Friday, December 29, 2006
During this time I've posted nearly 200 times. Although this may be less than others, I bet the length of my posts would rival most!
Happy anniversary, blog!
Drag Queen name of the day: Peggy Backride
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Only about an hour after we faxed the signed offer to our realtor, we got the call.
"Its been signed."
"You mean the offer? Its done?" I asked.
"Its done. You got the house! Merry Christmas." she confirmed.
Needless to say, we were both very excited! At the same time we were also a little scared about the payments. But we went over our budget and found places where we can save money without really feeling it, and we will also save money because when I begin working from home my company will pay for the broadband internet service and telephone - 2 expenses we are currently paying ourselves. Plus, working from home means I won't be spending $150. a month on gas and tolls commuting to the office.
This house was built in late 2005 but has never been lived in. It has 3 finished levels, with 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. On the main floor there's a large living room with a corner gas fireplace, dining room, kitchen and breakfast nook, a master bedroom and bath, a 1/2 bath, a washer and dryer, and a screened back porch. On the 2nd floor there is another master bedroom and bath, 2 additional bedrooms that share a hall bath, and a laundry room with a 2nd washer and dryer. On the 3rd floor there is a 3rd master bedroom and bath, and a large family room. All 3 floors of the house have hard wood - there is no carpeting at all. According to the listing it is 3,776 square feet. There are lots of nice touches like granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a whole-house music/intercom system, stained glass windows, upscale light fixtures and ceiling fans, beadboard ceilings in the wrap around porch, and lots of trim and molding around the doors and windows. As I mentioned in a previous post, the drawbacks include no garage and not much storage space. However, we believe the driveway can be covered with a carport that matches the trim of the porch so we'll check into that at some point. And maybe the reduced storage space (from what we have now) will help us to not keep stuff we really don't need.
We're scheduled to go to settlement on Thurs, Jan 25th and the movers will move the contents of our VA house to DE on Fri Jan 26th. Now comes the daunting task of packing.
Drag Queen name of the day: Wendy N. Cold
Sunday, December 24, 2006
We then instructed her to present the offer on the basement house. Since she was representing the seller we knew this would go quickly. Sure enough, an hour later she called back to say that our offer on the basement house had also been countered. I was very surprised at how high the counter offer was. We'd been told that the seller was "very motivated" and that he'd told the realtor earlier "anything to stop the hemorrhaging" so we expected his counter to be closer to our price than his. When I mentioned this to the realtor she explained that just recently the seller had refinanced the mortgage and been hit with a big penalty, so he wasn't as 'motivated' to sell low as he had been earlier.
We then instructed the realtor to present the 3rd offer, on the water house. By this time it was 4pm on the Fri before Christmas so I wasn't surprised that we didn't hear anything that evening. But I was optimistic since the house did not "show" well, and had been on the market for nearly a year, and was an estate. I thought the benefactor of the estate would be happy to finally get an offer so they could get their cash.
At 8:30 Sat morning our realtor called to say that the offer on the water house had also been countered. Once again, the counter was closer to the asking price than to our price. More than a little surprised, I told the realtor that we would think about the 3 houses again, and possibly on Tues (after Christmas) we'd contact her about making follow-up offers on these houses.
Before we hung up the realtor told me that the deal was still not done on the New Victorian. Apparently after nearly 2 weeks, the potential buyer was continuing to ask for changes and modifications to the house, as well as a further price concession. She confided that the seller, whom she was also representing, was really sick and tired of the potential buyer to the point that he was thinking about discontinuing negotiations with them. The seller built the house and felt it was 'top notch' so his feelings were bruised when the potential buyer kept asking for modifications to be made at the seller's expense.
Although dangerously close to being unethical, our realtor told us "If you guys want this house, I think I can get the seller to sell it to you for the same price the other potential buyer has already negotiated. I think he'd really like to stop dealing with those other people. But you can't ask for anything to be done." We were quite happy with the house 'as is' so this condition didn't present a problem for us. However, the pre-negotiated price did.
The price of this house was higher than we were expecting to pay, not just for this house, but for any house. However, at the same time, it was also the best 'deal' we knew of. The 3 houses we'd already submitted offers on were all countered at just a bit under their asking price. The New Victorian's pre-negotiated price was significantly lower than the asking price, making it the only real 'deal'.
We considered the fact that it is brand new, doesn't need any updates or remodeling, can accommodate all of our furniture, is move-in ready, is the largest of all the homes we'd considered, and is located in the area we most want to live. So, we had our realtor email us an offer for the exact amount that had been pre-negotiated with the other potential buyer, signed and faxed it back to her, and waited.
Drag Queen name of the day: Celia Later
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This is another house in the downtown/historic part of Lewes we've been interested in. We call it the "Donahue house" because the owner's last name is Donahue. Its got loads of vintage charm and space, but hasn't been modernized since the 60s or 70s and would require a fair amount of work and money to update. It is unrealistically priced.
This is a brand new house in the Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club community in Rehoboth Beach we've been interested in. We call it the "Basement house" since it is the only house in contention that has a basement. It has a garage, a basement for storage, and good space inside. Although its location makes it a 10 minute bike ride to the beach, it is 10-15 minutes further away from Joe's office, and it is surrounded by other new construction. It is not as over-priced as the New Victorian or the Donahue house and we've been told the seller is "very motivated".
This is the view from the backyard of a ranch-style home in Edgewater Estates (Lewes) we've been interested in. We call it the "water house" because it backs to a huge natural pond. It even has its own dock. On the back of the house is a room made up of 7 sets of sliding glass doors, to maximize the view of the water. This house is significantly less expensive than all of the above houses, although it is also the smallest of all the houses we're interested in. The house is very dated inside, but wouldn't take as much work or money to update as the Donahue house. The lot is big which would allow us to add on later if we wanted.
We have been following these 4 homes along with several others since we began house hunting in the Spring, and we've narrowed down our selection to these 4 and ranked them in the order above.
Last Tues when our VA realtor confirmed that our VA house had a renter, we made an appointment with our DE realtor for Sat. During that call our DE realtor informed us that she'd just gotten a call from another agent indicating his client was likely going to make an offer on the New Victorian. The rest of the week we waited to hear that the offer had come in. When we met up with her on Sat she said the offer had not yet come in, but that the agent confirmed the offer was coming on Sat.
We did not want to compete with the other buyer (which gives the seller the upper hand) nor did we want to move forward with our 2nd choice until we knew the disposition of the house, so we decided to keep on waiting. Mon we learned that the offer was received and that the seller countered it with a price less than the asking price but higher than the offer price. It sounded like it was going to be a 'done deal', so on Tues we wrote up 3 offers, at significantly lower prices, for the Donahue house, the Basement house, and the water house. Our realtor presented the offer to the Donahue house's agent on Tues, and today the agent presented the offer to the seller. We continued to wait.
Meanwhile, our DE realtor called me back to say that the deal on the New Victorian was not 'done' yet. Apparently the buyer is taking their time considering the counter offer, so it is not yet sold. However, it is now out of contention for us, since our offer would have been lower than the one now under debate.
Our DE realtor called again this afternoon to tell me that the owner of the Donahue house wants more time to consider our offer. She wants to talk to her children and consult her accountant. Our realtor said it would likely be Fri before we hear back on it. More waiting. But far from being daunted, Joe & I were excited that she is taking the time to give full consideration to our low offer!
Our offer was not a random one. We took into account the 'sold price' for the only two comparable, nearby houses that have sold in the last 7 months. We also factored in the amount of work and cost required to update the house, as well as our budget.
If Mrs. Donahue accepts our offer we will have truly gotten a 'deal', and we will do again what we have done before: live in a house that is a work-in-progress. But it will be worth it because we love the location, the vintage charm, and amount of space. But if Mrs. Donahue does not accept our offer, we won't be heartbroken. We'll simply move onto the Basement house which is move-in ready, and if necessary, the water house which could be a spectacular property due to its water access and view.
Although we don't yet know where we'll be living in 2 months, we're actually in a very good position because we have 3 houses in which we believe we can be happy living and on which we can get a good deal. Stay tuned...
Drag Queen name of the day: Eileen Over
This year I skipped it and drove directly from Richmond to Lewes. It took about 5 hours, which included a quick stop for food, gas, and a restroom break. Originally we had intended on meeting at home in VA for the weekend, but since we secured a renter for our house earlier in the week, we wanted to meet with our DE realtor this past weekend to make an offer on a house. More on that later.
While in DE, the home of tax-free shopping, Joe & I finished our Christmas shopping. Oddly enough, I didn't have a single Christmas card mailed yet, but we finished our gift shopping. I had brought the cards and addresses with me to Richmond, thinking I'd start writing the cards on Thurs night, but by the time I returned from the sales team dinner I decided to simply watch a little TV and go to bed. So Sun night I sat at the dining table and addressed cards and had 1/2 an ear listening to the shows Joe was watching on TV. I addressed more cards on Mon as I listened to Christmas carols on the digital music station on the cable, did some more on Tues evening when I returned to VA, and then finished the cards today. So barring any incorrect addresses, all 122 of my card recipients should get their holiday cards before Christmas. Whew!!!
The reason I was still in DE on Mon and Tues is because I'm on vacation this week. I had to come back to VA on Tues because I had an appointment to take my car into the shop today. Additionally, I have things to do around here in preparation for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to baking an assortment of holiday goodies to put into baskets and tins for our neighbors and friends. I got some great new recipes from the Food Network to try!
The weather at the beach was chilly on Sat, warmer on Sun, and spectacularly warm on Mon. People were wearing shorts and sandals, and I wasn't the only convertible owner driving with my top down in the 74 degree day. Once again I had that odd feeling of driving with the top down with Christmas music on the radio. But it was fun! Tues and today were much cooler, although probably still a few degrees above normal. I was outside today without a coat putting lights on the holly tree in our front yard.
Drag Queen name of the day: Marion Net
Monday, December 11, 2006
When I arrived at 3:45 Joe was home; he'd worked thru lunch so he could come home early. When I walked in the door my eyes immediately zoomed over to the large vase of gorgeous, lip stick pink roses on the counter, obviously, for my birthday. The color of these roses is so unusual, they really do look like the same color as medium pink waxy lip stick!
We hopped in the car and discussed real estate as we drove past the houses on our list, but it soon got dark so we went back to the house for a while, then changed clothes and went to dinner at Fish On.
I had a fabulous Stoli sangria martini that tasted like liquid apple pie. Then I had a salad of mixed field greens in champagne vinaigrette with goat cheese, and Joe had scallop and lobster dumplings. For dinner I had the cajun penne, which had several huge shrimp, lumps of crab meat, and andouille sausage in a zesty cajun cream sauce. Dee-lish! Joe had a steak with truffle and herb french fries. Unfortunately we had no room for their fantastic desserts. In fact, I even took home 1/2 of my entree to enjoy the next day. Over dinner we talked about the realization of the fact that we are actually going to be living together at the beach soon, which I considered my birthday present.
After dinner we stopped by the video store and picked up 'Strangers With Candy', and then took a drive through historic Lewes to see all the Christmas lights and decorations. It really was beautiful. Those 100 and 200 year old houses dressed up in lights, garlands, and bows really made me hope that we get to live in downtown/historic Lewes. Quite lovely. Then we went home and watched the DVD and then went to bed.
Sat after breakfast we stopped at the most fabulous dollar store ever and picked up some Christmas tins and baskets. Since we were sure that we will still have our VA house at Christmas, I decided I will bake goodies for my neighbors again this year, so the tins and baskets will be nice to deliver the goodies in.
At 1:00 we left for Dover, which is about 45 minutes from Lewes. Our friends George & Steve (former Washingtonians) invited us to their tree trimming party. We met many nice folks and really enjoyed helping decorate their trees. They had a 6-foot artificial tree in the living room window, which can be seen from the street, and a cut tree in their family room that must be 10 or 12 feet tall. Fortunately their family room has a vaulted ceiling!
We left George & Steve's just after 5:00 and stopped at a store for a little Christmas shopping; picked up 2 gifts there. Once home we had about 45 minutes to relax, take the dog out for a walk, change clothes, and leave for an art show/sale.
I had never been to an art show/sale before, but I imagined it to be like the art gallery openings that Charlotte was always inviting the girls to on the show 'Sex and the City'. People dressed in smart evening wear, nibbling on petit fors and drinking champagne as they viewed the latest up-and-coming artist's collection. This calls for something more stylish than khakis and a pull-over, I decided! So I convinced Joe to wear black slacks and a silvery/grey shirt with embroidery on it. I wore black slacks, a pink and grey on white paisley shirt and a black leather sport jacket. We didn't know the artist nor had we been invited, per se, to this event. But the artist is a client of the same personal trainer that Joe goes to, so the trainer invited some of his other clients too. In reality, it was a private showing and sale of the artists work. The people weren't dressed as smartly as the New Yorkers at Charlotte's gallery, but they weren't wearing khakis either.
The artist is Richard Clifton, and he does wildlife paintings. In fact, one of his painting is or will be on a US postage stamp, for which we understand he will be highly compensated. Although the wildlife paintings aren't really our style, we still appreciated the skill and terrific use of color in his work. Oh, and did I mention the free food and drink? We only stayed a little over an hour, since we didn't know anyone there besides Rick and Nick. But it was kind of fun to be at the art show/sale in nice clothes.
We got a message from our VA realtor that the people interested in our house were willing to accept our suggestion of a pushed-back occupancy date of Jan 15. However, at the time they still had not submitted an application, and they asked our agent if we might accept $100. less per month. Our realtor told us that she was showing the house to 2 more parties on Sun, and when I called into the home answering machine there were 2 messages from agents showing the house on Sat, so we decided to wait until Mon to make a decision.
Since we technically did not have a signed tenant yet, we cancelled the Sun morning appointment with our DE realtor and instead went out to breakfast. We went to a restaurant called the Rookery at a golf club, since we'd heard from Rick that they have a very nice and reasonably priced breakfast buffet. Indeed, it was all you care to eat for $6.50. The blueberry pancakes were especially tasty!
Sun was very sunny and warm, probably close to 60 degrees. We went for a walk on the Rehoboth boardwalk, then walked up and down some of the streets. It felt good to get some exercise. Then we drove into Lewes to drop off Joe's recycling, and then parked and walked up and down a bunch of streets in Lewes. We stopped in a cafe for a drink, then walked to Block House Pond, which has a paved pedestrian path around it, then walked up and down a few more streets before returning to the car. I guestimate that we walked a good 5 or 6 miles. But the weather was so pleasant and we had plenty to talk about, so the time went by quickly.
We had an early dinner at Bona pizza, then went back to the house so I could pack my things. I left at 6:20 and got home at 8:50.
Today while I was at work I got a call from our VA realtor. We had 2 applications for our house! The first is from the couple we'd known about and had been expecting their application. The second, which is the one we accepted, was for full price, with a Feb 15 occupancy date, and the potential for a 2 year lease. So our house is officially rented, and we have until mid-Feb to buy a house in DE and move. I'm excited!!!
Drag Queen name of the day: Patty Melt
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I like celebrating my birthday, not because of gifts or birthday cake, but because its still a relatively 'new' thing for me. Having grown up as a Jehovah's Witness until I was 29, we were prohibited from celebrating birthdays. So it wasn't until I left the JW religion that I began celebrating mine and others' birthdays, almost 14 years ago.
Probably another reason why I like celebrating my birthday is because I don't look my age. Whenever strangers learn my age they are always surprised, usually guessing me to be 8-12 years younger than I am. Not that I can claim any credit for that; I always chalk it up to good genes and clean livin'.
I got several funny birthday cards in the mail this week, as well as some very clever e-cards via email. It is so nice when friends remember your birthday!
In typical Thurs fashion, I went to Joe's mom's house to pick her up for dinner. She had a card and a box for me, and wished me 'happy birthday' as she kissed me on the cheek. I opened the box to find a navy plaid shirt. That will be great since I wear blue jeans so often.
Then we went to Outback Steakhouse where we met Kerry, Hugh, George, Kelly, and Alex. They had cards and gifts for me too! (I was only expecting dinner and wonderful companionship.) Kerry & Hugh gave me a Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a miniature mug with a Washington DC scene on it. So cute! George gave me a gift card for Target, a store I frequent regularly. Kelly gave me a set of retro measuring cups, identical to the ones I'd admired at Kerry's house. How thoughtful!
We talked and enjoyed a terrific dinner, followed by yummy desserts and coffee. Kelly & I shared a 'Chocolate Thunder from Down Under'. Even half was too much for me to finish!
But perhaps the most unexpected birthday 'gift' I received today was the call from our realtor, indicating we have a renter for our house! Its not final yet, as they had not yet signed the application but Betsy said they'd made up their mind they wanted our house. The one 'wrinkle' is that they've asked if they can take possession during the week between Christmas and New Years, which is barely 3 weeks from now. I will talk to Betsy again tomorrow about this, but I don't think we can be ready to move out that quickly. We'll want to make an offer on a house in DE and go to settlement (as quickly as possible) so that we only have to pay the movers to move us once - from this house to the new one. I called our DE realtor and she was a little skeptical of such a quick turn around so I will ask Betsy tomorrow to approach the potential tenants with a month's time from when they sign the application. Hopefully they will understand and be able to work with that.
I'm off work tomorrow so I'm heading to the beach sometime before noon. Joe will be at work so there's no need for me to rush to get there. Not having been there for almost a month, I miss it! On Sat we're going to George & Steve's tree trimming party in the afternoon, and then to an artist's open house with Rick & Nick in the evening. On Sun we're meeting with our DE realtor to work on writing up some offers. I'll be back Sun night.
Drag Queen name of the day: Bunny Hopp
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
But this year I had a little difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm not sure if it was because of that 5-day stretch of 70 degree days, or if it was because I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to be living on Christmas.
I have yet write out a single holiday card or pull out a single decoration because I remain hopeful that someone will want to rent our house soon, and I don't want to have spent all the time decorating if they want/need to move in before Christmas. (One potential renter said "We'd like to be in before Christmas.") I'd have to un-decorate quickly, adding yet another thing for me to do in order to vacate the house. So, as I've done with many things, I've put off getting into the spirit of the holidays, pending the situation with the house.
But on Sat I got a really good shot of holiday spirit, directly into a main artery. We went to the annual Manassas Christmas parade. Its an old-fashioned Christmas parade, complete with fire trucks, marching bands, floats, politicians sitting atop convertibles - everything you'd expect in an old town Christmas parade.
Kerry & Hugh live in the historic district of Manassas. Their house is on the parade route, so for the last several years they have hosted myriads of friends, family, and co-workers at their house for the parade. Their dining room table is filled with tasty treats and there's no shortage of hot coffee and tea, and warm cocoa. Watch the parade, and then come inside for a drink and to warm up. Watch some more of the parade, then come inside to use the bathroom. It couldn't be any more convenient or fun!
We brought Joe's mom, my aunt Mary, and the Newlyweds with us. Joe's mom and my aunt had been before, but it was the first time for the Newlyweds. It was perfect weather for it: chilly and Christmasy but bright and sunny. We all had a great time! After the parade, a group of us went to Anthony's for lunch.
Now I'm feeling much more like myself at this time of the year. I'm itching to pull our Christmas tree up from the basement and start decorating it. But I'll 'hold that thought' for just a few more days, in case we get a contract on our house soon.
Drag Queen name of the day: Rose Garden
Monday, December 04, 2006
I recalled the 'Christmas letters' tucked inside of Christmas cards from my old high school friend Krista. When we were friends in school I don't think Krista even went to church. But many years after graduation when we'd somehow found each other's addresses, and I'd gotten on her Christmas card list and learned from her 'Christmas letters' how she had 'found religion' and been saved. Each year I read about how "blessed" she was to finally meet and marry her husband Arthur, how "blessed" they were to learn she was pregnant, how "blessed" they were to buy a new car, and how "blessed" they were to be able to move into a larger house to accommodate their growing family as yet another "blessing" happened when they adopted a child.
Its not just fundamentalists - lots of people say that they are blessed, or refer to 'what a blessing it was' that something happened the way it did. I think it has become a synonym for being lucky.
For others I think it is a way to appear modest, since they sound as if they don't want to take credit for any of the "blessings". But in reality they are far from modest. Because, if we are to believe that all the good things that have happened to them are the result of God's "blessings", than we'd have to conclude that God was spending an awful lot of time and effort thinking about them and working in their life! Its as if they are saying 'Look how much God thinks about me - I'm so blessed!' Kind of like reverse modesty.
One might be able to simply chalk this up to silly human nature, like saying 'excuse me' after burping when you're completely alone. But there's an element of these "blessings" that starts to make me mad.
Supposedly Krista (and all the others like her) have all these goods things in their lives because God is "blessing" them. If that is true, what are to we to conclude about those who become quadrapalegic due to a terrible car crash? Does the fact that this happened to them mean that they are NOT "blessed"?
What about those who get terrible diseases like cancer, AIDS, and leukemia? Are they also NOT "blessed" by God?
And what about those who died on Sept 11, 2001 in and around the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the hi-jacked plane that crashed to the ground in PA? How did all of those non-blessed people happen to be at the same place at the same time?
By claiming that good things happened to "blessed" people, one must also reason that bad things happen to non-blessed people, and I have a hard time swallowing that bitter pill.
Instead of Krista claiming that she and Arthur were "blessed" with a new car, perhaps they just made sound choices about how to spend and save their money, which ultimately allowed them to purchase the new car.
Instead of someone else 'modestly' suggesting that the success of their business was a real "blessing", perhaps they could credit their parents and teachers with helping to instill within them good business strategies.
Now, I don't mean to take credit away from God. I do believe that God is active and performs little and big miracles everyday. But I think God's real miracles/blessings are harder to confuse with sound financial choices and good study habits. When I think of God's daily miracles and blessings, they are different.
The 2am phone call from a friend that prevents a suicide attempt.
The unexplainable $20. bill a destitute mother finds in her wallet when she thought there was no money for diapers or baby formula.
The gay man whose family rejects him, but whose partner's family has enough love for them both.
They don't teach THAT in school.
Drag Queen name of the day: Bea Hive
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The other mother tactfully tried to talk some sense into her friend. She said she understood, and then shared that she and her husband decided to tell the kids that the fact that they were not getting everything they wanted for Christmas did NOT mean that the parents (and Santa) didn't love them. Rather, it simply wasn't practical to give them everything at one time during the year. They wanted to spread out the gifts throughout the year.
The first mother confessed to the second that she felt a bit inadequate, since all the kids' friends were getting or had gotten all these things for Christmas this year or last year. She didn't want her kids to feel "left out". The second mother then said that even if they had the money to buy the kids everything they wanted, who had the time to do all that shopping and wrapping? Afterall, there are 30 or 40 other people for whom she also had to shop and wrap.
It took nearly all my self-control to keep from marching over to their table and slapping the both of them. "Do you realize your kids are ruining your life?" I wanted to ask them. "Do you really think it matters whether kids have everything they want or not?" I begged to implore them. "In your heart of hearts, do you really think your kids will be happier because they got everything they wanted for Christmas, rather than a few of the things they wanted?" I needed say. But I didn't.
The very next evening I was eating dinner in a restaurant and saw a couple with their young daughter walk up to the counter and place a take-out order. The parents stood near the bar and watched the TV mounted on the wall, while their daughter (who was probably no more than 5 years old) explored the small restaurant unattended. She walked over to the table by the front door and began raking her hands threw the large bowl of candy. 'Nice,' I thought to myself. 'God only knows where those hands have been'. I looked at the parents to see if they were rushing in complete horror to restrain her, but they weren't. Their eyes were fixed on the TV.
After contaminating all of the candy, she began walking around a long row of tables where diners were celebrating someone's promotion. The walking turned into running, which quickly resembled a Nascar race, with dizzying laps around the large oval 'track'. Just like you knew was going to happen, the little girl eventually slipped and fell to the hard tile floor. Several of the people dining inside the 'race track' looked over to see if the little girl was alright. Although she wasn't crying, I expected her embarrassed parents to realize their neglect and quickly scoop her up. But they didn't. They were still watching TV.
Finally, as the little girl ran as fast as she could up and down the aisle, bumping into a waiter with a large tray of hot dinner plates, the parents finally noticed their daughter. "Come here!" the mother shouted to her. "Noooooooo" the little girl responded, with a giggle. The mother walked toward the little girl, who then walked around to the other side of the long row of tables she'd been circling earlier. The mother changed directions, thinking she'd intercept the little girl. But this had apparently happened before and the little girl as onto the mother's not-so-clever tactic. The mother went left; the little girl went right. The mother went right; the little girl went left. The mother then decided the only way to end the game was to threaten the little girl with 'no TV'. Notice, it wasn't a threat of a spanking, which is still completely legitimate for a 5 year old. No, it was the threat of no TV. All the while, the father is still in a TV-induced trance.
I wanted to confront the parents. "Do you realize your daughter is ruining your life?" I think you know where I'm going here. But I didn't. I kept my mouth shut and thanked my luck stars that I was gay and that there was no chance that I'd accidentally produce a child who would ruin my life.
Drag Queen name of the day: Penny Loafer
Here it is, the final days of November in DC and the temperatures have been in the 70s all week. Me and all the other convertible enthusiasts (and a few show-offs) have been driving around with our roofs down. Fri it is predicted that we will reach 75 degrees, which will break a record for that date.
But I ain't complainin'. I love 'convertible weather', whatever the season! Its just a bit odd to be listening to Christmas carols on the radio while driving with the roof down in short sleeves. Its not like this is southern CA. But like I said, I ain't complainin'.
But here's where the 'unseasonable' weather turns back to just 'crazy' weather: on Sat the high temperature is only supposed to be about 48 degrees. The poor bushes and shrubs will certainly be totally confused. "Wait a minute... I was just about to bud, and now I'm feeling sleepy again. What's up with that?" If only we knew. But like I said, I ain't complainin'.
Drag Queen name of the day: Betty Diddit
Monday, November 27, 2006
Since Joe is currently living in DE during the week, we decided to do our big Thanksgiving grocery shopping the Sun before. We went to the store at 8:30 in the morning to hopefully be able to shop without too much of a crowd. Then Wed night Joe came home and we firmed up our plans for Thurs.
In past years I would spend a couple hours Thurs morning cleaning the house while Joe prepared and cooked the food. But this year was a little different. Since our house in on the market for rental, I have been doing a good job of keeping it clean all the time, so there was no need to do a big housecleaning on Thurs morning. So, I helped Joe in the kitchen and it was fun. We cooked together. Well, mostly I just grabbed stuff from the fridge or pantry and handed it to him. But we worked on the meal together and it was enjoyable.
Joe tried a new technique with the turkey this year. In addition to seasoning and ‘stuffing’ the insides with an onion, celery, an apple and a lemon, he also made an herb butter that he slid underneath the skin. We cooked it in our Nesco roaster oven, leaving our regular oven available for other dishes. It was really delicious. We also made a dressing for which I suggested the ingredients: butter, onions, celery, granny smith apple, golden raisins, pecans, dried cranberries, and lots of sage and herbs. It’s a real crowd pleaser! We made a corn casserole and an Indian Pudding from recipes we saw on the Food Network. Both turned out great! Homemade turkey gravy, peas with butter and basil, and biscuits topped off our contributions to the meal.
My aunt Mary brought her Thanksgiving family favorites: an orange sherbet/jello mold with pineapple and mandarin oranges, affectionately known as the “orange stuff” by the kids, and a sweet potato shuffle, affectionately known as the “brown stuff” by the kids. Although the kids are old enough to now call the dishes by their names, they still use these primary terms to describe these yummy dishes.
Joe’s sister Mary brought amazing mashed potatoes, made from Yukon gold potatoes and lots of butter and cream, cranberry sauce, the obligatory green bean casserole, roasted butternut squash, and a pineapple upside down cake.
Joe’s mom brought 3 pies from Hill High Orchard, which was exquisite. Louis’ wife sent over 2 pumpkin pies, although they had dinner with her parents. Two family friends brought more pies and cakes, and Joe’s brother Paul and his wife brought a 2nd turkey.
I am in charge of setting the tables. Because we were expecting 18 for dinner this year we brought our wrought iron table and chairs from the back porch and positioned them on a rug in the living room. We have 3 matching table cloths to fit the kitchen table, dining table, and the porch table which unite the 3 dining areas. We use our ‘good’ dishes and flatware as well as our ‘everyday’ stuff, but keep them separated by table. No mixing on the tables!
When everything was ready we put all the food out on the kitchen counters and stove and everyone grabbed a plate from the tables and filed through the buffet. It was truly a delicious meal. I took a spoonful of everything until my plate was full, and then went back for a spoonful of the items I couldn’t fit on the plate the first time. We all enjoyed a tasty meal and lots of conversation and laughter. Later on we tried to find room in our stomachs to taste all the yummy pies and cakes. It was difficult but we managed. (grin)
Drag Queen name of the day: Claire Voyant
Thursday, November 16, 2006
For information about the Rehoboth Film Society and a summary of all the films shown at the festival, go to www.rehobothfilm.com.
Here are the films Joe & I saw:
20 Centimeters. Enter the world of Marieta/Adolfo —a narcoleptic, pre-op transsexual prostitute who longs to get rid of the 20 centimeters of equipment that separates her from being the glamorous woman she longs to be. When she accidentally falls asleep, usually during the most inopportune moments, Marieta’s dreams become lavish and colorful musical numbers, where—as a “real woman”—she can sing in Spanish and English. This was very funny and very well done.
Shortbus, the story of a group of societal misfits who gather at a sex salon in New York. Every character in the film has some sort of sexual riddle to ponder: the sex therapist in search of her first orgasm, the gay couple wondering whether to open up their relationship to other partners, the larger than life dominatrix who can't stand the sound of her name and lives in a storage unit. This film was pretty graphic, but interesting - exactly what one might expect from an indy film festival.
Wild Tigers I Have Known. Logan is a 13 year old boy fixated on and older boy named Rodeo, the only one of the 'cool kids' who doesn’t go out of his way to make Logan’s life miserable. As Logan and Rodeo strike up a mismatched friendship, the kind that only works on walks deep into the forest when no one else is around, Logan’s infatuation with Rodeo inspires him to create a new persona named Leah. Leah and Rodeo grow close through whispered late-night phone calls, and when Leah agrees to meet Rodeo face to face, it is Logan who must finally prove that he can ask for what he so achingly wants. Although this film could have used much better editing, the story is all too familiar to most gay boys.
C.R.A.Z.Y. Zachary was born on Christmas Day, 1960, a fitting date for one destined for the road less traveled. His mom thinks her son has special powers but his father is not impressed. But can a sexually confused teenager survive four rough-and-tumble brothers and win the affection of his loving but old-fashioned father? Brimming with humor and bittersweet drama, C.R.A.Z.Y. is ultimately the triumphant story of a beautifully ordinary family, of parental love, and of the challenges of growing up different. This was mine and Joe's favorite film of the festival.
Puccini for Beginners. Allegra is a beautiful but commitment-phobic New Yorker in love with opera whose lesbian lover dumped her because she couldn’t settle down and say “I love you.” Then she meets Philip, a dapper professor who lights her fire. Against her better judgment, she launches an affair with him, while at the same time she falls into bed with the irresistibly gorgeous Grace, a recently single, straight woman. While juggling two romances that are advancing way too quickly for comfort, Allegra lands in hot water that boils over into an explosive, hilarious, and cathartic climax for all parties. We liked this film but I was a bit uncomfortable with the portrayal of Allegra's "fluid" sexuality, being simultaneously attracted to both men and women. I find this highly unusual, even for so-called bisexuals, who usually go through periods of preferring one gender over the other.
Go West follows the story of two young lovers, a Muslim cellist named Kenan, and a Serbian student named Milan. Kenan narrates their fight to survive amid the brutal inter-ethnic wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. As Serb aggression persists in Sarajevo, to avoid questioning, Kenan dresses as a woman and poses as Milan’s wife. The two flee to Milan’s hometown where Kenan is introduced as Milan’s bride. Far from the comedy I thought this film would be, it was a heart-wrenching story that could very well be true.
Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds is the sequel to the hilarious 'Eating Out'. When Kyle and Marc have a breakup that doesn’t quite feel final, Marc goes off in search of other prey, while Kyle heads to art class where he meets the exquisite nude model for the day Troy. (Seeing Troy nude is well-worth the ticket price.) Only Kyle can’t quite figure out who Troy likes: boys or girls? After seeing posters for a campus ex-gay group, Kyle's faghag convinces him to pretend he’s an ex-gay to see if he can get into mixed-up Troy’s pants. This film was silly and collegiate, and absolutely hilarious!
10% Shorts, a collection of GLBT-themed short films containted the following:
ARIE - Arie tells the story of Vittorio, a professional dancer who breaks up with his girlfriend because he falls in love with Marco, the choreographer with whom he is working. Vittorio’s feelings are not reciprocated by Marco. Although now alone, Vittorio feels stronger for having discovered a new self-image. This had beautiful choreography and music.
Can You Take It? Waiting in the station for a train, a group of strangers is detained after a women reports her wallet is missing. Through the eyes of a teenage girl, social misconceptions unfold in this film-noir psychological drama. I thought the teenage cleptomaniac needed to be slapped, personally.
Man Seeking Man - A 50 year old man seeks love for the first time through a personal ad. His estranged son arrives for an unexpected visit and is mistaken for the man's 'date'. I loved this little short.
Available Men - An agent is supposed to meet and sign a writer at the same lounge where an artist is to meet a nerdy blind date. Unfortunately for them, the agent and the artist have the same name, and so do the writer and the blind date. Both sets of men struggle to make sense of the double-entendres. We both liked this clever short.
Mistaken Identity - An Indiana couple on vacation in Washington DC stumbles on a drag queen slapfest at the Gay Pride Festival and are arrested along with several others. Whisked off to jail with a full house of gay characters, they soon find that the differences that separate them can also bring them together. This was cute but a bit like an after-school special.
Hung - Unfortunately you can't judge a short by its title. With the help of a magic potion, five lesbian friends experience having a penis for a single day—sunrise to sunset. The day’s goal is clear, but the means are more difficult to come by as each puts her best foot forward to meet a special someone. This was cute but sort of stupid at the same time.
With What Shall I Wash? In this animated short, a transwoman ends her day reminiscing about her great love and about her life working in a red light district in Spain. I am not a fan of animated films, which would include this one.
Cosa Belle. Love and commitment is put to the test when the beautiful Belle—fed up with the games being played—gives her vivacious lover an ultimatum to win her heart. This film made you wait until the very end to find out why Belle had issue with her girlfriend. The film would have made much more sense if this were disclosed earlier.
Sara, a naïve, innocent virgin stumbles upon a wild world of rock and sex in this music-filled romp. She accidentally becomes a singer in an all-girl group at the underground nightclub El Calentito, owned by a sassy transsexual. The venue plays host to some of the hottest up-and-coming musical groups. In the politically conservative climate of the Franco regime, the club has become a safe haven for all forms of sexual expression: gay, bisexual and “try-anything” sexual. On the night of the group's scheduled debut, February 23,1981, an uprising occurs causing the government to collapse and a thrilling night of wild, uninhibited celebrations explodes, leaving the country of Spain in a tizzy. El Calentito is a raucous, high energy comedy that is out, loud and in your face. It’s an effervescent roller coaster ride that will definitely be nostalgic for those of us who fondly remember the 80s.
Drag Queen name of the day: Penny Wise
I was infuriated to hear the election commentators on TV refer to this as the "gay marriage amendment". Hello... gay marriage is and has been illegal in VA for several years now. This amendment was NOT about gay marriage at all - it was about writing discrimination against unmarried people into the state's constitution.
Here is the exact wording of the amendment:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."
If you only read the first sentence/paragraph, it might appear that this amendment was defining (yet again) what the state will and will not recognize as a marriage. But keep on reading. It goes so far as to say that it will not recognize any other legal status that tries to immitate the rights, benefits, or effects of marriage.
Now remember, this is not just about gay people who are already prevented from getting married in VA. The wording says "unmarried individuals". This amendment affects all Virginians who are not married! Shame on you, Virginia!!!
So what does this all mean? Can a Catholic priest (obviously unmarried) not designate someone to whom he isn't married as his life insurance benefactor? Can a divorced woman not will her house to her best male or female friend because they aren't married? Can a gay couple not transfer ownership of jointly-owned property from one partner to the other upon one partner's death? To tell you the truth, I'm just not sure. But I do know this: Single people pay taxes just like married people do, yet we are being discriminated against and restricted simply because we are not married.
Here's what Equality Virginia has to say on its website at www.equalityvirginia.org/site/pp.asp?c=dfIIITMIG&b=253185:
- It is unnecessary to amend the Virginia Constitution to define civil marriage. State law already defines civil marriage as between a man and a woman. In fact, Virginia law already goes beyond prohibiting civil marriage between same-sex couples, by prohibiting civil unions, domestic partnerships and any “other arrangement” between same-sex couples that purports to bestow the benefits of marriage. Federal law protects Virginia from being forced to recognize marriages celebrated in other states.
- It would hurt families. The proposed amendment would permanently deny the families of same-sex couples the legal protections and financial stability offered by civil marriage and the lesser benefits that could be achieved through civil unions, domestic partnerships or other forms of legal recognition. By extending the restrictions on relationship recognition to all unmarried couples, gay and straight, the proposal would likely generate litigation like that filed in other states aimed at ending health care coverage for domestic partners and rendering unconstitutional the application of domestic violence laws to unmarried people.
- It would not affect the religious sacrament of marriage. The Virginia Constitution does not need to be changed to protect the religious sacrament of marriage and should not be amended to incorporate religious definitions of marriage. All religious faiths are already free to define and celebrate marriage in accord with their religious beliefs. No church or religious faith can be compelled by any state law or by any court to recognize any marriage. Nor will it allow the state to prohibit any church or religion from celebrating or recognizing any marriage or union it chooses.
- Virginia should not discriminate. Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic. Like race and gender, it is not a lifestyle or choice. Amending the Virginia Constitution to authorize disparate treatment based on sexual orientation is unfair, inappropriate and un-Virginian. Given Virginia's past history of legislated segregation and the prohibition of inter-racial marriages, Virginia legislators and voters should consider carefully how future generations will judge those who vote to write a new category of discrimination into the Virginia Constitution.
- Most Virginians do not support discrimination against gays and lesbians and a majority support allowing civil unions and other legal recognition of gay relationships. A recent survey of Virginians conducted by a bi-partisan polling team shows that an overwhelming majority of Virginians do not support discrimination based on sexual orientation, and most support civil unions. The proposed amendment would take away from the legislature the ability to change Virginia law to allow recognition of civil unions and other agreements, and leave unelected judges with the sole right and ability to define the benefits, obligations and effects of marriage.
This just makes me so mad I can hardly see straight. If I weren't already planning to move out of the state of VA, I would start planning it now. However, this amendment will continue to affect me even after I move out of the state because Joe & I co-own property in VA that we aren't planning to sell for awhile. Maybe those plans will have to change.
Drag Queen name of the day: Mona Lott
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Now that Joe is living in DE and I am still here in VA, we talk on the phone every night. Sometimes its for 15 or 20 minutes, but other times its 1 or 2 hours, depending on how much we have to share or discuss. All that time on the phone is time not spent adding to this blog.
Another thing that takes up more time now is keeping the house tidy. We want the house to always be in a suitable condition to be shown without notice, so that means making sure the bed is made every single day, that there are no dishes in the sink, that the counters are wiped off, that the floors are swept, that there are no clothes or mail or other person stuff left out. Its like preparing your house for an 'Open House' every day.
Without a conscious decision to do so, I wound up taking a break from blogging. But I've missed it and I've missed my blogger-friends' blogs too. So now I'm going to try to catch up on the highlights of the last month and get back into the swing of things.
We decided that we don't want to continue living apart until sometime next spring, nor do we want to leave this house unoccupied until then, so we asked our VA realtor about the possibility of renting it out. She told us there is a fairly decent demand for family-sized homes for rent in our area due to the CIA, State Dept, DHS, and various military officers who come to DC with their families for a year or two and need a nice place to live. We found out we could rent our house out for more than our mortgage payment and the monthly management fee combined. Renting the house out would make it so Joe & I could live together in DE, our VA house would not be unoccupied, and someone else would be covering the mortgage and paying the utilities while the house continues to appreciate. So two weeks ago today the rent sign went up, the lockbox went on the door, and the listing went into the MLS.
This is week # 7 that Joe & I have been living separately during the week. We email each other during the day, talk on the phone every night, and alternate spending weekends in DE & VA. At first it was harder for Joe and not so hard for me. Then about the 3rd or 4th week it got harder for me and he began to get used to it somewhat. Now I think we're both okay with it, knowing it will be temporary, and that by 'getting through this' now we are keeping from making any financial real estate mistakes. When he comes back to VA we really try to make the most of our weekends. He leaves early on Fri and gets here between 6:00-6:30, so we make plans and meet friends for dinner at 7:00 on Fri. Sat we usually see his mom or his sister during the day and have dinner with other friends Sat night. Sun mornings we have breakfast with Kerry & Hugh, then see either his mother or sister around noon. So we're keeping up with our friends and families pretty well so far.
Joe really likes his office, team, and work. He's not quite up-to-speed on the actual work just yet since his boss is giving him assignments little by little. This leaves him with a fair amount of time during the day with nothing particular to do, which makes the days pass slower. But each week gets better and soon he'll be fully functional. He's happy with the pace of life and can really picture this new chapter in our lives living in DE. I can hardly wait to join him! Basically I am just waiting for our house to rent so I can pack and arrange to have our stuff moved out and up to DE. Then I'll begin working from home.
People in public office coming out
The entire Mark Foley sexual harassment of a page/coming out/I was abused debacle just sickens me. As if gay folks don't have enough crap to deal with, now we have a 'famous' person get caught for doing something illegal who has to come out. McGreevey is another one. Why can't these people just come out and be normal, well-adjusted gay people in public office? Why do they have to hide in the closet until they've done something wrong or illegal and THEN have to come out? Makes me really appreciate others with public lives like Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Ethridge, KD Lang, and the guys on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy who are authentic, whole, gay people.
Indian summer and Fall
Here in the DC area we had a wonderful Indian summer. Being the convertible enthusiast that I am, Indian summer is really important to me. I absolutely love the October days when its 70 or so degrees during the day and I have the top down, and then 40 or so at night and you need a heavier blanket on the bed. In recent years it has seemed like we went directly from summer weather in Sept to fall weather in October, but not this year. And now that its November we're getting fewer days when the temperature gets close to 70 (although today it was 68 at 4:30pm) and the leaves turning colors allows nobody to make the mistake of thinking its still Indian summer. Those flaming reds, oranges, golds, and yellows seem to be silently screaming that fall is definitely here. That and daylight savings time.
I can hardly believe that in just one week from tomorrow I will be at the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival! I look forward to it all year long. As before, I purchased a membership to the RB Film Society, with the chief benefit being the ability to purchase all my film tickets for the entire festival on the first day, an hour before the box office opens to the general public. This year's film line up looks great! Even Joe looked through the film catalog and saw several films he wants to see, so unlike last year, we'll be going to see several films together. He'll be off a 1/2 day on Thurs and all day Fri for Veterans Day, which falls during the film festival. I'm simply taking vacation days to attend. Look here for film summaries and highlights after I return from the festival.
Guess that's enough from the Prodigal son for tonight...
Drag Queen name of the day: May Flowers
Friday, October 06, 2006
Be back Mon night.
Drag Queen name of the day: Carol Ling
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Unfortunately we just can’t seem to stop ourselves from thinking about and looking at homes. We justify this by claiming we’re doing our ‘home work’, pun intended. So last Sun Joe & I decided to drive through some of the neighborhoods we like to see if there were any open houses we hadn’t already been inside. (At this point we know we’ve been inside 90 homes. No, I’m not kidding.)
We started in downtown Lewes and found only 1 open house. It was a house we’d been in before, back in the spring when we first started looking. We ruled it out because:
A. It was too small, and
B. It was very over-priced.
But we’d seen on realtor.com that the house had been reduced twice. It is now listed at $130K less than it was 6 months ago. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. We decided to take a second look, since the price had been reduce so drastically. We came to these conclusions:
A. Its still too small, and
B. No matter what the price, it will always be too small.
That’s it. I’m not going through that house again.
Next we drove through Edgewater Estates, the Lewes community that surrounds Red Mill Pond. We drove past the original house I liked that was too small but I designed a 2-story addition for. Guess what? The buyers are completely renovating the house inside and out, adding rooms just like I would have. That was validating. Next we drove past another waterfront home with the best view on the Pond. Its been reduced by $70K, but is still too high. We don’t really like the house, but with its waterfront location and dynamite views, for the right price we could make the house into anything we want. You can’t change a house’s location, but you sure can change a house’s floor plan, space, and appearance. We agreed to keep this one on the radar screen.
Next we went to Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club, where the “water house” and the “pool house” are both located. We saw signs for 3 open houses. The first one was for a waterfront new construction house we’d been in before, so we didn’t go in again. Its way out of our price range, and the upstairs floor plan is a complete disaster. The second open house didn’t merit a tour either, because Joe didn’t like the look of the house or its location in the neighborhood.
Instead of leaving the neighborhood the way we came in, I decided to take another street we usually skip because it has mostly older homes on it that we don’t like. We happened to see a gray cape code with a big “OPEN” flag in the yard. At first Joe didn’t want to go in because he didn’t see any cars. He assumed the realtor must have left temporarily and locked the house. But having no other homes to see, I suggested we give it a try anyway. There was a sign on the door welcoming visitors so we went in. There was no realtor so we could take our time and talk out loud to each other.
The first thing we both noticed was the beautiful, custom-looking light fixture hanging in the 2-story foyer. It had shades made of ‘bubbled’ glass and could easily be a work of art. Then we noticed a chandelier in the adjacent dining room that matched it. Later we would find two sconces in the 1st floor master bath that coordinated with it. I love consistency and attention to detail like that, and we both loved those artful lighting fixtures.
As I normally do without even thinking about it, I started checking off the rooms we want as I walked through this house. Wow, it had all of them: formal living room, formal dining room, family room open to the kitchen, 2-car garage, a 1st floor master bedroom and bath, and 4 additional bedrooms and a ‘bonus’ room upstairs. Next I checked the floors: oak hardwoods finished on site and stained the medium brown I like. Then I heard Joe talk about the dual stainless steel wall ovens and 6-burner gas cook top. When I entered the kitchen I was struck by the beautiful cabinetry and miles of sparkling granite. “This kitchen has everything I want” Joe said.
Around the corner from the kitchen and near the entrance from the garage there was a walk-in pantry and a huge laundry room. On my way to the other side of the house I passed through the family room again and noticed all of the gorgeous, heavy woodwork trim and shadowboxing around the fireplace surround.
Next we went into the 1st floor master bedroom. (There are 3 masters in this house.) I was immediately struck by the beautiful tray ceiling accented by more of that heavy molding. As you’d expect, the walk-in closet seemed more like a Manhattan apartment. The bath had beautiful cabinetry, a 10-foot long granite countertop with 2 sinks, a soaking tub, and a tumbled travertine tiled shower room. A ‘dream bath’, to say the least.
Next we went upstairs to see the other 4 bedrooms. Two of them had private baths, making them master bedrooms, and the other 2 bedrooms shared a hall bath. All of the bathrooms had beautiful cabinetry and granite counters. Over the garage was a good size ‘bonus’ room, which I could easily envision becoming my home office. Before heading back downstairs we paused on the catwalk that overlooked the 2-story foyer on one side and the 2-story family room on the other. “This is a REALLY nice house” I said out loud. We could feel each other’s excitement.
Back downstairs we went out the French doors from the family room onto the large screened porch with stained bead board ceiling. Attached to the screened porch was an even larger sundeck made of that composite decking that resists warping and mildew and never needs to be stained or painted. We walked around the generous yard and noticed the beautiful cedar fence. “Can you believe this? We wouldn’t even have to pay to install a fence – its already here, and its cedar!”
Literally there wasn’t anything we didn’t like. Even the driveway and additional parking area was done in gray pavers that really complimented the color and style of the cape cod. There were trees in the backyard, and a vacant lot on both sides, although we knew the lots wouldn’t stay vacant forever. Even the location of the house was great. Just around the corner was the back exit out of the neighborhood. We clocked it at 1 mile from the house to Rt 1 and the entrance to downtown Rehoboth. We imagined ourselves biking to the beach and not even having to cross Rt 1, due to the underpass.
When we returned to our beach house I poured over the listing brochure, photos, and builder’s feature list. I hadn’t even noticed the Andersen insulated windows and doors, the security system, the irrigation system, the landscape lighting, or the ceiling fans in all 5 bedrooms. The more we thought and talked about this house, the more it became apparent that it was perfect for us! There were enough bedrooms and bathrooms for our family to visit and be comfortable, and even a dedicated space for my office. All the finishes were beautiful and top-notch, and the location was so close to downtown Rehoboth without actually being in downtown Rehoboth. This was it – we’d found our house!
On Mon I excitedly emailed our VA realtor and asked her about the current market conditions, and told her we were considering listing our house now rather than in the Spring. Then I emailed our DE realtor, told her about finding the “perfect house” for us, and asked her to provide us with comparable sales in that neighborhood within the last 3 months. Then I emailed Kerry with the good news. I wanted to send her the realtor.com listing for the house, but couldn’t seem to find it. This should have been a red flag.
Several hours later I got a response from our DE realtor. She told me the house was already under contract. In fact, it had been under contract the day before when it was open. The builder decided to open the house to showcase his work.
I was so disappointed I just couldn’t believe it. Then I got a little pissed off that the listing agent and builder left the brochures in the “open house” without any explanation that the house was under contract.
When I talked to Joe on the phone that evening I hated to tell him, but knew I needed to. Like me he was very disappointed. But I shared with him the slight glimmer of hope offered to us by our DE realtor. She said she would ask the listing agent if the builder would build the same house on another lot he owned. We haven’t heard back from her on that, and I’m not holding my breath.
Just when we’d resigned ourselves to waiting until next spring because we had no suitable house to buy, we find our dream house. Murphy’s Law. Then after deciding to list our house anyway in order to get our dream house, we find it’s not really available. We’re now back to having no real properties under consideration. Damn Murphy’s Law! Or, is it the Universe ‘speaking’ to us?
Then I started wondering if the Universe was trying to tell us something. We worked so hard to get our house ready to list, and then found ourselves smack in the middle of a transitional market, deciding it better to wait until the market stabilized, since the chances were that the DC market would not adjust as drastically as the Lewes/Rehoboth market. Our offer on the “water house” was beaten by a higher offer, and the “pool house” went to auction before we were able to act. Still we trudge on and find what appears to be the perfect house for us, only to find it already belongs to someone else. Could the Universe be preventing us from acting too quickly and buying something that will soon be valued at less than what we would have paid? Could the Universe be making us wait so we can get a ‘deal’ later on?
I sure hope so.
Drag Queen name of the day: Claire A Net
Monday, September 25, 2006
I left work at 2:45 on Fri and didn't feel guilty at all, since I'd worked through lunch 3 days that week, and had stayed late 1 day. I packed a bag and tossed Jordan into the car and headed up to the beach at 3:30. It wasn't very sunny, but it was warm enough to have the top down on the car. I think its funny to see the expressions on people's faces when they see Jordan riding in the back seat of my convertible with the top down. I can almost imagine what they're saying: "Look at that Diva dog", "Driving Miss Doggy", etc.
The traffic was unexpectedly heavy, both in the city and heading east on Rt 50, so it took me 3 hours and 20 minutes (instead of 2 hours and 30 minutes) to get there. Several very unusual things happened too, such as having to wait in Ellendale for the train to pass. That's never happened before. In 5 years, all the times we've gone to and from the beach we've never had to wait for the train in Ellendale.
Shortly after arriving we went to dinner. Joe suggested we try Jerry's Seafoood in Lewes. It wasn't very busy, but the food was VERY good and reasonably priced. We liked it so much we went back for dinner on Sun! After dinner we drove to Rehoboth and walked the entire length of the Rehoboth boardwalk, then treated ourselves to a small cone at Kohr Brothers before heading back to the house. Joe had his usual: orange and vanilla swirl. I had the new Fall flavor: pumpkin and cinnamon swirl. Mmmm...
Sat Joe picked up bagels from Surf Bagel and we ate breakfast at home, cleaned up the house a bit before our new friend Steve arrived at noon. We sat and talked for nearly and hour, then went to the Collector's Car show in Rehoboth. It was GREAT! There were cars from the 20s to the present. All of them were gorgeous, especially the convertibles. There was a spectacular '54 Hudson convertible with a pink and white two-tone paint job. What we really liked was that none of the cars were 'souped up'; they were as original as possible. The day was muggy and overcast, but rather breezy so it was quite pleasant. We really enjoyed the car show a lot. Then we followed Steve back to his house in Dover and hung out while he made a Weight Watcher's lasagna recipe, which was quite good. His partner George was finishing an audit with his accountants. Then the 4 of us visited until it was time to eat, and talked even more after dinner. We had a lovely time.
George and Steve are both retired, and used to live in the DC area too until 5 years ago. We got connected with them via one of Joe's former staff. George used to volunteer as a massage therapist there. When the staff person learned that we were moving to DE, they gave us contact info for George & Steve and I took it from there. I emailed them, explained that we were also moving to DE and asked if they'd like to get together. We had dinner with them and a group of friends last Sat night after DE Pride, and then they invited us to their house this passed Sat. They're very nice guys and I predict they will become friends with whom we'll connect frequently.
Sun we picked up a few necessities at the Dollar Store, and then looked at Lowes for a stackable washer/dryer for the beach house. I suggested that Joe simply bring his laundry home to wash every other weekend, but he feels he should have a washer/dryer there, so we looked. Turns out a Frigidaire stackable set is $697, which is less expensive than we thought. But we're going to wait a bit for that, so we can 'recover' from all the money we spent on the improvements to our primary home. Perhaps in the meantime he will see that with a little forethought/planning, he CAN do laundry every other weekend when he's at home with me.
This coming weekend is his turn to drive so we can spend the weekend together. I'm also making plans so we can spend time with his family and some friends, too.
My temporary tattoo is still there, after 10 days, although its beginning to fade. I've been careful not to scrub my arm with the loufa when showering. I really like the tattoo and when it finally wears off I will probably get another temporary one. It makes me feel HOT!
Drag Queen name of the day: Marsha Dimes
Last week was kind of hard on Joe. You know how it is when you start a new job and you don't really have a lot to do yet. For him its even more like that because he's not actually working in his office yet. He's spending his days with his supervisor at his supervisor's office, learning the computer system and talking about the goings on of the agency.
I feel a little guilty because it seems that Joe is bothered much more than I am by this separation during the week. Perhaps because I'm still at our primary home, with the pets, with the computer, and with our friends and family close by. I've actually enjoyed being able to watch all the decorating and home improvement shows that he doesn't like to watch. And truth be told, I sleep better alone.
When he gets home in the early evening from work, he really doesn't have much to do. He's been going to the boardwalk every evening to walk, which is good exercise and takes up some time. Its 2 miles from one end to the other and back again. Then he comes home, makes and eats dinner, and its only 7:30. He starts to feel lonely.
I tried to help him come up with some things to do in the evenings in addition to walking and watching TV. I suggested getting some magazines or a good book to read. There's a library right in Lewes so he wouldn't even have to buy the magazines or books. We also learned of a men's discussion group that meets every other Wednesday evening. I also suggested looking for a volunteer position. I think he's just so used to having me and the pets around, its very different for him now.
So I hope this week will be better for him. Once he gets into more of a 'rhythm' of living there he'll want to have Jordan stay with him, which may also help. But since there's no fenced yard, she will have to stay indoors while he's at work so he doesn't want to do that just yet.
We talk on the phone every night. We catch up on how each other's day has been, plans for the upcoming weekend, and any correspondence or phone messages from friends. Its nice to talk every night, but I hope it doesn't make him miss me more. I try to remind him of the big picture: we want to live and work near the beach. We've got the work part of it all figured out. He's started his new job and I can bring my job with me. Its the living part that's going to take a little time. But it is temporary, and we do get to see each other every weekend.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
Drag Queen name of the day: Polly Ester
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I made a point of arriving early so I could be sure to get set up (and successfully logged in) with the borrowed computer and speaker phone for my 10am client training session. That went well, and was followed by back-to-back meetings. This is literally how my day went:
- 10:00-10:45 client training session
- 10:45-11:00 bathroom break and check email
- 11:00-12:00 product meeting
- 12:00-12:30 weekly sales meeting
- 12:30-2:00 enhanced reports meeting
- 2:00-2:45 damage control meeting
- 2:45-3:30 new offer meeting
You'll notice there was no lunch break in there. When I realized that all of these meetings my boss and I were scheduled for didn't allow for a lunch break my boss suggested he'd bring lunch in. I knew what that meant: pizza. My boss loves pizza and would eat it every day if he could, so I knew he wouldn't miss this opportunity.
The meetings all went well (ie: no screaming, steamrolling, or bullying) and I was almost surprised how quickly the day passed. I was pretty much spent by the time my last meeting ended at 3:30. I had thought I'd walk around the office and peek into several people's cubicles to say hi, but decided to simply get the hell out of there. For some reason that office has bad energy. I really don't like going there.
Fortunately the trip home was uneventful (no highway closures like last time) so I sailed up the highway with the top down, making it home in just under 2 hours. It was very warm (about 88 degrees) but it was sunny and there was plenty of breeze when you're going 70 mph.
Joe started his new job today. I talked to him this evening and got all the scoop. Already its difficult not being together in the evenings.
Drag Queen name of the day: Mae B Someday
Monday, September 18, 2006
Drag Queen name of the day: April Showers
Its not that I don't see a purpose in them. I have used my phone a few times and found it very convenient. When I was trying to find a friend in a large crowd of people at last year's AIDSWalk, we 'talked' our way to each other, describing landmarks we saw, etc. On my way to the grocery store directly from work I've called Joe to ask if he wanted anything specific. If I were ever to be involved in an accident I'd be glad to have a phone. But I wouldn't pay to have the cell phone.
I've also gotten rather annoyed with some people who it would appear are incapable of drawing a series of connected breaths without their cell phone. How annoying is it when you catch up with a friend you haven't seen in a long time, and they're constantly answering their cell phone? Like they're the President of the United States who must be told that the country is under attack or something.
I think some people used to feel that having and using a cell phone made them feel important. But now you see 13 year olds sitting in Starbucks giggling with their friends on their cell phones. Everybody's got a cell phone now.
One time we had a couple join us for a weekend at the beach. They were our guests, supposedly enjoying spending time with us. But at least a half dozen times during the weekend, one of them would look at the caller id when the phone rang and then answer the phone, only to have conversations of no importance what-so-ever.
"Oh hey! How are you?" pause, "That's good" pause "We're at the beach with Mark & Joe. Aren't you jealous?" giggle "No, we'll be home Sunday afternoon" pause "You better not!" more giggles.
I excused the calls the 1st and 2nd time. After that I just found it rude. Because you have a cell phone does not mean you must answer every single call, especially when you are a guest at someone's home.
On Sat we were having lunch on the patio of a restaurant in Rehoboth. As soon as we were seated, 3 guys were seated at a table behind us. The one guy immediately got a call and proceeded to talk on the phone for (no kidding) 15 or so minutes about some car he was selling. His poor friends couldn't talk amongst themselves or he wouldn't have been able to hear. And as usual, when the cell reception gets a little spotty, everyone thinks the answer is to talk louder, as if talking louder will help the signal clear up. Instead it just annoys the people around you.
When he finally hung up the phone, one of the women at the table next to him said "Excuse me. If you receive another business call, would you mind taking it outside?" I didn't hear him respond, but she concluded with a "Thank you" so I assume he nodded. I probably wouldn't have the guts to make such a request. Instead I would have just stewed for the 15 or so minutes that he was preventing others from being able to enjoy their lunches. But to her credit, the woman didn't interrupt his call. She waited for him to finish and then asked him very nicely not to repeat that. I silently gave her kudos. Joe rolled his eyes and whispered "Bitch".
Drag Queen name of the day: Sue A Neighbor
In case you're wondering, there hasn't been a draft in over 30 years, and he is WAY passed the age limit for the draft. What possible point could there be in his new employer verifying that he had registered with the selective service department when he turned 18, 24 years ago? Apparently it is a matter of procedure. It doesn't make sense; it doesn't have to. Its just the procedure, and the HR lady's gonna follow it.
She told Joe she had gone to some website and put in his name and social security number and the site responded that his records couldn't be located. To her this meant he had never registered, and that is what she told him. He told her he had indeed registered, and could not have been admitted into college and grad school without having registered. Unfortunately, it was too late on Fri to call the selective service department, and since this procedure was a requirement for employment, this "glitch" meant he wasn't going to be able to start his new job on Mon.
This morning he called the selective service office when they opened at 9am, they located his original registry and provided him with the number. He called the HR lady with the number and she said she'd have to finish processing his paperwork and would call him back. An hour or so later she called back and said "Okay, you're processed. You can go to work now." He told her he was not in DE, but would report to work on Tues.
So he took some more clothes with him and hit the road this afternoon, to beat the rush hour traffic in the city. He'll start his new job tomorrow. Good luck Joe!
Drag Queen name of the day: Anita Raise
Friday, September 15, 2006
Mon night Joe went back to the beach so he could go first thing Tues morning to get fingerprinted; a requirement for his new job. He decided to stay Tues night so he could meet with the HR/benefits lady on Wed and get all of his benefits selections made. He got his State ID badge too. Thurs he visited the Social Security office to request a replacement for his lost Social Security card, and then he returned home. Thurs evening we had our last Thurs dinner with Evelyn. I will continue to have dinner with her on Thursdays, but since Joe will be living in DE starting this coming weekend, he will no longer be able to join us.
Not much excitement to report. This week was the 5th anniversary of Sept 11, 2001. I lost count of how many 'tribute', 'memorial', and 'always remember' emails I got. Really now, will any of us ever 'forget' 9/11/01? I don't think so.
Yesterday I had an incredibly stressful day at work. From the minute I got there to the minute I left it seemed I was under great stress due to deadlines, service outages, etc. One of our oldest and best clients got very upset and is threatening to seek out a new vendor, due to a long distance outage over which we have no control. Things like that create a lot of additional work for me, in addition to the stress.
This evening we will pack up most of Joe’s clothes and head to the beach in separate cars, since he will not be coming home with me on Sun. Sat we will be attending Delaware Pride, being held (conveniently for us) in Rehoboth Beach. It will be nice to visit all of the informational booths and find out about political and social groups we might want to investigate. We’re also planning to meet a couple at the Pride event who (like us) moved from the DC area and now lives in DE, and then join them and other gay men for dinner. That should be fun. The weather forecast for Sat looks a little sketchy, but Sun looks good so I am looking forward to the weekend.
What I’m NOT looking forward to is Mon. I have to be in Richmond at the corporate office all day. Originally I was asked to come to participate in a demo/meeting from 12:30-2:00. But since I was going to be there anyway, my boss decided to schedule me for two additional meetings, and I have a client training session and our weekly sales meeting that day. I will literally being going from one event to another. I doubt I’ll even have time to sign into my email. I hate being in the Richmond office so I’m dreading Mon, but looking on the bright side I only have to do this 3-4 times a year.
Drag Queen name of the day: Robin D. Cradle
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The painters finished last Thurs and the place looks great! I calculated that between all the rooms I/we painted since we moved here nearly 6 years ago and this recent wave of painting we paid for, every room in this house has been painted. Some of the rooms weren't in bad condition, but the paint colors were so sad and depressing that it made the walls look shabby even when they really weren't. While cleaning/organizing the basement I found the left-over paint cans from when the previous owner had some of the rooms painted. The paint cans had computer-printed labels indicating the date of April 2000, so the painting had been done just a few months before we moved here. But the colors were called "Exhausted", "despondent", "Given up", "Suicidal", and "I'm an Old Fogey", so they HAD to be changed.
Rather than go to the beach as we always do for Labor Day weekend, we decided to stay home and tackle the rest of the organizing/cleaning/sorting/throwing away/etc needed before the realtor's return visit on Tues. We worked liked dogs, putting the "labor" back into "Labor Day". But it was satisfying at the same time to see the fruits of our labor. We also had time for some fun.
Little Miss Sunshine
On Sun we met up with Kerry, Hugh, George, Kelly, Ana, Maura, and Evelyn to see 'Little Miss Sunshine'. What a great movie!!! Its both a comedy and a drama, or a 'dramedy' as Kerry reminded me. Its the story of a dysfunctional family that learns that being 'family' really is something. There are some sad parts, but they are greatly outnumbered by the side-splitting parts. A definite "must-see". Afterward we had dinner at Capitol City Brewing Company.
Stress and Arguing
For weeks now we've been working hard to get our house into the best possible showing condition. Making appointments with tradespeople, meeting estimators, reviewing and comparing estimates, selecting workers, checking the work, paying everyone, doing some painting, organizing, cleaning, sorting, throwing away, furniture moving (on several occasions), and even hauling a new/used refrigerator home ourselves - it was more work than we expected. While I was at work all day every week I kept expecting Joe to accomplish things at home, and when he didn't I finally decided to let him know on Fri how disappointed I was. As you might expect, this lead to a big argument. Then Sat morning when we were starting to move furniture (again) we got into another argument. On Sun it happened again and we both got a little out of control with the stuff we said. I'm not going to name names, but one of us threw a cup of dry dog food across the room at the other, in a fit of anger. It was all because of the stress we've been under for the last few weeks. Of course we made up, and Mon turned out to be a much better day for us.
A Welcome Diversion
On Mon Kerry called and invited us to meet them for lunch, and afterward she & I could work on the sewing projects I'd asked her to help me with. So after posting digital photos to the ads I'd written on Craigslist, we drove out to meet them. We walked to a nearby restaurant and ate outside, eventhough the weather was overcast. When we got back to their house we got to sewing and talking and laughing. Afterward the four of us sat on their front porch and talked some more. Before we knew it it was 8:00. We had such a good time, and it was a welcome diversion from all the work we'd been doing.
On Tues evening the realtor came, expecting us to sign on the dotted lines to list our house. But first we wanted to know the actual price she recommended we list at. Unfortunately it was not good news. When she'd initially come to the house a month ago she gave us a suggested price range with a $55K spread. Then a few days later we got a letter from her with more info, and reducing the spread to $30K. On Tues night she said the market seemed to be getting worse and that she recommended we list the house for $20K LESS than the lowest number of the price range! Its not that she doesn't know what she's talking about. We selected her because she is a neighborhood specialist and she really tracks the local and national markets. Basically she said 'this is probably the worst time to list a house'.
Needless to say, I was crushed. I felt like I'd spent weeks and months, working and sweating for nothing. It made me think of people who had birthday parties planned for the evening of Sept 11, 2001. Or people who'd spent a year planning a big wedding, only to get appendicitis and have to spend their 'wedding' day in the hospital. Something devastating comes along and takes all the wind out of your sails, leaving you with little more than a sore back and not enough sleep. That night Joe & I stayed up late talking about our 'options', and then when I finally tried to go to sleep, I just couldn't turn my mind off. After tossing and turning for awhile I just got up and watched a movie on Logo until 3am. The next day I called in sick because I was exhausted, disappointed, depressed, and completely deflated. I literally did nothing all day long. It actually felt great.
We decided not to list our house for sale right now. Technically we don't need to sell our house right now, since we don't have any house in DE on which we want to move forward. We figured that waiting until next Spring to sell will give the market here a chance to improve, allowing us to get a better price for our house - and - it will allow the DE market to 'catch up' with the DC market (since it is always several months behind). Hopefully in the Spring the prices in DE will have lowered so we won't be selling here when prices are low and buying there when prices are still high. We have our beach house, so there's no need to do anything if the market conditions aren't right.
Joe's New Job
However, regardless of the real estate market, Joe will be starting his new job in DE on Sept 18 so we will be moving his clothes and some personal things to the beach house the weekend just before. Coincidentally, that same weekend is DE Pride so we are happy we will be in town that weekend and plan to attend the Pride festivities and hopefully meet some new friends.
We do not want our house here to appear that no one lives here, so we've decided that I will remain here and continue working in my current office when Joe moves to the beach house. We will see each other on the weekends. Plus, since I've been banking all my vacation days the entire year, thinking I'd want to use them when we moved, I have lots of vacation days that will allow me to have several 3 or 4 day weekends. On the weekends that he comes back here, it'll be just like we still live here. At least that is the plan for now. We'll see how it goes.
Why I Love Craigslist
We don't want to take everything with us when we (eventually) move. Some things just don't work out as well as you think they will when you buy them, or you just grow out of them. Rather than throwing them away I decided to separate them into 4 categories:
- Things to throw away
- Things to donate
- Things to give away
- Things to sell
Easy enough, the stuff to be thrown away was bagged and hauled out to the curb and picked up by the trash collectors. Out of the blue we got a call from Value Village, indicating that their trucks were going to be in our neighborhood, asking us if we had any clothing or household goods to donate. I said YES. We went through Joe's chaotic closet and bagged up about 8 bags of clothes he no longer needed, wanted, or could fit into. Value Village came and picked them up so I didn't even have to drop them off anywhere.
Then I put ads on Craigslist for the free lawn mower, gas grill, screen door, and wheel barrel I didn't want. Within hours the wheel barrel and screen door were gone. The next day the lawn mower was gone, and the 3rd day someone took the propane tank but left the grill behind. 3 out of 4 isn't bad.
I also put ads on Craigslist for some rarely used exercise equipment I wanted to sell. Two days later I had $170. cash-money in my hand for 2 out of the 3 items, and I have an inquiry for the 3rd item. Its worked out so well that I am considering listing some more stuff to sell.
Oh, and did I mention the new/used stainless steel refrigerator we bought (and brought home ourselves) came from Craigslist?
Drag Queen name of the day: Anne Tellope