Shats, Not Hats

The last couple of days I have been watching Invasion Iowa on Spike TV. This is the TV show in which William Shatner tricks the residents of Riverside, Iowa, that he is making a movie. In reality, there is no movie being made. I didn’t think the first episode, shown on March 29, was that interesting. My fiancée was watching it with me for the first half hour. However, at that point, she had had enough of it and went into another room to read. Last night’s episode was much better. While it’s fun watching these people being fooled, what I really like about the program is the fact that I know a couple of the people in the show as I used to teach at the high school in Riverside. One of the locals playing a punk was a student of mine. I am looking forward to seeing how this show progresses tonight and tomorrow night.

Back to the topic of my house, Jasper the cat is still having problems with urinating where he shouldn’t be doing so. We were about to take him to the animal shelter to get rid of him last night, but first we called the vet to see how long it should take for the medication we are giving him to have its desired effect. He said it could take four to six weeks, so Jasper got a reprieve from being sent away.

My house still hasn’t sold, and there hasn’t been any activity this week. We should be having an open house on Sunday. Maybe that will generate some additional interest. Meanwhile, we are going to go ahead with the purchase of the house in Cedar Rapids. We close on that sale two weeks from today. I’m a little nervous, to say the least, about the possibility of having two houses to make payments on at the same time. However, once we move our stuff out in two weeks, we’ll be able to get the carpet professionally cleaned and we won’t have to worry about Jasper peeing on it anymore.

This afternoon and tonight, as well as tomorrow, I have parent-teacher conferences to attend. Normally I don’t care for conferences. Sure, it’s nice to talk with the parents of some of my students, but too often I don’t know what to day besides what their child’s grade is. This time however is different as this is the last time in the foreseeable future that I will be at a school conference, at least from the teacher’s side of the desk.


Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been so busy getting back to work this week to do any blogging. In addition to being busy, I have been really worried about my house selling. If we want out of the contract to buy the house we want in Cedar Rapids, we have to let the seller know by April 1. To make matters worse, there has been no activity that I know of regarding my house this week. I have been unable to call my realtor as he had a personal tragedy this week. I feel really badly for him, but it makes me feel bad about myself that I am so concerned with my problems in his time of grief.

We have considered going through with the house purchase even if this house isn’t sold. Mel has enough money left over from her tax refund to cover a little over one month’s payment and when I start my new job in June, I’ll still be getting paid from teaching through August, so I will have two and a half months in which I am getting almost double my current income. Also, I am getting a signing bonus for my new job, part of which we are using to hire a moving company. We should be just fine as long as the house sells by August, and Mel finds a job since we’ll have this extra money. However, I really don’t want to use it for that purpose. Most of the extra money I’ll be spending on payments on my current house will just be lost, as such a small percentage of it goes towards the principal.

Anyway, one of my fiancée’s cats has had a problem with peeing on the carpet in the living room. Before we left for vacation, the vet gave us a device that looks similar to a scented-oil plug in that emits an odor that only the cats can smell. It’s supposed to keep them from marking on the walls and carpet. It worked while we were gone and for a couple days once we returned, but the cat has returned to doing his thing. Now we have anti-anxiety medication that we are giving the cat. It is not easy to give a pill to a cat! After two failed attempts, we decided to crush up the pill, put it in water, and then inject it into his mouth with a syringe. Hopefully he’s getting enough of the medication for it to do some good. We haven’t had any problems with him since we got back from vacation with the exception of the one time I previously mentioned, so maybe he’s getting better.


What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

I may write a little about my vacation to Las Vegas a little later, but for now the saying is true. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Overall, I had a fairly enjoyable vacation. It would have been even better if I hadn’t constantly been worrying about the sale of my house.

When I left for vacation, I had received an offer for my house and the prospective buyer had accepted my counter offer pending an inspection. Well, it turned out that there were several problems with the house according to his inspector. A lot of what he complained about would be expected in a house that is nearly 50 years old! It seems like this guy wants a perfect, brand new house for under $100,000! Well, nearly a week after the offer, the offer was withdrawn as I would not give in to all of his demands.

On Friday I learned about another offer. Since I was out of the area, we were countering based on what I told my realtor verbally over the phone. I was not about to get anything signed. Well, we seemed to reach an agreement, but they wanted a night to think it over. After sleeping on it, the new prospective buyer backed out. Damn it!

Now, my fiancée and I have an offer pending on a house in Cedar Rapids. We have already started the loan processing and title search which will cost us money even if we don’t go through with the purchase. Plus, we also had an inspection done on the house. Incidentally, it wasn’t perfect, but we weren’t expecting a perfect house. We now have less than two weeks before we have to let the seller know if we will be unable to complete the purchase. I really hope an offer comes in on my house soon. I just want to get rid of it now!


Have a Great Week!

I just thought I'd let you all know that I probably won't be writing any new blog entries until the end of next weekend. Tomorrow, my fiancee and I are going to a wedding show in Ames. Her brother and sister-in-law live there, so we'll be staying the night in Ames. Then on Sunday we have a birthday party in Ankeny for her nephew. After that we head to the Twin Cities where we'll be spending the night at my sister's house before leaving for Las Vegas on Monday morning. We return to Minneapolis Friday night, but then my sister has an orchestra concert on Saturday, so we'll be staying for that. I hope everyone has a great week!


Counter Offer

My realtor called me back this morning informing me that he had received a counter offer from the seller of the house we want to buy. He agreed to most of the offer. In fact, the counter offer was pretty much what our realtor thought he would come back with. We accepted the offer this afternoon. On April 14, my fiancee and I will own a house in Cedar Rapids!


I'm So Excited!

My fiancee and I went back to Cedar Rapids to check out the house we really liked yesterday once again. After we looked through it with our real estate agent, we decided to write an offer for it! I think we were being a bit too greedy in what we asked for in our offer, but our agent thought the offer sounded pretty good. It leaves room for the seller to counter, and for us to still be happy with his counter offer. We should know by tomorrow night if he accepts our offer or not. I can't wait! Now I'll probably have a hard time getting to sleep tonight.

Napoleon Who?

This weekend my fiancee and I rented and watched Napoleon Dynamite and personally I would like to know what the big deal is all about! It was funny at times, but I was bored most of the time for the first half an hour of the film. I guess I just don't get it. Neither does my fiancee.

Yesterday we looked at some open houses in Cedar Rapids since we have to be out of our current house by April 15. We found one that we both really liked. It even comes with a stove and refrigerator that are practically new. The oven hasn't even been used. Upon opening the oven, I noticed that the owner's manual and the broiler rack were both still attached to a rack with plastic straps! The guy selling it is a single man who lived there about one year before his employer relocated him. He's really motivated to sell, asking less than what he paid for it. That does make me worry a little. We will definitely have the house inspected to look for any potential problems. However, we are planning on making an offer on it tonight.



Yesterday morning while I was at the menu board at the McDonald’s drive through ordering breakfast, my realtor called me. He called to tell me that one of the people who had viewed the house the night before was submitting an offer and that he would have it later in the morning. After work I stopped by his office to see what the offer was. He offered the full asking price, although I had just lowered it, so it wasn’t what I had originally hoped for. He also wanted the refrigerator and stove. That wasn’t really a problem as most of the houses we have looked at buying have at least one of those. He also wanted the washer and dryer. The biggest problem with the offer was that he wanted to close and take possession by April 1! That was a big problem as it is just too soon. Maybe if Mel and I weren’t going on vacation for a week in another week we could manage it, but Mel hasn’t found a new job yet, and she won’t be able to commute to her current job from where we would move to. So, I submitted a counter offer pushing back possession until April 15. That gives us two more weeks. Also, I didn’t want to give up the washer and dryer. We potentially will be buying a new refrigerator and stove already, we wouldn’t want to buy all of those appliances. The offer was accepted pending approval for financing (he was pre-qualified) and a house inspection. Now Mel really needs to intensify her job search and we need to start packing. I’ll be calling a moving company on Monday to see about getting our stuff moved, and possibly stored for a short time if we are not able to get possession of a new house immediately.


Gas Prices

What is going on with gas prices? Practically overnight, gas prices here in Waterloo have shot up nearly a dime to $1.959 per gallon! These escalating gas prices really make me hope that my fiancee manages to find a job in the Iowa City area so we can live there instead of Cedar Rapids. I hate to think how much money I'll be spending on gas if I end up commuting 60 miles every day.


Just Checking In

It is so good to be done writing test items for now. On Wednesday next week I should be getting back a list of revisions that I have to make, but until then I have some free time to do other things, that is when I don’t have to leave my house for it to be shown. I guess I can do other things then, but sometimes I just like to sit down and watch TV.

This evening I had to leave my house for two showings. While I was out I stopped by Target to browse and I found a new Yoda toy that I didn’t yet have. I collect Yodas so I was most pleased to make this find. What I got was the Star Wars Galactic Heroes set which includes Emperor Palpatine and Yoda! I got two so I could keep one in its package and have one which I can open up and set out on my desk at work.

Today was a pretty good day at school. My seventh period class, which I usually dread, was very well-behaved today. Even though class was short today because of the variety show, we got a lot accomplished. While watching the variety show, I began thinking that maybe I am making the wrong decision about leaving teaching. There are a lot of things that I am going to miss. I really enjoy working with many of my students, especially when a student with whom I’ve been working finally understands what it is that I’ve been trying to teach him or her. However, before the variety show performance was over, I came to realize that doing something else, at least for a while, is a really good idea. Earlier in the day, during my fourth period class, I started worrying about my blood pressure as I was getting quite upset with my class and I felt my stress level elevating.

The variety show was pretty good. As usual, there was too much jazz band. A couple of jazz band songs wouldn’t have bothered me, but it just seemed to get a bit excessive. Some of the other performances were good. I was surprised to see belly dancing; they can do it! That was a little joke for Homercles, but seriously, two girls did belly dance at the variety show. They certainly had the attention of the young man sitting next to me. There isn’t much else new with me for now. I thought I’d check in. I’ll be able to write a bit more now that I’m not writing test items.


What if There Was an Election and No One Voted?

Apparently that happened today. Most of Black Hawk county had an election today to vote on the local option sales tax. In the town of Jesup no one voted. Most of the town is in Buchanan county and therefore most of the residents were not eligible to vote. Part of the town lies in Black Hawk county though and therefore people who reside in that part of town could have voted.

On another topic, I am reconsidering the possibility of moving to North Liberty. Apparently they have a problem with naked men threatening people with their swords. Someone yelled at their neighbor who was outside without any clothes on to put something on. The guy became upset and got a sword! Actually, North Liberty remains on my list of communities to move to. It's a nice small town, conveniently located to my new job location.

Speaking of my new job, I just completed the first draft of the rest of the test items that I need to write for them. Hopefully I'll get them back for revisions by next Wednesday since I am leaving to go on vacation Saturday morning of next week.