Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Internet Browsers

I seem to have issues with internet browsers on my laptop.  I cannot find one that works without problems.  I was a fan of firefox until it just started randomly freezing.  I just tried to open it and it stopped responding immediately.  It took forever to try to close it.  So then I switched to Chrome.  Chrome worked fine most of the time but it has issues with displaying pdf files.  It would hang when trying to display them within the browser.  It would freeze on those types of pages.  So then I started using Internet Explorer 9 and it seemed more stable and had no problem with pdf pages.  But just now it wouldn’t keep me logged into the realtor.com website.  I don’t know if that is a browser or website issue, but it’s very frustrating.  Perhaps it is simply my computer.  I wonder if I should uninstall all the browsers and reinstall them.  Or should I investigate another browser.  Any computer gurus out there willing to chime in?  I hope that Andrew will give me his 2 cents on the matter. 

I’ve been totally lazy for several days now.  I’m feeling much like a slug.  I’ve been wanting to get out and go to the half price book store in search of a cd, but I haven’t mustered up the energy.  Matt and I did go do a lot of house drive-bys yesterday and that was exhausting.  I’ve been watching quite a bit of Olympic coverage and goofing off online.  I do have to get out sometime today and take my rent check across town.  I think I’ll wait until rush hour traffic isn’t an issue though. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Starting Over

I declined the offer on the house.  In the end the agent and I concurred that the counter price was iffy.  I decided to wait it out and look at other options.  They may come down in price later or I might find something even better.  Matt I spent most of the day driving around town looking at other houses.  My problem is that I have champagne dreams on a beer budget.  I want a fairly large house with at least 4 bedrooms, good sized kitchen, and two bathrooms.  But there’s always a compromise in getting what I want.  I can get most of that with a new construction in a great neighborhood, with the sacrifice of a smaller kitchen.  Or I have to go farther out.  Or I have to give up something else.  Or I have to pay more money.  It seems the perfect house doesn’t exist for people with somewhat limited budgets.  It would be different if Matt and I were buying a house together, but he’s not ready for that kind of commitment – which I totally understand.  Though I don’t think Matt is going anywhere, I feel more secure making this purchase on my own.  If for whatever reason things don’t work out, I’m not stuck with a house I can’t afford.  And on the plus side, if he does stick around and we get married and such, having a dual income with a smaller house payment will make things easier financially. 

I forgot to mention that Matt bought me my birthday present early.  He bought me tickets for the Olivia Newton John concert here in November.  I have been a fan of Olivia since I was 8 years old and saw Grease for the first time.  I used to play her greatest hits album on my record player all the time.  We have floor seats in row S.  I’m very excited about it.  He is such a great boyfriend. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Counter Offer

I received news about a counter offer from the seller (Fannie Mae)  late Friday.  I originally offered $135,000 and asked for $5000 in closing costs.  House is listed at $146,500.  They countered with $145,000 and $4300 in closing costs.  The agent said that because of it being a foreclosure that this would be their final offer so I have to take it or leave it.  I’m a little concerned as to whether it will actually appraise at $145,000, but the agent has sent me information showing that other houses (though not similar in size) in the area have sold for much more per square foot.  So now I’m waiting to hear back from her regarding what happens if does not appraise at the sales price.  I don’t think it will be a problem, but just want to have all the bases covered. 

Other than that, nothing new here.  I’ve been taking some lazy days doing mostly nothing at all.  I’ve done some reading, watching the Olympics, and taking naps.  I realize that my summer vacation time is dwindling quickly.  Once I get under contract on a house, I’ll probably start packing.  I have tons of boxes now so I could get started.  Matt and I may head to Albuquerque the weekend before I start back to work.  It depends on how things go with the house-buying process. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hurry up and wait

So which one did I choose? 

I put an offer on house 1 – the biggest and closest.  So now it is just waiting to hear whether my offer is accepted, rejected, or countered.  I decided on that house because it’s close to where I live now and I like this community.  It’s quiet and outside the city.  It’s close to major highways.  My commute stays the same at about 7 minutes.  The house is really large at 2380 square feet.  There are no neighbors directly behind the house.  There is tons of inside storage and assuming that Matt decides to give up bachelorhood one of these days, we can cohabitate there without killing each other.  The only downside is the fact that all bedrooms are upstairs, but I guess I can deal with that.  Both Josh and Matt prefer two story houses.  It was also listed under my max budget and I put in an offer of $10,000 below the asking price.  So I guess we’ll see if my offer gets a bite.  I’m not going to start packing until I get an accepted offer though.  Since I wouldn’t be able to close until September anyway, I figure that I have time. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My own version of House Hunters

Matt, Josh, and I went house hunting yesterday.  We saw about a dozen houses and I’ve narrowed down to three – just like the show.  In case you’re not familiar with the show (though you should be), here’s a brief synopsis.  Camera follows a person or couple planning to purchase a house.  They look a three different houses and they tell all the things they like and don’t like about each one.  Then the show recaps the three choices and at the end you find out which one they chose. 

So yesterday I was able to eliminate several houses simply because I didn’t like the location, the layout, the condition of the house etc.  At the end, I was left with three top picks so here’s the scoop on each of them.

House 1 (Best Space, Foreclosure)

House 1 is a two story traditional that is around 2300 square feet.  It is located in the same neighborhood where I currently live.  It has a lot storage space, huge closets, 3 bedrooms upstairs plus an open game room area.  Master bedroom has two closets and huge master bath with dual vanities and separate shower and tub.  Downstairs has a separate office or 4th bedroom, large kitchen with a separate utility area that has more closets and storage.  Back yard is ample without being too big.  Several pickets are missing in the fence that need to be replaced.  House has been recently painted and has all new carpet.  It is a foreclosure, however, so best bid wins.  It is priced the lowest at $146,500.

Pros: Space, price, same short commute to work, no neighbors in back.
Cons: Foreclosure could mean surprises, master bedroom upstairs

House 2 (New Construction, Most Expensive)

House 2 is a newly constructed house about 2100 square feet in a golf course community.  It has four bedrooms with master downstairs.  Upstairs has three bedrooms in addition to an open game room area.  Kitchen area is tiny with limited counter space and small pantry.  Has new sprinkler system included.  Yard is average size.  No rear neighbors with a street behind the house.  Price is currently $10,000 over budget but potentially negotiable.  Community is very nice and well maintained.  Commute time extended by 5-7 minutes.

Pros: Brand new, sprinkler system, downstairs master
Cons: Small kitchen, price

House 3 (Best Kitchen, Farthest Away)

House 3 is a single story with about 2000 square feet.  It has the best kitchen layout with a large open bar facing the living room.  This house has the best overall layout with an isolated master bedroom that has a huge walk-in closet.  Other three bedrooms are smaller with standard sized closets.  Backyard is similar in size to other houses but there are neighbors to the rear.  House is located in Converse, TX which would mean a commute time of about 25 minutes in heavier traffic each morning.  Price is middle of the road at $152,000. 

Pros: Great Kitchen, Single story, Largest master closet
Cons: Location, commute time

So now I have to decide which one I want to put an offer on.  Which one would you choose?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Too Much to Tell

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  It has been a crazy week full of good and bad news.  First the bad:

While in Boston, I found out that the speech teacher that I worked with at Hereford passed away suddenly.  She was the one that helped me get the job there and I took over the speech team.  She retired a few years later, but she had been a great mentor.  I couldn’t go to her funeral because it was held the day after I got back from Boston and I couldn’t get there in time.  I sent a plant instead.  Just a week before that, another speech teacher friend lost her mother.  So after getting back from Boston I went to Scrabble club.  That night I got a call from my friend Pam back home and she said that her daughter Kami was in the hospital.  They were getting in the car to leave and go to the doctor when she just stopped breathing.  Paramedics came and revived her in the ambulance, but she had gone several minutes without oxygen.  Kami has suffered from cystic fibrosis all her life. 

I had been thinking about making a trip back up there to sign paperwork on selling the house in Canyon and that cinched it for me.  So for some good news – my uncle decided to forgo using a lender and we were able to speed up the process on selling the house.  I went there on Monday and signed my paperwork and got a check for the profit.  While there I visited my friend Pam.  Kami was in a drug induced coma with hopes of stabilizing the pneumonia she had, but she was also not responsive.  They scheduled an EEG to see if she had any brain activity.  It was hard to see Kami and my friend Pam there.  She held it together better than I did. 

While back in Canyon I sat in on a director’s band rehearsal and visited with a few people from there.  I had lunch with Michael (at Taco Villa) and then had dinner with my friends Kirsten and Carol.  I headed back home on Tuesday morning.  I got a text from my friend Pam after I got home and she got the report that Kami was brain dead and that they would be letting her go.  I prayed a rosary for her and decided I would make another trip for the funeral.

I came back to San Antonio because Matt had tickets to the Dukes of September concert on Wednesday.  We went to dinner and the concert which was very good.  On Thursday, I headed back out to Canyon again.  I got in around 6:00, had dinner at Taco Villa (again), and then read for a while.  The funeral was Friday morning.  It was done very well, though I cried most through of it.  Luckily I took my own box of tissues with me.  I went to the burial in Panhandle and visited with Pam for a little while before I headed back.  It was a very sad situation, but at least her daughter is no longer suffering with such a horrible disease.  I got in a little after 10:00 last night and I’ve had enough driving for a while. 

In other news… I may not completely suck at Scrabble.  I competed in a local tournament last weekend and I came in 2nd place in my division.  I also had the high game score for the division as well with a score of 452.  I walked away with $35. 

I’m also finally going house hunting on Monday.  I hope I find something soon.  I would like to be moved before the end of August if possible. That may be pushing it, but I can always hope. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back from Boston

I’m back from Boston and have barely had a chance to recuperate.  My legs were sore from walking.  One shoulder got really sunburned and sore from carrying a heavy computer bag.  It was an interesting trip for several reasons, however. 

First of all, Boston is a very pretty town and the temperature that time of the year is simply wonderful.  It was so pleasant.  During the day the temperature was in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.  People are very fit in Boston.  Everybody seemed to jog or ride a bike.  I think the only overweight people there are tourists. 

Harvard is a very nice campus and sure enough I felt a little bit “smatah” when I was there.  The workshop was good though by the third day I was zoning out a bit.  Probably from lack of sleep. 

We didn’t get to do much on Monday though we did go have some seafood.  I had an issue with my cell phone.  I thought it was charging the night before, but it wasn’t charged when I left so I took the charger with me and I still couldn’t get it to work.  So I had to buy another charger – again. 

Tuesday, however, I had a charged phone so I took pictures of the campus.  My colleague and I went downtown after our workshop was over.  We visited Paul Revere’s house and then walked down to the Old North church.  I bought my traditional shot glass and then we headed over to the Faneuil Hall marketplace and had dinner at Cheers.  While there, I got a facebook message from my college boyfriend that said he was in Boston as well.  He lives in Detroit but was in town for business.  Though he said he had a business dinner to go to, he left early and came downtown to see me.  We had a nice visit and he was just as I remembered him.  If he weren’t married and I wasn’t happily involved with Matt, I would have been in a whole lot of trouble.  Here’s a picture of us at the bar:


We got in late that night so Wednesday was a very long day for me.  It was the last day of the session and we had to leave early to catch the hotel shuttle (that ended up passing us without stopping) and then take a taxi to the airport.  Luckily the flights were all on time, but I didn’t get in to San Antonio until about midnight.  Once I got home, I stayed up finishing the last Harry Potter book until about 1:30.  I slept in quite a bit on Thursday and just relaxed. 

There’s more to tell, but this post is already pretty long and I have to get to bed as I’m playing in a Scrabble tournament tomorrow.  But here’s a few more pictures from the trip:

Paul Revere stature with the Old North Church in the background.

Standing in front of the John Harvard statue on campus. 

This is the building where our workshop was held.

Monday, July 09, 2012

In Boston

American Airlines always seems to make for an interesting travel day.  We were supposed to leave at 7:25 a.m. but the flight was delayed until 10:15 a.m.  That meant that we would miss our connecting flight to Boston.  I got to the airport at 6:00 a.m. and the line was already pretty long.  I stood in line for over two hours before getting to the ticket counter.  In the meantime, I called American and the lady was nice, but not much help.  So we just waited until we could talk to the ticket agent.  We were already confirmed on the flight to Dallas, but the only guaranteed seat we could get to Boston was at 7:45 p.m.  We were put on stand-by for the 1:00 flight and luckily we were able to get on it.  It's a long flight and I made the mistake of drinking some tea before I got on the flight and then had a ginger ale.  I knew I wasn't going to make it for the entire flight and I was sitting by the window.  Luckily the lady sitting on the aisle seat got up to use the bathroom and when she came back, I asked to get out and I stood in line.  I still had to wait another 10 minutes but it was such a relief!  I took Josh's new Kindle with me and I read a good portion of the last Harry Potter book. 

We arrived in Boston around 5:40 and didn't get to the hotel until after 6:00.  That meant I wasn't able to get to church.  It would have been cool to go to a Catholic church up here.  We're staying at a Doubletree and the chocolate chip cookie they gave us when checking in was really yummy.  We headed out to find some dinner around 6:30 and luckily we finally found an open restaurant less than a mile from the hotel.  We don't have a car so we had to walk.  I had a really good Angus cheeseburger with grilled onions.  After dinner, we stopped at a Rite Aid where we got some breakfast items. 

I took a sleeping pill last night and actually slept pretty well.  I was up much earlier than I anticipated.  Since I had extra time, I decided to do this quick blog post since I haven't been a very good blogger lately.  I'm missing Windows live writer.  I'm using a school laptop rather than my personal one. 

We will head downstairs shortly and take a shuttle over to Harvard Square and then we will walk across campus to our workshop.  When I say "we" I'm referring to myself and a colleague from my school. 

Well, I guess I better gear up to go.  I hope I learn something today and get "smot". 

Friday, July 06, 2012

One step forward, two steps back

Good news: I went swimming again today.  I finally got up in time to get to the pool before other people got there.  Other good news, I only had a salad for lunch.  Bad news: Matt and I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner and I had spaghetti and a slice of his pizza.  Oh well.  Maybe I’m making a little progress.  I’m still out of shape, but this time I did more actual laps because I was alone and I timed myself.  I still had to rest between laps, but I swam for about 10 minutes.  I’ll go back tomorrow and try to add a few minutes and just do a little more each time.  It’s difficult being out of shape and all.

In other news, I bought a pair of reading glasses.  I don’t really need them except when I’m wearing my contacts and want to read.  I can see up close just fine without any glasses/contacts, but when I have lenses correcting my poor distance vision, I can’t see up close.  It’s making me feel really old. 

I leave for Boston on Sunday.  Tomorrow I will have to do laundry and get packed.  I just got a message from some of my friends from Amarillo that are in Austin for the capital conference so I think we’re going to meet them in Austin for dinner tomorrow night.  That should be fun.  I just have to figure out when I can go to church.  Matt and I planned to go Saturday evening.  I guess I’ll have to find a place in Boston.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Out of shape

Well, after a week, I finally made it to the pool.  Matt and I went at 10 this morning and sure enough, it was empty.  It looks like someone had a party the night before, however.  I guess they didn’t read the sign that said no glass in the pool area.  They left about six empty bottles of Smirnoff floating in the pool.  I found another bottle at the bottom as well.  Matt and I cleaned it up before actually swimming.  I had challenged Matt to a race and I finally found something that I can beat him at.  Of course it wore me out.  I’m glad I finally got to do some laps, but it was exhausting.  I had to rest between laps.  I swam for about 20 minutes before I had enough. But it’s a start.  I have to do something about the weight I’ve gained and I hope that swimming will help in that respect.  I’m also working on my diet some so hopefully, the pounds will start coming off.  I will have to be careful when I go to Boston next week.

This is my first 4th of July in SA.  No big plans other than to go play some scrabble for a few hours.  I really don’t want to do much.  I’d rather just take it easy and stay in.  I’m going to miss the fireworks show in Canyon that I could view from the church parking lot across the street from my house, but I’m happy to be here and have Matt to spend it with.   

Monday, July 02, 2012

Ah summer…

It’s hot here.  I guess that’s no surprise living in south Texas.  Actually, it cooled down a little because we finally got some rain yesterday.  I think it’s only in the 90’s today.  I’m finally done with band for the season.  We had two concerts this weekend.  The first was outdoors at a mall and it was really scorching – at least during rehearsal.  It wasn’t too bad when the sun finally went behind the clouds, but I sweat quite a bit.  Yesterday was much better as it was overcast and cooler.  The only issue was dealing with the wind.  You have to keep the music pinned down with clothespins.  I’m glad for the reprieve from rehearsals.  It won’t start up again until after Labor Day.

Trying to get the house under contract has also been full of glitches.  I attempted to use a local title company but it turns out that Randall country (where the house is) requires a local company for the transaction.  The lady who was helping me with all of this was delayed last week in getting everything back to me so I just now got in touch with a different company today and am waiting for my uncle to send back the signed contract.  I just started over rather than making a bunch of changes that had to be initialed.  So hopefully we’ll be under contract by tomorrow.  I’m hoping that Wells Fargo doesn’t drag their feet on this.  So I haven’t been actively looking at houses yet.  That will have to wait another couple of weeks.  It looks like I won’t get moved before school starts. 

I’m heading to Boston next week.  I’m leaving on Sunday and returning on Wednesday.  I’ll be attending a workshop at Harvard that should be interesting, but also involve a lot of work.  I’m excited to be going – I’ve never been there before. 

Well, there’s not much more to tell here.  I’ve been rather lazy the past few days.  I’ve mostly been reading.  I started the Harry Potter series again and I’m up to book five.  I think I’m going to go read some more and take it easy.  I didn’t sleep much last night so a nap might be in order as well.