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Archive for August, 2008

From the first moment we walked into our house after the closing, I’ve been giddily pointing out various parts of the house and saying things like, “And this is the front closet, THAT WE OWN” or “That’s the dishwasher THAT WE OWN” or “Here is the sunless basement complete with large hairy spiders THAT WE OWN.” What can I say? Owning a home makes me giddy.

Owning a home also makes me be more responsible. We paid our first mortgage payment this week. I wrote the (very, very large) check and surprised myself by not weeping or passing out from hemorraging so much money in one sitting. (I did, however, have an urge to drink a very, very large alcoholic beverage, an urge I fought down as it was only 10:00 in the morning. I think this is what they call “maturity.”)

So in honor of this first of many huge checks I’ll be writing to the mortgage company, I give you pictures of my office THAT I OWN.

Office wall

more office walls

So, yeah, it’s a little bit green. I love it SO much I can’t even tell you.

And in addition to the dresser in the first picture, the yarn will live here:

where the yarn will live

I am so in love with my office, seriously. Once I get a desk it’ll be so kickass.

And GREEN!

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Just under the wire

This is done:

finished blanket

It is a baby blanket. It is in a pattern of my own devising, although it’s so simple I’m sure a pattern exists for it out there. It is for a baby who is due on Sunday.

Yarn: Cascade Sierra Quattro(80 cotton/20 merino) in colorways 92, 93 and 96. Very citrusy and California-esque. Which is good, because the baby will live in California.

Needles: 4.25mm bamboo straights. They’re in between a US 6 (4.0mm) and a US 7 (4.5mm).

Time Spent: Four months, which is absolutely freaking ridiculous. I blame good weather, house hunting, house buying, and moving house for the delays. And my own knitting ennui that seems to drop in every summer.

For: The first baby of a wonderful friend whom I’ve known since we were 5 years old (or at least, since she was 6 and I was 5). She was in my kindergarten class and we were two of three (or four?) kids who already knew how to read. I’m still amazed that I’ve known her 23 years and we haven’t gotten sick of each other yet. Well done!

Obvious Errors:
edges do not match

Perhaps I should have paid more attention during the counting lesson in kindergarten.

(I know some of you want house pictures. To you I say Patience! The busy bee flew in my life and is divebombing me repeatedly. Thank you for your understanding.)

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Things have been pretty busy at Casa de HookOn, despite the blog quietude, and I’m starting to understand why all my friends who own houses never had acres of time to hang out. There’s always something more to do. There’s always something else to paint or purchase or decide upon. There is not a lot of time to do anything else because you’re always feeding the house.

Especially when you’ve moved into your new house and you are trying to get things the way you like them. And by you I mean me.

We have completed…
… the bedroom
Painting!
The new main paint color is kind of grey, kind of green, kind of sand, kind of tan, and kind of looks like white in certain light.
(nearly, I have to make curtains, which means I have to borrow a sewing machine and figure out how much material I need, then buy the material, and learn how to operate a sewing machine)
… one of the two baby blankets. Remember this?
Three of Four
It’s all finished now, with ends woven in and strips sewn together. (Do I have a picture of the final product? Yes, but not here. We don’t have internet at the house yet, and I don’t have a lot of time to drag the laptop, camera, and cable out to the closest free wi-fi spot to upload the pictures. Blergin.)

Two things. We have finished two things in the house. And one was a knitting project.

That’s not really true, of course. The laundry area is almost the way I want it, and NinjaHusband’s workbench is exactly the way he wants it, and the kitchen is in working order (unless you have a migraine or a hangover… that wallpaper remains part of my life), and things are sort of finding homes.

Monday night I painted my office. Green. Think about that. Think about how nice a green room might look (if you’re me, and love green) with the color of leaves and plants and growing things surrounding you and inspiring creativity all over the place. Then think about the reality of painting all the walls green, a particularly bright shade of green, and how that might make your eyes start bleeding after a while.

The accent wall, the one with the window and the weird soffit, is a darker green. I’m thinking I might paint it a different color… a light grey-brown (seriously, these colors are tricky to pin down), maybe? Or paint the main walls a different color? I’ll post pictures (soon?) and let you guys give me advice.

The idea of a green room, accented with oak and cherry woods, and lovely plummy purples, was so charming in my head. As most missteps are.

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Like any good horror story, this one has an exclamation point.

Last Sunday, the 10th, my brother-in-law came over to help us get some things done around the house. This is no mere jaunt across town for him — no, he drove over an hour one way to give us a bunch of his time and energy. And last Sunday he brought his pressure-washer.

(Here I should preface the whole story with: the house we just bought had been vacant for over a year. We knew going in that it had been empty for a while, but not quite this long. Anyhow, back to the story.)

Our patio, of which I do not have a picture, is under a beautiful locust tree in a shady corner. Lovely for sitting outside enjoying a margarita (on the rocks with salt and lime, please), but not lovely for the concrete, which had developed some serious mossy-looking growth all over it. It was no longer grey, it was green. Blegh.

So Heath brought his pressure-washer. And hooked it up to the admittedly ancient-looking garden hose that we had inherited, and hooked the hose up to the outside spigot. Nothing. As in, no water pressure. There would be a little bit, but it conked out pretty quickly. We determined the hose was bad (no kidding — it’s got folds that won’t unfold) and I run out to Lowe’s with Heath to buy a new garden hose. Triumph! All will be well now!

Except no, it wasn’t. Still no water pressure. It wasn’t the pressure washer’s fault, said the two mechanical-minded guys. Maybe it’s the spigot? Is it a frost-free spigot (warning: video starts when you link)? Because it should be. No, it wasn’t a frost-free spigot. Is there mineral build-up? Sort of, but not really. NinjaHusband jiggled something and realigned something, and that seemed to do nothing, so we unhooked the hose from the washer and from the outside spigot and were ready to call it a day on the pressure-washing.

Then, NinjaHusband turned on the outside spigot, and this came galumphing out:

fully disgusting.

Only, it didn’t come out like that at first. It came out looking like red soft-serve ice cream, in all its gloopy glory. What the damn hell is coming out of my pipes? What did I just get myself into? How much did I just pay for this house?

From the spigot

It poured and poured and eventually the water got clearer, but still red, then orange, then yellowish, and we all three were standing there utterly gobsmacked. What the hell was this stuff? Then NinjaHusband picked some of it up and looked more closely.

Not eggs.

It was in bits.

Round bits.

Kind of translucent and squishy bits.

Kind of like… eggs?

Um. What? At this point I kind of lost my head, my ability to cope, and almost lost my grip on acceptible grown-up behavior. I really wanted to freak out and yell or cry or vomit or perform some action that was on the same freak-out level as the gunk coming out of my pipes. But I didn’t. Instead I called my dad. No, it can’t be eggs. It’s probably a mixture of sand and rust. Just run the water through the pipe for five minutes every few days and it’ll be gone.

I thanked my dad and hung up, still not really sure — sand isn’t squishy. After the water ran clear and we ran the gunk out of the new garden hose, Heath was able to run the pressure-washer and get the mossy algae off our patio. We kept working on the house stuff but were still pretty weirded out by the Mysterious Red Goo From The Outside Spigot.

When 6:00 rolled around I headed out to knit night and took my pictures with me. I described the stuff to my knitter group (probably in a high-pitched and panicky-sounding way) and everyone said, Oh it’s rust, don’t worry, it’s sediment, your town’s water is kind of rusty, full of minerals, etc. Then I showed them the pictures.

Silence blanketed the table (hard to do with our group). The consensus was that we should get that shit checked out immediately. IMMEDIATELY. “Dude, those look like spider eggs.” “That looks a lot like worm eggs.” And one delightful person said “Yeah, that could be salamander eggs.” What the hell? How is this in any way helpful to my state of mind, which is supposed to be one of relaxation while I’m at knit night? How, I ask you.

So I called my town’s water district first thing Monday morning. I was told there was no way anything could be living in the water, that the chlorine was high enough, that they test it daily, that the well we’re on is the best in town… but they’re sending someone out to take a sample right away.

An hour and a half later I get a call from the water softener place. “Hi we got a call from the city and they brought over a sample of the stuff that was coming out of your pipes.” Turns out that …
IT WAS NOT EGGS. It was old, old water softener medium. How old? Well, it turns out the water softener (that we were bypassing, thank god) is original to the house (that is, April of 1974, nineteen seventy-fucking-four). And something in it broke. And released these old particles into our pipes. Fortunately, the goop was only in that one pipe leading to the Outside Spigot (that the previous owner likely never turned on) and we don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get it out of the other plumbing. And then dude tried to hard-sell me a new water softener.

So I can rest easy, content that spiders are not laying eggs in my pipes, nor are salamanders about to crawl out of the dishwasher.

But it was absolutly horrifying for an entire afternoon.

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We’re in!

The move went smoothly, thanks to our friends Adam & Beth and CornBred who kicked ass and helped us haul our belongings from apartment to truck and from truck to house. HOUSE!!!

We own a house!*

We also own this wallpaper:
New House - the kitchen
Makes me want to throw up and then kill someone.

And this wallpaper:
New House - his office
OMG SPORTS!!!!1!! OMG I LURVZ THEM!!

But after a long day of hard work (thank you to my brother-in-law and my Mom for their help!) on Sunday, we no longer own these wallpapers:
New House - my office
It was too froofy to live.

New House - our bedroom
Very much no.

The formerly-pink room is our bedroom (in which we have not slept because we are redecorating it), and the floral with creepy-ass dolls is my office/yarn room. YARN ROOM!!! (where I may someday knit again! Maybe!). Last night, right before the Storm of Doom and Tree Death hit, we chose colors for the bedroom and went out to Lowe’s to buy the paint. While we were at Lowe’s, held hostage by the Storm of Doom and nervously pacing the aisles trying not to completely flip out because the tornado sirens were going off for a REALLY LONG TIME (that was me), I chose the colors for my office. We are still working out the living room and kitchen colors, and NinjaHusband has to decide on his office colors.

I absolutely adore choosing paint colors and decorating schemes. I could look at color swatches for days, seriously. That’s not to say that I’m very good at arranging furniture into lovely groupings or that I feel completely confident in my choice of colors, but I do enjoy giving it a shot. Right now I’m having lots of fun brining design books home from the library and, mirable dictu, NinjaHusband is getting into reading them too. He used to look askance at my design/decorating books, but now he’s picking them up on his own and leafing through them and saying things like “This is pretty cool” or “That is awful” or “Hmmm.” It gives me a happy.

I’m glad something is giving me a happy. Right now we’re sleeping in the SPORTS!!! room on an inflatable mattress until we get the bedroom done (spackle tonight, Killz on Thursday, paint on Friday & Saturday). It’s not the most comfortable thing to sleep on several nights running, but it gets the job done.

Cheers to getting into the house without breaking anything of value, and Cheers to you guys who cheered me on through this process. I appreciate it.
We had Champagne
Champagne flutes from my sister’s travels to Italy. We had Champange on Friday night. I did not break either of these glasses.

*Did you know that in order to buy a house you have to sign a piece of paper (among thousands of other pieces of paper) that affirms that you are not a terrorist? Seriously. I happily signed every other paper NinjaHusband’s boss put in front of me, but I totally balked at signing this USA Patriot Act thing. They insisted that I had to sign it or I wouldn’t get the house, so I did, but I snarked about it and made nasty comments about George W. Bush the whole time. So I am apparently not a terrorist, nor do I harbor terrorists in my new home. Because I signed a piece of paper. The end.

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