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Adventures in Homeownership

September 14, 2011

I got home from work a little early today and decided that I would spend a little time cleaning up the kitchen. Josh usually does this, so I thought I’d surprise him and get it done before he got home. That was the plan, anyway.

I started running the dishwasher, then started cleaning out some leftovers from the fridge. When I began to run the disposal, both sinks began to fill with water and various sludgy partially ground leftovers. I hurriedly pulled everything out from under the sink to see if there was a leak in addition to a blockage. There was.

Why do these things always happen when I’m home alone?

I tried to call Josh. No answer. Panic ensued. I was just about to frantically call a plumber when Josh walked through the door. I usually try really hard not to annoy him with stuff just as he’s walking through the door, but I broke my cardinal rule and dragged him into the kitchen. He grabbed his flashlight and found the source of the leaks and the full sinks. He theorized there was a block in the u-bend.

He told me a plumber would cost $300. I had a heart attack.

He then said he could do it for $10. I miraculously recovered.

Josh changed clothes and got to work. While he worked, I said really helpful things like “There I was, sitting in the u-bend thinking about death” and “I thought you refused to do plumbing.”

Once the u-bend was off, and it was determined a giant wad of goo wedged in it was the source of the problem, I offered to stick my fingers in and clear the goo. I am not afraid of goo. Or giant hairballs. I was prepared for both. I was not prepared for what I found the goo and hairballs wrapped around.

Yep. A spoon handle. Just the handle. I have no idea how it got there. But at least I know why for months there has been a subtly bad smell coming from my drain. Things kept getting wrapped around the stupid thing until finally the u-bend had enough and decided to clog.

By the way, everything is reattached and working fairly well. And in case you’re wondering, I’m keeping the spoon handle as a souvenir. I’m thinking of having it bronzed.


Best in Town – Colorado Springs

August 31, 2011

Today I’m linking up with Centsational Girl’s Best in Town link party. Most of the posts have to do with great coffee shops and tourist attractions and shopping. I’m going to go a different direction.

2 years ago, Josh and I were given Kenton Carew’s name as a possible realtor. It turns out that Josh grew up on the same street as Kenton and they had carpooled to school together. He talked us through our options and we decided that we weren’t quite ready to buy a house—something about student loans. With no pressure whatsoever, he asked us to give him a call when we were ready. We said we would.

Fast forward a year. The student loans were gone. We had saved some money up. We were ready, or so we thought. Within twenty-four hours of calling Kenton, we were set up with access to the MLS. We were searching and flagging homes, and Kenton was right there with us, making notes on possible houses and letting us know our options. He recommended a great mortgage broker, and we got the pre-approval process running. We saw dozens of houses (often with little notice), and Kenton never lost patience. We made our first offer! It was rejected and we were dejected. Kenton cheered us up, and we went through two more offers, neither of which was accepted.

We headed up to my grandparents’ house in the mountains for Thanksgiving. One morning while we were there, I decided to check the listings. A possible dream house hit our price range. I squeaked with excitement. I called over my aunts (real estate agents themselves). They squeaked. Josh looked at the house and grinned. The very next week, despite a crippling migraine, and an impending visit to the Pioneer Woman’s ranch, we visited the house. The electricity was off. It was cold. Kenton brought his flashlight so we could see the house. We fell in love with the house. Monday we made an offer.

The offer was accepted, but then we learned that the house was not an ordinary short-sale. There were three companies that had to sign off on the property—two mortgages and the IRS. Panic ensued. We got approval from mortgage holder one. Then we waited. For two long months. And Kenton waited with us. And he called us a lot to make sure that we knew that he was on it, and that he hadn’t forgotten us. He was doing everything he could to get us this house.

Finally, we pushed through to home inspections. There was an epic freeze in Colorado that week and nineteen pipes broke in the house. Kenton worked with the seller’s agent and got them fixed. The water heater broke. Kenton knew a guy. It was fixed in 24 hours. We needed a home inspector. Kenton knew a guy who was honest, reliable, and accurate. The FHA needed to inspect the house. We learned that we would be denied if there wasn’t a stove in the house. We found one on craigslist and Kenton got us access to the house to put our stove in, with the understanding that if the deal fell through, we could get our stove back out. The house had been vacant for 8 months. It was a little squidgy. To make sure we passed FHA, Kenton brought over his vacuum and did his best to clean up most of the dust and dirt. He swept up the drywall mess from the pipes. And he did it all without complaining or expecting anything from us. He was humble and helpful.

The day before closing, the IRS still hadn’t answered on whether we could get the house. Then the morning of closing not all of the paperwork was together. We panicked. He didn’t. He got us everything we needed, and we have a house to live in and love.

Kenton never treated us like we were less important because we didn’t have a half million to spend on a home. He treated us as I imagine he treats all of his clients—kindly, patiently, and with an attitude of service. I recommend him to everyone I know who needs a realtor. He’s simply the best realtor in Colorado Springs.

Kenosha Pass Camping

August 17, 2011

Over last weekend, we went camping at Kenosha Pass campground with some of our favorite people—Josh’s brother Jon and his wife, Nicolette.

While Jon tried to conquer the rock that Nicolette had claimed for her own, things became heated. I threatened to throw them in the lake to cool them off.

Josh  tried a more direct approach, and Nicolette gave him a nice Shiner for his trouble.

He was very polite and thanked her.

We forgot to bring towels to dry hands and dishes, so we had to make do with the single roll of paper towels that I remembered to bring. At least the forest service made sure we didn’t run out of teepee.

On Saturday, we went for a nice long hike on the Colorado Trail, which was conveniently adjacent to our campground. A forest fire went through the area a few years back and the aspens have taken over. Gorgeous!

Saturday night, a hailstorm tried to ruin our in-tent viewing of Star Wars, A New Hope. Though it delayed our movie time by about half an hour, it couldn’t spoil our fun!

We’re already planning next year’s trip. And this time, I’ll remember the towels. I promise.

Charming Card

August 16, 2011

For over 10 years, my mom and I have done Stampin’ Up. We used to pore over the catalog and carefully flag all of those stamp sets that we so desperately wanted.

After a hiatus (college, newlywed, etc.), I’ve gotten back into stamping and am absolutely loving it!

Here’s my latest creation, for a friend’s wedding.

Used: Charming stamp set: Stampin’ Up, blue, green, tan, and tan patterned papers from my stash, raffia, Creamy Caramel ink pad: Stampin’ Up, Mellow Moss ink pad: Stampin’ Up, Spring Floral ink pad: Vintage Ink by Ranger

Word of the Year

August 10, 2011

Every year at Christmas or shortly into January, Chris Giovagnoni, a blogger for Compassion International, puts out his annual call to the community to talk with God about a word that He is putting on their hearts for the coming year. This is the post for 2011.

I usually read these kinds of posts and think, “That’s not about me. How silly. I’m not going to do this.” And God got hold of my heart anyway and wouldn’t leave me alone until I talked to Him about it. So I did. And I did with a foolish thought that He wouldn’t come up with anything and I wouldn’t be challenged. And then He did. In about five seconds. My word for 2011 has been “daily.”

Now, given that it is 8 months into the year and I’m just now getting around to writing about it, you might see why “daily” is an issue for me. Perhaps the word should have been “diligence.” But, I digress.

I have always struggled with the mundane minutiae of every day living. From things like doing the dishes on a regular basis to the more important and complex issues of spending time with God in the Scriptures and through prayer. If there’s a routine element to it, I struggle. Case in point, there is a heap of ironing living on my favorite chair. It’s easier to sit on the sofa than do the ironing and get my chair back.

So much of my creative brain leaps at the chance to do something new, to create something new, to learn something new. I struggle with perseverance when I feel that I have “mastered” a thing. Or, at least mastered it enough that it no longer holds my attention.

God is strongly calling me to do more things “daily.” To be diligent in attending to those things that are necessary to a healthy life. And to keep doing them.

Do you have a word for the remaining 4 months of 2011? Or advice for a woman who likes the novel and struggles with the mundane?

God be with you this week.

Photostream of the House

April 16, 2011

Howdy! A lot of you have seen pictures of the house on Facebook, but if you haven’t yet, here’s a handy link to a photostream of the new house!

3125 Serendipity—Before

In other news, many good projects are going on in the house, and I think I’m going to start turning this blog into a project/homey stuff kinda blog. Get ready!

Just check me in to a nursing home

March 1, 2011

Yet another entry into why I am old. I do the USA Today online collection of puzzles almost every day while eating lunch.

Also, I have to do them in a specific order: Crossword, Don’t Quote Me, Word Round Up, Up & Down Words, Quick Cross, and then Mini Sudoku. (I don’t do the standard Sudoku, because I don’t like it.) And if all that wasn’t enough, I do the Mini Sudoku last as a treat for successfully completing all of the other puzzles.

Next stop, a walker and orthopedic shoes!