Friday, October 31, 2008

Countering the counter

We put in a response to the bank's counteroffer today. In looking through my old posts, I realized that we put in our original offer on September 5. That was eight weeks ago. Let me repeat that again. EIGHT WEEKS. There are now exactly eight weeks until Christmas. Think we have any reason to be hopeful?

That question was kind of rhetorical.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Counteroffer Haiku

Fifteen thousand more
the bank asks, and we begin
to hemorrhage cash.

Monday, October 27, 2008


When I was a new sixteen-year-old driver, both my parents loved to remind me that neither of them had ever had a ticket in their whole entire lives. My dad is 70 years old. That's a lot to live up to. I never asked if either of them had ever just been pulled over though...

Friday I was pulled over by a policeman for the first time in my driving history. To make matters worse, my mother was sitting in the passenger's seat. Oh, the shame. Here's how things went down:

Husband and I had just finished a lovely Friday night dining experience with my parents at a local restaurant (note: with an attached bar). We had picked up my car from the auto body shop right after work before meeting for dinner (finally having fixed the hood and grill damage caused by She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named). Therefore, Husband was driving separately, as were my parents. Mom and Dad were planning to follow us back to the in-laws' house for some post-dinner Husband shaving (his dirty, dirty people). My mom decided to accompany me in my car.

I pulled away from the restaurant and was approaching the stoplight when a police car driving in the opposite direction did a U-turn in the middle of the street and began tailing me. I was a little nervous, but made my legal right turn on a green light. Then, the policeman turned on his flashing lights. I thought he might drive around me, racing off to capture some dastardly figure that was raping kittens or something. To my surprise, when I pulled into an empty parking lot, he pulled right behind me.

He asked for my license and where I was coming from and heading to. Then he asked if I knew why he had pulled me over. I was quite confused, figuring I had a taillight out or something. Instead, he pointed out that my headlights weren't on.


Although it was fully dark outside, the streets had been so well lit that I hadn't noticed my lack of headlights. There are two spots on the car's knob for headlights, one for small day lights and the other for actual headlights. I'd only made it to the first spot. The policeman was pretty nice about the situation, saying he didn't smell alcohol on my breath, but no headlights were an indicator of a drunk driver. I assured him with, "No, I'm not drunk. Just stupid."

Yes, I actually said this to him.

No, I don't know why.

Then he asked if my car was new. "No," I said. "But I just got it back from the body shop today." Realizing what this statement implied, I quickly followed with, "But it wasn't my fault!"


I was proud at least that I didn't cry, probably due to my extreme confusion. We were allowed to go on our merry little way, ticket free, and my mother thought the situation was hilarious, but I'm sure she won't let me forget anytime soon.

A new camera!

Husband and I recently purchased a new digital camera. My first digital camera was bought several years ago as a Christmas present in preparation for a photojournalism class I was taking in college. It was a Kodak and came with a small printer dock for easy, at home printing. The camera served me quite well throughout my remaining college years and post-graduation. It is still a good camera, especially for shooting events (I used it often for my college newspaper and internship in the Office of Publications and Media Relations), but it can be a bit bulky for everyday use. So, I got a hankering for something I could slip into my purse for unexpected photo opportunities. Husband, being the loving spouse that he is, as well as a man who loves his toys, did a bit of research and suggested purchasing a Nikon Coolpix S550, which seemed to meet our needs and price range. So we did, when the camera suddenly came on sale on Best Buy's Web site. I got the blue one, because, hello, cute!

This past weekend was the centennial anniversary of our county seat's courthouse. The historical society sponsored a contest for photographs, paintings, etc., celebrating the courthouse. My mother encouraged me to enter, which I did, because I like to support community events and was also afraid there wouldn't be many entries (there ended up being...three). One lovely, clear fall afternoon I grabbed my new little camera and walked up to the courthouse to snap a few pictures. I decided to enter a more representative shot of the courthouse dome rather than the building in its entirety. The contest was judged by a local photographer, and I won! (However, one of my friends also entered a photograph which I thought was much more neat than mine, and I promise I am not just saying that to be nice! It was a similar shot to mine, but she went the extra mile and grayscaled the courthouse leaving only the American and Indiana flags in color, which was such a cool idea! Kudos to her!) As an aside, my very observant husband noticed from her photograph that the Indiana flag is hung upside down, for some reason. Ah, Indiana pride...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Choose or Die (or whatever...)

I would like to change up my blog and make it more visually appealing, so I need your help, dear readers! Below are four quick and dirty blog headers that I created. Yes, I totally stole the images from iStock, but don't worry, when I have a final selection, I promise I will buy the actual image! For now, just ignore iStock's moniker!

In the comments section, write in your choice or tell me that everything I created is just ugly and I should just abstain from Internet blogging until the end of time. I'll leave the polls open for a good while until everyone stops caring (oh, too late you say?) or a clear winner is decided.

Number One: Cutesy!

Number Two: Mysterious!

Number Three: Tall Tales!

Number Four: A Cartoon Kitten!


This has been a long, full week, probably compounded by the fact that we are looking forward to a jam-packed weekend, but it is finally Friday.

*Sighs with relief*

In addition to my regular weekday work at Big, Fancy University, I have also taken on three freelance graphic design projects. I am by no means a professional graphic designer, but I think my appeal lies more in my price tag (read: I'm cheap!). I have taken a total of one class related to graphic design in college, but wish I could have taken more. I don't mind copy editing or writing for profit, but my real passion lies in design. I would love the opportunity to take additional classes specifically geared to graphic design. In toying with the idea of graduate school over the past year, I contemplated master's degrees in writing which would include an element of design. I don't have any immediate plans to pursue graduate school, but perhaps I can think more seriously about it once Husband and I are settled.

Anyway, I am currently working on a new blog header. Perhaps I can come up with several designs and my beloved readers (all three of you!) can help me choose. Food for thought. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Opposites Attract

I know this may come as a shock, but I am a very shy person.

I maintain that I really can't help my introversion; I was just born that way. My mother often recalls instances during my early childhood when, upon being confronted with someone I was not closely familiar, I would squeeze my eyes shut tight until the stranger went away (or tricked me by not speaking until I peeked out from under my lids and realized the menace was still at arm's length).

It's funny how people rarely evolve past the personalities they exhibited while still in diapers. I no longer shut my eyes when forced to speak with someone that makes me uncomfortable, but my discomfort is probably still quite evident to the person I'm required to communicate with.

It's something I continue to work on; engaging another human being in conversation can be a great pleasure, but I don't know if I will ever enjoy the endless cocktail hours or receptions when a social butterfly mentality is demanded. Often, in social situations, I play 'possum, standing quietly (and usually awkwardly) while another member of the group drives the conversation. For me, it takes an incredible amount of energy to force conversation with someone whom I am not well acquainted, and I am often left drained.

Lately, I've been noticing and hearing about friends and acquaintances' relationship dynamics. In many of the couplings I've witnessed, there seems to be a definite dominant personality (applying, of course, strictly to the public sector). That certainly applies to the relationship of Husband and me, as well as numerous sets of couples we see often. My own parents are also a model of this dynamic. My mother is overjoyed to talk to anyone, anywhere, while my father would much prefer to be left alone altogether. Like my father, I would much rather sit in some shadowy corner and observe instead of engaging in conversation (for him, this attitude even applies to extended family functions, where he sits for the entire time on the dimly lit couch furthest away from the boisterous horde of relatives).

I'm sure my quietness often comes off as snobbish or disinterested, which is extremely unfortunate. Once I get to know someone well and become quite comfortable in their presence (which can take a terribly long time), I like to think another side of my personality emerges: someone who looks forward to the interaction, speaks with ease, and enjoys the time spent together. It's just the "getting to know you" stage that I dread.

As I said, Husband is my complete opposite. As much of an introvert as I am, he can be equally extroverted. I envy the ease with which he enamors to new acquaintances, makes friends, and causes complete strangers to laugh. He disagrees with my rather idyllic view, but I firmly believe that it is impossible not to like him, at least while he's charming you (and he is rarely not "on"). Of course, I'm a little biased. He is all of the good things I am not, and I am so glad our opposite personalities attracted in this instance. It has really worked out for the best. People can shine the spotlight on him all they want. I'm happy watching from the shadows.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another weekend gone too soon

Husband and I spent a lovely Friday evening at Dinky College celebrating my former team's work on the College's successful capital campaign. I was reunited with my office mate and got to see co-workers and friends. It is flattering to be recognized for your work, even if you had just a small part in the outcome.

Saturday was spent helping Husband's grandfather sort, box, and shove horribly large and heavy items up a flight of basement stairs in preparation for his move to a smaller abode. We acquired a new coffee table in addition to the wonderful furniture we received last weekend. I have a history of being rather hard on furniture (and electronics...and husbands...), so this new, sturdy wood and glass coffee table will replace our current, one-year-old coffee table that I already marred during the few months of use...oopsies...

Sunday was rather uneventful if not filled with local errands and general running around. Next weekend is shaping up to be rather full, so a bit of relaxation on Sunday was pleasant and much needed. Sunday is the day of rest, right? Now it is back to work I go. Yo ho, yo ho.

Manna from heaven

Ask and you shall receive.

A fair, orderly, straightforward view of both candidates' views for easy comparison:

Many thanks to Dedracula for sharing the above link with me. If I were into chicks, she would totally have my class ring dangling from a chain around her neck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We're pretty much professionals now.

The past five months have included a heck of a lot of moving.

First, we enlisted a four-person team of parental movers and one self-sacrificing friend (the dear Diosthocles) to haul all of our worldly belongings out of our one-room abode at Dinky College (thank goodness for the antiquated elevator). These items were then divided between our two sets of parents' houses and stuffed into any available space to collect dust while we looked for a space of our own to purchase and fill.

After that, I trekked to the state capitol with two other sets of parents to load the furniture and belongings of my Dearest Cousin and her husband, Steve, into their newlywed apartment (no elevator this time, just a flight of stairs).

The months following were relatively move-free, aside from the rotation of various items we decided we needed immediate use of or needed to be rid of, until this weekend. We spent Saturday moving very large and heavy pieces of furniture from Husband's grandfather's house. We received a full bedroom suit, a dining room table with six chairs, and a hutch (pictured, yeay!) for next to nothing. (Really, I'm not completely convinced we didn't, in fact, rob him blind. Uhm. No pun intended.) These items we shuttled to Husband's parent's garage, the last available bit of space left to our pack-rat tendencies.

But, of course, the weekend was not over. We then spent more time flexing our muscles and throwing out our backs Sunday moving the furniture out of my parents' home office to prepare for new carpet installation. And this coming Friday we will have the treat of moving everything back in (although I really don't mind. We did, after all, turn their home into a temporary storage facility.)

I hope that within the next few months we will be moving one final time (for a few years, at least). I don't think we could be any more prepared. We have a down payment, we have a loan lined up, we have the house picked out, and now we have enough furniture to fill the house. Now, I guess, we just need THE HOUSE!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When in doubt, turn to Consumer Reports...

I am growing increasingly fatigued over the current presidential campaign. It's on every news station, on every radio station, in every newspaper, displayed on countless front lawns, and in many personal conversations. And rightly so. But I tire of the speculation, the questions that go unanswered, the unknowns.

So, when one of my favorite Web sites (mental_floss) linked to a straightforward, unbiased breakdown of each candidate's health plan reforms from Consumer Reports, I was quite pleased. If only they could do this for every issue. I strongly recommend you visit this link and click on "See how the candidates' proposals compare":

But, really, November 4 can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We have confirmation that we won't be hearing about the offer we put in on the house for another two to three weeks. Something to do with the appraisal not coming in, additional finagling required with a third financial party, and the discovery that the former owners have the common sense of a pile of rocks.

Here is the question I pose to you: Who takes out a second mortgage on their current house to buy another, larger, much more expensive house in another state completely, in which only one member of the family will live? Whatever they got out of the first house didn't even meet the regular twenty percent down payment on the new house. It must be a palace...

Soooo...two to three more weeks. Until we even hear anything. That doesn't count the possibility of an escrow time period if they even actually accept our offer straight away or the additional time it will take if they're looking to negotiate for more money. I'm thinking we should put in another offer equivalent to our first offer, which was pretty much a joke. Just because I'm that bitter.

Maybe we'll have a lovely new house as a Christmas present. I hope the former owners get coal.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I Love my Job

I just spent the last five minutes verifying whether "Boobs-Merrill, Inc." is a publishing house or a typo.

It is, in fact, a typo.

Carry on.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Well, it was an exciting weekend.

We didn't get another call from the bank after that last house update *falls over with shock.* However, although we aren't anywhere near getting into OUR house, plenty of other people are getting into OUR house. I say OUR house because, staring at the house next door day after day, I've become a bit possessive even though the real estate gods that be haven't yet granted the request of our fervent prayer.

Anyways. We got "home" well after dark Friday evening at the same time some unknown people were parking their giant white truck in OUR house's driveway and heading on in. Like they OWNED the place. We called our realtor (with whom the house is listed), and, by the time he called us back to say he wasn't aware of anyone supposed to be in the house, the local police arrived. Of course, the white truck had already sped away only moments before, but we told the officers what we had seen and then received orders to just call them right away if we see any more suspicious behavior. Will do.

Of course, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. The former owners keep coming back and loading up truckfuls of their junk (and, yes, I do qualify wooden snowmen and various other hideous crafts as junk) even though the house is in foreclosure and they aren't supposed to be there (they still have a garage door opener and that's what they use to get in, crafty buggars). It isn't the first time the police have been called, either. There's lots of bad karma going on right now that we're going to have to rectify later. It will probably have to involve some New Age woman named Serena and lots of incense. Along with a ton of heavy new locks.

After that eventful Friday evening, I spent a lovely Saturday with three of my best gal pals in Terre Haute. I don't get to see enough of them, and it was a definite treat to chat live and in person as opposed to e-mail, IM, or phone. They make me all smiley inside.

And the excitement continues. Husband began his brand spakin' new job today. I know he will be wonderful! Life is falling into place. Now, if only we had somewhere to live...

Friday, October 3, 2008

I don't think she'd survive elimination on Project Runway...

With the rapidly changing season upon us, I've noticed more and more lately the dress of the young ladies at Big, Fancy University, arguably the mecca of fashion in the Biggest City Within 50 Miles.

In college, there are two types of girls (I say girls, because boys are lucky if they're even wearing clothes that don't stand up by themselves): Those who dress up for lecture like they're going dancing at a club and those who roll out of bed (or whatever curb they ended up blacking out on) and immediately march out the door to class. I think I fell somewhere in between. I managed to throw on some jeans and a real shirt every day. This was still in the time when I straightened my hair daily (as opposed to now, when I suffocate myself in "sprunch spray" to give my wave/curls/frizz some kind of form to hold and scurry out the door dripping wet), but I didn't work too hard at it, particular in my third and final year at Dinky College when Husband was gone (seriously, who did I have to impress?).

Recently, at Big, Fancy University, I saw two different girls on two different days sporting the same style of jeans. They were like denim sailor pants, excruciatingly tight with several rows of buttons that seemed to start just where the bust ended. I'm sure anywhere else, they would have been extremely fashionable. However, we live in Indiana. Seriously. Buy some overalls or something (Reader's Note: No, I do not currently own a pair of overalls...but, yes, I have owned and worn overalls in the past...when I was old enough to know better...let us not talk of such horrors).

Additionally, when Husband and I were out walking among the students during lunch one day, we noticed a girl with the shortest skirt. Ever. Well, I actually noticed her fancy Very Bradley book bag. That's when my very observant Husband pointed out her minuscule skirt and the brilliant white granny panties that were peeking out as her skirt slowly rode up her back. She tugged at the skirt once, but the cycle only began anew. The girl was completely oblivious, and Husband and I decided to stop following her like complete pervs, giggling each time she took a step.

So, the moral of the story for all my lady readers is this: Give your vagina a little room to breathe, but don't take it out for a walk and show it off to the world like a prize-winning Sheltie from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Because, seriously. Indiana.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Update to the Update

Okay, so I literally just blogged my frustration about the house situation about fifteen minutes ago and our loan officer just called. Apparently, the drive by appraisal didn't come in and the foreclosure department is looking into that issue. BUT we could know by later today or tomorrow if we got the house.

Dare I hope or is will this just precipitate another four weeks of waiting?

An Update

In the past few days, four people have asked how our house hunt is going. This leads me to believe every single person who reads this blog is dying to know whether or not we will still be homeless and dejected this winter. The masses deserve an update! Here we go:

Four weeks ago tomorrow Husband and I put in an offer on the house. It wasn't like our first offer a few months ago on the same house, which was so low that it was kind of an insult and we really hadn't expected anything to come of it. No, this was a real, honest-to-goodness, cold hard cash offer. And we were excited. We'd discussed our needs vs. wants at length and had finally spoken our true priorities out loud to one another. We had made a decision about our future and where we wanted that future to take place.

Unfortunately (but semi-fortunately), since putting in that offer, the house went into full foreclosure. In truth, our offer should be null and void because the expiration date has long since...well...expired. But in the convoluted system of communication that currently stands, we spoke with our realtor, who spoke with the loan officer (at the same bank that owns the house and pre-approved our loan), who spoke with the foreclosure department, and said "It's okay! The offer is still valid! Still take it into consideration!"

And then three weeks went by. The bank FINALLY told us that they were planning a current market value appraisal of the home, and this appraisal would be compared to our offer, and then we would have an answer!


Our realtor called us after he found out the appraisal actually had more in common with a drive-by shooting (how you can appraise a house without actually entering the house is incomprehensible to me). The appraisor would come up with a magic number by comparing the house to other houses for sale in the area (as a fun sidenote, a house two blocks away has been for sale for months; not one single buyer has even looked at this house yet). And so, we waited. And waited. And waited some more. And we're still waiting. Our loan officer, the only person with the actual ability to communicate with the foreclosure department, has called and sent numerous e-mails, with no response. "The legalities take time," she keeps saying.

All I know is, the warm days filled with productive renovation potential are slipping by faster than a teenage boy into his girlfriend's panties. The longer the house sits without inhabitants, the more renovation it will need. I shudder to think if the house sits for the entire winter.

The economy sucks. The foreclosure department is overloaded. Maybe the bank itself will go under, who knows? All I know is that we have a hot pile of money we're just aching to hand over and no one wants it.

We'll make our weekly Friday phone call to the bank yet again tomorrow. Don't expect any news. We aren't.