Dogsome House Guest

Day’s Verse:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Ian and I are dog-sitting for my parents this week while they’re in Cannon Beach. This is our barter system: We do laundry at their house; we watch the dog for free when they go on trips. Here are a couple pictures showing how agitated Carmel gets when Dad isn’t around.

Carmel Earlier

A little while later:
Carmel Later

This morning I decided to take the day off and/or work from home a bit, and had the morning free. It was cool and shady in the front yard, so to keep Carmel from pining after Dad, I tied her to the tree in the front (which is dying because we aren’t watering it) while I weeded. There’s way too much beauty bark and small shrubbery in our front yard, if you ask me. At first I gave Carmel a good long section of rope, but she immediately tangled the rope in a shrub and I had to come untangle her. When I shortened her leash, she immediately headed back for that same shrub and, when the rope stopped her short, strained against it anxiously. She even came over to me and whined and walked back to the shrub. Well, that seemed like pretty clear communication, so I let her off the leash and grabbed her collar. She lunged for the bush, shoved her huge schnozz under there, and emerged with a large bone. It looked like leftovers from somebody’s rib BBQ. I took it from her — boy was she reluctant to let it out of her mouth — but decided, well, she eats sticks and pebbles, and chews on marrow bones; what the heck? So I gave the bone back and she made very short work of it indeed. I hope we don’t have any negative repercussions from this episode. But boy was she happy for the 20 seconds it took her to crunch that thing down. Yum. Makes you wonder how it ended up back there.

Then of course Carmel endeared herself to all the neighbors out on walks by barking and snarling viciously at them, particularly if they had dogs along. I had to shorten her rope even more to keep her off the sidewalk, as she was ready to dash out there and do…something. So we won’t use Carmel as a way to get to know our neighbors, I guess.

To The Home!

Day’s Verse:
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
2 Cor. 5:1

I’m in the midst of writing a mathalicious blog about bicycling statistics that I’m sure will enthrall y’all. But until that’s ready, a quick update: My work experience last week was utterly terrible; people were melting down, the Executive Director (who fractured her hip in 3 places a two weeks ago) was only able to drag herself in for a few hours a couple days; I had to stay until a little after 8:00 on Thursday, resulting in my arriving home at 9:45 pm…

The list could go on. But it won’t, because good things are also happening! For one, I worked from home yesterday, and discovered that I was 42 hours ahead of where I needed to be for AmeriCorps. That means I had essentially a full week I need to take off to make up for the extra time I’ve worked, which is a pretty happy thing to discover. Also I bit the bullet and started editing the Volunteer Handbook, policies, and checklist I wrote a couple months ago, and to my relief they’re better than I feared.

Other good things: This weekend Ian and I are celebrating our 7th anniversary, which is actually on Monday. We’re spending some quality time together, part of which involved going to Preservation Kitchen for breakfast this morning. We also talked about spending a frighteningly large amount of money for blackout curtains and window coverings (how do people make decisions about these things? I have no idea, but we’re doing our best) for the totally uncovered windows in our house. Side note: Everything is so expensive!

Six weeks ago we ordered an entertainment center from Bothell Furniture. Yesterday they called and I got to go pick it up. Here’s a picture of our living room with the new cabinet (between the speakers):

Living Room 2

And, for good measure, here are a couple other pictures of the home, since we haven’t actually posted any pictures since we moved in. The living room window faces south.

Living Room 1

The “library” — pretty grand name for a space where we store the boxes of books — windows face north and have no coverings whatsoever.

Here’s me a month ago, beating bread into submission.
Making Bread

In the wings for the home, in addition to good, lifelong curtains: More insulation in the attic (very exciting, I know), bookshelves for the library, new flooring for a couple of small rooms downstairs, and a washer and dryer. Farther into the future, I hope for new windows (several seals are broken), new carpets/flooring throughout the house, totally different landscaping (garden in the back yard? Or maybe just more trees for shade and privacy?), bigger windows and a fireplace in the living room, a pass-through between the kitchen and dining room, a new furnace, new roof… So much to do. Fortunately, even though we can’t do it all now, we have a long time to get most of it done. We were talking today about how it was really nice, if expensive, to be able to invest long-term in a home, not just always think, “Meh, who cares? I won’t be here long enough for the [carpet/windows/blinds/etc.] to make a difference.”

Cookin’ Success

Day’s Verse:
When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn’t settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn’t relax because we didn’t know how it would turn out. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!
2 Cor. 7:5-7

Yesterday I spent cooking. Actually, I started Sunday night. By yesterday evening, I had made the following foods from scratch:

  • 1 batch of oatmeal raisin cookies
  • 1 loaf of No-Knead rustic bread (this from 6:00 pm on Sunday to 1:40 pm on Monday, but most of it the yeast did the work, not me)
  • 2 C. basil pesto (this took a long time, washing the basil, drying it with our really fun salad spinner, then separating the leaves from the stems)
  • Bean soup (really yummy Mexican recipe – creamy and delicious, without a drop of cream!)
  • Mexican rice (Confession: Mom came over and she’s the one who really made this)
  • Honey baked chicken (Ian did the basting — my hero!)
  • Fruit smoothie

I had also washed, dried, folded, and put away two loads of laundry, cleaned up the house, vacuumed, run out to the butcher for the chicken, spiffed up the downstairs bathroom, and pruned and watered the plants that I want to keep alive.

This, frankly, is a longer list of achievements than I can say I would be able to claim if I had gone to work. I took the day off because I’d worked on Saturday. Although the Saturday working didn’t thrill me, I could definitely get used to taking Mondays off. Or, really, any days. It was nice to have time to experiment with new foods; get the house into a semblance of order; and do some things that I’m just too tired to do after a workday. When I went to bed, I felt happy and satisfied with my day.

In high school, I would’ve looked down on myself for feeling satisfied with staying home and cooking. It’s entirely counter to the whole “liberated woman” view of what a successful woman’s life looks like. I always imagined I would be a scientist, making exciting new discoveries, or working as a science journalist writing up exciting new discoveries. But as I’ve grown up, my definition of success has changed pretty dramatically. I’m still figuring out what it looks like, and I suppose that as time goes by and situations change, what makes me a “success” will change, too.

And that’s OK.

Moving On

Day’s Verse:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:2-3

Today is moving day.

Yes, the last week and a half we’ve spent moving this and that from here and there. People keep asking, “Have you moved yet?” –to which we have no short answer, since yes, our stuff now occupies the house (in boxes still), but we continued to occupy the bedroom in my parents’ home.

Today, we put that last piece into place.

We packed up all our remaining necessities and have shuttled back and forth, moving everything. The last load of laundry is drying. I scrubbed the bathroom, have bedding in the washer, and vacuumed the bedroom. When the laundry finishes drying, we’re moving out.

I feel this strange sadness at leaving home, even though we’re only moving 3 miles away and I eagerly anticipate living on our own again. Yet the close, familiar, comfortable relationships and habits we’ve developed over the past 6 months will, I think, prove difficult to break. In short, I’ve really enjoyed living with my parents again, after we worked out a few kinks, and I’m sad (and happy) to be leaving. And I’m going to miss having the dog so constantly in my life.

So Much To Do

Day’s Verse:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

Today Ian told me, “The house has kind of consumed us.” Immediately I imagined a sarlacc-like maw in the front of the house opening wide to munch us up. Of course, Ian is right to a large extent — even though we don’t have any furniture to move, we had plenty of boxes, all of which had to find a home somewhere. The more time we spend there, the more we comment, “Some time, I’d like to __________” (fill in the blank).

So far, we’ve unpacked most of the kitchen stuff, bought 3 stools in decent condition off of Craigslist, picked paint color, visited Ecohaus for flooring ideas, received our mattress and box spring, moved some clothes in, picked a couple paint colors, decided what to do with one room that was iffy (it’ll be a library. I’m excited about this prospect.), bought some smaller things like light-switch covers, a dishes drying rack, and garbage cans, decided to wait on the washer/dryer for a bit until we get gas run… well, I guess there’s no need to list everything. Suffice it to say we spent most of Memorial Day weekend either at the house or doing something house-related.

Next Saturday we’re having a little work party for people to help us touch up the sloppy painting job the previous owners did and get rid of the unpleasant pink walls. Sunday Ian brings a truckload of furniture that his parents are generously giving us, so we’re going to call on our friends yet again to schlep heavy oak furniture up lots of stairs — sounds like fun, huh?

I expect that, when I’m not riding my bike or baking bread, a lot of my future free time will go into making the house homey. Ian already had to fix the garage door opener and mow the lawn for the first, but by no means last, time. I’m sure glad there aren’t any major structural issues we have to deal with, because even these small things are taking an awful lot of thought, communication, and energy.

Shopping Is My Least-Favorite Thing

Day’s Verse:
Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.”

John 21:2-22 (context)

…Yet Ian and I spent most of Saturday shopping. We started by laying on a bunch of different mattresses; then we moved on to poking buttons and twisting knobs on different washer/dryer sets; then we proceeded to pantomime vacuuming with various vacuum; and we finished off the set by sitting on a variety of extraordinarily expensive stools. During this interlude, we learned the following:

  • Mattresses aren’t named the same thing store to store. If I like the Sealy SuperSoft Downy Cloud at Sears and ask at Sleep Country USA to try a Sealy SuperSoft Downy Cloud, they’ll tell me that sorry, they don’t call it the same thing, and could I please describe the mattress specs? Eventually we might establish that Sleep Country USA calls what is most likely the same mattress the Sealy Bellingham. This makes comparison shopping for mattresses a nightmare, and is, I think, thoroughly evil.
  • You can pay over $2,000 for a washer, and just under $2,000 for a matching dryer.
  • It matters where the water and drain hookup are in your laundry room. Ours, it turns out, are on the non-standard right side, and most washers are built with doors that open to be handy for left-side situation. In short, we can’t buy any old washer/dryer and flip flop which side they go on in the room because of where the doors open.
  • You can also pay $550 per stool for custom-made stools. Ian and I agreed that, although we’d like sturdy, quality stools, $550 a pop is above and beyond.

On Saturday we did successfully order a mattress, and we purchased the coolest vacuum cleaner I’ve ever seen (check out picture 3 in the gallery to see why I feel that way). We still have to do some stuff on the washer and dryer: Find somebody to run a gas line to the laundry room, which only has electricity right now, and have that done; find out if we can run a long drainage hose to the washer; pick a washer/dryer model that works with our laundry room; and actually buy one.

On top of that, we still have to find bookcases, dining room chairs, and a bunch of other furniture to make the house comfortably livable. Next weekend Ian drives down to Oregon with his dad to retrieve some free furniture they’re giving us, and after that, we’ll have enough to actually start living there.

In the meantime, we have spent much of this cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend moving boxes out of my parents’ house — we’re down to only a couple very large things on the back porch and the things we use on a daily basis — sorting boxes and trying to find homes for as many things as we can without having any real furniture. The kitchen is almost all set up, we’ve got big plans for a library room, and general idea of the family room. And, as a side note, Ian did his first-ever home repair project, fixing our garage door openers (which lived up to their name and only opened, but never closed, the doors).

And, totally unrelated, I successfully put a rack on the freebie bike that used to be my rental bike from March through April. I’m very happy that a rack I already had fit on the bike with no special jimmying or help from bike shop people (they did supply me with 4 bolts for free. Thank you, Kirkland Bike Shop.).

We Own a Home

Day’s Verse:
Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?
Romans 9:20-30

It’s official. All the paperwork went through yesterday. Linnea gave us the key yesterday afternoon. We celebrated by enjoying some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Tomorrow at 6:00 pm we take possession of our house, unless the sellers finish packing and leave early.

This is really quite a surreal feeling.