Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Thirty-eight," for short

On Monday we saw a home up in Meadowbrook, a neighborhood we've been considering for a while, that made our heads spin. It was outside our price range, but we made an offer Tuesday anyway. Today, after a lot of wringing of hands, we heard back from the sellers with a counter-offer. We accepted!

There's still inspections, final paperwork, and probably 30 days of more hand wringing. But the biggest hurdle has been cleared: we've found a dream home and have an accepted offer.

Of course, I am presently posting over a hundred photos of the place. Mom, check out those windows and floors! Dad, check out the 6' spaced outlets, modern wiring, and sturdy stairs. Rishi, check out that entertainment space. Megan, check out the massive gardening opportunity. Baba, check out that kitchen! (we'll have to replace the range, it's actually a commercial unit that shouldn't be in there.) Regina, check out those subway tiles!

It's a dream home for us.

Please have positive, house-closing thoughts for us over this month. If all goes well, my fourth-annual Dependence Day BBQ will be at "Thirty-eight." And, just for kicks, we're pretty certain we're going to have our wedding in the back yard!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Goodbye Subaru

She's dead, Jim.

Cars are like people and pets. As they get older their flexible parts become less flexible and require expensive maintenance or replacement.

Cars are not like people or pets. They are replaceable themselves, and often the newer models get better gas mileage.

This past winter the great mechanics at Smart Service Subaru predicted that my car would die on a hill or mountain soon if expensive maintenance was not performed. The price of the work was more than what the car was worth. Add to that our thoughts on getting a new car for Quincy, and I was really wondering if I wanted to keep investing in the car.

Well, sure enough, driving around in Normandy Park pushed the eleven year old wagon to the edge of brokenness. The engine temperature spiked a couple times -- the mechanic's prediction of final death throws. The next trip up to Woodinville left us stranded in a place called "Thrasher's Corners." Here's all the photos from my last minutes with her, while we waited for a tow truck to save us. (Jeff, Maggi and Scooter saved Quincy, since the tow truck was not dog-friendly.)

Following the advice given to me by Rishi a while back, I decided to donate the car to charity. There are a couple places you can work with to get the money to any charity you want. I used V-DAC because their website was easy and linked from Goodwill, a charity I had considered supporting recently. I would have used Feed the Children or KEXP or KIVA, but they weren't in the V-DAC database. They get my money anway. Oh, I digress.

So, the car is gone. I don't really miss the Subaru wagon, per se, but I do miss having a hauling car. Rishi and Jamie want me to get a luxury car. Quincy would probably be happiest if I bought her car from her. I want a small, electric pickup -- sadly those don't exist. I am thinking about a used Toyota pickup or, my dad's favorite, a Ford Ranger.

What do you think, internets?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Elsa Hotel


As most of you know, Rishi has been working on a big project the last few months. He's puting together a business plan for a small, boutique, budget hotel in Capitol Hill. The hotel is named "Elsa Hotel." I've been blogging a bit about his experiences so far at I'll admit, we haven't hit the really juicy stuff yet, but if you're into following Rishi's progress on his dreams, I suggest subscribing.

The most recent update highlights some of his Google SketchUp drawings of some of the rooms. He's super excited to be able to play around with this. It's a great break from grinding out number on water usage and P&L and marketing strategies.

So, check it out! I try to get in a post a week or more; I'm sure as things heat up I'll have more to write about.

Whidbey Island Dog Parks

Grete at the beach

The dog parks of Whidbey Island are legendry around these parts. Maybe it’s the crowdedness of in-city parks that drives us all to dream of acreage. I’m always a little hesitant around dog parks, not being a natural dog person, and wide open spaces don’t really add to my comfort. A dog near me is a dog near me – the only thing space might add is a the distance between the dog and its owner. But, so far, at all these dog parks we’ve only run into the sweetest dogs ever. Maybe city owners are just not as careful about socializing their dogs?

Grete Flying at the beach

We took two trips to the expansive Double Bluff Beach Dog Park. It located in such a way as to point back to Seattle, this two mile stretch of wide, open beach is a dog’s dream. We played some long-fetch with the dog both times. Grete loves the tennis ball more than anything, and flying disk/Hurley action just didn’t cut it. She chased a couple big birds, one of them a heron, but being a city dog she never gets close before they take flight.

Grete shaking at the BeachQuincy telling Grete she's lost the ball

At the end of the second day, Quincy and I tested Grete’s desire to swim out to sea. I think she just doesn’t swim. Eventually, we were able to goad her out as far as she could touch; but once the ball was thrown farther than that, it was lost. It was a little sad to see our dog hunting around for anything resembling a tennis ball on the walk back to the car. Maybe this will help her learn?

Patmore PitPatmore Pit

My new favorite dog park is Patmore Pit, about half way up Whidbey Island, near a huge naval air station outlying field. It’s touted as about 40 acres of wide open space, and it certainly is! There are tress in the middle of the park, and a small agility field fenced off in one corner, but other than that, it’s just wide open, flat, grassy field. Grete fetched like there was no more tomorrow. She jumped, bounced, ran, flew. Man, it was fun. We all had a great time in the sun. The park was nearly empty, too, so we had our pick of the most scenic fetching field. Even when other dogs strolled by, it felt like we were just passing in the Plains. (In the photo below, Grete can barely be seen in the center.)

Grete (the dot) at PatmorePit

We didn’t hit up any other dog parks on Whidbey. I don’t know why they have more! With the expansiveness of both, a dog owner can choose between clean dry fetching or dirty beach romping. Either way, on our last day of the trip, Grete was so tired (and I imagine sore) that she wouldn’t run even a tenth of a mile with me in the morning. She was still smiling from the day before!

Patmore Pit

Monday, May 11, 2009

I happend upon this little social experiment via rebel:art yesterday. I have to admit, and maybe it was from being in the sun all day, it kinda brought a little tear to my eye. I find it a very reassuring note on humanity -- especially the humans that live in big cities.

From the site: "Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal."

Love it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Inn at Langley

Grete on our Balcony

Last weekend Q and I took the short ferry ride to Whidbey Island to celebrate her birthday. We took Monday and Tuesday off to make a four-day weekend out of it. There are a number of dog-friendly inns and bed and breakfasts on the south end of the island, but since we were in a celebratory mood, we stayed at the best of the best: The Inn at Langley.

The Inn lived up to its reputation as a destination in and of itself. We brought enough cheese for a party of 40, and ate dinners of cheese, wine, Scotch, fruit, bread and crackers in the room all three nights. We took full advantage of the free breakfast, eating more fruit and breakfasty things in the room each morning. The warmer days, we were out on the balcony overlooking Puget Sound. The rainy days, we ate by the fire.

We thought ahead and brought the must-haves for a romatic getaway like this: ample CDs, candles, wine, and reading material. We spent a lot of time sitting on the balcony or soaking in the huge tube (with a view).

Of course, being a trip with Grete, we hit the two biggest and best dog parks. That could be a post in and of itself. Actually, that's a good idea.

We took a day trip up to the top of Whidbey to hike a little around Deception Pass. The park is great, but northern Whidbey is just like North Seattle -- where the south is very beautiful and coutry and folksy, the north is strip malls and six lane roads.

You can check out our favorite few photos here. There's a pile of photos of Quincy and I, and our vistas here. Then, there's, like, 200 photos of Grete jumping and shaking here.