The Best of 2010 - Part 2

As promised here is the 2010 (Part 2) wrap up. We left off in September when the house painting was finally finished. Hubby and I escaped Seattle and headed up to the San Juan Islands to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was a very relaxing weekend and a well needed break from house stuff.
We took another quick trip down to Portland to visit family and got some garden inspiration at an awesome Portland Farmers Market.
Thanks to the cold summer in Seattle, this bounty of awesome green tomatoes is from our very own garden. We finally gave up on all hope early October and harvested what we had.
The good news about the green tomato harvest is that it inspired an entire southern meal with friends and family complete with fried chicken, collard greens, southern beans, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.
With the house paint finished, hubby had time to tackle the rest of the outside projects, including installing a new landing on the front porch.
Before we knew it October was almost over and it was Halloween. Pickles really wasn't psyched about dressing up. It could have been that the costume we borrowed from our neighbor was a few sizes too small....
We doubled our number or trick-or-treaters this year. Some of our favorite kids from Ballard and Mt. Baker even stopped by.
In November it got too cold for outside projects so we moved onto the dining room/living room projects. We touched up the paint all around, added a darker color to the ceiling and installed a picture rail in each room.
Our first snow of the season came the week of Thanksgiving.
Hubby worked pretty quickly to get the rest of the insulation installed in the back entrance - still a work in progress.
And finally, the biggest excitement of the year, the Great Basement Flood of 2010, which prompted us to rip out the last remaining 'bedroom' in the basement.
I hate to end the post on a picture of the empty basement so I'll share the last picture of 2010 - before we took our Christmas tree down. I'm actually hoping that 2011 is a little less busy - and we can keep it all to one post. Cheers and Happy New Year!

The Best of 2010 - Part 1

I started this post a few weeks ago. I realize, after attempting to post pictures from all of 2010, that we did too much to put in a single blog posting. So here's Part 1.

It all started late last December (2009) when hubby found out he'd have a little more free time on his hands. We knew that painting the house was big on the list for 2010 - so we started with some exterior projects. (Before)New windows on the back porch.Replacing soffits and fascia.Determining a paint color.New gutters.First attempt at a garden.A much needed Hawiian getaway in May.
A June full of visitors (including Sean & Hollis from the UK).
A 1/2 Marathon in Seattle.
A Minnesota wedding weekend in July.A quick August bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC with the boys.
And after a LONG September: The finished product.


2011: To Do List

Now that we're a two-income family *woo-hoo* I'm adding a lot to my 2011 list of things to do. Sadly, it's mostly stuff we couldn't afford to do in 2010.

1. Fix/replace furnace (we can't get the house to get warmer than 65 degrees)
2. Remodel/gut bathroom
3. Finish the basement, fix leaks
4. Install window trim
5. Finish the hardwood floors
6. Finish back stair entrance
7. Remove tree in backyard (stump removal)
8. Finish hallway paint, hang pictures
9. Fence backyard
10. Install a dishwasher (I might be the most excited about this!)

I could add a few more, but I don't want to be greedy. Also, it looks like we're back to being weekend warriers, which means we only have 50-100 days to get all this stuff done. I'm exhausted thinking about that.


381 Days

I'm the kind of girl who likes to see the glass as half-full. So when hubby was laid off 12 months ago, I stayed positive. I convinced him and myself that this was an opportunity. An opportunity for him to study for the ARE exams, to work on the house, and to think about what else he might be interested in doing if the economy stayed in the tank.

In between applying for jobs and prepping for tests, he removed rotted soffits, old gutters, windows, basement bedrooms, and a creepy front porch. He installed new soffits, windows, and a cool new front porch. He also took on the task of painting the entire house exterior which was, in total, a 3-month process. I'm pretty sure that before 2010, he'd never done any of these things before. In the past year, he's received help and encouragement from friends, family, and neighbors - as well as countless compliments on all his hard work.

I think it helped that every working day he got up with me*, made coffee and lunch for me and talked about his plan for the day. He made lots of dinners, ran a lot of errands, did a LOT of dishes, and made our house way more awesome every step of the way.

But this is the little stat that I'm the most impressed by:

In 381 days he applied for more than 140 jobs. He only had one interview. On Monday, January 3rd, he starts his new job.

*I let him sleep in this morning because we were up late last night celebrating!


Living Room Face Lift

Just like the dining room, in the beginning there were dingy white walls. The floors were pretty beat up even though we still haven't finished them, rugs do wonders.We've put on a few coats of paint, put up curtains, added some electrical outlets, insulated the walls, and added a picture rail and a new light fixture (though we're probably going to be shopping for a new one soon*).
It certainly seems more festive!

*the new living room light fixture points the lights up toward the ceiling. with the new darker ceiling, all of the lumps and bumps of the plaster really jump out at you - especially at night. looks like we'll be shopping for a light fixture that points light down.


The Day After

Monday, the day after the basement flooding, I stayed home from work to help clean and assess the damage. Hubby decided he needed to tear out the remaining basement bedroom to get a better look at the foundation walls and see if there were any more cracks that needed to be plugged.

If you haven't seen the before pictures, both basement bedrooms were covered floor to ceiling in knotty pine. I guess back in the 50s and 60s people LOVED that stuff. Last year we tore out one of the rooms preparing for ourselves for the eventual remodel. I'm not sure why, but I was hanging onto the last room, not wanting it completely tear it out until we were actually ready to remodel. Regardless, when the walls are dank and stinky, it's officially time for the room to go.
Hubby started the demolition with the door and west facing wall, moved onto the north wall, then to the east. The last wall he removed was the south facing wall where the window was. This is where it gets weird. He was expecting a window opening similar to all the others in the basement. What he found was different. I'm not even sure how to describe it other than - at one point in time it wasn't a window. But we're not sure it was a door either. I don't think the picture below does it justice but we're pretty convinced that this is the cause of some of the basement water damage. Wood, water, and CMU, not a great combination.
As we tried to imagine why and how and why some former homeowner had created this patch for the wall, our neighbor Craig took a more creative approach. Convinced that the door must have been a gateway for evil leprechauns - he created this clever little image.
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I think I'd rather have spiders in my basement over this guy. Creepy!


Rain City Woes

So a week ago Friday hubby finished the living room. No pictures of the finished product yet. I feel like such a slacker, but once you hear this story, I'm hoping you'll understand.

Let me start by saying that Seattle has seen nearly 5 1/2 inches of rain so far this month and over 2 inches alone fell this past Sunday.* OK, so crazy rain in Seattle is not out of the norm this time of year, but that's a LOT of rain.

I got up early on Sunday morning to prep for our annual tree trimming party. I started some laundry, put the cheesecake in the oven, made some coffee, and finally woke hubby up so he could run and pick up the bagels. When he came back I asked him to check out the basement because I had spotted a little water on the floor at the base of the stairs (on the West/back side of the house). I followed him downstairs and was pointing out the small areas of water. He proceeded toward East area of the basement (under the front side of the house) where we both spotted the pool of standing water. Half of the basement was covered in about three inches of water.

Hubby went into action like super hero! He threw off his jacket, picked as much as he could off the floor, and started Shop-Vac-ing up the water. He dumped about a gazillion 5-gallon buckets of water in our laundry tub.

It's a known fact that I don't handle crisis very well (hysterical laughter and such), so I just went upstairs and kept prepping for the party. I know, crazy, but the party must go on. Not long after, I heard our neighbors helping hubby assess the situation. Apparently he went across the street to ask for help removing the wet carpet.

I have to take a side note to explain how AMAZING our neighbors are. Every time we have an problem, need a tool, or break something, it feels like they are on standby with the perfect fix. Sunday was no different. Hubby knocked on the door, a little whimpery, asking for a hand with the rain-soaked carpet. They spent the next 2-3 hours helping hubby. This included hauling dank and soggy stuff out of the basement, digging trenches in the side yard and loaning us this magic concrete putty that plugged several cracks in the foundation that were the culprit of our own little Sunnyside swamp.

It was exactly 1pm when hubby heard the sound of multiple footsteps upstairs. Thankfully, he was at a stopping point in the cleanup and came up to take a shower and participate in the party.

The rest of the story is pretty simple. We had a party. It was fun. The neighbors made it (after they got cleaned up too)! It wasn't until the party was over and everyone was gone that hubby and I went downstairs and I nearly fell into a puddle of tears at the site of what was our basement.

There are no pictures of the flooding, the cleanup effort, or the party. But I was able to stay home on Monday and help hubby with more cleanup. Check in tomorrow when I'll post the basement demo pictures and the insane wall issue that we found!

*hubby commented on the fact that I was researching all the rain stats as I was writing this. I said, "Dude, I'm a serious journalist!"


Still In Progress

The best part of being married to your architect is getting hourly progress updates.
The worst part of being married to your architect is that you really can't complain when the living room looks like this for a week.


Living Room Face Lift

We liked the dining room face lift so much we've decided to make the same changes to the living room. Hubby bought the trim and started priming, he ordered painted and started scraping the spots on the walls and ceilings that needed patching.
At the moment the entire house looks like something blew up inside. All of the living room furniture is displaced throughout the house. I'm in the midst of a few sewing projects and prepping for a baby shower on Sunday. I hope the paint job is done by then! In other news, I'm having a hard time finding a single piece of clothing that doesn't have paint on it somewhere.


My Seattle Snow Plow

Front sidewalk shoveled. Stairs and front porch shoveled.
Driveway shoveled. You can take the boy out of Minnesota, but you can't take Minnesota out of the boy!

Anyone need their driveway or sidewalk shoveled? I know an expert.