Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Well, she didn't.
The people at Puerto Court dug in and refused our offer as too low. So we turned around and offered only $5K more for the Glorieta Road house, which is perfect and gorgeous in every way. It must be noted that Kristine Krantz, aka KAK (couldn't resist!), picked this as the front runner. She wins a free visit to our guest room!! (Okay, okay -- so does everyone. But still...)
I keep thinking about those other sellers, of the Puerto house. I feel like they made such a mistake, refusing our offer. I wish I could call them and tell them to ditch their current agent, who is letting their house deteriorate and advises them to hold out for a price *I* don't think they're going to get.
But what do I know?
And it's not my deal. I'll add that to my mantra list: It's not my life. It's not my relationship. It's not my deal. Rounds it out nicely.
Special Happy Birthday to RoseMarie today. I have a little something for you, but it's not in the mail yet...
Monday, July 27, 2009
I find myself becoming a shark. A surprising development, but there you are. We've all always known I'm not an especially nice person, but lately I find myself becoming downright mean.
And still: I don't regret it. Sometimes I think you have to be a bit mean, to fight for your own interests. Because there sure seem to be plenty of people out there who will take you for what they can if you let them.
Quick Summary: (nod to Marin)
We offered on Puerto Court, they countered, very high. We countered with a firm offer. If they won't take it, then we're offering on Glorieta, which is lovely and wonderful also. (If you don't know what I'm talking about then you'll have to skim the last few posts here, here and here.) Seems the people selling Puerto bought it just a year ago, lost the job and had to move. The house has been empty and on the market since December. The seller's agent and even our agent feel bad for the sellers and seem to think we should make up more of the price difference.
Hence me feeling mean.
I'm sorry the market slumped. EVERYBODY is sorry. We lost about $100K of value off our house and that's a sorry thing. But it doesn't hurt us so much because we still have a lot of equity in our house. Which was a house we could easily afford. I'm sorry that things went badly for this other couple, but I really don't feel we should agree to a less than ideal financial decision for us, to make things up to them.
Call me mean, indeed.
So, that's where we stand. Hopefully the Puerto folks will be smart and take the offer. I really do feel it's generous, given all we have to do to fix up the house.
A bit of my melodrama:
You must pay the rent!
I can't pay the rent!
You MUST pay the rent!
I CAN'T pay the rent!
Where is my hero in dusty chaps and a silver Prius? Oh wait, I'm the bad guy!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Actually, these pics are from the last time it sold, before it was abandoned for nearly a year and left to languish. And be invaded by mice.
I've ALWAYS wanted one. Always, always, always. I'm like the woman in Broadcast News who converted her guest room into a closet. Only I didn't. Still, I understand the urge.
SO ready to fill those nooks. Once the mouse-smell is gone. Did I mention the mouse smell? No no no.
Guest bath. Decent, eh? No good pics of guest bedrooms. Very blah. We'll work on them. But come visit anyway!!
Big move now scheduled for August 14. Taking visitor reservations after that. We promise quiet, big skies, sunsets and coyotes yipping at night. You provide the rest.
Pros: Nice view, fenced yard, walled patio, trombe walls, kiva fireplace in master and patio/yard acess. Empty now for immediate move-in.
Cons: small bath tubs. Views aren't perfectly framed. Needs a refrigerator. Not as glamourous.
Pros: Fabulous views. Best asking price. Really lovely inside. Fantastic walled garden with grape arbor pergola.
Cons: Not in the best sunset-watching position. No fenced yard for the dog and proximity to wild wash could mean danger for the pets. Smaller.
Pros: Most traditionally "Santa Fe." Pretty mountain environment with gorgeous patio. Cozy and lovely, close to town.
Con: Highest per square foot cost. Small. No tub in master. No views. Propane heat. Some highway noise.
4 Camino San Lucas.
Pros: New, perfectly framed views. Gorgeous design. Premium lot.
Cons: Not quite finished. NO internet yet???
Ooops. Now I'm out of time. The remaining ones are:
1 Montana Court
Monday, July 20, 2009
I totally buried the lead on my last post. Blogger's privilege. Somehow, the bigger the news, the more I want to de-emphasize it. Don't make the gods jealous and all that.
So, yes, I absolutely told you about my suitcase caroming down the escalator and miraculously killing NO toddlers and only casually mentioned selling our house.
Which we have. Under contract. Sweet words indeed.
The bad news side of our good news is that they all wanted to move in RIGHT AWAY. Being the flexible types that we are, we (read: me) TOTALLY REARRANGED our plan. And we're leaving for Santa Fe tomorrow to house hunt. My job? The one I get paid to do? I'll work in the car while David and my mother drive. Yes, of course she's coming along. House-shopping and Santa Fe are at the high end of her top-ten list -- it would be cruel to keep her away. Plus she's a delight to have along. I give thanks every day that David thinks so, too. And no, I'm not just saying that because she reads my blog.
Just so you can feel sorry for me: I figure I get to spend eight nights in July at home. Isn't that sad? My home that I'm about to sell. To Californians! At least they're moving here to be in the UW English Department, which means they love/read/write books. This gives me a lovely sense of continuity. And they love the fish pond, so are unlikely to fill it in.
I know. I know. I shouldn't care. Here I am, pretending that I don't.
La la la.
Okay, yes, I'm punchy. See me after another week of house-hunting and a work-trip to Nashville.
Maybe Marin has a point, that not only is it not necessary to blog every day, but that it also might be a really bad idea some days.
But hey -- stay tuned for more house-hunting pics! Wheee....
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Yes, I am a terrible, horrible, irresponsible, bad and wrong blogger.
I think that, sometimes, there’s an inverse relationship to input and output for me. The more input I have, the less I write. Once the input is over, I can process, assimilate and write. Kind of like a plant: I’m all about dark photosynthesis. But take heart. During the bright daylight, I’m storing up all kinds of brilliant bits, ready to convert them into radiant blogs.
Just you wait.
So, I have to tell you my trials of leaving RWA. Which, by the way, was covered on NPR. Listen here if you’re interested. (HOW could you not be?)
There I was having lunch/drinks with Keena Kincaid, author of Anam Cara, who I met for the first time at real life and feel like I’ve known forever. We ended up skipping vital convention stuff, just to yak. Doesn’t get better than that.
So, I’m late leaving for the airport, but not terribly.
I walk back to the Omni, the overflow hotel that was FAB, retrieve my suitcase from the luggage room and head to the Metro. The bell captain asks if I want a cab and I say, no, I’ll take the Metro back. I then pause, ask how much a cab is and he says $17. Cheap! So, I hesitate, but he says, ah, the Metro is easy. And I agree. It’s $2. The station is right there and it’s green. I do try.
I drag my stuff to the metro: my laptop bag, my suitcase, my purse on one shoulder. A passing smart ass notes I need only one more item to have a full suite. But it’s okay. I take the hugely long escalator down to the platforms. You’ve seen them: the escalators to the DC Metro are stories tall and super steep. But I have this technique. I spin my wheelie laptop bag around, push it onto one step, I step onto the next and pull my suitcase onto the level behind me. Standing considerately to the right, I am a streamlined linear travel group.
I ride down. I see the signs that say “major delays.” I see the teeming, hot crowds for the trains that aren’t coming.
I decide to take a cab.
So, I go back up the hugely steep escalators, using my streamlined technique. I’m nearly to the top when I turn slightly, brushing my suitcase behind me… and it falls.
I’m not kidding.
It was like a bobsled. The curved, glossy hard surface turned it into a sled worthy of a luge competition. It rocketed down the escalator at lightning speed. All it lacked was purple midget riders.
I confess, I’m punchy enough that I doubled over laughing at the sight.
Fortunately no one was on it behind me, because no trains were arriving, were they?
This lovely woman at the bottom, who fortunately arrived late enough not to be flattened, picked it up and brought it up with her. God bless friendly strangers.
Oh, and we got three offers on our house yesterday, so now you can ask how the house sale is going!
Heading home and loving it.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It's 11:18 pm here in D.C.. Which is 9:18 pm in Laramie and 5:18 pm in Waikiki. And no, I have no idea which time zone my body is on, much less my brain.
I mentioned this before, the new research on jet lag. See, the way sleep works is, a person spends the first part of the night in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), which is the deep, healing sleep. Dreaming or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep occurs only in brief periods between the sometimes two-hours-long stretches of SWS. As the night progresses, the proportions shift, with more time spent in REM sleep and less in SWS. This is why you usually wake from a dream in the mornings, and you dream more if you sleep in. It's also why the afternoon nap can feel so deadly -- that deep sleep can be hard to shake off.
So, for those who don't care to link to the article, the upshot is, even though you may adjust to a new time zone and sleep during the ambient night, the parts of the brain that regulate the sleep cycle may be continuing on their regular schedule. So when I flew to Hawaii, that meant my usual dreaming time of, say, 2am to 6am, was shifted to 10pm to 2 am, skipping SWS altogether if I didn't go to sleep before 10. Which, erm, I didn't. Now, if I adjusted to Hawaii time, which, after nine days, I likely did, now my dream time is occurring from 8am to noon.
The interesting thing is, the studies showed that if you don't get enough REM sleep for a while, you start to get REM intrusion -- which means your brain clicks into REM state even when you're awake.
You know that surreal, dreamlike feeling? There you are.
So it's hard to say which state I'm in. We'll choose "deprived" as an umbrella term. Soon I'll be overstimulated. Which is worse?
You be the judge.
Monday, July 13, 2009
It's been a week since I posted. I am truly remorseful. I promise.
(Maybe not so much -- it was a hell of a week on several levels.)
So, here's the recap, montage-style. Here, you can play the fast-paced Hawaii-5-0 theme song for background, if you like.
4th of July was spent in the Tropics beach bar. Many sail boats. More Tiki torches. Have to admit: I have a real thing for Tiki torches now.
Fireworks over Ala Moana park were fab, especially from our table. And there was drunken fun. Followed by amateur beach fireworks. Hard to capture with the camera, but oh-so-fun to try!
Sunday we spent on the North Shore: Waimea Bay was gorgeous beyond belief. What happened was, parking was awful, so we parked around the bend at the Catholic Church. And no, this wasn't Bad & Wrong because the youth group CHARGED for parking as a fund raiser. Screw the car wash thing -- charge the tourists $5 to park. We loved it. And besides, we then didn't worry about leaving our valuables in the trunk. Upshot is? Camera and purse were in the trunk, so if you want to see beautiful Waimea bay, you have to go yourself. Or look up one of the undoubtedly millions of other pics out there. But here's one of the beach bar at Turtle Bay.
Yes, there is a theme.
Then I went to work. And David played. With the local herons, koi and seahorses. I know. Don't ask.
And then, Tuesday after work, I went swimming and it was the straw on the camel's back of two days of non-stop snorkeling and beach-walking.
It rebelled and I was sad.
The "now I can't walk much at all" kind of sad.
But we managed to make it to some great restaurants: The Ocean, House Without a Key, Go Mate, Cheeseburgers, Seafood Paradiso, Roy's. And our breakfast spot on the lagoon. Included just because Marin agrees that "lagoon" is a great word.
Overall, it was wonderful. We worked hard. (Not David. Or Joe. In fact, the valets got quite a kick out of them loading Val, Laurie and I into the car for the workday and waving goodbye.)
But when you have a view of Diamondhead, somehow it's not quite so bad.
Monday, July 6, 2009
At any rate, I had them at Hanauma Bay yesterday and didn’t have them this morning when we got ready to go to the North Shore. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is part beach resort, part shopping mall, so it was easy to stop into one of the shops, so I could pick up some new sunglasses.
I quickly realized my mistake when David pointed to a pair in a glass cabinet saying they’d look pretty on me and I spotted the discreet Gucci sign next to them. The Japanese saleswoman, though, coached me through a purchase. She quickly determined only two brands would do for me, since I like polarized lenses. It wasn’t an easy sell – I don’t like dark lenses and David doesn’t give the thumbs up to anything too big. We finally found a pair of Oakleys that we both thought I looked good in. They were more than I wanted to spend. She knocked the price down and assured me, “Oakley sunglasses – many dream to have.”
I bought them as much to give her the sale for working so hard as to shield my eyes from the Hawaiian sun.
Not because they were something I dreamed to have.
It’s inescapable, the presence of the Japanese tourists here. The princesses in their designer clothes and stilettos, mincing with determined entitlement, escorted by consciously cool young men. The family groups – several generations traveling in their own pack. Their close-packed competitive culture leads them to push to the front, to block the way, to dive into the elevator before people have managed to come out. They follow a list of their own: some tourist destinations are packed with Japanese, others conspicuously void of them.
Hanauma Bay, for instance, is on their list of must-do’s. We spent the afternoon at the beach park, recommended as one of the 25 best snorkeling spots in the world. I snorkeled three times during the day. Still not as good as the Caribbean, to my mind. David swam in the sparkling waters. Otherwise we laid like slugs, watching the palm fronds wave overhead.
And watching the young Japanese couples arrive, pose on the beach for photos, trading the camera back and forth. The girl wears a floppy sunhat, glances over her shoulder and frames her face with elegant fingers. The boy waves a surfing hand gesture. They leave again, having checked off another point on their dream to have list.
Others do it, too. A Russian family – or some sort of Soviets, judging by the language – arrived, donned their snorkel gear, swam for fifteen minutes and left again.
As we left, I overheard a ranger telling a guest about a woman who saw a sea turtle while snorkeling. “She said it was the most beautiful experience of her life,” he assured the visitor.
At Waimea Bay today, it was all about the long term visitors. The water is crystal and aquamarine, gently lapping over soft white sand. People spent the afternoon, playing. Hanging.
I saw a group of teens playing a game while I snorkeled by. They would dive down to the white sand bottom – ten/twelve feet deep – pick up a bowling-ball sized rock and walk along the bottom with it as long as they could. I don’t know what the contest was based on. Strength, certainly. Holding their breath, too. And all below the water, where only they could see.
The dream to have isn’t about having, I don’t think. It’s about the image in the camera. About the image you want to present. If I have this, if I look like that, if I can say I’ve been to this place and done that thing, then I’ve accomplished something. Maybe become someone special.
Someone who has had the most beautiful experience of her life.
Dream to have.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
A friend once told us there was no point in coming to Honolulu because it’s just like any big city. Any gorgeous big city dancing along a beautiful beach on a tropical island that is.
It’s funny to spend 4th of July with palm trees and fruity drinks. Instead of beer, brownies, bing cherries and fried chicken, today will be about chocolate-covered macadamias, mahi-mahis and pina coladas. Maybe a key lime martini, if I get lucky.
My new addiction: the key lime martini. Of course, I had my first one in Laramie, Wyoming, but that’s neither here nor there.
Hilton delivers as always. And no, they don’t pay me to say it. (Though I’m not too proud to let them, were they so inclined…) Hilton Hawaiian village is right in the city and right on the beach. With gorgeous tropical pools, flaming torches and a non-stop party.
This is not your quiet, pristine Caribbean get away, it’s true. It’s more the Las Vegas strip goes to the beach. Which has its own charm.
And nothing beats waking to this sight.
Friday, July 3, 2009
I'm thinking 20 years or so. I flew out to Los Angeles for Spring Break my junior year, with two sorority sisters and five SAE's, to stay at the Pacific Palisades house of one of the guy's parents. Then I drove out with Darren a year after college and flew home from LAX. He was doing set design for Debbie Gibson videos which, if I hadn't 'fessed it up already, would tell you exactly how old I am. Think Electric Blue. Right.
At any rate, LA hasn't really been a work destination and is almost never a transfer hub. San Francisco, yes; LAX, no. I don't know why. Except on our trip to Hawaii now.
So, the iconic LAX control tower arches are heavily scaffolded, as you can see. Maybe everyone knew this but me. Turns out they're unstable. I just Googled it to find out. And I swear I called them "iconic" before I found this article. To prove it, I exercised integrity and did not go back and edit out "control tower" and change it to "restaurant." Note that article is pretty old -- I feel quite sure the restaurant was closed longer than six months. I can see why it struggled since 9/11 - you have to exit security to get to it. Which is really too bad, because there are no decent sit-down restaurants in our three-terminal area.
Another reason why this isn't much of a hub, I suppose. Or because it isn't much of a hub, there's not much reason to entice travelers with attractive facilities. That and lunch came with a nearly 10% sales tax. I don't know if that's special for the airport or if everyone pays that.
Even now I sit in a hallway. On the floor, my back to the window you see in the photo. There are electrical outlets here. Several of us are interspersed along the long walkway, sucking up the juice, charging up for the long flights ahead. If "they" were smart, they'd set up benches or chairs here. Except, as David points out, they probably don't want to encourage this kind of behavior.
Outside, the sky is unpromising grey. I wonder if it's true that it never rains here. LA sprawls before you when you fly in. A vast and thirsty city.
I'm ready to move on.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
You know what I mean -- I'm just not into the patriotic thing. I hang a flag on 4th of July, but not really any other time. I know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and even the other verses of America the Beautiful, but that's more being a lyrics nerd. I've never felt like I should buy an American car nor do I check if products are American made. I don't have much patience for people who reduce discussions of the US to "love it or leave it" terms.
When we planned to move to Canada, it had nothing to do with my approval or disapproval of the American government. That's not why we were going and my feeling towards the country of my birth and citizenship had nothing to do with anything. And we didn't change our minds for those reasons.
So it surprises me to find that I'm feeling something about keeping our money in the country.
Never mind that we really felt like the Canadians tried to take us for all we're worth. Never mind that they acted like our money was no good and that we deserved additional credit penalties on our mortgage, just for being Americans. There's something else.
Something that has to do with the US Customs agents saying "Welcome Home," when we come back into the country.
Certainly setting up a US mortgage feels like beyond easy at this point.
I participated in a webinar for work today on a new project. It's for state efforts funded by the stimulus act, which requires a certain amount of the materials used to be American. We'd be evaluating the requests for waivers from the requirements, say if the widget needed can only be obtained from Japan. The examples of what we might look for naturally lead to the ways that an applicant might slant the research to show there's no equivalent American product, whether from laziness or a vested interest in something else.
It made me think. Who would be the person who would deliberately not buy American? Probably no one. It's more about the change in thinking, to deliberately seek out the American equivalent, if it exists. To go to some extra pain and expense to do so.
For a while my mom was resolved to buy nothing from China. After a while, she was forced to give up. In great frustration. It simply couldn't be done, unless she went without. I suppose she could have done so, but that wasn't really the point. She still makes the effort.
I suppose that's what the Big Switch comes to. We wouldn't have made the choice deliberately to keep our money in country, but now that we are, I feel good about it. So many budget cuts around us. It feels good to spend our money into something that will, in turn, give back to us.