We are now sleeping at NewOldHouse, so this post will effectively serve as a mile-marker, if you will. From the pictures, you can see boxes in the backgrounds and the walls do not have decorations yet. That will come.
Push Becomes Pull
In my last post, I described our effort to move as working from the edges in towards the center. For us, life in our home has 2 centers: the main living space (kitchen / eating nook / den) and the master bedroom suite (bed and bath). So, we were focused on solving for all the other spaces: the ShedRoom, my work-from-home office, the extra bedroom, the garage, etc. That was working, but we didn't feel like we were making sufficient progress towards actually living at NewOldHouse. We are paying to heat and illuminate 2 houses on top of 2 mortgages. In the Pacific NorthWest, there is a great deal of dark to offset and this winter has been relatively typical but with more cold stretches mixed with wet ones than usual. We felt that if we could significantly reduce the more expensive (read: larger) house quickly, we could save some pennies while we get moved faster. We decided that continuing to push things from our existing home to NewOldHouse had reached its useful end and we needed to change it up.
We started by relocating my daily work-from-home into the NewOldHouse. Most of my things were already there, I just had been working with a laptop on my lap at the existing house, but that had been contributing to the inertia problem. So, I started a morning walking-commute to NewOldHouse to work.
Rather than continue with the edges, we encircled our second center (master bedroom), moved it and all of our clothes over to NewOldHouse. Just like that, we are sleeping there... or here. This shift now allows us to spend those small hours before bedtime doing tweaks around NewOldHouse rather than at the existing house, and the shift is showing dividends. After work, we can collect a bunch of things and haul them to NewOldHouse to be distributed before we turn in or the following morning while shuffling around with coffee. While the overall acts really are not that different, changing from pushing things out of existing house to pulling things into NewOldHouse has kick-started our efforts. There is just something about doing the push in the cold, wet and dark that made it much more difficult than the pull. I just can't explain it, but I am seeing the difference play out.
The bathroom had taken major steps forward (toilet and sink functional) only to sit in a partially completed state (shower not functional) for a couple of weeks. That time wasn't wasted, of course. It was just spent on boxing things or sorting belongings (both ours and my folks) at the existing house. With the push-pull shift, the bathroom game is back on. Boo deep-cleaned that old tub and the walls, as well as fixed a bunch of the plaster. Once the plaster was set, I caulked everything (tub to surround, tub to floor, fixtures, etc). To get us operational, Boo installed one of those spring-loaded shower curtain-rods that hold to the walls by outward force rather than with screws. We know we have more plaster finishing, painting and maybe some tile-work before the bathroom is complete, but in our Agile way
, this gets us to a minimum viable space. So, until we temporarily suspend bathing for tile or paint, we moved bathing to NewOldHouse. My current thinking is to wait until it's warm out before we restart. When I consider how far this bathroom has already evolved, this image is a major milestone.
To support daily living at NewOldHouse, or anyplace for that matter, you need a way to store and prepare food. Even the smallest economy apartments have something. NewOldHouse has nothing. When we bought this place the kitchen was in mid-demo, and it was so horrible there was no way anyone could reuse any of it without jeopardizing their health. So, we continued the demo and cleaned as much as we could of what remained. Once the upper cabinets were down, the remaining appliances removed and the surfaces cleaned, we stopped the demo. Other priorities had arisen, so the "kitchen" was left in a semi-demolished state. Fast forward a few months, and we want to shift our daily lives into NewOldHouse... so we need a temporary kitchen.
We started with the most basic of the basic: a means to make hot water, a pour-over coffee contraption and instant oatmeal. With this, we had morning meal addressed. To this, we added granola bars and other individually wrapped foods to bridge the middle of the day. For dinners, we got go-food for the first couple of days, but that is expensive when done regularly. So, we quickly added more storage capacity by reusing one bookcase for dry-goods and another for dishes. Within a kitchen cart, we are storing a variety of pans, a hot plate, a slow cooker, a rice cooker and an electric skillet. A slow cooker and a rice cooker can support many meals for super cheap.
With food storage and preparation mostly solved, we are left with one last challenge: a sink. The old kitchen sink was disconnected during the demo. It had a rather unpleasant garbage disposal so it had to go with the rest of the unusables. The sink itself is fine and we may find a purpose for it in the future, but for today, there is no sink. Our solution for sourcing water is to fill and store pitchers of water from the sink in the connected garage. We call it "TheWell". The other need for a sink is to clean dishes. We could wash them in TheWell, but the garage is unheated, and this winter has been particularly cold and unpleasant. So, leaning over a concrete sink in a 35*F garage doing dishes sounded a bit to much. So, until the weather warms up into the 40's (mid single -digit *C), we will be doing the dishes in the tub with plastic washtubs.
Schmidty and Tuukka
|Tuukka watches the new street|
At some point in your move, you have to consider the timing of moving your pets. In our case it's our cat, Schmidty, named after a Vet who we love dearly and our dog, Tuukka
, named after the Boston Bruins goalie. Like all animals, they did not understand what was going on, and they grew nervous as they watched belongings moving around, and disappearing from home. We brought Tuukka with us over to NewOldHouse starting very early in the process, like, once it was clean enough that we would not be concerned about him stepping on something that he would then lick off his paws. He did not like it for the first few weeks, and it wasn't until we started bringing soft things for him to sit on that we realized it was sitting/lying on the hard floors that bothered him. He adjusted fairly quickly once some of the softer chairs and a couch we added.
Schmidty was a completely different matter. He would follow us as we walked to NewOldHouse, and would walk the perimeter, but would absolutely NOT accept being brought inside. This persisted for months. Finally, after we had moved pretty much all of the furniture that was going to NewOldHouse, we put him into a carrier, collected his belongings and hauled him (howling) to NewOldHouse. He hid under our bed and then under my nightstand (picture on the right) for a couple of days. Boo and I had both read that it is best to keep your indoor/outdoor cats inside for at least a few days for them to acclimate to the new space. They need to have their home/center redefined before they go back outside or they will become disoriented and could get lost. After a couple of weeks, Schmidty still had not gone outside. I think part of that is the cold wet weather, which he doesn't like. This past weekend he finally explored outside for the first time. After a couple of short trips out and back in, he is settling into a pattern of going outside. Of course, yesterday, we found him howling to get let in... at "existing house". So, some learning remains. Once inside, it seems both of the animals like NewOldHouse at least as much as the old one, based on their behaviors.
The funny thing about living Agile is that you do not often get the satisfaction of a big bang or finish line. Things evolve and evolve and eventually you are in a better space, closer to your goal. Every once in a while, there are moments when a significant threshold is crossed. The first night we slept at NewOldHouse with our pets was one of them. I clearly remember the feeling of turning the thermostat at existing house down to 60*F (to protect your house, don't let the temperature fall below the dewpoint) as we exited to live at NewOldHouse. We have passed an important line, but there remains significant work to do.
As I said at the top, this post serves as a milepost of sorts for us. Of course, the kitchen is still in mid-demo. We still have many belongings at the other house, including Hapy, Oliver and a garage full of stuff. There are lots of things which still need to be done on both ends, but we will be doing those things from NewOldHouse from here-on, and that is a significant difference.
That's it for now. Thanks, as always, for following along-