Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Curse of the Restaurant

Chris has the curse of bad restaurant service. By default I have it now too. 4 times out of every 5 that we go out to eat either the food or the service is going to be just terrible. Now I always expect the food to be good, but we do try to make allowances for service. If it’s really busy we expect service to be a bit slow. If we get a trainee (which happens fairly often to us) we expect there to be some errors. We don’t (try) to keep the server running all the time. We try to order everything we’re going to want all at once, including extra salad dressing (why do they give you the little bitty thing of dressing? It’s enough to cover one piece of lettuce.), napkins, tea spoon, whatever. If they forget something, we nicely tell them immediately and have them go get it, but it’s not like they bring the food and we’re all “oh, I forgot I want this.” And they bring that and we’re “oh, I also need that.” We’re reasonable people. Usually.

But we’ve had some humdinger experiences. There’s the time the waiter took our order, came back and told us they were out of most of what we ordered, then forgot to turn in our order, then brought us the nastiest food you’ve ever seen. I’d ordered a brisket sandwich with mashed potatoes. They brought me a plate of brisket swimming in about an inch of grease along with mashed potatoes that had that nasty skin over them from sitting out too long. Like two days too long. I told the waiter I’d ordered a brisket sandwich, so he brought me out 2 slices of white bread and told me to make a sandwich out of it. He hadn’t brought out Chris’ onion rings, so a few minutes later the MANAGER brought out this blackened pile of something, set it on our table and started to walk away. You should have seen his face when Chris asked him to come back and eat some of those onion rings. And thru it all, we were polite and understanding, right up until the manager said “I guess we won’t be charging you for tonight’s meal.” Ya think?

We were running around last night looking at floor coverings (OMG, we’re looking at $3,000 to do the flooring we want – at wholesale prices!!!! Warning: Change of plan ahead!) and stopped by our favorite restaurant to have dinner. It was 8:00 on a Wednesday so it wasn’t too busy at all. Unfortunately for us, this was the 3rd time in a row that we got terrible service at this place.

Are we so hard to get along with? Is it too much to want someone to come by the table every 5 minutes or so to make sure we have enough to drink? Is it too much to expect to get the appetizer you ordered before your meal arrives (some 40 minutes after ordering)? Or even at all? When you ask to speak to a manager, don’t you expect one of the three people you’ve asked to go and find the manager?

Last night’s wasn’t as funny as the one above – we were actually laughing when we left that one. It had been so horrible you had to laugh. It was like a sitcom or something. Last night was just the last of a several month history of bad service at the same restaurant chain.

We left, and went to a more expensive restaurant across the street. Not a lot more expensive – it was about $20.00 more and we got desserts. We also got exemplary service, fresh hot food and a waitress that stopped by periodically to make sure that everything was alright. When we were done, I asked to speak to the manager and he actually showed up! In about 1 minute! So I told him that we’d walked out of the previous restaurant because of the terrible service and that I wanted to thank and compliment him and his crew for such a wonderful dining experience. I swear his mouth dropped open.

We’ve actually been to that restaurant several times and have never yet had a bad experience. We don't go more often because it's primarily seafood (along with some prime rib and chicken items. And also things like alligator) and I'm not a seafood fan. So if you want a wonderful meal with friendly and efficient waitstaff and really pretty decent prices (be sure and try the fried cheese – but beware, it’s cajun spicy) go to Trapper's. And if you wanted to, you could figure out where we were that was so bad (across the street and a little to the west).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I finished it!

I finished the final Harry Potter book last night. Without going into details, I was pretty pleased with it over all. There were parts where I went "I KNEW it!" and "You've got to be kidding me." And there was even a part where I cried. Well, not cried, but shed a few tears anyway. It had a pretty good ending, and no possibility that there will be future books in the series. (I've been waiting to hear someone say "but there could be another". Not happening)

I'm going to miss them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


So we got a family membership at the Y a couple weeks ago. Mom's supposed to be doing water aerobics to strengthen her knees and I've been wanting to do some toning and yoga classes. We all three need to lose some weight, and Chris and I would both use the weight room.

At least, that was the plan. I've had intentions every single night to get over there and do something, even just swim (cuz damn but it's been hot). As of today, I have not made it over there once. And every single night it's been something. Gotta go see Dad, have homework due, need to go to the store.

How do people with kids ever get anything done? I have a dog and I can't get anything done.

Thursday is toning and yoga classes, and I swear by my Harry Potter book that I WILL make it to at least one of the classes. At least I'm going to try damn hard.

Oh yeah, I have homework due that night.



I forgot to mention that we got the appraisal back yesterday. It was for exactly the amount that we're borrowing on the house. The bank said that's standard - you don't want it to be higher for 2 reasons.

1. The seller can back out if they think they've sold it for too little.
2. Property taxes are based on the appraisal amount.

We were really looking forward to getting the appraisal because we are convinced that the house is worth more than we're paying for it, and we wanted to know how much more. The banker said that you only get true-value mortgage appraisals when you do a refinance. I guess if we really wanted to know, we could pay for a true-value appraisal, but since we had to pay for this appraisal I doubt we're going to do that.

I did get my insurance quote today. It was about $500.00 higher than had been estimated (by realtor and banker). Really good coverage. Of course, the program they used figured that it was going to cost almost $70,000 more than what we're paying for the house to rebuild it if something happend. I wonder if that indicates the value in any way? Probably not. Plus it figured that we would have $112,000 worth of personal property! I always scoff at those numbers, and then I think "If I had to replace all of my books tomorrow, even if I figured I only have 1,000 books (I'm pretty sure I've got more than that. One thing I'm really looking forward to is getting all of my books out for the first time in at least 5 years. I've had boxes of books in the garage because I had nowhere to put them.) at $8.00 per book....Then there's CD's - several hundred of them between the two of us, fishing and hunting stuff, clothes, furniture.....I guess it does all add up. And it's not value of what we have but cost to replace it.

Plus, did you know that you can get a "Sewer Rider" on your homeowner's policy? That way when you come home and sewer water is flooding your house, you get to go stay in a nice hotel and buy a bunch of new stuff while someone else has to deal with the clean-up? This is a good thing, and cheap in the scheme of things (I've heard an extra $10 - whether month or year, it's worth it to me) and very definately recommended. As are backflow preventer's that would prevent the problem in the first place. We're going to have both - just in case.

No Harry Potter Spoilers Here

So I'm just over half-way thru the final book, and I have to say that so far I'm pretty pleased. After a good strong start there's been parts where I'm going "Alright already, it was hard, it was terrifying, yada yada yada. Next step please." I'm to a point where it seems to be picking back up and I have high hopes for lots of action in the remainder.

I felt this way about the 5th (I think) book too (the Tri-Wizard Tournament one). Quit with the whining already and get a move on. For having been such an angst-ridden teen, I don't appear to have much sympathy for it now!

I am enjoying it though, and I might have been getting frustrated with all of the INTERRUPTIONS last night while I was trying to read. Cook dinner? I'm reading Harry Potter here! Have company and need to be polite? To hell with that! Still spoilers on TV? Get over it already.

So now I'm at work, wondering how soon I can take a smoke break and go read for 10 minutes...looks like right about now!

Monday, July 23, 2007


One thing we've had to do to buy this house is clear up the 3 or 4 things that are still showing on my credit. One of those was the cable bill I swore I was never going to pay because the bastards reconnected my cable service without my permission. I didn't even have electricty (I had moved in with Chris but my landlord wouldn't let me out of my lease, so I shut off all of the utilities to save at least some money). Anyway, they refused to credit my account and I told them "Fine, but you'll never see a dime from me."

I paid them last week. Bastards.

Anyway, somehow one of Dad's medical bills got put on my credit. I called to try to take care of it, and they agreed that it shouldn't be on my credit and said that they would have it removed. I told them I was closing on a house in a few more days and need this taken care of immediately - could they fax me or my banker a statement that showed it was Dad's bill and not mine? No, my name wasn't on the account so privacy laws won't let them release information to me. WTF??? You can put it on my credit but can't fax me a statement. They'll mail a letter to the address on record, which is my PO Box, but that'll take at least a couple days to get.

Of course, I forgot all about the power of attorney thing, so I called them back and of course they left 5 minutes after I talked to them.

Damn creditors.

I Got It!

I just got back from the post office where I picked up the final Harry Potter book. Now I'm going to sit here and stare at it until lunch time when I can finally start reading it.

Yet More About the House

Sandie asked what the outside of the house looks like. I'd planned on taking pictures of the outside, I really did, and then I got to looking at it.

The front is so overgrown that I couldn't get a good view of it, so that will have to wait until we get some cleared out before I can get a good picture. And the back, well, the back has a few issues too. Like the hot tub we've got to pull out of there, and the wooden walkway someone put back there. It's not a deck, just a walkway around the hot tub and along the back of the house (the part with no windows). And the yard is so small that I couldn't really get a good angle.

So, the house is brick and frame with a stone facing on the front of the house. Stone that someone painted. Blue-Gray. That's peeling off in places. That's going to get sand-blasted as soon as we can afford it.

Who paints stone????

There's a silver-leaf maple in the front yard. Chris just happens to hate silver-leaf maples. Don't know why, never asked. I personally think it looks fine, but that's one of the first things that's going to be cut down. Then we've got some way overgrown bush things (Chris knows what they are, I have no clue) that actually do a really good job of separating us from the house next door. Those are going to get thinned out or possibly cut down and replaced with the exact same thing. Depends on how the thinning goes. (Chris likes whatever they are - I do too, but if I were going to totally remove them, I might look at putting something else there. Just me.) Then we have some holly bushes in front of the front living area (the peach room) as well as some ivy and something else I couldn't get around to see. Chris wants to keep the holly and maybe we'll get to see what the rest of the stuff is once we thin out the others.

Finally, we have a bagworm tree right on the little corner of the house beside the garage. That's the first thing to go. (It's actually a little juniper tree.) When I was a kid, we had several evergreen bushes in our backyard and I spent many an hour picking those stupid little bags off of them. Since we don't have kids to torture (how do you guys do the strike-thru thing?), I mean give chores to, I'm not interested in juniper trees.

The backyard has nothing but the hot tub in it. It's small enough I'm not sure I'll be able to put anything back there. We'll have to wait and see how much a difference taking the hot tub out makes.

Oh, and Sandie, I am expecting some help with planning. Just warning you.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Turns out that "In Transit to Final Destination" doesn't actually mean that it's on a truck and heading my way. I don't get the book until Monday. Now I have a whole weekend of avoiding spoilers. No internet or tv for me.

Harry Potter

I pre-ordered the final book, over a month ago, and just checked to see when I'm going to get it.


So now I'm staring out the window wondering where the UPS driver is.

I want my book dammit!

How about everyone else? I know that Lesley had ordered it, and I believe that Jamie has been following the series. It's been difficult, but I've managed to avoid all of the spoilers so far. If I really do get this book today, I'm going home and not putting it down until I finish it.

I'll even put off doing house stuff - that's pretty serious.


For some reason, I can't get into my comments today. Thank goodness I get an email for each comment or I wouldn't have any idea someone is actually reading this thing!

Bridge left a comment on the Inspection Completed post about why it takes so long for the appraiser to do his thing. I always assumed that they just looked at the house itself and said it's worth this much. It makes sense that the area has something to do with the value of the property but I had no idea that they had to compare my house to 3 others. What if he picks really crappy houses? Actually, we've got the records from the last few months of sales and ours is the cheapest in the neighborhood - we couldn't afford it if it weren't. Thanks for the info!

In fact, this house is actually over our approval amount by $1000.00. We figured we could just pay the difference, but the bank put it on the loan, so no worries there.

Bridge - I just want you to know that I had every intention of going thru you when we bought a house. We didn't actually think that we would qualify at this time, so I just called the bank because they already had all my info and I figured they could tell me what I needed to do before getting a loan. (And I wouldn't have to bug you for the 3rd, or is it 4th?, time since you've been in the business!) You could have knocked me over with a feather when they called back an hour later and said "You're approved for X amount." Then I was pre-approved, so it just made sense to keep on with them, especially since we were approved for a 100% loan, fixed, with no penalties for early payment and a decent interest rate.

I generally try to use family and friends when I can, so I've really felt guilty for not using Bridge. How about you come over when we have our party and we'll feed you lots of good food and drink? Or, you could come over some other time and we can hang out and eat lots of good food and drink. Whichever. Or both.

[Someone needs to come over and drink all this alcohol! How did I end up with so much? Chris is allergic to alcohol (but still drinks occasionally) and I just don't drink but every rare once in awhile. Last time I got drunk? In Cozumel with Lesley (poor, poor Lesley) some 15 years ago? Damn, has it been that long????]

Someone else left a comment on another post (forgot which one) about a store in Tulsa that I might be able to get a deal on a pool table from. That's a great idea, and thanks I'll definately check it out. Chris said just last night that he wasn't sure what he thought we should do with that room but that there was a slate table in the paper for $750.00 that had just been refinished. (Sounded like a "hint" "hint" to me!) Have I even seen a slate pool table? Sounds cool anyway. Fortunately, we have plenty of time to figure that one out, especially since we're doing the carpet and paint and stuff first.


Here's the view as you walk in the front door:

To the left you see the front living area:

The rest of the front living area looks like this:

From there you see the dining area:

And the window:

View from the kitchen door to the front door:

The kitchen:

The living room:

The only natural light in the living room:

The front door and kitchen from the living room:

And finally, the master bedroom:

That bedroom's really red, isn't it? I didn't bother to take pictures of the other 2 bedrooms or the bathrooms. Actually, I tried to take pictures of the baths, but I couldn't get a good angle and gave up. We're replacing the carpet in the front living area and in all three of the bedrooms. We're going to put laminate wood floor in the main living area. Eventually we'll replace the vinyl flooring in the kitchen with (probably) ceramic tile. We're going to keep all of the ceramic tile that's already throughout the house. One day we'll probably do something with that kitchen, but it works for now.

And what's up with the tile in the pictures? I promise, it's all straight and even in real life.

I'll post after pictures once there is an after.

EDITED: I just noticed that I was supposed to use a different code so that these pictures linked back to Flickr. I'm not going to redo this one (I promise I'll use the correct code next time Flickr), but am going to put a link to Flickr here. And also, I heart Flickr and plan on using them for a long, long time. Hope that's an acceptable compromise for this one post.


Inspection Completed

Chris has a friend who does home inspections, so of course we called him to do ours. This meant that we were at the house for three and a half hours to do the inspection and talk. The only surprises were that the hot water tank needs a new T&P valve on it and the gas starter on the fireplace needs to be replaced. Chris can do both of those and everything else (very minor stuff) that needs to be done.

The appraiser is supposed to go by either today or Monday, then it usually takes 3 days to get his report (I have no idea why) and that's the last possible obstacle. Well, unless someone throws a lien against the house at the last minute but that's doubtful.

We're getting a house!!!!!!!!!!

We went to Home Depot last night to look at carpet and paint and light fixtures and plumbing fixtures and all of that wonderful stuff. I was wandering around there thinking of all the possibilities. The glorious possibilities. I also reconfirmed that I have excellent taste in stuff - if price is any indicator. We're going to put laminate flooring in the main living area and of course the one I liked best was the 4.50/sq. ft. and the one I liked least was the 1.98/sq. ft. I liked the $500 light fixture rather than the $50.00 one. Etc.

Poor Chris. He thinks that just because I point out the more expensive stuff that I like that means that's what I expect to get. He doesn't understand that just because I like the $1450.00 flooring, that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the $650.00 flooring. I'd prefer to keep as much money in my pocket as I can. Well, maybe not in my pocket - just think of how many books that $800 would buy! Or maybe that light fixture....

I did take pictures, but they really didn't come out too well. The front of the house is overgrown with bushes, so no light comes in the front windows (those bushes will be removed shortly after we move in) and there are no windows on the back wall of the house at all, so the only natural light in the living room is thru the sliding glass door. I had to increase the brightness on the pictures so much that they really look pretty bad. I'm going to play with them a little more and then I'll get some pictures up.

Now I'm off to look at bar stools. We've got a 10' long bar between the kitchen and living area that's just begging for some stools. Especially since that's where we'll probably eat most of our meals.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

House Info

I'll be posting pictures later (I'm taking them today during the inspection), but the basic info is: It's 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and has a 2nd living room at the front of the house. I have no idea what we're going to use it for. Originally I thought a 2nd living room would be great for my office, and then we'd actually have 3 bedrooms, but that won't work for this house. It's 1846 square feet and has a pretty open floor plan.

Warning: I am not an artist and this looks like crap, but here's the basic layout as I remember it from my one walk-thru of it:

Right outside the master bedroom exterior door is a wooden walkway and a hot tub. Neither Chris nor I are interested in a hot tub (I'd have taken a pool, but not a hot tub) so we're going to get rid of that. I don't even know if it works, but we've already pawned it off on someone else if it does.

The yard is pretty small, which is really going to limit my gardening ability - not that I had any before ;) what with the dog and all. We're on a short street (2 houses) between 2 cul-de-sacs so it ought to be a quiet street.

My only complaint so far: There are NO windows on the back of the house. None. That door out of the master bedroom is it. Kinda weird and something we may have to change one day - how do people not put windows in a house?

Anyway, I'll post the pictures I take today as soon as I can. Next I get to start picking out carpet and paint!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


About damn time, isn't it?

Have I said 99.99999% sure yet?

I've been told to quit worrying about the seller signing the contract. It's a bank out of CA and apparently this is pretty standard for them (taking a long time to do stuff).

I signed the loan paperwork last night, inspection and appraisal is scheduled for Thursday, and closing has been scheduled for 11:00 on the 31st.

Sounds like it's ours!!!!!!!

Barring any disasters found during the inspection tomorrow. I do know that we don't have termites - the seller already had that inspection done.

Now I get to go pick out carpet and paint - what do you think, every room in a different color? Chris wants to do all white paint and tile etc. He's worried about when we go to sell the house (hypothetically in 5 or 10 years). I keep telling him that I'm not buying an investment property, I'm buying a home. And it's not going to be white! I've promised not to put in purple carpet or anything like that, but I do want some color in the house.

Ah, the joys of marital compromise! I have a feeling it's just starting.

(Is it Freudian that I typed martial instead of marital?)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Almost there

We signed the addendums last night, and our realtor is taking them along with our earnest money check to the other realtor today. We've scheduled the home inspection even though we don't have the sellers signature yet. We should have an actual contract by the end of the day today. If all goes as planned, we'll officially own our house on Tuesday, July 31st.

Don't worry, I'll be posting lots of pictures as soon as it's all done.

We're getting close!

Monday, July 16, 2007


We're up to 99.875% sure we're getting the house.

Still need sellers signature.

Frustration mounting.

85% of a house

We placed an offer on a house last week, the seller countered wanting to change the closing date from 8/10 to 7/30. The banker said 7/31 would be better for her.

This was as of Friday.

All weekend was spent praying that we got the house.

This morning, the seller has still not responded (it's a bank in CA). Currently we are 85% sure we got the house and that no one else got to look at it over the weekend (so far as the other realtor has admitted anyway).


All positive thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Still House Hunting

Still looking for houses. At this point, I couldn't even tell you how many we've looked at, but I know it's over 200. So far we've made 2 offers, both of which have been turned down.

If this takes much longer, we're going to rent a small cheap apartment that doesn't require a lease. I love my mother dearly, but I really really REALLY want my own place again.

In other news, I'm taking 2 classes this summer - Micro and Macro Economics. One was in June and the other in July. I got a B in the June class, so I'm bound and determined that I'm going to get an A in this one. Just for the record, economics sucks.

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