Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One-Hit Wonders: August 2011

...search terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • a wife driven insane by husband tickling her feet’
  • aztec dream
  • jdate cheekysoandso
  • 2 different colors of laminate in same room
  • bert and ernie gay
  • morphosis architects
  • mt hood eruption august 1907
  • monkey arms up
  • the zeros dont push me around
  • swappin every last drop! milla

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Home-Improvement Chronicles: The Before Pictures


my little piece of earth: it’s cute, isn’t it? yeah, i don’t really think so either, but it will be after a crew comes to strip it, flip it and rub it down. this entails changing out all the doors and windows, replacing the cracked and peeling siding with redwood and rebuilding the deck.


side view: my house is on a hillside, which may sound sexy in theory, but in practice it can be problematic. there’s this strange little thing called gravity that keeps tempting my house to slide down the hill. i want to say i’ve won the battle, but the truth is it can never be won. just walk across my uneven kitchen floors to see what i mean.


the deck: this is the root of all evil, the whole reason i’m even doing this remodel. actually, the evil insurance company that dropped me is the real reason, but that’s just a minor detail. because the truth is that the deck really really needs to be replaced, like really really. and now is a good time to replace it, because the longer i wait and the more people i invite over to hang out with me on my deck, the greater risk i run of killing my friends.


would you stand on this deck? don’t worry because the drop is really minor, under a story, and you’d land on soft dirt below so you probably won’t die, maybe just break an arm. it’s really no big deal.


time heals — and hurts: i’m not sure when the deck was built, but i can assure you it’s suffered many years of neglect, as evidenced by the dry rot and termite damage. people have asked me if the deck can be salvaged instead of torn down and replaced. hopefully, this photo provides the answer.


decked out: i also get asked why i bought such a fixer, knowing i would have to replace almost everything after moving in. the easy answer is because it was all i could afford, which is true, but the larger truth is that the house has an unbeatable location. if the hillside i live on is a ship, my deck is at its bow, meaning i’ve got a killer view. my house is also not level with any of my neighbors’ houses, giving me ultimate privacy. in fact, i could stand naked on my deck and no one would see me.


from the deck looking in: time to get ghetto! behold the chipped paint, ugly sliding doors with two many mullions, unpainted boards after a window replacement and generally lousy paint job.


speaking of the paint: i call it two shades of barf. one shady is pale pinkish and the other shade, reserved only for the bedroom on the far side of the house is, pale peach. notice how that bedroom is covered in stucco and not in siding like the rest of the house — the whys of which will never be known.

IMG_3557the third shade of paint: weird lavender color near the front door and other nonsensical areas. neighbors said the old owners were considering repainting and this is where they decided to test a swatch, which is, of course, totally logical.


did i mention the house was a foreclosure? maybe i didn’t have to mention it, as it should be obvious by now. story is that the old owners refi’ed themselves into homelessness, spending the cash on dirt bikes, Escalades and trips abroad instead of giving the house a decent paint job, secure deck and energy-efficient windows. did i mention the windows are all single pane?


more ghetto: let’s hear it for boarded up windows! this is the exterior of the kitchen, near the deck’s staircase at the side of the house, which leads to the basement where the washer and dryer live. on those stilts is part of the master bedroom, the part of the house shown earlier that’s wrapped in stucco instead of siding and painted that barfy pale peach.


the basement: it’s behind this little window (under the kitchen) and includes forementioned washer/dyer, a toilet, a sink and a storage area. rumor is that the extended family of the old owners were living there, which explains why the room had cable tv. also notice the perfectly misaligned siding.


the far end of the house: this is the (sort of) yard area beyond the main driveway and in the back of the house. the structure at the top right is my garage, which is detached and located farther up the hill, also behind the house. this means i have two driveways, as there is a driveway next to the house (visible in the first picture in this post). my plan for the detached garage is to convert it into an apartment (as well as converting the yard into a zen paradise), but that’s a remodel for another time.

front yellows

speaking of the remodel: i’m about a week in and it’s been nothing short of intense. (more on that in the next post). but that’s the cost of doing business, a cost i’m willing to endure as it will give me my dream house in the end, a house that should look a little something like these two renderings.

front oblique YELLOW

Friday, August 05, 2011

35th Birthday

drizzunk and acting a foolthe 14th time i turned 21: was just like the last 14, or so it seemed. i don’t remember too much about that night beyond the fact that there were friends and alcohol all around me. but unlike the first time i turned 21, i wasn’t in vegas with my head in a toilet. i was at a local bar drinking top-shelf vodka with a raised pinky. however, as this photo demonstrates, i will still clearly acting like a fool.

the gang’s all here!

the friends, they came! and kept my smile wide and my class full all night. not that i made it easy for them with my nonstop guzzling. from left: Cassie, Anna, Thurman, a still (somewhat) sober me, and Mike.


more friends! Justin, Ann, Raidis and Deo also showed up to brighten my night and freshen my glass. this year’s party was held at Verdugo Bar instead of my or Raidis’ house simply because it was more convenient for me. and that made cleanup very convenient by making it nonexistent. i also didn’t have to worry about annoying my neighbors or if everyone knew where the drinks were. overall, a very good call — one i should have made many parties ago.

when worlds collide!

when worlds collide: my two studliest friends, Thurman and Phillip, who had interacted with each other only through my Facebook page, met in person. it was a sight to behold, sealed with a bro hug. after, a glass was raised, a toast was said and many jokes followed.

posersmy Felipe: we are likethis, hanging out all the time in my kitchen, cooking up vegan food and hatching plans for world domination. we’re practically married as we don’t have sex, instead spending our time watching bad movies and talking about how we could make a better one. (unfortunately, the person i do have sex with, the costa rican cutie, had to be out of town for work the weekend of my birthday, though he sent me a nice bouquet of flowers in his place.)    

this is probably when i should have been cut off.

21 forever! it’s my party and i’ll get sloshed if i want to. thankfully, i had the very beautiful Grace nearby to keep me upright.

group hug!
group hug: Elliot, Juan, Christine and Cerreah make withstanding a bright flash in the face look easy.

<3 my polls!

then i took a bite of her face: Polly and her man Ron (whom she’s marrying this month!) arrived late enough to witness me at my finest. she was also kind enough to keep me upright even as i tried my hardest to drag her down by throwing my monkey arms around her — something i did repeatedly to various friends throughout the night.

come on baby, light my fire.

happy birthday to me: but in the end, fun was had by all. (at least i think it was; i don’t really remember.) i do remember waking up the next morning without a hangover, which may seem impossible considering the evidence, but when my friends are the ones buying the drinks all night, top-shelf vodka is the only thing i’ll order. thanks, guys!

the morning after. me and my girls.

that morning: i slept in as late as possible and awoke feeling fantastico. my friends always know how to put a smile on my face, one that was widened by the 90-minute massage i treated myself to. it was sunday, june 26, my actual birthday, and i was 35 years old.

where it all began. happily married for 42 years.

where it all began: the weekend ended with a birthday dinner, courtesy of my awesome parents, who took me to one of my favorite restaurants where they gave me some pretty jewelry and told me they were proud of me. seeing as they are the best parents in the world, i’m the one who's proud — and incredibly lucky. coupled with the best friends in the world, who kept me company the prior night, i’d say this birthday was pretty damn good.

here’s to hoping the year is even better.