I will be so glad when I finish sanding in the dining room. I won't go so far as to say refinishing the walls was a mistake, but it was definitely a not-quite-so-necessary step that cost me a lot of extra time. Still, I learned a great deal in the process and every bit of that knowledge will help me finish the kitchen so it's not a total loss. I will be relatively satisfied with the walls in the dining room and extremely pleased with the now flat ceiling, but I'm suffering from destruction fatigue; I want to start doing major construction work. Productive things that visibly show positive progress.
It has amused me greatly that home improvement has turned out to be so much fun. I've done work like this before, but it was always with assistance and I had always convinced myself that the work required skill. I let the other person take the lead and simply played the role of helper. I would watch and learn but still let the other person do what I felt was the tricky part. It was always a particular friend and he always enjoyed the work immensely so he took the lead every time without even thinking about it, so I never felt bad about letting him take it. Now, however...I want to do it myself. There's a real sense of accomplishment involved and I'm looking forward to "bragging" that every bit of the new appearance was shaped by my hands alone.
Once sanding is finished I'll rebuild the doorway openings by finishing the corners. Prime, paint, and hanging the new lighting fixture comes next. I'm going to put heavy duty primer on the subfloor (to seal any stains that made it through the carpet), then place the laminate flooring I recently purchased. After that it's just a matter of selecting shelving and picking up a nice folding screen to place around the litter box that I'll move back into that room once it's finished. Eventually I'll put an iPod/Phone docking station radio in there and probably a recliner as well. The living room will be next. I'll pull the trim, patch and sand the damaged spots on the walls, then yank the carpet up. I'll put the laminate flooring down in that room as well, and then step back for a bit.
At that point I'll probably focus on the exterior, but most of that involve paying someone to do the work. Between both the front and back yard I've got at least 10 trees that need to come down. That by itself is easy enough to pay for - the real challenge is finding someone who will also grind/remove the stumps without wanting a kidney in payment. The old fences need to come down and at the bare minimum the fence along the road needs replacing. I'd like an entire privacy fence around the entire back yard, but that will probably hinge on cost. I've got to replace both the front AND back decks, and that takes priority over a fence.
Everything beyond that point is pure speculation, but I do have some interesting ideas. I studied architecture, landscaping, and interior design for several years during an odd period when I was fascinated by the design of living spaces in general, and I've got plenty of ideas that range from clever to artistic. I'm thinking of terracing the front yard, there's barely any decent grass as it is. Terraces would support shrubs, reducing the amount of maintenance necessary to keep the yard looking nice. For the back yard I'm considering cobblestone paths winding through the remaining trees and perhaps a fountain via rocks - it's easier to build one than you might first think. That part is a long ways off, however. In the meantime I'm filling a couple of small notebooks with sketches and layouts.