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The Outsiders

Needtobreathe's new CD, The Outsiders, came out yesterday (the following is my geek-out fanfest)! I pre-ordered and it came in the mail on Monday. It was fun to listen to while we did our manual labor at the house.

I burned an extra copy so Anthony and I could share and I've already begun the obsessive repeat listening in my car, which is where I think it sounds best (when I'm alone and can turn it up really loud and sing along). I could gush about the entire album, but here are the highlights:

I'm loving "Prisoner", which is a bluesy, rock love song. I hope they release it as a single, because it is really fun and catchy. And my favorite song from their live shows "Girl Named Tennessee" is finally on an album. It's better live, but I still rock out to it. "She's got the prettiest shoes/And I love the way she moves/I'll never dance like this again"

"Valley of Tomorrow" has got that epic, rock'n'dance-a-billy style that was so good on their previous albums (and is good for running and commutes) "I pulled a 38 out of my bleeding heart/I killed my selfishness for bringing me this far/This far away from you". "What You've Done to Me" makes me smile because it's about a "midwest sweetheart". And isn't that something you'd like to be thought of as?

"Stones Under Rushing Water" is a hauntingly heartfelt duet with Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins, who reminds me of Patty Griffin. "Why don't we dance anymore? I'm not OK with that." This is something different for them, I wonder if they plan to release it.

"These Hard Times" reminds me of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" with a good Needtobreathe spin. "Give me something vicious/Give me something I can be"

"Something Beautiful" stands out to me as a traditionally produced Christian song. Synth strings, less soulful (isn't it ironic) and commercial. Even the vocals at times sound like it could be Steven Curtis Chapman. I'm guessing they plan it for a Christian release. But honestly, it's still a great song too.

"Lay 'em Down" is currently 13 on the Christian charts Which is the kind of Christian music I like better than what they usually feature on Contemporary Christian Radio (video below). I can imagine youth groups using "Garden" during an altar call, with it's references to the night before crucifixion. Personally, if I was a youth leader, I'd use it during Holy week to illustrate the human-ness of Jesus and let kids make the decision about faith without the public scrutiny.

It's interesting how they straddle the Christian and secular music genres, some songs are more blatantly religious than others (but really only if you are looking for it) and some are straight up love songs. In past CDs I think they have blurred their messaging a bit more.

They'll be at the Varsity on October 29th!
Lily Anne
I can't believe I forgot to mention my new baby niece that I got to meet last weekend. She was born premature on July 1st and she is so teeny tiny.

My dad has turned into a big sentimental grandpa. He held her forever on Saturday afternoon.

Then he played cats cradle with Sarah, the girl that is staying with my cousin.

It was a full Albrecht house for her baby shower. I embroidered her some onesies and forgot to photograph them before I wrapped them up.

Here with her pretty momma, Ashli.

Making a mess
Last week, Anthony's family came out and refinished (sanded three times, and put down three coats of polyurethane) the floors on Thursday and Friday. Once it dried we noticed a bit of fuzz from the final poly coat. So, we hand sanded the fuzzy spots on Monday night and Tuesday we put on the final fourth coat of polyurethane. Don't they look gorgeous and shiny (we decided to keep the trim wood)?

Soon we'll be able to put down drop cloths to do some painting.

Right now, we're stuck in the kitchen for any other work we want to do, while the basement is neglected and used for storage. So far we took the shelves off the walls, removed the stove hood and moved the stove away from the wall. Anthony also removed the industrial black plastic trim and all of its ridiculous glue and caulk.

Here he is scrapping glue from where the new trim will go.

We brought the extra cabinet with the blue counter top downstairs. I'm thinking it will stay in the laundry room permanently. The previous owners glued as well as screwed the shelf to the wall, so it took off quite a bit of paint when it was removed.

We sanded the holes down and filled them with spackle. This paint also had fuzz in it, so we sanded the walls to knock that down and to remove some of the paint finish so our primer sticks better. Then I got started washing the walls and ceiling (we're going to paint the ceilings).

Our electrical is scheduled to be upgraded on Monday and hopefully he'll get the washer and dryer outlet working so we can test them out. We ordered our new appliances from Sears on Sunday and they will be delivered next week! Also, we plan to move in on Saturday and my dad wants to help us paint that day. Gah, so much to do to prep.
Making it livable
Everything went through and we closed on the house on Monday (Yay). We wasted no time and started pulling-up the carpet Monday night. Or rather Anthony, Betty and Melissa did. I mostly worked on cleaning the disgusting bathroom, but I did get to pull-up the dining room carpet. That is the easy part. The hard part is prying off the tack strips with a crow bar and hammer and not marring the floor.

The kitchen after a good once over by Melissa:

Anthony re-keyed all the locks in the house and replaced the door closer and handle on the front screen door, so it is a little easier to shut. It still isn't perfect, because the wind pulled the hinges out of whack, but it's a great improvement.

Anthony's parents are coming down today and sanding the floors to prep them for a new glossy finish.

Dining room before & with the carpet removed:

Master bedroom before & with the carpet removed:

Anthony is removing the tack strips.

Second bedroom before & with the carpet removed:

Melissa is washing the windows (Thanks!)

So now the question is to paint the trim or not? Anthony doesn't like the fact that the trim is darker than the floors and really wants to paint the trim white. I like the idea too, but am overwhelmed by the amount of work it would be to paint every last bit of baseboard, quarter-round, window & door frames AND all the doors in addition to the walls.

If we did decide to do it, would we need to sand and strip trip them first? Is there any awesome house that left their darkish trim and it still looks good?

On the brightside there are no popcorn ceilings (the ugly texture they spray on ceilings to hide imperfections)! But, should we paint the ceilings too? If we do should it be white or a different coordinating color?

There are only about 2 things that Anthony and I agree on in home decor: refinishing the floors and white subway tile. He likes a clean modern, industrial aesthetic and I lean more towards a mid-century, luxe style with some homemade bohemian thrown-in. We've got a lot of negotiating and compromising ahead of us.

My camera takes video in one minute increments, so I did a little tour for you folks at home.

House Tour Part 1:

House Tour Part 2:

House Tour Part 3:

House Tour Part 4:

House Tour Part 5:

Tonight, maybe a little landscaping thanks to the wheelbarrow full of flowers from Betty!
Update on the house
Looks like everythings a go to close on August 10th! The seller signed our addendum, finally and we had our inspection last Friday. There are plenty of updates to do to this house that was built in the 1950s. But a few that are of higher priority.

Specifically, they found a small gas leak that needs to be fixed ASAP. Our realtor is working to have the seller fix it, cause it'd really suck for them if the house blew-up before we close. Also, we have to update the fuse box to a breaker box that can handle higher amps. Right now it's totally over loaded. Also, a few outlets in the basement are installed backwards and the outlet for the dryer doesn't work.

The good news was our furnace is only 7 years old and the water heater is 5. So, we shouldn't have to replace them. The house is really sturdy and level, so it shouldn't fall over anytime soon.

After we rip up the carpet in the bedrooms and the dining room the floors will need to be refinished. And it just makes sense to do it before we move in, so that is our second priority. And that takes $$$.

Our roof is good, but there is a spot around the chimney that needs replacing. We should finish that before fall. And there is a window that needs replacing in the basement bedroom. And another that needs a new screen.

I'm not sure what we'll do about the basement carpet right now. I'd almost prefer to rip it up and paint the floor instead. Especially, because the entry from the garage leads into the basement.

Then, of course is painting all the walls, replacing hardware in the kitchen, maybe painting the cabinets, re-doing the counters, getting a new fridge (and eventually a dishwasher) and completely re-doing the bathroom. The tub surround that is in there now doesn't even fit the faucet handles correctly, which could lead to water dripping down the wall. We'll have to wait to do that until after we've moved in. But it does worry me to be remodeling the only bathroom. We have talked about putting another in the basement, but that is a scary proposition too.

Goodbye $8,000.

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