I love our house. We recently passed our one year anniversary of being home-owners, but there are still days when I drive home from work, turn onto our street, and get a little thrill from the idea that this is actually ours. We live here.

We’ve been working hard on yard projects all summer because the yard was in really tragic condition when we bought the house. The backyard had basically been used as a large dog pen and was covered in dog poo. The grass in front and back was patchy and filled with not only a lot of weeds, but a lot of different kinds of grass. I’m not sure if they seeded or patched with differing types of sod, or if it’s just how the lawn developed over it’s lifetime, but it still kind of strikes me as strange that there’s so many different kinds of grass in one small lawn.

The people we bought the house from had put up a fence, which was one of the best things they did, because all three of the neighboring yards are pretty trashy. But that said, they did a kind of terrible job installing the fence. They didn’t weather proof it at all, so some of the posts are warping and it just looks really rough. But last weekend we cleaned it and put a coat of stain/sealer on it – and I can’t believe the difference. It still needs some repairs in a few places, but it seriously looks like an entirely new fence. It really changes the personality of the backyard, from feeling a little rundown to feeling rather posh.

Our other big-ish project is putting in a paver patio. We are about halfway done with that one – it’s taking forever, mainly because I messed up on the math a few times now and we just keep having to make trips to Home Depot to get more stones. Plus, we both just have sedans, so it’s not like we can bring 160 pavers home at a time. It’s going to be really nice when it’s done though. The “patio” that the previous owners were using, was about 2 square feet of cinder blocks with some 2-by-4’s laid on top. Not cute and not really very safe. And the idea of the bugs that were flourishing in all those mini cinder block caves never failed to creep me out. Erica tore most of that out while I was at work one day, and it even creeped her out a bit – and she’s not a chicken about bugs like I am.

We’ve also torn out quite a bit of what was planted in the yard, and replaced a lot of it with stuff we like better. They had planted about 7 arbor vitaes along the back fenceline, but then basically let them die, so there were the maybe 6-foot-tall “evergreens” that were all brown. There were several really ugly bushes that we tore out, and also they had planted a vegetable garden in a too-small patch right next to the house. We tore that out and put in a raised garden for veggies – we’ve had some yummy squash and peppers, and a tomato or two so far, with many more yet to ripen.

There are a ton of other things we want to do. We really want to paint the trim and the front door and the garage door – but at this point that will be a next summer project, or else we won’t do it at all.

The Seatlle-move update is that we are going to stay one more year in our house, because to rent it out now would mean paying capital gains taxes when we sell. So we will wait until next summer and re-asses. If the market has improved, we’ll go ahead and sell then, and if not, we’ll rent it.

There are drawbacks to postponing the move. Namely, I will have to survive another legislative session here in Utah. 😦 And Erica will have to endure a work environment that she doesn’t love as much as she used to. But the one thing I am happy about is staying in our house and getting a few more things done. It is our home, and when it comes time to let someone else live here, it will be with a lot of bittersweet feelings.