I signed up for one week of Hello Fresh through a Swagbucks offer ($19 after a coupon, plus another 1000SBs) This weekend I made the flatbread pizza (didn't take a picture though) and tonight I made this:
Southwest Zucchini Bake
It used basmati rice which I'd never had before. I wasn't too thrilled by the rice, but the dish overall was really good! (I have enough for dinner tomorrow!)
If I had several recipes I could do the prep work for at one time, then it would make this meal take about 30 minutes. As it was, it took me about 50 minutes with chopping the different ingredients/figuring out how to scoop out the zucchini.
I did bite the bullet and sign up for Culinary DX plant based cooking lessons for $50. It's a 60 day course, and it starts tomorrow. Prepping the stuff tonight made me hope for better knife skills ...
I do have a good set of Cusinart knives now though. Bought them from Amazon a few months ago when a deal site advertised them - I think they were $19 for six knives? Normally a $100+ set.
I was so busy at work today, that I had oodles of time to look at different arrangements of cat wall shelving environments. Our cats will more than likely be our kids, so I may spend a little bit of an insane amount to make the house fun for them. (Hopefully eliminate or lessen territorial issues, and also give Kari a way to get away if she needs to.)
I also was looking at various contraptions to let cats be "outside", but not really have freedom. Our deck I think will be perfect for some of the ideas I saw. Eventually, we may build a sunroom off of the back door/deck of the living room. That's a ways off though.
I also spent time looking at DIY home decorating ideas. I really liked one for decorating the front stoop - Mr FT and I will have to discuss it of course, but I bet I can get him to go for it.
Can you tell just how busy I was?
I woke up around 4:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Finally I got up and put some music on, and "danced" for about 30 minutes. I am now SO tired. I'm going to try to get to bed here in the next hour or so.
I updated in the comments, but for anyone else ..
I talked to J today and my interest rate for the loan is locked in at 3.875% (30 years), and no escrow/no fee! I'm meeting him at his office on Thursday with the initial round of paperwork he's needing.
I asked him about taxes. He told me we'd not have to pay taxes at closing - but we'd get a tax bill in December which would be due in March. You know what I'm going to do right?
Archive for March, 2016
I signed up for one week of Hello Fresh through a Swagbucks offer ($19 after a coupon, plus another 1000SBs) This weekend I made the flatbread pizza (didn't take a picture though) and tonight I made this:
The back of the house - one door from the kitchen (can go directly to basement this way), and one door from the add on living room area w/fireplace.
The front of the house
Mr FT and tree in front of house
Mr FT and FT in front of house
I signed the final offer paperwork today after work. C, our agent, was taking it to J, the mortgage person tonight.
In talking with J, I mentioned that I do NOT want to have my insurance/taxes held and paid by another company, but want to do it on my own. He told me that it was doable, but it would cost around $300 one time fee.
Um ... $300 one time fee to be in charge of my money over the life of the loan? What exactly is the problem here? (Well, one thing would be that they are charging me to NOT let them be in control of my money ...)
Does anyone else do their own escrow?
Am I foolish being willing to pay a one-time fee of ~$300 so that I can make sure I not only have my money sitting in the best interest bearing account, but also can know for sure that stuff will be paid on time!?
Our inspections are scheduled for April 8 - don't know what time just yet. Yikes! I'm going to be on pins and needles til then! I guess I should let my boss know I may need to take some time off during that day. Hopefully it will be in the afternoon so Mr FT can come and still get a good bit of sleep before work.
I'm thinking about how I can make the broom closet (which they call a pantry ...) into an actual pantry.
Will have to look into shelving and stuff from various places. I'm thinking some kind of wire shelving and pull out wire drawers, etc. Leaving room for the broom too.
I found out that there ARE some pictures online on different sites other than zillow. But I can't save any of them from the websites.
So ... here are a few pictures we took of the outside Sunday afternoon.
There's this one humongous old tree which may be dead - one huge branch towers *just* over the roof, and a few other branches touch the electricity lines. We're talking about whether it would be better to just get those branches trimmed (and if the electric company would do the ones on the lines) or how'd we go about getting the entire HUGE tree removed.
Would love any ideas regarding trees!
Huge tree in back of house
Part of side back yard
Mr FT adjusting his camera behind the compost bin fence
Dedicated garden area
View from behind garden tool shed
More pictures to come
They didn't accept our offer BUT they did a counter offer!
Mr FT had told me that if we had to add up to 3k to it, he was fine with it.
They asked for 1.5k more - with the allowance of letting us keep whatever furniture/appliances in the garage/tool shed/house that we wanted.
I of course said YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT - We'll TAKE IT!!!!!!!
C, our Realtor said the couple loved our bio, and that may have been partly what sealed the deal for us.
He's going to come by my work tomorrow with some more paperwork to fill out. Then we're going to get started inspections.
Closing date is scheduled for Friday, May 13 (the day after we get back from our honeymoon.)
OH MY WORD!!!!
Mr FT and I are going to go out to eat somewhere tonight to celebrate crossing this first major hurdle towards the finish line of being homeowners!
We need to get my boss something as a thank you gift - she's the one who sent this address on to me to look at. If she hadn't nudged me that way, I may not have even seen it, because I was only looking at places with photos!
OH .. the final offer price is $141,500. The sellers are paying the 3.5% Realtor fee.
So ... we are putting in an offer on a house tonight!
It's a FSBO but we are having our agent do the legwork. It's in L town - towards the NE part. I'd be able to catch a bus two blocks away to get to work.
It's an awesome house! Our offer is at the topmost max of our comfort level, but we are competing with at least one other offer ...
There weren't ANY photos posted online, so we went in only knowing what was listed on zillow about the house.
The sellers are an older couple, probably in their late 70s. Sweet people who love their house, but just can't keep up with the upkeep anymore.
Our agent had me write up a bio on Mr FT and I to kind of personalize the offer. I made sure to touch on how much we love the house, and how we can see ourselves making new memories with our new family unit there - that we'd love and care for the house.
We'll know one way or the other by tomorrow morning.
Just 30 days to go til I change my last name and add Mrs to it.
Mr FT and I had a heart to heart a few nights ago about the househunting. I suggested maybe taking a break from it - he realized that part of my frustration was from feeling like he was dismissing all of my suggestions. It's going much better now (not taking a break.) Who knew, communication, right?
We may have found another really good candidate. It'd be about a 30 minute commute. 3+ acres. We plan on driving out to give it a closer look tomorrow - plus find out the policy on chickens.
Chickens ... the main reason we totally gave up on the house we love. The house we love(d) is now off market.
There is a second home we are going to drive by tomorrow that is actually in L town.
Mr FT has agreed that if we don't find THE house by the end of April, he will be willing to look for a house that is "good enough" for 4 or 5 years. Just so we can get ourselves into ONE household!
Hopefully one of these two homes we're looking at tomorrow will be THE one.
My aunt from Ohio is going to be making us a quilt! She made me a handmade Cabbage Patch doll when I was 5 or 6 - Rosie - which I still have. I'm really looking forward to seeing it! (Speaking of, maybe I should remove the quilt from my registry ... not that anyone is even USING the darn thing. Ufta! What a waste of hours that seems to have been ...)
My bridal shower is in less than a week!! I really have no idea what to expect. I've been to lots of them over the years, but none since I've lived here. Will be interesting.
We have all but one of the six rooms at the bed and breakfast reserved now. Mr FT's relative may or may not be coming ... We're not sure if she has her panties in a wad because we didn't send out invites to his other relatives (whom he has never met ...) or if it really is just that she's not doing well. No response to my message asking if she'd gotten the invite, and a two word response to Mr FTs message ...
Oh well, I built into the wedding budget this possibility (that we'd be on for two rooms.) If they do come, it will be a nice surprise.
This Sunday I MUST do some major cleaning of my apartment and my car. Will be having way too many relatives probably wanting to come over and see the place /see Kari to wait to the last minute.
I've been doing more cooking lately, but not been doing so well at cleaning as I go. So .. hence the need for major cleaning.
Tonight I made fried quinoa and asparagus with leftover cooked quinoa (from last Sunday) and asparagus I bought for $.88/lb at a new local fresh grocer last week. Yummy!
I'm in the midst of working on several projects related to the wedding - slideshow' typing up / putting together final product of ceremony schedule; typing up final unity candle version; typing up / emailing photographer list of must shots; typing up wedding weekend schedule; working with Mr FT to finish up music playlist for rehearsal dinner ...
Just a few things left. Oh yeah, I still need to get the baby's breath for my hair. Forgot to ask the lady who made my bouquet/boutonniere for some.
With all that's been going on, I've gotten REALLY behind on my budget / recording spending. It's not going to be pretty once I do get it caught up. Especially since some things could go into multiple categories ... Really do need to get it done though soon. Maybe tomorrow night.
Speaking of spending ... my phone bill is going to be the highest it's been since starting to use Ting this month. It's already at $39, and I think my text bucket is going to go into the next level (if it didn't already tonight.) Sigh. Still better than $76+/month no matter how much I actually used. Once this wedding stuff is finished and we're in a house together, the bill will drop significantly.
I ordered a Hello Fresh delivery through Swagbucks - 1000 SBs, plus a $40 off coupon. That should come tomorrow. It'll be enough for 6 meals for me. $19 is still a lot for that much food - put it on pause for the next week (and will continue to do that for a few weeks, til it's safe to cancel.)
Work has been up and down this week. Had a few days of major irritability ... but my talk with Mr FT on Wednesday night helped a lot, plus better sleep, so Thursday and Friday were decent.
Next week need to make the downpayment for the photographer, also for the cake, and probably should check in with the caterer as well. Plus decide how many pizzas / what kind for the rehearsal dinner and figure out how to do rootbeer floats (two cartons of ice cream - one dairy, one non-dairy? Scoop your own?)
Then two weeks from Sunday will be meeting with photographer at the bed and breakfast.
With all of this, I have been sorely lax in much of any kind of physical activity. Thankfully it hasn't been affecting the scale too much (even though I've eaten my share of junk ...) Am looking forward to getting to a place where I can put a more normal schedule together again.
Mr FT talks about getting back to "normalcy" too ... It will be fun to discover what "normalcy" will mean when it's the two of us +cats in our new home.
Warning - a bit of a vent ahead.
I'm getting a wee bit frustrated in the house hunt. If it were up to just me, I would have already found a house. Probably the one we looked at a few weeks ago - the one that would have made a bike-able commute still possible. But no ... that basement just wouldn't work for Mr FT.
So we looked at the auction house today. A definite no way in h E double hockey sticks. The basement would have been amazing - super amazing. It just was that the humongous cracks throughout the basement, huge bulges, etc., kind of detracted from it. Not to mention that ALL of the outbuildings were in major states of disrepair and full of junk. Plus it would be at least a 40-45 minute commute in good weather. Partially on gravel roads.
I did really like the second floor. I could see making it into my own little sanctuary. Oh well.
After looking at the auction house, we decided to drive over to the $129k house. The outside / yard looked as good as the pictures on the internet depicted. However, the neighborhood left a bit to be desired. Lots of run down mobile homes, but also lots of nice modular / real wood homes. Mr FT was excited to see that someone had a flock of 5 chickens. On a place that was really run down ...
We timed the drive from $129k place to my place. 30 minutes -on a Saturday afternoon. Going through an intersection I've had the misfortune of having to go through on a weekday before (14th and Warlick if you know it CCF.) So ... doubtful that the commute would be much better than from the house we love.
Mr FT and I had a conversation comparing and contrasting the $129k house to the house we love. His two main things are that the $129k house doesn't have a basement and has a somewhat smaller yard/less secluded feel. He also thinks that if we can get the house we love for $80 - 90k, then the price differential would make up for all the improvements we would need to make.
Both houses would require us installing a privacy fence. (planning on DIY, although may ask for help with doing the gate part.)
$129k house, at least from the outside, doesn't appear to need much, if any work. We'll see about the inside tomorrow.
House we love will need at the very least - basement repair, major overhaul of land (clearing brush, clearing dead trees, removal of weird stone fountain thing Mr FT hates ...), renting of a huge trash thing to put all the junk left behind in the garages, the greenhouse, the storage shed, the house ...
Future issues - roof replacement, kitchen appliances, adding walls to main floor room(s) to make them actual complete bedrooms.
If we put in an offer, I plan on insisting on having a plumber, an electrician, a roofer, and a foundation inspection specialist come take a look at the place. Besides the regular inspector and radon inspection.
I have the feeling we are going to end up putting in an offer on the house we love. I'm okay with that (as long as we get all the professionals I listed to take a look at it before finalizing said offer.)
I mentioned to Mr FT that my aunt had texted me a few days ago asking if we needed any help with the downpayment. And that I had told her thanks, but we've got it covered (basically.) He told me that if she made the same offer to him, that he'd take her up on it. He didn't understand why I did NOT want to do that. Money = obligations. $1500 for the wedding expenses ... I'm okay with that. However much they'd offer for the downpayment? I'm thinking it would be an amount I would not be okay with.
Mr FT was again complaining about how stressed out the wedding and house hunting was making him. Well ... the wedding stuff - I've asked for minimal input from him - getting a tux, choosing the music for the rehearsal dinner, figuring out the honeymoon stuff, going to pre-marital counseling once a week. And oh yeah, I asked him to meet the photographer Thursday night so he'd feel more comfortable with him - Mr FT thought that was kind of pointless. We'll see I guess.
As for the house hunting ... he's putting the stress on himself. Spending hours upon hours searching houses on the internet. Then spending hours upon hours driving around the outlying towns looking for sale signs (they're not all listed on mainstream sites apparently.) I think he's looking for the "perfect house" - and I just don't think we're going to find it. So I think we should be willing to compromise on what we MUST have.
For example, the $129k house w/no basement. It does have a 4 car heated garage. That would be plenty of room for my car, his eventual boat, and then the leftover space could be used for his man cave space + 1 of the 3 bedrooms in the house.
This has a big plus in the fact that he would not have to deal with stairs. His answer is "if I lose ___lbs, then stairs wont be an issue." Ohhhh kayyyy.... what happens if you never actually lose __lbs? Your knees get worse, and you can't manage the stairs at all ... the basement goes to waste? (I didn't ask him this. I try really hard to not comment on his weight loss efforts one way or the other, unless he brings it up himself.)
I wonder how he'd handle putting together all the details of the wedding that I have already handled, or am in the process of finishing? Not well, I'd imagine. Probably would throw up his hands and say, let's elope at the courthouse! (That's actually what he would prefer to do. If I would have realized how unimportant my having an actual wedding was to my mom, I think I almost would have been okay with that idea myself. But I do like that Mr FT is going to actually get to meet some of my family in person which he otherwise probably would never meet. So .. it's a wash I guess.)
Sorry, like I said, just a wee bit frustrated.
May delete this post at some point ...
Wednesday night Mr FT came over and we got his tux all sorted. At first he was saying he didn't care ... but then when I made sure he knew I was okay with any of them - no matter the $$ (difference between the cheapest and most expensive was about $60 - big whoop in the balance of everything else) - he started having some opinions.
After all was said and done, the tux rental will cost $209. Or, about 1/3rd of the cost of my dress+alterations. I think Mr FT is going to look fabuloso!
It's looking more and more like we might be going with doing a conventional loan where we put 20% down, and do it in my name only. The loan officer thinks we could still put Mr FTs name on the title, even if he isn't on the loan.
We're still debating about the house we love. Our Realtor suggested putting in an offer of 80k (asking 120k)to just see if they were even willing to entertain a under 100k offer. Then if they are willing to play ball, we'll go out there and do a fine tooth comb look over to make sure we really want it.
Or ... we have two more places we're going to look at this weekend. One is a house that is up for auction - Starting bid of $1k. It's on 5 acres of land. It has a barn, a couple of silos, etc. I think Lucky Robin might really love this place. I'm not so sure about the whole auction thing, but am willing to at least go to the open house.
The second place is $129k and about a 20 minute drive. It covers 3 lots. 1500 sq ft + sunroom. No basement, but does have a heated 4-car detached garage....Built in 1992. Simply gorgeous inside pictures - nice outside look too.
If this second place is as good as it looks in the pictures ... I may be pushing for us to put an offer in on it.
So ... I've been trying to find a classic or vintage car to use as part of the photos for my wedding. I'd had little luck coming up with anything. Until on Wednesday ... I came across a classic car sales lot in NE and emailed them asking for help. They replied to me yesterday with the name of a group in Omaha that does Model A cars.
I wrote to that group ... and received a response today! A lady in the group is going to be here already for a classic car show, and is MORE THAN happy to bring OLE HANK on by for a shoot. Would love to give us a ride around too ... OLE HANK is a 1934 Model A - green.
My dad would have SO loved this! (And ... get this ... she's doing it free of charge! Just a slice of cake.)
It's pretty cool what can happen sometimes just by virtue of asking ...
Today I had my make up trial. It was a lady who does airbrushing. Have you ever had airbrushing done? It seriously tickles!
I really liked the lady. She was so friendly and talkative. I had to have her redo my lipstick though because it was just way too dark for my tastes - thought it made me look pasty in contrast.
I've got fake eyelashes on. Weird. Really weird. Though I do have to say I like how they look. Not enough to wear them regularly.
With tip, it cost me $37 for the trial.
So I was working on the wording for the unity ceremony today. I'm planning on doing it in two parts. The first part where my mom and Mr FTs sister light our candles, and then we light one candle. Then the second part where my uncle will issue a challenge to the guests to support us, and then we light all the candles of everyone.
I'm not sure if I like the wording 100% yet. So .. if you all could offer your take on it, I'd appreciate it.
"The two outside candles have been lit as a symbol of your lives at this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their own way. To bring bliss and happiness into your home, there must be a merging of the two lights.
From now on, your thoughts will be for each other, rather than just for your individual selves. Your plans mutual, your joys and sorrows shared.
As you take your candle and together light the center one, you merge two lights into one.
***help needed here mostly**
Although you are now one, you are also still your own distinct person, as shown by your candles still burning.
***Music interlude - Brother singing "God Bless This Broken Road"
"Family and friends of FT and Mr FT, the vows which they have made today are sacred and holy and should not be broken. However, as FT and Mr FT face their new life together, their relationship is sure to be tested at one point or another by conflict, temptation, strife or change.
Will you, family and friends, promise to help them keep their vows, by reminding them of their love for each other and helping them cross through stressful times with the wisdom of your counsel? At times of joy, will you celebrate with them, nourishing their love for one another? (Guests say yes, or I will.)
As a symbol of your commitment to this couple, and the uniting of two families and ***friendships ???**, please accept the light from the person next to you."
Background instrumental music plays while people light candles - We've Only Just Begun.
Closing prayer, ask people to blow out candles, Intro of couple, Recessional.
This is kind of a mishmash of wording examples I've found, as well as some revising on my own. I'm just not sure how well it flows or how much sense it makes.
I discovered a website that offers cooking skills lessons (plant based!) for $49 for 60 days. It looks like it really breaks it down into manageable bites. (ha ha!) I'm really tempted by it.
Cook Smarts - the meal planning website that offers vegetarian options for all meal plans, and is whole food/non-processesed mainly - has a 15% discount now through the 22nd. Am also tempted with this.
Although at the moment I have about 3 weeks worth of lunches in my freezer after a cooking palooza on Sunday. (My second use of the freezer dinner trays! Getting my money's worth out of them.)
So the mortgage person got back with me. He does think the basement/roof might be issues for both the FHA and Rural loans. I asked him if he thinks we should move on, or it it would be worth an inspection, etc. He said he'd have to talk to C.
But I figured out how I can share photos. They have 99 photos for the house. I am using only 26 of them.
It's 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a sunroom, 17xx sq ft, 1/2 an acre. Has a 2 stall detached garage, a 1 car detached garage, a firepit, a greenhouse, a storage shed, birdhouses galore .. The kitchen has a built in microwave and a built in electric oven.
Some of my favorite parts are the greenhouse, the sunroom, the room with the mirrored doors, the wood stoves ...
Hopefully the link will work.
So .. I went to work today. Within about 20 minutes of getting there I was really wishing I was back home.
People on the phone being obtuse. My computer got switched out on Friday (which is a good thing, mostly) which meant that I had to re do all my settings ... and my locator application was hidden, and a my address book program didn't get put back on .... etc., etc.
Then I talk to my supervisor to find out what the text on Friday was all about. She told me that people taking Friday and Mondays off is a pattern of someone unhappy at work.
So I told her I had a doctor's note because I was genuinely not feeling well! At first she tells me she doesn't need it. Then ten minutes later she comes out and wants to see it. I thought that was pretty bizarre.
Can I take 20 more years of this?????
So ... the houses. First, the $52k (1880) one. The reason it is $52k is because it needs extensive renovation. Plumbing, electric, etc., etc. Neither FHA nor Rural loans would work for it unless a lot of improvements were made first (by current owners.)
We didn't get to look inside of it because C (our Realtor) hadn't gotten in touch with the seller's Realtor. (Granted, the house was only listed on one site, which made it difficult to find.)
The $120k house. Mr FT and I got there more than an hour before scheduled time and just drove around the town/area, and walked around the property. Sigh. Love. Love. Love. That feeling you get when a place is just *right.*
A super sappy wide smile lighting my face as we walk around inside the house.
Until ... heart falls into stomach ... the basement wall has bulges....
C at first declared "you guys don't want this house" but then after looking it over more, he told us that it wasn't as bad as some he's seen, and maybe it could be fixed.
He's suggesting offering 85k (last tax assessment of $95k) -- 15 y.o. roof, basement wall issues, the amount of work the yard will take to get it back to a manicured level, etc. (Where we would ask for a credit for the roof, them to get the basement taken care of, and closing costs.)
Mr FT and I feel like we're capable of tackling the yard stuff (although probably hire out the dead tree removal.)
We're taking time to sleep on it a few times and think some more about it.
I also have a call in to the mortgage broker person to find out what would disqualify a house from an FHA or Rural loan. (i.e. the basement or roof)
Love, love, love the house/land/town. Love. Will feel so sad if we can't make it work. Worth the 30+ minute commute.
I'd love to share a link to the property, but we might end up actually living there ... so
I came across an article today that mentioned something about Obamacare which got me wondering.
Mr FT has healthcare through the NE health exchange. He's getting subsidies.
I have health insurance through my employer.
When we get married, Mr FT is going on my insurance and dropping his insurance.
Now what I can't figure out, is this - I know tax wise we'll be considered married for the whole 2016 tax year. So, I had already figured we may have to pay back part of his subsidy. But ... now I'm wondering if we'll have to pay ALL of it back - because once he marries me, he'll be disqualified from having Obamacare coverage.
I haven't been able to find anything definitive on this. That could be a lot of money. Gulp. It also really doesn't seem fair ... but what is fair in life, right? Especially when it comes to government and taxes. Sigh.