May 24, 2006

Our House is a Home

Well, we’ve been in our house almost three months now and things are going great. save a few mishaps. The day before we moved in, the hot water heater broke and flooded the basement with it’s musty contents. A couple weeks later, the basement once again filled with water, this time due to a drainage backup; it turns out our Mensa level previous owner thought it logical to flush a sizable quantity of baby wipes down the toilet. Over time, they built up an near-solidified, effectively damming up the works. I wish I could say that water was all that surfaced. I really wish I could. Luckily my office is on the second floor… Liz is the one with the basement office view.

Despite the wonderful water theme flowing through our relationship, owning a house has been an amazing experience thus far. The concept of not pissing away money on rent every month, and the probability of getting back the money we put into the house, well, that’s just wonderful. Amongst many other small repairs, we discovered a nicely preserved marble floor under two layers of questionable stick-on tiles in the bathroom (why anyone would cover up something like that is beyond me), dropped some new carpets in the bedroom and guestroom, refinished the hardwood floors on the stairs (staple heaven!) and hallway, and even planted a few flower boxes and vegetables on our patio.

My Office

One of the things I’ve been really enjoying is having my own office. It’s small, but I don’t need much room anyway. My “office” used to be in living room of our old apartment; I managed to make it work but there really wasn’t any room to spread out, or worse, leave the office area when I wanted to relax at home. I certainly don’t miss the constant car horn symphony, or the four-flight walk up the stairs. Our new neighborhood is quiet and friendly, and located deep in the heart of South Philadelphia, right in an area called “The Avenue” by the older Italians due to its close proximity to the once bustling commerce of Passyunk Avenue. Much of the avenue is full of stores trapped in a bit of a time capsule, but it’s not without its charms. There promises to be a lot of rejuvenation of the old storefronts in coming years as well… hopefully meaning a great coffee shop opening across the street. So far so good!

It unrelated news, I spoke to a class of juniors and seniors at the University of the Arts a few weeks ago. I got to share some of the ups and downs of the working world from my experience and answer lots of burning questions about what to do after graduation. It’s once again given me the itch to try teaching a class at some point. Afterwards I was digging around on the UArts website and found a Continuing Education night class for letterpress. As you can imagine, my loud gasp was immediately followed by me signing up, along with five other designer friends. The first class is tonight and I am beside myself with excitement.

Commentary (19):

1. Ara Pehlivanian says… may 24, 2006 | 4:55 pm

Hey, congrats on the new house. Toilet water should only flow in one direction… good to remember.

Nice office BTW.

2. Scott says… may 24, 2006 | 5:04 pm

Jason, I feel your joy and pain.

Our basement was flooded last week. Apparently the former owners decided it would be a good idea to have the down-spout from the eaves-trough run into the main drain for the house. After a week of major rain, the water had nowhere left to go but into the basement.

Sucks about the diapers. The idiotic things some people do never cease to amaze me. Diapers should be recycled, not flushed!

3. Ms. Jen says… may 24, 2006 | 5:27 pm


I recommend teaching at the college level. It is a great experience to have to learn something inside and out to help the student who is lost and the one sitting next to him/her who can out code you… Nothing like a little youthful arrogance to get the tired juices going. Teaching is good and it is giving back. My college mentor and fave instructor is the one who encouraged me to dive in.

smiles, jen ;o)

4. Ian says… may 24, 2006 | 5:29 pm

Damn, that office looks sweet.

5. johnHoysa says… may 24, 2006 | 5:33 pm

our pipes had cracked underground and had to be dug up and replaced. our front yard was torn up in the process, the joys of old homes. i am just happy we do not have a basement that can flood.
congrats on the new home in south philly, i use to live on 4th and tasker before moving back to austin.

6. Beth says… may 24, 2006 | 5:43 pm

I have that same chair! A couple of my friends think it’s sort of obnoxious, so I am pleased to see I am not the only one out there who likes the look of it.

7. Jan Brašna says… may 24, 2006 | 5:53 pm

Wow, nice, I really regret I didn’t catch up with you in Philly, would like to see it there.

Thinking about teaching? Oh, you so should do that, such a great dude like you would give a lot to the folks there, not even talking about the positive influence they could benefit from. Go for it!

8. gb says… may 24, 2006 | 6:02 pm

I also had my basement flood a few times this past winter (leaky foundation in my duplex), the worst causing my office to sit in about 5 inches of standing water. However, it’s a rental, so I’m not inclinded to fix it out of my own pocket, and I can’t force the landlord to do it right now because he’s my cousin and… well… you know what dealing with family is like.
I’d say I’m overflowing with home-owner envy, but that would be an awful pun.

9. Natalie Jost says… may 24, 2006 | 7:21 pm

Wow, I’ve been through all of that! In my house it was Charmin. The septic just couldn’t handle it. Then last year there were tree roots blocking the flow in the street so we had all the neighbors’ waste in our basement at the end of the street! The house smelled for a week. Now you’ll remember when it comes time… no wipes in the toilet!

As for the office. I’m still in the living room until we move into our new house next month! Yay. I’ll finally have my own office, albeit in the basement - but it’s a walkout.

Wow, listen to all of us, spilling our dirty sewage on your blog. I’ll go now. :) Great to hear from ya!

10. Jason Santa Maria says… may 25, 2006 | 1:09 am

I love my chair! It’s from Office Max, though I don’t believe they sell it anymore (can’t find it on their site). Even though it is leather, and I went shopping with the intent to not get leather, it turned out to be the most comfortable chair I found (that didn’t also cost a fortune). I am very pleased with it, although, I wish leather were more cat-proof :D

11. G.E.Wolfe says… may 25, 2006 | 1:42 am


I enjoyed the selective photograhy fragments of your world. A strong virtical just slightly off center deviding two contrasting textures can get a little devicey and predictable, but still, the variations are interesting.


12. Mark Boulton says… may 25, 2006 | 4:40 am

Oh wow, Letterpress classes!

Not jealous at all.

Not one bit.

13. Jason Santa Maria says… may 25, 2006 | 9:18 am

Mark: Oh yeah, it was so damn cool. We set our first lines of type, learned a bit about the presses and lockup, and already printed some simple stuff. I an idea before, but until I was actually doing it, the amount I take for granted everyday by using a computer is staggering. I think I’m going to need to find some local resources for letterpress, or a place where I can rent studio time to make use of equipment.

14. Kim Siever says… may 25, 2006 | 11:04 am

I know how you feel regarding the marble. In our house, previous owners and laid down linoleum tiles over beautiful hardwood floors. And not stick-on tiles either, the ones that require heavy-duty adhesive. Needless to say, we have laminate flooring now.

15. dave rau says… may 25, 2006 | 9:15 pm

Oh! Do post some pictures of the letter presses and your output!

16. Jason Santa Maria says… may 26, 2006 | 9:46 am

dave rau: I definitely will! I’ve already taken a bunch of pictures, but I think I may wait to roll it into a post or two. Hopefully I end up with something nice from the class :D

17. Sebas van den Brink says… may 27, 2006 | 3:08 am

Egads, well that’s baby’s for ya. Even when they’re not yours.

18. Geoff DiMasi says… jun 6, 2006 | 2:03 am

Glad you enjoyed the UArts experience.

Let’s get to that coffee thing.

19. Manager Assistant says… jul 11, 2006 | 2:55 pm

Ha! I see the Mario hat in your office. Halloween costume ehh? I like the office, its nice to see how someone else works from home gets their stuff organized. How long did it take you to clean before you took this shot?