Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notable Quotables

Me: "Are you happy that I have to wear more conservative, office-appropriate attire at my new job compared to what I could get away with wearing at the agency?"

Husband: "Yes... everyone is."

Oooh. At least we both have good senses of humor! 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Wine Under $10 That Doesn't Suck

It's a varietal called a malbec. It's from Argentina. It seems full-bodied (if I understand what that means) and has a fruity flavor (but not in an overpowering kind of way). It seems to go well with about anything we put on our table — but that's probably the non-wine-expert side of me saying that...

And best of all, it's $9.  See more info from Cheap Wine Ratings.

If you don't find this wine, check out the malbecs at your local store. Many are delicious and affordable. A white grape varietal from that region that's also delish is torrontes.

Chhhheck it out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An Offer!!!!


Big news, guys! We have an offer on our house. And it's a pretty good one. Fourty-seven (?) days later and lots of house cleanings later... I know not to get TOO excited, but it's tough to not be a bit energetic and enthusiastic about this.

Here are some of the details (from our agents):

  • November 19th close date (quick closing)

  • She wants to take possession of the home at the closing table

  • 12 day due diligence is her right to inspect and cancel for any reason (14 days is average)

  • We have until 9pm tonight to respond Special Stipulations

  • She wants a Home Warranty

  • She wants the home professionally cleaned three days prior to closing
  • They want you to provide a clean and clear termite inspection letter (minimal cost) at the closing table. In the event that the termite company finds termites, they want you to treat it (very reasonable)

Special Exhibits:

  • She is an FHA buyer and has an FHA exhibit for us to look at. That means that her loan is subject to FHA requirements. The FHA appraiser is also an inspector. He/she will be looking for certain things that qualify a home for FHA approval. I don’t anticipate your home lacking any pertinent features that would deny FHA approval so I don’t think this is anything for you to be concerned with. In the event that you did not have something that the FHA appraiser/inspector required, the buyer is asking you to spend up to $500 fixing, replacing, or installing the item(s).

  • Lead Based Paint Disclosure (standard)

  • County Plumbing Disclosure (standard in our county)

This is fantastic news. Dan is talking with our agents now about final details (we haven't accepted just yet). Now my fingers, toes and legs (and eyes!) will be crossed for a solid inspection and no surprises at closing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Third Time's a Charm? (House Update)

Today, we had a couple come see our house for the third time.

On top of her drive to sell our house, the other thing I like about this buyer's agent is that she brings a treat for Roxxi every time she visits.

Fingers crossed (and toes, and legs and eyes).

UPDATE: Apparently this prospective couple is a co-ed long distance speedwalking team. They feel that our culdesac street won't work well for them (they wanted a bigger neighborhood to walk in). At least the agent reminded us that our house sells beautiful. Sigh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

House Update: the Stats

Days on the market: 45
Total showings: 21 (2 of which were second showings)
Showings yesterday alone: 3
Offers so far: 0 (but we're continuing to keep our fingers crossed)

All in all, we feel pretty good about the traffic and prospective buyers' feedback. It's a little frustrating to not have an offer yet; however, we feel fortunate in that we don't have to sell and that we very much enjoy our home (i.e., if it doesn't sell just yet, we'll continue to enjoy it).

Keep sending us positive vibes, blogosphere!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

(9th Grade) Poetry Corner

I recently stumbled upon some poetry I wrote for 9th grade English class at Eufaula High School. What an interesting step into the past to find these. So without further adieu, I will share a musing from this adolescent collection, unabridged and uncensored:

Tossing Seas

You are like the waters
of an ever-changing sea,
furious and unpredictable,
crashing down in rage.

Your being is like angry waves of the sea
in a storm. 
Sometimes you are still and calm,
embracing the gentle breeze skimming your surface.

Your mood is quite laid back, 
rolling the tides in and out lazily.
Your laughter is like the ripples
being tickled by the early morning current.

Your words seem encouraging, 
steady whisper lapping at the shore.
You are always craving attention,
hurling your waters high into the air.

And in the night you become serene
and lay motionless underneath the moon.

But I am but a dim star observing from above,
knowing that you barely acknowledge that I am here.

If I feel brave later this week, maybe I'll post another one of these. FYI, one of the poems I found is kind of strange and terrifying. Let me go ahead and dispel any rumors: I had a fine childhood. (By the way, a post by my former colleague Molly partially encouraged me to post this. Thanks, Molly!).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Married for 60 Years

For the first time in a while, I feel like I don't have much to say!

To risk going much more than a week without a post, I'll share a little something about my weekend. We traveled up to Holland, Michigan, for my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.

Did you catch that? SIXTY years! That's more than twice as long as I've been alive. They've been married for about three-quarters of their lives! Celebrating this momentous occasion with them was a true pleasure. My grandparents are [most of the time] a beacon for long-lasting love, vigor and generosity — and they have created quite the family (5 children, 12 grandchildren, four great grandchildren — plus step grandchildren and in-laws they've taken in along the way).

If I were to guess some of the things that have made my grandparents' marriage so long-lasting, here's what I'd share:
  • Mutual interests: in their case, this means Green Bay Packers football games, family get-togethers, a game of cribbage a day, bridge gatherings with friends and traveling (Vegas and to visit family, etc.).
  • Some separate hobbies and dedications: for my grandfather, it's stamp collecting, the Escanaba quarterback club, Kiwanis (to name a few) and the Methodist church; my grandmother is the cook, shopper (groceries and gifts) — and she's very active in her Catholic church community.
  • A focus on growing and change (but growing and changing together): through multiple professions, good times and hard times, they have been a team.
  • Commitment to family: not a birthday, Christmas or anniversary goes by without hearing from my grandparents. And they have a lot of people to keep up with! I would think they take the same celebratory approach to each other and their relationship together.
  • A little bit of good old-fashioned bickering (who doesn't feel a little better after venting a bit to his or her spouse as long as it's all in the name of love?). 
My grandparents, celebrating 60 years of marriage (craziness!)

For the celebration, my Aunt Janet wore my grandmother's wedding dress (because my grandmother is Catholic and my grandfather isn't, they got married in the rectory — so she decided not to wear white)

Cheers to the people who teach us what love is about.

— Katy

Monday, October 5, 2009

Putting Things in Perspective

While we were at work today, a careless and too tall Great Plains truck (a large tractor trailer) pulled the phone cable off our house. The pulled cable also caused some of our awning to be pulled down. 

Our neighbors were kind enough to not only e-mail us about the damage (they didn't have our phone numbers) but also to take photos of the damage, try to reason with the driver (he could care less about what he did and suggested to our neighbor that we take it up with the cable company) and report the situation/bad attitude to the moving company's corporate headquarters.

When I first heard the news, I was disappointed and bummed. How would this look to potential home buyers? And what if the fix took a while and the company didn't want to reimburse us?

In the end, the damage was minimal — it was mostly the driver's bad attitude and lack of ownership that had our neighbors up in arms and caused them to report the whole situation. (Thank you again, Steve and Jay!) 

On the way home from work today, I thought more about what happened with our house and how minor it is in the grand scheme of things. I replayed a video of the Austell, Georgia, flood damage in my head and felt petty for being concerned about our small situation.

Video I took on Sunday as we dropped a pressure washer off in Austell, Georgia (homes are starting the rebuilding process, which means completely gutting water-logged drywall, cabinetry, carpets, flooring and more).

Allow me to rewind. Dan went up to Austell, a suburb of Atlanta near Six Flags, on Saturday to help with a colleague's home. This colleague's home was one of about 50 homes in her neighborhood hit — and only one of those homes had flood insurance. The first floor of her home flooded completely, with flood waters reaching two feet into the second floor. These floods destroyed kitchens, bathrooms, floors, electronics, family photos and countless memories. Flood waters totaled some neighbors' cars. Now they're all faced with the burdensome task of rebuilding their house from nearly the studs up. 

I spoke with someone today who has great experience with flood recovery and mold and moisture damage. His conservative estimate for rebuilding the first floor of a home like this was $100,000... with a small FEMA reimbursement and no insurance reimbursement. And if this family just walked away, they would lose their credit and contribute to a forgotten and neglected neighborhood. 

Leave your home in shambles? Or swallow your patience, savings and all of your downtime in order to rebuild? This has spent much of the last week gutting the first floor, spraying mold-resistant cleaners, reinstalling electrical and hanging drywall — some of the first steps in rebuilding the place they call home.

As for us, I'm reminded that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff (and reminded how important it is to pitch in when there's someone in need).

- Katy

Taco Scandal (Don't Let This Happen to You)

Tacos have become an American family staple. They’re inexpensive, can satisfy the masses (i.e., the work to make them is about the same whether you make five or 50) and even picky kids like tacos. For some families, tacos (in some variety — taco casserole, build your own, taco salad, etc.) are in the weekly meal rotation.

Given the widespread popularity of tacos, burritos and similar Tex-Mex dishes, I feel compelled to shed light on something. This news may strike you as unfair, sneaky and scandalous. You may be angry. You may feel betrayed. Be forewarned.

As a consumer and one who may cook for your family or significant other or roommate, you’ve probably scoped out the options for taco seasonings. You know the stuff; it’s a spicy/tangy powder that comes packaged in an envelope that’s about 5 x 7 inches. This envelope will season one pound of beef, chicken or pork. Ortega, store brand, Old El Paso, Taco Bell — these are some of your choices. Most packets run about $1.00.

Scour the shelves of your local grocer a little harder next time. Look for the plastic canister of taco seasoning pictured to the left. I hate to point this out, but I have to do it… this container of Ortega seasoning is about $4.00. And it contains THIRTY servings of taco seasoning. That’s enough to season THIRTY pounds of whatever taco meat you prefer, not to mention how many packaging waste it saves.

Let’s do the math. If you’re cooking for five people, you likely use one to one and a half packets of seasoning per taco meal you prep. If you make tacos 20 times in a year, that’s about $30 worth of taco seasoning (or about $1.50 per meal prepped). If you pick up one of these handy jars, you’ll be able to prepare the same amount of taco meat for about $4.00 (or $0.20) per meal prepped.

Over five years, you could in theory purchase $150 worth of taco seasoning. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t be taken advantage of. Buy your taco seasoning in bulk.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spotted at Kroger: Unconcealed Weapon

So many questions here:

When a person has a concealed weapons permit, are they supposed to keep said weapon concealed?

Do off duty police officers ride in grocery cart wheel chairs?

Would an office duty police officer ride in a grocery cart wheel chair to throw off some unsuspecting pancake mix shoplifter? And if he was trying to throw a perp off, would he have his weapon out like that?

Should socks be part of an off duty police officer's attire?

Why would someone buy only two things: a bag of ice and a bag of onions? Some kind of torture mechanism the world has not yet seen? 


Friday, October 2, 2009


I was talking with a good friend yesterday about my memory. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can't stop paying attention to details that don't mean anything. I'll recognize someone from college... who I never actually met or talked to in college but just remember from seeing often. Or a particular food may send me spiraling back in time through layers and layers of munch memories.

A few stream-of-consciousness examples of how my brain works (and sometimes distracts me into long, unproductive bouts of remembering "is this really that important to remember?" stuff).

I hear Blink 182's "Adam's Song" on the radio. First I think about a friend of mine from high school who was really into Blink. Oooh high school. Loved that white Ford Explorer that I had to share with my brother. Loved that my ghetto CD player who legitimately say, "BAD" when I put in a disc that it couldnt' read. Wow. I had that song on my first generation mp3 player I had in college that only held 30 songs. Adam's Song was one of those 30 songs. In the playlist, it was proceeded by "Freak of the Week" by Marvelous 3. Oh, and that little black and yellow mp3 player with the black elastic armband used to travel with me to the Ramsey [athletic] center at UGA, where the elliptical machines were engulfed in sorority girls. Would you believe that upon arrival, you had to sign up for a slot nearly an hour away? And then when girls would get on late because the person before them got on late, they would try and stay on beyond their :00, :15, :30 and :45 time slots. Nice try, girlfriend. Just because you let the person before you use the machine until 7:48, that doesn't mean you can be casually getting of of there at 8:03. Nice try. Also, why did those girls wear clothes that were two sizes too small? Was it the "freshman 15?" Is that why MY clothes were all too small? Man, my clothes did get way too small at that time. And there was that time that I was stretching and realized after 20 minutes that I didn't have the mp3 part of my mp3 player (only the earphones). I walked over to the information desk with my little black and yellow earphones and asked if they had seen a lone black and yellow mp3 player. The punk behind the counter asked, "How can I REALLY know this mp3 player belongs to you? I'm sure a lot of people would like to claim this thing." I respond with, "Umm... do my matching set of earbuds that are missing its player give any kind of indication that the player belongs to me?" And I think to myself, "and who would want this 30 song-playing POS mp3 player anyway?" It was more than 20 minutes before I convinced this kid's manager to give me back my cheap player with the same skimpy song list on it. He was short and angry at the world, I'm pretty sure.

So, I'm browsing facebook. I click on my friend R---n's page. I see a familiar face with her in one of her tagged photos. I click on that girl's profile. Hmmm, I met this friend of the friend once in person and thought she looked familiar. Processing. Processing. Oh, she hung out with the DTD guys I befriended over my freshman and sophomore years. And she was a little younger than I was. Yeah, that's right. Wait, she's married to M---y H----r? What? No way! That's crazy! I totally sat next to that guy in biology class freshman year. We played tic tac toe and the class was on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He played tennis and went to Chattahoochee High School with my dorm mate and friend Michelle. Gah, it seems like a million people came from Alpharetta's Chattahoochee High School! Seriously. There are some people I ought to catch up with who went to CHS. Freshman year biology started at 11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I preferred to get up as late as usual, going straight from the dorm to the classroom. September 11 was a Tuesday. I was supposed to have freshman biology. I woke up late and had slept into the first few minutes of freshman biology — and straight through hysterical people talking loudly and moving about down my Russell Hall dorm hallway. I wish I could blame my poor scores in freshman year biology on things other than tic tac toe, national disasters and too long class periods. I am rather sure I just wasn't cut out for biology. I mean, who thinks that way... and retains it? 

And so go many of my trains of thought throughout the day.