Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Saga Continues....

So, this morning I contacted my realtor and expressed my concerns about the financial stability of my builder. Or lack thereof.
She assured me that things were fine and that she would email over a letter from builders's bank stating as much. She said that what had happened was that builders's financing had been with one bank and their loans had then been sold to a bank in Australia (in the past year) who then called the loans due. Still not sitting well with me at this point. She said the owner had secured financing thru another bank - okay that's a bit better, but I'd read about a bunch of liens on the properties with the builder from contractors and wanted to make sure that those had been resolved as well. After everything that had happened with Regency Homes in Iowa and Benchmark in Omaha, I'm definitely concerned. The complex/area that I made that offer at has four units that are currently under construction (I've never seen any work being done on those units - basically it appears to be the outside is done, don't know about the inside) and then a LARGE open lot where another 40 or so units will go.

So, I asked for documentation that everything was good with their bank and my location. I've currently received a letter about another complex in town, but not my complex. My realtor called earlier tonight and said that there wasn't one for my complex and asked if it would make me feel better about this because the other realtor would get one if needed. I said I wanted one. My offer has expired. So that's where things are at this point.

This is fun.

Mad Men

I love this show! If you aren't watching it, you're missing out - it's on AMC on Sundays. It's set in the early 60s and the clothes that they wear are awesome. I love the dresses. On top of that the stuff that you witness happening is hilarious. I'm not talking about plotlines and such, I mean things that nowadays would be socially unacceptable.  The show centers around an ad agency. Ah, big account coming in for their presentation and they're doing a Hawaiian theme? Then they serve mai tais and hog roast (okay maybe not a hog roast) but definitely the alcohol and sandwiches that would relate. Everyone has alcohol in their offices, and so what if it's only nine a.m., they just might need a drink.  Of course the women drink when they're pregnant and smoke. Heck, everyone smokes. A LOT. And drinking and driving? No. Big. Deal. Oh and I just remembered my favorite thing from a few episodes back - grandpa letting the granddaughter drive. Which sounds innocent enough - if she wasn't eight!!! With her brother in the backseat and she was driving them to school. The wife, Betty, of the main character, Don, had a baby recently and of course he waited in a room. All the phrases that they used is so entertaining. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. There's a reason it's won best drama two years in a row.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And then I went for it...

So I decided to go with the "more expensive one." While I didn't like that it had been lived in before (biggest downer for a new complex for me). I did like that I'd get a little bit of a yard, and a bigger deck. And I liked the dining room area, and that it comes with blinds - which apparently aren't cheap. (So I'm told, I've never bought them.). I requested in my offer that it be cleaned. And then put some other junk in my offer.

The place comes with a 1 year interior warranty and 10 year exterior warranty. I had lunch today with my boss and some agents. I mentioned that I was going to be making an offer on a townhouse tonight and the one agent mentioned my builder and that they were having money problems. YIKES!!! I should start reading the newspaper or really watch the news everyday or something.  Um, hmmm....that's not cool. Chances are good that my first offer will of course - be rejected. And that's making me question what I want to do. Not because it'll be rejected but because I now have addtional information that I didn't previously have which I feel gives me more room to negotiate. I really like this townhouse, but I can walk away. There's other options out there in my price range. Sucks though, thought that I was done looking.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And then there were two...

So the search for "the place" has come down to the final two. I've decided on a townhouse development out west. Within that development I'm trying to decide which one of two places I want. Both are three stories, with two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and two car garages and have the same square footage. Oh, and all my appliance (washer, dryer, fridge, stove/range, dishwasher and microwave) are included. Both kitchens include a small island area. The first floor - bottom level is the garage, the second/middle floor is the kitchen, living room, pantry and a full bathroom. And the third floor is the two bedrooms (same size) with another full bathroom and the laundry room.

So what's the difference? Well....price of course and several other things.

On the plus side of the cheaper one:
-It's cheaper
-New, never been lived in before
-Larger pantry
-Larger kitchen
-Lots of nearby parking if people come to visit - not really a big plus, kinda minor.

On the negative side of the cheaper one:
-It's part of a 10 plex, so there's only windows on one side
-Smaller deck, overlooks the garage and currently open lot which will eventually be other townhomes.
-Lower grade carpet    
-Uses non-oak laminate in the kitchen, bathrooms, entry and laundry rooms. I'd rather have tile in some of these areas - that's not an option in either. I see this as a plus/minus

On the plus side for the more expensive one...
-Designated dining room area alcove
-Larger deck
-Only part of a four plex, so only neighbors on two sides and windows on two sides.
-Slightly upgraded carpet
-Comes with blinds
-My realtor also told me this one would have better resale value, not really a big concern for me since most likely my company will eventually move me and purchase my townhome.
-Oak laminate - I'm not really sure how crazy I am about this stuff, but apparently this is a plus, again, I'd probably want to replace some of this again, maybe plus/minus?

On the negative side for the more expensive one:
-Previously rented, i.e. not new
-Smaller kitchen
-The deck looks out onto an open lot which is going to be commercially developed
-The stovetop appeared to have "something" on it - i.e. near the burner it looks burnt - I can't explain it.

Ah, decisions, decisions...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pumpkins - another sign of Fall

So later this morning, when I'm taking a quick break, I'm going to whip up some pumpkin bars for tomorrow's tailgating festivities. I'm just using a recipe from It should be quick and easy and I make them using a can of pumpkin puree stuff. My sister likes to jokingly ask me if I'm using a real pumpkin or pumpkin from a can. She uses pumpkin from a can. What's so funny?

Well, back when I was living in MI, I had this boyfriend that decided we should make a pumpkin pie from scratch because "it would taste so much better." So we headed to the grocery store that was by my house, which mainly sold fresh produce and bought a baking pumpkin. Then we spent hours prepping this freaking thing - you have to oil the outside, soften it up in the oven and then you have to put it in a food processor or blender, use a colander and beat the bejeezus out of it to get it into a puree. We added all the other ingredients and stuck it into the oven to bake and then cool. Guess what?!? It tasted exactly the same! I was expecting this cosmic experience. Nope. And we'd spent the entire day doing this project. So moral of the story - save yourself some serious time and just use the canned stuff. Unless you have a day to kill - then have at it.

I hope no one at my tailgate tomorrow cares that I used a canned pumpkin. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I spend way too much time in my car

So I pretty much live in my car.  Seriously, I left home at 6:15 this a.m. and got home at 6:20 tonight. Hopefully the next car will have satellite radio. :) Anyway, as someone that spends way too much time in a car will tell you, you find ways to occupy your time. I sing. A lot. I notice random landmarks. And yesterday I finally found the number five gas station for my "Top Five Dumbest Gas Station Names." Some of these you'll recognize. These, by the way, are in no particular order.

Kum & Go - all over the midwest: Don't think I need to explain why this is on the list.
Almost Always Open - Ames, IA: I've thought this was the most random name for a gas station for ages. Why not just call it "Closed from 2:30 - 5:30" or  "Closed Sometimes" or something like that.
Infinite - Omaha, NE: When did gas become infinite? I've been under the impression that it was going to run out eventually, maybe they have a special source?
Tobacco & Phones 4 Less - Omaha, NE: Seriously, why sell gas? Why not just be a tobacco store? or a phone store? I've never actually been in one of these.
Dickie Doodles - Columbus, NE: I don't see why I need to explain this one either. I just hope it isn't some poor person's name.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weird recycling

So, in the summer of 2000, I called home to chat with my parents and they told me that they were tearing down my childhood home to build a new house.  They recycled a bunch of the brick from the 100 year old house, which was used on their basement/garage, reused some ledges from the windows as thresholds for doors and kept the stained glass. Additionally, they kept three inside doors. One for them, and one for my sister and me. I don't currently have my door in my possession and I've been trying to figure out what on earth I'm going to do with it. For the longest time, I was thinking coffee table. But it would be the longest coffee table ever.
But here's the thing. The dining table I have now I'm not really a fan of, it was passed down from my sister's friend (well, mine too), Kristin. I appreciated it at the time and I love free stuff, but not really me. So I was surfing the internet and thinking. These are around 7 foot doors. And then I found this link: That doesn't look to difficult. The door shouldn't need a ton of rehab work. The hardest part is going to be getting the hundred year plus old handle off. OH and attaching the legs. Minor detail, right. But should be a fun project in the future. And then I can get some fun chairs to go with it. Woot!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun times....

So yesterday, one of the agencies I call on had their annual golf outing for the first time in my 2.5 years in the territory I was able to attend. Last year, I was in Portugal and the year before, the outing was the day before the Iowa-ISU game. About a month ago I decided I would attend and then I tried to remember the last time I'd even picked up my golf clubs....pretty sure I still lived in West Des Moines. Yikes. I had every intention of getting to the driving range before the outing, or a few lessons. Neither happened. Thank goodness it was best ball and I had some good golfers on my team. The weather yesterday afternoon was fantastic. Lucky for me, the course was just down the street about a mile or two from my house. I only lost one ball, that I hit into the water. And by some small miracle we won! Wahoo - free gift certicate to a local restaurant for me! Maybe I'll take a few lessons before next year. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Payback time....

So, my boss thinks he's really funny. The type that's always pulling a practical joke on someone. Almost a year and a half ago, on the Friday before Nikki's wedding, I was the lucky recipient of one of his practical jokes. Along with the help of the other Nebraska marketing rep, Nate, and the branch underwriting manager, Cory, he had a Husker license plate holder installed on my car. We were holding marketing meetings at the West Des Moines branch. That day I left the branch in a complete rush - I was getting a haircut at 3:30. We were supposed to be done at 2. I ran out of the office at 3:25 and hauled it to my stylist (yes, I still get my haircut in WDM). I then ran out to my aunt's house and changed and met a friend for dinner. The next morning, I went to get a pedicure before meeting up with Jason and Amanda. I walked out of the pedicure to the almost empty parking lot and looked around. Hmmm...there's a car like mine from Nebraska, but it can't be mine, it has a Husker license plate holder. WTF?!?!?! I called Amanda to ask if she had a screwdriver. This problem had to be remedied and soon. The screw up with the practical joke was that a) my boss had mentioned a long time ago he'd had this Husker license plate holder and b) he put it on the back.

And so I waited for the right time. And waited and waited. I think my boss thought that I just forgot. My boss is a HUGE Ohio State fan and Nate is a Husker fan. I thought about doing something when I was trapped in the office last summer. I didn't have anything else to do. I considered decorating my boss's office. But there would still be the problem of Nate's car. So when the reminder about our trip to Rochester came along, I asked Nate if he wanted to carpool. Check. And did he want to drive? Check (Not that I didn't have a back up plan in place). My boss would of course drive up too. Check. I ordered a cheapo license plate holder from the U of M. Packed my screwdriver. And on Tuesday night launched my assault. The lovely ISU and U of M license plate holders are now on the front of their cars. Neither of them have said a thing. Yet. I'm thinking if I can get thru the weekend without them noticing, it'll be great.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I had a great weekend - despite the massively disappointing performance of my beloved Cyclones.
Friday night I was able to hang out with my sister and brother-in-law, niece and nephews. I have three nephews: Walker, 12, Cyote, 11, Ethan, 6 and my niece Anna is almost 2 and a half. What she lack in age and height Anna makes up for in attitude. Elizabeth had told me that they'd be having board game night which meant I stood half a chance of winning - I get schooled at Wii everytime I play. So after a healthy dinner of pizza and chocolate milk, it was time to put Anna to bed - teeth brushing, book reading, singing - meanwhile the boys were downstairs roughousing like boys apparently do - I didn't grow up with brothers. Then we settled in to play some Blokus. I really liked this game - not incredibly long, fast-paced. pretty easy to figure out too. And I love a good strategy game. After a couple rounds, it was time for the boys to brush their teeth and head to bed. Elizabeth and I chatted briefly and then I went to bed - I was getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday.

Tailgating on Saturday was great. My friend, Jenny, has a spot in C4 and along with her good friend, Andrea, had prepped a bunch of breakfast burritos that just needed to be reheated on the grill. Not to mention the fruit salad, and smores brownies they'd made.YUM! I made Andrea a cookie cake for her birthday, even though she cheers for the wrong team. After meeting up with Steph and Matt, I showed up at the tailgate shortly after 7, and enjoyed my healthy breakfast complete with OJ and vodka. I did horribly at my bag playing yet again, but I question the scoring as I think some shady things went on. Steph and I also wondered over to see Salsa and her cousin, Eric who also lives in Omaha. AND I got to drink a beer from one of the cool ISU Bud Light cans. Yes, Bud Light, your marketing has worked on me.

And then we headed into the game The first quarter was going well, we scored. Steph and I went to the bathroom and came out to buy another bottle of water - total time - maybe 3 minutes in real life. Then we hear, "First and goal, Iowa," we looked at each other so confused and looked at the TV in the concourse as iowa scored. When we returned to our seats the guys let us know about our brilliant decision to do an onside kick. Well, I think people know what happened from there. The sights and sounds for me included watching an older Iowa fan getting arrested from our section during halftime. I don't think I've seen anyone get arrested since I sat in the student section. We toward the end of the third quarter. It was hot, we were tired. I was sunburnt. Naps were needed. I was so exhausted I fell asleep around 10 or 10:30.

Sunday, Ethan and Cyote both had soccer games, but since I needed to pack for a work trip, I wasn't able to go to both. I went to Ethan's soccer game. This is Ethan's first year of playing and considering he's just getting started, he's pretty good. His team is pretty good - my sister said they practice twice a week. He scored a few goals, made some good stops and had a few good passes. He told me earlier this year that he hopes to be as good as Cyote someday. Cyote had to try out for his team and plays in a competitive league.

So minus the part were my team sucked and I was sick the entire time, it was a great weekend - full of friends and family.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So I've been coming down with a little bit of a cold, or seasonal allergies since Monday morning and I went out to WebMD to plug in my symptoms. If you've never used the symptom checker thing you plug in a bunch of symptoms and it returns your potential diagnosis. So I plugged in sore throat, coughing, headache, little tired/rundown, runny nose - 20 things came back - most of them were things like a cold, or allergies or things along that line and I figured it was just a run of the mill cold. But, the best one - I could just be nearsighted. Huh? I didn't put anything in about my eyes. PLUS, I'm already nearsighted. I'm freaking blind as a bat. I keep a pair of old glasses in my car in case I'm a couple hours away from home and rip a contact.
Thanks WebMD! I realize that using the internet to diagnose my illnesses is not the best idea, but I figured I should start somewhere.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

This is my favorite time of the year, I love fall and I love college football! In another week or two the leaves will start turning and the weather has already begun to get cooler. Iowa State's home opener was on Thursday and I took the day off, so that I could have lunch with my sister before hand. The day started off a bit poorly because it was pouring at home, some weirdo old lady cut me off at the coffee shop and I got half an hour away from home only to discover my tickets were on my kitchen counter. AAAGGGHHH!

So after those minor setbacks, my sister and I sat down to a late lunch. Heading up to Ames, I called Steph and stopped at Hy-Vee to pick up my contribution to our tailgate and get our beer. As I was waiting to checkout the guy ahead of me clearly knew the clerk checking him out and the two of them were discussing bars in town, which ones were good, which ones sucked. It was decided that Whiskey Creek (where I never went in college) was only good if you were looking for cougars. I'm thinking to myself, am I seriously listening to this? I thought maybe I was on some poorly produced TV show, so I only smirked and didn't laugh.

After that tailgating began where some bean bags were played, beer and food were consumed. Oh and some entrepreneur tried to sell us cigars! Which he assured us were genuine Cubans. And then, it was game time.....

I LOVE OUR SECTION!!!! We could technically move, but we opt to stay where we are because we like the people we sit by. The "Minnesota boys" one of whom once introduced himself to Steph as her future brother-in-law. (He was already married, he just decided she would marry his brother.) They're always fun. The perpetual optimist who sits next to me, and always has faith - though she doesn't always make it into the games (tailgating gets in the way). There's the couple who sits behind us and he said exactly what the rest of us where thinking the other night - "Um, no huddle offense? Seriously, my high school quarterback was play calling faster than this out of the huddle." And his wife his hitting him and telling him to shut up. Everyone else was laughing. The "I-S-U Cyclones!" guy, who, after every time we score, he leads our section in a cheer - though he was really slacking Thursday. And the new addition this year - three couples who look like they're about 25, who yell like hell - or at least the guys do. The boyfriend/husband of the one couple was trying to explain some of the yelling/clapping fundamentals to his significant other - which was also entertaining. Apparently he majored in cheering in college.

The other great thing about our seats is that we have a great view of the student section and I'm amazed at how syncronized they have become. Seriously, I don't think we were ever that together.