Thursday, September 30, 2010

One step at a time.

No, this is not a post about Olive's walking skilz. (Although, she is wandering all over the house these days and often prefers walking to being carried.)

And, no, there are no photos. (I snapped a few that I want to share, but I cannot find the cord to download the snaps to my computer. Arg!)

The house is not yet a clean, well-organized home.

But, we are working to create calm (or the 'calm' that can be found when you have a 14-month-old wandering around) and remove chaos. Olive's room is unpacked and situated. (Not decorated, mind you. Just situated.) And last night I put the finished touches on her bathroom.

Now. My goal is to document the house in a relatively untouched state - just, you know, with our stuff.

The future will bring new window coverings and probably a new flooring choice or two (among other things). Before all that, I want to create memories as it is now.

If only I could get the images downloaded ...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shameless Commerce.

Well, I won't go too Car Talk on you all.

But I do want to tell you about the great guys who installed our new garbage disposal. (Actually, it was only one guy.)

The company is John Moore Services.

I will definitely use them again.

Now. Yes. We (mostly Kyle) could have procured and installed on our own the new garbage disposal the inspector told us we would need after we were reminded of that need by a big puddle of water in our kitchen. But, being able to complete a task requires not only the necessary skills (something I do not have) but also the necessary time (something Kyle, right now, does not have). So, we hired the job out.

My appointment was today between 8a and 11a. My only complaint is that Alfred showed up at 1055a. However, this is within the appointed window.

He was friendly; he was clean-cut. He shook my hand and did not talk down to me. He put on paper booties each time he walked into my house. My lightly colored carpet really appreciated this.

He opened a preprinted book and pointed me to the price for installing a customer-provided garbage disposal. It was not $2,000,000. It was not 'by-the-hour.' It was a flat fee, and that is all I paid.

He installed the new disposal and re-jiggered some of the pipes under our sink. Yup, re-jiggered is as specific as I can be.

Still, there were no additions to the flat-fee rate.

I was impressed. We will use them again.


ps - For those of you who know of this company since they were *only* plumbers, they do more, a lot Moore, than plumbing these days. We do have an electrical panel that needs upgrading ... (and electricity is NOT something for amateur tinkering).

pps - No compensation was received in exchange for this post. But sometimes service people leave, and I feel taken. Because you could tell me that my sink needed a blue-nosed-copper-plated-knuckle-joint, and I would say, "ok." And when you told me it cost $2,000,000, I would say, "Wow. Um. That sounds awfully pricey, but I guess ..." Today, I felt like he did his job, and I paid a fair price. That is worth a lot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who is that baby with the binky?!

Our Olive has resolutely refused to take a binky. We haven't encouraged it, but, on occasion, we would offer her a binky when she seemed to need some soothing. It was always rejected, often by an emphatic spit across the room. We stopped making the offer and put the binkies away.

As I unpacked Olive's boxes, I came across the binkies and put them in her box of outgrown clothes. Olive plucked one out and stuck it in her mouth. There it remained all afternoon. In fact, her new binky-interest persists.

I'm not pushing it too hard. (But, binkies don't go to school. There was a minor tussle this morning.) We've had lots of recent turmoil and a few sucks on the binky doesn't seem like the worst thing we could permit her.

She also found (and I put on her) the super cute apron her Aunt Jen made for her. It is a tad too big yet but should fit nicely before too long!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Story.



Olive and I came to Houston over Fathers' Day weekend. Julie, Mom and I looked at way too many houses.

One stood out above the rest.

Kyle and I discussed. He looked at pictures and checked out the neighborhood on Google street view.

We made an offer.

Kyle flew down to Houston for the inspections. He loved the house too.

Our contract was finalized and a closing date of August 10 set.

We waited (and moved to Houston and celebrated birthdays and started new jobs).

While we were on vacation, during the first week of August, our mortgage broker called to say there was a problem with our financing due to a typo on his part but that we should be able to close on schedule - or possibly 5-7 days late.

(Cough. Cough. Cough.)

What really happened (minus a few of the more 'gory' details) is:

Our mortgage guy made a typo in one date field in our loan application. The other dates were correct, but under new rules, this one date was a deal-breaker for the first lender. No corrections, no lee-way, no oops.

So, on August 5, our loan application went to the back of the line with another bank. No special rush treatment, no 'we've-been-pre-authorized-since-June' or 'come-on-it-was-a-typo'cuts in line. We were behind mountains of other people waiting to refinance and get great new interest rates.

And so we waited. While 5-7 days became 30. While 30 became 45. And while 45 became 47.

I wish I could say we were patient.

We probably should have changed brokers or banks, but we were so far in with our guy ... it was hard to walk away.

On Friday, September 17, 2010, we closed. We signed MOUNTAINS of paper. We met one of the seller's 4 daughters and heard stories about the house and her parents. We walked out of the title company on Friday evening with the keys to a wonderful home in a cute neighborhood that needs some love but no major immediate projects.

We scheduled and rescheduled our move so many times. I almost didn't think it would happen. I certainly didn't think we would actually be able to move this weekend, but the movers were there at 830 on Saturday morning.

The chaos has begun.

We will post photos soon, but did you read the part about the chaos?

(By, the by, we have NOT figured out what doors all of the keys in the photo below open, but we can get in and out of the house. Yay!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let me off!

So. We have been on a metaphorical rollercoaster. Definitely since June, but depending on how you count events, possibly before then.

Now, I love, LOVE, a good rollercoaster. The twists, the turns, the loops, the unexpected drops, the hills-that-last-forever-and-you-wonder-if-the-car-will-ever-coast-down-the-other-side ... whew. It is exciting and exhilarating, and I love it.

But. The car we are currently sitting in is broken. It repeats the track. It jumps to another ride just as the first one seems to be reaching an end. It has too many loops and the turns are coming without any warning. This sinking feeling in my gut is getting old.

We should be awarded a prize if we reach the end without vomiting. Or just if we reach the end.

Maybe we will. I won't know until the freakin' ride ends.

I think (THINK!) we can see the end now. But, I am becoming quite cynical these days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Growth Spurt.

I sent this photo to Kyle this morning. He is in Sacramento, CA visiting another VA hospital.

Olive's sippy contains the remnants of a yogurt drink. She also had two bottles (we'll wean her someday ... she won't go to college with a bottle) as well as some morning cereal. All before heading to school where she will eat breakfast.

I see some outgrown clothes in her future :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Favorites.

Ok. Some would argue that fall doesn't find its way down to Houston. And in some ways, they *might* be right. The 'colors' aren't imminent (and are likely to not arrive). The nights will not be crisp and chilly for quite a few weeks yet. I did a search for apple picking around here (having become accustomed to that 'fall' activity in the STL) but came up empty.


We are still looking forward to temperate (and sometimes cool) evenings. Kyle will start watching (and listening to) football again. We *might* get to wear sweaters. We will cook out, and possibly BBQ.

Mmmm. Fun times.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday, Sunday.

Today, we roused ourselves and tried out a church near our *potential* new house. (Not to confuse, we're STILL talking about the same house.) The members were very friendly. If you were to make a scatter chart of those in attendance at the 11am worship service based on age, we would have been substantial outliers. (I know, nerd much? But I love charts and graphs.) I think we may look to join a more diverse community, but it is hard to know after just one visit.

We enjoyed Sunday lunch at Jenni's Noodle House. Their tag line is, "It's all good in the noodlehood." It is trademarked, and it makes me smile. They have a new location in the Heights.

Olive enjoyed the chicken dumplings, waiving the receipt to show her joy.

Kyle had some soba noodles, and I went for ginger chicken. Tasty. We all went home happy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Doing Nothin' Much ... and Lovin' It.

Tuesday night we had a lovely evening at home.

Olive enjoyed her dinner and then impressed us all with her continuing-to-improve walking skilz. Her distances are definitely increasing, but she seems to walk better with something in her hand: remote control, toy phone, small stuffed giraffe ... go figure.

Kyle whipped up some yummy scampi-ish shrimp and chicken. We also had tomato salad, steamed broccolini (which sounds healthy, but I'm pretty sure some butter was snuck in there) and whole wheat linguini. Super tasty.

Then we relaxed. We watched some tv (The Good Wife - which I am enjoying more and more). I played on the internet a tad; Kyle listened to a webinar on some new arch-geek technology. Zoe frolicked in the rain and came in with muddy paws.

It was a very nice respite in the midst of what seems like ongoing life craziness.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010



We are waiting.

I didn't lie when I said our tortise seems to be edging out the hare, but they haven't made it to the finish line yet.

And so. We wait.

Which means that sometimes it is hard to see what is really going on in our lives for the fog of waiting.

Now. This is annoying, and we will CELEBRATE when the waiting is done. BUT. We have friends and family who have waited longer and with more patience for far more important things.

The house. In perspective? But an annoyance.

So, what have we been up to?

Working. Gathering details for new opportunities. Sticking our toes into new adventures ... with trepidation and excitement. For Kyle, travel, travel travel.

Playing. We have done our fair share of travel for fun, for vacation, for family vists. It has been wonderful. But, I am ready to be without suitcase for a period of time. We shall see if that time comes ;)

This weekend we got to meet my cousin Sean's son Tyler. He is such a cutie!! He is about 6 months younger than Olive, and (hopefully) they will be friends when they are old enough to know what friends are.

We have a few other recent additions to our family that we hope to meet soon, and we no longer have the distance excuse!

Kyle and I went on a date Friday night, taking advantage of some newly nearby family babysitters. :) We had a great time. We didn't do anything fancy: enjoyed happy hour at a sushi bar, ran some errands, saw the weinermobile, enjoyed adult conversation, pondered our next steps ... Wonderful.

That's it for now. Enjoy your week. We will try to enjoy ours!


Friday, September 3, 2010

My Special Spotted Lady.

We've had a bit of sickness around here folks.

Kyle has been the only one exempt.

I was under the weather briefly but am well recovered.

Miss Olive is getting a new batch of teeth and, as a result, is sometimes Miss Cranky-Pants.

In the more-than-you-want-to-know category, we've been fighting a persistent diaper rash most of the summer. (We have been advised to, among other things, let Olive 'run free.' If you want to try it, I'll bring her to your house to 'run free' for an afternoon. Not overly helpful advice for my life.) The rash just might be gone. (yay! yay! yay!)

She also came down with an ugly case of roseola (yup, I shot that spelling from the hip). This (I've been told) is No. Big. Deal. ("Fever. Fever. Fever. Rash. Rash. Rash. Rash. It should be gone by Thursday." So said our pediatrician.) She was covered in spots and was NOT happy. They are largely gone. And we are hoping for some better nights of sleep in the near future!

Also, in the great turtle and hare race that is our current mortgage situation, the turtle seems to be edging ahead. We aren't counting any chickens, but ... progress feels good. (Yay. Animal references.)