Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Found" money

Everybody loves Found Money.   That being money that you didn't expect.   I always think it's great to use that money for something you didn't really need.   
Somehow, in the past few weeks, we've been the recipients of an awful lot of Found Money.

1)   Last paycheck day, when I checked my online banking, Hubby had his regular check, and another deposit for $608.   Turns out he got a bonus that he never even knew about.

2)  Hubby's Mom left a small IRA, and his share was $400.

3)  When we did our gig, we didn't expect to make any money, but the Bull Run wrote us out a check for $238.

4)  I got the Penske Moving Truck mystery caller at work, and because I answered all the questions correctly, I got a gift card for $25.

5)   We went and cashed in the jar of change we've been collecting for 5 years.  Since Hubby and I don't use cash much, we use debit cards, we figured there was probably less than $20 in there.   There was $53.53.

6)  Hubby's sister let him know that his Mom's life insurance check came in, and his share is $2000.

We figure all of it will be used in some way:
1)  The $608 went toward the inspection and assessment for the new house.  Total $598.
2)  The $400 went toward Wendy's flowers for her wedding.  We figured in that way, it's kind of like Nana bought her the flowers.   Total $385
3) The $238 went toward giving our band some of the profit.   We gave them $50 each (for 3 of them) and kept $88 for ourselves.  We were able to take our grand-daughter out for the day without feeling guilty about spending the money.   Total $201
4)  The $25 will go toward renting the Penske truck for our move!
5)  The $53.53 will go toward our first project in the new house.  The change machine will give you cash, but they take 10%.  If you choose to get it in a gift certificate, they give you 100%, so we chose Lowe's.
6)  The $2000 will go toward appliances for the new house.   We think we'll need a refrigerator and washer and dryer.  If I can find some deals on Craigslist, I might have enough for a couch too.

I'm hoping we're using this money in a way that pleases the Karma gods, and the money keeps flowing our way.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Visiting the Farm

Hubby and I had the great good fortune to spend the day with Emily today.   She's three and 3/4 years old, and she's an absolute blast to hang out with.    We went and visited Charmingfare Farm.    And because we were idiots and forgot the camera, you'll have to use your imagination and pretend there are pictures with the text.

First stop was the pigs.   Since it was the first stop, Emily was a bit hesitant to go into the little piggy house, but that was the last time all day she was timid.

She loved the little piggy curly tails.   She wasn't impressed with the turkey.  (Imagine photo here of Pepere holding her so she could see the pigs without getting too close)

We stopped at the sheep pen, and she laughed herself hysterical over the fact that every time she bleated, the baby sheep bleated back at her.  (Imagine photo here of Emily laughing uproriously while little fuzzy black sheep stare at her)

We took a ride on the tractor train, and got a tour of the farm.   Unfortunately, she saw the "playground" which was a wooden ship with one slide on it, and decided she wanted to play there rather than see the rest of the animals.  (Imagine photo here of Emily AND PEPERE sliding down the slide ........too much to imagine?)

We finally dragged her away from the playground, and continued walking.  She was intrigued with the map of the farm, and asked us every 2 1/2 minutes to "check the map".   I was actually pretty impressed that she understood how a map worked.   A future employee of AAA perhaps?

We saw a camel (we named her Alice....after the song) and we saw a reindeer with a full rack (Rudolph, of course).   Emily thought it was hilarious that the reindeer ate the dandelions she kept throwing through the fence.

We saw a bunch of ducks and geese, and plenty of baby geese.  (Imagine photo here of Pepere gingerly trying to get past the geese while the Mama Goose hissed at him to stay away from her babies.)

We also got to ride on a wagon pulled by two big draft horses, Joy and Jewel.   Emily loved that one horse was named "Jewelry" because after all, that's what princesses wear.

And naturally, the most fun to be had was playing in the mud puddles near the playground, to the point where I offered to buy Emily some new sneakers when we took her  home.  (Imagine photo here of pink sneakers completely black with mud).

The final evidence of a good day was the fact that Emily fell asleep in the car as soon as we hit the road, with her hand inside the bag of goldfish she was going to eat as a snack on the way home.  (Imagine photo here of Pepere zonked out on the couch for 2 hours after he got home!).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

House Inspection

Hubby and I found a house...and after a very small amount of haggling.....the sellers accepted our offer.   The house has everything I've been looking for....... Lots of room.   Three bedrooms, double living room, kitchen, mud porch, and basement.   It's a 1913 Colonial, set on a side street, within a minute's walk to Main St.......and best of all...right in our own home town!

The second thing I wanted was a yard......and here it is:

Plenty of room for family BBQ's.....and a couple of really nice shade trees with branches to hang a swing on for the grandkids.

There are lots of pluses and minuses on the place:

Pluses include a fairly new furnace, new tilt-out windows, brand new water heater, a decent roof, aluminum siding and a very solid structure.

The minus is that the whole place needs to be updated.   The kitchen has very old wood cabinets, a scuffed up floor with a soft spot and a hole in the linoleum right in front of the dishwasher.   The bathroom tub tile needs to be re-grouted, the sink is loose and the floor is from the 70's.   Most of the rooms need new ceilings, and all the rooms need new paint/paper and floors need to be re-done.

But Hubby and I don't care.  We both feel like re-doing the house will make it our own.  We know it's going to be a lot of work, we know it's going to be expensive and we know we won't be able to do it all at once.   We are looking forward to chipping away at it and taking pride in each renovation.  

Now we have to wait.   For the inspector to deliver his report to the bank.  For the bank to approve our mortgage application.  And we have to cross our fingers and hope and pray that nothing happens to undo the deal. 

If all goes well......we sign papers on the sale of the condo AND the purchase of the house on June 24.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wendy and Allan's Wedding

Hubby's baby girl Wendy got married yesterday.   It was a very beautiful wedding.   Wendy organized and planned the whole thing herself, which I found astounding.   It's not easy to plan a big event, and she did a fantastic job.

Hubby and Wendy leaving for the ceremony

The ceremony was at a state park.  It had rained for a full week before the wedding, but the sun shone down on us this day.   Hubby and Wendy and I hung out and waited for the ceremony to begin.

 Cool arm-length photo

Wendy had her brother Kenny, her cousin Ryan and her two girl-friends (forgot their names!) for her attendants
The Beautiful Girls whose names I have forgotten!

 Wendy's husband to be, Allan, waited at the flower arch for his bride.   We were all impressed with his haircut and fashionable beard.

The Groom Waiting for his Bride

Wendy's brother Kenny was her attendant.   And her son Noah was the Ring Bearer.  Noah wasn't all that excited about seeing all those people there, so Uncle Kenny gave him a ride.

Uncle Kenny and Noah 

Hubby was the proud father bringing his beautiful daughter in to meet her groom.   Hubby did a good job and only got teary-eyed a couple of times.

The Proud Dad escorting the Bride

It was such a beautiful day....the grass and trees were so green.....and the flower arch made a perfect frame for the ceremony.
The Bride and Groom exchange vows.

Nothing to be said about how beautiful this is.

The three of them make a beautiful family.

Wendy, Allan and Noah

The Bridal Party

A Beautiful Family

Allan's friend Lenny was supposed to be an attendant, and sadly could not make it.   So they blew him up and stuck him to cardboard.   Thus we have:

Cardboard Lenny

The reception was in a hall  and once again, Wendy did a fabulous job of decorating.   Everyone brought a dish, and there was more food there than you can imagine.   The guests ate and drank and danced.  

Daddy's Dance with his daughter Bride

Friday, May 20, 2011

We're Stars!!

Hubby and I played our big gig last night.   It was absolutely fantastic!  But.....did either one of us think to bring a camera?  NO!  

We did, however, ask some friends to take a picture of the sign outside.  

Yes, that DOES say Tag and Karen playing on Thursday night, and YES!  that does say Taylor Hicks playing on Friday night!


Can you imagine?  Us on the same stage as an American Idol winner?   We've hit the big time! 

Seriously, it was way more fun that I thought it would be.   I was pretty nervous on the way over, but as people started showing up, and they are all friends and family, I started to calm down.   The large glass of wine and the pep talk from my friend Betsi surely had nothing to do with it.

We sang our hearts out....people were smiling.....laughing in the right places.......and singing along with songs they'd heard us sing before.   It was so gratifying to know that everyone was having a good time.

We finished off with a standing ovation.   Unbelievable!

So thanks to our great back-up band -  Doug, Ricky and Scot.  Thanks to Laurie and Laurie for all your patience at rehearsals.  Thanks to Debbie for the beautiful song she sang with Doug in honor of Tag's Mom. Thanks to Gayle for running the whole show.  And especially thanks to my wonderful Hubby.   Words cannot describe how fantasticl you are.  You have a way of making everyone feel special and happy.....most especially me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Offer

Last night we went out with our real estate agent and looked at more houses.   We are on a deadline.   The person buying our condo has it in his contract that we will have a purchase and sales agreement on a house by May 20 (aka THIS FRIDAY) so that he can take possession of our condo on June 24. So "time is of the essence", as they say.

We looked at a very nice house in Windham.  All newly renovated.   About $30K more than I really wanted to pay.  No wiggle room because they just poured lots of money into it.

Then we looked at 3 places in Nashua, any of which would have been okay, except, no offense, they are in Nashua.   We have a saying here in Salem about Nashua.  "You can't get there from here".   Even though on a map they look close, it's at least 45 minutes from Salem to Nashua.   Yuck!

And we drove all the way up to Manchester to see a house that we could tell from the outside just wouldn't do.

And we did a "drive-by" of a house in Salem......that seemed to be just what we wanted.....that had a fabulous on a more in our price range.......etc, etc, etc.

So basically....the choice was between the newly renovated but out of our price range house in Windham, or the house we hadn't seen the inside of in Salem.

We went to see the Salem house tonight, and we put on offer on it.   I'm sure our real estate agent thought we were insane, because this house needs work.   Not  put-a-new-roof-revamp-the-plumbing expensive type of work.  It needs new floors, ceilings, walls, etc.   All cosmetic. 

And Hubby and I think that's just grand.  We'd rather buy something in our price range, and put some sweat equity into it, and make it our own.   We just put the offer in tonight, so hopefully we will find out how things  go in the next couple of days.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can you say ......stress??

Let's start out with the fact that the house we thought we were supposed to get was snatched up by someone else.   We are back to the drawing board, going out tomorrow night to look at houses.   And, oh yea......according to our contract with the guy buying our condo, we are supposed to have a solid offer into a house by May 20th.  Yup, that's this Friday.

Plus.....we have our big gig on Thursday night.   We've been practicing.  I'm not a musician so I feel fairly unprepared and extremely  nervous.   I guess what will be, will be.

Add to that our daughter's wedding on Saturday.   Outside.   And it's scheduled to rain all week, including Saturday.  hmmmmmm.........

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anyone Have A Carrot?

I went for my yearly physical last week.   Yes, I'm one of those who goes to the doctor every year.  And no, not because I really want to.   I go because I have hypertension.    Surprise!  Who doesn't right?   But......I've had hypertension since I was a teenager and weighed about 120 pounds.   And because I do, I have to go to the doctor every year or they won't refill my medication for another year.

Last year, the doctor told me my cholesterol was "borderline".  Surprise!   Isn't everyone's?   So, because I don't really want to be on medication for my cholesterol, I've been trying for the last year to make everything I eat "fat free" or at least "low fat".   She also said I was low in Vitamin D, so I started taking a vitamin D vitamin every day.

This year, they didn't comment on my cholesterol (I have yet to get anything in the mail that has my "numbers") but.......they did call and leave a message on my phone saying I'm "pre-diabetic".    I'm pretty sure that means the same as "borderline".    Oh and by the way, my vitamin B was low.

So let's blood pressure is high, my cholesterol is borderline, my sugar is borderline, my Vitamin D and Vitamin B are low.

So I should avoid salt because that exacerbates the high blood pressure, I should avoid fatty foods to help my cholesterol level, and now I should avoid sugar and carbs to keep my blood sugar from rising high enough to be medicated for diabetes.   Oh yes, and keep my diet high in Vitamin D and B.

Carrots, maybe?   Maybe it'll improve my eyesight!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm A Lucky Mother

I'm very ambivalent about Mother's Day.   I think it's awfully nice that someone out there decided motherhood was a serious enough job to dedicate a day to it.   On the other hand, why should the world need a reminder that Mothers should be honored?

I am certainly a lucky mother.   I have three really great kids.   And they all made time to see me on Mother's Day.   Daughter texted me the day before and invited me out for breakfast.   Son #2 called and asked to come over for an afternoon visit...and he did, bearing a card and candy.  And I visited Son #1 at his house because baby Grand-daughter was laid up, and Son had remembered to get me a card and a new flag for our hopefully new house.   My kids really understand the importance of family, and of being there for each other on joyous days, as well as days of sorrow.

And I guess I realized more than ever this year how very lucky I am.   My friend at work was NOT looking forward to Mother's Day.   She said more than once that she wished no one had ever thought it up.   She has two sons who are less than attentive to special occasions, and she figured they wouldn't even bother to come see her. 

And a member of my own family was so saddened by the fact that her husband didn't even bother to make a special occasion out of the fact that she is the mother of his two-year-old son.

In my opinion ALL Mothers are special EVERY day of the year.   It's wonderful to be acknowledged on this special day.......and I truly wish every mother in the world could have felt the pride and joy of her children on a day meant for happiness.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

House Hunting.....part II

Our Real Estate Agent, Scott, took us out searching for a house today.   It hasn't been easy trying to find something that  A) we can afford and 2) isn't a "short sale" and C) is in good enough condition to pass an FHA inspection.

But I think we did it.   The house fits all three of my previously stated criteria:
1)  It should have enough room to have my family over.   Although the kitchen is a little small, there's enough room to put a table up when company comes, and a living room that should fit at least a dozen people.  In addition, there's a finished basement that would be a perfect "jam" room for Hubby and his musical friends.

2)  It should have a yard we can use.   This house is on a quarter acre, with a flat, grass yard with a nice tree in the corner for shade.  In addition, it has a DECK on the back which overlooks a view of the city.

3)  It should have enough room for Hubby's "stuff".    There are three bedrooms, as well as the aforementioned finished basement, AND a garage.   If that ain't enough room, he's got too much "stuff".

The only thing I don't like about the house is that it's in Manchester, which is about 20-30 minutes further north from where we are now.   That's going to make my commute to work go from 3 minutes to 30.  Hubby's work will be about 10 minutes longer.   It'll be further from some of the family.   But......I can live with that.   I really don't believe we'd ever find a better house for the money.   This house is being sold for about $50K less than the value......instant equity.

Now we wait to see if the seller's financing is going to be approved.......and then we can start packing!