Friday, January 30, 2009

Housing Update

This weekend the boys are with their dad and I am really going to work to finish all the projects on the house so it can be listed early next week. Might not make my self-imposed February first deadline, but will be awfully close. My parents are stopping by on Monday at some point en route to Texas, so I want to wow them.

Am still waiting on word regarding the offer I put in a while ago. I think it's two weeks now ... wow, that seems like a really long time! The offer is sitting with the bankers now, and there really is no way to predict what they will do or when. I am hoping they will tell me one way or the other soon, though, because being in limbo like this is excruciating.

I haven't been going to look at other houses during this time (well, I did go see one) but I have been following listings online. Another new one came on the market yesterday & I think I will arrange to visit it as it looks very promising. It's not in the location I would mark as best for our family personally (farther away from their dad & school) but it's in a good neighborhood and the backyard walks out to a pond which would be way cool. And it's NOT a foreclosure house which is a big plus in my book. Who knows, if I see it and love it, I can withdraw my other offer and move on.

On the other hand, really I am not in any hurry. Every single week that I have been looking at houses there has been at least one that I would be happy to buy, so I can safely assume that trend will continue, and safely hold off until my current house sells. Or until I hear back on the one I made the offer on. Or until hell freezes over. Because who knows, that may just be what happens first.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reconnecting with an old friend

I just re-discovered the Cake Wrecks blog and I had absolutely forgotten how much fun it is to browse through the archives there. Laughter like few other blogs can create!

For convenience, I'm adding it to my blog roll over there --->

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well, the carpet is in and I already know that the stain guard works.

Aack. The children were not even in the house, it's just ME and ME alone to blame.

Thank goodness for today's technological genius that makes carpet repel stains ... because salsa on beige carpet SHOULD spell trouble, but tonight it was just a minor, and short-lived, annoyance.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

House Photos

As promised ... some pictures of the fixer-upper projects:

Kitchen area -- before:
Kitchen area - after (only one coat is done here, streaks will disappear with second coat):My brother working on stripping kitchen eating area wallpaper: And my Dad doing the same:
And Ben getting into the fun, too:
Here is the finished kitchen area, all the wallpaper is gone (well, there is still some in the area behind where I am standing, but never mind...) The walls are a pale, creamy peachy-off white and they look fabulous!Here is my S-I-L Mary cleaning off the boarder wallpaper in the upstairs hallway. (The hallway is now a beautiful pale tan.)
Here is my favorite re-do yet, the upstairs bathroom:

Random tidbits

There have been a number of things that have happened lately to me or around me or that I have noticed and thought "that would make a good blog post." But then I get lured (dragged) back to the kitchen to work on wallpaper removal, or something like hungry children distracts me, and then I forget.

At one point I did start making a list, though, to remind myself - but now it just seems like way too much work to actually develop each of them into individual posts, so instead I am going to just share this list with a few pithy comments.

1. Dick Cheney attending the inauguration in a wheelchair. KARMA, buddy, it's starting.

2. Inkheart, the movie -- Ty won 4 free tickets to a preview showing of the movie starring Brendan Fraser, and the 4 of us went (yes, Steve, too) and we all really enjoyed the film. It's a fantasy-suspense-little bit of love-story with a strong young girl, a dashing young boy, a cute animal, and 2 separate married couples who are trying desperately to get back together with one another through the magic of books. Oh, and Helen Mirren is in it - so you know it has to be good.

3. Missionaries -- two strangers knocked on my door last Wednesday; an older man and a youngish woman (who clearly was the mentee as she said basically nothing, but smiled a lot.) He had a Bible in his hand and after greeting me, he visibly contorted his face into a sorrowful one and said, "with all the happenings in our world right now, do you ever find yourself thinking God is mad at us and is punishing us?" I could not help myself from laughing and I responded "NO WAY! After yesterday, I believe God is BEAMING down at us with pride and joy!!!" It clearly took him aback to have me respond so forcefully and cheerily, and he valiantly tried again to bring me down "but there are bad things happening, don't you think He is angry?" "Nope," I said with a big smile, "I don't think that at all!" He realized the futility of his effort and told me to have a nice day, and they left.

4. Around the inauguration I read incredible testimonies from Democrats and Republicans alike who were caught up in the hope and promise of a new era for our country. I was amazed at how many people wrote about the positive feelings they were having, whether they had voted for Obama or not. My heart was warm, and full, and both excited and content. But I did find a couple of nay-sayers, as well, but what struck me was even those who professed NOT to be caught up in all the hoopla were hard-pressed to find something to complain about. A couple said the enthusiasm would wane after the fun of the parties, one tried to dismiss the inauguration speech because a professional writer assisted the President in composing it, and one complained that "all those jobs" Obama was talking about creating "might not be the sorts of jobs" she was interested in having. I just have to giggle a little. That's the worst I saw! And that ain't much :-)

5. Seat Heaters -- oh wait, that was important enough in my life to make me sit down and write an entire post already!

6. Kitchen progress. I promise to find my camera cable today and post some pictures!

There, now you are all caught up with my life. Have a good day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Do you feel Obama tonight?

I just came across a video made by Emily Troutman, who is a professional photographer. She made signs of 26 words:

Alive, Angry, Anxious, Awed, Believe, Curious,
Dancer, Excited, Grateful, Happy, Hopeful,
Human, Humble, Jealous, Joyful, Love, Obama,
Patient, Proud, Ready, Scared, Skeptical,
Tired, Together, Wonder, Worried

And then invited people to pick the one they felt expressed their feelings about the state of our nation following the inauguration. She took their portraits, set it to music, and here it is:

I found it very interesting to see which words were chosen most often, and which were all but ignored. If I had to choose just one, I would take ready. Or maybe hopeful. Or maybe, as one of the people she talked to, Obama. Obama, of course, isn't a feeling word. But as the man said, "don't you just kind of feel Obama right now?"

Yeah, I kind of do!

Truth in Advertising

It says on the back Servings: 4, but we all know
it's a single serving package, right?

House Update

I have been silent about house news lately because I don't want to jinx anything. I put in an offer over a week ago, and am waiting to hear. It's a bit of a complicated situation as the owners still technically own the property, but it's on its way to foreclosure -- so both the owner and the bank have to approve my offer, and for the offer to be approved by the bank I have to have proof of pre-approved financing, and to have that - since I am self-employed - I have to have my taxes done, so I have been scrambling to get all my financial paperwork in order and I met with my tax guy - whom I adore, if anyone is looking for tax help in the Twin Cities call Bill at Bergstrom Tax - and now the status is that I should be able to pick up my tax paperwork on Monday, get it to the mortgage company - another group I adore, please call them if you need mortgage anything (though I don't know if they have a website, I don't see one, so just let me know and I will give you their info) - who will then send the letter of approval to my realtor, who will forward it to the bank, who may or may not take time to actually read it, and if they do, may or may not approve the offer, because the owner has already accepted it but they are truly the minor players in this whole scheme.

So. If you were able to follow that brilliantly constructed sentence, give yourself a gold star.

The upshot is, I still don't know anything. Rumor has it there is at least one other offer in place, I am told that banks tend to drag their feet, and heck, the color of ink used to sign the papers may affect the outcome, too.

I'll let you all know when I know more!

And PS, can I say again for the record, I am LOVING my seat heater.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Great news! (not about a house)

Yesterday I made an amazing discovery. Well, actually I didn't make the discovery. It was sort of a joint-effort between my mom and my dad.

Before I go any farther with this story, though, let me just say for the record that with all the cold weather we have had lately, one thing I have truly envied others is a car with a driver's seat that heats up. How luxurious would that be? In Minnesota it's really not even a luxury, it should be mandatory on all vehicles.

So anyway. My mom just celebrated a birthday (on inauguration day!) and I know she doesn't really want me talking about her age here. But I can safely say that menopause is not a daily issue for her any more. So we are driving ... um, well, somewhere, I can't remember where. Oh yeah, we were out looking at another house (more on that later.) And on the drive home she starts saying she is getting really hot. Specifically, a certain part of her anatomy is getting really hot.

She asks how to turn off the seat heater but I tell her I do not have seat heaters in my car. She insists I must, I insist I don't - I have had this car for quite a while now, and given my envy of those whose cars have that feature, I think I would know. My dad, acting as negotiator, asked for the car manual. He triumphantly reads, on page 42, that the controls for the SEAT HEATERS are on the lower level of the center part of the dashboard. We all look to the designated location, and sure enough, NO controls on my car.

HA. I knew I didn't have seat heaters.

So when we stop later, my mom says she has to trade seats with my dad (in the backseat) because she can't stand the heat any more. I roll my eyes and tell her since the heat is INTERNAL, switching seats is not going to help anything.

(fast forward a bit) My now-sitting-in-the-front-seat dad, tinkerer that he is, starts poking around and feeling under the seat, by the side of the seat, on the door, the dashboard, the glove compartment, etc.

And. He finds a switch. He tells me where it is, and sure enough, I have one on my seat, too.

I push it.

My seat heats up.

I HAVE SEAT HEATERS IN MY CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And my mom isn't even mad at me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Received in an email; it made me smile ...

60 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. Minnesotans plant gardens.

50 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People are sunbathing in Duluth.

40 above zero: Import cars won't start. Minnesotans drive with the sunroof open.

32 above zero: Distilled water freezes. The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero: New Mexicans don long johns, parkas and wool hats & mittens. Minnesotans throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero: New York landlords finally turn on the heat. People in Minnesota have one last cookout before it gets cold.

Zero: People in Miami all die. Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero: Californians fly away to Mexico. Minnesotans dig their winter coats out of storage.

25 below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. Girl Scouts in Minnesota still selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero: Washington, D.C. finally runs out of hot air. People in Minnesota let their dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Minnesotans get upset because the Mini-Van won't start.

460 below zero: ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale). People in Minnesota can be heard to say, "Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

500 below zero: Hell freezes over. Minnesota public schools open 2 hours late.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The beginning of a new era

Maybe later I will have some words to express
all the feelings I have today,
but right now I am feeling - not thinking.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Something other than the house

I have been working really hard on coming up with a topic to write about that does not revolve around houses, moving, or painting, and I got nothing.

Sorry for my one-track-mindedness lately, but hey, that's my life these days.

Hopefully something will inspire me soon.

(like maybe the inauguration?)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Offer

I think I am about to make an offer on another house. My realtor is doing a bit more research this afternoon, but if all goes as planned we will submit the offer first thing tomorrow morning.

This house is in a great location and does need some work done on it, but it's a bit hinky in that it's in the beginning stages of foreclosure and as such there are all kinds of things to be taken into consideration, as well as a lot of (hopefully just for now) unanswered questions. I'm feeling quite hopeful, but am tempering my optimism with the realistic knowledge that this is not the last house that will ever look this good to me.

So ... more news (maybe) tomorrow!

UPDATE Friday: I put in my offer this morning. Because of the unique situation (not quite in foreclosure but almost), the offer goes to the actual owners first and then to the bank and they both have to sign off on it. So it may take a week or two for me to hear back. Plenty of time for me to pull all my hair out in impatience.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


People have been emailing me asking what, exactly, I have been working on this week on the house to prep it for the market. So here goes:

Kitchen: Removal of the blue flowered wallpaper that my mother thought was pretty. Found out when we started scraping that my father wallpapered OVER the previous owner's ivy wallpaper (because he did not want the job of removing it) so we had to remove two layers of very professionally (and thoroughly) glued-on paper. I still have to finish up above one door, and then all the walls need a final washing to get the glue residue off, but then it'll be ready -- to paint. The kitchen part will be painted a rich terracotta burnt red, and the eating area a corresponding lighter color (the top of the same paint sample swatch.)

Basement: Total and thorough cleaning of the laundry area (who cleans all that dust and dryer lint from behind the washer & dryer on a regular basis? I bet this is the first time it's been done here in a long time.) Removal (and lawful disposal) of the leftover paint from 2+ owners ago. Repair of nail holes in bathroom walls in preparation for full bathroom repainting (ceiling - nice white, walls, a kind of light khaki-ish green.) Family room & office - general decluttering.

Living & Dining room - new carpet, yet to be selected.

Upstairs: Bathroom - new faucets, new light fixture, total new painting (cover up the peachy-orange my mom liked with celery green walls, and chocolate brown for the vanity cabinet), then new towels, window covering, and shower curtain (going for a spa-like feel!) Bedrooms -- Ty & I need to switch, so that I have the biggest bedroom. I was going to repaint, but my mom talked me out of it (perhaps, given the fact that much of the work I am doing to the house is to cover up her decorating choices, I ought not to have allowed myself to be persuaded. But, one less room to paint -- that's a powerful argument for agreeing with her.) Instead, I went to TJ Maxx and am SO excited about the linens I found on clearance (one of the things I had in my cart was $39.99 -- until I saw a second, identical one behind it for $29.99 - SCORE!!) In Ben's room the only (ha! understatement) thing that has to be done is PICK UP THE LEGOS. I may have to bring up the snow shovel.

My parents left this morning, and are returning on the 24th - so that gives me 10 days to WOW them with all the changes and clean-up. Then, hopefully, the house will be listed right around that same time. Anyone who knows anyone looking for a terrific townhouse in a high-quality community in a desirable neighborhood -- give me a call!

Fun new website ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

House Update

This week has been a flurry of house-prepping activity. I have had family here to help rip out wallpaper, replace light switches that were faulty, replace faucets and light fixtures that were old and/or faulty, and generally spruce up the place. The problem is that in order to spruce it up, you have to make a pretty big mess initially .... which is where we are right now. It looks horrific inside my house, like a tornado went through selectively pulling finishes off some walls, throwing boxes randomly in several rooms, and leaving tools all over in its wake.

But - the end is in sight and it's going to look so spiffy that I am certain the first people who walk in will want to buy it and place an offer for asking price immediately (please, whatever you do, don't burst my bubble.)

In the meantime on the other end of this moving equation, I have looked at several more houses and have found one that I think I will make an offer on within the next day or so. It's not a foreclosure house, but it does still need quite a bit of work, but the location is absolutely perfect for the boys & me, so I am hoping it all works out.

Will post more as more happens! And I will have some photos, too, as soon as I figure out where the camera cable is ... I know where it used to be, but it got moved in the chaos ...

More from Dreamland

The last two nights I have had quite a few short dreams that have been rather vivid. I even had one dream where I was worrying about remembering my dreams so I could blog about them.

Here's last night's drama ...

It was winter, with a little snow on the ground, and I was with a group of people - parents and children - where the children were going to have their first duck-hunting experience. One set of parents brought along an already shot duck so that when their daughter shot randomly into the sky, the dad then threw the duck out and she found it, certain that she had shot it. [picture the scene, though - about a dozen kids with rifles shooting straight up into the air, then running madly around looking to see if any birds fell on the ground.] She picked it up and brought it back to her parents who praised her aim with the rifle profusely. The duck was most certainly not dead, and in fact looked quite lively, then suddenly we were in a hospital and the duck was a baby-sized woman [a la Benjamin Button] and the nursing staff was sneaking it away from the family so that someone else could adopt it and let it live. Then suddenly Paul & Jamie Buchman [of Mad About You, one of my favorite TV shows of its era] were there talking about their likes and dislikes, and I assumed they were the ones who were going to take this orphan. And I realized that I was actually on the set of Grey's Anatomy, and it hit me -- none of this was real after all, I was just somehow on TV.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

And now for your dining pleasure

My dreams were creative last night, as well. This whole moving thing has my imagination running wild! Last night I was in New York City, with my friend Diane. We had to "run over there" for an hour or so to accomplish some errand of hers. Since we were going to be there such a short amount of time, I didn't tell my friend Jessica, who lives there, that I was in town. Of course, as fate would have it, we literally ran into her on the sidewalk. She looked terrific, wasn't mad at me for not calling, and had cut her hair really, really short (which in real life she would never do.)

Turned out that we were on the sidewalk just outside her family's restaurant. Her 7 brothers and 3 sisters (IRL she has a large family, but I don't know the number of her siblings, nor do I think any of them are chefs) ran the restaurant, which was trying to make a name for itself with its authentic, hand-made pasta. (for the record this family is from the Dominican Republic. I haven't ever heard that Dominican pasta is superb, but maybe?) The restaurant, unfortunately, wasn't doing too well, so there was plenty of time for me (I don't know what happened to Diane) to flirt with all of Jessica's cute brothers.


I was lounging on the couch, talking with her sister, when suddenly I noticed (A) I was wearing a very short denim mini-skirt, and (B) I apparently had not shaved my legs in about 2 years.

The dream ended with my feelings of embarrassment and complete mortification.

Anyone out there who can tell me what this all means?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coming soon to a theater near you

Last night I slept well, thank you very much. I was in bed before 11 so Chamaco was happy, and I promptly fell into a deep and quite restful slumber.

While my body rested, my mind went on vacation. I "went home" to "my house" (which resembled a house in a commercial I watched shortly before retiring) and I was feeling so happy to be home where I could relax. I made my way to the bedroom where I planned to change into more comfortable clothing, and who should be waiting for me there (most natural thing in the world), but Steven Spielberg. I greeted him warmly, as befitting our friendship, and he asked if I had a few free hours. For Steven? Of course! He was filming something which focused on ironing (this, clearly because I watched "On the Road with Jason Davis" last week and he interviewed a couple who collect irons - they had nearly 1000.) Steven just knew that I was the gal to be ironing in his new project. I reminded him that I, actually, had been on the air with an iron before (no clue what that was about but I was very confident - it impressed both him, and my waking self) and so off we went. I drove, he navigated, the iron was in the back seat, and then ...

Well, that was it. Perhaps the actual filming will come tomorrow night? (Oh, and just for the record? I rarely iron. I pile up anything that needs ironing - and I am pretty darn tolerant of a lot of wrinkles, so it's not much - and keep it here for my mom, who actually enjoys ironing when she visits me. I better not tell Steven about her.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

House Update

4:21 PM ... not looking good ...

9:30 PM ... nope, didn't get it. Though my offer was the second one in, they went on to get 3 more offers and apparently I was simply outbid. So ... back to the drawing board, looking for the next good deal!

What the ....?

I am watching the early morning news as I sit here ... they just announced that a baby boy was born in Florida and his mom got to pick his first name, his dad picked his middle name.

The boy will go through life known as

Logan Tivo Bradley

Yes, Tivo. THAT Tivo. Dad-apparently-spends-a-lot-of-time-in-the-BarcaLounger-with-a-beer-and-the-remote TIVO.

The roller coaster continues

Well, no sleep last night. I dutifully lay in my bed for the requisite 8 hours, but I don't think Mr. REM visited me. I gave up at 4:30 and got up, totally confusing the dogs (Chamaco is a dog who rivals babies in his need for routine. He starts whimpering and fussing around 11:00 each night, going up to the bedroom and circling back to me - sitting at my computer, most likely - clearly saying 'MOM! It's time for BED!' So getting up 2 hours early was not a welcome change in routine for him. He's still giving me confused glances.)

Anyway, until I hear if my offer was accepted, I know I will be on pins and needles. And just between you and me, I can see benefits to either outcome. If I get it, it will be the bargain of the decade. The house is a foreclosure house [an aside which will probably evolve into its own post; I have been looking almost exclusively at foreclosure houses and while some of them are in terrible shape and it's easy to walk through them without thinking too much, some of them are really nice and my heart goes out to the former owners who had to leave.] so it is much more house for the money than I could normally hope to afford. If I get it, though, I am committing to quite a bit of work -- first the move, which I guess is coming regardless of whether it's to this house or another -- and then the move IN, which will involve some work done quickly (the room that would be Ty's is pink right now, I promised him that would be the very first room we paint.) (If we get it.) and then some work done more slowly, after serious consideration.

On the one hand, I get to design a kitchen!

On the other hand, I have to design a kitchen!

You see why I couldn't sleep?

I am planning a very full day today to hopefully keep me from obsessing on what could be happening in those offices behind-whose-doors-I-cannot-see, amongst those people who make these decisions. I'll keep you informed!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Send Good Energy, Please!!!

AAAGGGHHH!!!!! I just made an offer on a house!!!! I will hear in 24-48 hours whether it is accepted!!!

Please send any good vibes or energy you have my way for success here ... and if it works I will tell you all about it when it's accepted!!!

Also thoughts of serenity for me would be helpful ... I'm a little crazed right now with nervousness.

Oh, and while you're at it, thoughts of finding a buyer for my current home would be REALLY helpful.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What kind of 1930's wife are you?


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Freaking out here

This coming Monday is high school orientation. I am really not ready for this. I mean, I am ok with my oldest entering high school next year. What I am not prepared for is the level of analysis which seemingly is to be done prior to course selection. It appears from everything I am frantically trying to read RIGHT NOW that the choices we make on Monday will affect the absolute rest of his life. Now, I know that is not true - but I am seriously concerned about the system which is perpetuating this idea, because it sounds like if we back off and refuse to buy into the game, we may have some options removed - or significantly difficultized (you know what I mean) in the future which could make things more complicated. So I either have to QUICKLY get up to speed on the game NOW, or pay the piper later. And I just don't have time right now!!! Why must they set their schedule based on their own convenience instead of realizing that some of us parents out here have other things going on in our lives and frankly would prefer to do this in the middle of the night maybe in June after the townhouse is sold and the new house in bought and moved into and the painting and bathroom remodels are done and everyone is calmer and has more time to think about these things yeah, why don't they do THAT for us?!?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Work in Progress

For my birthday, the Knitting Queen [an aside - I include her blog link as a courtesy but she hasn't updated it in about 17 years.] gave me an amazing mitten pattern and some yarn. I started it after Christmas (before Christmas I was focused on gift knitting, but these are for me, baby!)
Here's mitten #1, sans thumb. The next step is to knit a lining out of angora wool to make them extra cozy and super warm.

I am loving them already and can't wait to be done! If only life wouldn't keep interrupting my knitting time.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Where my mind's at

I haven't been posting much lately ... haven't even been tempted, because I have been obsessed with looking at houses. The boys & I decided we are ready to move to a single-family dwelling complete with a fenced-in yard for dogs and children to run and play in. Since I have one friend who is a realtor and another who owns a mortgage company, I have been in contact with both and hopefully we will be moving soon!

We will stay in the same community for ease of access to family, friends, and school, and we are all a bit giddy at the thought of not sharing walls with neighbors.

Tomorrow morning I am going to go look at a couple more houses - both are foreclosure houses, so priced low - but I won't know until I go inside how much neglect occurred prior to the bank taking over. I'm not afraid of working on the house, though, if the structure is good and I like everything else about it.

And - just in case you are thinking ahead, all you wonderful friends who helped us move last time - this time I am hiring a company to move the big stuff. Promise!


I seem to recall Mr. Coleman saying something along the lines of "the votes are counted, Mr. Franken should accept the count and gracefully bow out, rather than drag this out at taxpayer expense."

Will he follow his own advice? Somehow, I am not expecting he will.

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