Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Great Tile Debacle

We knew from the beginning that replacing our cracked tiles in the kitchen was going to be a big deal...we did not, however, anticipate it becoming The Great Tile Debacle!

And debacle it was!

I've mentioned a bit about our situation briefly in previous posts...this has become such an ordeal that I do believe it deserves its own post!

We have travertine tile in the kitchen, entry, laundry room, dining nook, and hall bathroom...all connected. First thing I will tell you -- if you are ever choosing tile, do NOT choose travertine. It's pretty, but very fragile. It scratches and cracks very easily. We had a handful of tiles in the kitchen that were cracked, and we told the buyers that we would fix them. We also felt the whole area needed to be resealed to give it a fresh coat.

The first tile guy came out to survey our needs. He developed a good plan and we moved forward. He needed to purchase additional tiles because we didn't have any extras...this was our first issue. It took awhile to find the match, and then since it has been five years since our floor was installed, the new batch of tile is a little lighter now. Tile Guy #1 felt that using a stone enhancer should bring the colors closer together. When he began to replace the tiles, we discovered our second issue. It turns out, a lot of our tiles are hollow underneath -- meaning they did not adhere to the slab as they should have, when installed during our build. This hollowness is a big reason why the tiles are cracking. It's not the whole floor, but a lot of it. So, when he removed one tile and the surrounding tiles weren't attached to the floor, those came up as well and could not be re-adhered. So, three tiles turned into nine, all in one spot. Our third issue is that the new tiles did not darken as expected, so the new tiles, in this big batch of nine, are very obvious. Not good. The fourth issue is that Tile Guy #1 did not remove the existing seal, and he also did not use the same seal; so the new seal did not soak into the tiles -- instead, it created a scummy, goopy, greasy mess over the entire floor. After we waited for it to dry (which is didn't), we scrubbed it with water and soap on our hands and knees to remove the crud...and what was left was a streaky, awful mess. Our final issue is that Tile Guy #1 had been paid, and no longer feels he has any stake in this game...he has been no help in solving our current problem. In his mind, he's done. A few photos are below, and they really do not do enough justice to JUST HOW BAD OUR ENTIRE FLOOR LOOKED.

The color variation

The weird spots where the seal reacted with the existing seal -- and the resulting scum

Oh the scum

Our amazing realtors, Teri and Shanda, calmed our stress and assured us that they would take this over and get it done...bless them! I don't know what we would do without them both! They found Tile Guy #2, who came and took a look. He decided the whole floor needed to be completely stripped with a chemical (we would need to stay off the floor for 48 hours); then he would replace a few extra tiles and move a few of the new ones to balance out the lightness; and then he would reseal the whole floor (this would be another 48 hours). Sounded great! But then he looked at his schedule and told us he couldn't fit our very tight time frame into his. So, Tile Guy #2 was out.

Enter Tile Guy #3. His plan was to buff/sand/scrape the initial seal (plus the crud) off the tiles (we would not have to stay off the tile during this phase); replace a few tiles; and then reseal the whole floor (staying off for 48 hours).

I am happy to report that as of today, they have completed the floor and it looks really nice! They literally scraped off so much crud, it was amazing. Once they had the tile back to its original state, they replaced a few and resealed the entire floor. Now we will wait a day for it to completely dry, and then for the next day we can only walk on it in socks. We are so close!

They used these tools to completely sand all of the seal layers off

Using a scraper and a rough pad, they removed all of the scum

It's looking so pretty now!

I dare say our debacle is now over...tentatively and thankfully. What an ordeal. A big thank you to our realtors, Teri and Shanda, who took over and really got this finished for us. Also, to Mimi for being home to let them in so many times, and to Kim (my bestie) for coming over this morning (which was the first morning of her 30 day Sabbatical!) to sit with the dogs while they finished up.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

GSD Mode

As we are closing on the house on August 14th, our time between now and then is filled with an endless list of things to accomplish. That doesn't necessarily make for the most interesting blog posts, so bear with us as we get through the craziness of these next few weeks! We are in GSD Mode -- Get Sh*t Done Mode!

Currently we are:

:: boxing/bagging up everything from our garage sale so that Goodwill can come out to pick it all up. SO MUCH STUFF. It took us two evenings to get it all done -- here is our pile!

This is the heft of our Goodwill pile...but oh -- there is more!

:: working to finish fixing the last little things that were on our inspection report. Getting close.

:: determining if the Go-Mini storage unit we had delivered is big enough to hold everything (we are pretty sure the answer to that is NO).

:: letting our realtors work with Tile Guy #2 on what the plan is for fixing the issues left by Tile Guy #1. #hugemess

:: finishing up the packing, which is becoming more difficult because most of what's left is the stuff that we are still using.

:: waiting on the new lock to deliver so the mister can fix that.

:: selling off the last bit of little items and coordinating pickup.

:: looking for an option for the good amount of trash we are going to have before leaving the house.

:: trying to find buyers for our riding lawn mower and foosball table, both of which are too big to make the move with us.

:: giving lots of love to our pups, Ocho and Poppy, who are definitely freaked out by everything going on around them right now!

:: trying to figure out the semantics and logistics of our tricky, multi-layered MOVING DAY(S). Oi.

:: still doing our normal life things, like going to work and cooking dinner and working out!

Sometimes it feels like there is no way we can get it all accomplished...and then we remind ourselves that it is all going to work out. One thing at a time. It's so easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. We are trying our best to remain sane!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Garage sales are hard work

It is truly mind blowing as we are realizing just how much STUFF we have. It's incredible. Why??? Why do we have all of this? We've just been following the American way...have the space, fill it all up! More more more!!! Just when I think we're getting a handle on it, we discover another closet or nook and there is more STUFF!

Social media is amazing -- we have been able to sell quite a bit of our belongings through sites like Facebook and Instagram! Thank you to each person who has bought anything from us because you have contributed to our whole downsizing movement -- and we appreciate that big time!

But, even with everything we've sold on social media, we still have SO MUCH STUFF. And you know what that means -- time for a garage sale! Garage sales are kind of like puppies and babies -- there is so much time between one and the next, you forget just how much work they actually are!

We worked all week, getting ready for the sale. We had enough to fill a garage and two rooms. We put an ad in the local newspaper's print and online issues. We moved furniture outside. We spent a whole evening pricing everything. We asked my friend, Kim, to come over and help us man the sale on Saturday and she kindly agreed! We were ready.

We had a decent amount of people come out; in terms of garage sale days, I hear it was a slow one in general. It was super hot (100 degrees) and we live outside the city limits. But, people did come and we did sell some stuff. We made some money, but more importantly -- STUFF left our property. I hope it is a very long time before we need to have another garage sale.

So now we are tasked with packing everything up for Goodwill -- thankfully, they will come and pick everything up, and that saves me a huge step. I'll be working on that these next few days and will then schedule the pick up. We also found a church youth group in need of couches for their meeting room, so we are donating our two love seats to them. Good for them, good for us!

Moving right along into a new week, and still so much to do.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Murphy's Law

I'm sure you've heard of Murphy's Law? Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

We are, unfortunately, very familiar with the term...it always seems to rear its head at the worst possible time. I think that's the beauty of the concept, right? Like when you are trading in a car, and on the way to the dealership a rock hits your windshield and creates a large crack? Luckily that didn't happen to us this time with the truck...but it has happened to us in the past!

We have been experiencing quite a bit of ugly Murphy's Law since the day our house sold...I thought I would share some of it with you!

:: One morning, we opened the garage door to head to work -- and the big spring broke! Which then trapped us inside the garage until Chris was able to disconnect everything and lift it manually. We had to have the garage door company out to fix it...$$$.

:: Because of the broken garage door spring, we had to enter the house through our front door for a bit. We typically don't use that door very often (we enter through the garage), and somehow the lock ended up breaking. What on earth?

:: We have an alarm system in the house...there is a unit near the garage door and another unit in our bedroom near the door there. For some odd reason, the unit in our bedroom just stopped working all of a sudden.

:: When we had our house appraised, the nice man who came out to do it was stung by a wasp during the process! And he was allergic to wasps!

:: We've had a few different AC guys out to fix the wall units in the shop/game room Chris built with Neeley...they always think they've got it fixed, and then it always stops working within a day. I think this last one finally figured out the issue -- wires were crossed!

:: There was a small issue discovered with one of our toilets during the inspection -- it continually runs. When Chris tried to fix it over the weekend, it completely broke, which involved a trip to Lowes!

:: Our biggest issue has been with the few cracked tiles we needed to replace in the kitchen. Matching the existing tile proved more difficult than expected, and since the tile is five years old, the same tile looks a lot lighter. Stone enhancer was supposed to do the trick...but it hasn't matched yet. It's very obvious where the new stones are. Still working on that. We also had the tile guy reseal the whole kitchen floor to freshen it up, which has turned into quite a disaster...the seal didn't absorb into the stone, and it created a sticky, gummy mess. After cleaning it up, there are weird marks all over our floor. We are in the thick of this issue now, trying to determine how to fix it. It's turning into a bit of a nightmare.

As one thing piles on top of the rest, it makes us start questioning things...are the choices we're making really worth all this headache? Wouldn't it have been easier to just keep everything as-is and not have to deal with all these troubles?

But you know what? Here's what I've realized. Somehow the devil ALWAYS knows when you are trying to follow God's path, and he does what he can to try to get in the way. He likes to make things as difficult as possible so that we'll give up God's path and settle for the easy path instead. We have to recognize it for what it is and not let it get the best of us! We are going to make it through. Because God is behind us and He will honor our intentions to follow Him!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


We thought it would be fun to give everyone a little perspective -- a glimpse of our current home so you can grasp how BIG of a life change this is for us!

A little over five years ago, we built a beautiful house out in a country subdivision...we basically built our dream house. At the time, we felt like we would grow old in this house, so we put a lot of work into making it perfect in our eyes.

The house is around 3,000 square feet...it has a beautiful open concept that is great for entertaining. It has a scrapbook room, along with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a theater room complete with wall-sized screen and 6 theater recliner seats. There is a wine room.  There is garage space for four cars. There is a beautiful pool with a waterfall and well-established landscaping. And, there is a separate building that Chris built with our friend, Neeley -- a shop/pool house on the bottom, with an upstairs room and deck. The house sits at the back of the subdivision, on an acre and a half. It backs up to trees, and there is a 7' fence for privacy. It is truly an oasis.

It's funny, though, how priorities change -- isn't it?

Different stages of life bring different goals and feelings and beliefs. When you and your spouse can be on the same page with those things, it is truly a beautiful thing! Chris and I are very blessed in so many ways...but more than anything, we are so blessed to be married to one another. Big life change is always very stressful and overwhelming...we are certainly not exempt from those things! But going through it together makes it so much better...we have different strengths and together we will get through it all! One day soon, this transition phase will come to an end and our life will settle down into a normal rhythm again. We are ready for that and all that the future holds for us!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

King Ranch

As a woman, this aspect isn't too exciting for me...but I know that some of you may be interested! So, this post will showcase our new Ford F-250 King Ranch truck. It's a MONSTER!!

And as you probably guessed, it just barely fits in our garage!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Chris' truck (the Ford F-150) was capable of towing a pull-behind trailer -- but a very, very small one. Unfortunately, nothing the size we were needing! So, we discussed it and determined that it was a necessary expense that we would need to take on -- because we don't just want to park the RV. We want to be able to travel with it, too!

Old Truck - Ford F-150
New Truck - Ford F-250
Above in the two comparison photos, you can see the difference in the trucks...the top one is your common, run-of-the-mill truck...the bottom photo is a giant! Just riding in it, you can feel the difference in the power. It feels like we could pull three RVs!

We had to have a 5th wheel hitch installed in the bed of the truck, for pulling the trailer...and we also had them spray in a bed liner, too! Now it is all set up and ready!

It's a Monster!
We've never had a diesel vehicle before, so we will be learning all about that. We will also be learning about pulling a 39 foot trailer, and backing it up! Lots of learning in our future, but we are excited for it all!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Where to settle

This is where we will be parking our new RV!
We had the truck and the 5th wheel figured out...what we were a little stuck on was where we should then park our new home. Kind of an important detail!

There are a handful of options, but nothing we looked at was feeling "quite right." We heard about a little RV park in Buffalo Gap, but it had 10 spots all lined up in a row very close together and it looked like the RVs had all been there for about 20 years. Not an option.

The two viable options were RV parks off of the main highway, Hwy 20. One was the Whistle Stop and the other was the KOA.

We went to the Whistle Stop first. It is a brand new campground, so everything is fresh and new and very nice. They have a large clubhouse, as well as two laundry facilities, a pool, and a convenience store. There are about 100 spots, with the RVs lined up in rows pretty close together. They have a picnic table at each spot. However, since it is so new, there are zero trees out there...so it is a big RV desert.

Next we visited the KOA. This site has a lot of trees and is very established, so there is a lot more shade and it has a more cozy feel. The RVs are also lined up in rows, close together. They also have a pool, a laundry facility, and a convenience store.

Between the two, we preferred the KOA, but they don't have any openings for the date we would need to start parking. So we were thinking we would start at the Whistle Stop for a few months and then move over to the KOA once they had an opening.

We weren't settled on this idea though...it didn't feel quite finalized. But we weren't sure of any other options. Then, God started moving again, and he put it all into place. He has amazing ways!!

At work on Thursday, I was standing in the hallway talking to my bestie, Kim...and one of my coworkers named Amy came looking for me. She isn't someone I talk with on a regular basis, so I was curious. She lives in small country town that is near where we currently live, and she was excited to tell me about a new RV park that is near her house. She had earlier that morning told Chris about it, and really thought we should check it out. Well! I went directly back to my desk and Googled it -- I checked out their Facebook page and their website, and my heart did a little flip of excitement! I told Chris we needed to go and check it out pronto!

We drove out there on Friday evening after dinner, and here is what we discovered:

:: It's small -- there are currently 6 spots, with a plan for 2 more in the near future.

:: Each spot has a large metal covering to protect the RV from weather and also keep it cooler in the hot Texas sun.

:: Each spot has a concrete slab (the other RV parks were gravel), and they are big enough for the RV as well as patio chairs, a BBQ pit, anything else you might put on a patio.

:: The owners of this RV park live there, too, and are very picky about who they are letting rent a space...they want to keep it quiet and respectful with long-time renters.

:: They have plans to put in a small, fenced yard at each spot.

:: They have been open for about a month, and have a great vision for the future of the park.

:: The endless "vacation" traffic of people coming in and out is non-existent.

:: The space between each of the RV spots allows for some breathing room and privacy, which is a big difference from the other two options.

:: Our two dogs will do much better in this environment.

:: It's out in the country and very peaceful.

The owners, Forrest and Lisa, met us when we pulled up and they were so nice! They spent a good amount of time with us, showing us the place and explaining how everything works there. We liked them both instantly! We decided that Chris and I would discuss it and let them know the next day what our decision was.

Chris and I talked it out on the way home, and there are so many pros. This feels RIGHT. It feels like a homey, permanent place to settle. The other two places felt very temporary and "vacation-like". This feels more real. More doable. I am so grateful for Amy's tip on this awesome place! Without her, we would not have known about this place and we would have settled for something we didn't love. We called and reserved our spot this morning, so it is official! We'll pick up our RV on August 15th and drive it to our new location!

The awesome covered spots look like this!
It feels so good having this settled! Watching God work in all of this has been absolutely amazing...we are in awe!!

The Babers