Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Work hasn't been very interesting lately.

At work, I can usually count on all sorts of things to work on. New parts to look at, parts to send out, quotes to mull over, vendors to call, vendors to visit, bills to fight, problems to solve... You get the idea. However, lately we haven't been very busy. I have been struggling trying to find things to do until the time when we get another large project released. And of course, when the floodgates do finally open, there will be WAY too much work for one person to do. When it rains, it pours.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Selling Our House

Two Sunday's ago, Rachel and I saw a For Sale sign on the side of the road, and decided to see where it was. We have been thinking about moving, ever since Rachel got serious about doing a music based Pre-School, which requires parents to stay and be an active part of the lesson. Our HOA wouldn't allow people parking like that in our neighborhood, so we have considered looking for something a little bigger and more parking friendly. Anyway, we got the urge to look that Sunday and found out it was an open house. We went in and looked around. It was a triple wide manufactured home, very nicely maintained, it had a separate garage, and another outbuilding on 4.8 acres. It was listed at $650k though, and we can't afford that, even if we wanted to live there. It didn't feel right. We thought about it for the next couple of days, and decided to get a realtor. One of my good friends has a brother who is a realtor, so we called him up to have him show us some houses. We looked at another one on Thursday, it had a converted garage with a bathroom and it's own separate door that would be perfect for the pre-school, but the house still didn't feel right. The price was good, but I wasn't feeling it. The next day, we went to tour a third house. It was not necessarily the most beautiful house, but it was on a little more than an acre, it had plenty of parking, there was no HOA, and there is room inside for the pre-school. It was going to stretch our budget some, but not too much that we couldn't make it work. We made an offer on it the next day. The only hang-up was that in order to afford this house, we had to sell our other house first: so it was a contingent offer. The real estate agent also suggested that we write a short note about our family and why we wanted that house. I wrote one up and Rachel didn't like it, so she took what I had and wordsmithed it a bunch. She said I was not professional enough. I thought it was supposed to be a personal statement, and so I wrote it like I was talking to the person. I ended it by saying "Please let us buy your house!" Anyway, completely by accident, I sent the letter that I wrote to our agent, instead of the one Rachel fixed. I didn't know it until he sent the letter with the offer to the seller's agent. Oops.
Long story short, they loved my letter and accepted our offer. That meant that we had 5 business days to get our current house on the market. Luckily we had been working on our house, and so there wasn't tons to do. Or so I thought until we actually started working on it. We went from room to room listing all the things that needed to be done to get it ready. I ended up with a list that was like 75 lines long, and then we found out that the bathtub was leaking... That set me back two full days. Luckily we have lots of good friends and I have a retired father who is willing to come help. One friend was there every single day, morning till night. I had people fix my yard, cut up a bunch of logs, make dump runs, straighten up my garage, paint, finish my fireplace, do minor electrical work, remove the remnants of a wood burning stove, plug a hole in the house left by the removal of the wood burning stove, clean my gutters and roof, spread bark, make storage unit runs, bring food, watch kids and more. So many people helped, and I am grateful for all they did. There were so many people, I was being pulled in so many different directions I became more of a project manager than an actual laborer.Anyway, we got our house listed in the requisite time-frame. And I am so tired...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The End of a Cold Rainy Winter

Now that it is almost May, the sun has finally started to come out! I am so glad, it has been the wettest winter that I can remember. I don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I got to tell you, 5 months of mostly gray skies will test even the happiest guy's resolve. On the plus side, it did get pretty cold at times, and we had plenty of snow. The school district cancelled school a couple of times, and had late start for like three weeks in a row. It was starting to get a little ridiculous actually. Ammon started playing Lacrosse this year, and he ended up having to practice in the snow on a couple of occasions. The coach thought having them lay in the snow would be good for them!


Anyway, the school district would have late start if there was even just a dusting of snow on the grass, even if there was nothing on the roads. It made getting to work on-time a nightmare, mostly for Rachel. And because it was cold enough for long enough, we got to go ICE SKATING!!! It hasn't happened for like 20 years, but it did this ear. The entire lake at my dad's house froze over to about 4 inches thick. It was amazing to get back out onto the ice.
I was a little wobbly at first, but it didn't take long to remember how to do it. And amazingly, my dad even had an old pair of skates that would fit me. They were super old hockey skates, the blades were dull as a rock, and the laces weren't long enough to lace them up to my ankles, but it was still so much fun. We got up at 5AM one morning to get the whole family out on the ice before sending the kids off to school, and before I had to go to work.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

What Dreams May Come

It's official,  we finally sold our lakefront lot in Federal Way. We got close to our asking price, which is good. It's kind of a bittersweet event, I can still remember all the things that happened in order for us to be able to buy that property. And all of the things we did after purchasing it. It was definitely a catalyst for change. It forced us to sell our house in Tacoma, and move in with my grandfather. Living with my grandfather got me to try going back to school. Going back to school got me to think bigger than working at my then-current job. I quit that job, and went to work with my brother for a while. I moved back to Maple Valley, got a great new job, bought a house and my kids are going to school in a great school district. I think I have ended up ok, and I will be OK letting that property be someone else's dream come true now. There will be another time and place for my family to get the lakefront house I want, but I wouldn't be where I am today, if not for taking that first big step to dream a little.