Not Actively Looking

We’re still house hunting…  In the course of our house hunt, we offered on a number of houses.  We’ve lost out on each one.  One of the houses is back on the market only a few months after it was initially purchased.

They bought it at $380,000 cash.  Public records showed that purchase price and I knew the winning bidder was an all cash offer.

They painted the cabinets in the kitchen and put in granite counter tops.

They refinished the hardwood floors and painted the rest of the rooms.

They listed it for sale again a few days ago at $425,000.

 

That’s the way the housing market is going in California.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the market crashes again.

In the mean time, we’re still looking and have offered on a few.  We’re being priced out of the market.  So, the new plan is to keep our pre-approval current, but stop “actively” looking unless something good really pops up.  By “actively looking” we mean looking at multiple houses every week, even ones in not so good neighborhoods.

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House hunting, dead cars, and quilting

Well, we’re still house hunting. We’ve made offers on 5 houses now and each one has fallen through. It’s a bit disappointing and discouraging because in every case the sellers have gone with offers that are made by investors. People who have no intention of living in these houses or contributing to these neighborhoods. Instead, they plan to rent the houses out at the very least, or maybe even flip them.

I really do worry about what that does to the community and neighborhood that these sellers are leaving behind. I mean, yeah, the seller gets an all-cash offer without having to pass through contingencies, but at what cost to others?

The thing is that we’re offering over the asking prices with 20% down on a pre-approved loan. We just can’t compete against someone offering all cash and waiving all contingencies. In one case the seller wanted to see at least 50% of the purchase price in cash in the bank. Seriously! I wanted to be snippy and say that if I had that much money in the bank, I sure as hell wouldn’t be buying in that community! But I didn’t. Instead we responded that the offer is as stands.

One of my coworkers said that a house went up for sale down the street from her. The sellers were asking $490,000. They had 15 offers, one of which was $530,000 cash with no contingencies and another was $540,000 financed while waiving the appraisal contingency. My coworker said that the house was a dump and should never have sold for that price… but it did.

And now house prices are going up again. Interest rates are still super low and the inventory is low as well. Those two things combined mean that demand is high so prices are high. It also means that things are selling super quickly – I’ve heard that the average time on the market for houses in our area is 7 days. Can you believe it? A week and your house is sold.

Add into that, now, that my car died. Yes, my beloved Saturn SL2 that I bought with money left from my Dad’s death finally croaked. I donated it to the Polly Klaas Foundation, so at least it went to a good cause. But now we’re a one car household. It’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds. A new car is not an expense that I really wanted quite yet.

Oh well… This is kind of a Debbie Downer of a post, but it’s what’s going on right now.

I did finish a couple of quilts.

This Black & White one I made for my friend/coworker J. It took a long time to piece and quilt – about 20 hours total. The back is Minky, which is kind of a pain to work with, but it all worked out.

The Front of J's Quilt just after I finished

The Front of J’s Quilt just after I finished

 

The border and closeup of the squares

The border and closeup of the squares

 

J's Quilt on her Sofa

J’s Quilt on her Sofa

 

I also finished this wall quilt with an Asian flair.  I got all of the fabrics and the pattern on clearance when my favorite quilt store closed.  It didn’t take too long to piece and quilt, maybe 6 or 7 hours total.  The most finicky part was making sure I had the center cut and pieced properly.  The most annoying and time consuming part was hand stitching the rod pocket on the back.  Have I mentioned how much I hate hand stitching?  This will be hung in my office at work – the colors actually go really well!  I call it “Peacocks and Peonies.”

Front

Front

Back

Back

Detail

Detail

Diagonal

Diagonal

 

So that’s it for now…

Think good thoughts

We put in an offer on a house yesterday… please think good thoughts for us and keep your fingers crossed!!!

Other than that semi-big news, there’s nothing new to report.

We scattered Mom’s ashes near Big Tree Wayside in the California Redwoods. The area we chose had a baby tree growing out of a burned out shell of a tree, surrounded by a grove of cathedral trees. Super pretty – and I remember visiting that area with Mom so many years ago!

We also had her memorial. I gave her eulogy. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I just practiced it enough that it became more comfortable. The weird thing about me is that I’m much more comfortable going up in front of a crowd and giving a speech than I am to go into a small group and make small talk. That’s something I need to work on, I think.

On February 23rd we had a little get together at our house to watch the first female UFC fight. I had fun and met a couple of the people DH does Jiu Jitsu with.

One of our long-time librarians is retiring, so her work is being divvied up among everyone until we can fill her vacancy. I’ll be taking over adult book displays, teen volunteers and meeting room calendars. I’m looking forward to the book displays – I’ve had a few ideas over the years. The teen volunteers kinda feels like a hydra just because of the scale, but it’s something I’m familiar with from all of my time at my old branches. The meeting room calendars are a pain, but I’ll suck it up and do it.

That’s it for now… time to figure out lunch and then see about dinner.

Mom is gone

My mom passed away on Sunday, January 27th. Although she was in hospice, her death was sudden.

In some ways it’s a relief because I don’t have to worry about her any more. In a different way it’s like I lost her all over again.

I started a blog that will be filled with memories of mom. It’s called Dear Mama. I think it’ll help me work through some of the feelings I have. I hope that it will keep her memory alive in some way as well.

If you’re inclined, you can visit the new blog at http://memoriesofmama.wordpress.com.

Tinkerbell Half Marathon

It’s time for a race recap!

Last weekend I ran (and walked, and hobbled) my way through the 13.1 mile course that made up the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Anaheim. My husband was by my side the whole way. 🙂 I also ran the same race in 2012 and I remember thinking “ugh, this was a dumb idea”… and then I signed up for it again. Silly, right?

DH and I had grand plans for our training when it came to this race. We’d planned on completing Couch to 5k (AKA C25K), then Bridge to 10k, and then continue adding miles until we reached the 13 mile distance. With my depression, injuries, and lack of drive, and his injuries and illness… let’s just say training was an afterthought.

Last year I didn’t get to train for the month before the race because of the injuries I sustained during a training run. At 6:30am I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and bounced several times on my chest, hips and head. I passed out twice. A homeless person said hello. I had no idea where I was but somehow managed to call my brother for help. Basically, I got a concussion, broke my nose, cracked a rib and scraped every bony protrusion. I ran the race anyway, even with my still cracked rib. I can be determinedly stupid sometimes.

This year I ran with no real training and with tendonitis in my ankle – again with the determinedly stupid.

Last year, the race had soooo many spectators and performers along the route. It was awesome! There were marching bands, cheerleaders, hula dancers, UPS guys, Red Hat Ladies, neighbors and more the entire way. This year? Not so much. I felt bad because I’d talked it up to DH, and this year the race didn’t provide. 😦 It wasn’t all bad, though. There was a Michael Jackson impersonator, and the Red Hat Ladies (who are totally awesome BTW) took up a whole block. And some of the neighbors even came out with their iPods and boom boxes to play music for us along the way.

I did well until about mile 7. Then it all went downhill. Running became sooo much harder. My legs were stiffening up. My ankle started hurting again. I was getting cranky and annoyed with the whole damn thing. Around Mile 10 my mood started to improve. My husband remarked on my improved speed (my jogging speed is his walking speed). I even ran for a minute or so. Then I walked again.

At mile 13 the finish line was in sight. It looked like a straight shot so I said “I’m gonna run this thing!” Then I hit the first curve and felt like crying. I walked until the finish line was truly in sight, then we jogged our way there. DH and I jumped over the finish line hand in hand at 3:28:56.

Now, I’m doctoring my toenails and left achilles. I have blisters under 4 of my toenails. It looks like I’ll probably lose 3 with all the strange colors they’re turning. Oh well… they’ll grow back. I’m also getting ready to show my finisher’s medal to my mom. She was my reason for making sure I finished this time. Before I left, she said she wanted to see my medal – so she’ll definitely see it! 🙂

I’m also planning out a new training program for our next half marathon. Maybe we’ll budget for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando this year. It all depends on if we buy a house and if I can talk my husband into it… we’ll see!

I made poor food decisions pretty much the entire weekend. So, now I’m getting back on track and working towards my weight loss goals. I’m not going to beat myself up too much about the food choices at Disneyland. It was a vacation, I didn’t go hog wild, and I know what I need to do to be healthier.

That’s all for now!

2013 Goals

So, I’ve been thinking about my goals for the coming year. Of course I’ll be focusing on my health. Particularly on losing the weight that I’ve regained. Last week I was at 176 lbs, my goal is to get back down to 145.

It’s completely ridiculous for me to be yo-yoing in my weight, especially since I know what I should be doing. I know how to lose the weight. I know that being lazy, weak and complacent is what got me back up there. And I know that my poor health choices have been at least partially a result of the stress around all the mom stuff.

So there. Goal #1, get back down to 145 by making healthy food choices the majority of the time, and by intentionally sweating (aka exercise) 6 days a week.

My other goal has to do with quilting. I went through and organized my fabric. I had no idea that I had so many “kits” put together that are just waiting to be sewn and quilted. I definitely have enough to keep me busy for the next year. So my goal is to complete the kits and UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) that are sitting there in the grocery bags awaiting my attention. I’m also placing a moratorium on buying new fabric, except as needed to complete the goal (like for backings and bindings).

So that’s goal #2.

I think 2 goals is plenty for this year, especially with everything else going on – mom, trying to buy a house, and general life.

Prizes are still coming. I’m thinking every 10 pounds I get a little prize. I think I get a little prize for every completed quilt.

Prizes are things that I like, but that I can never justify the cost for…
Haircut (10 lbs gone)
Massage (20 lbs gone)
Movie with popcorn and snacks (30 lbs gone)

I’ll need to re-count my projects to come up with the right number/scale of prizes. I’ll post again later once I’ve figured that out.

Updates…

Update on Mom:
Those of you who know me in real life have probably heard that my mom is in hospice now. Her condition has declined a lot. Long story short, her last stroke basically advanced her dementia to the point that she’s having trouble swallowing, she’ll spit out her meds if you don’t trick her into taking them, she doesn’t recognize us kids, she can’t sit up (she basically sleeps all day), and she can’t communicate meaningfully. Every time I see her I want to cry. I usually do.

Update on household stuff:
We’ve been looking for a house to buy, but we keep getting outbid. The last house we put in an offer on had over 50 bids! Insane, right? There’s just not a lot on the market right now so everything is going for so much over the asking price and there are soooo many bids!

DH and I have been working through cleaning up our house. We’ve realized that the clutter is really stressful, and the best thing we can do is start to reduce. It’s also a good thing because it means that if we ever buy a house we’ll have less to move!

Update on quilting:
I made my first minky quilt. Man, that sucked. The quilt was cute, but minky is a bitch to work with! I also went to a quilt retreat and finished 3 quilt tops and sandwiched the Christmas quilt. I haven’t done any other sewing, though.

As part of my decluttering, I’ve been trying to organize the fabric, patterns, batting and quilt books so that they don’t take up as much space and are easier to find. I discovered that I have “kits” of at least 5 different quilts, I have at least 7 different tops finished that need quilting, and I have a TON of other fabric. *sigh* No matter how much I organize and reorganize it just doesn’t make it any easier to quilt.

Update on health:
I finally went to see a psychologist. I realized that I’m pretty depressed and I have been for awhile. It all came to a head with the latest mom stuff. So I’m talking it through with a doctor. It seems to be helping a little bit.

It’s really hard to work up the gumption to run – and I have a half marathon with DH in January. He’s been good about trying to get me to run, but it’s hard to want to do it. My ankle kinda hurts after my run on Sunday. I’m hoping that wrapping it will help with keeping the training going.

So I think that’s it. I’m looking forward to the new year and the resolutions it always brings. I know at least one of them will be sewing related, and another will be health related. It’s just a matter of figuring out what I want them to be.

TTFN and Merry Christmas!

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