Friday, November 30, 2007

House Hunting - Day 1

Hello all!

Just wanted to let you know, waking up at 4:30 sucks, especially after getting home at 11pm from dropping off the kids and still needing to pack last minute things (our clothes were packed - thankfully!).

We checked into American Airlines and upgraded our seats for first class for $90/ticket. It's so worth it. We had a WONDERFUL trip. Very smooth. I slept for most of it.

Here is the first of our house trip. I'll explain along the way. The short of the long of it is none of these houses is the 'one'. I'll explain why. Follow along!

House Hunting - Day 1 - House 1

House 1 - click for more info.

Doesn't this house look gorgeous? Well - it wasn't.

You'll have to click the link for more photos. It said I couldn't take photos on the MLS sheet so I honored their request.

This house was dirty. The people here smoked and there were cigarette butts everywhere outside. The inside - the carpet looked like their were ash burns in it. The house was MESSY. It didn't look like anyone cleaned it in a long time. The kids rooms weren't picked up. It just didn't show well.

Plus I guess this house was near a water treatment plant?

This wasn't 'the' house.

House #2 Day 1

House #2
Ok, I LOVED this house. I really did.
  • It was on a golf course on tee #13
  • The kitchen was amazing.
  • The front was beautiful.
  • The bathroom was really nice.
  • Small utility room, you couldn't even shut the door with our washer and dryer, because they had the SAME EXACT models we have, and they couldn't shut their door!
  • There is no bathroom that people in the game room could use.
  • Joe didn't like the different colored island in the kitchen.
  • Biggest CON of all - we can't afford it. Tannah, our real estate agent, thought it was a new build, and they are taking up to $50,000 off new builds. Once we found out this was a pre-owned home, we know they won't take that much off the house. We just can't afford it. It's a bummer because this was a beauty.

House #3 Day 1

We drove by two houses not showing up in MLS. One was a single story. We weren't even interested in one story houses.

The other was on a main road (the side of the house was). We didn't even bother though it looked like the previous house.

This is House #3 that we actually saw:

  • Backs to golf course
  • Cheap laminate counter tops
  • The rooms upstairs the ceilings were so low that Joe almost ran into the ceiling fans
  • It was just 'ok'

House #4 - Day 1

House #4
This house was one of our favorite houses from the photos we saw on the internet.

When we got in the house, it was beautifully decorated, but lacked a lot.

  • No soaring entry.
  • SMALL yard.
That was enough, this wasn't the house. We moved on.

House #5 - Day 1

House #5

This one was our favorite by far.

Honestly, I don't think it was the 'one' because it didn't 'stand out' compared to what we looked at today.
  • This had a wonderful water view from the back yard.
  • You could hear the ducks squawking at each other.
  • The house seemed huge
  • Nice kitchen
  • 3 car garage.
  • There were wasps everywhere in the house. They had a really bad wasp/bug problem outside and they were dead everywhere in the house.
  • You could see major highway bridge off to the right of the house, and hear the traffic, though faint.

Hey Char - gotta love this! (Joe's mom loves horses).

Water view.

I liked this little pond, but it's a drowning hazard for the boys.

Joe and I. Disregard how bad I look!

House #6 Day 1

House #6

Well, we thought THIS was the house.

This house was AWESOME!

  • Down the street you could see the lake.
  • This had the biggest game room I've ever seen. Joe was in LOVE. You could see the lake from the game room!! It was 22 x 20!
  • The master was really large and had a high ceiling.
  • The kitchen looked nice.
  • The layout was really nice.
  • This was the deal breaker. We thought THIS was the house. I started checking out the kitchen. Now keep in mind - I want a NICE kitchen. I cook all the time. I have a new kitchen now. If I'm spending 1/4 mil ($275,000) on a house, I want a NICE kitchen. The first thing you can do is check out under the sink. If there are leaks, you will know. I checked under the sink and it was warped to hell. That makes me think the owner didn't take care of the house because if he couldn't fix a leak and let it go that badly, what about the rest of the house. I started to check the other cupboards and they were contact papered, warped, etc. I told Joe I would in no way buy this house with the kitchen in bad shape like this.
  • There were no window treatments. Tannah thinks they may have been dated and that's why they took them off.
  • The house was over 10 years old.
We figured the cost of replacing the kitchen and adding window treatments wasn't worth it. We were really sad. We really loved the water view and the game room was unbelievable. The boys would have had HUGE rooms. They were 15x14 and 16x12 and 17x13 (one was a guest room). It was a shame.

I felt awful leaving the house too. I know Joe really liked the house. I can't believe we looked at all these houses and none gave us even a little bit of a 'wow' this is it feeling!

Water view from the front of the house.

Master bedroom.

View from the game room.

The game room.

After this there were two more houses to see.
#7 - Had a master bedroom on the second floor. We want to get another waterbed and are not interested with a second floor master bedroom.
#8 - We had already taken this off the list so we didn't bother going to see it.

We ended the day searching out Rockwall and Rowlett homes. We'd never been to Rockwall and Rowlett but wanted to search the areas because some people at Joe's work recommended them.
Tomorrow we'll hit McKinney, Frisco and Allen. We hope we will find something there. We know the areas of Frisco and Allen and LOVE the areas.

Tonight we ate at La Hacienda Ranch. We ate here before and it was amazing. We actually tried to eat at Land and Cattle but it was so packed we couldn't find a parking spot after driving around TWICE!

La Hacienda Ranch had a 35 minute wait. We waited and it was worth it. As soon as we were seated we ordered since we already knew what we wanted from waiting to be seated.

I got a Ranch Filet (steak) and steamed fresh veggies and a salad. Marcie - you'd be proud. I ate well ALL day. Omlet for breakfast on the plane, Chick-fil-a for lunch and ate only 1/2 a wrap of chargrilled chicken and a 3 pt carrot and raisin dessert and dinner I just mentioned.

So far, the weather is excellent. About 60 - 65. We are driving a grand prix and Joe likes it and says it handles really well. Sorry Michigan peoples out there - I am VERY glad I'm not in the 17 degree weather there anticipating a winter storm of the year. It's supposed to rain here. I'll take rain over 2 feet of snow or ice any day.

Will update again tomorrow. Going to BED!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Update

Thanksgiving this year was nice. We made a small turkey. I think this is the first year where we didn’t make a 20+ lb turkey. I think this turkey was about 10 lbs and it cooked fast, which was nice. Joe took the honor or carving the turkey this year. This was always grandpa’s task. Since Grandpa passed Joe has been honored to carry on the tradition of carving the turkey.

Since the turkey was so small the turkey was ready for us around lunch time! LOL. We had turkey, yams which were great, homemade mashed potatoes and stuffing. Then we topped it off with our favorite dessert – the pumpkin roll!!! We LOVE the pumpkin roll. So soft and moist. Nothing beats it!

The view out grandma's back window.

Yummy pumpkin roll!

Homemade mashed potatoes!

Isn't he the sweetest?

Grandma Char and Justin.

This weekend we took the boys out to play in the snow for the first time this year. Justin has never played in the snow. We dressed both boys in snowsuits. Both had hats and gloves. We finally got Joey finger gloves instead of mittens and he loves the difference. He can pick things up so much easier. Joey loved being outside. Justin fell face first into the snow once or twice but seemed to like it better this time. He only lasted about 15 minutes and then went inside. He was cold enough. Not long after Joey went inside and we shared some hot chocolate.

Joey the lumberjack.

Justin all bumdled up.

He really didn't like the cold that much. He's like me.

Joey trying snow.

A very serious lumberjack.

This weekend Joe’s mother and I went Christmas shopping one evening. I found a few things for Joe from the kids. I found a few tops on clearance for summer which I’m sure I’ll put to use early when we move to Texas. Joe’s mom found something for Joe for Christmas which I know he’ll like. We had a BLAST shopping and then topped it off with a non-healthy run to toxic hell (Taco Bell to you!). I had to get my baja and nacho cheese chalupas. YUM.

Today we had a busy day. Justin took a very short nap in the morning. Joe and I managed to go through the house list that our Texas realtor sent to us and went from 50 houses to look at down to 33 houses to look at in 4 cities.

After we did all that we went to Joe’s dad’s house to visit for a little while. The kids watched the cows for a little while. We then went inside and the kids played for awhile. Joe’s sister in law is a realtor so she gave us some really great tips for our house hunting trip to Texas. Then we said our goodbyes and went back to Grandma’s house.

Joe and I enjoyed a PB&J sandwich and then Joey went to take a nap. We had a very hard time getting Justin down for a nap. Finally I ended up getting him calmed down and rocking him to sleep and he slept from about 2:30 until 5:30!!

The weekend was relaxing. We got some Christmas shopping done which was great. We watched Christmas movies on TV. Joe and I bought a new game – it’s a dvd game – Deal or no deal and played that. Joe kicked my butt. We both beat our own case value, but Joe ended up ahead. We then played the Farming Game. If you never heard of it (I never had!), it’s like Monopoly but you buy cattle and wheat and stuff and make money based on how much you have. It’s really fun! You can actually buy it on ebay! Joe also has an old game called Casino Yatzee. It’s really really cool – much better than regular yatzee. You have five dice with different colors and you need to get one of each number on all the dice. If you block off rows of numbers, you get those points and your partner can’t get those points. The first game we played I kicked Joe’s but by almost triple. Then the next game Joe beat me. Then the third game I beat him and he said I won the series. I wanted to play again but I think he was done! LOL….

We also showed Joey how to play go fish this weekend and I was partners with him and we played against daddy. That was fun. Joe seemed to enjoy it. We got him a few new games for Christmas – Candyland and Joe’s mom got him the fishing game. He’ll love it.

On Saturday we took Joey with us up to Midland to visit our alma matter (our old college!!). We called our friends Sheryl and Nicole and they agreed to meet us for lunch! We stopped off in Saginaw at Toys R Us to take back some duplicate toys my mom bought him for Christmas. We found these geotrax trains that were marked 10.99 and we took it to the register and they would NOT give us the 10.99 price. They argued that the sku on the price sticker was for Little People, not for Geotrax and they needed to charge us the 19.99 price, not the 10.99 price, even though it was ON the box and other boxes. We called the manager and they gave us the same song and dance. I didn’t think they could do that but I don’t know the law. It angered us but we knew Joey still wanted it for Christmas so we got it.

Then we went to Lonestar for lunch with Sheryl and Nicole. Joey was soooo good. We were there about an hour and a half and he was so good. He got his own grilled cheese sandwich and ate it. He was so well behaved. I got a steak and asked for it medium rare and it came back RARE – I mean mooing. I sent it back and they replaced all my veggies (I ate them all before they took it) and they cooked it, brought Joey out some ice cream and let us have his meal for free. That was very nice customer service.

We then went up to Midland. We saw the new minor league baseball field. It’s sweet! We took Joey to the Tridge – it’s a bridge with three bridges together – therefore called Tridge. He LOVED it. Joe said he’s actually never walked on it. I got these sweet photos of it.

Joey and Justin on the Tridge.

Mommy and Joey.

It was soooooooo cold outside.

Me again.

Afterwards we went to Northwood University. They have added so much new stuff! They added on a road back by the men’s baseball field. It goes along the back of Strosaker and they expanded the Strosacker building. They added parking out behind the ville. It was a major change. There is a new architecture building out off the back entrance. It’s nice to see our college growing. The town is still beautiful. We loved Midland and we were sorry to move when we graduated.