Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Saturday the weather was better. Mike continued to get the dogs out for exercise. Seattle has dog lovers everywhere, but a strict leash law is enforced, and Hallie and Nick’s yard, though fenced, is not yet gated. The dogs had to be inside or watched.
In these yard pictures, you can see the sliding door that Hallie detests and the pile of old bricks they have collected toward restoration of the back of the house. The cobbled up balcony and stairs have to go.

I was surprised to learn that they have ticks in Seattle. At first I thought the dogs must have brought a few ticks from home, but with every walk, we pulled more ticks out of their fur.

Hallie and Nick treated us to lunch in the “historic and hip little town of Ballard,” which was established as a Scandinavian community. We parked near Swedish Hospital, read about Ballard and its sister city in Sweden in a little park, and toured little art shops. Fun!

Back at the house, Mike discovered Hallie and Nick’s push mower and had a “retro moment” mowing the lawn. I had taken garden gloves and spent a few minutes pulling weeds. I might have done more, but the focus of activity was really the chairs.

At 4:30 Hallie announced that it was time for our walk to the water. It would be a mile and a quarter one way, she said. So, the dogs were leashed and the six of us set out. After taking in the view at a park above the water, we skirted the brow of the hill to a set of stairs that took us down to the beach. Once there, we sat on a bench for a few minutes to take in the sights and sounds of people enjoying a warm day on the water. A booming voice called out, “Dogs are ready,” and I wondered if I could adopt that family.

Well, what goes down must go up, and I set out ahead of my group in order to take my time with that climb. As it was, they insisted on pursuing and passing me and I was the last one to reach the top. But – they didn’t have to wait long. If I lived there, I would climb those stairs most every day.

Somehow by suppertime one chair seat was mostly finished, and I was allowed to sit on it while I ate my lentil chili. It didn’t occur to me that the old upholstery was uncomfortable, but the new bottom was a noticeable improvement.

Saturday night found Nick and Hallie working on the chairs. “Good!” I thought to myself; “they’re taking advantage of their momentum.”

Sunday morning came all too soon, and after breakfast we loaded the car for return to our valley. Fond farewells were said all around – not quite tearful. Nellie doesn’t like good-byes (and neither do I), so we didn’t linger over it. Two and a half hours over I90 -- three hours over country roads – and we were back at the town house by 2:00.

A message from Hallie that afternoon read as follows: “We haven't gotten dressed. We've been working on the chairs and are excited that we're going to have a project 100% complete from start to finish.”

And then on Monday she wrote: “We're now buying screws for the chair supports and then that project is done. That feels amazing! We needed an accomplishment.”

Just what I said on Day 1 -- a little accomplishment amidst bigger projects feels so good. And let’s face it – recovering those chair bottoms does improve the overall appearance of the living/dining area. KW


Chris said...

Can't wait to see a photo of the finished chairs! Yes, there's nothing like a finished project to give a feeling of satisfaction and inspire more projects.

I've loved this series of posts. When that dreadful slider and awful deck are gone, the house will breathe such a sigh of relief. Whoever added those "improvements was sorely lacking in their knowledge of house character. But then I guess not everyone loves houses like we do.

Sounds like you all had a great weekend! (Oh, and P.S.--my mom was born at Swedish Hospital.)

Chris said...

Oops, forgot the other quotation mark on "improvements". (And that word is to be said with lifted eyebrows and waggling fingers.)

Kathy said...

Hi Chris! Yes, we had a good time together over the all-too-short weekend.

Hallie has a word for the previous owner. which I won't repeat here. Everything he did to the house has to be undone or re-done, and really important issues -- like the roof and the sewer line -- weren't addressed. It's an old house that fell into disrepair and then into the hands of the wrong folks.

Interesting that your mom was born at Swedish Hospital! Did her folks live close to the hospital, or did they have to travel to get there?

Hallie said...

The finished chairs are WONDERFUL and sturdy! A small thing that makes me very happy. We've found a couple sources for bricks that match our house and are just debating on logistics. One source is relatively close to where we live but they want more for the brick. The other source is in Tacoma, which is a long way to go to find out the brick doesn't actually match AND is more costly for a rental truck that charges by the mile if it does match. We're hopeful that we can brick up the back before the rainy fall since we're quite certain the seal isn't tight.

Chris said...

Mom's parents did not live near the hospital. They were either in Everett or Port Ludlow (on the Olympic Peninsula). They had homes both places, but probably came down from Everett.

Hallie, glad you found a brick place. Sounds like closer might be the best bet? Looking forward to seeing pictures of those chairs!