks (mid october)

I got the laundry area painted so the rack is back in there...

any today I cleaned while we played... (because I woke up to ants in the kitchen again... apparently the culprit was the honey jar this time... I swear they are in the walls and after the new windows go in, were getting a quote for a new front door and then having a professional come bug bomb the whole place...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Splash Pad Fun

Our slow house improvement project continues. For some reason our Home Depot windows are being held up and I've needed to contact the project manager twice already to find out why...

Our Flooring carpet samples were lost and they are trying to track them down so for now, we are just slowly painting the house, one wall or ceiling at a time.

Little dudes room is done, and the bathroom just needs some minor touch ups.

I finished the ceiling in our hallway. Next i'll be painting the hall and the laundry room. Our painting got pushed back a bit since I needed to actually vacuum the walls clean after sanding and that couldn't be done after little due went to bed at night (too loud)... so It had to wait until this past weekend.

So i'm hoping by the end of next week to have the hall done so I can focus on the ceiling in the kitchen and living room (Which i'm not looking forward to at all... especially since that will mean also vacuuming those walls too.

I did get to take a day off and play with little man to wrap up our summer season. Splash pad fun was had by all!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bathroom Painting and Ikea-ing!

First I had to prep the walls and the ceiling... which mean I had to hand sand them all (and of course I had the wrong sanding pads so it took forever) 

But then we got to paint!

And start the ikea building...

We got everything done but the plumbing, which will be next weekend...

Thankfully, little man still takes naps. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Wrong box for electrical housing...
We had ALL the electrical in the condo re-done. The previous owner believed himself to be a "handy man" and lets just say things were not up to code. Things that needed to be in "high powered boxes" because of the amount of wire and electricity that were in them just weren't... switches were painted over, things were not grounded properly... messed up GFI's... not to mention the broken prongs we found in a few outlets that an "electrician" covered...

Let's just say our new home was looking like a horror story worthy of the Wall of Electrical Shame they have at hubs work, so we paid to have the work done. Our dome light in the master bedroom wasn't even in a box... They ran electrical wires through the dry wall...

They also left live wires in the kitchen and put our pantry over it.... oh ya, and the microwave was wired to the dinning room chandelier....

If hubs did the work himself, it would have been 6 months of weekends, WAY more drywall damage, and too much stress on the good old marriage, not to mention we needed an electrician to do the repairs since we will probably be going to court to sue the prior owners.

So, hubs bought all the parts for the electrical job through his work with his discount, and we purchased three ceiling fans from home depot. (We got a 10% off coupon for Lowe's in the mail, but Home Depot honored it, so we saved $40 since Lowe's didn't have the fans we wanted).

Then we paid an electrician to do the job.

Parts: ($1199.18)...
Labor: ($1850.00)
Ceiling Fans ($382.52)

Total: $3,431.70

We changed all the outlets to tamper proof since we have a toddler who loves to play with those white outlet caps and we re-did all the switches since most had been painted over and wouldn't "switch" easily.

We also went 100% LED. All Can lights are on dimmers, ceiling fans are all hard wired with dimmers, and our bedroom and kitchen can lights also have portable table remotes so when you want to turn off the lights from bed, you can... Same in the kitchen. Since the switches for the kitchen lights and ceiling fan are now on the wall near our front door, we have a remote on the island for a quick tap to turn the lights on. It's pretty legit.

We removed the mini wall that was
supposed to be a pantry that had
been converted into a desk.... with
really bad electrical.
We also put in can lights in our bathroom since our new bathroom mirror and cabinet will also have LED lighting -- so bye bye harsh all or nothing bathroom lighting and we have a super awesome bathroom vent that moves air properly. We also installed some hallway night lights for those evening trips to the lavatory or kitchen where a miss placed toy can end your life if you aren't looking carefully...

TV mount box and kit were installed. We are planning for the same Ikea set up we did in the last place, but that will come after paint and flooring.  We decided can lights would be better than a ceiling fan in the living room, since it's a larger area where more gathering takes place and a ceiling fan wouldn't be enough light.

We fixed the kitchen lighting by adding 3 new cans, moving an existing one, and removing the dangle lights that didn't hang down the same height. We also removed the chandelier that hubs hit his head on 4 times in the first week of living there and knocked out a wall by our front door to open the space up. We added a ceiling fan for extra air flow with a light kit to cover the dinning room. We also re-did the entire GFI system in the house.

Can lights and a ceiling fan went into our bedroom since the room was large enough for both and a ceiling fan along would not provide enough light. We also added power to the closet for our closet light bars and added a few USB outlets where the night stands should be.

Little Dudes room got a ceiling fan and an extra outlet along the closet wall in case we need power when we turn that into his toy space.

We added power to our outside "shop closet" and a permanent light fixture, and changed the outside outlet and cover so it could lock to keep little man out.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Little Behind on Posts this month

I'm a little behind on my posting schedule this month, but that's because I have days like today...

Today is the 2nd day I've had to take off to repair my heater... The first day I called and was told the company worked on Hydroponic Heaters, confirmed with the booking rep that was the case and took the morning off work for the repair.

But when they hadn't called at 8:00 am, I called... to find out it would be closer to 10:00 am... and the tech asked what he was fixing and when I told him it was my hydroponic heater, he told me he didn't do those... so I called the owner... he apologized profusely for the mix up and gave me the name and number of a guy who could fix it for me.   
He was out of town and the 8 other companies I called won't touch my heater. It's great that you can use any repair technician you want to service your heater... but only one company will come out and do the repair (can you say, hello monopoly)... so I had to call our boiler company.

So when the tech gets here, he tells me to just cap the pipe and buy a space heater...

So i have to explain why I'd like heat to actually reach each of my bedrooms and how I will not use a floor space heater to heat my home with a toddler.... so yes, I know I have to check the pipe annually for signs of corrosion... It takes 2 minutes to take the cover off and look at the pipe, its called preventative maintenance... I'm good with that...

So now that he knows that I actually want to fix it, he tells me they don't have the part.... which is funny since I called them last week when I booked the appointment and told them the fan was working but not the heating mechanisms... 
So the Tech tries to do the "let's order it and i'll come back another day routine" because the "small" coil he has is really for a 1 bedroom.. and he wants to do the job correctly.

But when I press, I find out he called the wrong guy about the part.. so he speaks to his boss about the part... They still don't have it, but now, magically the special order coil wont fit in the heater space and give him enough space for the copper pipe. 

We have no option but to use after market parts since boilers aren't too common out here anymore and they have to get all their coils from Arizona... but the tech is now all gun ho about installing the small coil he originally told me wont actually heat my home (FYI, the small coil is larger then the current one up there).

So now I have to call his boss because we have a contradiction. If it wasn't good enough 20 minutes ago, Why is it now? So I call his boss and ask him to confirm the square footage the coil will heat because i'm not paying over $1000 to be cold in the winter... after a long hold, he tells me he will call me back... tech gets a call.... we wait longer...  then I get a call.

Now they found a new coil that's actually three rows deep instead of 2 and longer then my current coil, but because the extra rows of coils is there, it makes for a better after market part then the longer coil that won't fit up there without drywall damage (which I told him was fine to do, but the tech said no) So the deeper coil makes up for the shorter length... ,so they will install that one.

So the tech pulls my old coil out (which is not installed near the fan that actually blows the heat and was literally NOT BOLTED TO the sheet metal enclosure, but was only being held on with 2 brackets laying horizontal instead of vertical and then just taped in place....)
The tech then tells me I could probably sell my old coil on ebay and make some cash since it isn't broken.. 

My first reaction was THEN WHY AM I REPLACING A COIL THAT ISN'T BROKEN????????????????? 
Because it was the wrong coil some handyman taped up in there and the wrong size for our unit, considering it's SMALLER then the one they typically put in a 1 bedroom that has a SINGLE duct.

But in this discover process I had to call the Hoa to confirm the summer boiler temperature since the tech tells me that the boiler is switched in the summer time and that might affect our heaters ability to heat our home... which is stupid because our heater worked fine during our inspection of our last unit which was done 1 day apart from the one we had done on this one... But i called to confirm anyway because its been that kind of morning and the HOA Rep feels REALLY bad for me dealing with all this crap...

But now, I need to call the owner of the company to make sure i need to replace the coil and that replacing and installing the correct coil will give me heat... 

We had to put a thermometer under the kitchen sink to make sure that water was hot. Apparently it gets up to 130 degrees on my tap... so they should be able to fix the heater today, once the guy goes and drives and gets the coil... so now i wait while the guy goes and gets the coil from his shop.

Here's the old coil they removed from the heater, and how it was installed. You can see some sheet metal with a lip... it's supposed to be mounted to the sheet metal, right up in the empty space against the fan... Instead they used a little bracket and then tried to tape up the hoses to get the grill to close...

I couldn't take pictures of the tape since they had to pull that all off and down to look at it and actually see what they had "done" to the heater. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Housing Comps - 2 bedroom

Since we now live in our 2 bedroom condo, I did some digging in the area in an attempt to find a comparable rental unit to use for the second half of the year and moving forward.

If I stay in the city we live in now and try and get our same neighborhood, a pet friendly 2 bedroom is going to run us around $2,000 - $2,100 a month (even checking through craigslist)... and i'm not sure i'd pick on of those places to actually live in.

So, I checked in on my old apartment complex from pre 1 bedroom condo time.

Yes, it's in a different city... but within the same commute distance to our jobs. AND its in the city our day care is in, making a move there, pretty darn practical. It's where we would live if we weren't living here most likely since hubs likes to leave these decisions to me.

I can get a 2 bedroom there for $1905 ($400 deposit)  + $35 in pet rent ($400 deposit) making it the cheapest option -- and it would be closer to daycare... I can say in all honesty, we'd move to a city that wouldn't lengthen our commute, if it saved us on rent, and i'd rather be in an apartment, then rent from a land lord, especially with a kid in tow to make sure things got fixed on time.

So we have a comparable rental unit we will use for math! Plus it helps that I know about the area and what is and is not included in rent and that the security deposit is full refundable if you live there at least 2 years... plus we'd get a garage.

We will also assume our now 5 year old washer and dryer (that we hypothetically purchased at the beginning of in 2012) will continue to function, thus eliminating the need for the coin operated laundry rooms at the apartment complex. 

Costs Associated with Apartment for 6 months 2017
We don't include electric bills below since we'd have to pay for those at either place, but my HOA fee includes water, gas, and trash so those will be listed in the apartment costs.
Initial costs: 
  • Deposit: $400.00 
  • Pet Deposit: $400.00
Monthly: $2,061.00
  • Trash: $15 a month
  • Water: $60 a month
  • Gas: $35 a month
  • Rent: $1,905 a month
  • Renters Insurance: $11.00 a month
  • Pet Rent: $35 a month
6 Month Total with security deposits: $13,166.00

Costs Associated with New Condo for 6 months 2017

Monthly: $1,439.94
  • Mortgage: $763.86
  • HOA: $350.00
  • Property Taxes: $280
  • Homeowners Insurance:($33.33 a month) $400.00 Year
  • Earthquake Insurance: ($12.75 a month) $153.00 Year 
6 Month Total: $8,639.64 (includes Homeowners ins, even though we ran it through escrow this year). 

On a monthly basis, our condo is $621.06 cheaper each month then an apartment without factoring in the security deposits. The apartment would cost us $25,532 over the course of a year, the condo $17,279.28... giving us the wiggle room to spend $8,252.72 each year on improvements while STILL saving money, since this doesn't factor in the tax write offs or the equity we will gain in the property by paying off the mortgage.

A note to new readers:
If your wondering how our mortgage is so low, its because we put $164,000 down from the sale of our first condo. I bought a fixer upper 8 years ago as a bank owned foreclosure and lived in it and made it our home through marriage, pets and our toddler. If your new to the blog, you can read the full financials on that property (including all the purchase, remodel and sale history here in our re-cap post). Our decision to buy this new condo, is in part because of the smart decisions we made about our first condo.