Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting to know me & my hubby

I've seen this little survey on several blogs lately and since I can never think of anything to blog about other than house hunting lately, I thought I'd play along too.

How long have you been together?
Almost 5 years! We met on July 8, 2006 and our first date was the next day. We got engaged 3 years later and we've been married for 7 months now.

Our first picture together (August 2006?) - San Francisco before a Giants game
How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Oh about 20 hours...

Who asked who out?
He asked me, after I dropped plenty of subtle hints first.

Did you go to the same school?
We went to Sacramento State together my last two years. We met through a community college summer school class (Art History), coincidentally the semester before he was transferring to Sac State.

Graduation - May 2008
Who is the most sensitive?
I am, but J is sensitive for a man - meaning he notices when people are upset, etc.

Where do you eat out most together?
Sushi Cafe, Giovanni's and Chicago Fire. Sushi and pizza in general!

Where is the furthest you have travelled together?
Victoria, British Columbia. It was so beautiful and such a fun trip!

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC
Who has the worst temper?
I am much quicker to get annoyed, but he is worse when he's really mad.

Who does the cooking?
I do! J can cook frozen burritos, scrambled eggs and pancakes. The good thing is that he's so far from picky it's not even funny! Everything I cook is delicious to him :) I like my cooking most of the time but there have been some serious fails that I refused to eat... and he happily finished them.

Who is more social?
I am, by far. He's become much more social in the past few years though.

Padres vs. Giants in San Diego - 2007
Who is the neat freak?
Neither! We're both medium-cleanliness.

Who is the most stubborn?
Who hogs the bed?
I don't know, we're equal - but I know that I want a California King!

Lake Tahoe - 2007
Who wakes up earlier?
J is such a morning person. He's always up early.

Where was your first date?
Dinner at Outback Steakhouse, and then we went to the movies and watched Pirates of the Caribbean (whichever one came out in 2006). It was such a boring movie... I have a short attention span for movies I don't like!

How long did it take to get serious?
Fast! A few weeks. We were pretty much inseparable immediately.

Music in the Park - 2009
Who eats more?
J does.

Who does the laundry?
I do - I like to do it! He puts it away half the time, and I always make him match up the socks. I never want to do that. But I control the actual washing the laundry.

Who drives when you are together?
Whoever's car we're taking usually drives. Except when we're going downtown - I always drive because he gets stressed out finding parking! Often other times I'll ask him to drive my car because I prefer to be the passenger... but it's about half and half.

Tacky Sweater Party - 2010
Who is the first one to admit when they're wrong?
We're both good about doing that, I think.

Who wears the pants in your relationship?
It's about equal. Some things are important to each of us and we can compromise.

Who eats more sweets?
Most likely me.

I love my hubby and being married to him! I didn't know how much marriage would mean to me before it happened. It's priceless to have someone that I know will always be there for me and loves me no matter what.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Top 10 reasons I'm glad our offer was rejected

  1. The kitchen needs to be remodeled
  2. Difficult sellers/selling agent
  3. Boring backyard with not enough shade
  4. Power pole, electrical lines and sewer manhole in the backyard
  5. The walls are dirty
  6. Moldy wall in the bedroom
  7. Tiny bathrooms
  8. Lack of closet storage
  9. High price
  10. We'll find something better!
There, I feel better already :)

We're going to start looking into a neighborhood that I used to live in when I was in college. J didn't like the idea before because he grew up very close by, so it felt too close to home. But now he's changing his tune thanks to our dislike of a lot of other areas (too new, too master planned, too trashy, etc. etc.)!

I'm not sure if we're picky about location or not... we don't want to live too far out in the suburbs, but we don't want to live in the ghetto. We want to live in a nice neighborhood but can't afford many of them.We want to minimize commute time (and work in slightly different areas). We want to feel safe and send our future kiddos to good public schools. I know we'll find this place (with a house we love and can afford in it) eventually!


Our offer was rejected :( The selling agent is really unprofessional and crazy, so it's probably best that we don't have to deal with her. She was never going respond to our offer despite our agent's 10+ calls and emails because the sellers are not willing to accept anything under the asking price. What really gets me, is that the listing specifically says "Willing to entertain all offers." Why did they say that then?! We offered 92.5% of asking, it's not like we super low balled it. Ugh, I'm annoyed. I have hope that we'll find something even better...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Offer update

I just heard from our agent that even though we gave the sellers until tonight at 6 p.m. to respond, they won't be doing so until Wednesday :( Apparently their "schedules aren't meeting up," and my best guess is that they are going to meet in person to put together a counter offer. We expected this. I hope I can sleep the next two nights!

Mango avocado salad

Chili season is over! Lately I'm loving light and springy tastes like this yummy salad I found at This is my version.

2 mangoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 avocados, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 lime

Cut up the mangoes, avocados and red onion. Combine in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime onto the salad. Toss and serve immediately! I sometimes let it sit in the fridge for half an hour or so, but don't wait too long. It's best fresh and not ice cold.

House hunting 4/17/11

This weekend our Realtor was out of town, but luckily she set us up with a partner of hers so we didn't have to miss out on seeing some new listings.

House #1

  • Large rooms.
  • High ceilings.
  • Like the kitchen.
  • Great curb appeal.
  • Lots of storage.
  • Pretty sure the neighborhood is just not for us - it's too new and "master planned."
  • Seems smaller than it is. It's over 1400 square feet but it doesn't feel that large.
  • Small dining area.
  • Yucky carpet.
House #2

  • Very big.
  • It has a bonus room (basically a fourth bedroom, but without a closet) that we could use as a guest room or office.
  • Good curb appeal.
  • Same area as house #1.
  • Quite a bit more expensive that house #1. Although it's bigger, the first was big enough. If we wanted to live in that area, we'd choose the smaller house and save the money.
House #3

I'm not going to post pictures of this house, because we made an offer!! Potential stalkers could find the listing with photos I post here, and then they'd know our address. So no pics for now... sorry :(

I'm trying not to get too attached or excited, because lots of things could prevent this from being our home. It's an old house (56 years old) and may have problems that the sellers are not willing to pay for.

FYI with a VA loan like we are using, the sellers must fix any safety-related problems. The VA buyers are not allowed to pay for them, and we will not be given a loan if the sellers won't fix them.

The one thing we know will need to be fixed is a wall in one of the bedrooms that is rotted/moldy. It doesn't appear to be too bad though, and it has a new roof so the source of the damage should be fixed now.

We'll see, if we even get to an inspection! First we have to agree on a price. We're not willing to pay full asking price, even though it's a steal for the area. The neighborhood is fantastic... but we have a budget.

Anywho, we found a house we like!! I was fearing that this would never happen... my stomach is in knots. The seller has until 6 p.m. to respond to our offer!

  • Great school district.
  • Adorable neighborhood.
  • Big, and it feels big.
  • It has hardwood under the carpet, which we'd like to refinish.
  • Huge master bedroom.
  • Good curb appeal.
  • New double-pane windows, new roof and new garage door.
  • Small kitchen, but I have plans for expansion :) It will take quite a bit of work though.
  • Small bathrooms, for which I have no plans for expansion... this is something we're willing to live with.
  • Old, and kind of dirty.
  • The landscaping in the backyard needs help.
House #4

  • We like the neighborhood.
  • Right next to a walking path.
  • Great layout.
  • Fab yard.
We knew this was a no-go as soon as we walked in. All the wood flooring is waaaay warped. Like, crazy warped and there are waves a foot high in most rooms. It appears that there was either a major flood in the house, or they didn't leave room for expansion that naturally occurs with wood. It's freaky!

Of course they didn't post a picture with the online listing, but I found a similar photo here:

We'd never be approved for a VA loan with this situation going on. Too bad, because it's a great house!

So where are we now? We're currently waiting to hear from the seller - they can either accept our offer, reject it, or counter offer. This is bananas! :P

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thomas Jefferson's Ten Rules for Living a Good Life

Today on our nightly walk around our neighborhood, I spotted a postcard in the gutter. It was addressed to someone in the area, but at least half a mile away (we weren't sure, but we knew the street was close). It was such a freaky situation because it was dated 2003 - why was it on the street today?!

We (read: I) decided to go on an adventure to find the house it was originally sent to and leave it in their mailbox. I hope it was the right thing to do. I just wondered if they missed it...

So we found the house, which is just blocks from our own, and left it on the porch. But on our way, I read the front of the card which featured "Thomas Jefferson's Ten Rules for Living a Good Life." This woman's father sent her a postcard from Charlottesville, Virginia (home of Jefferson) in 2003. I wonder why and if she ever saw his message before today!

This list features some fabulous pieces of advice, and I had to share them! I think it's so cool that these were written something like 200 years ago (since I totally just Wikipedia-ed him and he died 185 years ago), but these are sooo applicable to my life today!
  1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it.
  4. Never buy what you do not want because it's cheap; it'll never be dear to you.
  5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
  6. Never repent of having eaten too little.
  7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  8. Don't let the evils which have never happened cost you pain.
  9. Always take things by their smooth handle.
  10. When angry, count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, count to 100.
These are speaking to me - especially #4, #6 and #10!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

House hunting 4/10/11

Spoiler alert: None of these houses are our home.
But we're getting closer!

House #1

4 bedrooms
Love the layout
Room to add a kitchen island
Our favorite of the day

Outdated (But I can totally see the potential with a little bit of love!). It would need new floors, windows and appliances
Farther out in the 'burbs than we wanted

The weirdest thing about this house? It's the same design as the house James grew up in and where his mom still lives! It's basically a mirror image, with a few changes. We got serious deja vu. This doesn't bother me a ton since I always liked the design of that house. But he was freaked out by it a bit!

House #2

Big house
Big yard
...that's it

Weird layout
Converted garage
Craphole (yeah it's a technical term)
Faces the back of a high school 

House #3

Nice, clean, updated interior
Big backyard
Feels big - good layout

Teeny tiny kitchen
Bad neighborhood
1 car garage

House #4

New carpet, paint
Love the backyard
Nice curb appeal

Faces the side of a school
A little small
Small, old kitchen and dining room

House #5

 {Sorry, no more pictures available online.}

Feels big
Large living room, family room and dining room
4 bedrooms

Super weird/random nooks and crannies everywhere
2 stories
1 car garage
It has 2 bedrooms upstairs and 2 bedrooms downstairs - not good for when we have 2 kids
Overall strange

House #6

Seems like a good neighborhood

Really only has 2 bedrooms. The "possible" 3rd is a family room.
Fugly backyard
Bad layout that makes it feel way smaller than it is

House #7

Big and perfect layout for us

Reeks of cigarette smoke
The whole backyard is paved over
Needs a whole new kitchen and all new flooring
Too close to the freeway - you can hear it from the front yard
Rat poop!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

House hunting 4/3/11

Today was our first day out looking at houses with our realtor. We've been going to open houses a little as they come up (like this one and this one), but actually making appointments to see our favorite houses was so much better!

We were able to see 5 of our favorite houses. They were all regular sales (as opposed to short sales). We had some additional faves that are short sales, but our realtor recommended against those because they take so long. If we don't find a regular sale that's a good fit we'll check them out, but this was a good start. Just these 5 in 1 day was exhausting anyway.

House 1
(3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms)

It's in a nice neighborhood with good schools. It has a nice backyard with a deck and good amount of grass. We liked the yard a lot. It has good curb appeal - looks cute from the front (Warning: It's very hard to think of better describing words than "nice" and "good." My apologies.)

Weird layout. We're pretty sure that they added on a new living/dining room and it didn't work so well.

It only has 1.5 bathrooms and we realized that we really need 2 full.

There is a lot of cosmetic work to be done and it's priced too high for what it is.

House 2
(3 bedrooms plus a bonus office, 2 bathrooms)

We loved the layout. The kitchen was huge and open to the living and dining areas.

The extra room (it would be considered a fourth bedroom, but it lacks a closet) is ideal for us to use as an office. The rooms all feel large because of the high ceilings and have lots of features we want like double sinks in the master bath, walk-in closet, etc.

It's pretty trashed. It's a foreclosure, and the walls are filthy and all the carpet would need to be replaced (and it's priced high for us). It's just icky. The house is also located on a busy street and it's super loud in the front yard from the traffic. The backyard is a downside too, as it's mostly paved over and it feels very harsh. We want grass!

House 3
(3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms)
I was so excited to see this house! Aside from being 2 stories (we prefer a 1-story ranch style), it was almost perfect. It was on the market forever and was out of our price range, but they recently dropped the price $30,000.

The carpet was in good shape. The yard was lush and private. It's a modern layout and would work great for us. I could totally see us living and raising a family here! Until...

I noticed a large amount of mold in one of the bedroom closets. Taking that into consideration, we remembered that the exterior of the house had a good deal of the siding replaced suspiciously - very obvious because it wasn't painted over. The bedroom is on the second floor while this work was on the first, so we are pretty certain that whole side of the house has some pretty serious water/mold damage. This explains why it's been for sale for months and months. Even if we wanted to deal with it, the type of loan we're getting won't even allow it until it's fixed (and it's a foreclosure so they won't fix it). It seems like a money pit.

Some other negatives that we were willing to live with: Linoleum in the kitchens and bathrooms, old lighting fixtures and beat up kitchen cabinets.

House 4
(3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms)

This is actually the same model as house 3, but reversed. So I loved the layout again (although James isn't as sold on 2 level houses). The yard is cute and the house overall is extremely clean.

Two words: Pink Carpet. Okay actually I have more words than that... almost all the flooring (a combination of pink carpet and linoleum) would be replaced, along with the kitchen counters and appliances. 
Another major downfall was that our master bedroom window faces the master bedroom window of the house behind us. We could totally open the windows and have a conversation (yelling... but still). Our windows also overlook each others' yards, and it's just creepy. You can see their window in the yellow room above.
This was my favorite house of the day though, still.

House 5
(3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms)

Great yard - actually it's ideal for us (it looks better in person than in this picture). The bedrooms are good sizes and there's a walk-in closet. Great price too.

The kitchen, dining room and living room are way too small. I wish they matched the other half of the house because then we'd love it! It's just not a workable space, unfortunately.

Although none of these houses turned out to be our home, today was a success in my mind. We were able to refine our wants and needs and learn more about what we can and can't live with (we can't live with 1.5 bathrooms, but we can live with old appliances and carpet (or replace them easily).