The Stress of House Hunting

Riel and I are approaching our second year of apartment living. (Check out our first apartment and some ways we make apartment living work for us). We are looking into investing in real estate instead of throwing money at a rental.

Everyone says to expect stress while looking for a home. And we expected it. As it turns out, expecting stress doesn’t prevent it. There are so many decisions to make…

  • Buy now or save up more
  • Big house in bad neighborhood or small house in nice neighborhood
  • Type of financing
  • Can we cope with busy streets?
  • Second vehicle (because Riel will no longer be able to walk to work)
  • Procuring appliances
  • Everything else I’m forgetting

Ack! I can barely keep it all straight. Luckily, we don’t need to move right away. Our apartment only requires a month’s notice, so we can wait if need be.

All this is in addition to our other March madness (read about it here).

Along with our second year of apartment living, we are reaching our second wedding anniversary. It’s been an adventure and I don’t regret a moment! We’re flying to NYC in a few weeks to celebrate. That’s a bit stressful too, but not all stress is bad stress.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to repair some damage Sophie did to our apartment. She ate the drywall. Here Riel is priming the spot to be patched:

Drywall

We’re excited about how well it’s turning out. It’s almost impossible to tell Godzilla-puppy tore off part of the wall. We can’t wait to have a house with a yard so she can put that energy to good use!

What’s your best house-hunting advice?

Our Own March Madness

This March may be the craziest month of our marriage to date. We’re meeting with a realtor this week to get on track to buy a house. My wonderful husband, Riel, is turning 21. We’ll also be celebrating our second anniversary in New York City!

First, We’re looking into the possibility of getting a house. Apartment living is getting cramped and stale. We won’t likely be in the market to buy any time very soon, but we would like to start in that direction.

Then, Riel’s birthday is in the middle of the month. It’s going to be a pretty laid back event. Mostly because I’m not 21 yet, so we are limited in what we can do. We’ll have pizza at Round Table with friends and family (Riel does love pizza) and then he’ll go out with his friends.

On a side note, it’s really bizarre to be married for nearly two years and not be 21 yet. We can file taxes, pay bills, and do other terribly grown-up things, but we can’t buy wine. Turning 21 will be an extra-important rite of passage for Riel.

I’m debating how far to go with the festivities at Riel’s party. He pretty much hated all my ideas for games, so it looks like we won’t be doing any of those. There isn’t a good way to decorate for a man’s party. I’ll probably just buy candles shaped like the number ‘21’ and stick them on top of an ice cream cake (Riel and I both hate normal cake). And Riel is difficult to buy for. Well, Riel, if you end up with Hot Cheetos and Coke you’ll know I couldn’t think of anything better.

Finally, a week after Riel’s birthday, we’ll be heading to NYC for our anniversary. Neither of us has been to New York, so we’re psyched.  We’ll be seeing Chicago on Broadway (eee!).  Other than that, I’m not sure what we’ll be doing. There’s so much to choose from and we’ll only be there for 4 days.  I really need to look into it more before we leave! I’ll likely be posting more about planning (and going on) the trip.

I hope this crazy month goes smoothly. It’ll be tough to keep up with homework and blog posts with all of this craziness going on.  Wish me luck.

If you have any tips on what to do in NYC please comment or contact me!

Weird Dreams and an Intense Reluctance to Cook Dinner

Have you ever had a really weird dream? I’m always wondering why that happens. Is it stress? Did I have too much sugar before bed? I used to write my dreams down. I came across this one the other day (people have been renamed to save myself embarrassment):

We were at Jason’s house. There was an enormous, rabid mythical monster (horns, and scales, and all that) chasing after us. I was utterly panicked, but Jason was calm.

“My mother always unleashes the beast when she doesn’t want to cook,” Jason said.

Suddenly, I was in the back of my Spanish class, pretending to take notes as usual.

Really? Jason’s mom let loose a maniacal monster instead of cooking?  Actually, sometimes I can sympathize. When I am already

Scary monster! [From Pinterest]

hungry and I’m out of too many ingredients, cooking is torturous. The temptation to get take-out is brutally strong.

I wonder if the monster is really just Jason’s mom, who is hungry and would like someone else to cook for a change. C’mon Jason. Make some grilled cheese.

Have you ever felt like that when it came time to make dinner?

And of course, in normal dream fashion, I end up safely in my Spanish class for no reason whatsoever.

I’m contemplating whether to share another dream record I discovered about being rescued by “Bat Hugh,” (that is, Hugh Jackman as Batman).

My goodness.

Do you have weird dreams like this?

A Puppy for Our Apartment

Every kid wants a puppy (or a pony) for Christmas. For Christmas 2012, Riel and I decided to get ourselves a Christmas puppy.

Sophie and the rest of the litter (plus one kitten!)

Sophie and the rest of the litter (plus one kitten!)

We fell in love with a litter of Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies that were born on Halloween. I grew up with an Aussie/Border Collie mix named Sadie and pretty much can’t resist those breeds. We drove 2 hours to examine the pups and potentially choose one.

We narrowed down our choice between two tri-color female pups that had sweet temperaments (we thought – hard to tell since their eyes weren’t open!) and were almost identical. Riel picked Sophie because of her white collar markings. She looked like a little cow/mouse hybrid.

IMGP7460 (2)We paid way too much for Sophie. I mean technically. The owner claimed that she was pure-bred. We met the mother and saw pictures of the father – who both seemed pure-bred. Sophie didn’t come with any papers, but we were in love with her. We paid the ridiculous price and brought her home on Christmas Eve.

Riel gave Sophie her first French fry in the car on the way home.

Now, Sophie is a part of the family. She has gotten into a lot of trouble, which is to be expected for a high-energy Aussie in an apartment, but she has also helped to make our apartment a home (see some other ways we make apartment living work for us).

A more recent picture of Sophie. In case you are wondering, she was not harmed by the wicker in any way

A more recent picture of Sophie. In case you are wondering, she was not harmed by the wicker in any way

How did you meet your furry friends?

5 Most Appalling Misconceptions about Northwest Native Americans

Here, for your edification, are 5 most common ways people can (and do) embarrass themselves in front of a Northwest Native American (as witnessed by Riel):

tonto1. Don’t you get money from the government?

No. Some tribes have casinos or fishing income and distribute money to tribal members, but not all tribes have that.

2. Go back to Mexico. (Yes, people actually say this)

You shouldn’t be saying this to anyone, much less a Native American who didn’t cross any borders to get here (neither did their great-great-great-great-great grandparents – and that’s more than you can say).

3. Do you speak Native American?

No. Native American is not a language. Each tribe has its own language, though some tribes speak similar dialects.

4.  Any comment related to tipis.

Northwest tribes never had tipis. They have longhouses. It rains here.

5. Do you know how to do a rain dance?

Why in the world, would tribes need to do a rain dance in Western Washington? If anything, they would do a stop-the-rain dance.

My husband frequently endures many of these comments. The Native Americans pictured in films are often inaccurate portrayals of plains tribes, which have an entirely different way of life than coastal tribes. Too many people have learned all they know about Native Americans through movies. If you would like to learn more, you can watch the documentary Reel Injun, which is available on Netflix.

About Riel (and his Video Games)

Riel at the beach

Riel at the beach

Though he spent the first few years of his life on the Hoh Reservation, Riel is also part Quileute, Quinault, Chippewa, and Songhees.

His family lived in Vancouver, BC for several years before settling in the Tacoma area. He spent his adolescent years playing Pokémon and Legend of Zelda on his Nintendo 64.

Less than a year after graduating high school, Riel married Katelynn, his high school sweetheart. Riel is currently considering pursuing a career in physical therapy.

Riel loves basketball and is anxiously awaiting the return of the Seattle SuperSonics. In his free time, Riel plays copious amounts of Call of Duty.

About Kate: College, Cold Weather, and Coffee

Katelynn at Hurricane Ridge, WA

Katelynn at Hurricane Ridge, WA

Katelynn is a junior studying communication at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.She was born and raised in rainy Western Washington, where she  met her husband Riel.

Though she is not yet certain what career path she will follow, Katelynn is interested in all things related to literature. Katelynn aspires to find a job that allows her to spend time with her family and doesn’t feel like work (don’t we all?).

When she is not studying, Katelynn can be found playing with her Australian Shepherd puppy, Sophie, or creating and consuming a myriad of coffee-based beverages.

Something Borrowed: Our First Tiny Apartment

When Riel carried me across the threshold of our first home, it took him four steps to cross the entire space. It was 340 square feet.

There was zero counter space in the kitchen. For a while we had the microwave on the floor. I had to chop vegetables on our dining room table which was also a desk, a nightstand, and a coffee table (It was a drop leaf table, like this one).

Our first 340 sq ft apartment

Our first 340 sq ft apartment

It’s a good thing we were newly-weds when we lived in our “box,” as we called it. There was no space for alone time – unless we wanted to hide in the bathroom which was almost small enough to shower while sitting on the toilet.

Have you ever stormed out as a tactic during a fight? Try storming out into the bathroom. “Oh, yeah?! Well, I’m going to brush my teeth for fifteen minutes and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Stomp, stomp, stomp, SLAM. Take that.

Our box was on the second floor of a very old building in a notoriously unsafe neighborhood. We couldn’t have company because there was no parking. Not to mention people thought they might be stabbed. I used to pull up to the apartment and call Riel to walk me in because he didn’t want me walking up alone.

In the six months that we lived in the apartment, there were three fires. All of them were in the middle of the night. When the first fire alarm went off at 2 A.M. sometime in April, I woke up with my shoes and coat on in the hallway. Riel’s protective instincts had kicked in and he was guiding me down the stairs to the courtyard.

After the first fire, it became a routine. The firemen, who promptly extinguished each fire, began to recognize us. Riel and I joked that I needed to sleep with my jeans on so that we didn’t have to choose between burning to death and going outside in my Disneyland pajama shorts.

The apartment wasn’t entirely miserable. Our neighbor to the right had a fabulous singing voice. Though we never learned her name, we enjoyed listening to her through the wall. And though the kitchen was tiny, we did cook our first meals as a couple there. Tacos and fried rice were the only foods we could agree on.

All in all, I’m grateful for that less-than-ideal apartment. The inexpensive rent was part of the reason we could afford to start a life together in the first place. 340 square feet of our own was infinitely better than living with mom and dad!