We’re finally unpacked! We actually live here now! Not everything is in its final place yet (in time, in time) but it it feels good to be unpacked. The smallest bedroom, what we’re calling the “kids room,” even has art on the walls!

We’re pretty psyched about the “rhino butt” that we found at the DC Big Flea. The pen and ink “Rhinoceros” is by Jonathan Meader, aka “Ascian,” or “man who casts no shadow.” It goes well with the crocheted cactus (made by my sister), the rug, and the wool blanket on the cot…love!

It’s still in its original frame from 1971 and there it will remain. There’s a newspaper article taped to the back of the frame about the art show the silkscreen originally appeared in, along with a receipt for framing—only $5.20(!)—at a place called Workshop, now gone from Dupont Circle in DC.

In case you like to know about these things: the ceramic cat was found at GoodWood in DC and the clock was a mere 50 cents at a yard sale in Vermont. The wool blanket is Johnstons of Elgin (similar), a [supersoft!] gift. The rug and small white lamp are both Ikea. The trunk was a Craigslist find. The wooden shelf was bought at Bed Bath and Beyond approximately thirteen years ago, if you can believe it.

We’re happy enough with the room though we have plans to clean up the trim, replace the ceiling fan, and spruce up the closet. Built-in bunk beds are also a possibility.

Beside unpacking and cleaning we’ve kept ourselves busy with relatively quick and easy projects—the “easy wins”—before we get started on the big renovation projects. None of them are glamorous but they needed to be done. So far we’ve:

• scrubbed the textured laminate kitchen counters and vinyl flooring to remove embedded dirt (This was not actually an “easy” win, and they’re still pretty gross—I am so looking forward to our kitchen renovation!)

• removed miscellaneous hooks and broken locks from ceilings and door frames (There were hook and eye, and chain locks on nearly every door—I’m imagining that the previous owners’ children were little escape artists?)

• replaced the homemade Fimo wall and switch plates (which weren’t our style…) with plain white plates (Of course what I REALLY want are Bocci 22 “electrical wall accessories.” Expensive…sigh.)

• caulked the dining room and kitchen windows

• temporarily weather-stripped the basement sliding door (eventually this door will be replaced)

• reconnected a heating duct in the basement

• replaced the interior dryer vent connection and reconnected dryer vent to exterior (it was open to the utilities room and just spewing dryer lint everywhere…what?)

• replaced all faucet aerators (there was some GUNK in there!) and the shower head in our bathroom

• emptied the hot water tank and added hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to fix our our well water’s rotten egg smell (The smell is much improved but not completely gone so we’ll continue to trouble shoot. Here’s a link if you’d like to know what I’m talking about. I barely know myself!)

• had a Culligan tech come out to check on our water softener and filtration systems (Since the last “yearly” service call occurred much longer than a year ago we were not surprised to learn that the water filters desperately needed to be replaced. Now our reverse osmosis water is super clean and sparkly delicious. Also, we have low iron content and our pH is excellent.)

• painted the unfinished wood framing around the living room sliding door. (This took a while as I had to choose a paint color to match the existing door frames perfectly, apply multiple coats of paint, and fight the middling painter’s tape results; but in the end—ahhh. It’s really something no one will [should] ever notice because whereas before it looked like a job done half-assed, now it doesn’t.)

Phew. I know I’ve forgotten things and there are a bunch of projects we’re in the middle of so this list isn’t even complete! Some people might find all this work unpleasant, but we’re really enjoying the process of learning how to fix things around the house and getting this place in shipshape condition.

Before we go, I want to wrap up our DC Big Flea finds…in addition to the rhino butt, we also picked up the huge drippy lamp now located next to the sofa and an old yellow and black Woolrich blanket. Tannenbaum the cat is shown below, enjoying both. We also got a set of three huge Pyrex medical jars that are currently in our bathroom. We think we did well at the Flea!