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…

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Jeans

I went shopping for jeans today.  My jeans all have holes where the thighs rub together or where the back pocket attaches to the pants.  Originally I was planning on just going to the mall by my house, but DH suggested we have an adventure and go to the Tracy Outlets.  Man, that place was desolate.  About half the storefronts were empty, and those that were occupied didn’t seem to have outlet prices on much.  I sucked it up and went into the Levi’s store.

I was ambushed from the time I stepped in the doors.  Christina (she told me her name three times) followed me as I tried to shop for jeans.  She tried to tell me about their new sizing system, she wanted to know who I was shopping for, and couldn’t wait to tell me about the sales.  I tried to be gentle and say “I’ll know what I want when I see it” but she just didn’t get the hint.  Maybe I need to be more direct and say “Leave me alone. I like to shop in peace.”  To be fair, I remember having my first retail job and wanting to help.  And maybe she worked on commission, so she wanted to make sure she got the sale.  But OMG, I was beyond annoyed and I hadn’t even really looked at the options on the shelves!

I found two pair.  Neither fit right.  One was too small, and one was too long.  I slipped out of the fitting room unnoticed (hurray!) and tried to find a different length in the one I liked.  No luck.  I didn’t even want to try to shop for anything else.  I tried to slip out of the store but couldn’t escape without a goodbye.  The other stores were all too expensive, and had weird decorations on them.

We finally stopped in at West Valley Mall.  I tried on two pair of jeans at JCPenney.  Again with no luck.  You see, my hips and thighs are huge, and my waist is small.  Plus I’m short.  It makes things a little difficult.  Their petite section was literally three racks smushed in between the misses and plus sizes… and there weren’t any jeans to be found there.

I wanted to cry.  At that point I truly hated my body.  I hated that my body shape didn’t work for the clothes I was trying on.  I hated that the clothing manufacturers make things for stick figures and for people with big stomachs, but nothing for people with big hips and thighs but small waists.  Even the things that are supposedly made to fit my body type don’t work.  But I realized that if I freaked out and gave up, I’d never find anything that fit.

I tried to find a petites section at the Macy’s too.  This one was slightly larger, but again there weren’t any jeans to be found.  Luckily they had selection in “short” lengths, which are still just a bit too long but I can make them work.  This time I tried on four pair.  Two fit right and one pair was only available in regular length. DH bought the two and I took a picture of the ones that were too long so I could hunt for them online.

Success!  DH suggested we shop for a couple of tops to go with the jeans, but I didn’t want to tempt the shopping gods into making me get teary eyed again, so we went home.

So that’s what I did today.

Meatballs and a jacket

My hunny’s mom makes the most awesome meatballs using her Swedish grandmother’s recipe.  It’s one of those recipes that don’t have true measurements.  One of the directions says “Add ginger powder til you can smell it” – no joke.  I attempted to make them on Monday.  Too much ginger, not enough onion, garlic and parsley, but still good.  I made them today with better results.  My hunny came home to a meal of meatballs, mashed potatoes, and wine.  Yum.

I also went shopping today.  All of my winter coats are huge.  It’s a sad thing since I only got to wear one of them for one winter.  I found one at JCPenney’s on sale, plus I got another $15 off.  Knee length, black, fitted wool with a cashmere blend.  I was super happy… and it was a size small!  I can’t get over that.  It totally cracks me up. 

I tried to find wedding shoes to no avail.  Apparently white shoes are really hard to find in the winter.  So are nude bustiers.  Oh well.  It gives me an excuse to continue my quest, right?

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