Monday, November 28, 2011

I hate mortgage applications

I have spent the whole darn day filling these stupid things out, and attempting (with mixed success) to email all the account statements, paystubs, and other junk needed by the banks/credit unions/mortgage companies in order to write this mortgage.  And having done all this, I highly suspect that only one of the banks/CUs/MCs is going to be willing to write this the way we want it (even though we have perfect credit ratings) due to the size of the property, and the rest are just stringing me along, until they get to the part they can say "Now you will have to pay for the appraisal..."

The problem is that when we moved, we packed up my office, where I knew where everything was, and now it is in boxes here, in the basement, and in storage, and scattered on my desk, or available only online using passwords that are older than my latest system for assigning different passwords to everything, or user names and passwords known only to El Jefe.  I cannot find anything, and I hate this disorganization. 

I particularly hate that the Pirate spent a great deal of time today setting up her room so we could play something, and nearly cried when I told her I couldn't do that until the stupid apps were complete (which of course has taken all day and now she is at TaeKwonDo and will have to go to bed as soon as she gets home and so she didn't get to play with mommy at all). 

Both of my children have recently accused me of never smiling, nor laughing, nor playing with them.  Well, I do smile, albeit rarely.  I have photos to prove it.  And I have laughed this week.  Once that I can think of.   But they are right about my not playing with them.  We do our homeschool most of the mornings and I haul them all over the city to various events and activities in the afternoons, but I have played with each of them once, separately, this entire month.  That's it.  That's awful.

Part of that is being cooped up in this apartment - I'd rather be anywhere but here.  Part of it is the horrendous amount of time we've spent looking for/at homes, both on the computer and in the car.  It is also that whatever part of me used to like the "Kingdom of Make-Believe" has long since atrophied into negativity.  Dolls bore me.  Dress up irritates me.  I'd like to play real games, but that means putting up with certain poor sports, or games that involve only chance and no skill.  I'd like to do some art projects, but since I'd be the one cleaning those up, they don't thrill me much either.  Oh, my attitude is so negative I could scream.  In fact, I do.  Not that it helps.  And now I must return to the idiotic email and see how many mail-fail messages I have now.  Grrr.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh, the frustration!

So, in the process of arranging for the financing, we have been informed that one cannot get an FHA mortgage with 3% down ($5,250), or a conventional mortgage with 5% down ($8,750),  on a house with anything over 10 acres (and we are talking about 46)... unless, possibly, the house and 10 acres of the land are appraised at the value of the mortgage, which trust me on this, isn't going to happen.  We have been left with the impression that we are going to have to come up with a minimum of 18% down in order to get this property.  That is $31, 500.  Personally, my feeling is if we are going for pie in the sky here, we might as well go for the full 20% and not pay PMI.  So, $35,000.  I'm going to go bang my head against a wall for awhile.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I do better at home hunting than deer hunting this week

We looked at more homes today, including the 40+ acre properties.  We saw one house we really liked on a lot we really DISliked.  We saw one house that was okay on a lot that was okay.  We nixed another due to the lot and the neighborhood (didn't even go inside).  We drove by another we said we'd like to make an appt to see inside.  And then we saw the first 40+ acre place.  The lot was fabulous.  Huge.  Hay fields and woodlot, two polebarns, pistol pit backstop... but the house needed to be completely gutted and remodeled.  The floors sloped.  There was a lot of water damage.  It was a huge, beautiful farmhouse that had just been utterly let go.  I hate seeing that.

So to assuage our disappointment, we went to lunch (it was nearly 2PM and we had the girls with us, whom I must say behaved wonderfully all day long, and it was a very long day).  After lunch, we went to look at the 46 acre place.  That would be the one referred to in the previous post as COOKSTOVE PLACE, for the wood cookstove in the kitchen.  Looked nice from the outside - fairly new vinyl siding, fairly new roof.  BIG old barn that needs a new roof (it's losing shingles into the yard) and a new floor in the hayloft (there are holes).  Two leaning garden sheds.  One hoop house with dates/figs growing in it.  (Really?  in MICHIGAN?)  Composite deck and balcony (need powerwashing, but I'll take composite over care of wood any day).  And then we went inside.

There is cheap wood paneling everywhere.  On the walls.  On the ceilings.  We are in the living room, but we will see that paneling EVERYWHERE.  This is not a deal killer, it just makes the house darker than we like.  El Jefe's take on it is that it was probably in the condition of the other 40 acre place, and the plaster was ripped out and replaced, and the floors were refinished (they are wide planking, and not new, but not old enough to be original either).  We wonder if there is insulation behind the paneling.  The heat is turned way down (the house is unoccupied), so it is chilly, but that doesn't tell us anything.  Anyway, there are lots of lights in the living room.  Only one in the hall.  Oddly, the two bathrooms are right next to each other.  One bathroom is also the laundry room, but there is no washer nor dryer hooked up.  This would be an immediate expense for us; at least the washing machine would be.  We can live without a dryer, though that's a pain in the winter.  There really are FIVE bedrooms - five rooms with closets and egress windows.  They didn't lie about that.  One has new bamboo flooring and wallboard instead of paneling, painted a really bright salmon color.  Lots of new windows.  That is at the end of the house. Working towards the front there are three more bedrooms with new carpet and that atrocious paneling.  Some need new windows.  The bedrooms vary in size - one is very large, one is medium, one is small (what is this? The Three Bears?).  Above these bedrooms is the loft and another even smaller bedroom (Baby Bear gets a younger sib) that opens onto a balcony outside that is twice its size.  It is composite, too. 
We walk through every room in the house at least twice.  El Jefe walks around the property, spooking a 6 point buck.  The next door neighbor drives by on his tractor and waves hello.  We go back inside for one more look.  Neither one of us wants to say it.  Neither of us wants to get excited about this place maybe being the right one.  We were so disappointed when the last one failed the inspection.  So we are going back for another look tomorrow with our regular realtor.  I don't think I'm going to sleep a wink.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the ongoing Saga of the Househunt

In the ongoing saga of househunting, we nixed four more properties today.  Three by seeing inside and discovering one had black mold issues from a major water leak when the tile drained into the sump which then failed, one because it was in such bad shape it needed to be torn down (really), and it also only had two bedrooms (they lied and said there were three - an office with no closet is NOT a bedroom!!!) which was also the case in the third one we dinged.  All the homes were standing empty; two were REOS.  This is making me leery of REOS.  Not leery enough to refrain from adding four more to the list of 10 to replace the ones dinged today, though.

In far less depressing news, I found two properties of 40+ acres each with old farmhouses built in 1900 on them.  One of those has a wood cookstove in the kitchen... and it is far and away the most updated of the two homes.  Don't laugh, because this is what I wanted in the first place... lots of huntable land with room for much gardening, and outbuildings (both have barns of one sort or another).  Cookstove Place also has river frontage (translated from Michigan terminology that means about 20 acres of wetlands with oxbows in it, but that's okay I'll learn to trap beaver next).  Cookstove Place has 5 bedrooms, too, (though one of them is 8'x8' - which would make a great office for El Jefe since he'd have a lot less space to clutter up (love you, baby!) so I could take the next larger one to sew in and use for a guest bedroom when the grandparents come to milk the cow.  (Yes, Mom, you didn't think you were really going to not ever have to milk another cow - this is a required skill for your grandchildren or I will not give them diplomas from homeschool, and they should learn it from someone who knows how to do it - which means NOT me).  I am trying REALLY hard not to get as excited about these as I was depressed about the others earlier today, because I'm VERY, VERY tired of feeling jerked around by this process.

Also, both of these 40 acre properties are within a 35 minute commute for Dan, and located within a reasonable distance from our current TaeKwonDo school, and we like that a lot.

I also added one 20 acre property and one 10 acre property (2 of the REOs) that are much newer (and probably in far worse shape following their foreclosures).  And two that were 5-7 acres (the other 2 REOs) only because they were near the 40 acres plots and, well, I felt like it.  Consider it psychological warfare or something - we look at the new home with little acreage and compare it to the old farmhouse with LOTS OF LAND for the same price, and say, hmmmmm, where will we be happier?  Where will our kids be happier?  Actually, we ought to be asking "Where does God want us?" but that's a much longer blog post...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back to Square One

House roof structure failed to pass inspection.  (Can't get a loan for it in its current condition).  And there were some other issues, like the radon levels.  I am bummed.  And upset that this wasted two months and we are back to square one on finding an affordable, existing property that meets our requirements. 

And I'm also just tired and irritable due to being hugely overscheduled.  Therefore, I have a new rule from this moment until at least a month AFTER we have moved into whatever house we actually end up in.  That rule is NO.  NO, I cannot go there.  NO, I cannot do that.  Do not ask me to volunteer for anything.  I already volunteered for too much.  Do not ask my kids to participate in anything new.  They already have too many outside activities.  NO, NO, NO!  There will be no new activities.  In fact, as this semesters' activities wind down, we will NOT be signing up to do them again next semester.  Do you know how many nights in the last two weeks we have gotten home in time to read bedtime stories? That would be ZERO.  Do you know how many nights we've sent children to bed crying because they are overtired, and angry that it is too late for a story?  Too many.  We're done.  I'm done.  Goodnight. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Inspection Appointment

In the endless quest to buy the BIL/house, I have completed another step.  The home inspections (radon, pests, plumbing, elec, structure/roof, etc) are all set for Thursday...  really, except for the radon test, which takes three days.  I just hope they can get it all done in three hours, so I can leave and get the Pirate to her afternoon appointment on time.  Our biggest concern is still the roof framing/trusses/whatever.  I do hope the inspector says a further inspection by a structural engineer is unnecessary.  And may I just note here that I despise keeping our dog in this apartment.  He needs space, and exercise.  And I need him to stop being under my feet.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I am not a real archer, anymore

Yesterday was the Women's Expo over at the university ranges.  El Jefe took the girls - I didn't - he was keeping them out of my hair so I could do my own thing.  They had a blast trying the kids' compound bows... much more accurate with them than with the stick bows.  (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, El Jefe).  My own thing involved buying some earth-scented soap to wash with in the week before gun season starts, and trying out the crossbows.  I've wanted to try a crossbow for the last two years - ever since I discovered that I cannot pull my compound while in the tree saddle (don't even talk to me about tree stands; unless you have a ladder stand, I'm not getting into it).  I've used my compound to hunt from the ground blind, unsuccessfully, because the deer get hinky about it just outside my range.  I want to hunt from the tree saddle.  Just deal with it.  I tried the lightest crossbow there.  With, get this, a SCOPE.  This was just like shooting my .22.  So eeeeeeasy.  So accurate.  And I had no trouble cocking it either.  I expected it to be a WHOLE lot harder.  It had a dry fire prevention mechanism, so I could cock it on the ground and take it up the tree and then load a bolt.  Then it got funny.  There was a much heavier crossbow (too heavy for me off-hand) that you just press a button down and it cocks itself, pneumatically?  I think that's the word.  Using a bottle/tank of pressurized air, anyway.  I love how accurate the crossbows are.  And how easy it is to use a scope.  I'm waiting for someone to tell me they've got one with a red dot sight.  Anyway, I'm re-writing the hunting equipment acquisitions list to put that first, light crossbow right up at the top... and Christmas is coming...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thinking Mother: Another Reason Why Unschooling Can't Work for My Son

This post by another homeschooling mom got me to thinking about what we are doing and why...
The Thinking Mother: Another Reason Why Unschooling Can't Work for My Son

We homeschool. We don't unschool. We especially don't to the radical unschooling thing. The reasons we do it the way we do, with a formal curriculum and daily lesson plans and goals, are similar to Christine's.

First of all, neither of my children knows "what they want to be when they grow up" and they are not mature enough to be making that decision anyway. Therefore, I am responsible for keeping their options open. That is, I must design their education to allow for the possibilities of college, trade school, military service, or entrepreneurship directly upon independence from El Jefe and me. That means a college prep curriculum, with activities and lessons that allow them to investigate the other options, along with the inclusion of economics as a subject starting in grade school. A college prep curriculum won't keep them out of trade school or the military or running their own business, but the lack of college prep will decrease the likelihood of them from getting into, or succeeding in, college. If I let them "design their own curricula" at their ages, my youngest child would do nothing but storytelling, and my oldest would do nothing but draw dresses. Now, I could explain that good storytellers must read a lot of stories in order to be able to tell them, so the Pirate needs to learn to read (and write and spell, at least until she can afford voice recognition software and design a better spell-checker than what is currently available). And I could tell the Princess she should learn history for inspiration, and geometry for converting her drawings into patterns. But there is no way I could justify algebra, calculus, trig, chemistry, or physics, to either of them. Unschoolers would say I shouldn't need to, that they don't need those subjects in order to achieve their goals. This has not been my own personal experience. If I had taken the higher math courses in HS, I could have graduated from college a semester early. Additionally, while I earned degrees in Education and Spanish, my interests now run toward the hard sciences, and if I ever have the opportunity to return to school, I'll be stuck in remedial math before taking the required courses for my chosen degree.   Goals and interests change over time.  And if you are never given the opportunity to try something, you may never know if you would be interested in it. 

Secondly, we need a schedule, or nothing will get done. Without a daily lesson plan, we procrastinate, because it is easier to just say "We'll do it later" and keep playing, than to accomplish the necessary, if occasionally unpleasant, tasks.

Thirdly, I need to know that my students are learning. I need to know where they are excelling and where they are struggling. Without some type of evaluation, I cannot know if my students have actually learned the material. Having said that, I do not grade anything. We operate in a mastery paradigm. If the Princess gives me three days of error-free math, she can skip the rest of the lesson, because she obviously understands the concept. When either child spells a word incorrectly on a spelling test, it goes onto next week's list, and will be continually added onto future lists until it is spelled correctly. What is the point in marking something wrong and not seeing that it is corrected? Do you want a surgeon who got 80% of his anatomy test correct, but missed 20% and never learned it? I do not believe in test-taking for its own sake.  I do, however, recognize that good test-taking skills are necessary for success in this culture.   I also recognize that a talent for bubble tests is meaningless in the larger scheme - the real test is in demonstrating what you know without the props provided by a test made of discrete questions.   Can you stand up and give me a GOOD five minute speech on a topic?   Can you sit down and write a GOOD essay on it? Can you develop a GOOD multi-media presentation on it? Can you teach the information/activity to someone else? These all require skills and knowledge beyond the information itself, and it is my opinion that THOSE are just as important as the information.

Lastly, homeschooling is far less controversial than it was even five years ago, but it is still not without its detractors.  Most people are far less negative about homeschooling when they discover I actually HAVE A PLAN.  They assume, inaccurately as it happens, that unschoolers as a whole have no plans, goals, and/or methods of evaluation.  But it is sometimes easier for me to simply shorten a ten minute  explanation  of what we do and why into "We're homeschooling, not unschooling," and simply let the assumptions stand.  This is intellectually dishonest on my part, I think.  Having realized that, I will have to stop doing it, but it still applies to the extent that I may choose to teach something in a manner more acceptable to someone else (family, other homeschoolers, the general culture) simply because it saves me the hassle of justifying to others why I have chosen whatever method I'm using to teach my children what they need to know to survive and thrive in this life.  And that IS the point.  I've chosen to homeschool because my children's education is MY responsibility, and it is MY well-researched and experienced opinion that homeschooling is the best method to teach them what they will need to know in order to survive and thrive.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Existing Home

So.  The quotes on the new build came in.  We considered it carefully, but just cannot get past the idea of being $50,000 underwater the day we move in, with a higher mortgage payment than what we had before, and therefore no cash to put up a polebarn or other outbuilding.  So I narrowed down a list of 23 existing properties of 10-40 acres, and a residence, by first eliminating all those that did not have the outbuildings we wanted.  Then by eliminating everything with an open floor plan, so that we would not simply be moving back into the house we hated for the lack of anyplace to go for peace and quiet.  Then anything with an excessive commute (over 45 minutes).  Got it down to seven places.  Actually got to look at four of them.  It was very quickly obvious that the only place I'd be willing to live was the first one.  Fortunately, it is the first one on both our lists.  It isn't perfect.  It's smaller than what we had, and there are only 1.5 baths.  But, oh, the kitchen.  Big.  Tiled.  New hickory cabinets.  Lots of storage and counter space.  Only downside is the dw is to the left of the sink (I'm righthanded).  Considering I spend way more time in the kitchen than in the bathroom, that kitchen makes up for a lot.  Especially compared to everything else we looked at.  Doesn't anyone else actually cook anymore?

And the land is huntable.  Backing onto the state gamelands.  And there is a horse barn.  And 5 acres of fenced pasture.  The rest is woodlot.  Handy, considering the wood stove in the sun room.
The roof needs an inspection.  The septic system is original and the house is 45 years old.  There are no walk-in closets.  No geo-thermal heat, no steel roof.  Like I said, it's not our idea of  perfect.  But mortgages are now under 4% for a 30 year fixed, which would give us a payment about 70% of what we were paying before, leaving cash (eventually) for some remodeling.  It isn't possible to make this into the "perfect" house, but I think it is the "good enough" house, that will allow us to be more self-sufficient more quickly than a new-built home would - on half the land with no $ left for outbuildings.  And maybe it'll leave enough cash to take the kids to Poland next summer... hopefully before they conclude their argument over the relative merits of sheep versus goats, and start hitting me up for animals to fill the barn...

Anyway, we made an offer on the house this afternoon.  Now, we wait. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Build vs Existing Home

I am frustrated.  We have been getting quotes from builders for the house we want - and the range is huge.  So now I'm busy comparing those, and what would have to be upgraded, and what I could live with, and what must be done at build because it is impossible or prohibitively expensive to retrofit later.  And while I'm doing all this, I am looking at existing properties... and thinking about the tradeoffs involved between having 6+ acres, and having 10-18 acres... and between the house we want, and the house we can afford to build, and the house that is 45 years old on the larger property that already has a barn, fenced pasture, a shed, etc., all of which has been very well-cared for and is in great shape...but which has only 1.5 baths, and no walk-in closets, and is smaller than our last house, with a basement that cannot be finished... but it has a big, beautiful, hickory kitchen, and a lovely three-seasons room with a wood stove, and real hardwood floors, and is hunt-able (there are 5 deerstands on it already), and it backs onto state gamelands directly... where the property we own, we have to cross the road, or cross the neighbor's lot for access...our property has no woodlot, the existing property has 5-6 acres of trees... Do you see why this is hard? 

Do we want a large percentage of our monthly income going out in mortgage payments?  (Not really).  Would we rather have it be 15% of our net?  So we have $$$ left for other things?  (I would).  Do I want to share a regular closet with El Jefe?  (Not on your life).  And there are the other issues.  Our property is fairly close to everything we do right now.  The existing property is not.  Our property has neighbors with lots of kids the age of our own.  The existing property - I don't think so.  But we could be a whole lot more independent a whole lot faster on the existing property than we could on our own.  And the kids could have a horse... if I completely lost my mind.  Or I could raise a feeder pig every year and a steer every other year, just in case my parents come to visit and Mom doesn't want venison and Dad doesn't want rabbit and it isn't wild turkey season...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So the rental house got sold out from under us

After months of no showings, the house we were supposed to move into next weekend... has been sold.  Or at least, an offer was made, a counteroffer was made, anyway, the buyers are "motivated", the sellers are "desperate,"  and we are... screwed.

Not really.  After not being able to choose between breaking down in tears, or punching a few holes in the walls, I got in the car with el Jefe, and we went apt hunting (again) only to discover (again) that no one wants a dog, or a short term lease, on a 3 bedroom apt... blah, blah, blah.  So we went over tot the townhomes we originally had as our second choice after the house, and yes, the price had gone up (of course) BUT they were running a new special, which involved a 7 month lease (bummer, but better than 12) AND 1 month FREE... which more than makes up for the price increase, as long as we only stay 7 months.  So...

We must get the quotes on what we want to build (and they have to be our conservative estimate of affordable), or, if they are not under our max acceptable price, we have to find existing property that is.  And close on it before our lease runs out, but not so much before the lease that we are out 4 months rent. 

At least the townhouse has a basement, so we can empty our storage units, and washer/dryer, so I don't have to shlep to the laundromat.  And way more square footage than any of the apts, so I am not driven nuts living in close quarters in winter with a small but exceedingly vocal Pirate.  And the darn dog.

I am so stressed out.  I threatened to mow the lawn... in cursive.  Use your imagination...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Almost done...

Still packing.  Amusement from Sunday- the buyers' agent called and wanted to move the closing date up to Monday (8/22).  Yes, that's right.  He thought we would be ready, willing , and able to close with less than 24 hours notice.  And then he apparently tried to tell our agent that the wording "close on or before 8/31" meant he could schedule it any dang time he wanted and we'd have to do it.  Bwahahahah.  I'd have been willing to move it up a couple days, but not NINE, when we aren't moved out, and we'd have to pay for 9 extra days of hotel (or even camping) over the 4 we are already on the hook for.  And his attitude was snarky, so close remains 8/31. 

Culligan picked up their stuff today.  Broadstripe comes in a few more days.  Everything else is scheduled to stop by 8/31.  Kids go to grandparents tomorrow.  Furniture move to storage is Friday, then we'll be camping in the house (airbeds and sleeping bags) until Wednesday's close.  Then off to the campground til Saturday, when we can get into the house.  And Broadstripe will show up that evening, so I SHOULD have internet access as soon as I get the computer set up.  We will see...

Xa Lynn

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So we have a place to go...

We did finally get things arranged for a rental place in Williamston after the close on the sale of our house here - of course, I really do mean AFTER - we'll be homeless for a few days, which means I am going to pitch the children into the van and drive up to Sturgeon River Campground (and hope it doesn't rain).  The kids are delighted - the Campground is owned and operated by another homeschooling family, and they have children the same age as ours, thus making it my kids' absolute favorite campground in all the world.  El Jefe has to work the rest of the week, but he may show up Friday so I have some help breaking camp on Saturday morning.  Assuming we can get into the rental that day (I'm still awaiting a Sat or Sun decision). 

I'm still packing, but we've reserved a 17' truck for this Friday, and have some friends who will show up at various times that day to help move the furniture.  It's a big enough truck to fit everything that's left in the house, but I'm still trying to get a bit more out of here beforehand, since we only have the truck for 6 hours and I have no idea how long it will actually take to load and unload the furniture, etc.

We're doing homeschool (just math, phonics, and spelling) thru Wednesday, then I'm pitching it all in the bin (storage, not trash) and calling it good until Labor Day...

which we do not "celebrate" as neither El Jefe nor I have any respect for any union currently in existence, except UMWA.  Someday, I'll have time to blog about why, but that will not be today, as my unscheduled coffee break is now over, and it is back to packing...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Inspection Results

I'm extremely pleased to say that the inspection came back completely clear except that we have to add a railing down the three steps from the deck to the yard, in order for the new owners to get their FHA loan. Silly, but that's gov't for you.
Yesterday, I had a meeting with one of the builders I wanted to talk to... none of the structural changes I wanted to make to the plans are at all difficult, or expensive.  He suggested 9' finished ceilings in the basement, and said it would save us some money to use roof trusses in part of the third floor bonus room,  and Dan's office doesn't really need to be 20+' by 30+'.  Dan was good with half that size.  That puts my sewing space in the basement... which means Dan won't have to listen to my machines buzzing along.  Now the question is whether converting the screened porch to a conservatory, and finishing the basement will break the bank.  We'll see.  I need to talk to the other three builders next week... Must call them tomorrow - that was one of many things that didn't get done today while I packed another load into the van.  Dan is having far more fun taking his motorcycle class so he can get his license... I'd be jealous, but I've got some Appleseeds coming up...
We still need a place to live by the end of the month - I've got a couple leads on homes in Williamston, which would be the best location for us in terms of saving gas $$.  If anyone knows of anything on the rental market that will do a 6 month lease, FB or email me, please!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Packing (toys, not heat)

Yes, I know the verb packing around here usually refers to firearms, but lately it has been used in reference to the tremendous amount of STUFF I have to shove in boxes, toss into storage, toss into the trash, take to Goodwill or generally get out of this house prior to the end of the month.

May I just say that I am depressed and disheartened at the amount of junk we've accumulated in ten years here?  That I long for the days when everything I owned fit in the back of my pickup truck?  That my children have WAY TOO MANY TOYS! (Note to the friends and relatives who buy toys for my kids!  Please STOP!  We will love you anyway!  I promise!  In fact, we will love you MORE!)

And due to the short time frame, and the roofers coming next week, I cannot get a garage sale organized to get rid of any of this.  There just isn't time, since we still need to find a place to move TO.  So I'm thinking I'll just haul as much as I can to Goodwill after trying the "FREE" sign on the stuff at the end of the driveway for a few days.  

If anyone wants a Singer school model sewing machine ($50), or a giant beanbag (the loveseat-sized LoveSac in brown - $40), or a Roman chair/pullup exercise tower ($25), just come and get them.  And/or a metal (looks like cast iron but isn't) queen sized headboard ($10)...

Also, I need good packing tips are welcome.  I'm way out of practice...

Monday, July 25, 2011

So we finally got an offer on the house...

Thank God (and all the people praying for us about this)!  Now we just have to figure out if we can afford it... it is contingent upon my spreading the rest of the mulch, LOL.  I'm going up to the mulch place to ask (beg) if they can refund my last undelivered truckload (20 cu yds) just as soon as I finish the pile still on the apron in the drive today.  If they won't, then I'll ask them to hold it 'til the new house is built and we need it there.  Ha.  And we have to get a new roof on this place.  We have bids ranging from $5,800-18,000.   I'd love the steel roof (that's the $18,000) if we were staying, but since we aren't, we'll put on another shingle roof.  Unless the buyers want to pay the difference.

This is going to mess with the school year.  Not that I care that much, since we homeschool.  It just means that the month we get ahead by starting the beginning of August will immediately disappear into the confusion of moving.  I can deal with that.  I like having that month done before everyone else starts because all the books are in the library and I have no time monkey until December.  The tradeoff is worth getting out of this house and onto the property.  I hope that will happen fast - we still have time to build and be in by the end of the year, but the financing would have to be a bit creative since we're going to lose money on this sale, and the equity was used to buy the property for cash.

We could save some money if I GC'd this house myself.  But it would slow us down some, since I've never done it before.  Anyone out there ever GC their own home?   

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stupid attempt at home invasion?

I'm sitting here online minding my own business near midnight last night and some fool comes POUNDING on my door and repeatedly MASHING my doorbell. Dog goes utterly berserk in his crate.  So I pick up my gun, go look out the window, and it's some strange dude (NOT a neighbor) who starts yelling about needing to be let in to make a phone call to some family members to pick him up because he's broken down and  walked all this way in the rain and he's soaking wet and he needs help blah, blah blah... (It's not raining, doufus! It's been dry here all day!)  El Jefe wakes up from the racket (he was sick and sleeping under the influence of NyQuil) and grabs his gun and meets me at the (closed) door and informs stranger (through closed door) he isn't letting ANYONE in this late at night.  After a bit of repetition from both parties, and cursing by the one on the porch, the stranger leaves. El Jefe calls the local PD, but it's after hours so he gets the "Call 911" message. We hate using 911 for something that obviously isn't life threatening, but we'd really like to get the officer on nights (it's a small town, there is only one) to blow through the neighborhood, so he calls, and they tell him that someone else down the next street has already called for the same reason. So at some point the neighborhood will get a drive through (yea!).

At this point El Jefe informs me of an article in the local rag about the same thing happening near here last week... and we go clear the garage, and the cars in the driveway, and turn on EVERY freaking yard light (so glad I got them all replaced on Thursday - everything works now) all around the house.

Did this creep think I'd just open my door for him 'cause he sounded upset and bossy?  That I'd be likely to help some rude jerk pounding on my door and mashing my bell at midnight?  Why didn't he have a cell?  Everyone else does!  And claiming he was soaking wet when it hasn't rained all day?  S'up with that?  If he's so moronic as to fall in the lake, did he think I was going to let him come in and drip on my white carpet?  I think I'm offended that he thought I'd be dumb enough to fall for any of that! 

This house is going on the market in two weeks. I SO hope we can blow this joint quickly - and move to where we are miles off the highway instead of spitting distance from it.. and if we weren't trying to sell it, I'd be drawing chalk outlines on the front porch with a big ol' sign sayin' ANYONE BANGING ON THE DOOR AFTER 10PM WILL BE ADDED TO THE ARTWORK IN THE MORNING!!!

Xa Lynn

Thursday, May 5, 2011

God's judgment on your musical taste...

I've been stuffing this in the dark cave of unthinkable thoughts and unfeelable feelings for over a month now.  Well, that's not solving the problem.  So here goes.

I looked around church on Sunday and realized that of the 120 or so people present, only 8 of them were under 40 years old.  .  Do you know what that is?  That is the sign of a dying church.  Do you know why that is?  In our case, it is largely because certain people in our church have elevated their personal taste in music to the level of core doctrine worth effectively de-fellowshipping the associate pastor over.  Considering that, I expect I will eventually be de-fellowshipped myself, either for my foolishness in expressing my views on this, or because I will soon have to bow to my conscience and sing the special with my tambourine and a drum track, in one last ditch effort to prevent any visitors from being aurally bored and tuning out before the sermon starts, rather than being energized to focus their attention on its lesson(s).

Young people visit our church, find the music far too traditional (may I say dirge-like?) for their tastes, and move on, never to return.  The associate pastor attempted to remedy this by bringing some slightly more contemporary music into the service.  I'm not talking about drums or guitars or tambourines.  I'm talking about recently written praise hymns, arranged in the most traditional fashion possible... that is to say, with only piano and clavinova as accompaniment, and slowed tempi.  This was enough to provoke the folks who think that drums are demonic, guitars are going to cause members to begin fornicating in the aisles, and tambourines are an offense against the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that every week included at least as much traditional music as contemporary.  

May I say that I am appalled by the arrogance and ignorance demonstrated by the weekly complaints?  Horrified by the results?  Completely at a loss as to what I could or should have done to prevent this?  At even more of a loss as to whether a remedy is even possible at this point? 

Do I need to insert all the relevant verses in the Bible about how we are to worship enthusiastically with song, AND musical instruments, and DANCE (oh, that horrifies some of you doesn't it, that a worshipper might actually be moved by the combination of music and lyrics to sway to the beat, or clap... in syncopation?).

Before you tell me that all the attention should be on the words and none on the music, let me ask you, if you heard Peter's sermon (Acts 2:14-39) in a completely expressionless monotone, would you even be paying attention by the 25th verse?  Would you be cut to the heart as the original hearers were in verse 37?  Or would you be bored, distracted, disinterested, annoyed?

Those are precisely the feelings of all those young visitors who find the staid, funereal, traditionally arranged hymns to be a pseudo-musical monotone.  Not exactly spreading the Gospel, is it?  Instead, it is constraining the Word into a narrow little definition that doesn't challenge you.  You are comfortable with your self-righteous definitions, and the young are being lost because of it.  I am horrified and ashamed.

Xa Lynn

Friday, April 22, 2011

In my quest to learn Polish in three months...

I figure when I can sing those consonants out loud that fast, I'll be fluent... click this link for macarena po polsku

Xa Lynn