Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mid-weekend roundup

Rolling out of bed at 6:30am borders on sloth, at least for me, but that's what I've done both yesterday and today. Once awake, just like I do on weekday mornings, I sift through business e-mail and end each day the same way.

This being a weekend, Mrs. KintlaLake and I occupy the in-between hours with new-house matters.

Yesterday we got detailed reports from a 48-hour radon test and Friday's home inspection. The results of the former don't alarm us (we'll tackle mitigation measures ourselves) and the only pressing concern from the latter is the active presence of carpenter ants and termites in two places near the foundation. There's no apparent damage yet and the homeowner has agreed to pay for a licensed exterminator of our choosing. That takes care of that.

Three days after closing -- April 25th, according to the contract -- the house will be vacant and ours to fill. Until then we won't know if we'll be cleaning carpet, replacing carpet or refinishing hardwood floors that we hope are lurking beneath wretched shag. Equally important, since we
sold or gave away virtually all of our stuff when we moved last year, right now we have no beds of our own, no table and chairs and few everyday furnishings.

Without a pile of money to spend, bang-for-buck is our top priority. We know that we can get great used furniture for a quarter of the price of new, often less than that, so for several weeks we've window-shopped regularly at flea markets and secondhand stores.

On Saturday afternoon we put our name on a 1960s-vintage pecan-wood dining-room table, a clean-lined Scandi design with two leaves and eight (count 'em) tall-backed chairs. The affordable package deal included two buffets, which we'll sell to recoup most of what we paid for the lot. (The house's built-in cabinets make sideboards unnecessary, and the dining room is way too small for them anyway.)

Twin beds for the boys' rooms set us back a hundred bucks -- for two.

Those were the big bits. My wife also picked up an original pink flamingo for the back patio. (I love that woman.) I came home with a small tin sign advertising The Columbus Dispatch and a well-loved Estwing hatchet with stacked-leather handle -- just because.

In the long run our plans call for preserving the house's 1950s-1960s character without turning it into a Disney World diner. Yes, we're still looking for a classic Formica-top dinette to fill the breakfast nook, for example, but we have no interest in retro-repro appliances. All of the built-ins, along with the wonderfully odd bathroom fixtures, will stay.

It's a fun and fresh project. We scour the Web and often fall asleep to HGTV these days, absorbing knowledge while resisting a gotta-have-the-latest mentality. Used stuff is the best, and we'll acquire what we need as funds allow.

There's more happening in this life than just the new house, of course. My TrailBlazer is serving up a couple of problems -- that
check-engine light still glows, owing to a misbehaving air pump. And both low-beam headlights quit working unceremoniously Friday night, a failure traced to a blown under-hood relay. I'll let the expensive air-pump issue go a bit longer and replace the relay ($40) after it arrives at the local NAPA tomorrow.

Our older spawn, who's pushing the limits of (chronological) adulthood, has been giving us serious heartburn lately. I expect to begin exercising the privileges granted by my new
CCW permit this week. Income taxes will be due soon and, because we submitted info to our preparer only a week ago, we're not yet sure what the bill will be. I'm battling bronchitis brought on by inhaling a cloud of attic dust over at the new place.

Stuff like that.

Our perspective keeps us from veering into life's weeds. We can't forget the trials of the last year or that it's been since 2006 that my wife and I have marked Easter Sunday with two jobs, two regular incomes. The four of us are alive and (mostly) well. We grasp our present good fortune and the promise of bright days to come.