Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bad Idea

So we're in the very beginning stages of operation paint the house. Unfortunately, there's no turning back at this point, as Tim pressure-washed the house this morning which revealed sections of bare wood in several places. It looks god-awful. So we began today and didn't get very far at all before the brand new paint sprayer went kaput. And we weren't able to get the TWELVE FOOT ladder that it turns out is going to be necessary today, so that's a project for tomorrow. And did I mention it's cold? Way too cold for Texas. So we're going to forge ahead, but please give us a break if you come to our New Year's Eve party and the house looks like crap, okay? Thanks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Best Christmas Ever!

Really, this year ranked up there with the best. I think it probably was related to having a little one who was excited about all the Christmas trappings and being able to celebrate in our new home, but I just had the most wonderful and happy Christmas. This past weekend we went to Houston and had Christmas with Tim's family Saturday. All the gifts we got people seemed to be big hits and everyone gave us incredible amounts of generous gifts and Stella got a tricycle from her Baba and Grandaddy! I can't believe my baby's old enough for a tricycle, and although she couldn't quite reach the pedals, she loved being pushed around on it. Her Aunt Christine, safety expert/self-proclaimed Debbie Downer ("I've seen too many traumatic brain injuries") insisted on her having a helmet and I'm very grateful for that. We then headed to Katie and Ryan's for the most delicious turkey I've ever had, as well as some bread pudding that had me reaching for two helpings even though I've never liked bread pudding in my life!



Sunday we had Christmas with my family and I was so happy to see that my parents LOVED the telescope I got them. We got more awesome gifts, including a Red Flyer wagon for Stella! She loves it and it's so convenient to pop her in there and load all our stuff. It comes complete with FOUR cupholders, seat belts and foldable seats! I can't wait to get Daniel in there with her, that will be hilarious. Perhaps we can get one of the dogs to pull them:)


Speaking of dogs, we had a bit of a scary experience Monday morning. My father let Roxie out in the back yard, forgetting that the gate was open because he'd taken out the trash. About 30 minutes later, he realized she was missing. My brother and I drove around looking for her, while my father and Tim went out on foot. I honestly thought she was probably hiding in the backyard or the house somewhere so after our first drive around the neighborhood, Keith and I went home and I got my cellphone (to check and see if someone had called the number on her collar) and searched every nook and cranny of the house and yard for her. No luck. It was then that we found my mother and Stella talking to my parents' neighbor. He said he'd seen Roxie walk back and forth in front of the houses for about 15 minutes. Why he didn't pick her up, I have no clue! So my brother and I went out again as did my father and Tim. Finally, in the middle of my parent's street, which is the main, very busy thoroughfare for their neighborhood, about 5 blocks away from my parents house, Keith said, "there she is!" She was trotting down the middle of the street! He barely came to a stop and I lept out of the car and ran at top speed to scoop her up. There were so many fast cars driving, I think it's a miracle she wasn't hurt. My father felt terrible and was so relieved that we found her. He said otherwise he would have been offering a $500 reward!

Christmas Eve we drove back to Austin and while Tim and Stella went to the grocery store, I did some cleaning. Then we headed to the Christmas Eve service at our church. It was beautiful. We sang Silent Night by candlelight. I'd never been to a candlelight service, but what an amazing and holy way to spend Christmas Eve and remember what Christmas is all about. Although, hopefully we won't get the plague, the family behind us was hacking and sneezing the whole service. I should have known there was a reason why that pew was empty!

We came home, put Stella to bed, had dinner and assembled Stella's table and chairs from Santa. Then Christine and Brian came over and we talked by the fire. Unfortunately the night was marked by many wakings from Stella, so not much sleep for us, but we woke up Christmas Day and Stella immediately ran over to her table and chairs. She loved it. Tim also loved the cool metal and wood clock I got him and it looks as fantastic as I had imagined over the fireplace. Tim got me a beautiful diamond star pendant that I had admired a few months ago AND some delicious Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Frappacinos AND the Patrick Wolf cd which is freakin' awesome AND this adorable mid-century garage ornament to commemorate our new house. He outdid himself this year!


We then went to feed a friend's cats. There were four of them and they'd apparently decided they were too good for the litter boxes, but I won't go into detail here. Suffice to say that I made up for not having to clean out Punky's catbox for four months all at once. Then we dropped by Tim's parents' house to pick up the loot from H-town we'd sent back to Austin with Christine and Brian. Then we went by the Live Oak Market in our old hood for some sandwiches and headed to Town Lake for a picnic. Wow was it beautiful. Then back to the house for naps for Stella and I and videogames for Tim. After I woke up it was time to do some more cleaning and then welcome our dinner guests. We had Tim's parents, his grandmother, Christine and Brian and Erin. We had a blast, it was just lovely. And it meant so much to be able to host Christmas Dinner in our new house. What a wonderful and special Christmas. I hope you all had a great one as well!

I'd better go get showered and then it's off to Home Depot. We're planning on painting the siding and trim on the house while Tim's off work this week. We're going to color-match these fantastic 60's tiles we found outside. Wish us lots of luck and patience!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PANICKED!

So I only have like 2 more shopping days left for Christmas and I still have so much to get. AND I have a hair appointment this afternoon so that's like 2 hours of wasted time. Plus I wasted 1 hour and 15 minutes waiting in line for Santa this morning only to have Stella melt down when she saw him. When that happens and you have spent your entire morning waiting to get a picture of your child on the lap of the man in the big red suit, you wind up spending $24.99 on a cd with this on it:

I think I'm a bit old for Santa, but I should have told I wanted him to bring me more time before Christmas. I wasted more valuable shopping time yesterday morning because my car was in the shop. Then we took Tim's mom out for lunch for her birthday and then I got my car back and had to go to IKEA because we can't count and got the wrong number of chair bottoms for our new dining chairs. I can only recommend that if at all possible, you not move into a new house two weeks before Christmas. Although the house is the best Christmas present I could possibly have, we're so happy here!
Well Tim's back from jogging, so it's off to hit a few stores and then onto the haircut. At least I got Tim a kick-ass present. I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Adventures in Stupidity

I nearly electrocuted and/or blinded myself today. The plug on our clothes dryer does not fit the plug in our house because our house is 39 years old. So I went to Lowe's today and bought an adaptor that fit the plug. Well, my mother and I were trying to figure out how the new dryer plug adaptor fit into the old dryer and while my mother wasn't paying attention so she could yell, "STOP!", I decided I would plug the dryer plug into the wall to make sure it fit. BIG mistake. Next thing I know there is a loud pop, and a blinding flash and I feel a little tingling sensation in my hands and my vision is cloudy. Seriously, I thought I had blinded myself, I started FREAKING OUT! I just said a little prayer to God asking Him that I not be blinded and I kept repeating "Oh, my God". My Mom freaked and Tim came running, and in the end I luckily just singed off the extra hair on my left eyebrow, about half of my eyelashes on my left eye, and the hair around my hairline. It looks a bit weird, but all I can say is that I'm damn glad I can SEE the singed hair. I really thought I would be blind (since I knew I wasn't dead. That of course was my first worry.) It turns out all the metal connectors on the wires on the end of the adaptor were touching and they caused the huge explosion. Thank God the circuit breaker worked as it was supposed to and everything turned out all right. Tim suggested I go get another adaptor, but I am not going near adaptors or the dryer for quite a while. I don't care if I have to buy Stella and I new clothes because we are out of clothing. Damn, that was some scary shit!

(Apparently near-electrocutions run in my family. My mother reminded me of the story of my dad's mother nearly being electrocuted. One of my father's brothers was little and he knocked a radio into the bathtub WITH my grandma in it but the cord wasn't long enough and it got yanked out of the wall. Phew! Glad that worked out all right, I really like existing, thank you very much! Although I guess if it was my Dad's little brother who did the electrocuting, that would not interfere with my existing. In any case, I liked my Grandma and I'm glad I got to know her rather than her being electrocuted before I was born.)

Other than near-electrocutions and some broken glasses, plates and disagreements on decorating, we are settling into our new house nicely. We love it. I will try to post more on that later!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's Ours!

So closing went super-smoothly and the house is now ours! We've already been over once and I swear I like it even better than I did before, I really can appreciate all the cool details. We got to meet the old owners and found out a lot of interesting info about the house, and he even left 3 copies of the original plans for the house, which is awesome! They also left an entire cabinet of cooking oil, not sure what that's about, but hopefully we can get rid of it. I'll post more details when I have time, but for now I've got to research refrigerators. We don't appear to be able to get on any wireless networks from the new house, so no internet access until like Monday, but I doubt I'd be posting anyway. Too busy moving and unpacking!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Almost there!

So at about 4:20 this afternoon (hee hee) we finally got the settlement statement and everything seemed okay. So I got a cashier's check for an insane amount of money and now we're just waiting to close in 10 hours and 15 minutes (but who's counting?). This time 12 hours from now we should be walking into our new house. I can't believe it's actually almost here. Yes!!!!

19 Hours to go-what's going to go wrong?

I am a bundle of nerves. My stomach is doing flip-flops. There are only 19 hours until we close, but I just have trouble believing that it's really going to happen. My realtor is supposed to call me as soon as the title company gets together our settlement statement so I can know how much to get the cashier's check for. The title company is waiting on the Good Faith Estimate from our lender so that they can do the settlement statement. Why oh why does this all have to wait until the last minute? They have known we were going to close on the 6th for 30 days. I just know somebody's going to screw up something and it's not going to happen. Luckily, my bank opens at 9am in the morning and we close at 10, so I can still get the cashier's check in the morning, but I'd sure feel a whole lot more confident if I got it this afternoon. I think I can breathe a sigh of relief once I have the settlement amount. Of course, Tim said we won't truly be calm again until we get the keys tomorrow. I think he's right. Oh how I wish it was 24 hours from now and hopefully everything will have gone off without a hitch!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Country Living









We went to my parent's "Ranchito" (their name, not mine), in Evant this weekend. 26 hours without internet, tv or even phone. It was a great time. They have 70 acres and I think Lucy explored every last one. She was a dog gone wild. I think she's done nothing but sleep since we got back. That and ask to be let out every 10 minutes because she wants to try and recapture her country dog experience. I think it's like a Dude Ranch for a dog. Tim and I also had a blast. We took my dad's Mule (it's a utility vehicle that's like a golf cart with a pick up bed), threw Lucy in the back, and explored the wilds. We zoomed through tall grasses and juniper trees at speeds that caused seeds to be stuck in our teeth and juniper berries to end up in our pants. I guess this is what I've been missing by growing up a city girl. We also hiked a bit through the cattle trails that were made by cattle that no longer live there and the deer that my brother and father like to hunt. And we tried to avoid GIANT piles of cattle poop. They are majorly disgusting. I asked my mom if the cow poop had conveyed when they bought the place.







Stella, of course, also had a great time, mostly running back and forth along the porch that runs the length of the doublewide that came with the property and enjoying all the attention lavished on her by her MeMe and Pappy. The doublewide is really quite large with all the conveniences of home (other than living room furniture, my parents are still working on furnishing it), and it actually has a larger kitchen than the one in our new house. The views from my parents' property are just amazing. We can't wait for Stella to get older. She is going to have a blast exploring!
I had the weirdest dream last night about our new house. We'd gone to have a sneak peek at it, and were walking around the side of it (it was set into a hillside and on the corner in my dream), and we saw that they were building "Golf Course Cottages" next to it, where (in my dream) a small motel had been. While we were looking, the owners drove up and I was so embarassed, but we introduced ourselves and they invited us in. The house was of course much more vast in my dream than in real life. I asked if they had any pictures of the house before they did all the work they'd done to it and they were like, "oh, yeah, it was awful. The kitchen was straight out of the fifties!" which is bizaare, even for a dream, since the house was built in '68. That was really all there was to the dream, but since I remembered it, I just had to share.








Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, great, not more investors!

So apparently some "real estate expert" went on the Today Show Friday and talked about how Austin was a market where there was still money to be made. She specifically mentioned SoCo as an up and coming area. Uh, lady, that area already up and came. I think you're about 10, perhaps even 12 years too late on that one. I mean, 12 years ago, yes, there were hookers in front of the Chevron at Riverside and Congress. To a college freshman, this was pretty damn exciting. There was a porno theatre at the tip of South Congress just before Oltorf. But the porno theatre long ago closed to become offices and the prostitutes were long ago pushed further down South Congress to closer to Ben White. They actually seem to be continually migrating south. I guess that's progress, pushing your prostitutes south. Oh, I'm sorry, I did not mean to make that Bad, Bad, BAD double-entendre!

Anyway, thanks to Tim, the Austin Contrarian, and M1EK I have come to see controlled growth as a good thing. More people ARE going to come to Austin, even if we try to institute a "Californian tax", and these guys advocate for smart laws about where to grow to prevent sprawl and to keep Austin housing affordable. Yeah, Austin has definitely had its casualties: Les Amis, Liberty Lunch, John Henry Faulk Theatre, to name just a few, but we've got to accept the fact that change comes and just make it happen as gracefully as possible.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Johnston High continued

I'd like to respond directly to DMD's comment on my post about Johnston. Yes I think a lot of the responsibility rests with the district (I never blamed the teachers and I still don't, I think the district abandoned them too.) I am the daughter, granddaughter, sister-in-law, niece, and friend of teachers. I think I have a pretty good grasp on the shit they have to go through. The reason I blame the district is because they did not do anything to keep the kids who don't have to work 40 hours a week from leaving. They did not address the problems at Johnston seriously until it was obvious the school was closing. From their actions, one would think that they want the school to close. And nobody wins in that case. If that school closes, other area schools have to absorb the kids and it will hurt the kids in those other schools because a lot of the Johnston kids are going to have the same problems they had at Johnston (abseentism, discipline problems, language barriers, teen pregnancy, etc.) and suddenly they're befriending kids at the other AISD schools and we've got more kids falling prey to the above problems. I also think responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the parents and the students themselves. But the district needed to do more to get the students and the parents involved. Webb Middle School was turned around by community involvement. But on the other hand, it is very hard for people who have an income of $9,000 a year to get involved in the school. They are probably too busy scrambling to keep their family from starving to death. The parents of the children who left the school in droves, the ones who are upwardly mobile enough to transfer their children, they are the ones whose involvement would have saved it. Which is why I think Dr. Forgione is too late and probably wanted it that way. You would not believe how racist Austin is, it is astounding. Houston is much more integrated. When I first moved here my eyes practically bugged out of head at the segregation: white folk on the west side of 35, black and hispanic folk on the east side. Oh, and don't drive on the east side, white girl, you get a cap in your ass. Which of course is not like it is at all.

Okay, I'm climbing off my soapbox now. Seriously, DMD, thanks for your comment, I really do enjoy thinking about why I have my position on things. I don't get to argue with people I disagree with enough because I don't work with Republicans anymore!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Week!

One week from today we will have the keys to our new house. Yay! We have survived nearly 4 months living with Tim's parents. And there's been no blood! I want to be all ready to move and was going to spend Stella's nap packing, but there really isn't much to be packed. We didn't unpack much here and so we don't have much to repack. I figure if I spend a couple of her naptimes next week getting packed, I'll be just fine. Wow, if I use the word "pack" one more time, I may come up as the first page in a Google search for the word. I kind of feel like I'm twiddling my thumbs. Like I'm a short-timer.

I just reserved the truck, so it's official! Our plan is to get the inflatable mattress and Stella's pack n' play in Thursday, the day we close, so we can start sleeping in our new house right away. Tim's parents have been so generous to let us live here this long, but we're ready to have our own space!

Stella did something really cute at the playground this morning that I have to share. It was playgroup and she and John David, who is a month older than Stella, both brought snacks, he brought apples and Stella brought crackers. They were eating each other's snacks and John David's mom Rebecca told John to say "please" to Stella and ask for more crackers. Stella said please! It shocked Rebecca because she didn't know Stella was talking. I've also never heard her clearly say please, it was pretty cool. She's been repeating a lot of what I say lately, so perhaps the reason she's being so fussy is that she is experiencing a milestone.

Damn, she's awake after another mere 90 minute nap. She usually goes 2 hours, but the past couple of days she's only been doing an hour and a half or less. I was going to give her ibruprofen before she went down today because I think teething pain may be waking her up, but I forgot. Pooh. Oh, well, hopefully she'll be in a better mood than she has the last few days!

Breaking Your Heart

This article on Johnston High breaks your heart. It really does. For those of you outside of Austin, Johnston High is in danger of closing under the "No Child Left Behind" rule. It is zoned to take in 1,357 high school kids from the surrounding area. It only has about 650 kids. Anyone who can transfers their kid to another school. It was actually due to close this year, but the commissioner took some pity on it and is giving it another year. Although it doesn't sound like it's going to make it. Some quick data points to illustrate how dire the situation is:

There were 12 people marching in the band at homecoming. Oh, but 5 of those were volunteers from other places that didn't attend the school.
They had to cancel their football season because they didn't have enough players that passed their classes. They did play homecoming, but they were tromped.
"At the nine-week mark in the school year, 57% of Johnston's students already had at least two unexcused post-lunch absences." There was a suggestion to close the school for lunch, but the PTA president bended to parent pressure not to close it. Can you believe that parents wouldn't want the campus closed to prevent at least some of these absences?
"One in five girls at the school will bear a child before she graduates. One in three doesn't speak English. About 40% of those students who enter Johnston in any given year won't finish the school year there. And with an average household income of $9,000 in the surrounding neighborhood, many parents expect their teenagers to work. PTA President Geneva Oliva, herself a 1974 alumna, admits that once the money starts rolling in, parents often decide a GED is just as good as a Johnston diploma."

We really need to save our nation's schools, this is a tragedy and it's going to be repeated elsewhere. I cannot believe how bad AISD lets their schools get before they try to do something.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank you CNN!

Because you thought it important to do an article on the winner of "Dancing with the Stars", I now know that the winner was some race car driver. And so if I, heaven forbid, get forced into a conversation with someone who watches "Dancing with the Stars", I have something to talk to them about. In fact, CNN was kind enough to give me a blow-by-blow of the finals, and even listed the "celebrities" (who are these people, anyway?) who were cut before the finals. So me and the "Dancing with the Stars" afficianado who get stuck in an elevator together can have at least a two minute conversation. Yes!

I just have to say, I think Mel (C.? B.? I'm not sure the article said, I assume it was the one who had Eddie Murphy's baby), was robbed. And how could you not give it to that irrespressible Marie O.? I mean, she's forever that adorable little 16-year-old singing with her brothers in my opinion!

I'm just glad we have the fine upstanding journalists at CNN to keep me apprised of real news like "Dancing with the Stars". Oh, and that whole Natalee Hollaway thing. Because nothing is news like two and a half year old stories about white girls who go missing on their spoiled rich kid Senior trip!

Excuse me, I think I need to go take my anti-bitter pill this morning...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cable vs Satellite and DSL

So this post might be easily classified as boring beyond all belief, but this is where my head is right now. We are seriously considering switching from the Time Warner behemoth to the AT&T behemoth plus satellite through DirectTV when we get into the new house. The savings are enormous, like $50 a month! Anybody have any experience with this? We've never even had the opportunity to try DSL before because we've never been in the service area. And I always bought into the cable propaganda about satellite going out in rainstorms, which apparently is much rarer than Time Warner would lead you to believe. And they have local channels, unlike what the cable consortium tells you. I just don't think the combo of Cable phone/internet/tv is so great that it's worth $50 more a month than the combo of Landline/DSL/satellite.

The other thing on my mind is closing costs. Our mortgage company STILL has not gotten that estimate to me. I'm really annoyed because our loan officer is really hard to get a hold of. So I left her a message and should expect a call back God only knows when. She was supposed to call me back yesterday after checking on it, but of course, no call back. She's very nice when she does call, just impossible to get a hold of. I just want to plan. I am a planner and since we don't have the moolah back from Newmark yet, I need to know exactly how much we need to close to be sure we have it. And the time I really have to spend on this stuff is when Stella is asleep, so it'd nice if she called now. I'm debating over calling her cell, but for some reason I feel really bad doing that. It's right there on her business card, so I really shouldn't, but I can't help it. It feels too much like calling someone at home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cramming my head with design

So this lovely 4-day weekend we've just been cramming our head with pictures of mid-century design. I went to the library Wednesday and checked out three books on modernism and mid-century design, looking for things we like. Then Friday we went to a bunch of vintage stores looking for specimens, and then last night we went to Barnes and Noble and looked at modern and mid-century modern books and magazines. In between I've been scouring the internet for pics too. And I think we've already made a few decisions:

1) We do NOT want a house that looks like a 50's or 60's museum. We looked at a book called Atomic Ranch (made by the people who put out the magazine of the same name), and most of the spaces looked ridiculous. People had meticulously sought out only furniture and accessories from the era. They all had Nelson benches which I think are cool, but they are so ubiquitous that we are starting to wonder if they are standard issue when you purchase a modern house. We do think we'd like to use a bench as a coffee table, just not necessarily a Nelson bench type. (We know we won't be using a real Nelson bench as they are a few hundred dollars). We'd like to combine period and modern pieces to create a house that reflects our taste. One really cool idea we saw in a book was stainless steel cabinets from a restaurant supply store used in the living room and dining as buffets. We also think stainless steel countertops would look great in the kitchen (although that's a few years off) and were popular in the time period.

2) Our debate over whether the tv can be on display or not rages on. Tim thinks it's okay to have it out in the open, especially if we one day get the cool type that hang on the wall, while I hate having that black box staring at me all the time and want it covered up, no matter what the type.

3) The large ikea lanters that the current owners put in the dining room and breakfast area are PERFECT for mid-century modern. Nearly every house in our modernism books has globe lighting. We'd also like to put globes on the front
porch.















4) I want a modern sofa, as in new. Tim is fine with a used sofa. Another debate. While the miser in me loves the thought of getting a sofa for a couple hundred dollars, the person with back problems in me wants comfortable new seating where the springs aren't already shot and the cushions worn down from 40 years of resting butts. Our cheap IKEA sofa that was last seen breaking several times in Little Murders cost me many weeks of back pain before it was replaced. There are some really beautiful sofas at Crate and Barrel, this one being our favorite. Although it's also $1500. Which REALLY seems like a lot for a sofa, even one we love. We also like this one at IKEA. It's pretty cool looking, pretty comfortable, AND half the price. PLUS through December 22nd, if you buy a couch at IKEA, you get 20% back in an IKEA gift card. So the couch would really technically be $600. What a deal! Of course, this puts some urgency into our purchase. And we may not have the money for the purchase by then. Which is okay. I just hate to pass up a deal like that!

Okay, I know my furnishing discussion is just enthralling you all. You can come see the house for yourself when LGT has our fundraiser there December 15th, a mere week after we move in. It's going to be awesome!

below:
Fresh off the success of Little Murders, Loaded Gun Theory presents a reading of our next production, The Automat, a NEW play by LGT resident playwright, Timothy Thomas. The show won't be performed until February 29th-March 16th at the Dougherty Arts Center, but you can get a sneak peek at the script in December!
Loaded Gun Theory is having a fundraiser to read The Automat and raise funds for its production. Admission is by donation and we'll be selling baked goods and hot chocolate to keep you warm. All donations will be matched 100% by an anonymous donor.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy The Automat Under the Oak! And watch for further readings in our "Under the Oak" series.
When: Saturday December 15th at 3pm
Where: 3403 Santa Monica Dr., Austin, Tx 78741 (the new Thomas residence)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bea Arthur, my daughter

Stella is all allergy-ridden and phlegm overrun like the rest of us here at Chez Thomas and when she talks she sounds like Bea Arthur. It's funny and kind of sad at the same time. She was just rolling around her toy Fisher Price train and saying, "go, go" (which I'm not sure I've heard her say before) and she sounded like she'd been smoking a pack a day of Virginia Slims 120's since the 60's.

I wish I lived near Julie, we could go to breakfast together since we and our daughters are the sole inhabitants awake in our respective houses this Thanksgiving. Although I'm actually pretty well-rested since I went to bed early last night. I was going to take a walk, but it is COLD. And I have no sweatshirts. So I'm going to stay warm in the comforts of the house.

Speaking of houses we are at 2 weeks, 2 hours until our closing. In 2 weeks, 3 hours, we should be done signing the paperwork and I will probably immediately commence moving things from the in-laws to the new house. Even if I have to borrow their truck and do it by myself. We'll of course have an "official" move that Saturday, but I just am soooo anxious to get in, I have the feeling I'll be unable to wait. Maybe I can at least get in the things we'll need to sleep there. That would rock. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for our close to get moved up to next week, but with the holiday and everything, I kind of doubt that will happen.

Our Newmark salesman, in an effort to add to the holiday spirit, emailed Tim yesterday to tell him that they are not going to give us our deposit back. Grinches. $6,413 they are going to keep and get back from the next house purchaser, PLUS the at least $28,000 they are going to make by selling our house at their new higher price. They could get out of debt simply by milking saps like us. Tim's parents drove by Tuesday and they were digging a big trench in the front yard. The house still isn't painted. We're all taking bets as to whether it will be ready by December 21st for the next tenant. Somehow I doubt it. I've forwarded the $6400 mess to our realtor in the hopes that he'll be able to get at least some of that back for us. Even if we have to lose that money, I still know we made the right choice.

I checked out some great books on Modern design from the library yesterday and Tim and I have decided we are going to collect items to furnish this house over time, rather than running up the credit card at IKEA and getting knock-offs that look good, but hold no personal value or history. I think vintage stores and antique stores are going to become our new best friends. I of course want everything to look perfect from the moment we move in, but that's really too expensive and too easy. I'm going to try and shift my focus from finding the perfect coffee table, couch and dining chairs to purchase, to trying and make what we have fit for now. Actually, the two purchases we're going to make right away are a fridge (of course) and a big dining table. It's just the dining chairs that I'm prepared to scour the internets and the stores for.

Well, there is an "eau de poop" smell in the air, so I guess Stella needs to be changed. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pig-Tails and New Words

I finally downloaded some pics and video off my camera, including my first attempt at pig-tails, and Stella's 2nd time (but first time on tape), saying MeMe, which is what we call my mother. Stella said, "ow, ow,ow" the whole time I did the pigtails, even when I wasn't pulling her hair. I tried to tell her that this was her obligation as a little girl and my obligation as the mother of a little girl to fix her hair and make her go "ow". Perhaps she'll understand when she's older:)



Monday, November 19, 2007

Wasting time

So I've spent like the entire day today on Mid-Century Modern house websites. I found a couple that were awesome quite randomly off a comment on DaddyTypes. Tim's sister Caroline and her boyfriend Daniel are here for the week, so I've had lots of folks to entertain Stella. Which is why I'm able to drool over mid-century beauties until my eyes pop out. But I think our beaut holds up to just about any of them. Once we've got the outside up to snuff, we can go toe-to-toe, mano y mano. Bring it on, MCM's!

This weekend was closing of Little Murders. We had fantastic audiences, awesome shows and we were all really sad to see it go. I especially. I didn't realize how sad I would be until I walked off stage after getting my brains blown out. I pretty much bawled. I'm not proud of this fact. I had to walk outside so I wouldn't sob too loudly. I guess it was just a culmination of the fact that I'd wanted to do this show for so long, I felt such a connection and love for Patsy (my character), I'd gotten a lot of positive feedback for this role, and I found out I wasn't cast in the show I'd auditioned for that morning right before curtain. I didn't expect to actually be upset about that, really, because I'm going to be so busy with moving into the house and getting ready to direct The Automat, not to mention that rehearsals and performances are on the other side of town, but when I got to the audition, I had a lot of friends I wanted to work with again there and the script was a lot of fun. Plus rejection never feels good. But by Sunday morning I was really glad I hadn't been cast, actually, because I need a break!

I just don't know when I'll act again since I'm pretty booked up until the end of April. Perhaps I can do a show that runs in May, if any of those come up. I just am totally addicted to acting right now (and scared about being stuck in this house all day and in the evenings. Even if it is just for a couple more weeks.)

LGT meets tonight to plan our next project, a fundraiser at our new house December 15th where we will read The Automat. You're only as good as your next project!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye

So my belief that we might get back some of our money from Newmark just plunged dramatically. They're probably filing for Chapter 11:

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2007/11/12/daily40.html?ana=from_rss

GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

I reached goal in Weight Watchers today. 30 pounds. Gone. Yay for me, moment of celebration!

Okay, now the tough part, the part I was dreading: Maintenance. For the next 6 weeks they monkey with the points I can have a day and see where I gain weight, where I lose until I'm maintaining. My leader said I will gain weight. That's depressing. I don't want to gain an ounce. But of course, I understand why they do it. I have to had 4 points to my daily total right off the bat. This is a huge amount. Or at least it seems that way to me. It scares me. I'm so programmed to eat a certain way. There is an upside to this, though. I shouldn't be spending money right now. So because I may still be gaining/losing weight, this is not a good time to be buying clothes, even though I want to. So I won't be tempted to buy new clothes since I don't know exactly what size I'm in yet. Brilliant!

The booklet for goal says you are supposed to celebrate somehow. I have to think of something cool that doesn't cost too much to do to celebrate. I can't believe I can't think of a single thing! If anybody has suggestions, I welcome them!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HEB Rocks!

Go to HEB today and stop giving excuses about why you can't buy reusable bags:
From Metroblogger
"I returned from England a few months ago impressed at how most of the grocery shoppers carried their groceries around in reusable totes. While Austinites are still arguing about the environmental impact of paper versus plastic grocery bags, the English had moved on to a third choice, reuse. Since then, I've noticed reusable bags for sale both at Central Market and Whole Foods Market but I haven't seen a lot of people using them.

Today, Texas-based H-E-B tries to get Austin involved in it's reuse/recycle philosophy by giving away 20,000 reusable shopping bags. Go to any H-E-B today (Thursday, November 15th) between 10 am and 7pm with 5 plastic shopping bags (any brand) and H-E-B will give you a free reusable bag.

"The more we can encourage people to switch to reusable bags, the better it will be for the environment, " said Leslie Lockett, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs for Central Texas. "By giving away 20,000 reusable bags for free, we can invite people to give the bags a try and really begin to change habits in our community."

If you miss out on a free bag today, don't give up. You'll be able to purchase the reusable bags from H-E-B for 99 cents. H-E-B is also providing recycling bins for plastics that can't go in the city's recycling bins: newspaper delivery bags, dry-cleaning bags, and six-pack rings."

You know, I had entertained the thought of going to the Super-Walmart because it's going to be super close to our new house, even though I hate Walmart and Super-Walmart in particular, but I think I'll go ahead and battle the masses at the HEB at Oltorf and South Congress. Because HEB does good by Texans and by peeps in general. Thanks Butt family!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Curves=Brains

At least according to this research. Fascinating stuff. Apparently women who have lower waist to hip ratios tend to have children that score higher on tests and tend to be "cleverer".

Yes, I've always thought that when I let my thighs do the thinking I do much better.

Starting from Zero

So while Stella was sick we let her have her binky all the time because, well, she was sick and it was comforting. Now we are back at square one. She wants her binky all the time and hunts around for it and then cries if she doesn't find it (what she's doing right now). Sigh. And we were doing so well! Of course, I don't really have the energy today to care whether she's upset or not, so maybe this is the perfect time to get back on the binky-less-track!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Turn

So the stomach virus of death continues its path through our house. Stella's on the mend, but I started getting sick at about midnight last night. Apparently Tim's mom was sick all night too. I'm now at that "I'm starving, but do I dare eat?" stage. Sigh. THANKFULLY Tim's Dad is watching Stella so I'm free to just lie here and moan. That's about all I have the energy for right now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I am so sophisticated

My blog is a Junior High blog!
cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weight loss and acting

So I lost another 1.6 pounds this week, so I'm now only 1.2 pounds away from goal! Yay! I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to try and lose more (my goal is 5 pounds over my lowest allowable healthy BMI, so I could try and get down to that mythical weight). It is feeling really good, I have to say. I just feel so much more confident, my clothes fit so much better, it's wonderful! i'm actually in a size 10 for the first time since freshman year of college! I can't recommend Weight Watchers enough if you are looking to get in better shape and better health and drop a few pounds. (I know it sounds like I'm some sort of paid spokesmodel, but I can only wish!)

Last night the play went fantastically. My big scene just had a lot of life, Ian and I were both really cooking, and I just had one of those transcendent moments that remind me why I heart theatre so much. Afterwards, I was still shaking and the audience laughed at all the moments of my monologue they're supposed to laugh at. A lot. Uproariously. Awesome! Hopefully I've turned a corner and it'll be that good every night. But even when I have an off-night, like Thursday, when I wasn't doing so hot and then a MOTH decided it wanted to get in on the action, Tim said that it was really good (even with the moth). That little pisser. He flew onto stage and landed on my sleeve right at the part where I'm laying into Ian, and I shook my arm, which made Ian smile and then I was just totally thrown off. THEN he landed on Ian's stomach and just sat there while I was delivering my big heartfelt moment during my speech. Ian said we should make ourselves feel better with the fact that the Moth only has a 3-day lifespan and this was probably the highlight of its life. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say!

I'm trying not to just think about househousehousehouse, but it's hard. We're going to go to IKEA today to scope out all the stuff we want for the house. Of course, we'll be house poor when we first move in, so most of those purchases will have to wait a bit, but it's still fun to look! I've got a big master plan for the front of the house that I'm really excited about. We're totally going to "borrow" ideas from Vintage Modern to really bring out the modern details on the front of the house with paint, and then we want to re-plant our beloved cactus in the front flowerbeds. The inside is pretty much ready to go (other than a couple of hallway light fixtures I'd like to replace), so we can concentrate our efforts on the outside. I'm not much of a landscaper, but I'm really excited about what we can do! (Vintage Modern uses frames so I can't directly link to it, but check out the house that's 1537 sq ft under "homes already sold" for a sneak peek of what we're thinking of. It has a lot in common with our new house, including the roofline, beams and an intricate front door and I think what they've done with it looks fantastic. Oh, and look at that yummy window. Maybe one day we could replace the front windows with that type. Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

My big question is how to cover up those rounded front windows. Those just are not modern at all. I mean, what was the architect thinking. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Why we chose another house

Tim, my dear husband, has a great post that details our house saga and why we went for this house. I'll link to it for now because I don't have time to put in my own explaination right now: http://www.loadedguntheory.com/blog/director/listpost/tim/so_why_did_you_choose_another_house.html But to answer folk's questions:

Yes, you can park on the street, there is TONS of room. They've had weddings in the backyard, so you can fit lots of cars along the extra-wide streets.

Our close date is set for December 6th, but the owner is totally open to moving earlier. So we told the mortgage company that the faster they can get it all put together the better. So we'll see how quick they can do that and talk about a sooner close date.

The woman who owns the house got married and her and her husband both own houses, so they just wanted to sell their house and start a new life together in a new house. How sweet!

Also, apparently she googled us and we google well:) So this is a good karma thing all around.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

WE GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, we got it. I'm so excited! So I can finally elaborate.
So it's a 1968 modern ranch with giant windows on the back and a huge park-like backyard. It has a 600 year-old oak tree and doesn't have back neighbors because it backs to an easement for electrical lines. So you don't have to cover the beautiful windows. It sits on 3/4 of an acre, has walnut floors throughout the house and tile in the dining, breakfast and kitchen. It is A-dorable, looks to be in immaculate shape. Some photos are below, I'll put the rest up at http://www.thomasfamily.smugmug.com/gallery/3786171#218305483 since Blogger is being wonky and I have to go to show! But pictures don't do it justice!


The 600 year-old oak (with stage for future LGT productions):
Living room:







Master with the private sliding glass door to patio:



Dining Room

I am full of nervous energy

Perhaps I will blog 10, 12 times today, who knows? But I just thought I'd share some self-portraits of Stella and I from a bored Monday afternoon.

I like the following two because we're both making the same expressions. Here we are "working it" for the camera:
And here we in the "synchronized therberts" competition:

Man, I love that girl. And she allows me to be as stoopid as I want to be. I can always break out in a silly dance and she thinks it's the funniest thing ever. If I just give up and play with her, we usually have a blast. It's when I try to get things done that things go haywire and she tugs on my leg. Gotta' work more on a balance there. Once this house mess is out of the way, perhaps I can get her into a mother's day out program. I know I want her to do preschool starting like next Fall. Oh, the pressure, the pressure! But there's no point of even thinking about that until we know which part of town we'll be in: 45 or 41. (PLEASE 4141414141!)


Speaking of the house, Tim talked to Jamie again (yet another Jamie in my life, can you believe it?!), and the other agent really liked the offer AND our loan officer also talked to her so she knows we're really solid financing-wise. They're supposed to make a decision today. Until then, I better mainline Pepto Bismol! So I am now "cautiously optimistic" again rather than "catastrophically pessimistic".


I'll let everyone know as soon as we get the house and I'll post pictures and you'll fall in love with it just like we have! (Even if we don't get it, I'll post them so you can see the one that got away.)


Oh, Tim also got an email from Newmark Jamie and gave them our new address for our closing papers. Hopefully those won't be necessary! And Super-Realtor Jamie is going to try and get our money back, he's optimistic that he can get at least part of it back. That'd be nice so we can use it for our closing costs.

Don't Fall in Love

So we found out this morning that there are multiple offers on the house. So we are currently engaged in that quaint housing market boom-time practice of the bidding war. Hopefully we can still get it, as we're willing to go quite a bit over asking price. But I cried when Tim told me this morning. Jamie Avila at Austin Advantage Realty, our fantastic new realtor who actually answered our call (as well as my friend and fellow actor), said that we didn't even need to probably go as high as we initially offered, just about $11k over asking. So now we wait. And we pray that our offer will be accepted. Tim thinks there is a second choice, but I don't. This is the house, there's no second choice for me (okay, that's overly dramatic, I will of course either live at 2045 Amur Drive or find another house, but nothing matches this one.)

Going through this, I'm reminded of why we built our first house in 2000. The market was so hot you had to see a house the day it went on the market, and then you had to put an offer in that day. The thought of all that stressed me out so much that we decided to build. Of course, now I'm getting a taste of it and perhaps that wasn't such a bad idea. I just hope this is resolved quickly. I've had insomnia the last two nights and it's killing me to get no sleep!

I wish I hadn't gotten so excited, but it's just impossible. I realize that most of us are not meant to live in our dream houses. So it would be pretty darn unlikely to get this house. So I'll just go back to living in a nice house that I have to work on to make fit my design aesthetic, instead of a house that is my design aesthetic ripped from the pages of Dwell.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wish us luck!

We put an offer in this afternoon on my dream home. Seriously, my dream home! I walked in and started tearing up. I don't want to say too much yet because I don't want to jinx things, but keep your fingers crossed that there aren't any other offers and we'll get it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What else should I be doing at 12:05am?

I've got insomnia, so instead of continuing to lie in bed, I decided to get up and blog. Actually, I was going to read In Style, but since my computer was up here, I decided to send out a couple of emails that were bugging me.

I have insomnia because my brain pan is all full again. I decided to take another trip through the MLS today and surprisingly found quite a few houses I liked. Which Tim liked also. And they were in our old hood, 78741, near where Erin currently lives. We really love that area. They range from gorgeous to so-so, but they are all large, have hardwoods and lots of windows, and are in a fantastic area of town. And are (mostly) in our price range. (Our price range might be expanding. Tim did those little mortgage calculators online and found out that due to low interest rates, we may be able to afford more than we thought.) We drove by them tonight and have been trying to get in contact with Paul, our real estate agent, except that his voicemail box is full. As usual. Ashley tells me that he went to Vegas to see Elton John. This from the man who says he never takes vacations. But anyway, we want to jump because we don't think these houses will last long. And the sooner we look, the sooner we can put in a contract if we like one, and the sooner we can MOVE OUT OF HERE! So wish us luck. If we don't hear from Paul by noon tomorrow, I'm going to contact a friend of mine who is a real estate agent and Paul can just kiss our business goodbye. It just might be awkward since we didn't use Jamie to sell our house. ya' know?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Halloweeeeeeen!

Thar be pirates, argh!



And tigers, roar:
I wasn't there to witness the madness because of tech week, but here are some cute shots of the kids trick or treating. Lions and pirates and pirates, oh my!


Also a bonus of Tim and I as a classic Hollywood movie cowgirl and cowboy.

In other news, please come see Little Murders! We had a very slow opening weekend, although we did well Saturday night with 31 people. Sunday we had to cancel because only 2 people showed up. It's an awesome show and you don't want LGT to go bankrupt, do you?
(And for those of you who can't come, we always accept cash deductible donations, just email me!)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

7 Weeks

So we got our closing date yesterday. It was not the news we were hoping for. December 21st. In by Christmas, but only by the most technical of measures, as that is the Friday before Christmas and no one will be around to help us move. I feel like Christmas is sort of ruined for us and especially for Stella, although I realize Stella is too young to care about it. But the thought that we have 7 more weeks here is quite depressing. We've been here 12 weeks so far, so I guess it's much less than that, but still, it's not enough less. Sigh. Tim put a counter on his blog and it's 48 days. We should have listened to the builder. He said it would be 10-12 weeks from our pre-sheetrock orientation which would have been just a little after this date. Our salesguy was the one who kept giving us completely unrealistic estimates. I guess we must be one of the last groups to close before the end of the year. We were hoping for earlier since there are already people living there and they are supposed to be closing 7 houses a week from now on. I guess the hold-ups with the inspections and stuff pushed us back and other houses have rocketed past us. If they stick to this date, and Tim tells me apparently they are contractually obligated to finish it by 12/21 now, although I would not be suprised if it gets pushed back, our house will take about 9 months and a week from the date we signed the contract to completion. This surpasses what we thought was the slowest house building process in the world, our KB Home, which took 7 months. By comparison, they were speed demons. Of course, in Newmark's defense, KB did already have roads when we started.

In other news, we opened last night and other than a wine spill during one of the blackouts, things went off without a hitch. I did invert a few words and I didn't have one of those acting moments where the muse takes over and you really are on fire like I did Thursday night, but it still went well. The 8 people who were there really enjoyed it. Now I'm ready for tonight, when we should have quite a houseful since we're having a party with free beer afterwards. Nothing draws them out like free beer. I just hope folks get out and see the show. I'm really nervous with how much we've spent, especially since our rent went up by $900. I just hope we make back most of our expenses!

Friday, November 02, 2007

What are you doing tonight?


Going to see Little Murders, that's what! This show is going to knock your socks off, come on out!
Tickets are going fast, so get your reservations in or purchase tickets online by going to http://lgt.buyplaytix.com. Plus you'll definitely want to join us for our opening weekend party on November 3rd after the show to celebrate Little Murders' opening. The generous folks at Real Ale Brewing Company have donated a keg of their finest brew for the event, so FREE BEER for all!!! No, you don't have to come see the show to drink our beer, come out and celebrate with us anyway.We're so excited about this show. It's looking fantastic with a great cast. More information below:

Little Murders
Written by Jules Feiffer
Directed by Karen Jambon
Presented by Loaded Gun Theory
produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

The Newquists think they're a typical All-American family until their overbearing daughter Patsy brings home her nihilist fiancée Alfred to meet them for the first time. As Alfred destroys their expectations and their New York neighborhood falls victim to a series of unexplainable murders their seemingly perfect world spirals out of control. Join us for an evening of dark familial comedy presented by those masters of edgy satire, Loaded Gun Theory.
WHERE: Arts On Real
2826 Real St
WHEN:November 2-4 (Fri-Sun)
November 8-11 (Thu-Sun)
November 14-17 (Wed-Sat)
(Note: We've added a special Wednesday performance for all you theatre folk who are otherwise occupied Thursday through Sunday. Aren't we clever?)
All shows are at 8pm except Sunday matinees (November 4 and 11) which begin at 5pm.
General Admission: $12. Call 280-2156 or visit http://lgt.buyplaytix.com for reservations.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Confirmed and Binky Weaning

I drove by our old house today on the way home from errands. I thought I didn't care anymore about it, but I guess I did because I was saddened to see a For Rent sign out front. I really wish I'd taken the plant hangers outside and maybe even the curtains. They obviously didn't care. In other news, the Texas house across the street with the red white and blue fountain is for sale. Because I know everyone loved it sooo much. Damn, check out the panelling on the fireplace and the kitchen cabinets. That is something! (And not original, folks, that house was built in 2001. They ADDED panelling!)

Since Monday, we have been in the process of weaning Stella to just nap and nighttime use of the binky. I had started with allowing her to use it in the car too, but she seems to be fine without it, so we may just confine it to sleeping. It's amazing, she's so much more chatty and her nasty chin rash has all but cleared up. She doesn't seem to miss it much, although I keep all the binkies well hidden. Hopefully this bodes well for when we try to get her to give it up for good.

No update on the house. We went by this weekend and they were pretty much done with the sheetrock, but our sales guy refuses to give us updates anymore or answer our emails, so I doubt that bodes well. But I've kind of sort of set a deadline for myself, that I want to be in a house by Christmas. So we may have to start house hunting soon if we don't get good news from the builder. We could always back out of a back-up deal and we'd just lose our earnest money. I just can't ring the New Year in here. Nope, can't do it.

Only Myself to Blame


So it hit me last night, after totally blowing my big onstage meltdown, that I am going to play the character that I have wanted to play for the past 11 years in 3 days. Eek! And that I have only myself to blame if I fail, since I convinced my theatre company to do the play, talked the best director I've ever worked with into directing it, and then told them all that I was going to be pre-cast in the lead. What the hell was I thinking?

I'm hoping it's just that tech week, everything goes to shit thing. Oh, that up there is one of the publicity photos taken by Michael Brock. Extreme close-up!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The World's Best Behaved Toddler

In her adorable shoes her Aunt Christine gave her:

For Kelli, us dressed up for the B. Iden Payne awards Sunday night:

The quality of pictures should improve dramatically because I finally got my camera back today. Whoo-hoo! I can't wait to use those 6 extra megapixels to their full advantage!
Stella and I went to Party City today to exchange her costume and it wound up taking 45 minutes! Seriously, don't go to that place. At 11:30am on a Thursday, it was a zoo. Does anybody go to school anymore, by the way? I saw a group of teenagers and a father and his pre-teen daughter. Aren't they supposed to be in school? But Stella was such a trooper. Didn't even whine, even though we missed snack time and it was getting close to lunch. What a great toddler!
Stella also turned 19 months yesterday. So imagine that here I go into all the incredible things she has accomplished in the last month and how much I love her and can't imagine life without her. Because that is all true, but I barely know which end is up I'm so busy these days, so I can't even draw out of the depths of my brain what she's done this month. But at least I put up a picture!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wow, that helped

Now I remember why I had to blog about that, I feel better already! You just gotta' get things off your chest.

What a Sucky Day

Today sucks. First there was the incident with the lady next door. Then we found out that we won't be able to move into Arts on Real until 6pm Sunday. Then my mother-in-law came home and I told her about the lady next door and she went over there and told them that we'd keep the dogs quiet without even asking me first, thereby, in my opinion, totally disrespecting me. She did not see it that way, but apologized for making me feel that way. Or something like that. One of those apologies that's not really an apology and then I has to pretend like everything was hunky dory. Really, I just feel like this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I think we need to find another living situation. It's not anybody's fault, it's just you aren't supposed to live with anybody other than your nuclear family for this long And I hope Tim's Mom doesn't feel bad if she reads this, that's not my intention, but I feel compelled to share my feelings with the world. That's the sickness of writing a blog. Anyway, I just feel like crap and really wish I didn't have a rehearsal and could instead stay home and drink some wine. Oh, wait, I don't have a home, right.

I think I may blow some points on a decaf nonfat mocha with a shot of Peppermint from Starbucks. Ohpleaseohplease let the peppermint be available already. I've been craving one of those since it got cold and I think I deserve it. But it's 4 points! 4 points that could be used on many other things such as a couple of glasses of wine or a pint of beer. Or a Rice Krispie treat covered in chocolate. My mother sent one yesterday along with a really cute stuffed cat that meows and a book for Stella. I think the chocolate might have been for Stella too. Oops. It was so good, I couldn't resist! Plus, Stella couldn't even have bit into it it was so big:)

Must. Get. Out.

I cannot believe this. The bitch next door just came over and told me her baby couldn't nap because my dogs barked. She actually now expects me to keep my dogs inside "or in the other part of the yard" (no clue how I'd do that) from 9:30am-12:30pm while her precious little angel sleeps. I suggested a white noise machine but she kept saying nothing bothers him but the dogs. Well, I still think the solution would be the white noise machine, but apparently no, she considers the solution telling me what to do with my dogs. ARGH! I could barely disguise my contempt for her. There's no way I can keep the dogs in all morning, please! What's she going to do? File a noise complaint? At a time when there is no noise ordinance? I just cannot wait to get out of here, these people are crazy! I even told her that we'd be out in two months, so if that helped.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm Freezing!

So I've learned a lot from this experience of living with my in-laws for the past two and a half months. For example, I have learned that it WILL eventually get cold. So you shouldn't put all your sweaters, sweatshirts, flannel pajamas, etc. in a box marked "cold weather clothes" and put it in the garage that is packed full of all your belongings and expect to be able to find it again when it is cold. I am FREEZING! I'm not sure what I was thinking, whether it was that I'd be in my new house before it got cold, or that I'd just wear tank tops and think warm thoughts, or what. I bought Stella a really cute denim jacket for $11 at the Osh Kosh outlet last Thursday, but I hesitated on getting her anything else because I'm so afraid she's going to outgrow all her clothes tomorrow. I know I need to get over it and just buy her a few things she can wear for now and if she outgrows them, so be it. Because that's life with a growing child (and really, life with a shrinking mama. My jeans that I bought 6 weeks ago that were soooo tight are already starting to get baggy!). But since I know that warm clothes are in my garage for me, somewhere, I really can't justify getting new clothes for myself. Not yet. Not until I lose 5.6 more pounds, anyway!

I've also learned that when you live with parental types, you regress. I react (or barely restrain myself) from acting like a moody teenager to my in-laws. Tim does the same thing. I've been praying for patience lately because it's really unfair to my mother-in-law when I am all bitter and sarcastic and all she's said is, "good morning." It doesn't really happen with Tim's Dad because he has a job right now so I don't see much of him. But it's Sue, Stella and I for a great deal of the day. But I'm working on it, and I think I'm getting better. I'm really not a bitchy grouch and I'll go back to my sunshiny self as soon as we're out of here, I promise!

Our sales guy didn't give us our weekly update Friday because there was no update. Yesterday Tim pestered him and he said that we finally passed all our inspections (we failed electrical and plumbing initially), and that they would be putting in our insulation today and "start rocking" Wednesday. I wondered, rocking on what?, but Tim said that was just Jamie's cheesy salesman speak for sheetrocking. So we obviously didn't get our close date Monday (notice how he conveniently didn't mention that), no clue when we'll get it. Before we got two weeks behind, Jamie was saying mid-November, so by that reasoning we'd be looking at the end of November. So we're back to praying for a close by Christmas. If you can send any good vibes our way, we'd appreciate it. I have beat myself up for being depressed about all this since so many people have so much bigger problems, (e.g. "natural disasters on the evening news" to quote Cold War Kids), but I can't help it. This is still the situation I'm stuck in, and while it's really not that bad, I'd still like to be in my house ASAP. We looked at the houses for sale online just for fun and found only a couple we thought were cute, but Tim didn't think they were cute enough. There's one in the Allendale area that I'm going to drive by today, even though I can't IMAGINE living up north, I love South Austin so much, but it would be a lot closer to where Tim's work is moving, for sure. But I'm sure it's probably actually already got a contract on it, it's just not in the MLS. I'm just going to be up north anyway buying Stella some new shoes (finally), so I figure I'll swing by. If only we had $300k or $350k, then we could REALLY get a house we love;)

Monday, October 22, 2007

B. Iden Payne Awards

Tim and I went to the B. Iden Payne Awards last night. It was the first time we'd been, even though I've been on the committee for 3 or 4 years. It was a lot of fun. We had a lot of friends there we got to chat with and cheer on as they got nominated or, in some cases won. I was afraid it would be most lame, but it was really fun. Great excuse to get dressed up, too!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where I've Been


Eating, breathing and sleeping Patsy, that's where I've been! Patsy, if you do not know, is the character I am playing in "Little Murders" which opens two weeks from tomorrow at Arts on Real. The show is going to be awesome, but it is a lot of work, probably one of the most challenging characters I've played. I realized after Tuesday night's rehearsal how actors can get into drugs and alcohol as a means of bridging the world between fiction and reality. I was just really emotional after working so hard on a difficult scene where my character has to have a breakdown. It's a comedy, but you still have to make the moments believable, ya' know? (For the record, I did not turn to drugs and alcohol. I had dinner and went to bed. Because I am exciting like that. And I live with my in-laws and there was no alcohol in the house anyway!)

Last weekend we were in Houston and took Stella to a Pumpkin Patch along with Christine and Brian. The patch was an Exotic Animal farm and Stella petted llamas, a miniature horse, a rabbit, a goat and a baby kangaroo. Tim and I also petted a baby pig. We had a great time. We got to spend lots of time with Christine and Brian, going out to dinner and out for drinks at the Flying Saucer. We sat outside at the Flying Saucer downtown and got some fantastic people watching in. They just don't make 'em in Austin like they do in Houston. I really could not believe what people were wearing. One group of five girls were all wearing identical shoes. Seriously! Five pairs of black stiletto heels. I guess they'd gotten a group discount or something.
When Christine and I went to the bathroom, I was really disgusted by the number of men leering at us. Then I felt a little complimented that men still leer at me. It was a very odd feeling, being pissed, but also thinking, "they like me, they really like me!" Especially since I was very dressed down and not showing much skin. But I noticed that the quality of men is definitely lacking in H-town compared to Austin. Really, they were not attractive. Don't know if all the hotties are snatched up and at home with their women or what, but I didn't see a single good-looking guy other than the ones we came in with (my husband and my brother-in-law). Sorry Houston ladies, they're taken:)
We also got some great news from some friends and I really want to blog about how excited I am about it but this friend has not blogged about it yet! (Hint, hint, you know who you are!) As soon as they make their announcement in the blogosphere, I'll be back to share my excitement!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stella's Fun Day



This morning we went to Stella's first storytime, at the library. Anna was the one who alerted us to it. Stella LOVED it. I wasn't going to go at first because it's at 10:15 and that means no walk for me, but I decided to check it out and I'm glad I did. Stella gave the librarian all her attention, and alternated between standing and sitting in my lap. She was riveted. She pointed and got all excited when the librarian brought out her rat puppet, whose name I have forgotten. And she got a stamp on her hand at the end with all the rest of the kids. She keeps staring at it like it's the coolest thing ever. A future tattoo addict, perhaps? I always wanted to be one, but acting and tattoos don't mix very well. Perhaps my daughter can live my dreams;)

Then we went to the playground because I wanted to reward Stella with a chance to blow off steam because she'd been so still and quiet at storytime. We went to Garrison and it was packed with mamas and kids. Apparently a couple of playgroups were out there. SO different from Circle C, though. The mamas were so friendly and I talked to a few of them, having those random playground conversations you do. I wish I had more playdates for Stella (and for me). I should have asked what they all were involved in. I overheard them talking about crafts, but I don't know if that was for the mamas or the babies. There was talk of sewing, so I assume for the mamas. My first thought was, "I'm not crafty", but that's actually a load of bull. I sewed most of the curtains in our old house, I've sewed pillows, a sock monkey and lots of costumes. I used to do collages, scrapbooks before it was a verb and money-making phenonmenon, and all kinds of other crafty stuff. I guess I just don't do it anymore because I choose to spend my free time, which I have less of, on other fun activities.

There were a lot of baby/toddler pairs at the playground and it made me think about second children. Again. Last night we went to Town Lake Park and Stella played in the fountains. She had such a blast. Tim made me stand back with him and watch Stella instead of hovering over her. Stella made friends with a 3-year-old little girl and took her hand and was dragging her everywhere to show her all the stuff she'd learned. It was absolutely adorable. And Tim commented that that would be about the age difference between Daniel and his little sibling and he was like, that will be pretty cool. And I agreed. And I had that moment of "that is pretty cute, perhaps it would be cute to have a sibling for Stella sooner than later." And then today at the playground a woman was nursing her daughter while the other one played and she watched her and it just looked so awesome and idyllic. And I know that is complete poppycock and that for the other 90% of her day she's probably run ragged between showing her older child attention and taking care of her baby, but it still tugged at my womb a bit. You know that horrible place where your biological clock resides and occasionally makes you think crazy thoughts. I think when your child is a year and a half, suddenly every conversation with fellow parents starts with, "so, when are you having another one?" We were at church last week and I was talking to my friend Sally, who has sons who are 20 months apart and she said, "so are you thinking of another one?" or something to that affect and I was like, "not yet." And she was like, "well sometimes God has other plans for you." And I was like, "well, I'm using God's helpers on earth to prevent that." And it turned out she had been on the pill when she got pregnant with her younger one. Although upon further questioning, it turned out she might not have been so thorough on taking that little helper when she was supposed to. And Tim and I talked about it on the way home and realized that Stella is old enough now that if we had an accident, we would no longer want to hurl ourselves off a bridge because even if I got pregnant today, Stella would be 2 years and 4 months when the next one is born. Which wouldn't be horribly impossible. Although still not our ideal. And then freakin' Parents magazine comes today and has a really good article about spacing your children (weird timing), so I read it immediately and it called 2-4 years the "Golden Age" or something like that and so I felt better again and was like, "okay, Stella may not have her best friend in her little sibling, but 3 years is still right for us." I think it's really hard not to think about these things since two of our best friends are currently pregnant with their second babies and decided to have their children much closer together than we are. But I Seriously Cannot Fathom going back to the land of feedings every three hours and newborn cries right now.
Stella and her new buddy:

Right. What a tangent. I meant to relate the other adorable thing Stella did when we were in her room before her nap. She brought me all her hairclips and asked me to put them in her hair, which I did, then she handed me her homemade argyle babylegs, (see, I am crafty!), and directed me to put those on, then I tied her tights around her neck so they looked like a sweater. She looked like the preppy chick from an 80's movie. Or Cher from Clueless. I love that she loves to dress up!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No Close Date Yet... Sigh

So we went to our pre-drywall walk-through yesterday expecting to come away with a close date because that's what ditzy salesgirl Rhonda had led us to believe. But alas, no, we will get our close date in two weeks when they have their next sales/builder meeting. But we did find out that they should be finishing up inspections and putting in drywall this week, the kitchen cabinets should be delivered next Tuesday, and then they will put those in, put down the tile and do the painting next week. Allegedly. I don't really have a reason to doubt them, though, because August 30th they had a slab and now there's an actual house. Our sales guy, Jamie, is still saying we'll close mid-November. Of course, there's still no water. So I'm really keeping my fingers crossed. Especially since I kind of feel like we're outstaying our welcome here.

Tim's Mom I think wanted us to get a close date yesterday even more than we did. She's trying to find out when we're moving out so her Mother can come stay with them with an eye towards her moving here. Apparently Austin is a magnet for all of Tim's family. Yesterday when I got back from the walk-through, Tim's Mom grilled me about when we'd close and I had to tell her I just didn't know, that her Mom should probably wait until we get our actual close date in two weeks to buy her plane ticket. I know that frustrated her, but there's nothing I can do about it. We're coming up on having lived here two months Thursday. And we'll be here at least another month, probably 6 weeks. That's a long time. Things are breaking down here a bit; they all seemed to turn sour after Tim's Mom returned from Michigan. Perhaps it was frustrating for her to come back and realize there are still people here who leave their crap everywhere and have a toddler who is constantly on the move. Although we really try not to leave our crap everywhere and to keep our toddler out of the way. Whatever the reason, I'm just going to try and stay gone as much as I possibly can. Thursday my parents are picking me up and taking Stella and I to Houston with them, then Tim will join us Friday night and we'll come back Sunday. Since I have rehearsal most Saturdays, we can't go out of town as much as we'd like, but my parents may be going back to Evant again next weekend, and we'll probably go out there if we can. We're just trying to stay out of the way here as much as possible!

I got a chance to ask our sales guy what they were doing if people came in and wanted to buy a house. He said that they have 3 Hartfords (the largest floor plan) available in our section, but they aren't selling the back section yet. They're telling people to come back in November, they should have opened up the back section for pre-sales. They are (wisely) waiting this time until the roads are a little closer to being poured to start selling houses. Apparently they'll be there for 2 more years building, although once our section is done, the Westgate entrance will become the construction entrance.

That's enough rambling about our house for now. Stella demands attention. Attention must be paid!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

They Just Keep Building!

To our utter amazement and complete happiness, they just keep building our house. We went by last night and the last piece of siding is in place, the wood "pergola" over the garage is up, the electrical is in and, for some reason most excitingly, the house numbers are up.Now, I'm not in love with the way they look. As anyone who's known me for a while can tell you, I HATE gold, but it's still exciting to have our address right there in black and gold!

The streets also do not look as bad as I remembered. In fact, the neighborhood looks adorable. I'm sure glad they're going like gangbusters because our new house cannot be ready a moment too soon! I want my bed back. The bed here, while fine for guests, has really taken a toll on me. I have a permanently sore neck and back, and had a crick in my neck so bad Sunday, I couldn't turn my head to the right more than about 30 degrees. I think I'll have to see a chiropractor before this is all over. Luckily Tim's parent's neighbor is a chiropractor. Hopefully he won't try to convert me to Scientology...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Much Better Mood Today

I was totally in a funk over the streets in our new neighborhood yesterday and it was slightly compounded by the fact that my camera isn't working. Well, I found out I have to mail my camera in for service (although first I have to find the receipt which either my mother could have given to me or she could still have. That should make it easy to find.) and I came to terms with the house. There are downsides to any house, but Tim and I looked for what's out there in our price range and in the areas we want to live in and there just isn't anything that we like as much as our house we're building. And there's absolutely nothing where we can walk so many places: Stella's elementary and high schools, ACC, the library, Conan's pizza, Dairy Queen, and Thriftown and the Dollar Store to boot! Plus, as the saleslady so kindly pointed out, they are now selling our floorplan for $28,000 more than we paid for it. So between that and the $6k we've already put down, it'd be like walking away from $34,000. I don't know about you, but I'm not in a position to walk away from $34k! So we're going ahead with buying the "hondo" (or "couse" if you prefer, part house/part condo), but we're going to accept the fact that we may be moving again sooner than we thought if the density and the parking situation gets to us. I mean, it was a PITA to sell our house and move, but we survived. And next time we wouldn't be living with Tim's parents again. But hopefully we will find it a very pleasant change and be very happy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fire Lane Pic

You can see the fire lane in this picture:

If you look closely, you can kind of see a line marked for the parallel parking spaces on our side of the street. It's in front of that utility box.

Latest on the house


We went by the house last night and it has all the siding except for one random square, as you can see from the picture. The windows are all in except one, as well, and it looks like they are putting the columns in soon. A lot of the ventilation system is done as well. We didn't spend much time there because it was super-hot and because we were so upset by the street situation. More on that later. The crazy sales lady in the office said that we should have our sheet rock orientation in a couple of weeks, which is when they set our closing date, which will probably be 4-6 weeks from then. So we're still probably looking at a end of November close date. There is a new development that is not positive at all that I can't really blog about because it gets me rather hot under the collar. But Tim did a really good job, so I'll let you read his post . Read my comment too for some of my feelings on the subject.
In other news, my camera's not working properly. Sigh, I should have known that our incredibly good luck would run out. Hopefully it's just going to be annoying things like non-working cameras and ugly streets rather than anything serious.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we sold Tim's car yesterday to Carmax, which was all in all a very pleasant experience. I would highly recommend it if you have a vehicle you need to get rid of and don't want to mess with trying to sell it yourself. We walked in with a car and an hour later we walked out a few thousand dollars richer. We were very happy with what they gave us for it, in fact it was about $2500 more than we'd expected, so we were pretty much ecstatic. It's a great car, but the seats and mats were stained from coffee and Dr. Peppers flying out of the shoddy excuse for cupholders that VW had designed.

Car dealerships give me hives, but I had resigned myself that I would just be calm, let Tim do all the talking, and either accept the appraisal they gave us or not. I would be cool as a cucumber. Well, I thought I was, but Tim thinks I was still mean to the salesman or something. I swear, I should have sent him by himself. We thought we had an appointment, but we had to wait a few minutes anyway when we got there. A sales guy came up and introduced himself, then launched into how things are different at Carmax, blah, blah, blah, and he was totally heading out to the lot, when I was like, "you know we're just here to have our car appraised, right? We're not buying a car. I mean, I just wanted to let you know so we didn't waste your time." And the guy just stared at me. He was one of those people who appeared to have no facial expression. So I couldn't read him at all. Tim chimed in with, "we're not buying a car at all." And I said, "yeah, we're going from two cars to one." Still, the staring, like we each had two heads or something. But the guy starts the spiel for the appraisal. We go back to the waiting area again and Tim says that I was mean to the salesguy (I don't know why Tim thinks you need to baby salesguys, but that's a different story), but I have no clue what was mean about that. We got into a bit of an argument about it (as much of an argument as we have, anyway), and I was like, "should I have waited until he'd gotten us out on the lot and we were going for a test drive in cars we weren't going to buy before I said something?" I neglected to mention this, but we were on a very tight timetable. And Tim was like, "no, but you just get all defensive in car dealerships, you attacked him." Argh! So I said, "fine I won't do any of the talking from here on out." Of course, the problem with that is that if I don't talk, it will just be silent. Tim's a head-nodder, not a talker. So we go to the guy's office and there are pictures of a baby that I, (correctly), assumed was his grandchild. So I decide to talk to him about that since I want to make it clear to this guy that I don't have it out for him, that I am a nice person. So we had a nice discussion about that and I felt like the air was cleared. Although, based on a couple of other points in our conversation, I think this guy was just a bit odd.

While they carried out the appraisal, we went back to the waiting room, which was actually kind of fun because the UT game was on, and UT was getting their asses handed to them on a platter, and everyone in the waiting room was bonding over what an awful game it was. We were laughing because what else could you do? But Tim said, "I think the sales guy thinks that we're trying to play a game with him and we really are buying a car." I was like, "who cares what the sales guy thinks? I feel like I have been incredibly well behaved today!" Tim said I was being defensive. Anyway, we went back in, the guy revealed the appraisal, it was better than we hoped for, we accepted it, went back and watched UT get tromped a little more, then went home with our money, minus our car.

Oh, funny sidenote to the UT tromping. A guy came in wearing a Notre Dame shirt and he looked at the score (as everyone did as they came through the room) and said, "oh, man!" I was like, you probably wish you didn't come in here, don't you? And he was like, "no, I went to Notre Dame and all my friends have been giving me crap all season" (in case you didn't know, Notre Dame is 0-5, their worst season ever), "and so now I can give them crap!" It was awesome. He was text messaging them and giving us their responses.

So if you need a used car, go to CarMax, they seem pretty cool and you'll bond with people in the waiting room. Although we didn't bond with the woman feeding her 3 year old fruit loops. Seriously, he had the big bag of fruit loops, directly from the box, and was eating them and just vibrating from all the sugar. Tim thought he was "special", that's how sugar-high he was.

Oh, and the title of this post? Selling the Golf put us over the top. We're at our goal of saving 20% down for the house!!!