Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hwy 101 Road Trip

It was a 3 day weekend for us over the Veteran's Day holiday. We took the extra day to take a little trip down the 101 Highway and see what there was to see. We're glad we took the time to do it, as it was a very fun and relaxing weekend, even with all the driving. We stopped often along the way to see certain sights and to take a few quick hikes. We saw the North Head lighthouse at Fort Canby and the shipwreck and Fort Stevens. We had a short hike into Smuggler's Cove and saw some crazy surfers in the icy water and stopped by Haystack Rock for a walk along the beach. Of course, we couldn't pass up the Tillamook Creamery and we tested the squeaky cheese and had a fill of ice cream. Chowder at Mo's and then on home.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lake Muirkirk

Well, a few weeks back it started raining and we noticed a puddle starting to form in our front lawn. It was where we had our driveway form a runoff so we didn't get water flooding our garage. The good news is, that runoff area works great, and no water in or in front of the garage. The bad news is, our lawn is having a hard time keeping up with all the rain. We drained the "puddle" with a bucket and that seemed to help. Even though it continued to rain, we didn't get water pooled back least, for a while. Last week though we were having record rainfall, unkown to us. It's washington, it rains here, so we didn't really notice it was coming down extra heavy, extra long. Our "puddle" came back, and started to grow. It was dubbed "Lake Muirkirk". We decided something had to be done, so Ryan came up with an engineering scheme. First and formost, we had some gutters that were draining into splashblocks, or nothing at all. We have a gutter drain system built around the house, all the gutter water is supposed to be routed into these, but 3 of them didn't get hooked up. We figured we could wait till spring, or not have to worry about it...we were wrong. The front spouts were pretty easy. The back one took a little more thinking, but once we figured out what to do, it was pretty simple. Of course, that one will be temporary as it looks a little tacky. But it solved the puddle issue in the back, and now we can rest easy that water isn't seeping into our crawl space. Then was the issue of "Lake Muirkirk". This was a dreaded task as it meant tearing up the lawn a bit. We decided though to cut our grass into sod chunks in the path of where we would need to lay drainage pipe. This way we could just lay it back on top when we were finished. That part seemed to work out well (except for the extra 3 sod pieces that we had left over...not exactly sure how that worked out, but oh well) Ryan's use of a pickaxe made him into mud man. He was covered from head to foot. And after he got warm (even though it was raining) he took off his coat and sweatshirt, and I wouldnt let him spray mud on his white t-shirt, so that had to come off too) He wouldn't allow me to take any pictures of him, though he looked hilarous. All I got were the boots. We think the ditch worked. We layed corrigated pipe in the hole, filled her up, laid back the sod. But of course it hasn't rained since :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We're having a...

Well, we had our ultrasound last night and was quite fascinating to see everything. Ryan had a very easy time figuring out what everything was, Shalisa found it a bit difficult, but did see the brain and spine and face and legs easily. They tell us we're having a girl!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Staircase Hike

Just thought I'd add a little about our area here. Last weekend we went for a hike near Lake Cushman on the "Staircase" which is an entry into the Olympics. It's gorgeous up there. Hopefully we can get in a few more hikes before it gets too rainy on us. Because of the build we never did get to go camping this year, so am really looking forward to next year when we will have more time. Okay, we know we'll have an infant, but it's not like they need to go to soccer games or anything ;) There is a lot of beautiful country up here, anyone interested in a base camp for touring is welcome to use our bed and breakfast.

Open House

Well, thought I'd give an update for those who were not able to be at our open house, and hopefully be able to post a few pictures. The house is done, we are in, and settled. Of course there are a few icings that we're still working on, such as flowers in the yard, curtains, and a few more decorative paintings. We LOVE the house. It's big but cozy and very functional.

Currently we are doing research on baby stuff (actually, that's Shalisa does the research and Ryan listens with one ear to what she has to say about it). We're cloth diapering, and Shalisa has been buying a variety of different diapers and covers to stockpile. Mostly buying off of ebay, which has been a great bargain so far. Oma and Opa Tondre bought us a beautiful crib complete with mattress and bedding set. Of course, the no cost crib from Cousin Rena would have been perfect too, it just so happened that there was a garage sale accross the street that were accepting donations for everything for victims of hurricane Katrina.

Oma got a great deal at 75 dollars for everything ;) And the bedding set COULD go for either sex...but we'll see. We find out in 2 days, and we'll make another post as to if it's a boy or girl.

So, until then...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Painting, Painting, and a bit more Painting

Well first of all I want to thank everyone that showed up last weekend to help paint, it really helped (and also a big thanks to all that helped with the deck as well!). The painting is mostly done, by the end of the weekend we should be more than ready to hand the house back to Hiline for final trim.

Today I plan on going to Lumbermens and buying all the wood for our decking, I am going to try and finish it tonight or early tomorrow.

Also in other news the race car is almost finished. We have managed to line up 2 sponsors in the last 2 days which should get us about $300 in revenue which would get us onto the track! Here are some pictures of the car, although since these pictures were taken we have gotten seats put in!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Getting close to the end!

Well...Very sorry for those who check the blog and have been disappointed for the last two months on no new updates. As you may have guessed, we've been busy busy with the house and such. Up here at the cabin we are without a lot of luxuries, such as highspeed internet. We've signed on with AOL for some free dial-up, but I don't really want to attempt to load our pictures that way, so you'll either have to come see the house yourself...or wait a little longer for us to update with new pictures.

As probably all of you know, we are also expecting our first child, so we'll be making one of our bedrooms into a nursery. It's wonderful timing.

The house has been slow for a while, but things are picking up. Our August 1st move in date will not be able to be met, but our house completion will be August 12th, with hopefully the ability to move in that weekend. If not...we're not sure where we'll live for a while as the cabin will not be an option at that we are praying, and we know the Lord will provide.

Our sheetrockers have finally arrived and done a wonderful job. They even cleaned up after themselves, which is not in the contract...we are supposed to do all the cleaning. It was such a blessing though this last Saturday to arrive for a day full of labor at the house and find our sheetrocker leaving with a trailer full of debri. We still had plenty of work for the day, but not having to drive to the dump was really nice. The sheetrockers are waiting for the electricians...Apparently they forgot to wire for the vanity lights in the upstairs bathroom. I actually caught that early on, but Ryan told me that he was sure they all knew what they were doing, so didn't call Hiline...But I was right.

We've had several issues with the electric stuff...Hopefully everything got fixed up nice and we won't run into any more trouble, but we were trying to get our temporary outlet to work when the circuit panel sparked...It ended up that the electricians drilled a screw through the back of the panel...Needless to say, things weren't working right.

The plan is that by the end of this week we will have our main water line finished and the last of our backfill completed, making way for our big work weekend. Thursday night Ryan plans to spray all the primer in the house...Friday we'll spray the ceiling paint...And Shalisa will probably start painting the rooms with the rollers. Saturday and Sunday we'll have helpers to paint and put on our deck (hopefully the deck will be going on...That's the PLAN anyway) :)

August 2nd is our first trim installation, and from then till the 12th there will be trim and flooring and cabinet installations till its completed...Our county inspection will take place on the 12th as well, and our final walk through, and Lord will we can move in. We are excited. It's very fun to finally see the rooms all enclosed. We were expecting everything to look much smaller once the sheetrock went on, but we actually were surprised at the size of everything still.

Yesterday we ordered all of our appliances, which was really quite simple as Shalisa had done a lot of looking and research already and had everything picked out, it was just a matter of going to the stores and ordering them. Sears was having a pretty decent sale, which helped somewhat in the pricing, and the Sears salesman made a deal with Shalisa to exchange the racks that come in the oven for ones that are at the store. (Long story, but we got what we wanted without paying extra...which one shouldn't have to on an Elite series appliance)

So, things are moving, and will stay moving till we get in. We can't wait to have a BBQ at the new place to introduce you all to our new home. We haven't set a date for it yet, as we're not sure of when move in will be, and we are taking a much needed vacation the first week in September, so we're thinking maybe after that...we'll let you know as soon as we figure it out.

We are very thankful to all those who are helping us along the way, whether it is paint, or helping us wire, or deck hands, or those who helped pick up the nails, everyone's help has been greatly appreciated, and the completion of our home not as possible.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Siding and cement

Well, we went out to see if our garage floor was poured today and sure enough it was. We also had the surprise of meeting our siding guys. They had about 1/3 of the siding up and said they'll be done on Monday! Looks like all the wiring was completed, so we'll let you know how the inspection goes. We have new pictures up, so you can check them out.">">">
As you can see in that last one, we gave the interior of our framing a nice message ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Just an update

Well, I checked the blog and noticed that it hadn't been updated in a while, so thought I should get everyone up to speed. We don't really have any new pictures, as most of the work accomplished has been on the interior. Our roof is on and all the windows are in, including the ones that were stolen. Our siding has been sitting in a heap for a couple weeks, but no one has installed it yet. The heating guys have been in putting in our heat pump, and looks like they are finished for inspection. The plumbers finished last week, and the electricians have just a bit of the wire to finish installing into the outlet boxes. The gutter people called, I assume they are installing soon, and our cement slab is poured tomorrow morning. Everything is going nice and steady with no hold ups. Assuming the inspection goes fine, we'll be installing our own low voltage wiring soon, within a week or so. We were able to get all the supplies off eBay for reduced cost, so we're pretty happy. We have 2000 feet of Cat5e 1000 feet of RG6 and 500 feet of in wall speaker wire. I can't seem to be able to see how we'll really use it all, but I'm told we will. We were able to talk with the electricians while they were at work and had them install a couple extra outlet boxes for no cost. We discussed with them our wiring plan and where the best place would be for our network panel, and it ended up being in the master closet.

2 weekends ago we were out burning our scrap pile and neighbor asked if he could take the scrap for another neighbor who burns wood for heat, so that saved us from having another burning day. We have some usable plywood and 2x4's left and actual garbage, but that's it.

Off of a used building materials website for Washington state I was able to find a ladder to buy so we can paint our eaves. I just hope it's tall enough, I think it should be. If not, I guess we'll have to rent one. If it stops raining here we should be able to start that this weekend.

Our home sale seems to be going well. We had a call from our buyers telling us that signing should take place soon. We've been slowly getting our oil tank decommissioned. As we noted that is our job with the sale of the house. We thought about doing it ourselves, then thought otherwise, then found out how much it would cost, and went back to doing it ourselves. Thankfully, in the process of trying to hire someone to do it for us, we had a man out who told me how to get it taken care of. We made sure the sellers knew we were doing it ourselves, and called the county and city. If we were outside the city limits we'd have to get a permit, but because we're within the city limits, the county doesn't care, and the city has no problem with us doing it ourselves. We found an oil company who would pump the oil for free, and we're glad, cause there ended up being 388 gallons in that tank! Tonight we filled the tank with 20 pounds of dry ice to push out the vapors, then had a friend come over and use a cutting torch to cut a hole in the top of the tank. The rest should be easy now! Getting rid of the sludge and filling with sand. Lot's of elbow grease needed, but at least no one gets blown up!

We just want to thank all of you for your prayers. The Lord has blessed us with such loving and caring family. We thank you for your support, and friendship. We look forward to welcoming you to our new home sometime this summer.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

We have a house!

Well the framers have left and we have a house that looks like a house!

I posted a bunch of pictures in the gallery ( that everyone can check out. We have had quite an eventful week, we found out that we had 4 windows and a sliding glass door stolen that will end up costing us about $1000 out of pocket, so that was some bad news.

We also found out on Sunday that our neighbor who owns the undeveloped property next to us filed a complaint against us due to stormwater drainage. I was pretty worried about it and didn't get much sleep Sunday night. I called the county on Monday and God had already taken care of everything, the inspector had already come out and looked at our property and said that our neighbor didn't have a leg to stand on and that we had done nothing wrong, so that was some great news.

We are headed out to the property Sunday night, we are going to bring out the bar-b-q and the basketball hoop and have a little bonfire burning a lot of our scrap wood. (Anything that isn't worth saving, we also got a lot of good lumber that was left over from the construction.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Walls and a 2nd Floor!

As you can see, all 4 walls on the lower floor have been completed, and when I was out there they were just getting ready to put the decking on the 2nd floor!

The garage hasn't been started yet, but it is comming along including the interior walls.

I got a call yesterday from Steve at Hiline saying that the framers were having an issue with the circuit breaker blowing on them all the time. I drove out there at lunch time with Shalisa and talked to them, and they said they just needed an additional circuit for all of their air compressors that they were running for all of the pneumatic tools. I called around in the Yellow pages and actually found this really nice guy named Derrick who was an electrician, and turns out is my boss's next door neighbor!

Well he said he would go out there, fix the circuit that was in the box already, and install a 2nd circuit and plug on the base off the meter, all for free! He was out there by 3:30 and had it all fixed up! I went out there this afternoon and talked to the framers and they were all thrilled. They said it was night and day and it has been working flawlessly all day today so they were happy.

Should have some more great pictures this weekend, maybe the 2nd story will even be up. The roof trusses delivery date is only 7 days away so things are moving quickly!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Framing started!

Well, our framers started this last Monday, and our visit on Wednesday provided us with some good pictures. On Wednesday they had started and finished laying the floor.

We were glad we caught the framers on Wednesday so we could chat with them. Ryan was able to get some good advice and a good timeline from one of the guys out there. We had been very concerned about our windows that had been delivered quite a bit too early, theft of building products, especially windows, is pretty common. The framer told us though that we could chain them through the open part of the window, and use a combination lock to tie it together. So, that's what we did, and we feel much safer knowing they probably won't be going anywhere. The framer also informed us that our trusses were to come in on April 27th, so that's when the framing will be completed. I would assume that Roofing may happen the first or second week of May.

This last weekend we started buying our wiring components for the low voltage stuff we're in charge of. So far we've been able to find everything on Ebay for reduced costs. We bought 1000 feet of Cat 5e for 35 dollars, and Ryan says we need another 1000 apparently. We've bought most everything else, like face plates and jacks and termination ports through an ebay store where we got a huge reduction in shipping costs, which was quite nice.

Now that we've "sold" the house, I'm looking around at all my flowers wishing I could take them all with me. I had already done a lot of dividing of plants and taken them to our new property, but I'm still in the process of taking plants that won't be missed. I also started some seeds in an indoor greenhouse, which are all doing quite nicely, and I'm hoping will help fill out the flower beds I'm planning.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005



In case you can't guess, our house is sold. We went to Mason County Title at 4:00 this afternoon and signed all of the paperwork. There are still some contingencies, we have to decomission the oil tank, caulk around the siding of the house and fix a tile on the roof but other than that there is nothing on our side that will hold it up. On their side they still have to have all the financing and mortgage stuff to work out but they are already preapproved and everything so that should go fine.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Our First Offer

Well, didn't take long to find a buyer for our house. We posted on Friday that our house was up for sale. On Sunday, we had a call from an interested couple who wanted to view the house. We called them back and they wanted to see it that, they came. The man was very interested in the media room, and also wanted to make sure there was room in the bedroom for his flat panel tv...the woman loved the view out the bedroom and the way it was decorated. They seemed to really like the house. We let them ask us questions, which they did, and we answered honestly about the plumbing and such. They called us about 30 or 45 minutes after they left telling us that they wanted to make an offer, they just weren't sure how to go about it since it's "by owner", so we said "GREAT" and started calling around to people that may be able to tell us what paperwork we needed. We had friends over for the day, and one of their moms was a real estate agent, and she was able to help us with that. So, the interested couple sent us their pre-approval letter via email, and we faxed them copies of a buying agreement. Looks like things are on the move. It's possible that this deal isn't for us, but we look at this as encouragement for the Lord. So, keep the legal matters in your prayers. We are so blessed to have so many loved ones with good experience we can learn from.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It lives!

It isn't the prettiest truck on the block, but it lives again! We made pretty quick work of it this morning, Sam showed up at around 8:00 and by 8:15 we had the carb back on the truck. We got a bit of a scare because we went to crank it over and nothing happened. We sprayed a little bit of starter fluid in it, and it would start up, but then die as soon as it had burned it off. Sam thought that it might just need a bunch of gas in the bowl, so we pumped the gas pedal a whole bunch while turning it over, it finally fired and for about 2-3 minutes it blew terrible awful blue black smoke out of the exhaust.

But once all of the crap that had built up in the exhaust system burned out it ran GREAT and had no colored smoke comming out from the tail pipe (I know from previous vehicles that that is always a good sign). We took it out for a test drive to our property and back, it ran great the whole way, and while we were going up the hill to our property I dropped the pedal to the floor. As someone who has never driven a V8 and whose only 2 cars he currently drives are 4 cylinders, let me tell you - WOW. The 4 barrells kicked in and we went from about 20 to 50 in about 3 seconds as the engine made this beautiful growl as the butterfly valves opened up.

So the truck is running great, it idles fine (which used to be a problem) so there are just a few things left to do on it. The first priority is to fix the brakes. The brake pedal tends to stick to the floor when you push it down, I don't know if they need more fluid or if the discs are just "sticky" from not being used for a long time and somewhat rusty or what. I also want to pull the air conditioner off the truck, it doesn't work and there is no reason to leave it hooked up as that only hurts my gas mileage.

We brought some plants out to the property, but they hadn't started framing, so it is still just a pile of lumber. Hopefully on Monday or Tuesday we can go out and take some pictures of our new floors, walls and ceilings!

Friday, April 08, 2005

For Sale!

Well it's official!

We have the sign up and hopefully next week we will be running an ad in the Shelton Journal. I don't know how many people will come look at the house, but here is praying that God brings along the right person who wants our house. We don't need a lot of people to look at the house, just the right one!

Well I went out to the property on Thursday and our lumber had been delivered! I was told that the framers would start either Friday or Monday, but I haven't driven out there yet to see if they started today. Tomorrow morning I am going to try and get the carberatur back on my truck, and if it starts I will take it on a "test drive" out to the property to see if we have a floor yet or not. I promise to take the camera as well :D

Hopefully we will have some exciting pictures and news tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Best Backfiller Ever

New pictures posted in the gallery

So, looks like I'm posting again...trying to keep this updated. Last time I told you that I had some pictures, well, now I will attempt to post them.

On Friday our backfillers, Uncle Dean and Jeremiah, came out to do the dirt work. I was a little concerned with money when it came to this as we began to realize just how much dirt was going to be needed to fill in our land around the 3 foot stemwall. But God is sooo good! Bayshore sand and gravel is just down the road from our property, and while Uncle Dean went to get the sand, also inquired about some fill, and since the gravel pit was digging dirt to make way for something else, he was told he could have the dirt for FREE since they didn't want it! 27 loads had been hauled at 1pm Monday...and they still needed more...but it looks great, and our framers should be here Friday or Monday, with our lumber delivery coming this Thursday.

Last Friday we also had our final inspection on our septic system, and I was also a little nervous on this. I wanted everything to pass, but at the same time I wanted to have a trouble free septic, so I asked our Good Lord to provide for both of those. We passed with flying colors, and there is plenty of pressure in our system. Uncle Dean was able to bury the drain field and connect the septic to the foundation, ready for the plumbers now. We also realized almost too late that we were burying our utility trench but had yet to install our water line, but we ran down to the hardware store and bought pipe that Uncle Dean recommended and were able to lay it out just in time.

So, many many thanks go to God, who has blessed us so greatly in so many ways. We feel His presence in the building of this house, through our good family who works on this project, through the safety He has provided, and through the answered prayers on county cooperation and finances. God is Good.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Foundation has been poured!

Well, This is my first post, as it seems Ryan has been a bit behind the times. We have some new pictures of the foundation, but I won't be posting them yet, maybe in a day or two. Ryan seems to be pretty occupied with his new hobby, "war driving" as he calls it. He's driving around town with his laptop and GPS in search of wireless connections. I think his plan is to map all of Shelton...we'll see.

So, we've been waiting and had some delay on the foundation. We didn't pass the inspection at the first run through, so we've been waiting for that, but finally they poured the concrete on Friday, and today they removed the forms. Now we'll be waiting for Uncle Dean to come along and do some backfill. He's been sunning in Mexico, and just got back, so hopefully sometime this week we'll be on our way. It's been raining here buckets, and when we drove to look at the foundation tonight it looks like we have a moat around our hoping that the puddles, or lakes, don't get in the way of the backfilling and further progress. We have windows leaning against our honey bucket, can't imagine that they'll get used too soon, so hoping that they don't get stolen. I think maybe we should get some tarps for them just so they're out of sight.

We've decided to try the "for sale by owner" route for a little while on our current home. Not having to fork over 6 % commission would be nice. We have a little time to kill before we have to list it, so thought we might as well try. And with all the houses for sale in the neighborhood, we figure it'll get seen by those looking. We're finishing up the little things, like paint and trim, and hopefully can have a sign out by next week.

Well, that's it for now, signing off.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Paris Day 1 pictures

Shalisa in our Hotel Window

So after we hopped on our train from Brussels in the morning, we arrived in Paris around noon. The first thing we did was head on over to our hotel. Our hotel was on Rue Rivoli which connects the Bastille to the Louvre, so it pretty much runs right down the heart of Paris. We were 2 blocks north of Notre Dame and about 4 blocks east of the Louvre.

After we got our bags unpacked and got our bearings we headed off on our first trip in Paris. We headed off to the Carnavelet Museum. This was a museum that covered the history of Paris from the early middle ages up to present day. It was a good first stop because it sort of got us oreinted and we had a better idea of what things were the rest of our trip.

After grabbing a sandwich we headed off to the signature landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. We took the elevator up to the top and spent a good hour or so snapping pictures of Paris from the top of the tower. We took pictures all the way around, but I thought the best pictures were those of the Seine River. We then hung around up at the top of the Tower for quite a while, waiting for the sun to set and the lights to come on. After sitting at the top of the tower for about an hour we headed back up to the observation deck and got to take in the beauty of Paris at night. The whole city was aglow and the Seine at night was especially beautiful. After snapping a bunch of pictures and losing all feeling in our fingers from the intense cold (and yes, we actually lost feeling in our fingers it was so cold from the wind way up high) we headed on down the tower.

We snapped a few pictures of the Tower at night but not too many since we were both so cold, and we figured we would come back another night from a better angle to get some really good pictures. (Which we did a few nights later). After that it was off to bed and Paris day 2.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Brussels Pictures Posted

Cathedral of St. Michael in Brussels

So I got some of the pictures from Brussels (our first stop) posted over at the gallery. We only spent 1.5 days there, but even in that short amount of time we really saw a lot.

Our first day that we arrived in Belgium was spent at the Royal Military History Museum which was a pretty impressive collection of all sorts. They had a lot of weapons and cannons from early European wars all of the way up to modern warfare. I know my favorite part, and I think Shalisa's as well was the Air Hanger at the museum. They had a TON of planes ranging from WW I planes all the way up to modern day FA-16's that are flown by the Belgian air force.

After we slept for about 12 hours we headed out to see the rest of Brussels. We first visited the Cathedral of St. Michael .

If you have a high speed internet connection you need to right click this link ( and check out the movie. It is a movie of the interior of the Cathedral of St. Michael while the organ was playing, it was awesome but the movie is 14.5 MB's so it will take about a minute to download on Cable or DSL. Just right click on the link, save it to your desktop, and then double click on it once it has downloaded (you can also just click on it and wait for it to play, but it doesn't give you any status bar on how much has been downloaded... so it just starts after about a minute or 2 depending on you connection, if you download it you can tell exactly how much time is left).

After that we headed off and of course HAD to buy some Belgian chocolate. While we were wandering around eating our chocolate (and we did a lot of eating) we also saw the Manneken Pis which is a famous statue of a little boy peeing. It has become quite famous and is the unofficial symbol of Brussels. We also visited the Grand Place which is regarded by Rick Steves as one of the most impressive medeval squares in all of Europe. After visiting it, I can say it is the most impressive square I have seen in all of Europe (but I don't have quite the amount that Rick does, but it was impressive). One of the buildings on the north side of the Grand Place is the Hotel de Ville which was the Town Hall for Brussels. It was really hard to capture on camera because you couldn't get far enough away to get the whole thing in your camera.

After that we wandered around some more, we saw the Grand Palace of Brussels, the Palace of Justice and we walked through this amazing park as well. We of course have pictures of all of that as well as literally hundreds of other pictures from Brussels that we would love to share with you if you want to see them. These weren't even the best pictures of Brussels, but just a sampling of some of what we saw. I will try and tackle our first night in Paris in a little while so check back soon for the next picture update.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bon Soir!

Good evening from Paris!

Well yesterday Shalisa and I visited the Louvre. We saw so much art that by the end my eyes started to hurt. We got to see TONS and I mean literally tons of sculptures ranging from stuff that was in early mesopotomia 4000 years ago to stuff that was sculpted just 200 years ago. We saw Greeks and Romans and of course French sculpture, and that was just the begining! There was the winged victory and the Venus de Milo.

Then of course we moved on to the Louvres speciality, paintings. We saw Rembrandts, Botecelli and of course the worlds largest collection of Da Vinci paintings... all 5 of them :) The Mona Lisa had a HUGE crowd around it, I was able to push my way to the front but Shalisa couldn't see it. We wandered through about another 1000 paintings or so and split for lunch. We then had a beautiful walk through the Tuleries Garden to the Musee d'Orsay. There we saw a whole bunch of impressionists from Degas to Van Gogh (Van Hock as they prounounce it) to Monet. We had a great view of Paris through the clock tower. We then headed off to this great little side street called Rue Clare where Shalisa bought some fresh flowers, we picked up some groceries, and had fresh crépes from a street vendor (after many crépes I have to say butter and sugar is the best [beurre et sucre as they would say in French]). We finished the day off by going back to the Louvre which is open late on Wednesdays. It had REALLY cleared out, and although there was still people at the Mona Lisa it went from this huge crowd to 4. Shalisa and I where both able to take some great pictures and we were able to enjoy some of the paintings we had missed earlier in the morning in the huge crowds.

Today we woke up to snow, and oh was it snowing. Although it is hard to tell how much snow is really falling in downtown, we took a day trip out to Versailles and you could really see the snow there. I would estimate there was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground and we had a grand old time playing in the snow on the lawn of Versailles. We toured the palace, but both of us were a little underwhelmed, but I think that is because last year in England Windsor castle was so magnificant, and because of all the revolutions in France (I didn't realize, but since our revolution they have had 5!) a lot of the artifacts and treasures have either been looted or melted down to forge weapons or sold to pay for wars. We still saw some of the crown jewels, but it is sad that so many of these great treasures of history were lost. After Versailles we hopped back on the RER and visited Napoleans tomb (impressive, he is buried in 6 caskets!) and the Rodin museum. Rodin was the sculpture who did such sculptures as "The Thinker", Balzac, and "The Gates of Hell" from Dantes Inferno. All very impressive and right there in front of us. We finished oof the day heading to the Sacre Cuer Basilica which is another impressive French Church. It was the first place that didn't allow camera's so I had to whip out the spy cam :) Had dinner in the Jewish quarter (falaffel) and am now at the internet cafe... phew what a busy last few days, and the next 2 look just as busy :)

I hope everyone is doing well, and we are now on the home stretch of our vacation, so hopefully we can all see you soon!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

So sad... have the wrong cord for USB :(

Because I have the wrong cord that means no pictures until we get back :(

But I can tell you what we have been up to. Yesterday we visited Disneyland Paris and MGM Studios Paris. I think my favorite atraction was Motuers Action! which was a stunt show similar to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt spectacular but with cars flying through the air (literally) and people running around on fire (also literally!). I think Shalisa's favorite atraction was Alice's Curious Labrynth which was a huge hedge maze in Disneyland.

Today we visited Notre Dame in the morning, but due to the weather (cold, brrrr!) the Tower climb is closed for right now. We will try again later in the week and hopefully they will reopen. We also saw St. Chapelle which had an AMAZIING amount of stained glass. We headed back to our hotel around 3 and decided to call it a day early so that we could rest up (we are both tired, Disney always does that) plus tommorow we are headed to the Louvre which will probobly exhaust us once again. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but once we get back I am sure there will be no shortage of them

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hello From Paris!

I am using a French keyboard so this may have a few mistakes.

Shalisa and I survived our flight from O'Hare to CDG. We ended up sleeping for almost 12 hours the first night!

We had a relaxing time in Brussels and took the Thalyes train into Paris this morning. We just checked in to our hotel about 20 minutes ago and then went out for a bite to eat. We found this great internet cafe that is only about 5 minutes from our hotel and I am making a post from here. The computers here have an an available USB connection so in a day or 2 I will try and post a few pictures.

Oh, and in Belgiu, we purchased 200 grams of chocolate and had it eaten in about 15 minutes. We went and purchased some more, but I fear that it is not long for this world either.

Au revoir!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Update from PDX

So here is the last update before we head off to Paris.

There was some really good news on the house building front. We had Steve from Hiline Homes out at noon today and he signed off on scheduling the foundation guys!

We had quite a bit of trouble trying to get our temporary power hooked up (and in fact at this moment it isn't hooked up) but we told Steve that it would be hooked up by the end of the day. Well it turns out that we failed the inspection (we needed to have a roll of "Warning" tape on site for it to pass... ARGH!). But we were able to bury the cable which the PUD requires, and I purchased some warning tape from Toziers and rolled it out so that if anyone decides to dig there they will know before they take out our power.

The electrician we hired, Bob Gilman, is good friends with the inspector and called him up to find out exactly what was going on. Bob really helped us out, he got a reinspection scheduled for tomorrow and since he works at the PUD he told me that he would talk to our line superintendent Jim Craker to have temporary power hooked up on Friday which will be well before the foundation guys show up.

Talking with Steve it sounds like there is even a chance that the foundation could be poured while we are in France, but most likely it will be poured the week that we get back, which is still great news. Once the foundation gets poured it is only 3 1/2 to 4 months until the house is finished and ready to be moved into!

Well it is late and I have to wake up early tomorrow to catch my flight so I will bid you all adu.

Pray that we have a safe flight and I hope to share with you soon the experiences from France. The updates will be a little less frequent over the next 10 days but I promise that if at all posible I will make an update from France.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

1 down, 1 to go

Well Shalisa got the call from the county this morning... Our building permit was ready and waiting to be paid for and picked up!

She was going to go down to the county office later this morning to take care of it.

I am still really worried about the LNI inspection, I don't know why I just get all panicy for some reason. I tried to call the inspector "Mike" this morning, but I wasn't ever able to get ahold of him, so I don't know when he is going to go out and perform the inspection. I figure around 1:00 I will drive out to the property to see if the inspection has been performed yet and if we passed.

I could really use prayer for not only the inspection passing, that I will be able to sit at my desk and concentrate for more than 5 seconds before thinking about the inspection again.

Anyway, thought I would post the good news, I will update as soon as I find out about the LNI inspection.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Calm Before the Storm

Well today is a nice break from the madness. Since it is President's day all of the government offices are closed so there isn't much work that we can do today. We are praying that we have everything at the property ready for the madness that starts tomorrow.

Shalisa and I are finishing up the packing (okay, lets be honest here, Shalisa is finishing up the packing, I am just saying whether I want this shirt or that shirt). The plan is that both of our suitcases are completely packed up by the end of the day today, that way on Tuesday we can spend all of the time we need on the house, and Wednesday we can leave right at 5:00 to head off to Portland.

We really want to say a big thank you to Tom and Shirley as well. They have opened up their house to Shalisa and I this Wednesday night. It will be so nice to be able to wake up Thursday morning and be much closer to the airport than we would be if we were in Shelton. Not only are they giving us a place to sleep, but they are also taking us to the airport as well, which we are really thankful for as well. This will save us a lot of money on parking at the airport, and Shalisa and I need all the savings we can get.

Not much else going on here today, Stephanie and Matt are supposed to arrive some time around noon. I am sure that we will take them out to the property and maybe go for a hike or something (this is some beautiful weather we are getting) so that will be a nice diversion for the day.

If anyone is interested, this is the website I have been visiting the most in the last few days: Link

Saturday, February 19, 2005

We are blessed

Ally came to visit!

Pictures have been posted on Page 4 and Page 5

Shalisa and I are truly blessed. At the time of my last posting we were really concerned about all of the problems that were ahead of us, but we know that people have been praying for us and I want to tell everyone that God has really answered some prayers.

Our biggest concern was with our building permit from the county, well we found out Friday that we can pick up our building permit on Tuesday! Our other big concern was temporary power. Well our temporary meter base has been installed and we have our wire run through the trench and it is scheduled to be inspected by LNI (Labor and Industries) on Tuesday. Assuming it passes inspection (which we are still praying for) our power would be turned on first thing Wednesday morning!

Not only has God blessed us in that it looks like we will be able to schedule the foundation crew before our big trip, but he has also blessed us in other ways. Uncle Dean has been the biggest blessing of all. When we first had the salesman out in the initial stages of our home purchase he saw that our lot was sloped so he added $4,900 for extra concrete for the foundation. Well now because the lot is considered perfectly level we will get all of that money back, which is just a great blessing. Also we had to have Cyndi from the county come out and inspect our new septic trenches. Uncle Dean was kind enough to come out and help me out while Cyndi was there. He was able to answer all of her questions and I don't expect we will have many more issues with Cyndi since she has now talked with Uncle Dean.

Brian and Rena came out this morning, Brian helped me uncoil the power cable in the trench (which was a HUGE help and I don't think Shalisa and I could have done it by ourselves, so I am really thankful he helped out). We got all of the "little things" done on the temporary meter and the power cable in the trench hoping that it helps us pass our LNI inspection.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The House has been dug out!

Sorry that I haven't updated in a bit. We have been super busy the last few days trying to get everything tied together before we leave for Paris.

Uncle Dean has now actually dug out for the foundation, leveled the lot, dug the service ditch and has even dug the ditches for the septic system so he is leaving today for a few weeks. Shalisa and I have told him a bunch of times how grateful we are that he has done this job for us, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with and has really helped us on a lot if issues that we had no clue what was going on.

Yesterday Steve from Hiline Homes came out for the first stake out. We staked out where exactly the house and garage was going to be on the property and it fits perfectly, so that was great news. He then scheduled the 2nd stakeout for Wednesday at noon. At the second stake out I am not exactly sure what he is going to do, but we have to have our building permit, temporary power, temporary water and a few other items available to him. Temporary power is going to be cutting it a bit close, but the current schedule is to have our temporary service wired and installed tomorrow evening. I will call for an LNI inspection which should be done some time on Tuesday. Then Tuesday evening Shalisa and I will go and cover the wire with dirt so that it isn't exposed and I have scheduled with Jim Craker at the PUD to have the service turned on first thing Wednesday morning. Although it is cutting it close I feel confident that this schedule is not only doable but will happen.

The problem is with the county (I know, for all you regular readers, big shock!). We put our Permit application in on February 1st, it is now February 17th and the planning department hasn't even looked at it yet. If we don't hear from the county in the next day or 2 I don't think we will have our building permit by Wednesday, but we are still praying. (And we would like to ask others to pray for us as well).

The reason we would like the building permit by Wednesday so badly is that after talking with Steve he told us that the concrete foundation guys are 2-4 weeks out. If we aren't able to schedule the concrete guys on Wednesday then we won't be able to schedule them until the Monday AFTER we get back from Paris. That means a 12 day delay, plus there would still be 2-4 weeks before they could come out and do the work. BUT if God performs a miracle (and honestly it will take a miracle from God for us to get our building permit in time) and we get our building permit in time that means the concrete could be poured the week that we get back from Paris, which would be such a blessing.

Please keep us in your prayers, it isn't life or death if we get our building permit in time, but it would definitely help our stress level and anxeity if we could.

Monday, February 14, 2005


So Bill and Martha stopped by our house yesterday afternoon. We all drove out the the property and they got to explore around a bit, saw where everything was going and how far everything had come in just the last week.

Martha was in love will all the holly bushes that are all over our property. She kept commenting how these little bushes would sell for tons of money in the florist shop, I told her that Uncle Dean probobly tore up about $1000 worth of those bushes and complained about every one of them :) We then went for a walk down to the beach that is near our house. I have been assured that it is not "a block away" although I think some of this sentiment comes from the fact that it was like 34 degrees with a pretty stiff wind blowing. But after walking it, I do agree, it isn't a block away, it is closer to 2.5 blocks or so, but still only a 5 minute walk.

After visiting the property we snuck back over to the other house that is the same model as ours that is being built nearby. They have recently installed a gate on the driveway, so we had to park at the end of their driveway and walk a bit to get to the house. We walked all around it again, Shalisa and I pointing out each room and where things were going to go and Bill and Martha seemed to think that it will be a nice house when it is all finished.

I still don't have the interior pictures from that house up, I was kind of lazy all weekend and I apologize, but I will see what I can do later today.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Pictures Finally!

Well there has been a bit of excitment here while I was trying to make this post. In the middle of my typing we got a phone call from the Shelton police that they had found my car. The Ski rack was ripped off, the stereo was torn out, the golf clubs were gone and they damaged the ignition so they key doesn't really work any more, but except for a cracked tail light and a few dents around the bumper it is in pretty good condition (which is, in my opinion, about the best news I could hope for).

The pictures were posted on Page 3 and Page 4. Among the pictures is some great shots that Shalisa took of Uncle Dean in action pushing a tree over and carrying some logs and most exciting off all, our new water meter! This is now the first "official" utility available at our property and we are hoping in the next week that our electric will show up as well.

We went out and chatted with Uncle Dean this afternoon and he thought that maybe either tomorrow or Monday he would be bringing out the dozer to start scraping the dirt. There is only about 3 or 4 more trees that are going to be falled, and all of them are going to be done by a chainsaw because they are in the area down on the front of the property that we are going to try and leave as a little green belt.

The last picture right now on page 4, the one that I posted here on the blog as well is a picture of a Hiline Plan 2776 that is being built a few miles away from our current property. Shalisa and I snuck around the house a bit (shhh, don't tell anyone) and the inside must have just been framed, so we were really able to get a feel for how big the different rooms were and stuff which was great. We took a lot of pictures of the inside and I will post those tomorrow, so there is something to look forward to :)

It's 1:23 in the morning, where are you?

I am at work... still. I walked to work at 7:45 this morning and went out to my property at lunch with Shalisa for an hour. Other than that, I have been at work.

Thats rights, I have been at work for 16 hours and 23 minutes, and I haven't been home for 17 hours and 38 minutes... much to long.

Joel is just finishing up with some DNS issues he has and hopefully then we will be out of here.... hopefully.

Sorry I didn't get the pictures I promised up, but I don't think I will get them up tonight either. When I get home I am going straight to bed (especially since I know Shalisa is already in it).

Have a good night everybody (I know I am just having a GRAND ol time)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Permit? Permit? We don't need no stinkin Permit!

Still no word on my poor car, I am sure someone out there is having a grand old time driving her unfortunately that meant I had to walk to work this morning. That sounds much worse than it really is, I only live about a 10 minute walk from work currently, plus there are tons of coworkers who drive down that hill, and sure enough one of them stopped and picked me up (and another called my cell phone while I was in her car asking me if I needed a ride).

But the car being stolen wasn't the only excitement we had yesterday! While Uncle Dean was out clearing yesterday someone from the public works department stopped by the property and asked to see our Access Permit. Uncle Dean of course wasn't sure what that was, but just figured it was something we had, so he called Shalisa to find out if she had an access permit.

We of course have never even HEARD of an access permit! The guy was going to give us a fine, but I quickly ran (literally of course, still no car) to the county public works office and applied for an access permit. Apparently it is a permit you need if you are building any sort of driveway/access road/whatever on your property that will touch a county road (which of course we are).

The permit itself is actually free of charge, but if you don't get one there is a fine levied against you! I got the permit papers and some flagging tape (they want you to flag where your driveway is going to be so they can inspect it) and Shalisa quickly drove out to the property and dropped everything off.

We have some more pictures of the property (some GREAT ones of Uncle Dean pushing a tree over and another of him carrying a tree with the excavator) that I will try and get published later this morning. The property is almost entirely cleared now, although we didn't get the culverts put in yesterday, but we are going out at lunch today again so maybe they will be done by then. I will post ALL the picture when I return from lunch, so there should be another update posted around 2:30 or so with lots of nice new pictures (and probobly another story or 2 as well)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Missing Car!

I apologize up front if there isn't a post this morning on how our house building goes, but the events of this morning have been quite upsetting, and in terms of money it does affect the house building.

Well I had quite a shock this morning. I woke up, took a shower, brushed my teeth, got dressed, ate breakfast and then went out to go to work and low and behold.... there was no car. Now this isn't the first time my car has gone missing, but every other time I quickly remember that Shalisa picked me up from work and that I merely left my car at the work parking lot. But I distinctly remembered driving home last night.... curious.

Well I took Shalisa's car to work, and sure enough my car wasn't in the parking lot which leads to one conclusion; my car was stolen! Now you might not think that this is the most shocking of event, I am sure people have their cars stolen all of the time, but I am a bit confused about the criminal mind here when they decide to target a 1988 Mazda 323. I am not sure what the exact value of my car was, but it couldn't have been more than maybe a $1000 (and that is being generous). Of course my car was parked right next to a 2003 Chevy Suburban with a lift kit and all sorts of other goodies that my neighbor has installed on it, but they completely ignored his car... weird.

What disturbs me most (other than the fact that now I have to find and pay for a new car in the middle of this whole home building experience) is that my fairly new golf clubs were in the trunk. I got the golf clubs from my parents as a graduation present when I graduated college so they are less than 5 years old. I also don't know if I will be able to collect any insurance on the car since I only had liability insurance on the car that I remember. I am not sure exactly what the insurance agency will do for me they still need to be contacted some time this morning (I just got off the phone with the police).

I suspect that sometime this week the police will find my car along the road somewhere, although it did have a full tank of gas, which I NEVER have so that is frustrating as well; I mean that is like $20 worth of gas!. The silver lining I suppose in all of this (if there is a silver lining in having your car stolen) is that I normally keep my electric razor in the car to shave while I drive to work (I know, I know, shame on me) but it had ran out of batteries yesterday so I took it in last night to charge the batteries. So on our upcomming trip to Paris (in just 2 weeks!) I will at least have the electric razor (unlike my father I am not a big fan of the straight razor, I tend to bleed a lot).

Well here is hoping that our car gets recovered intact and hopefully with the golf clubs intact as well (but I figure that is a long shot) so if you could keep us and my poor little Mazda in prayer I would really appreciate it.

Nope, no insurance money for the car :( Which means not only am I out a car, but I don't have any compensation to buy a new one, which of course is somewhat painful. I am still hoping that the car turns up relatively intact and that it will be drivable, but when Shalisa talked to the policeman he said they most often recover the cars, but in an undriveable condition. That is even doubly bad, because not only will I have a non working car, but I will have to pay to get the stupid thing towed to a junk yard or something... this is just all around not fun.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Problems With The County

I posted some new pictures in the gallery, you can find them starting on page 2 and continuing to page 3. They include some pictures of the property clearing some more, as well as our first structure on the property: our Honey Bucket!

The gallery is located at

Problems With The County
Shalisa and I have had a bit of trouble getting some permits passed through the county. Mainly our problems have been centered around the septic design, first our original design that was submitted was denied, then our designer went and submitted another design without consulting with us. Although this design was accepted, it was a sand filter, which we had heard was just about the worst septic system you could put in, plus it was one of the most expensive septic designs to install. So we had to have a THIRD design done, this time we specifically told her to create a Norweco pretreatment aerobic system and that was finally approved just yesterday.

During this whole time we have also been applying for our building permit, and we had a bit of a scare because it was held up since our septic plot plan and our building plot plan did not match up. I went in and worked with this wonderful guy from the county, Rich, who was really helpful and helped me get an acceptable plot plan that both Enviornmental Health Services (the septic people) and the building and planning department were both happy with. Our house will be a little further down the property than we had originally anticipated, but it looks like it will be fine.

We went out and visited with Uncle Dean once again today, he has really been moving. He only started really Saturday and on Tuesday he didn't do any work because he was renewing his CDL license. So really he has only been clearing for less than 4 days (and 2 of those Jeremiah wasn't even there) so it has gone really fast. They had cleared all of the way down to the "winter stream" that is on our property, he thought that the culverts would most likely get installed tomorrow. He also measured off how much space he would need for the septic system and how much space the house was, and it looked like everything would fit in just perfectly without needing to move the stream or anything.

There is still a lot to do, I have to find out when the PUD is going to install the new pole, and some time this week our water meter is supposed to get installed. Once those get done we can hopefully dig our trench and get temporary water and power hooked up, but that is still a ways away. Well to finish it off, we are still accumulating quite a wood pile, I am hoping to get out there tonight with David Watts and get at least some of it cut up and put into his truck. I actually had someone call me at 7:45 this morning before I got to work, it turned out it was a neighbor of mine who lives 2 houses down the street who had gotten my number from Uncle Dean. He said he saw we had a big pile of wood and was wondering what we were going to do with it, I told him he was welcome to as much wood as he could haul away, so I am hoping he is out there reducing that wood pile as well this evening.

Banbury Beach

The lake front beach area near our house.

Here are some links to the gallery that is hosted on
West Side 1
West Side 2
South Side 1
South Side 2
Lake 1
Lake 2
Clearing 1
Clearing 2


Well here is the first post to The Smith Home. I am hoping to journal our home building project and along the while provide some pictures and other bits of information to anyone that might be interested.

Shalisa and I are building a house from Hiline Homes. The home we are building is Plan 2776.

We have already purchased the property and it is a beatiful lot right off of Mason Lake Road in Lake Limerick. We are about a 5 minute walk to the actual lake.