First Things First

After we closed on the house, we did some rent back with our seller then had two weeks before we had to be out of our apartment. With limited time, and both of us working, how to prioritize? It doesn't take a genius to know: remove stinky dirty carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood floors. Just like on tv.

The entire main floor of the house had wall-to-wall textured carpet from the early 80s is my guess. It was everywhere and emoted a pungent smell of someone else's life (and dog). It had to go. So we bought contractor bags, work gloves, masks, a mass quantity of razor blades and our first shop vac. I've always wanted a shop vac of my own, ever since I spent a summer vacuuming my parent's leaky basement, wild teen that I was. Anyway, it looked like this:

The foyer...

Looking from the foyer into the living room. We'll get to that paneling later.

The dining room. Want to bet there was once a built-in cabinet where that useless closet currently resides? I smell the Alameda Flea Market for a hunt.

And this is the hallway dividing the two bedrooms (also carpeted), the bathroom and two hall closets. Hey, that's a lot of doors!

Overall the process was arduous, but getting the carpet itself up was a breeze. Slice, roll, put it in the pile.

Some of the padding chose to stick to the wood and I knew that would be a party cleaning it up. The worst part was the staples and tack strips. I sprained my finger. But whatever, we had wood floors and they aren't in bad shape! Sure, the finish is worn away in traffic areas, there are some pet stains, water stains, gouges, but all in all, quite lovely. And it's starting to smell better in here!

The house has an addition which leads to the basement. It's bonus space and righteous and perfect for our work-at-home lifestyle. But it had carpet too, of course. And when we pulled it back...

ants!!! Gross, gross, more than words. They came out like an explosion and swarmed the entire perimeter. I screamed, flailed my arms about and split. We ran out for bug spray and destroyed, successfully. The floor here is concrete and the room needs a lot of work. But that's later. For now, let's waddle in the glory, shall we?



As of today, we have officially owned this little Oakland house for two months. We've had access for six weeks and have lived in it for 4. To say it was a roller coaster getting here is you know, an understatement.

The East Bay is an anomaly and competition for affordable, rundown, potentially haunted houses is fierce. But our agent was patient and kind and did not scoff at our meager budget. She held our hand through every rejected or ignored offer (there were 6). Until one day, this short sale was just, there, sitting on the market seemingly unnoticed. We entered quietly, hoping not to bring attention to the AMAZING DEAL and BASEMENT and YARD this home possessed. We slipped an offer under the door (not really), crossed our fingers until they bled and braced ourselves for rejection.

But this house was meant to be ours, and now it is.