Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Pictures!

Jeff and Katie reading

Jeff's new scarf

Katie crawled up the other night and went to sleep cuddled next to Jeff.

Watching the bird feeder, which has been commandeered by the squirrels

Proselytizing, Bombs and Destruction of Property: Mormon Style

Last night, when we should have been sleeping, we got to reminiscing about our childhood shenanigans. I think it was a nice diversion from thinking about the P.O.D.. Jeff told me a story I only vaguely remember hearing, and I couldn't stop laughing. It revolved around the legendary 'Elder Felt,' a Mormon missionary who set himself to proselytizing Jeff and ended up corrupting him instead. Somewhere during Jeff's high school career, he met up with Elder Felt (or is it Felts?). Soon, Elder Felt was pointing out the finer points of various bomb making techniques, a must-know in order to get into the fifth and tightly guarded level of Mormon heaven. (just kidding, I think) It soon came to pass that Elder Felt needed to take care of some dirty work. Who else would he ask, but his potential convert and willing participant, Jeff. The problem was that Elder Felt's fellow missionary, Elder X, had a tiny little television stowed away in his room. What's the problem, you ask? Well, those pesky little TVs are forbidden for missionaries and Elder Felt had his Jesus Jammies in a bunch about it. He had a plan. When the missionaries went on a trip, Elder Felt would leave the backdoor unlocked and Jeff was to dispatch the TV for him. Jeff, being the cunning little braniac that he is, took the TV apart, cut the main power cord from inside, and burned the end of the cord to create a burned electronic smell. Then he reassembled the TV, and left the incapacitated tool of the Devil for Elder X to discover when he returned. He would be none the wiser, attributing the untimely demise of his TV to the smell of burnt electrical wiring.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Undercover Camera: Rental Edition

We didn't really go undercover, but the tenant wasn't there when we showed the house today so we were free to assess the damage at our leisure. Good thing, because after seeing the house, they would've gotten an earful from me. James asked us if we had fun at the old house. I told him it was not so much like fun, but more like having toothpicks shoved under your fingernails or something. Just for kicks, in case you're interested, here are a few pictures of the pit of despair. Tomorrow, I'll post happy pictures of the fam, because despite the crap going on at the rental house, my kids still make me smile and spring is still coming and there are lots of reasons to be happy. Just don't remind me of the rental house. Oh, and if you want to get the full effect, have your significant other pee on the rug, let it marinate for a day or 6 weeks, then sit there and smell it while watching the slideshow.
Pit of Despair

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Saga of the Rental

Here's the latest on our rental house, commonly referred to as the 'pit of despair.' The tenants want an extra week to clean it up. Uh, no. They did tell us, however, that their rental insurance will pay anything above and beyond the security deposit. That's good, assuming that's the way it works. We will be getting the keys Wednesday morning and will then be free!! Free to find a new tenant. After relisting it last night, we have already had 5 responses, four of which have already scheduled appointments and use complete (for the most part) sentences. And manners. Also, a guy called out of the blue who was referred by a friend (thanks, Cristi!) and he is coming tomorrow as well. This is the most interest we have had in the house so far, so thatat is encouraging. Pray for a tenant! We neeeeeed one. And here are a few of the more interesting emails we have received about the house. I have not edited them. People sure do know how to make an impression. Punctuation: its highly overated.

im interested in talking to someone about renting the property. please call me
(when I called, he answered by saying 'yeah' and then telling me he couldn't talk and hung up. When he called me back in an hour, he had to hang up again because he was getting another call. The third time, I found out he was a bit rude, and then he told me it was outrageous to ask for an additional pet deposit of one month's rent, since he has one or two dogs, a cat and two snakes. He then hung up on me.)


can I see some pictures?
is there a fireplace?
is it OK to install directTV?
can I have the address?

does it have central air?
sorry for all the questions, thanks for your help!

hi do you still have the house for rent and if so can you tell me where in levittown it is and send some pics.thanks

We are looking for house for rent in Levittown.
We are 4 poeple, 2 kids and 2 adults, no pets, no smoking.
If is this house still available, please let me know- I need to know address.

I live in levittown now and would like to see it if we like it are u willing to come down some on the price (this is one of my favorites; like Jeff said, impressive negotiation skilz)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


We're all itching for spring around here, and the last few days have given us weather in the 50's. Not that warm, but warm enough to go outside and dig in the garden. The kids love to dig. They both have their own little irrigation boots, which they look so cute in. They get their shovels and rakes and go to work. I have no idea what I am going to do when I actually plant something in my garden. We are going to have to designate a digging spot in the yard. James loves to find worms and make them 'houses' to live in (basically, he buries them in little dirt mounds). Katie likes to fish half decomposed remnants out of my compost pile and threaten to eat them. Eeeew! Gotta keep that from happening. I piddle around in my garden, getting things ready for the day it actually warms up for good. My seedlings are growing like crazy, and my garden is entirely planted in my mind. I can't wait. Hooray for a patch of dirt in the backyard!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kicking the Bucket With Dignity

I realize this may be a strange topic to blog about, but hey! It just goes with my theme. The other day I passed one of those roadside shrines, complete with some sort of festive, but weathered St. Patty's day decor, some faded fake flowers and miscellaneous dilapidated decor. I really can't imagine losing someone close, so I don't know how those families feel. However, let it be known that I would rather not be memorialized with faded fake roses and Valentine's Day hearts. And for God's sake, no pinwheels please. It got me thinking about memorials, and what I'd never want for myself. For example, please never, EVER, remember me by putting my name in large gothic letters across your back windshield with the acronym R.I.P. next to it. Its just not my style. Besides, it seems as though something like that would seriously obstruct your view, and I wouldn't want you rushing yourself to the grave by not being able to see past the RIP letters. Strangely, after having this mini-discussion in my head (with myself, of course), I was flipping through the phone book. What did I see?! I was looking for 'furnace', and found 'funeral'. There was a large ad, highlighting the different funeral packages available, and their cost. Want the whole she-bang? That's gonna set you back, say, $6000. Only a viewing you want? They'll knock a few grand off the price, then cremate you afterward. If all you want is to be turned into dust, then you're in luck. You can get them throw you in the burner for less than a grand. I think its a bit strange to advertise their prices in big letters in the yellow pages. Can you imagine? Someone calls the funeral home, 'Yeah, I'd like to pre-purchase your $3999 special. And can you make sure my old lady buries me with my fishing pole and a bottle of Bud? And make sure it's a bottle, not a can. And don't forget my best flannel shirt. For $3999, I expect to be treated like a king, or at least Dale Earnhart. Oh, and what about that box? Is it pine, or walnut, or what?' And the funeral home would say, 'Well, sir, if you want such special treatment, we're gonna have to up-sell you to our $8999 package. That way we can assure you special treatment you so deserve. We could even assure you that we would play 'Free Bird' at your funeral for that price. We can set that up on a payment plan for you if you'd like.' I'm all for planning ahead, but picking out your funeral package in the yellow pages seems strange.

Now that you've been witness, yet again, to the bizarre ramblings of my brain, I'd like to end by saying, for the record, I am not planning on checking out anytime soon. I just have these strange commentaries that run through my head sometimes. Scary, huh? Pardon me. The doorbell is ringing. They're coming to take me away....

P.S. Its not my fault I have a dimented sense of humor. It runs in the family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Howz About You Put That Cigarette Out

This weekend was another busy one. Saturday we showed the 'pit of despair' to a few people. Although we'd rather not show it, most people have to give notice and need to be able to make a decision ASAP. So, I met them over there to show them around. The first appointment went well; they seemed intelligent, and interested, but we'll see what happens. You never know. As I was standing out front talking to them, a car looking very similar to this drifted up the street:

Out of the car climbed a woman with teeth similar to these:

Sorry to gross you out. Technically, they were a little bit more disgusting, but I can only wade through so many pages of Google images of 'nasty teeth' before gagging. She climbed out of her tuna boat, lit up a cigarette and asked to see the house. Trying to keep my distance from the smoke, I asked her if she was aware that there was no smoking in the house. She said something along the lines of 'well, that's alright, I'm trying to get everyone to quit smoking in the house anyway, since we're going to have a baby in the house soon.' And everyone knows, second hand smoke is A-OK as long as the baby is still in the hopper. As soon as it comes out, then smoke is bad. Yeah. Anyone heard of second hand smoke? Anyway, we walked toward the house and I felt compelled to make sure she was no longer smoking before taking her in. I know the house is a wreck, but at least they've done their smoking outside. I don't need any more smells to add to the mess. She realized I was making sure she had extinguished her smoke, and she told me she had. I guess she only needed a few quick puffs. I showed her the house, as quickly as I could. Reason A: the house stinks, and its filthy. Reason B: I didn't feel like wasting my time. When we got out, she told me she was definitely interested. Here's the scoop she gave me. (This is why I like to talk to people in person. They divulge way more than they should, which is good for me.)

  • The household would include herself, her fiance, her two adults sons, and her son's pregnant girlfriend (and of course, soon to be baby)
  • The sons, in her words, are not 'really financially stable, especially in this economy'
  • She doesn't know what her credit is like; it was 'really bad,' but she has been 'trying to pay her bills' and do better
  • She always pays on time...
  • Except that her pesky landlord only gives a three-day grace period, and sometimes you don't get paid till the 5th day, so that's when he gets his check, but he always gets it
Way to instill confidence. Tell me that you always pay on time, except that you don't, but its your landlord's fault for only giving you a three day grace period. Mean ol' landlords. I informed her that we have only a three day grace period, and a $50 late fee for payments made after 3 days late. So far, I haven't heard back from her. Hmmm...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When you're Jeff...

When you are Jeff, you don't get embarrassed easily. You don't mind looking like a blooming idiot (in the humble opinion of your wife). You will make bets with your coworkers and vow not to cut your luscious locks for a month and a half. You will then volunteer to shave only the top portion of your luscious locks, creating something of a Friar Tuck look. When you are Jeff, you will go to work looking like this and think its hilarious, not embarrassing. You will ignore your wife's loving statements, such as 'if you want to go to work looking like a complete idiot, that's your own deal.' And if you are Jeff, you will ask your wife to post pictures on the blog for all the world to see. Here you go, honey. I'm sure the world will appreciate it!

Another day with Daddy; this time, he found that the plastic thingy from the collar of a new shirt made excellent children's safety glasses. Next up, power saw lessons!

And for those of you naysayers who say Katie doesn't have enough hair: Behold, the faux hawk.

And here you go. A shot of the baby bump. Growing larger by the day.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and White Chocolate Chips

2 ½ C. flour

1 tsp. EACH, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Set aside.

1 ½ C. butter, softened

1 ½ C. brown sugar, packed

2/3 C. sugar

1 TBS. vanilla

2 eggs

¼ C. milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars and vanilla till creamy. Beat in eggs and milk. Gradually add flour.

2 C. rolled oats

2 C. white chocolate chips

1 C. dried cherries

Stir in oats, chips and cherries. Freeze batter if desired. Bake at 375 degrees 10-14 minutes.

**Dried cherries are really good, but you can also use craisins. Also, I made these last night with dried pineapple instead of the cherries. They turned out really good! Jeff ate one for breakfast.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I know I posted a variation of this picture yesterday. We have spent the warm afternoons this week has brought playing out in the yard. Digging is the kids' new pastime. They both sit on either side of the same hole, and take turns digging the dirt, one scoop at a time. You'd think it was their job; they get so focused on their work. Yesterday was such a nice sunny day, in the upper 60's. There we sat, the kids digging in the dirt and I with my nose stuck in a good book. It was really quite nice and peaceful, and sweet, sitting there watching the kids play together in the dirt. They do have a few of my genes afterall. Here's to many more sunny afternoons!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Randomness

(I saw this sign on the way home from the store today. Seriously.)
  • Spring is in the air! Free water ice on Friday! Things are showing signs of life.
  • My truck went down in a blaze of steam and anti-freeze today.
  • Fortunately, it happened in my parents' driveway, and Jeff was released early from his second day at jury duty, so guess who's spending a sunny afternoon fixing the truck?!
  • Rachel, where did we find our husbands? And is that a diaper on Phil's head?
  • The kids have been like two peas in a pod lately. They follow each other around and are playing together and giving each other hugs and 'tisses'
  • Cheepa is taking up more and more space. Only 15 to 17 (ish) weeks to go!
  • I actually won something! And its something I've really drooled over for a while: a beautiful girls' jacket pattern from a very talented lady who designs all sorts of fun clothes for her little girl. You can see the pattern here. I can't wait. I already have some fabric in mind...
  • According to James, birdies are his friends, and the squirrels are Katie's friends. And he has no qualms yelling out the window at the squirrels, giving them orders such as 'Stwirrel, climb that tree!' or 'Stwirrel, you're supposed to look before you cross the road!'
  • And Katie fits into the dress I made her for Christmas. I love it!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Tater is famous! This guy was Jeff's next door neighbor on East Carolina in Fruita and he used to come over all the time. He is the Fruita town mascot. For the record, he referred to me as his 'girlfriend' and would tell me 'you look so preeeeeeetttty' all the time. He's a piece of work. He memorized all the moves of the FMHS Poms and cheerleaders, and would come over with his boombox on his shoulder and show us his moves. I think they should make Tater t-shirts. I would wear one. Go Tater!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

How could I forget?!

James is scheduled to have his very first sleep over tonight at Grammy and Chappy's, complete with Macaroni and Cheese. He is very excited. I am thinking its going to be mighty strange and sad without him around. Jeff says, in his sensitive and understanding way, 'hey, its just practicing for what it'll be like 14.5 years from now.' I'll keep you posted.

Our Week in Photos

James wanted spiky hair. How stinkin' cute!

I love big cheesy grins.

Blueberry goatee...this doesn't come off very easy, FYI.

Hello, feet, is that you guys down there?

You are becoming but a distant memory.

Green! We planted seeds this week, and already we have tiny little broccoli and basil sprouts! Yeah-hooray, as James would say. Spring is coming!!!

And a crumby, but humerous video. This is what happens when I leave for 15 minutes to run a quick errand. Jeff turns on some questionable music and the kids get to dancin'. I'm going to go out on a limb here and postulate that James may have a little bit more dancing talent than either of his parents.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tricky, Tricky

There are some days that James just doesn't settle down for his nap. Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often. When it does, I usually hear a little voice saying 'set the timer.' James knows that even if he's not going to take a nap, he has to 'rest.' Translated into Mommy-language means stay quiet and let me get a few things done around here. I set the timer and he can't get up till it beeps. Here's my trick: I set the timer for 2 hours. This way, he feels better knowing there is an 'end' in sight. And, he usually falls asleep anyway. That's the situation right now, and I am hoping he falls asleep! Now, off to try and accomplish a few things...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quite Possibly...

My kids are good at turning me into a big sappy pile 'o goo. They are just so cute and lovable (although they do have their moments). This morning was quite possibly one of my favorite James/Katie moments ever! For the first time, Katie went over and gave James a spontaneous hug. She just walked up to him, put her arms around him, and rested her head on his chest and just sat there. James put his arms around Katie and hugged her back, gently, and said sweet things to her. The sweetness was over the top. Delicious. Adorable. Ridiculously cute. I wish I could bottle it all up and save it for whenever I need a pick-me-up!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Asparagus Picking: Franch Style

As children, we used to walk up and down the country roads, looking for pop cans to collect. We’d find as many as we could, and then at the end of the summer we would cash them in for something like a whopping $4.86 at the recycling center in town. (Imagine $4.86, split three ways!) Between this endeavor and our mud pie factory, we kept ourselves fairly busy. We were so industrious back then! (maybe it has something to do with supplementing our $1 a month allowance…he,he,he!) We would walk along the irrigation ditches looking for cans, and a familiar site in the spring was asparagus. It flourished along the ditches and was seemingly ubiquitous. Sometimes we would pick it and bring it home, but I don’t ever remember eating it. I know my Dad doesn’t like it all that much. Now, I only wish I could wander along an irrigation ditch and pick a bag full of asparagus! That stuff is expensive!!!! I am hoping to establish an asparagus patch in my backyard next year, and while it will eventually produce some asparagus, I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to pick bunches and bunches of it along the roadside. And I don’t think I’ll ever want to wander the roadside collecting pop cans.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fun Times

Fun Times, Part One:

This weekend was fun and hectic. (Aren't all weekends hectic?) And a bonus: I didn't have to show the pit of despair to any potential renters!!! Saturday was beautiful and we went to the park. Later that afternoon we went to our friends' house to celebrate their little girl's birthday. Happy Birthday, Joanne! We all had fun and the kids got to play with someone else's toys; I got to eat french onion dip. Yum. Yesterday we had a fiesta for our friend Ashley (hi!) who was in from Texas. This involved our small group, and Mexican food. Can you go wrong? No. James loves our 'small droop' and is always asking if we are having 'small droop.' He loves playing with the kids, and the adults for that matter. We all had lots of fun......drumroll, please.....Ashley brought me a present from Texas.....real live tortillas of all varieties and some delicious chips too! And how's this for dedication? She left the bag at the airport, and had the ladies stop on the way home from the women's retreat so she could go in and retrieve them! I have already had one with my lunch and not only was it superb, but it didn't even taste like the bag it came in. (which seems to be a prerequisite around here) Thanks, Ashley! We shall be eating many a tortilla this week and I am going to change my menu around to squeeze in enchiladas! Yipee!!! I apologize for using more than my alotted quota of explanation marks in this post, but when there are tortillas involved I can't help myself.

Fun Times, Part Two:

This one is disgusting, so if you are squeemish you might want to skip it. But, it is kind of humerous, in a sick way, sort of. Remember the homemade TV antenna/hot dog roaster extrodinaire that Jeff made? After determining that it did indeed work better than our bunny ears, he precariously installed it on top of the TV, sitting in a coffee cup. I was not too keen on this as I felt it may be a hazard. Let me tell ya! Hazard is right. Saturday night Jeff was messing around with it and it fell from its tenuous perch. It bounced off his noggin and then....this is were it gets gross, ladies and gents, skewered Jeff's ring finger. I am not exaggerating this point. The copper wire (the diameter of a wire hanger) went through his finger (right next to his ring) and stopped just under the skin on the other side. Eeeew. He had to pull it out. Eeeeeeeew. And you can see the entry wound and the spot where it came just under the skin on the other side. He had to take his wedding band off due to swelling, so hopefully it goes back to normal soon. Since it did not involve severing a limb or total dismemberment, it is therefore not worthy of getting checked out according to Jeff. I will now refer to the antenna (which is now safely and securely hanging on the wall) as the Antenna of Doom. While I am not glad Jeff made a finger kabob out of himself, I am glad it wasn't one of the kids. Really glad. Really really glad.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

About the Slideshow

I may have conquered the slideshow, but darn if I can't figure out how to add text to it. It was a lovely 68 degrees or so today. Remember, on Monday it was 20 degrees, snowing and windy. We decided to make the most of it and packed the kids up, and took a family bike ride. No matter that only Jeff and James have bikes. Someday we'll wrangle up bikes for all of us. We found a nice new park and went out and enjoyed ourselves. Jeff and I even got into an ornery game of pelt-each-other-with-pokey-seed-balls, which I don't recommend. If, however, you do find yourself in such a situation, please note that long curly hair acts as velcro and is effective in catching the seed balls both to avoid injury and to stockpile ammunition. Jeff had no such advantage, but alas, he still won. Our kids must think we are nuts.

Slide Show!

Sunny Day! Bike Riding

Friday, March 06, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

God help me. James is firmly entrenched in the Why? phase. By 8 o'clock in the morning, he has asked more questions than should be legal for anyone. Here are a few examples:
  • Why do I have two Waldos?
  • Why do peoples have dogs and tats?
  • Why does Daddy go to work?
  • Why did they say there was a thunderstorm?
  • Why are you doing that?
  • Why are you going to the bathroom?
  • Am I a mushroom?
  • Is Tay a _____? (fill in the blank with some crazy made up word)
  • Are bears and horses naked?
What really gets me is that he asks the same question, over and over again, despite getting the same answer every time. I don't want to squelch his curiosity, but I don't want him to squelch my sanity either!!! :)

And in rental news, we had one more appointment to show the house yesterday. The guy had already called me on Monday to see if I could still show him the house in an hour. Uh? He had never replied back to me to set up an appointment, so I never set one up. I told him he'd have to schedule another day. That day was yesterday. After waiting nearly 20 minutes, I left. Guess what? He showed up after I left, 25 minutes late. Our tenant called Jeff, who told her to tell him to reschedule. Word on the street is that he was annoyed by that. Hmmm. Methinks he would probably be annoyed if he had to sit waiting around all morning for people who show up late. So far, he hasn't contacted me, and I don't think he will.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

And I thought Smoky the Bear was risque...

Remember a long while ago I posted about our vintage Smoky the Bear book, and how Mr. Swift, the father, was smoking in nearly every picture? Well, move over Mr. Swift. Arther has just made you look like tame ol' Mr. Rodgers, complete with librarian sweater. I let James check out an Arther book from the library today. Why? I don't know. I don't let him watch Arthur, since I think the kids are snotty and rude to each other. But I figured maybe the book would be better. Well, let me tell you.....we cuddled up on the couch to read all about Arthur's birthday. I was disappointed to find that the kids did have a bit of the attitude they have on the show. I was mortified, however, when the kids (who are celebrating Arthur's 8th birthday) suggest playing spin the bottle at Arthur's party. The book ends touchingly with Arthur's girl friend giving him the gift of a decorated bottle emblazoned with the words 'Spin-the-bottle.' What?!?! Am I missing something here? Is there some other, more innocent game of spin the bottle, or are we encouraging little kids to kiss members of the opposite sex at random. I hope they don't come out with a book about Arthur's 9th birthday. Can you imagine?! Let's go robo-trippin' with Arthur, or maybe we could play a little strip poker, shall we? Maybe that's a little extreme, but seriously. I was shocked. Is it me, or is this just crazy?!

P.S. Fortunately I read ahead as I am reading out loud and skipped right over the parts about 'Spin-the-bottle,' although James did ask why Arthur got a bottle for his birthday.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Heart My Food Processor

Let me take a moment to sing the praises of my food processor:

Oh, food processor fair ,
I like you better than my pet hare.
You spin and whirl and chop,
and make me want to hop
with joy.

Did you know that I had such mad poetry skillz? It runs very deep in our family. But on to my BFPF (Best Food Processor Forever). With it, I can chop, slice or grate carrots, celery, cheese, zucchini, onions, and many other things. It can make a mean batch of hummus. I make pizza crust every Friday in it. It can make pie crust and puree soup. Is there no end to the goodness that is a food processor?! Today, I actually made...drumroll, very own peanut butter, au natural, without those pesky trans-fatty acids and/or partially hydrogenated such-and-such. I think I'm in love!

Strange News Story

Woman Stuck in Recycling Can for Two Days

A poor little old lady fell into a recycling can with her legs and hands in the air. She was kept alive thanks to a heater she had in her garage for her dog, and found by a concerned neighbor. Too bizarre.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

They're taking over the world....

Here in the fine state of P-A, we give directions by saying 'turn right at the W@wa, left at the W@lgreens.' This is becoming a problem. W@wa, W@lgreens and Dunk1n Donuts are taking over the world. Giving these directions could get one very lost, given that it adequately describes 1 out of 3 street corners around here. I can think of 3 W@lgreens within 2 or 3 miles of us. They just built a new Dunk1n Donuts just a mile from another one. Its getting ridiculous! Will they only stop when each intersection is complete with a drugstore, a W@wa and a donut place? As Herber Hoover once said, "a hoagie in every hand and an orange-and-pink coffee in every cup holder."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy News/Crappy News

I know, I know. I shouldn't use that word, but it ryhmes, and it works. Happy news first:

Cheepa! (which I have been informed is a naughty word in Polish...who knew?) Isn't he adorable and lovely and handsome and delicious and....oh! I can't wait to meet him.

Snow! Here I was whining to Jeff that we hadn't really gotten any good snow this year. While its still not a record or anything, we've got a good amount, and its still coming down. Its too hard to tell how much of it is out there since the wind is blowing like crazy. Nothing like dressing your kids up like mummies to go outside for 15 minutes, which, ironically, is the same amount of time it took to get them dressed in the first place. Unfortunately Jeff got to work only to find out that the 'don't come to work til 10am' email went to his junk folder. Lovely. Hopefully they let him out early. Also, the snow reminded me of why I love my neighborhood. This morning, there were no fewer than three of our neighbors out with their snowblowers, clearing their driveways and the neighbors too. Our next door neighbor did our sidewalk and driveway! Bless him! And a nice older guy down the street did probably 4 or 5 houses worth of sidewalk, and who knows what else. Another neighbor cleared and shoveled for the sweet lady across street. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And now for the crappy news.

Those Europeans are brutally honest: More Rental Saga
So yesterday was another depressing day on the rental front. I showed the house yesterday to a husband, wife and their daughter who looked about 20. The parents spoke little English, but the daughter spoke it well so she was the liaison. They were some sort of European, and since I am an uneducated yokel I couldn't tell where, except to guess somewhere not in, but around, Russia. Helpful, I know. Anyway, they were very nice. I explained, again, to them that the house was not in good shape. They nodded like they understood. Well, we walked in and were greeted by the lovely smell that cannot be mistaken: urine. They immediately looked around and back at me with a repulsed look. I know its hard to see past all the filth, and the smell. The man didn't even see the whole downstairs before he walked out. The women looked upstairs, I think out of courtesy, and then said 'We need to get outside now!' All the while, they kept looking at me and saying things like 'How can people live like this?' and 'This is disgusting.' Pretty much the same thing that the others have said, and totally understandable. When we went outside for some much needed fresh air, they asked a lot of questions about the house. I told them what we would be doing (which will greatly improve the house and return it to its former condition, and in some ways better). The guy told me that we would have to do a whole lot more than that to improve the house. He told me everything would have to be redone. (Two sidenotes: all the while, between questions, they were bantering back and forth in their native language, even arguing at times; also, at this point in the story, the guy whipped out an ad for his renovation business...clever, no?) He also asked if I was going to be putting in central air before the next tenant. Uh, no. I don't even have central air in my house. Lets repeat this again, folks, its a R-E-N-T-A-L! If you want the Taj-Mahal, buy your own house and fix it up, or be prepared to fork out upwards of $2000 or more to get what you want. Anyway, the guy shook his head and said, 'No, we can't live here.' The woman asked if we were going to be doing anything about the kitchen (through her daughter). I told her that aside from cleaning and painting, the kitchen would be the same. She shook her head in disgust, and she said in the first and only English I heard her speak, 'The kitchen is disgusting.' (I agree in its current state, it is disgusting, but she meant the kitchen in general: size, cabinets, etc.) The man told me that we would keep getting the 'same trash until you do something about that kitchen.' As rude as it sounds, I really think he was just being honest, with no intent to be mean. No surprise, they told us they were not interested. I cried on the way home. It was all just too much. I am angry that the tenants have managed to do so much damage in 10 months, and that we can't even show it like it is. I was angry that they insulted the kitchen the way they did. I never liked that kitchen, but it worked, and there were 17,000 kitchens like it built here in L-town, and people have been using them for 50+ years. I know plenty of people who are not 'trash' who live with similiar kitchens. Anyway, the whole thing was ridiculous and frustrating. We are now waiting till closer to the time that the tenants move out to advertise and show it again. It is just too disgusting to show, and we fear that when people see it like it is now, they will not give it a second chance if they are still looking at the end of the month. So there you have it, another depressing installment of 'don't you want to have your own rental property?'