Sunday, August 31, 2008

As Promised

Okay, I didn't actually promise, but it's Sunday, I'm back online at home (the new home), and things are good. We have cable, too, so there will be some relaxing in front of the TV later.

Friday and Saturday we had landscapers over to put in a pathway around the backyard and to make some flower beds for the future garden. It looks awesome and I'll prove that to you with some pictures soon.

I finally got a haircit today and Julia likes it very much. My hair was so long I felt like I was in high school again.

Oh, I'm sleepy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Creative Space

My office is set up. My computer is set up, though not hooked up to the 'net. Comcast stopped by and told us they can set us up on Sunday, which is great news.

I may not end up with a TV in the office. I'm sure it surprises you not at all that I'm both okay and not okay with that. I mean, it'll help me to get more work done, but it'll be annoying when I want to take a couple minutes off to watch a show.

Last night Julia and I moved some furniture around in the living room and even managed to get the dining room set up. It looks good and very functional.

On the gaming and creative front, I've done some reading regarding Axe Initiative Games and I'm very interested in seeing where it goes. And also tempted to do some writing for them, but it's more likely that I'll spend my time on some personal writing, work, and ideas.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to post from home on Sunday. See you then.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hoses and Hoses

We have a number of nice, fairly mature (though newly purchased and planted) evergreens in our yard. Julia has been worried about them because you need to keep newly transplanted trees like this well-watered for a good year or two in order to ensure their survival. She is the plantmistress and she knows about such things. We've received some nice overnight (why isn't overday a word?) rains along with some intermittently rainy days lately, so we haven't needed to water them yet. That's a good thing because we didn't have any hoses. Last night the list of things we needed from the hardware store had grown to the point that we finally went to the local Lowe's and picked up four 75' soaker-hoses (hoses that leak water from their length and supply the "deep-soaking" I mentioned earlier), a sprinkler, some felt pads for the bottoms of chairs, tables, etc., and a new electrical plug for the dryer.

I hated to pick up the last item because I know somewhere we have an electrical plug for the dryer. But the piled up dirty laundry called, so we bought the thing anyway. Then I crawled behind the washer and dryer, installed the new plug, attached the the things that needed to be attached and fired them both up. Unfortunately, the nice, cool, hi-tech, metal hoses that "they" recommend you use to connect your water lines to your washer automatically blocked the water because of too much pressure. I like the idea of the safety-valve hoses, but in practice they completly suck. They've never worked correctly. So, I pulled the washer out and put the regular, old rubber hoses on and everything was good to go.

Isn't that damn exciting?

Why the hell did I even write about all that?

Well, at least I have clean clothes again.

I didn't make any progress on my office, but that's the plan for tonight; bookshelves, books, general organizing.

I bet you can't wait to hear about it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm still very tired from the move and my elbow hurts like a sonofagun, but the house is coming together. Julia's done the lion's share of the work and has managed to get the kitchen and living room into great shape really quickly. She's also made good progress on her studio and with bringing things in from the garage and finding places for them. I've been helping when I get home after work, but usually just with the heavy stuff or things she's too burned out to handle. Just last night I managed to get into my office and set up my desk, so now I can make some serious progress in there. I hope to get the nice bookshelves in there tonight.

We've both been carrying a lot of things upstairs when we go. We've sort of promised each other that we'll never go upstairs emptyhanded. It's a nice way to handle things because we're not spending concentrated time carrying things upstairs, so we get a lot done but don't get all sore and tired from it.

Julia called yesterday to get Comcast to hook us up for cable. The first person she talked to thought Renton was in the state of Seattle, then thought Washington was Washington D.C., but by the end of the conversation Julia'd managed to talk her into putting 'WA' as the state's abbreviation. Anyway, two people later we find out that while our neighbors all have cable, they aren't too sure if we do. Since the house is so new and the street is only recently named/renamed they have to send someone out to see if we're covered. That could take seven to ten days, but the woman was going to try and speed that up since we were already in the house. I hope things get resoved quickly, it sort of sucks to be out of the loop for that long.

I've been making good headway on reading Mutant City Blues. It's interesting to read Robin's games because he does such a good job of picking an aspect or two of a genre then tweaks it in such a way as to make it both like and unlike what you'd expect. In this case he tackled superpowers, but unlike most superpowered games, he's severely limited what powers a character can have and made them, be necessity, very predictable. Other supers games approach the subject in such a way as to give the players as much choice as possible, allowing for any combination of powers and abilities. Both ways work, but Robin's solution is great because it gives flavor to the world of MCB while at the same time making it possible to marry the police procedural to the superhero game. Good stuff.

Unrelated: I tried to post from an iGoogle gadget today, but had no luck. I'll continue to experiment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Word of the Day: Sore

I am sore. So very, very sore.

The brief recap is that Julia and I managed to get everything packed up and prepared for the big move this last weekend. Saturday morning at 8:30 I picked up a truck from the nearby Budget truck rental place (and not the West Seattle U-Haul, which sucks). Then it was back to the house where I spent quite a few minutes trying to back the 24' truck up to the driveway around a number of parked cars. Finally we started moving. "We" comprised me, Julia, her mom, her dad, her brother, Shana, Seth, Johnzo, Ethan, Hays, and later on, Dylan.

To put things simply; we own way too much stuff. We filled the 24' truck as well as four or five other cars, then had to make a second trip to the house after unloading. We finally made it home and unloaded the second load by about ten o'clock.

Then I was back up at 6:30 to take the truck to Julia's parents' house so we could get the stuff we packed into their garage in January. In this case "we" were me, Julia's dad, Julia's brother, her uncle Tim, and her cousin Chris. We unloaded everything by about 10:30, then took a break to relax, eat, and organize some of what we already had. At some point I realized we forgot a bunch of plants and outdoorsy stuff stored in Julia's parents' backyard, so I went back over and picked that up and brought it home. In the rain. I now know what 'soaking wet' means.

Anyway, except for the PS2 that Seth borrowed, all of our belongings are in our new house.

Julia and I have both decided to go through everything we own and pare down significantly. My gaming books are no longer safe. The same with my novels. And action figures. And if I can figure out what to do with them, my comics might not be safe either (but that's a big 'if', I just don't know if I can handle parting with them). Lots must go. It's all just too much. Literally.

So, now we're in the organizing phase of the move. We need to find some important pieces so we can move forward. The biggest thing on my mind is that I have to find the plug that used to be on the dryer and replace the one I had to put on it at the old house since the plug at the new house uses the other style of outlet. I have no clue where that plug is and I fear we may have tossed it when we were packing up in January. But I don't think we did. Once the plug is replaced we can start on some laundry.

Oh, the cats handled the move okay. They cried in transport, but once they were at the house they were more curious than anything. Maybe a bit overwhelmed, but they seem to like the carpet; makes it easy to tear around the house and actually have traction.

More soon. Oh, but no Internet at home yet. I'll let you know when that changes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

So It Ends. So It Begins.

As I left for work yesterday morning, Julia went to meet her mom at the new house to pick up the keys. Tonight is the last night in the old house and tomorrow we move into the new one.

How we got to this point is one for the record books.

We have our first loan. We don't yet have our second, but things are looking good and we know how we're going to go about everything no matter what the answer is from the bank we're talking to now. However, we were supposed to close on the house this past Wednesday, which clearly didn't happen. Because of that as well as the fact that we will be homeless as of Saturday, we asked the builder if we could take possession of the hosue before closing. We knew it was a longshot, but we asked. And he said, "Okay." I have no idea why, but it was great news and we're still marveling over it.

Julia's already been in the house and dropped some things off. I have a key to the place on my keyring. Tomorrow morning I pick up a truck and a crew of good, reliable, great appreciated friends are showing up to help move things out of one house and into the other. Thankfully the rains that came for a few days earlier this week aren't supposed to show up again tomorrow, but it's supposed to be in the 80s, which is kind of a bummer. Still, I prefer sunny to rainy when moving. Plus we'll be doing the worst part of it early in the day, so hopefully the heat won't be so bad.

After we move in Julia and I will have to deal with the loans and financing, but we're sure that's gonig to clear up without too many more headaches. Wish us luck.

The good news is we have the house, we're moving in, and things are looking up.

As for the other things going on in my life, all I can say is, what other things? Moving takes up a lot of damn time. Oh, but I have managed to finish The Lies of Locke Lamora and start Brust's Five Hundred Years After. Also, Seth picked up a copy of Robin Law's Mutant City Blues for me at GenCon, so I'm reading that, too. One of my favorite (though short-lived) Champions games that I ran cast the player characters as normal cops in a world of superbeings, so MCB is definitely my kind of game. Hopefully I'll get to play it at some point.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Things are not as black, desperate, and hopeless as they looked just a few days ago. Or yesterday, for that matter.

We still don't have the second mortgage, but we have some good leads and it looks like we may be able to get something lined up soon. At least that's the hope. We may even be able to close on time and actually move in next Saturday as planned.

This morning, Julia and I were over at the new house by 8:00 for orientation. Which means we walked through the house with someone from the builder's office and she told us about the house, it's amenities, it's potential quirks, what to do about them, and that sort of thing. We also looked for little imperfections and stickered them so they could be repaired before we take possession. (Again, hopefully.)

Julia and I are both pretty exhausted and ready to reach some sort of conclusion on this whole saga. Aside from packing, this has filled all of our waking (and sleepless) hours, which isn't as much fun as you'd think.

Oh, I lied. I was able to sneak out on Tuesday to play D&D. Johnzo ran a really well put-together encounter with a bunch of kobolds (what else would you fight at 1st level in 4th Edition D&D?). Despite the fact that my character missed almost everytime he attacked, it was still a lot of fun. Two or three of the other players' characters were dying at some point during the game, but we rallied and took out the little buggers, although one escaped across a bridge and cut it free from its moorings before we could get to it. It was a fun, relaxing evening. Apart from the bad die rolls, that is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Olympics of Frustration

Julia and I went to her parents' place Friday night to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I've never watched them before. I'm not a big Olympics guy, what can I say? I spent most of the night with my nose buried in the Noble Causes Archive Vol. 1. It was a birthday gift and I quite enjoyed it even though it was very heavy on the soap-opera aspect of super-heroes and very light on the super-powered battles. Even so, it was very good. I enjoy Jay Faerber's stuff.

The house is still the big issue right now. We still don't have the 2nd mortgage taken care of. We're working hard with a couple of different places to get this all lined up in the last week or so before we're supposed to close, but it's no end of frustrating.

And I totally feel like it's my fault because the reason the bank gives for not giving us giving us the loan is my emplyment record over the last year or two.

Awesome. I feel awesome.

Friday, August 08, 2008

May You Live In Interesting Times

The big news is not that I started my diet again on Monday.

Or that I'm adapting to it well, with no crazy headaches and such.

Or that Julia and I moved a bunch of things to her parents' place for storage.

Or that we've been talking with the people who bought our house so we can coordinate move-out/move-in with them.

Or that I have another batch of stuff almost ready to go up on ebay.

Or that it feels like I haven't gamed in forever!

No, the big news that's making our lives so exciting right now is that the bank, which had previously pre-approved us for a loan for 90% of the value of our home, has now come back in the two-and-a-half weeks before our move to tell us that they'll only do 78%.


We have 10% in cash, but we have to come up with the missing 13% somehow. The banker thinks it's as ridiculous as we do, but he can't change policies that come from a bunch of old white guys in another city. Our families can't really help us. And we don't want to lose the house. (Duh.)

So now we're exploring things with another bank that says they should be able to help us. Of course it's at a higher rate, so it's going to cost us more, but what the hell!

So hopefully, somehow, all of this comes together in the next week or so. Not only because we want the house, but also because as of the 23rd we have no place to live.

Admittedly this whole thing is really pissing me off. We were pre-approved. We'd done everything right. I was assured, not guaranteed, mind you, but assured, that if I found a job that the loan department would be understanding about a couple of periods of unemployment. Julia and I have excellent (better than you, I'd guess) credit scores. We'd never missed a mortgage payment while I was unemployed -- a mortgage payment that was made to the same bank we're talking about now. But no, no. None of that matters. The banks are all overcorrecting because of the ridiculous lending practices they've had over the past decade that finally came back and bit them in the ass. And we get to pay for it with stress, uncertainty, and the possibility that two weeks from now we won't have a place to live.

Awesome, banks! Good work!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back On It

(I know! Two posts in one day! Crazy?!)

I'm back on my diet again. I am highly afeared that I am running dangerously close to having diabetes. My head doesn't feel right when I wake up in the morning, I can't go long stretches of time without having something to eat, I start to feel edgy and tired if I do, and I sometimes get really headachey and exhausted when I change my diet significantly.

That last bit is what's going to make the next couple of days interesting for me. I'm scheduled to go to a full-day meeting tomorrow and I may have to deal with debilitating headaches if things run like they often have in the past when starting the diet. I strongly hope that's not the case, but I'm trying to prepare for it.

Wish me luck on the diet. I hope my efforts will generally make me healthier -- which includes not getting diabetes.


It seems appropriate that my birthday post should also happen to be post number 802. Nice little coincidence that.

As I said the other day, I had lunch with Shane and Cathy on Friday and had a great time catching up with them. We met at Crossroads mall and chatted about all the normal things and laughed a lot. I really miss them and wish I could work with them again; they're such good people. They've put an offer in on a house near where Julia and I currently live, but it looks like they'll be moving in around the same time we'll be moving away. Oh well, at least Julia and I can tell them about some of the places we've found and enjoyed in the West Seattle/Alki area in the past couple of years.

Saturday Julia and I stopped for a yummy bagel breakfast (bagels and lox definitely being one of my favorites), then stopped at a couple of houses on a "edibile garden" tour of West Seattle. I'm not a huge gardening person (Julia is), but it was really interesting. I loved seeing the gardens and yards of the people involved. One has had chickens and its own beehive and another had a beautiful trellis they'd made to support a giant rosebush and some other climbing plants. I wish we could have gone to more of the places on the tour, but we had to pick up Shana since we'd promised to show her the new house.

Around noon or so (after picking up Shana) we got to the new house and found that the workers were there slaving away. All of the hardwood was down and covered with cardboard in order to protect it. We could still see enough of it to know we'd made the right choice on the color. The guys working were busy installing the carpet in the living room, up the stairs, and in the bonus room. Again, the carpet looks great. It's so strange that we'll be moving in there within the month. Julia's started some packing, but we haven't done much to prepare so far. Most of our things are already packed away from when we emptied the house in order to stage it for selling, so I don't think it will take us long to get everything that's left packed away. But I could be wrong.

After checking out the house we decided to go with Shana to see Wall*e. It was pretty and well-made, but it didn't really do much for me or Julia. The one thing that kept running through my mind was how you write a story like that. I mean, a script that's going to play out on-screen. There was a lot of action and movement with very little dialogue. I can only imagine the script was incribly long and detailed -- and very unlike a typical movie script. As for the movie, I'm sure I won't be seeing it again. I'm sure a lot of people will love it, I wasn't one of them.

After our late lunch at a scary Denny's we drove around South Seattle to try and find a house we'd looked at buying last year. We've joked over the last year about how screwed we'd have been if we'd bought it. Well, we were happy to find that someone who had extra money or who was very handy had bought the place and fixed it up really nicely. (Oh, we would have been so screwed if we'd bought it!)

In the same neighborhood we found a woman who sells flowers out of her house. We found the place pretty much at random and ended up buying five plants of varying sizes for a paltry $14. The owner was a cute Asian lady who was really sweet. I'm sure we'll be back there soon. Probably next weekend.

For my birthday evening we watched Juno. We enjoyed that and were surprised by where the story went, so that was nice.

And unless I'm forgetting something important, that was pretty much my birthday. It was a nice, relaxing day and I really enjoyed it.

Sunday we did some more errands, drove by the house Shane and Cathy put a bid in on, bought comics, picked up more stuff to sell on ebay, worked in the garden, and went to Julia's parents' for a cookout birthday dinner. A good time was had by all.

More soon.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Tomorrow's my birthday and I have no plans.

I don't know what else I want to write about that. I don't mind having no plans. Julia and I talked about getting together with people, but with the move to the new house looming in the near future and still recovering from the general lack of money to spend on "fun things," I just didn't feel like making a big deal out of it.

By happenstance I have lunch planned with Shane and Cathy today (along with anyone else who happens to show up from Smith & Tinker), so it'll be great to see them.

I received some great gifts from Seth earlier in the week (at our Tuesday gaming night) in the form of the Complete Hembeck, a Challengers of the Unknown collection, and the Brisco Country, Jr. DVDs (which were actually a pass-along from Jason, so thanks to you, too!).

In the mail yesterday there were cards from my mom and dad and my grandma, which was awfully nice. They sent some money, which I'll probably use to replace our nice silver Oster blender that went kablooey this week. Good timing, that. And thanks to Mom, Dad, and Grandma!

Last night after picking up a bunch of things from the Conner Homes rummage sale I met up with Seth, Rob, and Courtney for dinner at Pogacha. Rob and Courtney were in town for a couple of days before leaving on and Alaskan cruise with Rob's parents. Sounds fun to me. Anyway, it was great to see them and they seem to be doing great.

Oh, the one thing we do have planned for the weekend is to hook up with Shana and show her the new house. We're not 100% certain will be able to get in, but if we can we'll definitely do it. It'll be nice to show her that.

Okay, time to figure out what's going on with lunch.