Saturday, September 29, 2012

Intense Sunset

Crazy sunset the other night! I think all the forest fires have put a lot of smoke in the air, which contributed to the intense colors.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Refurbishing the decks

This is a project we started last year and couldn’t afford the chemicals or the equipment. But friends loaned us the equipment, and we went out and got the chemicals today and went for it. First we watched a video online, and boosted by the simplicity with which they refurbished a deck that looked much worse than ours, we got started.



Started out by dragging all the furniture into the garage, and moving the tomato plants. I cleaned up the spaces between the boards that were clogged with stuff, and gave it a little rinse to knock off some dirt. You can see how grey and weathered it looks.


We used Thompson’s Deck Cleaner and brightener. Apply, scrub, let sit 15 minutes, and rinse off with the powerwasher.





This went a lot faster than I expected, and the difference was amazing! 


Look how clean those boards are!
Dave had to go to rehearsal before we were finished, so I did the last three sections myself, then moved the whole show to the back deck. I did the smaller end of the deck before my back got tired.


(dogs were not allowed outside until everything was finished and cleaned up for the day)


What an incredible difference for such a simple process! We’ll finish up the rest of the back deck tomorrow. Then the instructions said to let it dry 2-3 days and then apply the sealer. It’s supposed to be hot and dry through Tuesday, so I think we’ll have no trouble getting the entire project done before the weather turns.


Over the next two weekends we finished the whole thing, cleaning the gigantic back deck, and laying down a coat of waterproofing on both.

And the proof that it all worked out came when it started raining again. We got done just in the nick of time. Nice to see the water beading up on the wood again.

That was a lot of work, for someone else to enjoy it! Why do we ignore these things when it's our house, but fix them up just in time to sell them to someone else?


Friday, September 14, 2012

Last day at work

I cannot describe my joy and relief last week when I got an offer for a job on this side of the river! My current job was so far away, and the management was pretty poor. They were piling more and more work on us, had us scheduled out for months ahead, and so many things overlapping and getting bumped, I just had no confidence in our being able to keep up and do the jobs well. The last few jobs had gotten particularly rushed and sloppy, and they were just pushing more. I was dreading the upcoming crush of overlapping projects, and suddenly knowing that was all off my plate was an un-describably weight off my shoulders.

Of course there's also the wasted time every day spent waiting for buses and sitting in traffic. Time I could be home enjoying hobbies, exercising, or just being at home! And the job had a very weird culture. No one was supposed to have anything personal on their desk, not even family pictures. People didn't talk to each other when they passed in the hallway or on the street. The people were nice, but there was hardly any socializing. I was seated far away from my teammates, which made me feel sort of out in left field. I spent my days with my headphones on (thank goodness they allowed that) chugging my way through project tickets. Then I'd pack up my kindle and head for the long bus ride home.

Walking in Old Town Portland creeped me out. I saw people smoking crack pipes under the parking structure stairwells I had to walk by. I chose to walk that route, because the other side of the block had drug dealers, or people sleeping in doorways. Some days people would be staggering zombie-like along the sidewalk, obviously under the influence. There was a bum who looked like Santa, and he would be on the same corner every morning. An old lady who's gig was telling people she was diabetic and hadn't eaten in days. A well dressed bum who worked the food carts I called 'sharp dressed man' who always needed 55 cents. You might mistake him for someone who was just short on change, if he wasn't there working the crowd every day. I didn't give anyone money, I always just said sorry. My first week down there I was followed for two blocks by an angry screaming lady, and I knew if I gave any of them anything, they would just want more the next time they saw me. The less interaction the better!

Walking up to the bridge was always a nice release. It felt wide open up on the bridge, and I could look back at the city, then choose to go rejoin it when I was ready. Probably the coolest thing that happened while I was down there was the angry bird protecting his nest by the bridge. He divebombed me a few times, then I'd go stand on the corner and watch him divebomb everyone else who went by!

I wonder if I'll look back at this and wish I'd taken my camera with me more often? Hopefully I'll remember how scary it felt, and I really didn't want to lose my camera or have anything happen to it. Maybe I was just paranoid, but I wasn't comfortable looking through the viewfinder without someone to watch my back.

But it's all over now. Today I worked all day, stuffed my coffee mug in my backpack, and headed home. Thanks to the 'no personal items' rule it was a cinch to pack up and leave no trace. Monday I start my new job, and despite my weird luck with my last couple jobs, I have high hopes this will be a good one I will do well with and enjoy for many years to come - fingers crossed!


Saturday, September 08, 2012

So many changes…


Ok, first some good news. I got a new job! No more hour-and-a-half commute downtown, now I have a job a mere 45 minutes away (not bad considering where we live) in my own state – so no more paying taxes in that other state. Plus I got a raise, plus they have fully-company-paid medical and dental. I think I hit the jackpot! Next week is my last week at the old job, and then I start off on a new adventure, doing the same thing, Software QA Testing, but a whole lot closer to home!

The next big thing is going to be selling our house and moving closer into town – cutting that 45 minute commute down even more. Frankly we just can’t keep up with this property by ourselves. And it’s expensive to try. I don’t have much time at home, and I don’t want to spend it mowing. I’d rather be out bicycling or paddling or working on my car. We’re looking at houses in a modest neighborhood that is so close to work I could walk or ride my bike to work, and central to the other things we do, and to our friends who live in town.

Today we had to rent this monstrosity to catch up on the overgrown back and side yards.







Poor Dave worked his butt off to get the yards looking that good. Still pretty shaggy, but better. Next the weedwhacker will come out to do the edges.

We’ve also been cleaning and de-cluttering the house. As we get a room looking good I take pictures of it.


front room




I’m really happy with how they are coming out. I think our house looks pretty good! Keeping it clean and uncluttered is going to be a challenge for us, because we’re ‘pile-ers’ and we tend to accumulate stuff, but I think we can do it!

We had a friend who does house-cleaning come in and clean for us. We have carpet cleaners coming in on Monday. We’re going to have to spend a little money on having some pros come in and help get some stuff taken care of that we can’t do ourselves.




I’ll miss our place in the country, but I’m really looking forward to simplifying our lives, so we can concentrate on the things that we really enjoy.