Sunday, September 22, 2019

with a little help from [my parents]

living 1,700 miles away from where i grew up, i don't get to see my parents nearly as much as i would like.  thankfully, they recently came up to visit.

this visit found us keeping the tourist attractions to a minimum and instead activities were focused more on house projects.  not only did they help weed the yard and trim the hedges, we found the time to put together the crib.  this was actually my favorite project of the week.  i enjoy knowing that the crib my child will eventually sleep in was put together by my parents.

it was a quick trip and we didn't do anything too terribly exciting, but in a way, just having them around the house to help with small projects made me feel like they lived in the same town, instead of guests visiting.

i just wish they were here to help with all the other items i have to put together! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

eating good in the [new] neighborhood

it's amazing how a slight change in position can change your perspective.

buying a house just a few miles from the old apartment, i assumed my list of favorite restaurants would change or be updated.  i was wrong.  just a little ways aaway from the new house sits 158 pickett street cafe. a low key, super casual place with incredible food!

this is not a "foodie" blog, simply a reminder to everyone to change your position just a bit every once in a while. doing so, just might change your perspective. it also might allow you to stuff your face with the best home fries ever!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

calm, cool and [painted]

with a little more experience and a lot more brushes, my wife and i started another painting project.

"this room will be WAY easier than the kitchen" i remember saying, "it's just a box!"

somehow i didn't factor in all the trim, the windows, the doors and the radiator cover, all of which were painted light yellow and all of which took more time than i had planned.  also kneeling down and painting base trim took more energy out of me than i thought.  one saving grace, being a tad wiser this go around we decided not to tape as much, as we felt more confident with our trim brushes.

although it took the better part of two weekends to finish up,  i was extremely happy with the way this project turned out.  unlike the kitchen, i felt the light grey we picked out was the perfect color.  the whole room has a calming vibe which is exactly what we were hoping for in a nursery.

hopefully the baby thinks so too!

Friday, August 30, 2019

[haint] your porch

as we started to get settled into our new house, one item i wasn't a fan of was the color of the porch ceiling.  it was an odd shade of light blue which didn't match anything else on the house.  i couldn't wait to change it.

repainting the porch wasn't a high priority, but it was thinking of it as a future project.  like many things, when something is on your mind you tend to notice it in other places in your life more.  as i went through my normal day to day routine, i found myself paying more attention to porch ceilings on homes and restaurants and noticed most of them were this exact same shade of blue!  now i was intrigued.  asking around and talking to a few friends, i was told "it was a very new england thing to do."

this answer wasn't good enough for me. i wanted to know WHY this was a thing.

just like anyone in need of an answer, i turned to google.  a quick search turned up a several reasons for the light colored blue ceiling.  one explanation is that it's actually a color called [haint] blue.  painting your porch ceiling haint blue, which is derived from crushed indigo plants, is a tradition originating from the gullah geechee in the deep south and it's  meant to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.  other articles i found said light blue is used to confuse birds and insect.  this specific color makes critters think the porch is open to the sky, so they don't build nests, although there seemed to be no scientific evidence of this.  as far as a more regional explanation, i found that painting the porch ceiling a light blue was a cosmetic way to extend that sunny summer day feeling throughout the year, in a region that tends to have short summers and long grey winters. 

my research only took me so far and i was unable to determine if one of the traditions started before any of the others.  thankfully for me, the explanations i read were enough for me to fall in love with the color. maybe it was my years in architecture school, but it seems design choices based on reason always hold up better than those based on a whim.  i LOVE knowing there was some thought put into our porch ceiling and i fully intend to keep it. 

also, anything that wards off evil spirits and ghosts from your home seems like a plus.

Monday, August 26, 2019

a [much needed] walk on the beach

my wife and i are currently at 31 weeks in the pregnancy.  due to several factors, this was medically labeled a "high risk" pregnancy, which means there have been several trips to many different doctors to make sure everything is going as well as it can.  needless to say there has been a lot of worrying and stressful check ups while waiting for various lab results and consultations. 

but as situations like this often do, it only seems to have brought my wife and i closer.  recently, we took a few days off to have a long weekend on the beach.  walking on the sand, with the sun going down at low tide, i felt my wife looked particularly beautiful, even through she disagreed with me.  i was able to grab my camera and capture a true moment of peace, where our only worry in the world was wondering how long we should wonder in the water.

i know the next few weeks are going to get stressful and crazy, but this pic will always remind my of how strong and graceful my wife has been during this pregnancy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

a [house] of a different color

i think one of the first projects any new home owner tackles is painting, and we were no different.

the kitchen of the house we moved into was kind of a light peach and light green...almost sherbet like colors.  although not horrible, we felt it could use a fresh coat of...some other color.  wanting to go pretty bold we decided on blue.  i'm not sure if i'm just the victim of watching too many house hunting shows but blue and kitchens seem to be a thing.  i was nervous going with such a bold color but i felt the all white cabinets and appliances we currently now own, would help balance out the boldness.  i was also hoping to make the white trim pop.

as an architect, i've specified countless colors for rooms, but none of those were going in my own home.  i spent several hours researching blues and shades of blues to determine the best color.  even at the store i requested four different shades to try out on the wall, and to see how they looked in the different light that would hit the room.  finally after tormenting myself, we made the choice, "dyers woad" seemed to be the perfect mix of grey and blue.

my wife ans i spent the entire weekend taping, trimming and painting our new little kitchen. naturally during the course of the project, i kept needing new supplies, so i went from a couple of brushes and pans to the owner of several different brushes, cups, spackling paste, drywall sander, 5 in 1 painters tool, a goofy looking roller to get behind the radiator and a ladder.

in the end, just getting the project done felt good and it allowed us to unload several boxes and get the kitchen organized.  as much as i had researched the color i'm not thrilled with it.  i wish it would have turned out just a tad greyer, but it's a happy shade and my wife really likes it.  also it really did make the white trim pop.  more importantly than the actual color, there's something about a fresh coat of paint that makes a house feel more [yours].  maybe it's the covering of the old layer, or maybe it's the fact that it's a decision you made about the house, but our new [blue] kitchen made us feel more at home.

new flooring will probably make it seem like our home too... but that's later down the road.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

a [southern] fourth of july

not exactly [southern] so much, but south portland.

this fouth of july found us enjoying our new neighborhood of south portland.  there's a wonderful little green space nearby our house called bug light park.  not only does is house my favorite lighthouse in the area, the breakwater lighthouse, also known as [bug light] due to it's small size, but the area has a beautiful panoramic view of downtown portland.  my wife and i spent a couple hours there, during our one day holiday break, enjoying the summer sun, ocean breeze and free smores.  since we both had to work the following day we were unable to stick around into the night to watch the fireworks, but after a busy few weeks of packing, moving and unpacking, it was a treat to simply have a few hours to do nothing but sit in a park.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

[home] let me go [home]

in what felt like some cruel version of goldilocks and the three bears, my wife and i finally found a house perfect for us.

it only took 14 months but finally everything came together.  we found a house that had everything i wanted, like newer windows, gutters, a solid roof, dry basement, grade that slopes away from the house and within the budget; plus everything my wife wanted in a house, such as character, coziness, sunlight filled rooms, hardwood floors and a cute new england feel.  as a bonus, it also happened to be in a location we really loved.

as frustrating as the house search was, the actual closing went completely smooth.  the previous owners were amazingly sweet.  they had an inspection report completed on the house prior to us looking at it and there were zero bidding wars with other parties; a situation that had put a sour taste in my mouth on other houses we had put offers on.  the previous owners had raised a family in the house the last 21 yeard and were now looking to downsize. after chatting with them at the closing, we got the feeling they were happy to pass it onto a new and growing family. 

the 30 days following our offer being accepted were a blur.  a hazy mix of phone calls, emails, questions, paperwork and packing; quickly followed by a busy few days of moving. our only hiccup during the move was the point where the movers informed us, we were “over inventory.”  a situation i really didn’t understand.  how can you be "over inventory" on your stuff?  our amount of stuff was just our amount of stuff! what, were we a car dealer that had a bad holiday weekend moving cars and now had to offer discount prices because we were "over inventory!" none the less, with a little help from friends we got everything moved.

later that day, when the movers had left and our friends had gone home, it was a surreal feeling to walk around the cardboard box filled rooms of our “new” house.  it was our house, but wasn’t our house.  not only did we need all our items to be unpacked, slowly filling up the house, we also need “time” to happen; the actual passing of time. we need time to unfold and slowly cover every corner of the house. 

why? because time creates memories....and memories magically change a house, into a home….

that and the long list of house projects we now have to tackle.

Monday, July 01, 2019

duck, duck, [cheese]

i'm a fun of duck architecture.

if you're not familiar with the term "duck" architecture, it's basically any building that takes on the form of it's actual use.  a business that sells ice cream cones from a building that looks like an ice cream cone is an example of "duck" architecture. the term came about from two architects, robert venturi and denise scott brown, referencing a building in long island that sold ducks and duck eggs that was shaped like, you guessed it, a big duck.

for those of you who are curious, there is an opposite to "duck" architecture which is a "decorated shed;" a term for any generic building covered with sign on it, so you know what it's function is.  this is actually most of the buildings you see in the world. 

to me, that's why "duck" buildings are so entertaining; you don't see them a whole lot.  which is why if you're traveling in the car with me, and i spot a duck, we will for sure be turning around and stopping to take pictures of it.

now imagine my surprise when i found out there was a classic duck building not too far from portland.  it was a building that sold cheese, shaped like a giant wheel of cheese!

a company called "the cheese house" built several cheesy buildings in the new england area in the 1960's.  some have been bulldozed, some added onto, some remolded beyond recognition, but the one in wells, maine is still in pretty good shape, though it's now called "the cheese shop."

needles to say, on a recent trip back from boston, i pulled off the interstate, and made my wife take a 30 minute detour with me, to see a giant wheel of cheese.

now i'm not saying "the cheese shop" in wells, maine should be on anyone's architectural bucket list, but it is a building that will put a smile on your face...

which actually seems like a pretty good goal for any architect to have.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a [mid sized suv]

not soon after we discovered we were expecting, the power steering in my wife's car starting going out.  not only was it pricey to fix, but we realized even if we did repair it, a two door coupe isn't the best family car.  so began the new car search.

compared to house shopping here in maine, car shopping was a breeze!  we knew roughly what we wanted, there were several places to shop for one, we didn't have to worry about being out bid by another young couple and we didn't have to make a major life decision, the moment we saw the car.  i really hate saying this, but comparatively, car shopping was actually enjoyable.

we found a nice toyota rav 4 we liked, test drove it and then spent a few weeks talking it over, did a little research, talked to some friends and family and decided to get it.

"we asked for it...we got it..." 

since purchasing it we've only come to love it more and enjoy sharing the road with all the other rav 4's out there which, if you haven't noticed, seems to be every other car.

i'm very happy to call our toyota rav 4 the new family truckster...our generations station wagon.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

oh [baby]

this blog has followed me through several of life's adventures: my internship in san diego, graduating from college and getting a real job, being laid off during the great recession, becoming a licensed architect and moving across the country to maine.  well, it's about to follow me during another great adventure, having a baby!  my wife and i are expecting in october.

most adventures in life seem to come as an equal mix of excitement and being scared shitless and this one is no different.  i'm terrified, i'm thrilled, i'm nervous, i'm excited, life seems to be moving fast and slow at the same time, it's absolute craziness.  as chaotic as everything has been since we found out, i think this might just be the happiest i've ever been.

a lot of life has happened in the last few months, but hopefully i'll be posting more.

they say you should do one thing that scares you everyday, basically saying people should step out of their comfort zone every once in a while.  if that's true, let's just say i think i've reach my quota for the year just five months into 2019.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

bbq and [besties]

another year older and another year celebrating with bbq.  i'm not complaining about either....

i entered 38 with a surprise gathering my wife planned at one of my favorite places to eat.  she knows too well some of my favorite things in life are well done burnt ends and good friends.  the only downfall was i was so busy chatting and catching up with everyone, i didn't have time to enjoy much bbq.  i did however snag a few smoked chicken wings from a friend which have know entered my top five all time best wings i've ever had in my life.

much like the wings i have a feeling 38 is going to be one of the best years of my life.

snow [bowl]

as i’ve written about before, to get through a maine winter one must find themselves a hobby or three.  one that i’ve taken up is bowling.  it’s on an architecture, engineering, construction bowling league but it's a bowling league nonetheless.  the season goes from january  through march which takes a nice, healthy bite out of the winter months.  it’s not so much about bowling as it is about networking, making friends and doing something, anything, to get out of hibernating in your house for a few precious hours. 

i joined a team that had recently taken last-place in the league.   however this year we had a few new people join the team who seemed to be pretty good.  as the season went on we find ourselves getting more and more competitive. by some miracle, we snuck into the semi finals by a half a game.  by  yet another miracle we beat the dominant number one team to make it to the finals.  during the final game we kept her cool against a construction team who had won before.  at the end the night we came out the winners. 

i’m no athlete. in my life there have been very few teams i’ve been on let alone on teams who have won a championships.  we did get a trophy recognizing our teams accomplishment this season, but all in all the best prize was making new friends and strengthening those relationships with friends i already had. 

...that and having something to do during this long, dark, bitter cold and miserable season we call winter here in maine.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

[bar] chart

sometimes there's no better way to get to know a place than to go to where the locals hang out. the neighborhood bar.

it's also winter in maine so you have to find activities to keep you entertained...

wanting to discover and get to know the city of south portland a little better , as well as just get out of the house, some friends and i planned out a south portland bar crawl.  to keep it interesting, it was a mix of breweries, restaurants and dive bars which provided us a mix of craft beers, cheap drafts, appetizers and meals.  some of the places were warm and welcoming and will find us visiting again, others gave us the vibe that non regulars would be better off at applebee's.  shady looks aside it was a successful bar crawl which basically means memories were made and good times were had. 

not only do we know sopo just a tad bit better now, but it was great to get out of the house.

the route we took:

foulmouthed brewing
rj's pub
evelyn's tavern
spring point tavern
elesmere bbq