Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Casa de Lamer

When Eric and I were planning our move to Portland we agreed that I would find a place to live and Eric would work on our business plans.  After a month or two of casually looking we were down to the three week mark and no house in sight.  We have three pets and although Portland is extremely pet friendly, homeowners and property management companies charge a fortune in deposits for pets.  We found a townhouse we really liked but when I added up the cost of deposits and first month's rent being just over $4,000 I had to keep looking.

We ended up choosing this house because the landlord didn't charge us any pet deposits and there is a secure fenced in backyard.

And that's how we ended up in the basement apartment of a house built in the 50's with weird white tiles and an exposed water heater in the hallway.  Oh, and 1980's cafeteria linoleum in the bedrooms.

We do have a neighbor upstairs but her apartment is completely separate from ours.  The deal with this place is that we get to use the backyard (our doors open up to it) and she parks in the driveway.  We have plenty of parking on the street and it's a quiet residential neighborhood so we aren't worried about security. 

Take a gander:

The entrance into our house.  The green deck above our doors is an atrium off the living room upstairs.  

The view from the entrance.  You can see all the way back to the kitchen.  We managed to fit both the couch and the love seat in here without it looking cramped and weird.

To the right just as you step in from the French doors.  Eric hung our t.v. on an arm so it can be moved back to hang flush with the wall.  Also notice our wood stove.  We've attempted two fires but we're pretty sure there is supposed to be a fan with this stove because if you close the doors the fire goes out almost immediately.  Leaving the doors open fills the house with smoke and an irrational fear of carbon monoxide poisoning for me.  If you have any tips for us on the wood stove let us know!

To the left of the wood stove.

This red bookcase covers the storage space under the stairs leading to the first floor (that we have no access to).  We managed to get all of our camping gear and holiday trimmings under there.  Considering we were anticipating approximately zero storage space we were glad we had this weird spot to shove things and a bookcase to cover it all up.
The hallway to the bedrooms is to the right.

The dining area.  The huge cut-outs in the walls here make the living space really nice.  I think it makes it feel a lot larger than it is.  Also, that counter space above is tiled with bright multicolored patterns which are right up my alley because that match NOTHING.  

Hallway to the kitchen. Ikea makes these amazing square pieces of carpet in a bunch of colors so it was easy to grab only what we needed instead of worrying about buying an entire rug.  They were $9 a piece too!  Of course I picked bright green because that's my default color and Eric rarely objects.  I think he's always initially concerned about my constant choice of a screamer but this space needed some perking up.  These were perfect.

The kitchen window.  This makes up for having only two cupboards and a stainless steel restaurant supply shelf for storage space.  I love this window!

These are the only cupboards in the kitchen and I love the glass.  

We're working with an old school oven here, check out the buttons that control the eyes on the stove.  This thing works great by the way!  I thought I'd miss my fancy gas range but I've cooked several times here and everything works great.  *knock on wood*

I had a pretty large kitchen in our house in Fresno so I did more downsizing in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house.  When I was packing the kitchen if I hadn't used it in a year it had to go.  I gave away a dozen pots and pans, casserole dishes, glasses, and a huge box of Tupperware.  Almost three weeks later I haven't missed a thing I got rid of.  I know this might drive some people crazy, but I love having everything out in the open like this.  It keeps the clutter down and I only have out what I use regularly. 

The view from the kitchen.  Perfection.

We've got a big window but the bottom half of the room is below grade.
It stays super chilly in this room and we've slept great.  It's not nearly as big as our old bedroom but all of our furniture fit (king sized bed here) and we can still move around.

Still some have some decorating to do, but you get the general idea.  

The bathroom.  What can I say?  It's tiny and we spend as little time in here as possible.  The bright side is that we get great water pressure, there's plenty of natural light and good ventilation, and eventually these tiles I was crazy about at first eventually stop looking scary.  

Get a load of those.  Odd, no?

There is a gas water heater that is exposed in the hallway.  I found this screen in the garage and our landlord generously let us borrow it so we could cover it up.  Thank goodness.

The office.  The next project is finding a rug for this room.  The linoleum is awful and it's dang cold.  

My desk.  Knickknack Central to be sure but I have all my favorite books here and some of my grandfather's books that were on his coffee table when I was growing up.  All of the art hanging has a fun story to go with it and I like a hodge podge look when it comes to collections.  
Also note the cozy dog bed to the right.  Ridiculous.  

Eric playing Batman.

We've come to love this space in spite of how small it is compared to where we came from.  We're grateful everything fit and we've had fun sprucing it up.  We've definitely got work to do because eventually it would be nice to go barefoot again (I have slippers all over the house) but we're making it work and we're happy to be here.  Stay tuned for pics of the backyard.  The landlord is leveling the yard today and planting more grass.  I'll post pics soon!  Thanks for swinging by friends!  Can't wait to have you up and show you around.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Pilgrimage to Portland

Here's a few updates about what we've been up to since we arrived in our fair city.  I've tried to limit the gratuitous food shots to a few hundred...so bear with me.  We'll get through this together.

1.  The drive up was fantastic.  Lots of gorgeous scenery, two pets who took the trip in stride (Murphy I am NOT talking to you!) and our very first client acquisition.  All in all it was seamless, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 15 minutes of sheer panic I experienced when I realized I'd almost run out of gas on a mountain pass with the nearest gas station a few miles away.  Thank goodness for good cell phone signals and husbands who can keep crazy wives calm.  I slid into the glory that was a Shell station on fumes and took a picture of this Drama Queen while I filled my tank.  Murphy, you're fired.  I also vowed to pay more attention to that pesky little gas gauge.

The one where he squishes 30 pounds of cat into approximately six square inches of litter box and refuses to move for 13 hours.  He gets this dramatic flare from his father to be sure.  

The only photo of scenery I managed to take on the drive up...but she's a beaut ain't she?  I had a lump in my throat when I came over hill and saw these misty mountains.  It reminded me of drives through the Blue Ridge mountains growing up and I got a little misty myself. 

2.  Eric stopped in Northern California to dazzle a potential client with his vast knowledge of medical gas systems and naturally, he won them over.  He was back to said facility a few days later and wrapped up our first official job.  Thank goodness because at the rate I'm spending money on pizza and beer these clients can't come quick enough.

3.  Unpacking our truck from California was...Crazytown.  I was never so grateful for Eric's OCD as I was on this day.  Our moving truck was delivered the day after we arrived and parked on the street and on a hill causing our wall of boxes to collapse under our furniture.  Wheeeeeeee!  Eric had that nonsense unpacked in four hours and we were playing Tetris with our furniture that evening.  We had a 15 minute window of sunshine today and I managed to get some pictures of the new place so stay tuned.

4.  The house we landed in is working out great.  I think Eric was questioning my instincts the first night we arrived but all is finally well.  Our neighbor upstairs is moving in next week and all I can say about her is that she's a therapist, energy worker, and uses Native American traditions in her practice.  When she came down to introduce herself she wanted to make sure the drumming she does with her clients wouldn't bother us. I asked her if my curling up on the front porch to get some secondhand therapy would bother her.  You all know I love myself some therapy and some New Age techniques so in a word, she's perfect.

5.  The pets are settling in as well.  Wicket is her usual charming self and upon moving in only requested a few pillows strategically placed on our cold tiles to keep her bum warm.  She spends her days curled up in various spots throughout the house napping and avoiding the cats.  Murphy and Tucker are as adjusting nicely and spend approximately 23 hours a day sleeping on our bed...so nothing new there.  We've only had one incident so far where I considered dropping Tucker off down by the river.  He refused to come in one night and thought it would be fun to crawl under our fence into the neighbor's yard.  Since he's too dumb to find his way home I was forced to fetch him at 11 pm in my robe and Uggs.  Neighbors, you're welcome.  We'll try to manage that situation better in the future and I promise to wear pants next time.

Murphy, Tucker, and Strange Cat.  Strange Cat showed up a few days after we moved in and his favorite past times include sitting on the other side of the French doors and wailing loudly for MurphTuck to come play.  He seems affable enough but Eric's concern about Strange Cat possessing feline AIDS is keeping my strapping young boys from being able to join in the fun.  Basically this means the first day Eric's out getting clients for the day I'm kicking these two fatties into the yard to make a friend.  Let Strange Cat deal with their shenanigans for an afternoon I say!

The first day we were unpacking the truck my friend Rachel brought us lunch.  No less than three varieties of gourmet mac and cheese at that.  We love her and will be asking her to join our hand in marriage when next we meet.  There was a delicious mix of cheeseburger, chicken cordon bleu, and an over-the-top-to-die-for parmesan concoction to choose from.  Bliss.  Pure bliss.  

The aforementioned pizza and beer.  *angels singing*

A groovy sidewalk we found exploring the Hawthorne District.  This town is full of funky surprises like this.  There is art and inspiration every where you look 'round these parts.

My southern soul never fails to sniff out pork and my radar didn't fail us when we were at the Saturday Market in downtown Portland last weekend.  This family's sweet tea was like nectar from the gods.  Cajun fries!  And a pulled pork sandwich!   Eric had a gyro for desert but I failed to take pictures as I was too busy snatching it out of his hand to get a bite myself.  We listened to some live music, bought some groovy art from a local artist and had a fantastic time.  Next weekend's mission is to find the Farmer's Market.

Tree lined streets every where and misty ran falls almost all the time.

Our landlord owns a bakery here in Portland so when we pay rent we get a free cupcake!  This month's pick was the "Gorilla Cake" which was made of banana bread, peanut butter frosting, and chocolate frosting on top.  We agreed it was the best cupcake we'd ever had and that it might be safer to mail our check from now on because this could get out of hand.

Lest you all think all we've done is eat since we got here (you wouldn't be wrong...exactly) I'll be posting pictures of our house soon.  It's taken us a little longer than usual to get settled because we lost about 700 square feet with this move but we're all squared up now and I can't wait to show you where we spend our days.  See you soon!!!!

***My font went rogue on me halfway through this post and I can't figure out what happened.  At least it was quadrupled in size making it easy to read.  Kind of like a picture book for a five year old.  Thanks for bearing with  me.