Thursday, March 29, 2012

Must Haves

In  Real Estate, "must haves" are the things that are deal killers in your home search. For most people these days "must haves" seem to be a kitchen with granite countertops, open concept (ie missing support walls and larger beams), and a large master bath with two sinks.  For us it was a double oven and a house that "spoke" to us.  Well, this house spoke plenty loudly to us but it wasn't until after we made the offer that I discovered that there actually WAS a double oven.  Go figure.

After moving in we began to discover "sort of must haves" that were missing..things we didn't even think about until we were faced with not having them - like medicine cabinets. 

Case in point:  A Medicine Cabinet in the Master Bath.
As we were moving in, The Bearded One said in surprise, "Hey, there's no medicine cabinet in here!"  Because there were sconces on the wall we had both managed to miss the fact that there was no little wall cabinet in which to keep toothbrushes, toothpaste, pills and bandaids... You know, the essentials of daily living.  The Bearded One was all for rushing right to Home Depot.  Which we did.  Only the fact that anything suitable would mean either cutting a big hole in the wall or a special order kept us from purchasing something immediately.

After living without a medicine cabinet for two weeks certain things began to occurr to us: I keep my pills on a Rubbermaid  turntable in the kitchen (so that I pack them along with my lunch each morning).  I don't need a medicine cabinet for that.  We have NEVER put toothpaste in the medicine cabinet - not in all the years that we have been married!  We don't need a medicine cabinet for that. Toothbrushes have always gone into a toothbrush holder where they will dry completely so as not to breed more germs than necessary.  We don't need a medicine cabinet for that.  The ibuprofen bottle (without which no mature adult moves into a new home) fits just fine into the second drawer down on the right side of the vanity.  Now we don't need a medicine cabinet for that either.

In fact we don't need a medicine cabinet in the master bath at all...especially since our backup supply of medicine cabinet items (most of it shower gel and bandaids) takes up the top two shelves of the linen closet in the hallway where they are easily accessible.

At any rate, about 4 days ago we agreed that not only did we not need a medicine cabinet, we didn't need the double towel bars that we "had to have".  That we purchased and that sat on the bathroom floor in the corner for 3 weeks because we didn't have time to install them.  We figured that if we had lived without them this long we could return them.  Which we did.  And got our $60 back.

I leave  you with a bit of nostalgia concerning "must haves":

One of our favorite movies is "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" (Cary Grant and Myrna Loy - early 1950's?). 

Muriel Blandings: I refuse to endanger the lives of my children in a house with less than four bathrooms.

Jim Blandings: For 1,300 dollars they can live in a house with three bathrooms and ROUGH IT.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


TRUE Decadence is not chocolate (the darker the better because then it is "heart healthy").  It is also not a really good glass of Cabernet (the kind that costs more than $15 on sale at the grocery store).  It is not a warm fuzzy blanket fresh from the dryer or a warm fresh from the oven double chocolate chip cookie...

Decadence is REALLY being able to read the newspaper in the morning before leaving for work.  It is even more decadent to be able to do so with your significant other over a cup of coffee.

You can tell a bit about my age by the fact that I am even mentioning a "newspaper".  Yes, I do indeed read things online, but in the morning I love the feel of fresh newsprint.  It also makes a great dropcloth when I am painting and it is recyclable when plastic drop cloths are not.

We leave for work absurdly early.  The Bearded One leaves even more absurdly early than I do.  At our new house, the newspaper is in the driveway each weekday morning at about 4 AM...

We have decided that either the delivery person is an insomniac or works a late shift and delivers the paper on his or her way home.  Either/Or.  It doesn't matter.  We can sit and say things to each other like:  "I know you don't normally like Adam @Home, but read it today," or "Be sure to read about the first class trip that one of our appointed officials took on the taxpayer is disgusting...", or "There is this really neat article about solar litter boxes, we should look into it..."

These are the mundane little things in life that really mean so much to a relationship.  Just a simple sharing of the beginning of the day to come.

Love you, Bearded One.  Be sure to look at Bizarro today.  And drive Safely.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Settling In

You know that you are actually "there" when the night lights (without which a sleepwalking mommy would fall down the stairs) are finally properly positioned to provide a dim floor level glow throughout the house.

We are finally getting settled.  We now have three working, properly elevated shower heads (which means that our bathroom is no longer clogged with extra razors, makeup, hairdryers, and towels).  When we moved in, one shower was set up so that spray would hit a normally sized person somewhere around waist level; another released a stream of water designed to dampen the tile but incapable, for example, of rinsing soap off of a body... The only shower head capable of producing an acceptable shower was the one in the master bedroom. That is all fixed now and we are discovering more about the "new" house.

The most troublesome thing, the thing that we did not anticipate causing trouble, is that the kitchen is centrally located - surrounded by the bedrooms. This is only a problem if, as in our house, you have two people who arise at (the ungodly hour of) 4 AM each morning - showering, making lunches, slicing bananas and eating cereal; one who crawls from bed and begins to shower at 6 AM; and another who does not have classes before 2 PM. Yesterday's comment from Stubble was, "Oh, it's YOU making all the racket." I was, at the time, measuring coffee into the coffee pot. Not exactly a noisy activity. In our former house, the kitchen was well separated from all bedroom areas and morning activity or lack thereof was not an issue.

The other issue of gravity facing us is the garbage disposal. I completely understand that MOST people have one largish side of the sink in which to wash cooking pans and one smaller side of the sink that contains the garbage disposal. We have, for the last many years, had one HUGE sink with a garbage disposal right in the middle of it. Therefore, we must learn to rinse pots into the smaller disposal portion of the sink before washing them. Something that, for us apparently, is very difficult. I spent a great deal of time this morning bailing beans and carrots out of the large side of sink so that it would drain.

There are many excellent things about this new house:

  • The stars. That should probably be: STARS! We live on a small private drive that has no street lights and the improvement in star viewing is nothing short of amazing.  On the other hand, the lack of surrounding lights and the presence of coyotes can be un-nerving.
  • The garden. The previous owners left a partial row of onions in their vegetable garden, whether by accident or design. I have discovered that there is nothing better on a hamburger than an onion pulled from the garden, washed off, and immediately sliced.  On the other hand, there are seeds to be planted, soil to till, weeds to be pulled, shrubs to be trimmed.  Oh, and did I mention the weeds to be pulled?  And then there is the fact that one of the neighbors came by Sunday with a picture guide to local snakes to show us which ones to not kill.
  • The laundry room. Which is now separate from the cat's litter boxes. There was nothing quite like surprising a kitty in mid litter box activity with the buzzer of the dryer.  It accounted for some alarming noises issuing from the area behind the kitchen.  And some interesting clean ups.  On the other hand - there is no "other hand" here - we now also don't need to be concerned about clean sheets dropping onto scattered bits of clay.
  • The "Family Room". Or as my family chooses to call it, "The Living Room" because you can only "live" where there is TV. Right? At any rate, we now have one family/living room (the upstairs room with couches and chairs and side tables) where I can read unmolested by television programs about cars, airplanes, or large machines that 'make things'.  The "other" family/living room is downstairs and contains couches and chairs and side tables and is the room where I can watch Modern Family, Gray's Anatomy, The Good Wife, and (best of all) Blue Bloods (with Tom Selleck*). Those are the (few) hours of the week when I evict the rest of the family from the vicinity of the (large) television and take it over as they scatter to other areas of the house.  The exception would be Ms. Flippers, who occasionally watches Gray's Anatomy with me.
  • The Bonus Room.  AKA "The Gaming Room".  Originally a storage area off of the garage, it is now panelled, carpeted, and drop ceilinged.  It now houses all x-boxes, ps-whatevers, Wii's and gaming computers and their assorted monitors, speakers, 3 easy chairs and a couch.  The mini fridge left by the previous owners resides just a few steps away outside of the door.  I do not go there.  Ever.
  • The kitty tower.  It is now accessible to the kitties.  Formerly it was locked away in the Family/Gaming Room which had been taken over by people under the age of 30 who left lots of power cords lying around.  Power cords that would attract the teeth of kitties who were attracted to the bits of food stuck to them.  It became not so much a Family Room as a No Parent's and Kitties Land.
Combine the last three bullet points and you will know exactly what attracted us to this particular house...

* About Tom Selleck.  He was gorgeous years ago when I was first married and he has certainly aged well.  I do enjoy being able to look at him watch him in a weekly television show again.  Note:  The Bearded One has aged well also.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The fun of buying a new home certainly isn't in the looking.  EVERY home that the realtor finds is "perfect" and you have to sometimes work hard to come up with reasons not to like it...some of which sound really weak.
At one point we finally told our agent, "Yes, we really are looking to buy, but until a house "speaks" to us we won't make an offer."

It certainly isn't the coming to an agreement and the financial arrangements which seem calculated to employ as many people as possible for as long as possible.  When  we had to provide the THIRD copy of the appraiser's report (all 47 pages of it) our take on it was, "Don't you people all work IN THE SAME BUILDING?  Wouldn't it be easier to just run upstairs and make a photocopy?"  Well, they weren't all in the SAME building as it turns out.  Our agent and the mortgage broker were in the same building.  The seller's agent was across the parking lot...

It certainly isn't the final approval and closing which can, in our view, be described as:  "Well, you've got our money, now where are our keys!"  Any number of times  The Bearded One had to explain to one party or another, "This was an electronic transfer.  The money was one place and now 'poof' it is in another place.  There is NO CHECK to place a hold on..."

The fun part was falling asleep at night (after throwing up dinner because of a new email requesting yet more financial documents) planning which bathrooms would get which existing bathmats and which kitchen cabinets would get dishes and which would get baking supplies.  That was the fun of a new home purchase.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One of Life's Unanswered Questions

Why do we have FIVE bottles of rubbing alcohol, all of them opened?