It’s About Time…

13 Nov

This post has been a long time coming, but when you’re discussing something this epic, you have to take your time.

Long, long ago, in the dark ages of the 1980s, a team of master craftsmen and artisans, using only the finest materials of the highest quality, produced a device of unparalleled precision and beauty. I speak, of course, of The Clock.

That's right...THE Clock!

That's right...THE Clock!

Such dynamic brushstrokes! A lost Matisse?

Such dynamic brushstrokes! A lost Matisse?

This gorgeous slab of lacquered hardwood has been passed from family to family within the Elton Clan for decades, ever since my Aunt Janet won it in a bowling tournament. Significant events — birthdays, anniversaries, weddings — have been marked by the passing of The Clock. There, on the gift table, would be a box of ridiculously inconvenient dimensions. Usually somewhere near the bottom so the other paltry offerings wouldn’t be crushed by its weight and majesty.

Oh yeah, those are REAL rhinestones!

Oh yeah, those are REAL rhinestones!

And now the blessing of The Clock has been passed once again — from my Grandma, to me — in celebration of our new home. The first of the grandchildren to receive The Clock! As befitting such a work of art, we have hung it in a position of honor, where all can admire its beauty: above the dryer in the laundry room. Fortunately it matches our decor perfectly, as our laundry room features a fake gemstone and tole-painting motif. There it shall remain, keeping semi-accurate time, until another event occurs, auspicious enough to be deserving of the Gift of Time.

So thank you Grandma for this great honor. And to Mike, Steve, and Tami, I say, “Ha ha, I got it first!” 🙂

Fall Leaves and Voting Time

24 Oct

It’s definitely Fall! Yeah! I LOVE the Fall – it’s my favorite season. I love the changing of the leaves and the crispness of the air – it’s just the best. That being said, as much as I love our huge, wonderful Maple

Our Beautiful Maple

Our Beautiful Maple

tree in the backyard, it sure does have a lot of leaves! I have raked 3 times already (which filled 1 and 1/2 of of our yard waste bins) and Jimmy and I raked again today. Is is possible that plants sometimes forget what season it is? One of my rhodies and the
Pink blooming clemantis

Pink blooming clemantis

clemantis in the side yard are both blooming – aren’t they like 6 months off?
Pink blooming rhododendron

Pink blooming rhododendron

We also got to use our push mower that my parents got for us today – I really like that it doesn’t use gas and for small lawns it is pretty useful. However, that being said, we need to mow the lawn more often if we are going to use the push mower – our grass got long and was hard to push through.
Jimmy mowing the lawn

Jimmy mowing the lawn

So after tai chi this morning I got a call from my friend Hannah who asked if I would come and stand on the corner with the supporters of Referendum 71 here in WA. Last year homosexual couples were given domestic partnership rights (not marriage, unfortunately) and now people are trying to take those basic rights away (such as being able to own property together, have children and being able to visit each other in hospital, etc.) So I went out and yelled, held a sign and commiserated with other supporters of equal rights. There were probably at most a dozen of us at any one time but there were probably 100 of anti’s there. A lot of them were kids and teenagers and Hannah said she thought that a bunch of them came on a bus together. I wish that those crazy mega churches that preach this kind of hate would all lose their tax exempt status. The thing that I thought was funny (but sad) was that all of their signs were SO misleading – they were trying to get people to support them by saying that the measure was about gay marriage. Their signs even said “Preserve families, Protect Children” which really doesn’t make any sense to me. I just can’t believe that there is still such homophobia in the world – it’s really sad. But being there made me feel better and it made me feel good to know that we have the moral high ground in supporting equality for all. So, I’ll get off my soap box now, but if you are in a state where there is an anti-gay marriage/domestic partnership bill/referendum, etc. please vote for fairness and equality.

My new hobbies

15 Oct

So since I am unemployed and don’t have anything to do other than apply for jobs I have started becoming a crazy couponer – I never realized that I could save this much money in coupons and being that we are living on only one salary we kind of need money to stretch as far as possible.

Before we painted the living room wall

Before we painted the living room wall

Emily helping me paint. Thanks, Em!

Emily helping me paint. Thanks, Em!

Our beautiful new living room wall

Our beautiful new living room wall

My other new hobby is painting the walls in our house. With the help of our friend Emily we chose paint colors for the living room and dining room and purchased paint last week when it was a great deal at Fred Meyer ($9 a gallon!). I have painted the wall with the fireplace in the living room a dark brown and the accent wall in the dining room at brick red. The rest of the walls will be a nice beige color, but I haven’t started in on painting them yet. The color in the living room was a little darker than I wanted originally, but I am really happy with it now. It kinda makes me crave chocolate 😉

The accent wall in the dining room is really gonna be a focal point because I painted 5 layers of magnetic paint on a large square of the wall before we painted on the red. This way we will be able to take images, have them blown up and then affix them to the wall with magnets, meaning that not only will we have a huge custom art piece, but that we will be able to change it as often as we want for little cost. The magnetic paint was not cheap, but I think it will all be worth it.

Magnetic box painted on the wall

Magnetic box painted on the wall

The magnetic wall with primer cover, AKA My first masterpiece - don't you think someone would pay a lot for this "modern art"?

The magnetic wall with primer cover, AKA My first masterpiece - don't you think someone would pay a lot for this "modern art"?

Adventures in Cat-sitting

12 Oct
Left: Happy Cat; Right: Happy Kat

Left: Happy Cat; Right: Happy Kat

So Tesla (our cat) was injured about a week ago in what we think was a fight with the cat next-door. He went in for surgery for the abcess at the base of his tail on Monday. We picked him up Monday night and because he was still coming out of the sedation he was crazed and upset and didn’t really know where he was or who we were. Even the vet techs couldn’t get him to wear the cone collar that he was supposed to wear so that he wouldn’t bite at his stitches and drain. On the drive home he kept biting at it and so I opened the carrier to swat at him and he lunged at me, bit my hand and escaped from his cat carrier. We were in the back seat of Jimmy’s car and luckily Telsa was more comfortable in the cat carrier as he jumped back in it shortly after he bit me – I was worried that he was going to run screaming through the car and injury Jimmy and myself. My hand was bleeding from 3 puncture marks and I started feeling nauseous pretty soon there after. We managed to get home with my taking deep breaths and willing myself not to vomit. I rushed into the house to clean the wound and stay near the toilet should I need it. Jimmy brought Tesla into the house and left him in his carrier (as per the vet techs recommendations). By the time he came to check on me I was in a state of mild shock – my teeth were chattering, I had the heater on full blast to try and get warm and I was still feeling nauseous. Luckily I was still able to tell him how to treat me, as he said that as the only medical professional in the house I wasn’t allowed to get hurt… So I had Jimmy lay me down on the floor, cover me with a blanket and prop my feet up on the side of the tub. I was feeling better pretty soon afterwards, which was good.

Believe it or not, he's much less happy than he looks.

Believe it or not, he's much less happy than he looks.

After another hour we let Tesla out of his carrier in the guest room. He was still not totally with it and didn’t really seem to know where he was. We tried to get the cone collar back on him, but he became really violent and was thrashing about trying to get it off. After two attempts and Tesla launching himself into a wall to get the cone off we decided that we weren’t going to be able to use the cone. So instead Jimmy and I took shifts watching Tesla on his first night back. Jimmy took the first shift and then woke me up around 3:30 am to take over. It was awful – we were tired and my hand still hurt, it was just not how we pictured our beloved pets return. Luckily Jimmy was able to get off work the next day so that I could go see the doctor. My hand was swollen around the puncture marks and there was a red line running up my arm to my elbow – never a good sign. But luckily I was on antibiotics within 16 hours of being bitten and by my follow-up appointment the next day, the hand was feeling and looking better and there was no red streak to be seen.

Poor shaved-butt kitty

Poor shaved-butt kitty

After my doctors appointment I went to PetCo to see about getting Tesla a cushioned cone collar. At $27 a pop I was just praying that it would work. He still seemed resistant to the collar, but after awhile he seemed to understand that it wasn’t going to hurt him and that we weren’t going to take it off. The second night we also took shifts watching the cat, but by my shift at 3 am Jimmy said that he had been doing great with the collar so I just crashed on the pallet of sleeping bags on the floor and listened for any sign that he was messing with his collar. He did great and we were both able to sleep in our own bed all night last night. I think Tesla has resigned himself to being sad and embarrassed about having to wear the cone, which means we are all less tired and stressed out.

Just look at that face, how could you hurt that? Stupid Neighbor Cat!

Just look at that face, how could you hurt that? Stupid Neighbor Cat!

The Woods and McMichaels Meet

11 Oct

So we have been bad about blogging as of late so I thought I would try to get everyone up to speed…

The whole gang, minus Judy who's taking the picture.

The whole gang, minus Judy who's taking the picture.

Although Jimmy and I have been together for 5 years now, our parents didn’t meet until late September. Everyone always thinks this is strange but when Jimmy’s parents live in Southern California, my parents live in Southern Oregon and we live in Western Washington it doesn’t seem that surprising that we were never all in the same place at the same time… From the 24th-27th of September my parents and Jimmy’s parents came up to do one big weekend of work on the house. We had a huge laundry list of things that needed to get done and luckily we got more done than I think any of us expected. It helps to have four extra people, all with their own talents, to help out.

Kat and Bernie tearing up the front yard

Kat and Bernie tearing up the front yard

My mom has the greeenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever met (I must not have inherited those genes…). I always say that she could just come breathe on my plants and they would come back to life. My mom helped me pot a bunch of plants and then completely gut and replant three flower beds at the house. We even ended up moving a Rhododendron bush, which was quite an ordeal as it did not want to be moved. It was amazing the difference in how those three beds looked after three days of working on them. My goal is to never let them deteriorate to that level again – digging and sifting through dirt to get rid of grass and weeds is a huge undertaking. I learned a lot about gardening, stuff that I probably could have learned long ago if I had cared to ask. I’m really excited to put all my new skills to use in the yard. I am really excited for next spring when I can start working on the back yard.

Built the whole fence, and still had time to do the gate. We're pretty sure he's part Amish.

Built the whole fence, and still had time to do the gate. We're pretty sure he's part Amish.

My dad spent most of the trip building our back fence. After he and I measured our plot we realized that we weren’t going to have to completely build a new fence, just replace the slats on the old one, which was a lot less work. The new fence looks amazing (and I watersealed each and every fence board I’ll have you know…) and once we figure out if the tree in the corner of the yard is going to fall or not we’ll be able to finish the fence in it’s entirety. For now we have a really nice neighbor behind us who doesn’t care that the fence isn’t done. The fence is even custom – my dad cut the slats so they would go up and around the tree roots in the back yard. My dad also build our side gate which is now a beautiful wooden gate instead of the crappy chain link one that was there before.

That is a barbecue flipper and paint sprayer, not a putty knife and squirt bottle. She's short, but she's not THAT short.

That is a barbecue flipper and paint sprayer, not a putty knife and squirt bottle. She's short, but she's not THAT short.

Jimmy’s mom, Judy, took on our bathroom as her pet project for the weekend. Honestly Jimmy and I didn’t think we’d get to do any cosmetic stuff, just the stuff that really needed to get done. But, when Judy said that she liked taking down wall paper I said that if she wanted to take it down in the bathroom that she was welcome to it. I had never taken down wall paper before, but I learned from Judy and pretty soon the walls were a hideous pink instead of a hideous 90’s wall paper. After the wall paper was down we took down the medicine cabinet and the light fixture and Judy painted the pink a white to match the rest of the bathroom (one of the only good things the people we bought the house from left us – paint). Jimmy and I invested in a new light fixture and with some beautiful new towels from Judy and Mike our bathroom looks 100% better! It truly is amazing what a little paint will do. Judy also loaded up all the branches and yard waste I had put in piles in the back yard (two yard waste bins just isn’t enough…) into my mom’s truck so that we could make a run to the dump. Just getting all that ivy, black berry brambles and branches out of the yard made it look so much better. Judy also helped us seal some cracks in the foundation.

Mike fixing the crawlspace door. Now the rats can't get in!

Mike fixing the crawlspace door. Now the rats can't get in!

Jimmy’s dad, Mike, was our jack-of-all-trades for the weekend. There weren’t many projects in which he didn’t have a hand. The fence around our back patio was put in incorrectly by the idiots who lived here before us so somehow Mike, Jimmy and my dad managed to get the fence standing up straight again, thought for the life of me I don’t really understand how… He also took on the job of helping to keep our house rodent free by fixing the front grate and the back door to the crawl space under the house. I am so glad that that is done as being under the house does show signs of rodents and I don’t want any in my house. Mike re-sealed our tub and the shower backsplash wall thingy(?), thus completing our new bathroom look. We had a rain gutter in the back yard that was eroding our porch due to poor placement and so Mike helped engineer a way for the water to run over to the side of the house instead. Jimmy and Mike also put a light fixture on the fan in the livingroom and a ceiling fan in the den/office.

We must have spent half of the weekend driving back and forth to Home Depot – I’m thinking one of us just should have made it base camp for the weekend 😉 I really wish now that we had kept a tally of how many times we had to go to Home Depot, but my guess is that there were probably a dozen trips made over the 4 day span…

Needless to say that by the end of the weekend we were all dog tired. But it was great to have everyone meet (and get along swimmingly) and to get so much work done to boot.

Way too many pictures were taken, here’s the rest:

Our (not so productive) Labor Day Weekend

12 Sep
A very full rain barrel

A very full rain barrel

So I was all excited to get a bunch of stuff done around the house over the Labor Day weekend as both Jimmy and I would have a long 3-day weekend (of course my weekends are un-ending at this point…) Then, as it often happens in the Puget Sound, the rain came and spoiled my plans. Don’t get me wrong, I love the rain, but I love it more when I don’t have outdoor projects to be working on. So, due to the rain there were several projects that took three days to complete (during the brief sun breaks we had) and several projects that we couldn’t do at all 😦

Pouring water collected in buckets on the deck to the rain barrel

Pouring collected H2O into the barrel

On one end of the patio the bricks are getting washed away because the idiots who sold us this house never re-attached the down spout on the gutters after painting the house. We decided that we wanted to take advantage of the situation and get a rain barrel for that down spout as there is no good place for the drain to run to. We bought a rain barrel from a guy in town – his website is: www.naturalrainwater.com for those of you in the area who might be interested in getting one. The only down side to getting a rain barrel in the Puget Sound is that when you have torrential downpour off and on for 3 days your rain barrel fills up quickly. I had to don my rubber boots and the rain suit I had bought for camping in order to go out and attach a hose to the top outlet so that if it got full that it would drain out from both the spigot at the bottom and the outlet at the top.
Removing damaged sections

Removing damaged sections

Even so, Jimmy and I had to cover the top at one point to allow the water to drain out – it took about 45 minutes for the 60 gallon barrel to empty! Of course before we got the rain barrel into
Making sand castles is WAY more fun!

Making sand castles is WAY more fun!

place and hooked up we had to try and fix the patio bricks in the direct vicinity of the barrel as once the barrel is full it can weigh up to 500 lbs. Fixing the bricks was a pain and it didn’t seem to be a permanent fix, I’m sure I will have to mend the spot again soon…

We also managed to get the washer and dryer that came with the house out and our washer and dryer put in their place.

Out with the old

Out with the old

We were also lucky enough to sell them within 24 hours of posting our craigslist ad, and a very nice older couple came and bought them and hauled them off. Thankfully that was one less thing in our garage – at least that was until the next day when we went to Home Depot…

In with the used

In with the used

Jimmy’s parents got us a gift card to Home Depot and they were having a good sale on stuff for fence building, so we took advantage of the sale and got what we needed to build the back fence and a side gate on the property. Unfortunately we think that the cedar might be making Tesla sick, as he has pretty much been throwing up for 4 days
A truck full of lumber

A truck full of lumber

straight. We took him to the vet and he got an anti-nausea shot, which then made him foam and drool which was freaky. We finally decided that we should let him sleep in the house last night (instead of the garage with the cedar) to see if he would feel better the next day. It seems to have worked, so we’ll have to see how he does tomorrow after we make him sleep in the garage again. We’re really hoping it’s not the cedar as we are not sure where we could store it other than in the garage…

One tired lumberjack

One tired lumberjack

Zen Tesla before he started feeling poorly

Zen Tesla before he started feeling poorly

Dog Ran

5 Sep
Look at it...mocking me

Look at it...mocking me

Ever since we moved in, this dog run has been the bane of our existence. Sitting in the backyard, taking up a ton of space, constantly reminding us of all the crap the previous owners left us with. So last night I put this up on craigslist:

“Just moved in and the previous owners left a 7.5 feet wide x 12.5 feet long x 6 feet high chain-link dog run. It’s in good condition, but we don’t have a dog. If you take it apart, you can have it!”

Checked back about an hour later. 70 responses! Wow! My personal favorite was:

“Mom of 4 would appreciate this. Need kennel in order to start in home childcare.”

Yay, it's less of an eyesore!

Yay, it's less of an eyesore!

But while I support the caging of children as much as the next guy, it’s first come, first served. Sorry, sixty-nine other people! So this morning Jim, and his black lab Emma, drove down and picked up the dog run, along with the pet carrier and a Kong chew toy that had been sitting in a literal pile of crap. Emma, make sure he boils that thing before he gives it to you! Jim’s going to add it on to Emma’s current dog run to give her more space to play.

So now we’ve just got a big rectangle of empty dirt. Frankly, I consider it an improvement. Thanks Jim! Hope Emma likes her new digs!