The joys of homeownership

It’s officially mine and I’ve begun to pile my boxed possessions in every room, making my apartment slowly seem larger and my new condo’s “giant” rooms slowly shrink to average size. Dave was a huge help last night, running loads of belongings and keeping me motivated, amidst various pauses to discuss all the things I could remodel. Not that I need a longer remodel list – it’s already getting out of control. There are so many small projects that will make the place nicer, more modern and more mine but I need to focus on moving and cleaning right now and save the fun stuff for at least January.

That’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. There are some urgent redecorating items that will be staring me right in the face every day until i address them. For example, when I saw the place with Gloria a few weeks ago there was still some furniture littered about – a hutch in the dining room, a low cabinet along one wall, a giant mirror above the fireplace. When I walked in Thursday night with my newly-acquired keys to survey my new kingdom, I found the furniture is gone and the true nature of the beast is revealed.

Apparently the kind of people that would paint a whole floor in homage to Princess Peach – including the wood trim, the beams in the ceiling, the doors, the outlets, the plant hooks – people so into peach that they’d cover every paintable surface with three layers of latex peachiness, are the kind of people that also don’t move the furniture away from the walls when they paint.



As if the peach wasn’t ghastly enough, now I get to stare at the brown hole above the fireplace every time I look around. We’ll definitely be having a painting party sometime in January.

This is how my week is going.

I’m not sure if the universe operates on some sort of yin/yang, good-luck/bad-luck cycle, or if I’m just only happy when it rains, but it seems like when I’m stretched to the limit that’s exactly when every little thing starts to go wrong and every molehill becomes a mountain. These are the kinds of things I’ve been dealing with this week, in the midst of trying to pack, buying a condo, getting ready to move, etc. I apologize for the lazy bullet-point format but that’s what my life has been reduced to in December – a series of lists. It’s really all I’m capable of at this point.

  • I can barely walk, apparently. I’ve been bumping things on other things, tripping over nothing, and otherwise banging myself up just trying to handle seemingly-harmless tasks. I hardly ever injure myself, but in the last two weeks I’ve hit my head on the closet door, closed my hand in a drawer, gouged my back on a shelf, knocked my forehead on the roof of my truck… I’ve become the world’s biggest klutz.
  • I lost my truck/house keys Monday morning. Or very nearly lost them. Last time I’d had them was Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning when it was time to leave for work, they were nowhere. I only have one key to the truck, so unless I found them it would become a giant steel paperweight. Picture my apartment, stacked chest-high with boxes, packing material strewn across the floor, wall-to-wall chaos with nothing in its usual place – this is the environment where I had presumably set my keys down. I tore through the place, opening sealed boxes, unpacking luggage… and nothing. Finally I retraced my last known steps with the keys – to the mailbox and back. I found them lying in my neighbor’s driveway, mere inches away from the gutter where the torrents of Seattle’s rainiest day in the past 50 years threatened them with a watery demise. My neighbor must have run over them as the keys are chewed up, but at least I found them. I was 98% percent to nervous breakdown.
  • I can’t seem to be on time for anything. I went to a meeting an hour early today. In my head, I was sure it was at 8am, and I half-jogged the 5 blocks to the other office building where it was held only to find I was alone in the conference room. Check my phone again: meeting is at 9. This meeting is at 9 every Wednesday and has been since April, but I was sure it was at eight. I was an hour early to my condo closing paperwork appointment yesterday because I seem to have lost all ability to estimate travel time; I spent the extra hour sitting across the street at Starbucks breathing into a paper bag.
  • As it turns out, my truck keys aren’t just chewed up a little. The keyfob is apparently slightly broken. I figured this out Tuesday afternoon when I walked the 5 blocks in the pouring rain to my parking lot and discovered I couldn’t unlock the doors. Some shouting and physical abuse temporarily revived it, but I’ve since been operating in constant fear that each press of a lock or unlock button may be the last one, leaving the truck permanently either dangerously unlocked or locked and immobilized. It’s something I would toss and turn about on a regular night, but this week it’s chewing me up. I really need my truck for the next couple weeks.
  • People keep wanting and/or needing things from me and I keep having to tell them no. It’s not like me to ever decline an invitation or defer to help someone out, and it makes me feel like a selfish, antisocial misanthrope. As I told Hannah yesterday during my massage, I’ve got a list (several lists, really) of things that have to be done this week, this weekend, next week, next weekend, before the 15th, before I leave town for Christmas… and if it’s not on my list, I can’t think about it. Moreover, if it doesn’t urgently need to be done before the 15th, it’s not making the list. The list is already so frighteningly long, complex and full of interdependencies that I can’t conceive it will ever be completed, so I’m having trouble looking beyond the 15th, either. Basically, I’m absorbed with this project. My apologies to anyone that’s trying to get or give anything else from or to me.
  • The weather. Maybe you’ve seen the underwater freeways and manholes-turned-fountains on the news. While I’ve so far escaped any massive flooding, I’m starting to worry it might snow while I’m trying to move; it’s already snowed in the city once this season, much earlier than it usually does here. Or worse – it might get suddenly cold again and freeze the city into a giant skating rink the day I pick up a uhaul truck. My moving help could all be stranded at home. My uhaul truck could get stuck at the bottom of the hill in the condo parking lot. I had hoped to do some outdoor things this past weekend – prune shrubs at the apartment, wash cars, pick up leaves – but 4 inches of wet snow on the ground and almost a foot of rain kept any of that from happening. I realize I’m the fool that is moving in December, but I had not expected it to be this bad.

Normally I wouldn’t lose sleep over these kinds of things – I’d turn them into humorous anecdotes and be done with them. But this week I’m on a deadline. And I hate slipping on deadlines.

There’s always room for pudding.

I think my brain is getting softer. Maybe cause i never use it, other than to remember song lyrics or attempt clever comeback remarks. I mean, it’s not like i use it at work, right? And commuting is pretty mindless, just stay between the lines – something i should have mastered in kindergarten. Even when i have a flat tire – and I’ve had two this week, one on each vehicle. I’ve also spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks moving boxes, packing boxes, unpacking boxes, taping boxes, trying not to drown in styrofoam peanuts and shredded paper – none of which were particularly mentally demanding. I think the most intellectually stimulating things i’ve done all month are watch CSI and try to hack Sims2 to let me use clothing from different categories. I succeeded at that, by the way – Danielle and i have made several Sims who are wearing their swimsuits as everyday clothes, or otherwise cheating the rules of their digital universe. So with very little keeping those neurons firing, i think they’re getting lazy – as lazy as the rest of me – and my brain is turning into pudding. And not a good kind either – probably tapioca or something equally hideous.

I have officially moved to Edmonds. It’s a nice neighborhood so far, although i forgot that i was going to be starting over finding nearby services and all those handy places i was used to in west seattle. Kim and i spent a whole day last week cleaning the old house, and were quite happy to be rid of the place by the time we’d realized all the dirt and broken stuff that was revealed when we removed the furniture. Still trying to meet with the landlord for closing paperwork – she’s now on my “gets a call every day until this mess is over” list.

Danielle has been a huge help with all the moving madness – helping me pack and unpack, lending me her car – and just generally being super patient with my less-than-occasional exasperated, frustrated and frantic moments. She’s a saint and i owe her a huge debt of gratitude. I wish i could give her something amazing for Christmas. I have 21 more days to win the lottery.

Now i’m going to go play Domo Kun Smashfest and daydream about donning my own giant Domo Kun outfit and having a smashfest at work…

Night shift

I’m almost a full day off right now – i’m awake, at work, covering the night shift, when on a normal workday my alarm would be set for about 30 minutes from now. I’m doing ok staying awake, but that doesn’t mean i’m not going to be *really* ready for bed when i get home. I don’t know how i did this in college. Am i really getting that much older, or is it just that i’m out of practice?

Only one more week until i get keys to my new house. (I’m calling it a house, cause even tho it’s technically a duplex and it only has one bedroom, it feels quite a bit like a house on both the inside and out). I talked with one of my coworkers the other day (i honestly don’t remember, the days really blur together when i all i do is sleep, eat and work for 4 days in a row) that lives only a couple blocks from the office, here in Pioneer Square. I have to think he’s crazy. Sure, it’s historic and charming, but i certainly get my fill of the stumbling all-day drunks, the mid-intersection shouting matches and the constant panhandling on my one trip outside the building to Starbucks each day. I’m pretty sure i wouldn’t want to come home to this area, too. And then i found out he pays $1400 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment with an underground garage! Eek! I jokingly told him that’s more than i make in a month…

I should have some great links to give you tonite, er, this morning.. whatever. Or something funny to say… i’ve had the last … (long pause) … (still thinking) … 5 hours talking to no one by myself. But i really can’t remember anything of any consequence; i spent all the concentration i had left for the morning, er, night getting some SQL jobs started and sending out some notification emails like i’m supposed to do on this shift, and after that requirement was met, my brain checked out for the night, er.. day. If you could see how slow i’m typing right now, you’d laugh…!

More mundane than the average trip in a Chinese subway

We are not high-tech. You may think we are, with our (mostly) digital wireless phones, our HDTV and our iPods. But we’ve got nothing on China, where they’ve gone from basketweaving to nuclear fission in only the last 50 years. Read the link and be amazed. Go ahead, i’ll wait…

… now that you’re back – is that crazy or what? Think about that the next time you buy pants.

My life is much more mundane than the average trip in a Chinese subway. I’ve just been packing things in boxes (fun!), playing Sims2 with Danielle (it’s like crack that you ingest thru your eyes) and helping Eric tear apart the motor in his Pathfinder. So i’m basically always either covered in grease, covered in papercuts, or red-eyed and sleepy. Sometimes several of those at once. 😉

I’m very much looking forward to getting keys to my new place so i can start moving stuff – packing is so futile without someplace to take it. It’s an adventure in futility, like running on a treadmill – lots of effort with no visible progress. By the time i’m settled in, it should be pretty much thanksgiving and then nearly december, putting me closer to ski season, and to a date when i can start hanging Christmas lights without incurring ridicule. I’m all set for ski season, btw – season pass hanging on my wall, and i bought the bindings yesterday, Salomon S810 Ti’s, last season’s model half-off at GI Joe’s for only $86 with tax. Just need to get them mounted, but that’s pretty trivial. So other than my jacket (which i used twice in Europe) i have all new gear to try out, a new 4×4 to get me there and a nifty pass bearing my ski-sweater-wearing torso that means i don’t have to scrounge anything other than gas money this winter in order to see lots of hill time.

I’ve also been working on my Christmas 2004 Wishlist as i find neat things around the internet that would be very welcome were they to come and live at my house. Feel free to check it out, go shopping… heck, buy a couple!

Last time i checked, Jerry Bruckheimer was not directing my life story

Been a totally productive day of reading comics on Penny Arcade and watching whatever random cinematic enterprises are being broadcast today on TBS. Right now, it’s Austin Powers 2. It’s kind of funny with the sound off… but not totally.

It’s been a stressful weekend, but maybe it’s looking up. For one, i only have 2.5 hrs of work left. And then i get my two days off (instead of the usual three – i covered for someone today). But i thought i was working again tonight – covering half the night shift – but Vince straightened me out when i came in to relieve him this morning – that’s next weekend that i’m pinch hitting for the graveyard team. And i’m (at least so far) not working the extra day shift next sunday, so that’s a 19-hour workday i managed to avoid.

Vince was also nice (and trusting) enough to lend me his key card to get into the building – and so i could leave the NOC to, oh, microwave some cup noodles, use the bathroom, and scavenge in the candy bowl at the front desk. I somehow managed to misplace mine at the end of my shift friday, and have spent the timespan since then stressing about it and getting frustrated with myself for being such a total tool. This dovetailed nicely with the daily stress of work (not so much the doing nothing part, but the always being on edge in case i have to do something part, that is very exhausting) and both of those were easily interwoven into the stress of packing, moving, and paying rent in two places this coming month. And is it just the weather, the time of year, or what, but why is everyone in a bad mood lately? I know we all need a vacation and aren’t going to get one this holiday season (or maybe i’m the only one that’s working thanksgiving, christmas, new year’s, and all the other major holidays this season?) but that’s no excuse for everyone to be mad at *me*. If you need to misdirect your anger somewhere, send those evil thoughts towards politicians or telemarketers, or some other life form without feelings and a soul.

Ugh. Let’s keep the rants short today. My head hurts too much for long, intense sentences. Although pressing my forehead against the cool glass of the monitor cabinet is very soothing… try not to think about the slimy forehead mark i’m leaving on the glass that wasn’t that clean anyway or the extra-intense radiation at this distance hard-boiling my brain…

What i really need a vacation from is drama. Drama everywhere – work, home, friends, bills, career, cars. Last time i checked, Jerry Bruckheimer was not directing my life story, so why all the accelerating climaxes and confounding plot turns? I did not sign up for this! My contract clearly says “romantic comedy” and mentions something about “occasional moments of cheeky seriousness”. Granted, i have not read ahead in the script (boy, wouldn’t that be nice!) but i really don’t see all these loose ends tying up nicely into a happy ending that involves fading light and someplace picturesque. If anything, it’s more like watching a sweater be unraveled, and at the end all you’re left with is a shapeless pile of twisted thread. And believe me, the thread unravels steadily every day, and i think as it flows out one ear it takes pieces of my brain with it.

Just today my theory was proven summarily true, as i found my key card only moments ago on a shelf in the corner, right where i hang my jacket. Where i hang my jacket on weekdays, that is, when i’m sharing this office and all the chairs are used. But on weekends when i’m here alone, i’m lazy and drape my jacket over an empty chair… and thus hadn’t walked by this shelf or seen my laminated face grimacing up from it’s attached keytag since friday afternoon. Instead, i spent saturday evening tearing apart my bedroom, my office, my Pathfinder, the front yard, and small sections of the street with a flashlight and what must have been an appropriate-only-on-halloween-eve fiendish stare only to terminate my search while still fruitless and seek distraction.

Danielle and i found some distraction at Dave T’s halloween party – and found a good excuse to wear our costumes (that she was mostly responsible for assembling – thanx Danielle for sewing all the patches on my coveralls!). We didn’t stay too late, but enjoyed ourselves for a bit before getting me home to bed so i could work this morning.

With the whole DST switch it should have been a little easier to get up at 5.30 am, but noooo… tired stupid me didn’t set any clocks before i went to bed, so i drug myself out of bed and downtown, and was halfway down the block from my parking space when i brandished my phone (to call Vince to come let me in at the front door – remember i am still key-less at this point) and was greeted with a cheerful “Do you wish to update the time?” which apparently is poorly translated from the Finnish phrase for “Haha sucker! You’re an hour early for work! I can see the L on your forehead from Helsinki!”

So across the street from work with a little over an hour to kill, and running on less than 4 hours sleep anyway, Mr Sandman won me over and i crawled into the backseat of my Pathfinder, covered myself in that blanket i keep in the back, warily set an alarm in the phone i wasn’t sure i could trust, and crashed out fully-clothed in a dark downtown street like the bum that i am.

Ski pass picture day

Haven’t posted much cause it didn’t seem like there was much going on that was newsworthy… and i spend so much time at work surfing and reading that nothing really stands out anymore, so i don’t even have interesting links to share. How boring am i?

But then, in the last few days, all sorts of interesting stuff! So let’s just tear right into it, starting with the most recent and working backwards, because i know you like a challenge at 8am on a tuesday morning. 🙂

And speaking of that, what am i doing up so early on a day when i don’t have to work? Well, joke’s on you, cause this isn’t early for me – i *let* myself sleep in until 7 today! I usually get up at 5.30 for work, so 7 is a huge luxury… very nice. Plus i needed to be up and ready to go meet Ron for coffee this morning on the eastside – probably in an hour or so. I might have time to run up to Steph’s and get the Z before then, which would be super cause, well, it’s really fun to drive. 🙂

Another thing that’s really fun happened last nite – i bought my ski pass on the internet! (The exciting part is that i bought the pass – not that i bought it on the internet. I buy lots of stuff on the internet, which i think we all know…) It’s the first time i’ve ever had a season pass, i’m very stoked about it. I had only budgeted $200 for a midweek pass (mon-fri only), and the price goes up oct 31 so i had to get in there and buy it this week, but then i started thinking about it and splurged on the $250 one that includes sundays, too – basically, it’s anytime but 9a-4p saturday – because although it’s great that i have monday and tuesday off to ski, most of my friends aren’t going to, so if i ever want to go with someone, it might be nice to have sunday as an option, too. It should pay for itself no problem, cause a regular lift ticket is 42 bucks! So if i go six times all season, i’m totally ahead. And i’d like to go a lot more than six times! It’s just a “Big S” pass – the Summit and Snoqualmie and Alpental – but that’s perfect for me because 1) it’s cheap, 2) it’s close and 3) i have low expectations and haven’t skiied (outside of europe) since i left MSU so any hill time is good hill time!

Earlier in the day yesterday, i spent some time looking at apartments with Danielle, because i’ve told Kim and Jason that i’m moving out by the end of november. So hopefully i’ll be able to find a place i can afford with a private garage. I’m sure the Z will be very happy to hear that she’ll get to come home soon to a nice cozy garage… and the Pathfinder’s probably rather unamused that he’s going to be lugging all my junk halfway across the city and commuting further to work. But he might get a tow hitch out of the deal, so… Anyway, that’s both exciting and a lot of work. Have a lot of things to clear out before i move, too (i really need to move *less* stuff each time, not more) – if anyone’s interested in the big green couch i’ll make you a screamin’ deal. 🙂

While i was leaning back in my desk chair sunday night pondering all of this, Chad called me and we griped for awhile about corporate america and the lack of desireable candidates for public office. Always good to hear from him; hopefully we can catch up for a beer when i’m in MT in december.

Previous to that, i spent late sunday afternoon up at Steph’s installing my new short shifter in the Z and garnishing it with a fresh-out-of-the-plastic JDM red-stiched shift knob! Whole thing looks excellent and is very fun to drive. First non-maintenance money i’ve spent on the Z since april – i’m sure she’s been feeling left out seeing the Pathy’s awesome new tires and functional new cupholders. And we all know what a high-maintenance princess she is… so you can imagine what sort of attitude i’ve been dealing with. But this shiny bauble should smooth things over… 😉

I didn’t get started on that project until late in the day, because i spent the morning at Eric’s, helping him tear apart the motor in his new Pathfinder. Wait… didn’t i buy my Pathy from him in july? Yes, that’s correct. And he missed it so much he went out and bought another one just like it, only red, with a shiny new paint job and a blown head gasket. It was a great price, even considering the engine trouble, and is going to be a nice project for us for the next few weeks. We tore the top end off sunday (top end of the motor, that is… haha… that’s a funny mental picture, us tearing the top of the truck off) and found lots of icky, sticky goo under the valve covers (neat!) from the coolant intermingling with the oil (yuck!). We had to use my Pathy to tow his back out of the garage and on to the street when we were done, and we took a moment to get a picture of them together which i would post right now but my Powerbook’s all busy burning a dvd full of Space Ghost episodes so i can’t suck the pix off the digicam right now. Forthcoming, i assure you.

And that pretty much brings us back to saturday, which i spent entirely at work, playing Sims and watching Cartoon Network. And friday, which was similar, only i played flash games on and watched the news (ugh) cause Ian always insists we pretend to care about current events during business hours (as if!).

And now, ladies and jellyspoons… i’m going to head east to pick up my shiny red 300zx for some quality highway time! Heading up to Snoqualmie summit today to get my picture taken for my ski pass… yee ha!

Weddings, Moving and Engine Break-ins

948 miles logged on the Z so far – almost there! Not really sure what “extra” i’m going to do when it hits 1000 miles, other than change the oil again. Maybe start worrying a little less, i guess, altho i’m still wondering about a few squeaks and rattles, a strange clicky noise, and parking it outside in the street.

I’ve been MIA all week for many reasons. Last few days in phoenix were too busy for computer time. Wedding was very nice – pleasant, elegant and simple, obviously Jenn’s doing. Ian succeeded in smiling thru the entire evening from inside his vest and cummerbund. The sun shone warmly but not so much that anyone was prone to fainting, and the champagne flowed freely. The happy couple departed, and as the night was still young, we piled a couple cars full of merry attendees and sought out weekend entertainment in downtown phoenix. After wandering haphazardly from block to block, somehow we found ourselves around a large table at Hooters in an outdoor mall, scarfing hot wings served by seemingly-underage waitresses. Heated political discussions notwithstanding, a good time was had by all. And big congrats to our Hero and Heroine – can i say “i can’t believe you’re married!” and at the same time offer “i’m not at all surprised.”

The rest of the trip was about three things: sunshine, pool time, and food. Anna, Kim, Dave, Sophia and I repeatedly sampled what the Valley of the Sun had to offer, and all-too-quickly i was on my way home.

Waiting in Seattle when i returned, Mom and Danielle had found Danielle a great studio apartment in Ravenna (near Green Lake) and we spent the rest of the week packing, moving, shopping, assembling, decorating, and ordering in. Steph was a huge saint and chipped in on the moving part cause she’s so nice. Some small logistical snafus, but nothing compared to the horror-move i put Danielle thru two summers ago – i’m convinced i still owe her some moving payback.

Mom is flying home tmrw, Danielle’s getting settled quickly in her new place, Dad’s not going to believe how much money Mom spent while she was here (sorry Dad, we tried!) including picking up a pair of red Diesel shoes since she liked mine so much. Hers are much more cute and girly than mine, tho…

It’s another beautiful sunny day in Seattle, spring is here and i’m very happy about that. Many days to drive with the tops off, making up for all those winter days without sun, t-tops, or driving. And that, my friends, is what i’m going to go do right now… 😀

Feel free to send me a teddy bear

Friday, valentines day, a long weekend, and there was no frost on my car this morning. So already this day’s off to a good start. Actually, i don’t know why i listed valentine’s day as a good thing, cause i’m single, and no one’s giving me any candy today, but it seems to make everyone in a good mood, and it makes me feel like spring… so whatever.

It’s been a long week at work, busy and stressful, and i’m really looking forward to having monday off. No big plans for the holiday – couldn’t talk anyone into going to Van City with me – so i’ll probably just stay home and unpack. Not super exciting, but i need to catch up on some sleep and some stuff around the house. Have a few items to list on ebay – make some money to buy toys for the car – so i’ll try and get that done, too. And i really really will email everyone the “hey i moved here’s the new address” email and i have some pics of the new house to go with it.

It’s a bit overcast today, but traffic was light, it’s a bit warmer than it has been, and i can see the Olympic range and the Needle out my window. And it’s friday, and Kim made a pot of coffee this morning (nothin says good morning like a travel mug o’ joe), so today i can handle anything.

Unpacked is relative

Hey, i’m moved in! Well, okay, so there’s this whole room full of boxes that i haven’t even made a dent in… but i got it all in the house! Now i just need to clean out the old apt, and then it’s serious unpacking time, soooo many things to figure out. It’s going to be great, though; i’m already really enjoying Josh and Kim as roomies, they’re supa-cool and very gracious. Steph has been a huge help this weekend – thanx Steph, you totally rock! – with everything from lugging boxes around to volunteering her Blazer for big stuff to helping me pick out a Sten at Ikea (that’s a bookshelf). She’s a practicing believer in moving karma, and her assistance shall not go unrewarded! 😉

Talked with Christian while i was hanging clothes in the closet last nite. He was just getting out of bed for a day of skiing in Austria. His prospects to extend his contract are still looking good, as are mine to visit him. Despite not being able to get Ben & Jerry’s there, he’s really enjoying Garmisch, although the European dating scene is apparently a little winky. I know he must be keeping busy with work and a social life, because he’s been there since july and his wardrobe still hasn’t doubled in size… 😀