Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homeowners

We have had the keys to our new place for a couple of days now. So far we have swept, mopped, washed walls, scrubbed baseboards, broken down and hauled out junk left behind by the former occupants, and done yardwork.

Here is some awesome stuff about our awesome house:

  • The toilets have those cushy-foam seats.  Classy, no?
  • The former occupants left us a bottle of 1988 Chauteau d' Gaudin wine (probably by accident).  It's from France.  What are you feelings on cooking with wine?
  • We have a fig tree that I hated until Paul pruned it and now I think it looks gorgeous.  We also have a lemon tree, an apple tree, and an orange tree.
  • The black lineoleum turned out to be a light pink colored once I scrubbed it for four hours with flu-killing, anti-bacterializing, bleach infused cleaner.
  • The oven is so small that it doesn't look like it will fit a normal sized cookie sheet.
On Saturday Paul started demo on our first real construction project.  We maybe jumped the gun here a bit since we won't actually be remodeling the kitchen until next year, but there is a wall dividing the kitchen from the living room and he started taking it down today.  We plan to put in an island between the two spaces but otherwise having an open floor plan.  First he had to dismantle a bank of cabinets.  Then he even moved all of the electrical wiring from the wall that we wanted to tear down and channeled it into another wall which is a much more useful spot for wiring anyway. 

For those who are interested, here are some additional photos of our new place.  Most are of the main living area.  Those are not hardwood floors btw, just laminate.



The wall in the middle of this photo is the one that is coming down and will eventually be replaced with an island and counter seating.


We plan to rearrange the kitchen layout and move the fridge to a where the oven currently is.


Here is the guest bathroom.


All of the bedrooms are tiny and they look exactly the same, so I am just posting one bedroom photo here.


The hallway and linen closet.  Paul hasn't yet been able to get these doors back on their tracks.


Our front entrance.  This is after Paul removed the ghetto screen door.  Behind the massive bush is a window to the guest bathroom.  The window to the left of the photo is the master bathroom, and the windows to the right of the entrance are the kitchen windows over the sink.


The driveway.  The giant flowering bush has got to go. 


The back patio and yard.  We've already done quite a bit of work back here and have additional photos, but will probably try to do a before and after post pretty soon about this area. 


And here are some of the start of the remodel taken with my camera phone (sorry about the quality):



Contemplating what to do next. 


The wine.

Flattered

Today all of the primary teachers (except Paul who is the only male primary teacher) were excused from teaching responsibilities to attend a special Relief Society visiting teaching training.  The primary president announced to all of the children that most of the classes were going to be substitute taught by the Young Men and the Young Women (ages 12 to 18).  As I gathered my things to leave, Garrett, a seven-year old in my class, turned to me in confusion and said perplexedly, "But, Sister Nash, you ARE a young women!" 

I am really going to miss this calling.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The House of Nash (literally)

Alright, so a handful of our blog readers will know about this, but Paul and I just bought a house!  Yay us! 

We have had this deal in the hopper for quite some time now, only Paul is ΓΌber-superstitious about some things and he didn't want a blog post to jinx the transaction.  We actually put our offer in on this house more than 2 months ago (it was a short-sale) and have been waiting and waiting to find out whether the purchase would go through.  To be honest, we still don't have keys to our new place and Paul really wanted me to wait a few more days to post about this, but I think that is silly.  We signed all of the closing docs on Friday morning and the seller has signed off and everything, so it all seems pretty complete to me.  We're just waiting on funding and for the tenants who were renting the place to finish moving (they have to be out by Wednesday). 

There will be more pictures to come, but for now here is one of the front of the house. 


Nothing fancy, I know.  But still, we think it has loads of potential.  And by loads of potential, I am really saying that it is a total fixer-upper.  It was built in 1958 and our new-old house is just what we were looking for - it is in a great neighborhood with tree-lined streets and well-kept houses, and it needs quite a lot of work but is completely livable in the meantime.  The last thing I wanted in a house was something that had just been remodeled but not to my liking.  Because let's face it, I'm super picky/opinionated/particular about things and I wanted to go in and rip out the kitchen and put in exactly what suits our tastes. 

The full story of how we ended up with the house starts back in early March when Paul and I first started going to open houses on weekends just for fun.  Sometime early in May we found a house that was way at the top of our price range but so cute that we decided to get pre-approved so we could make an offer on it.  Since we hadn't really been serious about looking before finding that house, we didn't get our act together in time to actually make the offer before the house sold.  But after getting pre-approved, we started being a little more serious in our efforts.  In early June, we got lucky.  Paul had signed up with a number of real estate email lists to get notices about new properties put on the market and woke up one morning to see that there was a new short-sale in an area that we hadn't previously focused on.  He drove by and checked out the photos online, decided it looked good, and called the listing agent.  The next day we walked through the house and made an offer on the spot.  Since we weren't being represented by an agent at the point, we agreed to be represented by an agent from the listing agent's office so that they could keep both sides of the sales commission "in-house".  We figured this would give them a vested interest in getting the sale to go through.  They cancelled the open house that was planned for that Saturday and to make a long story short, after being told by the bank that was approving the short-sale to up our offer a couple of times and waiting about two months, our offer was approved. 


After that, it was just a matter of meeting the conditions of the FHA loan and getting the inspection and appraisal done.  Our rental contract with our current apartment isn't up until late September, so we will be able to take our time cleaning up our new place and moving our things over.  

Paul has created a to-scale drawing of the floor plan, along with tiny to-scale furniture pieces that we play around with, arranging and rearranging to decide on the best layout.  Paul is also excited to do yardwork and says that the first thing he will do on the house is chop down the overgrown and nasty shrubs in both the front and the back yards.   We're also planning on knocking down some walls, taking it from 4 bedrooms down to 3 bedrooms (the current rooms are jail cell sized - it is not a big house and fewer, roomier bedrooms just seems like a better plan to us), remodeling bathrooms, and maybe eventually building an addition on to the front of the house to create more of a master suite.  So you can expect a number of before/after photos in the future (and that might be the distant future as we save up the funds to undertake our remodeling projects).

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend with Carrie

This past weekend my best friend and college roommate flew up from Orange County to visit.  It was SO much fun to see her and we reallly packed a lot into the couple of days we had.  We hadn't seen each other in a long time and so we spent both nights that she stayed with us staying up late and chatting non-stop.  It was awesome.

On Saturday morning we went for a run together (she kicked my butt), then went to the farmer's market with Paul.  After driving around Campbell and San Jose to show Carrie where we live, we dropped Paul off at the apartment and Carrie and I went to the Winchester Mystery House.  It is a crazy old house built by the woman who inherited the Winchester rifle fortune.  She believed she was haunted by the spirits of those who were killed by Winchester rifles.  Some medium told her that to appease the spirits, she had to start building and never stop, so that's what she did for something like 38 years.  She had something like 160 rooms built with crazy corridors, doors that opened into solid walls, stairs that led to nowhere, a seance room, etc. 





After the Winchester Mystery House tour, Carrie and I picked Paul up and drove to Santa Cruz.  First we got ice cream at Marianne's.


Then we went to the boardwalk where we rode the Giant Dipper.  It is one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in America, and it is rad.  I think we lasted about 3 seconds with our hands in the air, and after that Carrie and I were gripping the safety bar and screaming for the rest of the ride.



Um, yes, I took a photo of the photo that they took on the ride.  Obviously we were all having fun.




It may not look so intense, but trust me, this coaster is amazing.  It is maybe one of my favorite coasters ever.




Then on Sunday after church we went to Big Basin State Park to show Carrie the redwood trees. 



It was wonderful having Carrie out for a visit and we are hoping to get down to see her and her family sometime soon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sharing time and I need a thesaurus

Words can be problematic.  I have an idea I've been wanting to post here, but because of a vocabularic deficiency I haven't done so yet, but will now despite the lingering uneasiness with word choice.  Here's the problem:  my initial thought was to write about all the things that Paul and I have exposed each other to during our marriage.  Only, as I started typing up that post, I began feeling awfully uncomfortable about using the word "expose".  The word "expose" conjures up images of creepy guys in shadowy parking lots whipping it out of their pants or the uncovering of some massive corporate scandal that has been hidden by executives for years.  There's just too much going on with the word "expose" and it didn't convey what I really wanted to convey. 

Then I went with "subject".  As in, "here are some of the things that Paul and I have subjected each other too over the last 6 1/2 years of marriage."  (And btw, I tend to treat the age of our marriage like a kid treats the age of her life - I usually include the 1/2 designation).  But "subject" makes it seem like I would get Paul in a head lock and force him to experience something off the list below rather than having the experience be a conscientous decision on his part (or vice versa).  The only time I ever really subjected Paul to one of these things was with tofu, and he wasn't very happy about it.

So anyway, now that the explanation is more substantial than the idea I came up with in the first place, here are two lists of things that Paul and I have introduced-and/or-shared-in-a-forceful-"try-it-you-will-like-it"-pretty-please-you-have-to-or-else kind of a way.  Obviously, most of these things weren't totally foreign to either of us, and we may have even tried them before and made up our minds that we didn't like a particular thing, but through the encouragement/enticing/bullying of the other gave it another go.  If any of you genuises out there have a perfect word to describe this, please put me out of my misery and share. 

Things Paul enjoys that he has shared with me hoping I will enjoy them too (some more successfully than others):
  • backpacking
  • fly-fishing
  • chinese food
  • chopsticks
  • Seinfeld
  • donuts for breakfast
  • off-roading
  • cutting down our own Christmas tree
  • banana con leche
  • papaya
  • alien movies
  • Harry Potter movies
  • Twilight movies
  • steak
  • shrimp
  • scallops
  • sushi
  • shorter hair
  • not wearing pajamas
  • symphony
  • weekends off
  • Star Wars/Lord of the Rings
  • Yosemite
  • night hikes
  • creme brulee
  • carrots
Things I enjoy that I have shared with Paul hoping he will enjoy them too (some more successfully than others):
  • ballet
  • the 6-hour A&E version of Pride & Prejudice
  • wurst
  • cakes made from scratch
  • Harry Potter books
  • Twilight books
  • tofu
  • cauliflower
  • bok choy
  • car-camping
  • ziplining
  • running
  • reality tv
  • lemon desserts
  • lasagna
  • guacamole
  • indian food
  • longer hair
  • wearing pajamas
  • opera
  • Singin' in the Rain/Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • friday night studying in the library
  • Yellowstone
  • gingerbread houses
  • Broadway
  • loofahs
  • apple pie

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Rock

My parents have been driving down Highway 1 from the top of Oregon in my dad's new corvette.  They rolled into town on Thursday night and we have had a fun time taking them out for tacos at our favorite taqueria ever (La Victoria), going to the farmer's market and walking on the trail.  But the most fascinating thing we did was tour Alcatraz.  I have been wanting to do this for a long, long time, and I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but I was enthralled the entire time.  The audio guided tour was so well done with sound effects of footsteps echoing along empty hallways, whistles blowing, etc. - all the sounds you would expect to hear in a high security prison.  But it had other sounds and stories, like the explanation about how on New Year's Eve, the sounds of women's laughter and fireworks would drift across the bay to the prison and the men could hear it in their bunks.  What a haunting thought.  The narrators were past prisoners of Alcatraz and former guards who worked on the island.  It is a pricey tour, but I think it is totally worth it.

Here are some photos from Paul's camera and my camera.  My photos are the ones with people in them.  Paul's photos are the artistically composed ones that evoke the somber moodiness of the place.  This first photo is my absolute favorite - the shadows and the light with the bars that climb to the ceiling give me a feeling of vertigo. 


My parents with the Coit Tower in the background.  I took lots of photos of them to send to Jessica. 


The recreation yard.  Not a bad view for a prison, but I can see how it would be torture to look out at the beauty of the world and know what you are missing.


My handsome dad.


Jail cells along Broadway - the main strip of cells down the center of the prison. 


C'est moi.


The older underground part of the prison.  There was a fort built on Alcatraz during the Civil War, and I believe this section is part of the original fort.  Over the years, the island has been retooled a number of different times, building over past structures.


Paul with his most impressive lens. 




Did you know that the island was occupied by a group of native american protestors in the 1960's after the prison was closed? 

Solitary confinement - complete darkness, 24 hours a day.


Maybe not the most appropriate facial expression for a prison.  But hey, I was excited!


Skyscrapers and sailboats.  Quite the skyline, isn't it?