Saturday, September 29, 2007

Four months later...

We're in escrow, and I must say, it's no fun selling your house in such a crazy down market. I hate how low we went, so do our friends and neighbors, but the timing worked out just right for Steve's new job, which he's quite excited about. We'll drop Steve at the airport early Thursday morning and the kids, Sunny and I will keep driving up Interstate 15 for oh, 500 miles or so, before taking a right turn and stopping for the day.

We'll be in a rental car packed with boxes of books to drop in a corner of Cindi's basement. We'll see what's still on the market when we get out there and check out a few of the communities between Boulder and Fort Collins as well. Escrow closes in mid-November, which will also work out fairly well magazine-deadline-wise.

Steve's new boss turns out to be a wonderfully responsible employer and is providing *fully paid for* health benefits (my jaw dropped when I heard this. Does *anyone* still offer full coverage?? And it's Kaiser, not some weird pseudo-plan that negotiates discounts for you). Even though Steve was lured by the extra $8/hour that Ravi offers if you choose to be an independent contractor, Ravi told him he prefers that Steve comes on as an employee (with the benefits, and half the SS/medicare taxes covered -- I forgot about that cost of self-employment, and retirement), since it's hard to justify Steve as an independent contractor with the work he'll be doing in the eyes of the IRS (Do you know how many day spas pretend that their full-time massage therapists are independent contractors to avoid paying payroll taxes, even though the therapists can't set their own rates or hours? All of them!) Ravi's my new ethical role model, and I haven't even met him yet!

Well, Harry, who picked up a cold at Legoland (and who sounds a bit croupy, but isn't even waking up at night -- as opposed to the trips to the ER we routinely made last year and earlier -- hooray for thicker tracheal cartilage!), is asking me to play Dragon Fable, so I'll sign off for now...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Either there's not enough news or too much

I haven't had the energy to type any of this, probably because I've spent too much effort ruminating over it!

Steve returned from Colorado a week ago today and was immediately offered the half-time magazine job in Boulder for the alternative health magazine, which he really likes. The boss is great, the magazine is interesting, the work schedule is quite flexible, the hourly salary is higher than the newspaper job and it offers some sort of health benefits. Unfortunately, it's in Boulder, which is an hour from Fort Collins, but 15 minutes from my sister, but $150,000 more per house than Fort Collins, but a cool alternative city, but more urban than we really want but.... (can you tell I've been making myself crazy?)

Today, the Loveland paper called and asked him what it would take to get him to take their job, which is fulltime and very mediocre pay. (He put them off until tomorrow as he was walking out the door to teach a class and we're struggling with how to respond to our first offer on the house.)

Yes today, we got an offer on our house, after drastically lowering the price for a two-week period to see if we could get any bites (four months on the market and not a single offer tells me we're overpriced, as much as I can't believe it. I guess I'm as deluded as the next seller.)

Last Thursday or Friday we said we'd consider offers between $345 and $365 for two weeks only. An open house on Sunday drew 8 buyers, an apparent miracle in this market. Today, someone who has seen our house twice in the last few weeks saw our new price range and offered $350k. Ugh. And we're afraid to counter offer and have the buyer walk, as our neighbors' did. So while Steve and I agonize over our options, some small voice in my head is saying, look what a gorgeous fall evening it is, the full moon's rising, this apparent dilemma will mean nothing in another few months or years, quit taking it so seriously!

The kids and I did have a great time in Legoland with our homeschooling friends on Monday, while Steve attended a life drawing class at an art center in Fallbrook.

And tomorrow, we have yet another house showing... I feel like I should have something more profound to say, but my head's too full of thinking to be profound!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Big sigh of relief

I'm SAHMing it for the next couple of days, with Steve off in Colorado and my Mom on the East Coast, no way I can see clients. What a great feeling to have nothing to do but stay home with the kids, cook, clean up and play games with them. Like this addicting one, which disguises some intriguing physics lessons as game play...

I'm trying to figure out why it's felt so wonderful to just stay home the last day or two. I've done many loads of laundry, baked a rasberry trifle and Guosim Shrew Shortbread from the Redwall Cookbook, and we're in process with a batch of no-knead bread that promises to be heavenly (I've always thought it impossible to get a crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside rustic loaf like this in an ordinary oven!)

I think a lot of it is just giving myself over to the day and enjoying how it unfolds. Often when Steve's home, I'm pricked by the thought that I should be off doing something, either hiking or running vague errands or just something, since I have the opportunity to go out. But I don't really want to and I end up wandering around the house a bit aimlessly and feeling out of sorts.

I do know I've missed feeling grounded at home for quite a while. I can remember getting tired of this much domesticity also, but for now, I'm revelling in it.

Steve is spending the day at the Loveland paper and his first impression of it, from last night's dinner with some of the design desk folks and editors, was that it was a flashback, not just to being back in journalism, but to his college newspaper, which was about the same size. He's so far not thinking that this could be an enjoyable growth opportunity. We'll see how today's tours and presentations went. I'm more excited about the magazine job in Boulder. He meets with the editor tomorrow, if all goes well.

And our neighbors' weren't able to negotiate a sale of their house, the potential buyers couldn't offer any more than their initial offer. Discouraging news all around, at the moment....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

UU Jihad

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Shining Battle Axe of Unassuming Balance. What's yours?

I went for the reformed Unitarian Jihad name -- seemed a bit more subtle than the original name they coughed up for me.

Loved the column this was inspired by...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September already!

So, we've survived the awful heatwave that finally broke last week, the kids have learned to snorkel and we're into September already! I just finished a 3-day bodywork seminar with Erik Dalton that was jam-packed with wonderful techniques and information, in fact too much -- I'd love to integrate everything he taught into my practice, but I'll be lucky to retain a fraction of it. There's always so much to learn out there and I sometimes yearn to be able to devote all my energies to my professional life, but there'll be time for that in another decade or so....

Steve's getting ready to fly out to Colorado for a job interview at the Loveland paper. At this point, it's just a question of whether he likes the working environment there, I think. He's more than qualified for the position and I'm sure they'll be wowed by him. It is full-time (though they're open to a 4/10 workweek), which is a drawback for us, as that leaves both our lives unbalanced. I really enjoy that we can both work part-time and parent (I was going to say parent part-time but parenting's always a full-time experience.)

I'm torn about this job possibility. I love the idea of being able to be home more with the kids (and the various benefits that would come with this f/t job) but I don't want to give up my work entirely and I'm anxious about trying to shoe-horn it into Steve's days off and not leaving us enough family time. I still dream about a small homestead and a lifestyle more akin to the Nearings , but Front Range Colorado land is pricey and I'm pretty intimidated by the idea of an owner-built house.

As usual, I'm ruminating way to much on things that may never happen. While Steve's out there, he may interview with an alternative health magazine in Boulder that's looking for a half-time designer, and that sounds very intriguing to me.

On the topic of alternative health, my folks are newly into raw fruit and veggie smoothies (Mom got excited about it at the Qi Gong workshop and after talking Dad into trying some for a week or so, they discovered it made them both feel much better and improved my Dad's wrist and hand pain significantly -- thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of the phytonutrients, I'd guess.) They just bought me a high-speed blender for an early birthday gift, so I'm experimenting with recipes that pack as much phytonutrients in as possible while still being moderately palatable to my picky tastebuds.

The kids are ridiculously busy, as usual. Maddie's enthralled by the Redwall Cookbook and has been lobbying to try new recipes every day. So far, we've made raspberry jelly rock cakes, hot mint tea and scones and Steve's made shrimp and hotroot soup (I cannot do shrimp. Makes me gag more than the vegetable smoothies) which he really liked. Hare's Haversack Crumble is next.

Harry's suddenly developed an interest in knitting, and after regular knitting proved too frustrating, we tried finger-knitting. It may still be a bit too soon for him to try this skill, but for some reason he's quite determined about it, so we'll keep trying. He's also quite focused on taking things apart to see how they work and coming up with new inventions (which he describes in lengthy and painstaking detail, to the point that I forget exactly what it is he's talking about. Bad Mom.) His interest in writing and reading is picking up and we've been working a bit of phonics in lately.

The housing market is still slow, but has picked up a bit. We had two showings last week and one of those couples put a (low-ball) bid in on our friend and neighbor's house. Our friends are countering the $20k-under bid with a counter offer $2k lower than their asking price (we've each dropped our asking price $30k since listing in June). It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

We got the alarming confirmation today that the previous owner's ex-husband is indeed still on our title (especially alarming because the man was in prison on a domestic violence conviction when we bought the house. eeek.) I've worried that this was a possibility ever since we got our first tax bill seven years ago, but got weirdly tharn about it and simply accepted our title insurance company's word back then that there was nothing to worry about. Now, the company is saying they can only fix the title when we go to sell, but that they will be able to at that point. I sincerely hope so. It's not likely we'd get too far by politely ask the guy to sign off on the deed for us (he did get out of prison a couple of years ago, but I'm not really interested in tracking him down and asking him for help in clearing this little snafu up.)

So, this whole house thing isn't exactly the smoothest part of our lives these days, but all else is well, and that's what matters!