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


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.