Guess what Santa brought?

Guess what Santa brought?

Time for the reveal

The last few months were tough and relatively boring as we waded through final details trimming out cabinets, plumbing, heating, and woodwork. Without big cool milestones, I lost the impetus to post progress reports. Now we’re finished, and our Christmas letter is a good way to share the end of the story.

Merry Christmas from Neighborly Lane

We hope you’ve had as interesting and happy of a year as we have. Well, maybe not quite as interesting.

One thing’s certain: we hope your Christmas gifts are as exciting. In 2007, we bought five acres on Whidbey Island. This year, Santa (and our contractor) added the house we started planning in the late 90’s. Though it lacks a few of the original details—indoor lap pool, panoramic view, and a few thousand square feet—we love it. And we’re certain it’s easier to clean.

When I say an interesting year, I mean it. We broke ground December 14, 2014 and moved in November 19, 2015. As you’ll know if you’ve followed my blog, the breadth and depth of my ignorance was astonishing. Each part of the construction process has technical limits that affect what you can or can’t do. (Look on the blog for examples.) That said, for the most part, construction lacked HGTV-level drama. But the stress of making so many decisions and accepting unanticipated compromises was tough for both of us. Plus, Fred commuted to Seattle for work (180 miles round trip) for most of the time since we moved into our pole barn in March (after preparing and selling the Shoreline house in less than two months).

Living in a barn (sharing space with our furniture, RV, and tractor/equipment) provided a quick indoctrination to country life. Without real walls or a proper foundation, you live with dirt, bugs, bats, slugs (which can actually climb up your clothes) and dead versions of all the above. In the walls.

But for me, it was great to be onsite to watch the daily progress and make the daily decisions. There are actually thousands of them (a doctor somewhere counted them). Colors, sizes, materials, layout, compromises in all the above. Paint alone was amazing: we sampled three dozen samples to choose a total of six colors: Exterior paint and trim and four colors for the whole interior. Even so, we ended up painting the guest bath twice. First we had a very dark blue. Then we ended up with a very light green. Halfway between painting the green over the blue it looked like a Seahawks tribute. (Go Hawks!)

Beyond building the house, there were a few notable events. A winter storm broke off a tree that smashed the hell out of our travel trailer. Total loss. Fred tripped in a hole while cutting firewood and tore the cartilage in his knee. He’s been off work for a few months during surgery and recovery. Huge rainstorms turned one side of the house into deep, deep mud: so we won’t have exterior concrete anytime soon. And a delivery guy nearly killed himself by slamming himself backwards onto the garage floor with a 600-pound safe on top of him. (Running backwards seemed easier to him than using a ramp to get over the curb.) (He miraculously survived…)

But we all lived, the marriage survived, and we’re slowly settling in. Next year, Fred retires and it’s going to be a whole different kind of interesting. Meanwhile, hope you have a fantastic 2016. And we have tons of guest space if you’d like to visit.