Thursday, August 13, 2009

Carpets and Moms

Wow - so much has happened in just the week and a half since my last post.

We decided to go with Empire for our carpet. The guy who came out to our house was the typical sales guy. I almost wanted to show him the door just because he was so obnoxious. I hate how sales people feel the need to treat me as though I am not as intelligent or as knowledgeable as them. Granted, I am probably not as knowledgeable about their particular product as they are - which is why I called them out to my house in the first place. But please, treat me as a reasonably intelligent human being. I almost got into an argument with the guy over jingles - yes, jingles. He was essentially trying to intimate that Empire was the first company to ever use a jingle effectively. Ha!

It took him forever to finally bring the carpet samples in - which was an issue because the bank had turned off the power to the house, so we were using the remaining daylight. Fortunately the house gets pretty good natural light, so we were able to make the most of it. Once he finally brought the samples in, Aaron and I devised all kinds of tests to decide which one we liked the most. We took our shoes off and stepped on it. I did a little dance. In the end, the most effective test was the "elbow test" in which we laid on the floor with our elbows on the carpet. That eliminated a couple right away for being to scratchy. In the end, we chose a mid-level plush in a color called "Milky Way." Then the guy told us it would be $3,000. We said, "Thank you. We have to think about it and price it out at other stores." At which point he hammered us with how great the company is and how nobody could beat their price and service (installation and haul away are included in the price). We kept insisting that we were not going to enter into a contract at this time. How could I be prepared to enter into a contract when they don't post their prices online and I had no way of preparing myself for how much we were going to spend? So then he pulled the classic sales guy technique of "calling his manager" - of course, right in our earshot so we could hear him reacting with "surprise." After the phone call, the price dropped by $900. At which point, Aaron and I decided that we might as well go for it because it was a little cheaper than Home Depot and it could be done before we moved our furniture in. Sweet. One more thing taken care of.

Aaron's mom arrived on Tuesday to help us fix up the house. I have to admit, whatever daughter-in-law nerves I may have had were totally unfounded. She has been fantastic! On Tuesday night, we went out to dinner in Santa Monica and then drove out to the house so that she could see it and we could go over ideas. Almost every paint color idea she had corresponded or was better than the ideas I had! She knows all kinds of stuff about how to fix up houses - what are quick fixes, where you can save money, what would be cost effective and what would not. It's amazing!

Yesterday, I rode my bike to work, Aaron borrowed my car, and Aaron's mom borrowed his car. While we were at work, Aaron's mom packed up all my wine glasses and other breakables and took them up to the house where she got straight to work. Aaron and I joined her after work. She had already painted our entire master bedroom (not to mention gone to Home Depot and gotten a bunch of supplies and unpacked the breakables and put them in the kitchen for me). We then went to Home Depot and picked out our new stove and hood. We were looking at the microwave hoods, but the way the tile in our kitchen is, we determined it wouldn't work. After Home Depot, we went out for pizza and then went home and fell into bed exhausted.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm a homeowner!

Well, it is all done - at least, the paperwork and escrow and all that. Aaron and I are officially homeowners!!!

Now the real fun begins: fixing up the place. :)

We got our keys on Friday evening. I drove up at 5:15pm on a Friday night - great introduction to what my commute will be like. It took me a little over an hour to get there, which is about what I was expecting. Our agent had to be in Santa Clarita by 6:30, so he left the property open and the keys in the drawer next to the dishwasher - there's nothing inside the house for anyone to steal, and I got there only 15 minutes after he left, so everything was fine. Aaron joined me by 8pm. We wandered around the house, exploring everything and making notes of what exactly we need to do first.

Our next door neighbors had told us the AC didn't work in the front of the house - apparently the previous renters bought an AC unit for the front bedroom. When the next door neighbors inquired about why, the renters complained that the house was too hot and the AC didn't work at all in the front of the house. So that was one of the first things we checked out. I turned on the AC and went around to all the vents to make sure they were working properly. When I got to the living room, I noticed the two vents were closed - as was the vent in the front bedroom. Now, I never met the renters (who were running their Psychic business out of the house), so I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt - but if you go and BUY an AC unit without checking to see if there is a quick and inexpensive fix, then I'm going to call you a moron. Those people were morons when it came to the AC, not to mention, not very good psychics - Aaron and I opened the vents and they work fine. So that's good - one less thing we have to fix.

On Saturday, we drove out to a family friend's place. She's giving us a washer and dryer and may have some other furniture to sell us. We took a look at the washer and dryer - the dryer is very old, but it works and that's what matters. This will give us time to figure out exactly what type of appliances we want to get and enable us to save up for them. After that, we went back to the house and wandered around a little more.

Sunday was a very tiring day for me. Aaron and I went to Home Depot and spent about 2 hours and $150 there. I started to get a little whiny after an hour and a half. Who knew Home Depot would have so many fans blowing stuff into my face?! I wanted to claw my eyes out by the time we finished there. But after Home Depot, we decided to have our first meal in our house together. So we stopped at In-N-Out and then brought it back and had a picnic on the empty floor of our family room (or as my dad likes to call it, the "Seance Room").

We finally got the sprinklers in the front yard to work. I bought a garden hose and mobile sprinkler for the back yard. So we watered the lawn for a bit and raked the jacaranda flowers off the patio. We also bought timers for some lamps in the house so that it looks like someone is there even before we actually move in. We bought a really cool light sensor for the front porch that is supposed to turn the light on at dusk and off at dawn - I thought that was particularly clever. :)

Next step is figuring out carpeting. We looked at Home Depot and found some carpet that we actually like, but it will take 3 weeks for delivery/installation. On Wednesday, we have a free in-home consultation from Empire (you know the jingle!). So I guess it will come down to cost v. speed v. quality. We're still open to any other suggestions, so let me know if you have any recommendations!