Mission Complete

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts, The Family on September 25th, 2011 by Michael

The other bed is now complete… and there will not be another, regardless of what Yoda might allude to (hope you all remember that reference).  This one was in a lot of ways easier — because I actually had some tools and of course more experience.  It was a little harder in that I was making it up as I went along versus having a set of plans.  The girls seem to like it.  Now, if it would only help them go to bed more nicely.

At least my next vacation is not spoken for now.  Of course, I just want to rest for a while. Between this, work, a trip to Canada, tee ball games and this damn cold I now have, I am ready for some high quality, extended nap action.

Well I am off for a while.  Will try and post something if anything conducive comes out of my ADD/OCD mind, besides the obvious (like Obama is a freaking liar, his people are crooks and Morgan Freeman is an idiot).

So goes another blog

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 30th, 2008 by Michael

I think some are reading this based on the “you da man” comments back on my spreading the truth around fiscal policy but even if this is just for me, it will serve as a record of events nevertheless.

Halloween is quickly approaching. As everyone knows, it is my second least favorite holiday. Having kids does move the needle a little to the right but not much. It appears that Texans do take this a little more seriously than some other communities but that doesn’t surprise me. Texans, I have noticed, tend to be pretty straightforward folks, unabashedly so in their actions, views and convictions. That is a good thing to me. I generally like to know where people stand, right or wrong. Of course, I prefer that people 1) have an open mind and 2) do not feel the need to assimilate me into their views, but you can not have everything.

The kids, of course, love this holiday. Not only is it a time to dress up, but they get candy. And candy to them is a good thing. To those over 30, it is a nightmare when mixed with the hyperactive and out of control elements that dominate the child psyche. Sad to say, but the best behaved one of the bunch is the only one that can’t walk or talk or eat candy (yet) – must be a guy thing. With those that have slipped out of the angel phase, there are the constant challenges in establishing boundaries (and my unwavering opinion that the keeper of truth around right or wrong on this matter is me) and of course, the strong desire NOT to enter any sort of sleep regiment, albeit naps or normal nighttime slumber. This is a vicious cycle as less sleep means more obnoxious conduct. And for those in the grandparent arena, no it isn’t cute. It is annoying and I very much hope temporary behavior.

Maxwell, of course, is very good natured about it all. As long as there is food on the table when he sits down, he is a happy camper. Of course, he does have a bad habit on wanting to stand near things he should not, go up stairs and of course, crash into things but those are minor annoyances.

Speaking on annoyances, I hope no one bothered to watch Obama’s factually light commercial yesterday (I really think he thinks he is a celebrity). For a guy who wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, he could have made a personal contribution of about $50 million and saved the all of us the airwave pollution. Plus, thankfully, we have Netflix (and “IronMan” on blu-ray just arrived to back up “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”).

Anyway, I am very pleased to see gas now around $2.05. Of course, that is still 20 cents more than it should be based on oil prices. I am NOT pleased at the arrogance of certain companies that have not reversed or dropped their ‘fuel surcharges’. They are punks and deserve scorn.

After 500 shots, our little LX3 camera is doing pretty well though I still confess it is too complicated to use as a P&S. If we could find the manual, it would serve us well to read. A normally reasonable website reviewed the new Canon 50D to less than glowing returns today. It still garnered their “highest recommendation” but barely. Additionally, it appears that they have finally caved to pressure and as such are a little more bias than they should be. Sad, really. What happened to just the facts?

Related, after contemplating horribly bad possibilities, I finally have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to take a look at my right arm/shoulder. Lots of self diagnosis has occurred to increase my stress level in light of the gloom and doom on the Internet (remember back in the days when that was just jokes of the day and porn? Geez. It is as depressing as the evening news now). Anyway, now, I am off to increase his bank account. Though I am not holding out a lot of hope, I would like a reasonable outcome to not include surgery especially if it includes the word “fuse”.

Contemplating some changes at the office too but more on that later (maybe).

Our landscaping exercise is nearing completion. MA has been slapping up the last of the stain. The holes were dug and most of the grass removed — in weakened state – last weekend. I think it looks okay-dokay. Now, to the front but of course, we have to get permission again from the hostility unit known as the HOA. They currently are not pleased with us because I have chosen not to edge the flower bed. Hmmm. They can bite me. Anyway, it is the flowerbed that I want to redo though I do not welcome the idea of schlepping block after block and mortaring them together. Of course, I do like it better than paying someone $800 to do it. Then our work will be done. However, given it is still 80 outside, we could do more but probably should turn our attention inside.

We have a garage that we can not fit a car in and an office that is overrun with assorted crap. Not to mention we have a junk room that is… full of junk and a toy room overflowing with – you guessed it, toys. Of course, that will likely be getting worse here in the near term but we have planted the seed that some toys will need to be given away. Of course, not sure that will germinate within the 2 and 3 year old cerebral field (as little does). I know it has been a challenge for us older ones too though we DO try and get rid of something during every acquisition (as long as you do not include cameras, cookie jars, etc.)

Not sure what else is upon us… Holidays. For those that have asked, we will be here for Christmas. The kid’s lists continues to be slowly populated on Amazon so you don’t have to bug us about individual sizes or items. Mackenzie still wants a baby doll and with every new mail delivery of catalogs, she has a new “favorite”. Inevitably, with all of the planning in the world, they will end up fighting over the same toy or not playing with whatever we thought was great and instead invest their time in an empty box. So goes being young. I predict that Maxwell will spit up on or droll all over any outfit he receives. Have expectations set accordingly.

The work continues

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts on October 24th, 2008 by Michael

Yes, I understand that not all want to read about the grim realities facing our country today… so here is me, doing some manual labor, which I detest. It goes without saying that if I were in the 250K tax bracket, I would be paying someone to do this…. Oh, you can see the handy dandy red elm that I planted after digging a hole nearly the size of the trade deficit (note, the first hole was fine until it was discovered that it is directly on top of our sprinkler pipes…). For those who wonder about such things, the stain is a “redwood” version from the Behr ‘premium’ collection at Home Depot. The damn stuff is 1) expensive and 2) prone to splatter all over you. Given how hard it is get off, I have no doubt that this was a sane investment for the beleaguered wood fence. They say it is ‘weatherproof’ not just ‘waterproof’ with an expected protection period of 4-6 years. I think it looks nice too. Next project is to get something in the planter box and the put in the border around the front tress and flower beds. More manual labor. More suckage from my bank account.

There was some pumpkin decorating too that has happened but more on that in the very near future. It might have been the picture of the week but alas, the big Ohio State Penn State game is on this weekend and that trumps most in this household.

Progress and bump in the night

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 15th, 2008 by Michael

Well, the work on the house continues with our ‘guy’. The fence is up (PT wood) so that means I have a staining effort to tackle at some point. I am not a staining fan on fences because it is frankly a pain in the butt. Rollers suck. The pressure wand approach is good but can get all over the place and then you have to deal with the disposal. Brushes? Forget about it.

The concrete additions have been dug out but thanks to the first rain in several weeks, they are micro-lakes now. Therefore, we have at least several more days before they can get back in, lay out the iron supports and get this bad boy poured. Then days after that until they get this flower bed made in the back. We might put bamboo there as a screening material.

Anyway, it should make a difference in parking back there and certainly shall make the little people happy with a place to chalk draw and ride their bikes. The patio edition (see right) will finally provide a home for grill, which has been subjugated to the garage these past months.

The gate guy has come by as well getting that measured, etc. He thinks that is about a week out with powder coating and all to do. It is going to be weird having a gated yard. I mean, I’ll be like Paris Hilton without the great body or the eight 0s in the bank account ledger (or being a blond woman, of course). I could get to blond for $6.99 but I digress. In any event, this will provide some peace of mind to MA and I guess that was worth the three thousand pints of plasma I’ll have to donate…

Speaking of Paris and things that go bump in the night… wait this is family website. If you didn’t get that – good. You are spending your time on something useful versus tabloid trash. Anyway, Meghan – as she likes to do – was out of bed. Upon our arrival, she dashes back to bed because in a 2year old brain, we would not ever know she was out of bed. Anyway, this time she feel down and whacked her face on the metal support frame. Playing smack daddy with furniture is really a good idea.  Yes, there was a great deal of crying  and it looked like it hurt, but then again, she feel asleep while getting iced down.  Youth is a good thing.

Here is a day 2 picture – yes, that is Meghan and not a Nick Nolte mug shot. Save it now as it is not likely to be the picture of the week…

As if the world was not small enough, we watched “Good Luck Chuck” from Netflix this week (if you know the movie, you see the tie in to the Meghan story). Of course Jessica Alba is well, Jessica Alba but the movie itself was much better than expected. Yes, we did have LOW expectations. Anyway good vehicle for her which is nice since she is regarded as one of the nicest around in Hollywood (and she was great in Dark Angel – at least season one before it jumped the shark). Of course, co-star in that show was none other than Michael Weatherly of current NCIS fame. Another Netflix movie previewed was Redbelt. Not a fast mover but not one that you thought sucked either. It was a David Mamut film if that means anything to you.

Guess that is all for now.

Long time

Posted in Housing Woes, The Family on May 30th, 2008 by Michael

Okay, still not officially on the grid but I wanted to squeak out an entry…

It LOOKS like we will close on the new house middle of next week. I say looks like since not a damn thing has gone as simply as it was suppose to in this deal. Otherwise, my big wide butt would already be sitting on a new couch, watchin the Celtics win on a new 50 or maybe 58 inch TV.

However, if that plays out, we will have a pile of stuff in there by the end of the week and if my computer is found in the PODS and we can get cable or FIOS service run, I will potentially post some pictures the 7th or 8th. I say POTENTIALLY because a lot of crap can happen, like damaged computers, broken monitors, lost box with all of the cables, can’t get FIOS stupid installers over in time, just too damn tired to do anything, etc. The subtle hint there is not to bug me about it if it isn’t there. It will be at some point.

Patience to all, especially those trying to keep three absolutely out of control children to go to bed.

okay, maybe we have a house now

Posted in Housing Woes on May 9th, 2008 by Michael

Well, we got through the inspection with only one major issue that I think will be only moderately expensive to mitigate.

We have a verbal on the contract.  Now, it has to go off to be signed by the REO group.  Then we start the long process.   Of course, there is a holiday in there too and issues with closing the last couple days of the month, so while it LOOKS like we are on our way, it might be that we officially close on June  2.  We are hoping for faster of course.

Don’t bug me about all of the details. These will be coming soon enough.

The POD has arrived.  It was like Empire Strikes Back when they delivered it.


Posted in Housing Woes, The Family, Uncategorized on May 7th, 2008 by Michael

Well, still no house. Considering it is a buyer’s market, someone forgot to tell the folks in Texas. We even looked at foreclosed homes and they were no bargain (outside of all homes being a bargain in Texas). Anyway, we put in two offers to have both rejected. It wasn’t like we were offering 20% less than asking either — more like 3-5%.

I spent DAYS looking at places to rule them out for one reason or another (bedrooms were the biggest reason). All of the floor plans started to look the same. In the end, I started not to care. I know that they SAY the house is the biggest investment you will ever make and should be considered carefully. I personally disagree — I think kids are and you can’t sell them when you are bored (well not in America — okay, maybe in Alabama, but it might be to relatives only).

Anyway, I made the cardinal mistake in really liking one floorplan. Interestingly enough, we got both of the folks that rejected us to take our offers with a little proding. I went with the cheaper of the two (foreclosure) but just read through their 20 gazillion page addendum that basically says we have not rights. I just rejected it even though we had an inspection scheduled for tomorrow — too much risk for me. Now, I hope our agent can get our other deal done (after we kicked them to the curb today). Should know something soon.

Then the hurry up and wait happens with the funding people. Why does it take 10 days to get a loan on a house when you can get 20K credit extension a non-secured credit card in 5 minutes ? Don’t know.

Do NOT even start with me on the whole mafia that owns the title companies. Geez.

I thought with things in Texas being so cheap our bills were going to go down. Thanks to expensive taxes, we will actually be paying MORE. Of course, no income tax so that will help a little. It just didn’t work out according to plan. So many things do not though…

Well, we should be in Texas by the end of the month — just in time for the heat to arrive. Funny, we were just talking about hot it was in the house and it was 74! The horrors….

BTW, my computer is sitting on the floor (the desk just went out to the trash pile) so do not expect a lot in terms of images (including POTW) forth coming quickly.


Quick Update

Posted in Housing Woes, Uncategorized on December 4th, 2007 by MaryAnn

As you’ve all probably seen, November photos are up. We had a very busy November and December has been busy so far. Mick has put up lights on the house plus a little train. He got out the tree – we decorated it with the girls (Mackenzie put ornaments on, while Meghan tried to remove them).

fairy princessThe girls have been to see the Fairy Princess (an old Kansas City tradition). 

There were also visits to Santa Clause and St. Nicholas, dressed in a green robe.  Mackenzie talked about all of them prior to visiting and what she would say, then decided not to get too close to them. Meghan cried.

Mike is in town for work (no, that’s NOT him in drag on the right). The girls and I met him at Hereford House last night for a nice steak dinner (we had a showing so we had to be out of the house for a few hours). Tomorrow, he’ll be stopping by here to hang with his nieces. Mackenzie has talked about seeing “Uncle Mike” all day today.

Tomorrow is the last day our house is on the market, until we re-list in spring. This week, though, we’ll have a total of 4 showings, after a few weeks with none. Maybe spring will be a better time to sell.

Another week goes by

Posted in Housing Woes, Ranting, The Family, Uncategorized on October 24th, 2007 by Michael

Wow – Wednesday and that means a management call. Boring…………

Anyway, it is a lovely day here in Kansas City today (upper 60s, sunshine). Fall used to be my favorite time of the year. Now, not so much, as it means the furnace is to come on and the gas bills go up. Funny how perspectives change over time. I fear this weather is just a teaser for a mean winter. Last year was relatively mild – I don’t think it got below 0 – and I know we didn’t have a long stretch (weeks) where it didn’t get above 15 or so. That was pretty brutal for most of us (people in Minnesota need not chime in).

Vacation is looming and that is nice albeit yet another chance to have money go out of my wallet faster than Pelosi can get a poll done to form an opinion. We are actively researching options. Of course, our current situation does limit some of the options (well, a lot of them). Of course, when you have two long term scheduled events, things can overlap. Oh well. At least lack of excursions will alleviate some financial burn. Plus, our bar tab should be “nominally” less.

Ok, let me rant on Pelosi for a moment. It was suppose to be a “new day” with her in charge. “A more ethical” congress, etc. Explain to me why when we have an idiot democrat in the House, knowingly and without a doubt, break House rules in a stupefied rant against the President, that there is no punitive measures? In fact, it got minimal press. Obviously, there is a bias in the media. Anyway, what really irks me is that she not only did not speak up, admonish him, penalize him but when FORCED to have a House vote on censoring him, we had a 192 democrats vote against it (not to mention the 8 chicken-asses that voted “present”). I mean, it is not like we are asking to boot him out, just censor him. I guess some democrats only follow the rules when it meets with their political agenda. And before anyone cries fowl on MY bias, just recall the MONTHS of news around Bob Packwood (and yes, as a republican, he was censored). Anyway, I really despise hypocritical people and/or those that cannot lead until they get a poll taken.

Enough of her. She just pisses me off. Oh wait, I do take great amusement in the recent memo from her office to the members of the house to paraphrase “start publishing your triumphs to the public for awareness”. I guess she hasn’t realized that there have not been any such victories in the last year (not surprisingly, her agenda has been simple: bash Bush – on any and everything because he is not popular.) More funny, is that this latest directive is a reaction to a poll that shows Congress is less liked than Bush (right or wrong). Got to love irony.
Now, I am done with that.

It has been a frustrating and expensive week in the putter hunt. I’ve scored some good wins though I might have overpaid a little on an item or two. Oh well, these items have been proving to be good investments. There are a couple of items still in flux and they are not on the low end (but very desirable). I still am irked by some I have let go by just a year ago. I struggle with this. I do have to say, I really enjoy the hunt (and more so, the kill, if you will). I’ll generate a photo review of some of the great little devices some day. Here is a start of that list. Of course, the payoff really is after I get them refinished. They will be sweet…. Anyway, I will pare back a few next year as I have decided to focus on the “Newport” model. Of course, when a mint 1995 Copper putter pops up, it is a struggle not to go there. Yes, that is one I might have over spent a little on. I give it a year until I get back to even there. That is okay – I’ll get a rack and just hang it for enjoyment. Issues with the trade deficit aside, I love the Japanese consumers. They LOVE Scotty Cameron and fuel this continual valuation (as does Tiger Woods winning – with a SC putter).

This reminds me, I was feeling a little blah about my new camera – images seemed a little soft. Well, it looks like that may have been an issue with the lens. I slapped on my nifty fifty to take the images of the putters. Even scaled down for the web, you can tell that sharpness is not an issue. I’m a little relieved. Speaking of images, posting of October pictures is just over a week away… I did add in a quick Pumpkin Patch collage for those of you how do not visit that collage page often.

We had two people look at the house recently. Of course, one of them was during nap time. That was harsh (on the parents). One just stopped by yesterday given they were looking at the house down the street and saw our sign. I rapped with them briefly. Had a good vibe but you can’t even get a cup of starbucks with that. Time will tell.

No golf recently. None planned until late November. I have a business trip scheduled out in CA for a day and plan on taking the opportunity to whack the white one around for a while. Still working on which course. That reminds me, I need to update my golf 100 plan with new status (I played World Woods recently).

What else…

  • My 90’s BFF (yeah, I’m hip) and his wife just returned from France. They posted a pile of nice images on their web site (granted, two weeks and only 800 or so images is a little weak).
  • My Oregon buddy John and his wife successfully completed their latest baby project with an on time arrival of Delia. Of course, he also just got a mini-van. I was going to make fun of him, but we are planning on trading in the Pilot on one in the spring.
  • You can see from MA’s veto in a previous blog entry, there will be no vote on the name. I can reveal that one of the “off the grid” names or “Millennium” was ruled out. It might have taken a little time to get use to but it is a cool name. Kind of makes you wonder what the other “off the grid” name is, doesn’t it?
  • Meghan is learning more words (in between begging for more food). Yes, “cookies” and “pretzels” are words she has down pat.
  • Mackenzie is STILL being a two year old. Independent, reckless, etc. Drives me to drink.
  • Our little pumpkin (see POTW), imploded yesterday all over the counter. Not nice. It was replaced last night. Four bucks I will see no return on…
  • I’m three or so days on the diet and pretty much ready to throw in the towel (see Mackenzie being a two year old).
  • Meghan is now to be a ‘monkey’ since our 90% off penguin outfit we bought last year was missing the head. So much for a bargain there. In any event, it is not clear that she cares.  She did get one wear out of the “headless” penguin, though.
  • Our Christmas shopping is 90%+ complete. Helps when you buy stuff year round. Mike, you are in for a treat this year….

More next week.

Mid week update

Posted in Housing Woes, Uncategorized on October 18th, 2007 by Michael

Well, it is has not been a week, but a conference call is in full bloom so I thought I would provide an update on things.

First, we have had some wickedly strong weather here in the Midwest these last couple of days. This on top of the rain that felt the need to come down on every opportunity I had to complete the fence. I think we may have caught up for the year and we were down 5 inches to start the month. Today is beautiful, though rumor has it we will be seeing 40+ mph winds this afternoon as a cold front moves in.

Looks like footed pajamas for the kids tonight. That is good since there are some Princess ones MacZ has been wanting to wear (not that she doesn’t get them out at nap time and put them on OVER her regular clothes).

Sad to say, but the name game may not happen. We are down to three names – two traditional ones and one slightly off the beaten path. MA is not too excited over that one anyway. I’m willing to take it off the table if we don’t move to Texas this year. Speaking of which, NOTHING is happening on our house. Pisses me off given the time and money spent on the fence.

I came to an emotional resolve on the putter collection disease. I am only going to collect Newports (includes Newport and Newport 2, might expend at times to the Newport 1.5 and Newport 2.5s – not so much the Tei3s). I’ll be staying away from the Studio versions and focusing on the OC and GB finishes. That said, I have recently picked up two sweet ‘other’ putters. One is for investment purposes (seriously!). The other is just cool to look at. Once they arrive, maybe I’ll take a picture and post. Anyway, this decision will help the financial outlook for sure but more importantly, keep me sane. Peace of mind is important you know.

One thing I always thought about collecting was Disney ‘pins’. Of course, there are a zillion of those and those of you who know me, know that I like to complete collections. Given that, I would absolutely be a nut job searching for the latest and greatest (or more realistically, the oldest and rarest) of these. Whew. Dodged a bullet there.

Not much more so we will go to the lightning round…

  • We still have not won the McDonald’s million dollar monopoly giveaway.
  • MacZ colored one of the chairs at church.
  • Meghan is learning to say new words.
  • MacZ is learning to say more sentences.
  • I’m having a salad for lunch.  Boo.
  • I’ve not lost any weight eithe.  Double Boo.
  • MA ankle is sore.
  • Golf season is almost over for good.
  • I’m absolutely abhorred by Pelosi’s decision to push for an Armenian genocide resolution.  Self-serving idiot.
  • I’m dumbfounded by the American people who contributed to the Baby Jessica fund 20 years ago (hey folks – it didn’t pay for rescue (tax payers did), it went into a trust fund where she is waiting to collect over a million dollars!).
  • I think it is funny that some communities are trying to ban by LAW those baggy jeans that you have to hold up to wear (actually a better idea would be to require them to wear a t-shirt with “I’m stupid” with them).
  • I applaud the clerks in NY that say they will not issue driver licenses to illegal aliens regardless of what the Democratic governor says (shockingly, it is legal to do so in 8 other states).
  • I’m surprised by the school district in Maine giving out birth control.
  • I find hope in voters in Nevada like their OWN senator (Reid) less than Bush. That is not a pro-Bush statement, but an affirmation that Reid is a tool.   What happened to the concept of representatives actually representing their constituent’s views… Oh yeah, that went out the window when big money, especially that backed by Unions, became involved.
  • I find it interesting that if the candidates would pool their fund raising dollars and donate it to the government versus pay consultants and media firms, we could actually meet some of the shortfalls in the budget that they note as ‘differences’ in their campaign rhetoric.
  • I am not thrilled with Halloween as a holiday (kids going door to door begging? – Hmmmm) but it is more palatable with kids. We have a Tigger and a penguin this year. I suppose there will be pictures.
  • Catalog season is in full bloom.  I bet the postal workers love this time of year.