Friday, February 25, 2011

...make that 14 days!

Dan (with my apartment-hating support) has decided that we'll just move the Friday after we close on the house.... 2 weeks from today! Eek! The packing began last night. We filled some 8 boxes and took all the art off the walls. Still, it's like there isn't even a dent in what has to be packed up. This is going to be a couple weeks of packing. But the end is in sight. The best part? They need our apartment early for new renters, and since we'll be out by the 13th, our rent will be cut in half. And? And, we don't have to do any cleaning or repaint the walls we painted, because they've somehow decided we're doing them a favor. Woohoo!

Our loan has been fully approved, so we're at the point where I can safely and securely say that this is a go. So, here are some pics of the house from the MLS sites. I can't wait to start doing stuff to our home so that I have Before and After posts.

The street view

Living room with bay window...

... and fireplace

Where the magic happens - this picture doesn't adequately show all my cabinet space

Master bedroom with huge walk-in closet and french door entry - that's a queen size bed, y'all, which means the king we want will more than fit

Patio for entertaining. There's also a place for a fire pit and a built-in BBQ, so we'll have both gas and charcoal grills

It's really happening... excuse me while I squeeee!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

22 days...

I've been keeping a secret. Kind of. Some of you, like Facebook or Twitter or IRL friends already know. I just haven't written about it here. Sort of in case it didn't pan out, and sort of because there's been a lot going on the last few weeks. But in 22 days, we'll be moving to our new home! 22 more days of coming home to the apartment, climbing stairs, making 4 puppy potty trips a morning and 6 puppy potty trips an evening. 22 more days of being renters, of having neighbors that are attached to us, and living in the first place we lived as husband and wife. 22 more days.

We are really excited. It's surreal. I admit that when people ask about the house, they probably don't think I'm all that excited. But I really am. I guess I just feel cautious still. Even though I know there's not much that could go wrong at this point. Maybe it's the fact that I have the daunting task of packing still in front of me. Maybe when that's done, then I'll get really stoked. And I've been told I definitely had to pack. Last time we moved, I apparently had the notion we could just carry things from one building to the other. And it worked for some stuff, but it won't this time. We have to actually pack, with, like boxes and stuff.

We close on March 9th. That first weekend will be spent replacing the oven, redoing the countertops, and installing a doggie door. Ambitious, but doable. Dan's pretty determined. He wanted to move that first Friday and I had to back the train up, remind him that we didn't want to live in a house with a kitchen in progress. So we're moving 22 days from tomorrow, on March 18th. Dan will take the day off, and his friend will help load and unload the U-Haul. I'll pretty much go to work from the apartment and come home to our house. Our home. That's the thought that gets me excited. We're finally going to have a place all our own. I've been here in Phoenix for almost 6 years, and this is the first time I'll be living in a place with a sense of permanence. I finally get to put down some real roots. That's the exciting part.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My new favorite show: The bird is supposed to be blue

Some of you who follow me on Twitter or know me in real life may know that I have a secret (or not so secret) love for Toddlers and Tiaras. It's my favorite train wreck aside from Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. So you can imagine the absolute euphoria I felt (and the dread Dan experienced) when I saw this beauty was airing on TLC last night:

Yeah, boring logo. Awesome show. Perfect show for me to recap: found. The series premier featured the ridiculously over-the-top princess party of Gracie, who was turning 6. Initial budget for the party: $15,000. Kind of. Or $10,000. Or, if Dad had his way, $60. So it starts off with little Princess Gracie and her delusional mom meeting with the planner to discuss this budget. Basically, right off, we can tell Mom is going to be hiding costs from Dad. Which makes me wonder - how does this guy, who is the breadwinner since Mom is a stay-at-home air-breather, not have any idea what's going on with his finances? How do you hide spending $15,000 from your husband? And their house, while big, is not a mansion (the kitchen is sad, folks), so it's not like it's $15,000 out of $1.8 Billion.

Speaking of which, I also watched The Unpoppables on TLC, about balloon figure designers. This woman was throwing a party for her husband, who she says is stressed about providing for their newborn son while she stays home. So she goes and throws him a huge surprise party in this wicked fancy hotel ballroom, complete with these monstrous crazy balloon things. And those were only the decorations. Now, call me naive, but I'd imagine that paying a staff of 3 people for 4 days to blow up, tie, twist, and build a sail boat and tiki bar out of 3,000 balloons can't be cheap. So definitely, when your husband is stressed about being the manly sole provider, the obvious choice is to spend his hard earned money on a party decorated with a boat load (literally) of balloons. And again, how did this guy not notice that his money was being spent like that? You'd better believe that if I was our sole breadwinner, I'd be watching our accounts like a freaking sniper. There'd be no surprises. Ever. Moral of the story: stay-at-home moms need something to do other than plan parties, because things get carried away.

Anyway, Gracie. Gracie's a piece of work. She's quite the demanding little thing. Spoiled rotten. Dances on chairs during dinner, slurps down Starbucks like it's going out of style, the whole bit. Her mom explains that she was a surprise - she found out she was pregnant with Gracie at 40, when her older kids were 9 and 11. If Gracie's turning 6, that means the older siblings are turning 16 and 18. Older Sister makes sure to note that therehas been no mention of huge parties for their milestone birthdays. More than once, Mom refers to the older kids as "already gone." What she means by this is that they no longer believe in fairytales and might as well be shipped off to an old folks home because they're no longer entertaining to their mother. But, Mom has a solution for that. Older Sister gets to make her cheer squad make up a Gracie cheer (G-R-A-C-I-E... creative). She looks mortified. Older Brother and his friend, who was unfortunate enough to have been sitting on the couch, get to dress up as royal page boys or something or other and go door to door yelling "hear ye, hear ye" to deliver Princess Gracie's $3,000 scroll invitations. They both look thrilled, let me tell you.

The party is obviously getting out of control when Mom and her equally delusional mother take Gracie shopping for her cake. Mom says she thought that Gracie would choose a kiddie cake. Oh, no. Not Gracie. Child picks out a $2,000 wedding cake and wants a BLUE bird on it. At the dress shop, she chooses a puffy pink and white gown that cost $750. My wedding dress? Cost half that.
Next, Mom goes to pick out Gracie's horse and carriage. Yes, Gracie will be arriving in style in a Cinderella-style pumpkin carriage. Cue Mom stating once again that her older kids are fuddy duddies who don't believe in fairytales and this is so special for Gracie and her last chance to do this. You'd think believing in fairytales was as necessary to sustaining life as oxygen, according to this woman. Next up is a visit to the venue to sort out details, where we discover that the cost of the party is going to be at least $20,000. Ruh roh. Mom goes home and tells Dad about all the amazing costumes and special effects. Dad clues in and wisely states there's no way you can plan a party like what he's hearing about for $10,000 and Mom skates like Tanya Harding around his questions, saying "it'll all be so magical and worth it."

Finally, it's party day. Gracie's hair and makeup stylists cancel last minute, which is probably what everyone else involved in this monstrosity should have done. Little Princess refuses to let anyone dress her or do her hair. Mom is running around like a crazy woman and throwing the coordinator under the bus because the buffet table isn't where it should be. Dad is walking around turning pale taking it all in: costumes for every guest (cha-ching), at least 10 decorators (cha-ching), hired dancers (cha-ching). At this point, I'm giddy with anticipation of the big blow out, and Dan is looking nauseated. Gracie pulls up in her horse and carriage with 6 of her rug rat friends. She doesn't look any more excited than if she were at Chuck E. Cheese. Mom, however, is squeeeing all over the place.

Once in the party, there's not much going on. Six year-olds don't seem to do much at parties. Finally, the hired Good Witch of the East/Fairy Godmother (cha-ching) announces it's time for the cake. And out comes pretty much the biggest cake I've ever seen. It's beautiful and very elegant considering a kindergartner chose it, but Gracie instantly spots something displeasing. The bird is blue! She freaks! "The bird is supposed to be bluuuuueeee!" I wait for her to go all Hulk Smash and instead she just bursts into tears and ruins her makeup, along with her dad's costume (cha-ching).

Thankfully, she gets over it, and it's on to present time! The Good Witch tells Crazy - er Gracie -to open her gift, and a pink Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade is revealed. Gracie's response: "but I don't know how to driiiiive." Womp, womp, womp. "Thank you" would have sufficed, kiddo. Stick that in your back pocket for next time.

Final party cost: $32,000. Eeek. The credits say Mom and Dad are still happily married, but Mom seemed pretty out of touch with anything even close to reality, so I doubt it. I'll be waiting for the spin off: When Kid Birthdays Cause Divorces. Hopefully, someone is able to come up with a better title, but you get the gist.

Until next week....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Under contract

We are under contract! Hooray! We had an offer accepted verbally yesterday, and got the contract signed officially by the seller this morning. I'm equal parts ecstatic and freaked. I know there are a few more steps to get through, but this is the first hurdle, and we did it! We have a contract.

The house is a 3 bed, 2 full bath ranch style in the area we originally wanted. New carpet and tile, fireplace, nice back yard for entertaining, tons of cabinet and counter space in the kitchen, and room for 2 RV gates. Pretty much, everything on our list. And it's completely move in ready, which allowed us to really use our cash budget well. So keep your fingers crossed for us as we go into inspection and appraisal week. Our close date is tentatively scheduled for March 9th, giving us almost 3 weeks before our lease is up to get settled in.


The week in Morristown was a killer. Early mornings, 10 and 11 hour days, sometimes with dinner after. A lot of info that didn't pertain to me, a lot of training type crap that anyone who does the stuff it did pertain to should know, and a lot of annoyance from the co-irkers. As expected, it was Mrs. ESPN that saved me from going postal (er, tax analyst) on some people. The lead-up to flight home was about the punchiest I've ever seen her, which was quite amusing for me. This weekend is nowhere near long enough to make up for the incredibly boring week we endured. Buuuuut, the VP did give us all a video camera as a thank you for our time, so I'm willing to forgive and forget a little. My soul can officially be bought with flashy electronics.

We're now off to Tucson to pick up our pups and help my dad with a project. I'll hopefully get a chance to do a mock-up of my sister's shower candy buffet table and get some tissue poms made, too. Watch out, Mom, you're about to be put to work.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Randomness

It's been a very busy week. It's month end close at work, and we have the added pressure of making sure things get done before we head to our corporate head quarters in Morristown for a week. More on that in a minute. I haven't had a chance to form a coherent and sensible thought in a while, but I'm going to give it a whirl.

- The potential deal on the house with the divorcees is a no-go. They seriously can't seem to communicate, and we gave them almost a week to come through with either a counter offer or an acceptance, only to find that the wife doesn't even seem to want to sell. Take it off the market then! I swear, these people are bat shit crazy. We're going looking with Raluca again tomorrow morning, and hoping that one of the six that we see is a good one, and then also that the 3rd time is a charm.

- Morristown. Oy. My group at work, along with Mrs. ESPN, is going to Morristown, New Jersey on Sunday. I'm mostly (like 67%) dreading it. Not only is it going to be super cold, but I can see my boss and coworker (the one who talks endlessly about weight loss while eating brownies and clips his nails in his cube) driving me insane. I also just like being at home - a week away living out of a suit case and not doing my own cooking and not sleeping in my own bed is going to wear on me. I used to travel for work, so I know that what makes a business trip enjoyable is who you're with. I'm going to be with a 75% anxiety-inducing crew. I'm just thankful Mrs. ESPN will be with me. She'll keep me sane when everyone else pushes me toward the edge.

- I'm getting very anxious about my sister's shower and hoping it all comes together. I'm really really excited about the candy bar. I got all the candy and the containers for it sorted out about a week ago. Dan and I practiced making tissue paper poms and they came out really well! Dan's actually a very talented pom maker. I just need to figure out how to exploit his talent. I also plan on making some of the candy bar stuff myself - chocolate covered Oreos and pretzels, cupcakes, and mint meringues. I bought a mold and gave the Oreos a try last night and they came out really good! My coworkers certainly appreciate me practicing goodie-making.

- Even though we don't celebrate Valentine's Day, I want this super cute "Kiss the Cookie Decorator" sign and adorable sheet of cookies cookie favor on the Cookie Crumbs blog by A Dozen Eggs Bake Shoppe. I love this blog, and the shoppe is something like what I'd love to have myself someday. I might just have to send Dan this link as a not-so-subtle hint.

- This may seem weird, but I was super excited the other morning about Clover. As you may very well know, she's not a cuddly puppy. She likes us mostly because we give her food, but she isn't attached to us like Paisley is. I take that back. If Paisley's not around, she'll curl up on our lap, but for the most part, she's far too busy with chasing shadows and ripping socks and trying to sneak stuff out of the pantry to give us much attention. Anyway, yesterday, we were hanging out in bed in the morning, like we always do. I started talking to Clover and telling her how sweet she is and she started wagging her tail, people. She never does that. She wags it when I come home and when she's playing with Paisley, but she's never wagged her tail just with me talking to her. I'm a total dork, but I imagined it must be how a parent feels when their baby gives them a smile for the first time. Okay, that might be taking it far, but still. It made me very happy. Maybe she loves me after all!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!