Friday, January 29, 2010

It's OURS!!!

Last week we had toured a downtown bungalow that had been taken off the market...we originally planned to do the second walk-through this morning but after deciding it was pretty much the house we wanted, we moved it up to Wednesday evening.
And thank God we did! I received an email from our realtor on Tuesday evening stating the owner wanted to put the house back on the market this reaction was, "Oh shit! This is NOT good!!!" but kept running the Serenity Prayer through my mind so I'd keep my head up.
We get to the house on Wed evening and there's a freaking For Sale sign in the yard! I jokingly told Kelly that I was going to pull the sign out of the yard...he said the house went on the market that afternoon and his phone (he's also the seller's agent) was blowing up with people wanting to schedule a tour. However, since we were viewing it that evening, the next person wasn't scheduled until the following evening.
After going through the house, we went back to Kelly's office to write up the offer...we gave the seller's until 5pm yesterday to let us know. Justin and I were convinced we'd get a counter-offer and possibly even end up in a bidding war since the property had so many other buyers interested in it. To our luck, the seller's accepted our offer over the lunch hour yesterday and there was no counter!!! The house is OURS!!! I finally got my downtown bungalow :-)
The closing is scheduled for April 1 which means we can get into the house to do all the painting, etc and then leisurely move our furniture in as our lease doesn't end until April 30. The property doesn't have any fencing, so we'll have to get something put up before we bring Mitzy & Malcolm over...we're thinking a white picket fence :-) I know Mitzy won't have any problem adjusting to a new place but Malcolm on the other hand...hmmmmmmmm. When we first got him, we hid in the basement for over a week--I couldn't find him anywhere and was convinced he was dead. I mean CONVINCED. Justin was in Texas & Louisianna at the time and I kept calling him to say the cat had to be dead and I was completely freaked out about the dead-animal smell kicking in...but then I noticed he'd been eating and using his litter box so there went that theory! I know he'll absolutely love all the windows once he gets settled in the new place, but oh man, that could take a while!!!
Between now and when we close on the house, I think I'm going to start playing the lottery. I'm SO ready to go HGTV on this house and make it into my own creative interior decorating showroom. But I just don't know how I'll be able to buy all the stuff because I tend to gravitate toward the expensive stuff and decorating a house costs some major money. I figure that if I play the lottery, I may win a few bucks here and there (Justin's coworker got a scratch-off ticket every week and won $10,000 one day!) and I'll help the State of Kansas at the same time! Or maybe I'll just write HGTV and see if they'll send one of their crews to our house and use us as decorating guinea pigs...
I couldn't steal any other pictures from the internet because they have already removed the listing...but here's a picture of the outside!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Going Vegan...

Yesterday afternoon was spent working from home with the television on for background noise. I had heard these commercials for Oprah's segment about what's in your food and figured it might be something to flip to during the 4:00 hour.
The episode featured the man behind the "Food Inc" documentary and some of what he said was total crap--ie that farmers are responsible for fresh produce costing more than processed snack cakes. He was calling upon farmers to produce more fruits and veggies and cut back on corn in order to make produce affordable...has anyone else noticed that corn gets blamed for everything lately? As I thought to myself, "Yeah, I'll have my brother and dad get started on a lettuce patch & orange grove in the middle of the Republican River Valley right away" they switched to an interview with Alicia Silverstone (most famous for her role in the movie Clueless).
Alicia was discussing how she had always suffered from severe asthma and gastrointestinal problems--she'd try a variety of meds but never really felt "good." One day, on a whim, she went vegan and claims it has drastically improved her lung problems, stomach issues and over all well-being.
As a farm girl raised on homegrown beef, I always struggled with the idea of a vegetarian diet let alone a vegan diet. Give me a flat iron steak and a chunk of colby-jack cheese and I'm the happiest girl in the world!!! However, a few months ago one of my employees was talking about her vegan diet and how it was hard at first. As she's saying this, I'm munching down on a big old piece of juicy fried chicken and thinking "ah, hell no!" but since I have so much respect for her in general, I kept my ears open! Turns out, she went vegan 19 years ago, before many people had even heard of the diet! After I finished my chicken breast, I cut into the absolutely delicious Key Lime pie she brought and turns out, it was completely vegan! At that point, I decided she might be onto something...
So after eating the pie and hearing Alicia Silverstone's testimony, I decided to order some books from Amazon about going vegan. I would love to give it a try and see how I feel. Earlier this month, I was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma and basically my asthma is as bad as it can get without having emphysema or COPD. I'm on 4 daily meds plus my rescue inhaler and they seem to help b/c I haven't had an asthma attack since starting them--however, 3 of the meds cost over $150 for a 30-day supply...I was given a Pulmicort sample for the first month so I'm terrified to find out what it will cost! At this rate, I would rather spend an extra $150 a month on a vegan lifestyle instead of being loaded up on numerous prescriptions.
Justin has already told me I'm flipping crazy for even considering a vegan diet...and my baby brother has threatened to disown me! When our Hyvee first opened up, I bought some "taco meat crumbles" that weren't meat at all; in fact, they were crumbles of plant protein and super full of protein and fiber...I snuck them into some quesadillas one day and Justin was begging for more! And quinoa, if you've never tried it, it's a perfect alternative to's full of fiber, protein AND iron--it's a miracle grain! Even though our cat would argue otherwise, I prefer soy milk over cow's milk--one, soy protein is totally awesome for a person and two, the thought of drinking something that came out of a nipple is freakin disgusting! Since I've experimented with some vegan products already, I think it's do-able.
If anyone has any advice or input, I'd love to hear it! I'm hoping to find some practical recipes and advice on what to eat when dining out...oh, and turns out Chipotle is vegan friendly so I'd have an excuse to eat there all the time :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today, my dad turns the big 60! I'm only sharing this since he mentioned it himself, but he's looking forward to taking advantage of all the senior-discounts out there. I'll never forget the time when I was still in high school and the McDonald's lady asked if he wanted the senior discount--the look on his face was priceless! Back to my blog...My brother asked if his new discount eligibility meant he'd be eating at buffets only from now on and Dad said yes, as long as they aren't spicy ;-) After doing some research, I found that Dad shares his birthday with Bridget Fonda, Howard McNear of The Andy Griffiths Show, Nick Mason who drummed for Pink Floyd and Mozart! Here are some fun facts about 1950! A House cost: $14,500 Average income: $3,216 Ford car: $1339-$2262 Admiral "home entertainment" TV system: $549.50 12" records: $4.85 10" records: $2.85 Milk: .82 cents Gas: .20 cents Bread .14 cents Postage stamp: .03 cents Sirloin steak: $.77 lb The population of the world is 2.52 billion Walt Disney's Cinderella opens in theaters. Sugar Pops are introduced. RCA 45 RPM record attachment Silly Putty is introduced! Pillsbury and General Mills offered prepared cake mixes. CBS begins broadcasting in color. Ball-O-Fire gumballs are available. The stuff of grilled cheese sandwiches arrived, KRAFT® Deluxe process cheese slices are introduced. Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Port Authority open in NYC Seeburg starts selling jukeboxes that play 45 RPM records. This is the jukebox that ends up in the soda shops, bowling alleys and bars. Nobel for literature awarded to William Faulkner . Smokey the Bear gains national popularity. Minute Rice arrives. Haloid Corporation (later renamed Xerox) develops the first xerographic copy machine. 2,200 drive-in movie theatres, twice as many as in 1949. Peanuts debuted on October 2, 1950. Cartoonist Hank Ketcham created and introduces "Dennis the Menace." 10,500,000 TV sets in 10,400,000 homes. The first self-service elevator is installed by Otis Elevator in Dallas. Unemployment is 5.3%

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gary Coleman, Charlie Sheen & Domestic Violence

Back in 2006 the rumor mill reported that Gary Coleman of the "Diff'rent Strokes" sitcom had is the case with most of Hollywood's finest, this was definately another urban legend. Just like the sittings of Elvis Presley or Tupac Shakur that people are constantly reporting...According to this morning's gossip sites, Gary Coleman is in fact alive and kicking!
Several years ago, the former child star secretly married then 22-year old Shannon Price. Keep in mind that Gary was almost twice her age--but half Shannon's size. At the time, the couple reported having "their issues" and Shannon reportedly did not like his violent tendencies...When asked about their age difference, Gary stated he has an issue with intelligence and was proud that Shannon was smarter than him!
That brings me to the next point--Gary was arrested over the weekend for domestic violence. The couple was already headed toward divorce after Shannon's 2008 arrest for domestic violence against Gary and had even appeared on the tv show "Divorce Court." Really--you end up on Divorce Court but eventually try to reconscile?! Are they sure they didn't really appear on The Jerry Springer Show?!
When I first heard about Gary's arrest, I had this mental image of this little midget beating on a woman twice his size and I couldn't help but laugh..kinda like Sydney Fife beating on Lou Ferrigno (ie The Incredible Hulk) in "I Love You Man." I know, as a domestic violence advocate, it is so very wrong but I just couldn't get the mental image out of my head!
Obviously Shannon had concerns about Gary's behavior when they first got married and now the relationship is mutually combative. Is she resorting to battering behavior to defend herself from Gary or is she engaging in violent behavior herself??? Only the two of them will know. However, considering the spin the media puts on Hollywood's stars and their abusive behavior, I find this very interesting. Physically, Gary is the most vulnerable of the two but some individuals resort to other tactics to gain power and become intimidating when their size doesn't get the job done. How will the media respond to their situation and will this be used as an educational moment???
Last week, the gossip sites were talking about Charlie Sheen visiting his estranged wife in the hospital. Charlie & Brooke had an incident on Christmas Day where he held a weapon to her and threatened her life. The state automatically issued a Protective Order but the magazines are quick to discuss their efforts to reunite and "put this behind them." When Brooke was admitted to the Intensive Care unit of the hospital, news sources were making the point that Charlie was a supportive husband because he visited her. Hello, there is a Protective Order in place!!! After looking through several articles, one source pointed out that he did not have physical contact with her but she knew he was in the building...and this is supposed to be acceptable?! Even so, that's beyond inappropriate and the media is portraying it as sweet, loving behavior!
For any of you readers, you're more than welcome to share your thoughts on this issue! What are your feelings about women, such as Elin Woods, who resort to violence--is it justified or unacceptable? If you were a hospital employee, would you allow an abuser into the hospital knowing there's a no-contact order in place?
On a VERY serious note--if you know anyone who is currently experiencing domestic violence in their relationship or has survived the violence, here are some resources. It happens, it happens to the people we know and love. And unfortunately some of our loved ones become a fatal victim of the violence.
In Memory of a Wonderful, Kind Soul--
Bobbi, Age 49 (1/16/06): Bobbi was shot and killed by her husband less than two weeks after getting a protection orderagainst him. Her husband had moved out of their home earlier in the year, but had returnedwith a rifle to find Bobbi with four other people, including one of the couple’s two grown sons, and a child. They all fled after her husband fired the rifle into the ceiling. “She was attempting to get away, went to a neighbor’s home, and he confronted her in the yard,” the sheriff said. After shooting her, he killed himself. Both were found in the neighbor’s yard.
Food for Thought:
* On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day
* Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States
* Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner
In Kansas, In the year 2006:
*Bobbi and 20 other women were murdered by current or former partners *2 women were raped and murdered *5 women were reported missing and their whereabouts are still unknown *18 women were victims of attemped murders *More than 3 women were held hostage during domestic violence stand-offs

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Ummmmmmm, NO"

In the past 3 years of knowing Justin, I've come to realize that he's a very decisive person and has no problem telling you what he thinks of something. With that said, here comes the update on the Yellow House... Friday morning, we enter the Yellow House with our realtor. Kelly and I hang back as we've both already toured the property and I was wanting to watch Justin's reaction. He's walking around the living and dining room just grooving on the woodwork, fireplace etc...Justin walks into the kitchen and then heads for the basement. Keep in mind, the house was built in 1920 and has a stone foundation...Justin gets downstairs and basically goes, "what the hell is this?! this is the basement?! it looks like a place to throw dead bodies!" Hmmmmm, not quite the reaction I was hoping for. And he didn't think Dante's Infernace was nearly as funny as Kelly and I did... We decide to head back upstairs and check out the second story...Justin doesn't even get up the stairway before I hear a very frustrated "ohhhhhhhhhhhh, this house is HAUNTED!" and all I'm thinking is wtf? Is he seeing ghosts or something?! Turns out, the railing caught his leather coat and ripped it. And this makes the house haunted?! Being the trooper he is, he continued upstairs to check out the bathroom with the roof line--as he walked into the bathroom, the "Ummmmmmm, NO" came and I knew we were done. There was no trying to justify the roofline or push the gorgeous woodwork downstairs. This house was off the list! As I'm not one to take no for an answer, I've been stalking the MLS ever since we lost the contract on the first house--even when we decided to rent for a while longer, I still checked out the MLS on a daily basis. There was an awesome downtown bungalow that went on the market around Halloween and immediately went under contract--turns out, the person had buyer's remorse so they cancelled the contract after the inspection. The bungalow went BACK on the market, under contract within a week and the same thing happened. We requested the inspection reports and for being built in 1935, the inspections found very few problems. We decided to tour the bunglaw on Friday and we think it's the one! It's a 2-bed, 1-bath home with about 1000 sq ft of living space, a full basement, fireplace, tall ceilings, modernized kitchen and awesome amount of yard for Mitzy and Malcolm. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of the house and I couldn't find any online as the owners had taken it off the market (hey, it helps to know people!). I realize it's not a huge house, but I don't want to spend all weekend cleaning extra bedrooms and bathrooms that we never use! When looking at mortgage payments for a large home vs this 2-bedroom plus the cost to heat the homes, I think we're headed in the right direction. And if I wanted to sound cool, I could tell people we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint ;-) We are scheduled to have a second viewing of this home on Friday, but we're thinking about trying to do it a few days earlier than planned. Since the house isn't on the market, we know we won't have any competition...but it'd be nice to start moving on the negotiations and maybe be out of our duplex in 6 weeks or so!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Yellow House

I met with our Realtor yesterday and we toured the "Yellow House" that I had fallen in love with online. And I didn't even need eHarmony to facilitate the love! Just kidding...mid-week humor...anyhow, the house was absolutely gorgeous--particularly the lower level. The house is full of charm and your old architectural details, such as the built-in china cabinet in the dining room, the columns, the huge windows (especially the leaded diamond window in the entry way)and reminds me of my grandparents' yellow house on the farm, but just on a smaller scale! The only difference--I'm sure Marcene kept her house much cleaner than this one!!! Sellers in Manhattan kill me; they do absolutely nothing to stage their homes. This house had dirty windows, dusty floors and cobwebs in the corners...nothing a little elbow grease would fix, but a clean house might earn you a few more bucks when you sell it!
I'm torn on the house--I love the visual aesthetics of it and the fact that it's not your typical cookie-cutter house as those do nothing for my creative instinct. However, the roof line cuts into the upstairs bathroom some (it shows it a bit in the picture) and I'm afraid Justin will have to duck--or maybe even crawl (he gets to see it on Friday, so I'll update you on his response!). As this is the first older home we've looked at, I fear the house could become a money pit. It's been completely remodeled with a new kitchen, carpeting, bathrooms, etc and older homes are usually of better construction...but with each year we're in the house, it'll be a year older and what kind of problems could creep up? The house has already been under contract once and it fell through as the person ended up not moving to Manhattan after all. In a way, I'm glad to know we're not the only person in the world interested in the house!
But the BEST PART of the house: a previous tenant had written on the side of the furnace, in Magic Marker, "Dante's Infernace." know every house is going to have its quirks!
We will look at three other houses on Friday just to see what's out there...and maybe it'll help us know if this house is "the one." That's how we knew about the first house we had under contract!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Second Time Around...

Shortly after Justin and I became engaged this summer, we decided to go house hunting. For almost two years now, we've been living in a duplex on the westside of town that we absolutely love...however, we don't exactly love our dysfunctional neighbors on the otherside. To make matters worse, the dysfunctional neighbors happen to be our landlord...great combination, huh? When we moved in, the landlord was an 82-yr-old man but he died 3 weeks he had an only child, his daughter and her mess of a family inherited the properties and moved in next door!
We love our cozy, outdated dwelling but there comes a point in time when you realize you're just throwing away your money by paying rent. Within one week of hunting, we fell in love with a 4-bed, 2-bed house with a remodeled basment and amazing backyard...long story short, we ended up losing the contract within a week or so of closing. I don't know if I've felt such disappointment in a LONG time!
Did I mention the house also had a crazy-steep driveway? Back in September, we were convinced that we could work with the slope...Justin's truck made it up the drive with no problem but my Nissan couldn't even get the front tires in the drive without getting high-centered. However, the incredibly snowy winter has made me realize how glad I am that we didn't get stuck with that driveway!
After losing the contract, we decided just to keep renting for a few more years...that idea only lasted until the first part of December when we decided to give it another try! We'll start looking at houses again this week and I'm beyond excited! In fact, there's a house that I saw online and fell in love just from seeing the pictures. Justin & I went walking around the property on Friday and fell in with it even more! I just hope that we don't find a major problem when we're actually able to tour the inside. Knowing my luck, it'll probably smell like dead animals or have a wall painting of Homer Simpson (and yes, we did see one of those the first time around!), so wish us luck!
And for your viewing pleasure, here's a picture of the house we love!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sarah Palin goes to Fox

Okay, I know this will probably upset some of my Republican friends and family...but I almost died when I heard Sarah Palin landed a gig with Fox earlier this week. I seriously thought they had hired her to be the real-life version off Peggy Hill from Fox's "King of the Hill."
It was common knowledge during the campaign that people either LOVED or HATED Sarah Palin...and for me, hate doesn't even begin to describe my feelings towards her. I just can't stomach her. I'd rather listen to Al Gore talk about global warming than hear Palin run her trap about God knows what. And they hired her to be a political analyst? Really?! Come on, folks--she's nothing better than a puppet! I'm not all that well-rounded myself but I think I might have a better chance of coming up with my own opinions than she would.
Enough of my ranting! I found a funny quote from "King of the Hill" that I think is very well suited for my opinion toward Palin...just insert Sarah where it says Peggy!
Peggy: What if I'm not as smart as I always thought. What if I'm... average?
Hank: Peggy, you have an IQ of 175. You said so yourself.
Peggy: Well, there could be a margin of error. Especially since it's my own estimate.

My first post!

While I was attending Creighton, I used to send out weekly emails about college life to everyone and their dog...and I'm not kidding! There were so many recipients that I had to send the email out in two separate emails...I'm not sure if anybody read them, but it was sure fun!
I recently realized that blogs are the modern-day version of my 200+ recipient emails...I know, I'm slow at times. As my brother-in-law would say, I don't always get enough oxygen! :-) In keeping up with the times, I decided to give it a shot! And since my life isn't very exciting, I'll probably include random tidbits of information.
However, I do expect a lot of my posts to be about Mitzy and Malcolm. Mitzy is my overly-friendly Maltese and Malcolm is our strange, but loving, feral feline that we adopted just over 1 year ago. They go together like a fat kid and cake! For your viewing pleasure, I have included a picture of them from last Halloween after we had just adopted Malcolm...I can't remember why, but Mitzy had just been shaved so she looks super skinny and Malcolm looks absolutely THRILLED to be wearing a jester-collar around his neck!