Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smortgagebord



Are you wondering why you haven't seen anymore obsessively excited pictures of my house? As Liz Lemon would say 'Blurgh!'

We have fallen into the fun times of jumping through the hoops to get your mortgage. Initially, I had the heart-stopping moment when they said they had to re-qualify us because they hadn't included J's student loan payment into our monthly obligations. Three business days later, the issue was resolved and I breathed a sigh of relief. That is, until I read the rest of the email that apologized for any 'inconvenience' that would be caused by pushing back our closing date, due to an exception that we had been assured would be no problem, but is now a huge problem, as it's been denied. We have to provide a 30 day paystub prior to closing, instead of within two months after closing, as we'd been previously told.

Apparently, with all the folks who got approved for three million dollar homes who should have been buying a double-wide and then defaulted on their mortgage, the industry's a little tight right now. Yes, I understand why...what I can't appreciate is that, based on the assurances made to us, we locked into a rate, signed a contract for a closing date of June 30th (also, the date we need to close by in order to get the first-time home-buyer tax credit) picked out, lovingly caressed and put our stamp on finishes that would make it a home of our own.

So, while I'd like to say I'm being zen and just going with the flow; I am not. I am a freak on a stick. I am the most neurotic, anxiety-driven person known to man. I have been cyber-stalking my loan processor, the real-estate broker and anyone else who will listen. Luckily, we have an awesome realtor and team who are working their booties off to make this all come together, but I swear I'm about to go Joe Biden, because while it may be an 'inconvenience' to the big wigs in the finance department, to us; this is a 'big f$^#%ng deal!'

Stay tuned...I may be changing my facebook album titled 'A Very, Very, Very Fine House' to 'Living in a Van, Down By The River'.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SallyHP Goes Green

My first post as Contributing Editor on the Green MomCentral blog went up today. If you just can't get enough of me, you can now catch me there twice a week! I'm very excited for this next venture in the blogosphere and hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Than Meets The Eye

Today, after a leisurely morning of running kiddos to and fro, I told H we had a birthday party to attend that afternoon. He was ecstatic for the opportunity to wander the toy aisle at Target, pronouncing for all to hear exactly what he'd be getting for his birthday...in August.

Amidst protests by H that the birthday boy would not like a bottle of wine, I indulged him in the under ten dollar purchase of the Transformer, Scalpel, (a creepy microscope/flying insect) with a matching Transformer card, of course. Oh, did I mention that this was a 30th birthday party? For one of J's co-workers?

Luckily, said birthday boy is probably one of the most gracious and genuinely nice people you'll ever meet and he took the time to open the gift with H, take it out of the packaging and then 'transform' it...which, I don't know how many of you have tried that lately, but it's not exactly an intuitive process. It's the little things, like seeing them acknowledge how excited your child is about something that may not be exciting to them, that makes you genuinely like someone.

Cake consumed, a ball-game playing in the back-ground and a party foul perpetrated by H (who quickly pronounced over the spillage of beer 'It's okay! It was empty!') I decided it was time to tuck the kiddos under my arms and head home so that J could enjoy some much-deserved social time with his friends.

Before leaving, Birthday Boy suggested to H that they 'share' the Transformer, and that H's shift would start tonight. Of course, you could tell from the shifting of his eyes and sly smile that this was what H had planned and hoped for all along. The car ride home was spent with me reinforcing to H that this was a very special exception and he would never get to take a birthday gift home with him again.

And, yes, it's tucked in with him right now.

As the evening wore on, I was plagued with questions; Did I do the wrong thing? Should I have allowed him to get the gift even though I knew it was completely age-inappropriate, and kind of a gag gift even if H wasn't in on the gag?

I hope I didn't set him up for disappointment at future parties where he'll get the hairy eyeball if he presents the guest of honor with a parenting plan for joint custody of the gift. Then again, I think we'll just cross that bridge when we get there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Lift

A little something to start your day on the right foot...and maybe a bit of a dare as well.

Tea for You

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law what most think will be a good first step toward overhauling the largest and most expensive institution in our nation; health care. What seems to most (and when I say most, I'm saying it because health care reform was a major platform upon which Obama got elected by the majority of Americans) to be a positive step toward taking care of our own, has been under harsh scrutiny and has endured a lot of false propaganda by it's opponents.

I would say that the vast majority of those that support health care reform would freely admit that this is not a perfect first step, but it is the best step that could be taken right now. Do we need tort reform? Absolutely. Should we look at starting to cover only evidence-based procedures? Maybe. Should we take the hardest look at the devastatingly huge amount of money that we spend on end-of-life care by coming to terms with our fear of the idea of losing a loved one? Probably. But, all of those things will take a long time, overcoming social mores and the pressure that family members feel to make a 'good' decision, or to prolong the inevitable. I'm proud of this first step, and I look forward to the progress that can be made from it.

Click here to see a very abbreviated list of some of the benefits we can expect to see from the health-care bill. I like that it cites its sources for each reason...although number 7 is not cited, so I'm inclined to believe it's a looser number.

I thought this video was interesting, keeping in mind that it was obviously edited; but since it was edited to my own political slant I, of course, like it. Even though it will take a good chunk of an afternoon, I've decided that I will sit and read the whole bill so that I do understand...I would hate to feel as unprepared to defend my position as these folks obviously were if put on the spot.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Vino Veritas

I'm back from my whirlwind trip West to meet my new nephew, spend time with my dear friend and, oh yeah, see my new house for the first time!

Though the flights were long, and the drive to Walla Walla was another 4 hours, it was kid-free, so it was blissful. I read The Lost Code on the plane, because I'm a sucker for Dan Brown, and did about five minutes of work before I realized I'd get carpal tunnel typing on a laptop during a full flight-being that I'm just a little slip of a girl, my shoulders were not touching my neighbors' at all.

The baby? Gorgeous.

The house? Fantastic.

A weekend with my best friend, drinking wine and walking around my new home-town? More than much-needed.

We spent the first afternoon in Walla Walla registering H for Kindergarten (Welcome, Class of 2023!) and getting my initial tour of the house. Walking in for the first time, it still took awhile to have it sink in that the house was truly mine. High ceilings and an open floorplan with lots of windows left me imagining sun-soaked mornings sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee, listening to the kids play in the back-yard. Ah, the back-yard. Bigger than I'd imagined, with side-yards double that of most of our neighbors; raised bed gardens await me.

The next morning, we spent what was supposed to be several hours at the Flooring store, but ended up little more than two. Apparently my years of obsessively deciding what my 'style' would be certainly paid off in the decisive department. First things first, I found a beautiful hand-scraped bamboo with great variation in color that looked great with the trim sample from my cabinets. Then on to carpet for the bedrooms, vinyl for the bathrooms, tub surround tile, back-splashes and counters, oh my!

After a quick flip through the Parker paints color chart, I had my Knott interior paint selected, and we were off to lunch. But not before the sales-woman picked up on my longing glances at the planks of 'my' floor, wherein she offered to have her guy hack off a piece so I could take it with me in my suitcase...which I promise I don't tuck under my pillow at night.

Sample in hand, we arrived at my house once again to match exterior colors to the brick accents that are already in place. Bittersweet with Equator Trim and a Lava Cake door, and I'd say you can put a fork in this baby; it's done!

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering downtown and ended up in the tasting room for a local winery. I couldn't tell if the proprietor was just a little green or if he really loves hearing himself talk, either way we left with three bottles of Gewurztraminer (to our shock, we found it was not a sweet wine after he twisted our arms to try it amidst our protests of not liking to drink wine that tastes like corn syrup) signed by said proprietor in bronzey sparkle sharpie.

We watched most of the Boost Surf Sho on-line, then walked to Sweet Basil Pizzeria for dinner and then onto Colville St. Patisserie for coffee and dessert before heading home, pushing the clocks forward an hour and falling into sugar and wine-induced slumber.

The next morning, I turned back into a pumpkin and back to the airport we went. Friend farewelled and coffee purchased, I boarded the Southwest Airlines flight to Midway, opened my book and embraced the knowledge that I'll soon be calling Walla Walla home.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'd Rather Run Barefoot

Today, I got my periodic email from Zappos and clicked over to browse the latest offerings in Spring Footwear. Talk about shock and awe...when I saw these sandals or, Tube Flops, only a stilted 'Oh. My. God.' squeaked past my lips.

These are quite possibly the ugliest fashion trend I've seen in a very long time. I guess I shouldn't really say 'trend' because I have not seen a single person wearing them...and I hope I never do, because I will not be able to wipe the sneer from my lips, or keep my eyebrows in a position less than half an inch from my hairline.

You can check their selection of color and print combinations for yourself...one picture just doesn't do it justice. Bless their hearts, I hope they make their money back. I can only imagine the brainstorming session that produced these gems...'Dude! What if you could wear socks with sandals, because they were the sandals?!' (bubbling water and smoke inhalation fills the air)...'Totally!'

Here's what they have to say for themselves...

  • Wearing socks and sandals used to be an absolute fashion faux pas; now, it's a chic statement! Introducing the bold, the bright, the anything-but-boring... The Tube Flop from SanĂ¼k™!
  • Give those toes a little wiggle room while keepin' warm with this functional and fashionable hybrid!
  • Light and breathable tube sock connects to the footbed through a molded channel in the flip flop.
  • Soft and feminine strap for absolute comfort between the toes.
  • Compression molded footbed is squishy 'n soft for signature Sanukcomfort.
  • Sanuk logo tag on bottom of sock.
  • Happy U outsole tread for easy steppin'.
  • A Vegan friendly flip flop made of synthetic materials.
  • Roll the sock into itself and against the sandal for easy storage.
  • Hand wash and hang dry your Tubeflops for easy cleaning.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar the Grouch


Last night, I celebrated the watching of The 82nd Annual Academy Awards with cocktails and girlfriends.

There were so many movies nominated this year that were phenomenal. I've seen both Inglourious Basterds and The Hurt Locker, both of which were fantastic from the score to the visuals, the acting and everything in between. I haven't yet seen Crazy Heart, but who doesn't love Jeff Bridges?! I've got the rest of the nominations patiently waiting in my Netflix queue, and yes, I'll probably even watch Avatar eventually.

From the start, I was very anti-Avatar, though I have not yet seen the movie. Why was I so against it? Well, for starters, because I'm not a huge fantasy or sci-fi fan, I've always been a little annoyed that based on special effects alone a movie would be nominated for Best Picture when the actual story-line wasn't all that revolutionary. I mean, Pandora as the name of the planet where valuable minerals are protected and not to be harvested by humans? Really? Wow, that was super-original! And, while I'm sure one really doesn't have to do with the other, the main character is an injured Marine who goes to a planet of Navy people. Oh sorry, I mean Na'vi. Coincidence, or was it possibly a subliminal messaging propaganda video?

I remind you, I have not seen the movie, so you may find me gushing later, but right now...just too much hype for something reminiscent of the Blue Man Group or mythology 101; the redux.

I thought Ben Stiller's entrance to the stage as one of the Na'vi was hilarious, and I loved the double-kick that Kathryn Bigelow, who was the first female to win Best Director with her film The Hurt Locker, was sitting in front of ex-husband James Cameron and beat him in both Best Picture and Best Director categories. I'm sure they've got a perfectly amicable relationship, but it still gave me some warm fuzzies, that will probably come back to bite me in the shame-on-you karma department.

Because we stayed drinking Pineapple cocktails (Pineapple infused vodka with pineapple juice) until midnight*, today was rough! I got to bed at about 1am, then after a couple of mid-night treks with H back to his bed, I was up for good around 7. Thanks to Alex, who motivated me to join her, I went to the Y at 11 to make up for my missed run on Saturday.

It. Was. Not. Pretty. About 1.5 miles into it, I had to walk for a minute to re-group. The next time I wanted to walk, however, I decided to just put the towel back over the display and with the start of the next song, (Hot 'N Cold, thank you Katy Perry!) I bumped the speed up .5 miles and ran at that pace for the length of the song. By the time the song was over, I was in a new groove, and it felt like a relief to run okay jog at my normal pace...definitely a trick I'll use again.

*In the interest of full-disclosure; No, I did not drive intoxicated. I had my last of two cocktails at 9:30 and drove at midnight. But thanks for your concern!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rhapsody in Blue


While I didn't get the Gold Medal, I have made significant progress. The sleeves are the pieces sitting to the sides, they're on stitch holders waiting to be joined to the body and worked in the round all together at the yoke. You can see the little increase stitches, and they are at the point that would be the side seams. While this may take the next week to finish, I really love that it's in the round, which mean it's just knit, knit, knit...no purling, no counting, it's great! Now that I'm past the side increases, I'm in the home stretch until I add the arms and start the yoke pattern. I sense an accomplishment coming on!
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Keep It Simple, Silly!

In the interest of actually reaching the goals I made, I set steps along the way, which any good goal-reacher will tell you is the best method. I'm not logging my meals or counting the calories from the envelopes I lick, but I am logging my workouts. I also set my weight loss goals according to the phases of my life to which I'd like to revert.

I'm happy to report that I've met goal number one; make it back to my 'pre-Charlie' weight. It only took 21 months (three weeks of which I was genuinely trying) but it's off. Now, on to my pre-H weight.

I've found that by simply working toward the fitness goals I've set, the weight-loss goals are happening on their own. I have the added bonus of more patience with my kids and, for someone who's getting as much, or less, sleep as I usually do, I'm a whole lot less tired!

Now, for that gold medal I was supposed to be working on...I finished both sleeves of the sweater and am about a third of the way up the body.

If I didn't have these other pesky tasks to complete that are actually paying me money, I would have finished. But what can I say? I'm more gold digger than gold medalist at the moment.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pressure. Steady, driving pressure.
The receiving end; concentric circles
forming to make room.
Always accomodating.

Pressure is shallow.
Still runs deep.
Move over.
Make room.

Invite the pressure.
Resist only enough
that balance is maintained.
Enjoy the patterns
stemming from pressure and release.
Eb and flow.