Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Take a deep breath


Contract/offer? Check.
Acceptance? Check.
Inspection? Check.
Agreement with seller after inspection? Check.
Approval at bank? Check.
Insurance? Check (almost ... gotta sign papers).

What are we supposed to do until closing next month?


Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas decor from my childhood

My mom always goes all out at our house for Christmas and this is something I fondly remember from growing up. This year there were five trees in the house. I think we've had up to seven at times. Dad does a wonderful job on the exterior illumination, too.
I took a few pictures of memorable pieces around the house for your viewing pleasure.

Check out these Muppet Babies. They came from McDonald's in 1988!! They are 20 years old and still have their tags!

A friend of the family painted these santas for my mom one year. Mom had a "Santa" tree for many years and these were ornaments intended for it:

These little guys have ALWAYS been on the bathroom shelf. There are mice, kittens and puppies (two each). Here are the three on the right side of the shelf:

I painted these snowmen for mom and dad's Christmas gifts in 1992. Dad's the is one on the left. If you flip them over, you see my heartfelt message.

My mom puts something on the front door every year. This Santa head is a common fixture there. I got Hunter to say Santa by using this as a prop. Except when he says it, it comes out more like "TeeTah."

For years my mom displayed a creche and nativity from Home Interiors at the front entrance of the house. The old nativity is very beautiful, but it can now be found in the little cabin over the hill. The scene below has been around for awhile, but it isn't really the nativity from my younter years. Mom's friend, Susanne from Marseilles, took a few years to send her the pieces of the nativity scene below as Christmas gifts. These realistic dolls are called Santons and are native to Provence. Mom has a few other dolls that are not Christmas pieces, too. I love 'em. I remember marvelling at how lifelike they are when we visited Susanne in Provence when I was 16. These are very precious pieces:

I love this old ceramic tree. I hope Mike remembers that next year and wraps one up for me to have for our new home. Mom won this one in a raffle many, many moons ago and it stands out in my Christmas decor memories:

As I mentioned before, my mom and dad like to decorate multiple trees for the house. One of these trees is referred to as the "Travel Tree." My parents collect ornaments from locations they visit for this tree. Mike and I usually remember to pick up one for the tree when we go somewhere. These two ornaments are from us (I noticed there are mnay from us on the tree now!). The white ball with Santa sunbathing on it is from our honeymoon trip to Antigua. The gold ornament of the governor's palace is from our Williamsburg trip in December 2006.

I'm excited to decorate our little bungalow next year. In the post-Christmas sales, Mike and I picked out the old fashioned, large bulb mult-color lights for the exterior as well as two large red bows for the porch. Dad is donating some candy cane walkway trimmers and we now have Mickey and Minnie porch greeters (thanks dad). It will be cute!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Should this say "under contract" ??

Mike and I went past the bungalow on our way back into town tonight from Manassas. We hadn't had the opportunity to visit her lately, so we had to do a drive by. We were surprised to see this pasted on the "For Sale" sign. It was very exciting.

Christmas Home Decor ideas for 2009

We spent the weekend with Mike's family in Manassas (wonderful times ... as always). While there, Mike and I found some treasures in Old Town Alexandria, but the price tags were too big for our little bungalow. So we instead found inspiration for our decor for next year's Christmas.

First, the Crazy House. It's a Manassas Christmas tradition. A must see, but I don't think we will actually try to mimic it:

Don't ask why Devon has on flipflops.

I particularly like the Cabbage Patch Kids:

Took this one for dad. He likes Tow Mater:

Honey and Fruity Pebbles for Christmas Dinner? I guess if times are tough ...

Next, we have vandalism in Marie's freshly painted kitchen. I actually like this cuteness (and, it's vinyl. It will come off):

Here's a nice piece from Old Town Alexandria. It is a Williamsburg inspired fruit display. I like it, but it's probably too classy for Mike and me:

Check back later in the week for ideas gleaned from the trip to Clay. Dad has a lovely display of red lights on the hill and mom will surely have an agreeable amount of Christmas kitsch from my childhood to admire. (No, mom, that isn't sarcasm. I love it.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That troubling water ...

In a post or two ago I mentioned the water we saw in the basement during our inspection. Here are some pics of what we saw.

These are a few of my favorite things

These pictures come from a few of my (this is Erinn) favorite details from the house. They were taken during our inspection on Friday morning.

The front porch:
I see lots of cold beers and laughs here.

Door stops:
These are throughout the house and are, I think, original to the home
Light fixtures:
The house has such an eclectic mix of light fixtures. My favorite is the one below. It is found in the front bedroom on the first floor.

The cast iron bath tub:
We aren't sure about the shower apparatus on this thing. It is quite flimsy and takes away from the whimsy of the tub. There is a shower on the second floor. We may have to make this a tub just so it is more aesthetically pleasing .... not sure yet. But it is quite the tub! Notice the knob on the right end. It says "Waste" on top of it. You pull it up to let the water out and screw it shut to hold water.

Original woodwork:
This image is of beadboard found on either side of the back door. I love it. It is also found in the closet in the back bedroom on the first floor. I imagine all the plaster walls and paneled walls have this behind them. At least I hope so. When Mike and I win the lottery we will hunt for more in our renovations. For now, i'll enjoy the little bit we do see as well as all the orginal wood trim around the doors and windows.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Like Two Kids Troubled Over Water

The inspection lasted for about 3 1/2 hours today and the rest of the day has been nuts. It's now after 2 a.m. and we are in Maysel at Al and Jo's. The good thing is, we have a lovely (and huge) holly tree! Enjoy the holiday cheer above courtesy of the very large and very tall holly tree that sits between our house and Virginia Street. I've always wanted a holly tree. My mom is totally jealous.

We're a little troubled by a bit of water found in the basement. Lucky for us it rained for two days in Morgantown before it decided to snow. The basement put on a full peformance including some moisure we had not seen before. Don't be alarmed, this is not a deal breaker. We're just going to have to figure out some things. Also, it's a little scary to find the hot water heater was installed in the 29th week of 1989. That puppy is on borrowed time!!

Apart from those two biggies, there are a few minor tweaks here and there that will need addressed with the seller. We have to keep reminding ourselves we are buying a 90-ish year-old house with a boatload of character.

We will definitely post more pics up here soon, but remember I said it's past 2 a.m. I'm beat. We had a Christmas cookie baking marathon at Aunt June and Uncle Pete's house tonight (Jennifer, Leann, Olivia, Mama Jo, Aunt June, Jessica, Ryan, and I had a blast baking while Pete and Dad entertained Hunter. Geoff and BJ were stuck working while Mike and Josh enjoyed the comedic stylings of one Jerry Seinfeld [who's the awesome wife who gives 'awesomer' Christmas presents?]).

We meet with our insurance agent in 7 short hours to discuss what we can do to keep our 90-something house safe, secure and insured. Fun fun fun!

Thanks for the comments. Keep 'em coming. I promise to have more pics from the inspection up soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You probably know this, but it's never easy.

OK, so it's 4:45 and we're not elbow deep in a home inspection.

Our inspector was a no show (ask me if you want a name). We called him. We called his wife. Forty-five minutes later his wife calls back and said we are on the books for tomorrow .... riiiiiiiiight. I won't believe that. We have both been very Type A over this whole first home thing. Therefore I refuse to believe we got the date wrong. Besides, we would not have agreed to tomorrow at 4 p.m. as we will be heading down South on I-79 at that time.

So, thankfully, we got in touch with another inspector (ask me if you want a name) who is gracious enough to run over to the house this evening to begin the radon test, which I'm told takes two days to get a sample. Then he will meet us there at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning for the inspection. Wonderful! I get to miss more work due to someone else's negligence!! We are thankful for this back up inspector. It's just disappointing because I really wanted to get some good pics up here tonight.

Check back tomorrow!

The Story Begins ...


Mike and I signed a contract to purchase our first home on December 4. It is an adorable 1920s bungalow in the Wiles Hill neighborhood of Morgantown, WV. Borrowing the idea to document the ups and downs of home ownership, decorating and renovations from my best friend Jennelle, I decided to start this blog.

Credit for the blog title, A Short Story, goes to Mike. In case you didn't know, he has extensive blog experience. Check out http://blogs.dailymail.com/wvu if you haven't already.

A Short Story is a play on our address: Short Street. He's so clever.

Our story begins today with our home inspection. Sure, I may be jumping to conclusions by beginning before we close, but I'm trying to be optimistic. I have cabbaged the picture of the house shown here from Realtor.com (thanks to Jeff Goff, the Old Colony listing agent and who we are working with). I will have others up after tonight's inspection.

While in the process of having visions floating around in our heads of what we want our small (just under 1200 square feet) home to look like, I have been checking out pics online for decorating ideas. I would love to eventually have both of the home's bathrooms done in Bungalow Tile similar to the picture below:

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. We need to get through the inspection first.

Please follow along with us as our Short Story writes itself. We're gonna need all the help and support we can get!