Empty and ready to rent…

Well, I promised a posting with a few pictures of the house all empty.  I didn’t take pictures of all the rooms, but this is to just give you an idea.  And, for good measure, I’m including some  pics of when we first moved in just to give you an idea of how far some of these spaces have come…

Here’s the family room prior to us moving in three years ago:

…and here it is when I snapped a few pics of it before we closed the door that last time.  It’s amazing how much more homey it feels with curtains:

Our dining room/front hallway when we moved in:

…and here it is after lots of paint and a new chandelier:

The room of requirement, looking pretty dark and bleak at move in time:

…and here’s what he looked like the day we moved out.  With storage and love to spare (and a complete 180 degree turn from the original photo above):

The Guest bedroom, looking pretty sparse on day 1:

..and here it is three years later, with beautiful crown molding and beadboard that we installed ourselves:

…and the Laundry Room, way back in 2009, sans washer/dryer and cabinetry:

…and loaded up with storage, lighting and cabinetry galore that we installed awhile back (more on that project here).  We also purchased a couple of used appliances to be used for the future renters that might call this place home:

…and, of course, last but not least, the Master Bathroom back in 2009, all grody and boring and foreclosed upon:

…and here she is all beautiful and gleaming and glamorous.  You’re welcome, bathroom.  You are definitely proof positive that sometimes things do improve with age:

It was an emotional walk-through.  Mixed feelings doesn’t even begin to describe it.  When you put so much of your blood, sweat and tears into a house, it’s hard to see it as “just a house”.  At the same time, I’m also super excited to be tackling a “new” project down in California, but since we’re only renting, it will be interesting to see how we can manage that without, ya know, tearing down walls.  This house was most definitely ours so tackling a massive project like the bathroom or the laundry room required only the limits of our imaginations and our pocketbooks.  Le sigh…Goodbye, house!  You were lots of fun, lots of Maalox and lots of Painkillers…but you were worth it.  🙂

We’re looking for a renter for this house.  If you live in the Portland area and are interested in renting it, then feel free to email me privately at tellerallaboutitATgmailDOTcom (replace ATs and DOTs with you know whats) and I’ll put you in touch with our Property Manager.  You can see a full house tour here and even a video house tour here.    


Movin’ out+Movin’ in – aka why I didn’t answer my phone last week…

I’m not gonna lie.  Leaving the house in Oregon was pretty difficult.  It was a very bittersweet goodbye not only to the house, but to Portland, Oregon in general, a city so quirky that even I fit in!  Add to that my overall exhaustion last week of getting the house prepped and ready to move plus a missing Dr. J for some of it (he was still in California for a portion of the madness) and there were a few emotional and tearful nights for me.

On the house itself, though, I’ll be back later in the week with more of a “goodbye, house” post.  This one is just to show you the madness that we had facing us during the week and some pics for good measure.  It was a sprint to the finish line.  We both took the whole week off and we hauled ass from sun-up to sun-down *every*single*day*.  Here is the basic rundown of our week last week Here is a 2,384 word rundown of our week last week:

Sunday – Dr. J was still in California, so I had a mountain of things to do on my checklist and a lot of it I couldn’t do with just two hands (or reach with all 5’2″ of me).  So I put a plea out to all of my friends in Portland and I had a house full of eager volunteers at one point.  To those of you that showed up (Jill, Katie, Whitney, Amanda + family, Al + family, Keri & Phil), I just gotta give a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you!  By the end of the day, we even got to the point where there wasn’t a whole lot left to do and so I fast-forwarded to my weeklong checklist (like clean up dog poop in the backyard) and Amanda gladly volunteered!  I mean, talk about dedication!  God, I love that girl!  I was almost in tears because everybody was so generous with their time!  It was so great to be able to have people there with open arms and willing to help and made both Dr. J and I feel truly blessed.  Sunday night was unfortunately pretty restless for me, though.  I think I got maybe two hours of sleep because there was still *so*much*to*do* in the morning….

Monday – The packers showed up bright and early and I was already exhausted.  No sleep, no coffee left in the house so I didn’t get my morning caffeine until at least an hour after they showed up.  *Groan*….  There were five packers working ALL DAY LONG to pack up roughly 110 (_HIO!) boxes of everything from dishes to clothes to decor items.  I calculated that 5 people working from 8am-5pm with only one hour of breaks total = 40 total hours of packing.  And these are professionals!  So you know that they packed like fiends.  Regardless, they were a good group of people, we had a lot of laughs and they even came to my aid in a major way when one of my nosy neighbors stopped by to tell me that it was, “against HOA policy to post a FOR RENT sign in your window.”  I just about spit in his face I was so mad.  Do you SEE all of these boxes?  Do you SEE that I don’t have time for your busy body ways?  I mean, there is a tactful way to approach somebody about this situation and this simply was not it.  One of the packers stepped in (without me asking) and told him to leave and quit heckling his customer.  There was yelling.  There was shouting.  It was epic.  And I’ll love that man forever for doing that!    After they left, I ran Maggie over to a friends’ house because she was already a nervous wreck just from packing and sat pretty much with me all day in a manner like so…

I.e. – she sat in my lap while I watched the movers do their thing OR she was underfoot to the point that I was tripping all over her.  So she spent Monday night and all day Tuesday at their house getting sexually harassed by their dog, Dexter:

It was always meant to be…

Then I drove home to an empty house (no Maggie and no Dr. J) and only a bunch of boxes around the house to keep me company:

….and then Dr. J arrived home later that night and woke me up from a dead sleep to say he was home.  Talk about relief…

Tuesday – Loading Day!!  Big day!  Dr. J and I woke up early and had some last minute things to take care of, including trying to pack up boxes and suitcases filled with our “emergency supplies”, which may or may not have included some 24 odd bottles of Whiskey and Wine:

…again, we just tried to stay out of the way but also be available.  It was so nice, though, to have a partner in crime.  At least since there were two of us here, somebody could make a coffee run while the other one was busy doing other stuff.  Monday I had no such luxury.  There were a few odd repairs that needed to happen like fixing the door lock mechanism on the stove so that we could self-clean it.  This repair was a highly scientific process of jiggling the door until it locked – who knew?!?!  We did a lot of running around the house, cleaned out the fridge, patched holes and touch-up painted before they loaded the ladders into the truck (this was one very highly coordinated dance, lemme tell you).  Speaking of highly coordinated dances, check out MINE:

We also tried to keep the movers informed/happy.  I accidentally stole one of their “spare parts” boxes to load up one spice cabinet that the packers forgot (it happens) and then I was on the loaders shit list for most of the morning as a result.  Haha…le sigh…though they said I was surprisingly easy/low key by comparison to a lot of people they move, so that made me feel pretty good.  I blame the Valium…

…but through it all, I didn’t really have any time to feel sad or upset.  I was just too busy and plain exhausted.  But they got pretty much everything loaded onto the truck and then we both took one last shower in our bathroom as kind of a ceremonial “goodbye” to our favorite renovation in the house.  Then we headed over to our friends, Trish and Rylan’s, to be re-united with The Magster and to spend the night at their house for a few days since our house was essentially empty.  Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe it…

Wednesday – With the house empty, we really didn’t have much else to do aside from letting the cleaning lady in to do a final clean-out and then packing up all the leftovers into the cars.  My cleaning lady, Shari, has been like a second Mother to me in Portland so she got us a card and even a goodbye “Prayer Plant”.  It was so sweet.  While Dr. J worked on his master packing skills, including unpacking all of the boxes of wine that I had crappily packed the other day and just loading them into the half dozen or so empty suitcases that we had to fit into our two cars for the drive down, I finished up more touch-up painting/repairs and oversaw a rental showing of the house in the middle of the day as well (still no word yet!).  **Update:  We also oversaw a delivery of a new washer and dryer as our set had been loaded into the truck the day before.**  We ran to the recycling center a few times to drop off mounds of extra boxes and trash, transported our Compost Bin across town to a friends’ house and made sure to put the trash out at the end of the day.  We also gassed and loaded up the Mazda full of everything we needed, parked it in the (now empty) garage and got it all ready for the drive to California.  Shari took a moment at the end of the day to take an exhausted and sweaty picture of Dr. J, Maggie and I in front of the house one last time:

I ran through the house and snapped a few pics of the house empty (*sniff*) and then we left the house that night – empty and alone.  And this is when exhaustion just took over me and I started to cry.  Thinking of leaving the house and leaving Portland and moving to another state (which, let’s face it, California may as well be a foreign country) and all of the great friends we’ve made over our four years here.  Blerg!  It was just a lot to take coupled with the stress of moving (which, I guess, is essentially the same thing).  Even though I knew I would see the house again in the morning (SUPER early, in fact), it was hard to leave it and just think of it as bricks and mortar.  I could see so much of US in that house.  And every little reno that we did over the past three years just brought back memories of projects both good and bad.  But it was bittersweet.  Because I was also so happy to be leaving it in a better state than when we found it.  It’s so improved over what it was when we purchased it.  I always knew it could be beautiful.  But not without a lot of work, duct tape and spit polish.  But enough about that.  I didn’t have time to mourn….

Thursday – Our last morning in Portland and we were up WAY before dawn.  We had to be at the house prior to 7am (and we were coming from the Eastside which ended up being about a 45 minute commute) to let the carpet cleaners in.  This was a HUGE relief to us, actually.  We were really afraid that the carpet cleaners wouldn’t come until late in the day and one of us would have to stay to let them in and not be able to drive down to California until Friday – blerg!  Fortunately, we called ahead of time to get them scheduled as early as possible and they were in and out in less than an hour.  It gave us enough time to snap some pictures of the house from the car while we camped out across the street with the dog.

…then our neighbor (the one I like!) came over before she left for work  and gave us a Panera gift card and a goodbye card and lots of hugs.  So good to be able to say goodbye in person!  And that Gift Card came in handy later on…

Then the carpet cleaners left and we walked thru the house to survey it cleaner than it had probably ever been!  Haha!  We also closed all the windows and drew the blinds, turned the heat WAY down (we can’t shut off the utilities until the renters move in), took a few more pics of it one last time:

…loaded up the cars…

…loaded up the Maggie (her face echoed our sadness)….

….and said our goodbyes.  I shed one tear in the car, but then driving through rush-hour pretty much jolted me out of my emotional stupor.  We had to run a few errands before we left Portland (dropped off our cable modem and gassed up the Audi) and then we were on the road by 915 or so for the 12 hour drive down to San Jose, California.  It was a pretty uneventful drive for me.  Dr. J had Maggie in the car with him and I had the plants in the car with me.  They don’t make very good conversation partners, but that just meant I could listen to a good audio book (Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, if you’re curious).

We thankfully managed to time our trip such that we missed rush hour (mostly) in Portland, somewhat in Sacramento and entirely in the Bay.  I don’t remember what time we got in, but we managed to have enough time to unload the cars somewhat, walk the pup, take showers, and crash on the air mattress on the floor of the new master bedroom never having grabbed dinner.  No rest for the weary, though….we had to be up (again) before dawn to wait for the movers…

Friday – the movers show up (geeze, they booked it!) and managed to introduce us to the neighborhood by blocking every single garage on the street…

Haha!  Hi!  We’re your new crazy neighbors!  You have NO CLUE what’s coming your way…muwahahaha…

Now when you are moving with a professional moving company, they have you “Play Bingo” with the checklist.  There’s a “Box list” and an “Everything else” list.  We had roughly 110 boxes and approximately 200 items..  As they load things into the truck, they assign stickers with numbers.  My job is just to sit there and check the numbers off as they come off the truck.  However, we learned one lesson the hard way when we did this the first time (moving from Ohio to Oregon) which is essentially not to TOUCH anything until they leave.  They need to be sure that everything gets off the truck and if there is a missing number (which almost always happens) at the end of the day, we need to go searching for it through the house, which can be pretty tough if you’ve unloaded a box already and thrown it away.  So I sat outside all day with the pup while Dr. J directed traffic inside when needed.

By the end of the day, this is what our kitchen looked like:

…though we did have just enough time and energy to unload the bedroom enough to be able to sleep in our bed..

…it was a very nice ending to a REALLY stressful week.  And now we’re in San Jose, California, desperately trying to unpack boxes as much as possible, although now that we’ve got the kitchen, office and master bedroom mostly functional, we’ve cut back to about 1-2 boxes/day (hehe – we sound like smokers!).  I’ll be back later with some pics of the new house empty and possibly a video tour as well.  But for now, I’m signing off.  It’s been a stressful summer and, boy, am I glad there’s a light at the end of the tunnel…


Operation California begins in 3….2….1…..

We’re officially leaving Oregon.  We have a plan!  It’s for real this time!  Let’s start with the overall gist – you can get more details if you keep reading.

  • We’ve found a town home down in San Jose, California that we feel could be “home” for a few years
  • We have a tentative move-out date of October 1 and, lastly…
  • We have a Property Manager picked out to supervise all of the nitty-gritty of managing our house as a rental property so we don’t have to.

Phew!  That’s a lot!  Yup, we’re DOIN’ this!  So if you’re a glutton for punishment (or an internet stalker – I know you’re out there), then feel free to read forward on this page for more detail than you can shake a stick at…

The new place:

Bear in mind that I have not actually seen this place, but I trust my hubby to have found a place that will work for us in the long run and the pics he took of the property are far and away better than anything I’ve seen in the previous 7-8 months and they were pretty grainy iPhone shots.  It’s been an odyssey finding a decent place that didn’t feel absolutely crap-tacular, cramped or cost us an arm and a leg!  I can’t say that it’s not still going to cost us an arm and a leg, but this is definitely a place where patience was a virtue and we got so lucky to find it when we did.  Overall, it’s a 3 bedroom, 3-story town home with a 2-car garage and around 1800 square feet according to the online ad – although a lot of that is hallways and stairs so it looks much smaller than 1800 square feet.  It has everything we need and nothing that we don’t.  There’s no yard, but we were mentally prepared for that anyway as NO PLACE that we could afford had a yard.  Also, it’s California.  If I’m not getting my ass outside every day to walk the dog, then I’m just a jerk and a wimp.  I’m from Ohio originally and have spent the last 4 years in Oregon.  California is going to seem like a dream come true weather-wise compared to those two places so I *really* can’t complain about not having a yard…but I might change my mind once I become a California softie…

We don’t have pictures yet (at least, none we feel comfortable posting here since it’s not our stuff in the pictures), but we’ve already secured ahead of time that we can paint the walls in our new place and publish photos on the blog so you can bet that we’ll be “re-making” a new place, albeit this time without too much surgery.  It’ll be an interesting challenge to makeover a place where I can’t do much more than superficial changes so paint and decor is where it’s gonna be for a few years and it’ll be interesting to see how I cope with that.  A lot of bloggers do it very successfully, I might add – just check out The Nester and The Borrowed Abode if you don’t believe me.  The fun part is that since we’ll have a garage we can keep all of our tools and jump on the opportunity to build more “modular” solutions to suit a rental lifestyle – i.e. more furniture and less built-ins.  Regardless, it’ll be an interesting journey and I’m glad we have this here blog to start that quest all over again!

Moving our stuff:

We’ve done this before.  And we learned our lesson.  If you’re getting relocation from your company/new job, don’t pack anything yourself.  When we moved to Oregon four years ago from Ohio, the *cheapest* part of the move was the pack!  We thought we were being all smart and saving ourselves oodles of money by packing everything except for the breakables.  Lemme tell ya something – it really wasn’t worth it and we probably saved ourselves about a hundred bucks.  Ugh!  Fugheddaboudit.  A good moving company will pack up everything for you AND insure it so if anything breaks, it’s their problem to replace and not yours.  Since we’re not going to be able to get around the price of gas (that’s always fixed and not something we can control), we’re going to just go with our gut and have them pack it all, pack it in, drive it down, unload the truck and be on their way.  We are in no rush to get things unpacked in California when we get there – we’re not hosting any holidays this year and we’ve quietly limited our out-of-town guests as much as possible so there is no pressure to get things “perfect” before anybody comes to visit, so we can unpack as we go and take our time.  Absolutely worth the expense in the long run.

The move date is tentatively scheduled for October 1st, which means the movers will come to start packing things that day and will begin driving down to San Jose that night.  Then after that, we are slated to move into the place in San Jose whenever the truck shows up down there, which gives us a cushion of a few days to get the house cleaned up, the carpets steamed so that we can….

Rent out the old place:

…turn everything over to a local Property Manager here in Portland so they can handle all of the day-to-day.  They take care of everything, including finding a tenant, doing the background checks, getting them into the property, collecting the rent, and managing any maintenance issues that might crop up.  Overall, the only thing we need to take care of on our own is paying the mortgage and the HOA fees.  We’ll get an automatic deposit of cash every month and they trim about 8% off the top for expenses and the like.  It’s the best thing that will work for us at this point!  We know selling isn’t an option for us right now (you can read more about why by clicking here) so we may as well try to rent it out, make a little bit of income on the side which is preferable to listing, letting it sit and then earn nothing off of it.  Fingers crossed it all goes well!  Once it’s listed, maybe we’ll post it here and if anybody wants to rent it…..*wink*wink*…

Please rent me!

In final:

We have a busy month ahead.  Most of it is administrative work that needs to be done and not much that people can really help with.  However, once the house is empty, then we’ll definitely be hitting the ground running in terms of getting the house spotless, the carpets cleaned, etc.  I do have a fabulous cleaning lady, but that last week we’re here will be sort of a race to the finish line.  We’ll be sure to ask for volunteers if we need them!  We may need to crash at somebody’s house that first week of October if anybody is willing to open their doors…*hint*hint*…

Questions?  Concerns?  Anybody else making a big cross-country move this fall?  Having done this once before, it seems so much easier this time around…

Shut the Front Door!

We’re on an exterior mission to fix up the house’s curb appeal before we lease the house.  Here is step one!


It’s pretty sad and pitiful, isn’t it?  We heard from several of our neighbors that this door had been “knocked in” by the previous owners.  Something about being a foreclosure and them trying to get in and “steal” things from the bank (like the kitchen sink and all of the appliances).  Pretty sure they won “Homeowner of the Year” award in a parallel universe.  Oh, and we still haven’t traded out the Sheriff’s Locks on this bad boy.  We’ve been rocking the two toned handles since 2009!  Pretty sure we win “Homeowner of the Year” in this universe – haha!

But as if all of that weren’t bad enough, the door also faces west and gets all of the prevailing winds and moisture from our rainy Pacific Northwest winters.  Once it’s wet, the sun comes out and bakes it so up close it’s looking a little more like this:

…in other words, kind of warped, damaged and dried out from the sun.  We kind of hemmed and hawed around repairing this door for awhile for God knows why.  First it was because we thought we would need a handyman or carpenter to repair it because it looked like it was “out of true” and we wanted to try and salvage it.  The door looked crooked in the frame but after breaking out our level and straight edges we realized it was the casement that was crooked and not the door – haha!  Classic.  Reminded me of that Shel Silverstein poem about the kid who has wavy hair and eventually shaves it all off only to discover he just has a wavy head.  Well, we definitely weren’t going to tackle repairing the casements (that takes a calibre of skill that neither of us have and a can of worms that we didn’t have handy).  So that kind of gave way to the fact that we could go ahead and try refinishing the door and then seeing what happens.  After all, replacing this door is not an option.  It’s a full 8′ tall and as expensive as they come so may as well try to give it some spit polish…

So we removed the door:

…which gave Maggie a perfect perch to monitor all of the goings on:

…and then Dr. J got to sanding it down so it was smooth as a baby’s behind – literally took like 20 minutes:

…then it was into our secret stash of stains and paints and we found a leftover stain from….mystery project?  It may have been leftover from when we finished the Ikea Countertops for our desk in the office but we really don’t remember.  In other words – it was free.

Then we let it dry, sanded, poly-ed, sanded, poly-ed, replaced the door hardware and VOILA!

How’s that for some updated curb appeal?  Not bad for a quick weekend project that only cost us the cash to replace the locks.  Is it perfect?  No.  But we’re renting this house from here on out so it doesn’t have to be perfect for us.  It just has to look good!  And since we’ve purchased a nice storm door to protect it, we’re hoping that this finish will be nice and protected from the elements – fingers crossed.

Decrease, delete, declutter…

We’re moving to California!  Which means….we need to downsize – a LOT!  In fact, we’ve put a deposit down on a….wait for it…1 bedroom, 600 square foot apartment.  Yes, we are moving from a 4 bedroom, 1900 square foot house with a garage to a 1 bedroom, 600 square foot apartment with no garage and no real storage (more on that in another post).  I know, I know – it is certifiably crazy, that’s for sure!  Regardless, there’s a lot of this going on lately:

…in other words, we are trying to clear out the clutter.  So far we’ve already paid one junk hauler to come through and take away half of our garage worth of stuff and have taken one Mazda3 car load worth of clothes to send to Goodwill and to Powell’s Books to get rid of a laundry basket filled with old paperbacks that we never read.  Seriously, I got rid of some of my summer reading requirements from my high school AP English classes and even the dress that I wore under my gown to my High School graduation!  We won’t discuss how many hairstyles ago that was…

So this brings up a good point.  How do you decide what to give away, donate, re-furb, etc.  I’m a MASTER de-clutterer.  It’s probably because I’m not really a very sentimental person except in rare cases and my Mom taught me from a very young age to go through the crap and keep only what is super meaningful/useful to you.  So I thought it would be good to kind of detail here a couple categories of things here – maybe it’ll be helpful, maybe it won’t?  And maybe we’ll be getting to more stuff later on!

Clothes – Ahhh….yes, clothing.  Here is where we ladies tend to go overboard.  But I have a few simple rules for controlling clutter.  First off, you need to go through your closet every season change (well, fall and spring essentially).  And you should also go through it whenever heavy items fall on you whenever you open the door – it’s always a good rule of thumb.  But here is how I determine what to keep/throw away:

  1. Have I worn it in the past 6-12 months OR have I worn it in the previous season?  If the answer is no for both of those, then it’s probably time to say hasta la vista, baby!  Just to be safe, try it on to be sure it fits….
  2. Does it fit?  This probably seems pretty obvious, but I can’t tell ya how many people I know who keep those “skinny” jeans just in case they might fit again.  Lemme tell ya somethin’, honey.  Get rid of them!  Once you do lose that weight, treat yourself to a non-calorie item and go out and buy NEW clothes!  Also, remember this saying always – “You should wear your clothes.  Your clothes should NEVER wear you!”  If you don’t feel absolutely sexy/beautiful/insert miscellaneous compliment here, then it’s time to get rid of those clothes.
  3. Stains?  Missing buttons?  Repair work that’s outside your scope?  Again, pitch it.  Especially if you’ve attempted repair and it’s just not taking.
  4. If you need more space, then click here to learn how to fold your clothes the “right” way – Seriously, I have so much space in my drawers now because of learning how to fold shirts this way.  And it sounds silly, but both Dr. J and I used to have our own “methods” for folding shirts and now we both fold this way because it saves us *so* much room!  It may just change your life – you never know!
  5. Lastly, understand your climate – Everybody said when we moved to Oregon that we wouldn’t need our warm winter coats and (for the most part), they’re absolutely right.  There are also a lot of “climate” issues that I’ve noticed about living in Oregon versus living in Ohio – anything that’s suede and/or water penetrable in my closet absolutely *cannot* be worn.  That means shoes, coats, blazers – you’ll rarely see an Oregonian strutting their stuff in a pair of Uggs – it’s the most colossal waste of money!  So eliminating these items from my wardrobe is pretty important.   Now that we’re moving to California, we’ll no doubt be going through a whole other set of wardrobe changes….gotta make room for it!
Books – I’m finding out as I get rid of books and try to offer them to people that so few people are reading these days!  Ugh!  It’s such a crime!  I can’t sleep at night if I don’t read a few pages of *something* before I go to bed.  But I think books are kind of clutter-catchers, especially light summer reading paperbacks.  Dr. J can read a 500 page novel in about 36 hours on a vacation so we have amassed quite the collection of books.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this snap below:

I know a lot of people feel somewhat sacrilegious in throwing away books, so here are a few tips that might help you out when it comes to decluttering books and also some thoughts on how to purchase books in the first place:

  1. Buy yourself an e-reader – Are you a Nook-er or a Kindle-er?  In our household, we’re both.  And honestly, I don’t think it matters very much anymore what kind of e-reader you should buy.  If you like to read, they are VERY affordable nowadays (an entry-level e-reader will only set you back about $100 these days).  And if you’re looking to declutter, this is an absolute no-brainer!  We purchased an e-reader about a year ago and honestly it is just about the best thing we’ve ever done.  When we went to Hawaii last year, we took our Nook and Dr. J read about 2000 pages in a matter of a week.  Not sure how many books that was but it doesn’t really matter.  An e-reader is a declutterer’s best friend!
  2. Go to the library – This is one I’m always trying to get Dr. J to use – I mean, 2000 pages in a week is easily 3-4 novels – possibly more!  And since his tastes in reading tend towards fiction, it’s very “disposable” light reading that he can easily check out of the library and return with no need to store it!
  3. If you must buy, then leave the paper, take the hardback – Here’s a tip – hardback books are pretty and they really give a bookcase a nice “distinguished” look (minus the dust covers).  Paperbacks, however, are ugly.  Their spines never retain their shape, the artwork is very often ugly and super market-y/loud and they just DO NOT look good – i.e., they are very disposable.  I realize books aren’t all about looks, but if it’s something that I feel “obligated” to keep because I’ve read it, then YES, it IS about looks once the passage of reading enjoyment has gone.  And, no, I don’t believe in keeping books as “conquests” or as a brag sheet.  That’s what the public library is for!  If it’s paperback and it’s a “disposable” title, then I say pitch it – unless it’s something you read often.  And if you read it often, you may want to consider forking over a few extra bucks for a hardback version because a paperback is not good for repeated reading – or see about buying it on your e-reader!
  4. Now I have the book, how do I decide to keep/pitch? – This is a very personal question – and it really depends in your level of interest in the book.  I have a few books that I re-read every few years or so and make it a point to keep them handy for those times.  For example, I re-read the Harry Potter series probably every couple of years from 1-7, so those books will always be on my bookcase (and some are paperback just to give you an idea).  However (and I will probably get a lot of crap for admitting this publicly), I had to pull teeth to get through the Twilight series  so I ended up sending those books to the toss pile even though it was a high quality hardback set.  If it’s a book that I will likely never touch again and it’s a paperback (see paperback note above), then I have no qualms in giving it the boot.  So ask yourself these questions – Do I love it?  Will I read it again?  Does it have a memorable inscription/meaning?  Do I need this book for work/class?  If the answer is ‘no’ to any of those questions, then it’s time to retire the book.
  5. Where do I send my old books?  – As unsentimental as I may be about “stuff”, I do still think that books should be given proper burial.  I.e. – send them to a used bookstore, a library, or see if some of the titles you have are appropriate for your local school and call to see if they would accept donation?  There are so many options for getting rid of books.  Don’t ever feel like you have to throw it in the garbage – that IS actually a crime!

So that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m sure there will be repeats of tips above on other sites, other places.  We still have a long way to go – namely the kitchens and the bathrooms will need a serious down scaling.  But we’ll get to those in time.

It’s time for another (video) house tour!

The last time I did a video house tour, it was back before we renovated the bathroom and finished up the Room of Requirement – i.e. it was well over a year and a half ago!  And since we’re planning a pretty massive move down to California, I thought now would be a good time to update the latest video tour.  Because…le sigh…it might be the last time to really photograph the house before it gets all “torn up” before we move.  So here goes nothin’!


Oh, and if you’re curious what the last house tour was like, then you can click here for the one we took in January 2011.  It’s kind of funny to watch them one after the other just to spot the changes.  Dr. J and I recently watched the one from 2011 and it’s amazing to see the old master bathroom and how much of an upgrade we gave that sucker.

Here are some fun things to point out in the 2012 tour:

  • Maggie, the Mascot Mutt – she kept following me around upstairs (as she always does) and made some cute cameos :-).
  • My “technical difficulties” with the camera – I just couldn’t win (story below)
  • The completed office, Room of Requirement and Master Bath!
  • I was still wearing my Pajamas when I made this tour so notice how I slyly avoid looking in mirrors throughout the tour – haha!  there are a few peeks, though – don’t worry, it wasn’t anything too risque!
  • Apparently I say “Love it! Love it! Love it!” a few times throughout.  I don’t notice it, but Dr. J did…haha!

So that’s the video house tour 2012.  Hopefully it should come in handy for our future renters-to-be??  Who knows?  Also, I just couldn’t seem to “win” the day I shot this.  I went to use the Flip cam, realized it was out of battery and switched to my point-and-shoot camera which has video capability.  I shot the downstairs with no problems, then when I went upstairs I accidentally shot myself directly in the mirror wearing my pajamas and my hair all a wreck (classy!).  So I had to do another take and then my camera ran out of battery (gah!), so I had to do a quick charge and rush through the last half of the tour – hah!  It was funny :-).  Like I said, I just couldn’t seem to win!

Let me know what you think.  You’ll have to head on over to YouTube to watch the video but it should give you a pretty good idea of the layout of our house and all the changes we’ve made since the last tour.  Enjoy!

Before & After Bliss: Our (new and improved) Home Office

(I apologize if you got this updated in your stream 4-5 times.  I realized after posting it that I posted the wrong draft!  Oops!  Here’s the updated post)

I could really hurt your brain by explaining the whole process of the office, but I have to admit – we didn’t take a whole lot of pictures and explaining it isn’t NEARLY as much fun as just SHOWING you.  We took a few iPhone photos, but that’s about it.  For the most part, we used the following “plans” from Ana White as our jump off point to create our own (albeit larger) knockoff wood project a la Pottery Barn and then built it with our own mettle and might simply because we’re crazy like that.  But you can return to the beginning and check out this post and this one to see how this all came about.  So, without further ado, from the creativity of my screwed up (evil genius) brain, the simple plans of Ana White, the sheer brawn of my woodworking husband and the good people of Ikea for giving us a discount on two Oak Butcher Block Countertops, I present to you our new and improved office in all of its glory:

Before (s)




Pretty, eh? We still have some cord management issues to tackle, but other than that, this sucker’s D-O-N-E! We even splurged for one of those adjustable keyboard/mouse trays so that (hopefully) my neck and shoulders will be a wee bit happier. Maybe I just need a massage. Or a new line of work. But OHMYGOODNESS is it not gorgeous?!? My hubby is amazing, I tell ya. This was (a big part) of my birthday present to build a new workstation that we could both use eventually. It’s such a point of pride, too, to say, “Yea, we BUILT that mother trucker!” I have a hard time putting my head around it as well, but I am just so tickled with it!  But seriously. What do you think?? You Tell’Us!