Yardsale of the Century!!

Not my quote, but from a friend mocking our yard sale goal this weekend.  Turns out, it was a pretty hoppin', well beyond our expectations for success, out with the old and in with the new kind of good time.  Well, Terry says there was no good time about that, but I choose to look at the half full glass.
(This is the only picture I took the whole day. It was during the only time in the day that there weren't people and I could snap a photo)
We'd been pseudo-prepping for this for months; i.e. we'd designated a large corner of the garage all the miscellaneous things we knew we had already replaced or that we weren't using anymore.  With impending move on the horizon, it was time to implement the plan into action.

I wish that I could give a whole lot of advice on how it was as successful as it was. Here's how I opted to tackle the beast, and what worked best for us. Again, this probably isn't the best of scenarios for everybody, but it was a stud for us.

- Pre-Planning: The weekend before the yard sale, I went through ALL of our clothes, as in making a pile for keep, a pile for what is traveling in the move with us but needs to be packed up, and what is yard saleing.
- Pricing: I had no idea how to price things.  No Clue.  I called my sister-in-law to get a gauge on clothes, and Terry and I discussed the rest and were pretty much on the same point. I had a mental roladex in my head of what was the lowest we'd be willing to go on each item, and stuck with that.
- Advertising: My only advertising was one ad on Craigslist, and 4 neon pink posters, two of them being on main roads near our house, and two leading people into our neighborhood and pointing them where to go to get to us.  From 7:45am until 1:15 when I was putting my last bins in my car and two 90yr old women and one of their over-talkative daughters came and rummaged through it (it actually worked out well, they bought all my purses, random but worthwhile), there was only one lull of about 10 minutes.  And then lull was because the wind caught one of my signs and was pointing people the wrong way. Sure enough, with that fixed it was non-stop people again.  I'd say buying and making the signs were the best $3.98 investment I've made in a while.
- Greeting "Customers": Call it a drastic rookie yard-salers mistake or call it sheer luck, but one of the things that I think worked the best for me was that we didn't get price tags out on anything at the start.  After reading a few blogs, I saw that was the big finger wagging faux-pas, that you should have everything laid out and priced the night before.  Yah yah, whatever.  I took it as an opportunity to say good morning to every person that walked up. It gave me an immediate connection with every stranger, so they knew who was running the sale, and who to talk with.  If there was an item that someone was interested in on the tables, they usually threw out a price first, and 75% of the time, they were at our price we wanted or higher. If someone did ask for a price, it gave me an opportunity to say, "I was thinking $___, does that seem fair to you?" 90% of the time, they were happy.  About 2 hours into the sale, Terry was able to put price tags on a few of the bigger ticket items, but even at that point I'd told him it seems to be working out well having no prices and being able to talk to someone interested in something specific.
- Eye-Candy: If at all possible, have a 280lb man present during the morning to help load heavy items, carry 1lb bags for old ladies and let them fawn over him, and be there to be the jokester for the hagglers.  He was such a big help for me; it was very much a team sport, and I appreciated it so much.

Things I learned for future yard sales
- Neighbors: Invite all of your neighbors to join in and give them a little extra time to get stuff together.  I went and told our neighbors Friday morning what we were doing more as a courtesy so they knew why there may be people parking in front of their house in the morning.  It turns out, had they had a little more time to plan, they would have joined in, which could have brought more interested buyers.
- Signs Down!: While it is completely fine to let your boyfriend leave at the end of the yard sale to go golf on a gorgeous afternoon, make sure that all the signs for the sale are taken down before he goes. Otherwise, you are stuck trying to tear down, but people keep coming to look and buy.  And you can't leave everything outside unattended to take the signs down for people to stop coming...because there are people still there.
- Off-Limits Zoning: Create a back or a "finish" area to your yard sale.  People, while I'm sure with good intentions, are snoopers if you let them.  It should have been very clear that there were no tables set up in our garage, but people were still looking and trying to get up in our things because we didn't create a stopping point for them.
- Work on Skills: Use the time people are wanting to haggle as an opportunity to work on your negotiating skills. I am awful at haggling.  It makes me horribly uncomfortable. I let a few things go for a dollar or two under our set bottom price at the beginning, but as I got more opportunities to challenge myself with it, I got better and more confident in holding firm on a price. The worst they could do was set it back down on the table for someone else to buy it.

The rest of the items that we didn't sell (it ended up being about 4 boxes) went over to Goodwill.  It was a great first time experience!  I would challenge anyone who has a lot of stuff building up in their homes to take the opportunity to purge it and make a little (or a lot of!) money while you're at it.  The de-clutter feels SO GOOD!


The Engagement

The long awaited post.  I would usually at this point apologize for taking so long to write this up and give all the details, but for once, this was actually intentional.  I've just been soaking in the "I'm engaged" rays for a month, knowing full well that this is the quiet before the "storm" so to speak of what planning this event is going to turn into. 
Hopefully the delay has not lead you to believe that the proposal was off-the-charts extremely thought out, and full of sentiment. Because, well, this story then is going to be highly anti-climactic.  That being said, it was a surprise, both in the good and the bad way (I'll get to that in a minute), and after a little more explaining it was quite thoughtful. 

So March 31th was just like any other Saturday morning.  We woke up early.  We got on our work clothes.  We had coffee together, and we started planning out the House Work-day.  The majority of the work was being down in the hall bathroom, including tearing out the flooring, realizing there was another layer of flooring, and then realizing that we were standing on a floor of nails that needed to be all pounded into the sub-floor.  I was painting and homemaker'ing of cleaning the kitchen, changing out our winter to spring clothes, and starting the initial prepping for the Yardsale. (I did something else though, maybe mowed the yard, bc I was sweaty and gross, don't remember) The majority of the work in the bathroom was Terry intensive i.e. a 140lb girl was useless, but I would go in and clean out debri and scrap pieces as they were piling up.  Around noon, I went in with some food and water and we took a break in the process just to see where we were and what the next step was going to be.  We talked for a bit and then he told me that he forgot the Lowe's bucket out in the garage that we were using to carry out debri and dirt and asked if I'd go get it.  I jumped up as normal and ran out to go get it for him.  As I was approaching the bucket, I heard the garage door open and my first thought was, "well if he was planning on coming out here anyway, why didn't he just get the bucket himself?!?".  But with two more steps, I saw that the bucket had been cleaned out, and there was a wooden jewelry box sitting inside. 
So me being me, in my totally awkward nervousness, I turned around and said, "ohhhh, Jewelry from Lowe's eh?!". He just stood there smiling at me.  I opened the box and my jaw just dropped to the ground.  I looked at him and just stood there in shock.  He told me that he loved me; that I'll never understand how much he loves me but he'll try his best to show me every chance he can, and would I marry him.  And yes, he did get down on one knee.  I wrapped myself around him still in shock and said Of Course!  I kept telling myself in my head "remember this moment, this is it, take this all in", which is funny because I dont remember him putting the ring on my finger or what else was said after that, but I know we talked more.  I was just all smiles.  And then he tried standing up and almost fell over because he was so sore from all the work so far, and we laughed a lot. All a great surprise.
What was the bad part of the surprise was simply that I looked like a train wreck.  Maybe that was part of the conversation we had that I blurred out from my excitement.  We were both gross!  I never really pictured how he was going to propose, but I certainly always imagined looking pretty at least.  WRONG!  I was sweaty, I still had makeup on from the night before, I was in night clothes turned housework clothes.  Just NEVER what I expected I'd look like that someone would actually propose to me like that. Turns out, it didn't matter to him.  He'll take me anyway I am. 
It took about 5 minutes before the waterworks happened.  And they hit hard.  Terry had gone out into the backyard and was pulling weeds and maybe, possibly also ripping any enormous tree branch out of our oak tree. Yes, ok, that really did happen. I think it was his release of all the energy/excitement/holy smokes this is real. So I walked out sobbing to Big Bear terrorizing the backyard and just hugged him and sobbed.  This was where I think what he had intended to say but got too nervous came out.  As we were standing there he said, "we've been working on this house for over half of our relationship, building this together.  I just thought it was fitting to propose here seeing as I want us to build the rest of our lives together".  Clearly more waterworks. It was so touching.
After a little more time hugging and talking and me pulling myself together, I asked who he thought we should call first.  Back came funny Terry with, "Ohhhh no, I dont do the phone calls, that's on you, I've got a hammer to throw inside.  Work work work; Busy busy Bee!!"  Needless to say, we called our parents together, and then the rest of the phone calls came from me.
I'm sure it's not everyone's idea of a beautiful, incredible, amazing proposal, and that's fine. It was everything I could have ever hoped for and everything that was so very Terry (well besides there being no food involved, I did for some time think it would be incorporated with food or wine....hence always thinking at least I'd look nice); it was private, it was sincere, and it had so much meaning after all the jitters went away and he could explain it.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be his and he be mine. 


My First Half-Marathon

Yay for all the training being worth it!!  I finished, for a first run I think I had a good time, and most importantly, I ran the entire 13.1 miles!! Sarah flew in from D.C. to run the race as well, which was such an enormous help.  We paced well with each other considering we've never run together before.  At mile 10 though, Sarah's ankle and back were giving her grief, so she had to stop and she told me to keep going.  The last 5K was my mental challenge, and I suceeded!!!
Here were my official stats:

To say there were a ton of people downtown was an understatement.  It was just a swarm.

Please don't mind the no-makeup face.  Kinda silly to get pretty to go run 13.1 miles for 2 and a half-ish hours.
Just before we were set to take off. Sarah's focused!
Our view right before we started the 1/2 marathon. Love that Arch!
 Mile 7.  This wasn't intended to be a artsy photo, although it turned out that way.  Terry was holding his sign up for us, had our drinks at the ready, was telling up our 10K time, and trying to take a photo.  Needless to say he hit a wrong button on the camera and it came out bright blue (it was in manual mode from taking photos in the house), so this was the best I could change the image. 
Terrys sign he was holding for us.  We actually made it (clearly), but he was easy to spot, and he told us after the race that he got a lot of laughs from other runners for it.  Win!
Just after the finish.  We sat for about 10 minutes here, and no joke we must have looked like 90 year old women when we stood up.  Still so worth it!

Some stolen photos off the half-marathon website.  NOT paying $16 for one photo.  This was around mile 11.  How I'm still this enthused is beyond me.
 Crossing the finish!!!! (super-vain side note; can we please address how skinny my left leg looks in this picture.  The next photo down is more representative, but thank you Mr/s. photographer for the self-esteem boost!)

Such an awesome experience!!  Not sure that I'll do it again, but happy that I trained well and accomplished a goal I set out for myself.  Woohoo 1/2 Marathoner!!!


Laundry Closet Upgrade

Cue my gasp that we bought this house this way.  I still laugh looking back at these photos.  Not that our "in progress" photos of this bathroom currently are any better, but Mannnnnn it's gonna be SWEET when we're finished....which will be very soon! :-)
We purchased a storage cabinet to go over our washer and dryer, oh I dont know, 2 years ago or something close to that.  It's just been hanging out in our garage all this time waiting to be useful.  Poor inanimate object that I feel sorry for.
The Before (Useless tidbit; I believe that was the Lowes bucket that I found my Engagement Ring in.  Still haven't posted that story yet.....aren't you anxious?!):
The After! (The washer and dryer were temporarily moved to our entryway while we were putting the floors down.  It's also a good before and after of our new floor)
We made a few errors when attempting to drill into the "studs".  We believe that there was some wonky business going on behind those walls from when they installed the water lines and the electric outlet for the dryer, but no extra wall is coming down on our watch.  Just keep drilling holes til we find something!
We still need to trim in the frame and hang a curtain (we're going to match it up...hopefully...with what we pick for a shower curtain so it will have a nice flow) and that will be complete.
Now that it's hung, all that we have said is that we wished we'd put it up sooner, so we could have enjoyed the clean finish and not all our stuff sitting on the top of the dryer. Lessons for the next house I suppose.


Cardinals Home Opener 2012

Before the mayhem of Half-Marathon weekend commenced, we decided to enjoy our last chances of enjoying St Louis sports before we leave by attending the Cardinals Home Opener.  While the game had been sold out to the public for some time, an acquaintance of ours works for the Cards and one afternoon when we saw him, asked if we wanted to buy employee tickets from him.  Ummm, reigning World Champions playing their arch rival, The Chicago Cubs, on a Friday afternoon.....absolutely!!

The only bummer of the day was that the weather was completely non-cooperative.  As in, this is what we dealt with most of the game.

We still had a great time together.  After it was 8-0 Cubs, we decided to go ahead and walk around a bit and see if we couldn't get a little closer to the action.  (The irony that the photo below has a man with a Texas shirt on behind us made me laugh.)
The view from our original seats.  We luckily were under the awning, so no rain on our parade home-opener. 
 New seats for a bit.
Final seats before we headed out.  No need staying the whole game with that kind of blowout, and we weren't sure how the crowds were going to disperse when the game finished, and we planned to have dinner at Broadway Oyster Bar pretty much the day we bought the baseball tickets.
Oyster Bar was delicious, per usual.  Then we headed home to work on the house.  Guess what the next post is about.....


Hall Bathroom Floor: Update

Where I left off with the bathroom was the fun demolition part of the process. Which brings us to this view:
Yes, there was a small likelihood that we could have found a new longer vanity to cover the holes from the two wall semi-partitions, and yes we could have cut corners to save ourselves a little time and budget.  But ya know what, we didn't want to!  We wanted this room to be just as beautiful as the rest of the house that we have rebuilt together.  And so far, we've more than surpassed my wildest expectations of the room.  Pushing boundaries for sure, and teetering on the edge of both of our comfort zones with the choices we are making, but we've just gotta trust our instincts and jump.  

 So, step one: Rip up the linoleum.  Shouldn't be too bad right?  Oh...there's another layer of older linoleum? Ya don't say?! 

 Nothing screams beautiful floors for the main house bathroom like baby blue flowers.

Unplanned Step two: Rip up second layer of linoleum.  Minor setback, no big deal.  Oh, the toilet has had a slow leak and has black mold in the subfloors? Ya don't say?!  So out the subfloor came around the toilet.  This falls in the minor/major setback category.  This certainly falls in the tick my boyfriend off so much that it makes him propose marriage to me category.  Not really, but kinda.  All this fiasco was about an hour before proposal. 
Oh, and there used to be another layer of linoleum before the 2nd layer that luckily they were able to mostly rip up??!!?!?  REALLY?!?! This bathrooms gone through more makeovers than Oprah Winfrey.  It looked like a majority of it had been ripped out, but we could still see the outlines of the grout. 

After all of that mess, finally the new cement board was able to go down for our new travertine tiles.  As you may recall, we also installed travertine in our front hall entrance. I think it makes the house look a little more cohesive in a silly little way. 
Sidenote: if you are ever tiling floor, using the 18" tiles makes life SO MUCH EASIER!  The job goes so fast in comparison to 12" tiles. 
Because I'm a bit spacey these days, I didn't take a picture of the finished floor before Terry put down paper backing to A)allow the grout proper time to cure and B)partially protect the tiles while we still go to town on getting this bathroom completed. Here's the only sneak peek area that I could take a picture.  It looks so beautiful in person.
This weekend, along with Sarah coming into town and us running the Half Marathon, we plan on tiling the shower.  Wish us luck!


The Hiatus

I haven't been around here much these past few weeks.
I HORRIFICALLY failed my list of 30 things for March. (If there are any on the last after #11 that you're dying to know the answer, shoot me an email and I'll get right on that.  Otherwise....consider this mission a complete and utter bust).

Well, truth be told, I feel like I can't keep up with my life right now.  But in the good kind of way.  The "oh my word, every single things is about to change" kind of way.

So, you see:
- We got engaged.  Woo-tothefreakin-Hoo! I don't know how to explain the feeling other than just in a new state of peace.  I feel like a weight has been lifted.  I don't really know how to describe the peace that it's brought other than thinking about it like a puzzle. There's been this one piece in that pile of individual pieces that I know has been there our whole relationship.  I never doubted we'd get to that puzzle piece eventually, but now that it's actually been put in place, there are so many other pieces that can start being added and we're moving more and more into building our puzzle together.  It's a really great feeling, a calming that I have been needing for quite some time.
- We're moving.  Location is pretty confidently locked down, but for superstitious purposes, I'm not going to put it on here until we are packing up and shipping out.  It'd be just my luck that I'd put it out there as official on the interwebbings and the cyberspace demons would figure out a way to change up the plans on us.  So it's hush hush (on here anyway) for now.
- We're selling our house.  Yes, it was a given from when we purchased it that the day would come when all this hard work would be put on the market for some other lucky person/couple/family/small circus to own.  We are in the midst of our last major room renovation, and that has a little to do with my lack of post updates with the pace we've been moving on this room.  I promise to start in on pictures soon.  I'll give you the inside scoop though.......it's looking GOOOOD!
- We're starting to scout homes in our soon to be new locale.  It's still being bobbled around with if we are going to buy or rent this go-round, so more options and more thoughts and more time in discussions. 
- I'm still training for my half-marathon.  It's this Sunday.  If you in any way are interested in following along with my mileage points during the race, you can go to this website, http://www.xacte.com/templates/gostlouis/  or gostlouis.org and there is an Athlete tracking box on the right.  I think that you have to register, but once you log in and type in my name, there is also a button for texting where you can get text messages sent to you phone with each mileage point I hit.  Can't wait for this to be over on Sunday!  It's been a nice stress reliever early on, but I'm in a different frame of mind now. :-)

So here's just a little of posts to come:  Re-painting the Kitchen (finally successfully), all the stupid base trim, new hall and entryway paint color, hall bath progress, Book I finished a bit ago (Sarah's Key), oh yah, and this little thing about The Proposal....Duh.