Ramblings of a Newlywed

Enjoy the ride, we may experience a little turbulance

Dogs… Cats… Snakes… Oh MY! October 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 10:16 am

We have a FULL house, and it’s not always a harmonious one…

Our 2 ball pythons are Maynard and Dez. They hang out in their tanks, we feed them once a month or so and change their water but they’re perfectly content to just hang out and bask under their heat lamps. They are fun to watch as they slither around their tanks and require little upkeep. D and I are often heard exclaiming Maynard is our favorite pet b/c he’s the least amount of effort and has the calmest temperament of all our animals. Dez on the other hand tends to bite anything that moves… she’s a bit of a bitch.

Then we have the cats… Anubis (more commonly known as Noob), Rico, and Gizmo. Noob and Rico we adopted from NOAH shortly after moving into our home last year, Gizmo we found running around in a Safeway parking lot and after countless fliers and no response the tiny gray kitten became an official member of the family. Noob love to lay in the sunshine on the deck, spoons with my husband every night and LOVES catnip. He also possesses a love of all things food as his ever expanding belly can attest. Rico is the enforcer, she runs the house and don’t you forget it! And she isn’t afraid to take a swipe at you or bite to remind you who runs the show. Most days she can be found laying on a pillow on our bed surveying her kingdom. Gizmo… well she’s a kitten so she’s all over the place all the time! She loves the cat tree and can often be found hanging from it… yes hanging, like a monkey. She loves to chase the laser mouse and anything else the moves, including her tail! And don’t even think about dangling a foot or hand off the edge of the bed in the middle of the night because she’s sure to think you’re ready to play! Why do kittens sleep during the day and want to play all night?

Diamond is our ‘new’ dog, she’s 7 years young pit bull we adopted from the Seattle Animal Shelter almost 2 months ago. She’s settling in and she’s a bit of a scaredy cat but we’re getting there. She’s a lover not a fighter and will happily curl up under a blanket with you on the couch for an afternoon. When we get home she shoots out the back door for a game of catch that lasts until she flops down in the grass with her tongue hanging out and one paw on top of the ball. She’s an older girl but she can run with the youngsters!

We take her to Camano Island Kennels every 2 weeks for training and it’s definitely us that need the training. She needs to learn some manners but it’s generally me that needs the most training from Jason… what can I say, I’m a softy! My husband can get her to do almost anything but I’m still struggling to find my “alpha voice.” We’ll get there.

Our life is a bit crazy surrounded by all these animals but I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to come home and have everyone so excited to see you! Diamonds tail wags so hard she’s been known to knock things off tables! The cats all start meowing and doing circles around your legs… it’s a good life!


The holidays are coming, run for the hills! October 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 12:21 pm

Does it seem like the holiday season gets a little bit longer every year? I see Halloween in August, Thanksgiving in September, Christmas in October (sometimes September!) and i start to wonder… does oversaturation make the holiday season longer and less meaningful? By the time i reach Christmas i’m exhausted!

We’re fast approaching the holiday season, it feels like we’re already knee deep in it,  and we need to get that moldings back up around the doors, at the base of walls, around the windows. Finish painting and reupholstering the chairs for the dining room set my grandmother gave us. Finish painting the walls in the family room and kitchen. We have two months; think we can get it all done? Me neither but it’s a nice goal to aspire too!

Our sweet new dog is still settling into our lives and she’s going to hate us while we put up all the moldings… she’s a bit of a scaredy cat on a good day but add in a nail gun and I think we might be better off finding someone to puppy sit for the weekend. Any takers?  She’s afraid of our ceiling fan; she looks up at it distrustfully and slinks underneath it looking up the whole time. Like it’s going to fall down on her at any moment. She’s got some pretty funny little quirks, i’m not sure what she’s going to think when the Christmas tree invades her living room… Our Turkish Angoran cat LOVES the tree, he slept underneath it every night last Christmas, he’d even push gifts out of the way so he had maximum space to sprawl. We caught him drinking out of the tree stand a few times too 😀

Are you ready for the holiday season? Or are you like me, excited but burned out just thinking about it?


And the ugly carpet is gone! Rejoice! September 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 4:17 pm

The next person who tells me laminate is the easy flooring alternative… I just might smack you.

It took us 10 days to finish 500 square feet! And we are not lacking in skills or tools. It just requires a lot more time and energy than anyone ever tells you. And did anyone else know your home is going to be far from square? And I mean FAR… all you have to do is look at the last row we laid to see the difference from one end of the wall to the other. Good thing my husband is handy with the table saw and figured out how to cut on a diagonal without a guide! Don’t get me wrong laminate is a fabulous alternative to real wood, especially for $1.79 per square foot! I love Lumber Liquidators; the guys who run the Lynnwood store are fabulous! Knowledgeable, helpful, and speedy, especially considering there are only 2 of them and you have the inevitable idiot who wants a detailed description of EVERY product in the store, its price compared to other options, it’s warranty and personal firsthand experience *rolls eyes*. Point is, they’re great and will give you helpful little tidbits and coupons to make parting with a large chunk of your hard saved money as painless as possible. And this was after a LOT of shopping around at other retailers and there were a few others I will go back to for other things like carpet for the bedrooms, tile for the bathrooms but L.L. is THE place to go for hardwood or laminate. Thanks guys!

So we purchased and D. picked up our clearance flooring (in a color I love a little more than he does) after work and we set out to tear our little house to pieces. If you have ever lived amidst a renovation project, no matter what the magnitude, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It’s like living in one of the middle levels of hell, maybe 4 or 5. Things end up everywhere; there are tools and screws all over the floor no matter how hard you try to clean up every night. Shoes go missing, cats get upset b/c their world is changing and things get peed on, you step in a paint tray of primer while you’re trying to paint down the hallway so as not to back yourself into a painted corner. Only to realize you can’t get to the bathroom b/c they are both down the painted hallway… that was amusing. Why do you suddenly have to use the bathroom the second it becomes unavailable? But I digress…

We pulled up 400 square feet of ugly, smelly, stained Berber carpet and its pad and 75 square feet of Pergo that was definitely professionally installed, and 25 square feet of ugly entryway tile that we could not get up with a hammer and chisel, so we took out the whole piece of subfloor it was tiled onto. We took down a LOT of ugly, dark, fake wood moldings that had been taken down and put back up at least twice from the sheer number of holes in it. The moldings have yet to go back up I might add… a DIY project is never finished. It felt so amazing to tear it all up and throw it away, or in our case into the garage for 2 weeks before we finally made it to the dump.

So our family room, kitchen, hallway and entry way were torn down to the subfloor, and the living room had 24 boxes of laminate flooring that was ‘acclimating’ for 48 hours before we could put it down. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for living amidst the chaos. We moved a lot of furniture into the living room around the laminate flooring and into the computer room, the cat room, there was stuff everywhere b/c in Washington you can’t expect the weather to cooperate and it was raining in July.

Next up, painting the subfloor to lock in the smells that have accumulated from having a dog and 2 cats ourselves and the previous owners also having pets. Paint and cats do not mix… Locking our cats in a room while we painted was not a good idea. Did you know cats can open doors or that when they can’t get out of an enclosed space will literally fling themselves at the door? Me either… huh. So we ended up with primed footpads on one of our cats who just couldn’t hang out for an hour while the floor dried… stupid Rico. She ran from one end of the hallway to the other multiple times before I could catch her, and she had the nerve to give ME a dirty look when she looked at her paws. This is why we use latex based paints and she had her paws washed… not a happy kitty. If looks could kill I would have been a goner.

The painting finally got done, smell was locked in and low and behold… the kitchen floor is ½ inch taller than the rest of the house… beautiful. Lowes trip #2 (number one was for more primer 1 can wasn’t going to do it) plywood, lots of plywood. So we put another layer of plywood over our existing subfloor to try and level everything out. D. cut all the pieces and I screwed them down… all 400 square feet of extra plywood… that amounted to 5 lbs of screws, I tried to keep count of the number of screws I put in but I lost count after 100 and gave up. It was quite an undertaking and something I would be loath to do again, SO, new laminate flooring, never being replaced. EVER.

But it’s beautiful, truly beautiful. I am in love with my new flooring and my new husband for putting it all down and teaching me to use the table saw! Power tools are fun! Next up moldings… it’s been 2 months and they still aren’t down… a new dog doesn’t leave a lot of time for home improvement but it’s sure been nice to snuggle up with her on the couch on the weekends instead of making huge messes! 🙂


a can of paint can be a miracle cure September 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 8:10 am

When we purchased our home we knew the first project would be a desperately needed can (or 6) of paint. The old owners were far from afraid of color. In fact they could have used a healthy dose of fear!

Our living room was mustard yellow with a relish green accent wall… lovely… let me tell you, when you hear ‘designer paint colors’ from your real estate agent you know you’re in for a shock and sun glasses might be required. Designer is code for bright, you need 3 coats of primer to even be able to paint over it, color.

I wish I could make this up. And as we’re tackling other projects, like pulling up icky carpet we’ve found signs that other rooms were painted purple and red. Now I’m a fan of color. I have a navy blue accent wall for crying out loud but COME ON… not every wall in your house has to be a bold color, am I right?! It took many hours, many cans of primer and some professional grade Rodda paint to tackle the living room but it’s a beautiful shade of taupe now. I love it.

 I love the names of paint. Our living room is bracken, our hallway colonial moss, our master bath relaxing jade; our guest bath is military gray (okay that one lacks imagination but it’s a beautiful color!). And did you know there are 30 shades of white, each with its own name? Whoever comes up with the names for paint colors look out, I’m coming after your job.


Space to stretch out! We’re moving up in the world, or at least in square footage. September 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 2:19 pm

We moved from 500 square feet to 1100 square feet… Don’t get me wrong we loved our apartment, with its coved ceilings, arches and bay window. It had charm and character, something our new house is lacking in, but the space makes up for it! Besides, we’re adding charm, one DIY project at a time. Yes, that corner of the wall where the cat chewed off the paint, that’s charm damn it.  The true test of a relationship is sharing small quarters: a tiny kitchen, one bathroom, one bedroom with an itty bitty closet and an office in the living room with the TV and gaming console. No privacy, no space to stretch out and absolutely no quiet on weekends during football season. Don’t get me wrong, I love a football game a little more than the next girl but when your husband is a Husky and you’re a Cougar… you don’t want to hear him celebrating that they scored and won the game when your team just lost it’s 8th in a row with a score of 70-7.

Moving was insane… always is. But it’s so cathartic to go through everything you own and get rid of so many odd pieces of furniture, shoes that are missing their mate, how does that happen btw?, broken dishes. All that random stuff you accumulate when you’re living in one place for any length of time. Our whole relationship fit into one medium sized moving van and a loaded up Ford Focus. We had most of the boxes emptied and furniture in place in 14 days! We had entire rooms that were empty; it was crazy to go from using every spare inch of space to having too much room. We spent a good 3 months asking where did this or that end up? You’d be amazed where things like tape can hide in twice the living space!  Inside the coffee table, in the drawer in the master bathroom, in a box in the living room… amazing how quickly it spreads isn’t it?! And it’s still spreading, now we have an entire room dubbed the “cat room” that collects all the random pieces of furniture, my hello kitty collection (or junk as D. fondly refers to it), the extra laminate from our flooring project, the extra clothes that will fit in the master closet but I just don’t want them in there damn it. Poor kitties, though Noob does love to hide amongst those extra clothes, yea that’s why I put them in there, why we put everything in there, for the cats! Riiiight.


Virgin Home Buyer… what a ride! September 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 4:12 pm

First step, find a good mortgage broker who will tell you what you can afford, not what you qualify for. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Melanie, who led us through the process. This is considerably more complicated than ‘house hunters’ on HGTV makes it seem. A bank will pre-qualify you for an amount that you cannot hope to pay each month so you really have to take a good long look at your finances and figure out what you can afford without being house poor at the end of the day. D and I aren’t lavish in our lifestyle, we like going out for dinner, going to see movies, and making the occasional large impulse purchase, thank you for my Kindle honey! But by and large we’re frugal people who are happy to live within our means, even slightly beneath them.

Next step, find a great real estate agent. Sonja was nothing short of amazing, she deserves sainthood for the 80 houses we drug her through, most of which were uninhabitable. When someone says ‘fixer’ in the description, be prepared, b/c it generally means falling down.  Sonja would often unlock the front door, take a few steps inside and call out, ‘not this one, but you have to come check out…’ there was the house with the all pink bathroom, this included pink shag carpeting that couldn’t have been newer than 1950. Or the house with the ‘upstairs bedroom’ that wasn’t accessible from well anywhere, we never did find that mystery bedroom. Or the house that smelled so strongly of cat you couldn’t even walk in the front door. Or the house with the herd of plastic deer in the back yard, included in the price! We traveled everywhere you can imagine and a few places you don’t want to looking for somewhere to call home. And when we found it, well let’s just say it wasn’t easy to make it ours.

We found our home and knew it was meant to be, not because it was perfect or ready to move in but because it was one of 5 houses that were habitable. I wish I could tell you I was exaggerating but no… and we have MANY witnesses that can attest to the level of dirty, structurally unstable homes we looked at. Imagination can only take you so far. So… we found our house, decide to make an offer and low and behold, so have 3 other people… and it’s a foreclosure so we’re dealing with a bank and not a homeowner. If your agent tells you the banks are ‘motivated’ to move homes… laugh. Yes, they want to sell the house, but they are going to sell the house for the price they want, in the time frame that works for them, with the terms and conditions they choose and there is no amount of counter-offering that can make them move, but it can allow another buyer to swoop in, offer $5 more and steal the house out from under you in the time it takes to snap your fingers. At least in our price range. Does that change depending on the price, market, bank… sure but it sure didn’t work that way for us. So we made an offer, waiting for a painful 3-4 business days, that’s another thing, when someone says 1-2 days, they mean business days, because weekends don’t count in the banking world, only to find out that they had accepted one of the other 3 offers. Where do we go from here we asked ourselves? This happened for a reason, something better is out there, we told ourselves… not so much. We looked at another 5-7 houses and were ready to put in another offer on a house we liked but needed a LOT more work up front than ‘our’ house on the hill. When Sonja told us the other offer backed out, did we still want the first house? YES! Another 2 weeks later it was finally ours. Not for the price we wanted, not with the concessions we wanted, but hey in the end we got the home we wanted for close to the price we wanted to pay. And we were FINALLY done looking!

Final step before closing, remember you can still back out at this point: the inspection. We found a great guy who does everything electronically and gives you a binder with pictures, descriptions, all kinds of useful things. HIGHLY recommend this, don’t ever consider forgoing a home inspection, who knows what could be lurking under fresh carpet and paint. Not to be all fatalistic but come on people, do your due diligence! Our wonderful inspector found no big surprises, just the small things that are bound to pop up in a house that hasn’t been lived in for over a year. Whew!

Closing… not awful but wow it takes a lot longer than you would think. But we got to turn in notice on our apartment, pack up and move up in the world.


the backstory September 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kelseytish13 @ 3:18 pm

SO… who are we and what matters to us? I’ve been trying to think of a way to segway into this … why would anyone care who we are plus what we have to say? We don’t live a glamorous or extravagent life, we’re real people, flawed and imperfect who life in the real world. We laugh, we cry, we bicker and argue but at the end of the day we love each other and our life together.

We’ve both begun new jobs, within the last 3 months, with companies we love! Replacing jobs we’d grown out of as we grew up. You know how that is right?

We were high school sweethearts that didn’t really date in high school… odd I know. We’re the sickeningly cute people who can tell you the exact moment we fell in love with each other. *I’ll spare you the sappy story.*  

We love Penguins of Madagascar, Pixar Movies, reading in bed with cats prowling around on top of us, making fun of ourselves and laughing when our next ‘project’ goes horribly wrong (after getting snippy with each other over who didn’t measure right), playing with our pets, wandering around our local home improvement stores saying “oooh, wouldn’t that look great in our ___!”

We’re planning our honeymoon to France this March. Neither of us speaks a word of French, problem, so it’s ‘French for dummies’ podcasts while driving in the car. J

We recently got married after dating for 10 years! And it’s still a major topic of conversation in both families as is the inevitable, ‘so… you’re not getting any younger… grandchildren soon?’ Give us a few more years’ people!

We’re a lot of things: silly, sarcastic, clumsy, frugal, newlyweds, homeowners, DIY’ers, pet parents… We’re enjoying the ride, hope you do to!