Home Tour

We have now been in our home for eight years. It’s hard to believe it has been that long, already! We had originally only thought we would be here for a few years, but even with its quirks, the house has grown on us.

So, since this is long overdue, an updated home tour. I’m in the process of finishing up painting (once again). I’m kind of tired of painting, to be honest, so I’m hoping this will sit well with me for a while. Still painting trim, too, but most of it is painted out, now.

Missing from the photos are the exterior – which we painted in 2015 and made a HUGE difference – and the lower level bathroom (which I have plans for…) and the basement, which is a mess. :)

(And if you’re interested, here is the last home tour update with before and afters. It has changed quite a bit.)

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My husband has declared war on the lawn.

This spring has marked the beginning of our fifth year in this house. Our yard was lacking when we moved in – leaves covered most of it for probably too long, killing what grass that we did have. So that first year, once we finally uncovered the lawn, we just tried to work at de-sparsing it.

We hired a lawn service and they helped the first two summers. Things seemed to look better. Last year, we decided we could manage ourselves. And it was okay…but this year? Let’s just say that the weeds have filled in the bald spots.

And now we have dandelions.

It’s very frustrating and we’ll probably just end up paying someone else to take care of it.

Our neighbors all have beautiful lawns. I am well aware that a well-tended lawn doesn’t happen overnight, but when I think about that and the lack of landscaping and the rock beds that are also filling in with weeds. Aaaah. I can only handle so much.

I laid down Preen a few weeks back and laid some tarps for a new planting bed on the east side of our house, where there were no plantings on that side of our house at all.

Originally written 6/4/14, published in March 2016.

progress. (?)

A few photos of our recent painting updates.

I started revamping our hallway a long time back…painting out the trim and doors and painting the walls. I didn’t like the deep gray that we had alongside our red/orange dining room wall color, so I’ve been in-search of a replacement.

(I’m not kidding you, I have a sack of those sample pots of various Benjamin Moore colors in one of our closets. It’s embarrassing.)

I chose Roycroft Suede from Sherwin Williams’ Arts and Crafts collection. I have always adored Craftsman bungalows and actually found through comparing swatches that I already had used equivalents of two shades in the palette in our house (Roycroft Adobe in our dining room and Decorous Amber in our butterfly bathroom.) So looking for other colors within the collection seemed the way to go.

I should have swatched more areas.

I loved the color in the hallway – a medium brown, maybe a bit taupe. It went a little olive-y on the second side, but I thought I could live with that.

I moved to the fireplace wall and it looked kind of yellow. I figured it was the lighting and the existing color (plus, this color sort of looks like baby poop yellow-green going on, but thankfully dries darker), keep going.

So I did.

It’s green.

It’s an okay color, but the color looks different between the soffit wall and the fireplace wall – to the point that I think it looks like two different colors.

And because I can never be satisfied and I’m not a color expert, I’ll probably just end up buying another gallon of paint.

(My husband is so sick of me buying more paint.)

Honestly, I would like to be done with the painting part and not have our house be a patchwork of colors, as well. I would love to have a cohesive color scheme and good flow from room to room, so it’s a little discouraging that this didn’t work.

Oh, well. All part of it, right?

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soon.

We are leaving in less than a month. It doesn’t seem so close, but the day is inching closer and closer.

It will be nice to see my husband’s parents and family. We last visited Nepal in the fall of 2011. I remember coming home and our house seeming to be so huge. We Americans have no idea how much space we have – and we don’t even have that large of a house, comparatively.

Jayan has been doing well in his special needs classes. He takes a bus each day from daycare to class. (He has a new daycare, too, and outside of some hitting issues, which are getting better, it was a pretty smooth transition.) The assistant on the bus complains about how he shirks his coat and boots once he’s on the bus – and honestly? That’s just Jayan. That’s the first thing he does when he gets into my car, too. So best of luck to you. :)

I like that we are seeing progress. Hopefully thibgs won’t regress while we’re away.

mayors of this block.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you, yet, about the story of our house. The one before we bought it.

We were fortunate enough to find out, at least somewhat.

Our neighborhood was founded by airport employees back in the day, prior to the city being incorporated. Our home was built in 1966 and the city was incorporated in 1968, which I think is pretty awesome. (I have a soft spot for homes, what can I say?) At the time, the rules of the development was that all of the homes needed to be ranch-styled houses and the lot size was a minimum of a half-acre. Our neighborhood weaves in and out of the hills, some areas very wooded and others, more like our own, where it is more suburban, with mature trees. It is a great area to walk with dogs and kids.

Our home’s original owner, Louis, lived here from 1966 (or thereabouts) until he passed away in 2006. He was a very tall man (6’5″, by reports – a pretty large contrast with my husband and I…neither of us surpass 5’6″!) and had trouble with his knees later in life. He used a chair lift on our stairs for some years and spent the last years of his life on the entry level of the house, creating a makeshift kitchen on that level and using the den as a bedroom. Because our entry is flush with the grade, he then had no stairs to worry about.

Louis passed away in our house. Our neighbor, Charlie, told us that he was found in the den. He had passed away in his sleep. My husband swears he hears footsteps in the hallway upstairs from time to time. I have heard them, too. I like to think that he is pleased that the home he built has a family that loves it.

But before that, before then. There was the friendship. 

Jack and Louis were best friends. I don’t recall how they met – if they had befriended prior to living here, or after, but Jack and Jan’s house was across the street and one down from our house. They were a bit of an odd couple, big burly Louis and then Jack, who stood 5’3″, at the most, if even that. 

“We ran this block,” Jack recalled. “We were the best of friends.” He talked about their kids growing up together and running through the trees or watching deer. “When new people would move in, we would go together to say hello…”

They told them that they were the mayors of this block. 

And it was true. 

Ironically, we met Jack prior to moving into our house. Our realtor advised that if we were interested in seeing what a neighborhood was really like, it was a good idea to knock on doors and talk with the neighbors. So, that’s how my husband met Jack – and he was excited to meet the people who would be moving into his best friend’s house.

He took special interest in us after that. Telling us how much he liked watching Jayan “mow” the lawn with his green plastic mower. How they would comment all the time to their friends about the cute little guy across the street. He would find me in the yard, (picking weeds, most likely) and would tell me stories. How he met his wife (Catholic school), how he grew up in St. Paul, how Jan was too shy to go out with him at first, but eventually gave in. 

I always liked when he would stop out and talk like that. I love stories and the history in things. I love seeing the nostalgia in a person’s eyes when they have an especially good memory.

He was quieter this summer. I would wave from our car when I would drive by, sometimes seeing him inside his screened porch. I don’t know if he always saw me – some days, he just stared straight ahead. He might not have recognized our car. I’m not sure.

Summer turned into fall. I remember the day I saw the ambulance. It wasn’t moving. I wondered what had happened, but was on my way to the office (it was the morning, and, of course, I was late, as usual). I asked my husband about it that night – he hadn’t heard anything.

A few days later, we found that Jack had an aneurism. He was still alive, but only by life support. I was still amazed by how quickly life could turn – most older adults in my life had a slow decline over several years, nothing so sudden.

He passed away on a Friday. The family waited until all of their children could be home before finally taking him off life support.

Even now, I think about him, a few weeks later, and I think about how he said our house had always been gray, even though we can see from the siding that at one time, it had been green. That I wished I would have shown him the inside, again, after we had done more work to it. I somehow think that it would have made him happy to see us taking care of his friends’ home.

I really do think that they are looking out for the neighborhood, now. Louis and Jack. Together again, playing cards – keeping watch over us all. Maybe laughing about our leaves. He always kept his lawn impeccable. I wasn’t sure how he did it. With leaves like ours, you almost have to have a sense of humor. I hope that Jan has someone to help her with her yard.

Our newest neighbors moved into the neighborhood over the weekend. So strange seeing the home with so many cars. My husband laughs at how I keep track of the houses and the inhabitants. I need to stop by and introduce ourselves – we have lived here for four years and were never appropriately introduced to the last people.

It would be nice to know them, this time.

so long.

I haven’t written in a while.

I don’t like to do that.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come to a blank screen and thought, “Well, I’m here…now what.”

How much of real life can go onto a blog. At what point does it become over sharing. I saw a YouTube video recently that had the presenter talking about the benefits of keeping a journal on paper, rather than go to the likes of Twitter or Facebook (neither of which I put too much on…), but the principle was that some of the stuff we put online shouldn’t be there.

She was saying this because she was annoyed at reading melodramatic postings that were, yes, I’d say inappropriate for the audience. Maybe something more appropriate for a notebook in a drawer, than in public.

So I think about things, and honestly? When I blog, a lot of times I will do so, so that someone will listen.

Our son was recently assessed by our school district and although not a medical diagnosis, everyone feels fairly confident that he falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.

This, I had expected, but it is different to actually be working through things. The past few weeks have been a blur of assessments and meetings. We are now putting together an IEP.

It is good to see progress, but still overwhelming. I try not to think about everything at once. Talking with my aunt, who had helped her autistic grandson through the process, helped me to feel better.

One step at a time.

I have been pouring over docs online to see what I could have done to change things. Things I could have done differently – not that those things matter, now, but I’m the type who studies up.

The more that I read and find, the more I can see smattering of characteristics across my family both sides. It is strange how much you can notice when you look at things in a certain way. No conclusions, of course, just interesting.

One frustrating thing that happened is that we were trying to open enroll our son in the school district where he is currently in daycare. Note the “were” part of the sentence. We found out last week that the district was over capped for their special needs department and weren’t accepting any new students.

So, the past week, we have been desperately searching for a home daycare in our home district. We have been interviewing the past few days and are pretty sure we have our choice figured out, but it will also involve rearranging our work schedules, etc.

So much in such a short amount of time.

Unrelated, but related, it’s really stupid, but I have also had issues with the name of my blog. I registered it way back, but have never completely identified with it.

I don’t feel brave. I’m definitely not a girl, anymore, either. But I don’t feel a strong pull toward anything else.

But, I’m posting, so there’s that. I can’t help but wonder if posting somewhere else under a different blog name would help with my motivation to write? Something to consider, anyway.

Maybe it’s not that uncommon of a thing. Dooce might curse her choice of name every single day, for all I know. (Does she still write? I haven’t followed her in ages.)

Anyway, I’m going to post this, now, rather than have it sit in my drafts.

just like that.

On days like this, I need to remind myself to breathe.

Remind myself that things could always be worse.

Remind myself to count my blessings, rather than my hurts.

It would have been my cousin Chad’s birthday, today. He passed away a few months ago. I think of him every single day. I like to think of him as sort of a guardian angel, looking out for me. That or that he plays tricks on me – the latter is more likely. Last week, while I was home with Jayan, the lid jumped off my sugar canister I keep on my counter (this cannot happen on its own). Freaked me out.

Chad would have laughed. He was always about the pranking.

I have been so stressed out, lately. There are things in my life that need changing, clearly. I feel like there are things underground working against me. I’m not normally wrong about things like that.

I just need to trust that things will work their way out. They always do. But, as normal, I worry too much. It’s not good or healthy to do that.

I need to remember how lucky I am. I have a supportive husband and a stubborn son and I house that I love. We can afford to take vacations. We have loving, relatively low-drama extended families. My husband is a newly-official US citizen. I have a new car. We live in a nice neighborhood.

I just need to keep my head up, stay strong. Remember things can change.

Just like that.

I am ninety-nine percent positive that the red house will be going up for sale. That would be three houses for sale within the span of a half block – and are all surrounding the house where the people store junk in the front yard and the lawn has gone to weeds.

I came to this conclusion the house was going to be for-sale by the air conditioning truck being at the house on Thursday and U-Haul’s there the past two days. The owners of the home died within a year of each other and the house has been empty (and not well maintained) since then. It will be good to have a new owner. If they are selling, which I’m pretty sure they will be.

My husband had mentioned signs for an estate sale, too, about a week ago. I wish I would have known – I’ll take any advantage to snoop through a house. :) I love houses and I’m kind of curious what the layout is like – it is a ranch with a second story above the garage and a walkout to a pond behind the house.

If they are smart – all three of these house owners should approach the owner of the home with the bad front yard and strike up a bargain. Honestly, it really does bring down the neighborhood when that is the first thing that you see and I can’t imagine that it will make selling a house (much less three of them) very easy.

I know that you can’t choose your neighbors, but wow.

I’m not kidding. It’s BAD. And our neighborhood is actually pretty nice (with the exception of that stretch).

They should say something. If their houses sit on the market without selling and then sell low because of the bad lawn – and that’s the case with all three of them – that will not bide well for the neighborhood.

Not that we’re planning to sell any time too soon. It would just make me sad to see the neighborhood decline due to an unfortunate homeowner.

Originally written 7/28/13, published in March 2016.