Category Archives: La Casa

(D)Rats

It pains me to record this story, but…

We had a rat at 3675.

Being the clean freak that I am, “rats” aren’t something I ever imagined I’d personally ever encounter, in MY home. Even as it sits on the precipice of its centennial birthday, with its dirt-floor crawlspace and steamy attic, right in the middle of the crowded Bay Area, overrun with urban wildlife feasting on the local and sustainable bounty of year-round backyard gardens…

My home is (or was, in my mind) an air-tight rodent fortress.

I’m only mildly comforted, still, by the fact that rats can be found in one-third of all homes in America. Like, barely comforted. 3675 had to be a 2 or a 3 – so clean you can eat off the floor in every room, inspected top to bottom inside and out on the first each month for signs of so much as a hairline crack

But alas, I saw the rat. It ran RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE – I kid you not, I felt a breeze – while I examined what I thought had to be a harmless little mouse dropping in the basement behind the washing machine.

I’ll never feel the same about what lies beyond this door…

Mice, by the way, are NOT THE SAME AS RATS. Mice are tiny – cute, even. I’ve encountered plenty of mice before: in my office while working late, in our woodpile at our mountain home…

Rats: they are not cute. Continue reading

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Five

Trent and I are officially “those people”:

The Christmas Party People.

You know – everyone has that one friend who throws the big Christmas thing every year. The thing you can count on to keep your friendship in good standing because even if you didn’t get to see each other all year long, you’re definitely going to be at the Christmas thing.

And I LOVE being the Christmas Party People!!!

I’m not sure why, exactly, we decided to throw our first Christmas party at 3675, five years ago now… It definitely could just be because I like to party? Does there have to be another reason?  Continue reading

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Tree v. 2017

This is our 2017 Christmas tree.

Oh, Christmas tree…

It fell over while we were decorating it: the first time that’s ever happened to us. Smashed bulbs and spilled water. Scared dog cowering in the corner. It almost fell over a second time, too, but by then we had grown wiser to its ways and managed to catch it.

It was a fitting end to our Thanksgiving weekend: two sick-as-hell people struggling to decorate their house for Christmas, to salvage some holiday cheer after their family celebration in the mountains was ruined by the flu, the tree absolutely refusing to cooperate. Both of us still up at 9:00 PM, delirious, insisting we could do it; we could have some happy holidays in 2017. We could end a terrible year on a high note. There were still things to look forward to…

And there are. I guess. Siiiggghhh.

The tree is up. The halls are decked. Christmas will come. We’ve both already had the flu this season, so maybe we won’t get it again, right? (??? Knock on wood…).

This too shall pass.

So, here we go, full steam ahead into Christmas 2017, and then into a new year which, we hope, has good things in store not just for us, but for the whole world.

We both kinda feel like flopping over at this point, but we’re holding each other up like invisible fishing wire behind the scenes. We can do this. 

The world can do this. 

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A Tree Tale: The End

Our long, dramatic encounter with the bark beetle has come to an end. At last.

It’s been well over a year now since the beetles came, conquered, and left destruction in their wake in our Sierra Nevada mountain home. We’re lucky, of course; compared to communities farther south, we barely suffered. Still, we’ve spent the last 18 months on a torturous homeowner odyssey: learning the telltale signs of a beetle strike, working with multiple forestry agencies to fell over a dozen 100-foot+ ponderosa pines, spending late nights online reading up on logging regulations and permit processes, dealing with the gargantuan mess left behind (through the record-setting winter of 2016-17, no less), facing off with shitty neighbors, growing closer to good ones…

And really learning a lot about trees in the process.

Now that it’s over (knock on wood), it’s kind of amazing to look back on it all, so I’m going to do that (some day when I’m feeling particularly ineffective, this is gonna be a great confidence booster)… Continue reading

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5 – Another One

This past weekend, while Trent and I were in the middle of…

  • Cleaning and touching up our 100-year-old redwood patio furniture
  • Refinishing our enormous custom-built cedar deck box
  • RE-refinishing our enormous custom-built cedar deck box, after we woke up to find the finish had gelatinzed (is that a word?) overnight
  • Repairing our broken sprinkler heads (our gardening team is great, but they nevertheless murder the sprinkler heads, every season)
  • Repainting all the pressure-treated lumber in our landscaping, and…
  • Repairing and rerouting our gutters, now that it’s actually RAINED IN CALIFORNIA and we understand where the water from our roof goes (in short: not where it should)

…all to get 3675 ready for a summer of TOTAL RELAXATION and ZERO HOME IMPROVEMENT…

…it occurred to me:

We’ve lived in our house for exactly five years.  Continue reading

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