Monday, May 13, 2019

At Loose Ends

We've lost our way. We had planned to prepare our house for sale and put it on the market this summer, but after a strong start in January our motivation eventually sputtered out. We've had a few spurts of energy where we worked on some difficult projects—like the day I managed to mostly finish sifting through the boxes in my closet—but invariably we crash back down to our comfy recliners.

It hasn't helped our motivation to read reports that house sales and prices are down in Portland and houses are taking longer to sell, especially given that our house will be near the top of the market price-wise. The thought that we could spend months dealing with real estate agents and potential buyers and still end up pulling the house off the market at the end of the season pretty much erased my motivation. And honestly, once the Prineville house was rented out, it took off quite a bit of financial pressure.

At this point, I think there's a good chance we'll end up staying in this house for another couple of years.
There are worse ways to spend a late-spring afternoon
On the bright side, Jeff has gotten really preoccupied with our diet. We'd gotten pretty bad about eating junk food and we'd both gained too much weight. In April, Jeff joined a nutrition website that has really helped keep him (and therefore us, because he does the cooking) on track. It's been over a month since I've had a soda and my weight is very slowly trending down. Exercise would speed my progress but I've been having some knee problems. Right now, I'm trying to do the best I can with just limiting my intake.

I've also been trying to get back into writing. I thought I'd try and write a cozy mystery, but after a couple of false starts, I decided I should first spend a month reading some mysteries (both cozies and other light mysteries) to get a feel for how they work. After only a week, where I started 14 mystery novels and finished only 9 (I ditched the worst of them) I realized I don't enjoy most of the stories with amateur sleuths. They require too much suspension of disbelief. The books I did manage to finish invariably had a detective or other investigator as the protagonist. So, now I'm exploring some other options. I'm still spending quite a lot of time reading. I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited in March and I'm trying to read as much as I can before I cancel it later this month.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ready to Rent

Everything has been cleaned and repaired and the Prineville house is ready to rent. There is a family moving in on Feb 1st.

We had to replace that awful Frankenstein counter. It was pretty expensive to remove the old one. If we had known we would end up renting this out, we probably would have paid a little better attention to the state of the kitchen. LOL

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

And 2018 is Over!

We hope everyone had a wonderful New Years' Eve.

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Portland and Jeff spent a couple hours digging ugly rose bushes and a large volunteer maple tree out of our front yard. There were four old rose bushes in the yard that were hideous when we moved in and we always meant to pull them out. Today, finally, Jeff did it. Usually, we like roses, but we suspect these had died down to the rootstock at some point before we bought the house so the flowers on them were nothing to blog about.

The front yard had gotten pretty overgrown. Here is how it looked last summer.
Some of the plants we planted in the rain garden had gotten really big, plus we had a number of maple volunteers pop up.

Jeff trimmed back the spiraea douglasii, which had gotten as tall as the roofline. And he is working to pull out the volunteer trees, except for one birch which he really likes.

Here is how it looked after some tidying work. Until Spring when the plants start leafing out, it will be hard to tell how successful he's been.
I've spent the last couple of days sifting our SCA belongings and taking photos so I can list them for sale. AnTir's 12th Night is next weekend and it's only 2 miles from our house, so this is one of our best opportunities to thin down those possessions.

I've spent quite a lot of time on the various trade sites the last couple of weeks. I don't particularly like dealing with eBay, but sometimes it's the best option.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

Our decorated tree from last year
We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate. Jeff and I pulled out all the Christmas decorations this year, but never managed to get them set up. I'm vaguely disappointed because this will probably be our last year in this beautiful house, but our energy level is pretty low for optional projects.

And for a progress report, we continue to sift never unpacked boxes from our basement. We've been selling stuff on eBay, Facebook marketplace and craigslist. And stuff that isn't worth selling, we've just been donating. There hasn't been much to take pictures of, which is a large part of why I haven't been posting. We have fewer boxes in our basement, but we are probably accomplishing too little for our timeline.

I've finished scanning all of the photos packed away in our storage. I pulled apart old photo albums and scanned all the loose stacks of photos. We only kept one plastic filebox of photos and the rest were discarded. I'm still holding a couple boxes to give to other family members who wish to keep them.  Hopefully, we'll make it down to California next year for a visit and to deliver all these things we need to give to family members.

Oh, and we sort of changed the moving plan again.... 
Yes, we are still planning to move to Prineville. And we are still planning to sell our Laurelhurst house. But the declining economy scared us and we decided not to spend the bulk of our savings right now remodeling the new house with the risk that we wouldn't be able to sell the big house in a timely manner. So, we postponed the remodel on Prineville and decided to rent it out short-term while we continue to make progress on the Portland end. Once we are in escrow in Portland, we'll revisit the project plan.

We also changed the washer and dryer delivery to Portland. I have a huge rant about Home Depot, but I'll spare you all. It's Christmas and who wants to hear me whining about my frustration with Home Depot? No one. I'll just say, I remember now why I stopped buying big stuff from Home Depot. After Jeff hooked the machines up, I spent about three days washing most everything in the house. It was great to have working machines again.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November Update

Most years Jeff and I don't take advantage of Black Friday sales but, with the move, this year was an exception. Our current dryer went kaput after only 8 years. (Which is a rant, I'll spare you.) We've also been having problems with the washing machine, but it is still limping along. So, yesterday, I ordered a new washer and dryer (and freezer and microwave).

I don't know about you guys, but I have had a dilemma about which brand to buy. Basically, there are no laundry machine brands that are designed to last and all are likely to fail within the first decade. So, given that, I decided to go with a lower budget line of machines. I figure if they make them to fail, then I'm going to spend less on them. Though, I still haven't figured out why anyone would want WiFi laundry machines.

I actually ordered them to be delivered to the new house in Prineville, so it should be interesting. Little stuff we'll continue to wash here in Portland and hang dry. We'll bring the huge stuff, like sheets and quilts, to Prineville and wash them there. LOL

In the afternoon, we found ourselves back at Portland Direct Tile & Marble. I often find myself perusing their tile pictures online and their staff are super helpful about bringing out pieces for you to look at. Yesterday, I found a room in the back I had never seen before where they had a ton of discontinued borders to choose from. I was super excited to find some that I thought would look good with the soapstone. Green is really not in style this year. Also, I am not excited about this year's encaustic tile trend. We have always tried to avoid trendy kitchen materials because we don't want to "date" our remodels.

We finally made a commitment on the border when we found they had enough remaining of this one.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sifting Again

Jeff and I finally decided we needed to get serious about making progress on downsizing so we have started sifting our possessions again with renewed energy. I've been working in my sewing room, Jeff started opening moved but never unpacked boxes in my closet. I was excited to find a couple quilts I made that I haven't seen since they were packed up in 2006. (Yes, you read that right. 12 years ago.)

I have a full-size set of rose, burgundy and dark green bedding from our guest room in Forest Grove I have no idea what to do with. We don't have a full-size bed anymore. I made the quilt, shams, pillowcases, matching throw pillows and curtains. There is also a bed skirt and coordinated sheets. It's really too bad handmade items have so little value in the resale market. Sigh.
I think this is the move when most of the rest of our SCA belongings depart. We'll probably just keep enough gear for day trips. And we're still trying to decide how much of the too-small clothing we're going to get rid of.

I spent several hours scanning and posting SCA period style costume sewing patterns to Amazon. I hadn't even known you could buy out-of-print patterns on there. With any luck, some of them will sell. Otherwise, I'm not really sure how to get rid of unused patterns.

Update later: My niece has a full-size bed and wants the bedding. Yeah.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Quilt Progress

I spent a couple of hours cutting out right-angle triangles for my quilt project before realizing they were coming out way too unevenly. It was really difficult to get them all identical when I was relying on the 45-degree line on a rectangular ruler. I pride myself on my uniformity.
This is the finished design of the blocks I'm making

I ordered a right angle ruler off Amazon and it took nearly two weeks to arrive. I should have just gone to the fabric store and found one, but somehow it just seemed easier to order it. I didn't expect it to take so long. (Amazon sucks now if you don't pay their monthly tribute.)

Anyway, I'm glad I bought the ruler. It makes a huge difference in how uniform the pieces are. I finally restarted the project again this week.

If I were smart though, I would have tossed the old, uneven pieces, but I don't like wasting fabric. So instead I'm wasting a lot of time fussing with getting these old pieces to work.
After I sew the 4 triangles together, I have to add another strip to the bottom edge.
I need 144 of these triangle units. I've finished about 8.
I obviously won't be finishing this project before the election. LOL