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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 5/4/08 - 5/11/08

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Scoop on the House

We signed a contract Monday night.

We'll close on the North Carolina house on 21 July, and Dave is flying out to Omaha on 19 May to investigate military housing/rental options for us and perhaps get us into a lease ahead of time, which would be great so we could have an address with which to register Jacob for Kindergarten out there.

The contract we're in here is for less than our asking price but appropriate for the price-per-square-footage in this area. The other contract, which we turned down, was offering $3100 MORE than our asking price...

"WHAT? Are you out of your #$%^@# minds?????"

We felt badly for doing this, but the higher offer was coming with a VA (Veteran's Administration) loan that would finance 100% of the sale price and had a very very small "earnest money" check.

What many don't realize about a VA loan is that the VA provides the appraiser and if the appraisal comes in lower than the contract price, the buyer can walk from the contract, or else come up with the difference between the appraisal and contract price. The difference cannot be in the form of another loan (i.e. it more or less needs to be cash). So in reality, the buyer could put any number he/she wanted on the offer. They are only obliged to cover the appraised value...which we may not know for 30 days, considering the VA's backlog.

I know, I know, we're Veterans and should have more sympathy. Unfortunately, the market isn't what it used to be, and the VA has been appraising to the low end of the average costs-per-sq.-ft. around here. So a house in contract for $3100 more than the asking price, could appraise for $8000 less than our asking price. Throw in all the other seller's obligations with a VA loan (many of the closing costs, termite inspection, etc.) and that lower offer was actually looking more attractive.

So...we wanted an indication of whether the buyer would be willing to provide the difference if the appraisal would come in significantly lower. Our realtor asked for more earnest money in the counter-offer...asked for another $1500. When the buyer asked if they could provide the first $500 in a post dated check, and the remaining $1000 at their next payday, all sorts of alarm bells went off in our minds. There's a chance they may not be able to get the mortgage at all.

The other offer, although lower, was a conventional loan, the earnest money was appropriate for the transaction, and they were flexible on the closing date. Dave and I, with our realtors, weighed both options very heavily all day Monday and our realtors spent over 3 hours here over dinnertime running numbers, options and placing phone calls on our behalf with the two buyers' agents.

So there you have it -- we finally signed something at about 10:15pm on May 5th. We're coming out about $124 per square foot, right now most houses in our development are closing for $123-124 per square foot.

We commend our realtors, Gloria and Robert, for their hard work and late nights working with us.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Grey's Anatomy -- My Soapbox

Grey's Anatomy is my favorite show. Now it's going to have to struggle to keep my loyalty.

Let's start here.

I was very very shocked to see them put one of the gay lovers in a no-kidding Army uniform, complete with 2nd Infantry Division unit patch and combat patch (by the way, since there's a brigade of the 2d ID assigned at Ft. Lewis up the road from the fictitious "Seattle Grace Hospital").

The other soldier is a patient preparing to undergo a radical brain tumor treatment, and he isn't in uniform during the episode.

The two share a steamy kiss, which has received all sorts of press already. Let me honest here, homosexual situations in movies, on television, in my life, really truly don't bug me. One of my favorite shows, Six Feet Under on HBO, had one of the best gay characters on television and it was fascinating to see the character develop. I have several friends/colleagues in my personal and (civilian) professional life who are homosexual and it's fine.

I don't judge what's out there, whether I agree with it or not. We'll leave it at that.

But to have that guy in a real-looking Army uniform performing homosexual acts gives a very awkward perception to viewers. I don't agree with that and I was not pleased with seeing that on TV. Homosexual conduct is deemed incompatible with military service. It's the law. ABC should not have put it's spin on their opinions of the matter when we're a nation at war. I don't know whether it's really happening in the military now, and if it was happening in my unit/workspace I'd have to take appropriate actions on it. ABC should have left the uniform out of it. Really.

And I'm not the only one with reactions to this. Yes, even an hour after it happened!

I hope AFCYBER don't come after me for saying these things. I don't think I've done anything wrong.

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Hot Stuff

The latest laptop trauma: I believe the fan has stopped working. Our weather station receiver that feeds the outdoor weather to our websites also has a local thermometer and while it used to read the ambient temperature pretty well next to my laptop, it's now reading the mid-80s consistently.

Maybe that's why it arbitrarily reboots itself every 24-30 hours or so...

We are really, truly coming to the end of this kitchen laptop's service life. A few weeks ago, the one-year-old battery stopped carrying a charge. It keeps itself at about 5%, just enough for me to run across the house to plug it into a living room outlet.

But there's a silver lining! When Dave is finished with his PhD program and he starts at his new position at Air Force Weather Agency, his Gateway laptop will stay home! Yay! Mine is circa 2000, his is from 2006! Just a couple more months to go...

It's now sitting atop a small cookie/cake cooling rack. Let's see if that helps.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Skirted Swimsuit -- Revealed!

Okay, this had come up some time ago, but I'm just now getting around to addressing it.

I received a lot of crap regarding my Swimsuit Identity Crisis blog posting. "Why would you want a skirted swimsuit?" "You don't need to wear something like that.", etc.

But let's get to the bottom line.

I'm lazy.

Most of my regulars have met me in person. For those who haven't met me, you can look to the right and see the picture of me. I have dark hair. I have thick hair. Friends have flatteringly told me about how they'd kill for hair like mine (blush).

But there's a flip side. Not to gross you out, but consider that beautiful lush dark thick hair translated to my legs, armpits...and, ahem, other areas.

Back in the 50s and 60s, the term was "defuzzing". How dainty, delicate. Ugh.

My Chinese Mom doesn't even have to shave her legs at all (seriously, you can't see a thing!). I think she was quite appalled at the jungle that erupted on my legs when I was 11-12 years old.

Ever met a girl with 5 'o clock shadow on her LEGS?

Anyway, one of the corollary reasons for wanting a skirted swimsuit was that I could avoid the whole shaving/waxing/plucking of the bikini line. I tried the boy-short suit one season, that was okay, but the skirt seemed prettier.

Ultimately it was Dave who convinced me to skip the skirt-thing altogether this year, and I selected this suit, tankini top and bikini bottom, both in the Geo Dot pattern, from Athleta.

(Notice how much larger the picture of the bottom is here -- that's about how I had to buy these, really!)
So I'm back to the summer routine of waxing and plucking. Shaving doesn't cut it (no pun intended).

If you dare, check out the latest's a wild one, don't worry, it's anonymous! Men, feel free to reply, there's an option for you too!

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Photos from Dave and Jake's Dream Train Vacation

Enjoy these pics from Dave and Jake's big model railroading/railfanning weekend. Hopefully Dave will blog about this soon on his own.

Timmy and I had a fun weekend together in South Carolina!

PS: We have two offers on the house, possibly more by tomorrow morning! Whoo hoo!

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