binary girl: the secret blog



Archive for the ‘house’ Category

Israeli art

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Israeli art

Originally uploaded by alibee09

My grandmother’s framed Israeli tiles go in the kitchen of every place
I’ve lived.


Monday, November 16th, 2009


Originally uploaded by alibee09

I know it’s hard to see but I love love love our chandelier!

turkey acquired! and move sort of done-ish…

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I got our turkey for Thanksgiving yesterday and shoved it in the back of my fridge, then turned my fridge down to 32F. It has a sell-by of 12/02 so I think it’ll be fine. IT IS HUGE. Over 20 lbs of delicious poultry!

Our move-in last week was mostly successful; we installed the dishwasher and many lights, but the house really needs some rugs because it gets very cold at night. The furnace is on the opposite part of the house from the bedrooms and since we can’t layer blankets on Katie, we bought a heater… that we couldn’t plug in because all of the outlets in her room aren’t outlets, but wires. So, the little bean spent most of the weekend sleeping with me and the hub slept on a sofa because he’s so restless at night that he wakes her up repeatedly, which in turn wakes me up.

The electricians are supposed to be in today putting the rest of the lights up and also fixing the outlets and cable boxes.


We have SO MUCH detritus and unpacked material at the old house. Because a) the rods in our closets aren’t installed and I have no idea where our contractor put them, and b) the electricians need move our furniture around to access the outlets, we couldn’t unpack much other than the kitchen. That means that virtually all the closets are filled at the old house, etc., etc… ugh.

I hate moving. But I do love our new washer/dryer (I did craptons of laundry) and having a dishwasher!

house fire

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Brandon just called me to tell me that our house “almost burned down.”

The painters taped the lights up in all the rooms instead of removing the bulbs. Now, this would be fine — if a) the job site wasn’t accessible by other people (like, say, the homeowners), b) one of those lights wasn’t a HEAT LAMP. Okay, really, it’s just not okay. So Brandon went up to lock up the house last night and noticed that they’d started painting a room he didn’t expect them to paint (apparently he didn’t read the contract, and I’ve never even SEEN the contract because no one has sent it to me…) so he went in and turned on the light around the tape that was on the switch (all the switches were taped so this wasn’t odd). He poked around the house for a couple of minutes, got back, noticed that the lights were taped, and turned them off.

He also went to open up the house this morning and there was no fire. Sometime AFTER he opened up the house this morning, though, the lights went on and set the tape on fire, which then dropped off the lights and lit the paper on the floor of the bathroom on fire. (There is paper covering the floor of the entire house, so it’s sheer blind luck that it didn’t race through the house.) The vanity is ruined, as are parts of the toilet and shower. The painters are fixing the smoke/fire damage and repainting the room, and will replace the vanity with something inexpensive. I am going to go up tonight and see the damage for myself.

I feel like I’m going to vomit.

FINALLY moving, almost

Monday, November 9th, 2009

We’re gonna be moving into the house that was officially “ours” (well, mostly the bank’s) on 09/10 FINALLY, on 11/15!


They’re painting this week, which will hopefully be amazing — I haven’t lived in a house with walls other than white since I had my little red office in Madison, and before that, since I lived with my parents. :D

Brandon and I were moving machines. We still have tons of stuff to do, but it’s hard to get things up to the other house when the entire garage is already full of furniture (my old bedroom set, which Katie is inheriting, etc.) and the painters don’t want anything in the house since they’re working there. But… we’re getting closer!

goodbye and good luck

Friday, October 30th, 2009

[A note I am working on to print out and present upon our moving out, which should happen in the next week or so:]

Ron and Mary Anne,

A collection of thoughts gathered from the last 2 years we’ve had the fortitude to be your neighbors:

– The street is public parking — this includes the street in front of your house. There’s no need to leave notes on the cars of people who park in front of your house for a few hours, making you unable to park there, because (gasp) they’re allowed to!

– Calling the sheriff every time you don’t get invited to a neighbor’s party, or when someone runs a saw at 7pm, does not ingratiate yourself with the sheriff’s department, or any of your neighbors.

– Relatedly, when we’re having a quiet dinner in our back yard, turning your jazz up inspires us to want to return the favor and have the sheriff visit you. We, however, being mature adults, swallow our petulance and enjoy the company we’ve invited over.

– Most of the world has to be at work by 8 in the morning. Clearly, you both enjoy a lifestyle which allows you to sleep much later than the typical working individual, of which we are envious. However, expecting the rest of the world to be silent until you choose to raise your pretty heads from your pillows is unrealistic, at best.

– DOGS BARK. You own a dog, you should be aware of this fact. Dog barking is acceptable; what is not acceptable is a person who doesn’t attempt to quiet their dog once it commences barking. It may surprise you, however, to find out that it’s not helpful, when trying to quiet a barking dog, for your neighbor to scream at it like an escaped mental patient — shockingly, that tends to further aggravate the dog!

Living next to you both has been an experience that we are (hopefully) soon to forget.
Alison, Brandon, and Katie

With drywall

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

With drywall

Originally uploaded by alibee09

a moving machine, Riley’s bday, and house stuff

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Katie spent last night crawling up two flights of stairs — twice.

Our little girl is DETERMINED and would not stay away from Caroline and Josh’s staircase once she noticed it. I told her “no” repeatedly, but every time I took her into another room and tried to distract her with a toy/kisses/playing, she’d put said thing down, push me away, and then walk right back to the staircase and proceed to attempt to climb it a la Mt Everest. So, Daddy stayed right behind her the whole way so she wouldn’t tumble backward, and she managed to quickly scale it two times.

Yesterday was Riley’s birthday party (her actual birthday is today), which was fun — I love seeing Katie interact with lots of other kids (it keeps her out of trouble, because when she’s by herself she’s naturally drawn to things she absolutely should not be touching/eating, like dog food, electrical cords, and gravel). Riley was, as usual, a DARLING and a perfect birthday princess. We made sure to spend as much time as possible with fam because we’re going to be doing the mad end-of-month rush to get the house finished…



House stuff that’s done:
pest spray
foundation fixed
lower hearth masonry completed
floors refinished
electrical updated, canned lighting installed
3/5 fans purchased
new appliances purchased and delivered
new water heater installed
windows replaced

House stuff coming up:
upper hearth and entry way tiling
can lighting housing to be installed
install fridge/dish washer

Lower hearth: before and after

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Lower hearth: before

Originally uploaded by alibee09

Lower hearth: after

Originally uploaded by alibee09

We pulled the wood paneling around the hearth out and will be replacing it with drywall. What I’m showing you here is the work the mason did to shorten the hearth and make it symmetrical.

painted lady!

Monday, September 28th, 2009


Between: house stuff (oh hai new fridge that we suddenly need because the old one died — so now we have four new appliances total coming our way), work, VPAL (October is right around the corner and I am up to my ears in volunteer stuff), and massive sleep deprivation (baby has been up for 1-3 hours in the middle of every night since Thursday), I am surprised the top of my head is still attached.

Here’s my upcoming schedule of volunteer events I have planned for my dear workplace:
Oct 5-31: Second Harvest food drive
Oct 6: Second Harvest food sorting volunteer event
Oct 7: Poker Tournament for the American Heart Association
Oct 12: Bake sale for Pound Puppy Rescue and Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty Rescue
Oct 14: Waffle Wednesday for Lorenzen Cancer Foundation
Oct 29: Halloween Rock Band party for Rock Your Awareness!

I’m also trying to squeeze an on-site blood drive in there as well as getting donations into the auction. Woo.

In other news, Katie spent the weekend wearing some Pedipeds for the first time — previously she’d only worn Robeez. They are incredibly cute (thank you Wendy!) and watching her walk is adorable. I call her my baby undead because she looks like a zombie when she totters around. This morning she saw me across the house and walked all the way down the hallway and sat down in my lap, turning out to look around. I consider myself her new “base of operations.”

We went to B’s work picnic this weekend and Katie had her arm both face-painted (a ladybug) and hennaed (a butterfly, which she swiftly wiped off). There is still some stain on her arm from the butterfly, so she and I are painted ladies together (I had a design done on my forearm). She was AWESOME this weekend, except for the shitty sleeping thing. If anyone has any advice for what to do when your kid just decides to be WIDE awake in the middle of the night and freaks out/cries hysterically when you leave the room, I’d love to hear it.

moving right along

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The garage door is no longer being replaced. While that’s a little sad, it’s also A Good Thing because it means we get that money back in the pot. (Essentially, there was work that would have to be done to make space for the door and we’re not willing to spend more money on that at the moment, especially since the only “real” problem with the door is that it’s a giant slab of wood.)

Most of the carpet has been pulled up and we’re on the fence about whether or not the existing oak can be saved; we need to hear from a floor guy because there’s a bit of shrinkage there. (If it’s cheaper, we’ll just throw bamboo down everywhere.) Yesterday, electricians found out that the return was broken at the utility pole and that the only thing keeping the house from being all 220 volts was one small line grounded on a water pipe. We’re all astounded that two inspections didn’t find this, and a simple call to PG&E fixed the issue (for free) and took care of some wonky flickering we were seeing with the lights.

Brandon is busting his butt to get the blown insulation taken up by Sunday so the electricians can start work in the attic on Monday; I get to meet with the pest guy Friday; this is all happening quickly and I’m happy, because we want to move in at the end of October. :D

and the fun begins!

Monday, September 14th, 2009

We’re starting work in earnest on the house today: the foundation guys are starting to jack up the corner that needs work, and we’re either going to empty the attic of the loose insulation to prepare for the electrician or start removing the carpet to both see the condition of the existing oak floors and in preparation for finishing them. Also, the pest guy is supposed to treat for subterranean termites today.

Over the weekend, Brandon removed the wood paneling from the living room and all the front window coverings, we met with a replacement window guy, and we also found out that the washer and dryer that are already in the house are in need of at least $400 worth of repairs so we convinced the seller’s agent to give us $600 so we could just replace them. I picked up all the rotten and fallen fruit under the fruit trees, removed some shelving that would be in the way of the new washer/dryer (which we researched and purchased), and painted swatches of color in some of the rooms so we could get a feel for what we like. We also met with a PG&E technician who replaced our meter with something that no longer resembles a cannonball and is less likely to leak. Finally, we got a really awesome kid’s bench from a friend, so Katie and her friends can hang out in the yard in style. Awwww yeah.

Tomorrow, we are meeting with a garage door installation dude so he can measure out the door (and I think maybe install it, I’m not sure). We’ll also start emptying our current garage out into the new one so I can start boxing things that aren’t day-to-day necessities and putting them into the garage so they can be moved when we happen to go up.

Upcoming in the immediate future: the electrician needs to do some rewiring of some circuits and fixing some junctions in the attic (as well as grounding all the ungrounded outlets), the water heater will be relocated, and the installation of the fire break in the garage with a stem wall. Also, new estimates for windows, and an estimate for a fence. We will mark out where we want can lights in the house, etc., etc.

a Big Day

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

1. Our loan funded, we went out of escrow, and we’re official home owners!

2. Katie got her first black eye (sorta), and SHE TOOK HER FIRST STEPS! She stood up in the middle of the room without using anything for help and then walked three steps!

stress and money

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

We close the day after tomorrow. We bought a new garage door this weekend in anticipation.

First up: pest/tenting. Second up: fixing the foundation.


Signing up for a lot of debt

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Signing up for a lot of debt

Originally uploaded by alibee09

in which I want to smack the heir upside the head

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The house we bought was in probate because the woman living there passed away. Her heirs came to us asking us to make another offer because they were running out of time on the year of insurance they bought on the house, plus they didn’t want to pay the estate taxes. So, we made them an offer — which they accepted, waffling around before countering with a shorter closing (less than 30 days, although if they had actually accepted in a normal amount of time we’d be hitting 30 days on the mark). They are clearly unhappy about the amount we offered, but as I keep saying: no one forced them to accept it.

Since they wanted a shorter closing, you’d think they’d be… helpful, or something other than the complete pains in the ass they’ve continued to be this entire time. For example: the house was completely full of the things owned by the owner, and since the heirs lived far away, we kept asking them what they wanted to do with it: did they want to do an estate sale remotely? Did they want to come down? We offered to be the people who would clear it out IF they would leave some of the items that would make it worth our time (a generator, chipper, a few saws, some tools and wheelbarrows, etc.). They kept failing to reply. Finally, they decided that they wanted to come and “see what personal items there were”. They said they weren’t going to stay in the house (this was an issue to me because we bought a house as “vacant”, not “inhabited”, plus if they were staying there, we’d have to work around them to get estimates done, which I was not fond of).

We went to the house on Sunday morning to do a walk-through since they left, to see what few “personal items” they’d taken. We expected the house to either be emptied or full. What we DIDN’T expect was that they’d hold a garage sale to strip the house of all the valuable items, give the others away to the neighbors, and then leave the rest of the house filled with trash: food in the refrigerator, both freezers, the pantry; the washer and dryer no longer worked; all the old wood and toiletries and clothing and pretty much anything that wasn’t worth any money was still there. They clearly had stayed in the house the entire time they were there, which caused me additional aggravation.

Cue and very, very angry Alison and Brandon. What would POSSIBLY make them think we’d clean out their house when there was literally nothing in it for us? But wait… there’s more. Brandon and I were looking around when I decided to go next door to meet the neighbors, who were playing music (and so were clearly home). The daughter of the woman who owned the house came over and told us that the heir had let her walk through the house and take anything she wanted, and that she wanted virtually anything else there that we didn’t want (very clearly hoarding behavior). She told us she took all the alcohol from the bar and that she’d wanted the bar but then realized it was built-in (when I made a sad sound she said she’d give it back except all the vodka and Midori were already gone, then gestured to her mug… at 2pm…), and that the gates between the houses used to be unstable and so her dogs would run around our yard constantly and that they considered it “their” yard, which might be a problem for our dogs. She wanted us to leave the house unlocked so she could go through it and remove the furniture that was there, all the (crappy) dishes that were left, etc., and indicated that this was the heir’s idea B and I were stunned that the heir would invite someone who has no fiduciary interest in the house walk through it and remove things without supervision (dinging walls, etc.)

So, while we’re still buying the house, we’re not thinking that the heirs are people we’d ever, ever want to deal with again.



Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Originally uploaded by alibee09

Kitchen pics


Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Originally uploaded by alibee09

Kitchen pics

status on house things

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Sunday we had our inspection, which went really well.
Today we locked in our loan and our down payment, which Brandon and I virtually talked to death. We’ve also rearranged what work we want to do prior to move-in, but we may decide differently again depending on costs.
Tomorrow we’re taking a foundation guy to the house to have him look at the part that needs fixing, as well as the contractor, who is bringing all his subs out to put together a hard estimate for the work we want done first.

The stuff we got done today is the really scary stuff — it removed the financing contingency, yipes!

upcoming house scheduley things

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Today: Appraisal, meeting with loan officer. (Went well.)
Tomorrow: Meeting with contractor. (Meeting with him will aid us in prioritizing our renovations and give us an idea of whether or not we should add to our down payment or keep more out for updates.)
Sunday: Meeting with inspector. (Hopefully he will not find anything new :D )
Wednesday: Lock in rates.
September 10: close!