houses

Thing are getting busy! This weekend we’re at our Eugene house getting everything ready, because next week they’ll finally be delivering our shipment! Ted ordered some rubber flooring, so we’ll be laying that down in the exercise room. The erg and weight set will go on that. Then we’ll have to lay out all the kitchen stuff and linens and clothing, and decide what stays here and what goes up to Hillsboro. (The closets and bedroom size there are some of the best of any townhouse we looked at, but they’re still a bit small. I miss the closet and built-in storage space we had in Taiwan! On the other hand, hopefully this place is considerably better insulate from both outside temperatures and neighbors’ noise.)

Meanwhile, we’ve been buying everything. It feels like that, anyway – all our major appliances and furniture. The only things we’ll be bringing are a chair or two, maybe some bookcases. Don’t worry, I haven’t totally changed; though we may not bring bookcases, we’re buying two small ones for the loft, and the living room has some built in. Mostly, though, it’s because of the Kindle. If I have my books there, it’s ok to leave most of the library in the other house, aside from just enough to provide atmosphere, make it clear that e house isn’t inhabited by Philistines, and provide for the cases when an e-book just doesn’t work as well (cookbooks, anything where the illustrations are crucial – though some of those are e-books on the iPad – and anything where you have to flip back and forth a lot).

The house is nicely done to start with; the main floor is mostly one big room except for a small den; the main area has darkish laminate floors, and a tan accent wall, with dark wood cabinets and tile counters in the kitchen. All that brown is a bit overwhelming, though, and the brown sofa and wood table and chairs we’re adding won’t help. (I think this is the designer who chose the colors for the builder, and her website shows a few complete houses she’s done (all much large and more expensive than ours!). Her work is elegant, but you can see what I mean about all the brown.) To bring in some color, we’ve bought a beautiful multicolored rug for the living room, and hope that will set the tone for the main floor. We got a coffee table with a glass top, so as not to obscure the rug, and we’ll be choosing some of our photos for the walls to echo its tones. At some point I’ll also need to get a couple of accent pillows for the sofa and maybe drapes, for more color. There’s a fireplace (electric, sigh) with low bookshelves on either side; the TV goes on the wall in the center above the fireplace, but I’ll need something to put on top of the bookcases. We have some souvenirs of our travel (a Dutch tulip vase, Czech glass vases, a sculpture from Taiwan) but they’re all too short for the space, so I’ll either need something taller (a plant, maybe?) or else put up shelves or get some kind of bases / platforms.

I’m not so worried about color for the upstairs, which is just tan carpets and cream walls. Good thing, because I seem to remember that the sheets and towels we got in Taiwan are all either tan or white. I really want to replace all the sheets and towels in the Eugene house because they’ve all seen better days, but we’ll probably wait for that until I start earning some money. The stuff we have is not that bad, anyway, just looking slightly shabby, especially when we have a full house and we need to bring out the older things. As Ted keeps telling me, we should try to spend money on only one house at a time.

Meanwhile, we did have a bit of a scare last night. When we arrive at this house, the first thing we do is to turn everything on – turn on the hot water heater, take the refrigerator off ‘away’ mode, turn on the gas and so on. We keep the house at 60 degrees F (about 15C) when no one is here, so of course we also turn up the thermostat to something less frigid. Last night, it got up to 65, when we realized the heater was no longer on even though the thermostat was set to 70, and it was a mite chilly sitting around. (We do have fireplaces, but they’re gas ones, and the one in the living room doesn’t heat the room much.) We just replaced the heat pump two years ago, so it’s under warranty, but it still would have been a nuisance to need repairs already. Finally we realized that the hot water heater wasn’t on either, which gave us a clue. It turned out that, though the breakers in the laundry room that control the furnace and the hot water heater were on, there’s another circuit breaker in the garage that controls both. Then Ted remembered that the guy who put in the new heat pump had told him that, since they’re both on one circuit, it’s pretty easy to overload that when both the heat pump and the water heater are on full blast. Sure enough that breaker was off when we finally found it – it didn’t help that our circuit breakers were labeled already when we moved in and that one is a bit illegible – I’m going to go make it clearer right now, in fact. Luckily, since it was already 11 at night by then, there’s a fireplace in the bedroom that does heat the room efficiently, so we were able to heat that room more quickly (though come to think of it, 65 is a reasonable temperature for sleeping – we have a warm comforter there). Anyway, with so much going on housewise, it was a relief not to need to call for repairs!

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