Friday, May 28, 2010

House Hunting (still)

I'm starting to hate house-hunting. El Burrito just turned four, and we still don't have a non-family babysitter lined up, so any house visits mean adding an hour beforehand for dropping off, and another hour after for picking up from Grandma's house. Blah.

We made an offer on one house, but they're underwater on the loan and still want what they paid for the house 3 years ago, when the housing market peaked. I suspect they had an interest-only loan or something scary like that, but who knows. We couldn't agree on a price, so it's off the table unless they drop the price again.

We've looked at, I think, 15 houses in the past week. One got marked off the list - serious water issues, they were replacing carpet and regrading the lot on the day we were going to look. That's enough to get them dropped from the possibles list.

Went to look at a house yesterday. In a nice planned development - mixed residential and business, which I like, but there were problems. First, little to no yard space, and what was there, wasn't fence-able because of the driveway location. Second, planned development = HOA and restrictions. There was a copy of the regulations & restrictions available; I stopped after reading the (short) list of approved trees, the single maker of approved mailboxes, and the shrub requirements (14 per lot - 2 5-gallon, 4 2-gallon, 8 1-gallon, all in mulch-beds). It went on for another few dozen pages - restrictions on what you can make raised beds and garden fences out of, sidewalk materials, paint colors, etc.

The house looked lovely in the pictures, and when we drove by. Nice wrap-around porch, screen deck, windows, dormers. Sigh. Turned out that the porch was maybe 3 feet deep all around - more of a covered sidewalk than a porch. No room for someone to walk past if you're sitting on the porch.

I think it's probably not at the top of the list. We need a yard.

Right now, the best option is one we looked at last week. Nice big house, 5 bedrooms (2 master suites - one on the top floor, one in the basement), split level decks, retractable awning. It does have a smallish fenced yard, which is all sloped, and not a little bit of slope, either. But it gets enough sunlight that grass will grow there. It's a tall house, though - two flights of stairs to the upper floor. If we lived there, I'd have leg muscles. :) It also has an open cathedral ceiling in the living room - the light fixtures are maybe 20 feet up. Be a bitch to change the bulbs there. The tall wall is all wood paneling, which looks pretty nice.

The yard is my big sticking point, and all the stairs. But it would probably do for a 3 or 4 years, until we could find ground and build our own.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I seem to be on a puppet kick. It's partly due to El Burrito's upcoming birthday - he's asked for a puppet or two, and likes to play with the library's puppet collection. I've managed to come up with three so far, a dog, an elephant, and a Tweety bird. Paid 50 cents each for them - one at a yard sale, the others at Goodwill this week.

The dog originally had a barker attachment, so that he'd bark every time his mouth moved. I took care of that easily enough; it wasn't sewn in well at all. I spent half an hour htis morning sewing his mouth back together and re-stuffing his head, since I had to de-stuff him in order to flip him inside out and de-bark him.

And now it occurred to me (last night) to search Ravelry for crocheted puppet patterns. It's a slippery slope, but fun. I've found one that looks almost exactly like Kermit, a sock monkey, a really neat (but not free) parrot, and some others. Then I went looking for amigurumi. The slope got steeper - a whale (chart only, and the notes are in Japanese), horses, moose, penguins.

And do you know the kicker in all this? 95% of my yarn is unreachable. I can find two skeins of brown, one bright red, and one green/blue variegated right now. And none of it would work well for the patterns I've found. Makes the no-new-yarn ban kind of problematic.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More annoying fluff

Related to yesterday's post - today I read a local women's (woman's?) magazine, a freebie that you can pick up around town. The first page was an ad for a local place that does HCG weight loss, written to look like an editor's page or article, claiming weight losses of 8-13 pounds per week. It was marked "advertisement" at the bottom, but at first glance, you'd get the impression that it was an article.

I can't explain exactly why, but it offended me. Maybe because I'd like to lose weight, but hormone injections probably aren't the way to go, even if it doesn't scream "scam" to me. Because you know, the 500-calories-per-day diet is probably behind most of the weight loss, and that's just not healthy. Plus the recommended exercise, and - at least for some people - other meds like Phentermine (anyone remember the Fen-Phen mess?). Not to mention that I'd be starving and cranky on that kind of diet.

Or maybe all the defenders are right, and I'm an idiot for not signing up myself.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


For the record, OK magazine seems to be the fluffiest thing I've ever read. I finished the first issue (free subscription - SO glad I'm not paying for this stuff) in 20 minutes or so. And the hypocrisy, sheesh. Jennifer Aniston "lost 7 pounds in 7 days" but "her body is her temple" and she takes "her physical health seriously." Yeah, which totally contradicts every study that says losing weight that fast is generally not a good idea. (Okay, people with massive amounts to lose may be able to average 7 pounds/week at some points, but a person as already-thin as J Aniston doesn't have that much to lose in the first place.

Also (from the Gifts Mom will Love! article) - if anyone in my family blew $98 plus shipping for 9 bars of soap, I'd pass out from shock. And on awakening, would have to ask them what the everloving crumbs they were thinking?? Ditto for the $48 candles and $285 diary (probably 1-year, non-refillable). Oy. Seriously, $10 a bar for soap?!?!