...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh Yes We Did!

Well, howdy-do!  You're looking at a real, live new homeowner here!
Yes, we went to the local attorney's office today, spent 20 minutes and $200 to sign roughly a billion pieces of paper and...voila!  We now have our very own money pit Taj MaHell.

The closing costs were difficult to track, what with all the add-ins and subtract-outs, but the final cost of the house, including closing costs and the additional $275 to close by mail was....$24,150.94.  I don't know why, but that ninety-four cents is just hilarious to me.  Or maybe I'm giddy from the stress.  It's hard to say.

So, time to shift gears from my recent flurry of get-caught-up work around the Island to full-fledged first-time renovation.

I'm awfully excited and I don't mind telling you!  Won't you come along for the ride?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Progress (or did I step in poop?)

We are FINALLY on track to close on the Taj MaHell!  After so many screw-ups, delays and episodes of downright numb-skullery that it boggles the mind, we are putting pen to paper tomorrow afternoon!

Rather than drive 5 hours to the closing agency, we are paying an additional $275 to close here in the Greater Gilligan Area.  We figured it was worth it in the long run to pay the closing agency their $75 close-by-mail fee and the local attorney $200 to sit on her butt and witness as we sign our names.  (Note to self:  have soul, decency and sense of justice removed and go to law school.  We need the money.)

We called the roofer we'd selected and went about making plans for him to replace the Taj roof.  He came back with an amount that was almost twice the original bid.  And I pooped in my drawers.  After some back and forth and a reminder of the original bid amount, we got a verbal agreement to do the job for the original amount (followed up by a written one on its way) and a start date of next week.  I'm fool enough to be hopeful it actually happens that way.  Because ANYthing happening in the time estimated or for the amount estimated would be a real novelty at this point...and the sad thing is, we haven't even GOTTEN STARTED YET.  Ahem.  Was I yelling?  I do apologize.

So, the good news is that we're finally closing on the property.  I'm trying to just focus on the good and let go of the frustration of dealing with these morons.  Soon enough, they'll be out of our lives.  And not a moment too soon!  And before I let it all go in a Zen-infused moment of release, here is a recap of the events of today:

8:30am-1:00pm  Numerous attempts to get idiot at closing agency to respond to request for info on how to close by mail, along with request for full amount due (this was the SEVENTH request for the amount due.  Incidentally, we STILL don't know it)

10:00am  Call to friend/neighbor who is a real estate attorney.  He gently refused to witness our signatures, feeling that it was an attempt by the closing agency to shirk their liability.  Note:  I am NOT annoyed with this guy; on the contrary, I really appreciate him being up-front about all this.

1:00pm  Call listing agent, who assures us there's nothing hinky about an attorney witnessing our signatures.  Check Yellow Pages for real estate attorneys, call one near us with an Irish name (what?  there are other criteria for attorney selection?) and learn that they have dealt with the closing agency before and will happily babysit us while we sign our names.  Appointment set for 2:00pm tomorrow.

2:00pm  Finally receive the closing packet.  It is in another buyer's name and dates from February.  The documents also show a purchase price of $42,000....$20,000 more than our purchase price.  Email bigfatstupidhead at the closing agency and remind her who we are and that this is, in fact, June.  Correct closing packet sent and reviewed.

3:30pm  Call from listing agent, who is extremely annoyed because the closing agency has called HER to request that WE get them the local attorney's name and contact info.  Listing agent perplexed as to why they couldn't just call US?  Advised her it would mean that they would actually have to ACKNOWLEDGE OUR EXISTENCE.  And we can't have that!

4:00pm  Shawn goes out to put the windshield on his motorcycle and forget the whole thing for a while.  I call the  Mayberry electrical inspector and leave a message, pleading with him to meet me at the Taj this Friday, if at all possible, so that I can get the inspection done and *hopefully* get an electrician to look at it/give me a bid before I have to leave the Taj next Wednesday.

Present time:  I'm off to finish packing for my trek to the Taj.  Tank and I will leave on Thursday afternoon and return next Wednesday at some point.  Shawn has to work this weekend, so he will come on Sunday and leave with us on Wednesday.   Internet access in the 'berry is iffy at best, so updates may have to wait til our return.

And now it's time to get to work!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Taj Update!

Well, whaddaya know?  The closing agency rep actually contacted us late Friday to say that our closing on the Taj MaHell is set for this Tuesday at 3:30pm. 

Because she notified us so late, I couldn't get in touch to verify that we can close by mail/fax/overnight document, nor was I able to get an actual amount that we needed to pay.  Closing fees are still a mystery, apparently.  Maybe it's top secret and we just don't have the level of security clearance to know this sort of thing.

So, the good news is that we may finally close on Tuesday.  The bad news is, I may spend Monday running around, getting a power of attorney so that I can sign for both of us, if I end up having to drive 5 hours to the office of the closing agency.  I am DESPERATELY hoping that is not the case!

More on this as I figure out which end is up....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Musings

Hope that you are doing well this Friday.  As I write, the sun has decided to finally peek out from behind heavy cloud cover.  After about three months of drought, Gilligan's Island got POUNDED with rain yesterday.  I ventured across the causeway and was immediately sorry; there were 2-foot-deep puddles on the sides of the causeway and the rain was lashing sideways.  While I was gone, Shawn sent me a photo from his phone...two neighbor kids in a canoe.  In our FRONT YARD.  So, yeah, rain.  We has it.

Called and emailed the closing agency contact person to see if we were, in fact, on target to close on Tuesday.  No luck reaching her and no return call or email.  Apparently, this real estate transaction is destined to be steeped in mystery and intrigue. 

Well, I'm not usually one to be content with sitting and waiting, but a sore back/neck/shoulder has really slowed me down, so I think I'll take the hint and go easy this weekend. 

Why don't you do the same?  Or, if you get into some sort of trouble, tell me all about it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whatever happened to.....

...the Taj MaHell?

The frantic pace of the bidding process has given way to the paperwork equivalent of a race between molasses and a turtle.  I have no idea who would win that race, but I can tell you this:  it would be one boring-arse event.

After receiving our latest update on Monday, June 13th (at which time the closing agency was waiting on a water bill), we heard a big fat NOTHING until Monday the 20th.  Our contract had expired on the 17th...way to go, Closing Agency, for letting that happen!  The new update said we needed an amended contract.  So, I contacted the listing agent, who was actually out of town but still FAR more responsive than the closing attorney, and she quickly drafted a contract extension and emailed it to me.  We signed it and emailed it to the online auction contact, the closing attorney and the listing agent.  I also sent a request to the closing attorney's office, asking if we could confirm that there were no other items outstanding.  Do you think I've heard back from them?  Yeah, right.  (There should really be a 'sarcasm font' on my computer---I would wear. it. out.)

So, if all goes smoothly (insane laughter), we should close "on or before June 28th'.  Mind you, in the meantime we can't go on the premises and make any changes or improvements.  I am SO TIRED of waiting.  I am also tired of tools crammed into my dining room.  Oh, and did I mention I got a compound miter saw with the stand?  It's sitting in a box on my kitchen counter. 

So, come ON, people!  Let's get this deal DONE!

The Complex World of Kiddie Pools

Um, yeah.  About that pool...

Well, we apparently didn't have as level a back yard as we'd thought, because once it was full, the entire soft-sided pool began listing precariously to port.  Hard a-port, as the seafaring types might say.  Within just an hour or so of being filled, the big pouty lip of the inflated top ring was poised to move from pouty to full-blown droop and drown our poor A/C units.  It is so effin' hot here on the Gilligan that I would not think twice about throwing my body in front of the onrushing tide, if I thought it could save the air conditioning. 

So, we drained the pool, which was shaping up to take for-stinkin-everrrr until my knight in shining armor brought home a submersible pump.  We got to work in the blistering heat with shovels, rakes and hoes (tee-hee, we had 'hos working out in the yard!) and we leveled a new spot for the pool.  What with the chemicals, the telescoping net to fish leaves and bugs out, the test strips, the sump pump, the tarp to go under the pool and two straight days of courting heat exhaustion working on it, our $80 pool is now worth about $1,657,925.  And some change.

But, oh, how Tank loves his pool!   He LURVES it.  It is his most slobbery lip-kiss-iest love of all.  He squeals with joy and kick-kick-kicks his chubby legs when we head outside to play in the pool.

And unlike last year's 12-inch inflatable wading pool that lived on our back deck, we can actually get in this pool and enjoy it along with him.  That makes Mama happy...and a happy Mama is a (mostly) non-homicidal Mama.

Bring on the heat!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bringin' Down Your Property Values

Why, howdy there.  How are things with you?

We're in the middle of a scorcher of a June day here...temps at 102 and if you'd like to experience walking outside on Gilligan's Island today, just turn your oven to 450, let it preheat and then cram yourself inside.  Oh, but bring along some scalding water, cuz it's not a dry heat.

Partly because of the heat and mostly because of his rambunctiousness, Shawn and I decided to get Tank one of those 32" deep doughboy swimming pools.  As I type, garden hoses are working feverishly to fill what could be the ugliest lawn ornament on earth.  But you know what?  I'll do that for my boy.  Besides, it is too hot to go outside and play during the day and there's only so much "Swamp People" I can watch, so I'm willing to give up the air conditioning in favor of some chlorinated water.

The box said the pool would be "ready for water in 15 minutes!"  Just like that...with the exclamation point and everything.  Obviously, the exclamation mark is Chinese for "HA HA HA, you dumbass!"  Because, seriously.  Here's how it goes:

Step One:  Argue with spouse over proper placement of pool.  Win argument.  5 minutes.

Step Two:  Rake up leaves, sticks, debris from approved pool placement area.  10 minutes.

Step Three:  Open heavy duty tarp packaging and lay tarp down.  
Step Three, Substep A:  OCD husband franticaly races against inevitability and tries to keep dust, dirt and grass from touching top of tarp.

Step Four:  Unfurl pool onto tarp.  OCD husband plucks and picks at pool to ensure maximum wrinkle-free enjoyment.  5 minutes.

Step Five:  Locate air pump (2 minutes), locate extension cord (1 minute), try to blow up top ring of pool.  Keep trying.  Air pump won't seat properly in the valve; husband tries to blow up ring.  By mouth.  In 102 degree heat.  Husband wisely gives air pump another try.  Total time:  20 minutes.

Step Six:  (Occurred simultaneously with Step Five):  Wife puts together filter/pump.  Using directions cobbled together from English, Chinese and God-knows-what-other-language.  Directions are useless; wife uses them to sit on so the ants stop biting her butt.  Wife creates new and intriguing combinations of profanities.  Wife now coated with petroleum jelly, as per the incomprehensible instructions to lubricate O-rings.  Wife now glistens in the sun and has the appearance of a large, sweaty booger.   Time:  20 minutes.

Step Seven:  Begin filling pool.

Step Eight:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait some more.

Step Nine:  Put kid down for nap, promising great fun upon waking.

Step Ten:  Drag another garden hose to pool.  Turn on full blast.  Wait.  Wait some more.  (Husband departs to get new grips for Wife's motorcycle handlebars)

Step Eleven:  Begin scooping out debris already collecting in pool.

Step Twelve:  Pool filled.  Total time:  three hours from box to pool.

And when Tankie wakes up, we'll have the final step:  Wildly Excited Toddler.

And that's worth every drop of sweat.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Farm Maven!

Happy birthday to my sister the Farm Maven!  Wish I could be there to celebrate with you.

Have a great day and I'll see you soon.

Baby Chustah

"That's where my angel wings used to be."--Farm Maven
"Really?  I thought it was the scar from when I stabbed you with the ironically named safety scissors."-me

Paint samples, long waits and love rekindled

The much-anticipated closing date of June 17th came and went without a closing.  Without even an update from the closing agency, as a matter of fact.  Frustrating!!  The last update we received said that the closing agency was waiting on a water bill from Mayberry.  Why on earth something like that has to hold up a closing is beyond me....can't they email or fax the dang thing in?

So, anyway, I've had to amuse myself in other ways.  I went through a couple of paint sample books and picked out tentative colors for the living room, dining room and hall--those will all be the same color, for simplicity.  I've also got a good idea of the colors for Tank's room, the master bedroom and the area over the tile in the hallway bath.  Due to budget constraints, we'll leave the pink basket-weave tile that is on the hallway bath floor for now, so I chose a smoky light grey for those walls.  Not much else will go with pink and not make me want to vomit.  I am not a pink person.  Well, technically, I guess I am a pink person.  But you know what I mean.

Tank's room will most likely be a light blue.  I am still thinking over how to "do" his room.  Here on Gilligan's Island, his room is done in fish, with shades of blue and green being predominant.  His room at Uncle Todd's Cabin just has the vinyl wall decals of Classic Pooh, which he is really too old for.  Sigh.  I guess those will have to go.  I'd love to maybe do a tree in one corner of his room, either here or in Mayberry.  I think it would be so cute to do that and maybe bunk beds, to feel like a tree house, almost.  I'll keep thinking about it and we'll see what happens.

Because I don't have the luxury of taking paint samples to the Taj and holding them up, I have used the photos I took to see how different colors look.  Because the hardwood floors have such a gold tone to them, a lot of cooler colors just didn't look right to me.  I found some warmer ones that I thought worked well with the floor.  The final test will be to take the paint samples to the Taj and see how everything looks together in person.

In other news, I got my Mother's Day present this week.  It's late, but it was worth it.  Shawn got us both Kindles, so I'm off the hook for Father's Day.  Woo-hoo.  I wasn't sure I'd like a Kindle, since I am a book nut and I thought I'd miss the heft and feel of a real book.  To my surprise, it was really easy to adjust to reading just one page, instead of having two opened in front of me.  We got covers for the Kindles, which I recommend, because it does help it feel more like a traditional book.  I loaded some free classics and have plowed halfway through Anne of Green Gables so far.  Is it just me, or was Anne a lot less annoying when I was a kid?  I mean, holy crap.  I thought it would be a hoot to re-read something from childhood, but jeez...Anne's a total nutburger.  By Chapter Two, I'd had it up to HERE with her imaginative, free-spirited nature and thought she just needed a knot yanked in her.  And all the talk of "bosom friends."  Yark.  Guess I'll stick to my gory crime novels.

Oh, and I almost forgot!  Oh My Flippin Stars...there is apparently a very disturbing new genre of literature.  I stumbled on it when I was checking out the free Kindle downloads in Amazon: erotica written by women for women.  I was extremely intrigued by this phenomenon.  I mean, I always understood the existence of romance novels...teenaged girls waiting for their ONE TRUE LOVE and down-trodden housewives trying to remember why they wanted to get married in the first place kept those things flying off the shelves.  Side note:  have you ever read one of those things?  All the women have enormous eyes.  There must be a tribe of women out there who look like Twisted Whiskers chicks.  But, erotica?  Really?  If I wrote an "adult romance" novel, it would go something like this:

"He strode in the door, blocking the sun's light with his massive, muscular body.  Graciella trembled, the dishwater dripping from her shaking hands.  Who was this man?  What  dangerous plan brought him here?  In two long strides he crossed the room and took the dishcloth roughly from her hands. 'You've got it all wrong,' he growled, 'Glasses and silverware get washed before the pots and pans.'

Graciella moved aside and with tremendous effort, found her voice.  'Wh-wh-who are you?' she gasped.

'Hungwell,' he replied.  'Studley Stacked Hungwell.  I'm here to do the dishes.'"

Not exactly Pulitzer Prize material, huh?  Oh, well.  The longer this real estate closing drags on, the more time I have to work on my new career as a writer of Chick Lit Erotica. 

God help us all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

That sound you hear is me sighing.  Loudly.  There may also be some melodrama going on.

Still no news on the Taj MaHell closing.  With nothing else Taj-related to do today, I sat down and started estimating some of the repair costs.  Within a few minutes, even the ends of my hair hurt and I was convinced we were headed straight for the Poor House.  I have no idea what the Poor House is, but my mother always said that's where we were trying to put her when we'd ask for "what everybody is wearing".

Later, I went over the numbers with Shawn and came to a realization:  it's really not that bad, not in the grand scheme of things.  The Taj has tremendous potential, enough that we really got excited about working to bring some of that potential to light in the first place.  I love the idea of taking something old and neglected and polishing, painting and repairing it back to beauty.  And yeah, it's going to take some money to make that happen, but if we take it slow, shop for deals and negotiate on the things we can't do ourselves, I think we'll be okay.

Do we need another house?  Oh, hellz to the no.  We still have enough unfinished projects on our regular house to keep us busy for another couple lifetimes, and with a toddler and jobs and pets and friends and all the other things that keep us busy, who has the time to take on a huge project in a town hours away? 

But Mayberry is where we spend Christmas.  Michael's stocking is hung on the Mayberry mantel and that's where Santa Claus knows to find him.  Sensible people would just get a room at the Jameson Inn and be done with it, but we're not sensible folks around here.  I am a sentimental fool about some things and Christmas is one of them.  I want Tank to wake up on Christmas morning in his own bed, in his own home, surrounded by familiar sights.  I love to travel, I dearly do, but I am a homebody when it comes to Christmas.

There's another issue at work here, too.  Neither Shawn nor I have ever really discussed moving back to Mayberry.  We've spent our adult lives being the only members of our families to wander farther afield than the next county over.  That lifestyle has suited both of us.  We like making our home in new places, discovering new restaurants and shops.  But ever since we started talking about the Taj, something weird has happened; we've both started to think of it as a place to go, should we relocate to Mayberry.  When the heck did THAT get put on the table?

Anyway, here we are.  The Taj is virtually ours and a mountain of work lies ahead.  I couldn't be more excited or nervous.

Besides, the most important issue of home ownership has already been resolved:  I know exactly where the Christmas tree should go.  Everything else will come together eventually.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Long time, no see!  I've been nursing a sore back/neck/shoulder for a couple of days and the moaning, whining and demanding to be waited on has really cut into my online time.

We got an update on the Taj Thursday; the closing agency still has to get a re-key invoice from the listing agent and then one of their in-house attorneys has to do a title review.  Those SOUND like they wouldn't take very long...I mean, you can fax or email an invoice and how long does it take to review a title?...but you just never know.

Since I'm still not quite 100%, I'll just leave you with a You Tube link of one of my favorite Tom Petty songs:

Have a great Saturday and play nice with the other children!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gator Bait

Still waiting to hear something on the Taj MaHell, so in the meantime, we're just staying busy with other things.

Since Tank is obsessed with all things "Swamp People," we took him out to a restaurant near where we live, where they have live alligators. 

*Not a live gator.  We suck as parents, but not quite that bad.

He was so excited, he was literally shaking head to toe!  If he could have talked, he'd have been going a mile a minute!  For a couple of dollars, you can feed the gators.  Here's a video of Tank and Daddy feeding the alligators.

A good time was had by all...at least until it was time to leave.  A broken-hearted Tank sobbed bitterly at leaving his new friends.  Guess we'll be going back again soon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pass the Fat Pants, Please

The other day I was craving some chips and dip.  We didn't have anything in the house that met the chip-n-dip criteria, so I resisted.  But another day passed and I was still dreaming of a delectable, dippy snack.

Wouldn't you know it, the toilet paper supply got dangerously low and I had to make a Kroger run.  And there, in the dairy aisle, was tub after tub of French Onion dip.  And the Kroger brand wavy chips were 10 for $10.  My hand hovered above the regular dip but I managed to move over to the low-fat dip.  I HATE the way the low-fat kind gets that oily water on top after a day or so, but I was trying to be responsible in my snacking.

I came home and resisted for the longest four minutes of my life and then I dove in.  Later that night, I snacked some more in front of a Braves game.  The next day, I ate some more.  The day after that, I scraped the bottom of the 4-ounce container with a chip and thought, "Well, at least it was the fat free kind."

Only it WASN'T.

Oh, snap.

Inching Towards Organization

Tuesday morning and I should be getting ready for the part-time job that actually requires my presence.  I looked in the closet and the thought of having to find something to wear.  And do something with my hair.  And then get Tank up and dressed because he goes to work with me....

It just all seemed too much, so I plopped down in front of the computer instead.

No updates on the Taj MaHell as of yet.  I had hoped that we'd hear something yesterday, but I guess we won't be updated during the process at all.  One day (soon, I hope), we'll just get an email telling us when/where the closing will be.  We'll close by mail, but you can do an actual face-to-face closing if you want.

In the meantime, I've been poring over paint swatches and reading product reviews, making lists, making more lists, losing the lists I made and happily starting over because I love lists!  One thing I did learn is that no one makes a paint you can put on an old stove, so we're stuck with the apparently functional, butt-ugly one at the Taj.  The cheapest 40-inch stove on the market is pushing up on $800, and that is just not in the budget until the old one keels over.

So, what's a girl to do when she's anxious to sink her teeth into a new project but there's nothing to do?  Me, I'm going on a purging rampage!  I'm going through the Gilligan's Island house, tossing anything that is no longer useful or that I never wear, etc.  I'm streamlining and simplifying my drawers, closets, cabinets and bookshelves.  I'll do the same thing at Uncle Todd's Cabin (our current Mayberry address) in preparation for the big move to the Taj one of these days.

There's a lot to go through.

In the past, I've made the mistake of just boxing stuff up and moving it place to place, without seriously evaluating each and every item.  Because, really, who has the time?  But then I end up with boxes that stay packed for 2 or 3 years before I load them up again and move them to a new place.  I counted once; I had moved 15 times in a 22 year period.  Granted, some of those were dorm room moves, which is not the same thing at all as packing up a house, but still.  A move's a move. 

I know that Uncle Todd's Cabin is currently home to several unpacked boxes of crap.  These "treasures" are so important that they couldn't be donated to Goodwill or given to a friend who'd appreciate them and yet they're not important enough that I ever bothered to open the box they were in.  Silly. 

I do have a box with some of my mother's things in it, just crazy little things that only I would want.  One of her many housecoats, a bottle of the perfume she loved, hand-written grocery lists because I simply cannot live if I know I'll never see her handwriting again.  Boxes like that, well, I see no harm in keeping and moving town to town.

But the boxes of old pots and pans, curtains from three houses ago, fridge magnets, throw pillows...you get the idea...those need to go.

I have a friend here at The Gilligan who struggles with what I'd assume is a mild to moderate hoarding tendency.  She asked me to help her clean out a room and I gladly agreed.  After a couple of hours of sorting items with her, I really came to see the painful battle she was waging against her stuff.  EVERY thing in that room was important or useful, at least to her.  EVERY piece of paper her kids had ever colored on was there, along with yards and yards of fabric for projects, photos of the family, knick-knacks from her family's military life overseas.  All of these things did have either monetary or sentimental value, but because she assigned value to ALL of it, NONE of it ended up being valued.  Because it all mattered so much that she couldn't part with it, it got piled up, then the piles fell over or got wet or dirty or the papers got torn.  So many of the precious items she has so ferociously refused to let go of were...ruined.  She has been, in other words, loving her possessions to death.

I think one reason my friend has difficulty letting go of things is that they're not wealthy.  Sometimes, we hold on to items because they represent security.  I remember in my own hoard-prone days, I accrued and kept things that were largely useless to me, because a wealth of "stuff" made me feel less broke.  ("How can I possibly be poor?  I have eight cookie sheets!")

Another reason we hold on to things is the money they represent.  I am very guilty of buying clothes without trying them on.  When I get home and they don't fit, I set them aside thinking I will just run back to the store in the next couple of days and exchange them.  And then a month goes by.  Then two months.  And then the store won't take them back.  I used to keep the clothes, out of guilt for having wasted money on them.  Keeping them with the tags dangling in my closet was a reminder of my stupidity and wastefulness.  And they were perfectly good clothes that had cost perfectly good money. And who doesn't enjoy a good dose of self-loathing every time they open the closet door?  

Now, though, I'm making a real effort to be a more aware shopper.  To try on clothes or at least really look them over before buying, to see if there are any fit or comfort issues that I can see at the outset.  But when I mess up....and I will mess up!...I am really going to try to return them quickly and failing that, donate them with a happy heart to a charity.

Because, even if I don't always realize it, I am richly blessed.  I have enough.  And I am willing to let go of some of the extra.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No News Is....No News

Friday again and I am recuperating from four hours in the dentist's chair late yesterday.  SEVEN shots of novocaine and then she gave me an 800mg Motrin for the trip home.  I'm not going into further detail because really, four hours under the dentist's sadistic hands says it all.  I mean, DAMN.  Luckily I had some leftover margarita mix, so I was able to self-medicate last night.  Half my mouth was numb, though, so I had to drink it through a straw and even that was a challenge, because I couldn't seem to pucker that side of my lips.  I hope to God I never have a stroke, because it would clearly hinder the liquor-delivery system.  And I am guessing that I will be the sort of old person that the people who run the "home" would WANT to be liquored up.

 On to the Taj:
It seems nothing happened at all this week, in terms of the Taj moving closer to being ours.  We'd received a contact at the closing agency, so after 3 days went by, I called her and left a voice mail.  The next day, I emailed her.  Then I called again two days later, but her voice mailbox was full.  Long story short, we finally got hold of a different person at the agency, thanks to the auction site representative.  The closing peeps are waiting on an updated title on the property, a water bill, the tax bill* and a re-key, which the real estate agency is handling.  The other items were noted as "requested--pending," so hopefully they will not hold us up too much.  (*Quick note:  we missed a ton of things we should have checked on with this purchase, but I am proud that we didn't forget to check with the local tax assessor's office to make sure that the taxes were paid up.  They were.  I'm not sure how it works, if the buyer would be responsible for any outstanding taxes, but it stands to reason that it could happen.  Just another thing to check before you commit!)

While I've been twiddling my thumbs and waiting for news, I have been looking over the photos we took of the Taj MaHell and getting some projects thought out.  Initially, we're going to have to shell out some money to professionals (roof, electrical), so I am only looking into relatively cheap, DIY projects that I can do alone.  Shawn may work weekends this summer to make extra money, so I could manage smaller projects like paint and yard work...both of which would make a huge improvement. 

Anyhoobastank, Shawn saw an ad in my Southern Living magazine (he reads it in the bathroom.  I know...I don't even want to think about that) for Rustoleum's Cabinet and Countertop Transformations.   Link to their website here:    http://www.rustoleumtransformations.com/ 

I read some reviews and this stuff actually seems to work as advertised.  I plan to definitely do the countertops and am thinking about the cabinets.  My only hesitation is that the cabinets are cheap knotty pine and have flat slabs for doors.   We were talking about just painting them gloss white and adding fun hardware...and just pretending that these cabinets are EXACTLY what we wanted.   This Rustoleum product shows the wood grain, which on these cabinets would not be a plus.  I'd like to either add molding/trim to beef up the doors and make them look less shitty outdated or just get all new doors and drawer fronts.  So, I'm not sure if I'll do the cabinets yet or just wait a while.  Either way, I'll give this new stuff a try and let you know how it goes.  I am cautiously optimistic, because I used a tub and tile refinisher at Uncle Todd's Cabin and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  It was one of those, "Well, it'll either look slightly less bad or I'll screw it up royally and have to gut the whole room" type deals and I have to say, the stuff covered the tile beautifully and seems to be holding up really well.  Maybe the same will be true of these crazy painted counter tops!

Off to make more lists.....