Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home, Part 2

Yeah, so tonight after bunco, I had the choice of rushing home to finish this journal update, or going to see a late showing of the most recent Harry Potter movie. I love you guys and all, but bottom line, the story of our new house is just no match for the quintessential, classic battle between good and evil. And did I mention that Harry Potter totally rocks??? Also, don’t expect many updates later this week because I just got e-mail notice that my HP7 book is shipping tomorrow and I will NOT be on this computer one single solitary second until the book is completed … and if I find out Snape is indeed a bad guy and Harry doesn’t make it to the end, I will quite possibly be so crushed that I never journal again. About anything.

So, where was I?

Oh, yeah. The house. The crappy little house that we had just bought. Or, as we referred to it, “The Yellow House”, because it was indeed painted sunshine yellow, and we thought the term might be catchy and cheerful enough to lift the unease we felt over buying a house we didn’t love, in a neighborhood we hated. You think I’m kidding? Our neighbor in one direction breeds and raises pit bulls, and the house in the other direction is up for rental as a Section Eight. The house across the street has tinfoil in all the windows, and it sits on a through street for the neighborhood which means lots of traffic back and forth at all hours. The longer we owned it, the more we began to suspect we had made a mistake. A big, impetuous, what-the-hell-were-we-thinking kind of mistake.

::administrative notice:: OK, a few rules I make it a policy to follow here on my blog: No discussing politics or religion, and talking about money is normally in bad taste. But I’m going to go ahead and talk about money … vaguely …. for just a few minutes, manners be damned.

We contacted a company about remodeling and updating the house, hoping to add some square footage and modernize what was already there, but come to find out, it is darn expensive to do that. And while Blaine makes decent money and we’re not exactly in line for the free government cheese, we ARE military, after all, which means we are far from having unlimited building funds. We discovered that remodeling pretty much costs the same as building new, and the core of the house would still be seventy years old and Lord only knows what kind of plumbing, foundation, electrical, etc., problems we could have run into trying to merge the old with the new. Even the builder agreed it could potentially have been a way bigger and more complicated project than we wanted, or could afford.

So then we decided fine, if it costs just as much to build new, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s actually been done a few times in this school district already. Builders buy old crappy houses, tear them down, and then build new houses on the teeny tiny lots. We figured if they could do it, why couldn’t we? And remember, we had a lot and a HALF! So we began plans to do that very thing. Our lot wasn’t big enough, even with the extra half, for my original dream-house floor plan to fit, but we figured we could shrink things down and make a few concessions, and still get an ok house out of the deal. And, it would be new. By golly, we can make this work! (rah-rah, sis-boom-bah, blabbity-blab-blah-blah-gag)

This was about the time of my April-epiphany-I-have-seen-the-light-moment, and I tried to view building a new house in an old neighborhood as “making the best of a bad situation” or “the end justifying the means, in order to get the kids in the school” or any of a dozen other corny catch-phrases, all intended to make us feel better, none of which did. But I was determined that having my family, healthy and whole, in the house together, was more important than the view of the shitty neighborhood out the windows. And if worse came to worst? Blaine’s suggestion was that we just build a really big fence around the whole thing and then we wouldn’t have to look out the windows at anything.

Tearing down a house, just to clear a lot so you can build new? Um, yeah. We found out real quick that is an expensive thing to do. In fact, it’s a huge opportunity cost, right off the bat. And our builder wasn’t very encouraging, to be honest. We wanted to build a house that we could live in and love, and he was trying to keep us {relatively} in line with the rest of the neighborhood. In fact, the exact phrase he used, on several occasions, was “we don’t want to build the Taj Mahal in Dog Patch, USA”, which didn’t exactly endear him to me, because it made me feel that he felt my expectations were unreasonble, when I didn't think they were. We weren’t looking to build a mansion, for pete's sake, just a new house with some nice amenities.

But, he had a point. When builders tear down old houses and build new, they are doing it for cost and then selling for profit. In order for us to do it, it was looking to be way out of our price league. We were going to go ass over elbow in debt, to build a house, in a neighborhood we hated, which we could NEVER hope to get our investment out of because we were outbuilding all our neighbors.

Real estate in Oklahoma is reasonably priced … very reasonably priced, compared to our neighbors on the East and West coast. For what we *would* have been spending, we should have been building a wonderful home, most likely on a huge lot in a gated community with a pool, clubhouse, etc. … not a normal-sized house, with a postage-stamp yard, in a run-down neighborhood, with freaking PIT BULLS on the other side of the chain link fence. (And please lets not get into the whole "As long as you don't raise them to be mean, they are wonderful dogs" debate. When was the last time your heard about someone's pet beagle ripping out the throat of his neighbor's kid???)

Regarding the potential cost of this house, we had made a grave error. I knew it, and Blaine knew it, but thankfully, he was gentleman enough not to rub the “I told you so’s” into each conversation, since he never wanted to buy this house to begin with. By the time of our most recent meeting with our builder, the week before we went to Alaska, I had to acknowledge that I had talked him into a big money-pit mistake, and I had no clue, short of winning the lottery, how to fix it. We vowed to go to Alaska and just enjoy ourselves, and worry about this situation when we got back.

To be continued … again …. I know you guys think I do that on purpose, but I don't. I swear. I'm stopping because it’s after 2 am and maybe I’m the slowest typist in the world but I’ve been working on this update for over an hour and I’m going to bed now people …. BED! Where I will possibly dream about Harry Potter because although it might be a little Mrs. Robinson-ish of me to say, that Danielle Radcliffe is getting better and better looking in each movie.

Joann re comment: Joann, you were right on with your guess, but I deleted your comment and wanted to explain why. I’m making a concerted effort not to have the name of my kids school on this blog …. Not that we couldn’t be tracked down if someone wanted to easily enough, but I figure no need to just post it right out there and make it available. So no offense …. And great guessing!


Lisa said...

Snape **has** to be a good guy, he just has to be. Enjoy the book, I will be - I'll check in on your site around Tuesday...guess we might have just about finished the first reading by then.

Harry Potter is not 'the chosen one' it's Neville - he kills Voldermort, dies himself and leaves Harry alive at the end of the book.

Someone we trust is a baddie - possibly Mrs Weasly

Aunt Petunia really loves Harry.

Oh gosh, we'll see, under 48 hours to go, whoopee!

Love to you all, Lisa.

Tracy'sspace said...

How can you do this to me, especially if we have to wait for the end of HP7!

Connie F-G said...

Read fast!!!


Cate said...

I can relate about HP7. I've told family and friends that I will not be answering the phone or emails on Saturday.

My predictions:

The scar is a horcrux--see Dumbledore's talk at the end of Chamber of Secrets. It seemed like a big clue.

Hagrid will die.

Wormtail is a goner too.

Snape MUST be a good guy or I will personally fly to Scotland for a little chat with the author.

Harry becomes the new DADA teacher at Hogwarts.

And I'm in the process of buying brand new, but, since it's on the West Coast, it still feels like a money pit.

The Running Girl said...

We'll forgive you for the cliffhanger this time, but only because Harry Potter is involved. I'm waiting for Madison to finish reading the 5th book before I take the kids to see the movie, so I haven't seen it yet.

Stacey said...

Don't care if your house is yellow or smellow, we'll just be glad to have you back!!!

Stacey, Jerry and Alex

lizinsumner said...

Snape is evil and I hope Harry survives - there, I've said my piece. And, having said that, this Saturday (with my son at his dad's for the weekend), my copy of the latest and last HP book will be delivered to my door by the angels of and I will then be going "into the bubble", not to emerge except for latte and potty breaks, until I've finished reading the book. Last chance for a race, Kristie!! And, here's to hoping you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Andrea said...

Oooh, if it were anything other than Harry Potter, I'd be tracking you down for the rest of this story. Tracking. Down. Not. Kidding.

Seriously? You really should write a book. About anything, really. Your writing style is quick paced and fun, and I lose myself in the descriptions. It's dramatic without being overly emotional and sometimes, emotional is called for, and you handle it well. Really. I'd buy any book you write.

JoAnn said...

No offense taken, and when I posted it, I thought I was probably asking for more than was safe for you to post ( being the internet, you just never know) so for that I apologize. Your description of the area was just how I remember it to be. Anxiously awaiting Part 3.....

Anonymous said...

I'm anxiously awaiting part 3. But, please, please if you plan on posting about HP7 - Can you post a warning first? Unfortunately, I haven't read the books (keep saying I will, but I don't) and I will be one of the few fools awaiting the movies to come out.

I can't wait to hear about how you came to buy ANOTHER house. :0)

Kristin in NC

M said...

All right, you can expect a phone call from me verrry soon! These cliff hangers are killing me! Especially since I just saw you before you went on your cruise and none of this had happened least I dont think it had because you were still talking about the yellow house.


Anonymous said...

...this has nothing to do with your current post but I was SO excited this morning reading the paper to find out a Sonic is coming close to my home...about 15 minutes from Wright Patt Air Force Base! I can't wait for pellet ice!

Brookville, OHIO

Rachel K. said...

Aww pooey!!! Anxiously awaiting part three here!

I can't wait for HP7 either.
My predictions;

-Harry, Voldemort and Snape will die.
-I actually think that the scar may be a horcrux too.
-I think that Harry and Voldemort BOTH have to die, that they are interconnected and that when the prophecy said 'neither can survive while the other one lives' it also means that neither can survive if the other dies too. (The whole two snakes coiling together in the Order of the Phoenix book clued me in to them being one before I even knew the prophecy)
-Now that we know Trewlaney is actually a seer (though not the greatest) and we know she's been predicting Potter's death since day one I think she's known he will die all along. That she did actually see this.
-I definitely think that Snape is a good guy and that he was meant to kill Dumbledore and that Dumbledore knew drinking the potion meant he would die all along. I also think this has something to do with Snape saying he would be the one to protect Malfoy from doing so.
-I also think that Malfoy will end up being a far bigger player in the end. Not sure how yet, but I think he will end up being on the good side and I wonder if he won't be the one to replace Harry.

But who knows... just guesses we'll have to see!

MN-Carol said...

I too will be in my own little HP bubble as soon as it arrives at my doorstep. So even if you DID finish the story about your homes - I for one wouldn't know (or even check) until I finish reading first. - sorry - love your writting but Harry has to come first here.

My thoughts on HP7:
Snape is a good guy - and predict will die in an attempt to help save Harry from Voldermort.

Hagrid doesn't die but is saved by his brother Grawp. (Being a giant the curses meant for Hagrid do not harm Grawp)

Neville is not the chosen one - Harry is - but Neville's help is needed in order to defeat Voldermort.

Voldermort dies and thus ending the curse on the DADA teachers - and IF Harry lives he will become the first teacher of the class for more than one year.

I also agree with Rachel that Malfoy will play a large part in the last book.

Brandon said...

ummm, errrr...... gee Kristi..... you're in love with "Danielle" who gets better looking with every movie? I think I might have missed something!! LOL

Anonymous said...

this is totally irrelivant to the topic but... i had my first sonic experience today!! i thought of you the WHOLE time.. we later went through the drive through just for glasses of water with a lot of ice.. pathetic, yes but it was well worth it. on the other hand enjoy reading!! we only bought one book and i'll have to wait until my dad is done!! =[

hugs- hilary

George Berger said...

Please....I am a long time reader... please...explain how one buys three houses...military or not...

If you own a house in the district, then are you eligible to attend the school? Or must you physically live in the district?

I don't mean to play devil's advocate here, but in my experience (which is not in Oklahoma), a school does not stay the same over the years -- populations change and so on. I wonder if you are not being sentimental about this school. Or this district. How could there be a great school in such a dilapidated neigborhood? Generally, schools in less than ideal neighborhoods have more problems than other schools. I personally wouldn't go to any effort to have my kids attend my grammar school because there are so many better schools out there.

Like in Alaska.