Friday, August 31, 2007

Bugs and Spiders and Mice, Oh My!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

We've been at our new house most of the day yesterday, except for nap time, and from 3:30 to 7 or 7:30 tonight. Whew. I'm exhausted already.

So, nobody lived at this house for at least 2 years while it was on the market. Mr. Kluges talked some about its problems in an earlier post. We're getting people in for bids on the electricity, the sewer line, and to take down some trees. So even though nothing is actually getting done with those, we've started the process.

But for the hours we've already put in, we've been busy cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. And unsticking windows and taking off the storm windows to let it air out. And doing a little bit of work outside just because when you trim something or pull it out, you can see progress!

And cleaning.

Did I mention the cleaning?

And if you looked at it, you can hardly even tell. 'Cuz oh, the spiders and the cobwebs and the dead bugs along the edges of the walls, and the mouse poop in unexpected places, and the dirt, the accumulated DIRT everywhere!


We'll be cleaning for a while. I'm hoping to finish the frig ('cuz that and kid-wrangling is all I really did today... and it's not done yet!) and to get the bathroom cleaned and then to keep working on the kitchen during the weekend.

Then hopefully it won't scare Pusher when she stops by this weekend! 'Cuz Yay! She's going to visit us!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

It's ours!

Lord love us, it's ours!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Resolution: T-minus 21 hours

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Purchase Agreement & Amendments signed - check
Financing arranged - check
Insurance arranged & paid for - check
Closing time set - check

Big, big cashier's check overnighted from our bank received - check (as of about an hour ago)

Now just the final walk-through at 6:30 tonight...

...lots of papers to sign tomorrow at 9:30 am...

...and then it's ours.


It coulda been Brad Pitt, but no...

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Before I had kids...

I never dreamed about spit-up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Update from Mr. Kluges

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

It's been busy around here with family visiting, and potty-going, and house to-dos, and laundry (oh, the laundry!), and lawn mowing, and, and, and...

So sorry I haven't been more timely in updating, but I think you'll find that Mr. Kluges has stepped up to the plate nicely here....

It's Tuesday and neither of us have updated the world in several days. I'll let Ms. Huis herself communicate the interesting tidbits of daily life with one exception.

The in-laws and aunt-in-law were here to visit last weekend and it was fantastic to see them again. We're still a long way away from them, but ever so much closer than Ireland. A visit can be had with a car now, rather than 24 hours of planes, trains, buses and automobiles. A good time was had by all and I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon.

We're holding our breath with the house. We came to an agreement with the sellers on the septic line and the lender has agreed to give us a loan. The seller has agreed to pay us a set amount to fix the septic line, but we're going to be the ones that have to deal with the hassle of fixing it. It's not ideal, but it's fair and good enough that we didn't walk away from the house. We have set the closing date for this Thursday at 9:30 am.

I'm contemplating starting a blog for the house and it's adventures. We'll see if I feel like I have the extra hour or two a week to post. I'm officially soliciting names for the blog if anyone has any ideas.

[Yeah, I was thinking much along the same lines as diplowhat's comment in the previous post, so maybe "The Gods Shake Their Heads House Blog" or "Look What We've Gotten Ourselves Into" or "It'll Be Beautiful... Someday." *grin* - MHH]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Yes, it's an update. No, it's (still) not a resolution.

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

What with the waiting, and the thinking you'll know when it'll happen, and then having to keep waiting well PAST when you thought you knew it'd happen, and being excited, but also apprehensive...

....this house business is giving me an inkling as to what people who go days and days past their due date might feel like.

Mr. Kluges shares another guest post. Comments in square brackets are mine. - MHH
['Cuz I just can't let him tell a story without interjecting. In real life either. *grin*]

There were four things that needed to happen to buy the house we're looking at:

1) Agree upon a price with the seller
2) Pass the house inspection
3) Get insurance
4) Get a loan

The first three are now sorted [with the insurance having the requirement that we replace the knob-and-tube wiring within the first 60 days. - MHH], and with our good credit rating we didn't expect number four to be an issue, BUT what we didn't count on was that a lender might actually consider it a bad idea to loan money for a "fixer-upper." We didn't think that the lender would also have to approve the condition of the house and/or the inspection.

To that end, our lender came back and suggested (well, more like required) that we get the sewer inspected since the owner mentioned that it does back up once in awhile.

At first I grumbled and then realized that no, this was in fact a good thing. If the sewer is shot, it's better to know now rather than later. So we found a roto-rooter type guy and had him out to send a camera down our potential future sewer line. Luckily, the sewer line hadn't really been used in two years, so I didn't have to review the gastrointestinal output of owners past.

It was pretty cool to see, except for the fact that the pipe was shot. [Surprise!] Like everything else in the house, the line was original, in this case cast iron. There didn't look to be any metal left at the bottom of the pipe. So we got an estimate to fix - $5,000 to $6,000 and now we've gone back to the owners again to ask them to fix it or give us money to fix it.

So we're waiting...again. We're doing that a lot these days.

Bizarre News Items

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

For your Friday "I don't want to be at work" reading enjoyment, here are a few news stories that are, well, a bit unusual.

Strange smuggling story:
Airline asks, "Is that a monkey in your ponytail?"

Poor, poor pastry:
Giant Missing Muffin Found, But Now It's Toast

Shades of Indiana Jones:
Man returns 'cursed' pharaoh piece

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Happy 3rd Birthday, Pumpkin!!!

You are a star, and we love you tremendously.
Mommy & Daddy & Penguin

P.S. Yes, we did have a bigger cake. This is the little one that Pumpkin got to frost (or try to and lick the frosting off her knife) while I frosted the big one. Also, we ate this one when Mr. Kluges came home from work (aka as soon as it was frosted), while the big one waited until Grampa Pharoah, Gramma Pet, and TNGreatAunt came this evening.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two (ok, 3) lessons (hopefully) learned

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

This is Pumpkin's potty chair.

It is here to illustrate #1 of the potty training lessons Pumpkin learned today via trial and error.

To wit: When one sits upon a potty chair with the lid down, a great puddle is made.

This is Emma.

This is Emma's potty.

This is Pumpkin's potty, with Emma for scale.
And the second lesson of the day...

Emma's potty, while cute and small, much like Pumpkin herself, is nonetheless NOT big enough to contain all of Pumpkin's pee and therefore should NOT be used by Pumpkin. Or else another great puddle happens.

The third lesson of the day is Mommy's.

While Pumpkin is doing VERY well at potty training, she still needs a little more supervision. Unless you like puddles.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mr. Kluges Shares the News

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Mr. Kluges shares the lowdown on the house... Comments in square brackets are mine. -MHH

The saga continues...

A week ago we had the inspection on the house and it found one or two things we missed. It also impressed upon us the potential severity of some of the issues we did know about. We looked at the report from the inspector and then went back to our realtor and provided her with a list of defects that we wanted the owner to address, either by reducing the price or by offering to fix. My thought was that in negotiating you always let the other party make the first offer, so we wanted to see how reasonable the current owner would be.

It didn't work. By Monday our agent was pushing us to come up with a concrete number because the seller wasn't going to make the first offer. So we flinched and came up with a formal amendment to our original offer. We reduced the offering price by another $7500 and had him throw in the appliances. (He wasn't including appliances in with the original house sale - who does that?) We also put in a 48 hour deadline. [See? We learned!-MHH] He and his agent have been less than stellar about getting back to us (in case you haven't been agonizing with us for the last FOUR weeks). We were resolved that this was it. We were offering as much as we thought the property was really worth (in this market) and we were tired of waiting for the knucklehead to get back to us. If we didn't hear anything by end of day Thursday, we were walking. There is a perfectly nice brick, American Four Square still available. [see previous post]

The owner is currently living in Sydney, Australia so due to the time difference, if we don't hear anything by 10:00 am, then it's unlikely that we will hear anything from the owner [yet that day], due to the 15 hour time difference. Yesterday, 10:00 came and went without so much as a beep, ring or buzz. The day passed and I went home at 3:00 pm, as I do every day, and started mentally adjusting to life in downtown, in the other brick four-square.

At 4:30 yesterday, our agent called us to say that the owner had signed our amendment. We were stunned. We thought for sure that he was not interested in our amendment. So we've moved another step forward (and this was another big one).

There are four things that need to happen for us to close on this house.

1) Get the seller to agree to sell us the house at an agreed upon price. - This is done, but it wasn't easy as we had to bump another offer with contingencies.

2) Pass the inspection. - This is done, but only from the standpoint that the seller has reduced his price. All the items that the inspection found still need to be addressed, but by us, after we've closed on the house.

3) Get insurance. - This is still up in the air. I've got feelers out to several agents and even 1 quote back, but almost everyone is balking at the knob and tube wiring (no surprise there).

4) Get some money. - This is still up in the air. No insurance means no loan. Furthermore, when the current owner filled out the standard disclosure sheet indicating the status of the property, he was a little too generous with his information. He included things like "the shower clogs up if the hair isn't taken out of the drain" or "water damage and mold may develop if the overspray from the shower isn't wiped up." To a lender just looking at the disclosure sheet, the boxes for "I'm aware of defects in the plumbing" and "I'm aware of mold problems in the structure" are ticked.

Realistically, the two items that are left should be less difficult than the first two, so at this point we are very comfortable that we will be closing on the house sometime in August.
Here's hoping...


(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Well, on the sharing recipes blog, I've got good news and bad news...

The good news is that there are definitely enough of us interested to give it a whirl. There also seems to be much love for the title "Recipeeps." Such consensus is not usually so easy to come by.

That being said... somebody else already has

Yeah, I know - it sucks.

(Well, the quick glance I took of their site seemed like it might be actually kind of interesting, but that's not the point!)

So, ideas? We could always be something like "Food for Thought... by the Recipeeps" ('Cuz we're peeps... with recipes... you know?) (Hee, hee. Ms. Huis Herself, Recipeep. That's funnier than Ms. Huis Herself, Esq. or Ms. Huis Herself, Ph.D. Or maybe I've just had a few too many Circus Skittles today...) and then use some variation for the dealie. Or somebody more clever with names/titles could throw some other ideas out there.

Ok, sounds like naptime is over... gotta run!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cute, cute Penguin

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

I may not have written much about her for a while, but we do still have more than one daughter! *grin* It's just that the big one is, well, so much more active, and talkative, and silly... so she ends up with more air time.

But the little one, oh, is she cute! Penguin's been growing like crazy lately. She's now 3 1/2 months old, and at the stage where she's switched from a newborn to an infant.

She loves smiling at all of us and having cooing conversations. She tries SO HARD to sit up on her own. She's great at supporting some of her own weight and loves to 'stand.'

She'll grab at - and often get - hanging toys. She's even slept through the night a few times, which Pumpki
n didn't do until she was MUCH older than Penguin is. She's almost rolling over... and would be if that darn shoulder didn't keep getting in the way!
Cute from any angle!

Just a couple of days ago, I hauled up the exersaucer-type thing that I had from when Pumpkin was a wee one. Penguin LOVES IT!

In fact, she loves it this much:

(And if that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Calling all cooks...

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, so first of all, we're still in progress with the post-inspection negotiations. We should know by tomorrow end of the day at the latest (yeah, I know, you've heard that before!) because we put in a time limit for them to respond.

But while I've got you all here, I've been thinking... I miss sharing recipes with people. It's fun to both share when I've found a great/yummy/easy one, or to hear from others who do. And there have been a couple of times on this or other blogs in our circle where recipes have been discussed, or shared in the comments. Which is wonderful, but hard to find later on.

So I was wondering if anybody would be interested in a shared recipe blog. Just something here on Blogger, with any of us who are interested could be contributors and put up a post whenever you have a great recipe to share... or a call for help when you need a certain type of recipe.

Goodness knows Blogger is easy enough to set up. (Well, once I figure out the shared contributors thing, but I've seen other people do it.) (Ok, I checked out the help page and it's super easy.) We could use the labels to make it more easily searchable, so it's useful when you want to pull up, say, all the chicken recipes or dessert recipes or whatever.

So what'd'ya think? Anybody out there interested? Would you contribute? Would you use? And most importantly... what should it be called?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

International greetings!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, this is just a post to say "Hi! How are ye!" to my dearest, dearest friend from Ireland who called me this afternoon! I told her about this blog in a letter (had to send photos of the girls, you know), and she said she's been enjoying it.

So, "Hello!" Your call made my day, and you'll have to let me know if you want me to use your real name or a nickname on here, ok?


Monday, August 13, 2007

Lessons from a potty party

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Things I learned from a potty party...

  • Anything can be an excuse for a party.
  • Dollar for dollar, helium balloons are better than gold.
  • You will be amazed at the number of stuffed animals a child has once they are all gathered into one room.
  • A green blanket on the floor surrounded by stuffed animals makes a jungle. Jungles are cool.
  • To a child, a party means a cake.... Remember this or field repeated questions regarding the location of said (non-existent) cake.
  • Steamers count oodles for decoration, but they sag lower and lower over time.
  • If the shortest adult in the house puts in streamers the night before a party, the tallest adult in the house will spend the entire next day ducking streamers. This is particularly true if there is a 8 inch height differential between them.
  • Potty training songs have a dangerous capability to get stuck in your head. ( sit your bottom down, and you push the poopy out... you do the Tushy Pushy 'til the poop goes in the pot, that's what it's all about!)
  • If you like Steve and Joe on Blue's Clues, you'll like Potty Power. The girl on it addresses the child viewer with the same sincerity and realism.
  • Your local library has a LOT of kid books and videos about using the potty. That's good. You can put a lot of them on hold (often on-line when it's sleep time for your munchkin(s)) and not have to sort the stacks for them with kid(s) in tow. That's good. They all have virtually the same theme and your child will want to read them over and over. That's boring. Reinforces the potty training well, but bores the pants (hee hee) off the grownup.
  • Rites of passage are important. A trip to DQ is a great way to celebrate a rite of passage!
  • Chocolate ice cream cones are messy. Yummy, but messy.

In unrelated news, Mr. Kluges rented The Money Pit for us to watch last night. *grin*

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's a party!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

We've having a potty party today!

That's right - a potty party! The idea comes from a book called "Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day" by Teri Crane. I first heard of it over in Ireland, when my mom mailed me a clipping from the Strib because it was about this book, and the article interviewed a teacher from my old school about it. She was all raves, so I figured I'd give it a try when the time was right.

Well, we've taken the "when she's ready" approach to potty training so far. Pumpkin's had a potty chair around for more than a year. She was sitting on it as part of her pre-bath routine for a long, long time. She's used it successfully many times, but has never really been interested in tossin' the diapers for good.

Teri Crane explains that - diapers are easy and convenient for kids. They can go anytime, and the nice disposable diapers these days let them still feel dry and comfortable. Why give that up for the inconvenient of using the potty?

So you turn it into a big deal - a potty party.

It's an Event. Lots of bells and whistles and bribes (I mean treats) and decorations and fun. You start the day giving the child a doll that can wet. The morning is spent helping the child 'teach' the doll to use the potty, with the child receiving the treats and getting to put the stickers on the doll's chart. Of course, the doll has 'accidents,' so you remind the doll it's ok and have it sit on its potty chair for a while to 'practice.'

Eventually the doll is declared 'trained' and the child is presented with BRAND NEW FANCY UNDERWEAR as a thank you gift from the doll.

Then the rest of the day is spent helping the child learn (or reinforcing previous lessons) to use the potty herself.

We've watched potty DVDs, read potty books, put stickers on potty charts, and had lots of treats. Also, we've gotten Pumpkin to drink LOTS of liquids... which has led to many successful trips to the bathroom. Just one accident so far, during lunch, but it's all going well.

Currently she's napping, 'cuz we've done worn her out with all the excitement today. So we're enjoying the chance to catch our breath and get ready for the end of the day.

Best two things purchased so far. LOTS of smoothie juice consumed in the new fancy Dora cup with close-able straw and handy carry strap!

I'm looking forward to the celebratory trip to DQ at the end of the day. Rewards for all!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bush Vs. Zombies

'Cuz zombies are always funny....

...and apparently a threat to national security.

(Found video through The Bloggess)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Comments on the Inspection

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Here's what Mr. Kluges has to say about the house inspection yesterday evening. Anything in square brackets is from me.

We had our house inspection yesterday and it pretty much confirmed what I thought. The house is very solidly built with a lot of great, unique features, and a lot of problems. The problems could have been avoided by doing two very simple things. Grading the soil to slope away from the house and keeping the gutters clean. That's it. Those two items have caused 90% of the problems in the house directly or indirectly. It's a shame really and a testament to the strength and quality of the building. It has held up remarkably well in spite of years of neglect. Two years of sitting empty has been hard on the house, especially in regards to the gutters.

First the good. The external walls are built of structural terra cotta blocks. They look like terra cotta chimney flue tiles, but are a slightly different shape. I asked the inspector point blank "What are the pros and cons of this type of building material," and his response was "Nothing but pros. They are incredibly strong." The brick on the outside is only a veneer, which is good because I was very concerned about structural integrity where the mortar is failing. If the brick mortar fails, just the veneer will fall down and not the whole house. :) The basement foundation is built of large, cement blocks. Again, these are very strong and durable.

The house has a primitive, but functional air circulation system. At the time it was built, it was thought that stale air was the cause of TB, so some houses had ductwork to help promote the movement of inside air to the outside and vice versa. I'd heard of this practice years ago when we went on a tour of the J.J. Hill house in St. Paul, Minnesota. That house sits on a cliff and they dug shafts down and then out into the cliff face to promote air flow. I'm not sure how useful it is in this house, but from a historical perspective it's pretty cool. Our inspector said that in the 20 years he's been inspecting houses, this is only the second one he's ever seen.

The roof is in pretty good shape, which was surprising, considering it is 86 years old. There are a few missing shingles, replaced with tin and the flashings need some attention, but overall it's in good shape. I'd still get a proper roofing company to come and do some maintenance on it.

The foundation, while it had some issues in the past appears fine, provided that the water issues are taken care of. The attic supports and construction are extremely well done and in very good shape.

Then some of the not so good. The gutters have not been properly maintained in 18+ months. They are leaking and this has caused problems with the soffits (due to improper drainage). The brick work needs to be repointed (due to improper drainage). The back porch needs to be jacked up and the support pillar re-leveled (because improper drainage washed dirt from under the support). Two of the basement windows have rotten sills (due to improper drainage). Some of the first floor joists in the basement need to be sistered because the ends are rotting (because of improper drainage). Did you happen to notice any common themes to the issues noted? Please, please, please clean your gutters and make sure you are directing water away from your house.

There are of course some other things - railings missing, overgrown vegetation, no GFCI recepticles [the kind with test/reset], etc., but these are all relatively minor and can either be addressed directly by ourselves or as part of an overall larger fix (like replacing the electrical). ['Cuz technically the knob-and-tube wiring isn't a defect, just outdated and in need of replacement/modernization. - MHH]

I did ask the inspector off the record how much he would budget to get the property functional and structurally sound. I won't quote him as it was "off the record", but it was good to hear a number that was exactly on the low end of what I was thinking. The bad thing was that I was hoping to spread the costs over five to ten years. He suggested that all the fixes get done as soon as possible, as in one to two years. Youch. [Yeah, I had sticker shock, but I hadn't been doing the research on this that Mr. Kluges has been doing. Double youch from me! Also, that big number doesn't include adding in another bath/half bath. - MHH]

So, we've presented a list of defects to the seller and will wait to see what his reply is. Either he comes down to a magical number and/or he offers to fix the issues. Otherwise we walk and hope that our second choice is still available. We love this house, but not at any price.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A post (mostly) about cheese!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Cheese, glorious cheese! I've got too many rattly thoughts in my head to do a real post, so instead I'll talk about cheese. Yay, cheese!

Here's a couple shots of the goat cheese curds I mentioned not long ago. Pusher, you'll notice not only are they goat cheese curds, but they're flavored goat cheese curds even!

(In the interest of full disclosure, this photo was followed by, "Hmmm... not many of those left... Definitely not enough to put 'em back in the frig." *munch*)

At a different booth at the farmers' market, we picked up this Les Frères and had some this evening. It's like a mild brie-sort of cheese. Yum! Pumpkin was a big fan of licking it off the crackers.

For my final cheese-related paragraph, I came across this link for Boozy Campfire Cheese via Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen. I think it sounds divine. Unfortunately, due to the rain over the weekend, it was not attempted at Girls' Adventure Weekend (All-Knowing Jen's recap here), but there's always next year!

(And on a completely unrelated note, the practically potty-trained Pumpkin was just intercepted running down the hallway shouting, "Yay! I peed in the potty!" while carrying the not-yet-emptied receptacle. Yup, it's an adventure around here every day. *sigh*)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The waiting is over

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Well, the waiting is over.

And it's been a long wait! We put in our secondary offer on Friday, July 20th. It was secondary because we found out somebody else had already put in a primary offer, but it had a contingency, so there was a chance we could still get this house Mr. Kluges has been obsessing over since he saw it on-line from over in Ireland.

And we waited.

And waited.

And y'all waited with us. And since we thought we'd find out right away, well, check out this graph of visits to my blog.

You were checking in OFTEN to find out if we got the house or not.

And then we THOUGHT the waiting was over. For 2 1/2 wonderful hours, we thought the house was ours... then we found out they had just countered on our secondary offer.

So we settled down to wait some more, and kept looking at houses, and found one that made a good back-up plan. And I felt good about it all.

And yesterday we got a call.




(Have I made you wait long enough yet? 'Cuz waiting's been kind of a theme with this...)




Yup! With all its pros and cons (and there are many of each!), it's going to be ours! Well, unless Thursday's inspection shows us larger/more problems than those of which we're already aware. And assuming that looks good, and any negotiation about repairing/money off for problems happens smoothly (and you can bet your last shiny nickel we're putting specific time frames for a response in with any further communication!), and we get everything arranged in time... we might even make the August 20th closing date we'd proposed with our offer in the first place.

(Which, funnily enough, would mean there would be less time between now when we found out we got it and the actual closing than there was between when we put in our offer and when we got the word.)

So there you go. The waiting is over.

But the adventure is just beginning!


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Still re-patriating...

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Even after 4 months of being back in the USA, some things still jar my sensibilities a bit.

  • It seems weird to not put USA at the bottom of addresses.
  • The river ALWAYS seems like it's at high tide.
  • The roads are still so very, very wide.
  • The grocery stores are HU-GIGANTI-MUNGOUS! And the selection - oh my god!
  • More people comment on Pumpkin's hair... but none on our accent. :)

And my most recent favorite, from the Farmers' Market this weekend, when I was so excited to see locally produced cheese!
  • In Wisconsin, you can buy goat cheese curds.

Mr. Kluges adds:
  • He no longer gets a tea and scone break at work.
  • Everything is cheap, even gas.
  • He has to drive everywhere.
  • Where are the rooks?
  • It's always hot and dry. (And we have central air.)
  • The oatmeal and dairy products blow.
  • He can go shopping AT ANY TIME.
  • He can understand everybody (except the northern Wisconsonites.)
  • The TV [We don't have cable] is crap. [I think that's because they only showed the good US and British shows in Ireland.-MHH]
  • He can get BBC radio here.
  • Oh, the beer! (But no cider or perry.)

The way we do things around here

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

"Oh! Oh! I see a fly! I'll go get one of my shoes!"

Maybe I should invest in a flyswatter...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Good to the last bit

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Before we had a child...

I never thought I'd hear Mr. Kluges say, "We don't suck chocolate out of our clothes."

(It was
REALLY good homemade chocolate ice cream!)


(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at

Still no new news about our secondary offer. As you'd imagine, we're getting a bit antsy, grumpy, and ready to move on. Either to move forward on that house, or to be done with this waiting and work on finding another.

And actually... we may have. We've continued looking on-line and at open houses while waiting to find out - both as distraction and in case we found just the right one. We went and saw one yesterday afternoon that was, while certainly not perfect, very nice.

Mr. Kluges's called it the first house's evil twin. They're both American foursquare style brick houses with very similar layouts. 4 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, a bedroom to use for an office downstairs, along with a living room, dining room, kitchen and sun porch... different arrangement, but same rooms.

But this new one has a nicely updated kitchen, and redone wiring (200 amp service instead of 100...and no knob-and-tube in use), and no asbestos shingles on the roof. It's got a two-car garage instead of a three-car, but it's attached. It appears to have been well kept up over the years and is in a historic area quite close to downtown and all its amenities. (Like walking distance close.) It's got two full bathrooms plus a toilet in the basement. The basement is nicely finished with a couple of rooms.

On the other hand, the yard is practically nonexistent. The backyard is fenced in, but it's barely big enough to play in, while gardening is right out. It's a corner lot, across from a county building on one side, with fairly busy roads. The layout is a little awkward on part of the main floor with the stairs, the way to the garage, the bathroom, the kitchen, and the hallway to the office kind of coming together in a crowded, narrow way.

Mr. Kluges called them the city cousin and the country cousin - similar houses, but the city one's got the small lot, close to amenities, and well kept up, while the more country one needs updating, but oh, the wonderful size of the lot.

So we'll see what happens. We don't love this new one enough to pull our offer...but we're considering it if this dog-and-pony show continues too much longer.

We have really gotten some comfort from finding this other house, whether or not we choose it. It means we've got another option. If our secondary offer doesn't work out, we're not starting over from scratch. And if our offer does succeed, we feel like we've now got some bargaining power, if only because we no longer feel so desperate to get that one particular house.

This is the most calm and peaceful I've felt for the past two weeks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bridges aren't supposed to do that!

(c) 2007 Ms. Huis Herself at is my home page...and I pulled it up last night and saw about the bridge collapse. Wow! Scary! When Mr. Kluges and Jaysan were carpooling, that's the way they went every day, so we're very familiar with the bridge & where it's at.

Just wanted to send greetings to all our Twin Cities friends and wishes for a safe commute for you all!