Sunday, November 30, 2008

What if...

I had a random thought today as I was leaving my third job. It's a weekend gig and kind a kick in the pants. More on that at a later date.

Anyway, my thought was WHAT IF everything was done? What if the house was sold, the farmhouse was done being remodeled. The damn photos for the house I am selling where up already (still mad). What on earth would I do on a cold Sunday? Also, my phone is dead, literally and figuratively. I need to upgrade but I'm too cheap. So I can't call people. I told 007 of my what if plan and that I was going to pretend for the afternoon that in fact everything was done. He thought it was hilarious and a great plan. He also can't reach me to ask me to make a last minute run to Home Depot. Yippee!

What have I done, well I've made it to a local coffee shop so I could check out a few blogs. Yep, I am addicted to this now. It's a good addiction to be connected if you ask me. Next I plan to stop by the farm store and pick up a few items. Maybe, stop in at that random statue store and see just how much that damn Giraffe statue really is. I know, I know what a stupid want. How funny would that be to have in my garden though?!

The cool part of my what if plan is I am so much more relaxed, happy, calm. Now why didn't I think of this sooner? Oh, that's right because I was too busy just trying to get everything done. Isn't perspective a kick in the pants?

I also figured I would upload a funny pic, it's take two of the group shot. Chrystal pointed out that I had failed to include someone from the group photo. There are many reasons for him being left out of the photo, mostly he won't sit still. This photo is a rare moment indeed. Anyway, here he is front and center which sums up his personality to a T! His name is Jasper he is a pure breed Australian Shepherd cattle dog and I am told is registered. Of course those that gave him up can't find his papers, go figure! Every owner surrender is a complicated case.

He's super smart and a royal pain in my rear as he needs tons of attention and I'm too busy. He has some fear issues towards men so 007 is working with him on that. If you raise your voice just a bit he cowards, which typically is a sign of some abuse. However, if you praise him or talk softly to him he'll do whatever you ask. I've taught him a new command, "COME". Because he's so smart for him this word means return to me, circle me, and sit facing forward by my right side. Like I said he's smart.

He's also funny and would make someone a great family dog. He is up for adoption so if you are interested in him drop me an e-mail at or you can check out his bio on our rescue website: Jasper

So now that you know about Jasper, how about a challenge. I propose that anyone who happens to read this blog (Chrystal maybe the only one) to take a day or an afternoon and see where your "What if..." might take you or how it might make you feel.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mad...very mad.

Yep, I'm mad go figure. We've been busting our rears trying to get our in-town house ready to sell and then it finally is ready and then there's a delay by the relators.

Here is the house listing: Click here

However, you will notice that there is NO FREAKING PICTURES!!! I would LOVE to call up my relator and ask him just what does his 7% commission get me? UGH! However, I am a firm believer that being a witch at this particular point in my life will get me nowhere. I like the guy and YES I do realize it's a holliday week. However, I was hoping with "Black Friday" someone would be out there house hunting and want to pick up a house on their mad rush to Best Buy at 4am. A girl can dream can't she?

Well, in my frustration I took my own photos so here you go. I am overly impressed with my mad decorating skills and have since been staying at the house for the past three days. My darling, 007 has been driving out to the farm to take care of our fur kids and then coming back to the in-town home to stay the night with me. It's been a bit of a vaccation from remodeling so for that I am VERY thankful. 007 calls this a morning process as I have to let go of this place and if it takes me a few nights, oh well. Ahhh... He's sweet and all but he's not 100% perfect.

So here's the photos:

Yesteryday's view of the house:

Our Amazing new family room; crazy what paint can do to a space! Real fireplace that I will miss.

The formal dining room

Another view of the dining room, yes those are fresh flowers but they won't be by the time they take photos!

The living room; I am digging this awsome couch set!

Another view with the 2nd fireplace in the house (there are 3).

The half bath with the new paint and new fixtures. Yep, we got it done!

The breakfast nook. Amazing how this turned out! How cute. Thanks Salvation Army for the chairs!

The kitchen, yep i bought fruit for the pic's. Sorry no pic's of the upstairs master bedroom, 2nd bedroom, and full bath yet. Guess I'm no beter than the realtor:) Not!

Two more pic from Thanksgiving, 007 captured this one of me and I think it sums up all the things I'm thankful for:

  • A great after turkey dinner nap
  • Our families and them understanding how we needed to just stay home this year.
  • My wonderful dogs (Rocco, Orson, Scout, Greta, and the little guy I'm snuggling with Pepe).
  • My amazing cats (I have a few too many to list).
  • ALL of our Foster fur kids! We hope you get your own forever homes soon! To see whose looking for forever homes visit our rescue website via this link: Happy Tails Animal Rescue
  • My hubby, 007 who was busy cleaning up from dinner when he took this photo. Here is a photo of the whole gang out at the ranch, L-R (Orson, Greta, 007, Scout, Rocco). Love this fall pic!

  • And last but not least, I am thankful for the future and all the posibilities... I was dreaming about interviews again, I will probable be 100% insane before the 20th.

I haven't posted this yet, not sure if I want too. As you see I am ubberly (yea it's a word in my world) nervous/excited for a big interview I have coming up. It's for Vet School, no not undergrad. The real deal. Yep! It's taken me three + years, two part-time jobs, 1000's of volunteer hours to get to this moment and it's here. Ah!!! I hope the interview goes well.

Well, from our house to yours, a bit delayed but oh so very Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What's it worth???


I am beyond bummed. Why you might ask? Well, because I am delusional when it comes to real estate that's why. Yep, certifiable. I spent the last hour in between tears scrubbing my kitchen to I am certain the cleanest it has ever been. I needed to work off some anger. Its still there. So why the rage? We met with our Realtor and I am certain the man will end up with a purple heart from having to deal with me.

So tonight was the night I had to put a price tag on my home. A home we have LOVED. I think that should be bolded.A home I bought myself. Nope, not with 007 by myself. That's a HUGE accomplishment in my book.

I can't help how I get attached to "things" but I do. I need a new focus but currently it's this damn house. Go figure! We have painted I am certain every square inch and the rest we have scrubbed clean over the past few months. We have done more home repair, weekend warrior projects in the past few months then most folks will do in a lifetime. Finally we decorated the crap out of the place. I even ventured to some of the rental furniture places that charge you weekly. You have to sell a kidney and give your life history but they will delivery decent looking furniture to your door even without a credit check. They will also come and pick it up for you if by chance you change your mind, fall on hard times, or fail to pay your bill. I think they call it repo but I digress.

Basically I've gone way overboard in the hopes to conquer our exorbitant debt with the sell of this house. When you go back to college for a 2nd BS degree you end up with some debt. Add to that I am hoping to increase that debt with more schooling that would also include quiting my job. Great plan don't ya think. Yep, insanity is my middle name.

Back to topic... PRICE. What is your home worth to you? Hmm... Well, that is very hard to quantify. However, you have to set aside memories, the last six years, and you have to look at the market. Your local market, what houses have sold for near you, appraisal values, and don't forget you have to think about what a buyer can actually get financed for. With the current economic situation in our country there is the reality that most buyers will need to put at minim of 5% down. That means lenders are looking very closely at appraisal values. Those are neighborhood specific and boy does the location of your home matter. I knew it was complicated but good grief!

That brings me to the price we settled on. I had hoped for 160 and what I HAVE to come to terms with is 135. I could ball all over again. Keep in mind I will still come out ahead in this deal minus our Realtors 7% cut so in reality I shouldn't be whining but whining I will do. This stinks.

I no longer want to move. I think my new plan is I come with the house. I'll be in the basement, in the corner, pouting. Humph!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here's three.

This photo was taken on Move in Day. I was so tired but SO very Happy!

Ben's side helping us move in. They also helped us move out. So nice of them. This is a great photo of our home in the late summer/early fall.

My favorite photo of our home in the winter time. It's such a neat place!
2BR, 1 1/2 Bath, 3 fireplaces (one gas and in the master bedroom), hardwood floors throughout, 1/2 the basement is fully finished, other half very nice too. Deck of the back and 2 car garage also stone. Yep, it's real limestone. I also have the original blue prints, and photos of construction in 1939. You want to buy it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A blank page…what to write.

I feel like I should get back to one of the purpose of this blog and that was to discuss (rant about) the remodel and its progress. Well that would be great if we had some progress to report. I know, I know we have come a long way with the move. I realize I need to be patient and yelling at 007 (we’ll give him the title tonight b/c I’m feeling generous) serves no purpose because the guy can’t clone himself. Well, maybe he could but that wouldn’t be any fun after the remodel now would it. Still even with all of that info behind me I am so freaking fed up with the “forever move/remodel.”

So where are we you might ask? Well, our old house, in town, is almost ready to be listed on the market. I say almost ready but what does that really mean. I’ve been saying that for MONHTS now. Well, this time it might actually be true who knows. To finish up we have the basement to finish painting with DryLock. By the way that stuff is fabulous and really helps fix an older basement home where the interior concrete walling is starting to breakup. I think what’s coming off is paint or plaster hard to say as DryLock looks kinda like a thin plaster. My point is there is nothing structurally wrong with the walls its just cosmetic and we want them to look bright and white! Instead of the dank chipped paint look that happens to a basement when you don’t do basement up keep. Please someone tell me who does do basement up keep??? I swear I went down there to do laundry and put crap in storage that was it. Now I’m painting the walls it doesn’t make since to me. However, it looks amazing and well worth the $100 for a 5 gallon bucket. It’s also very functional paint as the name implies as it keeps moisture out. Cool.

So we have that little project to finish and it is taking forever! The paint is thick and the walls are rough b/c they are unfinished so it’s slow going to the point where it makes your hand hurt. Good times.

The other project left to finish is the finished half of the basement. It’s almost complete. You see 007 has mad painting skills from his time spent working as a painter. He can be a bit anal too because of it but when you can do trim free hand without tape I guess you can be as much of a punk as you want. So we added fresh paint to that area and new light fixtures which look amazing. There was also a big hole that slowly got bigger from 007 picking at it. It started as a crack and ended up a big hole that I just covered up with a board. Anyway, he finally really fixed it by cutting the hole into a square and sheet rocking it all in. You now can’t see the hole unless you are really looking for it.

I realize my basement must sound awful but until we gutted our new (old) country home we were rather chicken to try “BIG” projects at our nice historic looking in-town home. So we did nothing but basic cosmetic stuff as a result. What have I learned, well don’t be afraid to leap! Yes, give it a shoot and if you mess things up well head to your local chain hardware store and ask someone how to fix it. You will be amazed at how into there jobs those guys/gals are. They are also very helpful! Really they are you just have to get past the fear factor and intimidation of orange or blue aprons whatever your preference is.

Oh, the final project we have left at the in-town house is the half bathroom. We decided it was time to toss the burgundy toliet and matching sink out. You may ask why since we are selling. We’ll it’s always been an ugly bathroom and I really figured with a little bit of effort it could be rather cute. Well, it soon will be. The toilet is 1930’s or so I think maybe '50 or 60's for all I know. Anyway it is vintage so it doesn’t conserve water. To fix this I put a clean 2 litter plastic bottle filled with water into the tank to reduce how much water each flush uses. Think water displacement and volume and you get why this trick works. It’s a real technique by the way not just a redneck KS thing, but unless you live in an old home you won’t need to ever use this trick to lower your water bill.

The other problem with the toilet was it’s freaking HUGE! The half bath is dinky small and this think is a monster. So you had to wedge yourself between the sink and the toilet to get in the position. Then you had to reverse that process to get out of the bathroom. The new toilet will make the space look rather rummy. Oh, yea and I purchased the all in one toilet in a box. Pretty cool setup that they sell until you go to pick it up. Very heavy, but that’s what 007 is for! Still it has everything you need which is nice, price $60.

As for the sink it two is matching 1930’s vintage and the drain brook probable a year or more ago. Great, I didn’t care as I didn’t use that bathroom that much and figured 007 would get to it when he can. Well, that didn’t happen. So one day I decided to take on the project and headed to the hardware store to fix it. That was when I found out it’s considered truly vintage. What does that equate to well about $300 just for the drain assemble and drain fork. I wish I was kidding. Apparently 007 had already figured this little fact out but had avoided telling me for fear I would get upset. Go figured! So I went in search of a replacement and get this I found the exact same sink but 2008 vintage for $32! Crazy don’t ya think. Different brand, I think American Standard. Oh, I do plan to sell the old sink and toliet with goal of re-couping my costs into the bathroom upgrade. Any takers for a burgundy set?

Anyway, we need to get both of those installed which we will attempt to do ourselves with a few borrowed tools from a plumber friend (I hope). Then there is trim to add to the walls in the half bath which we’ll do first. 007 is also going to paint with his mad skills the ceiling and walls above the tile. We debated removing the tile as it has maroon accents with grey and white fake marble streaks but figured it would be scary to see what is under that tile so we are leaving it for the next people. It’s not as hideous as I describe just dated. I would say 80’s but I’m not that good at dating tile.

With those things done we’ll be ready to start brining in furniture for staging the place. I plan to use rent-a-center because they will deliver and pick-up the furniture when I’m done. I just need to figure out if it’s a good deal or not. I never used such a service but I’m sure there not completely crooked right?

So we are close but man we are still far away from listing it… dang it! This all leads me to why I have nothing to report on the remodel as we can’t be in two homes at once. I wish I had realized that fact sooner. Humph:)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ignorance is bliss...

So here is a quote from a friend’s blog…

“Although I did not support Obama, it is amazing that in 150 years we have gone from a country that wrongfully enslaved blacks, to providing equal rights to all, and now to having a black serve in the White House. God bless America!” - Nice girl (NG)

Ignorance is bliss. Well, my friend Chrystal was concerned about her blog post based on this quote not in the ideology that she might offend someone but more in the since that her thoughts wouldn’t come through. Well rest assured they did and you did a great job!

Now on to my thoughts, hopefully they will make some since… You’ll need to read Chrystal’s post first to understand mine probably. Here’s the link.

I think it really does come down to ignorance and education.

The short version of the story: NG made a hatful comment on a social networking site. Chrystal responded. NG removed post. Chrystal removed her response. NG posted above quote on Chrystal’s page.

Although, NG quote above is offensive and rather short sided I don’t believe she realized what she was saying when she posted the above statement. It’s all about education and the burden Chrystal carries as she tries time and time again to make the world a better place by correcting one miss guided comment at a time. NG did delete her previous comments based on whatever Chrystal said to her. Now my first thought was why? Did she delete it b/c she too remembers Chrystal from school and respects her or did it finally hit her up side the head that she was being ignorant, rude and hateful. Hmmm I wonder.

The key though is the hateful comment was removed. Also, Chrystal opened NG's eyes on some level by saying something. Chrystal didn’t stay quite and that is brave, very brave. Granted I realize that NG then posted yet another comment and one that drives me mad.

So let me get this straight a MAN campaigned and ran for the highest political office in this country which he attained. Does that mean we are even or that our history lesson is over? NO. These two issues although closely related are separate in my mind. The slate has not been wiped clean with this man's accomplishment. We still oh it to each other to remember our ugly beginnings and to realize why others take offense, how to correct our speech, and how to raise our social concise. It's called being civilized and respectful.

I know having Obama head to the White House is a huge accomplishment and as a loyal Oprah watcher I fully understand the significance. I guess my big question though is why does race have to come up in such a negative connotation?

I understand and am personally shocked that he did win as I feared that the religious right would try to stop the momentum he has behind him with there scary tactics. I am not kidding on this. It has been scary and I’m in one of those “red states”. I personal fear for his safety b/c of all the hatred in this country that peak out from people I want to respect but now can’t. However, I have hope and a lot of it comes from him and his wife. They are daring and willing to put themselves out there, to take the heat, and for that I look to them to guide my actions.

Do I think this is a historic time in history? Yes, however, it has more to do with who he is as an individual, who he reminds me of, and the hope I have that our country has reached this moment. I have never seen a political candidate capture such audiences or speak with such amazing clarity. To me he is a leader that motives and inspires masses of people to make positive changes and to get involved. Why wouldn’t I want that?

A few days ago I went to dinner with an old friend from HS. We ate at a brew pub in Lawrence. Granted it’s a college town but what I thought was oh so cool was a large group of college age students sitting at a table near us. The group was comprised of every ethnicity I could think of and at the end of the table was a cardboard cut out of… you guessed it Obama. I was curious so I stopped and asked about the cut out and if they had worked on the campaign. They had and that was when it hit me.

Not one of those students was concerned about race they were simply out with friends. They were celebrating an accomplishment of someone they see as a leader. Someone who I hope will finally move us to a country that encompasses all, like that table of students did. I want to live in a country where my friend Chrystal doesn’t have to educate people and each of us are respected based on who we are not our color.

Hmmm apparently we stuck a nerve with this post. Maybe it too will educate or at least spur some form of educated discussion. That is my only hope.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Missing my Malea ;)

Hmm, it's been one crazy week since my last and first post. I have had an amazing week and it has had highs and lows. I assume this is how most weeks go for just about everyone and although my week is unique for me it is not unique in its complexity from anyone else's. Strange don't ya think how we are all similar and yet we all lead very different lives.

Well, enough of the thinking and on to the recap...As luck would have it my pal Chrystal had work travel that took her to KS. She spent the trip speaking and sharing about her job at three of our universities in this great state. She is part of an amazing program and the opportunities this program provides to students is fantastic. So she came, she shared, and we got to hang out.

The week was extra special for me because Chrystal brought her daughter Malea. I first meet Malea in August of '07 when she was only a month + old. I couldn't wait for their plane to land so I could see how much she has grown. Since Chrystal had work meetings to handle it meant Malea and I would get some one on one girl time. I would like to think we bonded at least on my end.

First off let me just say Malea simply ROCKS! Okay, now that I have that out of my system I will say adding a baby to the mix sure changes things. It changes how fast you get out the door, how much crap you have to take with you, and what you get done during the day. We did get a lot done though. It's just that we slowed down and did more enjoyable things like make faces at each other. It was cool and now sitting in my car outside the library (as this is the only way I have Internet access during the remodel) I keep thinking she is in the back seat.

Weird... We didn't spend a ton of time together but that time sure left an impact on me and I sure miss her. Of course I miss her Mom too but unlike Malea I know Chrystal will be about the same next time I see her. Malea will change each and every day. I wish I could see those changes in person rather than in pictures. However, pictures, her mom's blog, and chats on the phone will have to do. And so it goes.

What did we do during this visit? We did a lot. We had some great meals out including sushi and Thai food. Yep, we have such places in KS. Malea and I also went to vote! She helped me cast my vote early for the next President (fingers crossed). No we didn't vote for that old guy and his poster child side kick. No, We voted for positive change and I am really counting on Obama for that! Malea and I used the touch screen machine to vote and we both pushed the button together. I wish I had a photo but the electoral lady said she couldn't take our photo. She did give us BOTH "I voted" stickers and I'll post photos later.

I am not sure why this election means more to me than others but it does. Maybe it was my Social Change and Advocacy class and the text we had to read for that class; "Rules for Radicals." No, it's not on the watch list and yes it's an old book. The course focused on grass roots movements. How each of us can have an impact and how to start that process in a positive way. I digress

We also went trick or treating with my sister's kids. We headed to a neat neighborhood in my town and it was like stepping back in time. Kids everywhere you look running door to door for candy. Each home was decorated to the hill with decor. It was neat. On their last day, to-do we visited a national historic site; "Brown vs. Board of Education." We didn't have much time and Malea had to eat so Chrystal saw more of it than us. Still it was done very well and I will have comments on it at some point. I will need to go back first to get the full experience.

The girls also visited my new ranch. We went on a hike and Malea learned quickly to keep her legs up high as I carried her through the tall weeds. She was not too pleased with me on that account. It was fun to show them the ranch "under construction."

It was a fun visit and I hope they make it back to my neck of the woods in the near future preferable when the new place is done so they can stay with me or at least cook at the house with me. Here's some pic's. Oh, and the title of this post is a shout out to a good Brooks and Dunn song, "My Maria." I like the rhythm of it.