22 July 2015

Is My Camera Lens Here?

You will laugh at me. It's 1:05 AM and I just ran outside in my pjs to see if I had a package on the front porch waiting for me. Darn it, it's not there. Maybe tomorrow. But I thought it was the perfect time to share with you what I'm waiting for.

image via amazon

I never did quite figure out what I wanted for my birthday. I always pick one thing I really want and buy it for myself for my birthday. Recently I mentioned to some people that I buy myself a birthday present and much to my surprise one of the folks was shocked that I would buy myself my own birthday present. Who better to buy myself the perfect gift than me? I always use my birthday and Christmas as a time to get something that I have needed and wanted.

So while I've been waiting and stewing, waiting out the end of our house hunt, I was looking at photos I have been taking of the houses we've looked at. It's practically impossible to get anything more than small glances or far away shots with a regular old basic DSLR lens or the top of the line iPhone. As The Man and I continue to talk about how we want to decorate our new home (when that happens) I have known from the start that it is going to be a fixer upper situation.

It struck me like lightening that there was no way we would ever truly capture the excitement and progress of creating a new home in photos without the right camera lens. So i jumped right on the internet and started doing my research and within just a few minutes, like five max, I came across a bunch of great referrals for the Canon EF-S 10-18mm lens that would be just perfect for my Canon camera. The recommendations repeatedly said this was the perfect camera for anyone who needs ot take real estate photos. Perfection.

The recommendations all said while you could go with the Canon EF-S 10-22 which has a fantastic reputation as a great wide angle lens, the newer 10-18 was about half the price and could do just about anything one needed. SOLD!

I ordered it immediately and it should be arriving any minute now via Amazon Prime. I am so excited because now we'll be able to document a fantastic journey for our family and what will be one of the most exciting art projects of our life. Such a worthwhile investment.

I am seriously so excited to get this camera lens and hoping in the next few days we have more information on where our house hunt will end.

PS: A little house hunt update. Well, it's with mixed emotions that I share that we've already seen a bit of the light about the house we lost out on a few weeks ago. Gosh it's already been six weeks I think. Anyway, heard that there have been a lot of problems with the inspections on that house and that with quite a bit of "delayed maintenance" that house might've been a real disaster for us -- and it was already at the very top of what we were willing to spend. Plus it had absolutely no landscaping which would've been very costly and there were some potentially very disruptive dogs yard right behind the backyard.

So even though we're not totally ready to accept saying goodbye to the beautiful rooms we loved so much there, it does seem like maybe it was a blessing rather than a curse. I'm pretty convinced of that and The Man even said he thinks maybe someone upstairs was watching out for us. I'm thinking yes, even though that person upstairs knew it would absolutely and completely break out hearts. I like life lessons that unravel to explain themselves in short order!

I happened by the house last night and was SO sad to see that it seems the new owners have taken down the beautiful vintage 70s light fixture that was such a part of the charm of the high ceiling front entryway. Disastrous. I thought I saw a soulless ceiling fan thrown up in the space. The horror.

I have more to share with you about that house and my opportunity to revisit it recently  -- and even take a part of it for us to keep. It was a pretty intense experience. Thanks for popping by. Have so much to share with you. Lists of blog posts I need to write up all over the place. -- And I'm so excited that I will have a new lens soon to be able to share with you a much broader view of all that's going on in the kalanicut world. Yay!

20 July 2015

The Flood And Laundromat Adventures

Early last week I casually threw a load of wash in our laundry room which is in a closet in one of the  bathrooms. Then I went about some other activities in the house. Later is seemed weird that I thought I heard running water in the laundry room/bathroom. When I walked into there was in fact water running out of the washer all over the floor.

I immediately turned off the front loader washer but it was a little late as the tub was full and water was pouring out the front door. I pressed on the door wondering if it might just not be shut all the way. This unlatched the door, the door flew open and all the water in the washer began rushing all over the floor while clothes spilled out the door.

Panicked I began shoving clothes in as quickly as possible and slammed the door shut. It continued to leak water out the front and now the entire bathroom was flooded with water. What a mess. I began grabbing towels to throw down and then wringing them out in the shower as fast as I could. I figured there must be a shop vac in the garage somewhere at this house so I ran to the garage and found one under some boxes on one side. Grabbed it, ran in and started vacuuming. After a couple of minutes I looked back and realized that water had been spraying out of a vent on the back and now the sink cupboards were soaked with water too. Great. I could hear myself breathing as if I was running a race. My anxiety levels rose and shoulders got sore from repeatedly wringing out full size bath towels for a good hour or more and continuing to try to minimize the damage to the tile and floors.

After vacuuming most of the water off the floor while holding a towel over the spewing exhaust hole in the back, I then mopped everything up again with another pile of dry towels, I was soaked from the ankles down with laundry water and everywhere else from sweat. My stress levels began to go down and I decided to try to drain the water out of the washer by turning it back on and putting it on the final cycle of the washer which should drain and spin all the water out. That process took a little while so I went and collapsed in a chair in the living room for a few minutes. At the same time I made a few calls to local friends and family who might be able to advise me about what to do. Of course no one was available.

Once that washer stopped I gave it a few extra minutes and then went in and opened the door to the washer. A washer full of water gushed out again all over me and the floors while I scrambled again to get all the clothes back in the washer and slam the door shut. Then I started the clean up process all over again.

I grabbed three fans from around the house and positioned them in every direction in the bathroom after I had vacuumed and mopped up all the water again. Then I began the process of wringing out all the towels and took all the wet stuff to the back patio to hang up to dry. Of course just about that time it began to rain so I had to wait a couple of hours until the rain had passed to get things out on the line.

Exhausted now I sat in the living room and talked to my family who were all at my parents house for a couple of hours. At about bedtime I had the thought that perhaps the flood has leaked under through the wall and into the bedroom next door. Panicked again I ran in and pulled the bed from the wall to find water on the floor, hardwood floors wet and storage under the bed wet.

I ran to grab more towels and try to save the hardwoods which would be the most disastrous damage of all. Yikes. Agh. I left the fans running for the next couple of days and it looks like the hardwood will be okay although under the bed against the wall is a little messed up.

The washer continued to leak small amounts of water for the next two days. So I kept a towel at the base, which I wrung out frequently. I couldn't get a repairman to come until Wednesday. He pulled the door right open when he walked in the room and I cringed fearing a wall of water would pour out but the water had drained out for the most part. I got my clothes out and hung them out to dry -- so that I could take them to the laundromat to get the finally cleaned.

The repairman's very quick evaluation was that the washer was dead. Just for laughs he looked up the cost of repairing a 15-ish year old washer. The repairs would be $1800. The cost of a new top of the line washing machine? About $1200. What a crack up. We won't get the top of the line washer but I'm sure we can get something for less than that. So the dead washing is just here waiting to be replaced.

Saturday I took a huge mountain of laundry to the laundromat. Half of that was dirty towels from the disaster zone. It was a pretty quick process and boy was it nice to have clean clothes. But I still don't have a washer so I may be headed to the laundromat again sometime soon. It's amazing how you take things for granted like a functioning washing machine.

So that has been my big adventure of late. I'll have a few more posts coming up soon. So much to share with you. Hope all you dear reader friends are doing well!

07 July 2015

Eventful July Days On The Househunt

Hope you are enjoying this patriotic month of July. When I lived in Utah I always liked that the whole month of July was patriotic with both July 4th and Pioneer Day coming in the month. We could sing patriotic songs all month and leave up all the decorations!

Now that it is July, it's a great time to give you an update on what we're up to. I've been keeping things somewhat under wraps the past few months but now I think I can fill in a few details. Last December I had the great surprise to have the opportunity to take a fantastic job in a new state. Since then things have been moving fast at times and a little slow at other times.

I only had about three weeks from job accepting to starting and it was over the holidays. Of course this was the year that both our families decided to visit us in California over the Christmas-New Year break. This meant it was a slow, long move. I spent the first month going back and forth from New Mexico to California packing over the weekends. Boy am I so glad that time is over. It was exhausting and I was sick much of the time as well as adjusting to a completely different altitude and climate.

The Man and the kiddo stayed behind and are still in the processing of completing things there so they can get here. I've been flying back and forth at least 2-3 weekends each month along with a decent amount of business travel and other adventures. I love my new job. It is busier than I had hoped but the reality is that I work in marketing and marketers always work long hours. It's been so at every job I've ever worked.

But I have a phenomenal boss who continually reminds us the work will be there tomorrow and encourages us to go home at the regular time. Because I've been here in NM alone, I've had the luxury of working longer hours, plus there was no one to go home to anyway. It gave me some time to quickly get up to speed on a lot of things and get settled in.

We've been house hunting since December. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent on Zillow and Realtor.com. I could start a career in Real Estate except that I want nothing to do with all the legalities, contracts and negotiating. I have known every house in our price range in three zip codes for several months now. We're on our third house offer attempt and in the process of negotiating. Both of the previous failures have been heartbreaking and thus I am enjoying feeling a little numb about this current negotiation, unwilling to get too emotionally involved in it.

The first house we liked was quite small, but had a sweet and private backyard. It also had a lot of wear and tear and needed to be totally rewired. But the price was ridiculously cheap. The day we decided to put an offer in it sold. Sadness. About the same time the house we lost that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago came on the market and even though it was about 100,000 over what we wanted to pay, I started watching it and when it came down 60,000 we made and offer. You can read the rest here.

Once again the disappointment kept us from looking at anything new for a month. I kept watching things online and kept a short list of possibilities until we were ready to look again. The houses in the area of town we would like to live are very dated and tend to be very similar. So finding something unique, with decent size rooms and higher ceilings has been tricky. This past weekend we entered the hunt once again, looked at several  properties I'd been keeping on my list and then made an offer on the one we were most interested in.

We were very pleasantly surprised by one house we looked at which doesn't happen too often but the price and location weren't quite what we wanted. So now we're looking at a house that is quite a fixer upper but we realized it fits most of our major criteria and no house has come close to that yet. So we'll see how it goes, what we can negotiate and how things will all shake out in the end. Not holding my breath.

On the lighter side, we've had some interesting husband-wife conversations about design styles and I happen to be married to a real creative. So we will have to come to some agreement about every detail of the home. Some days I think we're totally in sync and other days I get a little comically worried. Should be a big adventure. Right now the words modern, clean and simple keep coming into play and I sure hope we end up going that way.

At some point we'll have to have a sale and sell off some stuff as we really combine household belongings for the first time. It will be fun to shop our stuff once we get it all together and it will feel good to let some things go. I have bought a few things that I'd like to take to the new house including two big, rectangle white planters, pillows, a small lamp and recently I bought a pretty wood tray.

In the meantime, I am poking around the internet looking for great deals on kitchen appliances, particularly used professional stuff. It's amazing what's out there. I keep thinking back to an episode of Property Brothers where this young couple found an entire kitchen's worth of professional grade, stainless steel appliances for $1500 online from a seller who was unable to use them after purchasing them. Amazing.

I'm hoping if we need to we can source out some good deals on stuff like that in SoCal before we bring out the final load of stuff. Then we could just throw anything we find into the moving truck with our other stuff. From my short hunt so far, it seems LA is ripe with great used and clearance appliances for the picking.

Right now I couldn't be more grateful that I have a sister who is a structural engineer and a dad who is a roofing contractor. There is a big conversation going on right now about this house roof, so I've already been on the phone with my dad three times yesterday. He's been a fantastic resource!

His expertise has really educated me further on what we're talking about for the roof for this house. I've learned a ton today! I already knew more than the average bear about roofing after growing up working with my dad and just hearing lots of roofing conversations, but today I took my knowledge to a new level. The sellers won't know what hit them when I start asking more questions (in a polite, gracious way of course, haha).

It will be interesting to see what else comes of the house buying education we are experiencing. Never a dull moment. You never know what the next phone call will bring. We'll try to enjoy this little roller coaster and hope we're happily settled soon. School starts in about 5 weeks.

I plan to be here a little more often in coming days. Thanks for visiting. Miss spending time every day here with you friends.

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