Friday, November 9, 2018

Wood Burning Fireplace

Our first use of our wood burning fireplace.Our house came with a nice wood burning fireplace located in our family room. We never had one anywhere, nor had any experience with one, so weren’t really sure how to use it properly.

Family room fireplace and look into our dining room.However, yesterday, we finally had our chimney cleaned and inspected by a local company and Alena — while I was at work — had asked them a number of questions on how to properly and safely use it.

Warmth in November.We decided not to wait long and took the chance to light a fire today and are enjoying its warmth on this cool November night.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Porch and Patio

Covered porch and patio.Now that the summer season is over I wanted to post a couple of pictures and write a couple of words about our outdoor areas.

When we were looking for a house we came upon some really nice porches — a raised veranda with an exit from one of the top floors leading to a nice outdoor space. These came in different varieties, but the one type that we liked the most was that with a roof and a set of screened windows.

Porch set. Table and 8 chairs.Other houses came with nice patios where you could put some furniture down and a firepit in the middle for some of the cooler nights. The first house that we tried to buy and didn’t succeed — luckily — came with a smallish patio. I was really sad that we wouldn’t have a nice porch.

Porch. Another angle.But fate had it so that the house we actually bought had both. A nice big patio and a really nice big porch with an uncovered area to put the grill at in addition to everything.

This indeed ended up being a nice perfect setup as our first summer shows. We’ve spent hours open hours in both of these areas and ate most of our family dinners on our porch.

Around the fire.Throughout most of the summer we had multiple guests visit us for a day or two — my parents with my sister, Ignat, Vika and their daughter Alisa, Ilya and Ulyana with their kids, Zhanna and Marat with their kids, Arosha’s Brooklyn friend Mehdi with his grandparents, Arosha’s other friend Alex with his family, Geoff, Sarah and their daughter Io and some other people. Not to mention my 38th birthday bash.

Patio set.It was great. As far as furniture goes we got everything from local Patio.com retail location. We weren’t sure whether we should go with wood or aluminum patio furniture, but in the end we went with a very nice, albeit expensive, aluminum set. In retrospect it was a good decision as it will age a lot better.

Patio. Around the firepit.For the patio furniture it was Arosha who set us on a path that we went down with. When we were picking up our porch set he saw a whicker chair with ottoman and a coffee table that was on sale for $200 since it was a floor sample. He liked it so much that he talked us into letting him buy it with his own money.

Grill on the porch.And then we got the rest of the pieces from the same set or similar sets. And then we bought a nice, deep firepit to top it all off. We got the last piece — loveseat — delivered on the day when we had a lot of people over for the birthday.

By now it has gotten too cold to spend this much time outside so we moved most of the patio furniture into our living room for the winter, which actually seems to work really well in its new location.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

О Новом Доме

Last days of summer. On our porch.Для нас этот год неожиданно оказался годом больших перемен. Смена места жительства, пусть и не в таком глобальном масштабе, как иммиграция, дело непростое.

Фантазировали и мечтали о своём доме мы давно, но было страшно и в плане финансов, и в плане адаптации к несколько иному образу жизни, и, конечно, в плане отрыва от семьи и друзей.

Early fall.Когда прошлым летом мы ездили смотреть дома в Нью-Йорке и Нью-Джерси, у меня не было чувства, что я готова решиться на переезд. Каждый раз после поездки на осмотр продающихся домов, почему-то начиналась мигрень. Да и школы, которые были основным из движущих нас факторов, хоть и выигрывали в сравнении с Нью-Йоркскими, все же не были так хороши, как хотелось.

Ещё я думала, что у меня в Бруклине есть хорошая подруга, найти замену которой мне представлялось почти невозможным. По правде говоря, мои дружеские чувства к ней делали мысль о переезде менее привлекательной. Однако, в конце прошлого года я сильно в ней разочаровалась, и хотя процесс осознания односторонности дружбы был неприятен, он убрал ещё одно препятствие для переезда. Теперь отрываться тяжело было только от родителей, но они очень поддерживали нас в решении улучшить уровень жизни для нас и детей, хотя им, конечно, очень бы хотелось, чтобы мы жили с ними поблизости.

Colorful backyard.Когда в конце февраля Даня предложил съездить и посмотреть дома в Коннектикуте, я не была уверена насколько серьёзно мы относились к этому процессу, но желание вырваться из ставшей тесной квартиры и избежать стресса поступления в среднюю школу возрастало экспоненциально.

К своему удивлению, я поняла, что готова переехать в один из увиденных нами домов. Местность вокруг показалась мне умиротворенной, дом светлым, и вообще возникло чувство, что это оно — то самое, что мы искали и где нам будет хорошо!

Colorful fall in Ridgefield.Как уже писал Даня, на следующей же неделе мы связались с агентом по продаже и поставили нашу квартиру на рынок. Продалась она очень быстро и за хорошую цену. Конечно, нам очень хотелось купить дом таким образом, чтобы и за две ипотеки не платить если дом купить слишком заранее, и не переезжать на съемную квартиру в противоположном варианте. Все вышло так, как мы хотели, хотя нервов этот процесс стоил немало. Даня уже писал об этом, повторять все подробности не буду.

Мы живем в доме уже 3 месяца. Мне очень нравится! Конечно, есть вещи, которые были удобнее, когда проживаешь в маленькой квартире в большом городе, но всё же плюсы пока сильно перевешивают минусы.

Из того, что мне нравится: Continue Reading
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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Birthday Gathering

Everyone around the fire.A little over a month ago I’ve had yet another birthday. But what made this year different was a fact that I could actually invite all my friends to our house for a little celebration.

Tables on the porch.And not only could we invite all my friends, but we could also cook for everyone on our grill instead of ordering something. That is exactly what we did. We invited everyone to Ridgefield on the very next Saturday after my birthday.

Conversations around the table.All in all we had 19 people that we had enough place to sit on our porch. The only people who weren’t there were Ignat, Vika and Alisa — but they visited us a week before, and Lenchik.

Kids marshmallowing.One of very pleasant surprises was that even Eldar made it. He actually managed to skip our whole previous apartment altogether. We were really glad to see him. Too bad that he didn’t have much time in New York. Hopefully we will see him sooner next time.

Kids on trampoline.Overall I had all my best friends and their families over — Misha, Natasha and their son David, Ilya, Ulyana and their sons Matvey and Misha, Sasha, Maruk, Alina and their daughter Emma, Eldar and all my family — papa, mama and Lina.

Ilya summoning the fire.Also a day before we had a final piece of our patio furniture delivered, so we could set it all up around a fire-pit on the patio. We also took out our cooler that we bought right after we got our house and filled it up with ice and beer.

Vast collection of wheat bears.Ilya helped with grilling the vegetables, then we grilled a lot of salmon. After lunch-dinner we sat around the fire-pit where kids fried some marshmallows.

Ilya claims fires requires summoning to burn. Arosha claims that it's complete nonsense.It was a really pleasant gathering. I hope everyone enjoyed it, because I certainly did.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Our New Home

Our house. Front yard.We are still in the process of settling down, so it is still hard to find the time and energy to actually sit down, write things up and prepare pictures. Things are changing in the house on the daily basis as we’re making it cozier and homier.

Back yard from the far edge.The house that we ended up buying is located in Ridgefield, not Redding. We are quite happy that it worked out this way in the end.

Back yard. Flat grassy area.The schools are stellar. Ridgefield has a lot of nice benefits for residents, including a decently priced pass for a town lake and all year round access to town pools among other things. It has a great, big, modern library. The schools are simply excellent — from elementary to middle to high. All are rated 9 and higher. Really top notch schools.

From the side. Our garages.A small aside — all the pictures were taken in our first days in the house, so nothing is close to done or orderly. It’s a complete mess. And there are a lot of places for improvement — giving an evil look to the closet. But hopefully future posts will illustrate more and more transformations as we get settled in. It is already looking very different as I write this post since we have put our personal touch on things.

Our driveway.We’re located centrally between the centers of Ridgefield, Redding and Bethel, although I think Redding doesn’t really have much of a downtown of any kind. Town lake and beach is a 2 minute drive from our house. The lake is situated in between the mountains and is very picturesque.

Patio.The house itself has 4 bedrooms — this was one of our requirements. One for us, two for kids and a guest bedroom — so our parents could come and stay as long as they wanted. It also gives us an ability to host people with overnight stays. In addition to that there is a lot extra space for inflatable mattresses and such.

Covered porch.Out all the houses that we have seen this was the only one that actually had both — a covered porch and a nice patio. We’ve been eating a lot on our porch. Not going to get a lot of use during the winter, but during summer month it’s been very pleasant to dine in the open air. And just several days ago we acquired a nice wood-burning fire-pit that kids cooked marshmallows on.

Covered, screened porch.Even though bedroom are on a smaller size it has three large living, family rooms. We decided to use the fireplace room for our main TV watching air. Our bottom living room is going to be a playroom for the kids and will house our Peloton. And we’re not quite sure what to do with the last one yet.

Grill on the uncovered part of the porch.The house has a huge kitchen — at least compared to what we’re used to — with a nice L shaped bar stand that we can eat at as a family. Alёna can be doing stuff in the kitchen and be with us all at the same time — this is a great feature.

Empty family room with a wood-burning fireplace.As I said, our very first purchase for the house was a grill. We opted in for Weber Genesis II propane grill for the easy of use as opposed to coal. In fact in our month and a half here we’ve used up a full tank of propane already and are on our second one now. It has actually been a pleasure to host friends and family for full weekends with sleepovers — something that we never could do before.

Our kitchen with granite counter tops.First major project that we did was replace the whole septic system. It took a week — we had a full crew of people working from 7 to 4 daily. The new system has a life time of 40 years. Full concrete install with leaching field being built right on the edge of the woods.

Bar top kitchen counter and living room.That’s one thing that we won’t have to worry about ever, hopefully. They did dig up pretty much most of our front yard and backyard. Grass seeds were placed after the work was done, so our yards are still recovering, although new grass did come in fairly quickly.

Bottom floor, right after the move.The photos in the post have been taken right after our move, so a lot of stuff is in a complete disarray. But since then we’ve made a lot of progress in settling in a getting things in order. So I have a lot of material for future posts.

Bottom floor living room -- play room for the kids.Also as I mentioned the house has both a patio and a covered porch. There is also an uncovered portion of the porch for the grill, which is a very nice touch — something that we haven’t seen at other houses we looked at. It’s nice to be able to cook and talk to the people at the same time — not being far away with the grill.

Main bathroom.When we originally looked at this property it had a built into concrete basketball ring and it had a trampoline in the back yard with a hole under it. Although trampoline had a rip in it, which I thought might not be fixable. But we still were excited that our kids will get to play with all that.

Our brand new trampoline. Kids love it.The basketball ring is still there, but we discovered right before the closing that the trampoline is gone and a hole is completed filled in.

Front of the house.So soon after our move we ordered a brand new 15″ trampoline1. Although we had to wait for quite a bit for all the septic work to be done. But now it is constructed and kids and their friends enjoy it very much.

Master closet. Original form. Separate post for transformation is coming.Another surprising thing was how all the neighbors started coming over and introducing themselves. We have amassed a collection of wine from all these visits. It was very unusual having come from Brooklyn to experience it. We seem to be surrounded by nice people.

Arosha's room. Original form.So having been here for a month and a half we’re enjoying it very much. I keep saying that we live in “a vacation” kind of deal. Obviously there are more things to deal with as opposed to an apartment, but I think we’re adapting nicely, so far.

Hallway to the bedroom. Fairly ugly staircase light, before we replaced it.

  1. Skywalker 15-feet round trampoline and enclosure with spring pad — $329.99. []
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

American Dream — Part 2

Most of our backyard.In the previous post I stopped at us meeting with our agent, Laura, and seeing 5 houses in Redding and Ridgefield. Three of the houses were in a rather bad condition and needed a lot of work — that is something that we were not prepared to do at all.

Two out of those fives houses were in a pretty nice condition, but one was out of the range of the prices that we wanted to pay and we didn’t really give it a serious look. And the last house that we saw seemed to fit the bill. It looked pretty nice inside with very big bedrooms. We really liked it. So we made a “lowish” offer, the sellers came back and eventually we agreed upon a very decent price.

The next stage was a series of inspections. One thing that I didn’t really realize was the fact that vast majority of towns in America actually don’t get any utility services from the city beside electricity. No water, no sewage, no natural gas. Nothing. I heard that some people had private wells before, but I thought it was a fancy choice of those owners. Turns out it’s because there is no other option. Continue Reading
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

American Dream

Our Connecticut house.It’s time to finally post an update and a reason for the long silence on the blog. It took us months and months of sweat, stress and hard work, but we have realized a long standing dream of ours — we have bought and moved into our very own house!

Now, in more details. We started seriously thinking about doing this at the end of last summer. We had many reasons why we wanted to change our living situation. We were really running out of space in our smallish junior 41, single bathroom apartment. Continue Reading

  1. A two bedroom apartment where one of the bedroom is very small. []
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

О Настроении

Aroshka in his baby GYM.Сегодня понедельник, небо хмурое, время от времени идёт дождик. Я пью чай с яблочным пирогом, а Ароша спит в своей кроватке рядышком. Надеюсь, проспит хотя бы пол часика.

Arsen's new house.Вчера мы ездили в гости к Арсену и его жене Лене — они пару недель назад купили дом в городке Freehold в штате Нью-Джерси и пригласили всех нас посмотреть на их новое жильё, а так же отметить день рождения Лениной мамы. Дом меня очень впечатлил — во-первых, он просто огромный и очень удачно спланированый, во-вторых, на улице есть подогреваемый бассейн, в котором д. Боря вчера даже искупался, а в-третих, Арсен так же стал владельцем солидного, в несколько гектаров, участка земли на котором растут деревья, кусты черники и прочее и прочее.

Barns and a corn field at a stop along our way to Arsen.Честно говоря, я не уверена была стоит ли нам ехать в гости, потому что я волновалась о том, что Ароша будет капризничать и я не смогу его успокоить. Данина мама, однако, убедила нас, что поехать стоит, и оказалась права. Мы хорошо провели время, я немного расслабилась, а Ароша продрых в беседке на свежем воздухе где-то 3.5 часа подряд, что, по-моему, является для него если не рекордом, то очень близко к оному. Еще я волновалась о том, что же делать если ребёнок проголодается в дороге. Всё оказалось очень просто — мы остановились, я приложила его к груди, и через пол часа мы снова были в пути.

One side of the backyard.Вообще, надо признаться, иногда на меня накатывает совсем грустное настроение. Не знаю, послеродовая ли это депрессия, но глаза у меня в некоторые дни то и дело на мокром месте. Мне сложно обьяснить что именно нагоняет на меня слёзы — наверное, это комбинация гормонов, усталости и чувства вины, которое возникает у меня по разным поводам (когда Ароша плачет, когда я не выхожу с ним погулять, когда я думаю, что неправильно его кормлю, и т.д.).

The land that belongs to Arsen extends 150 meters beyond the fence. After that the state protected natural preserve begins.Еще у меня проблема с послеродовым сексом, который причиняет сильную боль — врач сказал, что, возможно, когда зашивали один из моих разрывов, туда попал нерв и теперь у меня там повышенная чувствительность. Когда станет лучше (и станет ли вообще) неизвестно, и я как-то очень сильно расстроилась после визита к гинекологу. Однако, за прошедшие с тех пор пару дней я немного успокоилась, и, почитав форумы, понимаю, что не одна я такая. Что ж, надеюсь, всё “починится” со временем.

Но вообще хочу сказать еще раз — несмотря на приступы грусти, ни на мгновение я не пожалела о том, что в наших жизнях появился маленький человечек. Мне очень хочется чтобы он рос здоровым и счастливым! )

Corn field somewhere in New Jersey.Да, а из песенок в моём репертуаре появилось пару новых, и наибольшее удовольствие я получаю от “Калыханкi”, “Зоркi Венеры”, колыбельной Волховы из оперы “Садко” и песенки “Дождь пойдёт по улице” из каког-то белорусского мультфильма.

А еще я всегда радуюсь и-мэйлам и комментариям, которые мне шлют друзья и знакомые. Отвечать не всегда есть время, но читаю я их с удовольствием и настроение от этого обычно становится лучше. )
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