Sunday, April 30, 2006


Two smashed fingers, several lacerations, and countless loads later, Billy and Katy are completely moved out of the Tibbetts Street apartment!
Can I get a "whoop whoop!"
Thanks to Mom and Dad Yoshihara, who brought the ladder this morning and helped us move more furniture and boxes, we were done in half the time we thought it would take.
Now we can concentrate on the business of working on the house, relaxing, and doting on our precious Ming Mao. (Otherwise known as Mittens.)
Billy did a little painting this afternoon while I puttered around, moving items from room to room and setting up the television and dvd player. Of course I had to see if my precious idiot box worked, and I was happy to find the local choir Capella Romana, one of the Northwest's only professional choirs, on OPB. Poor Billy, slaving away as I happily watched interviews and performances of Byzantine chant.
He decided around three that he'd do the last bit of trim in the living room.
"In one hour, you'll have your living room!" he promised.
Three hours later:
"I'm so tired, yet I persist," he moaned, "all because you want the living room done."
Does that make anyone else giggle?

But please don't fret, gentle reader, because Billy does a fair amount of relaxing. Why look, here he is with his long-legged kitten, enjoying a quiet moment of reprieve.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Drink Me

For Mittens's second birthday, Billy and I decided to give Mittens her own sink, since she's often fascinated with our human sinks. I was hoping it would splash more but it pours out in a gentle continuous stream, silent and smooth. It's not her new raison d'etre, but it at least seems acceptable.

Ow, the pain!

As the day before the official Last Day in our apartment, Billy and I spent hours on SE Tibbetts today, packing up the last odds and ends, scrubbing every room, and watching hockey. Much to Billy's disappointment, the Wings lost 3-2. Much to my pleasure (in a way), I finished cleaning two bathrooms, two bedrooms, and a kitchen. Billy moved most of the boxes in between quarters as I cleaned. We have just a few more pieces of furniture to get tomorrow before we finally say goodbye to that squallid apart- err, our home for the past two and a half years.
Today's injury list was high: Billy sliced his hand open to the bone (so he says) on a nail he was pulling out of the bottom of his desk. I dropped our homemade magazine holder on my foot, and scraped my leg on the desk as we were moving it. Plus I've had the @#$%& hiccups THREE times today and they're really driving me crazy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's a Bird, It's a Plane. . .

Today's Tasks: Install new DSL line.
Set up Mittens' new waterfall watering device (a late birthday present).
Work from 8 to 5- almost done!
Date with Billy- Soon!
Check out view from roof- pending. (See photograph)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Billy and Mittens seem to think our house is haunted. Mittens rarely will venture up the stairs and when I called her to snuggle me in bed last night, she jumped when the bed creaked. Same thing happened this morning. She's used to going upstairs, since we just moved from a townhouse, so it's not the stairs. Hmm...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If Wishes were Fishes...

Are you sick of seeing photographs of our paint jobs yet? Huh? Unfortunately, our work has slowed to a snail's pace and that's about all that's been accomplished in the past two days. I busted out the walls in the bedroom yesterday (left), so unless we get very ambitious and agree to do the ceilings (nooo!), we'll move in there tomorrow.
Mittens ventured outside today. I went out to check on her several times and each time she saw me she made sure she was out of reach so I couldn't snatch her up and bring her back into the boring house. Jeeez, Mom! There's nothing to do in there!
In other news, I'm fighting off a cold. (Headline News, as they say at my work.) Setting up the house is going much more slowly than I'd anticipated, and it doesn't make for very exciting reading:
"Hey kids, we got a new garbage can today! Wow!!"
To amuse my clamoring readership, I'll share some wishes that children have written on cards here at the library. They're on display at the end of each bookcase:
I wish nobody would die.
I wish I knew more about technology.
I wish for peace.
I wish I had my own bunny rabbit.
I wish my sister was nice.
I wish could read better.
To be fair, I wish my brother was nice.
I wish for food for all people.

I think I'll go home and contribute to that last one. It's lunchtime!
What's your wish for the day?
Thanks to CuteOverload for the picture.

Monday, April 24, 2006

High on Nip

It's 5:45 on Monday evening, and I'm rushing to finish this before the library closes. I took today off work and envisioned me making our home tidy, organized, and lovely. It would be perfect when Billy returned from work, and we could go pick up the rest of the furniture and boxes from the apartment and get busy livin'.
Unfortunately, that's not how it went.
It never is, is it?
The old apartment had me in a tizzy this morning. You know when there's so much to do that you're not sure where to start? I often just do a little in this room and a little in that room and spend too much time muttering to myself about what needs to be done.
The old apartment got a little cleaner and a little more packed this morning before the piano movers came. I noticed yesterday as I was doing laundry that there was a sort of...dead smell coming from the dryer. Hmm. After we unhooked the dryer vent and moved the dryer, the smell got stronger. This morning, it was evident that some animal had indeed crawled under the building and died, as our kitchen was full of the putrid smell of its decay. Lovely! I'm glad we're not still living there.

The piano movers did a fabulous job, as usual. (D&M Moving, for the inquisitive types.) Here they are moving the piano into the new house (above). Mittens decided that since it was the only place in the house that didn't have a box stacked on it that it was her new perch. No, Mittens!
A sprinkling of nip on both of her scratchy pads gave her something amusing do to (topmost photo) as she waits the requisite week inside before venturing out into the neighborhood. We're hoping to get her a friend soon, as she just seems bored, now that her anxiety has faded. Maybe we're just being typical ADD Americans. Mittens needs a computer! Mittens needs cable TV! Mittens needs a kitten!

Moving Day

Moving day came and went and the new house is full of stuff. I know I've said it before, but who knew we had so much stuff!
We brought Mittens over last night and she explored cautiously, tail down, wondering why we'd brought her here and when we'd be taking her home, please. Today she felt a little better, massaging my stomach, purring, and enjoying the nip I sprinkled on her two scratchy pads. She's mostly hanging out on the main floor on the gold couch. (The same one that Billy's relaxing on after moving, right. Ooo la la, look at those legs!)
Thanks to everyone who helped move- Jimmy, Brandy, Mom, Dad, Chris and Megan. Thanks to Chris and Megan, our kitchen is almost completely put together. Wow! We just need to find a spice rack for the myriad of baggies that clutter our cupboard.
The sunny weather really helped our move, too. Thanks, sun!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

2-3 Weeks?!

It's only 9:15 pm and we're done working for the night? It seems strange, since we've worked late nearly every night this week. I'm not even exhausted!
Today we accomplished several tasks. First, Billy loaded up the truck. Mittens was appointed Safety Officer, and spent quite a while inspecting the load. Above you'll see her as she makes her initial walk-through, balancing along the edge of the truckbed. Unfortunately, her luck soon ended and she slipped off the tailgate. With only her dignity hurt, she finished her job (right) before going off to groom her tail in embarrassment.

Three loads and lots of paint later, Billy just offered to make me a drink and I reminded him that we'd already moved the liquor. We wailed together in misery. He checked the kitchen and came back to report that we have about 1/2 an inch of vodka and 1/4 inch of kahlua. Who knows what kind of delicious treat THAT will make? (gagging)

The living and dining room, left, are finished. We just have to redo the trim where the tape didn't quite make the lines as we'd expected. It's frustrating how much time we spent taping every edge, and then having it bleed through and look crappy anyway.
Thanks to everyone for their advice on colors! We have red and gold furniture (a mishmash, really) so hopefully that will contrast nicely with the green. Also, we took some advice for the exposed plaster in the bedroom and simply spackled the edges and primed it (right). Tomorrow we'll be able to paint the walls.

Billy is nearly finished with the trim in the studio. I don't know what we were thinking, as it's going to be a VERY dark room with its periwinkle and grey-brown trim. (Notice the contrast on the door on the left between the grey edges and the white center.) Plus it's on the south side, which is blocked by the wall-0-ivy, so there's not much sun anyway.
Chris came over and organized almost the entire kitchen. Thanks, Chris!

Yosh came over (right) and helped paint (and get coffee) for several hours. Thanks, Yosh!
Tomorrow is moving day and we're planning on sleeping in the studio until the bedroom's done. I'm taking a couple of days off work to bust out the painting and organizing so we don't live in chaos for too long. We'll see, though- entropy is a little too fond of us, methinks!
One more thing- our ISP said that they might not be able to transfer our service for 2-3 weeks (!!!!) so we might be without the internet at home for awhile. Since they're installing a line that's solely dedicated to the DSL, the work might get done a little faster. Keep your fingers crossed, gentle readers!

Mittens' Picnic

Mittens' fans are clamoring for more pictures of her, so we will oblige. Here she is enjoying a sunny day in early April. She condescended to sit on the plant stand and eat a treat of Japanese fish flakes that I offered her. It's the only treat she'll eat, human or otherwise. Isn't she clever and cute? Eat your heart out, Doug!
(I just noticed that she has Flake on her whisker in the photo to the left. How undignified!)

Tail Up

The final results are in, ladies and gentlemen, and the prevailing sentiment is GREEN! Yes, it's true! As evidenced in the photograph to your left, both the dining AND living rooms are tangy, salty, and ready to pile on a crispy corn chip. Mmm!
Every room is still only partly done. How can that be?! It defies all laws, ladies and gentlemen. To have worked for a week straight and still not have completed a project? At least we have 4 rooms that are halfway livable.

We've been playing phone tag and "I'll call you," with the plumber all week, and yesterday, with no warning, his son called Billy.
"My dad's in the neighborhood, and he's headed over."
Good thing Billy happened to be there. Now we have our lovely new Jenn-Air gas convection range ready to go. It's piped, plumbed, and hooked up to within an inch of its life. The only thing he didn't do is attach it to the wall in case we have a heavy turkey resting on the open door. Who rests a turkey on an oven door, anyway? That's a sure way to tip the dang thing over!

We're hoping to visiting the Humane Society today. It's moving into kitten season, and I've seen lots of kittens and cats on craigslist lately. I found a sweet 10-month-old medium haired female named Emily yesterday on the Humane Society's website. Billy and I may go check her out today. (In between the packing, taping, painting, and moving.)
Mittens has been thrown off by our recent frenzy around the apartment. Everything's out of order, we're always gone, and whenever she walks on the pile of boxes, they slip out from under her and slide onto the floor. She always seems surprised when that happens. Maybe she just walks on them for the quick ride before she jumps to safety. This morning she came to lie on my chest while I was waking up, and eventually she started purring and her tail went up. Yay, tail up! I like when my kitty's happy.
The pork chops I made last night in the crock pot smell DEEEElish. Too bad I have a breakfast date.
Where did you get your pet? From a friend? The Humane Society? In a parking lot at Denny's?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Green or green?

It's Friday, and we have only two more days to finish up the painting before we move in. Yikes! Billy and I are at an impasse over what to do with the colors, and we're both tired and cranky from putting in so many hours this week. Due to space issues, we didn't unpack several boxes from the LAST time we moved, so that's made packing easier!
Our neighbors are turning out to be friendly, although I've yet to talk to any personally. The tough guy next door is apparently "an intellectual with tattoos and a pitbull." I'm delighted that he appears to live alone. (Single people usually talk less, and have less parties, unless they talk to themselves, and he doesn't appear to.) The other neighbor is concerned about the large sap-spitting pine tree on our property, and has already inquired (via my dad) if we're planning on doing anything with it. First things first, lady!

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Welcome to Ed's House of Guacamole! Despite our best intentions to provide a soothing haven that reflects our love of nature, we have created a space that says Let's Party, Mexican style! The green is not so much sage as it is Spring Green (remember your crayolas?).
We had planned to paint the dining room, living room, landing and upstairs hall the green. Now that it's Guacamole Green, I'm having second thoughts.
What do you think? Can you suggest any complimentary/contrasting colors that would go well? Bright orange and yellow?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Foreman Mittens

Mittens enjoys her slippery ride when she walks on Box Mountain. She's fuzzier than usual since she was walking when I took this shot. Get packing, people.

Pragmatists Wanted

You're looking at the worst textured half-wall in the house. Right now it makes a little cubby in the room, convenient for placing a tv at the foot of one's bed. I'm not sure of its original purpose- maybe to add strength to the ceiling? (The studio also has a sloping ceiling like this, except there's attic space behind it.) Anyway, the texture was really driving me crazy. I could tell that it was unstuck from the plaster in some places, because it sounded hollow when I tapped it with my fingernail. Also, there were bumps and bruises all over, with the corner tape showing through in spots. Not what I've come to expect from this solid house! Billy opened part of one corner with his scraping tool, and as I sanded last night, I reopened it. Crack, crackle, break, and the dust flew. After briefly consulting with Billy, I started peeling the thin textured paper that lay atop the plaster. Square feet of exposed plaster later, I began to have doubts. What next? There's only one very thin crack that I've found so far, so perhaps the keys haven't come off the lathe. Are we going to have to replaster and wait 30 days for it to cure? I'd rather not put drywall over it. Anyone have advice?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ryobi Sanders Rock!

I've been busy at work today so I haven't had time to post until now, at 4:45pm. Sunday was a busy day. We had five people working at one point- Billy was spackling, Paul was vacuuming, Chris and I painted, and Dad worked on the doorbell and more outlets. The studio (aka back bedroom) has one coat of its dark slate blue. We're going to put another coat on tonight and maybe give the bedroom (aka front bedroom) its first coat. We've decided that we're going to concentrate on the main living areas and leave the bathrooms and spare bedroom (aka downstairs bedroom) undone until we have time. Don't worry, Bill and Ann, we'll have it done by your visit in May!
After five minutes of sanding by hand with a tiny block sander, I strongly suggested to Billy that we go to Home Depot NOW and buy an electric sander. Man, that thing is so nice! It's just a $30 vibrating sander, but it vacuums and saves so much time.
We've had no time to do anything outside except rake the driveway. I can see that we're going to have a hard time keeping the pine needles from coming in, and the mud! I haven't had hardwoods in years, so it's kind of a rude awakening how quickly they get dirty.
Throughout our packing and moving over the weekend, Mittens has been somewhat apprehensive. Last night, Billy took her to the new house and let her explore a little. Maybe she'll start to understand that we'll all be there together and there's no reason to worry. I try to give her extra petting and snuggling to reassure her that everything's ok. Change can be hard for everyone, but especially when you don't know what's happening.

The poly kitten that we went to look at on Sunday was one of 9 cats living in the apartment. She was VERY skittish, her human mother (pictured) having to drag her out from under the bed repeatedly for us to look at her. We didn't like her coloring or her fur (shorthair) so we'll keep looking. Aren't those paws great, though?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's Paint!

Ah, the joys of homeownership! Twice as much space to clutter, repairs we have to do ourselves, bonked heads and more! To the left is the most public physical evidence that the house is ours.
Someone obviously was so excited, she kicked the sign several times, and the top had rotted right through. Down it came! Unfortunate timing, as the next door neighbor to the right (Women want him and fish fear him, and his pitbull and tattoos sure look tough) was just arriving home. Oh well. Hopefully this first impression won't ruin us as neighbors.
Billy stopped by when the crew was replacing the sewer line on Thursday (see fresh soil in the middle of the lawn for placement). He suggested that if they had time, they might rip out the 10 feet of boxwood lining the driveway. Yay for Soil Solutions! The sewer scope guy was knowledgeable, personable, professional and motivated. I can only assume that the sewer line repair guys were as well, as they were the owners and finished the job in only a few hours.
Yesterday I got up at 7am and enjoyed a couple of hours alone in the house, scrubbing the walls and woodwork with TSP. I finished the whole upper floor before I had to leave for a show. (My choir sang in a festival for choral composer Eric Whitacre. We performed his song cycle Five Hebrew Love Songs. I had a small, simple solo during one and it went well.)

Billy arrived around 11 and soon began to prep the walls.
He has a fun new painting tool that he went a little crazy with, enlarging cracks and holes and even exposing the lath and plaster in one place (not pictured). Later, we had fun at the paint store. We had talked about our choices in advance and Billy was opinionated, which took care of my indecisiveness over which exact shade to get. Whew!
During the 8 hours after I left, my dad replaced the electrical box, rewired the disposal/outlet in the kitchen and did something to the bathroom outlets. He also worked on the doorbell, which is an actual bell with a clapper on the side. It may be broken but we'll see. Then Chris and Megan dropped by to see the place, the plumber came by to give an estimate on plumbing the kitchen for gas, the range was delivered, and Billy got the studio completely prepped and ready for priming. We'll paint that room a dark slate blue with grey trim. The bedroom (in the front of the house) will be sage with darker sage trim. The living room will be the color of the trim in the bedroom (or something like that). I'm thinking maybe a burnt orange for the upstairs bathroom with a dark brick red over it. That's still a WIP, though.
Ok, I'd better rouse that man I live with and get to the new house, stat! We're going to look at a polydactyl kitten this afternoon as a possible adoption. I hope those paws don't hurt when they slap!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Let's Close, People!

Today is stretching out. Billy and I are both antsy to get done with the workday, get our keys, and put this huge transaction to bed so we can start working on the house. My job is very slow today, so I don't have the distraction that paperwork affords. I called this morning to have the utilities turned on, so that's done. Billy's done with his work for the day so he's at home, attempting to relax and perhaps doing a little packing. Only two and a half more hours till 5! Let's close, people!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Heart Tractors

A medium-sized tractor and a dumptruck sat in the dark street, awaiting daylight and the $2000 job that they were to complete during the next 8-hour workday. I mentally damned the fact that there wasn't a street lamp above so Billy photograph me in the driver's seat. (Just something that I like to do with tractors I find lying around.) We got out of the car and I frowned to see thin 3'x5' boards laid out across the lawn, leaving only a narrow channel of lawn exposed.
Billy lifted one of the boards up. We expected to see a hole underneath, but it revealed only smashed green grass.
"Oh, those are to protect the lawn from the tractor when they dig the trench," he told me, revealing his landscaper's mindset.
I wouldn't have cared so much if the lawn had gotten torn up, but it's nice that it won't turn into a mudhole like the backyard. We've put off our closing for a week to make sure that the sewer line would in fact be replaced before we took possession. It's probably paranoia, but I visualized the owners reneging on our repair agreement at the last minute and us being stuck with the bill.
After a couple more minutes of speculation and gazing at the mammoth machines, we got into our car and retreated. The house will be ours soon enough; we had things to do.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Final Walkthrough

We got our first glimpse of our new next-door neighbor yesterday as we trespassed on our future lawn. Mr Garrison (I didn't see Mr Hat) was detailing the tires on his very large pickup. That must be the truck that pulls his large pleasure boat and the RV that lives in his driveway. I saw Mrs Garrison a couple of weeks ago as I slunk by to spy on the progress of the tenants and see if the repairs had started. I hope she watches all suspicious neighborhood behavior as closely as she watched me that day.

Last night the neon green numbers on the lawn and street in front of the house gave us hope that the repairs were indeed impending. Today we meet at the house for the final walk-through and the signing of the papers. The large pile of garbage is still languishing in the driveway, and a very nice chair sits in the garage. If they leave everything, at least we'll have a pretty vintage chair to add to our collection!

The back gate was wide open, so we helped ourselves to the backyard and were delighted to see that many of the holes were filled in and the dog poop was gone. Happy us.
There are so many details that we're trying to keep track of, and so much money to spend. We've called all of the utility companies, have made countless lists, and sometimes have daily budget meetings to keep everything on track. Next week is scramble time, when everything needs to be done before we move in the weekend of the 22nd.
We close on Friday, and are going to spend the weekend cleaning and prepping for painting.
All the rooms (except for the bathrooms and basement) are an unoffensive light brown/beige, with white wainscoting in the dining room and main floor bathroom. Is wainscoting generally left white? I don't remember from my bungalow books.
As we lurked around the property last evening, we decided that we might as well peek in the front door. No one's living there; what's the harm? We were delighted to see that the hardwoods are in much better shape than we'd originally feared. (It was raining during our first two visits so there was mud everywhere.) We were tossing around the idea of refinishing the floors ourselves but with the lack of time and the amount of floors, we were doubtful that it could be done. It looks like the painting is going to be our primary manual labor- woohoo!

Next Monday, we're hoping to have our new range delivered. Then we'll have the son of the brother of the guy who plumbed the water in my friend's kitchen remodel come plumb our kitchen for gas. My dad's going to update the electrical box (which has a piggyback on one of the lines) and install GFCI outlets in the bathrooms and kitchen. Yay! My electrical knowledge is only as big as knowing how to add a bare-bulb outlet in a friend's basement. Thanks, Dad!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Friend for Mittens?

Here's the foremost candidate for friendship for Mittens, thanks to the Oregon Humane Society. It's probably his fear that's giving him that expression, but he looks distinctly batlike to me, and the folded ear gives him a rakish look. Would Mittens like an 8-year-old former chimney sweep named Kerouac to be her brother? Hmm...

Moving Day! (For the Tenants)

Yay, the tenants were supposed to be out yesterday! They left a big pile of who-knows-what in the driveway hidden under a big blue tarp (pictured). Maybe they have an agreement with the current owners to pick it up sometime this week. Our fabulous realtor, Larry Porter (also pictured), and our mortgage banker are both back from vacation on Monday, so hopefully we can pick up the pace and maybe close a week early. To the left you can see the backyard during our first visit. The inside of the house was very tidy but the backyard was apparently too much to clean. In the left side of the photograph notice our 30 foot high wall of ivy. It's growing on the business that faces Foster Rd, which seems to be a defunct tattoo/piercing shop. I just hope they don't put in a nightclub, because I'm not too tolerant of loud neighbors.
I've been researching alternative power sources tonight and I realize that our lot, with the wall-o-ivy and the big pine tree on the side would probably be a bad candidate for a wind turbine. Maybe solar's a better idea. We've also been kicking around the idea of adopting a little friend for Mittens. The move would be a good time, we think, since Mittens won't have established her territory. On the other hand, it might be too much stress and cause her undue angst. And that's our job!