Thursday, September 30, 2010


I have no solution, and it's driving me batty. I need to solve problems. The boys' room is still not fixed, another month's rent is due tomorrow and I have to decide how much (if any) we will pay. Then we will go through the farce of Landlord Jeff pretending that he will fix the room and wheedling the rent out of me. Thank goodness I wrote our rental contract; I should have altered the language about how quickly he can evict us. Although he'd be a fool to evict us with the room not fixed - how could he get new tenants with the place in this condition?

I have been searching and searching for temporary living quarters, thinking maybe we can just put the non-essentials in storage and wait to hear about the Silverado place.

At this point I am seriously ready to buy an old travel trailer, I just don't know where we could park it and sleep in it. I have an ad on craigslist, looking for a mother-in-law house or a garage apartment, and an email out to our Relief Society seeing if anybody knows anybody who has any ideas or options for us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the Band Played On

Everything is humming along. School is going well for the boys so far. My first impression of Paul's teacher seems unfounded; he is very happy so far, although this morning I discovered his allegedly finished homework was NOT finished. I pay him $1 a week for doing his "job" (school) well, so I deducted 25 cents and told him he would have to face the consequences today at school. Eli is really not having any more adjustment troubles than your average 5-year-old does.

Regarding the house -D and I both have mixed feelings about it - wondering if we jumped on it because it seemed like a strong possibility, not because we love it. Just cold feet, or is it an unconscious sign? I wish, wish, wish it was on the sunny side of the canyon. I'm concerned it will be very cold in winter, and that my garden will be very puny. I reassure myself that if any really awful problems come up during inspection we can always back out, and if we get it and then decide we really aren't ready to be back in the canyons we can always rent it out. We are so indecisive and flip-floppy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Slightly Different This Time

The front of the house, which is really the back. Canyon houses is nuts. The wee short door on the left opens into the crawlspace.

The seller has accepted our offer on the house. Since this is a short sale, that means now they have to submit the offer to the bank along with proof of hardship & a whole bunch of other nonsense. The window of time for the bank to accept the offer is from now until December 31st, which is bat-doodoo crazy but that's how the game is played. If something better comes up or if Dan becomes unemployed we can rescind our offer.

Since the timing is awful (Eli just started school!), we may do some fix-ups and then rent it out for a year or two. The mortgage payment will be low enough that we could rent it out and even make a modest profit. It was built in 1929 and it's a canyon house, so oddities abound and repairs are necessary. The sub-floors upstairs need to be replaced, at least in most of the rooms, but we can do some of that ourselves. The carpeting needs to come out anyway; it reeks of dog or cat pee. Of course there's termite damage, it just remains to bee seen how bad it is. The "street" it's on isn't even a street - it's a walkway easement that cuts away from the narrow main road. Upstairs, there are French doors that lead to nothingness - a two-story fall to your death. They will be nailed shut until we come up with a plan. There is an honest-to-goodness secret room under one of the bedrooms, with a trap door and a passageway into the garage. The crawlspace has a door and children can stand up in it - the boys already want it for their own. The ceilings in the downstairs rooms are low. We will gradually replace the shingle siding with Hardie board - we have to be fire-aware!

The back of the house, which is really the front. It's also the first floor and the top floor.
To get to the front door from the driveway, you could walk up one of two stone staircases that flank the house. One of the staircases will need re-building.

It's weird and charming, like most canyon houses. Our agent is very confident, but of course I have learned most painfully that hope only leads to disappointment, so I am viewing it strictly as a business opportunity that may or may not happen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Schoolio, Foolio!

Today was the first day back to school. Eli's first day of Kindergarten! Paul's first day of third grade!

Me: "How was Kindergarten?"

Eli: "A little bit bad."

Me: "Why a little bit bad?'

Eli: "Because I didn't know how to act. The teacher told us the rules in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish. I wish Spanish had never been invented."

He is also a little disappointed that everybody wasn't instantly his friend. His teacher (whose name Eli can't pronounce yet) said that he was very good, so I tried to reassure him, but he still insists he was bad. However, once I got him talking about the things they did in class he brightened right up. he'll be OK.

Paul is the one I'm worried about. My first impression is that we have yet another non-nurturing teacher, but first impressions are often wrong. I plan on being in the classroom at least one day a week this year, so we'll see how it goes. I'm prepared to yank Paul out if that becomes necessary.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Deja Vu

There's another house. It's a short sale, so by the time our offer gets approved or denied we may know a wee bit more about our future.

It's in Silverado. It's a funky house, but totally workable for us. I feel very calm, very zen; I'm doing well at suppressing the hopefulness. I'm researching comparable sales to get an idea of what to offer.

Still no news about the mobile home. I'm bummed; that would have been so much more convenient and made such good economic sense for us. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I should file this under "Facebook, how do I love thee?"

Our college crew is having a reunion this month. It's really just a party in Sam's backyard, but I'm more excited about this than I have been about any of my high school reunions (I skipped them all and have no plans to go to any in the future). Not all of our crew will be there (Ben is in Afghanistan, Sean hasn't bothered to tell us what his conflict is), but even incomplete I think this is going to possibly be the best night of 2010 for D & me. I'm bursting at the seams waiting for it. Sam, I know you are too!

All the myriad frustrations of my life right now are viewed through a prism of excitement and anticipation. It makes it all bearable. Yes, I'm angry, a little bit scared, confused, overwhelmed. But I'm going to see some of the best friends of my life soon, almost the whole gang together, and I want to dance like a little girl!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!

So little time, so much to know!

Got into the Trig class. FRANK GONZALEZ IS AWESOME. He lobbied for me and got me a spot. I spent most of yesterday doing catch-up homework and watching Trig lectures at Khan Academy.

Regarding D's job, we are still in a holding pattern. He is not confident, but still does the best he can and we stay hopeful that something good will come our way before they fire him. I am still doing all of the "behind the scene" work that I can. I encourage him to ride his bike and play basketball most mornings, because physical activity is good for mental health.

I might might might have a very part-time job. It's in entertainment (no, I won't have to take off my clothes) so I have to officially audition, but I think the guy I've been emailing with likes me. If I get it I'll fill you in on the goofy details. It should bring in $300-$500 extra a month and be fun, too.

I bought a USB condenser microphone. It was 50% off at Target and came with audio software that I've been trying to figure out in my spare time. The directions that came with it are terrible! When I finally know what I'm doing, I'll record me playing some songs so you can hear that I'm not completely awful. I'm doing it because without fail, when I answer ads on craigslist for people looking for music partners they ALWAYS ask "Do you have a MySpace?" MySpace has become extremely popular for bands & musicians to upload & share their work. So I guess I'll have to get digital if I ever want to find collaborators. Bleh.

My guitar class is good. All guitar teachers I have ever met are strange people - in the good sense of the word. Randy, my new teacher, is no exception. He's good, and his approach to class management is very personal. My only gripe is that I don't really fall in with the beginners, but I'm not ready to sit with the repeat students either. I suspect that I will get what I want out of this class, though - to move past chords and into being able to play very basic music by sight, plus gain a better understanding of the structure of music. Fingers crossed!

Paul started Cub Scouts earlier this year and yesterday he had his first Pack Meeting after taking most of summer off. He earned a bunch of belt loops, some pins and a patch and is pleased as punch about it (did I get enough alliteration into that sentence?). We also got his ^%$#@& standardized test scores last month and as much as I hate the tests I am still really proud of how well he did.

Eli is still challenging, but we're making great strides. He is very excited about Kindergarten but I am heartbroken that Sr. Wright is not teaching morning Kinder anymore, and so Eli won't be in his class.

Still no word on the mobile home, BUT there is a damaged one in the park whose owner isn't paying space rent. The HOA will eventually give him the boot. We might be able to pick up the trailer for next to nothing, fix it up and purchase a share so we won't have to pay rent. It's all a big "maybe" for now.