The “A” Word

Seriously, people of the past, popcorn ceilings? Some things I can understand, like shag carpeting. It’s not my thing, but I can at least imagine why it was popular at some point. Popcorn ceilings? Appearance aside, after two months, they’re already collecting cobwebs and dust and are horrible to clean, let alone 20 years. And it’s just adding insult to injury that they often contain asbestos. Ugh. Continue reading “The “A” Word”

Hot Tub!

Along with the house (and the yard, and the dilapidated garage, and…) we recently became hot tub owners. Woohoo!

Being newbies in that department, we turned to the best resource for learning new things quickly: YouTube.

Tool Dude Tony told us everything we needed to know! For serious, it’s actually a really helpful video. We wound up getting this pump, which made quick work of emptying the tub, and Dina scrubbed at it for quite a while.

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In addition to the tub itself, the filters needed some attention. Believe me, they did not start this color:

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And in the end, it was looking really good.

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On our way to pick up supplies for another project (asbestos removal, a tale for another post), we stopped in at a pool store in SoDo, and in less than 5 minutes, got the low down on hot tub chemicals. We aren’t experts, but we probably won’t die from bacterial infection either.

We are heading out of town for a bit on our honeymoon tomorrow, and managed to sneak in a soak before our trip – it was glorious!

A productive first weekend

As we rounded out our first week as homeowners, we ticked a few things off the list.

We made our first run to the dump in the truck (working name: Squeaky), carting off all the carpets we pulled up. (For those wondering, much of it was soaked through with water or worse, so it was not salvageable. We did keep the nicest section around for who knows what.)

We also got the very large, very heavy woodburning stove insert out of the fireplace, with the help of a couple of friends – thanks Jared & Carlos!

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We took a very important picnic break on Saturday, as well, enjoying the first of many meals underneath the apple tree in the sun-dappled backyard.

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We finished pulling up the carpet tack strips and removing all the staples that held down the pads. Work in the three rooms (living room, dining room, and one bedroom) went pretty quickly, all things considered, and all that’s left to prepare for sanding the floors is to pry off the quarter-round molding in a couple of the rooms. It’s painted on (as well as nailed), so I’m sure it’ll be a little tricky, but hopefully not too bad.

Lastly, we pulled out a built-in shelf in the hallway on the main floor. It was installed with a little bit of everything – screws, nails, paint, glue, and I don’t know what else – so many tools were used, and we managed to only pull a little plaster off the wall.

A voyage of discovery

We received keys to the new house late Monday, and got in there first thing Tuesday morning, or so we thought. We actually arrive about 2 hours after the cleaning crew that our wonderful realtor had hired on our behalf. They were well into things, and had a loooong way to go. Have we mentioned that this house needs some love?

After a marathon performance by the cleaners, Dina & I returned and put in some very rewarding work pulling up carpets. We knew there were hardwoods underneath, but it didn’t make the reveal any less fun. Before:

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And after:

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Pretty good! We now have a whole lot of carpet tack strips and staples to pull up, but it’s satisfying and goes pretty quick. Our weapon of choice for the tack strips:

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And a needle-nosed pliers works perfectly for the staples. One room down, three and a half (hallway) more to go!

Opening & Closing

Today is when we officially become homeowners! After just a little last-minute scrambling, we got a cashier’s check to the escrow and title company on Friday, and signed a giant stack of paperwork on Saturday. We’re told it’ll all get filed at the courthouse today. We’ll get the keys tonight and start pulling up carpets tomorrow!

We also took a trip on Saturday to get the truck’s emissions tested (a prerequisite to registration in King County). Given its propensity to spew a nice puff of smoke whenever it starts up, we were dubious, and the cheerful gentleman running the test station gave us absolutely no hints about the outcome until he handed us a piece of paper: pass!

The only other concern about the truck is the near constant squeaking that I think I’ve identified as the bearings in the air/smog pump. A new part is on its way, and hopefully we’ll be in business.

In the beginning…

Well, let’s start somewhere in the middle, actually.

Seattle, at the moment, is experiencing what I believe is officially termed “real estate madness” – housings selling for 20% over the asking price, asking prices that seem astronomical to begin with, cash offers, no inspection or financing contingencies, and so on. We absolutely count ourselves lucky that we had our fourth offer accepted. Some friends last year put in 10 offers (!) before landing a home.

(We are, of course, privileged and fortunate to be in a position to buy a house in the first place – not something to take for granted by any means.)

So after a couple months of “grazing” the listings on Redfin, and a few more months of concerted hunting, we put in an offer on quite a fixer upper in the Phinney/Greenwood area of Seattle. The pictures from the listing (below) don’t quite capture the state of affairs. Our real estate agent (Georgia Selfridge, who we would unconditionally recommend, by the way), coined the term “ugly but sturdy” for our search. We know the first half is true of our new place, and we really hope the second is, too!

We get the keys next week, and the fun begins in earnest.