We are alive. We have moved. We are still unpacking and working on two houses at once is a whole new experience, let me tell you. I'm going to make a very disjointed post with some photos and you can try to sort it out. Much like these boxes packed in the last week before the move, it's got a little bit of everything in it.

The Admiralty

One of my friends calls the new house the Admiralty, because it's old officers' housing. That works. I was thinking Casa Decrepit West, but the Admiralty is pretty catchy.

The house is very large, and over on the left the low wing is the maid's room. On the right is a garage (which has a steep diagonal slant on the floor, so we are not using it).

Dining room

This is the first time in 2 or 3 years that we've had a functional dining room table that is not acting as work staging area. We eat dinner in here every night like civilized people. It's a little disconcerting. I love it.

(Why yes, we do have a lot of canned food stacked in the dining room.)

There are gophers at the Admiralty. Not in the back yard (afraid of dogs) but in the large lawns that surround all the houses. I've never dealt with gophers before. I thought they were groundhogs until a friend corrected me. Groundhogs are beaver sized. That explains why at Groundhog Day things people hold up what I thought was an angry beaver. I'm apparently quite ignorant about your more common rodentia.

Our bedroom is enormous

This house is both larger than and smaller than the regular house. More bedroom space, less public space. I prefer the house we own, since I spend very little time in my bedroom not in bed.

Cat porch

The cats have colonized the sun porch. It's a stupid room: all windows but only two of them operational. But it's sunny and warm and they love it. Noel has been putting boxes in there as we empty them, which is even more reason to love it. When I come home I go in there and they emerge from the boxes where they have been sleeping all day to say hello.

The wiring for the baseboard heat in the sun porch is very scary. It runs around outside the house along the edge of the patio, around the sun room, and in through the side wall through just a big hole. Noel decided to turn it off at the breaker box; we just won't use that room in the winter if it's too cold.


The cats like being able to look out windows on all sides of the house. There are also more birds here (more parklike than our neighborhood) so there is a lot of stuff to watch. The birds make quite the racket in the morning.

Bird feeder

I set up a bird feeder which is quite popular with the LBB set, but also attracted a few scrub jays over the last week.


The dogs are interested in what the cats are looking at, but a little confused about the concept.

The base is a sort of post-apocalyptic landscape, especially early in the morning when I go out for a run and have to look carefully because it's both unlighted and unmaintained in many places.

People who are late for Crossfit at the gym on the base drive like total psychos.

Still unpacking the kitchen

The property management company comes through after every tenant and spray paints the place with latex wall paint. Not just walls, but the inside of every cupboard. So everything is sticky and layered with paint. We want to change the height of the allegedly adjustable shelves and that has involved stripping paint from hardware. Shelves require shelf paper or everything sticks to them. That makes unpacking very slow and tedious, at least in any room where we are storing things on shelves.

It's nice to have walls that are all walls and no holes. You forget how nice.

We go for a walk in the evening with the dogs and daydream about what we would renovate first if we owned the Admiralty. Noel says the plumbing (it takes 15 minutes to get hot water); I'm torn between that and the terrible/stupid kitchen cabinets.

It took us three days to find the dog bowls after the move. The movers came in like a tornado and packed and moved and then unpacked most of what they had packed and some of what we had packed. Then Noel took everything they had unpacked out of the (sticky) cupboards and laid it all over the kitchen table and counters, and we've been slowly putting it away as we get each cabinet functional. Like a tide, as we clear off the counter space we unpack another box onto it. Lots of stuff was just hard to find.

The spices do not all fit in the cupboard

This move was a good motivation to buy a whole bunch of matching jars for our spices. After they arrived I rebottled all the spices, labeled the jars, and... they don't all fit in the cupboard assigned to them. We are regrouping.

For the first couple of weeks we ate a lot of takeout. We were trying to decide if we should use our stove (required a gas line, which we have, and a hole in the wall to the gas line, which we do not have) or the provided electric stove. We finally went with electric stove and it is our penance for all our sins.

The housing complex that went in near here, Bayport, is full of angry people. In the morning they get behind me and tailgate and rev their engines at me because I'm driving the speed limit. As soon as they can they whip around me. What is it about owning a house in a complex like that that make people so angry, or is it that only angry people want to buy houses there? Ironically, the traffic pattern is actually set up to make that approach to the tube take a lot less time than other approaches, but still with the angry driving. They also complain the most about the traffic in the tube.

I love the little community of children who play in the street on the base. It reminds me of my childhood.

The Port of Oakland is very close and easily visible here. You hear it all the time. The boats honk and there are banging containers all the time. If you were a light sleeper this would suck. But you can go over to the shore and watch them load and unload the boats from really quite close up, which would make up for lost sleep. I am not a light sleeper, and I need my precious unconscious hours, so none of this is really relevant to me.

It just hit me recently that we could easily walk to the ferry and take it over to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market in San Francisco on Saturdays. Going there has always been too much of a pain in the butt but it is actually really convenient from here.

I'm really ready to be done with unpacking. And putting contact paper on shelves.

Greywater system at work

This weekend I installed a simple laundry greywater system. The laundry room has a couple of openings for dryer vents, so I used one of them to run a hose from the washing machine out into the yard (I used 3/4" heavy duty hose). I can move it around right now to get water down, but eventually I will put in a buried branched drain system around the garden. Then I did five loads of laundry to celebrate having everything hooked up. I'll write more about it later.

We just got internet last night. I am ever so glad. This post was delayed for very long because of it.

Everything from the old house is coated in a fine layer of dirt. Even things I could swear I cleaned before packing. Renovating a house while living in it is a super dirty business.

Our permit was marked as ready for pickup by the city, so now to talk to the contractor about actual schedule.

And now to go unpack some more.

posted by ayse on 10/29/15