From Four Wheels to Foundation

We haven't spent the last three years cramped in a tiny, rent-free, rolling hot box for nothing! We've got dreams, people... 

So we bought a house. A big one!


Hey, remember when we used to live in that tiny Astro Van!? Read about it here

Truthfully, though, a mortgage was never our dream. We were prepared to live in the Winnebago for as long as needed in order to pay cash for a house. And then it became ever more apparent that we'd be settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, only the most expensive freaking place on the planet. We've saved some dough...but damn!  

So we compromised. Mortgage, sure - but it better be so worth it! Instead of limiting our search to tiny, yard-less $1 million mid-century fixer-uppers close to work, we set our sights on bigger, multi-unit houses with lots of land in the Santa Cruz mountains for half the price. 

And I think we nabbed a good one! After a tumultuous bidding and loan approval process (which we'll be sure to document in a "How Not to Buy a House" post), we became the official homeowners of, what is to us, a MANSION. 

This crib has four separate units, three of which we plan on renting out ASAP. Yes, renting! Talk about a mortgage being worth it - we'll just have other people pay it for us! Pete & Kara: The Landlords. Catchy, no? Wacky stories to ensue, I'm sure. 

You want a little tour of the casa? Let's go!

 "Back" side porch

Dining area. Nice card table, eh?

Kitchen - needs a serious makeover! Oven on  the counter!?

Living room. Comfy couch, huh?

Like living in a tree house.

From twin bed to queen bed!

Hilarious swans in the master bathroom

The walk-in closet is the size of our Winnebago!

We could fit, like, 75 Winnebagos in this place! And that's just a look at the main "apartment." There's two other small units below, a separate guest house and 3.6 acres yet to explore. Oh, and poison oak. LOTS of poison oak. 

Throwback Thursday: The Beginning of Pete & Kara

Throwback Thursday - this is a thing, right? 

I've been going through hella old photos lately, and I'm just blown away by the concept of time. I'm also blow away by my use of "hella" in the previous sentence. Many thanks, Bay Area. 

Anyways, for Pete & Kara's inaugural Throwback Thursday (I'm having a tough time seriously typing #tbt...), let's go back to the very beginning, shall we?

Lo and behold! Our first photo together:


Last seen on our first blog post:  here

Last seen on our first blog post: here

Three long years ago! Back in April 2010, we decided to "come out" as a couple. I mean, we didn't tell anybody. And we didn't call each other "boyfriend" or "girlfriend". And no Facebook relationship statuses were altered. 

But we decided that is was OK to have our picture taken together.  


Pete and I met in August of 2008. I was a fresh college grad and Pete was a 25-year-old freshman coming straight out of a grueling 6-year stint in the Navy.

 I was going to check out a cheap 3-bedroom apartment in Logan Square, Chicago - where all the cool kids were living. I arrived on time for my appointment with the landlord. He, however, had changed his plans for the afternoon. Thus, I sat on a bench in Palmer Square Park for 2 hours waiting for him, jotting down thoughts for an AmeriCorps application essay (turns out, a Digital Cinema & Black Studies double major was a pretty piss poor degree combination back in 2008! Who knew!?). 

It's finally time to see the apartment and I'm greeted by a spazzy middle-aged scientist and a shirtless, pony-tailed fellow in the midst of building a picnic table.  

 "What have I gotten myself into?" I thought. "Maybe I shoulda stayed close to the Chads & Trixies over by the Lake!" 

The spazzy middle-aged scientist shows me the apartment while his messy, young daughter ruthlessly runs around destroying everything in her path. 

"Does she come with the place?" 

After a treacherous, yet perfectly-timed bus trip back and forth to pick up my check book, I sign the damn rental agreement, which was, no joke, a crumpled up legal document from Wisconsin  that came out of the spazzy slumlord's back pocket. 

In three weeks, me and my two besties were all moved in. Moving, something I do not miss one bit, is a horrendous processes of schlepping useless shit from one place to another place and then arranging it into useless sections of space. One tends to get sweaty during this process. And when one gets sweaty, one wants to shower...usually. 

Thank goodness our new apartment came with a busted shower! Ol' girl, Molly, and I took sponge baths our first night (not together, you perves), but then we were rescued by that shirtless pony-tailed gentleman from the illegal apartment downstairs.  

We exchanged a homemade cookie for the key to his apartment. Dude didn't even give us a tour of the place. He just let us go take a shower down there while he went to work.

"Wait, is this a trick? Are there cameras down here?" 

Molly and I, for obvious reasons, immediately went downstairs and snooped around. A fairly dingy place, but with some serious charm. The pony-tailed personal trainer had basically built the place himself. He cleaned up the residue and S&M sex toys from the previous tenant and installed some lovely carpet squares. The kitchen housed personal photos from his last 6 years in Hawaii and, whatdoyouknow...a picnic table. 

The living room was completely bare, so we decided to peek into the bedroom. Nothing but a hammock. A HAMMOCK! Who is this guy!? 

For a whole year, this guy - Pete - and I were cordial but not really at the same place in life, ya know? I got me a swell job at a busy restaurant, like most 2008 grads. Pete was getting his MBA paid for by the Navy. 

Fast forward to this moment in September 2009 when I was doing laundry in the basement and he came out to say hi and he didn't have a shirt on and he was being really nice and telling me all the cool things to do on my trip to Boston and holy crap, he's smart, and he lived in the jungle once and can sail and spearfish and build picnic tables and oh dear lord I think I might like this guy! 

Thus began my plot to deliberately see Pete on a more regular, but clearly very casual, basis. This contrived plan involved me waiting around in my room at night, listening for the sound of the bells on his bike as he rode down the gangway next to our apartment. When I heard the bells approaching, I would quickly gather the kitchen trash bag and perfectly time my rubbish disposal with his arrival at the back door. 

"Oh, hello. Fancy seeing you here."  

I attribute my initial attraction to Pete as the reason why it is so easy for me to throw things away these days. The trash went out every night . 

So then this one night, he never made it down to the basement. We sat on my back-porch couch, listening to the pouring rain, surrounded by trash, and we talked about life and fell asleep. It was super cuddly and adorable. 

I started regularly "hanging out in the basement" in October of 2009. We took our first picture together in April of 2010. We moved into a Winnebago together in December of 2010. We started our hella fabulous California life together in December of 2011. 

And we bought a house together in June of 2013 (but more on this one later...).



Since We've Been Gone: 14 Pete & Kara Updates

Let's catch up, shall we? This year has flown by and much has changed. But truthfully, I'm sure we're just as boring as always. You be the judge!

1. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!

Remember these luscious locks!?

Pete Luscious Locks.JPG

Oh, that beautiful, shiny, perfect, frizz-free hair! How lovely it was to run my fingers through those soft tendrils. I wish I could have stolen that head of hair and replaced my unruly mop with it! 

But alas, Pete had to let go. At his hometown barbershop, he accepted the fate of the scissor. Snip, snip. New man. And now I'm realizing that the phrase "Snip, snip. New man" is appropriate at so many stages of a male's life...

Another  classic cut  by Mario

Another classic cut by Mario

OK, so it took a couple weeks to "get right"

OK, so it took a couple weeks to "get right"

2. From Robot Cars to Wearable Computers

On the work-front, Pete transitioned from one super awesome project, Google's Self-Driving Car, to another super awesome project, Google Glass. 

Practically a model with the Self-Driving Car

Practically a model with the Self-Driving Car

Pete wearing Google Glass showing his "Flat" niece, Emily, around Google campus

Pete wearing Google Glass showing his "Flat" niece, Emily, around Google campus

This "young lad" with Glass was featured on Instagram!

This "young lad" with Glass was featured on Instagram!

3. We threw a pretty killer "penthouse" hotel party

Don't tell my dad. He's a retired Marriott guy and I wouldn't want him knowing that I stained the carpets.

Marriott Residence Inn Penthouse
Pete and Kara

4. I jazzed up the Winnebago with some insulation and "hardwood" floors. 

The carpet we used to rock was 27 years old and was never officially cleaned. And parts of our floor had open holes where you could see the ground. This was a welcome change. And we increased the value of our home by. like, $100!

Winnebago Floor Insulation
Winnebago Lesharo hardwood

5. We visited our favorite places.


Nothing like a crab feast with the fam! And cranky Pete. 

Nothing like a crab feast with the fam! And cranky Pete. 

We als made  this  delicious jalepeno cornbread recipe from  The Daily Deelight

We als made this delicious jalepeno cornbread recipe from The Daily Deelight


Sear's Tower
My mom and I on the Skydeck 

My mom and I on the Skydeck 



Snowy Michigan
Attica, Michigan
Attica, Michigan Pete's folks

6. Pete turned the BIG 3-0!

Happy 30th Birthday

7. We went to Lake Tahoe and never saw the lake. 

Still haven't seen it...

Pete Lake Tahoe

8. We drank the last Happy Camper IPA that we picked up on our road trip to California over a year ago. 

Read about it here.


9. We took one really good photo together at a wedding. 

Wedding Dance

10. Pete grew a stellar f#*ing mustache.

Pete mustache

11. We bought a car!

One that's just for driving and not for sleeping!

Pete & Kara's fleet of vehicles. Come stay in one of our guest houses!

Pete & Kara's fleet of vehicles. Come stay in one of our guest houses!

12. We went skydiving!

And one of us may have shit their pants a little...

Byron Bay Area Skydiving, Pete & Kara

13. We worked on the Winnebago. 

Because it's always broken.

Winnebago Lesharo roof
Winnebago Lesharo

14. Pete became a Captain, basically. 

Cruisin' around the San Francisco Bay is like, our thing now.

SF Giants Game

SF Giants Game

San Francisco Bay
Oh Captain, My Captain

Oh Captain, My Captain

Thrilling stuff, huh!?

Stuck in Neutral No More!

I've been sitting around for months trying to think of the best way to jump back on the bloggin' band wagon. It seems so easy for everybody else on my damn Facebook feed, all of whom are juggling pooping children, working full-time jobs and perfecting their grandma's enchilada recipe. 

I'd like to think that I've spent the last year writing diligently in my moleskin journal and doing hot yoga and hiking everyday. My personal 'soul-strengthening' being the reason for my blog departure. But alas, I accepted a job at a startup in the Silicon Valley, and that should about explain my absence. 

I hit a pretty low point last night: alone in the Winnebago, eating filthy Taco Bell and crying hysterically while watching Brave and questioning my life choices. It was then, in a fog of flatulence, that I knew I needed to get my shit together. There are some pretty stellar things going on, and you're really gonna want to hear about them.

So, yea...Pete & Kara are back, ya dig?

We're not completely boring anymore...