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I HAVE HAD THE MOST AMAZING DECADE

23 Jan

First. I turned thirty. And that’s the kind of number you need to start a decade. 😉

Then, or second I guess,?🙃  my fiancé and I bought a house/complete-rehab together, which is something that I never thought I would, or could, acheive, but his complete confidence and blind trust in US made me say, “O-fuckin-K!”. 🤷‍♀️ Now, as first time homeowners, with a toolbox that consisted of a hammer, couple screwdrivers and 🤔maybe duct tape❓ we dove in head on. Then we got married. Married! And that is a whole other amazing story that has no ending. ❤️(Spoiler alert, the rest of this decade includes my husband).

We started (‘10) this home-takeover-up-to-our-elbows adventure about a month before we flew off to our wedding, and when we came home had brilliantly allowed ourselves less than a week to move out of our apartment into said compleeeeete makeover, (that was funnily enough completely uncompleted). Wait, I’m not sure if I used the word ‘brilliantly’ correct.❓🤔.  Deep breath. Many many deep breathes. Now I am not one who’s afraid to ask for help, which I really think more people should get over that fear, so ask I did. And, (here is a very tiny piece of the process from the SD home,)

I am so proud and thankful for all the knowledge we gained from friendships that we had built in SD, and all the failures and oops’😮 we had learned through those six years. And those memories will never be forgotten. And it all sure as shit carried over through these last four.

Fast forward to where I am now (‘20) and it’s another home, both town and the four-walls-and-a-roof-kind of home, that I have left my fingerprints all over. And I really mean that in every sense. This house has completely become a reflection of us. My coworkers and the customers at the restaurant/bar I work at have become part of our family as well. I mean, to work at a place where people are happy to see your family, and ask how they are when they don’t, is pretty damn great. And it for sure goes both ways. If I haven’t seen you for a bit, you better come in and say hello so I know you’re ok. After all, we’re family.

In 6 months we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. So yeah, this next decade is going to be amazing as well.

I hope it brings you many many seconds of smiles that warm your heart. Here’s one from me. ❤️

Time to Dust off the Old Keyboard!

28 Aug

To start, it has been, (embarrassingly enough,) a few years since my last post. Thus, my writing may beeee… a bit rough. Dusty,😉 if you will. 

Today’s, topic: New kitchen! (Always assume that today could very well be yesterday or months ago 🤷‍♀️)

When we were house hunting we’d seriously looked at a grip of properties. Online and with a realtor. Then, we walked into this gem of a rehab and the “go-to-question” with said rehabs is, 🧐  “What’s the first thing you’d do?” We looked at each other and at the same time said, “Tear Down That Wall!” Now, this is a modest 900sqf home and when you walk in the front door you’re in the living room, and staring you in the face is a wall hiding the kitchen behind it. Why? Just why?! I shouldn’t be typing this with such a big smile but, bring out the sledge hammers baby. ⚒🧨 (Here are links to my blog posts of said wall demo/rebuild)

Break On Through…

..To the Other Side

Wall gone. ✔️! Sadly though, the sledge hammers had to stay away from my trigger finger. For now. We accepted the fate that the kitchen would be the last big inside project we would get to. Fact being that it was fully functional and there was a small/long list of who’s-its and whats-its and gadgets galore that needed to be addressed first, and that would cover more ground with a much smaller punch-you-in-the-throat sticker shock. So we did those. With no throat punches. Bonus!

Then it came. It’s here! The time has come where we’ve felt financially comfortable enough to make that $0 balance take the high dive off the shallow end and, out of any other pressing projects that need to be addressed just now, to say “Let’s Fucking Dive!”

Sadly, I did not think ahead and do a proper before and after picture so here’s the best I could muster up. The “after” still has a ways to go, but the “before” can’t get far enough away.

 

Hello 2018

1 Jan

As 2017 is creeping it’s way out the back door, for so many, many reasons, I say, “Let me hold the fucking door open for you to take all of your garbage out!”

For James and I, the beginning of January ‘17 was in so many ways amazing. We had found, and bought, our new home. New project. In our new state. New city. It was exciting. Invigorating. Fun.

Our fun, on our property, hasn’t faded. We are not near done playing.

This past year however, did not have as much fun, penciled in for us as Id’ve liked.

There were too many tears, shed across several spectrums of my family and friends. More tears than I personally cared to hold back, and more than I cared to ever have.

2018 I welcome you. (Please be nice)

My Cat’s a Badass

25 Dec

Their stockings were hung and freshly packed with fun.

But this little nose had to see what’s in those.

So up the counter, the fridge, the wall she did climb.

For what was up there she claimed “It’s mine!”

You see, this pretty cat is a hunter it’s true. Cares none that we see, cares none what we’d do.

A bag of catnip and 4 stockings in all,

To the floor one would soon fall.

Finally that sweet nip has fallen to the floor, proudly she thinks,

“It’s about time! Now I will make my descent and claim what is mine.”

So yet again, the stockings were hung and bedtime has come.

Under the covers all huddled together we doze. Hours later, a sound arose.

2am….2.

That bitch went back up there. Took down what was hers, got all jacked up on nip and was bouncing those balls with bells in them like she was in the World Cup!

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A Year Ago Today

24 Oct

A year ago today my husband and I drove away from San Diego, where I had lived for eleven years. 11. And Nov 1/17 will mark the eleventh year James and I have been together. And yes, if you do the math, you’ll find I was lucky enough to have met my forever not too long after I landed in SD. But the topic of this story is this past year.

A few days shy of a year ago today, we cleared out the last of all we hadn’t packed away from our home. What was left were items that I had strategically decided would carry us through, whatever amount of time, in our new “home,” during our travel north. Said home was a (used) 27′ travel trailer hitched onto our new (used) Ford F250.  It all happened so fast but took so long to finally come to fruition. When we decided we were going to sell and move, we knew all that had to be done to our SD home. So we upped our progress and James gradually cut back on work and dedicated those hours into our humble abode. This quickly turned into no work for him other than the house. He was there to stage it, and since we were still living in the house this was an actual process, i.e, take the animals out when there were viewings. A job in itself. I mean, you try to chill in a truck with two dogs, and two cats in their carriers for an hour or so, (chime in sounds of pissed off cats here) a grip full of times, just waiting until you get the clear to go back home. Waiting for that person to make that offer.

Hells To The No!!

Those days seemed to drag on. Waiting for it to be official. Telling my friends, coworkers, and employers alike, that we weren’t sure when it would be final. Then to say, “It’s sold!” and, “Do you need me this weekend?” (This was on a Thursday) And they were so gracious to honestly say, “Good luck on your venture.” So that day we packed up the last bit of what we had been living off of. Waiting for this day, for weeks. It both broke and opened my heart. We surrendered our keys. And we drove off. Well. Drove our new temporary home to the nearest RV park, to be close enough to make sure that that check cleared. We needed no surprise at this point. The waitng had been hovering over too many heads for enough time. Alas it happened, and we ventured unto a new path that was simply mapped out to “North.” Seriously, that was our destination. North.

A Year Ago Today. We Drove Away.

We made it.

If you’d like to follow me from the beginning, here’s your start. 

https://itzalllogical.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/house-for-sale/

A Haircut and Three Pallets of Flagstones Later

28 Sep

After leaving my beloved hairstylist in SD, and a torturous search for a new, qualified, stylist, I found one! She was conveniently located less than 10 minutes from home, (BONUS!!) then she moved ☹️ (points taken away,) so she’s now 20+ mins from home. On my last visit James drove me and figured he’d just make a trip over to Habitat For Humanity which is right around the corner to just peruse, because you never know, and to kill time. Well. In our quest for an outside oasis, we’d conjured up a concept of landscaping some pathways in the front and backyards, carved out with flagstones and accenting with mulch. Much preferred over a slab of concrete sidewalk. Future plans to grow grass in the surrounding areas, maybe a raised bed for veggies and a sparkle of ground coverings when fall brings the rain that summer did not.
Now. Lets backtrack to the day before my haircut. On this day I was in my PJ’s watching Ellen and was not in the “Let’s go to the Depot” mood, but James wanted to go price out some flagstones, knowing he’d be heading to H4H tomorrow while I’m getting my haircut, and again, you never know!! TaDa! H4H had just received a pallet of flagstones, littered with bits and pieces the Depot didn’t possess 👍🏻. So he took some pics for me to see if they were something I liked and my response was, “Babe, why didn’t you just buy them?” By now we are on our way to lunch, then home so he figures he’d just head over in the morning, hoping they’ll still be there and, YAY! BUT. Two more pallets had arrived that morning! That’s a double yay my friends. 👍🏻👍🏻 So he bought all three. I’d say it was about 2 tons worth of stone, you could say a plethora of stones, that we unloaded, super fun, and piled them in the side yard for our next project. IMG_3479Now it’s time to move these little, and big, shits throughout the front and backyard. This was the greatest jigsaw puzzle I’ve ever created, and the heaviest damn pieces for such a puzzle, I’ve ever had to move around.

James spent the next morning using the roto-tiller to clear the paths, ridding them of all the dried out grass, weeds and dust that had taken over this dry ass summer. Filled them in with sand and tamped it down, (tamping is some serious shit, I recommend it for all your upper body needs,) to level them out and in comes me.
IMG_3498Now, this is not a puzzle that the pieces are made to fit together, in anyway, they are just that, pieces. Lots. Of. Pieces. Different, very different sizes and colors, and they are beautiful! I Spent hours spreading them out, randomly putting them along the edges, then moving, then moving again, and yes, again. In my mind I didn’t want any two of the same “color” together, didn’t want any “sizes” next to each other making it look like an organized path. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy as I’d lay a row of stones, then walk up and down it to see how the flow felt under my feet. Then move or add as needed, and repeat. It was more fun than I thought it would be. It was a great creative and physical, (remember the 2 tons part,) project. Now that I’m finally pleased with the placement and ease of the paths, time to do it all over in the backyard.IMG_3517
Priority one was the fire pit, wanting to ensure we had enough flagstones. Hard to determine how far a pile of random size pieces can stretch with an organic concept. Starting with the inner circle I picked through the pile to find any that had the slightest resemblance of a curve, luckily I found enough to make it work. And continued outward. The size of our fire ring was satisfactory and we had, hopefully, enough left over to carve a pathway from the porch to the back gate. I took caution and spaced the pieces out farther with hopes to be able to fill more in as it came down to the wire, and we barely made it.
IMG_3574Our finishing touches was to mulch around the stones in the pathways and fill in the the stones with pebbles around the fire pit. Just needs a few chairs and a fire, which we for sure did right after we finished!IMG_3549-2
With such a great resource as H4H and never knowing what you might find, there might be a diamond in the rough that didn’t work for somebody else but may find a good home, seems this visit worked out for this home. From us pricing retail first, and there isn’t nearly the array of personalities and designs as an option, James figures we saved around $1,000. It pays to shop used first, reduces waste and saves money!

Fork! ✔️

Mini Me meets The Big House

6 Sep

Now that we’ve secured the grounds via newly built, (heavy 😔 sigh,) painted, fence, we’ve got a shed to rebuild and, fuck, seriously!, paint. I shall dub her, Mini Me, and when we finish with her we paint the big house. Yes. I said paint. Again!A plus for us with the shed is that the concrete had already been laid and it came with a nice solid frame, it was just that every other part of it needed to be replaced. So we stripped that baby naked!Now it just needs four walls, a roof, trim, and paint. Lucky for us, that good friend I’ve mentioned before, knows all about that and, I mean, who doesn’t want to help cut and install siding, lay some black tar paper and drag a heavy ass, cumbersome pile of shingles up a ladder on a hot day? A great friend that’s who. 🍺🍺🌞

Bring out that piece of liquid gold/airless spray gun again my friends. Voila! And by “voila” I mean FORK! 

(For any new readers that means we stuck a fork in another project.) Now, it’s the big girls turn. And by big I mean, we need a MUCH bigger ladder. Day one was spent pressure washing the house, and that’s a fun tool to play with, so it wasn’t too painful!! 😉

Then..

Ok. First, there’s a reason people pay someone else to do this shit, and I thank them for their talent. And I do mean talent. Oh and, for beginners painting a whole house, its like a 17 step, (or whatever horrific number you want to imagine,) process. So I’m just going to give a small picture tutorial with minimal captioning. You and I are both welcome for this shortcut.BeforeSanding the remnants of vines that grew up the house.Paint the under belly and eves our trim color.Cut in the edges a few inches by hand. Spray gun fun again!!Some minor trim work.And, Voila!! Except the garage door and front door, (I need a day off!) Then. FORK

Backyard Oasis Take One. 

13 Aug

Now that we’ve cleared out all the nonsense that existed in the back yard it’s time to start creating a beautifully landscaped oasis. We’ll start with some fruit trees, as they take a bit longer to produce. Went in with intent to buy 3-4 and decided for sure on an apple and pear. Now, there are so many damn varieties and we hoped we could find a Honeycrisp apple tree. Yumm! No dice. So we asked for a recommendation and the employees response was, “Dude! You gotta get the Arkansas Black Spur!” So of course with that response we had to. Then, they mention the pollination issue, something we’d never taken into account. They found us trees that were pollinating buddies and we ended up with 2 pear and 2 apple. Three of the four I’m not familiar with, but their confidence left me happy. We may have a handful of adolescent fruit next year, but I assure us all that when it becomes mature, we will not be shy of sharing. I see cobblers and pies and anything your heart desires!🍐🍎 Now, before we planted said trees we must confront our weed problem. If you recall in my last post, there was zero shit given to this property for X amount of time. First we must till and amend the soil. Then till again. Just when I think there are no more tools we could possibly need, I am sorely proven wrong! (My Dad assures me there is no such thing as enough, and thinking of my kitchen, I suppose he’s right, and James wasn’t too terribly bummed about buying a new toy!) And buy he did. I do however, recommend one if you plan any further endeavors of yard work. Rent vs Buy, worth every penny! This would’ve been painfully painful and, time consuming to do manually. ​

​We went a direction we’d learned on our SD home. Sheet Mulching. LOVED the concept. Using cardboard boxes, sans any tape or glossy labels, and luckily we had a shit ton from our move, (also smart on us we didn’t just throw them away,) any-who, it consists of covering the grounds with cardboard then adding a layer about 4-6 inches of a beautiful healthy mulch. This creates a heat that essentially stifles and burns the weeds, while also breaking down the cardboard to become part of your soil. Chemical free, self composting, weed killing beauty. A much better way to enjoy your home grown fruits and veggies. Now let’s add a little ground cover plants, and watch them all grow. Time to add some fun backyard additions.👍🏻 Someday, when we have grass, I’m getting a fucking slip-n-slide! For now, fire pit. We’re talking the real-deal-bonfire-grill-steel-fire-ring! Nestled in a beautiful Pavestone surrounding, built by James.  🔥When James went through that painful lopping, chopping, chainsaw-ing and stump grinding the damn yard, there was one tree that, as an afterthought, he decided he wanted it gone. However, revisiting that dreaded stump grinder again was, Out.Of.The.Question. So it simply became a large stump. Just need to sand the top to make it level, add a nice layer of lacquer and viola! It’ll be a proper captains chair to man the fire. Equipped with a swivel grill grate for your changing wants of a mesmerizing fire or some kick ass steaks and kabobs on the grill🍻✔️

Looking forward to some clear cool nights after this hot, dry summer.✨

Where the Willows Meet the Stump Grinder. 

3 Aug

Now that the inside of the house is pretty much squared away it’s time to turn our attention to the outside. I could spend time telling you how un-kept this property was before we purchased it, but you really need visual aids. I’ll first add that in these before and after pics, you’ll notice quite a difference in the ground color so keep in mind that the befores were taken in Dec/Jan and the afters are during one of the driest summers we’ve had in years. We’ll tackle that lawn issue sometime soon, but as you’ll see, the overgrowth of trees and left behind stumps HAS to come first! We took a few cuttings of the branches to our local nursery and their best guess at the species was a sort of Willow tree, or tree-ezz. They have a very invasive root system and they had been having a fucking party in the backyard when no one was paying attention! Our neighbor told us that the city had came in after it was foreclosed on and cut down a slew of trees, just close enough above ground that if you don’t look down while walking there is an inevitable occurrence of profanity from whatever injuries or pissed off toe that transpires.

For this fun-time removal project we started from top to bottom. Smaller pieces, quicker clean up and less chance for crazy shit to happen. James started with his telescoping loppers, then came the chainsaw, then the dreaded stump grinder. There was a good 30 stumps that needed grinding and that’s about 30 more than you’ll ever want to have to use that beast of a machine on. Here’s something you won’t hear James say, “That beat the shit out of me!”​There was an added small handful of stumps and about 3 trees/bushes in the front yard we took down too, but I think you’ve got the gist of what we’re dealing with. 🌲 (I don’t know why the video isn’t playing with sound, I’m not very tech-y, but imagine a very intimidating/scary movie/chainsaw sound)⚙️😵

​This happened for about 8 hours. 8 hours!! Followed by a couple truck loads to the dump of yard waste later, we can get on that landscaping!Remember kids, we’ll work on that dreaded brown ground later, but for now, the view of the clear blue sky just got better.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

21 Mar

I’m loving this move/home/life changing decision more everyday. House aside, this is a beautiful city and it has been confirmed that we did, in fact, make a great choice landing here. Moving somewhere with blindfolds on can be both scary and exciting. I made a similar, I guess virtually the same, venture in September ’05 when a good friend and I decided it was time to leave ‘The Island‘ and head, well, South. Our destination was wide open. After a few months, a handful of states, family and friend visits, we settled on San Diego. Neither of us had ever been there and knew nobody, so instead of dipping our toes in the water, we jumped! Because what the fuck else do you do when it’s time to be a grown up again? Get a job and pay bills!☹️ It was the best decision I’d ever made, up until that point. Fast forward to my current crazy adventure – except this time the husband and I did a bit more research – I had replaced that truck full of a few totes and suitcases with a family and life I had built over the last 11 years. Instead of the unknown destination just being “South,” (growing up in Alaska that means the lower 48) it was now “Northwest”. The farther north we went the air just got clearer and fresher. The water from the tap, colder and tastier. The blues, the whites, the greens, you’ll never guess! Sharper! With every mile we knew we were making the right decision.

Before leaving that POD behind with all of our belongings, awaiting our beckoning, we wanted an estimate of what it would cost to have it shipped and for that they needed a zip code. James just picked one that he figured would be a close or possibly central enough location and well, what’d ya know?! Turns out that’s our fucking zip code!! And not just ours as in Olympia, ours as in, out of over 12 zip codes in the city it was specifically ours!!! Now thats some cool ass shit.

We have yet to do much city and outskirts exploring, spending the bulk of our time within a maybe 5 mile radius of our home, consisting mostly of the grocery store, Home Depot and walking the neighborhood with the dogs, but it is beautiful. We have a gate in our backyard that accesses a little pathway connecting us with surrounding cul de sac communities, a 20 minute walk to a beautiful big park, the streets are quiet and I love it, as do our fur babies. Then the birds. There’s a window over our kitchen sink that looks out to the backyard, and there’s our sliding glass doors opening to the back deck allowing us all to have the opportunity to watch our outdoors do as it likes. The house next to us has a handful of established bird feeders which, fortunately for us, means there’s already word in the hood that there’s access to food around these parts. My mother-in-law sent us this amazing bird feeder, (she’s a bird fan 👍🏻) and we were quick to add to it and I can’t tell you how often minutes just get lost watching the action in our backyard, this is all day action my friends. Zen. Lily has found a new obsession, because her current and never ending one with the cats just isn’t enough. Are you familiar with the movie ‘UP’ ,those dogs and their distraction word “squirrel!” That sums up Lily perfectly. We have been mimicking that for years joking about her attention span and how quickly she’d come to attention with the mere mention of the cats or their names. Well, we can no longer utter the word, she now knows it actually means just that, sadly, we have a few little fuckers that come and steal the bird feed and flare up her neurosis.

 

We’ve been downtown a handful of times. The capitol building overlooks a lake with a park and wrap around boardwalk. A weekly farmers market, cute ‘small business’ shops, restaurants and the like. I’m looking forward to springtime weather for the patios to open up and enjoy a brew with the four legged crew, we apparently moved here in the “off season.”

I’m well versed in the weather up here and I know that this kind of wet/rain is different. Those clouds, rain or not, are mostly just, there, and, as it did before it makes those blue sky days so amazingly majestic. I’ve missed having more than 1 type of weather 3/4 of the year -San Diego, 70 and sunny – is kinda it’s slogan. ☀️ One of my favorite weather days thus far I woke up to a light snowfall, then it turned into blue skies. Which changed to sleet, followed by rain, blue skies again, then, BAM! Downfall of big balls of hail, which lasted about 1 minute and quickly petered off resulting in light rain. This was all in a span of about 6 hours. Ahh, I’ve missed those “every type of weather” days. I know my honeymoon won’t last forever and some days or weeks or months the rain and gray may just get old for me again, much like it did those 17 years I spent SE Alaska. But I also know that on the clear blue sky days I’ll forget about all that rain and take a deep clean breath in and smile at how amazingly beautiful this place I now call home is.

Update; while editing this the local news just stated, “this is the rainiest winter in over 2 decades.” Well ain’t that some shit 😊🌧