Friday, January 29, 2010

Poodle Puppies at 11 weeks

She's right behind me, isn't she?

Master J looking like he's walking a bear in Mamoo's yard.

Desi running to me to escape Mamoo's clutches. He didn't want to be told to stop chewing leaves off the ficus tree.

She looks innocent enough, but we know better don't we Lucy?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Lighting

Check out my new, under soffit lighting! How cool is that? I love, love, love the way it looks. Also, I did wash all the cabinets and counter tops down so there is no more filth (for today). And oh yeah, please ignore the chaotically cluttered refrigerator. It does look better during the summer when all the school menus and schedules aren't all over it. But either way...I love, love, love my new lighting!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not such a bright idea after all

We live in a house that was built about twelve years ago as part of a large subdivision. If you've ever been in a subdivision home, you'll note that unless the first owner went all out, most of the fixtures aren't exactly what you'd call "upgraded". Or even "up to date". No, most of the time it looks like the builder went scrounging around in the clearance bin at Wally World. Especially the kitchen lights. Every kitchen in every home that we've bought in Sunshineville has the track light from Hell. You know the one, it's about three feet long, with four huge spotlights that can be aimed at strategic places. Like the wall above the microwave. Or maybe, out the window over the sink. Or the far corner of the kitchen where no one goes. Really, if I could get someone to rotate them around to music I could probably put on a pretty good "island dance" if you know what I mean. And if you do, I'm sorry I just put that vision in your head.

Anyway, in one of our previous homes we hired guys to replace the stripper spotlight with can lights throughout the kitchen. That house was really small and the hanging lights (along with the space ship chandelier over the eating area) really made it look smaller. When the guys were done, it looked really nice. It looked bigger and less chaotic. I loved it.

Fast forward two homes...when we bought this home fifteen months ago one of the things I hated was that it had the same damn light. It didn't look any better in this house either. I did manage to get one of the lights pointed in a semi-helpful area of the kitchen but generally, it's just a pretty worthless and ugly-ass light.

Three days ago, Mister C came into the house and said "Hey, John the electrician is here to talk about putting in lights." It was the end of a long day, there are dirty dishes in the sink, the dust bunnies are holding a rally around the island and I had already taken off my bra for the day. So, "Thanks for the three second notice sweetie, we'll chat about this later. Promise." John the electrician proceeds to talk with us about what we want done in the kitchen.

At the start of the conversation, all we wanted done was to replace the stripper light with two can lights and the three pronged "chandelier" that is currently installed with another can. As a side note, why do I always end up buying the house with the freakiest looking kitchen chandelier? The previous owners of all my houses seem to be trying to "modernize" the homes, and failing miserably in the execution. Moving on. After some discussion we decide to add two more cans in the kitchen in line with the one over the eating area to bring more light in and make it look better. Sounds good to me.

Then Mister C asks John the electrician if he can put some smaller lights on the bottom of the soffit so that we can have lighting directly over the counters. He can and we decide to do that as well.

The conversation then turns to our hallways and the lovely sconces (gack!) that currently only sort of light them up. Sconces made out of adobe and painted brown. It's a look. John the electrician can clean that ugliness up with only five more can lights. So now we've gone from three large lights to ten large and five small thereby doubling the original estimate in the span of thirty minutes.

Fast forward to this morning, when John the electrician showed up to start working. I had places to be most of the day so I missed his actual arrival but I stopped in a few times though just to see how things were going. By the end of the day he had removed the old ugly lights and installed the five can lights in the kitchen. He had also installed the small lights under the soffits. He's coming back tomorrow to do the hallways.

I have to tell you, it looks really nice. I love the clean, none cluttered look of the ceiling with the flush lights. It's amazing how much bigger and brighter it looks in there. And the lights under the soffits? Absolutely awesome. I can't wait for the hallways to get done.

But there is one, minor issue. Now that I have all this incredible lighting? Especially the lights shining oh so gently onto my counters? Holy shit do I need to clean.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just add water

The bird of paradise plant outside my front door looks especially nice after a recent rainfall.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

White trash or ingenious?

Do you see that thing being held on my wall with packing tape? That is is cell phone amplifier. We have a whole lot of trouble around here with dropped calls from our cell phones. An unreasonable amount of dropped calls. I've said it before and I'll say it on here, I love my I-phone for absolutely everything. Except phone calls. Then I hate it.

About a week ago, Mister C searched around and found this cell phone amplifier. As the name implies, it amplifies the signal for your cell phone. It's supposed to basically put an end to dropped calls. But it's not cheap and Mister C didn't want to buy it and install it only to have it not really help. So he devised this method of testing it out. And for the past week, I've had this box taped to my wall and the cords running from it, around my fish tank and out a window to the back yard where the end was hung from a nail on the fascia board of my patio overhang. It was all very "trailer park chic" as it were.

Today, Mister C decided that it had worked quite well for it's intended purpose and has spent the last few hours installing it in the attic where I can have the benefit of no dropped calls without having to look at a box taped to my wall.

Sadly enough, I kind of miss the trashiness of seeing it hanging there. But I don't miss the dropped calls.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lego Storage

Master J loves Legos. Mister C probably loves them more. The people at the Lego company are creative geniuses, always coming up with new kits to build. Each kit contains a lot of little Legos. A. Lot. Additionally, Mister C went out on to Ebay and figured out that you can buy Legos by the pound. Or by the specific part. Did you know that you can purchase a "lot" of nothing but Star Wars Jedi lasers? Or nothing but Lego hats? I do now.

So it stands to reason that with two guys in the house that really like to build with Legos, the vast number of Lego sellers on Ebay, and way too many parts in each kit, that we would end up with a Lego-extravaganza in Master J's room. And wherever else he can drag them.

His room usually looks like this...

Most of his Legos are not in this picture, most of them are either in one of several large plastic containers or on my family room floor. I got sick of seeing all this chaos so I, umm "encouraged" Mister C to get a handle on it. So he and Master J went out shopping and came home with some plastic bins and such. Keeping in mind that in the below pic, this is probably less than one third of the total number of Legos. We only sorted through one large plastic container at a time. We (mostly Mister C and I) spent many (many, many, oh my god how many?!?!) hours sorting little tiny parts into bins by color.Like this...

So that many (many, many, oh my god how many?!?!) hours later, it looked like this...

And that is something I can live with. So far, so good on keeping it cleaned up and put away. And Master J seems a lot more happy with the lack of chaos as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Doesn't play well with others

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do the math Sparky

On my shopping list today was vitamin C, 1000mg tablets for Mister C. I got a bottle of 100 tablets that cost me $8.88 or about .09 a pill. Not the best deal around to be sure, but certainly $2.64 a month isn't exactly an extravagance. Mister C however found this to be completely out of line and wondered excessively why I would "pay so much" when he was sure he had gotten 1000 tablets for $20 previously. I was just as sure he hadn't because really, who the hell sells 1000 tablets of any vitamin? I know he just got mixed up between the number of pills and the milligrams of said pills, but that's not an argument worth wading into.

In order to prove me wrong, he started looking it up online. He finally was able to find 500 tablets being sold at Costco for about $20 or .04 per pill. Half as much is good, no? But we don't have a membership to Costco. A basic membership to Costco costs $50 per year. So let's see...

.09 per pill times 365 days per year = $32.85
.04 per pill times 364 days per year = $14.60 + $50 membership fee = $64.60

Remind me which one of us has a degree in a math heavy field again?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I got a call the other day from Scott, my team leader/mentor/throw me out on my own and tell me to succeed guy. He asked me where I was at in terms of the leads he'd given me and the clients I was working with. I told him I would send him an email detailing what was going on.

So I went through my mails and my spreadsheet on Google Docs and put together a list of what he had sent me versus what I was currently working on. Turns out the first sentence I wrote, where I mentioned that he had sent me ten leads in the last month, was the one that surprised him. He thought he'd sent more. The last sentence, where I mention that I'm sure I'll have some better success in the future because four of the leads had written at least one offer in the time I've had them, blew him away. Apparently, even though I haven't seemed to have any luck with my buyers getting financing and getting all the way through to closing lately, the fact that four out of ten are willing to even write an offer is awesome. He actually called me back to tell me how impressed he was with me.

So I'm sitting back, patting myself on the back thinking "Hey, maybe I'm not as bad as I think I am at this job." And then, the emails started coming. Six leads in the first one, two in the second, two more emails with one lead each, several text messages with names and numbers. Occasional calls with more leads thrown in for good measure.

For two days I've been calling people from all over the place including Pennsylvania, Missouri and Canada, emailing listings and walking first timers through the process. All while still working with my current clients, doing all I can to keep one guy in escrow and working to put in another offer with another one.

So here I sit, with my laptop balanced on the arm of the couch, finally getting around to spending some time doing what I like to do. I'm tired, in a good way. I feel like I'm moving forward and maybe getting a little bit accomplished. And I'm thinking maybe, just maybe, that 2010 might be the year that my career finally takes off. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Hike

We hiked Piestewa Peak today. This mountain is the third tallest in the Phoenix area, the second tallest of the White Mountain range. It's about 2,600 feet high. But the trail is only about a mile long. Which means it's really, really steep. I made it about two thirds of the way up before having enough and heading back down. Mister C and Master J made it to the top (of course). At one point, while I was trying to catch my breath after a particularly steep area, Master J turned around and impatiently said "Wow, you're in worse shape than I thought!" To which a passing man said "There goes your college fund!" I just laughed. Yeah, I'm in worse shape than I thought too, but I'm trying.

Here's a few pics taken with my cell phone. The last one was taken by Mister C on his cell phone.

Looking back on one of the easy sections...

Looking up at the "trail" and I use that word loosely. Most of it looks like this.

About halfway up. You can get an idea of how far by looking at the cars in the lot below.

At least he made it to the top!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A need for speed!

Mister C made a deal with Master J some time last November that if he had five green days in a row at school, we would go to Speed Street a local go kart racing place. Master J got close multiple times with four green days in a row, but he just couldn't seem to put five of them together.

Well, after two months, he finally did it. And as promised, we took him racing. I'll give you a little heads up, bring your money and your cajones, it's expensive and it's fast. It's $50 (per person) to race three times. Each race runs 12-15 minutes. The carts can go up to 50 mph in the strait-aways. Usually, kids are separated from the adults but the guy taking the money set it up so that Mister C & Master J could race together. Which meant that Master J had to race with the adults.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Mister C...

Master J...

The first two races, Master J did really well. He stayed to the right to be out of the way of the adults who were going much faster than him. The nice thing was that the other adults in these two races were really aware of him and very careful when around him. I was really impressed with the fact that these guys were willing to slow down for a little kid. It was awesome.

The third race was a little different because it was all new people. And this group of people all knew each other and were acting like idiots. They ran my child off the "road" several different times. Right towards the end, one adult male hit Master J's cart so hard it spun him completely around. Master J just kept on racing. He told me later that the third cart was harder because it was faster than the other two and that it was hard because he kept getting stuck. But he was so thrilled with the whole experience that I didn't mention too much about the a-holes that were on the road with him. I figure dealing with them today is just prepping him for real driving on real roads one day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Where have I been?

I feel off the blogging train for a few days. I've been kind of busy this week and sort of put writing on a back burner. Between going back and forth with a lender about a client's closing (it's been delayed), laying sod with Papa for seven hours one day and doing a little bit of cleaning up around the house now that both Mister C & Master J are back to work and school respectively, this week has just flown by. Not today so much since the sod laying was yesterday and my muscles are still screaming. Today has sort of dragged painfully by. So currently, there's not a whole lot to report and I haven't taken a single picture in at least four days so I can't even give you that. But I'm out here. And I'll be back.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Meet the Dynamic Duo



Mamoo & Papa named them after Desi Arnez & Lucille Ball. I think they named Lucy first because they suspect she will be the one who's always in trouble. Desi was just a natural extension at that point.

So, I think we can safely put to rest the whole "prissy poodle" thing right now. These two love being outdoors rolling around in the dirt. They were clean when we picked them up yesterday and filthy within five minutes of arrival at the house.

They are adjusting very well and working on the most important thing any puppy can learn...potty training. Desi seems to have caught on to the concept quite well. Mister C, Master J and I went over to visit with them earlier today. When we were heading into the house, Desi paused on the patio and refused to come in. Then he turned around and headed out to the yard to do his business before returning to come into the house. He's the brains of this outfit. Lucy, well...she's the brawn.

Friday, January 1, 2010


We visited with some friends of ours today. They were in town visiting her dad and we were lucky enough to be able to spend a few hours with them. Their kids and our own Master J have known each other since birth. Their oldest is ten months older than Master J, their youngest is ten months younger. Master J is still somehow the biggest of the three. They've always gotten along pretty well (for a pack of troublesome boys that is) but they're also very active. So I tend to take a lot of photos when we're together since you never know when someone is going to move, adjust, mug for the camera or basically look goofy.

This is the only one of ten photos (of this pose) that I took of these three that came out halfway decent...

Most of them looked more like this...

Or this...