Saturday, January 31, 2009

Seriously? For Real?

I have bronchitis. I have a sinus infection. And I have broken out in hives. I am on antibiotics, three kids of steroids, and Benadryl. The rest of this %$#@ year better improve. I swear I will not post again until I have something happy to talk about.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

La Casa de Aguacates

On top of disappointment, tragedy. Looks like the house will be sold to some horrible rich people who are going to tear it down and build a new house. I would very much like to call them a nasty, vulgar word or two. Why can't the scrappy middle-class kids ever get a break? Life stinks when it's not like the movies. I'm never watching Goonies again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sick of it All

Remember that song? I'm feeling that today.

I'm sick of real estate shenanigans. I'm sick of Orange County. And I'm just plain sick - coughing up nasty things and my whole face hurts. We are resubmitting our offer today. $360k, as is, 10% down. Half of me hopes they say no again.

There's a property further up the canyon that's significantly cheaper - asking $169k and it's been listed for 105 days. There must be something wrong with it, I suspect there may be a right-of-way through the property. It's also smaller by almost 800 square feet, BUT that would make a mortgage of only $730 a month, plus property taxes of $1700 or so a year. The lot is big, but I wonder about the right of way and how much is actually usable.

There's also a half-acre property down the street from my Aunt Patty in Ontario. It has two houses that allegedly rent for $1600 and $800. The asking price is $265k, but I would lowball. Then in 5 years or so we could leave OC. bleargh, i don't know what to do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

You simply must read my cousin's latest blog entry - about living through Chinese New Year. In China. Man, I hope we're able to make it there to visit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Have a Headache

The Avocado House is now back from the dead. The little apartment underneath the deck has an un-permitted kitchen. I am not sure if the entire deck is un-permitted, or just the living space underneath it. arrrgh arrrgh arrrgh. I will be calling the county code enforcement folks on Monday to see what exactly the county can do about getting it approved.

I do not know what to do. Be afraid, keep my money, stay renting? Take a gamble on my dream house priced at circa-year-2000 levels, but then be terrified that Dan will lose his job? Dan is gone on some $#@% Boy Scout trip today. I need to go put on Pride & Prejudice and clean the house and not think about this right now.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Eli has it in one eye. Paul has it in both. My friend Jennie brought over 4 of her kids today to help me catch up on all the housecleaning that's been neglected for waaaay too long. I knew Eli's eye was a little cruddy today, but I didn't realize it was infected. Oh, I hope we don't repay Jennie by giving her kids pinkeye.

I want to take my mom on a vacation, just me and her. I was thinking coast train to Santa Barbara or San Diego, or maybe just a weekend in Los Angeles at a really nice hotel, we could go to museums and nice restaurants and maybe see a play. I am open to suggestions for alternatives. Any ideas for me?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just to Wallow in it

some pictures of the Avocado House.

I'm actually relieved we didn't get it. It would have wiped out our savings. It would have been a debt obligation and an additional burden keeping us in Orange County. I warned y'all that bad times were coming and now they are here. I had been hoping that 2009 would be our year to get a house-house, but now I'm scared and I think cash in the bank (an FDIC-insured bank) is even better.

I had what I thought was a great idea - we should find a big ol' 5-bedroom house to rent and split it with Matt & Courtney. I just found one in Mission Viejo, almost 2200 sf on an 8500 sf lot and the rent's only $2400 a month. Imagine how much money we could all save if we split that rent. But I can't get that stone rolling and so of course I'm back to being worried about everybody. I know there are potential pitfalls, but I think if we all had the right spirit about it this could work out great for all of us. Big fat sigh.

Am I obsessed with money? It's not the money so much as it is the security that it provides. Cash in the bank makes me feel safe. It's a buffer against disaster. Sure, I'd love a big ol' TV and a Wii and a fancy house with windows whose frames aren't rotting (oh, and a gas stove). But I'd rather feel safe than spoiled.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I can't resist

I guess I'm ready for my first funny post.

I've been invited to a baby shower. It's being held at a house on a street named Silent Spring. Yes, Silent Spring. It's just too deliciously ludicrous.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to School

I start my chemistry class today. I don't even have my textbook. It feels weirdly disrespectful to my father to just go on with life like this. I was at a church breakfast on Saturday, just for the primary kids and their teachers, and of course people offered their condolences, or didn't know Dad had passed and then felt terrible for saying the wrong thing, or didn't say so much as boo to me. It turns out nobody can say or do the right thing just now, unless they've been through this and understand. I ditched church on Sunday because I couldn't bear the thought of people offering their condolences, and then I actually felt kind of irritated when somebody left me a message trying to get me to come to stake choir practice. Shouldn't the whole world know about my father? At least I am aware that I am irrational and impossible to please.

Oh, and we didn't get the Avocado House. I know it's insignificant compared to my other loss, but it's still an insult on top of injury. I hope the rest of 2009 improves, or I may have to look into liquor. ;)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dale Spencer Kinnick, 1950-2009

It's over. Dad passed away at noon on Wednesday, January 7th. We are strangely okay. Grieving, but okay. Relieved that Dad is no longer suffering, a little shocked at how quickly it went. It has been a surreal experience, nothing like I ever imagined it would be - not that I have spent much time imagining deathbed vigils.

I'll compose my own obituary soon. The funeral will be at Draper Mortuary in Ontario, on Saturday January 17th at 10:00 am. Anybody that's ever known my Dad is welcome.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Funeral Blues

Well, I knew Dad didn't have six months. He may not even have six days now. Things have just degenerated rapidly.

Please forgive me for making this Colleen's Depressing Blog About Her Dad Dying. There is just nothing in my world right now aside from this. Dan has taken over as Super Dad, making us wonderful breakfasts and trying to comfort and entertain me. I take the wrong exits on the freeway. I buy the wrong things at the store. I eat without noticing what's going in my mouth. My uncles and aunts (and some cousins) came down today to say their goodbyes. Uncle Alan can't bring himself to do it, he watched Aunt Marilyn die this way and can't handle seeing my Dad that way, too. But as these kinds of deaths go, I think this is as good as it can be. We are blessed with a loving and tight-knit family.

The funeral. Dad wants to be cremated, so there's no pressure to have the funeral right away. We're not sure where to have the funeral - it won't be at the church; long story. If you would like to come to the funeral, please email me or message me on Facebook with your phone # and I will let you know when the date is set.

Cremation. by Robinson Jeffers.

It nearly cancels my fear of death, my dearest said,
When I think of cremation. To rot in the earth
Is a loathsome end, but to roar up in flame -
besides, I am used to it,
I have flamed with love or fury so often in my life,
No wonder my body is tired, no wonder it is dying.
We had great joy of my body. Scatter the ashes.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dad is home.

He came home on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday was Mom's birthday - Happy Birthday, Mom! And I mean that in both a sarcastic and a genuine tone. We went over for a little birthday party - Mom got a nativity (she has quite a collection), a hummingbird feeder, and some small things that I was too distracted to notice. What else, Mom? Then we partied hard - Trivial Pursuit and then Uno 'till the new year rang in. We did not watch the ball drop; I have decided that until we have a New Year's event in our own time zone, I ain't watchin'.

There is some debate over the efficacy of the TPN feeding Dad is receiving. Apparently it will do little to extend his life and in some cases causes its own complications. The sad, ugly, horrible truth is that Dad will likely die of malnutrition. He is very thin now, and sometimes he is clouded by the morphine, but then sometimes he is lucid and makes jokes and is still very particular about how he wants things done. Tricia, I do need to call you.

We are getting through. I don't know how my mother is doing it. I don't know how to help her without completely uprooting Paul's life or making Dan be a single Dad all week long.

The Avocado House

I have absolutely no sense.

One of my mind-numbing online hobbies is to follow the crash of the housing market. It gives me great hope that someday we might buy a house, not a condo. I've been watching the declines, but prices are still not in line with fundamentals and we would still be overextending ourselves just to buy a tiny, crappy fixer. But still I check listings, and still I think "Oh well, it's not our year."

And then I saw that the Avocado House was for sale. For $350k.

Back when we lived in the canyons, I used to drive past it and think, in that way we all think when we see a house we really love, "If only." I never, ever seriously thought it would be within my reach. And now it is. We went to see it, Dan loves it too. It's so beautiful, on a huge lot with avocado trees and a tiered yard and everything, just everything I want in a home. The kitchen is a blank slate, stripped almost bare. We called a realtor I met back in the summer; she found out the bank had just accepted an offer. I am heartbroken to think that I just missed the chance to have it, but we are preparing a backup offer, just in case.

The truth is it would wipe out our savings to buy it. It would make getting me and Paul to school a lot more difficult. I am quite certain that my father's deteriorating condition makes me emotionally unreliable, vulnerable. But the view. The house. The place. To be settled again.

It will almost certainly not happen. But it gives me some hope that maybe I don't have to turn my back on California. Maybe we'll go back to the canyons after all.