Thursday, August 31, 2006

Closing.....

Well, closing has been moved up a week and is now set for Sept 15 -- yes that is 2 weeks from tomorrow!!! I'm so excited I can't even help it.....

I'll post some pics when it's mine (and empty.....then full!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Got it!

Well, folks, I got the house! I still need to sign the contract, but the seller has executed so we're well on our way.......inspection later this week, then closing on Sept 22! Whew.....gotta get busy packing, I guess!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday afternoon

Well, this Sunday was spent in a totally new and different way for me.....I went driving to look at houses. I had my friend Kimberly with me ...... for the past several years, she has bought and remodeled homes to re-sell. Now, she does mostly new construction -- buys a lot and builds a house. And she does some pretty nice houses!

Today, she put on her realtor hat for me and we went shopping. I had found several listings that I wanted to see in a relatively unfamiliar area for her. We saw most of those listings and a few others that had open houses (dodging some pretty major thunder/lightening storms along the way)......and then, by the end of the day, we put a contract on a house! It is an amazing place and I truly think it is the house for me. Of all the things on my "must have" and "wish" lists, it met every single criteria. It has been on the market for about 6 weeks and has been reduced in price a couple of times. We didn't offer full price, although it is within my range to do so if I must -- I'm always lookin' for a deal!!

So, please say a prayer for me that it will go through --- if of course, it is the house that God wants me to have! (And keep your fingers and toes crossed too!!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lake House

I spent the better part of the afternoon at a beautiful lake house on Cedar Creek Lake celebrating my college friend Sam's 30th birthday. He is on vacation from his life as an ER resident in Kansas City and came down to Texas and invited a bunch of people to come help him celebrate. So, Sarah and I decided to drive down for the afternoon. It was fun -- we got spend more time talking and catching up in the car -- and we got to see Sam and really talk with him a bit more than we had talked in the 8 years since college. Plus, we got to meet some of his friends from Oklahoma City where he went to medical school.

I've never really been a lake kind of girl....and I generally think of lake houses more as rustic cabins.....but this house was amazing. With a great house like that, I think I could become a lake girl.....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Alone

Today I think all the pent-up emotions of the past few weeks decided to emerge. The grief over my grandmommy dying, the stress over dealing with work to get enough done to be able to go home for the funeral (and the resulting catchup all this past week), and the drama surrounding the house just all have fallen in on top of me.

At church this morning (I was singing on praise team today), I started crying during our tech rehearsal and had to get up for a few minutes to go really cry in the bathroom. Then I came back in and lost it again. They stopped rehearsal for a few minutes to gather around and pray for me, but that didn't stop the tears -- and it didn't really make it easier to sing. I don't know what exactly the trigger was, but that floodgate was opened today. I made it through class, but then broke down again in church. I had quite a few people give me hugs and tell me to let them know if they could do anything, but really what could they do?

I decided to come home after church and just let the emotions come and cry as much as I could to try and get it all out. But there were no tears. Until I watched the end of a sappy movie a few minutes ago and now I'm crying again.

I am feeling very alone right now. I know that I have family and friends that love me and would do anything for me, but I have a VERY hard time letting anyone know when something isn't going right, let alone seeking out a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Because what is there to say, really? I have one friend in Abilene that came to the visitation and to the funeral, but I really felt that I was going through it all alone. My parents had each other, my sister had her husband, my cousins are all married, I know my granddaddy was alone too, but the focus was on him (and rightly so). So, really I was the only one out in left field by myself. Even though the burial was here in the metroplex, none of my friends or church leaders came. I didn't think that would bother me, because I didn't really think that I needed it, but I did. And now I'm feeling bad that I'm upset about the fact they didn't come.

I know that my life will not be magically 100% perfect when (if?) I get married. But it just seems like it would make times like this easier to bear if I had someone to just hold me while I cry. But in the meantime, I guess I'll just cry alone.....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Guru?

Your Aura is Green
You're very driven, competitive, and even a bit jealous.However, you seek out balance in your life - and you usually achieve it!
The purpose of your life: inspiring others to be better
Famous greens include: Tony Robbins, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart
Careers for you to try: Guru, CEO, Talk Show Host

Friday, August 18, 2006

IQ Test

Thanks to Phillip-in-law for an interesting diversion.....

Go here to get your very own IQ test......

By the way, my score was 138.....

Painting

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol
You've got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait. You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

Contract Terminated

It's done. The contract has been terminated and I feel so relieved. I really debated whether to send a copy of the inspection to the seller or not. Part of me wanted to keep it because, after all, I bought it! But, according to my realtor, if the seller has a copy of the inspection report, it is supposed to become a part of their disclosure. I have no idea if this particular seller will do that or if they'll throw it in the trash. But, I would hope that my lessons learned might be a benefit to whomever buys this property. So, I sent the inspection report along with the contract termination form. Here's a copy of the email that I sent to the seller's agent (who is married to the seller, by the way).

Ms. ______,

Please find attached a signed contract termination. While I was initially very excited to purchase this home (due to its prime location, great storage and many exciting features), after much consideration and a thorough review of what I would be undertaking to get the property up to the standards that I would require, I have decided not to purchase this home. Knowing that the property had been rented for many years, I expected some renovation and updating to be needed. However, after visiting the property again during the inspection and reviewing the extensive inspection report, there were many more items that caused me great concern than I could manage to deal with. Thus my decision to terminate the contract.

I am forwarding to you copy of the inspection report that I received in hopes that it might be of benefit to someone else who desires to purchase this property.


Now, to figure out how to revamp my search criteria to start the search again!

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Walking away.....

Well, after reading the written inspection report and the general feeling that I had being back in the house yesterday, I'm about 99% sure that I'm walking away from this one.

There are just so many things that need to be fixed, updated, replaced because they weren't maintained properly, etc. I really think that if this house had been occupied by the owner, things would be in better shape. However, since it is fairly obvious that it has always been a renter, things have just not been kept up.

So, I think we are back to square one. I'm also thinking about changing realtors.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Inspection

Well, the inspection was today and it didn't really go as well as I would have liked. Good thing about an option period -- I can still walk away with relatively little money involved.

I am waiting to get the full inspection report before I make any final decisions, but as of this moment, there are far too many things that are possibly very costly repairs and I get the feeling that the seller will be unwilling to make many (if any) concessions on the sales price. Also, the utility bills are very, very high and that really concerns me. With the age of the house, I am just not sure that I'll be able to afford to get things to the point they need to be for me to be happy and comfortable living there -- and to be able to continually afford just routine things like utilities.

So, I could be back at square one......

Monday, August 14, 2006

Chicken Spaghetti

for That Girl......

Chicken Spaghetti

8 oz dry spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
2-3 C diced cooked chicken
1/2 - 3/4 C milk
3/4 lb Velveeta
salt & pepper to taste

Cook and drain spaghetti. Stir milk and soup into noodles. Add chicken, cheese, seasoning. Pour into ~2 qt dish. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly. (Vary amounts of milk, cheese and seasoning to taste. May need to add more milk when reheating leftovers).

All the measurements are pretty loose -- reallocate as suits your taste!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back home....

Yes, I do call Abilene "home," but Dallas is really my home now. I love Abilene and would love to move back there someday (read: with husband and kids in tow), but Dallas is where I love to live right now. And the fact that I'm buying a house makes Dallas even more "home" to me!

Heather and I got back about 5:00 today. Then I unpacked, opened mail (including several cards - thank you friends!!), and started getting ready for Dinner Club at my house tomorrow night.

Yes, you read that right. DC is at my place tomorrow. I guess I probably could have switched it out, but I had already pretty much decided on the menu and figured that it would be easier to just go ahead and do it.

So with grocery list in hand (I did that chore in Abilene!), I headed to Tom Thumb about 6:00. Man, I forget why I don't go to the store on Sunday evening -- it was packed! Made it home, mixed up a quick batch of brownies while my dinner was cooking, then got the chicken spaghetti ready to pop in to heat tomorrow after work. All that remains is the strawberry pineapple salad -- which I think I'll have to do in the morning, since my cool whip isn't thawed yet!

Now, I think it is time to wash my face and crawl in bed -- ready to face another week. Hopefully this one will not be quite as eventful as the last.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tired

It has been a long, hard, tiring, HOT day. We started off with Grandmommy's service at 10:00 this morning. It was so good - and a good start to some closure. Even with the visitation yesterday I didn't really feel like she was gone. Today, I really did feel it. Then we jumped into our cars to drive to the DFW National Cemetery for the burial. Since my granddaddy is a WWII vet, they decided to be buried there.

After the service at the cemetery, we went to my aunt and uncle's house (my dad's brother) to visit a bit and eat dinner. Then we got back in the car and drove back to Abilene. We got here about 9:00 and are just worn out.

On a very exciting different note, though - I finally made an offer on the house that was accepted! So, tomorrow begins the craziness of getting everything done to be ready to close in a short three weeks. I can't wait!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A favorite photo


This is one of my favorite photos of my grandmommy -- she had this mink stole from I guess back in the 1960s. It is made up up of several minks -- with heads and claws intact! Kinda creepy, actually. Sometime when we were visiting several years ago we got it out and she got so tickled....she just giggled and giggled. Somehow we managed to capture it on film....and what a priceless photo to have.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Prayers please

This morning, about 7:45 am, my grandmommy, Lanita Pearl Lawrence Smith died at age 91 1/2.

Grandmommy had been in somewhat declining health the past several years, but was still able to get up and about and live with her husband of 66 years, Howard, in their apartment in Abilene around the corner from my mom and her sister.

Yesterday afternoon she fell while getting up from the dining table in their apartment and gashed her head. They took her to the ER and kept her strapped to a backboard for several hours while performing various tests. Finally, about midnight they decided that with the possible broken bone in her neck, they really needed a neurologist to see her sooner rather than later. Since there wasn't one in Abilene over the weekend, they CareFlighted her to Harris Hospital in Ft Worth. Somewhere along the way, I think when they were moving her from the helicopter to the ER at Harris, her heart went into arrythmia. They got it restarted and put her on an external pacemaker. She was admitted to Harris about 2:15 am. I have no real idea what happened the next few hours, but I think it was after they were doing another MRI to determine the severity of her neck injury that her heart just gave out.

I KNOW that she is whole again and celebrating being in heaven, but very selfishly I wasn't ready for her to die. Over the past year or so each time I'd see her and ask how she was doing she'd say something about being ready to quit hurting and just die. Of course we didn't want that, so we encouraged her and basically tried to talk her out of giving up!

The irony or coincidence (or God-incidence) of the time that she died is that is the moment that I was on the phone with one of our ministers at church and he was praying for her healing. He asked that she be completely healed -- and she was, just not in the way we were expecting.


So, please pray for our family during this trying time -- for my granddaddy Howard (he'll be 94 on Aug 23) as he looks to life without his sweetheart. He was always taking care of her, so I just don't know what he's going to do without her. I really am afraid that he might not make it long. Also pray for my mom Lana, and her sister Sharon as they help him to make the arrangements. I think the funeral will be later in the week, but we don't have that figured out yet.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday

You guys are doing great with the songs! I hope you're having fun with the game so far -- feel free to continue adding comments as long as you want......I'll post another category sometime in the near future when I have nothing else to say.

As for today, I sure am glad that it is Friday. I drove up to Lewisville last night to have dinner at my friend Kelly's new apartment. It is directly across the parking lot from her old place, but she has so much more storage space -- and a garage now! It was so much fun to hang out with her and Jenny, but I am beat -- didn't get home until about 10:00 and then it was almost 11:00 before I wound down enough to make it to bed. Definitely looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!

As for a house update for me -- I haven't found anything new that I like. BUT, the duplex is still on the market, so I'm going to try again. We're submitting the offer today. The prayer request specifically is that the owners will want to sell me the house -- but not just for me to have a house. I have been told with increasing frequency that I have a spiritual gift of hospitality -- and I really want to be able to use my home to serve God and to nuture and continue to develop that gift of hospitality. To host small groups, bible studies, dinner parties, etc. I can do that in the apartment, but not to the extent that I would like. This duplex would be a great space for entertaining like that. And that is how I want to use it. So, that is my prayer today -- that God would allow me to buy the duplex so that I can in turn open my door for kingdom business. I'll keep you all updated....

For now, though, I must get to work!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Let's Play a Game....

On our retreat last weekend, one of the fun things we did in the late night hours was play a variation of a game that I can't remember the name of.

We each wrote themes and specific words on slips of paper and put them in a cup. Randomly drew out a paper and each team had to come up with songs (and sing at least six words) that contained the word or theme. For lack of anything better to post, and because I haven't had many comments recently, we're going to start playing here.....

Today's theme is "songs containing proper names." Put your song in the comments, with enough lyrics to cover the theme.....

I'll start -- "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles..... "Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been....."

Now, it's your turn.

Thursday am: Here's another one: "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel ..... "Cecilia, you're breaking my heart...." c'mon....I know you want to play!!