Waking up slow

Looks like it will be a good house day today. We got much of the dining room/“sitting room” set up last night, finally moving the dining room table to its correct place and installing a new inexpensive china cabinet (now we just have to find the good china). Today: lawn mowing and garden maintenance, unpack my books, and trek to Ikea to replace that shattered part so I can assemble the CD cabinet and unpack my CDs. We’ll see how much gets done.

I’ll be flying solo today; Lisa will land in Boston sometime in the next few hours. I guess I’d better get to it; with just one pair of hands this could take all day.

Sometimes “affordable” really does mean “cheap”

Lisa and I went after work last night to Ikea. It’s been a while since we’ve done much Ikea-ing–the closest one to Boston was a state or two away. I always try to remember when I’m there that you get what you pay for, and sometimes particleboard breaks, so it’s better to spend a little more to get higher quality. Last night we just needed felt pads to put on the bottom of our furniture and a way to store my CDs in such a way that we wouldn’t have to dust them (when you have in excess of 800 in your collection and a dust allergy, these are the things you think about).

I found a really cool six-drawer cabinet that was big enough to hold the collection. Better, it was mostly solid wood. It’s supposed to be a kitchen cabinet, but it was just about perfect. We bought it, got it home (somehow–the thing came in three big boxes that weighed a collective ton), and went to bed.

This morning after breakfast I opened the boxes trying to find the instruction sheet, so I would know how much time to budget for assembly. And one of the cabinet sides–which are among the few particleboard pieces on the unit–was splintered where it joined to the wood frame. Sigh. Hopefully they’ll deliver a replacement today…

Getting started

First day at work. I’m a little nervous. Needless to say, expect very little if any blogging today.

Quick house update (couldn’t let the opportunity pass): the floor guys are just about done and the plumbers are starting this morning in our second bathroom (we’re ripping out paneling, fixing a hole in the wall, and replacing the senior citizen-unfriendly clawfoot tub with something a little easier to get into and out of). Unpacking is going well so far except for one broken dish–which unfortunately was a piece of porcelain we hand carried back from Capri and never got a chance to use. We might be able to glue it back together.

We got stuff

I was very excited to be actually mowing my own lawn with my own lawnmower this morning, while our floor guys were laying down the final coat of finish on our new floors. I had just finished showering and changing when I heard a big truck outside. Yes, our stuff had shown up with no warning at all!

Fortunately, we had enough room in the rest of the house and garage to hold all the stuff. Our living room is basically set up and Lisa is thrilled to have TV. I think this might conclude the hardcore “houseblogging” I’ve been doing for a while. Thanks to all of you for putting up with me as I go through this transition.

The Broadband Fairy came!

…and it only took a couple of hours to get everything working!!! 🙂

After failing to get Lisa’s computer configured owing to some obscure binding problems and a firewall conflict, we tried to install the broadband software on my machine, to learn that there was a flaw in the script that tried to redirect my browser to finish the registration and it was pointing to the wrong URL. Plus my proxy server settings had to be set manually to finish. Once I got that straightened out, it was a piece of cake.

Starting to look like a house

Boy, I need to get a new icon for Seattle news stories. Anyway, I was up until 11:30 last night finishing the painting in our great room. This morning the masking tape is coming up and the drop cloths are being folded away, while in the next room our flooring guys are masking the mess that was the old floor. The Broadband Fairy comes later today too. Far too much fun for one day.


Brutal marathon painting session last night, after the floor guys left. But at least 99.9% of the walls in the great room are painted. We ran out of paint, upper body strength, and patience at about 10:30 last night, and still need to get the corners of the ceiling with a trim pad and touch up a few spots. All things considered, though, not bad for 4.5 hours and some 25-foot walls. (Cathedral ceiling = hard to paint room.) My arms may talk to me again in a few hours.

The fun surprises of homeownership

We’re having a few floors redone in the house we bought. One of the floors is going to be replaced so that we can level it with a section of existing flooring in the adjacent space. The flooring guy ripped up a few boards at the edge of the flooring to be removed, and discovered that the floor had been “leveled” using a unique subflooring material: newspapers.


On the plus side, this dates the addition of the glassed in porch on the back of the house to within a few weeks of the 1984 Grammys. On the minus side, we now understand why that part of the floor was never quite level. 🙂

I’m a real homeowner now

Sorry about the lack of updates yesterday. I was busy becoming a real homeowner. To wit: painting the two-story vaulted ceiling in our great room. Walls to be done later today, assuming the floor refinishing guys knock off early enough to let the dust settle down (they’ll be sanding this morning).

Apologies to all who tune into this blog for scripting, Mac, music, or other stuff. This is really going to be the Jarrett House North blog for a few more days—at least until our things get here. I start work a week from today and from that point on should be able to think about things other than home improvement.

We’re there

As you may have guessed from the last two items, I’m in Seattle now, joining Lisa who’s been here since our closing on Tuesday. The house is…well, a little empty until our furniture gets here, but we’re starting to get things whipped into shape.

Lisa is currently deadheading some of the approximately one kajillion flowers in the back yard. Feels weird but good being a homeowner—and feels very good having WiFi (of course the base station came with me and not on the moving van), even if it’s another week until broadband. Gotta run to Costco and stock up now.

Back in Seattle (again)

I’m back for our house inspection tomorrow. Hadn’t really counted on being back so soon, but it makes sense to be here while we find out whether the house is a lemon or not. Now I just have to figure out a way to kill the time before the inspection tomorrow at 2.

On the ethics of tree removal

We haven’t even closed on the new house yet, and already I’m faced with one of those awkward homeowners’ dilemmas. This one is about trees. The new house has four enormously tall but thin evergreens in the front yard, which completely block all light for the front room of the original house. (I should pause here to explain that the house was originally built in 1918 and substantially expanded—doubled, really—by the current sellers in 1999 to include a great room, two-car garage, and master suite.) The evergreen nearest the driveway is a super-pollinator, too—I’m thinking seriously green sidewalks and vehicles. So we’re thinking about removing one or more of the trees.

This brings up one of those conflicts that await all good homeowners. I’ve always been against tree removal on principal—there are already too many trees being cut down, they provide shade and oxygen, etc. I get it from my dad. When we would drive by a new house where a stand of trees used to be, Dad always used to say in a mock mountain accent, “Let’s chop down all these trees so people can see this hyar thing!” But these trees are a nuisance—and are probably promoting mold by keeping what sunlight there is away from the front of the house. Am I rationalizing? I don’t know. I just wasn’t expecting one of these dilemmas yet.

Don’t even get me started about the nightmares I had last night about the crawlspace under the original house, which I made the mistake of videotaping using the night vision setting on our camcorder so that we could discover what was down there…

House stuff

It’s started; I couldn’t decide whether to put this post in the Seattle department or the Boston department (after all, we’re back on the East Coast today).

Apologies to RSS subscribers who’ve seen the post about our new house three or four times. I’ve relinked the article to a picture on our local site to avoid future link rot.

Today’s action items: keep the ball rolling on the mortgage, find out why our relocation agent hasn’t called us to set up the transfer of our extra goods from Lisa’s parents, brace for impact about the closing costs.