Wednesday, June 22, 2011

home owners: day 4

so today . . . we discovered that we have sprinklers in the back yard.

our back yard is kind of a mess. among other issues, it has no grass. as someone who grew up in the pacific northwest, this is strange to me. i just think a yard should have grass--otherwise, it is just landscaping...

shortly after we were married, we visited rollie's parents in tucson, arizona. i'd never been to tucson before. i didn't really know what to expect. thankfully it was spring, not summer, and the desert was in bloom! his mom and dad did an awesome job of choosing the most interesting things for us to see and do. i still remember that as one of our best vacations! but when we got there, i immediately noticed that lots of homes did not have grass in their front yards. they were landscaped, but with a totally different kind of vegetation than i was used to. as the week wore on, i came to appreciate the beauty of rocks and succulents and cactus plants... as long as it wasn't in MY yard...

when we started looking for a house a few months ago, one of the things that was important to us was the backyard. rollie's job has more than it's share of stress, and we knew that he was going to need a place to escape and regain his equilibrium. we even passed up a beautifully remodeled house on a quiet cul-de-sac because it backed up to a school field, and we knew our pups would never stop barking and the neighbors would hate us because our dogs would never stop barking and how restful would THAT be?!?!?!

so we needed grass. or a pool...

no, we need grass. we have dogs and dogs need grass for, well, you know what for. at least i think dogs need grass. but maybe they don't. one of the houses we looked at had a pool in the backyard. i kind of wanted a pool. i don't know why--i can't swim, and i get somewhat panicky if i am dropped into water where my feet can't touch the bottom, and this pool was really deep. (ok, let's be honest here. if my feet can't touch the bottom, i will die. i can't swim. i've taken swimming lessons, but every swimming teacher i've ever had has been baffled by my inability to successfully propel my body forward through the water. i kick. i pull my skinny little arms through the water. i hold my breath. and i go nowhere. i use a kick board, and i go backwards! i. can't. swim. and yet, i kind of wanted a pool...) what we found was that the houses we could afford that had pools usually didn't have any grass--the back yard would pretty much be filled with water and concrete. but i noticed that there were two dogs living in this one house we looked at that had a pool. so i scoped out every nook and cranny in the backyard looking for the dogs' bathroom. i found nothing. finally i asked, "where do your dogs go to the bathroom?" i thought that if buying this house was a possibility, i needed to know! "oh," the owner said, "they just go on the concrete in the back yard, and then we hose it off!"

ok, we would not be buying THAT house...

besides, by the time we got to the garage, i was pretty sure the concrete in the back yard was not the only place those two dogs relieved themselves.

maybe our dogs are just spoiled. they have always had grass, and a doggie door to give them direct access to the back yard. so even though our new house doesn't actually have grass yet, at least there is a decent sized patch of dirt where grass could be (and will be) installed.

although our yard has no grass, it does have sprinklers--some were buried, but they were there. so rollie decided to test them. he turned the water on, and half of the sprinklers shot water out into the "yard." success! he turned those off and turned the others on, and suddenly our yard was inhabited by "old faithful!" water was shooting up into the air and flooding a section of the yard. clearly, we were missing a sprinkler head... but at least we now knew where the sprinklers were supposed to be!

i think this is a good sign. it means we won't have to dig trenches and lay pvc pipe to get water--we will just have to buy a few sprinkler heads and a timer. so i consider myself lucky!

because i can live without a pool, but i NEED some soft green grass. and so do my pups.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

home owners: day 2

so today . . . my new house is a mess.

i knew that knocking down the popcorn ceiling was going to be messy--that is largely why we decided to do it now while the house was empty. but jose' (our painter,) and his helper have been working for most of two days shrouding everything in plastic.they've used miles of tape!! they started by covering all the floors with yards and yards of paper in preparation for painting, but when i said we had decided to have them do the ceilings as well, that's when, somewhere on the planet, plastic sheeting production kicked into overdrive...

while they made my house look like a construction site, i spent the day cleaning in the kitchen. and waiting for the guy from the gas company to turn on the gas...

i've never really paid attention to the utilities before. i flip a switch and i have power. i turn on a faucet and water comes out. i know we pay for the power and water that we use, but i've never paid any attention to all the equipment it takes to get that power and water to me. but when a house changes hands, you don't just automatically get power and water. oh no. you have to jump through hoops and wait around all day and hope that you don't need power or water until the utility guys get there to turn it on.

when the electric company came, she just read the meter and left. they hadn't actually turned the power off, so that one was easy. when the water guy came, well, i don't know exactly what he did, because that was yesterday and i had my hands kind of full with the locksmith, shutter guy, and carpet guy. i just know that i didn't have water, and then i did.

but the gas company was another story. i guess it's because gas can kill you. the gas company guy was not fooling around! he checked out all the places where we needed gas (and there seem to be a lot of them,) and then he said, "come with me. i need to show you some things..." uh oh. this can't be good. he didn't say it in a "this is your lucky day" kind of voice. he was using the "voice of doom."

did i mention that this guy was HUGE!! he was tall. he was hefty. he looked samoan. he had facial hair. and he looked serious!! i was pretty sure he was going to tell me that our house was just about to blow up if we didn't pour major money into the gas lines...

he proceeded to tell me what he was going to turn on and what he was not going to turn on. i didn't know there were options, but apparently there were. the result was, i would have hot water, but no heat until a fixed hose was replaced with a flexible one, and i couldn't use the fireplace until the damper was removed. this is ok with me. it is june. it will be a little while before i need either the fireplace or the heater...

and he didn't even want to talk about the spa equipment...

remember the spa? the 11 x 7 foot in-ground spa that is now buried under the deck?? suspiciously??? yes, well, all that equipment runs on gas, but since the spa is filled with dirt instead of water, he decided to pretend that it wasn't there at all.

ok, we were making progress!

and then the carpet guy arrived. a new carpet guy, thank goodness. one who did not know my previous history with keys and locks and locksmiths. we went upstairs to measure the bedrooms for carpeting. i waited, and he measured. i waited, and he wrote down numbers. i waited, and he went over to the corner of the master bedroom and pulled up the carpeting. i waited, and he dropped it back into place and moved on to the next room...

when my mom found out that our house was built in 1967, she told me to look under the carpets before i had them replaced. she said that when they built their house, they were given the choice of hardwood floors or wall-to-wall carpeting. they chose the carpet, as did a lot of people. now she wishes she had chosen the wood, but you know, it was 1967... who knew that 45 years later she would have to pay big bucks to get wood flooring. in 1967, wall-to-wall carpeting probably seemed luxurious. and she had two kids with bare feet who played on the floor...

and so i had planned to look under the carpets, but i'd been kind of busy and had just forgotten about it. so when the carpet guy left, i went back upstairs, held my breath, and pulled back the carpet. and guess what? it was my lucky day after all!!

it was wood. there was wood under that awful carpeting! and the part i saw was in really good shape! of course, it was a corner. a corner wouldn't get a lot of wear and tear. so i pulled back some more. it still looked good. i pulled it back about a third of the way into the room. it was dirty, but when i wiped a few squares with a damp cloth, it looked really good! it was smooth and unmarred and shiny. it didn't look like it had ever even been walked on! i couldn't believe it! i immediately texted rollie and my mom and a couple of friends and posted a picture to facebook. i was so excited! not only had i found a wood floor, but it was a wood floor in excellent condition! i was not going to have to sand and refinish it before we could use it. i was not going to have to pay for new carpeting--and let me tell you, in a 500 square foot room, that was a big deal!! i was just going to have to vacuum it and wipe it down and it was going to be beautiful.

and then i thought, what about the walk-in closet? i grabbed some pliers and headed into the closet. and guess what?? yep, more wood flooring in the closet. i was feeling lucky. i was feeling like i had won the lottery!

and then i thought, i wonder if the other two bedrooms have wood... so my pliers and i raced to the small bedroom. i held my breath, lifted up the yukky carpeting, and saw... blonde faux wood vinyl tiles. UGLY blonde faux wood vinyl tiles. i went a little more slowly to the third bedroom, lifted up a carpet edge and found more... ugly blonde faux wood vinyl tiles... which were probably glued firmly down over lovely wood parquet floors.

now i felt like the i.r.s. was after my lottery winnings...

but you know what? even if the i.r.s. takes half of your lottery winnings, you are still left with more than you started with! so i went back into my bedroom and sat down to admire my free bonus wood parquet floor. the more i looked at it, the more i loved it! and i felt lucky again...

...because while you can't win them all, sometimes, you win one :-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

home owners: day 1

so today . . . is a new day. today i will not lock myself out of the house. i hope. today will be day one of home ownership!

our house is wonderful. it is beautiful. but it isn't perfect. it was built in 1967 (the same year that my mom and dad built their house. i find this to be an interesting coincidence. i don't remember a lot of details about my childhood, but i vividly remember that house being built. i remember the big empty rooms, the soft dust in the backyard, and eating a lot of meals at a&w. i remember being there late at night while my mom stained and varnished miles of woodwork. i don't exactly remember my dad painting, but i'm pretty sure he did--he is a painter! why would he pay someone else to do that!) and so it was time for some updating. while remodeling had been done on the first floor, the upstairs had been pretty much ignored. we had managed to save up some money for improvements, and today was the day i was going to get estimates from EVERYONE. then i planned to look at the estimates, decide what we could afford to have done, and get things scheduled. i figured we would be in our house by the end of the week, improvements completed.

i am so naive.

of course, it didn't help that i couldn't get into the house this morning until the locksmith arrived! he was scheduled to come at 9:00 a.m. so was the painter. i had scheduled the painter a few days ago, before i knew i was going to NEED a locksmith first thing monday morning. and then the carpet guy from home depot was going to come at 10:00. the shutter guy was coming at 11:00 and the window guy was coming at noon. oh, and the salvation army was supposed to come and pick up all the stuff left by the sellers sometime during the day...

yes, the sellers left a bunch of stuff in the garage. apparently no one wanted it. i sure didn't want it! the only thing they had that i wanted were the cool stools that were at the kitchen counter. of course, they took those, along with all the toilet paper...

when we did our final walk through last monday, the house was supposed to be empty. it wasn't. of course. the ex-wife's attorney had acquired an order that prohibited any furniture from being removed from the property. this made the sellers mad! really mad!! "she took 80 percent of the furniture when she moved out, and now she wants more?!?!?!" was the general sentiment. they were all supposed to meet at the house last friday and decide who was going to get what (doesn't that sound like fun??) but apparently when the dust settled, there were some things that no one wanted, so they just left them in the garage and arranged for the salvation army to pick them up today. which would have been fine, except someone needed to be there to let the salvation army into the garage! i quickly volunteered. rollie would be at work, and somehow i didn't think it would be a good thing to have the seller's sister hanging around all day while i was getting work estimates...

i got to the house just before 9:00, and the painter arrived a few minutes later. i explained to him why we had to sit on the front step instead of going into the house. he just smiled and said, "ok, no problem." he says no problem a lot. he is the most agreeable man i know. and he knows me, so when i told him i had locked us out of the house within hours of getting the keys, he didn't seem all that surprised...

we waited. and waited. i decided we could at least talk about the outside painting, so we did. that took about 10 minutes. and then we waited some more. finally about 9:45 a guy showed up with a clipboard. "hi!" i said, "you must be the locksmith!" "nooo," he said, "i'm here to measure for carpet." i explained that we were waiting for a locksmith to let us in, and he said, "how did you lock yourself out?"

why do people ask me this? it is irrelevant! does it matter how i locked myself out? no. no it doesn't. the only relevant fact for the carpet guy was that we couldn't get in, which might make him late for his next appointment. but short of saying, "it's none of your business," there was no way to avoid the question, so i told him. he smirked and shook his head.

we waited. and waited. the carpet guy kept looking at his watch and rolling his eyes. he said, "do you even know if he is coming?!?" i did not like the carpet guy. i know he had a schedule and all, but he was kind of condescending and mean. so i called, and the locksmith said he was on his way and would be there in 5 minutes. this elicited another smirk and eye roll from the carpet guy. "i've heard THAT before," he said, "they always say 5 minutes..."

i hate to admit it, but the carpet guy was right. twenty minutes later the locksmith showed up. and he seemed to be in no hurry. he got his tools out of his truck and sauntered to the front door. and then, for the third time today, i was asked, "how did you lock yourself out?"


no, i didn't yell that, but i was certainly thinking it. so i edited the story and told it again. and the locksmith continued to try to break into my house. and the carpet guy continued to look at his watch every three minutes. and the painter continued to wait patiently and smile whenever i looked at him. i was beginning to love the painter...

but not the locksmith. he could not pick the lock! he worked on that lock for 15 minutes! i didn't think it would be that hard. on tv it only takes them seconds to get through locked doors, and they don't have a box full of tools and a license that allows them to legally break in! they just stick a hairpin in the lock, jiggle it around for 10 seconds, and it unlocks. clearly our locksmith had never been to prison...

the carpet guy stopped checking his watch and sighing long enough to suggest that maybe we should try a different lock. well, we could try the garage door, but then we would have to also break into the door leading from the garage to the house, because i was sure rollie had locked that door as well! so instead, we went to the french doors in the back. "no," the locksmith said, "i'd have to drill that lock. let's go try the front door again." the carpet guy had had enough. he said he had other appointments, and i would have to reschedule. then he left. i was glad. my poor house had enough karma issues without adding a cranky carpet guy to the mix...

two minutes after the carpet guy left, the locksmith popped the lock. of course...

and so, we were finally in. i got the locksmith busy on re-keying my new doorknobs so that ONE key would open them all. and then the shutter guy arrived. i sent him off to measure windows while i talked to the painter and waited for the salvation army to arrive...

i waited all day for the salvation army. they never came. i don't know what happened. maybe they had the wrong address. i rescheduled the carpet measuring for tomorrow. the shutter guy gave me his estimate. i thought about calling an ambulance to resuscitate me, but instead i managed to say, "i'll have to think about that and get back to you..." like maybe when i win the lottery...

but the painter is my hero. he worked all day covering the floors and walls to prep for painting. he is going to remove the popcorn ceilings, paint everything inside (including all the baseboards, crown moldings, doors, and closet interiors,) and also the outside. and he isn't just going to paint--he is going to repair and sand and make the inside of my 45 year old house look like new construction. yes, he is a miracle worker!

and i haven't seen him roll his eyes once!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

home owners: ground zero

so tonight . . . we went to burger king for dinner. but since we now own a brand new house, we decided to get take out and then take it HOME to eat!

(i keep saying we are homeowners, but really, it isn't ours. yet. it belongs to bank of america. but they seem to be ok with letting us live there for the next 20 years as long as we keep paying them... i just hope they appreciate the improvements we are making in their house!)

i kind of wanted to spend some time in my new house without being surrounded by hostility. every time we have been in the house, there has been DRAMA! i just wanted to wander around and breathe... and smile! i had paint samples to look at (because the painter is coming tomorrow,) and measuring to do and lists to make... i was finally going to have some fun in my new house! and i was excited about it!

but i was also hungry. and even though the kitchen is a cook's dream, tonight it wasn't mine, because there wasn't any food in it! so we locked all the doors and went out to the car. and that is when we discovered that the garage door was still open...

the garage door has been another issue. the garage door openers seem to have gone awol. the ex-husband's family is sure that the ex-wife has them--in fact, they had disconnected it just in case she decided to try to get in and take their stuff. so the only way to open and close the door is to use the manual switch inside the garage. rollie punched the button, and nothing happened. so of course, he punched it again. and again. and again. and still nothing happened. he had had it working earlier, so he couldn't figure out why suddenly it wouldn't close! we tried everything we could think of, until out of desperation, he had me flip a switch in the opposite corner of the garage. this seemed to provide power to the switch, and so garage door finally closed. (don't ask my why a switch clear across the garage has to be on in order for the manual garage door opener switch to work... i can't wait until our replacement remotes get here!)

we got in the car to go get dinner, and immediately realized that we didn't know where to go. right now we live just a few blocks away from several places to eat, but the new house is just far enough away that we weren't quite sure what was close. we drove around until we found a burger king, bought food, and went back to the house. now we had food, but no chairs to sit on, so we went out to the back yard and sat on the step. it was so nice and quiet. we munched our burgers and talked about what we wanted to do with the backyard. lost in conversation about sod and sprinklers and strawberry bushes and tomato plants (yes, i am still trying to convince myself they are yummy!) we sat on the step for quite a while. when it started to get dark, we picked up our trash and went into the house.

at least, that was our plan. but there was a problem. the back door seemed to be locked.

i'm not sure exactly how it got locked. i had unlocked it when we went out, and i had left the keys IN the deadbolt so that they wouldn't get misplaced, since we only had one set of keys. and there they were, in the lock, inside the house. and the door was locked. "i think we are locked out!" i said to rollie. "where are the keys?" he asked. what did he mean, where are the keys?!? i had TOLD him i was going to leave them in the deadbolt so they wouldn't get lost! and what had he said?? let me think a minute here... oh yeah, he had said he didn't think i should leave them in the lock, because jill told him that the doorknob would still turn even when it was locked... and THERE WAS NO KEY FOR THAT DOORKNOB... and so it was easy to get locked out!!

so i stand corrected. FOUR different keys to the outside doors apparently weren't enough. apparently we needed FIVE different keys.

(just so you know, this was all rollie's fault... he gave ME the only set of keys. THE ONLY SET!! does the man not know me at all?!?!?!? i misplace things all the time! clearly, he should have been the keeper of the keys. AND he locked the front door after we went into the house with our food. i hardly ever lock the front door. usually my hands are full of stuff and by the time i empty my hands, i have forgotten all about locking the door. he is always bugging me, "don't forget to lock the front door." or "why isn't the front door locked?" sometimes i just get the look--the one that says, "really? you left the front door unlocked again? why don't you just put a sign in the yard that says 'come on in and burgle us...'")

when we discovered we were locked out, i immediately sent rollie to check the front door, which i knew was an exercise in futility, because i KNEW he had locked it behind him, but hope springs eternal... and in this case, dies. because of course the front door was locked, as were all the other doors.

ok, i admit it--it wasn't really rollie's fault.

it was the seller's fault. i mean, come on!! only one key for each lock?? i have a difficult time believing that they only had one key for each lock. four people were living here! are you telling me they all shared one set of keys??? i don't think so. i am pretty sure it was just their final salvo in the war over the house. and who uses a different key for each door anyway?!?!? burglars aren't going to use a key, so i'm not sure it enhances security at all! it just enhances my ability to lock us out!

we tried every door. and of course, rollie had locked them all. we were not going to get back into our new house. at least, not tonight...

did i mention that my purse was still in the house?

thankfully my phone was still in my pocket. i pulled it out and called jill. "hi jill," i said. "oh hi," she said, "are you enjoying your new house?" i could hear the smile in her voice. jill is our friend, and she was so happy that we were finally in our house. "well, actually, we are kind of locked out of the house..." there was silence. and then laughter. LAUGHTER!!! ok, i love jill, but i am not sure this was an appropriate response! "did you try the other doors," she asked?

really? REALLY????? did she think i was calling her when i knew she was celebrating father's day with her family, before first trying every conceivable way of getting in?!?!?!

"yes, we have tried all the doors. we are locked out. i'm not sure what to do."

this is not the first time i have been locked out of a house--not even close! but there is always someone i can call who has an extra key. sometimes it takes a while, but i can always find help. the problem was, this house was too new. we had only had it about two hours. no one else had a key--WE only had one set!!

jill finally stopped laughing long enough to help me find a locksmith. since it wasn't an emergency, we made an appointment for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. i was just glad jill had stopped laughing. i had detected a slight maniacal edge to it. i'm sure she thought that when she handed us those keys, the whole house-hunting nightmare was finally going to be over.

but it wasn't. clearly she doesn't read my blogs...

so the locksmith was coming in the morning--what should we do now? we decided we should go to home depot and buy new doorknobs. i know, i know--closing the barn door after the horse is already gone. but now that our brains had finally tumbled to the fact that all the doorknobs were different, we realized it would be a waste of money to have the mismatched doorknobs re-keyed. because i was pretty sure my ocd-ness was not going to let me live in a house with doorknobs like that!

it was now 8:30 p.m. thankfully home depot is pretty close. i thought we would dash in, grab four doorknobs, pay, and dash out. it was a good plan. until i saw the rows and rows and rows of doorknobs...

you've heard the term "heaven on earth?" this was not that. this was the other place...

i had exactly half an hour to make a decision about doorknobs--a decision i didn't even know i was going to have to make, so it was a decision i was totally unprepared for. i just started looking for a brushed stainless steel doorknob. and i found one. actually i found about 25! so the decision-making part of my brain tried to kick into overdrive--i knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

i had to choose a shape. but they are all packaged up so you can't hold one in your hand! how did i know which doorknob i wanted to grip every time i went in or out of my house for the next 20 years?!?!?! and then rollie further confused me by talking about exterior doorknobs vs interior doorknobs. and THEN he said we needed a dummy doorknob for our double front door. a DUMMY doorknob?!?!?! i had no idea what that was, but it didn't sound very nice.

i finally picked one. rollie picked up three more that were exactly the same, (because let me tell you, OUR exterior doorknobs are all going to MATCH!) and we started moving toward the cash registers. but my heart was pounding. i was having a little trouble breathing. i felt a little panicky. i stopped and said, "i'm not sure about these doorknobs."

i AM sure rollie just wanted to scream "JUST GET THE DOORKNOBS!!!!!!! SHEESH!!! IT IS JUST A DOORKNOB!!!!!" but he knows me, and loves me anyway. so what he SAID was, "ok, then let's go back and look again." and he patiently pointed out every single brushed steel doorknob that was available--even the ones that we both knew i was not going to buy because they were ridiculously expensive! we discussed the pros and cons of different brands and ratings and shapes and sizes. he gave up the lever looking doorknobs, even though he liked them, because i said i thought they would look like an evil, villianous moustache on our double front doors and the back french doors. and then, at a few minutes to 9:00 we were at the cash register--with the first doorknobs i had picked...

i'm not counting this as day one of home ownership. i'm not. i think taking possession of a house sort of implies that you can get into it. and i can't. so in the future, june 19, 2011 will be referred to as ground zero--the day it began...

or father's day...

or better yet, DIANDRA'S BIRTHDAY :-)

it will NOT be referred to as the first time julie locked herself out of the new house! because, you know, that implies that there will be other times...

home owners: the beginning...

so today . . . is the big day. all the ducks are in a row, and we are supposed to take possession of our new house. according to all the paperwork, we were supposed to get the keys no later than 5:00 p.m. today.

you may notice i said "supposed to..."

nothing in this whole process of buying a house has gone according to plan. nothing. in fact, rollie and i were just talking about how we actually bought this house without really checking out every nook and cranny. we would ask each other questions, and it was surprising how much we didn't know. and yet, here we are, with a house that i'm sure still holds surprises...

so at 5:00 when rollie came into the family room and said, "it's 5:00. have you heard from our realtor yet?" i said no. i was pretty sure we weren't going to hear by 5:00, even though all the paperwork said we would...

at 5:20 the phone rang. it was jill, our realtor. she had the keys! it was finally time to "take possession" of our new house. we were so excited!

when we got there, jill handed us four keys. four different keys--one for the front door, one for the back door, one for the outside garage door and one for the door between the garage and the house. yes, we had exactly ONE key for each lock. one. but at least we had keys!!

we walked slowly through the empty house, seeing some things for the first time...
--every outside doorknob is different, which is why there are four keys! the outside garage door doesn't even have a knob! the deadbolt is installed where the doorknob should be, and then a hook is screwed into the door to be used as a handle, i guess... (i took a picture of this specifically for my blog. but i took it with my iphone. and i can't get photos from my iphone to my computer without ms. martha or ms. jessica! and since i am on summer vacation, i am on my own... so sadly you do not get to see this ridiculous doorknobless, deadbolted door.)
--there is a random knob in the middle of the inside of the front door.
--there was a pretty long, shallow scratch in the flooring in one room. it doesn't scream at you when you walk in the room, but still... i guess we should be glad that with all those wood floors, that was the only casualty.
--there was no continuity to anything! when i stood in the living room, every light switch plate that i saw was different--brass, white, silver... some light switches had a regular switch, some had a toggle, some had a weird sort of fader, some had a kind of automatic switch. there are several different kinds of doorknobs IN THE HOUSE. sometimes even on the same door...
--there is a mystery push-button by the kitchen sink, and although we pushed it several times, we don't know WHAT it does. apparently it doesn't do anything!
--they took all the toilet paper, but left the heavy drapes. (ok, now i didn't expect that they would leave us ANYTHING, but really. what is the thought process that happens when you are taking a partial roll of toilet paper off the holder and packing it...)
--we are going to have to get a new washer and dryer, because ours are electric and the hook-ups are gas. darn :-)
--the dining room light fixture is massive!
somehow it didn't look quite as big when there was a table under it. and it is kind of ugly. and heavy. and it has those little candle looking lights with lampshades on them... it may be the first casualty of our new home-ownership... (and if any of you have this particular light fixture in your home, i am sorry i called it ugly. maybe a more tactful way to put it is, it isn't quite to my taste...)

but we also noticed some good things...
--the fireplace is really pretty--we had never been able to get a good look at it, because it is right under where they had their tv. and they were always watching tv! it has a lovely wood mantle and granite hearth.
although that little garland decoration has got to go!
--the family room is hard-wired for surround sound, and there is every kind of audio/visual hook-up that a guy could want. sadly for rollie, we cannot say this about the man room. yet.
--there are sprinkler heads in the back yard. we didn't notice them before, because they are partially buried. so maybe there is a sprinkler system, just not any grass.
--the garage is all sheet-rocked and painted. there was so much stuff in it, it was hard to tell. and there is still stuff in it, because they couldn't get the salvation army to come pick it up on a sunday. do they even know what the salvation army is?!?!? of course they aren't going to pick up stuff on a sunday! (oh my goodness--just wait until you read the blog about why that stuff is still in the garage...)
--the storage shed (which i am sure the city of cerritos will make us remove if they ever discover that it is there) is pretty spacious. although, rollie has already laid claim to it's spaciousness, so really this is irrelevant to ME!
--two of our neighbors have dogs. (this is both good and bad--good, because i think they will be more tolerant of our dogs' barking, but bad, because our dogs will probably bark more!)
--some of the switch plate covers are really cool. some of them. the rest are icky,
but i am hopeful that i can find more of the cool ones...
it was nice to finally be in our new home. it isn't perfect. yet. but we have some plans for a facelift. and when we get done, then i am sure it will be perfect. but for now, we are going to go to burger king, get some dinner, and come back and eat it at our new house.

just because we CAN! :-)

a shift...

so today . . . is diandra's birthday. and father's day. and sunday. i am experiencing a blogging dilemma.

first of all, usually i don't even blog on sundays. my sundays tend to be very predictable. they go something like this: church, lunch, nap, dinner, a little tv, bedtime. my sundays are not fertile ground for blogging material. even for my overactive brain.

but at lunch today, diandra informed me that she would be looking forward to her birthday blog, since today was her birthday. she said this in the presence of her father, who reminded her that it was also father's day. but since diandra has had the dubious distinction of being an only child, she is of the opinion that her birthday trumps everything else. and although she graciously took her dad to a movie today to celebrate father's day, she is right. her birthday usually wins.

(and i love you dad, but you are fishing today. which is one of the things you love to do most, so i am glad that is how you are spending your special day. but you aren't home to read a blog about yourself anyway, so i guess i will wait until YOUR birthday to write a blog for you. happy father's day!)

since birthdays come around only once a year, it has been twelve months since diandra's last birthday blog. i couldn't remember what i had written--probably you can't remember either! but in my continuing quest to keep from repeating myself, i went back and read her birthday blogs from 2009 and 2010. they were pretty good. if you missed them, you should go read them now.
as i read, i realized how much i admire my daughter. she is an amazing woman! and i use the word "woman" here for the first time when referring to her (i think,) because this last year is the year diandra turned into an adult...

some people think that when their children turn 18, they become adults. i have heard more than one parent say, "well, what can i do? they are 18, you know. legally they are an adult..." (this usually comes at the end of a sad story about their child making some poor decisions, as 18 year olds sometimes do.) this always perplexes me. just because a child can legally vote, they do not magically turn into an adult on the eve of their 18th birthday. being an adult is not about one's age--it is about one's maturity. it is about losing that self-serving, self-centered focus and starting to realize the world does not revolve around them. it is about being responsible, making good decisions, owning up to bad ones, and having a broader perspective than "it's all about me, me, me!!!"

some people never turn into adults...

but this year, diandra did. i have blogged about her enough that you all know i think she is the most perfect daughter on planet earth. is she always perfect? no. do i agree with every decision she makes? no, (just ask her belly button.) does she still roll her eyes at me? maybe occasionally... but her perspective is different. she isn't looking at things like a kid anymore. she is thinking more like an adult.

today diandra turns 26 years old. she has faced some very difficult things since her 18th birthday. she has not always been in control of her life, but she has taken responsibility for it. she has made hard choices, unpopular choices, maybe even a bad choice or two, but she has learned from all of those choices. she is able to deal with her emotional ups and downs, rather than being ruled by them. she is being who she is, not who she thinks everyone else wants her to be. she knows she is just a part of the world, not the center of the universe...

...unless it is june 19th. because june 19th is her birthday. and so on june 19th it IS all about her--even if june 19th falls on a sunday... which is also father's day...

i love you, diandra! you are an amazing woman! i think your 27th year is going to be awesome!!!
you are still my favorite daughter :-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

did you miss me?

so today . . . it has been a month since my last post. a whole month.

i hope this never happens again. i love to blog, but the last month of my life has been hectic, stressful, and aggravating. it has not been funny... well, unless you are of the mindset that sometimes your only choices are to laugh or cry... then maybe there have been a few moments of laughter, but only because the situation has been so ridiculous as to almost be unbelievable.

we bought a house. we don't actually get the keys until tomorrow, but the papers are all signed and the money is somewhere on it's way from our bank to the seller's bank. it has not been an easy process. someday, i will write out the whole crazy story. but for now, let me just mention a few of the things we have been dealing with...

--a beautiful house.
--a crime committed on the property.
--an ex-wife and an incarcerated ex-husband.
--a court order forcing ex-husband to accept our offer.
--lovely wood floors.
--convicted felon's parents currently living in the beautiful house.
--very angry sister with power of attorney for jailed brother.
--an unbelievable struggle over a refrigerator.
--a huge master suite with walk-in closet and two sinks in the bathroom.
--icky bedroom carpeting.
--possible court sanctions against 401k of the man behind bars if cooperation continues to be non-existent.
--quiet street lined with messy pine trees.
--disappearing garage storage cabinets.
--a waiver of liability in case of injury during the final walk-thru?!?!?
--a misdirected email which further inflamed the situation.
--an abandoned pool table.
--dead grass?? maybe, maybe not... tomorrow we will see.
--an excellent house inspection report.
--except for termites. (hey, it is southern california. we have bugs.)
--who gets what? a final struggle over furnishings.
--an empty window replacement warehouse.
--a buried inground spa, covered up by a deck (i'm pretty sure there is a dead body under there...)
--$1000 here, $1000 there... sheesh! when will it end?!?!?!

and if that weren't enough, there were all the end-of-the-year school things that had to be done--assessments, report cards, class parties, field trips, final work booklets... i am still not finished. one of my afternoons next week will be spent not getting paid at school, cleaning up for the summer.

and did i mention that i haven't packed any boxes yet? no? well, i haven't. i'm too scared that a cock roach will hitch a ride to the new house. (thanks, mom!)

this is why i took some time off from blogging. i am telling you, if i had been blogging everything that has happened in the last month, some of you would have accused me of making it up--yes, it is that weird!

BUT, school is now over for me until next fall. and whether the family of the guy in the orange jumpsuit likes it or not, the sale has been completed. now all that is left to do is arrange to have it painted. and carpet laid in the two bedrooms. and sprinklers and grass installed in the back yard. and new windows installed upstairs. and window shutters. and the locks rekeyed!

oh, and sitting at the house on monday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. waiting for the salvation army to come and take away the furniture that neither the ex-wife or the ex-husband's family wanted. yes, it is going to be a loooong day...

it's ok, though, because i have been waiting almost two months to get to sit inside that house. all. by. myself.