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New Living Room

We’re finally knocking out some of the long pending renovations to the downstairs at Casa.  There’s still a bit more to do before Thanksgiving, including a new light fixture from Mission Studios for the dining room, but we knocked out the bulk of the flooring yesterday.  Engineered hardwood Bamboo Toast (horizontal).

There are plenty of ‘before’ pictures floating around here and elsewhere, but here is the ‘during’:


My bobble-overlords are supervising today’s hardwood flooring installation. #canonrebel #homeimprovement

A photo posted by Chuck Hartley (@howlingpoint) on

And here is the ‘after’:

Hardwood is in; trim and stairs to come when the pain subsides. #homeimprovement #selfie

A photo posted by Chuck Hartley (@howlingpoint) on

Chuck posted this on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at  8:48 am.   Comments Off on New Living Room 

Why Yes, I Am Doing Better Than I Was Four Years Ago

The Republicans have finally gotten around to asking the question that Reagan used so effectively in 1980 – Are you doing better than you were four years ago?  I don’t want to gloat for those in different situations, and it’s certainly been a rough four years, but I have to answer yes I am.  Sorry Mitt.

As far as the law practice goes, 2008 and 2012 are looking to have very similar results financially.  2008 saw a late flurry in family law work as old clients were forced to adjust the child support and visitation to deal with the economic collapse; 2012 is seeing a resurgence of transactional work with small businesses and non-profits, and a steady flow of other work.  2010 and 2011 were mostly just devastating, but they’re water under the bridge now, and even at their lowest points self-employment brought it more than retail drone jobs ever would have.  I’ll call work a wash on the better-than / worse-than question.

On the bright side, the crash recreated the concept of affordable real estate in Southern California, something I’d begun to think was just a myth my parents’ generation talked about to tease my generation.  In 2011, my husband and I became homeowners.  The corresponding tax benefits started kicking in this year, and by buying low we may actually have a tiny sliver of equity in Casa.  Even without equity, we have about 50% more usable space for roughly the same monthly outlay as our former apartment in a much better neighborhood.  Of course, we pay for maintenance that our former landlord should have done, but we also don’t have mold in the master bath and have an HOA that actually deals with termites (the July fumigation vacation), instead of someone telling us to ignore them.  Maybe if they felt ignored they’d just leave?  I’m certainly call the housing a positive change.

Nissantruck, my 1994 pickup and a former regular of this blog, went to greener highways in 2008.  It was replaced by a well-used Mercury Tracer on an interim basis, and then Cash For Clunkers brought us into a dealership in 2009.  We upgraded to a 2010 red Toyota Corolla.  Cabernet serves us well to this day and certainly counts as an upgrade over the last four years.

The rest of my day-to-day life hasn’t changed that much.  I’m still happily married, at least according to California if not the federal government; still cancer-free and with coverage and good treatment from Borg Health; and still have too little put away for retirement.

I’ll probably talk more here later about who I’m going to vote for and why, but I’m not ready to go there yet.  As Mitt likes to point out, the economy’s important, but it’s certainly not the only issue in town.

Chuck posted this on Monday, September 10, 2012 at  12:19 pm.   Comments Off on Why Yes, I Am Doing Better Than I Was Four Years Ago 

We’re Back

The family (two humans, one dog, seven fish and a lot of plants) is back in Casa with the fishies finally rejoining us today.

Everything that was supposed to survive the fumigation did.  The things that were supposed to die either escaped or had the good manners to die in the walls.  We actually never saw much of a problem, but we know that other units had issues, and we were in no position to stand in front of the condo board and fight for termite rights when it was decided to tent the whole neighborhood.

The only thing close to drama was when the aquarium filter refused to restart after the move back to Casa Saturday afternoon.  We don’t weep for replaceable tech though.  We celebrate the opportunity for an upgrade with gusto and use the opportunity to make certain every piece of electrics and electronics here knows that they’d better behave to survive.

Chuck posted this on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at  5:56 pm.   Comments Off on We’re Back 

Fishies’ First Roadtrip!

The fact that I’d rather not have my fish die as the fumigators do their thing is leading to a very first for our little family: the fishies are joining us for their first roadtrip.  For their sakes I wish we could do it right: maybe see their cousins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or at least take them on Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at California Adventure, but a short jaunt up the road to visit Grandma and Grandpa for a few days will have to suffice.

Chuck posted this on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at  10:58 am.   Comments Off on Fishies’ First Roadtrip! 

Making Light

Randy’s away, the house elves will rip out fixtures. Isn’t that how the old saying goes? Oh well, let’s make it the new saying.

One of the eyesores at Casa has been the kitchen lighting. Big old-school flourescent tubes. Either the ballast or the transformers were going bad in the fixtures, but they were so ugly it wasn’t worth diagnosing their issues. Much better just to let them ride out to the recycling center in the sky.

So gone it is.


Chuck posted this on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at  9:13 am.   Comments Off on Making Light 

No Spa Day

Randy’s texting me his impressions on today’s mineral water spa treatment in Boston.

Diego would be texting me from his spa if he had thumbs, gloating about how much prettier he feels when he gets his dew claws done.

I’m just hanging out ripping out the old caulking from the master bath.  Right now I’m think about what that’s done to my hands (paint thinner?  you’re soaking in it dear), but I wasn’t when I started typing this post.

Chuck posted this on Friday, May 20, 2011 at  2:08 pm.   Comments Off on No Spa Day 

Still Moving

Most of the little stuff has moved to the new abode, and we’ve been sleeping here since Tuesday.  The space itself is wonderful, we’ve met some great neighbors, and Diego loves the walking paths we’ve explored so far.

Professional movers, i.e., people with a truck and (hopefully) fewer injuries than I have, will be moving the heavy stuff this upcoming Wednesday.

Someone actually asked me yesterday if I’d started painting yet.  Aesthetics?  Hardly.  Aside from moving boxes and boxes of stuff, I’ve been learning more than I ever wanted to know about plumbing (a broken shower valve and a backed-up randomly-running toilet kept my first week interesting) and wondering why none of the inside circuit breakers would cut off power to the furnace (had to replace the thermostat with something without a little spring and mercury switch).  Oh, and the work that will hopefully help pay for the mortgage.

Did I mention my legs are sore?  But I’m very, very happy.

Chuck posted this on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at  8:38 am.   Comments Off on Still Moving 

Fashion Statements Start Young

Casa overlooks a day care center, and sometimes when I’m procrastinating or waiting for the internets to come up or looking for snackies I’ll look out the dining room window and try and match an activity to the screaming.  Oh, that’s what dismemberment sounds like.  The kids seem mostly around three or four years old.  Slightly beyond toddlers; at a point where momentum seems more important than balance.  Quiet voices haven’t developed yet.  I’ll call them tykes for want of a more technical term. 

This morning was overcast and drizzly and in SoCal terms, an autumn day.  Temps down into the 60s and everything.  So the tykes in the playground were all bundled up in their big winter jackets, and a couple even had the hoods with the fake fur up to protect them from the elements.  One of the kids was so bundled up he looked like the Michelin Boy and would have bounced if he’d been dropped from the top of the slide.  But then again, these are California tykes.  Not a pair of long pants between them.  Because shorts and flip-flops make the eskimo look work in these parts.

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 15, 2007 at  1:01 pm.   3 comments have been made. Join them. 

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