avanta7: (Peachtree)
Sunday spouse and I spent a good portion of the day clearing storm debris, courtesy of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, from the back yard. Neither we nor our immediate neighbors lost any trees -- although a couple of other houses on our block weren't so lucky -- but the oak tree next door that overhangs our yard with a goodly portion of its canopy shed a couple of metric tons* of dead branches and leaves during the high winds and heavy rain of Labor Day weekend.

So we raked and we raked and raked some more. Then, somehow, spouse managed to break the large rake. This is the second rake we've purchased since moving to this house. He broke the pushbroom some time ago -- we haven't managed to remember to replace it yet. I may remedy that in the next few days. Anyway, a couple of 1x1 scraps and several yards of duct tape later, Frankenrake came into being and functioned relatively well for the remainder of the day. And around 3:00 PM, we had a cleared yard and clean patio.

Maybe next time I'll remember to take pictures.


*exaggeration alert
avanta7: (Inigo Montoya)
Because I'm weird like this, I've been trying to figure out exactly what style architecture my house is. I wandered around the web for a while and made my way to Old House Web, which had lots and lots of early 20th Century architecture example pictures. Thus began the process of elimination.

It's not the usual Craftsman cottage.

No covered porch with columns, no dormers.

It's not Beaux Arts:


not Prairie:


Definitely not any style Victorian:

which, BTW, I am well aware isn't early 20th century architecture, but they're just sooo pretty!

Ahem. It has elements of Tudor Revival:

but no half-timbered detailing.

None of this website's pictured examples seemed to fit. But way down on the list was the name of a style that had no pictures, but the name itself called to me. Another interwebz search or two later and , finally, I found it.

A Tudor/Craftsman hybrid called Common Storybook.

I live in a storybook one-story, which fills my old-fashioned romantic heart with unadulterated joy.
Front of house 2
(Of course, you know this entry was just an excuse to post a picture of my own house again.)
avanta7: (Default)
I've been neglecting both of my blogs recently, and haven't kept up with you all either. *hangs head in shame* If I missed anything of particular importance in the last three or four weeks, please let me know...

So, the latest news and/or happenings and/or random thoughts:

Riverfest was at the beginning of June. BIL's employer is one of the corporate sponsors, so he got us tickets for Friday night. Spouse and I borrowed camp chairs from Sis and off we went to see Everclear and Night Ranger. First time I'd been to a rock concert in at least fifteen years. We found a good spot to park our chairs on the slope to the left of the stage, back about 100 yards or so from the apron. Close enough that we had a good view, distant enough that we didn't get our hair blown back by the sound system. Shortly after we got situated, we saw this guy; I was impressed by his sartorial daring:

Kilt at Riverfest

It isn't everyone who has the cojones to wear a kilt. In Alabama.

Riverfest )

Encounter with the Coosa River )

Spouse and home and life in general )

Our youngest nephew has been here for the past week visiting. He's stayed with Mom all week, but he came over Thursday on spouse's day off. They played Call of Duty and Halo most of the day, and had themselves a good old time. Bobby is 15 now, and getting so tall. But I look at him and still see the sweet five year old he once was (not that he's not a sweet kid now, mind you). I wonder if that's common to all parental-types -- no matter how old they get, they'll always be the babies they used to be.
avanta7: (Peachtree)
The almost finished dining room
The trim needs painting, and the drapes have yet to be ordered; even so, I love this room.

History...

Mar. 7th, 2010 05:11 pm
avanta7: (Peachtree)
I've been looking through the county historical tax records (which are available ONLINE! I love the 21st Century!), and have discovered our lot and the lot next door were originally owned by a J.E. Paschall and first recorded in county tax records in 1928. I suspect the house was built in 1928, as well, because that's the date on the old cast iron coal bin door in the cellar (the coal bin itself and the furnace it once fed are long gone, thank heavens). In 1930, the lots became jointly owned by J.E. Paschall and Verna Horn. Ms. Horn stayed on as owner or co-owner until at least 1939. The tax records for 1940-1943 for our subdivision aren't available on line. By 1944, two different women owned the property, a Mrs. Bonnie Leith and Edith Rae Atkins, along with a J.B. Hollingsworth. In 1946, Mrs. Leith went away and a Dr. E.A. Isbell took her place. No tax records online for our subdivision for 1948-1963...hmm. In 1964, J.B. Hollingsworth shared ownership with C. and Sybil Majure, and remained that way to at least 1977, which is where the online historical data ends.

Although I wish the rest of the data were available, and I'm curious as to when the ownership of the two lots went their separate ways, it's not necessary for me to know the names of everyone who ever owned this house. The main thing I was after was the original owner and the date of construction. I'm quite satisfied to have that.
avanta7: (Peachtree)
And I have a house, too.

Happenings since we last spoke:

On Wednesday Jan 27, our lending agent called and wanted to schedule closing on the house for Friday Jan 29. "Well, I can do that, I guess, but does my husband have to be here?" I asked. Yes, she said. "Then we can't do it Friday, because he just got on the road to drive out here today."

"Can't he get here by Friday at 4?"

Obviously this woman has never driven across country. But I called and asked spouse anyway, if he thought there was any possible way he could drive some 2600 miles in less than three days. Divide by three, carry the one, uh, that would be a no. Then she wanted to know if he could get here by noon on Saturday the 30th? Couldn't guarantee that, so, uh, no. Monday the 1st was the earliest we could guarantee he'd be here. So we scheduled for Monday at 4:00 PM.

As it turns out, spouse encountered the Great Southwestern Snowstorm and spent the majority of Thursday and a good portion of Friday in New Mexico, waiting for I-40 to reopen. About noon Friday, he decided this waiting around business was crap, and so replotted his course. He detoured south to Roswell and got on I-20, and then drove like the proverbial bat, arriving at my mother's house Saturday night around 9:30 or 10 PM.

Sunday the 31st he got to see the house in person for the first time.

Monday the 1st I reported to my new office for a grand total of 5 hours, then left to go close on the house. Closing itself went without a hitch, but I had a bit of an adventure myself: I had to go to Georgia to get the money.

See, I arrived at Mom's late Wednesday afternoon. First thing Thursday, we went to a local bank where I opened a new account. I told cute young new account guy that we were scheduled to close on our house on Monday, and I would need a cashier's check for the down payment. The money was in the account in California, and if we send a wire transfer request now, will the money be available the next day so we can have the cashier's check issued? Uh. No. Apparently, wire transfers have to be initiated by the funding bank. Okay. So while we're sitting there in cute young new account guy's office, I call my bank's telephone service center. Sure, they can do a wire transfer but I need to go to a local branch in person to have it done. Um, lady, I'm in Alabama, and there are no local branches. If there were a local branch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. After much back and forth, the woman finally tells me I can add the outside account as an authorized transfer account online, and do the transaction myself. We left cute young new account guy's office and went home, where I promptly got online, added the outside account, and scheduled the transfer.

Which came up with a posting date of February 1. The day we were scheduled to close. Cutting it just a bit too close for my taste. So I called the Chase branch in Marysville itself, where I knew I could talk to someone who knew me and wasn't speaking from scripted answers and whose primary language was English. Donna said these transfers generally posted overnight and would probably be in the new account the next day, but she couldn't guarantee it. So she looked for Chase branch closest to me. Douglasville, Georgia.

On Friday the 29th, Phoebe and I drove to Douglasville, Georgia -- a suburb of Atlanta -- and got a cashier's check for the down payment and our portion of the closing costs. It's a relatively short drive, about 90 minutes each way, all interstate. The Chase branch was literally two blocks off the highway. I went in, got the check, hit the McDonald's drive through for lunch and drove home. If I'd had [livejournal.com profile] explodingalice's phone number, I could have met her for lunch. Next time, I will. Of course, I don't expect there will be a next time exactly like this time, but sooner or later I'll be in Atlanta again. (Stitches South is in April. I'm just sayin'....)

Anyway, closing the following Monday went without a hitch. The movers arrived with our stuff on Tuesday the 2nd. We spent our first night in the house that night, and have been unpacking ever since.

We bought a ginormous plasma TV and a new washer and dryer; they'll be delivered this coming Wednesday the 17th. We bought a new dining room suite: table, six chairs, china hutch/buffet, serving table; they should be delivered in about two weeks. We bought a couple of rugs: one for the living room, one for the dining room; we've chosen paint colors for those two rooms; we've discovered all the windows have been painted shut; we've also discovered a tremendous stench in one of the heating vents that needs investigating -- probably a dead rodent; it's been either raining or snowing ever since we got here, and we've had to make use of the sump pump in the basement. (Spouse isn't too pleased about that.)

Our project list grows with each passing day: add insulation; replace the ancient furnace; replace all the windows with dual pane energy efficient units; strip every wooden surface of its gazillion layers of paint so it can be sanded and repainted correctly; repair some of the plaster walls and repaint every room in the house; fix the doorbell; fix the outside lights; find out if the nifty old-fashioned lamppost on the walk in front of the house actually works, and if not, how to make it work; repair/replace the sagging brick patio in front of the house; buy/build a gazebo or portico for the backyard patio; move the two giant camellias from the sunny western side of the house to the shaded eastern side or the shaded portion of the southern-facing back yard; and on and on and on....

We couldn't be happier.
avanta7: (Coffee)
I've puttered around the house all morning, getting tiny things accomplished. The cobwebs have been swept off the windows and walls in our little courtyard. The herb garden and flowers out there are watered. One load of laundry is washed. And the menu for the week is done.

It's this last accomplishment that's prompted me to realize I must prepare myself to be seen in public. I need some food items from the grocery store -- chili paste, cucumbers, onion, COFFEE!! -- and I'm nearly out of laundry supplies. My car needs its gas tank filled. I should also exchange our movies at the video store.

I told [livejournal.com profile] markgharris the other day that one of the best things about my new house is its distance from town. Virtually no light pollution allows the ageless night sky to gleam and glow and fascinate for hours.

Unfortunately, the distance is one of the worst things too. Any trip to town for errands must be carefully plotted to take maximum advantage. It's not like I can just run down to the corner store anymore if I forget to pick up milk.

I could procrastinate. After all, there's plenty more to do at home, like mopping the floors, or vacuuming, or dusting, or putting down more shelf liner (yes, I've been in this house more than four months and have yet to finish laying shelf liner). I could even hose the dust and dirt off the driveway and patio, or take aim at the wasp-nests-under-construction with the jet nozzle. It's a sad state of affairs, isn't it, to have become a woman would rather stay home and destroy wasp nests than go to town on weekends.

But procrastination won't get dinner on the table for a spouse who told me before he left for work this morning that he was planning on being very hungry when he got home.

*sigh*

Time to pretend I'm a responsible adult. Damn.

Tidbits

Jun. 30th, 2007 08:49 pm
avanta7: (Gargoyle)
Late goings-on in avantaland:

  • The landscapers finished the backyard this week. Pictures coming soon.
  • Phoebe is getting better about letting me cut her nails. Much less squealing and whimpering this month.
  • I finished Bleak House! Finally!
  • I also finished watching Birth of a Nation. That took some perseverance.
  • Pre-service training for foster/adopt proceeds apace. However, we missed CPR training last week due to insufficient information about where the class was to be held. Luckily, another session is scheduled in two weeks. We have two more pre-service classes, the CPR class and a first-aid class, and then we'll be certified. I don't know if we'll get our kiddies before school starts, but I certainly hope so.

    And finally, in the "I'll never do that again" category:

  • A few days ago, I ate an entire bag of dried apricots in one sitting. Tasty and delicious as they were, this was not a good idea. Suffice to say, spouse had to put extra layers between himself and me when we went to bed that night. He considered sleeping in the other room. Oy.
avanta7: (PinkWall)
The question is: "When does one's grass become a weed?"

I've spent the morning pulling runners from the sod the builder used in the front yard out of the flowerbeds. While I'm grateful for the squishy, healthy grass we enjoy so much, I wish someone had thought to put down edging between the grass and the beds. If I'm not diligent, the lawn will stage a coup attempt on the foundation plantings. Maybe spouse and I can install a barricade -- in other words, retro-fit edging into place without making the front of the house an unsightly mess. Maybe. I'll discuss it with him later.

In other gardening news, I exercised restraint at the nursery yesterday and only bought $40 worth of plants. Some of them are houseplants (be afraid!) and will go in the master bath. Dill and cilantro were purchased to complete our herb garden. And the rest of the flowering pretties are destined for the base of the trees in the yard, although now that I've been up close and personal with the creeping lawn, I may let that idea go and get new pots for these annuals. Additions to the patio garden to keep the herbs company! Of course, that involves yet another trip to the nursery. Oh. Darn. *grin*

I almost bought petunias, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] antof9's recent post. But I was exercising restraint, remember? If I go back today or tomorrow, petunias will definitely come home with me.

I can hardly wait for the backyard to be landscaped. (*note to self: find out how much longer it will be!*) It will be a bare bones job, I'm sure, just like the front. But I have all sorts of ideas for additional plantings around the fences, and for making color spots, and a butterfly garden, and maybe a hummingbird garden....Gardenias, camellias, peonies, delphiniums and hollyhocks, snapdragons and zinnias, hostas and salvia, and so on and so on....*dream*

The front of the house faces due west, which means it's now much too warm with too much direct sunlight for me to continue working. Even with heavy-duty sunscreen I can feel my skin starting to burn. The perils of 100% Northern European heritage. I can get out there again in early evening, though, to finish any spots I may have missed. And the courtyard has enough shade right now that I can pot the houseplants and get them ready for their new home. After lunch, I think, and probably after a nap. It's is Sunday, after all.

It figures

Jul. 22nd, 2006 12:17 pm
avanta7: (Audrey)
Today's plan: laundry.

I changed the sheets on the bed, sorted the clothes, towels, etc., and started my first load. Some time later, while happily contemplating some quality reading time, I heard an odd whirring sound.

It's the washer.

The drum is not spinning and the odor of burnt rubber fills the laundry room. I took out the wet laundry and put it in the basket. Spouse took the front cover off the machine and tilted it back.

Somehow, the guides that hold the belt have gotten whacked out of position, and the belt no longer fits tightly enough to spin the drum. Plus, it leaks.

Damn.

Now we have to rent a truck to take it to Sacramento and have it fixed. We'll take the refrigerator as well, since the compressor is going out and the freezer part doesn't freeze.

Well. The good thing is: when we bought them from the used appliance place last year, we got a 100% guarantee. If the appliances EVER fail, we can get them fixed for free, as long as we haul them there and back. I don't know about you, but renting a pickup for a trip to Sacramento and back is far more cost-effective than paying a repairman to come to the house. Have you priced refrigerator compressors? Eek.

The bad thing is: I have wet laundry. With soap still in it. Must make a trip to a laundrymat and soon.
avanta7: (PinkWall)
The bedroom set was delivered yesterday evening. That's the good news. The bad news is the dresser is severely damaged and must be replaced. It looks like the box was rammed with a forklift, causing a huge crack in one end of the dresser. We've contacted the seller and he's going to arrange replacement but, since this is a special order for him, it may be several weeks before he gets another dresser for us. *pout*

Other than that, the furniture is beautiful and smells of new varnish. Spouse and I may buy our mattress set this weekend so we can put it to use. *waggles eyebrows* We've also been talking decor, and we've pretty much decided such traditional furniture should be offset with sleek modern bedside lamps and abstract art, perhaps even a metal wall sculpture, above the headboard. It will be a while before everything is acquired. I'll post pics eventually.

The process of unpacking and setting up the furniture scattered teensy bits of styrofoam all over the carpet and subsequently revealed our vacuum cleaner is worthless -- something I've suspected for quite some time now. The $600 we saved on the bedroom furniture will be applied to the purchase of a Dyson vacuum. Eventually. Once the IRS gives me my money back!!!!
avanta7: (Default)


This wisteria vine grows in an ancient chokecherry tree next to my driveway. It smells heavenly, and drops petals all over my car.


More of the vine grows into the shrubbery and trash trees which divide our driveway from the vacant lot next door.


I've always called this a wood bee. They're huge, like bumblebees. I love these bees: they seem so harmless as they meander from flower to flower, bush to bush, gathering nectar and spreading pollen. They wander as they fly, never taking a direct path to anywhere, but always finding the sweetest-scented flower at the end of their flight.
avanta7: (Default)
What in blazes is going on in this neighborhood?

The other day I noticed our photinia hedge had been spray painted with a blue squiggly stripe. And some odd symbols in the same blue paint also appeared on the large elm (?) in front of the house next door.

Late last night (well, late to me -- it was right at nine o'clock) someone threw something against the front of the house. THWACK! Spouse hopped off the couch and looked outside, but whoever did it was nowhere in sight. He grabbed the flashlight to check things out. On the siding near the front window was an orange syrupy substance. We decided someone had thrown a popsicle. (?) Judging from the angle and the force with which it hit, whoever threw it must have have been on or at the bottom of the porch steps.

I called the landlord and told him what was going on. Oh, says he, sounds like gangs might be expanding their territory. He suggested I call the neighborhood alert center in the morning.

Joy. That it might be gangs had never even entered my mind. And they're armed with popsicles, apparently.

I went to the neighborhood alert center in person this afternoon. I wanted to talk to the officers face to face. I didn't want to get blown off like when I reported the Barbie dolls. (BTW, I reported the Barbie doll thing again while I was there.) Officer Friendly takes my name and address and number and says he'll refer it to the gang unit. If their budget hasn't been cut (!), they'll be out sometime this week to look at the symbols.

Back home, I grabbed the camera and took a few shots of the tree. I'll take the photos to Officer Friendly tomorrow. Budget cuts, my Aunt Fanny. Budget cuts be damned. I don't want gangs on my block. I don't want to move!
avanta7: (PinkWall)
I did as little as possible today.

Oh, I had grand plans: take the ornaments off the Christmas tree and put away the mantel decorations; change the sheets; do the laundry; clean the bathrooms. But no. I had an attack of the lazies. I suspect I'm catching up on all those days spouse was home with me and I had no time to myself. So instead of working, I read, played on the internet, read some more, made my reservations for the convention, took the dog for a walk or two. It's been cold and damp outside all day, and I kept the thermostat down pretty low in the house as well but turned the gas fire on. No energy savings here! Oh well.

About 4:30 I finally showered and got dressed because I had to go to the grocery store for a few things. And now a pot of chicken is stewing for chicken and dumplings. Garlic bread sticks and a salad will complete the dinner menu, although spouse won't be home until well after 8 and I'll probably end up eating by myself.

I finished book #3 for 2005. Time to pick up book #4. I've got about an hour before the chicken is done stewing.
avanta7: (pong)
Can't Go Home Again Meme

1. Go To Mapquest.com
2. Click on Directions
3. Enter your current address and the address of your childhood home (or at least the town if you don't remember the exact address)
4. Put the time and distance in a post like this.

Total Est. Time: 27 hours, 45 minutes Total Est. Distance: 1791.95 miles
avanta7: (Default)
...and that's all I have to say on the subject.

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