Mirror Mirror . . .

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. ~Socrates

February 2013 was a month of de-cluttering again for me. I got back out my list I had made way back in the summer of 2011 and looked to see what items were left to do. Like the quote above, I didn’t want to fight with this old stuff anymore. I just wanted to concentrate on building the new house. 😦 But, to get to the new – I had to deal with this old.

I cleaned out and organized the spare bedroom closet, all three bathroom vanities, a bathroom cabinet, the linen closet, and an antique cabinet.

Bill was able to squeeze in a day where he replaced bulbs in our tract lighting in the kitchen and dining area and patched up some areas around the house. A couple of days after that I did touch-up painting over the repaired spots.

We were also able to get our taxes done early and e-filed by mid month. Woohoo! Nice refund.

And, just about every Thursday evening we got a call from Bill’s retirement specialist. Bill would repeat the same questions almost each week and add another one to the list. Each week the retirement specialist would promise to get us the answers. One of the most pressing questions was about health insurance for me until I turned 65. We were both covered on Bill’s insurance until the end of March with Bill retiring on March 28. Bill will go on Medicare starting April 1. Bill was grandfathered in on a benefit that covered spouses after employees retired for a minimal amount of money. We were trying to verify if that was still in place and how much it would cost. And, they had my name on file as Sandra K. Williams. 🙄

And, if that wasn’t enough, Bill got a letter from Social Security confirming that he would start receiving benefits in March. 😯 Nooooooooo! It was supposed to start in April; he’s still working in March. After more phone calls to Social Security, he was told he had to go down to the SS office in person to get it straightened out. He decided to take off work and get there before they opened so he could be one of the first in line. He came home with a couple forms. His work had to fill out one form and we had to be fill out the other. Once we got those completed he asked me to drop the forms off at the Social Security office the following week. I wish I could say that took care of the problem.

As weather permitted, Bill continued to build cabinets for the kitchen. The corner base cabinet and corner upper cabinets were a pain for him to build. One exciting thing he tried was a tinted Danish oil technique on the mahogany instead of stain. He had gone to the woodworking show in January and watched a demonstration on it. Bill said it was so much easier to apply versus stain and he thought it would give me the dark rich look I was looking for on the cabinets. The left piece of wood is veneered mahogany (sides of cabinets) and the right piece of wood is solid mahogany (all the cabinet face-frames). There will be many layers of finish on top of the Danish oil so it will be even brighter when done. I was very pleased with the look. Unfortunately the tinted Danish oil doesn’t work with maple – the wood which Bill made the laundry/pantry cabinets. Those will need to be stained.

Tinted Danish Oil on Mahogany

Tinted Danish Oil on Mahogany

Remember my last post when I said we thought our house plan changes were over? 😆  When Jim sent us the digital version of the forms at the end of February he sent us two other options of how our house and pole barn could be placed on our property. He called us and said that with the very wet winter, the ground was saturated. He thought if Bill ever wanted to drive back to the pole barn he would mess up the yard. This was how we originally had the house and pole barn situated. We planned to share Jill and Jim’s driveway on the left.

Original Site Plan

Original Site Plan

Jim said there was no pressure to select another site plan, he just wanted to give us options we might not have thought about. He said he had a “favorite” site plan he had drawn up, but he would not tell us which one it was. I even begged him to tell us and told him we respected his opinion but he wouldn’t tell us before we made up our own minds.

Here was Site Option 1. We would still share Jill and Jim’s driveway, but the drive into our house would be longer, the house would be pushed farther to the east side, and pole barn would be moved to the west side of the property. We would have a gravel drive off our driveway to the pole barn.

Site Plan Option 1

Site Plan Option 1

Here was Site Option 2. We would have our own driveway on the east side of the property next to Jim, Sr. and Joan’s property. The driveway would extend all the way to the pole barn. The driveway towards our garage would be much wider and allow for double parking or plenty of room for backing up and turning around. The house would be pushed more toward the west.

Site Plan Option 2

Site Plan Option 2

Bill and I really liked the idea of Option 2. We did like the idea of having our own driveway and it did offer driving to and from the pole barn, which Bill does a lot where we now live. But, here was the kicker. If you looked closely, you will see that in Option 2, the house’s orientation is flipped horizontally – it is a mirror image of what it originally was. I was having trouble wrapping my head around that switch. Whenever I cannot visualize something about the new house, I turn on the laptop and start up the 3D house design software. Bill asked me if there was a mirror feature on the software (which I had never used before).  We found there was a mirror button. Yippee! I didn’t have to redraw the whole thing!

As Bill and I looked at the mirrored floor plan we started to notice some issues. Really? Nothing is easy when making changes. One of the biggest issues if we made the change was the kitchen cabinets. Bill said that his corner cabinets would not be correct. The sections of the corner cabinets were not symmetrical. On the base cabinet Bill had made a blind corner cabinet. We had purchased a Rev-A-Shelf Blind Corner Cabinet Organizer. What he had built was in the orientation of the picture on the left. If we mirrored the house, the corner cabinet would have to look like the picture on the right.

The upper corner cabinet was such a bear to build in the first place and Bill determined that most of it would have to be rebuilt. Here was the inspiration photo for the upper corner cabinet.

Inspiration for upper corner cabinet

Inspiration for upper corner cabinet

In addition to the corner cabinets, Bill would have to remake a couple face-frames for cabinets on each end. And, he had to remake the side panel for the microwave/wall oven cabinet. The list was mounting.

The second biggest issue was door hardware. We had already purchased all our interior and exterior door hardware. In the mirrored house plan the doors were swinging in the opposite way than our original plan. If you used knobs as door handles, that would be no problem. However, we had purchased all lever handles. Bill and I got out all the handles and double-checked to make sure they would still work for the doors. The handles were reversible, so we were fine except for the front door. That door in-swing could not be changed. Because the front door is in the middle of the wall, we decided that we could keep it opening the same way as we originally planned.

I let Bill make the final decision whether we made the mirrored plan change or not. He was going to be the one that had to remake cabinets. I would never intentionally ask him to do that. Plus, I worried about his time to get all the cabinets done period, let alone going backwards and remaking a bunch of cabinets. Bill gave the nod to Site Option 2 with the mirrored house plan. He said he would remake the cabinets because the new site option was a better plan.

We called Jim the first part of March and told him our preference. It wasn’t until we made the decision before he would admit that Option 2 was his first choice, too. Thank goodness, Jim had a mirror image feature with Auto-Cad and didn’t have to re-draw all our plans from scratch. Of course, that didn’t mean there weren’t more changes to be made.

Next up: Meeting with our realtor and a house stager.

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