Monthly Archives: August 2014

House Update

As we have now lived in our house for quite some time, we have made considerable progress in unpacking, settling in, and slowly making the necessary renovations.

Who said there's no grass in Arizona?!?!

Who said there’s no grass in Arizona?!?!

Our first house purchase was a grill. We bought it and put it together on the day we moved in. Priorities, people.

After some un-assembling, it did fit in the back of the Focus.

After some un-assembling, it did fit in the back of the Focus.

And we put it together as soon as we got home (I don't remember if we grilled out that night or not, but my guess is that we did.)

And we put it together as soon as we got home (I don’t remember if we grilled out that night or not, but my guess is that we did.)

We unpacked faster than I think we ever have. I guess that’s what having all your possessions in boxes for 10 months will do to you. Within a few weeks we had every box unpacked. Not that everything had found it’s final home, of course. I am a perpetual reorganizer. Nothing is ever in it’s final home. And we put the boxes on craigslist and they disappeared in a few days and, for the first time in my life, I do not have a stash of moving boxes just-in-case. And I am not sad about that one bit.

Moving is Fun!!!

Moving is Fun!!!

Nate’s sisters came down in May to help us and we managed to get quite a lot accomplished while they were here. One lie they tell you about living in the desert is that you do not have to mow. Which is not a lie, per se, but it is certainly a mischaracterization that your yard work will diminish significantly. It does not. And our yard was in need of some serious help. They very patiently spent hours moving rocks, pulling grass, laying landscaping fabric, and moving rocks back in an attempt to turn our front yard from jungle to presentable.

After HOURS of hard work.

After HOURS of hard work.

 

Sibling packaging saber wars - always fun :)

Sibling packaging saber wars – always fun ­čÖé

We also bought and assembled patio furniture (another one of our favorite places to hang out) and built a compost bin. A very sturdy compost bin, but one with many advantages over the last one we built – practice does make perfect (or at least better – I’ll get there some day).

One day I will do a tutorial about all the things I have learned about how (not) to build a compost bin.

One day I will do a tutorial about all the things I have learned about how (not) to build a compost bin.

The most important thing they did was to discover a leak in our plumbing. The water pipe going to the guest house had sprung a leak in a corner of the yard that we never go to. Who knows how long it had been there, or how long it would have been before we discovered it, especially since we didn’t have a base water bill to compare to.

Nate <3's Digging!

Nate <3’s Digging!

After driving them to the airport, we started a weeks-long (at least that’s how it felt) project of trying to dig up the water line. Ground in Arizona is like concrete. Seriously. Nate came home from work one evening to find me sweaty and exhausted in the back yard and asked me if I had a nice┬árun No. I had been digging for at least an hour, but you couldn’t tell because I only made the trench about an inch-and-a-half longer. After several plumbers came out and informed us that they couldn’t tie into the current pipe, we hired one to replace the entire supply plumbing from the street to the house and the guest house. Which took longer than expected (of course) and we spent quite a while turning the water on and off every morning to shower and evening to brush our teeth. Adventures.

The total of our week of digging efforts. The pros brought in heavy equipment and knocked out the rest in half a day. Whomp whomp.

The total of our week of digging efforts. The pros brought in heavy equipment and knocked out the rest in half a day. Whomp whomp.

With that having taken a significant bite out of our time and our bank account, we laid low for a while. And by laid low, I mean… Hi, have you met me? I don’t know what “laying low” means.

We bought an orange tree, named her Sunshine, and took family pictures. We also have a pet aloe plant named Simon. We are all doing well.

We bought an orange tree, named her Sunshine, and took family pictures. We also have a pet aloe plant named Simon. We are all doing well.

Status Report: August 2014

One year three┬ámonths and twenty-some days after my last actual life update, life is so very much different from what it was. I got a job, for one thing. A real, live, full-time, every day (sometimes drudgery) job. Not in architecture. But let’s not dwell on that. Nate is still loving his job, which is fantastic and I’m always so glad that he loves his work since we’re not entirely sold on Tucson otherwise. He spent nine months doing the full-time work/part-time school thing, and will be doing that for 2 more years. It’s not easy but we make it work.

One of my favorite spots.

One of my favorite spots.

The house has been amazing and terrible and fun and awful and expensive and expensive and expensive. We knew it had been neglected for some time, but had no idea that it would take us so long to wrap our head around everything that needed to be done. Nate’s sisters came down to help us one weekend shortly after we moved in, and one asked how long I thought it would take to get settled in. “Five to seven years,” I semi-joked. No. Really. Five to seven years. In our first year we felt like we were working on the house non-stop, except we actually really weren’t and we got so little done. But that’s OK! We go back and forth between hating and loving it, but I spend more time on the “loving it” side – loving the backyard and the patio and the clothesline across the ramada. Loving the gardens that we’ve put in all over and the compost (that refuses to compost, due to the dry, dry heat) and the front porch swing and the neighborhood. We do love the neighborhood. And the cove ceilings and the fireplace (that we use very infrequently) and the nook in the hallway and the daylight in the bedrooms and the family room and the kitchen. Except for the middle of the summer when I also dislike the daylight in the bedrooms and the family room and the kitchen.

Sun tea brewing in the back yard.

Sun tea brewing in the back yard.

I ride my bicycle to work almost every day. It’s a short ride straight through the university and, so far, I have ridden in 30┬║┬áweather and 100┬║ weather, in gorgeous blue skies and driving rain, in the still cool and the dusty wind. I love being able to get around by bicycle, and being a one-car family has not been nearly as challenging as we thought it might. Besides, I get built-in exercise twice a day. More if I have a meeting or a doctor’s appointment or something.

We have made friends. No one tells you that making grown-up friends is about 1000 times more difficult that making kid friends, even in college. Well, maybe they tell you but no one believes them. But we’ve done alright for ourselves and I am often surprised to find that I have more options of things to do in a weekend than I have time for. There are, of course, many times when we long for the tight knit group that we had in Cincinnati, and that we don’t yet have people we can call and say, “hey I’m coming to sit on your couch for 7 hours,” but we’re getting there.

At a Tucson friend's wedding this spring.

At a Tucson friend’s wedding this spring.

As crazy years go, I think this was a calmer one in relation to our recent history. But don’t ask me if that is the case on a day-to-day basis!