Friday, July 31, 2009

"What're Ya, YELLOW?"

Kayleigh had her first belt test last Friday, and was awarded her yellow belt at class on Wednesday. I could not be prouder. I even got to hold the board she split with an axe kick - on the first try.

Two open houses scheduled for this weekend. We had five agents at the broker's open yesterday. And next Tuesday my stepdad is going to come down from Bellingham and help me install a wooden railing on the front porch and pour a new concrete bottom step.

And last but not least, the heatwave broke last night. We awoke to overcast skies and a gentle breeze. In other words, the weather we Seattleites are used to. Back down to a nice, summery 82F.

Welcome, weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

[Witty Heat-Related Title Here]

Looks like Seattle's looking to break the all-time temperature record today. According to King 5 News (and other local sources), we're supposed to see 101F today. If we do it, it'll break the official record of 100F set in 1891.

Of all the things to take pride in, beating a heat record is not on my list of priorities. But I count my blessings, and among them are ceiling fans and a cool downstairs master bedroom.

Plenty of interest in the house listing, although no traffic. Maybe things will pick up when the heatwave breaks. We have a broker's open tomorrow, and open houses on Saturday and Sunday. Sounds like a good excuse to go mall walking or sit in an air-conditioned theater for a couple hours.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Muy Caliente

Sure, temps in the 90s are no big deal if you live in the Southwest. In Phoenix, for example, it's downright cool and breezy. But in Seattle, where the all time record high of 100 degrees was set back in 1891, it's pretty much as hot as we can go without getting pissy. Pacific Northwesterners are acclimated to colder temperatures as a matter of environment. When the mercury hits 60, we're donning shorts and flip-flops and shedding our layers of REI sweaters and Hanes hoodies (showing off piercings and tattoos - and fat reserves - that are often best left to the imagination). And home air conditioning is almost unheard of here.

Well, this week, it's supposed to get hot and stay there until we dip back under 90 for the weekend. Add the fact that Seattle is essentially an inland metropolis, despite its position on a large body of water. Socked in by mountains on either side, our air tends to heat up and stop moving, and when that happens, the air quality quickly goes down the tubes. And on top of everything else, Seafair is this week - a festival dominated by hydroplane racing and Blue Angel aerobatics, all of which add to the carbon in the the general breathing supply.

Short version: Seattle is one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in the country when the air is moving. When it hits high summer and decides to stop, however, it's kinda lame. Not California or Texas stupid-hot, but lame nonetheless.

I think Robert Smith described the situation perfectly.

Of course, the moment it started to broil, I decided to get on the roof and start sweeping off the tree crap and moss that had accumulated in the last three years. It took most of four hours and ended with me getting dizzy and thinking that a pointy roof over a two-story drop was probably not the best place to be dizzy. But the roof looks oodles better, and Sunday our agent hosted an open house while TFMD went to a baby shower and I took the kids to the movies and lunch at Blue C. It was a first for both of them (the Blue C sushi, not the movies), and it was quite a hit.

Later on, Dan & Trish came over to talk shop and we ended up having a little "deli dinner" (french bread with deli meats and cheeses... and wine). Then we retired for the evening and tried to stay cool.

I predict popcicles will find their way into the grocery cart this afternoon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pre-Weekend Update

Well, here we go. Another plunging hill on the roller coaster of life. Put your arms up and scream like a girl.

We have made the house beautiful and pristine. I think the last time it looked this good was just before we moved back in after the reconstruction. It simply sparkles. Ron came by on Wednesday and shot pics, and emailed them to the agent last night. She will come by this morning and have me sign off on the last of the listing paperwork, and then the sign gets stuck in the front yard. Bam! - house for sale.

I still have a few cosmetic things on my punch list. I have a few scuffs on doors and baseboards to paint. I have to get up on the roof and sweep out the gutters. The landscapers are here, chopping up everything and making the yard all pretty. What sucks is that I woke up at 1:30AM and 3:30AM, and the second time I never got back to sleep. Too much going on in my head.

Some good omens this morning have put me in a positive mood. Let's hope it carries through. Maybe I can catch a nap later.

Weekend ahoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

First Time For Everything

Sure, I've moved before. Heck, when I was a kid, we moved every three years or so.

I feel a story coming on. Might want to go get a refill of whatever you were drinking.

There you go. Comfy?

After my parents' divorce, we moved every couple years (sometimes more). Once I moved out with Samantha, we spent 6 months in a Mountain View apartment - then she went to San Francisco State and I studied animation at Mission College, so I got a room in a friend's house in San Jose for 6 months, a sort of bachelor pad situation. Moved back to my dad's for a year while I went to school and worked, saving up for the family trip to the Caribbean in 1989, and shortly thereafter moved back in with Sam and another couple in Fremont. That lasted a little less than a year, and Sam & I moved into our little 500sf apartment on the Mountain View/Sunnyvale border (which we christened with the extremely geeky epithet The Keep on the Borderlands), with the Slumlord from the Lower Circles of Hell.

We survived the 100+ degree summers in an upstairs sauna with no air conditioning for two years before we finally snapped. All we wanted was "reasonable". And the Bay Area had ceased to deliver "reasonable".

Once we hit Washington, it was two weeks of couch surfing at our friends' place in Bellevue before we got a nice apartment in Renton, where we were for a year and a half while we got established (we had the "Cascade" two-bedroom floor plan). Sunnyvale Slumlord kept our deposit, by the way, knowing it would be too inconvenient for us to come back to California and take him to court. $500 was not insignificant to a young married couple who'd just moved out of state.

While in the Renton apartment, we befriended Buffy, who was NOT a vampire slayer, but rather a sweet young Bohemian girl who was the perfect friend and roommate for a sweet young Bohemian couple, all of whom had embraced the granola and flannel Seattle "scene" in the early '90s. Ever see the film Singles? More accurate than not.

Anyhoo, we were looking at sharing a place in the city, and West Seattle was a sleepy little community of artists and musicians off the beaten track. We ended up renting a huge Craftsman house on the main strip of California Ave., just above a custom auto parts shop - a storefront that would become the Nail Time salon. The rent? $625. A hundred bucks less than our first apartment in Mountain View.

When we arrived in West Seattle in the January of 1993, I had no clue what twists and turns were in store, both for myself and the neighborhood. On the downside, there was a Denny's. There were two gun stores and a porn shop on the Ave. On the upside, we were a block from Jefferson Square and could walk to the store for groceries. We had a view of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains from our living room window (a view that was replaced in recent years by high rise apartments). There was a mom & pop cafe and a brew supply store across the street, and when Ron and I launched The Gamut (the hobby store now occupied by a Garlic Jim's pizzaria) that summer, I could walk to work.

Buffy roomed with us for a year, keeping up a close friendship afterward. In fact, she was present at Tyler's birth, acting as my sanity check (gophering and making sure we both kept hydrated). Buffy was followed by Erica, Samantha's manager at Pegasus Book Exchange and a regular at The Gamut. Erica shared the house until Tyler was about 3 months old, then Tyler moved into the second bedroom and we occupied the enire house by ourselves - a complete family unit - until we found this little updated Craftsman just off Westwood Village. We bought the place for under $100K and moved in on March 1st, 1995.

With the exception of living across the street during the post-fire rebuild, this is the only home I've lived in ever since. It's the only home Tyler can remember. It's the only home Kayleigh's ever known. It's been through flood and fire, and rebuilt to a magnificent state. And it goes on the market this week.

[blink, blink]

It actually came about pretty suddenly. Raechelle and I (and the kids) have been house hunting for over a year. But we found a good opportunity to move in a good direction within West Seattle, and we made an offer. And since the offer is contingent on selling this place, we now have to make that happen.

So suddenly I'm boxing up extra stuff and getting a storage space, and cleaning out the garden window in the kitchen, and recycling a bunch of leftover Deep7 books I had in the carport.

And getting ready to sell my first home.

There's a lot of memory and, yes, some baggage in the last 15 years. And while I'm absolutely thrilled to be embarking on a new adventure with my family and the woman I love... yeah... it's a bit heavy, sure.

TFMD and I were the first ones to ask ourselves if we were just a wee bit loco to be trying to move four months before a wedding and honeymoon. And given other circumstances, that's probably very correct. But this was an incredible opportunity - a situation that would not be present had we waited until next year to continue hunting. We'd have been crazy not to give this a shot.

So, while nothing is final yet, we need to get this place all prettied up for Baby's First Listing. This move will be the physical representation of Life 2.0. I'm excited and terrified and sometimes a little sad, but I ultimately feel very peaceful and serene about this new chapter.

Yeeeeeehaw, my homies. Yeehaw.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What a Week

This is what our weeks have become: colored blocks of virtual time management. According to the key to the left, the blue areas are primarily mine, the pink primarily Raechelle's. Some of mine she needs to attend, some of hers I need to attend. We tag-team on the red and orange blocks (Tyler and Kayleigh, respectively), although I'm on the hook for those 80-90% of the time. Just one of the joys of parenting.

Along with being a schedule Nazi.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I kinda look forward to driver's licenses and those first beater cars, and the independence to keep one's own schedule.

"So, a lot has been going on this week," stated Captain Obvious as he knocked back his third shot of tequila.

Speaking of which, we have the Kirby Krackle show tonight, a screening of Moon tomorrow, and lots of house cleaning and organization on Sunday. Sometime in there, I'm gonna try to sleep.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

I'm going to talk in very general terms about our recent house hunting expeditions. I will not mention specific properties, MLS numbers or addresses, but I wanted to post something on the topic that has been taking much of our time and energy of late.

We've narrowed the search to two homes. They would each be a quality investment and a good geographical move (within West Seattle, but north and west of our current location). We'll be taking the kids to see both properties tomorrow. And then we'll decide which way we want to proceed.

It's a pretty crazy feeling. Raechelle's never bought a home before. The last (and only) time I did was almost 15 years ago, and the amount of money being batted around was less than one fourth of the current amount. It's a crazy time to look at buying a home (what with the wedding and all of the work we're doing with Tyler, and the film projects in the hopper), and an even crazier time to consider selling (with home values in the toilet). When I refinanced in late '07, this home appraised in the mid 400s. We're now looking at a market value about 60-100k less than that. So, while it's an awesome time marketwise to buy, we know we'll take a hit on the return from this place.

The upside to all of this (and the reason we're even looking right now) is because getting into a new home in a slightly better section of the neighborhood will signify a new start. A new start that the kids and I could not have had if we remained here. Although the house was completely rebuilt from the studs up, there is still a lot of memory here, a lot of "heavy" energy. The kids have both mentioned it, and I've noticed it too. It's a gorgeous home, and I love everything we've done to it. It's just time for a change of scenery and location (if I may be permitted a director-ism).

So that's what's going on currently. House hunting, wedding prep, trying to get work done, family counseling, preparing the house for sale.

I wish I could find something to do with all this spare time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Say What??

We saw this in Rite Aid the other night while picking up bandages (because of all the cat scratching, I swear - I don't let TFMD go near the flogger!), and I had to snap a pic.

I don't know if I should be relieved that they make an anti-monkey-butt powder, or if I should be distraught that they are fresh out of anti-monkey-butt powder...

...or happy that there's a REBATE on the anti-monkey-butt powder!

One thing's for sure: I'm going to Rite Aid for all my anti-monkey-butt powder needs.

Unless they're out.

Stupid rebate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Google Search as Cheap Entertainment

Although not as creepy or disturbing as some of TFMD's referrals, a Google search string just popped up in my own Sitemeter report, and it made me chuckle.

why do you hate my trains

Thanks, Sitemeter. I needed the laugh.

Thar Be Traysure Here!

Just when you think you've gone through all the old artwork and photos and financial records from your twenty-year relationship, there's always another little file box. You know, the plastic ones you thought had melted in the fire, or at least had failed to protect whatever was inside...

Stuff like these band photos (by Randy Hensel) from the college Mozart Air Raid days:

Or, even further back in time:

Along with four metric assloads of old scripts, short stories, novels, and original Zingo comic strips.

Stuff like that can be a real emotional roller coaster. Fortunately a lot of it was pre-Sam, so it didn't contain a lot of that particular brand of melancholy. And I was able to get rid of a whole garbage bag of stuff. So there's that.

Summer is here, which means I've been having to train the kids to respect the office as sacrosanct. No walking up behind me and just launching into a question or conversation; knock and ask first. It also means doing a daily list of chores for both kids. If they're not in school, by golly, they're pulling their weight in this household.

Got a couple shoots coming up and a lot on our collective househunting and wedding prep plate, but we're doing well, in total. I've also had a great time making new contacts in the local film scene and working with Dan & Trish on both the Duo and OA series projects.

Tune in next time when I discover yet another long lost file box full of memories... and throw half of them in the recycle bin.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Might Have a Problem

I started the day with the noblest of intentions; began the design for the new Despot Media site, and of course followed up with several of my new contacts from the film community networking thingy last night.

Aside: I was so jazzed from making said new contacts that I completely spaced on the need to close out my tab last night. Fortunately, Producer Dan works close to the market and went down there after lunch to retrieve it for me. So I'm buying him Teriyaki for dinner. We have an OA story meeting tonight.

Being productive worked until about lunchtime. Kayleigh made mac & cheese, and we found a show on HGTV to watch while we ate. The show was Househunters, and this particular episode featured a couple looking for a home in West Seattle last year. About the same time we started looking. And one of the houses in the show was one we'd looked at.

I should have just gone back to being productive. But the next show was about homeowners increasing their curb appeal. And then one on the selling experiece. And then half the afternoon had disappeared. I think I might be addicted to HGTV.

But the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What the Heck??

RIP Karl Malden, a great American actor, dead at 97. I saw someone on Facebook remark that we were witnessing the slow-mo Rapture.

On happier topics, the family unit is stable. We're house hunting again. I've been writing and catching up on my office/admin duties. I finished watching season 7 of The Shield. Wow. What a denouement.

And in just about an hour, I'll be leaving to have a drink with other Seattle filmmakers at a networking event at one of my favorite pubs.