Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A is for Action and It's IWSG Day

Happy IWSG day—the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG has never missed a posting day (even though I have!) so I’m combining my A to Z Challenge and my IWSG post. I hope it doesn't seem too discombobulated. Anyway, many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for creating IWSG. It's a much-loved, very special organization.

It's hard to believe April is here all ready. For almost a year, I've been looking forward and thinking about my A to Z theme. If I was smart, I would have prepared each post ahead of time, but not me. When it comes to the A to Z Challenge, I like to live dangerously. Off the top of my head the night before posting--or morning of. Okay, here we go, we'll see what happens!

Like the TV ad said…we were ready to make our dreams a reality. I'd wanted to yank up carpet and knock down walls for a long time. The 30+ year old home hubby and I purchased in 1996 definitely needed a face lift. But, the time was never right. Hubby worked out of town, we had a daughter in private school, then college ... we just didn’t have the money to invest in home renovation.
So last year, one year after hubby retired, we decided to take ACTION. I could hardly believe it! I began my list of desired improvements and started my research. Exciting times—or so I thought.

Here's my ACTION List:
Living Room: New ceiling fan with great reading lights, new baseboards,  and new flooring all the way down the hall & into master bedroom, paint, removal of wet bar to build floor to ceiling book shelves.
Dining Area:  New flooring, paint
Kitchen: Combine kitchen & dining area, new flooring, new countertops – granite or …? Backsplash, New stove top, new dishwasher, microwave and oven. New garbage disposal, doors on bookcase under bar, remove built-in desk and build shelves with doors, new cabinets? We’ll see.
Master Bedroom: paint, new floor
Master bathroom: new shower, shelves over built-in chest, shelves over bathtub, paint. And new floor.
Guest Bathroom: new countertops and sinks. New toilet, new floor. New tub?     
Son’s room: paint? New floor?
Daughter’s room? New floor?

This is the list we discussed with the contractor—more about him later—and of course, it was all negotiable. At this point, what we wanted and what we could afford were still two different things--sort of like wanting to be published by one of the Big 5 publishers but settling for an unknown small press.
Listen to me: Research is imperative. It doesn’t matter if we’re going to a new doctor or a new literary agent, moving to a new city or a new publisher—research is crucial to keep us from making unnecessary mistakes.
I learned the hard way that no matter whether we’re taking action on our writing dreams or renovating a house, we need to always ask the right questions. What are the right questions? Well, sometimes we don't know them until after the fact. 
Do you know any good questions to ask a contractor before he starts knocking down walls? I'd love to hear them. What would you ask your agent if you learned he was e-bombing your book proposal to publishers--even though some of them didn't publish your genre?
Research + Asking the right questions = a happy writer and a happy renovator!

Join me tomorrow for B-day.


Charles Gramlich said...

I do not like home renovation projects.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I don't either, Charles. I learned my lesson!

Paige Hamilton said...

I enjoyed your post today, as I've been renovating a home I own in north Louisiana. Six years ago I bought this cute little house, lived there for about 18 months before I got married and moved to a new city. Suddenly I was something I never ever anticipated being ... a landlord. My most recent renter left the house in such a terrible state ... thankfully, everything could be relatively easily repaired, just cost lots of money I would have rather spent somewhere else. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is ASK lots of questions, both of prospective renters and of contractors.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Omg Paige! We were landlords once and our renters even washed the draperies! I'll never own rental property again! Do you still live in Louisiana? If so, don't come through Lake Charles without joining me for coffee!!

Stepheny Houghtlin said...

This is my 3d year of the #Challenge, but I learned the first year that it calls for ACTION, early! I have my posts finished and in the queue so I can come and enjoy a blog like this. There is still time to crank some out so you can enjoy spending time visiting.

Mary Aalgaard said...

That would be a daunting project, and I have no idea what questions to even begin to ask a contractor!
Play off the Page

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Stepheny - I've done several challenges too. For me, it wouldn't be much fun to write my posts ahead of time, but I might try it one day. Thanks!

Mary, daunting indeed!

Diane Burton said...

2 big questions: how long will it take? how much will it cost? There will be surprises for both. Just watch "Love it or List it" on HGTV (I think). Good luck with the remodeling.

Zan Marie said...

The house looks marvelous, Jess! You know I'm a rehab addict of long standing. You have to be to live in a 1920 house. ;-)

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Diane, I have watched Love it or List it. A horror show! And I can identify. Unfortunately, asking those two questions mean little to a contractor.

Zan Marie- this pic is pre-renovation.

lifetone said...

Sounds like you're a busy bee! I think that's why it's important to have people who are reputable and presumably want to continue to be so.