Slackie Slackerson

1:43 PM
Hi guys!!

I apologize for the delay -- there's been a lot happening around our casa.

Including (but not limited to) WINTERIZING! (ugh)

Part of winterizing a home in the Pacific Northwest is water control...

like this:

This is our entryway. Soaked!

This is the entry way ceiling! Soaked!

The floor? Soaked!!

D, on the roof? SOAKED!!!

Greetings. I'm on the roof. It's almost like being on a boat. Except, wetter.

The culprit.

Yeah, this is pretty much how I felt about that.
Next up: VENTANAS!



7:03 PM
When people look at our house I'm always afraid that they'll see this:

(that's a movie still from the movie SAW, for those who didn't know)

Or, heaven forbid, THIS:

(likewise, the house from the movie Fight Club)
..Which is to say, that I'm afraid they'll judge us from the outside, what's visible from the surface. I want to let you in on something that most people don't see. The ugly, crappy, undone parts of our home. The ones we see with future-goggles. The ones that people squint at and ask "...why aren't you just hiring a contractor?" or " sure you aren't going to just sheetrock it?" and the subsequent "...WHY??" when we explain that it isn't in our plans to "just" sheetrock.
A little shaggy around the edges. If you step back and close your eyes and think about what is important to someone else, you might see what we see:
You'll see the oldest house (with the biggest lot) on the block, built in 1897, by a first-generation American. You'll see a house with original woodwork, original floors, hand-turned ballusters and newel posts. What you'll see is that we have huge windows and a thoughtfully created floorplan to maximize heat retention (and rejection for the sweltering summer months). Additionally, you'll see giant trees, planted with these aspects in mind. Fiberglass insulation couldn't keep our house warmer than these thick plaster walls, nor could any air conditioner cool our house more efficiently than our massive maples, strategically planted on the south side to block "the heat of the day".

Some people might look at this scene and be appalled. You might see an untidy room with cords and cats and cycles. If you looked a little closer, you'd notice the ten foot tall coved ceilings, with gorgeous picture-rail encircling the room. You'd be amazed by the 9" baseboards, especially if you consider the new standard is about half as high. Sure, it's unfinished, but that alcove is going to be a fully-functional (and fully thoughtfully prepared) powder room with a period aesthetic. (Don't worry .. It's going to have running water) When the tools are moved into storage and our dining table is revealed again (and not just for vertical filing and misc. parts-holding) this room will be something to be admired. We admire it NOW, because we see it for what it WILL be .. not just it's present state.
(okay, even I admit that this scene is a little tougher to dress-up)
Still, we see the bare lath and wallpaper-stripped plaster with a hope that won't quit. Other homes might look like ours, but that's where any similarities will abruptly end. They'll never feel like ours. There's a family here. Sure, it's made up of a man, a woman, two hens and a couple of cats .. but we're a family. We love each other and we work hard for this house. If you look at it in the right light, you'll see the magic that we see. That magic is what keeps us up all night, scraping wallpaper until our knuckles are cracked, sanding the floor until our heavily-tattooed arms are so coated with powder that we look as unadorned as children .. It's what perpetuates this project through the distracting summers, filled with other obligations, camping trips, daycations at the lake. It keeps the fire burning though the dead of winter, when the only thing keeping us working is a seriously amazing mixtape from the archives, a space heater and the future. This house is our legacy, and we have to do it right. We live in a culture where houses are thrown up in a couple of weeks. This might be sufficient for some people, but I don't want MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and vinyl. I want 120 year, old-growth, VG fir floors with dips and divots. I want plaster walls with dents. I want double-hung windows with leaded glass as old as the walls (more on that later). I want this magical house that was pieced together by men who took pride in their craft. Men who weren't consumed with it's resale value. My house was built by the man who lived in it and I consider truly lucky to have a house as special as this .. come inside sometime. I think you'll like what you see.  
This house is magic. To us, it's home.


New phone: photos to follow

2:11 PM
I finally replaced my piece of trash GARMINFONE (YEAH, I WENT THERE T-MOBILE) and will post photos of the window progress.

In the meantime, please enjoy this photograph I took of myself with the fancy forward-facing camera. (I'm easily amused)

I'm sitting in front of the window D. is restoring, looking psyched about the plywood. That, or my new neighbor is screaming something about stealing babies from the hospital. (I'm sure it's the latter, as the plywood drowns the sound out, but that's another story for another post)
Oh, and it turns out Clementine is a boy. Lola is less than impressed with his presence, and has given herself laryngitis to prove it. 


The eyes are the window to your face

2:15 PM
I don't have any fancy photos to share at the moment. Or any crappy ones either. My phone is my primary camera, and the battery is toast. So, unless I'm jacked up on a charger, I can do no more than three minutes worth of work before I am dead to the world. (and anyone with a smartphone knows how dibilitating this can feel in the beginning. I'm used to it now, so I just deal.)

The weather in Eastern Washington has been excruciatingly hot lately.

"But at least it's a dry heat" My dad said, from south Florida.
"Yeah? So's my oven, and I don't like being in that for long either" .. Point, me, obviously.
Hot is hot. 100 is 100. I don't care if it's 100 in Florida, Mexico, Arizona, Africa or Washington state. At least our lake water is refreshing to our 100.

Anyway, it seemed that now was as good a time as any to begin restoring our bedroom windows. (NO. I DON'T WANT TO JUST REPLACE THEM - THANKS FOR THE INPUT, EVERYONE EVER.)

It's hot anyway, so who cares if there isn't a window there? (more on who will care later)

We decided that our bedroom would feature all the original woodwork -- unpainted! To achieve this, we could cover it up with Jasco and strip the paint layer by layer. OR do it quickly with a heat gun. This, friends, is the easiest paint-removal tactic I've ever witnessed. (I've witnessed a lot in my time chained to living in this house) Seriously! It is like butter.

There are some risks, however. If you leave the gun pointed at one spot for too long, you burn the wood below. This takes a lot of work to sand out, leaving the surface uneven, at best. Additionally, if your house is over 35 years old, you run a very serious risk of having lead paint buried in the walls or woodwork. This risk is our reality, folks. It's not a big deal if you've painted over it, but if you intend to remove (or, in our case: melt) it, you MUST wear a respirator. Lead paint is no joke, friends.

At any rate, we're following all the appropriate protocol for disposal and such .. just make sure to take precaution when handling hazardous materials. Pretty windows aren't really worth cancer. (Well... no no no .. nevermind. They're not.)

Trust me. They are TRULY beautiful. I'm so proud of D. He's been working tirelessly to strip the wood, and sand the windows down. We opened up the pockets inside the wall to retrieve the sash weights for our double-hung windows ... and (cue the sad trombone) ... Disappointment city, population 2. They're long gone. So, that was added to the (ever-growing) list of supplies.

The project was interrupted by a long weekend, camping at Farragut State Park in North Idaho. Wait .. there's no window in the wall. Well, that's no problem! We'll just screw up some plywood. (gross)

So, that's what our poor neighbors got to look at while we were gone.

At least it kept our new baby safely inside the house.

Meet Clementine K. LMP

She's cute stuff, and keeps our four year old, Lola, from having such separation anxiety. It keeps her occupied while we're gone, however, there are side effects: laryngitis. (from hissing at the baby on the regular)

Enough rambling ... to recap:

We're refinishing the window in our bedroom (pictured behind us, poorly), we got another cat ..

The plywood made the room intolerable. Our house is generally in the 70's during the summer, which is AMAZING .. but for some reason, the wood heated our house up and made it stuffy and unbearable. It's off now, thankfully. But there are moments when I wish there was more than just a screen separating us from the outside world at night. Like when there's a van parked at the end of our driveway .. with a man sleeping inside. For five days (and counting!)

I know you're jealous.



1:50 PM
Now that the coop project has wrapped (for the most part), we are free (at last!) to pursue other endeavors!

..Like the fireplace. You see, they don't build new homes with fireplaces anymore. Not real ones, anyway. I've only lived in one new house in my life, and that was a rental, but being a retired domestic employee (nanny), I have been inside plenty. They're all gas. Gross. So, we've got this great old fireplace in our living room, which has basically been rendered useless by decades (centuries?) of neglect. So step one was to restore the chimney to make it safe.

We called around to find a good chimneysweep in the area to bid our job. After a few no-shows and someone who showed and refused to even climb on the roof ("I'm abandoning the jobsite, the roof isn't safe" he said. Which I took to mean "I don't feel like working today because my dad's the boss") Anyway, we finally settled on an amazing local business that specializes in this sort of thing; maintenance and restoration!

The owner came out promptly, scurried up the (admittedly, steeply-pitched) roof, and inspected the heck out of our chimney. He provided a thorough and honest assessment of the work that needed to be done - gratis. He was hired on the spot. We needed to have some bricks replaced before we could replace the liner (actually, now that I think of it, I don't know if it ever HAD a liner). I'll admit it took us some time to get our act together to save for the work we had to have done, but every penny spent was well spent. He took his time in selecting used bricks to match the ones that were staying put and cleaned them all to provide continuity.

Basically, their crew worked tirelessly to tear down four or five rows of bricks and re-build it with a new cement cap and terra cotta tiles to provide a safer chimney. I'm not sure of all the technical jargon, but we're BEYOND thrilled with the work that was done on our home. We will be using this business for all our repair and maintenance needs in the future.



Okay, so you can kinda tell where the new bricks are, but they did an awesome job, considering the old ones are 115 years old.

I'll be the first to admit that I was not the photographer of these fine pictures. I am FAR too chicken to scramble up the roof for something like this. Also, I know too much about physics. That roof! EESH.

NEXT UP: Line the damn thang!


Taking a break from the norm.

2:08 PM

This is Guardian, my neighbor’s dog. For those of you who don’t know - My neighbors (a man and woman, and their 18 month old daughter) were the victims of a violent home invasion last Tuesday (June 26th), held at gunpoint and robbed. When the intruders fled the scene, the family dog raced down the street to catch them. He got one good bite in before the thieves were able to shoot him. Eight shots were fired in all (practically in my front yard) and three hit the dog.

The dog was shot THREE TIMES. (once, straight down into the back, and twice in his legs) He spent the night in an emergency vet clinic and was transferred, later, to our neighborhood vet. Our neighborhood is a historic landmark and a safe, quiet place. This event scared the living daylights out of every one of my neighbors. So, that’s why I’ve set up an online fundraiser to help offset some of the costs. If you can help, please do: even a couple dollars helps .. If you can’t, PLEASE share this link. These people have been completely violated, and their dog was very nearly killed in the process of protecting them. They’re wonderful people with a very sick dog. I am doing the very best I can to help alleviate some of the stress from the bills. They've been robbed, violated and terrorized; Please consider helping!

The fundraiser can be seen here:
Thank you!

Here are some photos of him with their little girl from last night - He's  home now, but still far from healed:


Longest week ever ...

1:51 PM
Wow, guys. Sorry about that .. apparently "later this week" means "nearly two months" in Lanny-speak.

Things always pick up, and the days blend into weeks and before I know it .. It's two days before my birthday (*AHEM*) and I still haven't followed through on that tease. I'm the worst!

This is Lola. She's typically an indoor cat, but I let her come out if she wears a harness and leash. She felt like helping this time.

This paver pad is brought to you by the number 8.

D, painstakingly lining up each paver to ensure that it's not only level from side-to-side, but also front and back and diagonal...

We're a little OCD


She was in charge of the whole operation.

Sand in the cracks .. not just an insult anymore!

Shooka shooka shooka ...

All the parts, laid out, ready for assembly!

Greetings from the interior!

3/4 walls are standing. These are good odds.

Burning the midnight oil..

..I should probably admit that I don't actually know what that means..


Ridge cap! (I'm amazed at all the random terms I'm learning. Never would have thought...)

When Jesus said, "IT IS FINISHED", I'm PRETTY SURE* he was talking about this.

 Goodnight Coop!
I peeked outside the following morning to find that it was STILL THERE!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch .. I slipped into my farmiest gear to play the part of chicken-keeper.

D, installing the roost .. and subsequently locking  himself in the coop

(sidenote: look at all that thatch! There's always work to be done on the farm)


Nest boxes

Pullet-moving gear!

Picking out our new hens!

The eagle has landed

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce our girls...

Only the best (soy-free, organic layer mix) for our babies

(L): Janet Reno (R): Ruth Bader Ginsburg

First Egg!


I love my little farm family!

Is that all? OH NO! THAT'S NOT ALL! (why would that be all?!) After we built the foundation and assembled the coop, we still needed the fence around the coop to allow them outside time during the day!

The fence turned  out to be a tricky endeavor. Welded wire fence attached to ugly, green t-posts was not the aesthetic we had in mind for our girls. We wanted to "wrap" the posts with wood to provide some continuity. We ended up borrowing D's dad's table saw again and cutting channels down the center of a 1"x3" a nd a 2"x3" to "wrap" the post and sandwich the wire (attached to the fence) between.

As with any of our projects, we did it the hard our own way.

The posts, however, turned out to look completely adorable. We capped them, cut channels into a few 1"x1" for a "top rail" and stained it all to match the coop.

D designed, and built a gate too!

And finally, here are our girls, resting on their NEW roost. (they didn't like the branch we so thoughtfully scoured the northwest for, so we installed this beaut' and added a 1"x4" on top [not pictured] and we've never looked back)

Next up: D and Lanny get cornrows...

Always an adventure around here .. stay tuned!

*Probably not.