Archive for the ‘Oregon house’ Category

just a quick update

Monday, January 6th, 2014

fall_creek_hike

Definitely not in the Netherlands now! We’re just beginning our second year in Oregon, and still liking it here a lot. I’m starting a new project at work that’s pretty much all the stuff I wrote about in my book, so that’s exciting. Speaking of the book, the big news is that it’s now listed on Amazon – not to mention B&N, Powell’s and Chapters, but the Amazon listing shows the cover design. It’s only available for pre-order now, and will be released April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday!).

Still, even though work is going well, it was nice to have time out of the office over the holidays – we spent most of the time down at Rowell, the lake house. Ted’s parents and one grandfather joined us for Christmas, then we had a quiet New Year’s there, aside from a few fireworks in the neighborhood. We did both do some work from there, but somehow it’s still a lot more relaxing than being actually at work. Otherwise, there was lots of cooking, lots of wine, lots of sleeping in, some rowing, and a hike on New Year’s Day – that photo above is from along Fall Creek, only half an hour or so from our place.

a bit of racing, and a Big Announcement!

Friday, April 26th, 2013

If I’ve been quiet around here lately, it’s been partly because because life has been going smoothly, and partly I was sitting on a big announcement until I was able to make it public.

The weekend before last we raced in the Covered Bridge Regatta. I came in last, not being at all ready for it, but at least I raced! Ted did well, going on to the finals for his event. He came in second in the final in raw time, but was fourth after the age handicapping. After that I stayed at the lake house for a week while he went to Phoenix on business, and got to meet up with our friend Kathy. Ted’s parents stayed on to see the race, then kept me company for a couple of days. We’d brought the cats, too, so I did have some company after they left, and I think the cats enjoyed having the big house to race around in.

But the BIG NEWS is…. My book, to be called Fundamentals of Business Process Management, has been accepted by AMACOM, publishing arm of the American Management Association) and will be published in Spring of 2014. And yes, that means you can go buy it in Amazon 🙂

I’m pretty excited about this, as you may imagine. AMACOM was the first place I sent my proposal, so it was a shock to have the editor write back expressing interest in just two weeks. I think they are a great fit for my topic. Now I need to expand it, at their request, so the next few months I’ll be doing that and hunting for my next job.

meet the new family members

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Oolong and Macchiato:

Oolong

Macchiato

Macchiato is the more outgoing; we put them in our bedroom to start with, and as you can see she’s been exploring a bit. She seems to like water (she was rolling around with my water bottle earlier, too). Oolong just comes out now and then to eat or use the litterbox, though she has let me pet her and purred at me. She’d made it clear she’s not terrified or anything; she simply prefers staying under the bed for the moment.

I’ve ended up being prompted into research by both of them already, in one case into coffee and the other into cats. The names Oolong and Macchiato are because we wanted names to reference Taiwan and the Netherlands, as well as fitting the cats. The Dutch do drink a lot of coffee, but typically use the Italian names fo specific drinks. Apparently this cat is a latte macchiato (steamed milk with a shot of espresso, which is a layered drink with a dark spot on top) rather than a caffe macchiato (espresso with a shot of steamed milk, leaving a white spot on top). We were going to call her Mach for short, but that doesn’t seem to fit (too abrupt for her, and she isn’t actually all that fast) so I think it will be Macca or Maka for daily use.

Someone didn’t filter out the tea leaves for Oolong, leaving her stripy. Apparently that makes her a caliby – a calico because she’s got three colors, and a tabby because of the stripes. I’ve been seeing some dire hints about caliby cattitudes, but nothing definite. So far, they both actually seem pretty mellow compared to our previous cats, who were both male. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to eat those words in a week’s time, though.

Incidentally, on the house front, all the damage from the leak is now fixed, as of today – drywall replaced, subfloor dried, new flooring in place. Now we have a problem with a totally different toilet. It flushes fine, but ten minutes later all the water has drained out of the bowl. The plumber says the trap is cracked and he needs to replace the toilet bowl – he was supposed to do that today, but didn’t feel well, so he’s shooting for tomorrow. Thank goodness the house is under warranty! I think this toilet company had a batch issue.

the toilet exploded!

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

OK, I’m exaggerating. A little.

We went down to Rowell (the lake house) last night with a small moving van (a benefit our realtor provides), came back with a load of boxes, opened the garage door… and saw water dripping from the ceiling. The toilet from the powder room above was leaking, and I mean LEAKING – there were drips down the garage wall on both sides and coming down from the ceiling. It turns out the toilet tank had developed a crack. I guess there must have been a manufacturing defect in it, and after a few flushes it spontaneously ruptured while we were away. Good thing we were only gone for one night this time! The house is under warranty, so we paged the emergency number.

The service guy came up (I felt a little bad – he’d been about to head to a wedding), asked if we had shut off the valve (we had) and sawed holes in the garage and powder room drywall, setting up fans to dry it out. They’ll come by Monday to assess and fix it all. This is going to be a big job – I sure am glad it’s under warranty. They’ll need to replace the toilet, the baseboard and possibly some flooring and patch the drywall upstairs and in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, we now have a another chair, our city bikes, and a lot of boxes we need to unpack. Tomorrow e’ll pick up Ted’s desk, which should at least make it easier to unpack some of it, but we’re still missing one bookshelf and two desks, to be delivered in another few weeks. I foresee boxes sticking around in our short-term future.

new house!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

On Friday we had our closing, got our keys, and moved the first batch of stuff from our apartment. Here’s me unpacking the dishes we bought:

hip-deep

Saturday was the Great Festival of Delivery: we had five different groups of people bringing in our major appliances (fridge, washer, dryer); most of the furniture (except the sofa, which takes longer, and a few backordered items); Ted’s monster TV; the key to our mailbox; and our mattress. Luckily the mattress came after the bed.

The house is almost done now; we’ve been scurrying around picking up small things, like kitchen canisters for flour and sugar, a spice rack, sheets because the ones we brought from Taiwan are too small, towels, and so on. This weekend we’ll borrow a panel truck and bring up most of the stuff from Lowell. I have no idea what’s still left there that we could possibly need, except our bikes. I know there’s some clothing, another rowing machine, some hangers for our clothes, mixing bowls, and some books, but half of a large room there is full of boxes and I can’t imagine what’s in all of them.

Here are some photos from during the delivery process, and the kitchen as it looks now.

bed

dining_rm

kitchen1

kitchen2

rug

Some of our bedroom furniture has secret identities. The coolest piece is the vanity we bought to use as my desk: here it is looking all mild-mannered, then after a quick trip to a handy phone booth:

vanity_in

vanity_out

all our stuff, together again

Monday, February 4th, 2013

OK, we’re exhausted. On Wednesday night we went down to the lake house (we named it Rowell, not sure if I ever mentioned that here). Thursday morning early the moving truck showed up, with all our stuff from the Netherlands. The truck wasn’t more than half-full; we’ve been living in furnished flats for the last six years. Still, half a 40-foot moving van is a lot of stuff, especially when you’re trying to fit it all into a house that’s already furnished. The load included two rowing singles; the two sets of oars that go with them; two segments of a beautiful old wooden eight that we bought when our club in the Netherlands retired a couple of their boats, three sets of wooden oars (these boats and oars will be used for decoration, not rowing); two nightstands; a lingerie chest; a rocking chair; a matching ottoman; a storage ottoman; two patio chairs; and all of the books, clothes, pots, dishes, glasses, kitchen utensils, sheets, towels, tools, travel souvenirs and art and hobby stuff (beads and yarn) that we took with us or bought along the way.

Ted’s always said that it really bothers him when things in a house don’t have a place they go in; that’s not something that’s ever bothered me before, but now I understand what he means; I felt like I was drowning in a tidal wave of possessions. There was so … much … stuff. We worked from early every morning to late at night getting it sorted; I’m proud to say that now the entire upstairs of that house is cleared out. Books are on shelves, clothes are in closets and drawers, sheets are neatly stored in bins labeled according to which bed they’re for, kitchen stuff is put away. (The house is oddly organized; the main floor is a 3-bedroom two-bath house, with a large fitness room, craft room, garage, large laundry/workroom, and two baths downstairs.) The fitness room has the ergs and weights set up and usable on one side, with stuff meant for the new house on the other side. We brought back one load of stuff that we’ll need in the new house right away, but we kept it to a minimum since everything we brought back now had to be carried up stairs to this apartment and will then have to be brought to the new house and carried up there. (It’s three floors: garage, then living room, dining room, kitchen and den, with bedrooms on top.) The craft/storage room in Rowell is also full, but we can clear that out at our leisure. It was just such a relief to get the stuff all sorted away!

Also, it was great to have all our stuff on one continent. I made shrimp étouffée on Friday night and was able to use the new German knife we bought for that house just before leaving the Netherlands, my good cast iron Dutch oven, a pot from Taiwan (that was in a box the whole time we were in the Netherlands), and that house’s gas stove, all together for the first time. (I do not like Chef Emeril’s recipe, however. There was something wrong with his proportion of flour to butter and I had to correct them by guess.) Ted was happy to finally get to row his single on that lake, and I took my open water boat (it’s a Wintech Explorer 21 rec shell, good for training or open water) out for a shakedown cruise, though the water was like glass, and its extra stability wasn’t needed.

And we even got back in time to see the Superbowl – I’ve seen better years for commercials, but the game itself and the halftime show were some of the better ones I recall.

houses

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

We bought a house! We’ll be closing on February 22, so I think it will be a long month to wait, but in the meantime, things are getting busy.

Since we’re keeping the Eugene house, but since we’ve also been a bit spoiled by the apartments we’ve lived in as expats, we wanted something small but nice in Hillsboro. We’ve settled on a townhouse. It’s only got a one car garage, unfortunately, but at least there’s a long enough driveway to park the truck (which wouldn’t fit in the garage anyway). The entry is on the ground floor with the garage; on the next level (American 2nd floor, European 1st floor) is the living room, dinging room, and kitchen, all open to each other, plus a small den off the living room. We hope to put the rowing machines there, where they’ll be able to see the TV in the living room, but the townhouse is laid out with several condos sort of interleaved in one building, so that someone else’s one-story unit is below us. We’ll have to hope that, with a pad under the erg, they won’t be able to hear us in the bedroom below, or else we’ll have to put the ergs elsewhere. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a loft. Each bedroom has a walk-in closet (not true, even for the MBR, in many other townhouses we looked at!) and its own small bathroom. There’s decent storage overall – lots of counters in the kitchen, a pantry, a coat closet, and another shelved closet identical to the pantry over by the entrance, next to the powder room and coat closet.

This weekend we’re at our Eugene house getting everything ready, because next week they’ll finally be delivering our shipment! 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 insulated from both outside temperatures and neighbors’ noise.)

Meanwhile, we’ve been buying everything. It feels like that, anyway – all our major appliances and furniture, because just about all of our existing furniture will stay at the Eugene house. Unfortunately, though most of the new stuff will be delivered the day after closing, the sofa won’t arrive until the beginning of April. Luckily, we have two comfortable glider chairs, one already in the Eugene house and one coming with the shipment, that we’ll being up so we have something to sit on. Ted’s bedroom chest will be late too, but since I don’t nee anything but casual clothing at the moment, I can leave most of mine in the other house and let him use some of my drawer space.

I am very glad that we decided I’d take some time off to work on writing projects; not only am I loving working at home and enjoying the writing itself, but it’s been a huge boon to have the free time to deal with all of this, look at houses, go back and buy things once we’ve made decisions, and accept deliveries. Wonder if I can eventually get a telecommuting job?

the latest Oregon trip

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

I’ve just gotten back from two weeks in Oregon – Ted still has another week there, the lucky bum. The weather was amazingly perfect: it rained a little on Friday afternoon, my last full day there (well after we rowed), but otherwise it was gloriously sunny and cloudless, warm in the day and cool at night as if someone was trying to define the perfect October by example.

This was intended to be the big trip t prepare for our homecoming, buying a truck and RV, but it didn’t quite work out because our outlook is still unsettled. We thought about buying a truck anyway, but decided not to buy it this trip after all, though we did figure out exactly what we want. We’ll probably have to spend a little more if we buy it after we go home in January (because they won’t be getting rid of 2012 models by then) but at least we’ll know if we need it. So with that decision taken, the trip was really pretty useless, except for the purely recreational aspects of it. But it was blissful in the beginning and end, marred only by our having colds in the middle (well, Ted’s was more at the beginning, but he got over it quicker). Also, mostly through luck the timing allowed us to attend the wedding of a young cousin of Ted’s. Well, younger than us – she’s old enough to get married! It was a beautiful and very personalized wedding, held at her new husband’s family’s house on the river there, and it was good to spend some time with that side of his family. I’d only met the actual bride once, which was also the only time Ted’s seen her in the last twenty years, but she’s grown up beautiful and gracious and seemed genuinely happy to have us there. We’ve seen her parents quite a few more times, so we’ve all sort of kept up on each others’ lives to some extent. We especially appreciated getting to spend some time with Ted’s paternal grandfather, because we haven’t gotten to see him on our last few trips.

We got to do lots of cooking and have plenty of quiet time at our place, sitting on the balcony and watching the sun set and turn the lake into an opal. Otherwise, it was rowing, reading, knitting, some work on the house, a little gardening (and a big bruise for me. Note to self: do not wear old too-tight jeans as gardening pants or else do not try to jump up on walls in them), truck shopping, time with family and general hanging out.

In addition, I got about halfway through a Christmas stocking I’m making for my nephew (for which I’d had yarn and pattern delivered there). I’ve made a few changes – really, who knew Christmas stockings carried so much religious and political freight? I’ve made a bunch of white boys into multiracial boys and girls and replaced camels and drums with more secular holiday symbols. Before getting that yarn, I finished one sock and on the way home started a second one, because the stocking needs too many colors to be easily portable.

Getting home was an adventure. I found a shuttle service that goes from Eugene to the Portland airport, so Ted only had to drop me off in town instead of driving all the way to Portland. So that was easy. Then there was the 9+ hour flight, which was OK as those things go. But then I landed on a Sunday, the day that NS most often uses to work on their train lines. Instead of the usual direct train from Schiphol to Eindhoven, it took me two trains, a bus and another train to get home. The Eindhoven marathon is today, so I had to make my way through the blocked off course to get to my apartment from the train station. It hadn’t realy started yet, so that was easier than I was afraid it woud be. (I did break the barrier tape by accident though. Oops.)

Now all I have to do is stay awake until bedtime.

we haven’t vanished from the face of the Internets

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

…. just hanging out in Oregon. So far we’ve spent time with our friend Kathy and the in-laws, and a random rower from Arizona who came up for the race and who we invited over for dinner. (I don’t think she was expecting a whole roast turkey as a post-race dinner! But it’s an easy way to feed lots of people.) We’ve made good use of the dock for practice and for the race; today I even went out in a double with Ted and we managed not to tick each other off. (Rowing with your spouse can be …. interesting.) And of course we’ve raced; Ted and Kathy won the Mixed Masters Double in their age category, and I at least wasn’t last (until the handicaps were added in – I was the youngest in my race). Results are here.

Other than rowing, we’ve gotten to sleep late, drink lots of Oregon wine and beer, and check out RVs and big trucks to pull them, in prep for next year. We’ve eaten all the foods we can’t get in the Netherlands – pretzels, of course, and all the foods we can’t get where we live: steaks, grilled salmon (well, they have it there, but this was Pacific Northwest salmon and we got to grill it ourselves), grilled green asparagus, roasted turkey, burritoes, other Mexican food. We got to cook in a big over and with a stove top that has actual flames coming out of it, and Kathy was highly amused when I started talking about how big our oven, washer, dryer and fridge are (all on the large side but still standard US sizes). And we got to sleep in our own bed, which is just so much nicer than the one in our Dutch flat. Now Kathy has elected herself our cruise director for when we throw a big weekend-long Party at the Lake, which apparently we are supposed to do on an annual basis after we return. (If we really ever do, we’ll let all you family and friend types know, of course.)

All this and getting to not be at work, too!

(Pics wil come later; I forgot to bring the card reader to upload them.)

At home

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

I realized we’ve got a tradition going; every time we come to Oregon, we each buy a pair of boots. Last summer when we visited in June (the trip where we came out fully expecting to buy another house but found this much better one instead) we each bought a pair of cowboy boots, light brown. Ted, who finds his feet get very cold when walking between office buildings wearing dress shoes in a Dutch winter, had actually planned to buy a pair; I just sort of got sucked in. Those worked out very well; he likes the warmth and comfort while I liked that they are comfortable, go with both skirts and pants, and are a bit unique (in the Netherlans, anyway) and distinctly American. So when we came back at Christmas, we each bought a black pair. We skipped the boot-buying in April when my parents visited (maybe I should have talked Mom into getting a pair!) but succumbed again to the lure of the boot this trip. He got a new pair of work boots (the old pair died after fifteen years or so, which is why he replaced them with the same brand, Danners) and I got a pair of tall boots I fell in love with at DSW. (You mat notice that I am very carefully not mentioning how many other pair of shoes I bought. I’m not impressed with the selection available in Eindhoven – tons of shoe stores, but they tend to be both expensive and uncomfortable.)

I don’t think this is a sustainable tradition, but it’s fun while it lasts. We are certainly doing our bit to resuscitate the US economy.

Aside from the shopping, though, we’re really glad we took this holiday. We hadn’t originally planned a trip home now, but we realized we had both the time and the money available and that we both really wanted to go. Since buying the house, I’d never been here when it was warm enough to really enjoy the deck – in fact, I’m out on it now. The star-watching hasn’t baan as good as I hoped due to the full moon, but one night before it rose I did get to see both a satellite and a shooting star. Later that night Ted brought out the spotting scope and we had an amazing view of the moon itself. Tycho crater was bright and even the smallest craters on the horizon were crystal-sharp.

We still don’t have our rowing shells here, though everything is set up and ready for them, but Ted’s parents have brought their inflatable kayaks up and I took one of those out a couple of times. It’s a bit clumsy, being made more for floating downstream, but it was good to have water under my butt – it’s not enough for me to just look at the lake!

I have confirmed that gardening is still not my favorite thing in the world, but I suppose there’s a satisfaction in tending to your own land. Also, Ted’s parents do like gardening, but they have a tendency to work too hard when they come up here if we don’t get to it first. So the gardens are now pristine, until the next batch of weeds spring up and the willow next door decides it’s autumn and drop all its leaves.

All we need to do now is to figure out how to live here full-time. Anyone want to hire a couple of telecommuters?