Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The roof is on fire!

I haven't updated this in forever. But there was an exciting even at my place yesterday. I got a call from my neighbor saying that my house was on fire and I needed to come home immediatly. There were 7 firetrucks there and this is what I found inside.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chasing the ghosts of winter

It has been a gardening bonanza of late. The past week has held temps in the 50's, complete with clear skies. We've been getting everything ready for the Great Garden Extravaganza of '09. I started on Saturday by getting a little seed starter tray and some tomato seeds, thinking the Pacific North West isn't the best place for growing tomatoes getting them started indoors nice and early would produce the best plants. Then Sunday Eric wanted to get the garden really going. $100 later and we have 5 - 50 pot seed starter trays going under 2 - 4' florescents upstairs. This includes untold numbers of corn zucchini squash lettuce spinach peppers herbs etc. I thought we should start them at different times according to their planting date but Eric wanted to start them all at the same time and he's done this before. So I guess the plan is to plant them outside according to their planting date, until then the light cycle is supposed to keep them from flowering and allow them to get really big and strong. I'm thinking this is going to easily get us 2 harvests out of a lot of things. Things haven't just been getting all fired up inside, outside we planted strawberrys, asparags and raspberrys. The goal is to have as much eddible landscaping as possible. Strawberrys as ground cover with blueberrys as hedges. Asparags shrubs with lettuce as decorative plants. Peas and beans that climb over fences...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Forclosure RANT

I read this article on mbc.com today, which got me thinking. My home was bank owned. The PO's were not the most savory of characters from what I've been told. They didn't take care of their home as evidenced by the sewage leaking toilet that only needed a $6 wax ring...sewage or $6 which would you rather have? There are numerous things around the property just like that, a leaky roof because of missing shingles that had been blown off but were 6" away, downspouts laying on the ground next to where they go, are some examples. When I think of a foreclosed home I think about my house. People that for lack of a better term weren't capable of dealing with home ownership. The man in this article was smart enough that the judge in the case thought he was a lawyer. They showed pictures of the interior of his home which looked well kept. How then did he get foreclosed on?

If you loose your job which is seeming pretty standard in this economy and loose your home due to that, I get it. Looking at craigs list today there where 3 job postings where normally there are 10 or 15. If you loose your job, there aren't many others to replace it, and many people applying.

The words Predatory Lending are used way too often in these foreclosure cases but what does it really mean? You're saying that the bank was essentially unfare when they gave you a great big hunk-o-cash and expected you to pay it back? You didn't read the contract and now you have a balloon payment and don't know what to do? Mine was pretty long but I knew what was on every page. There was a guy in California on the news when the housing market first went belly up saying the bank doubled his take home pay in order for him to get a loan. Are you kidding? You're really going to blame that on the banks?

In speaking to my boss the other day he didn't know what points are as they refer to a mortgage let alone what it meant to buy them down or why you would want to. I don't know if people just don't care anymore or what's going on. I think the average IQ of the country is being cut in half with each generation. Or maybe it's our sense of self worth. Why should I read this contract when me and my family don't deserve a nice stable home. I see way too many girls with the bumper sticker "if you're going to ride my ass, the least you could do it pull my hair" and if they don't care about themselves how are they supposed to care about pieces of paper with legal mumbo-jumbo?

Everyone is up in arms about fannie mae and freddie mac they're forgetting the main principal don't buy more than you can afford. We seem to have spent that last 5 years doing just that with housing, cars, building our lives on debt not cash. No wonder the bubble burst.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Rec-room is coming along quite nicely. Paint is up, now we're just waiting for the drywall mud to dry in the hallway so the sanding can be completed then it's time for wallpaper carpet and trim woohoo!

I'm currently debating whether to take the first time home buyers tax credit. The $7500 would be really nice for working on the house, but do I really want to pay for it for the next 15 years? This is not going to be our forever-home. This is a temporary house and yet I'll be paying for the improvements for 15 years. I'm really not sure.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Window of oppertunity

Eric and I have decided to go become window installers. This window at the back of the house has been broken from day 1. Being distracted by bigger and better things, and not sure quite how to do it, we closed the room off and ignored it. My mom is coming to visit for a few days, and we through she'd like a draft free, not open to the elements room to stay in.

We had a window guy come give us an estimate for the front window (which can't come out because of the goofy wood trim that was applied) and he pointed out that all our windows are 2 storm windows not real windows. Are you kidding me? So now add all new windows to the mix on top of the new siding, new kitchen, new flooring, new electrical....I don't think it will ever end....but I got it for a screamin' deal....

Our original measurements for the window were 30.5 x 61.5. We looked for a used window at Second Use and the Re-Store to no avail. Off to home depot and we found a 30x60 in stock. We knew it wasn't quite the right size, be we needed a window now, my mom's going to be here in 3 days. We could make it work. No matter what I was bound and determined to get this window in the wall. We pulled the old one out, it was pretty easy, it was screwed into the outside like a typical storm and the 2nd storm was just free floating in the frame. Out it all came. We had to make some shims out of 2x2 that we had left over which we ripped down on our handy dandy new(to us) table-saw off Craigslist. At the recomendation of the Home Depot employee that sold us the window we used this tape around the inside of the window frame and then again on top of the flange around the window I think the idea is to give a complete air tight seal around the window. Once we were done all that, the window fit so perfectly snug that it stayed in place without any screws.

While it did take some trial and error, we put the window in upside-down not thinking it made a difference, and made a couple foibles, what the window people charge for this service that is soooo simple blows our mind.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1/2 way there

So I've finally gotten off my rear and taken some pics of all the amazing progress in the rec-room. This was before, Wow, it's kind of amazing to see the transformation.

Now the current state of affairs:

First up went the lights. Originally there was a junction box in the center of the ceiling, but in adding a light we discovered that you could only turn it on and off from the breaker (and if you did that 1/2 the house went dark too). All that came out, we added the 2 par cans and the 5 puck lights (Which will be mounted to the ceiling once it's textured and painted). The puck lights will eventually light a book case in the recessed area. Then came patching all the drywall that had to come out to wire in the new lights. It's not yet 100% perfect, but a little more work and I'll be happy. What should have happened was those pieces of sheet rock that had to be cut into should have all been removed and new put in. Being on such a tight budget, we chose to patch what we had cut. It's taking a lot more work, and I'm having nightmares about being forced to hold my arms over my head, but I think the end results will be good.

Once all the new lights were in place, we ran the wiring to the switches. The pars are on a great normal sized switch with a dimmer, the pucks on another switch and this great stairwell light on the third. Eric wanted to make it so that the stairwell light automatically came on when the overhead lights were off. I'm not sure why we didn't do it that way but I think it was fear of the light being in our eyes when we were trying to watch TV. Then he wanted to put a secondary switch into the laundry room to be able to turn off the light if it ever bothered us, but then we laughed about the next owners living here for years before figuring out what that switch did.

Next we build this soffit. The one on the top was already there to contain the HVAC duct work and in order to make this room not seem so odd, despite Erics warning. I had to have a matching one on the bottom to cover the foundation and to hold up the FANTASTIC build in that will be there...eventually. I now regret making it the full 14.5" deep, but hindsight is 20/20 and I was told so. Now it's going to be a great place to run our wiring for the rest of the house

The other side of the room got the same treatment to cover the foundation. This side is much more shallow 3" or so I think. This room is staying much warmer because of the insulation we tucked up inside the soffits. I never realized how much heat we were loosing through that concrete.

While I've been wasting away with my arms over my head patching drywall, Eric built this really cool arch so the entry matches the rest of the arched doorways in the house. He's not quite happy with it yet and has come up with a few design modifications, but I'm positive it will turn out beautifully.

Lastly the upper part of the walls has been textured. We've tried to match the texture to the rest of the house. It has a really cool swirly pattern to it. I don't think it's a perfect match, but it's pretty close. Next the ceiling will be textured and then it's decoratin' time (I'm so excited)

We've decided to make the theme for the house "Bringing the outside in" I had totally different plans for this room, with white bead-board and navy walls, but once I discovered the price of bead-board and talked to Eric a little more about it, I think the design will come together quite nicely. We're going to do this grasscloth wallpaper on the lower half of the walls and continue it in interesting ways through out the rest of the house like this cool ">diamond pattern. I'm sure we'll come up with some more interesting ways to continue the theme. There was a pretty cool wallpaper at lowes that looked like bark that I'm curious about, and we'd really like to use natural stone tiles (if cost doesn't prohibit).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lack of motivation

I haven't been posting, not for lack of progress. Things in the Rec-Room are moving right along. The drywall is done, 1 of the walls has been textured (going to get to the others tonight). My lack of motivation is in taking pictures, and what's a blog post without pictures? After a hard days work who wants to stand up, let alone go take pictures down load them to the computer and put them online? I just want to lay down and nurse the sore muscles that have come from holding my arms over my head all day. Boohoo that reminds me it's time to texture the ceiling. Who needs a gym when there's ceiling work to be done?