Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blitzing on the house

Why I haven't been blogging: Last Friday, we met with my wonderful Realtor friend, who tells us the market for our size house starts now and runs to early June, then dies down for the summer and picks up a bit in the fall. Eeek. We are not ready to put our place on the market. And we're especially not ready if we update our kitchen as she is strongly reccomending we do, so that the house will sell quickly and for a decent price.
Our to-do list now looks like this:
replace bathroom lights
replace bathtub and sink fixtures
paint the upstairs and exterior
carpet the upstairs
replace bathroom flooring
put a hearth on the fireplace
refinish the kitchen cabinets
replace the flourescent light in the kitchen
get granite countertops and a new sink
spruce up the yard
declutter, declutter, declutter

And you know what, I'm sure we'll end up doing all that. We can fritter away endless weeks and months puttering around with the kids, doing nothing on the house or yard. But light a fire under us, and we get really productive, really fast. Steve's already replaced the bathroom lights and repainted a medicine cabinet. The carpet's ordered and the house was measured today. The painters arrive tomorrow for estimates. The guy who replaced our first tub comes on Tuesday. We've got the stain picked out for the kitchen cabinets and a marble installer chosen, but we need to go order marble, armed with a plank from the flooring and a stained cabinet door for color matching.

So, I'm thinking, piece o' cake. We'll have it listed by mid May. (But I think I saw Steve breathing into a paper bag the other day...) We still need to make a family trip to CO, but I figure the best time to do that will be while the marble guys are working on the kitchen, or perhaps the first weekend we list.

All this is just an elaborate excuse for why I won't be blogging much these next few weeks. (But Maddie just got a cute new haircut with bangs, and I really should post a picture. And there are requests for snail sanctuary pics, and, and...)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A post dictated by Maddie

We are building a snail sanctuary to protect the snails from getting poisoned. It is in our side yard. We have some snails that are going to go into the snail sanctuary when it is finished. There are 40 of them. We're keeping them in a shoebox with some food outside, until the snail sanctuary is done. We're going to put copper around it to keep the snails in. It gives them a little bit of an electric shock but doesn't hurt them. We have a sign that says "Snail Sanctuary" on it. But we're going to put some slugs in it too. We have some snail eggs under a piece of bark that we put over a hole for the snails and slugs to go in. The snail eggs look likee little round, clear and kind of milky-white balls.

From the coast to the Rockies

Steve and Harry and I (Maddie points out that Harry appears to have lost an arm)

Maddie with Aunt Cindi

Two weeks ago we were at the beach at Camp Pendleton basking in the (somewhat chilly) sun, then a few days later I was driving back to Colorado with Cindi and the boys asking "is that snow on the side of the road?" as we sped through eastern Utah.

The kids had a great time with the cousins, as usual and we all enjoyed the weather (aside from the sandstorm that raged our first full day there). Steve and I walked for miles, sometimes together, sometimes on our own. It was wonderful to walk up the coast and see relatively undisturbed sand dunes and sea cliffs that ran for miles and miles. I can imagine what it must have been like when all of California looked like this. Unfortunately, it turns out we were violating the military regs and were kindly warned off by a state game warden. The military runs their amphibious vehicles up and down this stretch of coastline (right next to the endangered least tern nesting sanctuary, which was why the game warden was there, I suppose) and we were rather in the way of exercises. Darn it. I absolutely loved lying on the warm sand with only shorebirds for company.

After a bleary, 16-hour drive to Colorado, I spent two days blitzing through Fort Collins, visiting the unitarian church there (huge congregation!), the local unschooling group (I felt so at home, sitting with the three moms and their great kids at the funky 70s era roller rink that was a blast from my past) and meeting a wonderful real estate agent (and 30-year Shambala Buddhist) who showed Cindi and I around the city one day. I was hoping for a clear-cut sign that this was the right move for us, and I have to say, I got it in Adana. How many Buddhist real estate agents do you know (maybe there are more than I realize, but I was just hoping for someone who could hear me when I said that we wanted land, not too much house and funky was okay).

It turns out that Adana's Buddhist community may be selling the house they meet in this summer -- what better vibes could a place have than to be a meditation hall for years on end! It'll probably be in or below our price range, it's definitely a fixer, but it's on a half acre of land (funky long, skinny lot, though) with a wonderful neighbor to one side, a veterinary anesthesiologist with two boys, two dogs, two horses and a goat. When I told her I wanted to raise chickens, she said, "Wait just a sec," and disappeared into her barn, returning with an armful of peeping chicks!

Who knows if this place will work out, but I definitely take it as a sign that we're looking in the right place!
Here's the back entrance (click on any photo for a giant view)

The outbuilding and tree fort

And the long skinny backyard

Next we meet with our Realtor, to find out how much work we really have to do to get our house ready for market and get going on that. I want to go back to Colorado with the whole family to be sure that everyone's okay with the move and to see more of the city. I feel so energized by what I've seen of it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good Fences

While Sue was in Denver, the kids and I built a new fence and gate on the north side yard. This replaced the jumble of wire, tall weeds and loose boards that somehow kept the dog in (mostly). Let Sunny try getting out of THIS!

Clockwise from top: Maddie setting nails in the fence boards; Harry making sure we have enough; new post in footing; finished fence and gate; Dad wrestles with boards. Center: Harry handles the final nail.