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  • Brentwood era officially over

    Posted on October 31st, 2005 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    My old house closed escrow today, and my checking account is suddenly full of money. I’m going to pay off my second mortgage on the new house, pay off any remaining bills, and put the rest in savings.
    And so my two year stay in Brentwood is officially over. Can’t say it was fun, but it was a heck of an investment. It was strange walking through the empty house yesterday… it was just like when I was looking at it in my final walkthrough before I moved in. I liked that house a lot, and will miss it. I suppose in due time this new house will become “home”.

  • Possible kitty adoption?

    Posted on October 30th, 2005 Jeff Keller 4 comments

    As it turns out, my realtor is also a big animal lover, and her neighbor (a large animal vet) just happens to have a kitten that needs adopting. Apparently this woman found the kitten up at the stables where her horse is boarded. It was apparently abandoned and it was very skinny and hungry. She eventually took it home and now it’s a healthy, happy, and hungry kitty.
    My realtor, for some reason, thought that I’d be a good candidate for adopting this cat because I’m “a very nice guy and very responsible (ha!)” so she put me in touch with the foster mom. So sometime in the middle of the week I’m going to see this cat for myself to see how we get along.
    All I know so far is that it’s 6 or 7 months old, female, just got “fixed”, has up-to-date shots, and is VERY loving (quite a change from the cats I grew up with). It’s a siamese/tabby mix and it has the trademark siamese blue eyes, but not the siamese attitude and finicky appetite.
    Naturally I’ll take some pictures when I see the cat this week… and if I do adopt it I may need some help naming it, since it doesn’t have a name yet!

  • Walk to Montclair Village

    Posted on October 30th, 2005 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    After more than a week of constant work I decided to go for a stroll down to Montclair Village, the “downtown” of my new neighborhood. There’s a trail that runs from the base of my street down to the village, and it takes about 20-25 minutes to walk down there. It’s an easy walk — except for the part where I have to walk back up my street. Here are some pictures that I took on my walk to the farmer’s market in the village this morning.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Up and Running in Oakland

    Posted on October 28th, 2005 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    Well, I made it… and my back hurts. The movers were amazing: they got everything out of the old house in a little over an hour. Getting things into the new (three story) house was much more difficult, but they did it — and it cost less than I was expecting since they were so fast! They definitely earned their tips today ($40 per man, three men) — I sure wouldn’t want to have done it!
    Naturally the first thing I got up and running here was the computer. I won’t have TV for a few days since DirecTV needs to come out and install a new dish.
    The new balcony is coming along nicely. All the new beams are in, so next up is the new decking material and handrails! Two of my bathrooms have been ripped up, as well. I picked out some new tile so that nasty 80’s linoleum will be gone soon!

  • Last night in Brentwood

    Posted on October 27th, 2005 Jeff Keller 2 comments

    Well, this is it: my last night in Brentwood. I won’t really miss the town, but I’ll sure miss my house. Tomorrow night I’ll be going to sleep in somewhere completely new. Just about everything is packed save for my computer (of course), some toiletries, and a few CDs. But tomorrow at 8am everything will be ready to go and the movers will start loading their truck. This side will be pretty easy… but they’re going to have a heck of a time getting things up the stairs at the new house. Naturally it’s going to rain tomorrow, too. I hope things go smoothly!

  • Top Five

    Posted on October 23rd, 2005 Jeff Keller No comments

    Tonight I think I drove the notorious Vasco Road for the last time as a Brentwood resident. Vasco is the southern entrance to Brentwood and it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the area. I will not miss it.
    With only a few days left until moving I thought I’d compile two Top Fives lists about my stay here in Brentwood:
    Top Five Things I’ll Miss about Brentwood
    1. My brand new house (well, 2 years old now), my garden, my grapes
    2. Cheap groceries at Winco
    3. Wide open spaces, rolling hills, wildlife
    4. Tons of services close by, and they’re all new and big
    5. Fruit picking!
    Top Five Things I Won’t Miss about Brentwood
    1. Highway 4
    2. Vasco Road
    3. The crappy people that seem to congregate here. Everyone that I’ve met in Montclair seem MUCH friendlier.
    4. The lack of a Trader Joes store
    5. The idiot down the street who drove the following up and down the block during my stay here: gas-powered scooters, then mini-motorcycles, then a car

  • Watch your step

    Posted on October 19th, 2005 Jeff Keller 1 comment

    The rotting balcony turned out to be even worse than anyone thought. Another one of the beams (not seen in those pictures) is rotten, and it too will need to be replaced. They’ve basically ripped up the balcony and the areas under the support beams, and they may have to remove the sub-floor in my dining room as well. An engineer is coming out tomorrow to see how they can keep the house from falling over while they replace those beams. I’m sure they can do it, I just hope it stays on budget, as this is already expensive enough.
    Another problem cropped up today, and this one is man-made. I tried to be clever and avoid painting the very high (25 ft) walls in the solarium/loft area by matching the existing paint. Turns out that they aren’t even close to matching, and now my walls are two-toned. Since myself nor my dad (who has been helping me with all this) want to be on the top end of a 20 foot ladder, I’m going to call some real painters tomorrow to see what it’ll cost to have this all done.
    In happier news, my roof repairs were done yesterday and that went just fine. And it only cost me $2600!

  • Tired and sore

    Posted on October 17th, 2005 Jeff Keller 2 comments

    I have spent the last five days of my life trying to get my new house into “move in condition” since the previous owners left it pretty nasty. I’ve gotta tell you, I’m in pain tonight… and I never want to see spackle, blue tape, or a paintbrush again. I’m taking tomorrow “off” so I can rest and catch up on my real work.
    The house was buzzing with activity today. At one point I had three different contractors there are the same time. The first contractor started taking by balcony apart, and all I have to say is YIKES that’s some scary dry rot (my picture came out blurry, will reshoot on Weds). I’m told that it will take at least two weeks for the new balcony to be built.
    The second contractor was the roofer — there were five of them going at it at one point. $2600 later my roof is how it was supposed to be when they put the roof in 5 years ago… plus they cleaned out the gutters and repaired some downspouts.
    Finally I had a brief visit from an electrician to go over a few easy things that need to be done. This work won’t actually happen for a few weeks.
    Surprises of the day: Microwave hood may not fit over the range. Dryer may not fit in the laundry closet. And I saw a baby snake! It was the size of a worm but it definitely moved like a snake, and his little tongue was going too! Pretty neat…
    Oh and one other thing. I’ve met my neighbors on both sides and they seem like very nice people. I wish people were that welcoming when I moved to Brentwood! One of the neighbors actually built his own observatory… yes, a domed building with a 12″ telescope inside it! Pretty crazy hobby if you ask me!
    It’ll be interested when I actually get settled over there… it’s very quiet during the day and at night all you hear are the sounds of nature.