Joseph Tatum

is blogging and not playing anything

Winter Traveling and a New Dress for the House

The gang at the beach | Gold Beach, OR

Hi there! Happy dead ass winter!

This is the time of year where things start getting kind of difficult for me. It's cold and rainy and it feels like winter should be over but it's gonna probably drag on for at least 8 more weeks. It didn't help this year that I went to Palm Springs to visit some friends like 2.5 weeks after Christmas. God, what a glorious place. It put me squarely in my "okay. winters over now." headspace and it was and is way too soon for that kind of thinking. I did have a lovely time time though. I was even lucky enough to avoid an ice storm that happened in Portland over that same weekend.

Sunset swimming | Palm Springs
Mirror selfie | Palm Springs
Mountain view | Palm Springs
Wandering about town | Palm Springs

We basically just hung out in my friends pool the whole time which absolutely ruled. Coming back home to a frozen tundra and sub 30 degree temperatures was a hell of a bummer though. Unfortunately Charlie didn't get to come since he was in Las Vegas for a big gay kickball tournament thing that he goes to every January so we're using that as an excuse to go back down there in April. I'm counting down the days already.

We did a long weekend in Gold Beach, OR with a big group of friends a few weeks later. While the temperatures weren't in the mid 70's, it was still a great time in a really beautiful place. Things were quiet down there and the weather was mostly nice. I also bought a new camera just before the trip so my photos will see a jump in quality from here on out!

Ruthanne | Gold Beach, OR
Emma on the beach | Gold Beach, OR
Daphne | Gold Beach, OR
Connor & Ruthanne | Gold Beach, OR
Charlie | Gold Beach, OR
Ruthanne on the beach | Gold Beach, OR

The other big update is the we had our house re-sided. When we bought our house I said to Charlie "I like the layout and the yard and all the bones are there. This nasty ass puke beige vinyl siding absolutely has to go though." It has now gone. But not without a few bumps along they way. As a reminder, here's what our house looked like:

Our house in November 2022

When we first bought the house a neighbor across the street said to me: "Oh yeah, I remember when they put vinyl siding on your house. I actually helped do it. We tore off the original cedar siding first so there's nothing under the vinyl." I was bummed to hear that. I had hoped that the original cedar was still there and I could save it at some point. I tried to look myself but couldn't see anything without actually ripping off a chunk of the vinyl which I was nervous to do. I assumed our neighbor was correct and went ahead and hired someone to switch the siding out to hardie plank (the latest and greatest in siding material that lasts forever and looks and feels like wood siding).

Well imagine my surprise and frustration when I receive this photo from our contractor the day him and his team came to start ripping the vinyl off the house:

Goddamn it. That's cedar siding.

My neighbor had been wrong and there was in fact original cedar siding underneath the nasty vinyl. We were in Gold Beach when he called. The new material had already been ordered and I couldn't cancel the project without losing my deposit. I also wasn't at home to see the old siding in person to make any kind of assessment so I begrudgingly said "Well rip it off I guess." I was bummed cause I love the look of that cedar siding and it would've been cool to save it. The contractor said it was in pretty bad shape but I never saw it so I'll never know for sure.

They removed both layers of siding in a day and when we got back home our house looked like this:

Our house in its naked glory

It was like this for a few days. Behind those boards is just the plaster walls so our house was really really bare. The siding guys didn't work on the weekend so our house was like this for 2 days. It rained a few times during the night while the house was naked and I would just lay in bed worried that water was gonna get in the house somehow (it didn't). The siding guys showed back up the following Monday and a week later our house looked like this:

The new dress sans paint

Other than a few details the siding team need to finish all that's left to do now is paint. We're painting the house dark brown with red trim. I wanted something different than the yellow, blue, and gray houses on the block without painting our house something intense (ie: pink) and Charlie wanted a good contrasting color for the trim. Thus we landed on "Black bean" for the house and "Fireweed" for the window trim. Before we pulled off the vinyl my friend Ruthie and I tested the colors by painting some swatches. Here's an idea of how it'll look:

Swatching the new colors on the old vinyl

Of course, you can't paint a house in the rain. And since this is Portland winter it's been raining on and off for weeks. The painters need 5 back to back days of no rain to complete the painting so it could be a while before they're able to paint. At least for now our house is sided and I won't wake up to wet walls.

I will also say that working with the contractor I hired has has been pretty awful. I would tell anyone to avoid Fine Builds LLC out of Vancouver, WA. Some of the work has been half assed (GOBS of caulk) and I've had to ask them to redo certain details. My neighbor also caught them putting up siding without any vapor barrier behind it on the front of the house above the picture window. I confronted them about it with photos my neighbor took and they re-did that part of the siding but it makes me nervous about other corners they may have (probably) cut. I did see them put vapor barrier up everywhere else so I at least feel a sense of relief there.

It's been a frustrating journey but I'm excited for our exterior to be done (hopefully) sooner rather than later. I've been researching outdoor lighting so that'll be the next thing on the docket.

I hope your surviving winter wherever you are. Hopefully next time I'll be able to show off our house runway ready in full glam. 🤞

Until then,


Previous: 2023: A Year in Review

Next: The Best Looking House on the Block