Thursday, April 30, 2009

I like


The post about the Supreme court on this New York Times blog. Is really something.

Found via my professor, who - despite the Comic Sans beginnings - turned out to be a new favorite.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One-Minute Musing

People at work have deemed me “The Excel Guru” and said I could have a future in IT.

My secret? The F1 button and a strong propensity to Google my problems. A recent search – “Mail merge percentage problem long number weird” – resulted in the exact answer I needed. Of course it was buried in a mile-long forum thread, but I found it.

So that’s my secret – I read what other people have written about how to do what it is I’m having problems doing. And I have the patience to sift through responses and refine my search criteria until I get the answer I need.

I’m just SOOO computer savvy.

High-Heel No-No


There are some women, who I want to pull aside and say, “Listen. Not every woman was meant to wear heels. And just because you put a pair on and they elongate your legs and make you feel sexy, doesn’t mean you should wear them anyway. Because – and I hate to be the one to tell you this – you walk in them like someone has placed a large object in your ass, and you haven't figured out to remove it. Just stop. Wear flats. Wear tennis shoes. But please, GOD, don’t wear heels again.”

Love.

Saw this posted here, via here.
And although The Lil Bee seemed to favor the grey, I fell in love with the yellow one. What a perfect pop.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Guy

Only six months ago (the day after this photo was taken of us), I committed my life to this guy:

He’s the guy who holds me after I’ve had a bad day at work.
He’s the guy who can play a mean rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In” on harmonica, or a long, soulful tune with no real beginning or end.
He’s the guy who constantly surprises me with his talents.
He’s the guy who kills all the bugs in the house.
He’s the guy who has made some of the most wonderful paintings and sculptures I’ve ever seen.
He’s the guy who makes me laugh every day.
He’s the guy who runs our puppy ragged and teaches her new tricks so he can entertain his friends.
He’s the guy who encourages me to do what I love, and not just what I have to do.
He’s the guy who loves me, despite and because of my flaws.
He’s the guy who shares my love for reading, and totally indulges me on that front.
He’s the guy who I love wholly, who has surpassed every expectation of a husband, who has made this whole “marriage” thing feel like a dream from day one.

He's the guy who worked at Applebee's for four months rather than move away from me after graduating.
He’s the guy who, in 50 years, will be sitting next to me, holding my hand, and talking about what a crazy life we’ve had.
He’s the guy who I chose, and who chose me, and we’re both the better for it.

Today, I wish a very happy birthday to my guy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile

Rosie sends out a hospital-wide email every day with an employee newsletter. Today she sent out a correction to the newsletter, including some names she had forgotten to include in some thank-yous. And then there was this:

"Sorry Kalli Cardiff* for miss spelling your name."

And I just smiled. It was just too perfect for words. (There's a pun there... I think.)

Happy Thursday. I leave to go camping tonight, so I will see everyone next week!

*Not her real name

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another House Update

The inspection went VERY well!

The major discoveries:

  • Wood rot at the supports in the basement
  • Water damage (signs of a previous leak) in the sub floor, as seen from the basement
  • Fence falling down in one corner
  • Wiring in the attic covered by insulation
  • Missing a pipe on the water heater
  • Missing cover plates for outlets in attic
  • Missing shingles on one side of the house
  • Water was not coming to one of the outside faucets
  • None of the outlets are grounded (ouch!)

Our realtor had his handyman come through after the inspection to give an estimate on repairs. With the exception of repairing grounds on the outlets, he’s able to fix everything for under what we’ve contracted with the seller. So, in short, everything’s getting done for free! (You know, except for that crazy amount of money we’re paying to get the house in the first place.)

I feel a huge weight off my shoulders now that we have that obstacle out of the way. The final stressor on my mind now is getting the actual, official “Yes, you can have that money!” from our mortgage lender. We went to see them last Wednesday and were warned that we would be getting a call from the underwriter for more documentation if needed. So far, my phone has been quiet. I can’t decide yet if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

How To Not Die at Camp


Greg and I are kindred spirits when it comes to at least one thing: camping.

I grew up going camping throughout the warmer months of the year. My parents bought a pop-up camper when I was still just a wee little lass, and I have fond memories of hanging around the campfire, playing cards, listening to the rain patter the roof, hiking and swimming in tiny, chilly swimming holes. I’m sure my parents chose those vacations because camping is cheap and easy (when you have the hang of it), but I couldn’t have had more fun if they had taken me to any resort. When you’re a kid, there is just nothing cooler than cooking food over an open flame.

So this weekend, for Greg’s birthday, we’re going camping. A three-day weekend with the weather forecast as sunny and 80 degrees? It’s going to be beautiful. (We hope.)

So, for anyone who wonders, here are some of the zillions of things we’ve learned through our camping experiences:


  1. Kids are loud. And they will invariably walk through your campsite, try to destroy things all around you, and you just have to let it go. Find a way to live with it or ignore it. Or look sufficiently scary so their parents warn them to stay away from you.

  2. Bring extra everything – bug spray, towels, food, batteries, band-aids, Kleenex, toilet paper, cards. Things get lost, wear out, tear up and generally become unusable at the worst times.

  3. Everyone is friendly. Or nosy. They’ll be glad to help out, and will watch you do everything, because that’s what goes on at campsites. You sit and watch the other people at the campsite and discuss what they’re doing. It’s a human zoo.

  4. Bring firewood. Sometimes you can’t find it. Sometimes you’re not allowed to use wood from the park. And sometimes there’s no one close selling it, so have at least a night’s worth on hand. Nothing is sadder than camping without fire.

  5. Have shelter for cooking and a camp stove. Even just an umbrella and a simple propane hotplate are something. If it’s raining or incredibly windy, starting a fire to cook on is almost impossible and endlessly frustrating. So have the backup plan for cooking. Or, alternatively, bring a lot of cold cuts and sandwich bread.

  6. Explore around. Follow the trails. Follow the roads. Walk all over creation. Some state parks have incredible views with no real hiking trail leading to it, so wander around. Unless it says no trespassing, it’s fair game.

  7. Charge your cell before you leave, and then turn it off for most of the day while you’re there. You’ll know it’s ready to go if you need it, but the point of camping is to enjoy the experience. Cell phones kind of ruin it, in my opinion.

  8. Bring a radio, speakers for your iPod, or other playable music.

  9. If you play an instrument, bring it. Greg brings his harmonica, and there’s nothing more wonderful than sitting around the fire, him playing a tune and everyone in the campground smiling at you. Or glaring. We’re never sure which it is.

  10. Never. Forget. Marshmallows. It’s the only thing that cannot be replicated. Forget the roasting skewers, and you can whittle one out of a stick. Forget the graham crackers… who cares, really? But marshmallows are the glue that hold camping together. And often your fingers as well.

  11. Call ahead and ask about availability. Especially when you’re driving more than an hour, calling to see if the campground has available spots can be very helpful, and can prevent an unsuccessful trip.

  12. Alcohol. There’s nothing better than sitting around the campfire during the day, drinking beer, and at night having a glass (or Dixie cup) of wine or scotch.

  13. Even if the overnight low is 80 degrees, bring a sweatshirt, and maybe a jacket. There can be a huge difference between an 80-degree, sunshiny day and an 80-degree black night. It can be chilly.

  14. Good shoes. Extra Socks. Sleeping pads. Chairs for the campfire. Snacks galore. A hat. Sunglasses. A shady campsite. These are the things you absolutely need to have a nice experience.

Those are all the words of wisdom I have. There’s plenty more practical advice here.



Monday, April 20, 2009

Fingers Crossed A Thousand Times

At this very moment, there is a man walking around what could be our house, evaluating every nook and cranny. Deciding what has to be replaced, what structural risk is invovled. If the house will burn down spontaneously due to faulty wiring or collapse under a light breeze.

In about two hours, he'll be done and the report he makes will be in our hands. I'm nervous, excited and ready to find out what the damage is. We can't afford massive remodeling, and if it needs it, we may have to walk away. So, keep your fingers crossed for us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Weather

When you live in northeastern Oklahoma, it's pretty much a given that this will be the forecast from March through May. I think they should add a new metric to each day, though - "Estimated hours you'll be under a tornado watch/warning today."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine

I have important things to say. About reconnecting with an old friend, which makes me nervous, scared, and happy all at once. About a man who's become my own grandfather, losing ground with life. About trying to keep up with my studies when I'm drowning in things to do. About money suddenly becoming something I think about all day every day because of the investment we're about to make.

But rather than bore you with those things, I give you a picture I took of my dog, Tonks, when she was still just a wee little puppy. Because this picture makes me happy, and I need a little happy right now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Torn

I checked my email this morning to see this message – “Grace has added you as a friend on Facebook.”

Grace was tall, beautiful, funny, thin. She made me feel more beautiful in so many ways, even though I was always envious of her. I became her roommate, and for a while, everything was great. Occasionally she would have a spoiled child moment and sometimes that bothered me, her attitude. But I would talk to my best friend, and we’d have a moment of “Wah!” and go back to normal life. We loved her, and we wanted her in our lives. She was a beautiful person, in so many ways, that we would have our moments to complain to one another, and then we would let it go.

Grace is a girl who, four years ago, abandoned my friendship. My best friend and I were venting to another mutual friend (an ex-boyfriend of my best friend) that Grace had been constantly making plans with us and subsequently abandoning us for her boyfriend. It was tiresome. The mutual friend called Grace a bitch. My best friend and I neither agreed with nor refuted that statement, but just let it lie. He then went to Grace and told her that my best friend and I had been the ones who had called her a bitch. We hadn’t.

She wouldn’t even listen to the explanation. And somehow, the tattle-tale didn’t get in any sort of trouble for this. It was us. Her two friends who loved her. Who were upset because she wouldn’t spend time with us. Hence, she never talked to either of us as friends again. And the mutual friend continued to whine to us about what a bitch she was all the while.

It’s strange, seeing her name pop up in my life again. For four years, I haven’t existed for her, nor she for me. Other than anxiety dreams of her refusing my friendship all over again, I don’t think about her. It was hard losing her as a friend. Hurtful. Painful. And I’m not sure I could do that again.

I probably will, though. I’ll probably cave. And ask if this is the white flag of friendship. Because I can’t do that to people, just cut them out of my life. If they want to be friends, I’ll be friends. I’ll always be suspicious, and I can’t ever forget, but I can be friends. I can believe Godzilla has some good in him, that Pandora’s box might be full of butterflies, that global warming may just give us prettier beaches and better tans.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Binge and Purge

For the last several years I’ve been binging. Not on food (well… sometimes…), but on stuff. As I’ve gotten a good job that pays well, had low cost of living and gotten more space in the house, I’ve started collecting things that don’t have any reason to be in my home. The worst part is that this collection of stuff is not only in my house, but in my parents’ house, too.

So, after years of binging, it’s time to purge. To go through all those things I’ve collected and decide if they have purpose in my life anymore. And I’m going to have to be very careful about assigning “sentimental value” to things.

I’m one of those people who loses memories unless they’re associated with a piece of music or an item. But when I hear that music, or when I see that item, everything I’ve forgotten is suddenly there again. I have this fear that getting rid of the item will result in the loss of that memory. But some of the things are just so crappy, or so stupid, that I need to remember that I’m making new memories every day. I’m in a new family. Some of these things can go in the trash or to someone else for new memories.

This weekend, I’m making purging part of my goal. I’m going to start with closets – the place where I shove everything out of sight so I can go on about my business, ignoring its existence. I will make four piles: Trash, Craigslist, Goodwill, and keep. For my “Keep” pile, I’m going to follow a precedent set by my hubby. He bought a large Tupperware tub and made it into his “memory” box. It’s a big tub, so it’s not like trying to fit all your memories in a shoebox. My goal this weekend will be to reduce all the stuff I keep around the house by a great deal, and create my “memory” box for posterity. (Ideally, I’d like to sit down and write out stories about each item, but that might have to be a project for another day.)

So wish me luck as I downsize my life. (Poor things, even my dolls won’t escape the economic crisis.)

More on the house

So, you remember the facade....


But, I thought, in the spirit of optimism (you know, that it will pass inspection, that our loan will be approved, that the city won't go up in flames in the meantime), I thought I'd give you a few more looks at what we hope will be our new house.

First, the recently remodeled bathroom. I would never have thought to paint the ceiling blue, but it makes the room feel bigger somehow.

One of the three (!!) bedrooms. The glass door leads into the third bedroom, in a later addition to the house. It really functions as more of an office, and was obviously built in the 70s, judging by the wood paneling. I don't have a picture because (cleverly) it wasn't included on the listing website. Those minxes.

The kitchen. What you're missing in this picture is the black refrigerator. Oh God is it awful. Greg and I will be (hopefully) updating this bad boy as soon as we replenish our savings. I'm thinking that stainless steel would look nice in here. That may be a pipe dream, though.
One awesome feature of the kitchen is the swinging (!!) door between it and the dining room, which stays open if pulled to a certain point. How cool is that? I'll feel like I'm working in a 1950s diner.
And this is the backyard. This isn't the best view, but it was the best one they had. There's a small deck in that latticed area. To the left of the lattice are the stairs to our unfinished basement, where I'm sure many of our Christmas decorations will spend the summer. It'll be nice to store stuff down there knowing it'll stay cool enough NOT to melt. (Oh the joys of pulling your decorations from the attic only to realize they're covered in wax from the candle you left in the box in the attic over the 100-degree Oklahoma Summer.)
Note the BRIGHT blue bathroom sink. This must be from their bathroom before it was remodeled. It was fashioned into a self-replenishing bird bath, and has hoses running to it and everything. It sits over a tiny pond, which is adorable, but could use a little work. That thing will get craigslisted as soon as we move in. Anyone want it?

And, finally, the laundry room. If you had gone searching with us, you would understand my joys at this laundry room. First, it's attached to the house. We looked at MANY houses where the laundry was in the detached garage. Across the backyard. Second, it's NOT in the attached garage -- another popular location. And last, it's so bright. Our current laundry room is at the end of a windowless hallway. It's dark, and I hate going back there for any amount of time. This laundry is so cheery, that I wouldn't be at all hesitant to spend an hour in their folding and ironing and whistling. Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but at least I won't be doing my laundry in the living room just to have some light. Plus, the laundry is right off the kitchen -- so I can wallow in domestic activity. Baking, washing, drying, ironing, cleaning...

There will be more pictures to come, I'm sure, when we've gotten our own things in the house and we begin the process of designing it the way we like. But I'm really excited now, and I just hope it's smooth(ish) sailing from here on out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flowers

I talked to the florist today. He asked me about the new flowers in the lobby and how I liked them.

I said they were pretty.


I was really thinking, They all look like they have tiny penises!! Because that would have been inappropriate.

Right?

Goaaaaaaaal!!!!

They accepted the offer!

Pending inspection and loan approval, we have a house!

Oh dear.

I need some Xanax.

Counter THAT!

So, we counter-offered their counter-offer.

Greg took another look through the house, after my dad did his best to scare us about the wiring in old houses. Greg and I both read up online about knob-and-tube wiring and the 1970s aluminum wiring that arcs, sparks and catches fire, and got sufficiently freaked out about it.

But yesterday, Greg visited the house, crawled up in the attic and explored the basement with a flashlight to look at all the wiring. It looked good, he said, and knowing he probably spent a good amount of time researching what it should and shouldn’t look like on the internet, I trust his opinion wholeheartedly.

There is so much to be scared about in old houses – faulty foundations, rotting wood, fire hazards of every sort, lead paint, and a ton more scary points.

But you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and this house is beautiful, it’s been updated, it seems to be well-kept (the kitchen features the original 1928 marble countertops. Wowza!), there’s a great addition on the house that includes a laundry room and a third bedroom/office, something that really makes it the house for us.

I’m going to be on pins and needles while we wait for the sellers to come back at us, with either swords drawn or white flag waving.

(What’s terrible is that I’m already combing through Craigslist, looking for a buffet for the dining room, a dresser for the bedroom, and anything else that will make our adorable home look even better at a nice price.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

House Update

So, our offer got a counter-offer. They want us to pay $5000 more, give us less money for repairs (for after the inspections are through and the inspector tells us what needs to be fixed), and not offer anything extra to get the worn hardwood floors refinished. Plus, the owners recently tried to get the electricity turned back on (a “mix-up” with PSO got it turned off, they tell us), and discovered that the city wouldn’t do it until they got their outside wiring up to code. So they’re spending $1700 to get that fixed.

The house was built in 1928, so only having $500 to pay for repairs is a little…iffy. Our realtor tells us that houses like this usually incur around $1500 in repairs, and we’re not sure we can be out that much money, especially if we want to get the floors refinished anytime soon.

Plus, the $1700 they’re wagging in our face, all like “Look what we’re doing for YOU!” is also a bit annoying. That repair is something they would have to do regardless if we were buying it or someone else bought it. It has to be done in order to get the electricity turned back on so that the house can have a thorough inspection. So, I don’t really count that as an expense that should be considered by us as an “extra” advantage.

Greg is going over to the house again tonight to look through the basement at the wiring situation, to make sure we’re not coming into a house that has wiring from the 50s, still. That would be a nightmare. But, if the wiring looks okay, we’re going to make a counter-counter-offer.

I talked to the realtor 3 times yesterday, conferred with both my mom and my dad, and Greg and I discussed it for a good hour or two. This house-buying business results in a lot of words being spoken, and my brain kind of hurts.

But I’m starting to really want this house.

Take Once a Week, Through Eyes, Ears and Nose

I have a problem. Ssshhh – don’t tell my husband.

I love babies. Love them. And about a year ago, when Greg and I were getting close to marriage, and I began thinking about our family growing someday, my maternal instincts began to swell inside me. Suddenly, I wanted to have a little thing to love and take care of and to do my best to emulate my mother’s mothering for me.

But. I’m 25, freshly married and not at all financially in a place where we can begin saving for college/ballet lessons/private schools/sports equipment.

My brain and my uterus are at constant odds. They battle it out every day. My ribs take most of the beating.

As a deterrent for this, I baby-sit. I sit for the sister of a woman I used to nanny for when I was in college. (I use the term nanny very lightly – I was more like a much older sister who helped get the kids to clean their rooms and occasionally baby-sat.) The current children I baby-sit are very small, a one-year old and a three-year old. (Three? Or two? I can’t remember…)

This is the perfect birth control. Mostly because the one-year old seems to hate me. He does not want to hang out with me. At ALL. Picture screaming, writhing on the floor and other histrionics. It’s a sad sight, and I feel awful that he hasn’t warmed to me.

But then, last Monday I was playing Red Light/Green Light with Bam, the three-year old, and suddenly, Tank, the one-year old came toddling over and joined the game. He didn’t really understand it, of course, but he did notice that Bam would run to the door, then run to me and get tickled and thrown up in the air. So, he just emulated that. And for the first time, he played with me willingly, with a huge grin on his face.

Luckily, Bam then used this opportunity to throw a huge fit, get in a lot of trouble, run around half naked and cause a big scene. Thank goodness, or my uterus might have won the fight.

Best. Birth. Control. Ever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Anxious.

Still no call from the realtor. The sellers are in a significantly different time zone (four hours difference), so maybe they're just now looking at the offer. Or maybe they hate the offer. Or maybe the house went up in flames last night and there are aliens descending on their new home and a sea of ants carried the owner away to a deserted island (because ants can now swim).

One-Minute Musing

New business phrase – “We need to dog that.”

What does that mean? We need to hump its leg until it has bruises?

Attempt Number 2

Could this be...the one?



Sunday, at 2:00, Greg and I embarked on another house tour. Seventeen houses in 3 hours. We came across a few smelly ones, a few adorable ones, a few that were overpriced.

It’s such a whirlwind, looking at these houses, but this time around, we had a better idea of what we were in for. We knew the things to look for. (Is the laundry room in the detached garage? Is there enough space for Tonks? Do the floors need to be refinished? Are there cracks in the wall separating?) At the end of our search, we stopped to talk for a bit with the realtor, citing our favorites and making some pros and cons lists. We also discussed making an offer, something we didn’t do last time, to understand how we needed to go about it.

Greg and I left the realtor and discussed our options. Again, two houses really stuck out. They were very close to one another in neighborhoods, but the prices varied quite a bit. Square footage, too, was very different on each of the houses, resulting in a higher per-square-foot price on one.

We stopped for dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Agave, and did a little more debating. I was leaning toward the cheaper house. Greg was leaning toward the bigger and more expensive house. We laid out our arguments, made our cases, and – eventually – Greg won out.

With the last house, we learned our lesson. When you’ve made the decision, after your deliberation, make the offer. An offer is just an offer and it can be rejected by the owner, or pulled back by the buyer. So, that’s what we decided to do. We made the offer, signed it last night (after driving all the way home, and then all the way back to meet the realtor for the second time that day), and then commenced feeling queasy, scared, nervous and generally ill-at-ease.

I can’t decide if there’s something about the house I don’t like or if it’s just the fact that this is the biggest investment we have made to date (and bigger by, um… a lot, considering the only other investment we have made was in my wedding ring and our $8000 wedding). I still kind of like the other house, which – being smaller – may just make me feel more comfortable. More cozy. The other house has a lot more room and storage space, and I think that kind of scares me. Like I'll just spread out and fill it with crap I don't need. The basement, with all it’s creepy Saw-esque-ness and the beautiful backyard full of flowers (and a small pond!) that we will be likely to kill toute suite.

Anyway, we’ll be waiting on pins and needles for the next couple of days, hoping to hear “Yes! Your offer is awesome!” instead of, “What do you take us for? Idiots?”

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

THE Desk

I'm sure you remember THE desk. I purchased it for $30 through a Craigslist advertisement. When I got a good look at the desk in person, I discovered that it was solid wood, heavy, with lots of character. I also discovered it was made for a little boy.

The handles didn't exactly scream of style. And they certainly didn't go with my idea of a nice desk. Hence, they were one of the first items removed.

Then the work began. I started by doing a quick sand of the entire surface, and began to prime it with a grey primer.
Greg decided to join me in the garage, working on some of his own projects. You see that little hammer?
This hammer came from a playset Greg had as a kid. It somehow managed to survive 20 years. It's from the days when kids were given real metal tools for play. And chemicals. And switchblades. You know, the good ole days. Luckily, this little hammer is perfect for small jobs, so we keep it around. That and, well... look how cute it is!

Although it may appear that Greg is doing all the work here, I promise I did most of the priming. He was just, um, finishing up for me... Seriously. My arms got tired, and he's just nice like that. Plus his little hammering job was over.
Strangely, I didn't take any pictures after priming it. I just jumped right in to painting it the nice charcoal color I found, installed the hardware and never looked back. So, without further introduction, here she is:

My desk! Execept that I don't use that chair. I use a purple office chair that looks awful with it. Just keepin it real. But for the picture I wanted it to look pretty, so I put one of our dining room chairs next to it.

I put a few books up, hid a hula frog in some greenery and now I have my desk. I love it to pieces. I also love the fact that I now have a nice place to display the Belleek single-service tea set my mother brought back for me from Ireland. And, since I was over in the British Isles, I thought it would be befitting to have my teapot sitting on a copy of some French poems and some Tennyson. Though maybe putting the English and the Irish in the same six inches isn't my best decision yet.

That's it! Maybe I'll get some other pictures up here today, while I'm just piddling around the house. Keep your fingers crossed that I decide to find another way to avoid doing the things I'm supposed to be doing. You know, like cleaning.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The One That Got Away

The one that got away...

So, the pre-approval business was the most stressful part about this home-buying business so far. Until now.

Pre-approval involved Greg and I digging through our respective files to find our last two pay stubs, our W2s for the last two years, 401K statements and bank statements, and a contract for our firstborn. But once we submitted all these things, and sat down (or emailed back and forth, in one case) with the loan officers and got pre-approved without much ado.

That was when the exciting parts began, and Greg and I hooked up with a realtor and began the process of looking for a house. We combed through about 65 online listings with pictures and maps and information about the neighborhood. From that 65, we were able to narrow down the list to 35. Some were pretty easy – the house with 7 dogs in the pictures, the ones with the backyards practically ON the freeway, the houses that showed incredible deterioration in the pictures on the real estate website. Google Maps was very helpful in this situation, as we could look at the street view of the neighborhood and get an idea of what the surrounding houses looked like.

After that elimination process, Greg and I drove around, visiting the houses in person, checking out the neighborhoods. Again, we were able to rule out a lot of houses – the one that shared a fence with a shady used car lot, houses nestled in a neighborhood full of boarded-up homes, houses within walking distance (and thus parking distance) to the busy fairgrounds. After two hours of driving around, we were able to narrow our choices to about 20 homes.

Then yesterday, we went out with our realtor and actually walked through the houses. That was a true experience. We saw one house that was very obviously being used by squatters – they were there when we came by the house that was “unoccupied.” Five children, one dirty mattress, Tuna Helper smell throughout the house, toys scattered everywhere, and a father who had on a work shirt from some video game company in town. It was disgusting. We saw another house that had 3,000 square feet, but 2,000 of that was in a basement that looked like it had been flooded about five or six times. It was the money pit, literally. Someone had obviously spent a lot of money on parquet floors and a built-in bar, only to watch it flood with two feet of water.

But there were two houses. One was in a nice neighborhood with big lots that families are buying up to tear down houses and build up larger homes with huge garages. The house we looked at was adorable – two bedrooms, one bath, two living spaces, sunroom/patio with a space heater, one car garage, big backyard, big closets. The second was like a cottage, in a neighborhood that we love, on a corner lot, two bedrooms, one bath, huge living room with wood-burning fireplace, adorable kitchen, big backyard, two-car garage.

After lots of hemming and hawing that evening, we had both decided we really liked the cottage house. So, we decided that on Sunday we would make another trip to the house, walk around the neighborhood, walk through the house one more time and then possibly work with our realtor to make an offer. It seemed quick, but we really liked the house and the neighborhood.

Then, yesterday morning, disaster struck. The house, after being on the market for only FOUR days, got a full-price offer from another buyer. My heart sank. My little dreams of the sunny kitchen and the big, deep bathtub popped. Visions of planting tiny shrubs along the pathway in the backyard melted. Both Greg and I got a sudden glimpse of how much we had really loved the house.

But it was not meant to be. On Sunday, we’re doing a little more house hunting, visiting 10 or so more houses. The other house we liked has lost a little of my favor, after being so in love with the Cottage. But we may come back to it, depending on our mood. There were just some fundamental things that we didn’t like about that house, but they could possibly be resolved after a second look.

The kitchen in which I will never cook...

This part -- this is stressful.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve #485: Using the word “creative” as a noun. E.g. “This new creative will help us really grow the business.” Creative is an adjective. Don’t force it into noun-hood unwillingly.

Pet Peeve #486: Pronouncing the word “Processes” as “Processese [Process-eeze].” It’s a plural, not a whole new language. I do not speak processese.