Monday, October 13, 2014

Taking a Moment to Brag

I was truly blessed with the best family. Sometimes when I hear others talk about their family relationships, I realize yet again how grateful I am for the family I have. When I moved back to Phoenix in February two of my brothers and my dad came up from Yuma, some taking work off to help me move in on a Friday, to a third story walk-up. They also at the time offered to help me move out when I bought a house and said going down would be a lot easier than hauling my stuff up. (Just as a reminder to those who offered, my move-out date is Saturday, November 15th. Thanks ahead of time, guys.)

Buying this house has been another proof of their amazingness. They are so helpful and considerate. The windows had no coverings whatsoever and I really wanted to get curtains up but I wanted to do them inexpensively and I also wanted to learn how to sew. So I bought painter's canvas and cut a panel to the size I wanted. My mom loaned me her sewing machine and I attempted my first solo sewing project. It was TERRIBLE. Seriously bad.

I called my mom almost in tears, feeling a desperate urge to get curtains up in the house for my sister and her family. My mom was planning on coming to town that weekend for something else but immediately promised to stay and help. My sister-in-laws, Tennille and Nancy, were coming into town too and enthusiastically offered their help and time. In a couple hours that Saturday, they had all 8 panels sewn.

I also bought some inexpensive sheers but the rod-pocket was not large enough to fit on the curtain rod I bought. So without any notice, I showed up at Nancy's house on a trip home with material and thread. Without any complaint she went right to work. She tried to teach me to sew, which I did appreciate, but then I screwed up her machine and we agreed to leave the remaining sewing to her. They fit perfectly now.

Before the curtains were even finished, I bought the curtain rods, hooks, and finials. I wanted the rods and hooks up so even though I didn't have curtains my sister could throw sheets or blankets or something up to cover the windows. My brother Matthew and brother-in-law Josh offered to help and went right to work figuring how to get them up. Which let me tell you, it may look simple, but it was not a simple process. My dad even helped put up a couple when he was here. And my brother and bro-in-law re-did a couple for me because I hadn't measured right the first time. What great patience they all showed with me.

To save money for curtain rods, I just bought long wood dowels from Home Depot and had them cut to the lengths I wanted. I did want to dress up the rods so I also bought these finials and once again my family did the work of screwing the pilot holes and centering them for me. (I will paint the whole thing white soon.)

This past Friday my dad taught some classes after work, then drove three hours getting in past midnight, just to get up early and help me start painting my house. After painting, he drove home that night to make his early morning Sunday meetings. Before we could paint, we had to demo the master closet because I have a new closet being installed this week. My dad jumped right in and did all the demo and then we started painting. We got the closet, hallway and moved into the living room. The whole house was painted in a pinkish beige and while the paint job was recently done and in good shape, I think its too dark. I chose Ultra Pure White from Behr and I love it, I can't wait to see the whole house painted.

Also just to use up the paint we had in the tray we did a strip down the living room ceiling. I'm doing the ceiling in the same color just with a flat finish. This was the only ceiling part I did, my dad did the closet and hallway ceiling. I learned I am not a natural painter and its a good thing I have a day job. But I did like painting much better than sewing, thank goodness because I have quite a bit more to do.

With my dad in town, my brother Matthew and his family came over to visit and despite him being tired and there just to visit, he put on my new programmable thermostat. So grateful for his help. So many little projects in a house and they are never ending. A couple weekends ago my brother in law also put together my lawn mower, mowed my backyard, and put up light controllers on the outside lights.

My family hasn't just helped with projects, they help with everything. I called my brother Ben last week because I have a CPE conference in Vegas in December and I asked if I could stay at his place for the week. Before I finished my sentence, he said of course. He also let me and my best friend stay there in July when he and his family were out of town. I can't list the innumerable times my family has lovingly, patiently, without complaint, jumped in and helped me. I know I worry less about life and am willing to try more things because I know they'll be there to help if when I need them. They also are really fun and cool and we always have a great time together.

There is a song I learned in church as a child, it says "I have a fam'ly here on earth. They are so good to me. I want to share my life with them through all eternity." I believe that there is life after death and that families can be together forever. My family truly is good to me and I am supremely grateful I get to spend now and forever with them. They're the best!

These photos were taken by Josh's (far left) Grandpa Price this past May. We were in my parent's backyard in Yuma. I love having a big family, more people to help me ;)

Also more cuties to love on! 20 nieces and nephews, yep, go ahead and count them. And there are more on the way! I love being an Aunt to the best, cutest kids in the world.

So blessed and so grateful!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Diving in Head First

A couple things about me - big changes petrify me and large financial commitments stress me. I am a tax CPA, I have an accounting bachelor degree and a master's of taxation. I studied the financial world for five years and have been working in that world for four. I firmly believe a good house is a good investment, yes markets can fall but they also rise. Armed with all my financial knowledge and with a bevy of years of advice/tips from my fixer-upper parents, I began the house hunt.

I met with my realtor, Cristy Christy, (nope, not a typo that is her name) for the first time on June 30th. After one prior offer and withdrawal, I found this place on Monday, August 4th and made an offer. By that Friday, I was in my 10 day inspection period. In less than a month and a half I went from the looking phase to the purchasing phase. All the time I remained surprisingly calm and confident about my choice. I kept waiting for the freak out, a major meltdown but it never came.

Because the process went so much faster than I had expected or planned, I did have a little bit of a dilemma. I have a lease on my apartment till mid-November. I was closing mid-September. Two months of rent and a mortgage and double utilities. As a solution, I asked if my sister and her family wanted to rent from me. They were moving to Phoenix and needed a place. I gave them a pretty good price and a deal was struck. It wasn't ideal, my very first home and my sister was going to move in first but it was the most logical and financially best choice.

The week of closing, I got all my utilities set up and the day before close I did my final walk through. Everything looked great and still no buyer's remorse or worry. Even though I felt confident about the decision, the financial obligation was still very large and I was expecting buyer's remorse to hit soon probably as soon as title cleared. On Friday I checked my email all day long waiting to hear when title cleared and I could get keys. Finally, around 3pm the email came. I was so excited, I made plans to meet my realtor with keys at 4:30pm and left work a little early. And still only excitement and anticipation, no remorse whatsoever.

I got to my brand new house and found my sister with a look on her face, something was wrong. As I walked in my brand new house I saw gas station cups on the counter, odd, those hadn't been there last night. The arcadia door to the backyard was wide open. The guest bathroom had been peed on, all over. The final devastating blow, someone had smoked an entire cigarette in my master bedroom. Butt and ashes left on the windowsill and ashes on the brand new carpet. It reeked of smoke.

I saw red!

What?! Who?! WHY?! Why MY brand new house, didn't they know this was my first ever home purchase? Why is society so screwed up? I was so angry and I had no one to blame. No one to pay for this. No one to clean it up. No one to make it all go away. It was my home, my responsibility. It was hard for me to swallow this.

Due to my blinding anger and a prior super unhelpful police incident, I figured it was pointless calling the police. Lesson 1: hopefully this never happens again, but if so I will call the police. Also, I had my sister's family moving in the very next day and I had a mess to clean up, so we cleaned up all the evidence before I even thought to take a picture. Lesson 2: Take photos first thing. (Though on a personal level I'm glad I don't have photos of the desecration, I think they would still bring up so much anger and without them it just feels like a horrible nightmare.)

Needless to say I had a long weekend of scrubbing every inch of the floor, ceiling, and walls. A few other things went wrong that weekend. It was a long, exhausting couple of days. I definitely dove headfirst into real life home ownership. Strangely enough, despite the great deal of anger I felt and the frustrations of the weekend, I never felt buyer's remorse.  25 days in and I still feel good about my purchase.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grown Up Moment

There are moments in my life that feel really big, really important. And the thought comes, "This is a grown up moment, I can't believe I'm a grown up." Paying my first utility bills - grown up. First car purchase - grown up. First real job with a 401k - definitely grown up. The greatest grown up moment in my life came two weeks ago - BUYING A HOUSE - when did I get so grown up? Apparently, September 12, 2014 - when this little beauty became mine.

It has FANTASTIC bones! A great brick home built in 1958. Super large windows for its time AND good size walk-in closets in not one, but two bedrooms.

The entry way and a little coat closet.

I have a giant front/living room. And a giant window. I love them both. Though the windows are original so I will be replacing them soon with better double-paned ones.

You can see the dining area from the entry way and living room. The hutch seen here I bought from the prior owner, the dining table I did not. Also, the giant random living room mirror will be removed.

The dining area has an arcadia (sliding) door to the backyard. I plan to replace it with french doors.

Kitchen. It will most definitely be updated. But I am grateful for the sink - super deep and heavy duty. No dishwasher yet but a great sink.

Another great thing about the house, two full bathrooms. Its amazing how many old homes in central Phoenix only have one bathroom or one and half bathrooms.

The bathrooms will also be getting a makeover. Like the kitchen they are dated but still in great condition, well taken care of by the previous owners.

First bedroom, next to the living room, across from the bathroom.

Second bedroom, bigger than the first, a great size. The picture was taken from the walk-in closet.

Master bedroom. The door showing is the bathroom, the walk-in closet is just off the right side of the screen, along the same wall as the bathroom.

Master bathroom. I look forward to updating it.

Back porch, super large, love it.

Really large lot and a backyard full of potential.

I want grass, trees and a trampoline. Also on the far left of the house, that last tiny window is a storage/workshed. Currently it only holds my washing machine. We have some plans for that room.

So another cute point about the house, I'm only the second owner! The original owners passed away and left the home to their daughter. She painted it, re-carpeted and immediately put it on the market. The very first day on the market I saw it on my lunch break and put in my offer that night. I have always wanted an old home, I definitely didn't think I'd start with my first home though. But the fact that it is more than a half a century old makes me so happy. And it was definitely well loved and well taken care of. I found a terrific first home, such a blessing.

I have some big plans for the place, some painting, updating, a few built in shelves, a garage. Its exciting. I'm grateful to have a really helpful dad and helpful supportive family. So without further adieu... welcome to my home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DC Fun

On the July 5th, I met up with an old co-worker/friend from Phoenix for dinner in Alexandria. The place was right on the river and Alexandria was a really cute place to walk around.

Chart House...gorgeous

in every detail! The entire place was beautiful!

My friend Meg, and yes our table looked out to the water :)

My soup trio: clam chowder, lobster bisque, and gazpacho. Superb!

Hello hottie ;)

My succulent lobster, the asparagus and rice were perfect compliments.

Plate licked clean, no other words necessary.

The next day we went to the pool and I joined Dane and Neve in the water, while the mom and Brynn watched Blythe under the shade.  Wimps :) 

Love this girl, "I'm diving, but wait there's a camera...gotta pose."

Later that afternoon my mom, dad, and I went into DC to see the Capitol. Even though I've been to DC several times I had never actually gone inside the Capitol.

I loved that they had a statue of a Mormon prophet inside and talked about him on the tour.

The main rotunda

I love the details they used to put into buildings.

 I guess I got my love of touring from them, they have to know every detail.

So adorable, flirty old people and a giant statue.

Mom offering to take a photo of me. I'm a bit blurry, but dad is in focus ;) Next time, Mom.

I absolutely loved this statue of Helen Keller, I want in my garden someday.

 The sun was too bright, oh well.

Also something I will have in my garden. It will be a fabulous garden.

Later we had slurpees from 7/11 and lit off our own fireworks in the park behind Ben's house.  The kids loved doing the fireworks. And I have affirmed the decision to never buy the "BIG" firework type again. We bought some "HUGE" fountain for the finale, we had several other fireworks that were more colorful, went higher, and lasted longer. Lesson learned. But still it was a great night!

Dane loved them, Neve didn't love the sound.

Despite the sound, she loved watching them too.

The pyrotechnician (my brother Ben)

He's a smug pyrotechnician isn't he?

No matter my age I will always love sparklers, they're awesome!

 Neve shared my love of them.

The "Grand Finale".

The photographer, who also likes to be in front of the camera :)