Saturday, September 30, 2006

What a Day

Well, it's midnight on Friday and we have just completed one jam-packed flurry of a day. Running on three hours of sleep we tackled the house closing on our new home in Apex today. The close wasn't without its moments as these things are often complicated by something -- ours was a seeimingly simple $75 termite treatment reimbursement. But at the end of it all, we have our house and have already started painting. The sellers painted every wall in the house -- and I mean every single wall -- white. The house is a blank canvas. We should have some good before & after photos once this is all over.

Nana and Granddaddy were absolute troopers today, rounding up Owen and Gus to go to the park and looking after them while Amy & I concentrated completely on all things house. Owen has definitely latched on to his Granddaddy, crying whenever Billy leaves the room. And Gus has learned he has a captive audience in his Nana, showing off for her every chance he gets. We will take a painting break and get some pictures up soon.

Finally, today was Granddaddy's birthday and we celebrated with birthday cake and ice cream. Owen belted out continous "Mmmmmm"s every time he took a bite while Gus mastered the art of mashing and eating cake with a spoon. Happy birthday Granddaddy!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Catching Breaths

Houses, birthdays and boys have eaten up the hours over the past week. On the homefront, we have endured another house inspection on our current house. The report generated yet another list of repairs that we are currently sorting through. But the good news is that this report -- as opposed to the report generated by the infidels' inspectors -- listed repairs that should be much more manageable to address. Plus this house is ideal for our current buyers so the threat of cold feet should be minimal, and their real estate agent is much better to work with.

Amy & I both celebrated birthday #32 this week. Amy was glad when my birthday came and went so her annual two days of endless "cradle robber" jokes came to a close. (Amy is two days older than me.) ;-)

The boys are up and moving fast as ever. Owen is getting more confident on his feet. He's still four weeks behind Gus in walking, but he is catching up fast -- especially with his new kicks that Amy got the boys. We have been spending a great deal of time next door at the Guthries as they graciously offered their house while we went through the house showing process over the past month. Thanks to Chad for the good shots he snapped below.

We look forward to Nana and Granddaddy's visit as they fly into North Cackalackee tonight. It should be a great time for grandparents and grandsons to bond again, and Amy & I will gladly use the helping hands as we prepare for a weekend of painting & pulling up carpet at the new abode.

We'll check in soon. Cheers!

"Can MacKay come out and play? Pretty please???"

"Chad, Claudia, I'm not sure if you knew this but there is a turtle on your porch."

"Pass the chips and the remote please."

The Guthries house is a favorite play spot with rocks, sticks, steps, and dogs.

As Chad and Derek frequently take care of the boys, Claudia and Amy can frequently be seen socializing in the street. The only thing missing here is the bevvie in hand. ;-)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ode to Bill Craft

There is a tremendous sense of relief at la casa de Kronos tonight. Our house is back under contract as a young couple from Raleigh made an offer last night which we negotiated and finalized this afternoon. For Amy and me, the sense of excitement that was trampled by dread three and a half weeks ago when the first contract fell apart has welcomed itself back into our house. We are very cautious not to let ourselves get too excited over this -- after all we still have to go through another inspection process. But we hope this time it will be a success. Amy & I have done a lot of work on the house since the infidels walked away from the first contract so we are hopeful that anything that comes up will be minor.

Our buyers are a young couple in a very similar situation to ours seven years ago when we moved out of our apartment into our first house. They really wanted the house, and it was obvious that they would take care of it and make the house a good home. Amy and I told each other when we set out to move that the target market for our place was a young couple without kids just like the ones that we met today.

There is a lucky part of this story as well. Earlier this week Amy and I were feeling dejected about not having any showings on the house for over a week. We made the decision to call the listing agent to drop the price on our house. That night however we had a message on our voicemail from a man named Bill Craft telling us that he would like to see our house. I called the agent back and told her to hold off dropping the price until we saw how the Bill Craft scenario would play out. When I finally reached Bill the next day, he told me he would get back to me about coming by to look at the house. We never heard back from the guy, but because of his phone call we held off on dropping the price long enough to make it to the weekend where our house finally had its prom date show up in the driveway.

Wherever you are Mr. Craft, we're glad you called.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Busy week these past seven's an update.

The hospital in my hometown was doing its best to gather up our family members last week. My grandmother was admitted with an infection followed by my aunt Karen with a broken hip the next day. My cousin's wife Carrie had surgery and would have been in that hospital had she been in town. They say bad things happen in threes. Best wishes from NC to all the family on speedy recoveries.

On the homefront we continue to move closer to closing on the new house and trying to sell our current house, although not without challenges. In the past week on our current house we have finished dealing with "my-dog-ate-my-homework" contractors who finally completed the siding work, contacted realtors who have shown our house, fixed the window springs, and touched up paint. The house has been washed behind the ears, is wearing lipstick, and is ready for the prom date to show up in the driveway. Unfortunately the housing market here has slowed since Labor Day. We did not have any showings last weekend so we dropped the price today, something that we thought we would have had to do weeks ago. We'll get there....

On the new home front, Amy and I found out last week that the sales contract had to be rewritten because the flooring allowance we got from the sellers didn't fly with the lenders. We are still waiting to hear back from the sellers on this one -- it should not be an issue, but then what in this process has gone smoothly? ;-) Amy & I have met with lenders, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, movers, insurance agents, and flooring contractors. We are thinking about buying a house every three or four months or so just because this is so much fun - ha! It truly will all be worth it though in the end, and we continue to forge ahead.

One of the best parts of the whole house experience happened on Sunday. Our neighbor a few houses up the street just sold his house. The couple has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years, but Amy & I didn't know them very well. As it turns out, they had a lot of the same repairs required on their house that we had on our house. Ryszard ("Ree-shard") offered to help me fix my windows, and after dealing with an awful contractor experience I gladly took him up on it. As it turns out, Ryszard is from Poland (we thought they were Scandanavian) and knew a guy I used to work with at IBM who was also from Poland. And Ryszard knew the Polish mechanic that used to repair my Chevy Cavalier every other week when we lived up in Raleigh. I guess if you're from Poland living in North Carolina you probably network with other Poles in the area. Still it was one of those eerie, small world experiences. What a tremendous person though -- Amy & I just wish we had gotten to know them sooner.

Finally on the monster front, Owen continues to walk more and more. He can still buzz across a room faster on all fours which he reverts to at times. But I'd say he chooses walking over crawling over half the time now. Gus continues his biting tendencies and bit Owen on the cheek Sunday before I took the boys to the park. That was wonderful noticing all the expressions on parents' faces as my child sat in the sandbox with these gigantic teeth marks down the side of his face. And to think, we have years of this ahead of us. The good news is the weather is starting to break here with temperatures in the 70s and low humidity. So we can get the boys outside more often and let them run off all their energy.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Morning Mumbling

The boys are all about pointing to their body parts these days -- eyes, nose, mouth, head, and the latest addition, bellies. Throw in a couple of "Ma-ma's" and I know one Mom who is a happy camper. :-)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Working 9 to 5

The boys wanted everyone to see how hard they work during the day. It's not just graham crackers, Baby Einstein and naps at the Rutledge house.

A Gus masterpiece. He adds, "If people don't see the inherent beauty of my work, then I don't have time to explain to them what this is."

Holding tank. Owen takes a break from the dishes.

Gus ponders whether he should talk on the workbench phone, dump out a container of nails, or just wail and bang on the whole thing.

Owen is a tremendous help folding the laundry.

Owen performs the daily tune up on his car.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day weekend

Today is back to reality after a nice three-day holiday weekend. Amy, the boys, and I stayed put in NC and enjoyed the time at home. Our focus and energy continues to be all h-o-u-s-e.

On the selling front we had a contractor working on the siding on Monday. This story could easily be a long, drawn-out soap opera post in and of itself, but I'll spare you the details. Let's just say Amy and I were thrilled to get the guy out there for a few hours on Labor Day. We had four calls to show the house over the weekend -- one cancelled on Friday night, two people looked at the house on Sunday, and a young couple looked at the house on Monday. Of those showings, two groups seem to be promising leads for second showings later this week. Amy and I are hopeful, but one thing we have learned through this process is not to get too up or too down with individual showings or events. Otherwise we would be basket cases. Nevertheless the positive feedback both realtors left on the showings website was encouraging.

On the buying front Amy & I continue to play the financing game with mortgage brokers. Amy is dealing with one broker, and I am dealing with another. Then at the end of the day we compare notes and go back to each of them. It's like buying a car, only it's over the phone and if a kid goes to the bathroom while we're negotiating we're not confined to a small room. ;-)

The rest of the weekend was relaxing. We got to visit with the Poneleit and Hughes families on Sunday. Gus and Owen got to play with Marlyn and Bree Poneleit and all their wonderful toys. The boys were in heaven. Gus thoroughly enjoyed wearing a tiara and prancing around with pearls around his neck. The women thought it was adorable, and we guys just shook our heads. (It's a phase, Dad, it's just a phase.) ;-) Owen was a happy little camper sliding down the girls' slide and trying to pull down the Poneleit's projection TV. Speaking of which rumor has it there was a Kentucky football game being played on that TV, but we are all still wondering if that display of athletic mediocrity actually counts as a game. It may be a long year for the Kentucky football Cats.

Finally we wrapped up the weekend with some drama at 4:00am this morning when a long, sustained car horn/alarm went off waking up the whole neighborhood. Many of us walked out into the cul-de-sac in our boxers and nightgowns to see what was going on, afraid that our vehicle was the one making all the noise. As it turned out, it was a car several houses down and the alarm just stopped going off all of a sudden. Then a half hour later after everyone returned to bed, the alarm went off again and someone drove the car out of the development lights flashing and horn honking. We don't think it was any foul play, just a bizarre, unwanted wake-up to start the week.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Free At Last

Free at last, free at last, the Owen man walks, and he's free at last.

Clip of the Week

YouTube clip of the week.

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips left her microphone on while in the ladies room. Her conversation was played over a President Bush's speech about Hurricane Katrina. I'd be interested in what her sister-in-law is going to get her for Christmas.

This could have been so much worse than it was -- like when Lt. Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun left his microphone on while in the bathroom. ;-)

Apparently she had a good sense of humor about it because she followed the performance up with a Letterman appearance where she was the subject of the Top 10.

Top Ten Kyra Phillips Excuses Presented by CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips:

10. "Still haven't mastered complicated On/Off switch."

9. "Larry King told me he does this all the time."

8. "How was I supposed to know we had a reporter embedded in the bathroom?"

7. "I honestly never knew this sort of thing was frowned upon."

6. "Couldn't resist chance to win $10,000 on 'America's Funniest Home Videos."'

5. "I was set up by those bastards at Fox News."

4. "Oh, like YOU'VE never gone to the bathroom and had it broadcast on national television!"

3. "I just wanted that hunky Lou Dobbs to notice me."

2. "OK, so I was drunk and couldn't think straight."

1. "You have to admit, it made the speech a lot more interesting."