Sunday, August 30, 2009

on the good ship lollipop

There's a "sold" sign on the house!! Ahhhh, sweet relief! There's still a long way to go, but it feels like a triumph after the seller's shenanigans. Or sellers'. Whatever. I'm confused about who does or does not own the house or who's lived there in the recent past. In any case:



Sweet tile backsplash!! I srsly love this tile. And the solid wood cabinets. The kitchen's kind of small, but eh...it's a small house overall. Which I appreciate. I hope I never become a person who takes up more space than she needs. Even this house is probably more than is "necessary"...but I think it's just the right amount for two people to be comfortable with once-in-a-while company.

Here's the other house that was a "finalist" in the home search:



That's a view from the back of the house, looking towards the front door. Awesome exposed brick wall and hardwood floors throughout. Behind where I'm standing is the kitchen and the back yard (which was really just a tiny stone patio...but since it's half a block from the park and river, we figured we could deal). The only problem was...that's the whole house. The downstairs is that one big-ish room and the kitchen. The upstairs is a bedroom, a large landing, and a bathroom. It's listed as a two-bedroom but it totally isn't. It'd be a GREAT house for one person, just not two. It also has a basement, but with a preeeeetty low ceiling. Still useful for storage. I hope someone cool buys it. It's been on the market for a while and has had the price reduced twice. Sooooo crazy affordable now. Oh, man. I could even buy it myself if I weren't co-buying already, that's how cheap it is. Based on the current owner's decorating and artifacts-on-display, she's a super cool lady. Sigh*

But back to [almost] OUR house...



That's the window on the landing of the stairs, which is visible from the front door. So you can see the gorgeous back yard all the way through. Swoooooon. When we went today, we noticed how quickly the plants back there have grown...there's going to be some serious pruning once we're legally allowed to do that.

But the first big project will be refinishing the floors. If anyone has good recommendations for a wood floor restoration company, I'm all ears. I've found a couple places in the area that give free estimates. I'd really like to use an independent contractor if possible.

In other news, we decided to do some premature shopping/scouting this afternoon, and ended up at a moving sale in Cool Springs. Turns out the lady selling all her stuff is the owner of the Dumpling House! Love that place!! Luckily, she's not leaving the area; her landlord has decided to sell the building and her two kids are now grown, so she's downsizing. Again: huzzah for not taking up more space than one needs. So great. Anyway, she had some stuff for sale, and big pile of kitchen gear for free!!

Earlier I'd made pancakes and had [once again] filled the apartment with smoke, due to my painfully lackluster pan. The thing is ridiculous. So I was feeling the need for better supplies, and all her stuff was/is professional-grade! So I got a couple of kitchen-to-table mixing bowls, a set of four Japanese soup bowls (all of my dishes are Ikea and breaking one by one), and a frying pan. I paid for a space heater (for the front/sun room at the house). The Foliage got a manual egg beater, a pizza cutter, and a garlic press/hand grater. We "co-got" a half-copper, half-stainless steel saucepan. Which I used to make sauce tonight. And added too much garlic salt at the last minute. Maybe I'll heat up the leftovers again and add some wine vinegar or something. But all that kitchen stuff was totally free! Score!!!

It's becoming glaringly obvious how different our tastes are. There are some things we both reeeeally like, but for the most part...there's a lot of compromise on both sides to agree on aesthetics. I describe his taste as "Tribal Contemporary" and mine as "Updated Retro/Luxe"...plus some Rustic. Plus some Stuff-That-Makes-No-Sense. I just...I want antlers. And I love stuff that looks like it was salvaged from a 1970s TV show set. I know. I.know.

Things we agree on:
-Refinishing the floors
-"Bumping out" the window in the kitchen to make it a bay window
-Finishing the basement (it's half-finished now, and there's really no reason to have the whole unfinished side just sitting there...it'd be a great den space)
-A hard-to-explain plan for having the TV in the living room but hiding it (I looooooathe room layouts that have the TV as the central viewpoint. I want the TV to essentially be invisible unless people are actually sitting and watching it, and an entertainment center would really swamp the room)
-Other stuff. Including a down-the-road bathroom renovation involving these.

The inspection's tomorrow. I'm sure that'll give rise to a whole new wish list. I seriously doubt the sellers will want to do assist with anything.

Sorry this is allllll I talk about anymore...I'm boring. You don't have to tell me. But this has been the only thing I've thought about in the past few weeks other than my exams. Oh! I made my mom a surprise birthday dinner at the house. The menu was:
-Baby Back Ribs
-Roasted Green Beans
-Spicy Southwest Tamale Pie
-Honeyed Carrots
-Berry Cobbler and Vanilla Ice Cream

And everything was ready at exactly the right times! And everything tasted great! I wouldn't say amazing. But pretty effing good. And I did it pretty cheaply, too. Honestly, if it had tasted mediocre, I wouldn't care...I'm just still so thrilled that things were done at the same time. That NEVER happens for me.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I flip through my pictures of the house for the fifty bazillionth time...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

elvis! elvis! let me be! keep that elvis offa me!

So we settled on a price with the house seller! Sweet relief!! Now I can think about something else, like...my next CPA exam section. Heh.

Now dreams of interior design can once again dance through my head. The kitchen isn't a priority, but I wouldn't mind replacing the fridge with one of these. I am so obsessed with that whole blog. I literally can't stop reading. Who needs the real world when you can fill your days with architecture and interior design?! Not I.

I've often wondered (and have been asked) why I never went into either of those fields. My boyfriend recently pointed out that I always seem to get really excited about those, but only ever get frustrated and stressed about accounting. Well...

1. I need to have a stable income. Need. Artistic fields are competitive. While accounting is, too, it's a LOT more stable, and never commission-based. I'm too Type-A to rely on my creativity for my daily bread. What if I have a dry spell?! It happens all the time!

2. Being creative for money means being creative for other people's tastes. I don't wanna decorate how other people want things to be decorated. This is the same reason I could never plan other people's events. I would just be awful to them and take over and they might cry because I rolled my eyes at their lame ideas. See? Not for me. I roll my eyes at clients now, but they don't even know, because they're on the phone! Beautiful.

I'm currently dreaming about random-width horizontal stripes on the walls around a whole room (either light blue or very pale yellow) and fake antlers on the wall. Not a whole head or anything. Just the antlers. Over a couch or on either side of a really gaudy piece of art or something.

And black/white/gray with hella yellow accents. Probably in the Dining Room, but I can't be sure.

In Hooked on Houses, the author does a "Movie Monday" and posts pictures from movie set houses. Look up the one for "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"...I dare you not to drool. I want all of their light fixtures. I'm now hardxcore coveting mid-century-revival pendant lamps.

Alllllright back to studyinggggggughhhhhh

Monday, August 24, 2009

annie are you ok?

Quick break from studying at lunch. My internet at home (read: my neighbor's unprotected internet) is down. So it was a looooong weekend of being stuck inside without the internet t00bz. And rainy! Geez. Can't a girl catch a break?!

Now I have to go back to studying. One more test this Friday, then a week break, then back to classes and another test. I never liked summers anyway. My one and only beach trip this year will be Labor Day weekend at Virginia Beach so the Foliage and Co. can run a half marathon. While I sleep. It's at 7:30 or some ish in the morning! That's ridiculous. I MIGHT be up drinking by the time they're done...maybe. But my hopes are not up for consciousness.

Re-bid on the house and still waiting to hear back from the seller...3 days later. Sigh*

Back to studying for realz.

Friday, August 21, 2009

she's a maniac maniac on the floor

So I have no idea how the test went. I hardly slept at all and then got up at 5 so I could have an extra hour to review again (as if the hour before a test helps). I feel pretty confident about 50% of the material. But some of it...eesh. Hopefully I accidentally got enough right to get me the 75% that I need to pass. This test has something like a 30% success rate for first-time attempts. I don't want to think about it anymore.

As I was leaving the building, I saw a puppy. It was in an office building and it was one of those glass-front financial places. Maybe it was bring your puppy to work day...? I have no idea. But it took me from verge-of-tears to smiling-ear-to-ear. Those puppies. They'll getcha.

Then I got home and stumbled upon this site and have become mildly obsessed. [Insert bizarre gurgling awww-type noises here] But that is not the point of this post!

The POINT of right now's post is this:



SOMEwhere in the blogosphere, there is information about the clearance sale at Magpie in Trolley Square. I saw it yesterday but now can't find it for the life of me. I got all this stuff for $15!!! It was nearly $70 before! Oh, man. That's 4 boxes of tea bags (ginger, green, "passion", and peach detox), a pack of 15 individually-wrapped breakfast bars, a box of Newman's Own popcorn, a can of green beans, a can of crushed tomatoes, blackberry & sage tea jam, pomegranate lemonade (hiding in the back on the right), and yumberry juice. I have no idea what a yumberry is. I'm guessing similar to a snozberry. But it's 100% juice, so I'm all for it. All of this stuff is organic! And by "organic" I mean "way expensive"!

The part that sucks is that the place is going out of business. The good news is they're selling EVERYTHING. I'm going to go back and get some airtight apothecary jars to keep my baking stuff and teas fresh. Big jars are $5.50 and smaller ones are $3.50 which is about what you'd pay at a discount store...but at least if you get them here, you're helping to offset the losses of this poor independent shop. I never even knew what it WAS before! It's never been open when I've been out and about. Part of the problem? Symptom of the downfall? Both? I don't know. I just hate to see businesses leave empty storefronts.

The guy in there was really nice and answered all my questions. TIP: If you pay with cash, 50% off stuff truly is 50% off but if you pay with a credit card, it's 45% off. A lot of the stuff I got was 75% off, which wasn't affected. But I did consider running over to the WSFS ATM first.

They had a cafe/juice bar in the back, too, and all supplies from that area are also being sold. None of the stuff back there was priced when I went in, and he didn't seem to know when that'd be happening. He asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to know about and I said, "Oh, you know, just curious. Maybe I need an industrial juicer. You never know." Man, I'm an obnoxious pain... But it's true! I might need that thing! A juicer whose description could only be made complete with the word "industrial"?? I need industrial juice!

There's also a biiiiig section of organic spices, all 50% off. I really really really wanted to get some but couldn't remember what I did or didn't have at home. Hopefully I'll remember to make a list before I go back for the apothecary jars.

And FYI I cleaned off my bed and side table just for this picture, and as I was taking it I thought, "man, my stuff look dusty...do people dust anymore?" And then I heard the collective moan of grandmothers everywhere. Who dusts?! Seriously. I don't even know what one would buy to do that sort of thing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the terror the terror

Tomorrow morning at 8am I'll be at the exam center. I am so effing terrified. There are no words. My body aches from head to toe after today's study-fest. I've been doing positive affirmations like it's my job, but...I just don't know. Since when do bonds elude me?!

I was flipping through the back of the study book's sections on exam format and day-of testing procedures recommendations. And I saw that each test-taker has to bring their NTS (Notice to Schedule) with them. I'd printed two copies. One is on the wall of my cubicle at work. The other was...nowhere to be found. I eventually found it, but that was a wicked awesome half hour of sheer panic. Then it was back to studying.

In the middle of memorizing financial statement organization for governments/nonprofits (by the by, a completely different and more annoying set of rules than regular accounting) I decided to document the madness:



Each pile of paper is from a different class. Each class "pile" consists of a packet of practice questions completed with the instructor's guidance, and my hand-written notes. I never took fewer than 10 pages of notes in a single class. Usually more. There were 10 classes.



Aerial shots are artsy. I think.



Some of my hand-written notes. Ahhhh...governmental accounting. You can't truly appreciate how horrible politics are until you try to do their bookkeeping. It.makes.no.sense.

But I'm staying positive! Lots of people far dumber than me have passed this thing.

In other terrifying news, our realtor called me this evening to say that the sellers had CHANGED THEIR MINDS and wanted to increase their previous offer (which we accepted) $2k. In terms of a mortgage, it's nominal, but we were already stretching it! Our realtor said she thought we could bid $1k below their new offer so we were only going up $1k. But The Foliage and I agreed that the seller is being a ridiculous ass and we were sticking with the price that was fine with her yesterday...or walking. I haven't heard back yet. Hopefully that's good. The last time they took a while to respond, it was good.

Because I like pictures in blogs and I'm sticking with an optimistic theme:



A front corner of the porch/sunroom/foyer. The seller excluded all draperies and hardware, but I love that there are shelves above the windows already. Couldn't decide whether I'd want to leave the brick painted white or to strip and restore it. Swoonsob*

mandatory study break

So I'm in my living room studying Fair Value Options and GAAP Hierarchy when I get a buzz from the front door of my building. It's a mailman and I have to sign for something.

Now, my oldest younger sister who just moved to LA sent me a birthday present last month that still hasn't arrived, so I'm guesing it's that. She told me I had to wait to open it in the presence of my boyfriend, who I won't be seeing until next weekend. So on the way down the stairs I'm thinking things like,
"Wow, it's lucky this came on the one day I took off work," and
"It sucks that I have to wait a week to open it."

I get downstairs, and see that it's a flat envelope, and it's from my boyfriend. So now I think it's the book-on-cd he burnt for me last weekend and forgot to leave here. But I feel it, and it's definitely paper. On the way up to my apartment (yes, I waited until I was in my apartment, because I'm sadistic and withhold things from myself) the main contenders for possibilities were:
-Real Estate information
-Some sort of contract
-An incriminating picture meant to be used for blackmailing purposes

Inside the [huge, express mail] envelope was....another envelope. And inside THAT envelope was this:




Please note the bluebirds, pot of oranges, and "extremely urgent" designation. And, as the artist pointed out to me, that the leaves are all 4-leaf clovers and the tree itself is in the shape of a 4-leaf clover. AND it cost $13 to send!! That might not be a big deal to most people, but I've been pinching pennies for the past few months like I'm a walking...pincher thingie. I was hoping inspiration would come upon me for that at the end, but it didn't. Disappointment City, population: me.

The bottom line to all this is that this dude frickin' pwns. If Mother Theresa had been into things like dating guys, even she wouldn't have deserved this one. Sapsapsap lamelamelame I know. I KNOW. But whatever, it's my blog. I promise my next entry will have nothing to do with affection or anything for which I'm appreciative.

OK, interlude is over. Now, another hopeful-house teaser picture. The view of the backyard from the "top" of the driveway (Oh, did I mention it has off-street parking? Brushes.off.shoulders.):


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

when i'm with you feels like i'm home

Day 2. The year of our lord. Or something.

In 2 days I'll be taking the 1st of 4 sections of the CPA exam. Well, first for me. There isn't a specific order. But it's the one that has the most prep courses scheduled for it...FAR. Financial Accounting and Reporting. Tonight I studied acquisitions at length because the policy JUST changed and there might be a huuuuge problem on it. But it's a 4-hour exam, and there could be a huuuuuge problem on any of the topics. I've taken the day off work tomorrow to study. What a reLIEF it was when THAT got approved.

Other major relief of the week: The Foliage and I put a bid in on a house on Sunday, and after a few back and forths, we've agreed on a price. It's been a rough year+ of living almost 2 hours away from one another, and now it'll come to an end. At the low low cost of 30 years of debt! As he so charmingly likes to remind me.

We ended up at a price $9k below the amount the house was listed for, and $12k above what we initially offered. Not counting repair-type requests. But we wayyyyy underbid, and we're still in a very comfortable range monthly-payment-wise. I haven't spoken to the other realtor, but our realtor makes him/her sound pre.tty. snotty. Which I don't appreciate because OUR realtor is very high on my list of favorite people and I don't like the idea of her having to put up with it. But I guess she's a professional and not phased. The picture included is her standing just outside the back of our hopeful-house. Don't you love it?! It reminds me of the short designer lady from "The Incredibles." Not Anna Wintour...the Pixar manifestation of Anna Wintour. Very important distinction.

Now I have to go to bed so I can be productive and memorize the other 19 chapters of FAR tomorrow. Sweet Zombie Jesus, please let me pass these things...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

someone came and stole my baby away

Ohhhhh, blogs. blogblogbuhloggggg.

I have no specific direction for my web logging. I feel like you're probably supposed to. I've become a pretty adept stalker of blogs, and I can tell you that they uuuusually have a purpose or some ultimate theme. But I have a short attention span for inspirations and I might be mildly schizophrenic, so you readers are out of luck. I mean, not ultimately. Don't lay down and resign yourself to this; feel free to read focused blogs to regain your own sense of purpose after mine has assaulted your very foundation. Ha! Aren't you glad you have permission to read other blogs now? What.a.relief. Big day.

Here's how manic I am: I've started this paragraph no fewer than 5 times but keep deeming the idea lackluster. I'm hungry.

OK, so we've established that if I were a really good and driven blog-writer, I'd have a theme. I don't have any activities in my life that permeate enough to be THE theme, but these would be the candidates:
-The life of a way overprotective oldest sibling
-Trials and tribulations of a sweaterholic (the clothing...I'm not weirdly into sweaty people)
-Being a longer-than-short-distance girlfriend
-Delaware is like Disneyworld!!
-Having a crazybig ego while continually failing at extraordinarily easy tasks
-Giving gifts that blow.people's.minds.
-Perfecting the art of being a hypocritical English grammar/spelling Nazi
-How to justify being beyond in love with all things paper while also being a self-proclaimed Carbon Footprint Reducer
-Charming a Jewish grandmother even though your name references Jesus
-Sewing and Swearing: it's like a sport!
-Procrastination Station

That's a good start. That last one might really be "it" since I'll most likely only be writing in order to avoid responsible tasks. I'll try to post entries more often, but what's the point? I mostly switched because I figured I should probably be able to blogfriend the writers I currently stalk and because livejournal has died. You might as well be using DiaryLand anymore. Right?! What a Gen Y reference...

I'll try to be less offensive and more tangibly upbeat than I am in real life. Because there's no point in posting online if you're just going to be yourself. I mean, really.