Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Road to a Solid Foundation: House Problems

That picture above sums up my last week in a nut shell. If you saw me right now, I would put money on it that you'd say, "Whoaaaa Shay, rough week? WOOF!"

And I would be okay with that, because well, it's true. I look like a zombie that just got beat up by a pack of crazy ninjas. I am currently sitting here with a sore throat, a fever, bruises up and down my legs, a thrown out back, a headache, sore muscles, aches, pains, as well as an extreme case of fatigue. I feel like I'm 1000 years old. ;) Last week and this week have just been insane. My world is upside down, and I am trying to get back into a routine. Gee, can I complain some more!? ;) I'm just being honest.


Run down? Two Friday's ago>Drove 2.5 hours to Jewett to drop off my dogs>Drove back to Austin 2.5 hours>Worked>Packed>Drove to Houston to see Steph and Katie>Drove back to Austin>Crashed out>Worked all day Monday>Volleyball game>Tuesday>Worked all day>Drove to Lakeway (45 minutes out) to help my best friend Jenni move furniture>Home at midnight>Home to clean house in bed at 2>Apartment Therapy Photo Shoot in my Office (YAY!)>Drove to Mom's House 2.5 hours away to get her and my dogs>Visited grandparents for 10 minutes (only :()>Drove back to Austin 2.5 hours>Softball game>Packed up living room>3 Trips to Storage Unit>Thursday: Worked in the morning>Drove to SXSW for my best friend for 3 hours>Back home to pack all night til 3:30 AM>Friday: Drove to Houston which took 4 hours with traffic>Shot bridals for one of my beautiful brides>Turned right back around (3 hours this time) and drove to Austin to pack and move things into storage unit until 3AM>Saturday: Up at 7:30 AM, Moved til' 2PM>Home for Shower>Drove to Driftwood at 3PM>Shot our 2nd wedding of the year from 4 to 11:30PM>Home at midnight>Took another load to the storage unit>In bed at 2:30>Sunday: Up at 8AM with "Wedding Hangover" as photographers and wedding planner's call it>Moved until 5PM and got another storage unit :(>Lunch with Drew's parents and sister>Drove things to my brother's house and had dinner>Went back to house to pack up the closet and bathroom>Trip to Wal-Mart for more totes>Packed up cars and in bed at 3:30PM>Up at 6AM, Took truck load to brother's house and dropped things in yard>Back to house to get the last of it all>Foundation company showed up as I put the last load in the truck>Walk Through>Handed over home>Drove back to brother's house>Unloaded Truck>Re-loaded Truck with my sister-in-law's Mother's Yard Sale Items (tables, chairs, etc) and drove them back to Jewett (2.5 hours), unloaded truck at sister-in-law's Mother's house)>dropped off my Mom and baby boys :(>RED BULL and I don't even like Red Bull>Made it back to my brothers>Carried things up the stairs for an hour>Washed face>Drew got home from work and we headed back to town for our volleyball playoff games>Dinner after playoff games>Back to brothers house>CRASHED. Yesterday I spent the whole day unpacking my temporary office, our bags, our closet, you name it. To say I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut an understatement. It feels good to be back at  desk and settled...atleast for the next month. OKAY, so if you read that (probably very few of you, thank you!) If not, you're probably glad you didn't. 

Moving right along...

As you might have seen on instagram, Drew and I packed up our entire house and then moved everything we own into a storage unit...just the two of us. All of our friends had plans, weddings, sxsw, and work. My Mom came in to help pack (THANK GOODNESS), but as far as lifting goes, just me and Drew. I am a lot stronger than I thought I was, and I have a broken back to prove it! ;) (You can roll your eyes now, I approve).

I def. need some cheese for all this "whining" I'm doing. But for real, this is my life right now. This is what my blog is for. To be share the good and the bad. The happy and the sad. Right? :)

You see...I haven't talked much about our house since we bought it. I don't know if you have been reading my blog for awhile, but if you have, you will know that we purchased an older home, in an old neighborhood about three years ago. We were SO excited y'all. We had plans to invest, flip the crap out of it, and sell it for more money one day. That was our business plan anyway. We are both handy, we love projects, and the thought of beautifying a home just the two of us seemed like the best idea at the time. What it really was is that we watched a little TOO much HGTV and got in well over our heads. Truth.

 It was the perfect starter home and really cheap as far as mortgage goes, but we did not realize what was in store for us about six months later down the road.

We started to notice that our front door wouldn't open, the doors in the house wouldn't close, and then before we knew it, our dry walls were cracked...everywhere. Deep, very noticeable cracks took over every door way and interior wall in the house. None of our doors worked. They wouldn't shut. At all. You couldn't even swing them out because the floor would catch them.  When we would have guests over we would have to have them enter through the garage that would shortly accompany the, "Please excuse the mess that is our house schpeal" that was everything more than embarrassing to explain.

Before the foundation in our house took a huge fall, we re-did the floors and trim in the laundry room, 1/2 bath downstairs, the hallway that connects our living room to our bedroom, and the front door entryway. As soon as we were done with these projects, we quickly realized that we had to stop rennovating because the work we had invested in and worked so hard on was already falling apart. The trim no longer touched the tile, and you could see the OUTSIDE from the INSIDE. When I say it was was bad. We have been having to put towels around all of our doorways so snakes and bugs couldn't get in. Our electricity bill was insanely HIGH every month because it was all going through the walls and the doorways. It was heartbreaking to see, and I'd cry a lot. Who would have ever thought that flooring, CLEAN trim that touched the floor, and working doors would mean so much to a person? If you currently have a home where your trim boards touch the tile, and your doorways thankful. Seriously. I can't even begin to explain how lucky you are. DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.

We have been saving up for 2 and a half years here and there to get our house fixed. The quotes were high, and Drew and I literally looked at each other and started crying when they told us how much it was going to cost.

Next thing we know... our sinks didn't work. You would turn it on, and the water would back up almost immediately. It smelled terrible, and we were forced to only use one of the three bathrooms in our home. We got our plumbing checked, and because of the foundation moving, the plumbing broke. Everytime we would go to the bathroom, use the name was sitting under our house. Gross I know, but I'm just wanting to be real here. We have been living in a money pit of problems for the past 3 years, and it's time I wanted to share that with you. It's added more stress than you can imagine to our lives, and it's one of those things that you say, "Well, you live and you learn."

We both are super thankful we have a house. We are thankful there is a roof over our head. We are so thankful for that, trust me. It's just unfortunate, a pain in the butt, and one of the biggest learning experiences EVER. We had NO idea this was going to happen.

You might be thinking, "Well, didn't you have your house inspected before you bought it? Dummies!"

Yes. Yes we did. That's where it gets sucky. We had a home inspector. He said everything looked fine. As far as foundation issues...this is what he said:

"Your house, along with EVERY single house in this area of town can have foundation issues. BUT it's not anything out of the norm. You might notice a small crack here, and maybe a cracked tile here and there, but it's not anything to be alarmed about."


I asked him, "SO, if you were our age, and in our shoes...would you see any reason why we shouldn't purchase this home?"

The guy said, "No, I think this would be a smart investment and a great home for a starter home. It has great potential."

Trust me guys. We've looked into lawyers...we've done just about anything to see WHAT we can do. We have exhausted all of our options, and made sure that there were no loopholes we were missing. Our home insurance dropped us last year and we were forced to find another home insurance because when we had it quoted and couldn't afford to get it fixed immediately, the first homeowner's insurance chunked the deuce on us.

The best part is expensive. So, so expensive. The reason the inspector didn't tell us about plumbing issues is because a.) inspectors can only inspect what they can see. b.) there is a HUGE possibility that the previous home owners knew that the plumbing was messed up, BUT they chose NOT to have it tested, because if they did, then they would have had to disclose it to the people buying the house. Smart...very smart.

So, the house was two, young newlyweds excited to create and rennovate their first home together...which later turned into our biggest nightmare.

You win some. You lose some.

I just know that when we are in the market to buy our next home, things will be much, much, MUCH different.

We are now getting our house completely fixed. Thank the Lord. As much as it sucks, I'm still thankful. I'm thankful for loving, supportive family members who are offering their homes to us while we wait for our foundation and plumbing to be completed. Once they are, we will be having the cosmetic work done. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

This is also a reason I created the office I have. It was the only room in the house with the least amount of damage. Sitting and living in a home that is falling apart around you is depressing, aggravating, and heart-breaking. Drew and I one day got SO fed up with it all, we decided to create atleast ONE room in our house that we could completely make beautiful from start to finish. I bet you didn't know that did you? :) That office was and is my piece of heaven in that home full of problems. It means more to me than you even realize.

I am SO passionate these days about home buying. When I know my friend is looking to buy a new home, I am quick to tell them what NOT to do. I'm obviously NO expert but if I can prevent this from happening to anyone...I will. I would never wish this experience on anyone. Ever. Ever. EVER.

So, please be on the look out for the "WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN YOU PURCHASE A HOME" post coming soon. I hope it will help you, or if not you, someone out there in this world who it could benefit.

Alright guys, I just wanted to share what's been going on as of late. Moving, driving a ton, weddings, sessions, house stuff...y'all...I'm pretty tired. BUT I am also so excited to know that our home is being fixed. What a blessing.

I also realize that some of you might be shocked to see this or read this. When I post photos of my home, generally, it looks like it's pretty nice. When I tell people who have never been in my home, and have only seen what I put on the web...they say, "Shay, I've seen your photos, your house looks great." Then that's when I chime in and say, "That's only because you see what I put out me. It's bad. You only see my home from eye level. You don't see floors. You don't see the ceiling or walls."

Then they visit and the wide eyed, "OMG Shay... Wow... This is crazy" sentence comes. Just goes to show you that life isn't perfect. We all have problems and guess what, we are real life people guys. I just wanted to share this with you because I want you to know that as happy as I am, and thankful and blessed as I am to have the life I have, it doesn't come easy. Attitude is EVERYTHING. I do NOT have it all...and I am more than okay with that.

Glass is half has to be. With foundation problems and all. :)

Oh, and because no post is a good post without photos...

Here is our home on the first day of demolition foundation work:

 This is the wall above the living room and that connects to the upstairs. Basically, our entire ceiling.

This is our master bathroom. It isn't shown here, but our bathtub has a huge crack along the side and you can actually SEE under our home. Not kidding.

This would be our front door. That light? The outside (obviously). That's what it looks like when the door is shut. Cleaning our home became so hard. It was pretty much impossible. 

The door to our bathroom from our master. Honestly, I could post 100 pictures from our home in every single room that look like this. These are just ones I found on my phone. 

Monday was the day they started. As soon as I left, they came in. Drew stopped by after work to see what they had already done. Y'all this is DAY ONE. DAYYYY ONE!? Crazy.

That's our our driveway. This was taken on Monday. My heart was in shambles all day. Handing over our garage door opener to the guys was hard. It's funny I can't say "handed over the key" to our house because that is currently broken off in our front door LOL. I'm telling you. That front door would NOT open. It got so bad, we couldn't even lock it. Thank goodness the deadlock worked though. (Whoo!)

I looked at the foundation guy and said, "Please, please...PLEASE make her beautiful again. That's all I ask..." and I found myself tearing up  with a quivery voice. That's when the man looked into my eyes and said in the kindest, most genuine voice:

"M'aam...I've been doing foundation work on homes for 20 years and this is one of the worst I've ever seen. I promise you I will do my best to make sure she's beautiful again."

I have a feeling that this is the same guy that was responsible for this kind act.

Drew tried to cement this hole by our house in the back yard when we first started noticing the foundation shift dramatically. Opposums would get under our home, and come out in our toilet (remember this!?), so we tried to close it up with this quick fix...and he drew the "A heart S" (such a muffin he is) in the cement. Whoever broke up the cement around the house could have easily broke this up and never thought twice about it. But, he cut it out and set it by the tree. Melt. My. Heart.

I'm such a sucker, I know. Emotional much? Um, yeah. It's so bad lately y'all but I guess for good reason.

I'm so thankful we have people working on our home who have good hearts and appreciate little things like this. This isn't just a job for this guy...I mean it is, totally, but he really made me feel like our home was in good hands.


Have an amazing hump day friends. Make it a good one. Don't mind me...but I have a LOT of catch up work to do. :) 


  1. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you might have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient people are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something referring to this.

  2. OH MY GOSH.... I cannot believe everything you have been going through, girl... geeze, what a mess - and those are some serious cracks!! I don't think I could even imagine it getting that bad. I would be so furious with the inspector too, but I must say - you two are being crazy positive about it all! WOW... hang in there - good things are coming for you, I can feel it!

    Now ice your back, rest your legs and get some rest!!

  3. WOW. I'm so sorry. That's a lot to deal with. Hang in there girl. It's got to get better from here.

    Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  4. Man.....So y'all are moved in with friends and family till your home is repaired? Did they say how long it's going to take? I immediately thought of your pretty office when I read this post thinking "oh no!" all that hard work but hopefully they don't have to do much to that room? Prayer for ya girl. Stay busy (which you are) so you don't have to dwell on it much.

  5. Jeez. Don't be surprised if I consult you when we begin looking for a home. Sorry for all your stress. You're a strong woman.

  6. Oh man! I so sorry that you two are going through this. You have such a good outlook and I pray that those guys make "her beautiful again"

  7. Oh my goodness. I am praying for you all. I can't imagine. I am actually making an offer on my first home today. Kind of ironic... Eeek! My Uncle is a home inspector and is going to inspect it for me. I feel like I will be able to trust him more than anyone else, especially after reading your post. Like the others said, hang in there and get some rest!

  8. woooooooow! houses are just creatures of their own! That is insane! So glad you guys are able to get it fixed now. As someone who just went through the whole house hunt-inspection-moving-process, I feel ya! Your heart gets invested as well, amidst all that concrete and sheetrock! xoxo

  9. Shay - I cannot even imagine. I know that you are in no way materialistic and have the softest heart but a home is something you take pride in. I really cannot begin to imagine. We have had our house on the market (it is very new) for two weeks and I am complaining about that. I do not think you understand how much this post is very encouraging to others! Praying for you both, the house, financial peace and a sense of normalcy soon! I know that one day this will be a small part of your life and a memory to educate others. Keep you head up pretty! :)

  10. Holy cow that is so nuts! We had a few things happen with our house after we bought it (like having to spend $5k to put the fusebox outside because it wasn't up to code and was a known fire hazard, something the house inspector failed to mention) but nothing to this magnitude. I can't even imagine going through what you're dealing with. I hope they can fix it!!!

  11. first off - it's TOTALLY ok to have a pity party. because girl if anyone was dealing with all that, it's well deserve. and props to you for being so strong for so long.
    i have worked in the construction industry for six years and those guys out there always mean well. seeing what that guy did - gah - SO sweet. i wish i could pack up this little company in STL and head there to help you fix it.
    hang in there and i can't wait to see the progress and read the post about how it's FIXED!!

  12. Oh my goodness! This is so crazy and I cannot believe you have had this happen. I am sure that everything will be fixed and you will be able to make it as pretty as you want! I can't wait to see those pictures :)

  13. WOW! This is insane. I cannot even imagine. You guys are troopers! Sounds like your house is in great hands though. Praying for a speedy recovery for it, and can't wait to see pics once it's complete again!

  14. Oh my word! This is so terrible and insane and you do it all with a smile on your face! Your home is going to be beautiful again in no time! XO

  15. Wow I'm so sorry your going through this. I'm so happy that you have good hearted people fixing your house. Hang in there, it can only get better from here! ��

  16. Your home will be a beauty in NO time (I just know it!!) & then the Howards are coming to stay!! Love you puffin pants!

  17. My heart breaks for you and ddhp going through this.
    I can’t believe how bright and sunny you have continued to stay through all of this! It is so great that y’all have such an amazing support system right there with you, and of course the support from one another.

    These photos are SHOCKING, in the jaw dropping sense.
    The Husband and I lived in a 40’s home for the first few years of our relationship. We didn’t experience NEAR the problems, but old (er) homes definitely come with their fair share of setbacks.

    Now - go relax and recover, and for reals, you deserve ice cream and a really big cookie ;)

  18. OH MY GOODNESS! I knew you were having house issues, but I never knew it was this bad! :( I'm so sorry friend! Thank goodness you have good people that are going to fix it for you now! Thinking about you! Love you! :)

  19. WHAT a nightmare. That is horrifying! SO SO glad you are getting this taken care of. You poor things!

  20. hate this happened to you, but your attitude is awesome! these speed bumps really suck, but you are the perfect example of how to handle it! Can't wait for the post about how excited you are that you are back at home! Hope it goes as smooth as possible.

  21. oh my! hang in there girl! and remember, He doesn't give you anything you can't handle!

  22. oh my god. my heart goes out to you. i would have a full on breakdown if this happened to me. i am so sorry that you have to deal with this. i hope it will all be better soon!

  23. I'm not even gonna lie... You've scared the crap out of me! HA! (We are in the process of buying our first home & just had the inspection done today!) HOWEVER, bless your hearts! I cannot even begin to imagine what y'all have been going through - & still are. I would have had a complete breakdown by now. Although, I'm sure you have or at least wanted to. You & Drew will be in my prayers - for strength & comfort as y'all trudge through these hard times. Hopefully, brighter days are just ahead... through the windows, not the wall. :)

  24. Wow! That does sound like a nightmare! I hope it can get finished quickly for you, and that once it's done, it'll be good as new! I'm really lucky to have not only a husband who is a former contractor, but a father-in-law who was in the business for decades, and a brother-in-law who still is! (you could say it was a bit of a family business) Anytime we've looked at a place, it becomes a family event, inspecting everything! I suppose I've always taken this for granted, because if you didn't have this kind of support, why wouldn't you believe everything the inspector said?? Anyways, glad you're finally able to start getting it fixed!

  25. Oh my gosh. Sending positive thoughts your way that this all goes smoothly and quickly.

  26. Oh my goodness. That's crazy. Austin definitely has A LOT of these issues...dang rock. ;) I am glad you are getting it done and done right. Do y'all live in N or S Austin?
    She's gonna be beautiful when she is done that's for sure!

  27. When I saw the picture of the piece of concrete with your initials and a heart - tears. Tears streaming down my face. I can not even begin to imagine what you and Drew have been living through. Oh and then, when the contractor told you he would do his very best to make your house beautiful again. You're killing me Shay. I wish you the best of luck and pray this is the end to the madness that you have been living.

  28. Sending nothing but positive vibes and love to you! I'm sure your home is going to turn out gorgeous!! Remember shay just breathe don't let anyone or anything steal your joy!! ♥

  29. My love... wow. Just wow. You are one tough cookie, and the more I learn about you the more I admire you. God has you and your house in His hands. Stay strong, pumpkin - you are loved!


  30. What. A. Nightmare. I started getting choked up reading this because I can't even imagine the emotions you two have been having. When we purchased our first home we found out very quickly during our first winter that our beauty had a flooding problem. Our basement is set up like a one bedroom apartment and the water was coming in and flooding the kitchen and into the carpeted area. It was never disclosed on the seller disclosure form and we found out from neighbors that the previous homeowner knew about it (that's the only way it's a lawsuit) because he had people renting out the basement and their stuff was 6 inches under water at one point and they lost so much. He tried to fix the problem before selling but it never actually worked and he did a lot of damage to the way the entire neighborhood "drains" during heavy rainfall etc. He tried to illegally tap into the sewer line which now makes the field behind us flood and parts of the street. It was a total mess. We lucked out and had some documentation and people willing to testify so the previous homeowner paid to fix it after we threatened to sue. *sigh* While I don't 100% feel the severity of your pain, I know how heartbreaking it is to discover that your dream house isn't everything you dreamed it to be. Wishing you both nothing but the best- I can't wait for you guys to get your home back. xoxo

  31. girl you are a rock star! handling all the house drama and starting your own business at the same time! hopefully it will be over soon!

  32. Your home doesn't look that old!! But I'm glad you are getting it fixed!! You will be able to love it all over again!! Can't wait to see it afterwards!!

  33. I was seriously getting all watery-eyed over here reading this! Sending positive vibes and prayers your way.

  34. This is so crazy! I can not believe that jerk who told you that there was nothing majorly wrong with the house. You know what though, God takes us and makes our broken bodies as humans beautiful and I know that this group of men is going to make your house perfect! Hang in there, missy!

  35. shay i love you

    your house is gorgeous. seeing it first hand and all.

    everyones place has their ups and downs but ya know what?? you and DDHP are so strong and so positive that you will deal with this with flying colors!! You say your living room needs work? well i see it as the amazing place where we all fell asleep chatting until 4 am about absolutely EVERYTHING in the world. I'll never forget waking up in your living room, i think about 4am, DDHP is sleeping on the floor with his laptop in his are snuggled on the couch with one dog on your arm...sabs is laying on my feet, and i was just SO HAPPY!! Your house felt like a HOME to me and i loved everything about it!! You guys will get through this 10000000% i know it!

    I mean, I couldn't even offer y'all a real-life BED when you were here!! I felt like a queen in your guest bedroom of your house! loved it so much!

    giving you guys lots of love and thoughts! your home is in amazing hands!!!

    love you both!

  36. Omg, I can't even imagine. I know that you've mentioned here and there about house problems but I've always seen your house as beautiful. I can't imagine you've been dealing with this. So sad that the previous owners did this. Karma.

    Sending you tons of good vibes and positive thoughts. You both completely deserve it after all you've been through.

  37. Wow Shay, reading everything you had to go through gave me anxiety- I can only imagine how you were feeling. When it rains it pours right? You are one strong woman & y'all will get through this & I am sure your house will be beautiful & like brand new when you get to move back in! Hopefully sooner than later! Thoughts & prayers your way! xoxo

  38. Oh my goodness Shay! I remembered the toilet possum/racoon can't remember the animal post.. But that's crazy about the foundation. Glad your finally getting it fixed! Just stucks you had to deal with it this whole time.

  39. All I can say is I admire you and Drew so much for handling all these home issues with such grace and positivity. Good vibes and prayers for you from KC! P.S. my sister feeds the neighborhood cats and the other night when I left there was a baby opossum chowing down on cat food on her front porch haha however that is nothing compared to finding one in your toilet!
    Have a happy Thursday and don't forget to take some time for yourself every once in a while! :)

  40. Shay, Reading this made my heart stop. What a complete nightmare. Stay strong girl, I'm praying for you! Thank you so much for being so real on your blog. Me and my husband are closing escrow in a week on our first home and your story just made me stop in my tracks. I hope everything works out!!!

  41. I read this yesterday when I saw the photo on IG but didn't have the ability to comment. I wanted to take the time today and comment to say just how sorry I am that you two (and your family) are having to go through this. What a terrible nightmare for two newlywed, happy homeowners. It is such a cute home too!! I hate this situation for you. But, sometimes it takes stuff like this to test your will, your relationship, your happiness...and to all around make you a stronger person. Even if at the time it's hard to imagine a happy result. You will look back at this later and it will just be a mere bump in the road :) here's to happy (new) beginnings!

  42. Oh Lawdy! I am sitting here about to cry for y'all. Oh my goodness what a nightmare! I am so sorry! Buying a home is so scary. I just know it's going to be gorgeous when the reno is done! I'm a new follower by the way. Have a nice weekend and I hope you get to feeling better.

  43. It's unfortunate that the problems weren't prevented from escalating. And the fact that the quotes are high adds insult to the problem. Tread slowly but surely, and I know that you'll eventually be in the clear. House problems are never light, so you can't rush them. I wish that you'll get out of this pickle as soon as possible.

    -Darryl Iorio