Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Whew! It has been a busy couple weeks. Holy cow, we got the house just 16 days ago, and already we've moved and are half unpacked! Unfortunately this whole rotten string of events has pushed my schedule back and will force me to run right up against deadlines. I've got the Dollie Madison repro gown in 100% silk velvet, three Alice in Wonderland dresses (thankfully these will be extremely easy), and some Titanic repros, the boarding hat, corset, tea gown, and flying gloves and shawl (in varying stages of doneness), in the next several weeks. Dollie is needed in-hand in Vermont by October 2nd for a major event, the Titanic things ship by October 22nd (pending final payment for two of them, but the other three can go), and there's no set date for the Alice dresses. I had hoped to have them finished by the end of this month, but, well, all the time for sewing went to finding a new house and moving.

I've decided to slowly, as in over the rest of my life, work toward a dance degree. So right now I'm enrolled in dance history, and I'll find out tomorrow night if I can get off the waitlist for ballet fundamentals. The school required starting all dance classes with fundamentals, no matter what, and this one is required. Since I'm still recovering a bit from surgery, still can't bend back, a basic class would be beneficial anyway. The history one is a bit annoying since we're supposed to see stories in everything, but I firmly believe that sometimes dance choreography is simply about what looks pretty. A kaleidoscope doesn't tell a story, but the patterns look nice, and that's the point. So now I'm having to feign finding depth and basically talking out my ass. I feel like Harry Potter in Madame Trelawny's class, making stuff up that he knows she wants to hear.

And now. New house!! You might remember the old yard. Here is the new!

The front yard isn't huge, but it's pretty, and gardening is included. There are herbs growing in the center!

This cherub statue is what you see going to the back yard. Yay, pool!!

To the left is a small area that can be used for gardening. The white iron gate leads into the dog run from that side. It goes all the way around the pool.

The stairs there are removable so that Charlotte can't climb up them is she manages to escape from our line of sight. I just know some of you readers are sitting there hoping she falls in the pool and drowns, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Here is the family room.

The baby rug was a gift from one of Charlotte's great-grandma's. It's in the family room since this is where Charlotte plays more than anywhere else in the house, so it pads the tile floor in case she falls. That trunk under the window I got free up in Cupertino. Someone in the apartment complex was throwing it out. It's an authentic, century-old steamer trunk, but the hinges have rusted shut. Eventually I'm going to find some way to get it open. I think it's empty, but still I want to see.

That bookcase has a window cling I put on it when I was 15 years old. Cripes. That rocking horse was a free acquisition on Freecycle. It's a real solid oak rocking horse. I've got it sanded, and still need to stain it.

That bassinet has been used so much, and still gets used.

The view out the double-paned windows.

I also finished Charlotte's room, except for the painting of her walls.

Going into her room.

I love those curtains. A set in mauve hang in front of the window. This is much nicer and girlier than closet doors. I've never been much of a fan of doors. They always go off track. That rocking chair is another Freecycle find, and I dyed the cushions purple when that was going to be the color scheme. So now it doesn't match. Oh well.

This is a Japanese tea set from the 50's I got for her at Rose Story Farm when we went with my aunt and some of her friends.

The crib converts into a toddler- and full-size bed.

Instead of a drop-side, it's got a gate-top that requires two hands to open. There are latches on both sides, so a baby can't accidentally make it come down. She's never actually slept in this crib. She still sleeps with us.

I didn't make the bedding. This is the Daniella set by Cocalo. We've got a bunch of the other stuff too, like the lamp, though the light switch plate and a few other things we got were custom items.

That was Cody's dresser when he was younger. On top are my Titanic Rose doll and Cinderella Happily Ever After doll, both from Franklin Mint.

And the castle lamp my grandma made me when I was a little girl. The top comes off to let out more light.

Finally, this will hang on the outside of her door when I get sticky-backed hooks. This was an etsy-find.

Well, more pictures will come as we finish more rooms. Kitchen and bathroom are finished, just need pics. I should take one of my sewing room as it is now. Packed to the gills.

We're thrilled with this place. Get this - we're shelling out $300 less per month for it, AND we're so close to Cody's work that he can bike to work, and even driving every day saves us over $200/mo in gas. Hell yeah!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Housing update

Well, we didn't get the house. Oh well. We found out Wednesday of last week that we make it to the final round, us versus another couple, but they got it. The landlords were worried about our stability because - get this - we're not yet married but have a baby already. Okay, and since when does being married prevent splits? And we let them know that our baby was planned and why we had her before putting money toward a wedding. Oh well though. Their loss. We're tenants who except for this month, pay our rent.

So we had time to kill, what with Cathy making us be out all the time and all. So we whipped out our iPhones and checked Craigslist and decided to check a couple houses. One ended up sucking, didn't feel homey. One is a Cape Cod style house with a pool and tile and is gorgeous and includes gardening and pool-keeping. We talked to the lady who lives in the guest house for a long time. She's rented for eight years, and we take it as a good ting if someone wants to keep with the same people. (She's going to continue living there.) We applied. Sunday we found out we got it! WOOT! So five days ago we got the house, and now we move next Wednesday.

It's even got a proper dog run, so the girls will have a safe place to go run around and play without worrying about them running out the door or anything while moving stuff in. I'm excited that we're going to have both a living room AND a family room! It's also so close to Cody's work that he can bike it. This will save us about $250/mo in gas (not to mention wear and tear on the car - we've blown the head gasket, blown the radiator, and burned though a set of brakes, all since just May going over that damned grade all the time), plus we'll be shelling out $300 less in rent. So we'll save $550 right off the bat! Oh, and a massive Joann's is a mile away rather than the 25 I have to drive now! The landlady is also taking care of some safety things regarding the pool for us so that it'll be safe for Charlotte, as in inaccessible to Charlotte. The place isn't huge. our bedroom will just fit our California king bed and one of the nightstands, and it's got one bathroom versus the two (molding, rotting, holes in the walls, tub that doesn't drain properly) bathrooms we have now, but it's got the family room, is clean, and not only are there smoke alarms, but she even has a carbon monoxide detector, which isn't required by law, as an extra safety precaution due to having a gas range. Awesome or what?

What was that? Not paying rent this month? Oh hell no. If we have had to be out more days than we've been allowed, we're putting that money toward the deposit on the new house. The landlords have given us a 3-day notice to quit, which is improper. So once they file an unlawful detainer, I'm filing either a motion to quash or a demurrer. An unlawful detainer required proper 3-day service, and non-payment of rent is a curable condition, so a 3-day must give the option to cure. However, even if she had done it right, violating the implied warrant of habitability is a legal defense for not paying rent. Landlord retaliation is as well. We've sought legal counsel from a couple landlord-tenant attorneys, and we have legal defense to a proper 3-day, and the improper 3-day is invalid anyway. We also have five separate actions against Cathy in small claims, and we're going to pursue it. Without a doubt she's going to try suing us for rent for this month and she's already told me she's going to replace the carpet in here at our expense (it's from the 70s and was horrifyingly gross when we moved in, not clean as it should have been), so filing first and being proactive will work in our favor too as it will show that our actions aren't retaliatory. We'll file Monday and include our moving expenses, basically waste no time.

We're at the point in moving right now where we're scrounging for food in the house and eating out a lot because we don't want to have dished in use. I hate this point of moving. Oh well. I've dropped down to 119 pounds from the stress. Let me clarify - I was 119 after eating an entire German chocolate cake with and entire can of coconut pecan frosting and four cups of tea this afternoon. Not good, probably explains why I have no energy. But it's hard getting the right calories when we're not cooking. This means license to pork out next weekend! And then lounge by the pool! Well, not really, I have to get my sewing room unpacked since I DO have dresses that need to be made NOW, as in should have been finished by my timeline, but are actually not needed for a couple more weeks. 3 dresses in I think it's 18 days. But I can do it. I did SEVEN bridesmaids dresses in 29 days!

Off to bed, off to bed. After a salad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A well-meaning friend asked via Facebook why on earth we moved here. When the lease was signed a few weeks prior, Cathy (I was misspelling it with a K) promised the inside-stuff would be taken care of prior to move-in and the yard within weeks. We were supposed to move in February 1st and paid for the month in full. Staying at the other place was $175 per day after the vacate-day. Understandable. They start advertising right away, and not vacating puts them behind and they can't deliver to new renters.

Well, we didn't move in the 1st, didn't get a walk-through either. Her fucking chain-smoking-in-the-house brother-in-law hadn't moved out! But she kept calling Cody's mom asking why we weren't moved in. Um, because it wasn't vacant, Bitch. Finally, on the 6th, six days late being out of our other place, we waits outside and waited for David to pack up his shit and get the hell out. That was the first time we say the "finished" inside.

I've had idiots ask here why we didn't refuse to move in. Who was going to pay for us to move somewhere else? We had paid to move here. We didn't have money to move somewhere else. We were stuck.

That first night it ended up freezing, and we found out the wall heater works for shit. I wanted to cry. It was so cold I literally had to fight to keep myself from crying. It was too cold to really sleep, and Cody worked that next day, so Charlotte and I went with him because the car has a heater and I couldn't stand how cold it was in the house and was worried Charlotte would get sick. We decide to grin and bear it and maybe things would get better, though that night did make me wonder if I'd be able to put up with a full winter here next year.

Well, I called a few times to get things fixed, like the toilet in one of the bathrooms (the one with holes in the wall) being loose from the floor, and Cathy had the gall to chew me out and tell me WE needed to take care of these things ourself. That was fixed, but it took convincing to get it done. It took a couple months to get a fan put in above the indoor grill, and it ended up being one too inadequate for the grill to be safe to use. When we tried calling about getting a new door knob put in (Cody's mom and step-dad were going to pay a professional to do it, but because it would have required a structure-change to the door due to the type and age of the existing nob latch location [who knows why the hell all the internal components were removed]), despite multiple calls, they never called us back, so we didn't have it done. That would have risked them claiming damage. I suspect they were hoping we'd do it anyway so they could both claim damage as well as have a new, functioning latch.

The first time they touched the yard was a few days after I got out of the hospital, so May 7th, and that was only because someone complained to the city. Yes, the yard looks a lot better now than it did, and those pictures I posted are the "cleaner" yard. We didn't realize before moving in that, legally, a clean yard is required of the landlord before having tenants move in. After getting the yard "clean" enough to stop the complaints, they never came back, though they told us they would be back soon to get the stuff out of there. That obviously didn't happen.

By the end of May, we decided we'd give it until the end of the lease, with is December 31st, ask for a 2-year lease renewal, and THEN press for what we had found out were our rights. We had a feeling then that if we did before the lease was renewed, that Cathy would retaliate. We really didn't want to move again. We wanted to make it work. We had Charlotte's room repainted and the wood on the walls stained a nice, even color, were planning to put in an irrigation system for the avocado trees, were even going to talk to Cathy when we paid July's rent about replacing the carpet on our own dime (that bitch messed up but *telling* me on June 26th that they were going to replace the carpet out of our deposit because "it looks old now" - well, ya think? it''s 35-fucking-years-old, it IS old, and it looks its age!).

Well, Cathy's lies to me that nearly got us in criminal trouble regarding stray cats was the final straw. If that shit is fun and games to her, we're going to play hardball. It was then that we decided we'd break our lease if she didn't straighten up. And sure enough, she retaliated, and then was stupid enough to give us proof. In writing. And then to give us more ammo by writing a 24-hour notice (the first she's ever done, despite multiple requests) for us to be out every single day this week from 9am until 5pm to take some mesh over a hole in one of the walls where mice have been coming in, switch out a dryer vent, and replace a piece of glass. For that, she wants us out a full 40 hours. She she also gave us proof of her unreasonableness.

She wants to deprive us of at least a week of the house (I say "at least" because the notice said a new notice would be served "weekly"), and, combined with the notice of non-renewal, it's a clear case of malicious retaliation. She's trying to get us to move out, and even wrote in her notice that we can move early. So she's depriving us of use of our home for a full week so far, and will continue doing so, and gave us permission to move. Easy conclusion.

So, to re-cap, inside repairs were promised before move-in, and we didn't get to do a walk-through because Cathy's brother-in-law wasn't gone, and the yard was supposed to be done within weeks of us moving in, but wasn't.

Yet the only thing that stresses me is waiting to hear about this house we really want in another city. If we don't get it, we know we have more time, but there will likely be the added stress of her trying to evict because we're not going to pay August's rent. We will not pay for time we don't get to use the house. However the law explicitly protects renters who withhold rent for purposes of housing violations needing repair. Under the circumstances, any attempt at eviction would only be seen as more proof of retaliation. We'd have to go to court sooner than we plan, but we would win. Regardless, at this point we will be suing her. The law, as written, clearly gives each plaintiff (me, Cody, and Charlotte) the right to $2,000 per retaliation attempt, in addition to other damages, and a rent abatement for property we paid for and didn't get to use. There's also no way she'll willingly give our deposit back.

Despite a bit of obvious stress, I'm actually pretty happy. If we can get that other house, it'll be $400 a month less in rent for a beautiful, clean place with hardwood floors, a yard that is currently being landscaped, a landlord who's been a landlord for 25 years, and we wouldn't have the damned freeway going through our backyard. From the living room, at the front of the house, I can look through the windows and see big rigs and cars zooming by. It's about 20 yards from the kitchen/dining area windows. Yes, that close to the house. It's loud. I am actually pretty damned happy Cathy's pulling this crap. It would have been great if she had abided by her promises regarding the repairs and clean-up here, but oh well. I'll take the money we're, far more likely than not, going to be awarded, and a nice, beautiful house in a quiet area.

Random post of randomness

We saw a house yesterday and applied. I think we may get it. We found out today we're being "seriously considered," so fingers crossed!

Pictures of random stuff! And people. More people! I love what his iPhone does.

Just me in the car, fudged a bit with Camera+.

Cody at the Brewery.

Charlotte. Duh. Right before I dropped my last iPhone. Even her smiles weren't enough that day to keep me from shaking.

A Hipstamatic pic of Cody at the Brewery.



A Hipstamatic photo and a Camera+ photo of the flowers on the table.

The yard

I have had a few comments saying that this place can't be so bad, and that if the yard's bad, we probably just neglected it. Well, take a look. This is stuff that's clearly been there for years. There's more than this too. I didn't get to what's just outside the back patio what was left on the patio, and a few other places. I think these pictures show enough though.

The camper is part of it. Yes, even a vehicle has been dumped.

Leave it to the landlords to claim that this yard had show-quality, gorgeous roses before we moved in. The growth of one of the rose bushed exhibits extreme retardation from neglect, and one year of neglect won't do it. With the yard in this condition, as we really to believe that the rose beds were show-quality? No. But the landlords blame us for the roses looking awful. Realistically it's going to take years of work to get them to look right again after years of neglect. You can see what looks like a rose with several rose buds growing out of the center (I used one in pics of some earrings made, as you may be able to tell!). That's...a rose with several rose buds growing out of the center.