Tag Archives: house


Did you know that it snowed in Olympia on Sunday? Yes, it did. My coworkers tell me that it did not snow in Seattle, but it snowed most of the day in Olympia. The roads were pretty treacherous, but we did get to see our house in the snow for the first time ever.

And I was also reminded of how very, very much tiny dogs hate the snow. Cash has been wearing his new sweater, which was purchased locally and handmade from organic wool. Clementine, however, refuses to wear any sweaters, even if they are organic, handmade wool. So she’s very cold.

Speaking of people who refuse to dress weather-appropriately, Levi insists that wearing a blazer is good enough for wintertime temperatures. He is quick to point out that winter does not even technically start until December 21, and a blazer is perfectly adequate for the fall. Fortunately, the snow melted the next morning and heavy rains set in, and a blazer is adequate for that.


Filed under home, pets, winter

Wee House

Krista found this small wooden sign at the Lighthouse Antique Mall in Olympia, and both of us instantly thought “OH! We need that!” It is nestled between an old toy typewriter & one of our many favorite pictures of Levi. We don’t have a truly tiny house, but it often feels wee. Especially when there’s a cat-dog tornado tearing through the place….

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Filed under fall, home

New Skills

This was our dining room when we moved in. First, we eliminated the maroon trim, the pale green walls and the hanging blinds covering the door. Our next order of business has been finding a light fixture to replace that perfectly functional and perfectly hideous light up there. My dad is right: it’s wasteful to replace a perfectly good light fixture, but we’ll be donating it to a good cause, and we replaced it with a recycled/reused fixture (i.e. no new carbon footprint). I don’t think he ever reads this blog, but you can tell him for me. You are right, Dad.

I mentioned a few days ago that we were spending hours searching all of the webs for new light fixtures, but we haven’t been able to find something we both love and adore. Both of us really wanted an antique fixture. This weekend, we drove to Tacoma to shop (not in the Black Friday way). There’s an area in downtown Tacoma (Broadway) that is lined with antique shops. We spent several hours checking out each store without much luck. We were about to call it a night, but decided to check out the only store we hadn’t been to yet. I’m glad we perservered, because we found an industrial/commercial grade farm fixture from the 1940s for a wonderfully low price (which became even lower with some bargaining). The dealer told us it had been salvaged from a small, old farm.

It’s the perfect combination of everything we were looking for, and neither of us could be more pleased. I will readily admit that I get a little uncertain when it comes to tackling house projects. I’m always afraid we’re going to start a fire or break something expensive (my two worst house fears, clearly).

There is a process we go through for each project:
1. google research/book reading 2. collaborative brainstorming. 3. visit the hardware store. 4. call my dad. 5. decide to trust your gut and just go for it.

Most of the time this process works quite well, actually. And my courage was bolstered after reading some words of support on a blog, Making It Lovely. Nicole and Brandon changed six light fixtures! Certainly we can do one!

There’s always a “hold your breath and jump” moment. This time, that moment was when Krista grabbed the electrical wires. They stick out of the ceiling in an ominous fashion! They transmit deadly voltage! We used a voltage tester to be sure they weren’t live, but I still panicked! (Viva la neurosis.) And of course, everything was fine, and the light fixture is now brilliantly attached with all the skills of Krista’s secret inner electrician.

When we left the store, carrying the new light fixture, the guy said, “You know, you could have a bar fight and that light wouldn’t break.” That’s exactly the sort of durability we’re looking for.


Filed under home

exit night enter light

OH GLORIOUS DAY! We’ve killed all the cardboard boxes in the living room & kitchen, so now there’s a little space/time to “cute up” the place. Getting through the cardboard has been a challenge – we’ve divided it into “good reusable boxes” that we plan to give to someone in need of cardboard boxes, and “end of the line boxes” that are then further divided into boxes for the compost pile and boxes for the recycling bin. Good thing we’re staying in this house for a while, because the cardboard guilt is a little overwhelming! Yes, it’s the year 2009 and you have to think about the carbon footprint of your cardboard moving boxes. We reused some friends’ boxes, so many of them were already on their 2nd or 3rd or 4th life. I discovered something interesting, too. Using sheets of cardboard on top of the worm bins and the compost bin has resulted in total annihilation of all flies and pests around our compost areas. The cardboard breaks down and you can just work it into the pile. (but, from experience, don’t forget to remove all the tape and staples first!)

Anyway, enough compost nerdery. We’ve been working on our home. Here’s a photo of our entryway during our home inspection (Featuring our beloved Home Inspector)

And Krista has had a nice weekend of free time to work on the house, so here’s the entryway I come home to after work these days. This tableau includes my latest obsession: a vintage paint by number portrait of two standard black poodles. I can’t explain why I’m so obsessed with this painting, but it shows up in my dreams! Seriously! I spent a year debating whether or not to buy it from a local antique mall, and finally Krista said “JUST DO IT!”

We also have a fantastic print (“Space Garden”) from Apak!’s etsy shop and two vintage needlepoint gnomes from an antique mall in south Tacoma with a mysteriously large gnome population. Oh, you want to see the gnomes more closely? Fantastic! Because I want to show them to you.

Perhaps someday soon we will take some photos of our living space, and the beautiful giant empty space in the middle of the room that used to be filled with unpacked boxes. We have so much to be thankful for this year!

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Filed under fall, home

Weekend Update

Let me begin with the Levi update. There was a school-wide assembly where they acknowledged the kids with 4.0 GPAs, including ours! He came home and said, “I have good news for me, and bad news for your wallet.” Yes, we pay for A’s. I’d pay him to clean his room, too, if he would…

He also recently wrote the funniest book project for school. They had to create a whole newspaper based on a book, which is a pretty difficult project. His stories and advertisements were so clever and the illustrations were fantastic. He is definitely one of my favorite authors. Maybe someday he’ll bring the newspaper home & I can post part of it here. He got 130 out of 100 points available, and special recognition from his teacher in class for the quality of his newspaper.

The next school project he’s working on has something to do with black holes eating giant stars. No, seriously. We’ve been hunting down all the monster black hole resources that the library system has to offer. I think we’ve been to the library 3 times this week. I know about 1/20th as much as Levi already knows about black holes, so hopefully some of those resources are good.

Krista and I have been working on the house. Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time shopping for light fixtures. It’s hard to imagine what a light fixture would really look like in your house. We’ve made a solid effort at finding antique light fixtures, but have mostly been striking out. We found a spectacular light at an antique show in Puyallup a few weeks back, but it was way outside the budget. I have spent hours this week on Schoolhouse Electric, Rejuvenation, and Ebay. I have had some bad Ebay luck this week, but Krista has been successful, scoring a lot of antique black porcelain door knobs. She won more than we have doors in the house, so we can resell the extras to offset the (already very low) price. We are saving at least $100 on doorknobs thanks to her lucky win. Have I mentioned that every single door in our house is a different size? I don’t know enough about the house to even begin to guess how that happened, but with the new doorknobs, something is going to be consistent about our doors.

We finally found the best furniture arrangement for our living room, after spending several hours moving the furniture around and hanging out in all the different seats. All that time was well-spent. Every time I walk into the living room, I am overwhelmed by how much I love that room. Exciting stuff, I know. I estimate our house will be ready to show off around 2015.

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Filed under fall, family

A Big Reveal

We’re working on the house again, since Krista has finished training at work (yay!). She’s nearly finished painting the bay window. I had an afternoon at home finally, so I took all the painter’s tape off the tiny windows, which was a phenomenal pain, but it was worth it.




i was so inspired by the transformation, i even made a sculpture from the painter’s tape (right before i threw it into the garbage).

Yes, I need to get those leaves raked, shredded & into the compost bin, but there’s a phenomenal shortage of time around here lately.

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Back to School, etc

Things have been busy around our little house. Levi started eighth grade (gasp!), which so far has included some algebra and some coughing/sneezing/running nose. Yes, he got a back-to-school cold, which he kindly passed on to Krista. Somehow I have escaped with only a little stuffiness.

Krista is working on her final stage of training at work. While I’m glad all of her training will finally be behind us soon, I could do without the schedule & stress of training! Fortunately, she’s doing well and studying and getting enough sleep, which makes it much easier to learn whatever it is they teach you during training.

Levi has been reading a lot lately, including several books about Ronald Reagan, his latest style icon. This makes for fascinating dinner conversations, and he spends a lot of time hassling us to buy him a suit. We have provided a blazer, a vest, ties galore, and a dress shirt. He cleans up nicely & looks very sharp.

Yesterday on our walk around the ‘hood, a tiny off-leash Pomeranian named Sally attacked our chihuahua, Clementine. Clementine has some aggression issues. She often tries to pick fights with large dogs, but they never take her up on it. Sally, however, came out of someone’s front yard, and jumped on Clementine before Clem even had a chance to bark at her and say rude things about her mama. Levi and I were surprised – we just tried to walk away with Clem, but Sally followed, all teeth and snarls. Clementine was in the process of beating her down when Sally’s father, a large burly man (named Levi, coincidentally), scooped Sally up, apologized to us & carried her indoors. Clementine sustained no injuries; I can’t say for sure that Sally escaped entirely unscathed. Leash your dogs, please.

Our beloved herd of pets has been well-behaved lately. (knock on wood) They all seem to have adjusted quickly after the move, and the new house has given them the opportunity to achieve a cat-dog harmony that seemed to always be just out of reach at our old house. Oh, sure, if Elsa takes off tearing across the house like a wild cat, Cash is going to follow her, but mostly he wants to kiss her. Jimmy would rather be napping alone somewhere than dealing with any of our nonsense, but he was never one for parties. Mostly it is quiet and calm these days, with much less hissing and barking. It only took a year. Yes, it’s already been an entire year. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Filed under fall, family, pets

Closing Time!


Well, yesterday we found out that we can close early. As in, TODAY! So by the next time I update this blog, we will be homeowners! I never thought this day was going to get here, and now it’s early. This morning I tried to sing all the songs I know about closing time to Krista – that classic irritating Semisonics song, the Tom Waits album, the Leonard Cohen song, and she didn’t know them! I guess they are all about closing the bar at the end of the night, though. Has anyone written a song about signing and signing and signing a huge stack of papers in a soulless office building? For some reason I doubt it.

It’s hard to work when all I can think about is The House. Good thing I have plenty to do & the resident wildlife to entertain me. This week I’ve seen the hummingbirds and a hunting owl, and this morning, the mama deer and her fawn. I took some pictures of the deer, but the birds are hard to photograph from an office.

Next up: moving & unpacking & painting!

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Filed under home, summer

Closing in on Closing

As suspenseful, excruciating, and stressful as house shopping has been, I think we’re in the “easy part” now – all the work we can possibly do is over. I know anything can still happen, and it’s not over until the escrow officer sings, but we are 100% packing boxes, considering paint chips, and generally living in a state of disarray. We had a garage sale, where I got sunburned and we emptied our garage (sort of). I hate moving, and I did it just one year ago. I am a little bitter. Krista keeps promising this is the last time we’re doing it for at least a decade, and I’m focused on that.

How did we get here? I remember the day this house came on the market. It was in our price range, in the neighborhood we liked, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (luxurious), built in 1934 on a generous city lot. I called our real estate agent immediately. I left work early, and we all met at the house to check it out. I think we were the first people to look at it. Other buyers were circling the block like sharks while our agent showed us the house.

It had an attic & garage for storage, mature fruit trees in the yard (apple, plum, cherry), and all of the major systems (electrical, plumbing, furnace, water heater) are newish & energy efficient. There is a bay window in the living room, antique glass door knobs, a fenced yard for the dogs, and a master bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have very generous, walk-in closets. I love big closets. There is absolutely no carpet in this house. There is some tile we will replace with bamboo someday, there is linoleum we will re-tile someday, but there is no terrible carpet that needs to be ripped up immediately. It’s the dream of allergy-sufferers around the world. We sniffle, sneeze, and get red-eyed in solidarity, but we will rejoice in our carpet-free house and magnetic air purifying system.

Also, you know, we cook a lot. The kitchen is big, with room for a kitchen table, tons and tons of cabinet space & fortunately – god bless them – the sellers did not chose to makeover the kitchen before they put it on the market. I don’t know, maybe it’s all those real estate shows on cable tv, but everyone seems to think they need to put in ugly cabinets, expensive ugly counter tops, and ugly paintjobs. Just because you CAN make over your kitchen quickly before you put it on the market does *not* mean you should. I would much rather suffer through a 1970s-1990s kitchen until we can afford to remodel it than try to live with the guilt of ripping out a perfectly adequate and totally hideous hurried kitchen make-over. Turn off the cable tv and back away from the Home Depot.

So this house met all of our criteria for a house. It really did. Amazing!

“You will know as soon as you walk in,” everyone told us. “It’s like magic when you find the house that is supposed to be Your House. You’ll know right away.” We know a lot about magical connections. We’re practically experts. We fell in love with a half dozen houses before this! We found each other, for chrissake, against most reasonable odds. But this house? We didn’t feel it. So we walked away. We fell in love with another totally unattainable, impractical house, which inevitably broke our hearts.

We sort of kind of mostly didn’t think about this house… until we did. I mentioned it one day, “You know, I feel like we might be really happy in that house. It’s got everything we need.” We talked and talked about this house. For almost four days, we just bounced ideas around. Things became more and more clear to us… we needed a place with good bones, potential, space, and a solid foundation. We needed a house we could make our own. The house we really want to live in is in the future – it has our hand prints, style, paint colors, garden beds, window casings, grout, and love all over it. We weren’t finding The House because it didn’t exist yet.

So we’re buying a house, and we’re making a home. The reality of it has not totally sunk in. Homeowners!! Next thing you know, we’ll be real grown-ups or something crazy like that.


Filed under home, summer