Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Reading

I recently finished Wallace Stegner's 560 page novel The Big Rock Candy Mountain, about the 30 year struggles of the Mason Family as they navigate life Out West in the early 20th century, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Stegner is a masterful storyteller (Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award winner... people... he knows what's he'd doing) and his character development is really extraordinary. His ability to so accurately portray the very different voices of his characters, both male and female, is a gift. Don't be turned off by the length... you can't put it down... and even with all I've been doing this month I was able to finish it (and was sorry to see it end).

If you've read anything by Wallace Stegner I know you'll need no convincing, if not, you should also consider reading Crossing To Safety which is one of my all time favorite books. While Stegner's portrayal and understanding of human psychology and the complexity of our emotional relationships is present in both of these books, the story line, setting, and era are completely different... and both worth reading.

**These are not womens beach books so... men... feel free to dig in yourselves

Friday, June 27, 2008

Say What?!

[ring ring]

"Hey" Mrs F says in greeting to her mother on the other line.

"Did you know there were Black Amish people?" Mom responds

"Like African American?"


"Did you see their clothes? You're sure they're Amish?"

"Yes, the kids weren't wearing any shoes."

"Like one Black Amish person or a whole family?"

"A whole family... they're traveling with another Amish family in a van like they do up here."

"But you saw their clothes?"


"Does the man have a beard?"

"Yes a scruffy one."

"Follow them."

"I am."

"hmmm... this might be the greatest bit of information I've ever received."

Clues to the mystery...

It's Real... It's Really Happening

I know this process has been kind of all consuming for a while and seems like it has just been dragging on and on (or is that just me?) but it hasn't even been a month since we heard he had the job... and it hasn't been two months since he first interviewed. The past month has just been like running in front of a steamroller trying desperately to pick up everything in its way before it crushes us all. I can't believe all that we've done in three & a half weeks!

Now I have just over 2 weeks until we move out. And in someways I'm in a quiet spot between two big colliding storms. I don't technically have to pack anything (although maybe I should... or not... it's paid for). We do need to clear out the rest of the stuff we don't want to keep... or is trash... so that it doesn't get packed and loaded on the truck. I'm spending my time trying to figure out what furniture we can use there and what to do with the rest. Since cost isn't really an issue I'm just thinking of moving it... I mean you never know where we will be in two years. I don't really have time for selling it or the ability to cart it out of here myself anyway... and we will have a huge unfinished basement to store it in.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Done Deal

We bought it.

Oy Vey

So we heard back on our offer today. Wouldn't you know that after sitting on the market for 4 months that they would get two offers on the same freaking day?!?! Of course there trying to instigate a bidding war and I'm just not feeling it. I mean the house is not the "perfect" house. We've countered halfway in between and if the other buyer beats us out then so be it... it wasn't meant to be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coming Clean

I weighed myself this morning and, as hard as it is to admit, my weight has left my maintenance range. I'm not surprised. I think at the end of the day I did what I had to do to get through 3 very tough weeks. Unfortunately that means I'm 1.5 pounds OVER my range. 1.5?! Big deal! Right? Wrong. The whole point to picking a maintenance range is giving yourself a little leeway for the natural ebb & flow of weight fluctuations... and to give you a top point that you won't exceed. And if you do it's the wake up call that what you are doing isn't working anymore and you need to change it immediately.
While 1.5 might not seem like a lot it's 1.5 too many... and it's a slippery slope... 1.5 this week could quite easily be 3 next week.
So today I'm going shopping and I'm getting back to meal planning and calorie counting. I'm also taking a break from the McDs drive thru and their delicious iced coffees (I will miss you). And it is time that I got recommitted to working out. Fortunately the basement is finished and I've got my treadmill and pilates machine back up. Unfortunately Mr F is only in town for another 10 days and I don't have a game plan for how I'll fit my exercise in around his absence... or how I'll do it once they load up my machines on the 14th.
But instead of focusing on what I won't be able to do I'm just taking this one day at a time and doing what I can do today. It is way to easy to start sabotaging when I think of the big picture. I want to get back down to the bottom of my range so I'm going to try and exercise EVERY day for at least 30 minutes and come in at 1650 calories. I want to get it down now so I can have a little cushion for the inevitable weight gain that will come from moving and unpacking!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The House


Okay ... I already wrote a whole post detailing my Asheville thoughts only to have it vanish into the internets.

Basically it goes like this:

Asheville reminds me of Austin, TX. Particularly the Austin of 2001-2002... up and coming "cool" town with plenty of sketch still around the corners. West Asheville (where the house we want is) is in the equivalent of SoCo in Austin (again in 2001). This area is just turning over and while there is a pretty run down house down the street, with weird junker vehicles all over their yard, I expect they'll be gone soon. We feel pretty confident that this house will appreciate over the next few years... and while it might not be as nice as our house (or as big... or technically have a freaking yard... but who's counting?) it is well maintained and what renovations have been done have been done mostly to period.

For you NYers out there you can compare the area to Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens in B'klyn circa 1997-1999 same kind of vibe going on down on Smith Street then as you feel in West Asheville now. And you know what I lived there then and I considered living in Austin in 2002... the only difference is that then I didn't have two little kids and a cute run down 2 bedroom fixer upper sounded like fun... and now it sounds like a rip-off.

Those are my thoughts for now... gotta get some rest

Monday, June 23, 2008

Holy Crap

Well we're back from Asheville and as it turns out we can't technically "afford" to live there. Not maintaining our current quality of life anyway... and certainly not gaining any square footage as we had originally hoped. WTF?! All those "dream homes" I found we're complete shitholes. And by shitholes I mean somewhat dilapidated. And People... People... That is with us raising our price up to 100K over the sale price of our own home. 100K to buy a house that needs at least 100K to bring it up to level of our current home (which is 90 freaking years old and not exactly in mint condition!!). I cannot freaking believe it. Cannot. What a nightmare. And NO the surrounding areas aren't any cheaper. And NO it is not a buyers market... not when sellers do not do their dishes or even make their beds before showing their house... RIDICULOUS. So needless to say I'm a bit depressed. It's not like we haven't lived in an "urban" setting before (and... ahem... Asheville... NYC you are not) and we don't sticker shock easily... but this was unbelievable. I mean Ann Arbor to Asheville is a pretty lateral move in terms of type of city, size, population... but let me tell you it is NOT a lateral move in terms of quality of life (neighborhoods, housing, etc). At this point we did find a house we like... but it is 60K more than ours... and the exact square footage (but we lose the finished basement and the playroom as the space is divided differently).

**You can find my additional commentary in the comments of my previous post.
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