Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let the craziness continue

Well, the week started off with an offer on the house, and then it just got crazier after that.

Our realtor called about 9pm on Sunday night saying she had an offer on our house and asking if she could stop by.  We spent about an hour with her discussing a "low ball offer" from a couple who had been at the house twice in the past week. Although we were pleased to get an offer, we didn't agree with their low offer which included us paying them a sizeable amount at closing so they could update bathrooms including knocking out walls, adding a shower and other crazy stuff like that.  They also wanted to buy a new air conditioner and furnace even though they are working fine and come with a seller's warranty.

But we played the game and came up with our counter offer on Monday morning.  That began a series of back and forth offers for most of Monday. By the end of the day, the deal was off because the prospective buyers could not get the ridiculous price they wanted.  We felt like we wasted an entire day, but we both got comfortable with our bottom line in selling the house.  I'm sure this will help us down the road with more serious offers.

Laundry room is finished!

Next came a realtor's open house mid-week.  In preparation,we raced around like crazy people. We cleaned decks and windows, painted siding, finished the laundry room  and then of course did our normal house cleaning!  We had about 20 realtors traipse through the house, and the feedback was very positive.  Hopefully all of this work will result in additional showings.

Mirror in mirror in mirror...

Tonight we put up a funky new mirror in the master bathroom.   Of course we still need new lights and a vanity, but tomorrow is another day...

And despite all this house stuff, we find time for fun stuff...

Proud PBR momen

One of our neighborhood hangouts, Old Chicago, started another mini-beer tour. Eight American beers in 3 weeks gets you a free t-shirt.  One of the highlights so far was seeing Mike drink a PBR for the first time ever.  Somehow I think my dad is smiling over this...

I have been reading the book "Wild" this past week. It's a great tale of a woman who hiked the Pacific Coast Trail by herself.  Very graphic (describes losing toenails to ill-fitting hiking boots) and very inspirational as she rediscovers herself walking mile upon mile.  It was Oprah's book choice this month.

It might have been the influence of this book, but this morning I had a crazy idea of riding our bikes before it got too hot!  We decided to ride from my house into Ankeny and onto the High Trestle Trail.  We rode about 22 miles in 97 degree heat and a horrible headwind, but we made it!

I also found some time recently to pull out the beads and paint and make this small vase for my mom out of a perfume bottle from an antique store...

Beaded vase

And of course, here are the latest pics of flowers in my gardens...
Textured coneflower

Field of coneflowers

Pink lace
Hazy yellow

Hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!  Stay cool!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

What up with that?

Ok, if you watch Saturday Night Live, you are familiar with the "what up with that?" skits.  Mike and I got on a kick of repeating this phrase when we encounter new stuff or things we just don't get.  Here are a few examples from the past couple of weeks:


**Confessions and concessions are one letter apart-after a recent fire in Mike's church, they are now holding Mass in the gym.  We noticed that the "concession" sign had been revised to say "confession".

**CD's and DVD's are modern day scare crows-We attended a great Greek Dinner at Anita and Henry's, and they had several of these tied to arbors and trees to keep away birds.  They were beautiful twirling and reflecting the light.

**The glove box light in a '73 Dodge Challenger can run down the battery if left on for more than 1 we found out on a recent trip back to Mike's house.  That is one heavy car to push out of the garage!

**Pineappling-According to our friend Kevin who farms in central Illinois, pineappling is when the corn leaves twist into points (like a pineapple) during a drought.  Unfortunately we saw this a lot on a recent visit to central Illinois and southern Indiana.  They are in desperate need of rain!

**House showings-it's really odd to know that nameless, faceless people have gone through your house when you aren't there, and they give you feedback on what they do and don't like.

**Lists-my sweetie is a convert to lists.  He has his own "major" and "minor" list of things he has to do to my house.  He gets into a slight panic if he misplaces the list.  That's why I added it to his iPad.

**Sounds you don't want to hear from your kitchen...the head tile floor installer telling his apprentice "you are bleeding on the floor...clean it up!"

**Some church signs are so creative...

We saw this while driving in Southern Indiana

**Cats like newly carpeted steps and new faucets...


Blue Belle:  Where's the water?

**Vegetables look so much better on new counter tops...


It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks with lots of house showings (meaning lots of cleaning-YUCK!) and continued work finishing up some house projects.  No bites yet on the house, but a couple of people have been here for a second look...

Here's some of the recent progress...

Downstairs guest bath-new vanity and space age lights
New hallway lights replaced ugly can lights

Mike built stand for sump pump battery.  He was excited to use the plasma cutter and welder!
Mike built a new arch for the cabinets-replaced the wavy ones we were sure came from Cracker Barrel
Laundry room-freshly painted, new linoleum and trim

We took a break from house stuff to catch up with friends and family in Indiana and Illinois.  We visited my mom and enjoyed some wonderful meals with family.  Mom cooked a mean roast in the crock pot, brother Gary cooked an excellent pork roast on his Green Egg and we had a wonderful lunch at the Gerst House (one of our favorite German restaurants in Southern Indiana)  with mom, sister Angie, and nephews Adam and Dane.  

Mike and I enjoyed a good bike ride on the USI trails.  We also had some wonderful down time sitting on the backyard swing with mom and enjoying Angie's new pergola.  After all the circulation problems and surgeries mom has had on her leg, one of my favorite moments was watching her run across the front yard chasing away the neighbor's dog.  I didn't know she could run that fast!  

We spent a couple of hours with Kevin and Kathy in their pool on a hot afternoon.  We also enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with our friend John catching up on life over the past month.  It was a whirlwind week, but it was a much needed break from the house.

Last night we saw an awesome bluegrass show at the Des Moines Civic Center. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers performed for a couple of hours, and it was a great combination of comedy and great music.  Steve Martin is hilarious and plays a mean banjo.  He said he joined up with the Steep Canyon Rangers after hearing them at a party in North Carolina. He doesn't view them as "his band"; instead he is "their celebrity".  Still tapping my foot today after hearing some amazing banjo, guitar and fiddle playing...

And of course, I feel compelled to finish this entry with yet another flower picture...what up with that anyway?

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stop and smell the roses

Stop and smell the roses

Our friend John was taking care of Mike's house last week, and he commented that he stopped to smell the fragrant roses on his way in the house.

I know how nature can transport us to a quieter place, and so here is a brief tour of my recent wanderings through the outdoors.

Pink petunias

Pink roses

Peach lily

Orange lily

Golden lily

Lacy yellow

 Mike's fig tree

Solitary coneflower

Iowa black raspberries

Indiana red raspberries

My camera and flowers are a delightful respite from an extremely busy and stressful time at my house.  Between multiple contractors, cleaning up ever-settling tile dust and lots of house showings, Mike and I are fried!  It was a sign of the times that both of us forgot our 4th wedding anniversary last week.  Oops!  

So we are taking a break to breathe and forget about remodeling.  Yesterday and today I got in some great neighborhood walks.  Mike enjoyed steak and beer at Boys Night Out.  I had a great dinner with Melanie and then met up with Mike and Chuck for a few beers on the patio of a local restaurant.  Hanging with friends is a wonderful way to stop and smell the roses!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moving right along

Contractor our driveway

Kitchen table, guitars and desk drawers residing in the living room as painters and tilers complete their work.

Things are moving right along with the house.  It's been contractor city here with painters, tile floor guys and today the carpet installers.  People have been here Monday-Friday from 7-5 almost every day for 2 weeks.  Kind of like a normal work week now that I think about it.  And then Mike continues to do everything else...

Mike installed new kitchen light fixture
Mike installing aluminum tape on mirror

We needed to remove an old mirror from the master bath.  Mike and I learned something new here involving aluminum tape and heat gun and shims.  We were able to remove the mirror in one piece and prevent many years of bad luck!

Mike installed new vanity in guest bath

New tile floor in kitchen

New tile hearth

Freshly painted front doors

Mike prep work for carpet

New carpet

So, it's the end of another day here in Iowa.  We were thinking tomorrow would be a banner day...the painter finishes and carpet is stretched and finished.  Then I walked into the house to take some pictures for this blog and I realize they forgot to carpet the steps into my living room!  Does this ever get easier???