As I mentioned earlier, we have a lot going on. Projects are so hard to manage around here, and even I have a project management background.
We have to bounce around so much. Sometimes because of money, sometimes because of time, a lot because of energy and desire to work on a particular project, and sometimes because of weather.
I started planning and moodboarding my laundry room earlier in the year because I thought we’d squeeze it in during the cold months before tackling our outside projects. Then we were supposed to be working on finishing the front deck this May. Then in the middle of this we inherited the Portland duplex. So while we are still trying to manage our home projects, we are working on getting the duplex ready to rent on one side.
We learned the hard way that it’s nearly impossible to work on the duplex with a two year old kid. It goes like this: one of us watches Declan and the other tries to do some work. Declan would much rather hang out and help the parent doing the project than hang out with the parent designated to watch him. Then he’d finally go down for a nap, so we both would try to work together on a project, but the duplex is too small and any noise would wake him. After a few weekends of that, we just gave up. In 3 weekend trips to Portland, we managed to get one room painted.
So we got smart and hired a contractor. I tried Home Advisor for the first time. It was actually quite a pleasant experience. Bryce and I both have PTSD from dealing with contractors. It seems they don’t want work. You call them and they never call you back, even though you hear them complaining about not having enough work coming in. Then you hire them and they end up taking naps in their truck in your driveway while their workers work on the siding, yet you are paying $40 an hour for the guy napping, $25 for the lead guys, then $15 for the guys cleaning up the scrap. So we had some serious contractor-PTSD, yet I still tried Home Advisor.
I put in parameters on our project into Home Advisor, and then I had a guy instantly call me. A contractor who wanted work. I initially just wanted him to do gutters, then I pleasantly discovered he could do the concrete walkways that needed repair, as well as the interior painting, the exterior painting, the excavation of some huge, unruly bushes, then the excavation of a huge section of out of control blackberry bushes, then even replacing the front doors. It was such a great experience.
When I look at the pictures Bryce took from his trip down there last weekend, I am starting to feel like we are actually making some progress. We are really bouncing around with the projects, but we seem to be bouncing in the direction of at least having this thing rented soon. So I guess I shouldn’t feel badly that we won’t get to the laundry room probably until the Fall now. Instead we are securing some income, then we can get back to the front entry this summer.
Here’s our duplex progress to date.
First we had to do some major excavating. There was a ginormous hedge, bush thing that was probably planted when it was built in 1958. On one unit, it was completely blocking the door. You had to wrestle with it to get in door. I wish we took before pictures. The plan is to pour concrete in that fresh dirt spot to create a new walkway. We will also get rid of the random, messy stones that served as the old walkway.
Next we had to excavate about a quarter of an acre of blackberry bushes encroaching on the park and the neighbors’ lots. I bet they were quite happy to see us doing this work (well, our contractor doing the work).
It’s a very cute, little old place. It has some mid-century modern style to it, so it’s been fun redesigning it.