- Rang in the new year in London on our honeymoon. Had a frost bite scare but my toes recovered!
- Took a quick trip to FL for a friend's wedding.
- Started a new job.
- Moved from basement apartment to our top floor apartment.
- Bought house and moved again a few months later.
- Went to Austin for Christmas, visiting Perla, and meeting our new niece.
- Celebrated 1 year anniversary yesterday!
Next year we're hoping for a slower pace so we have more time to spend on the things that got overlooked last year. One of our goals in buying a house was having enough land to grow a vegetable garden. Starting in Feb we can begin planting! I also want to make more time for reading, trying new recipes, and exercising. I had to cancel my elliptical because the ship date moved to when we were on vacation, so now I'll have to reorder it. I would like to say I have a plan for improvements to the house, but I feel like the house has a plan for itself. I'm sure as soon as one thing breaks, it will lead to other projects so I don't want to get my heart set on anything cosmetic just yet.
Happy New Years, everyone!
I was walking around our neighborhood the other evening and came across this park on the edge of Salmon Bay. The Bay sits between Lake Union and Lake Washington on the East, and Elliot Bay (Puget Sound) on the West. The bodies of water are connected by the Ship Canal and the Ballard Locks. The park overlooks where the Bay reaches the Sound. The sun was setting behind the hill (Magnolia) and it was really pretty. I snapped these pictures with my cell phone, so they aren’t super detailed, but they stitched together nicely.
My laptop died the other day, so I’ve been going through the long process of recovering some of my stuff off of it, mainly photos. I came across a bunch of panoramic type photos that I took on our Honeymoon that I had sort of forgotten about. I’ve always wanted to give Photosynth a try, but didn’t really have any good photos for it. So, here’s one. I’ll post more if they are any good.
Why do I hate leftovers so much? I was looking forward to them all day until it was time to heat them up, then I talked myself out of it. I turned to Nate and said " I wish we had more of the asparagus ravioli we ate last week." Then I opened the freezer and there it was. We can't figure out where it came from or remember buying another bag. I hope the freezer fairy brings me some Ben and Jerry's oatmeal cookie dough ice cream next...
Congrats to Doug and Helen on the birth of Ophelia on Monday. She's got a blog here. We can't wait to meet her.
In other news, we haven't posted in awhile but my parents were here for Thanksgiving which was really nice. It's tough living so far away from family and I'm glad they are able to visit regularly. We got up Christmas lights, which I keep forgetting to take a picture of. It's been below freezing for days. I don't linger outside of the house much.
Also, I ordered an elliptical machine. It's the only thing I ever use at the gym anyway so it makes more sense just to have one. Mine isn't as fancy as the gym one (which had a TV built in), but I'll never have to wait for someone to finish using it. Apparently it weighs 150lbs and we have to assemble it. I'm a little concerned about building it wrong and it falling apart during use.
- Got a new, bigger christmas tree with some led lights for nerdy flair
- 1 week until doug and helen's baby arrives
- 2 days until my parents come for thanksgiving
- Sun came out today for the first time in awhile and instantly gave me a headache
We officially feel like homeowners, and it only took a month and a half! We finally got over the fact that our plane tickets to Austin weren’t going to come down in price any more and just bought them. We accepted it, and moved on. Leighann went to cook dinner, and I went to take care of the cat litter and get the trash out ( side note, Seattle has ridiculous trash and recycling rules - http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Garbage/GarbageatYourHouse/WhatsAcceptedasGarbage/index.htm ), so I headed downstairs to find three inches of standing water in the basement.
It turns out our lovely flat sewer line backed up, just like we thought it would. We had really hoped to get more than 6 weeks out of it. We got a plumber out to clear the line and the water all drained away. A few hours of cleaning and a few hundred dollars later and it’s back to how it was. Isn’t owning a house fun!? We don’t really know what caused it, but I’m willing to wage dollars to donuts that it had something to do with the fact that this has been the 10-day forecast for over a month now:
In other news, we're making progress on the house. We've painted the entry and the living/dining room. Did I mention we're horrible painters. Not good at staying in the lines... Anyway, we have a contractor coming tomorrow to see how much it will cost to get some trim work done and the wood floors refinished. We're not handy people.
The rain finally let up enough for us to do some yard work today. The grass needed to be cut and there was a gigantic vine that had wrapped itself all the way around the house. Luckily, the previous owner left us an awesome rotary lawn mower and hedge clippers so we had everything we needed. We completely filled the yard waste bin which I think means we were successful.
Our goal later on is to get rid of all of the crazy mismatched plants and make a cohesive design. I like the look of evergreen shrubs and not so much the weird tropical-looking plants we have now (which aren't pictured here.) Also, they're fairly easy to shape so they won't block the basement windows and we can get more light down there. Maybe I'll make topiary...
Kim joined us on Saturday for The Pogues show. Beforehand, Kim tried out the flat iron and it was epic. It took about an hour and I'm pretty sure it made her hair about 5 inches longer. We had a good time at the show mostly thanks to the excellent parking spot Nate found. =)
Now that we've moved out of the west-facing oven of an apartment, summer has apparently left us. I don't know what normal weather is around here, but it sure feels like we skipped fall and went right to winter. Mornings are in the high 30s or low 40s, and it almost gets up to the mid-50s in the daytime. Oh, and anyone that tells you it doesn't snow much up here is a liar; there is already rumors of snow in the foothills, and it's not even October! We don't mind though, after the 110 degree days of July and August, we're quite happy with the cooler nights. In fact, we still refuse to turn the heater on, but that is mostly because the ducts and filters need to be cleaned. I should probably do that soon so my Dad and sister don't freeze when they're here next week.
Moving was stress-free. We hired movers who were professional, friendly, and even showed up early. It cost exactly what they said it would- no surprises. Because of timing, Nate stayed in Bothell with the movers and I hung out here in Ballard waiting for the Comcast tech to come. While I was waiting I walked to downtown Ballard for some lunch and hung out at the locks watching the boats go out to The Sound.
The Comcast guy showed up 7 minutes into the 4 hour window which is amazing. Our signal was not strong enough so I watched in horror as he pulled out a ladder with giant hooks at the end, hooked it to the power line, and climbed up to run a new line our to our house. I did not know power line wires are strong enough to rest a ladder on.
After the cable was fixed and the movers had left, we drove back to Bothell to get the cats. They are adjusting pretty well, though this house is far bigger than any space they've ever lived in. They are also terrified of the basement stairs which is fair because they are weird, crooked stairs. I put the litter box down there, so hopefully they get over it fast.
I'm so glad we are finally here, but at the same time it doesn't feel real. I've been in apartments for so long, it's strange to listen and not hear anything. Our street is super quiet and I love that about it. Unfortunately, we completely forgot to take pictures today.. maybe tomorrow we can take some pictures of us unpacking.
- grunting noises in the bathroom
- talking baby talk to your kids/wife on the phone outside of my cube
- pot luck
- heavy breathing when you walk- seriously you shouldn't get out of breath walking to the printer
Bringing me candy and/or diet coke is acceptable.
Things to not do on the bus:
- talk to me
- have any part of your body cross the cushion divide
- sleep next to me
- smell like lysol
- wait until I pull the chain, then come sit on the aisle seat so that I now have to walk over you to get out
Ok. I just wanted to clear these things up because clearly this week there's been some confusion.
The inside definitely needs work. The floors REALLY need to be refinished. Several windows need to be replaced. Many of the appliances could go at any moment. The electrical and plumbing are in need of updating. The sewer needs to be fixed. It's a shame that it wasn't well taken care of because the house itself is great. It has really high ceilings and a really nice floor plan that fits our needs perfectly. We're really excited to work on it over the next few years.
So I've watched a lot of these home buying shows on HGTV and still didn't really understand how stressful the process is. They often end the show with the offer getting accepted and you assume after that it's smooth sailing. It's been over a week since our offer got accepted and I still feel like everything could fall apart at any second. The negotiations for repairs were stressful because this is an estate sale. I felt the seller took us asking for repairs as an insult to his late parents, which was something I didn't expect. For us it's a business transaction and an exciting time, but it must be difficult selling your family's home for less than you think it's worth.
Now we're worried that something will go wrong with the appraisal. There are so few sales in that neighborhood (I think it's a good thing that people don't want to move?), coming up with fair market value was difficult. Our lender assured us that it would be fine and we wouldn't knowingly have overbid on a house so hopefully all goes well.
We went to Home Depot yesterday to start adding up the costs of all of the things we need or will need in the first year. Turns out things that we need aren't that expensive if we do them ourselves, but if we hire someone labor costs won't be cheap. With that being said, Nate's dad is visiting a week after we move in and my parents are visiting for Thanksgiving. We're hoping they can teach us how to do some of the easier projects because we are clueless about this stuff. We actually tried to buy some tools yesterday and gave up. What is the difference between a $100 drill and a $400 drill? LOL we have a lot to learn. If all goes well, closing is on Sep 25th. I'll keep you posted.
In other news, we've started up the house hunt again. Apparently we want the same thing everyone else wants because anything we like has multiple offers on it. Some are sold before we have a chance to look at them. Others have been bought in cash which we can't compete with. It feels ridiculous to be considering offering over asking price on a home considering the market conditions. It also pains me to think we could have waterfront property back in Melbourne for less money than we're considering spending on a tiny cottage in need of updating. I'm trying my best to enjoy the process however long it may take.
Last night I went to my first Mariner's game! Safeco Field is conveniently located just a few blocks from work so Nate bussed in to meet me and some friends and walk over.
Deciding on what baseball food to eat for dinner was challenging. Besides all of the classics, Safeco has a lot of good local restaurants like Garlic Jims and Ivars. Not only that, but the road you have to walk up to reach the stadium is lined with vendors in tents selling food that can be brought into the game.
This brings me to the highlight of the night: MAXIMUS MINIMUS! This pig had been eluding us for many weeks now and then.. there it was parked right outside of the stadium. The wonderful tangy aroma of BBQ sauce could not be denied. We got the maximus pork sandwich and omg yes it was most excellent. Pig, if you can hear me can you please come park in pioneer square for lunch and stop feeding the tourists on 2nd and pike??
Nate is still uploading them, so I'll post a couple more (including the grand finale) tomorrow.
At the street fair
Today's plan is to drive back into the city to look at a few open houses. Then we'll try the world-famous Red Mill burgers! I've been hearing about this place for awhile and I'm excited to finally try one.
Off to work!
We'd be happy to go again if anyone visiting wants to go! =)
They also touch on their no-salt policy, stating there was no scientific basis for banning salt. I'm prepared to watch in amazement as not a single responsible party is fired or resigns.
Because of poor record-keeping, the report said, "how many miles of residential streets (were plowed) and why they were plowed during the snowstorm cannot be confirmed or explained."
During the storms, according to the report, Seattle transportation officials kept snowplowing records on dry-erase boards and in handwritten notes, and let road crews decide which streets to plow first.
Also, the city did not follow its own procedures. A team of people was supposed to be ready to respond to road emergencies, but that team was not activated for the storm's first week and a half because it "did not formally exist," the report said.
Celebrity Apprentice was absurd tonight. I don't think anyone believes a single one of the contestants is in it for the charity. The producers did a good job of picking people that represent all the stereotypes about fame.
I'm bringing my pink lunch box tomorrow and I don't care who knows it!
At first, this seems like a steal. After all- getting into the Seattle market under $200k is quite an accomplishment. But check out the price/sq ft. If you apply the $250 neighborhood average it should cost about $81k. Also they claim to have a walk-in closet! I'm calling BS on this one unless they are counting the house itself.
A look at the google map satellite shows that this is someone's garage or shed that's been converted into a house. One-of-a-kind indeed!
Or is it?! This "charming bungalow" is also a garage. Bed must be entered through the bottom right corner. Excellent.
This is by far my favorite piece of crap of all time. If you map it, you'll see it's not in the city like the other 2. Also, King County records lists the square footage at 680, making this a whopping $551/sq ft in a $250/sq ft neighborhood. Throw in the $190/month HOA dues and you have yourself a winner!
Why should it be my problem that she can't estimate the weight of meat and cheese? Isn't that one of the most important aspects of her job? If I'm working in a bank and a customer wants to withdrawal $400 and I give them $415 they would think I'm crazy. I have a one-slice overweight limit. If I paid the extra $2 for that extra meat and cheese each week that I wasn't going to eat anyway, I'd be wasting over $100/year. Think about that next time they ask you "is this too much"!
EDIT: I want to note that I do not ask for strange amounts. I ask for 1/4, 1/2, or 1 lbs. It's not like I ask for 3/17 lbs of meat though that might be fun to try sometime.
Video: Gasworks Park Fireworks Finale
We saw The Ting Tings last night at the Crocodile Cafe downtown. It was a smallish show (maybe 150 people) and we were some of the youngest people there. The opening band, Hot Tub, was possibly the most horrifying thing I've ever seen. Three girls- two of them overweight- wearing too little clothing and dancing a little too provocatively. Lot's of bass and screeching. It ended with one of them putting a microphone down her pants and announcing that she's on her period. The Ting Tings were great though and actually sound better live than on the album.
In other news, we moved our house hunt outside of the Seattle city limits. We don't want to over-extend ourselves and we can get a lot more house for the money. We put in offer in on a new construction in Renton and we'll see what happens. The nice thing is now that I'll be working downtown, coming home to the suburbs at nice will be a lot more appealing.
ALSO! I'm going to be an aunt! Doug and Helen are having a baby and I regret to inform her siblings that Nate and I will be the favorite aunt and uncle. I already called dibs. Sorry! =)
Nate was making my cupcakes today when I started to think about the "serving suggestion" recommendation in the bottom right corner. What exactly are they suggesting? I should find a fictional character to serve me the cake on a spoon that's twice as tall as he is? I'll pass.
This got us wondering about this odd little wooden house that keeps turning up on our searches on real estate sites. It looks like the exterior is completely made of wooden shingles and the interior is gutted down to the wood frame. Of course, this is what shows up for single family homes in our price range! Still, this property is sold pending inspection. Who would purchase such a strange little house? We had to know.
Cue King County public records website. We find the sales history of the property and see that a lady flipped it in 2 months and made $90k on it. Holy crap. The guy who she sold it to is the current seller and taking a huge loss on it. So we became intrigued about this woman and her house flipping. Was it a one-time occurrence or her business? So we looked that up! An hour later we learn that she started a business of buying up homes at a steal before they went into foreclosure and flipping them for profit. Even ran a blog on how to avoid foreclosure. Last month two of her properties were foreclosed on and one of them is still on the market for way less than she owes on it. Nice upgrades to if anyone is looking for something in South Seattle. It's been foreclosed on twice now. We think viewing it would cross a weird line.
Still, we had a fun time with our public records soap opera. And we did gather a lot of useful information too about which properties we've seen were overpriced and which were priced about right. And I'm glad to finally know the history of the little wooden house.
In case you're bored, I supplied a few pictures to test your knowledge. It's nearly impossible to catch The Baby acting naturally on camera, so they are Stella pics. See if you can figure out what her body language is saying. I even supplied clues about what sections to look in. What fun!
1. Stella in the snow (tail, posture)
2. Stella with giant reflective pupils (eyes, ears)
3. Stella with airplane ears (ears, eyes)
4. Stella playing with a kitten (this one is a freebie)
If you get all of the answers right you won't win anything except a victory blog post. Good luck.
In other news, the internet got a whole lot smaller this week. Almost my entire inbox is filled with Facebook alerts. I've found myself forgetting that I live on the other side of the country from everyone I know because I have a constant connection to people. Do people need to have high school reunions anymore? You don't need to wait 10 years to compare your progress because you can learn it all on Facebook minus the painful small talk. I'm only thinking about this now because it wasn't until the past few months that my Facebook circle expanded beyond people I see with some regularity. The fix is similar to what we get from reality tv, only somehow because it's people we know it seems more real.
That being said, I plan to continue using Facebook because I'm as curious as the people seeking me out. I also plan to keep blogging (though the venue remains undecided) because I like that people have to decide to read it. It's not an unsolicited blurb on their newsfeed. And I also plan to do something useful with my novielli.org domain as soon as I figure out what useful thing I can contribute to the internet.
I'm interested in what everyone's thoughts are on our growing addiction to online social networking. All four of you. =)
Something strange happens with the Emergency Broadcast System on my TV. Every so often, like most places, there is a test of the system with annoying beeping that never occurs during a commercial. It always appears to be a successful test.
Then one day I was watching TV and the emergency signal sounds and the incoming message screen appears. But instead of telling me the message, it switched my channel over to CSPAN. This would be great if something vital was happening on CSPAN, but it wasn’t! There was no breaking news, no national crisis. Just senators shuffling around plotting new ways to waste our money. No problem, I figured, I’ll just change back to the show I was watching. NAY. I even thought the remote batteries had died so I tried to use the cable box to change the channel. It was stuck there for almost an hour.
I’m happy to report, the system has been improved! Last night, I heard the emergency signal and a message on the screen said that they were interrupting the program to tell give WA’s equivalent of an Amber Alert. No problem, this is important news considering how close we are to the border. So I wait... and wait.. nothing. No audio. No scrolling text to tell you anything about who was kidnapped or where. No info on the person they’re with or the vehicle. Nothing. And then it switched to CSPAN.
Good job, Washington! We’re getting there one step at a time. First we let people know there is an emergency, the we improve the system to let people know what type of emergency. Before we know it, we’ll actually be able to receive real time emergency info on our TVs (like hey, that volcano is erupting RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.) We’re so progressive. Sigh.
Anyway, we went downtown one day while Nate was at work to walk around a bit. We started with a delicious lunch at Ivars. They were smart enough to install heaters in the glass dining room so you now can dine next to the water year-round. After that, we walked through Pike’s. The fish guys weren’t throwing fish, but I did make two excellent discoveries. First, we found a booth selling flavored pastas that were excellent. I can’t wait to go back and try the flavored orzo. After we bought dinner supplies, we went to the outdoor vendors and behold- the hippie artist who sold me my seattle drawing when I was 16 had come back! I’d checked for him previously and he wasn’t there! He is still making the drawing I have, plus a ton of other awesome ones. I asked him what days he is open and he hesitated and mumbled for some time before telling me that Mondays are good. I think it depends on if he can find drugs or not.
We went back downtown again on Valentine’s Day with Nate and started at the Sci-Fi Museum. Yes, it’s still awesome. We walked around downtown a little and had a nice dinner at Ivar’s Acres of Clams (the sit-down restaurant part). Believe it or not, I had a salad and enjoyed it. Afterwards, we stopped at Albertsons to get whatever we all wanted for desert. Nate made me oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!
In between all of that, we mostly just hung out. Nate got my dad addicted to NHL on the Xbox, and my mom is addicted to a game on my DS. There was also an agonizingly long Trivial Pursuit game in which Nate and I won dinner. All in all, it was a fun time and most of all we liked sharing our city with visitors! My parents are coming back at the beginning of May and Perla and her friend are coming at the end of May. If anyone else would like to visit, we have a very nice futon! =)
Thank you Nate for tolerating my love of British pop and sorry to my newish keyboard for the rough treatment you endured this morning.
They also reminded me of the things that annoyed me, like not getting the ceremony music I wanted. Everyone looks depressed coming down the aisle, so there aren't any pictures worth printing from that part. Also, even the photographer's retouching couldn't make the bouquet look alive in the closeup. We're getting a partial refund from the florist in case anyone is curious. On the flip side, there are a lot of pictures of people having fun that we didn't get to see!
Anyway, you can go to the online gallery now to see all of the photos.
1. Go to http://www.poeticrealityproductions.com/
2. Click on "order prints"
3. Select our wedding from the drop down menu
4. The password is "Wedding" (case sensitive) and the email is your own email
You can order prints from them or, since we own the rights, you can get them printed anywhere. I don't know why theirs are so expensive- maybe the paper is nicer or something. Let me know if you want a copy of the whole CD, or if there are just a couple you want I can email them to you. She caught some really nice guest pictures!
I hope someone can help me with this problem. Where do they keep Velveeta in the grocery store?! I checked the cheese case and the pasta aisle. Nothing but a pack of Velveeta singles in the cheese case. Nothing but Velveeta mac and cheese boxes on the pasta aisle. Do they still sell it like in the picture where you have to slice it like butter? Maybe it's with the butter? HELP!
[See followup: What aisle IS Velveeta on?]
In the mean time, we can ponder how gross our house must be. We have to buy sprays and plug ins to kill the fleas that are probably now living in our house. I have a couple of bites, so I know they are in the bed. Cleaning the sheets doesn't really help because they can just jump right back in. Fun!
Also, The Baby lost 2 lbs and Stella needs to lose weight. It's going to be tricky to have Stella on a diet when The Baby needs to be eating more. Stella is going to be pretty upset about losing the autofeeder.
In other news, Nate is playing a very violent xbox game. We hit up the Circuit City liquidation sale and got some good deals on games. I'm still loving my DS and I'm going to play some Big Brain Academy.