Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Job Search

I was on the phone earlier with our Realtor and had a call come in. I didn't answer it, because Deidre and I were discussing things about the house sale/search. When I hung up, I checked my missed calls and it was from Waste Management. The interviewer left a voice mail saying that they had filled the positions. Even though I really knew that was the case, I'm still so disappointed. :-( I don't even have the heart to call back and ask her to critique me.

Yesterday while in town shopping, I dropped off about a half dozen applications at different places that I had picked up from before. This is so discouraging.

ALL this stuff -- house sale/search; job cutbacks for hubby; financial pressures -- is weighing on me heavily today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In Loving Memory

13 years ago today, my mother, my best friend, passed from this world into the next and left a huge hole in my life and the lives of my children and all who knew her.

Love and miss you, Mom.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Hooked on House Tours Blog Party

Julia over at Hooked on Houses is hosting a tour blog party. It's raining here today, so I was thinking, "Well, today wouldn't be a good day to take pics." Then, I was looking through previous posts on Hooked on Houses where she mentioned fuzzy MLS photos, and I thought, "I can use the very good photos Deidre took for our MLS listing for the tour!" Well, I just looked at the first photo that I saved from the listing and they are tiny. So, now I'll have to scour my computer finding photos of our house to share. Oh, well.

I found this cool picture of my sil Judy at our first meal in our new home on New Year's Eve 2005. My favorite food is boiled blue crabs and my in-laws drove up here with an ice chest full from S. Louisiana to help us move. Aren't they so nice? :-) In this photo, you can see what our dining room looked like when we moved in. The top of the dining room walls and the entire foyer had this hideous red and green magnolia wallpaper. Uck!




Here's the front of our house. I always say, "We live in the big white box with the circle driveway." It's just a big rectangle. We have added some pretty potted Mums since this photo was taken. The door is also now painted blue.


Here's what it looks like as you're walking through the blue front door into the foyer. This was actually taken a year ago so I had my fall welcome sign up on the door. I haven't done any fall decorating this year. Too busy working and loving on the new grandbaby! You can just see the edge of our "family picture wall" in this photo.


Here's the rest of the wall.
This shot peaks around the corner of the foyer and catches the stairs (which had carpet on them when we moved in) and the edge of the dining room.
Now, even though I KNOW I've taken shots around the house to blog about, I can't seem to find any on my computer. So, I'll have to take some new ones. I probably could have taken some new ones, uploaded them, and be done with this post by now instead of scouring my computer for old ones! :=0

Here's the dining room now. It looks so plain with no artwork on the wall. But, it looks so much better than that hideous wallpaper. We added white bead board paneling to the bottom of the walls. I love that look.



Here are two shots of our kitchen. I had to get the first one in to show the finished laminate wood flooring that Michael installed. SO much better than the cracking ceramic! I sooo want to paint the bottom cabinets white, but since we had just redone the kitchen in our rent house before moving here, I haven't wanted to tackle cabinets again. Now, before long, hopefully the house will belong to someone else and they can paint them whatever color they want OR leave them just as they are!

Off the foyer is the downstairs bedroom. It used to be our oldest daughter's. Now that she's not living here any longer, we are staging this room as a possible 2nd master bedroom in order to sell our home. The quilt on the bed was given to me by my grandmother. Her sister made it.



Here's the living room. You can see what is currently my personal office area at the far end of this room. We only use 1/2 of the large room as an actual living room. I love the red and yellow color combo and I've recently decided that I would love to add some blue and white accents in the form of toile drapes and some blue and white china. Maybe in my next house?

At the top of the stairs is the library/family office. What drew me to this house in the beginning were these built-in bookcases. Since we are a homeschooling family, we have LOTS of books. Of course, we are nearing the end of that journey, but I bet we'll still have a lot of books, just 'cause I love them so much!! Enlarge this to see the funny Zelda calendar photo hanging near the desk. It's Zelda with a milk carton with a hole cut in it for her face. The caption says, "Missing You!"

Here's Laikyn's very cute bathroom. When we move into a new house, she and I will most likely share a bathroom and I can't wait to call this shower curtain partly mine! ;-)



Here's one of my favorite rooms in the house, the laundry room. Not because I love to do laundry, but just because the room is so fun.




Here are two shots of the master bedroom. In order to more effectively stage the house for selling, I recently moved all my craft stuff out of the room and moved the dresser into the room. The dresser was in our very large closet (pictured below); now the craft stuff is in there instead. Makes it look more like a bedroom.





That's the tour. I sure hope I win the prize after all this work. I HATE the way Blogger handles photos. That's about the only negative over Typepad, but it's not worth $5. a month to have easier photo insertion.

Head on over to Julia's place and check out the rest of her blog, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still No Word

I have still not heard anything on the job I applied for on Friday. I even called yesterday to find out something, but I just got the interviewer's voice mail. I left a message, but she hasn't returned the call yet. Maybe she's out of the office for a few days??? I'm trying to be patient, but most of the time, I have to admit that I am anxious for word. One way or the other, I really want to know if I have this job. Of course, I would prefer that the answer would be "yes." But the not knowing is a little nerve-wracking.

Especially when Michael came home earlier this week and said that he was told absolutely NO overtime. This is devastating news for us. We are strapped financially already. We hope something happens soon. Selling the house will help us pay off about four bills, which help tremendously. My bringing in a good second income will also help us not to go under. We also could use the benefits that the job at Waste Management offers. The insurance that Laikyn is covered under now isn't the greatest and we really need to have her knee checked out by an orthopedist. Waste Management's insurance would take effect for us 91 days after I start there and pre-existing things like her asthma would be covered from that first day.

I really hope to get something soon. I have applied at several places over this entire year and Waste Management was the first place to call me in for an actual interview. I've always felt that God was just closing the doors. I hope He doesn't close the doors on this one, but I truly am desperate to have something!

Measurement Check



I'm a few days past my monthly measurement/weight check deadline. Oh, well.

I actually GAINED 3# this month. That's always so disappointing. :-( To date, I have lost 4# since 6/18/08.

Inches wise, I lost 3.5" overall this month -- I lost in every area except my thighs, which I gained an inch apiece on. I lost an inch in my bust and another inch in my waist. I lost a half an inch each in my upper and lower abs and my hips. To date, since 6/18/08, I have lost 16.5" overall!! Yippee!!

With all the house hunting/selling stuff going on in our lives right now, we have skipped more days this past month at the gym than we have in any other month since we joined. I haven't been to Pilates but one time this month so far. And we will miss again tomorrow as we have showings scheduled to look at the houses with Michael. I really feel it. I'm having a 15-minute massage today while Laikyn is getting her adjustment at the chiropractor. I've been doing a lot of typing/transcribing work lately and it's been several months since I've had a massage or an adjustment. My arm and neck are hurting, so I figured I'd better part with my $15 and get something done for my overworked arms and neck! I really wish I could afford $15 every week, because I know it would help some of the pain I have.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

House Hunt

This past Thursday, Laikyn and I looked at four more properties. One of them was in Lakeside Highlands and it made it onto the short list out of these four (mainly because of the neighborhood). One other one made it as well and it's in my second choice of neighborhoods (Edgemont). We are scheduled to look at both of them on Thursday with Michael.

Out of the two houses, I would choose the one in Edgemont. The one is Lakeside is nice, but it would need new flooring and new appliances. The one in Edgemont is move-in ready. One downside to this house (besides it's not being in Lakeside) is that the kitchen only has a few cabinets.

click any photo to make larger

These are the ONLY cabinets in the kitchen. There is a china hutch, though, that comes with the house that would be good for storing dishes, etc.

There is also plenty room to add more cabinets, and the kitchen would not need to be gutted like so many of the other houses we've looked at.
This photo is looking from the space we would use as a HUGE dining room into the kitchen. The doorway across from the cabinets is a large walk-in pantry (yay!) This has been a missing item in nearly all the houses we've looked at. The opening next to the pantry door is a refrigerator space. It would limit us on the size refrigerator we could put. It may be large enough to hold a large frig, but it might not be. I don't know. We have to measure it when we go on Thursday. The area near the door with the glass off to the left would be the perfect spot to add some more cabinets.


This is the living room with a pretty fireplace and built-in bookcases. I love the big picture windows in this room and the pretty laminate floor.


This is the outside of the house. It has more of the stone like what's in the living room.

This house has four bedrooms. We would have enough room to have an office/craft room as well as a guest room. Don't really need four bedrooms, but it's okay to have the extra space. It's still downsizing from the square footage here (by about 1500 SF). The bedrooms are a little small. Or least they seem so. We haven't measured. Sometimes these things are deceptively small looking when there's no furniture in the house.
The house is in danger of going into foreclosure. The price has been reduced several times since it's been on the market, but it's still more than we're willing to pay. We might just wait until it goes into foreclosure if the other one in Lakeside Highlands doesn't come on the market before we sell our home. If we make an offer, it will be about $20,000 less than the current asking price.
The other negative of this house is that the shower in the master bathroom is like a cave. It's a tile, enclosed shower with no light. But at least it's a second toilet and sink. The hall bathroom is nice and bright, recently re-done. The master bedroom has two closets. There is a large laundry room just off the kitchen. There's also a huge walk-in closet in the hallway that houses the HVAC unit and hot water heater and also includes more storage area. There's a workshop attached to the carport with built-in workbenches. The outdoor space features a cement patio surrounded by a brick retaining wall. It's not covered, though.
Laikyn really likes this house because it's "spacious and clean." She also likes the "quiet neighborhood."
The house is in a nice central location.

Today

Today, we had Kim, Dewayne, and Nathan over for the day. We also invited a young man that Laikyn works with over. He has expressed interest in spending time with her and we have already gone to a football game together.

It's a little awkward to explain to someone our views on dating. We don't allow unsupervised contact for our daughters and young men. It's also different for us because Kimberly and Dewayne's courtship happened entirely over the telephone, long distance from Colorado.

But, Michael did explain somewhat what our views are and why, and Michael (that's his name, too) seemed okay with it. He said he understood and seemed willing to do this however we deem necessary.

Nathan is just so precious. He's smiling and cooing now and it's just so sweet. He's nine weeks old and weighs 16+ pounds and is now 25" long. He's gained nearly 8 pounds and grew 4" since his birth. He's a little bruiser!!

I'm a Little Rusty

On Thursday, I applied online for a data entry clerk position with Waste Management. The corporate office for this market area called me about an hour later and said they were going to be conducting interviews next week and they would call me.

Well, I got a call on Friday morning from the local office asking if I could come in later that morning to interview.

I have not worked outside of the home for the last 22 years! I feel that I did really horribly in the interview. They seemed concerned that perhaps I am not ready to make the transition from working part-time from home to working full-time outside the home. After I left, I wondered about that. Like the rest of the time (when I'm not working from home), I'm just sitting around watching soap operas and eating bon-bons. Is that what they think? And why didn't I think to point out the fact that I often work more than eight hours a day even if I'm not getting paid for it??

I tried to be as honest as I could when they asked me about this. I know that it will be an adjustment for our family, but I also know that this is a time in life when I can more easily work outside the home because my girls are both grown.

With the recent reduction in Michael's hours at work, we really need the extra income. The work-at-home stuff is great, but it's not a steady amount. I can quadruple what I make a month if I get this job at Waste Management.

One thing that seemed to be in my favor during the interview is that I can start immediately. That's the only positive thing I can say about the interview. Like I said, I feel that I did pretty badly. Still, I'm so hoping that they call me tomorrow and say, "Can you come in Tuesday? We're starting training." They had recently hired someone for this position, but the person was convinced by her current employer to stay on with them. Waste Management was scheduled to start training on Tuesday. Of course, they expressed doubt that they would be able to go ahead with that schedule. Hopefully, that will be enough to tip the scales in my favor.

I know that I can do well at the job, but I don't know that I convinced them that I can do well at it. I'm REALLY rusty at this!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At Our House

Here's what's been happening at our house the last week:

At the suggestion of our Realtor, we are replacing the ceramic tiles (1/3 of which were cracked) in our kitchen to make our house more marketable.

We listed our house with Deidre on Friday, and on Saturday, we had an offer! All before the first person looked at it! We counter offered and then they counter offered just slightly under our counter offer. However, they have since lost the person who was going to lease their home in South (or is it North?) Carolina. They are still interested in buying our house, but they won't reinstate the offer until they have someone firm to take theirs.

Since we are replacing the floor and our house now looks like a bomb exploded in it, we are holding off showings until next week. We listed now, though, because the cut-off date to be in our local Showcase of Homes publications was the 14th. We wanted to be sure to get in the book for November!

Our own home search will resume tomorrow.

Monday, October 06, 2008

House Hunt Continues

I spoke to the Realtor this morning about getting our earnest money check back on the house on Lakeside Drive. While we were on the phone, she told me what the other house that's coming on the market this week will be set at price-wise. It will be out of our range.

BUT, she did tell me that she ran into someone at a garage sale this weekend who just happened to be the woman who made the offer that the owner on Lakeside accepted. (She never met the lady because the buyer used a different Realtor to see the house.)

Her house isn't on the market yet because she doesn't need to sell it first (must be nice). They want to do some work on it before they list it once she moves out. It also is in Lakeside Highlands. She did say that it only has 1.5 baths, but we had already decided that that was okay; as long it's not only 1 toilet, we're fine with it. (Of course, we liked the fact that the one on Lakeside had two full baths.)

Anyway, the Realtor asked her why she was selling and moving. She said that she has an elderly mother (or grandmother) living with her and she keeps falling or almost falling into their pool. The Realtor asked me, "Would y'all want a pool?"

I told her that we had a pool in our rent house in Lakeside and that we really missed having the in-ground pool since we moved here with only an above-ground pool (which is now gone, by the way). Even though a pool wasn't on our must-have list now that we've joined the YMCA, it's not something we would mind having again as long as it's in-ground. In fact, I think we would really enjoy having one again. We used the in-ground one a lot. The above-ground one not so much. (An above-ground pool doesn't hold the heat like an in-ground one does, so it was often too cold to swim here. That's why we sold it.)

Over the weekend, I used a Realtor site that had a map you could scroll through to see what properties are available in certain areas. The one other area that we would like to be in is somewhere around the YMCA in the vicinity of Darby Drive or Helton Drive. All the properties that came up in that area were WAY out of our range (by about $40,000 or more).

For myself, I am fixated on Lakeside Highlands. I don't know if I want to move if it's not in that neighborhood. I guess I would if I found the absolutely right house for us and it happens to be somewhere else. Michael doesn't want to live downtown; the homes near the Y are too expensive; the area near Huntsville Road is too iffy. Other neighborhoods in the city limits are pricey as well.

I am going to contact the Realtor that we decided to list with today and tell her that we are ready. We have not had any more calls on our house since when the paper first came out.

So many details and so many timing issues. If I think about it too much, I get nervous. Thank God that HE'S in control and orchestrating it all.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Today

The Realtor called today and said that the owner of the home we made an offer on decided to take another offer. :-( I'm disappointed, but not overly so. We all are disappointed. She did tell me about another house in the neighborhood that is supposed to be coming on the market soon, though. So, it's back to the drawing board, so to speak.

On a brighter note, K&D&N came over for supper today! They had visited a friend before they came here and Nathan soiled his clothes while they were there. They borrowed a shirt of their friend's grandchild for him to wear. It was a size 3T and it was only a little big for Nathan. The kid is a chunk-a-munk!! Michael said Nathan's thighs are as thick as they are long. He has so many creases, it's crazy. And the little dimples where his knuckles will be are soooo adorable.

Kudos to Laikyn

With all the talk of moving back into town, Laikyn has been considering finding a job in town once we move. The job she has now at the Lynn's horse farm is out here in the county near where we live now. Once we move, her commute will lengthen quite a bit.

This week, Laikyn's boss asked her about this. Mrs. Lynn told her that while they know she will not always work there, they aren't ready to lose her as an employee just yet. She's a hard worker, dependable, and fast at her job. They offered to pay her gas bill to get back and forth to work if she will stay! She decided that she will stay. They pay her well and she knows that another job in town won't match the pay she has at the farm.

I'm so proud of her. She is all those things that her boss said about her. She has inherited her dad's awesome work ethic!!

Nathan Smiled!

While we were at the house on Lakeside doing a third look-see, Kimberly and Dewayne and the baby came to look at it with us. Laikyn was holding him sort of face down over her arm. Michael stooped down on one knee to talk to him and when he saw Michael, he broke into a big smile!!

He's been smiling when he sees Dewayne's face, too.

This child is so precious to me! The Realtor was talking about having grandkids while we were there. She said that you don't think you can love anybody as much as you love your kids, but then the grandchildren come along and you discover you can. The love for my daughters hasn't diminished any, but there is something so totally different about loving a grandchild. I don't know what it is, but it is different.

Kimberly sends me a photo on my phone every day or so and I take my phone out at least 10 times in a day just to look at his picture that I've set as my wallpaper. I have it pretty bad!

Latest on the House Buying/Selling

We ran an ad this week in a local paper for our house. It really hasn't generated any more call volume than the yard sign did. We did show it last night, though. It would be so nice to have someone come along who was pre-approved for a loan (or had CASH) and who didn't need to sell their home first. God can do it! But, will He? I hope and pray He will. I'm okay if He doesn't, though.

We went back to look at the house on Lakeside Dr. on Wednesday. Kimberly and Dewayne (and the baby) met us there. I wanted their opinion on it as well as another chance to make sure that it was adequate for us. We really like the house. Kimber and Dewayne liked it as well. The house has many more positive things about it than negative things.

The negatives are:
  1. less counter space in the kitchen than here
  2. no built-in bookcases like here (Michael can build them)
  3. the overhangs in the back need painting (the front looks great, though!)
  4. the third bedroom is a little small (but still adequate for a craft/guest room)
  5. carpet in the bedrooms
  6. no pantry (have to buy one)
  7. older a/c unit

The positives are:
  1. more drawer space in the kitchen than here
  2. the type of cooking appliances I have always wanted (cook top and wall oven)
  3. a large dining space in the same space with the kitchen
  4. doors to close off the kitchen/dining from the living room
  5. less house to clean than here
  6. less yard to keep up than here
  7. a large hall bathroom with a storage closet and plenty of drawers and cabinets (Laikyn and I will share that one)
  8. a coat closet
  9. a hall storage closet
  10. a large (for this size house) master bath that Michael can have all to himself!
  11. the rooms are equal to or greater than the spaces that we use in this house for those same rooms (I might need to explain this one. The living room we have here is HUGE, but we only use half of it as a living room. The space we use here is 206 SF; the space there is 266 SF. Our master bedroom here is also HUGE, but part of it is used as my crafting space now, which will go in the guest room there. The area we use as a bedroom here is 186 SF; the master there is 196 SF.)
  12. an outdoor living space (this is a huge plus for us; we have so missed not having that here)
  13. counter space on the side of the stove - something we don't have here
  14. a workshop/storage space that is sturdy and close to the house
  15. covered parking and place to park a future boat or small RV
  16. laundry/mudroom off the carport
  17. all on one level (no more stairs)
  18. of course, nearness to the water
  19. nearness to shopping, etc.
  20. 1 year warranty
  21. the roof is 2 months old
  22. the field lines were replaced in 2005 and routed to the front of the property so that the backyard can be improved on (like with a pool or larger workshop) with no difficulties
  23. a quiet neighborhood
23 to 7, the positives win!

That little exercise of going through the list in my mind and on "paper" really helped me. I think that when buying a place and making a commitment to something this huge, it's natural to think, "Is this place really right for us?" Going through and making this list reassured me that even though we are downsizing a great deal, it will be more than adequate for our needs. We really do have a lot of unused space here that we are having to take care of and pay for. I keep thinking about how fast housecleaning will go in the house on Lakeside! :-)