Thursday, February 26, 2009

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming

I hope you enjoyed that brief interlude. Now, back to the news.

The bank which owns the white rambler likes me :-)

They have accepted my offer; now I have to get the house inspected. I've been down this route before, so I am not getting my hopes up. Yet.

They will turn the water & furnace on within the next few days, then I will have it inspected. Hopefully when everything gets turned back on, the house won't collapse or explode or anything similar. If it doesn't, and everything passes (or is close enough to passing that I am OK with it) we will close on the sale in about 4 or 5 weeks.

Maybe the snow will be gone by then?

Size TEN!


Oh, MAN, does it feel good.

I haven't fit into 10s for I-don't-know-how-long.

Dancing here. Grinning here. Giving high-5s to the dogs here.

Yippee Skippy!

Size 10. That's Tee - Eee - Enn.

And NOBODY, but NOBODY, better burst my bubble with the information on how sizes have grown over recent years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some day I'll have something other than housing to write about

OK, here is the latest and greatest.

I have just basically ignored the request for the inspection report on the house I withdrew my offer on. I have it kind of in the back of my mind that should I decide to go back to them to try to work a deal, I will have it as a leveraging tool. Right now I am not seeing that happening, but you never know.

The white house - the rambler - I put in my offer Monday morning, and that afternoon got a response that there were multiple offers in and I had 24 hours to submit my "best and highest offer." So I changed my offer by a small amount, and re-submitted it yesterday afternoon. So I expect to hear sometime today, as this is a bank which is motivated to sell their property. My suspicion is that I am bidding against someone who wants to tear down the house and then divide the lot into two. Which could mean that they are going to bid high to be sure to get it, or could mean that they are going to bid low to try and get the best deal possible. And they, of course, have no idea who they are bidding against, either. And none of us know if there are just 2, or if there are more bidders in the game - just that there are "multiple offers."

But I am not stressed about it. Heck, this makes 4 houses I have made offers on in 6 weeks, so I am pretty confident that there will continue to be more houses coming on the market that will be appealing to me, if this one falls through, too.

In the meantime, my townhouse is on the market now and I haven't had a single request to show it. At least 4 people have told me townhouses are 'impossible' to sell right now, and 2 people have asked if I would/could rent it out instead of sell it. Which might be a possibility, depending on what I end up buying.

Lots of options.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Last night I sent the "withdrawal of offer" to the sellers of that house, and today their realtor called mine and suddenly they want to negotiate. In fact, they wonder if I might email over the inspection report and the estimates I have for the repairs so they can see just what needs fixing.

My first reaction was to be pleased that they are taking the issues seriously now, but then I thought, I paid $400 for that inspection report, and I gave up several hours of my time to get the estimates, and why should I let them reap the benefit from all that I had to buy?

Then I wondered if I am being petty, I have paid the money and it's over and done with.

Please vote - do I send them a copy of the report, or do I refuse? Or something in between?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Housing Update (are you ready?!)

The other house is out. I decided the work needed was more than I wanted to take on, since the sellers were not too keen on negotiating with me.

So today I found this one instead:
And I think I am going to make an offer on it first thing Monday morning. And my townhouse is officially ON the market - they came to take pictures this morning and this place has never looked better.

The roller coaster ride continues!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

House Update

Well, this morning was the inspection, and it did unearth a few surprises. My realtor & I need to do some research now and figure out what our next step is going to be.

When I walked through it again this morning, it was weird - I hadn't been there since I made the offer, and I noticed different details today than I did before (or perhaps I had noticed before, but forgotten.) I still like it. PHEW.

More later, I just wanted to give a quick note for those of you with nothing else exciting going on in your lives .... (HA! kidding...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cupcake Mosaic - Art to Eat!!!

Wow. This is the final photo, for a photo series of putting this together, go here.
5900 cupcakes.


Nutritional Weight and Wellness

A few weeks ago, I attended a one-night seminar put on by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I heard of this group on the radio (where else?) because every Saturday Darlene Kvist, the founder, does a talk show/infomercial on some nutritionally-focused topic, and I really like her style, her matterer-of-factness, her expertise. And I knew (have known) that I really, really need to focus on my health this year, as the extra weight just isn't going any where, and the years are not disappearing from my age, and the heart - well, it needs any help I can give it.

So I signed up for this one-night info session, and am absolutely going to do the 6-week series, as soon as I have 6 weeks to do it in.

The primary focus of everything they teach is based on glucose. Glucose levels affect pretty much everything else in the body, and by controlling glucose, you can head off a pretty hefty list of ailments. So they advocate limiting carbs, especially sugars, watching the origin of fats and proteins, and focusing on fresh, natural, and organic whenever possible. As in non-processed.

Sounds pretty easy. So I am doing it. I am not dieting, nor do I feel like I am dieting, but I am trying to cut out unnecessary carbs, I am trying to buy more organic foods, and I even have the boys on the bandwagon of reading labels and limiting unpronounceable ingredients.

I have more energy, I am less tired, and I have dropped nearly 15 pounds. UNBELIEVABLE. All those things they say will happen? They are happening! Who'd-a-thunk?

I actually have re-discovered something that I think many Americans don't experience on a regular basis ... the feeling of hunger. I mean, I actually wait until I need food to eat it, as opposed to my usual graze-all-day-and-it's-time-for-a-meal-and-I'm-not-hungry-but-I-eat-anyway.

I have done Weight Watchers several times, Atkins several times, and self-designed diets several times. Never worked. Well, they sometimes worked for a while but then the weight eventually all came back. And obviously it's too soon to say if that will happen now, too. But I am definitely going back for that 6-week class. If one evening could motivate me this much, imagine what the whole class will do for me!

And if this sounds good to you, they give a tuition discount if two or more friends sign up together.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

6:55 PM, Sunday February 15, 2009:

I GOT IT !!!!!!!!!

No word yet so we went to the play

The boys & I went to the matinee performance of The Miracle Worker this afternoon at The History Theater in St. Paul. (Sorry, Matron, that I somehow conveyed to you we were going last night.) It was amazing.

I know the story, have seen the play, had to deal with fidgety kids, but still I cried at the end. I always do, I'm such a sucker.

Matron's daughter, Scarlett, was so darn believable as a blind and deaf child - she simply stole the show. My boys & I talked on the way there about the infamous dining room table scene - arguably the play's most memorable - and we discussed how hard it must be not to give any indication that you know what's coming, performance after performance after performance. She was perfect. I had remembered the climbing all over, but completely forgotten about water being thrown - how can you NOT flinch when you know you are about to be soaked??? She didn't. All without ever focusing on her fellow actors, the audience, or really anything else. Amazing.

We do have one question for you, Matron - what was the yellow food?????

So glad we went! For the rest of you - it runs one more week!

House News ...

Sunday morning, about 9:55 ---

The offer was faxed in at 12:30 yesterday. The listing agent of the house called it in to the owners about an hour later. Now we wait for them to talk about it, call their agent who will then call my agent who will then call me ....

And I will then blog :-)

Sunday morning, about 10:10 ---

My realtor just called with the counter offer. It's just about exactly what I expected. I decided to accept IF they pay all closing costs.

WILL LET YOU KNOW !!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Housing Update

Today I found a house to make an offer on. It's got some fixer-upper needs, but it is airy (in the metaphysical sense, not actual-feel-the-wind-blowing-through-the-rooms-airy) and feels open and spacious, it's not a cookie-cutter suburban rambler, it's got a nice fenced-in yard, it's got the right number and layout of rooms (well, there is no formal dining room but I can live without that.) It's been on the market nearly 7 months, and is not a foreclosure so my offer will go to a live, breathing HUMAN who will respond right away! Woo-Hoo! I am making a very low-ball offer just to see what they say.

We still have heard nothing on the first house, and I doubt we will. That one would still be my first choice, but it just doesn't appear that anything will happen with it for a long time.
The thing I like about this new house is that it has personality and character. It kind of has a "grandma's house" feel to it, which to me, means that when you walk in you imagine you smell freshly-baked cookies, and you feel a sense of comfort, and you know that you are cozy and safe there. I am totally imagining the second floor as total "boy land" - it's basically one huge open space - with cool IKEA furnishings to make it almost like a college dorm atmosphere, sleeping and studying and playing all in one. On the main floor there are two bedrooms, one would be mine and the other would be an office. There is a fireplace in the living room (and another in the basement) and the kitchen is spacious but does need updating - I think the cupboards are original from 1954.
The exterior could really use the "Curb Appeal" team to come work on it ... maybe I should apply to be on the show if I get it ... but there is nothing that has to be done immediately. Well, I think - it's hard to tell with the snow and ice - that there is no driveway, just a dirt & gravel pathway, so I may choose to put that in right away.
So think good thoughts and I will keep you updated as anything happens!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Going to the The-a-tah

This weekend I am hoping to get tickets to see The Miracle Worker, which is being staged at The History Theater in St. Paul. I have seen the movie, read the book, and a few years ago my dad was in a production at the Duluth Playhouse as Helen's father. Now it's being done locally, and I have a cool "virtual connection" to this production. A blogger I follow regularly, Minnesota Matron, is the mom of the girl who plays Helen! So I have been reading about the rehearsals, opening night, and the reviews. It's almost like being a stage mom myself.

If you want to join the boys & me, let me know! We could do dinner before or dessert after.
(photo from The History Theater website. That's Scarlett, being hugged!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

House Hunting Update

Thought I should probably take a moment and let you all in on what's happening with the hunt for a new house ... in short, not much!

You may recall I made an offer on a house that I thought would be perfect for our family of 3 humans + 2 canines. That was over 3 weeks ago ... it'll be 4 on Friday ... and still no word. Because of the legalities of the foreclosure process, there is absolutely no way for me to know anything until I either hear I got it or I didn't. Some days this is extremely frustrating for me, other days I am able to achieve a Zen-like state of tranquility, trusting that what is meant to happen will happen. Today is a Zen day.

In the meantime, I have continued looking at other houses now & again when something catches my eye. You might call it obsessive, the way I watch the online listings, checking 2 or 3 times every day just in case something new pops up in the hours I was away, I prefer to think of it as being thorough.

Yesterday the boys & I went to look at one of interest, but they were less than impressed. Ty just wanted to wait in the car, and Ben kept finding things wrong with the house (he didn't like the family room panelling, he noted that the trim on one kitchen cabinet was slightly crooked. That level of detail.) So I think we will pass on that house (honestly, it was a very nice house but it didn't grab me, either.) And I think I will go back to looking at houses without them along.

I just sent a note to my realtor about another one that I want to see. He's probably getting tired of me, but hey, it's not my fault that the bank is ignoring my offer, thereby giving me all this time to wonder about other houses ...!! I drove by it today before picking the boys up from school, and I still like it (sometimes that's the killer, if the street isn't nice or the house doesn't look as good in person from the exterior.) So I'll let you know .....

Thanks for all your words of encouragement! I appreciate knowing there are people rooting for us out there.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ding, Dong, the Painting's DONE


The FINAL BRUSH STROKES were taken earlier today. Final as in DONE. Final as in second coats done. Touch-ups done.

Oh damn. I just remembered I patched some nicks in the living room wall and have to touch-up over the spackling.

Well, the NEW painting is done. THE KITCHEN IS DONE.


Good diet plan

After all that thinking about cake, I am here to testify to a new diet plan that seems to really work.

Stay out of grocery stores.

As in all the time.

As in, no food in the house. Seriously, no food.

The boys clamor for milk and bread. Wimps.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Food Glorious Food!

Oh boy, I was planning on coming to my blog to complain and express discouragement about life in general and throw myself on your mercy, hoping to get some reassurance and pep talks and "you can do it!"s.
But then, before I started writing, I glanced at Cake Wrecks, because it almost always can bring a smile to my face, which, as you are all probably aware, is the first step towards improving your outlook on life (that whole "fake it til you make it" thing.) And this is what I found:
That's not a box of candy, folks, that's a CAKE! How COOL IS THAT?

So I had to follow the link to the baker's site, where she oh-so-generously provides the recipe and instructions on how to make this masterpiece.
Now, I don't see myself doing the whole red-fondant thing in the near future, although maybe someday, but the cake balls? TOTALLY DOING THAT SOON.
And you know what? Suddenly the whole get-the-townhouse-ready-to-sell and find-a-new-house-to-buy-because-it-is-looking-like-my-offer-is-going-to-be-ignored-FOREVER thing seems more manageable.
It's all the power of chocolate. Apparently you don't have to even have it in hand to eat for it to work its magic.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Don't divorce them

As was easily predictable , the marriages between same-sex couples that were performed in California during that brief window of legality are being challenged. Please take a moment, watch the video, think about the love that these people share, think about the history of our nation protecting civil rights, and then think about telling them their love doesn't count ...

Then please consider acting on it. You can go here to learn more and sign on to a petition, make a donation (I did already this morning), or to get ideas for what else you could do to help.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Smile for the Day

I think I saw this a few years ago, but it's worth posting again as I just re-read it and laughed a lot ... I especially like the last two points!

Things I have learned from my boys

1) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3) A 3 - year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant. (ed. note: I know the same goes for girls).
4) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It IS strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 ft. room.
5) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6) The glass in windows (even double pane) does not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7) When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh-oh", it's already too late.
8) Brake Fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9) A 6-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
10) Certain Lego’s will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
11) Play-do and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12) Super-glue is forever.
13) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool, you still can’t walk on water.
14) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15) VCR’s do not eject PB & J sandwiches even though they do in TV shows.
16) Garbage bags do not make good Parachutes.
17) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18) You probably DO NOT want to know what that smell is.
19) Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens.
20) The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5 minute response time.
21) The spin cycle in the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy.
22) The spin cycle in the washing machine does, however, make cats dizzy.
23) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24) 80% of women who read this will pass this on to almost all of their friends; with or without kids.
25) 80% of the men who read this will try mixing brake fluid with Clorox (do it outside, guys).

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Random thoughts

On Tuesday this week, I chaperoned Ben's 8th grade class to Welch Village for a day of skiing and snowboarding. My job was helping the beginners learn how to go up the "magic carpet" lift on the bunniest of bunny hills. The kids all did great, but one of the ski instructors tried to be a hot-shot and step on to the carpet from the side, part-way up, and he nearly fell off and then **I** got in trouble for "letting" him, and for not immediately pushing the emergency stop button. Had it been anyone BUT a ski instructor, I would have , but I kind of figured he knew what he was doing. Geesh. I gave him grief the rest of the day.

Driving home, we went through New Trier. Technically we should have gone through it on the way there, too, but somehow we missed that turn ... Anyway, here's my impression of New Trier. Small, cute, isolated. They have three cross streets over the main road we were on. The names of the streets are Holt St, Hogan St, and Hinton St. If you only have 3 streets in your whole town, don't you think you would NOT pick the same initial letter for each? It's like having kids whose names all start with the same letter. You would constantly be starting to say the wrong one. OTOH - it just occurred to me, in a town that size, how often do you need to tell someone where you live? Maybe it's a moot point. Or maybe everyone is bothered by it but no one says anything, making it a mute point.

Today I woke up discouraged about the whole housing thing. It'll be 3 weeks tomorrow since I made my offer, and still nothing. I have been working so hard on getting the townhouse ready to show, but it's not quite done - I feel like I have just lost steam and the will to continue. It just seems too overwhelming. And now it's getting warmer out which is great for people but that means my dogs will, by necessity, be walking in slush and mud and slop, and I will have to be extra-careful-obsessively vigilant about cleaning their feet before letting them into the house and onto the new carpet. YUCK.

On the upside, yesterday I had a great meeting with Jodi Nelson, founder of Play it Forward Adventures, and we are trying to figure out a way I can work with her. We are both thrilled at the prospect, but right now there is just no money ... so I am trying to figure out how to get some money to grow the business so she can hire me. Anyone got a few spare dollars they would like to invest in a worthy business? I will tell you more about her vision in another post - it's fascinating and inspiring.

OK, gotta get the boys to school now. Hopefully the day will go well ...

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