Thursday, July 28, 2005

1:31 and all's well

There hasn't been any updating lately because not much has changed at the house. During the hottest of days this week I scrapped up most of the linoleum in the dining room and now we have decided that we want to do all the floors on the first floor at once. That means I have one more room to scrape.

I talked to Doug about getting the tar paper off of the floors and as Jamie has mentioned he had the same issue. A edge sander and some 36 grit paper ought to do the trick Doug says so I will give that a shot this weekend. Knowing that sanding is where I can do the most damage on the floor Doug told me not to worry about it. Just keep the sander moving and you will be ok, "It's just wood, it can't out think you." Wise words from a wise man.

It is amazing to me how easy professionals can make a job sound. I worry about it for a while and then talk to Mark, Doug, Bing, or Chuck and they make things sound so easy. It is never as easy as they think it is but it's not nearly as hard as I think it will be.

Once we finish the floors I think I will feel much less transitional. There are boxes all around and most rooms are decorated in the Bob Villa motif: Tools piled up in the corner and boxes of trash! Once we finish the floors we can set up the rooms like a home instead of the job site that we live at now. I will take pictures of the up stairs tonight and get those loaded up tomorrow morning, anything else you want to see? Let me know and I will make it happen.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hi My name is James and I'm an.........

It is Friday night and I am one of many sitting at Corner Coffee enjoying the vocal stylings of a velvet voiced older lady trying to find that right mix between her Taylor acoustic and the simple sound system projecting her voice. I am off in a corner with my laptop as a barrier between me and the rest of the world trying in vain to connect with people in some far off place. For some reason the irony of that escapes me for a couple of hours as I catch up on my favorite writers and exchange pictures with my favorite brother in between hands of 7 card stud at As the guitar gets passed and I pull a monster pot with jacks full of sixes I look up to see my little corner is now smack dab in the middle of what can only be described as an eclectic group. There are dreads and buzz cuts, shorts and slacks and I immediately think AA. Close, I was now right in the middle of a NA post meeting chat session and I decided to put down the computer and participate in the life in-front of me instead search in vain on a lifeless machine. Alison shared about seeing an old boyfriend who was still using and how she saw him in such a completely different light now, but was still drawn to him. She was worried about the power he had over her, how his smile rendered her defenseless even though that smile was the exception rather then the rule when they were together. Tim talked about hitting a milestone of 6 months sober and how his mom still won’t believe in him. He says he can’t blame her really but he can’t wait to look in her eyes and not see fear. I listened and nodded attentively in all the right parts. I congratulated Tim and smiled at Alison while thinking of the scene in Waking Life about the Holy Moment. The group broke up as early morning jobs and late night chats pulled person after person away. “Same time next week?” some one asked and Curt, who seems to be the unofficial leader of the group, replied “Same bat time..” and a couple other folks finished his sentence. It was the best time I have had chatting with anyone not named Kate since I have been here. If Kate works again next Friday night I might just come back to hear how everyone is doing.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Random picture from an old post. Here is my brother-in-laws kegarator from my Christmas post. What a thing of beauty that is Posted by Picasa

Kate wants to buy this and put it in the kitchen for storage. Posted by Picasa

Marion County is under a tornado Warning

These are the words I was greeted with while sitting on my porch reading a less then riveting book on Computer Certification . The wind had picked up and the rain was coming down but it felt nice. A song by the Judd's was going through my head from road trips between California and Oregon as a kid. Kate came out of the air conditioned room to sit on the porch and read as well. The thunder and lightning was picking up and Ron came out to tell us there was a warning and we should get inside. Earthquakes, mudslides, flash floods, these are the things I am familiar with, not tornadoes. I sat in front of the window watching the sky fill with lightning flashes and listening to the thunder roll and shake the house. Apparently sitting in front of the window is the second dumbest place to be in a tornado though it did afford me a view of the actual dumbest place to be as I watched two kids pedal by on their bikes. Kate and I wallowed in our stupidity and watched the sky as we talked about nothing and everything all at once in a way that only those closest to you can. After an hour or so we sleepily made our way to bed and fell asleep to the soothing sounds of storms. All and all not a bad night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Job

In all of this house happiness you might have missed that I have a new job as well. The job has come in handy paying for all the trips to Home Depot lately. I wanted to take a little opportunity to tell you what I do.

I am still a tech support monkey answering phone calls, emails, and live chat requests for a company called Wiley Publishing. Wiley are known for their Technical, Educational, and Business books with a number of subsidiaries. The Dummies Books, CliffsNotes, Programming for Programmers, and Frommers Travel guides are some of the more well known branches of Wiley. My job is to answer questions that people have on those or any other title, software, supplement, or companion site that Wiley produces.

Yesterday I got a call from a guy who was looking at the Owner’s Guide to Short Haired Spaniels and swore that his missing dog was pictured in the book. Unfortunately he was calling from a pay phone and we could not call him back. The day before, I took a call from an elderly lady who moved to Denver and now her recipes don’t taste the same, we publish the Betty Crocker Cook Book as well, turns out she was not adjusting the recipes for the altitude. Today I walked a father through the CliffsNotes Pre-Algebra Study Guide so he could help his son with the problems. We went over how to solve problems like 4² x 2 + 12 / 2. Squared first, then Multiplication and Division, then Subtraction or Addition. Mr. Heidaman would have been so proud of me on that call!

I inhabit a single wide cubicle while all my other co-workers have a double wide. I have my array of pictures up (a wedding picture, the one of my family in Big Bear, Kyle and Aaron, and Cecilia sitting on my lap) and the old wooden kangaroo wearing a sign that says James around his neck. I have a shelf full of books including a couple accounting text books; Dummies books for Windows XP, Mexican Cooking, Mutual Funds, C++, Photoshop, and iPod; and Frommer’s Guides to Paris, Amsterdam, and Isreal.

I don’t talk to co-workers much at work. They are nice enough people but because I am off in a corner they don’t come to see me much and I am usually lost in a book or three and content to field calls between chapters. There isn’t a Jesse, James, Troy, or Ben equivalent here. No one I can talk to about sports, music, silly noises, or obscure data collected in our secret databases. I am enjoying the job so far and I know I will get to know people here more and more and find out what things we have to talk about. Until then I will hide away in my single wide and read up on anything and everything.

Great Line from a book I am reading:

“And so it was that, about a week later, we crossed a strip of warm, black tarmac and I brought Hassan’s son from Afganistan to America, lifting him from the certainty or turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty.”

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Thoughts about nothing in particular

Saturday night and I find myself at my home away from home: Corner Coffee. With out an internet connection at home I stop in here in the morning before heading to work to check up on things. A quick look at the fantasy baseball team is followed by an update on the house. Then I move to a skim reading of my favorite writers: Simmons, Barcelona, Savage, and others and then finish up with a look at the Tour de France.

I am amazed at how dominate Lance Armstrong is at what he does. I am not a cycling fan and not jumping on any band wagon now but I appreciate a good sports story and Lance provides that. Take today as an example. Contrary to popular belief cycling is very much a team sport. Lance could not win the race with out a huge effort from his Discovery Channel team and they have been doing fairly well for him. But today about 5 Km before a wicked 9 mile climb into the mountains another team took off on a sprint. The goal was to separate Lance from his team and take him on one on one. The goal was accomplished as the discovery team fell off and Lance stayed with the attacking group. The problem was Lance continued to charge up the hill while these gamblers started to drop off one by one. By the end Lance ended up separating himself from his closest rivals even more. It is just phenomenal how he answers the challenge and then makes you feel like a fool for challenging him. These riders have to do it though or they have no chance of winning. Barring a crash or injury though they really do have no chance of winning.

For our book club we are reading this beautiful book called The Kite Runner. I would recommend it so far though I am only 1/3 of the way done.

I have to go pick up Kate now so I better end this. More house pics to come, including but not limited to:

The bedrooms
The Attic
The basement
The Gnome family across the street
The best looking house in the neighborhood
and Kate trying to change a light bulb!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pictures galore

You actually have to click on the July archive to view all of the pictures. I went a little crazy and added a bunch this morning. Start at the earliest picture from Today, it is a better story that way.

Well here you have it, a small tour of most of our house. Start at the bottom of these pics and work your way up. Have Fun! Posted by Picasa

We sit in here at night watching the fire flies and sipping some wine. Posted by Picasa

There is a nice porch in the front that is screened in to keep the bugs at bay. Posted by Picasa

Here is the side. We have a long skinny house on a long skinny lot. Posted by Picasa

This is the back with the ghetto mud room. I'm not kidding there is some shoddy work done in there. Posted by Picasa

Here we have the front of the house with Kate trying to take of the stupid numbers. Posted by Picasa

As you can see the dinning room open to the Kitchen and two bedrooms.  Posted by Picasa

I still have this half of the room to do as well as the dinning room that still has padding down on it. I got a wicked blister on my thumb but I asked What would Chuck do and then taped that bad boy up with duct tape and kept working. Do you know how many man points that is? Posted by Picasa

This is looking out of the living room into the entry room. To the right is the front door. You can see the floor is half cleared of lineolum.  Posted by Picasa

The great fire place with some art on the wall. Posted by Picasa

Here is the living room, lineolum free with a sample room set up. Posted by Picasa

Here is the stove moved as well. This job was worth serious man points and as you all read the rope story I needed them. Posted by Picasa

Here is the first after pic. Lovely light blue walls and note the fridge on the right wall now. Posted by Picasa

I had to move the plug for the stove to the other wall, and this required going in the basement and running new cable. Yes I got shocked, but only by a 110 outlet. Mark says that doesn't even count. Posted by Picasa

Kate was painting during my level two electrical job. Posted by Picasa

Kate wanted me to switch the stove and the fridge to different walls. That is a level two electrical job according to Mark. Posted by Picasa

Here is our small Kitchen Before: Note the postion of the Fridge Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

And now for something completely different...

I present for your reading pleasure, the lovely Kate:

With all of his blogging and e-mailing long distance friends, James has been doing a lot of writing lately. So much writing in fact that you would never know I am actually supposed to be the writer in this family. But I think it’s harder for me. I am supposed to be a writer, or at least I have been trained to be a writer and so there’s more pressure to it, a specific need to get at the thing you are getting at in a way that sounds nice. And there have been a lot of hard things to get at lately and so I haven’t been writing at all. Tonight in fact, I’m only typing away because James commissioned me.

So here I go.

As of about three hours ago, we have officially been in this house for a week. To celebrate, James chipped a little more hideous linoleum off the entry way floor and I painted the slightly odd shaped bathroom a color which I fear ought to have been labeled with something like “blaringly severe pinkish orange” instead of the much less appropriate “orchard peach” and ran out of paint at about eye level.

Though we are mostly exhausted as we fall into bed each night covered in some sort of grime and I have yet to appear at work without some appendage smeared in the paint of the previous night’s project, (today, much to my dismay, I had said peach paint in my hair) we are happily becoming familiar with our house’s quirks and many beauties. To name a few of each:

  • We have eight foot windows in every room that beam sunlight from floor to ceiling and have that lovely swirly look that old windows have
  • Eight foot windows come with ten foot ceilings that make every room seem enormous in that art gallery sort of way that doesn’t actually demand very much floor space.
  • Though the wood floors have had an unfortunately intimate relationship with an atrocious plastic parquet and a tar paper adhesive for a very long time, we have unearthed bits of the original wide plank floor and I think, after much chipping and sanding and staining, they will be beautiful.
  • Our attic is such a lovely formation of eaves and beams and plank floors that I can only spend a few minutes up there at a time so that I don’t overcome myself with excitement.
  • I am hoping that the grayish dust that falls over everything when I pound numerous nail holes in the wall is not asbestos.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Another view of that room, this time looking at the fire place. Posted by Picasa

Here is the first room in our new house. As you can see we are pulling up linoleum to get to the wood. Hard work! Posted by Picasa

Got Rope?

Last night Tom and I went to the storage to get a couple of necessities like a bed, couch, and silverware and as we were loading up we ran into a huge problem. The mattresses would not fit in the back of the van so they needed to go on top. No problem right? Wrong, I didn't have any rope! Now this would not be that big a deal in any other family but mine. I was once lectured for over an hour by a slightly drunk uncle about how a man is not a man if he doesn't have rope. My father has rope in every vehicle he owns, there are boxes of rope in his garage, and he will stop if and pick up any rope he see left on the road. I'm not sure if there is a more unforgivable offense in my family then not having rope when you need it.

Tom had to go to drug store to get rope while I sat at the storage box and thought good and hard about what I had done. I am ashamed of my self. I can just picture the look of disappointment on Bing's face when I tell him.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

While your waiting I present for your viewing pleasure, The Jacksons! This is my sister and her family. Posted by Picasa

Coming Soon

This weekend to a blog near you:

  1. Pictures of the new house
  2. An account of the first week of work
  3. More pictures of Kate for Jamie
  4. A home improvement to do list so you can follow along at home

The ends justified the means

We did not get into the house on Friday either due to some amazingly bizarre circumstances and so our weekend of home improvement was replaced by some much needed rest and relaxation. Had I written about this during any time on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday it would have been very emotionally charged but its Thursday and Kate and I have just spent our second night in our new home! The digital camera is coming on Friday so there will be some before pictures for everyone to see on the weekend. We have already started pulling up carpets and scraping linoleum off the old hard wood floors. Brutal on the back but easier to do in your own house.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Until we get into our house here are some pics of friend's houses: Chuck and Jenny

Until we get into our house here are some pics of friend's houses: Mom and Dad

Until we get into our house here are some pics of friends houses: Kyle, Melissa, and Owen

Until we get into our house here are some pics of friends houses: Mark and Kendra

There are always Complications

At 8:45 yesterday morning I got a call from the Mortgage broker that was spearheading our home loan. She told me that the lender had another appraiser (their second, overall the fourth) come out to the house the day before and he said the house had some problems. First on the back porch there was a small window that was broken, a window that is on a porch we want to remove. The way I see it we have a head start with that broken piece missing already, every little bit helps. The other issue was with a window on the second story that had a treated and sealed covering with in the frame of the window instead of glass. The appraiser called it a boarded up window like we had some sort of condemned crack house. The report he turned in to the lender lead them to put the loan on hold while those items were fixed.

Our broker went to the house to take pictures of the supposed issue and worked the phones with the lender late into the afternoon finally moving far enough up the ladder (a vice president) to make a difference and get them to sign off. Once this happened the lender needed to get all the documents together and over to the title company and they dragged their feet for 3 hours until the title company finally shut down the deal for the night. Our 4 PM close was called off at 5:45 PM and rescheduled to 2 PM today. I think Kate's face in the below picture summarizes our feelings on the issue.