Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue eyeshadow and fake flowers in the hair

This was one of those could-be eye roll moments, and I successfully got through it without rolling my eyes. I think I only got through it with rolling my eyes because I was so incredulous.

I went to Fred Meyer (kinda like a Super Target) today. I got into the shortest line, at least it seemed to be. There was a lady in front of me who looked my age, maybe a little younger. It was hard to tell because she was decked out in a black sequin dress. She was about 6-7 months pregnant, and the dress was tight. She had on really heavy blue eyeshadow and a plastic flower in her hair. I don't know if she was going to an 80s themed New Year party, or if she was just a bit off. Who knows.

Well, she was paying partly with Womens, Infants, Children (WIC). WIC is a pain in the butt, as I have learned from being behind people using WIC numerous times. You have to get specific products in specific sizes or they won't pay for it. There's lots of matching involved, and you can just see the cashier sighing when people pull out a pile of WIC checks and make the cashier figure it all out.

If I was on WIC, I would try to make it really easy for the cashier. I'd line everything up with the appropriate coupon and make sure I got the correct things.

So we get through the WIC ordeal, and she is buying some non-WIC stuff. It comes to $20 or so. Well, this lady doesn't even pull out her wallet until the cashier gives her the total. Out comes the wallet, and she searches through the very stuffed wallet. Searching, searching, searching... She pulls out $7....more searching.... and nada.

At this point, I really really really want to sigh.

Then she starts taking things off her order. My stuff was kinda piled up high behind hers, so I didn't get to observe the critical decisions of what she gives up vs. what she keeps. Finally she gets to $7. She leaves, head held up high.

I really don't understand the mentality. Before I go to the store, I think most adults should know how much they have or how much they're able to spend. Shouldn't she have counted her money BEFORE entering the store and then made those choices while shopping?

It's almost as if she expected money to magically appear in her wallet. I just don't get the attitude. I feel sorry for her on one hand to have almost no life skills (at least when it comes to grocery shopping), and then on the other hand I am appalled by the attitude.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The things I like about this house

1. I like that I can see the driveway or the road in front of the house from the second floor. Albeit, it's from the hallway and stairway in this house (not even one bedroom), but it's something & it's better than the last house where you couldn't see the front at all.



2. I like that if you are in the kitchen or family room or powder room or laundry room, and someone comes to the front door, they can't see you. I think that if you're in one of these rooms and try to sneak up the stairs, you won't be seen either. Call me paranoid, but I don't like houses that are too open to the front door. In our last house, you could be seen more easily and definitely would be seen if you traversed from room to room. When I want to ignore the Jehovah's, it will be easier in this house. It's hard to ignore them when they wave to you from the front door.



3. I like the intercom. It has a CD option, but there's no slot for a CD. I hope to figure out how to pipe Tupac throughout the whole house!



4. I like the concept of the basement being a separate space for guests. I'm not too thrilled with the actual basement right now because I get a weird vibe from it. I don't think anyone died down there or anything, but my spidey sense is heightened by it.



5. I like the view. You can see Puget Sound, Vashon Island, ferries going by, the house also borders a state park so there's lots of trees. And you can see 2 skyscrapers in Seattle & the Space Needle (I think).

6. I like the living room and dining room. Great views, big windows, spacious but homey at the same time.

7. The builder did an awesome job of picking a floor plan to build here. Almost all of the rooms (sans the den, powder room & laundry room) face the spectacular view.

8. I like all of the storage. A 3 car garage, attic storage, the Y2K closet in the basement...plenty of space to put stuff.

9. I like that the furnace is right next to the master bedroom. It gets toasty in here quickly!

10. I like the spiral staircase. I can't wait for Julia to make her grand entrance for all her important milestones.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Day's Progress, Parental Theories and Looking Ahead

The Day's Progress
I took Miss J to daycare today (we had paid for it anyway), and I took the opportunity to do some unpacking and moving things in from the garage. I moved in some closet organizer things, a small file cabinet, several boxes (10 or so), and I arranged some family photos. It's nice to see a few of our pictures up - makes it feel more comfortable. It doesn't seem like unpacking 10 boxes is a whole lot. I don't know where the time goes, but it seems to go by lightning quick when you're unpacking.

I lit a candle this evening in our family room. I blew it out an hour ago, and you can still smell it on the second floor even though I lit it on the first floor. It's interesting how the smell permeates through most of the house. Good when it's a candle, probably bad when it's charred chicken!

I also had a contractor we used at the old house come by to give estimates on getting some kitchen and master bathroom work done. "Some" might be an understatement. The kitchen needs a considerable amount of work. I think a blind person designed the current kitchen. There is absolutely no flow to it, the taste is sorely outdated, and it's not very hygienic with the tile countertops that have seen much better days. So we're talking about moving appliances around, getting new cabinets & getting granite installed. Will probably get the estimate in a few days, am not looking forward to seeing that big number. We'll likely have to wait until we get the cash from our other house before we proceed on getting a new kitchen. As for our old house, it gets shown 2x a week. No bites after a month though.

Parental Theories
I try to be open-minded on how to raise kids. After all, it's a hardly a science, more of an art that you refine constantly. But what continues to amaze me are those people who shield their kids from every iota of trouble. The type of parent that basically puts their kid in a rubber room all day; any possible object that weighs more than 2 oz is out of their kid's reach. I know these parents are so concerned about their kids possibly injuring themselves; I know the intention is out of love. But at some point you've got to let your kid explore the world around him/her beyond the padded room.

Looking Forward
The new year is fast approaching, and I would like to make some New Year's resolutions for 2010.

Eating - I vow to keep track of the points value of the things I eat.

Fitness - I vow to do the 30 Day Shred the whole way through.
Fitness - For one month I vow to do The Firm 3x a week.
Fitness - For one month I vow to do Denise Austin aerobics 3x a week.
Fitness - For one month I vow to do tae bo 3x a week.
Fitness - For one month I vow to do fast walking 3x a week, 2 miles or more at a time.

Home - I vow to not stress out so much about this new house. There is a lot to do, and S & I are only 2 people. We will do what we can with our limited budget and limited time. I do not feel like things have to be perfect, nor do I have to justify having not done things. If people want to criticize our progress or give us a list of things they think need to be done, they can open their wallets and/or come over to get those things done. Otherwise, I don't want to hear it.

Home - I'd like to host a murder mystery this summer. It would be our first since having Julia. We used to do them quite frequently.

Mental - I vow to work on not swearing in my head. Need to work on having more patience.

Marriage - more husband time! Hopefully we can play more board & card games. Our couple time used to be eating out...A LOT...not good for the budget or the waistline. We need low cost but not cheesy (i.e., let's replace the chandalier and call it a "date") things to do after Julia goes to bed.

Personal - I'd like to get back to some creative writing. I'm setting a fairly low goal of 20 typed pages for the year.

Whew, that's a lot of resolutions! Nothing too onerous or discouraging (i.e., be 100 pounds or something equally impossible) for a change. I feel like they are all attainable with a bit of discipline.

Looking forward to a great year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

$1.36

I must tell you about the fabulous deal I found. I was wandering through Lowe's and nearly going into every department. I mean, we need home organization stuff, lighting, plumbing stuff, appliances, countertops, yeah - you name it, we need it. I was going through their clearance section, and I came across a bathroom vanity light bar. It has 3 sconces on it, and it's really pretty. For $1.36!!! One of the sconces is broken, and we're going to call and hopefully they will send us a replacement sconce for cheap. (crossing fingers) But, still, $1.36 for a new light bar (plus a few bucks for a new sconce) is pretty great! It was originally $68.

This whole house thing is so daunting. There's so much to do. The house is huge, which makes it feel even more daunting. It's about 4,500 square feet. Right now we're concentrating on the first and second floors and pretending the basement doesn't exist. Slow and steady isn't bad. I just hate when well-intentioned people ask if we're "all moved in and settled." Yeah right. We won't be "all moved in and settled" for at least a year. But each week we seem to make a few baby steps in the right direction.

We're so exhausted! In retrospect, we haven't done a whole lot in the last week and a half. We've painted the master bedroom & closet, painted the upstairs main bath, steam cleaned the carpets on the first and second floors, S put in a new front door lock and handle (because the old one literally fell off on the first day...it was taped together...).

I think what's slowed us so down is the fact they left this place an utter sty, left their crap, and neglected the house for 8 years. Everything seems so much more time consuming when you have to move their stuff (from every room of the house...unless you like other people's half-used Listerine), disinfect and clean everything, and then, finally then, unpack.

Good night!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our cinnamon toast haven

I'm sitting in my freshly painted, non-seafoam green bedroom! Woot woot! The seafoam green was beyond horrible. I'm not a fan of the color, but on top of that the walls in the master bedroom smelled AND the paint was all nicked and beat up. I suppose the symbolism of painting it was wonderful (bye bye Hwangs), and now looking at the pretty cinnamon toast color...I'm just in heaven. All of the wire racks from the closet (that got painted too!) are sitting in the master bedroom. We're still waiting for the closet paint to dry.

Which leads me to my excitement that we'll finally be able to unpack the master bedroom stuff & clothes soon. Because I had wanted to steam clean the carpet and paint before unpacking since it doesn't make much sense to unpack and then have to pack again. So everything's been sitting in the garage, sans the more urgent clothes which have been in the closet, until those two things got done. Now that both are done (in the master bedroom), we can start moving on in!

The master bathroom is seafoam green, but there's something more urgent on our list. The main bathroom upstairs is a baby blue. Ick, oh how I do not like baby blue on walls. And, to make it even worse, there is nasty congealed stuff on the walls. Do not make my mind go to what it could possibly be, but let's just say that the priority of painting that bathroom is high on my list. Julia bathes in there, and I want it to be clean and pretty for her.

S is building the entertainment center for our master bedroom as I type. He's hooking up the TV and cable, so we'll be able to watch TV in our cinnamon toast bedroom. YAY! Even if the rest of the house is in disarray, we can retreat to our cinnamon toast haven.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Day Post

Merry Christmas!

It was a strange Christmas being in a new home and not even close to unpacked. Several things didn't get wrapped (oh well!), and we're still trying to find presents in the garage. As a tip, if someone is moving around Christmas, wait until they move into their new place to send them stuff. What everyone seemed to do was mail us stuff in early December, so we ended up putting it haphazardly in a box and lugging it to the new place.

Julia seemed to come down with a bug, which was not unexpected since everyone at daycare seemed to be sick earlier this week. It's not a horrible virus (i.e., no puking), but we decided not to go to Christmas dinner at a friend's because she was icky enough to pass it on. And if the situation were reversed, I'd rather not someone bring a sick kid to my Christmas dinner.

I think S and I might be coming down with it too. Or we're just exhausted. Our food intake has been really poor: cookies, peanut butter & jelly and grilled cheese sandwiches. I think my anemia is kicking in with the lack of protein and iron. I took a nap today, and I'm still dragging.

Christmas Eve we went to my mom's for ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I don't like ham, but cookies & mashed potatoes make a meal. Right? Yeah, I'm totally iron deficient right now. This morning we had my mom and stepdad over for homemade cinnamon rolls. And tonight we went over to my mom's for lasagna. That was nice. We didn't have to cook much.

This morning Julia opened presents. I really don't want to make a big production about the Santa thing. Just not my style. But she had a few presents to open, and she seemed to like playing with her shape sorter, Mrs. Potato Head, garage. She loves her magnadoodle. And she liked the clothes she got. We didn't really get her a lot, knowing this is probably the last year we can get away with a simple Christmas.

Yesterday was Julia's 18 month appointment. She grew almost 3 inches in the past 3 months!!! 32.25 inches (60-70th percentile, hard to tell on the chart), head size of 18.5 inches (60th percentile), and 21 lb, 4 oz (8th percentile). Skinny little thing. Well, since she just had the increase in height, she's got to start filling out soon. The appointment went just fine. It's hard to believe we haven't taken her to the doctor in 3 months. It's nice to have that long between appointments. Hard to believe she doesn't have to go to the doctor until she turns 2 years old. Doubt we'll make it that long, but you never know...

The house has taken most of our energy in the past week. The house. Oh the house. Well, it's not really the house itself. It's the neglectful owners for the past 8 years. They left so much CRAP in the house, and the house is filthy. Getting their crap OUT is a huge obstacle, and then cleaning the house is another huge obstacle. Throw in us working full-time (at least for part of the week) plus the holidays, and it's just too much. On Thursday the city came to take 15 boxes of their crap, plus the super smelly fridge and freezer. Hallelujah, it was our little Christmas miracle, as S says. :)

Our Christmas gift to ourselves was a Hoover Steamvac. The thing is truly awesome. I've been steamvac'ing the carpet - a room at a time. One more bedroom, the upstairs hallways, and the stairs to go. We still have the basement as well, but for now we're trying to ignore the basement and just focus on the main living area.

We're partway done painting the master bedroom. We have a lot to paint, especially if you include the closet and bathroom. Baby steps.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday we're going to focus on tackling our to do list without overstressing ourselves. I think we've been doing too much for the past week, and we're starting to fade. Gotta balance work with play better!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The smell continues to dissipate

I've said that this house stinks, right? The previous owners were Korean, and they cooked some traditional foods (cough, cough, FISH!) as well as I see evidence of curry in the grout. Yeah, I told you this place was a sty. And on top of that, I don't think they cleaned the bathrooms in the 8 years they were here. So the house, well, has an interesting odor.

Remember that they haven't cleaned the bathrooms or kitchen? Well, the oven sure looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the last millenium. One of the tasks I was "assigned" was to clean the oven. Since it has a self cleaning function, I pulled the lever to lock the oven, pushed "clean," and "start." Yeah, that was the easy part. Now I have to clean the dang thing since the 3 hour cycle has just finished.

Do you know what the bodacious part is? The whole house has been infiltrated by the oven clean mode smell. It's not a bad smell. It just smells like something is being cooked in the oven. And it covers up all the other odors, at least temporarily, which rocks my world.

5 boxes unpacked tonight. Phase 1 of the oven cleaning done. (Now comes the fun part of taking cleanser to it.) Some of Julia's toys put away. Big TV placed - cable hook-up not done yet, but at least we figured out where the TV will sit. Plans to steam clean the carpets and paint this weekend. The city garbage folks are coming to haul away the super smelly fridge, freezer, and 15 huge boxes of the trash they left on Thursday. Hopefully that will be a step in the right direction as far as the smell goes.

I can see the lights on Vashon Island from bed. You can also see the glow from the Seattle city lights. And you can see airplanes taking off and coming in for a landing.

Slowly, very slowly, it's starting to feel like home. YAY!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hardwood Floor Cleaning

In our new house, we probably have about 400 square feet of hardwood floors, and they are in our most frequently used rooms (hallways, family room, kitchen). What kind of cleaning regimen do you suggest for these? They do look sealed, but I know we don't want them to get too wet. I probably got them more wet than I should have today with a vinegar and water "bath," but I wanted to sterilize and do a deeper clean. My reading on the internet has suggested sweeping followed by damp mopping. We do have a vacuum, but it leaves marks on the wood when we roll it around. Maybe we need a vacuum that is less harsh on hardwoods? This damp mopping method really looks like a pain. Mops, buckets, wringing it out. UGH! People suggest that Shark Pocket Mop, but I'm not sure it's good for extended use on the wood.

As much as people think linoleum and laminate are tacky, they do seem a lot easier to take care of!

The smell is starting to fade.

We're mostly moved into our new house! Not moved in as in we know where everything is and things are unpacked, but more like the vast majority of our crap is at our new house instead of our old house. Yes, there's still crap in our old house, but it's little crap (pictures, end tables, things we can fit into our cars). The little stuff is to be used for "staging."

Friends have been such a big help with this move. Thank you 20 times over! Incredible friends who actually want to help. The new house is such a sty. It wasn't a foreclosure, but the previous owners did NOT take care of it. The tile and cabinets are sooooo gross, door handles being held together with tape, etc. It's going to take a LOT of elbow grease before this place gets up to snuff. (And some tile countertops need to be replaced.) But with all this help, things seem much less daunting. I ♥ my friends.

Lots of things give me consternation in the new house, but one thing that really takes the cake is the smell in the master bedroom. Everyone says it's mothballs mixed with old people (the previous owners). I've never been around mothballs, so I can't really say for sure that's what the smell is ... but whatever it is, it's repulsive. Last night (our first night in the house), I'd turn in bed, and get this horrible whiff which would wake me up. Two friends worked cleaning the master bathroom today - lots of elbow grease and cleaning products. Right now, I've been sitting in bed for the past hour and I still don't smell that horrible smell. It's fading! YES! Once we paint the master bedroom bedroom and bathroom & steam clean the carpets, I think it will be even better. But I'm so impressed with the progress made in one day.

I should get some sleep. Tomorrow we're mostly going to putz. Like we need to find our clothes, do laundry, take down icky valances, hook up the dryer (before doing laundry, of course), put Julia's room together.

Next weekend's big project is steam cleaning the upstairs and steps. Monday the 28th's project (S & I have off, J in daycare) is to paint the master bedroom. We need to let the seafoam green OUT of the room. It's not our favorite color, plus painting it will help get rid of the remains of the smell.

The runner-up noxious paint choice is Julia's bathroom. Powder blue. I guess I'm not a fan of blue and green paint. Particularly the pastels. I think I could handle a bold blue or dark green in the right context though.

The second runner-up noxious paint choice is the yellow in the kitchen and family room. I actually like yellow paint, but this yellow has a green undertone and isn't the best. Haven't figured out what color to do there.

Painting seems like it will be a task that won't be too complicated to take on and will help us make this "our" house.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indie Movies

I really like indie movies. They are kind of like an episode of Dawson's Creek: lots of sighing, brooding and subtext. As much as I love indie movies, I rarely 'get' them. They're usually thought-provoking, though. I'm not sure if the things they provoke in me are the things they are supposed to be provoking. It was interesting nonetheless to watch an indie movie tonight after packing. Tonight's selection was 'Cake Eaters.' It was made in 2006 and featured Kristen Stewart and some other folks who I didn't recognize. It had themes of guilt, regret, and I never figured out Kristen's storyline and how that fit the theme of guilt and regret. Maybe she didn't live her life with guilt and regret while everyone around her did? Hmmm...maybe that was it.

Packing done for the night. Today was the first day in a while where I didn't feel like I needed a Xanax IV drip. I'll take that Xanax drip if anyone is giving them away just in case for tomorrow and the next day.

As much as I make fun of myself about my overly anxious personality, I've never taken anything for it. My confession is that I am deathly afraid of all medications stronger than Tylenol. Yeah, that might have something to do with being anxious and worried about what will happen to me if I take it. :)

I think I have a very addictive personality, and the main reason I don't drink much - if at all - is that I feel like I'll become an alcoholic if I ever have more than 2 drinks. And I think that if I ever actually filled a Percocet prescription, I would become a raging pill popper. As it is, I bought a bottle of 50 Tylenol caplets in April, and I'm worried because I only have 10 left. Of course hubby uses that bottle too. So 40 caplets gone in 9 months with 2 people using it & I'm ready to sign myself up for Tylenol Users Anonymous.

I wish I trusted myself more.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh Tiger

This Tiger Woods thing is fascinating. He's a billionaire golf player, and apparently that means people in our country held him up to be some sort of model of morality. Cuz, you know, golf is the "moral" sport. And now they are absolutely shocked that he might not be so morally upstanding.

There are several issues at work here, and I'm not even going to touch on the most controversial ones.

1. When you get married, you and the person you marry define what the marriage will be like. There are plenty of open marriages in the world. And if you and your partner agree to it before getting married, then you've spelled out the terms beforehand. Who knows if Elin agreed to an open marriage? She may have known, and then when word got out, that might have been what set her off. Or she may have been blissfully ignorant (you know, head in the sand). So not cool if that's how it played out, but there is a distinct possibility that she went along with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

2. Why do we value sports stars so highly? I have never gotten it. Professional sports have always eluded me. Cities pay for sports franchises, they recruit players from all over the world, and then they call it City vs. City. I can see local sports, where it's this high school vs. that high school. Then it's really one school versus another. I really don't understand the fierce loyalty to sports teams where franchises pay huge sums for token players (cough cough, LA Stars). Yes, those token players capture viewers, I'm not completely stupid. But to say these people, who come from all over the world, represent a specific city is just strange.

3. If you tout yourself as a moralist (a la Jimmy Swaggart from the 1980s), then I can see the repercussions if you cavort with strippers, prostitutes, and wannabe social climbers. But I do not believe Tiger ever claimed to be a moralist. I think he has only ever proclaimed being good at golf.

4. Women. Aaaaah women. I don't like bashing my gender, but I sometimes really don't understand them. I remember in junior high how our varsity sports teams at SCHOOL were treated. These 14-year old boys decided which girls were popular by bestowing their letterman's jackets on the girls they deemed worthy. So, in essence, you had 100-200 girls competing to date the 10 or so guys on the varsity sports team of the season. Even on the periphery, you could see the lying, backstabbing and cheating that took place. And if a girl was "lucky" enough to get the coveted letterman's jacket, she had to work hard at retaining her place with the varsity sports player on top of warding off the 100-200 girls who were itching to take her place. And that was ONE junior high in ONE town in ONE state. You can imagine the craziness among the women around a handsome billionaire sports figure. I'm sure many of them have been plotting how to have a baby with Tiger Woods and be able to retire for the rest of their lives with the hush money. Not that I ever would think anyone in this world would ever not have the best of intentions...

5. No, I'm not just blaming women. Tiger is the one to blame ultimately. Despite being away from home, surrounded by willing women, cash to burn in your pocket, he can say no.

6. I think many people live in this weird bubble and don't really understand how celebrities live. Not that I do, because of course I don't, but hey - I watch E! occassionally. I think that gives me a slight edge. I remember talking with someone about Justin Timberlake. She saw his concert and said that after seeing it, she couldn't believe that he might not be so squeaky clean. REALLY!!!???? I've seen that he's been to the Playboy Mansion frequently (and of course things are always on the up-and-up there!). He would NEVER be approached by women who would be willing to do ANYTHING with him. And no one would ever offer him any sorts of other perks. Yeah, sure, and if you believe he's so squeaky clean, I've got a bridge to sell you.

I just think it's stupid how people are acting. The most beloved golf player ever was found to be unfaithful to his wife. But I must say that it's more entertaining to watch than the reports on the economy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 more days!

5 more nights in this house. It feels like there should be more fanfare in our countdown. Emotions are quite all over the place. S is excited to get the heck out of the house. He's mentally over this place and wants to be in the new house. I'm more melancholy and nervous.

I suppose it is more real now because the furniture is completely out of two rooms, our room is just a bed & nightstand & a lamp on the floor, Julia's room is basically just her crib, and then the couches and TV downstairs. It's a weird limboland. This doesn't feel like "home" anymore. Our new house still isn't ours (even though it technically is in 83 minutes). The owners worked it so that they keep possession for 4 more days.

As for the holiday hubbub, I still have some things to get. This year is better because I usually shop for the 1 niece & 3 nephews overseas, wrap & ship, and that gets to be a pain because I don't know them. This year I just sent a check. I've gotten more gift cards for people than usual. Lazy, don't want to lug around "stuff," don't like dealing with mailing crap (so far I haven't stepped into USPS this holiday and would like to keep it that way), and kinda done mentally.

Daycare: still need to buy for infant teacher who was so good to Julia, what about the new teachers she just got last week?, what about the part-time people? So far I only bought for the toddler teacher she loved.

My aunt & uncle: I don't know what to get for them. I kinda hope we can just drift into not buying for each other. Or maybe I can make cookies for them.

Julia: she loved swim class and those mid-sized bouncy rubber balls that float. I think she'd like one of those. I think they are no more than $5.

S's brother & SIL & their kids: We said we weren't exchanging gifts for adults, but they said they put a gift card in the mail to us. So I guess we have to get them something. If we end up seeing them this Christmas, we'll get the boys something. Otherwise, we'll just send gift card.

Parents done (gift cards...yeah, we're lame). The friends I exchange presents with are done (they're the only ones who DIDN'T get gift cards). S is mostly done - remember he got his office supply. I should probably put something in his stocking though. I kind of like the tradition of stockings being filled with things that are necessities like toiletries. Julia's mostly done.

Better late than never for a nap

Oh how I love my naps. Before Julia, I could nap whenever I wanted. Well, not really, I had to stay away for work. But I often came home from work and slept from 5-8pm. It totally screwed me up for the rest of the week because I'd fall asleep around 3-4am and then have to get up at 6am. But it was so nice to catch up on sleep whenever I wanted.

Blame it on anemia or a protein deficiency or having a toddler, but I still love napping. I love napping while she naps. This weekend, though, I didn't get the opportunity to nap while she did. That meant that today (Sunday) was my 7th day without a nap, and even the thought is just horrible. Well, I was falling asleep by 5pm due to Nap Withdrawal Syndrome (NWS), and my dear husband took over while I slept. He oversaw Julia's Dinner 1, bath & Dinner 2 while my lazy butt slept.

I wake up refreshed at 8:30pm, Julia's asleep, he's practically asleep, and now I likely have another 5 hours before I fall asleep. I shouldn't have done this to myself, but it felt so darn good while I was doing it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Exercise. Or more like lack thereof.

So when this house thing came up around the 10th of November, I started slacking on the Shred Challenge. BOOOOO! Then my weights got packed, and Thanksgiving come and went & I went out of town to a conference (hotel food & absolutely NO exercise for several days). This week has been awful with a huge amount of stress. And it's butt cold. All this taken together has amounted to a huge weight gain in the two weeks prior to this last one. I basically maintained this week. Ugh!

My goal is to mostly just stay sane between now and the first few weeks of moving in. We don't have too much "bad" food in the house aside from Doritos, which should be easy for me to stay away from. Work goodies do get tempting, particularly when I let myself get really hungry. I should at least track my food during this time, but I know the likelihood isn't the best, particularly on the weekends.

I was thinking that starting Feb 1 - March 2 I was going to restart the 30 Day Shred Challenge. That gives us time to settle once we move in, find my weights & get started.

I do seem to like Shredding better than most exercise DVDs. It's really too cold to walk/jog outside now - even for me, and I have a decent tolerance. 10 degrees is TOO COLD. Shredding is really time efficient. I do like the Firm series of DVDs in concept. They are a lot like Shredding in some ways. But the way they put moves together reminds me of practicing dancing moves. Everything becomes this 1-2-3-4, let's add to it, two word instructions that everyone seems to understand - sorry, I don't get what a "plie pump" is just on name alone. It's a 5-minute choreography torture session of them moving way too fast and me trying to hurry to catch up. It's not like I can't do the exercises, but I can't catch on to the choreography fast enough. I know, they're DVDs, you would think I'd catch on to the units faster on the second, third, fourth viewing. But each DVD has a different focus and you're supposed to skip days, then skip DVDs, and so each time I go through the choreography torture all over again. The DVD is a series of 3-5 minute sessions: like weights, step, aerobics, weights, etc. I often look forward to the weight sessions because then it's not choreography torture.

Here's a Youtube sample of The Firm. Within the first 2 minutes, you can see what I can't stand about it. It's like a dancing drill sergeant. But I do LOVE the concept of The Firm. It just gives me a headache & I get all frazzled trying to follow it. Jillian's Shred is much easier to follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ-WkQ5-Uk4

I'm still down about 20 pounds from January 1 of 2009, but that means I still have about 20 to go. Blech!

I'm so annoyed at myself. S's aunt sent us a check for Christmas. I was so neurotic about losing it in all the hubbub that I put it somewhere that I thought was "safe" (I know I didn't cash it though). I just can't figure out where that might be, and all of my potential hiding places were bare. I went through my whole purse (and cleaned out expired coupons, so it wasn't a complete waste of time), the kitchen/drawer hiding spots, nightstand...most everything else is packed. It's not that it was a huge amount of money, but I just get so mad at myself when I do ditzy things like that. I remember holding it and trying to figure out what to do with it. I had put it back in the little ziploc bag it came in. Cuz as you know, a check in a little ziploc bag is harder to lose than just a check. LOL She also sent some little things in the package. I thought I had put the check with them, but it's not there either. It will turn up in 2015, I am convinced.

For those of you with babies/toddlers, how do they sleep in their cribs/toddler beds? Julia always jams her head into the corner of the crib. As in, her face is smooshed in the corner where the bars come together. The back of her head is touching the slat on one side & her mouth is touching the slat on the other side. It really doesn't look comfortable. Maybe she thinks it mimics my ribs in utero? Personally I would think it would be more comfy to be in the middle of the crib.

Cup was kind of weak today. She did drink at daycare (but most in the mid-to-late afternoon), and she really didn't drink anything after she got home. S suggested trying a bottle, which I thought she would take but I didn't want our THREE DAY STREAK to end. We offered, offered, offered in the evening, but she didn't take any. Overall fluid intake wasn't great today, but we have a THREE DAY STREAK going.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inopportune Events

You know when you're stressed and dealing with way more than what you feel like you can handle and then one moderately big thing gets added and a few hours later another moderate irritation adds on top of your worry list, and you just feel like throwing in the towel with regard to everything? Yeah, it's been something like that for the last 36 hours. Ugh ugh ugh, you can only do so much and you just have to keep plugging and do the best you can with what you have. So that will be my motto. Oh well, onto other things.

The Divine Miss J decided to not drink much at daycare today. 1 oz of milk, to be exact. If she doesn't like her teacher or isn't comfortable, then she won't eat or drink. It's just how she is. And she obviously is not liking the new teacher. UGH!!! It's like July all over again. Although the great part is that she came home and drank 11 ounces of milk from her cup this evening. I didn't think she could drink that much in such a short time. Particularly by cup.

We're on a two day streak of being bottle-free! She's had 4 bottle-free days total.

I have to renew my driver's license, but realized I should probably wait til we officially move so that I can get my new address on my license.

It's after 10pm. I should really get to bed. I hope everything goes as expected tomorrow. If I get tossed one more curve ball, I just might explode.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Letter: DONE!

It's always difficult to find the right tone for a Christmas letter. There's the:

*TMI letter (my boyfriend broke up with me and I don't know why and I keep calling him and he doesn't return my voicemails)

*The month-by-month snooze-a-thon diatribe (In April, long lost Uncle Louie visited for a few days. We took him for snocones on the wharf and watched the traffic signals.)

*The oneupsman letter about how your life is perfect...those folks tend to get divorced. Just saying...

My goal is to never be in any of these categories. So I stuck with the one topic I'm good at rambling about: Julia. If we didn't write about her, we'd have nothing else to write about. How sad and pathetic!

Got the photo cards, the text of the letter is done. I was going to add some photos to the letter to jazz it up a bit, and then we're ready to rock and roll.

I still have the vast majority of "to do's" that I wrote about yesterday. I'm adding the DMV to that list. Oh joy, I get to go to the DMV tomorrow! :)

Yay Yay Sigh Ugh Melancholy

Yay #1: Hubby was packing and found $35.35 left on a gift card to our favorite restaurant. YAY!

Yay #2: Julia drank 16 oz of milk BY CUP today! No bottles. This is the third time!

Sigh: Had a tedious conversation with the stock company about those 34 shares of stock. The person who I talked with today gave me completely different instructions than the person I talked to yesterday. This has been an utter pain in the butt to deal with.

Ugh: This morning I spilled a large quantity of chicken tortilla soup on myself (way to go, B!). Both the bottom of the shirt and the top of my pants. I kinda got my shirt clean in the bathroom. A friend loaned me some sweatpants. I changed into those while I tried to clean off my pants (this was a LOT of soup). Well, she has four cats, and I'm utterly allergic to cats. I started sneezing immediately - 20 sneezes in a minute kind of sneezing. So I HAD to put back on my pants that were completely soaked from being washed in the work bathroom sink. Yep, I sat around all day in wet, cold pants. If it was August, it wouldn't be too bad. But 9 degree weather outside makes it a little....chilly.

Melancholy: Today was the huge funeral for the 4 police offers that were shot about 20 miles from my home. Needless violence is horrible. I also feel for my pal LA whose friend lost a child today. What a horrible situation, and I'm thinking about you, LA.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Christmas Card Challenge

We do Christmas cards every year, and frankly this year I wasn't all that excited about it. The whole moving thing makes it really difficult, Julia hates Santa, I packed her Christmas dress & dress shoes & hair doodads, we don't have a tree up, blah blah blah. With all that's going on, I am not feeling the Christmas spirit & it's more of an annoyance than a celebration. Naughty me!

Professional pictures are still more trouble than they're worth. I mean, it's kind of late to schedule, so the pictures would likely come back right around Christmas, then the stress of the actual picture day and what if she melts down, yadda yadda yadda.

It's called improvisation. I did have Sophie's dress that Ann gave us (it was in with her 18 month clothes vs. the dress I bought was in with her 24 month clothes & the 24 month clothes were packed two weeks ago). I could salvage some white tights that weren't packed. No Christmas tree, so we'd have to do close ups. We took pictures tonight before bed.

Then after Julia went to bed, I designed our holiday card. Oh yes, I must mess with each individual element and the fonts and all that jazz. Hey, I only spent an hour on it! I uploaded it to Costco, and the cards will be ready by tomorrow morning. Not too bad for improvising, if I do say so myself!

Then I sent an e-mail to the center director and asked why they did the teacher switch. Julia's really attached to the teacher she's had for the past few months, she has done wonders for her eating, blah blah blah.

Tomorrow's to do list:
Fred Meyer: get stamps
Pick up holiday cards at Costco
Call the stock place and try to figure out how to cash in that stock certificate
wrap presents
start packing dishes
Get gift card for Julia's ex-teacher...boohoohoo why did she get moved?
Call utilities about transfer
Get S's parents a gift card...we had agreed to NOT exchange gifts, and then they sent us a gift. I told you that would happen.


What's super cool is that one of our friends has off next Friday and will help us move on Thursday night, Friday AND Saturday.

Ms. Crankypants

I FOUND the stock certificate. It's written in 1941 English. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to put in that blank before the Attorney. And it doesn't have an address to send it to. Can this be any more difficult??? So I have yet to call back AGAIN and ask them how in the heck do I fill it out and where I send it to.



Julia drank 4 oz again today. She drank that amount on Friday as well for the first day of the teacher swap.

UGH!!!! (But at least I found the stupid butt stock certificate.)

How $500 can be a thorn in your side

You must think how can $500 be a thorn in your side? You must think I'm ungrateful. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I should buck up and stop complaining because *theoretically* I have $500 if I can find the stupid piece of paper...

This relates to money and investing, so it might be worth whining about.

Back when S and I got married in 2000, I was obsessed with Bath & Body Works. My mother thought it would be appropriate to give us $500 worth of stock in Intimate Brands, the parent company of Bath & Body Works. At the time it was 16 shares of stock. I'm staring at the original buy receipt, so I know that.

Initially Intimate Brands had a dividend reinvestment program, so your dividend checks every 3 months were reinvested into the stock. Who needs an extra $3 in cash anyway? Why not reinvest it?

We putter along for a year or two, and then The Limited decides to buy out Intimate Brands. Corporate takeovers, oh joy! The bigger company didn't have a dividend reinvestment program, so they would be sending us dividend checks. $3 every three months, be still my heart! So for about the past 8 years, we've been getting these stupid checks in the mail. I swear, it costs more in time than you get when you cash them. Yes, I am being ungrateful about these $3 dividend checks.

Then the investment company that The Limited used to deal with the stock has changed 3 times. Each time it changes, procedures change. There's yet another way to access the stock and view your account. Frankly, I lose track. Yes, it's stock, but in the bigger scheme of things it's only $500 that creates an infinite number of mailings and contributes to at least a few trees being cut down.

About two years I tried to sell the stock. The problem was that you had to do it online. They did send me my user id, but I never got my PIN & their system WOULD NOT authenticate me as the owner. Something in my information that my mom set up (or perhaps in all of the transitions) was incorrect, and it would not let me in. So I gave up.

Now I'd like to sell the stock. It's been a thorn in my side for almost a decade, and I would like the $3 checks to cease & the pain of dealing with a small amount of stock that I cannot access. Plus, right now the thought of an extra $500 isn't such a bad thing.

I tried calling this morning. I thought I could verify all the info on the phone and get them to sell the stock without dealing with the online mumbo jumbo. And guess what? We have a SPECIAL kind of stock, the kind that actually issued stock certificates. I think I vaguely remember the original 16 shares coming to us in the form of the "official" stock certificate. But I don't remember the 34 share conversion coming to us. With this type of stock, the only way we can cash it in is submitting the actual certificate via the Postal Service and formally request a sale. Oh yeah, it's like 1941. If I can FIND the stock certificate, I have to sign it and Pony Express it to the east coast and hope two months later I'll get a check in the mail.

I keep everything, so if I indeed EVER received the 34 shares stock certificate, then I can follow their stupid instructions. If I can't find the stock certificate, then they will kindly reissue the stock certificate for $100. Isn't this freaking stupid? $100 to reissue $500 in stock (yes, the stock is worth about $500 still). And the thing is, I would NEED to get it reissued if I ever want to sell it. Plus they would charge me a selling fee to cash out $100 of it to pay the fee.

This is so ridiculous.

Memo to anyone who ever wants to give someone a stock gift: Use Sharebuilder. It's an awesome ONLINE service that I can actually navigate and log into. I've bought stock personally there for years and years, and I've never, ever had a problem. They have dividend reinvestment for free, so you don't deal with those pesky dividend checks. They don't issue stock certificates like it's 1941 still. The fees are very minimal: $7 to do buy or sell real-time and $4 to buy with automatic reinvestment. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Mission Tonight: Find a stupid stock certificate for 34 shares of The Limited and try to keep the swearing in my head to a minimum.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2 days, not in a row and not in the same month

Today was a bottle-free day for Julia! We've only had 1 other bottle-free day, and that was three weeks ago. Perhaps I know that a toddler should be off the bottle at 18 months. And perhaps I scheduled her 18 month appointment on Christmas Eve to give us some more time so that I don't turn red when the doctor asks if she's off the bottle.

For about the past two months, Julia's been intaking more by cup than by bottle. Most days she has only taken 4-6 oz by bottle and the rest (8-10 oz) by cup. Believe me, I've felt like we all deserved a gold star in getting that type of progress.

It's not that Julia's attached to the bottle. But... 1) she's stubborn, 2) I'm always convinced that she's near dehydration due to her low intake combined with nurses telling me that her intake borders on dehydration. So, in essence, I turn to the bottle quickly if she hasn't drank from her cup in the past 4 hours.

Have I told you the part that she STILL doesn't hold her own bottle? Of course she'll operate the cup on her own, so I know she CAN hold her own bottle (you've seen the video of her lugging around a scale, right?).

Three weeks ago I did the happy dance that she was bottle-free for a day. I kind of thought the next instance would have happened sooner than today. I think a contributing factor is mood. For the most part, she was in a good mood today. If she's in a bad mood, she doesn't want much to do with the cup and melts down if we bring out the cup.

Today was the second bottle-free day. Wahoo! I think she drank about 14 oz of milk & 2 oz of juice out of the cup today.

The dilemma is whether to be courageous and just take 2 sippy cups to daycare on Monday or if we should bring a 4 oz bottle like always. If her regular teacher was going to be there, I think I'd definitely be brave enough to do it. However, tomorrow is her first official day back with the teacher she doesn't like. They did a test run on Friday, and she drank 4 oz all day.

Maybe I'll be brave anyway. I just feel for this toddler who has gotten back the teacher she doesn't like AND will be moving soon.

Ready for Monday

It was a nice weekend. After being gone for a few days last week and being in the middle of the packing/moving while keeping the house spotless, I was looking forward to just chilling. I love naps and baths, both of which I had today. So it was mostly relaxing this weekend with a tad of productivity. We packed 10 large boxes this weekend. We're now to the point that we can't really pack any more without jeopardizing packing things we will actually need within the next two weeks. Aside from the china hutch. We have to pack the china & I should get some packing paper tomorrow, and that can be our project one of these evenings.

I need to go to Target tomorrow. I want to get Julia the Little People Racing Ramps garage. It's on sale for $22. So Julia's Christmas gifts are Mrs. Potato Head, a shape sorter, the garage toy & some footies.

Today's highlight of the day was going to the Safeway grand reopening. The one near me was probably built in the late 70s/early 80s. Old and tacky. Recently they did a makeover of the store, and this weekend was the great unveiling. In the past several weeks, we've gotten several coupons in the mail. Lots of free items if you spend a certain amount (apple juice, peanut butter, soup from the deli, meat from the deli). Lots of really cheap items if you spend a certain amount (like $1 for a whole pineapple, $2 for a dozen donuts, $1.50 for a dozen bagels). Then you got 10% off your entire purchase on top of all that. I ended up spending $39. If I had spent $50, I could have gotten $10 off. Well, I kept that coupon because it's good through December. When we move into the new house, maybe I can go back for a big shopping trip to stock the freezer and fridge. Plus I picked up another coupon book, so I should be able to get those same deals again when I go back! Woot woot!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home...for 2 more weeks!

I suppose the 5 hours of sleep for the past two nights are catching up with me. I feel like I'm falling asleep as I type. But I'm waiting for the dryer to get done so that I can put the clothes in the washer into the dryer.

Going to conferences is draining. I'm fundamentally antisocial and would prefer to be holed up in my house.

Our house is officially on the market now. It's bittersweet. Hubby is more excited than I about moving. I'm really not fond of the concept, particularly the week before Christmas. And I really dislike change. It's going to take me at least a year to be able to navigate to the downstairs without my glasses or contacts in the new house.

I came home to the news that Julia's getting a new teacher. The one she used to have when she first moved into the toddler room. Needless to say, I'm not thrilled. We'll see how she does next week.

I'm ready for bed! I'm hoping for a productive day at work and a full price offer on our house this weekend...yeah right!

Hotel Rooms

Here I am in this fancy hotel, awake at 4am.

I don't know about you, but I'm the girl who is used to remote controls that are glued to the nightstand in my motels. My mom always had us stay in Motel 6's: "it doesn't matter where you're sleeping when the lights are out."

Fancy hotels are really a foreign concept to me. This one has a weird theme and is an older building that's been converted. So the rooms are kind of an odd layout. There's an entry area and a bathroom, then you walk into a sitting area, and then there are sliding doors to a bedroom. It's really big. And there is striped wallpaper everywhere. It's gold and cream, so it's like a "fancy" jail.

Do people really get suckered into fancy hotel conveniences? There's a bottle of water on the nightstand. $5 for a bottle of water. No thanks, I'll hike it to the bathroom and drink tap water. There's a stuffed bear laying on one of the beds. Couldn't figure it out for a while, and then I realized it was a horrible trick. If you had a kid with you, that bear would be the first thing the kid would see. He/she would become attached to the bear, and you would end up paying the $35 price that was written on the tag coming from his ear. Pay $35 or have a screaming kid upon departure? Evil, I tell ya. I'll take Motel 6 instead, which doesn't give you instant toddler meltdown cues.

Of course the sitting room has a big TV and so does the bedroom. I really need to like television more because I haven't watched anything. I was looking for a free Shred when I arrived, but they only had yoga. I'm sooooo not a yoga girl. No patience.

There's this weird picture in front of my bed. I suppose it goes with the theme of the hotel, but it is disturbing to look at when you're in bed.

May I comment about the climate control that they make you think you have control of when you really don't? It's this digital thing (Motel 6 has their climate control under the window with the dial controls...you had much more actual control). I've kicked that baby down to the low 60s, and it still feels like it's 75 degrees. There's a microscopic difference between fan low / medium / high (there's no "off").

Since Dateline has concluded that there's no difference in cleanliness between lower-end and higher-end hotels, I think I'm going to remain a Motel 6 girl. Not that I really travel that much.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meal Preparation Franchises

Before Julia, S and I used meal preparation franchises quite a bit. In these places, you can assemble your own meals & take them home and put them in the freezer. They are kind of a compromise between going out to eat and making the same ol' spaghetti dish each night. Around here they went by the names of Dinners Ready, Designed Dinners, Dinners Done Right & Dream Dinners. Yeah, they all had "dinner" in their names & they completely saturated the market. When the market was booming, that wasn't a bad thing. We had plenty of options, and S & I made a date of it once every few months to make a ton of meals to freeze. You see, S and I are very boring people, so assembling food on a Saturday afternoon while wearing aprons was our kind of fun.

As you can probably predict, the recession has hit these businesses hard. They were almost all franchises, meaning sole proprietors had invested their life savings in getting one of these businesses going in a specific territory. When the recession hit, no one was spending that kind of money on food anymore. Not that it was ridiculously expensive, but it was about $12-14 for a 2-person meal. Not as expensive as dinner at a restaurant but definitely more expensive than you would pay if you were to buy the groceries yourself.

When Julia came into our life, which coincided with the recession, we pretty much stopped going to these places. Well, we went twice in late 2008. Once in August when Julia was 2 months old, my mom watched her while we assembled meals. And once in October we took her with us while one of us made meals and the other held her. After October of 2008, we never went back. I dunno why, not necessarily because of the money - but maybe it was more that all of the ones around us closed.

We were on all of their mailing lists because we went to each different franchise a few times. When each location has gone out of business, our e-mail has been absorbed by the next closest competitor. In the last 2 days I have gotten e-mails from the closest office of two of the franchises. One's closest location is now 35 miles away (Dinners Ready) & one's closest location is 40 miles away (Designed Dinners). These far away franchises are willing to deliver down here since they're likely close to going out of business too.

It's all very sad. Yes, the market was likely way too saturated with these types of businesses. But it's so sad to see sole proprietors go out of business like that.

New Design

My blog looks different. Really, it's not by choice. This morning I saw that I was getting all sorts of Photobucket upload errors showing up, which is odd because I don't use Photobucket to upload pictures onto here. AND my husband pointed it out too, so it wasn't just me seeing it. My best guess is that something freaked out from the layout I had chosen. So I temporarily have a new layout because I don't want to figure out what's going on.

A little bit less stressed. I have lots to do on the home(s) front and work front, but oh well, I'm going to this conference and am going to try to have a good time.

I better pack for the trip. The photographer is coming to the house tomorrow, so I have to help make the house look immaculate before I leave for my trip.

The loan officer called me today to say that the appraisal is due today & he didn't have it. Okaaaaaaaaaay. Well, dude, that's your problem since you ordered it. Not sure what I was supposed to do about it. I don't have the appraiser's number. Yeah, there's a lot of that stuff going on. I just want to roll my eyes, and I do: frequently. No one is even worried about the appraisal not coming through for the right amount. It's just a formality that needs to be done before the bank will commit.

So that's about all that's going on. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep for all 3 of us. I always like to have a good Monday sleep. It seems to set the tone for the rest of the week.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

That pressure cooker

This 4-day weekend was nice. As always, I feel like I'm not doing enough. Trying to be a mother and never feeling like I'm doing a good job, working full-time, buying a house, selling a house/packing/moving/fixing little things on the house...ugh, I'm just mentally drained. And I'm supposed to be going out of town from Tuesday-Thursday. Had this house swap not been going on, I'd feel fine. But I feel like I need to do a zillion things, I don't feel rested at all, and discontent in general.

We did pick a real estate agent. We interviewed 4. One was awful, and the other 3 were good. It makes it easier when 3 are bad, and 1 is good. As luck would have it, we interviewed 4 good people. We think we did okay. It doesn't make things easy when we got a response to the rejection note saying that one could have done the same things as the one we picked.

Julia's had a rough weekend. She's been out of sorts (teething???) and hardly eating. She was up screaming last night for an hour one time and half an hour another time. For the past few months that's atypical behavior for her. It makes me uneasy.

If you add in the holiday stress, I'm just frantic. I HATE THE HOLIDAYS! I have serious PTSD from holidays with my mother. It's never enjoyable, and it's like some mind game from hell.

On Thanksgiving I asked my mother what she and her husband would like for Christmas. "Nothing." Ugh, I hate that answer. Because with my mother that means I need to read her mind or be in the doghouse for getting her the wrong thing. After more needling, I finally get somewhere. She said she'd like chairpads for her 6 dining room chairs. Okay, what color? She tells me beige. Thank heavens, give me a tangible thing I can actually buy. Hallelujah!

So today I go to the store, and I call her from the store. They had two styles of beige chairpads, and I wanted to know which one she would like better. Cuz after all I'm NOT a mindreader and have made this mistake one too many times with my mother, and I usually want to hibernate until January so I don't have to deal with Christmas at all.

Well, my mother freaks out on the phone. WHY am I buying her chairpads? She doesn't want anything for Christmas. So I say that I want to get her something, and I'd prefer to get her something she WANTS to get. And then she says she will get her own chairpads and hangs up. (As a side note, she already sounded annoyed when she picked up the phone, so she had probably just got done fighting with her husband.)

So what do I do? I buy a gift card for her from that store for Christmas. Yes, she will hate me for getting her an impersonal gift card. But I ain't got time for her crap, so there...she's getting a darn gift card.

Do you see why I get such terrible angst over the holidays? I can't do anything right, my mother's always angry with me for about 5,698 reasons, I don't have time to give adequate effort to anything, and I'm just so tired of it all.

Probably this whole house buying/selling thing is too much given my high strung nature + dealing with a toddler who doesn't eat well. I'd really like to be one of those people whose main stressor is putting up a Christmas tree. Or I'd like to clone myself x 6 and then send each clone out on a specific task: cleaning the new house when we move in, feeding Julia, doing my job, dealing with all the mumbo jumbo with the loan & real estate agents, etc.

I sooooo don't want to go on this work thing for 2.5 days. The timing is just awful.

And Julia appears like she'll have another rough night. I hear her whimpering in her crib. It just kills me when she's uncomfortable and out of sorts. At the same time, though, I'd really really like a good night's sleep. It's hard to sleep, though, when your mind is constantly going: making lists and reminding myself of the 1,243 things I need to be doing.

This is why I was such a reluctant house buyer. I really didn't want to deal with all of this in such a short time frame. On a positive note, S and I had a great conversation last night about what we would want to do to the new house and a general timeline of things. That helped ease my concerns. It is such a great deal, and I'm just going to have to suck up my stressful feelings. It would be nice if I could clear my schedule a bit. I'm going to have to look into whether it's too late to cancel the work trip.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I love Black Friday. There's something about getting the actual newspaper on Thanksgiving and reading through all the ads, plotting your strategy for the next day. If JCPenney opens at 4am and Babies R Us opens at 5am, I hit JCP, then stop at the Krispy Kreme for a donut to waste some time before 5am and then hit BRU. Then swing by Fred Meyer on the way home and get some free donut holes and OJ. Then hit Office Depot and Old Navy, go home, help put up the tree, take a nap, get leftovers & take another nap.

This year my Black Friday plans didn't fall together like that. I'm not sure whether there actually wasn't a lot of deals out there, or the deals that are out there didn't appeal to me, or if I'm so freaked out over the moving thing that I'm not spending any money unncessarily. I looked through all of the ads today (yes, I had previewed most of them online but there's nothing like holding actual Black Friday ads). I had paper and a pen next to me, ready to jot all the items I wanted to buy and what store they were at. This is the "potential" list, and then I rewrite the final draft (i.e., battle plan). I usually discard some ads right away (Pet Smart, Sports Authority), take a quick look at others (like Best Buy), and then comb through several others methodically (Kohls, Fred Meyer, Macys, Target, JC Penney, etc.).

There were a couple of items that caught my eye ($10-$20 items), all at different stores, but I'm not waking up at 4am and driving 10 miles to save $5 on something that normally costs $25 on sale somewhere. So while I saw a few of those things, I didn't even put them on my preliminary list. I actually wrote down several things from the Toys R Us ad, and it was also the one that opened at midnight. Score!

Even before I attempted to go to Toys R Us, I knew the best time to go would be around 3am. The craziness from the midnight people would be just about ending (as in they would finally all get through the lines), but the 5am people wouldn't be there yet. So it would be halfway tolerable at 3am. But 3am wasn't quite working for me today since we have two real estate agents coming during the day on Friday & this whole moving thing has thrown me for a loop. I thought I might as well give it a try, and I couldn't fall asleep anyway, and I could say I went out on Black Friday.

Got to TRU at 12:30am, which was a horrible time to get there because everyone was still fighting over toys and trying to find a line. The main item I was getting was an Exergen temporal thermometer. You just swipe it on the forehead and get a temperature right away versus fussing over holding it in orifices for a minute. It turned out the line wound through all of the baby aisles, so all of these people with huge cartfuls of stuff were in the aisles standing there impatiently. I couldn't even get to the thermometers. BAH! The toys I had on my list were good deals but not THAT good of deals that I would spend 2 hours of my life standing in a line holding all the toys (since all the carts were gone), and since I couldn't get to the thermometer anyway, I just gave up.

And guess what, it's almost 3am! If I was crazier, I'd go back to Toys R Us!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did. We went to my mom's and had a traditional Thanksgiving. Julia was in a good mood. She ate gelled cranberries (loved 'em) and turkey. She gave kisses and ran around grandma's house. She played with coasters. It was a grand ol' time for a 1 year old.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Do List

My mind has been racing with lots of things I need to do, but I haven't had a chance to consolidate everything into one cohesive list. I think I'm so overwhelmed that I'm making a list of the types of lists I need to make.

* Julia dr list (schedule 18 month, contact food therapist)
* Julia Christmas list (Magnadoodle - thanks LA for the idea!, I really want to get the Little People Amusement Park for her too ($20 at Target this week), already got her 2 small toys (shape sorter & Mrs. Potato Head), she's good on clothes so might that be it for her? I think in the summer, for her birthday, we'll get her a tricycle. Are we lame that we don't get our daughter much?
* S Christmas list: he still wants that office supply - need to get it. And a few stocking stuffers (toiletries). Gosh, we're lame.
* Work on that excrutiatingly long list o' crap that the loan officer needs. And pronto. Also need to send in that title document.
* Utility changeovers: call PSE, City of T Town, Click Cable & Advanced Stream (wireless) - make sure they are through 12/17, and we start 12/18.
* Downgrade current house garbage service once we move out. Also adjust thermostat.
* Figure out who we're going with to sell this house
* Long list of things to do to this house before we sell (mow, edge, paint pantry wall, paint bathroom ceiling, caulk skylight, move more furniture out, and so on)

Well, that's tonight's list. I think that's all that's going through my mind right now.

Ewwwww!

Before you think I'm the worst caretaker in the world, I must say that ear tubes in a child's ears can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that for those with ear troubles (and Julia was one), they can cure recurring physical ailments as well as help with speech. The curse of ear tubes is that they drain all kinds of gook into the outer ear. That's great because the gook isn't sitting in her ear canal anymore.

But how in the heck do you clean the gook? It's a constant struggle. Her ears are sooooo nasty. You're not supposed to use Q-tips. Due to the ear tubes in particular, NOTHING is supposed to get near the ear opening, including water. Should I just continue with a bit of hydrogen peroxide?

When I try to take a picture & get this:


I know it's time to do something, but I don't know what to do. Isn't that a wicked shade of amber? It's extra toxic ear wax. Not garden variety canary yellow. No, she's got some rust-colored, toxic crap.

By the way, I know her hair is simply awful. It's a hideous texture with some curl to it. I keep hoping it will grow long and weigh itself down. Maybe in 2015.

Cleaning like on Parents' Weekend

Today I took off work and was going to put the packing into high gear. Our initial packing strategy was to put all the boxes in the living room and dining room. Well, that got overwhelming really fast. Seeing the impending boxes and furniture of doom all of the time made my heart sink every time I went by. Plus it made it easy to lose hope that our house was ever going to look put together. On Sunday we changed strategies and decided to pack all of our crap into one bay of the garage. That helped immensely, but most of our house was still a disaster area. Hence, I took off today to try to put our house into some semblance of shape to sell. Move boxes, "stage," clean a little, you get the drift.

My other task today was to make appointments with a few real estate agents. The person we used to buy the new house is good, but she doesn't do a lot of business in this area normally. We want to list it with someone who knows this area a little more and can network the house with those who also know this area. We are going to let her try for the job too. She has already given us her marketing strategy, which involves putting it on the internet and getting professional pictures taken. She's really hot on the idea of professional pictures. Yes, I think good pictures are important - but I think we can take perfectly adequate pictures. She doesn't need to put the marketing budget all in a photographer. Again, I think networking the house is very important too.

I e-mailed 3 agents with a good reputation in this area for selling homes at 7am, and by 8am I had 2 responses. Love it. One of them was going out of town tomorrow, so she needed to stop by TODAY. Wait, our house is a packing sty!

So I revved it in high gear and went into the Parent Weekend mode. You know, it's the mode you go into when your parents come to visit you at college. You only have a few hours to make the place look presentable. By no means do you have enough time to do a good thorough cleaning, so you do the best you can with surface cleaning. Nope, not enough time to clean the bathtub, but I'll use Comet on the obvious rust stains. I couldn't even walk into 2 of the bedrooms due to our packing disarray, so I tried to stack boxes neatly & apologized profusely when the "parents" showed up.

I got done with the surface cleaning in time. The team really seemed to like the house, and they commented profusely on how well-maintained it was. Yeah, they were probably sucking up, as I haven't deep cleaned in a long time. :( They will be back on Sunday with their presentation. This was more of a walk-through. Then we have 2 other agents coming by on Friday. And then there's the agent we used for buying our new house, who I'm sure thinks selling our house is a done deal.

While I didn't get done what I wanted to today, I think it was a step forward. This whole thing may be on its way to coming together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Weekend of Packing...and New Moon

Starting Friday night, we went into high gear with our packing. The sooner we get this house looking presentable, the sooner we can put it up for sale and (hopefully) the sooner we get a buyer for it.

Packing/Staging Achievements:
Master closet - done!
Master bath - done!
Powder room - done!
Family room - done! (except we have to decide if we're getting the carpet replaced since a little girl yakked up Alimentum all over that room - it STAINS!)
Julia's room - done!

That means that these rooms are ready to "show" in real estate lingo. We have 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a nook, and a laundry room to go. All our crap is taking up one bay of the garage. I'm sure by Wednesday the other bay will be filling up too.

Today I went to New Moon. Nah, I don't like Twilight. I read the first book, didn't like it, and saw the movie with a friend. With New Moon, I didn't even try to read it. But her husband wouldn't go with her to see it, so I traded her packing help for going with her to see the movie. It wasn't bad. I think I'm on Team Jacob. Edward wasn't really even in this movie. I'm really not into the vampire inner circle fights - I really didn't understand what was happening with Dakota Fanning and the going to Europe thing.

Back to work tomorrow - at least it's a break from packing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let the craziness begin

For those of you who don't know (i.e., not very many of you since most of you are friends with me through Facebook), we bought THE HOUSE. Yeah, the one with the spiral staircase and water views. It was looking like we weren't, but then they came back to us & it's officially a 'go.'

I really need an IV drip of Xanax for the next 6 weeks. We have to get our house ready to sell (paint some stuff, declutter, yardwork, etc.), pack our crap, move, clean the new house, unpack our crap, and wait out til whenever our current house sells. And there's Christmas in there. I've just accepted the fact that we're probably not getting Christmas cards out this year, and Christmas shopping may be done in January. Oh well....

We're starting the moving box collection process and making baby steps toward packing. The thing with packing is that we don't really have space to put all our stuff that is packed since the goal is to declutter the house to put it up for sale. Our bright idea is to use one garage bay to stash our crap as we pack it up. Eventually we'll probably have to expand that to the other garage bay.

This weekend will mostly be a packing/decluttering/cleaning weekend. Then we have 4 days off coming up over Thanksgiving where we'll do the same thing & likely the house will go on the market Monday the 30th. We close on the new house 2 weeks after that. Sheesh, this is going to be a crazy 6 weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Picture Redux

Well, I suppose it's better than the last school picture.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Booooooo on Babies R Us

On Black Friday of 2007 I was about 13 weeks pregnant. On Black Friday I got up at 4am and stood outside Babies R Us & got a buttload of diapers when the store opened. I think I got something like 1,000 diapers and spent $80. That stash actually lasted me til Black Friday of 2008. Then I did the same thing again (12 boxes at $10/box). That stash I'm still using.

I was so looking forward to Black Friday of 2009 where I hopefully would be stocked up til next year around this time. $10 a box of diapers, just like the previous two years, right????

Nooooooooooo. The Black Friday Babies/Toys R Us ads have been released. Their diaper bargains suck this year. $5 for 36 diapers. There are coupons out there for $2 off a package, so I suppose you can get 36 diapers for $3, but you can only print internet coupons 2x. So $6 for 72 diapers, yeah, it's a good deal. But if you can only buy 72 diapers, sorry, not worth waking up at 4am for. The wipes deal is the same as last year ($5 for a big box). That's a good deal. I don't recommend the sensitive ones though. Those suckers fall apart if you yank on them. The regular ones are just fine. Still...not sure if it's worth waking up that early for 72 diapers and a few boxes of wipes. We still have a ton of wipes.

Booooooo on Black Friday this year. Guess I'll just sleep in unless something really strikes my fancy. :(

The gut says....

NO on the house. Yes, it's a good buy. Yes, it has a view. Yes, it has enough space to host 85 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it doesn't really have anything wrong with it.

And we said no.

Doesn't really make sense, does it?

It really comes down to feeling comfortable. Do we feel comfortable owning that type of house? No, it goes against our principles of living simply. Do we feel comfortable doling out that amount of money for the long term (mortgage, insane property taxes, utilities)? No. We can, but we don't want to.

I even looked back at all the pictures just now. Yeah, it's pretty. But it's just not us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh, I don't know

This house thing? Oh, I don't know. Most of the time I am apathetic about it. If it goes through, it goes through. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Talk about passionless. We hate committing so much money each month til our house sells. We think it's much more house than we need. We like our current house enough just fine to get us through the next couple of years. Moving is stressful; we don't like stress. There's already enough stress around the holidays. We don't want any more.

So we still don't know. Our real estate agent hates us. Buying a house is typically on emotion, and she does not understand our almost complete lack of emotion. "It's a steal!?!" Real estate agent yells excitedly. We look at each other and shrug, "Yeah, we know." Then we look at the clock and yawn.

It's that time of year to do the Thankful List. Let's see how far I can get before sleep takes over:

1. I'm thankful for a wonderful husband who is rational, smart, funny, and a great daddy.

2. I'm thankful for a feisty Miss J who has an opinion on everything.

3. I'm thankful for our health.

4. I'm thankful that we're employed.

5. I'm thankful for a roof over our heads (or maybe two).

6. I'm thankful for our smart friends who are a constant source of knowledge and challenge.

7. I'm thankful that our parents are in reasonably good health.

8. I'm thankful that we live where we want to live (i.e., Seattle area).

9. I'm thankful for libraries and public information.

10. I'm thankful for all educators.


And after writing those 10 things, I feel like buying this house will go against the main thing I stand for, which is living simply. Life's greatest gifts are those that don't cost money or cost very little money. Why live in a constant state of stress (over money) during Julia's formative years? This is the time to enjoy walking through the fall leaves and watch her amazement, and I worry we won't be able to do that if we take on this house. It's not a huge worry, but I think it's a valid worry.

Enjoying house limbo

Being in house limbo doesn't seem nearly as stressful as making a decision. We'll likely know Tuesday whether we're going to make the leap or not. It helps that my mother the Rational Decision Maker thinks we should go forward with the house. She's probably even more cautious than I am, so if she thinks it's a good deal and worth it, then we should at least keep pursuing it.

Here are some pictures that S took while doing the home inspection. You wanted pictures, right??? There are no master bedroom pictures because the wife is ill and lives in there, and well...it's very awkward to take pictures of an ill person in bed.

The view from what would be Julia's room:



The view from the living room (see, isn't it better than the view from the deck, which was posted a few days ago?):




The next two are the family room and the kitchen.




Ordinarily I like yellow, but there's something about this yellow that I don't like. Or maybe it's just not the color I want to see in a kitchen or family room. Any ideas on what color would work well? I was thinking standard tan would contrast well with the white. Or maybe sage, but greens are really difficult to get right. I do love the family room (especially with all those built-ins and the brick wall), but it's a logistical nightmare for putting a TV. The cable jack is in that top cabinet, which will likely hold a 27" TV. You can't put the cable through the brick, and the door to outside is on the other wall. Hmmmm.... You see the couch there? That is staying, and we were going to move it to the basement. There are fluorescent lights in the kitchen, as well as the laundry room. Those would definitely need to be changed.

The laundry room is huge. It's also outdated and has fluorescent lights, but you can't win them all.






Stairs...duh. Can you just see Julia coming down in her prom dress? I'm a sucker for spiral staircases. Not such a fan of the chandelier, but as I keep saying, you can't win everything.



In this one, you're standing right next to the window in the formal living room. Fireplace to the immediate right, and french doors to the den a little farther down. You can see the entry way and the stairs. Formal dining to the left (again, not fond of the chandelier there either) and you can see the entrance to the kitchen. I really like the color in here and think it would look good extended to the kitchen and family room. Or would that be too boring?



Wet bar in basement. There's also cabinets below the counter that's in the front of the picture.



One of the bedrooms in basement (there's a view of the sound from that window as well). And bathroom in basement. There are actually double sinks in this bathroom though the picture doesn't show it. Will need a bit of work, but it's certainly acceptable to put guests.





And that's all the pictures S could sneak in since the owner was following him around.

Adventureland

I am a sucker for indie coming of age movies. I am a sucker for the 1980s. I am a sucker for amusement parks. My favorite amusement park is Kennywood (where this movie was shot). So how could I not love this movie? It was a sure winner. Then if you put Whitesnake, The Cure & The Outfield on the same soundtrack, I am in heaven.

Of course I loved this movie. You could tell they wanted Michael Cera to play the lead, but he has likely moved on to greener pastures so they got Jesse Eisenberg to do it. The whole time you think it's being played by Michael Cera's brother. I suppose it's hard to get someone to pull off the good boy who's slightly obsessive, brooding, smart but naive. Jesse did a good job.

I must say that I'm not a Twilight fan. I just don't get the hype. Kristen Stewart is in this movie in her pre-Twilight days. She did okay.

As for plot, there's not a whole lot of it. Those indie coming of age movies don't really have a lot of plot - it's more like lots of spewing angst. But I like it just fine.

My favorite parts had to be when they were showing my favorite amusement park in the whole wide world that I haven't been to in 18 years. I figured out it was filmed at Kennywood from a faraway angle as it looked on to half a ride. That is how much I love Kennywood that I can identify a ride I haven't been on in 18 years from a weird angle. They had a scene at the Potato Patch (world famous cheese fries but no cheese fries in the shot) with the Thunderbolt in the background. Memories...

Teen angst + amusement park = fun summer

Since I have all these biases going into the movie, I can't give a recommendation. You either love this type of movie or you don't. I'm definitely in the LOVE category!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts of Today

* When you take kids to a restaurant, ask for the bill asap so you don't have to wait around for 15 minutes after you've finished your meal while your kid goes into meltdown mode.

* House inspection on Friday. If anything major comes up, the deal is off. They said upfront they are not making any concessions after an inspection. S and I are already uncomfortable about our budget, as the house already exceeds what we wanted to spend & the property taxes on that place are insane. If it needs a new roof or the heat is on its last leg, then we just don't want to put any more into it. And we really can't until we sell this house. We really like the house, but we are both detached enough to call it off with little remorse. If we backed out now, we'd only be out the cost of the inspection.

* These new Jello Mousse Temptations are pretty good. Weird texture though (and I wonder where Julia gets her texture issues).

* Today Julia had quite a bit from the sippy cup. About 16 oz milk from a cup and only 4 oz from a bottle. It's not that she's attached to the bottle, but since she has been such an apathetic eater her whole life, it's been a struggle to get her to initiate picking up a cup on her own to drink. After her nap, she drank about 6 ounces from the cup over a course of half an hour. I was so impressed! Her therapists have been saying that bottles are more efficient to get calories into her. I was so impressed today with how fast she drank and how the tide may have turned toward the cup. She drank 2 ounces in about 10 seconds by cup. That's faster than she would drink from a bottle. Again, I'm thrilled. It's one of those things that probably only a parent of a kid with feeding struggles would understand.

* Took Julia to work today to weigh her. 21 pounds, 5 ounces with diaper, leggings & t-shirt. So I *think* she might be clearing 21 pounds naked. This is up half a pound since 2 months ago. That's not as much as I hoped for, but we did do the whole milk transition since then. We took her liquid calories from 30 calories/oz to 18 cal/oz over the course of six weeks. It's an adjustment to her system and forces her to take in more through solids. So given the radical change in diet (formula --> milk) and balance (liquids --> solids), I'd have to say the small weight gain is good considering everything. As for percentile, 21 pounds would be around the 10th percentile for weight. Yeah, she's a little thing ... but ... she's been hanging around the 10th percentile for a few months now. Julia's natural set point is probably to be a 10th percentile kid. I don't think I'll ever be saying she's a 90th percentile kid. She doesn't like food or eating that much, and she has a slender build. Let's say this all together: She takes after her daddy because her body type is certainly not mine.

* We ordered a down alternative comforter from Overstock.com. We had a feather one, but I'm allergic to it. Plus it was all these feathers in a cover, and it got all clumpy and bunchy. This one is in a box pattern, so the filling doesn't move around. This new comforter is really nice and keeps us warm. $30 from Overstock in a king size. Great deal!

* Julia's daycare was closed today and I had off work anyway. It was great to hang out with her today. We played this morning, left the house at 10am, came home at 12:45pm, we both took a 2 hour nap, had snack, played a little, and then Daddy came home. The day really zoomed by. The nap was very, very nice. I have been sleeping so poorly that it was so great to catch up on some sleep. And if Julia was like how she is now back when I was on maternity leave, I would have enjoyed it so much more. She was so unhappy last year. Today she was just fine. She still has some major clinginess issues. If we're sitting down on the couch and I get up, she freaks. I'm only going to the kitchen (which she can see from the couch), but she starts crying if I don't pick her up and take her the 10 feet to the kitchen. She rarely wanders off out of sight distance. It can be good on one hand (she's not going to wander off and get into trouble), but on the other hand it's really frustrating to deal with a kid who flips out if you move more than 2 feet from her.

* In ten years when I complain that my daughter doesn't want to be seen with me, remind me of her first two years of life when we had to be within 2 feet of her at all times.

* That's all my thoughts for today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nobody Backs Us Into a Corner

Much of the day has been fretting. We saw the house at lunchtime. The views are marvelous. From every room (sans the den and bathrooms), you can see the water, the mountains, and Seattle skyscrapers. Some cosmetic work, but we've got time...

S and I ran the number a bazillion different ways today. Then we finally took a step back and separate the numbers into short-term (til our current house sells) and long-term (after our current house sells).

The sellers chose our offer to counter. They countered with some stuff that made us uncomfortable. Nothing bad, and they seem like decent people, it's just going down a road we don't want to go down.

When we were there looking at the house again today, another real estate agent came by with people to look at the house. Our real estate agent thinks it's the other offer that we beat out. She thinks they are going to raise their offer. That is why she is advocating we just take the seller's counter offer. If we accept the counter, we have won - it's a done deal.

Again, accepting the counter as is makes us nervous because we're just not comfortable with all of the provisions.

So, against our real estate agent's advice, we are countering. S and I both feel good about it. We feel we can sleep at night with what we offered, and we feel we tried to meet their needs while meeting our needs.

I'm sure our agent is pissed with us that we just didn't take it as is. Because this means they can accept all offers again right now. And, you know what, that's fine.

Real estate agent will be here in 2 hours, we'll do our counter to the counter, and if it's accepted, GREAT! If it's rejected, we won't be heartbroken.

More waiting, but this time I don't feel nearly as panicky.

Advice needed, my peeps

Lonnnnng night. We went to see the house tonight (see a few blog entries down for pictures). It was night, so it was hard to see the view and such. But the house was nearly perfect. As in, it had all of the features we've been looking for. ALL. Given all that the house has to offer, it's a steal. A steal that's above our comfort level.

The house has a den to the left when you come in. There is a formal living room with a fireplace, a dining room off to the right, and that goes into the kichen (needs to be updated at some point but tolerable other than the fluorescent light fixture). The family room is large but cozy at the same time with bookcases lining one wall and the fireplace taking up one wall. There is a hallway that leads to a powder room. There's a laundry room that has cabinets and a sink. The room also has enough space to set up an ironing station and a sewing machine. Then there's the 3 car garage (finished). The shelving + freezer in the garage stay with the house. Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms. The master is a horrid shade of sea foam green, but that's just paint. The master bath is okay, I seem to recall carpet, which isn't my favorite thing in a bathroom. The closet is a walk-in, and the interesting thing is that there's an unfinished room off the closet. It could easily be an exercise room or even more closet space. Maybe 200 sq feet - pretty big although it's a tad of an awkward shape (think traditional attic). Then you go down the spiral staircase back to the first floor and continue to spiral down to the basement.

If I haven't mentioned, every room except for the den and bathrooms can see out the back toward the water (didn't see the water since it was night, but I think it is indeed there).

Back to the basement. It has a spacious wet bar. Lots of cabinets, outdated, but still has a nice feel. There's a huge rec room. There's a Y2K pantry down there too. It's a walk-in pantry, so you can store a lot of canned goods, toilet paper, all that kind of stuff. Then there are 2 bedrooms downstairs and a full bathroom.

The backyard has two levels. I saw some sort of trellis thing down below.

Overall condition seemed pretty good. The owner escorted us and our real estate agent around the house. Kinda odd but whatever. We're not going to talk about the wife who was there but we never found.

The house went on the market yesterday. Today they got their first offer. Let's just say it's priced well. We came in with an escalator clause and put in $500 over asking (since we knew there was another offer).

At 11:30pm, we found out that ours was accepted. There's a weird provision they want, but I think it can be sorted out if we want the house.

Sooooooo....I'm at a loss of what to do. It is everything we want, but it's HUGE. 4,500 sq feet for 3 people is insane.

Pros:
- Good deal
- Pretty much everything we want
- Preapproved at the higher price (remember it was $25k more than we were preapproved for, but we called tonight and got it through)

Cons:
- Yikes, that's a huge mortgage! Of course, once we sold our house (which we own outright), we would refinance and bring our payment down quite a bit. Quite a bit.
- Ongoing expenses. The house is huge: utilities. I'm going to call tomorrow and see if I can weasel past heating bills out of the gas company. The property taxes on this house are killer. It is assessed for $150,000 more than our offer.
- Having a mortgage again and then what if our house doesn't sell, what if one of us loses a job, the what-if game. Actually, as long as that doesn't happen while we technically own both houses, it would be tolerable. We could still manage the mortgage if we sold our current house and one of us lost our job.

We're going to see it tomorrow during the day, I'm going to do some more data gathering, and the big decision will be forthcoming. If you have any opinions, please share.

Oh, and they want us to have it on December 21. Yeah, this year will be a Christmas to remember if we're lugging around boxes!