Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Adventures in HomeOwership- Step 1: Install a Mailbox

Well...now what? We picked out the lot, drew up a floor plan, built a house, moved into the house, and started unpacking the house. What else will we fill our time with? Oh that's right...we're homeowners now, the fun never ends! Task #1 as first time homeowners...install a mailbox. You see, in the midst of all the moving excitement and change of address, I didn't realize that a change of address meant our mail would be going to our home now. I guess I realized it...but what I didn't think of was exactly where that mail would go.

A few weeks ago I grabbed one of those nifty change of address packets from the handy dandy post office, and when I saw the "date of transfer" I happily put June 25th, 2010. Um...Amberly? Really, did you think in the midst of all the moving-in craziness, we would be able to put in a mailbox too? Yikes! I know, what was I thinking, right?

I'm not sure if it was the adrenaline that was pumping from the excitement of the move, or from the beverages of Ryan's newly stocked bar (yes, he already has it stocked), but we were ready for our fist homeowner task. A 5 Step Mailbox Process-

Monday, June 28, 2010

All Moved In

Well...the day was finally here- June 25th, 2010. Our wake up call of 6:45AM was much anticipated. After both eating a breakfast of champions (McDonald's and Burger king) we were off! I headed out to the house just short of 7:30 to lay down plastic in the hallways, place toilet paper in all bathrooms, and set my "moving" clothes in the closet. Ryan and I met at the bank at 9:00AM and closing took only half an hour. A few hand cramps and a cup of coffee later, it was off to the apartment for our first load. We were already in moving mode, so we decided to take the first load of boxes over and set them in the garage.

Around 11:00AM- my parents and brother graced us with their presence, and an extra bed, at the house. After unloading, the boys were back to the apartment while my mom and I made the master bed and set the appliances. A short while later the whole crew was at the house with 2 full trucks, a suburban and a uhaul! A short while later the Nebraska Furniture Mart dropped off our bedroom and living room furniture along with our washer and dryer and the Cox cable man stopped by to install our cable.

Our home felt like a busy bee hive. People were here there and everywhere! Hauling boxes, setting up furniture, taking water breaks, and sweating up a storm! When all was said and done, everything went smoothly. After picking up pizza for the crew, we all enjoyed the air conditioning and some good conversation.

Ryan and I are so lucky to have such helpful, loving and thoughtful families. We really couldn't have completed our move without you guys, and we are very grateful for you. The day seemed to fly by so fast, but moving into our first home will be a day we will never forget.

A view of the living Room

Master bedroom

Master bathroom


Laundry room with washer and dryer!

Thomas Family Movers

Austad Family Movers

Thanks to everyone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Bit of Perspective

My apologies for my longstanding absence in posting on this blog (Ryan). As Amberly so eloquently stated, our lives have slowed down in one sense. We may not be "scheduling time to shower" as Amberly apparently did in college, however the speed at which life progresses actually seems to be increasing. Take for example a conversation Amberly, Sara and I had on our drive up to Okoboji this past weekend; the discussion circled around the fact that Sara is now officially in her late 20's (gasp). We will celebrate Sara's 27th birthday on June 28th which effectively transitions her out of being a "young adult" and propels her into full blown adulthood. Now, the difference in time elasping between ages 21-22 or ages 26-27 is the exact same, so why does it feel so different to people? I'd imagine for many people the psychological age change happens from 29-30 or 39-40..etc. I love when people say "this year flew by!" Really? As opposed to last year? Must of been leap year... Is time changing speeds or is it the speed of change that is shifting our psychological perspective? Ok, this is getting philisophical - let's go with it.

I spent the morning talking with people about pyschological decision making. Interestingly enough, scientists have shown 70% of any decision to be based on emotion, leaving only 30% to rational thought. I'll give you a scenario:

Imagine you are President of the United States as a pandemic breaks out in a small town of 600 people. The town is quarantined so these individuals are the only people that can possible be affected. You have two options in dealing with the crisis:
- Option one guarentees you will save 200 people
- Option two offers a 1/3 probability that you will save all 600 and a 2/3's probability that all 600 will die

Which option do you take? The vast majority of people will take option one. Now, what if I rephrase option one to say "Option one will kill 400 people." Do you still take option one over option two? Probably not. Rationally, Option one is the exact same, therefore if you were a rational decision maker it wouldn't make any difference. Fact is, emotion plays a much larger role in human behavior.

Here is one more interesting example for you to ponder:

You are standing on top of a bridge watching a train hurl down the tracks below you. Five hundred yards ahead you see five people tied to the tracks who will die instantly if the train hits them. On the bridge is a lever which will immediately stop the train, however if you pull the lever one person somewhere else will instantly die.

Do you pull the lever, saving five people to sacifice only one? Our ultilitarian nature says yes, most people would. Now change the story slightly; to save the five people you have to push the generously proportioned person standing next to you off the bridge so the train will hit him - thus derailing the train from the tracks. Would you do it?

Rationally speaking, the decision is the exact same- kill one to save five. However, very few people would say they would push the individual. This is an emotional decision and emotional behavior.

I think these examples provide an interesting parellel to our conversation about age and the speed at which time goes by. Moreover, if we understand the role emotions play in decision making, how do we then use that to promote certain behaviors/decisions?

In closing, Sara is turning 27 which is closer to 30 than 20. But what if I were to say "Sara is half the age of Madonna!" Does that elicit a different perception of her age?

Monday, June 21, 2010


According to my father-in-law, we need to write about something other than our house on our blog. Well, FIL (better known as Dave), you'll be happy to know that we're closing on our house THIS WEEK! Yes, I know that you'll be here to help with the move-in process. But you'll also be happy to know that we'll be able to blog about something other than construction for a while :) ...like, decorating, and re-staining furniture, hanging pictures and figuring out who's taking the trash out on Thursday mornings. Yes, its about to get very exciting around the Austad house!

Ryan and I both realized that our lives, albeit busy, have slowed down from the college pace from a few years ago. After dinners with our friends Matt and Rachael last week, and Dave and Rachel this week, we've noticed that it seems to be the norm among our age group. Thinking back to our college days, we were constantly on the go: going to class, sorority and fraternity meetings, homework, group projects, working out, intramural games, work schedules, and the general hanging out with friends- our days were full. Actually they were jam packed.

Heck, in college I was so busy I had to actually schedule in my showers. You can ask my college roommates, I had a minute by minute schedule. Thankfully life isn't that crazy nowadays...so I'm able to take showers whenever I feel the need :) But I guess the whole point is...we're enjoying our laid back lifestyle now, and sometimes the most exciting thing happening in our life happens to be the thing that also takes up most of our time. We both have asked each other, "What are we going to do once our house is built and we've finally moved in?" As I sit here and shrug, I can think of many things to occupy our time. And no....grand kids are not in the near future for a while. I have a feeling we'll love to entertain at our new home. Theme parties...here we come!

A little trip down memory lane

Sorority Recruitment

Hanging out with friends

Husker Games!

Theme Parties!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movin' On Up

As the Jefferson's would say: Well we're movin' on up, To the west side. To a deluxe ranch floor plan in the sky. Movin' on up. To the west side. We finally got a piece of the pie!

We're packing things left and right these days. This past weekend after acquiring many free boxes from Amberly's work (thanks Abante), we worked for a few hours taking all of the decorative things around the apartment down. Our books, decorative kitchen plates, office items, and bar ware were next to be packed. Not much is left but the kitchen and clothes in our Master Bedroom. It feels good to have a clean slate and to remind ourselves that everything in our apartment will have plenty of space in our house.

After we patted ourselves on the back and chilled out with a glass of juice in hand, we noticed there was one more thing left to do. You see, when we first moved in to our apartment we didn't own a level (well, I guess we still don't own a level). So it made hanging things a little more challenging. But have no fear. We "eye balled it" best we could and drew pretty pencil lines on our walls. (We WILL NOT be doing this at the new house.) Needless to say, there were A LOT of marks on our walls along with nail holes that may or may not have held nails. Out came trusty Mr. Spackle and Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers.

Ryan was a pro at the Magic Eraser business. He not only cleaned up the scuffs from our picture debacles, but went nuts and cleaned up and down the hallways. We have played many rounds of catch in the hallway with the football during those gloomy winter months, so there were quite a few pigskin marks to be cleaned. I tackled the spackle (haha that rhymes) and filled all of the deep holes and then flattened them out to dry. All in all we felt it was a pretty wonderful afternoon of packing and cleaning. We'll have to get use to those, as 850 sq feet is a lot less to clean than 2800.

Ryan showing off the spackle job above him

The kitchen is pretty much packed up

And so is the bedroom

Another view of the packing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel

There really is a light at the end of the tunnel...and that was soooo evident last night at the house. We're down to counting the days until move in, we're now down to 9. Really, NINE! Single Digits, 1 less than 10, Neuve, Neuf, Neun, Nove. NINE! (for those of you trying to figure it out, that's Nine in Spanish, French, German and Italian- and no, I didn't know them off hand)

The builder's online schedule shows almost 100% completion on this project. And we have no more months in our drop down box! I remember looking at the schedule in early March and dropping down to June...at that time the closing date was June 15....and we could only imagine summer weather, no snow on the ground, and a completed house. And here we were last night walking through our soon to be home. The carpet and wood floors were installed, along with all of our ceiling fans and entryway light. Our appliances are patiently waiting for their big day in the garage, the sinks and faucets gleamed and the newly grouted tile back splashes completed the bathrooms.

What more is there to do you ask? Well...there's this little thing called a driveway...yeah, we don't have one of those yet. And yes, they are kind of important to a house. Without going into the entire saga, our builder has had a heck of a time with the City of Omaha and their red tape. We have a small turnaround in our front drive area since we live on a dead end. The city needs to keep it there (no problem), but the concrete is badly beaten up. Our builder offered to put brand spankin' new concrete to replace it (what a deal!), however the city is still holding off on their project. So...I guess we'll have to cross our fingers that the City of Omaha cooperates soon.

Other than that...there are just small aesthetic things left with the house. Our knobs and drawer pulls need to be installed, the doors need to be hung back up, we need mirrors, toilets and shower heads in the bathrooms (not as aesthetic...pretty necessary), and a few light fixtures to be installed as well. Are you just squirming in your chair to see the finished product? Well...we'll have to wait another 9 days for that...but here is the almost finished (and still very dusty) product. Enjoy

CARPET! It was so comfy- we didn't want to leave!

Master Bathroom

Laundry Room cabinets and countertop

The bar with backsplash

Friday, June 11, 2010

TWO more weeks!

Can you believe it?! Neither can we! 2 more weeks left of the house build and we'll be movin' on in. I looked back on all of the pictures we took throughout this building journey and I am so glad we documented the build. It's amazing to see a muddy hole in the ground turn into a basement. Wood pillars and sheathing turn into drywall and rooms, and well trod flooring turn into a beautiful tile masterpiece. It really is coming together in these last 3 weeks, and the energy at the house seems to be buzzing with busyness.

The tile guys should be finished Monday, so the electrical and plumbing guys can come in and add their finishing touches next week. Along with carpeting and finishing up the stone on the fireplace, there aren't many other check marks to make. Ryan and I did our best this week to wait for the excitement, and instead of going out to the house everyday like last week, we frequented our house only twice this week. Which really made us happy because we got to see a lot of improvement in both of those visits.

Its going to be a weird transition to start staying "our house" instead of "the house." I think we confuse people when we tell them we went out to "the house" and then came back home to have dinner. Home is still the apartment for the next few weeks! Hopefully another update will be coming soon! What will we blog about after this project is finished? :)

What the entryway is looking like nowadays

kitchen back splash is in!

tile is in the guest bathroom as well

Ryan made this choice during our home selections to do a stained banister with iron railings. I wasn't too sure about it...but I love it! Good work Ryan!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Perplexing Primer

We are now in the "pretty process" of our home build. Most of the outside work is done, the only thing we're waiting on has mostly to do with landscaping- a driveway, sprinklers, sod, etc. But the inside of the house is rockin' and rollin'. Last week, we headed out to the house per our usual after work routine and were pleasantly surprised when we walked in. There was paint on the walls! Or was it? After looking around the main floor of our new place, we noticed that there was no variation in color, no accent walls, and the "paint" color was quite an awful tannish purple. I of course, freaked out and wondered, what in the heck went wrong with the paint selections that we got this nasty color?

Well...no fear, Ryan was here. After an email to our builders to ask them what kind of color was on our walls, we found out that it was just the primer. Insert forehead wipe here, and pop a couple of Excedrin for Amberly's massive stress headache, and we were good to go! After a phone call to my mom, who listened to my entire primer story with a knowing smile...my nerves were back in order.

And a few days later, we visited again (OK, I'm lying we visit every day now). Ta-Da! There was actual paint on the walls! Whew! There were definite accent walls, the mater bedroom was in prime mocha fashion and the laundry room was exactly as I had wanted it- tame teal and all! It really is fun to see what I had blogged about here and to finally see it on the walls!

A Mocha Master Bedroom

One of the Accent Walls

Pretty Tame Teal

Friday, June 4, 2010

Furniture Conundrum

When we first moved into our apartment the week before we were married we were lucky enough to have furniture ready and waiting for us. See, Ryan's sister Sara was looking to unload her wonderful and oh-so-comfy couches, and we were in need of living room furniture. It was a match made in heaven. These couches (a love seat and a sofa) have been through the last year and a half with us. They have doubled as a couch bed when guests came to stay, and they have been host to many game nights, lost popcorn kernels, and Ryan's Wedding Ring.

But it is now time to bid them adieu. In all honesty, we had hoped to keep this furniture and use it in our great room in the main living area upstairs. But after careful calculations of the space...they just won't fit. They are super deep...measuring in at 44". Ryan and I scratched our noggins and tried to figure out what we would do with them. And then the phone rang (yeah yeah, it didn't exactly happen like that...but you get the idea). Melissa, Ryan's sister, was in need of furniture. She has just graduated from college and is moving into an apartment. Voila!!!

We will miss these wonderful green couches...but they are going to another wonderful home. Passed down from sibling to sibling...to sibling, I guess Melissa's just going to have to keep them until Abbie moves out! :)

Now...for a look back on all of the couch memories.

Mom and Dad enjoyed game night on the Couch

Margarita Night on the Couch

Ring in the Couch

Great Ideas on the Couch

Friends on the Couch

Couch watches as Ryan Hunts Easter Eggs

The Infamous couch Bed

We'll Miss you Couches!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

3 Weeks to Go!

All engines go! After today it will be 3 weeks until the closing date of our house. THREE WEEKS?! I can not believe it! Things seem to be getting more and more real every day. We met and chatted with our new neighbors, Blake and Julie the other day and got the 411 on the neighborhood. Apparently we have a deck guy in the area, whom I'm sure we will get to know once we decide to add on an awesome grilling area in the backyard :) We also learned that there are 2 adorable sisters that live across the street, Gertrude and Mildred, I think that's what their names were. I'm sure we'll meet them sometime soon!

The pictures below are actually from a week ago. The mantle is stained, the stairway railing and banister are both up and the doors on most of the cabinets are on. However, once all of that was finished, the painters moved in and covered all of it up! We didn't get a great look at it all at once, but I'm sure once they are finished with the paint we'll get the full effect.

We have garage doors now, and the stone on the outside of the house is just about finished! We still have to get a driveway in and of course sod laid down. Since we have a small turnaround in our front yard, the city of Omaha has been delaying the process of our driveway just a tad. Hopefully the builders will have that figured out in no time!

Well...I guess that's all for tonight. Ryan and I are gearing up for a night full of errands for the house. We get to drop off our pre-closing paperwork at the bank, head to NFM for some last minute furniture shopping (more on that later), and head out to the house to measure and look at the almost finished painting! Should be a good night! Nebraskans...enjoy this beautiful weather..it should be a great night for a walk!

Hooray for garage doors!

Cabinets covered for painting

mantle covered

Stairway covered

LOTS of painting mess!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our Last Rent Check

Its getting closer and closer! This morning we dropped off our very last rent check at Whispering Hills. I decided to take a picture of the momentous occasion, right before work at 7:55 AM. Doesn't Ryan look excited? It'll feel great to be able to call our house our home soon. Its finally June...move in month. We can't believe move in day is almost here!