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catching up

February 4th, 2014 at 09:15 pm

Hola - Been a little while.

My first meeting as president of the condo board went alright. Mostly because I kept us on task. I can tell I'm going to have to be patient with an owner or two who will "sing the song of their people" over and over. Same tune too. The other big task is getting used to my gmail account and the condo board's gmail account.

Tomorrow is the Seahawk parade and even in this, the HR department is torquing me off with a unique ability of taking something simple and heartfelt and stomping the spontaniety out of it. Our HR will let us go but strongly "encourage" us (encourage with an underline in the email) to wear our t-shirts with our logos. Wrong on so many levels:

1.) This is a Seahawk thing, not an us thing (you might remember that I work for an non-profit with a Way at the end.) celebrating the Seahawks.

2.) Its lunch hour. Are you going to tell us when to eat also?

2.) its going to be 20F. Even me from Wisconsin, ain't no way I'm going to standing out there with just a t-shirt. Not with our health insurance. I'm layering and wearing a coat and that coat will be closed.

Bulls eye!

January 13th, 2014 at 08:06 pm

Two more items on the Target front:

My CU is replacing my debit card.
Got a Target missive to go and get my credit monitored.

So far, no weird transactions. Everything looks clean.

Next week is my first condo meeting as president.

This weekend I finished a mosaic clock. Got a clock motor thingy from Amazon, drilled a hole my wood backerboard and got the motor thingy in. Mosaicked the backerboard, grouted, let the grout cure, installed my hands and put the battery in. Very pretty. I'll post a picture when I get a chance to take the picture in reasonable light. Hard to do when I leave in the dark and get home in the dark.

now being the pres

January 4th, 2014 at 10:22 pm

So if you haven't been following along, during the condo all-owner meeting on Dec 8 I volunteered to serve on the condo board, and during the mini-board meeting held after I was selected to be the president.

Jan 1, I began my term. So suddenly things like the garage gate getting stuck/touchy during the winter/cranky when it knows you are in a hurry/blah blah blah ... now its my responsibility. I'm noticing every loose doorknob and freaking out just a little bit. Alternating with the freakout comes my family sense of humor - I was just thinking, as I was running my washer and dryer at 11pm on Friday, what is anybody going to do about it? I'm the pres!

And it turned out that since I have the largest sq ft footprint, I hold a certain amount of power. Tiny but there. If I show up, more than likely there is enough percentage ownership so that items can come to a vote. If I don't show up, everybody has to do a calculation just to make sure there is enough representation.

Seriously, my next board meeting I'm moving forward to ask and research where condo reserve accounts are. We now have adult amounts in reserves. (It will reach 6 figure in a few months) In CDs in a bank or what? Sure hope it is NOT in a money market fund - that would be the absolute worst of all worlds - no interest earned and no FDIC insurance so its not even as safe as it could be. Once I find out where it is I want to figure where best to put it if its in the wrong place.

Anybody else serving on a condo board?

I'm in the soup now

December 10th, 2013 at 08:54 pm

For most of the time since last I wrote, its been 'keep on keeping on'. I get paid, I pay and now with my drop in my 403B withholding, I have a little left over.

However, we had our bi-yearly all owner condo association meeting last Sunday, and I had the flu and I offered to serve on the board, then while I was sitting there trying not to be contagious and trying to concentrate on keeping my body temperature somewhere above 90F....

I got elected condo president for 2014. Yipes. The secretary and treasurer are the same; they've been doing their tasks for several years and are good at them. So a little continuity here.

I've been told that the tasks will be fairly straightforward. Greeting new people, answering questions new buyers have, etc... However, I do have one project that I want as my one year legacy:

Find out what kind of account the reserves are in, and if they in a money market fund, for God sake, move them into at least a laddered CD.

groceries are striking here

October 18th, 2013 at 10:09 pm

The union for 4 biggest chain grocery stores in Seattle has put in their 72 hour notice to strike. I sympathize so I'm going to see if can avoid breaking strike lines. I don't really have good alternative cheap places to get meat but I think I can do okay on the produce. We'll see.

I've been going back to the gym several times a week, logging in my food, etc. I've been bouncing around 175-180, and I would love to lose 10 pounds. My latest health check had my blood pressure at borderline hypertensive, so its another reason to exercise. I also swapped out my table salt for salt substitute. I don't eat too much processed food but even reading the labels on the stuff I do eat: phooey.

With the condo, my friends had a standing bet that within a year I'd be running the condo. Well, I've been asked to run for VP on the board. I don't know whether I really want to do it. I always think that "well do it for a year and stop" but I have serious problems with disengagement. Its the flip side of stick-it-tuitiveness.

But the intimate emergency fund (what the found money account morphed into) is doing well: $19.20. And I am still ahead on the 2013 death bet.

backsplash-o-rama

September 1st, 2013 at 01:56 pm

I still have to do my kitchen backsplash, but I helped lawyer friend and partner lay in their kitchen backsplash. We tiled two of them - they put in a basement unit with its own kitchen to rent out.

Both turned out well - my mosaic experiences directly translated - and I got free experience in set-up, the tile wet saw (don't know how running that will fly amongst my neighbors in the condo), doing corners, handling light sockets, using spacers, figuring out how to compensate for putting a design on a wall. It was funny how the three of us had different luck in the materials - most of it was subway tile with a glass tile band & I definitely had "glass tile" hands.

It was fun, but tiring. Now that I've got my own plan, know what color grout to use, and got fresh experience to draw, its time to do my own.

keeping on

July 26th, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I had my frugal burn last week, and while I have a little more money at the end of this time period, I'll have another, smaller frugal burn ending mid August.

But I will have enough to do the Gumshoe with Spondilicks next weekend. For the first time in 10 years I missed the Greenwood Parade. Bummer, but it takes two buses, so I didn't feel up to it.

Not much more is happening. I've been sprucing up my 2nd bedroom for crafts - moved my work table around, unpacked a lot of glass, tile, and china. This week I painted two sliding closet doors in dk brown chalkboard paint (14$). Chalkboard paint goes on a lot like pudding; I felt like I was really slapping it on. Took at least two coats, a light sand to knock down the biggest brush strokes, and the third coat. Love the color enough so if chalkboarding doesn't appeal the color looks like I meant it.

kitchen was cheaper

July 3rd, 2013 at 07:56 pm

Got what I think was the last bill (dated to 6/28/2013) from the kitchen remodel contractor. All bills from them totaled $25,457. I was given an estimated budget of $27,900 and after having to put new flooring the estimated budget was $29,000.

Fingers crossed that I really got a last bill!

week 6 and the end

May 12th, 2013 at 11:22 am

Officially, all that's left to install is: vent hood over the stove, the finish piece covering toe kicks, and the backsplash (which is all me). Vent and toe kicks should be installed next week. I'm working on backsplash - I toyed with glass tile, but dang I don't want to rent a wet saw to make those cuts for the pieces that will go underneath the light switch and electric sockets. Glossy ceramic tiles for me.

Here is the "final" w/flooring and appliances


And here's what I began with - put on those shoulder pads and flip that feathered hair back while you're sauteing...


Still a two wall galley, but smooth near indestructible countertops, all appliances, a nice high ceiling, all the electrical issues that came up in inspection are resolved, everything adjustable (can squish two shelves close together for an impromptu wine rack or far apart to accommodate that tall bottle of fish sauce), the sink is quiet, doors with pullouts, and every door/drawer is soft close. I didn't aim for grandiose and I didn't aim for toy.

The contractors also want to come in take their photos also - they are proud of their work and for good reason.

Cost was 29K for the contractor and 5K from me for appliances and some fixtures. Whatever the contractor could get more cheaply even with their markup they bought (worked that way with cabinets, countertop, sink, faucet, under cabinet lighting, flooring) and whatever I could get more cheaply I bought. Not cheap, but at least I get to enjoy it first. Nothing like improving for somebody else.

week 5 & 5.5

April 30th, 2013 at 08:17 pm

Week 5 on the kitchen remodel was a bit slow - just the lighting was installed and the appliances were delivered.

Lights .... I think I will call them my War of the Worlds lights due to their tripod nature.


This weekend, I did a recon mission on a couple of tile stores. Score - I love to work with vitreous glass and I finally found a place in Seattle that has a lot of colors. That, and other tile samples were what I picked up along the way. Couldn't make many final decisions until I see the countertops.


I throw out week 5.5 because yesterday (my 51st birthday!) the contractor installed the countertops, (I also showed the undercabinet lighting here) -


And today, the sink and faucet were fully installed (also a good shot at the countertop pattern)-


Dang that flooring guy!

week 4

April 20th, 2013 at 04:52 pm

Cabinets are in. Because I have an undermount sink and a slide in stove, the appliances need to be here so the contractor can make sure the appliance/countertops are installed with no issues. Also the ceiling lights will show next week. And the dust curtain is gone.

I got the revised bill, and so far the extra flooring and slight shift in plumbing only added $1.2K. I know, I know, in the frugal twilight zone where $1.2K is a dodged bullet and not a disaster.

sink side -


stove side -

week 3

April 13th, 2013 at 04:55 pm

Monday the new floor was set up and the drywall was replaced. It was all sealed off, so that was my carryout day. I've been doing okay with the bag of salad with a vinegar/oil dressing, both ingredients that I could store in my little bedroom kitchen.

Tuesday it looked like I could paint, so I did, but it turned out the texture guy had to do his work, so I had to paint again Wednesday. Back of my living room had a wall of boxes full of cabinet:



FYI - V.I. is holding up. While work is going on, she's behind my bedroom door w/full access to bedroom w/food dish, bonus room, cat box in the master bathroom. So far, no sign of cat displeasure on a bed pillow.

Smooth painted box stage. I wanted to paint now because I figured it would be a billion times harder after the cabinets were installed. The white squiggles are where the under cabinet lighting's going to go.



Finished the week on a high note. Lower cabinets are going in. I have tried all the drawers and pull outs. All soft close. I have made a resolution to mentally take $1 worth of enjoyment watching the soft close work. I figure at 5x/day, $1600/yr. I expect the remodel is going to be 30K. I'm not going to totally recoup it, but I'm going to make a big dent.

week 2

April 13th, 2013 at 04:39 pm

Of kitchen remodel.

Basically it was at the bottoming out stage - they couldn't rip out any more ... drywall covering the plumbing was ripped out, and the drywall at chest level was ripped out so the electrician could install under cabinet lighting.



The gypcrete floor above the subfloor and underneath the vinyl had to be replaced, it was worn into pebbles in the work triangle between sink, stove, and refrigerator. That, and the plumbing had to be shifted a little bit were the only 'surprises' thus far.



The stove is gone - it is going to its second career as the stove of one of the contractors. He told me later that the stove was working like a champ.

Week 3 next.

week 1

March 30th, 2013 at 02:38 pm

I'm in the midst of kitchen remodel-o-rama. They started Monday. So from this, as I left it on Sunday:



And what it is as of this morning, stove side:



... and sink side:



How am I holding up? The contractors left me the refrigerator, now at the far end of the dining room, and along the side of my bedroom, my Japanese, camping kitchen:



As long as I store and have bag salad and hot drinks for a few weeks I won't have to resort to carryout. I've figured it will be about 5 wks, but frankly, it will end when it ends. I've also picked up paper bowls so I would only have to wipe out and clean 1-2 implements in the bathroom sink. Kitty is locked into the bedroom during the day - when I get home I cruise the kitchen to make sure there isn't any open liquids, sharp things.

So far, the contractors have been good citizens to everybody in the condo and other owners are now looking with interest how this remodel will turn out. Have not gotten a bill yet for the week, but I expect one soon.

dang busy

March 23rd, 2013 at 03:54 pm

Been nearly a month already since I last wrote something. Hopefully, though, it will ease up. It has to eventually.

Lately I've been hip deep in making decisions about my upcoming kitchen remodel - the sink and faucet, the countertop, the cabinets, the flooring, the lighting, the appliances. I sure hope that all of my decisions will play nice with each other, and the new kitchen will play nice with the dining room. I've also notified (and renotified) my condo neighbors and the condo board. The tentative start date is this Monday - I've learned that it really always be a bit tentative because the contractor wants to absolutely, positively make sure that the materials will get here with no delays before they start ripping up things to shreds.

Right now this is the last weekend of the old. I'm treating it as a calm before the storm. Tonight I take down pictures, pull out everything from cabinets. I have enough empty space so that the new refrigerator gets put into the living room. Saves me more decisions about where to put my freezer stuff - and it will be nice to be able store a bag of salad whilst the teardown begins. I've put the kitty food bowls in my bedroom and my fur girl is quite confused. I'm trying to tell her that THINGS will be different in the next few weeks.

The welcome packet project is done. Someone did buy a unit in the last week or two - I'll be a knocking at their door to welcome them, packet in hand.

Just finished my taxes, and yes I pay some. The price of good investing - I've made a bit of coin in these last couple of years, and I had to figure out cost-basis this year.

And of course an update on the death bet 2013 - about 1/2 the players got Hugo Chavez. Don't weep for the other half - they are playing Lindsay Lohan! Wink One player got a local celebrity - Booth Gardner, the former governor of Washington.