Saturday, July 30, 2011

Champagne Taste, Beer Budget

Looked at four homes yesterday. One had a beautiful location with a stream you could hear from the property and a lovely landscaped yard. The house was okay but the garage and attached shop were shabby to the extreme, not to mention unheated. That does not work in Alaskan winters.

The second place was brand new so needed landscaping and window coverings. The living room area was small and the open concept kitchen/dining room took up a good portion of that space. The garage really didn't have much room for a work table, etc.

The third house was impossible. You had to climb steps to get from the garage to the lower floor, then up two more flights of stairs to reach the kitchen. Not so great when hauling groceries. The pantry was on the lower floor so any time you needed something for a recipe you'd have to go down and up two flights. The dining area was so narrow that a person would have a hard time pulling a chair away from the table before hitting a wall.

So the winner was a home that I should never have considered at all due to its price being well over our budget. It just sounded too good to be true and I wanted to see if something actually existed that I liked. It has everything we wanted and then some. The breaking point for my husband was that taxes on it are over $5,000 a year. I might have been able to finagle my way past the asking price but taxes can't be gotten around.

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts (I know you hang on my every word) I've been helping out at the barn more than usual. Did you know that latex paint doesn't wash out if you let it sit overnight? Found that out this morning...

We had to put my old dog to sleep Tuesday which was pretty traumatic for me as he was "my" guy. He was weird, had a terrible temperament with strangers and looked like a cross between a black lab and a German Shepherd instead of a purebred but I loved him from the instant we picked him up at the airport. He had one paw against the door of the crate with a "let me out" pleading look on his face. His ears never came up and his tail was too short. He was diagnosed with both hip and elbow dysplasia at a young age. He suffered from spinal myelopathy the last year or so. Monday night he threw up a little, which he never did. Tuesday he ate breakfast but then started dry heaving and was foaming at the mouth somewhat. I could see that he was in pain. My husband observed that his side appeared swollen. The vet tech thought it might be spleen related. They gave him a sedative before the actual lethal injection and he was gone almost instantly. I miss him terribly but don't regret the decision to let him go.

Today I babysit and we're going to look at houses again tomorrow. I've given up on the one I mentioned before. It is way the heck out in the middle of nowhere. It would take me 40 minutes each way to drive to my stable of choice in the Valley - and that's probably in good weather. I do have my priorities, you know.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Boy, Is My Face Red

Literally. I finally got around to going to the hunter/jumper show yesterday. It started Thursday but was a rainy day so I opted to stay home. Friday had nice weather so I coulda/woulda/shoulda but didn't. Yesterday was gorgeous and even though my house is pretty much in shambles, I boogied out the door. I completely forgot sunscreen. I noticed most people weren't wearing sunglasses but I'm blind as a bat without prescription lenses of some sort and hadn't bothered with contacts since I wasn't going to be riding. Today, after spending five hours in the sun, I look like a raccoon. A big, fat, red raccoon.

I found a house I really like. Here is the link for any of you that are curious.

It has a screened in porch on two sides of the house! I could sit there without being eaten alive by giant mosquitos. (Can you say weenie?)

Of course I haven't actually seen this place so I may not like it as well once I do but at this point I think it may be "the one." (Please ignore the fact that like many a teenage girl, I find "the one" at least once a week)

It is a short sale which raises all kinds of issues so I need to talk to our realtor about it. I do want to see it. I had some apprehension about it being in the middle of nowhere and my chances of being eaten by a bear (again with the weenie factor) The newspaper on Wednesday posted a picture of a black bear ransacking garbage within 1/2 mile of where I currently live. There was also an article about how a new ordinance that allows raising chickens in the city limits is attracting bears. (That didn't come out sounding right. The ordinance is not attracting bears - it's definitely the chickens) So I guess as much as I enjoyed watching running chickens I will forfeit owning any. They poop and smell a lot anyway... Oh, the point is that bears are everywhere. As are moose. You just have to keep your eyes peeled. It definitely isn't a good idea to keep bird feeders up when the bears aren't hibernating either. I haven't had a problem in town but wouldn't want to encourage fuzzy visitors when I'm living in their territory. Unlike that crazy bear man I watched a special on last year. Do. Not. Feed. The. Bears.

I'm going to go soak my head. It feels like it's on fire.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Touching Story

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky backcountry.

As I was not familiar with the rural roads, I got lost; and being a typical man I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral director had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. Embarrassed about being late, and feeling sad for this poor man with no family and friends, I put my heart and soul into the music. Overcome with emotion, I played like I've never played before for this forgotten homeless man.

And as I played "Amazing Grace," the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothing like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for years."

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Why is the media still covering Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt's breakup? They've been apart far longer than they were ever together. There's a blurb on Yahoo news today talking about how a movie role helped her get over it. If she's over it why are we still discussing it? Gah!

I haven't been on the back of a horse in a week. I rode last Thursday since my husband's birthday was Friday and I thought it would be nice if I made him dinner instead of leaving leftovers; Friday's normal fare since I don't get home till between 8 and 9. My trainer had taken Monday off for the holiday - she actually has a life outside of horses - who knew?

I got a reprieve from babysitting Monday. I was going to start at 0630 but those plans got changed. Tuesday was our 36th wedding anniversary. My birthday is next week. We don't really observe by giving gifts but agreed to have some body work done on the truck to commemorate. We got an estimate yesterday and actually have enough cash left over from the sale of the vehicles last fall to pay for it.

I was balancing my checkbook Sunday and found a pretty serious error. I had paid 1/2 our property tax in June and deducted $1,994, the correct amount. However, the check I'd written was for $1,194, an $800 difference. So I quick wrote out a check and popped it in the mail. At least I'd already accounted for the $800 in my balance so I didn't have to hit up my savings to cover it.

Several years ago I signed up to receive an annual Christmas cross stitch pattern book. It arrived last week and I decided I would send it back and cancel the membership. Darned, if I didn't take a peek at the patterns and decide I wanted to keep it after all. Weak, weak, weak!

A family friend died Monday. He had requested burial within 24 hours and the family respected his wishes. He was buried before we found out he'd passed. He was a wonderful Christian gentleman and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was also my husband's physician. I never felt comfortable with the idea of undressing before a man I saw socially so I have a different doctor.

Still looking at houses online. Wish they looked as good in person. It sure is disappointing to find one that sounds perfect and have reality be far different.