Options, Choices, Decisions, Part II

Change always comes bearing gifts. ~Price Pritchett

Awwww, spring! The time of growth. The time of change. The time for taxes. (Yuck! We could do without that one!)

Several monumental happenings occurred during the spring of 2012:

  • We got a nice tax refund.
  • We bought appliances for the new house with that refund (well, the refund paid for part of the purchase).
  • I finally learned to drive our zero-turn lawn mower.
  • Jill volunteered Jim to professionally draw up our house plans.

The tax refund was a blessing. I think part of it was based on my retirement the year before since I only worked half the year. The other was from all the charitable donations to Goodwill. I’ve never had such a stack of receipts with attached inventory lists in all the years we’ve been married. I sure de-cluttered!

Since we were working on house plans and Bill was starting to build cabinets based on those house plans, he needed measurements of the appliances we planned to use. Bill said we might as well buy as much as we could for the new house while he was still working. Besides, why include those items into a home loan and pay on them for years. So we started shopping around. I’m going to publicly confess that Bill and I became stalkers at Lowe’s and Menards. We stopped in at least twice a week. We wandered the aisles looking at their cabinets and trim and appliances and sinks and faucets and anything else we could use for the new house. We were always on the look-out for bargains or clearance. This was a common sight when we went to either of these stores.

Checking out cabinets

Checking out cabinets

After much research we finally decided on purchasing some Bosch appliances for the kitchen: five-burner gas cooktop, convection microwave, single electric wall oven, and dishwasher. Because we weren’t going to use them for a couple of years, we purchased 4 year warranties on all of them. Better safe than sorry. We decided we would wait on buying our refrigerator, trash compactor, and washer/dryer until later.

We also bought out two Menards stores for our cabinet hardware. I wanted something rustic. When I saw these, I knew they were the ones. The icing on the cake . . .  they were on clearance. Woohoo!


Cabinet handles and knobs

Now, about that zero-turn lawn mower. I’ve always said that the zero-turns were created for men. They are like toy sports cars that have blades under them. You can run them as fast as you like and turn on a dime. Since I don’t like to drive fast or turn on a dime, the zero-turn did not appeal to me. But, I love to cut grass. Always have as long as it’s on a riding mower. We have 2-1/2 acres to cut. I use to cut grass with my John Deere riding lawn mower. I loved that mower. It was so easy to run. We sold it later in the summer on Craig’s List for more money than we paid for it used!

Cutting grass

The John Deere mower

We really didn’t need two lawn mowers. When Bill cut using the zero-turn he could cut our grass in about half the time as it took me to cut with the JD. In 2012 we started cutting grass in March and it needed to be cut about twice a week for months until we hit the drought. So, since Bill was so busy making cabinets he asked if I could start cutting grass. I put on my big girl panties and said I would if he’d help me conquer my fear of driving the Exmark zero-turn. He had tried teaching me the year before but I  jumped off of it. Yes, literally, I did while it was moving. It scared me. 😦 As a public service announcement, I don’t recommend anyone doing that. EVER!

Bill used a different technique in training me this time around. If you don’t know what a zero-turn mower is – all your controls are in the hand levers. You don’t have a gas pedal or a brake or reverse gear. It’s all controlled by the hand levers. And, of course, you have to push one lever one way and the other lever another way when you want to make turns. Yeah, my brain does not naturally understand that and I would turn the levers in the opposite way. It did not come natural to me like riding a bike. We took baby steps. Bill showed me how to go forward, backward and stop. Then he made me drive the mower up and down row after row over and over until I felt comfortable. Next he showed me how to maneuver the hand levers to go around things. That was harder, but I eventually got the hang of it – slow and a little choppy, but could get the job done. The last thing he showed me was how to go faster! I was on my way. I did end up cutting grass most of the year. The only area I still refuse to cut is a small hill with four trees behind the pole barn. I don’t like the feeling of being slanted on that zero-turn.

Back to house plans . . . Once we had decided on a final house plan and I had worked on it for months, some things started to bother me. I didn’t have the vaulted ceiling in the family room showing correctly and I didn’t know how to fix it without destroying the roof lines. Then, I started to play with the roof lines and make gables. I messed it up big time. I was getting so stressed that I couldn’t get the plans correct. I kept worrying how would we ever be able to use these plans to send out for bid. We thought when we purchased the software that we could create those documents. I finally posted a question on the software tech help forum. Two people answered that I really needed to work with an architect to draw up our plans from my drawings or I could contract someone from the software company to do that.

I remember the day clearly that I had a conversation with Jill about how stressed I was. I was in the dog food aisle at Wal-Mart almost in tears relaying to her via phone that after all the work I had done and all the work she and Jim had helped me in changing things on the house plans, we could not use them in the format they were in. Jill had worried about that, too, as she said that our software plan showed thick exterior and interior walls that had all the inside components of a wall. Official blueprint/Auto-cad drawings of house plans do not show walls like that. Then, she told me that it was always in the back of their minds that Jim would draw up our plans before we bid out the house to contractors. It was???? Really? What a relief for me. 🙂 What a headache for Jim. 😦

The next trip we made down to Jill and Jim’s we arranged to work on house plans. How many computers does it take to do this? Obviously, on this trip, it took four laptops!

By the time we left that weekend, I was so sick of house plans, answering questions I hadn’t even thought about before, and making more decisions. How in the world did I ever think I was going to be the General Contractor while building this house? Wait, did I ever mention that before? Yes, that had been the idea. We’d put the house on the market; we’d sell our house and I’d move down with Jill and Jim. Then with their help, we’d start building the house. All the while Bill would stay up here, continue to work but would have to move to an apartment. We must have been delusional! I had even bought three different books on how to build your own home and about being your own general contractor. I read them all. They scared me to death! Terms like footings, drain tiles, O.S.B, gypsum board were foreign to me. Oh, I could look up the terms but I was so over my head. But, Bill kept saying I was going to have to be the general contractor because he was going to be working. 😕 The seriousness of this delusional thinking was addressed later in the summer.

One of the great things about our trip down to Jill and Jim’s that weekend was feeling the peacefulness of our surroundings. We love this property. Bill and I would wake up early and look out those wall of windows in the family room and watch the deer. We’d look at each other and say, “I cannot wait until we move down here!” Here is a short video to give you an idea why we feel the way we feel. And, you also get a look of what part of the 18 acres of grass looks like.

While we turned all the plans over to Jim, that relieved us to do research for materials and furnishings we could buy for the house. And, purchase we did. Every time I would call Jill and tell her what new thing we had bought, she kept laughing and saying why are you buying it now! Soon our running joke became, “Just wait until we start buying drywall!” 😀 This was the start of our spending spree:

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FYI: That dining set may or may not ever end up in the house. The style really doesn’t go with our house, but it was a great price off Craig’s List and we knew we needed something until Bill has time to make our new dining table. Yes, that’s on his list, too! He’s even bought the thick wood for it. Also, that ice maker Bill bought will be a built-in under the counter in the laundry room next to the sink. An interesting fact about the icemaker: the guy Bill bought it from told him it originally was owned by Peyton Manning. It broke down, they decided they would purchase a new one, and gave the old one to the service guy. He repaired it and put it on Craig’s List. By the way, it was never advertised as owned by Manning and the guy never told him that until after he paid for it. So, now we have a Peyton Manning souvenir. 🙂

Our garage was filling up with all these purchases. Bill even built a crate for that huge bed.


The rest of the summer, Bill spent most of his time in the pole barn building cabinets for the laundry/pantry room. Once he got past building that large pantry cabinet, he knocked out all the rest of the laundry cabinets. He decided he would wait until spring 2013 to stain all the rest of these cabinets and finish them.

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Next up: The mother of all mother decision-making!

5 thoughts on “Options, Choices, Decisions, Part II

    • Robyn, I know! The idea sounded great two years ago. And as beautiful has Bill has been able to make them, it has added a degree of stress to the mix. We never would have been able to afford these custom cabinets if we had some else make them. We are running out of time, so some cabinets won’t get made until after we move into the new house. He’s working on the kitchen cabinets now. We may have to purchase the bathroom cabinets. It will all depend on how fast we sell this house. I just pray a lot and figure God will lead us to whatever decision needs to be made. Plus, I borrowed your saying, All things are possible through God! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  1. Sandy – you are doing such a great job on this blog – very entertaining! I don’t see that you are running out of time though — I assumed the pole barn with Cousin Billy’s cabinet factory will be the first order of business when he retires, and that way he can be on site to manage the crews while he is finishing the projects 🙂 Do you have good cell service at your new location?

    • Thanks, Arlene! Yes, the new pole barn will go up first when we start the build, but we are planning to use it to store all our furniture and belongings and all of Bill’s tools in there until the house is complete. No room then to set up his workshop until we move into the new house. So, the pressure has been on for him to get the cabinets done before we move from up here. If it takes longer to sell the house, then Bill will have longer to work on cabinets. The realtor is coming this evening. We don’t want to list the house until sometime in April. Weather has been yucky here and cold. Grass is still brown. Thanks for reading all my crazy writings! I better get up to date soon then I’d like to just post short write-ups. 🙂

      • Have you considered a temporary enclosed canopy for either the shop or the storage — they are quite well made – not very expensive in the overall scheme of things – and they hold up well in all kinds of weather. (I’m sure you have considered this option, since you are all so thorough – but just thought I should mention it) Once construction begins, someone (the decision maker) will need to be on site whenever workers are there to be moving things along and making quick decisions — it has worked for us anyway.

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