Sunday, January 27, 2008

Learning How to Teach English as a Second Language

We began our Oxford Seminars Teaching English as a Second Language course on Saturday and just got home from Day 2.

All I can say is WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! We love it. And I have not seen Mike this excited about anything in such a long time.

We met our instructor, Karen, in November when we went through an Oxford Seminars orientation. She is amazing – a bundle of energy that just returned from a 9-year teaching stint in Japan. Her teaching stories are “real” and learning about Japanese culture has been eye-opening.

And the other students are sooooo varied in age, experience, goals, personality, and more. After spending so much time with Mike here in our house in Duvall working on getting the house ready to sell it has been VERY refreshing to meet and work with other people that are of a like mindset.

Lastly, thank you Denise for all of your helpful info about Oxford Seminars! We can see that you and Billy are happy teaching in Indonesia and we dream about the day that we drive up to our new home in Mexico and begin the second half of our lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2005 Harley-Davidson FATBOY

I don't know if it's kosher to advertise on one's personal blog, but we really need to find a good home for our motorcycle before we can move to Mexico to teach English. That said, here goes:

$17,500 with a $500 finder's fee!!

"Beautiful FATBOY 15th Anniversary Edition, One-of-a-Kind Black Cherry with Screamin' Eagle Pipes, Stage One Kit, Fuel Injected, Custom Gel Seats, Leather Saddle Bags, 2 Sissy Bars, Quick Release Windshield, High-Beam Light Bar, Running Light Kit, Luggage Rack and Large Multi-Fit Nylon Touring Luggage System with Day Bag, New Rear Tire, Synthetic Oil from the Start.

I am the original owner and the bike has never been laid down. Only 8,400 Miles, and I just had the 10,000 Mile Service Completed Prior to Colder Weather, ALWAYS Garaged. All Paperwork Included PLUS HD Helmets, Gloves, Goggles, and Raingear. Got to see it to believe it!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mark the Painter

Mark is painting the interior of our house and we are soooo happy about that! He started on Monday and will complete the job tomorrow.

Mark is (as my mom would have said) a “real dude.” He is 42 years old and has been in business for himself for about 3-4 years. He is happy to be self-employed, setting his own hours and riding his motorcycle or snowboarding when the mood strikes. And he is a lot like Mike. Mark does good work and we have had great conversations over the past two days. If you need a painter in my area, let me know!

And the house…what a difference a fresh coat of paint makes. It’s not that our walls were bad, but now they are beautiful. Mark is using a semi-gloss white paint for the ceilings and an eggshell “antique” color for the walls. And in the dining and kitchen areas he will use a higher gloss paint.

In between Jake’s drywall/texturizing work and Mark’s painting, we had John, Ryan and Taylor in to replace the shower in our bathroom off the master bedroom. Things are really starting to come together and Mike and I took our first shower in the new shower tonight!

The garage sale was successful, but we still have lots of stuff. A charitable organization called Northwest Center will be by next week to pick up the bulk of the garage sale stuff and then we’ll take the leftovers to a used items store called Value Village. Plus, I’m sure we’ll have another run or two to the did we get so much STUFF???

Thursday, January 17, 2008


What were Mike and I thinking when we decided to paint the interior of our house??? Why didn't anyone tell us to HIRE PAINTERS?

We began painting the kitchen Wed morning - well actually around 1:00 - I think we were trying to delay it as long as possible. We had all of the supplies, old clothes and full tummies. (Part of our delay included having lunch!) It went pretty well and I was surprised that I got very little paint on myself. Mike and I used to manage apt buildings in Seattle and when painting vacant apts, we would usually wind up pretty painted by the end of the day. But maybe we've gotten smarter - or slower - in our painting technique.

And then Jake showed up. Jake is re-texturizing the walls of our bathrooms (they were wallpapered) and once Jake finishes his work we have to prime the walls prior to painting. Ugh. Priming AND THEN painting? Double ugh.

Jake did his thing while we finished painting the guest room. I remember thinking...“not bad, 2 rooms fully painted in 1 day…” And then we woke up this morning.

We looked at our lovely kitchen and guest room and the paint job looked HORRIBLE!!! Sooooooo bad. Even though we are painting white on white, the new paint did not seem to cover the old paint. So back to Home Depot for a paint upgrade.

I started in on the kitchen (again) with the new and improved paint product and I could tell right off the bat that it was not going to do the trick. After a short crying bout, I went to a small paint store and described to the salesperson what was happening. As it turns out, our original paint is extra high gloss (AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS!) and we would need to prime the entire house in order to get the new paint to adhere well. UGH and NO WAY!

So tomorrow we have 2 painters coming to provide bids to paint our house. What a relief – we don’t have to paint any more - yippee!

The moral of this story is: if you are not an expert, do not attempt to do an expert’s work. It may cost more in time and $$, but you will save in the frustration dept. And now I can go to sleep…

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Garage Sale

Sat and Sun we will be having a garage sale from 10-4. I have never held a garage sale before. And I never realized how much WORK it is to get everything ready. Especially since we are trying to sell just about everything. The garage is packed and items are priced…we just hope for sun this weekend so we can move some of the stuff out into the driveway during the sale.

One thing I found is that the Seattle Times offers free garage sale ads. Nice. We began the ad last night and have had several email/phone call inquiries. And of course, I also listed the garage sale on Craigslist.

So just about everything is out of the house. It looks so strange. But it feels so “light.”

Sunday, January 6, 2008


HA! I spoke with a gal this morning who wanted to come over to see our gas grill to see if she and her husband wanted to buy it. They were coming to our house around 2:00. Around 1:00 it started snowing like crazy. I mean the big, white snowflakes.

Mike and I wondered if they would still come for the grill or not. I mean, buying a big, ole grill on a "snow day" in January? But sure enough, right after 2:00 we saw a van backing down our driveway.

They looked at it, bought it and were outta here. But it just seemed so silly...buying a grill and rolling it through the fresh snow...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Our New Bed

WOW. Friday we sold our King bed set, couch, loveseat AND recliner/rocker. Whaaa. We had to make a new bed.

We brought out the auto-inflate mattress, let it inflate and made a bed in the bare living room with the TV/DVD player sitting on a TV-tray. We didn't sleep well - there was a bad wind storm - but I think we'll do better tonight.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


If you ever want to sell something locally, you have to try Craigslist. And this is my Craigslist plug.

So far we have sold the Acura, the Toyota, the Go-Ped scooter, the saddle, Mike's Levis, the bottle of Jack Daniels we brought home from Sturgis, furniture and tools. And things are still selling...

Our original plan was to empty the house and have a giant garage sale. And then Mike had a brilliant idea. Why not advertise the furniture on Craigslist and sell it little by little? Well, why not?! It was an excellent idea. Now instead of the 2 of us dragging the furniture into the garage, we are having buyers drag the furniture off - and leaving us with some cash.

We have met some really interesting people via Craigslist - including an ESL teacher from Camano Island. How weird is that? So if you live closeby and need a King bedroom set or perhaps a vintage oak schoolteachers desk, just search Craiglist under Duvall and check out all of our ads! And don't forget the AWESOME 2005 Harley Davidson FATBOY...