Here's a recap of the projects we've tackled:
- The kitchen: Mostly finished now, but we still have to drywall over the hole in the ceiling where the fluorescent light panel used to be. Mark's parents as well as his older brother and his partner came down from Michigan to help us with the bulk of the painting, and we had an electrician in to redo the lighting.
- The yard: We built a DIY fence out of premade 6' x 8' panels. My parents came up to help out with that. It was very hard work, but endlessly rewarding--we're enjoying playing out in the yard with Rudy, and also appreciate being able to simply let him out in the yard to do his business on colder mornings. The next phase of that project is to reseed the decimated lawn.
- Furniture: We did finally receive our tax credit, and along with the fence, a healthy extra mortgage payment toward the principle, and a shot of life into our savings, we bought some furniture: a sectional couch, a loveseat, some chairs, end tables, a coffee table, a seven-piece dining set, and a three-piece set for the dining nook.
- Curtains: More to do here, but we put in some nicer-looking curtain rods and an insulated linen panel for the glass door in the den.
- The exercise room: We had been saving toward buying a treadmill to support our running habit, but when I injured my knee in January, it became more important to have a convenient means of cross training. So instead we went for a combination bike and elliptical trainer, which is now saving my sanity by allowing me to work out. It was nowhere near as costly as a treadmill, but it does set our treadmill dream back a bit.
- Garden: Besides reseeding the back lawn, I'd like to really get the garden going this spring. I'd like a vegetable/herb garden, and also some flowers and shrubs just to look nice. I barely know where start there. But a bed here, a few plants there--whatever I do, it'll be better than the bare dirt and weed-choked beds I have now!
- Painting: Strip the wallpaper from the master bedroom, the living room, and the dining room, and paint throughout the house.
- Floor: Get rid of the carpet in the living room and den, and replace with a hardwood floor. This is not so much a near future thing--we have to save for a while to get this done.
- Treadmill: I don't much like running on treadmills, but sometimes they are great--for hill workouts and speedwork and also for running after dark (although running with Rudy has partly removed that as an issue for me). Mark actually prefers to run on the treadmill.