by Claire on Dec 30, 2009

We feel as though we are becoming official adults. We got a dog. A puppy, actually.
That is the abbreviated version of this post, so if you don't want to continue reading this gargantuan chapter, we won't be hurt.

Since we moved into our house, Nick and I have been talking about getting a dog. We debated on the breed and age and finally decided on adopting a yellow Labradoodle. The only problem: the closest one was in Wisconsin. Being impatient, we checked the internet daily, (okay...hourly), and Sunday came across a 6 month old Basset Hound Dalmatian hybrid, Dottie. We called about her immediately, sent an application, and set up a home visit. (This dog is part of an incredibly reputable Basset Hound rescue organization. Because they are driven by both love of the dog and a need to place the dog in a home that will truly nurture it (this includes buying it a coat and an insulated dog house as well as keeping it indoors all day, following a specific training regime, and quitting your job to be able to adequately foster its social development) we needed to have a home visit that would inspect the fence, the house, and our sanity.

On Sunday, we conceded to their requests; besides, we were confident in our home and ourselves as dog owners. We went outside to check out the brick wall surrounding our back yard and were remedied that a sizable portion of the wall alongside the road had never been cemented together; it had merely been stacked like a brick wall. Even though it was two in the afternoon and 30 degrees out, we bricked the wall. It was cold, and we did a moderately pathetic job. If you stay on the street and only look at it peripherally, it may not be noticeable.

Monday night saw us at Lowes buying a sheet of plywood to use as a cheap baby-gate alternative. We had them cut in in half, only to find it wouldn't fit in our car. After debating in the parking lot, we made a sketchy decision to balance it on the roof of the car, each of us with an arm out the window holding onto the sheet of plywood. We had the flashers on, drove slowly, and felt both cold and stupid.

On Tuesday morning, Dottie arrived and was terribly afraid of us. But she was cute enough for us to adopt her anyhow. She is just over knee high, and shaped exactly like a small Dalmatian. The only feature that shows her Basset identity is her long black ears and one extra large black dot on her left side.

By Wednesday morning, Dottie had skied nervously on her toenails through Petsmart, peed on Nick's arm, and successfully spent the night in her crate nearly whine-free. She was so relieved to see us in the morning that she had several accidents. (We're working on house-training her.) She also went for her first run this morning. It wasn't very long, but we're hoping tomorrow will be better when she gets to wear her new coat. Yes, we are those people.

If you have read this far, try not to think less of us.


by Nick on Dec 12, 2009

Teaching has consumed our lives.  Not much new at the General except we have completly unpacked.  My side of the family is on the move.  Mom and Dad purchased a home in Tucson, and Maggie and Leni are moving to Los Alamos almost as we speak.  Merry Christmas to all! Or what ever Winter Solstice celebration you may embrace.

Wine Crate Bookshelf

by Nick on Nov 12, 2009

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the employees of Costco. I am sorry for precariously stacking 18 bottles of wine every time I visit your store. I know this makes your job more difficult, and I appreciate your patience with me. Unfortunately, the benefits for me are just to great to stop this habit.

In the gigantic alcohol section there are some expensive wines which are shipped in wooden crates. The crates are no more functional for shipping wine then their cardboard counterparts. However they provide a useful sized box for all sorts of projects. You may have noticed in my last post that they were being used as saw horses. Other crates are holding files, tools, CDs and DVDs, and most recently books. I used four boxes and some scraps of wood to make the bookshelf that you see above sitting at the end of our hall. We like the way it looks, and all it cost were the screws, some time, and the guilt of having irritated Costco employees weekly.


Nothing our grandparents didn't do...or our parents!

by Nick on Nov 11, 2009

For the last few days Claire and I have been working on building a clothesline. We had some help from Claire's parents selecting the materials last weekend. Instead of setting the posts into cement, we used metal post footings to secure the post into the ground. I had never used metal post footings before, and if I was to do it all over again, I would not have. It ended up being a little wobbly, so I added the supports going into the ground at 45 degree angles. While digging, about a foot into the soil, I found a yellow marble; a clue of someone's childhood past.

While having a clothesline is a little out of the norm, we found ourselves thinking that the majority of the projects we are planning to do at The General, are not "new" and "green". Instead, they are remnants of frugality and practicality which are no longer main stream.

Wet Dog in a Field of Passion Fruit

by Claire on Nov 10, 2009

We have been distracted lately.

After the dust from moving had settled a bit, Nick and I discovered that our house has a smell. And not a good smell. It's somewhere between 50-year-old-paint-in-a-vacant-house and dead rodent. On Tuesday, we caved in and bought a Glade Plug-in. We had never tried one before and spent a good 20 minutes in the isle of our grocery store scratching and sniffing the various boxes. Finally we chose Passion Fruit (or was it mixed fruit? Well, something fruity.) after determining that Fresh Air was far too mild. The device is really quite advanced. It has scent intensity levels. We set it to level five and now can't decide which we like better: intense fruit or mild rodent.

On Saturday, my parents drove up for a visit and gave us an oriental rug that used to be Grandmary's. It's a pretty rug, but it reeks of oldness and smoke. We spent Saturday morning hosing it down and scrubbing it before rinsing it about 94 more times. (It's wool, and it retains moisture and soap beautifully. Also the smell of nicotine.) Finally, after letting it dry on the porch for 3 days, we moved it inside only to discover it smells worse than rodent and fruit combined. It smells like a very large wet dog. Perhaps a pack of dogs.

Enough rambling for now.
...And as a reward for your patience,
some interior house pictures!
(Please ignore all of the little piles...we're working on them!)

The drying rug.

The rug inside.

Cutting the rug. Ha. (Actually cutting a little rubber mat.)

Our method of transportation. It's nice to live a 4.5 minute bike ride from work now!

The piano we found on Freecycle.

Dining room. Note the ficus tree. We hope we won't kill it.
UPDATE: We did kill it. (5/28/2010)

A bathroom.

Washing Machine

by Nick on Oct 26, 2009

Today we were told the final amount needed for closing tomorrow. Turns out to be less than we anticipated. This may mean we will be able to get a washing machine sooner than expected. I am pushing for the one posted above that we saw at McCall's Pumpkin Patch two weekends ago.

The Gun Shot

by Nick on Oct 10, 2009

After cooking a pizza on our pizza stone, I left the stone on the stove top.  Hours later, Claire and I wanted to have our evening cup of tea.  So I turned on what I thought was the burner with the kettle on it.  Minutes later we heard a loud crack in the kitchen.  It turns out I had turned on the wrong burner.  The pizza stone had heated rapidly, unevenly and cracked.  It wasn't gunshots coming from our kitchen after all! In my frustration, I neglected to turn off the burner, and minutes later heard a second crack. It is a good thing that I am generally not left to my own devices in the kitchen.

How to Catch the Swine Flu

by Claire on Oct 5, 2009

What you heard is true. On Thursday I left school at lunchtime with a 102.6 fever and the Swine Flu. When Nick asked the doctor if there was any chance that he would NOT get it, the doctor assured him that his chances of avoidance were slim to none. Nick took all the necessary precautions anyway: he refused to let me off the couch, sanitized all of the dishes I used, and cooked all of the meals for the next several days. He was a real lifesaver. When a friend/nurse practitioner told him to make sure we both ditched our toothbrushes after our bout with the flu was finished, Nick went as far as to separate our toothbrushes for the time being. He placed a new cup for his brush on the opposite side of the sink. Certainly germs couldn't travel that far. Last night, Nick came out into the living room, brushing his teeth. He was using my toothbrush. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

Electrical Work

by Nick

In the purchase agreement the sellers consented to complete several repairs to The General. One substantial item we requested was for work to be done on the electrical system.  The lines running from the house to the electrical pole were too low.  It has been about a month since the purchase agreement was finalized, and until this weekend no work had been done.  Today after school I went over to check on things and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had installed the mast necessary to raise the power lines.  I believe it is now the responsibility of the electrical company (PNM) to run the lines from the pole to the mast.

There were other problems with the electrical system.  Mainly, the wiring is a two way system.  We considered asking the seller to replace the lines, but didn't want to scare them off.  I think this is a project that I can research and tackle in the future.

If you look closely in the second and third picture you can see a batman action figure.  Is this the mark of the electrician? Or has Gotham lost their hero to another occupation?

by Claire on Sep 28, 2009

What do you do with a General? When it stops being THEIR General...

Anticipating Porches

by Claire

Because the General was built in 1951, it's a bit different from modern homes. It has been painted almost annually for the last half a century, and all the seams (baseboard to wall and door-frames) are entirely non-existent and smoothed over. The doors are real wood with horizontal moulding. The bathrooms have cast-iron towel racks, one of which was built into the yellow-tiled shower. The tub is metal and coated in white enamel, which is chipped in a few quaint and artistic places. In the master bedroom, Ivy has almost completely obscured the window, save a few filtered dots of sunlight in the morning.

Though all of these aspects lend charm, the most exciting part of upgrading from apartment life to home-ownership are the porches that the General has: a small one on the front and a slightly larger one on the back. Not to say that apartments do not have porches, (ours does) but they are often unusable. We have been reprimanded on three different occasions. First, it was the wooden laundry rack. Apparently only energy-sucking dryers are okay here. Next, we were in trouble for the bag of potting soil. Should have kept it in a wicker basket. The third time was a bit of a stretch...we had started a compost (in an attractive little wooden wine crate), but the whole thing was banned before it even started to smell. Today, Nick and I were watching the sun set, and thought how nice it would be to lounge on a porch swing instead of lean on the pile of bicycles blocking the railing. Then we remembered the General. I think that will be project number one...

Photos from the inspection...

by Nick

Welcome to Life with the General

by Nick

Claire and I will be buying a home at the end of the month on a street named General Chennault. Hence, the name of this blog. We have many plans for this abode, and we plan to write about our projects on this blog. Here is a satellite image of The General from Google Maps: