Monday, January 24, 2011

Round 2

On Saturday, Steve and I went looking for our next project.  This time we are looking in North Houston because there are newer homes up there going through foreclosure.  We found a few we really liked but they are government foreclosures so there are a lot of hoops to jump through.  Keep your fingers crossed for us because these homes will only require inside paint, new carpet (or just cleaning in some cases), and that's about it. 

It is raining all day today so I think that will set the flooring guys back a day.  I am so excited to see them when they are finished! 

After we looked at houses, we went to the driving range to hit golf balls.  I am slowly getting better and more consistant.  It is a process but I am being patient.  While I was waiting for Steve to finish, I did a little people watching.  If you have never people watched at a driving range, go do it!  I used to think the mall was the best place to people watch, but I have changed my mind.  After we got in the car, I made Steve sit there with me for a little bit so we could keep watching. 

There was a guy on the far end who was pushing about 400lbs and was hitting 2 balls at a time.  Steve said there is an exercise you can do involving 2 golf balls but you are only supposed to make contact with one.  This guy was clearly doing it wrong. 

Then there was a teenage girl who was doing practice swings that looked great, but when she finally hit the ball (it took her about 5 minutes between each ball), it was a bit disappointing.  Looking the part is half the battle though.

Then there were the two good ole boys drinking beer and attempting to practice their swings.  One guy kept complaining about his back hurting, and by the looks of his swing, I could see why.

There were probably 3 guys out there who seemed to know what they were doing, aside from Steve, so that was refreshing to see. 

Then there were a couple other groups of guys out hitting balls together who were not good at all.  Finally, my favorite guy, was this man who was about 6'8" and appeared to be using a youth size golf club.  He could have been on his knees and then maybe it would have been the right size. 

Ahhhhh...good times.  I feel like I can people watch because I'm sure a few people have gotten a kick out of my attempts. 

If I am going to take this whole golfing thing seriously, I am going to need the appropriate attire.  Here are some outfits I think would be functional and classy:


Seriously though, if I am going to dress the part, I should proably wear Callaway.  Here are some outfits that are cute:  Cute Callaway Clothes    I'm glad I get new clothes with this sport!

Friday, January 21, 2011

25 Things You May Not Know About Me

US Weekly has a little section in it called "25 things you may not know about (insert celebrity name here)" that I love to read (well, used to since I haven't gotten an issue from them in about 5 years!).  Well, I know I'm no celebrity, yet, but I thought I would compile a list about me too.  So, here it goes:

1.  I went on 4 mission trips to the Dominican Republic when I was in middle/high school.  They were the most rewarding times of my life. 
2.  I am completely addicted to General Hospital.  I love it and have watched it since the 7th grade.  In fact, I'm watching it right now.
3.  I hate cold weather.  In a perfect world, I would spend everyday at the beach.
4.  I love Taco Bell.  Steve loves it too and we briefly considered having them cater our wedding.
5.  I love to be around people, yet love being lazy on the couch just as much.
6.  I love reality television.  My favorites are:  Jersey Shore, Real Housewives (all of the cities), American Idol, Teen Mom, anything on HGTV or Food Network, Man vs Food, I could go on and on...
7.  I could eat sushi every day and never get sick of it.
8.  I have tried almost every sport but was never very good at any of them.
9.  Mayonnaise is my favorite condiment.  I feel fat just saying that, but it is delicious!  Hellmann's too....none of that Miracle Whip crap.
10. I want a Siamese cat.  Steve doesn't want a Siamese, so I am trying to figure out a way to make it happen.
11. I have moved every year since I moved out of my parents' house.  Even if I stayed in the same city, I moved residences.
12. I have to sleep with a bite guard because I clench my teeth in my sleep.
13. I have a very weird memory.  I can't remember what I was told 5 minutes ago, yet I can remember details of things that happened years ago.
14. My friend Beth turned me on to the Twilight series years before they got popular (the series wasn't even complete yet).  I like to believe we jump started their popularity.
15. I really want to be on TV for something.  I was on the news a couple times in college for little specialty pieces they did, but never got to see them.  Maybe Bravo or HGTV will want to follow me while I flip houses.                                       
16. In order to ensure I can be on TV, when Steve and I move I and going to apply to be on House Hunters.
17. I am incredibly cheap.  I hardly ever buy something if it isn't on sale.  I love luxurious and expensive things, but never buy them.
18. I can't drink coffee because it gives me migraines.
19. Although I am not fat, I am completely out of shape, yet I can not motivate myself to exercise.
20. I love the different games on Facebook and had quit cold turkey...until I downloaded Fish World on my iPad...whoopsie.
21. When I was little, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian.               
22. That probably explains my borderline unhealthy obsession with Chelsea Handler.
23. I want this blog to be featured as a Blog of Note on Blogger.  How can I make this happen?
24. I have a very small group of great friends and am fiercely loyal to them.
25. I am so in love with my husband, it's a little disgusting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Turn Around

Driving in Houston is a very 'interesting' experience.  I think the city planners here used to be stunt drivers because I feel like I need a fire retardant suit and a helmet every time I get out on the roads.  The easiest way to get around town is on one of the many interstates that cuts through and circles around town, and every interstate has one-way frontage roads that run along each side of it.  This is OK except for when you are getting off the interstate and need to take a right at your next light (like I do everyday coming home) because you must cut across the 3 lanes of the frontage road traffic from the exit ramp in about a 75 yard straightaway, and half of the cars on the frontage road need to make a left.  It is a constant bob and weave but people are sometimes courteous and let you in. 
Well, today was different.  There was a car getting off the interstate today who decided he wanted to go around me before we got to the light where we were both turning right.  This was a problem because a) only one car fits in a lane at a time and b) we only have about 20 yards left to negotiate this.  The good thing for me is that my Durango is about twice the size of his Ford Fusion.  I let him in because I didn't want to damage my car, but when I pulled up behind him, I was sure to lay on the horn (and I never honk because I think it's rude). 
After we made the turn, hotshot in his sweet ride, hauled butt through a residential neighborhood.  Sometimes there are cops hanging out and I was praying one would nab this joker.  Instead, he hit the first red light and I pulled up along side of him (which I loved because it proved that his speeding did nothing for him) to find that he was jamming out...head bob and his radio.  You will never believe what he was listening to.  Guess.  You'll never guess it.  OK, I'll tell you.  He was having the time of his life to "Don't Turn Around" by the talented 90s pop sensation, Ace of Base. 
After I had a good chuckle at his ridiculousness, I decided all's forgiven.  Anyone who can still enjoy Ace of Base that much must be an amazing person.  A classic like that tune lives on forever.

Here's to you Ford Fusion Speed Demon:

Scrunchy Situations

As most of my friends know, I am about 98% sure I do not want children. It's not that i don't like kids, I love them, I just like to give them back to their parents when I am done playing with them. If there was a way to skip over parenting and jump straight to grand parenting, I think that would be ideal for me. Since I'm pretty sure that isn't possible, and there aren't any 25 year olds I know of up for adoption, I think I will just stick to being an aunt. Many people have tried to talk me out of this decision and sell me on the joys of parenting, but I truly believe it's not for everyone, and the child is the one who suffers if the parents aren't 150% committed to being the absolute best they can be. So, I married a slightly older man who is indifferent about having kids, and all is right in the world.

On our flight to Tampa over New Year's, Steve and I sat behind a family. Directly in front of us was dad and his 2 young sons (probably 2 and 4), and across the aisle from them was mom and their youngest who was probably 6-8 months old. The kids were cute; the 4 year old kept telling his grandparents (I guess they were on the plane too) that he could see their bags and not to worry because they made it on the plane. I wish I could say the same for the parents...

Dad was a real piece of work. He gave the kids a play-by-play the ENTIRE flight. I thought, "What a good dad. He's making sure his kids are comfortable" for the first 10 minutes, and then I started to wonder if he was really trying to make himself more comfortable. The dialogue consisted of obvious dribble along the lines of, "Oh, we're backing up. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! OK, we stopped, I bet we will go forward now. Here we go.  Whee!!" I'm pretty sure I heard the 2 year old trying to say, "Dad, would you please shut it? You are embarrassing us!" Too bad he wasn't an advanced talker.

Right as we were allowed to turn on our electronic devices, the baby started to cry...and did not stop until we landed. It wasn't a screechy scream like some kids have had on some of my previous flights, so it was pretty easy to tune out. At one point though, the flight attendant come over and tried to calm the baby down by walking around with him. Guess she wasn't as successful at tuning out the crying.

When the plane landed, (don't worry, in case I wasn't paying attention, super-dad notified the 10 rows around him with his detailed observations) and everyone was waiting to get off the plane, I got a better look at mom, and that's when i saw it.....the scrunchy.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED a good scrunchy...back in 1994. Especially when it was matched perfectly with my newest 5-7-9 outfit. My friends and I wore our scrunchies on our wrists more as an accessory than as a tool to tie our hair back. This scrunchy however, was definitely not supposed to be a fashion statement. This poor mom looked as though she had been to war just before boarding the plane and definitely had no time to shower.

I texted a friend who is also on the fence about this whole kid thing, and asked if this is what happens when you have kids. You become captain obvious and forget to wash your hair???? I mean geez, the way these 2 are selling parenthood, where do I sign up?

Maybe its the southern girl in me who was raised being told that you don't leave the house unless you are ready to been seen, or the years in college where I shared a Publix with frat row and so you would to dress up to go grocery shopping, or the fact that I have a lot of gorgeous friends who have children and would never travel like this. Whatever it was, I wanted to tell captain obvious to think about helping his wife with the kids in the morning so she has time to bathe herself and find a suitable and current hair tie.

I soon realized that my breath would have been wasted, when he took the two kids by the hand and practically sprinted off the plane leaving mom to juggle the baby, 3 bags, and her scrunchy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quick update...

So I am running into a predicament which is that the house is almost complete, so I am soon going to run out of things to write about.  So...I decided that until we buy a new house, I will share with you my observations throughout the day, or whatever pops into my head....hold on tight.

Latest update on the house though, since I know you are all DYING to know:
I met with the flooring guys yesterday and was immediately impressed.  The owner of the company came by to introduce me to the project superintendent, Victor, and his co-worker, Pablo, and to make sure I was comfortable with everything.  Ray, the owner, basically prepared me for the absolute worst, which is very smart because my expectations are at a point where if they finish on time I will be impressed, and if something goes wrong, I am prepared for it.  This is sales 101 but no one has ever gone into this great of detail with me, and I truly appreciate it.  I pointed out to Ray a place on the floor where there was obviously a big leak and he said the wood was rotten and would need to be replaced.  He also had Victor sand one of the pet stains to see what happened.  With a little darker stain the spot really wasn't as noticeable and this was before they even tried to bleach it. 

Last night I got a call from Ray around 7:30 and he asked me to swing by the house today because they had bleached an area of the floor and wanted me to look at it as well as pick out a stain color before they moved forward.  The bleach made a world of difference.  He stained the bleached area with a medium brown stain and you could barely see the pet spot.  I gave him the go ahead to finish the room.  We are SO relieved that the entire house can be hardwoods.  Even better news is that after Victor sanded the spot where the water damage was, he realized the wood was not rotten and wouldn't have to be replaced after all.  That saves some money. 

In the meantime, I received a phone call from my very well-meaning, slightly nosey, neighbor with the boat in her yard saying that some guys were at the house working on the floors and she wanted to make sure they were supposed to be there.  Also, that the For Rent sign had disappeared and wanted me to know in case it was stolen.  My theory:  she wanted to know if I had rented the place and who I had rented it to.  I asked Victor and Pablo today if they had been visited by the neighbor and they laughed saying 'yes' and that a second neighbor had come by also.  I told them not to worry about them and that they are just nosey.  This got another laugh which made me like them even more...I like people who think I'm funny and they haven't even heard my good jokes yet.  I went to the neighbors' homes and told them thank you for the look out but that if in the future, someone were to break in and decided to do some work on the house, leave them alone and let them finish!  Boat lady seemed shocked, to say the least, that we had rented the place.  Maybe she thought her dirty house and yard full of cars and boats would have been enough of a deterrent.  Sorry lady, our house is just that great that people are willing to overlook your house!
In honor of my hard-working flooring refinishers, today's shout out goes to them:

If you need your floors done in Houston, these are your guys!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Finish Line is in Sight

It looks like the house project is wrapping up.  I am meeting the workers tomorrow to have the floors refinished, and to test the living room to see if we need to carpet or if those floors can be refinished as well.  You see, when Ray came over to give me a quote, he discovered that the spots on the floor in the living room are actually "pet stains" aka dog pee. 
Being a cat person, I'm sure you can understand my joy to find that a big smelly dog with no bladder control has ruined my hardwoods.  Apparently, the acid in animal urine soaks through 2/3 of the depth of the wood making it impossible to sand out.  The only way it can be fixed is to replace the boards where the stains are which is super expensive.  Ray used to own a fair amount of rental properties and told me the best financial option would be to carpet that room.  He promised to at least try to sand those areas to see if he is wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.  Steve and I went ahead and picked out some carpet so if Ray comes back with bad news, I can just call the carpet company and they can install the next day. 

After the floors are done, I will have a big cleaning job and then we are ready for our tenants.  Yes, we found tenants! We have been talking to them for a few weeks, but I didn't want to say anything about them and jinx it.  They turned in the application, and barring being a serial killers or chronically being evicted, a couple and their 2 kids will be the perfect family for our little house.  Here's the best part though, the tenant's uncle owns an A/C company and he installed A/C's for him for 11 years.  When we told him the A/C situation and that we were going to put in new window units for the time being he said he could sell us the units at cost and install them for a month's rent.  DEAL! 

Everything else at the house (including an unexpected roof leak) has been fixed and ready to go.  I even finished the flower beds.  Check out my work and oooh and aaah as though you've never seen anything like it before:
(I just realized I took this before the grass was mowed.  It looks nicer now.)

It looks like this first rental project has been a success.  We definitely hit a few bumps in the road and learned a lot from this project.  Here are the top 5 things I learned:

1.  We were a little ambitious.  Next time we will find a house that doesn't need quite so much work.  With all of the foreclosures happening, there are some great houses out there at great prices.
2.  Always go with the middle quote.  Typically the most expensive is ripping you off or will do a much nicer job than is necessary for a small rental, and the cheapest guy is Marco and his sidekick Polo.
3.  Dale is a God-send....and my new BFF.
4.  I need to learn more Spanish.
5.  The people at Home Depot are the best.

This just in!  Special Announcement!  Ray just called to confirm tomorrow and said they are going to try to bleach the pet stains to see what happens.  Fingers Crossed!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm running off to join the circus!


Steve and I were lucky enough to go to spend New Year's with some great friends in Florida and then Steve got to attend the Tom James semi-annual meeting in Tampa.  I hung around and got to see my amazing former co-workers.  I swear, the Tom James meetings are like a big family reunion (and this one you actually look forward to going to!)

We stayed in the Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa that is next door to the St Pete Times Forum which was hosting....wait for it....The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus!  Growing up in Sarasota, I always knew about the circus and loved going.  So I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when I saw the circus trucks drive by the Channelside Hooters on their way to the Forum.  I was even more excited when we woke up the next morning to find that the adjacent parking lot was overtaken by circus animals! 
The tent at the far end of the parking lot is where the horses and zebras stayed, the smaller train-like trailers next to the campers are where the 18 tigers stayed, and the big tent closest to us is where the ELEPHANTS stayed!  The elephants spent most of the day hanging out in the sand in front of the tent throwing it on their backs to cool off.  There were 8 of them and were divided up into 3 groups by trainer (2 of 3 and 1 of 2)  When they were about to go rehearse, their trainers would have them lay down and they would blow them off with leaf blowers.  One of the elephants chose to lay spread eagle on his belly while the others tended to lay on their sides.  Obviously, he was my favorite.  At one point one of the elephants in the group of two (which included my favorite) laid down and his buddy stood over him protecting him.  So sweet.  Needless to say, I completely fell in love with them. 

The best part of the elephants was the way they traveled.  They would hook up trunk to tail while they walked.  Here are some pictures:

Are they not the cutest things ever?!?!?!?  After their trainers would take their headdresses off, they would walk them back out to the sand and they would stand with their trunk up and their mouth open and I was picturing them saying, "TA-DA!" 

OK, so I know I watched them way too much, but I decided that if this house flipping thing doesn't work out, I'm running off to join the circus and train the elephants!