This photo is both not exciting at all and one of the most exciting photos I’ve taken in months.

The corner of a room with bare walls.

This is our basement without the carpet pulled back, carpet pad removed, and large chunks of wall cut away to expose the concrete foundation wall that was leaking and soaking the floor in that corner of our basement.

Instead, this is our basement with the leak repaired, the walls patched, mudded, sanded, textured, and painted, and the carpet pad replaced and carpet re-laid down and put into place.

  • In late January, we discovered the wet patch of carpet in the basement corner.
  • In early February, we frantically moved everything out of this room so that the first round of contractors could start looking at the issue to figure out what needed to be done; everything that was in this room got piled into the other half of the basement. With the piles of stuff everywhere making the dry half of the basement unusable, and with our own desire to isolate the part of the house that would have people coming in and out of it in the midst of a pandemic and at a time when vaccines were just starting to become available to the most needy, at this point we declared our basement off limits, and resigned ourselves to only having 2/3 of our living space available to us. Prairie moved her workspace up into the living room.
  • Because this was an external problem affecting the interior, the bulk of the repairs were handled by the property management company through our HOA. While our HOA is generally pretty good and doesn’t lend itself to the horror stories I’ve heard from other HOAs, the simple fact of having extra administrative levels (us ↔︎ HOA ↔︎ property management ↔︎ contractors) meant that through February, March, and April, we had short periods of things actually happening, and long periods of anger and frustration as we waited to hear back from the property management company about when the next step would happen.
  • In late April, when the exterior work was done, we finally decided that we were tired of the back-and-forth, and told the HOA we’d handle the rest. Two weeks later, we’re finally done with the reconstruction work. It’s amazing how much faster things go without those extra steps in the middle!
  • Now, we take the next week to re-assemble the room (on a much more relaxed time scale than the frantic, one day “throw everything in boxes and stack them wherever we can” process of disassembling the room) and move Prairie out of the living room and back into her office space, and by sometime this weekend, we’ll finally have a fully useable home again, without us constantly tripping over each other or the workarounds we’ve had in place to make the living room workable as a temporary office for her.

If you’re ever tempted, I do not recommend chopping out 1/3 of your living space for three months in the midst of a pandemic when you’re not leaving the house. Just so’s you know.

Since today (finally) starts the reconstruction work on our basement, and we have some sheetrock to be replaced, I picked up a silly little plastic skeleton to entomb behind the wall, and added a little (empty) wine bottle with a label I printed.

Who knows how many years it will be before it’s uncovered, and I hope it gives whoever finds it a laugh.

Small skeleton in wall gap

Small skeleton in wall gap

Small skeleton in wall gap

Alligator House Amontillado

Sometime between May 28th and June 15th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?: No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language.
  • PureText: Have you ever copied some text from a web page, a word document, help, etc., and wanted to paste it as simple text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source? PureText makes this simple.
  • Let’s Be Real: Americans Are Walking Around With Dirty Anuses: “I find it rather baffling that millions of people are walking around with dirty anuses while thinking they are clean. Toilet paper moves shit, but it doesn’t remove it. You wouldn’t shower with a dry towel; why do you think that dry toilet paper cleans you?”
  • The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America: All in all, historians and residents say, Oregon has never been particularly welcoming to minorities. Perhaps that’s why there have never been very many. Portland is the whitest big city in America, with a population that is 72.2 percent white and only 6.3 percent African American.
  • No more ‘product of its time,’ please:I don’t think that we should hide texts with troubling elements. They are part of the literary canon and they have influenced us, for both good and ill. We should definitely be reading them, and we should also be talking about them. A lot.

In happier news: first photos of the new apartment!

Living Room and Dining Room
Here’s what you see when you walk in the front door. Bookshelves along the rear wall, the deck (which has become our favorite spot for breakfast and dinner, thanks to the patio furniture that Prairie’s dad gifted us with), our new couch and chair (brand-new furniture, right from a furniture store — we’re really turning into adults, aren’t we?), the fireplace, entertainment center, and dining room.

Living Room
Another view of the living room, this time from the door to the deck. The three bookshelves on the right will gain a fourth as soon as we can add one, every shelf on those is double-stacked with books.

My Office
My office. In the last apartment, my office doubled as the guest room, but now it’s primarily just my office, only acting as a secondary guest room when we have enough guests to need it.

Prairie's Office
That’s because with a three-bedroom apartment, Prairie now gets an office of her own, instead of having to camp out in a corner of the living room, and her office is now the main guest room. It’s also very girly and pink, which is just the way she wanted it!

There’s also two bathrooms — but those are bathrooms, and not terribly exciting to take pictures of — and our bedroom, which we don’t feel needs to be broadcast to the world. That’s our room, after all. ;)

We’re really enjoying this apartment. Lots of space, not nearly as cramped, and as we specified wanting a corner or end unit, we’ve got enough windows to get a good breeze keeping the place cool at all times. Since we’re on the third floor, the trees outside keep things nice and private, so we don’t have to worry about people peeking in the windows at us (a pretty common occurrence at our last complex). The deck looks over a small playground, so there’s almost always kids playing out back.

Joke all you want about living in Kent — and I’ve already heard more than a few cracks from Seattleites who don’t get why we’d want to be in the suburbs — but so far, we’re liking it a lot.