Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Country Living Dreams - Wrapping it up :)

 Here's how it went down.  The night of the Lowe's delivery gone bad, right before we went to bed, I noticed water coming from under the toilet in my bathroom.  I wasn't going to even say anything to Big Bear because we were both so stressed at this point, but then when I tried to flush, the water went the wrong way and I quickly turned off the water only to notice back up in the bath tub.  I went to Kevin's bathroom (we don't share) and same thing!!!!  We went to bed both sick to our stomach and stressed.  I barely slept at all.  I got up the next morning and made a 911 call to my dad.  At like 6 am and woke him up.  He immediately got up and drove the 45 minutes to my house and snaked the line.  He said we had a clogged line.  We put new rings on the toilets and new flappers and all was good.  Then, fast forward 5 days, same thing.  Clogged again.  Dad had left the snake but Kevin and I couldn't get it unclogged.  We called a plumber and he came out the next morning to do that fancy snake thing to it.  He unclogged us but said it was only a matter of time before we clogged again. He could feel something in the line around the fence post.  He told us to call our fence people because he thought they hit our line laying the fence.  Called the fence people and they came the very next morning and dug up the post and no damage.   Plumber comes back and runs the camera free of charge because he is perplexed.  Sees the damage.  I see it too. He marks his camera at the fence post.  We saw there was NO damage there, but could see it on the camera so...we called the fence people and they argued with the plumber back and forth.  All we knew was there was definitely a damaged line but WHERE?  So, what do you do but dig???
 Rex wasn't sure why WE could dig but he got into trouble for digging, so he just napped the day away...:)
 We dug over a yard out from where the plumber swore the problem was...we saw nothing!  So, you guessed it, Dad came!  We pulled out the 45 that was under the fence post.  NO DAMAGE, but dad didn't like the 45 they used, so we went ahead and replaced it.  Thinking maybe that was the problem after all.  We replaced part of the line too and left it all dug up so the plumber could see it.  He came back again because he hated that he told us the wrong place or that we couldn't find it.  We ran the camera and there it was!!  Inches...mere inches past where we had given up and stopped digging!!! 

 I was relieved to FINALLY see the problem, but also sick that we stopped inches too soon!  I knew dad had to work the next day, and couldn't come replace it.  But, never underestimate my dad.  When he saw the picture and how close we were, he said that him and my brother would head back that way and get it taken care of so I could stop worrying about it.  I just needed to make a Lowe's run for pipe and get some light on the area.  That's right.  They came back (45 min here and 45 min drive back) after dark!!  I cannot express my appreciation enough!!!

 It appears when the previous owner laid the electric for the barn, they damaged the sewer line.  HOW in the WORLD they didn't clog up once a week is beyond me!  They HAD to!!

 There they are!  My heroes!  What a plumber said would be $800 minimum, they repaired for less than $50!!  My handy man dad ROCKS!

 And presto!  All better!  I can use the bathroom!!! Wash dishes!! Do the laundry! Run the disposal!!  It's all good!
 Note:  This has NOT been an easy move AT ALL!  And, unless someone comes and offers us some crazy amount of money for the land we are now sitting on, I do NOT want to move for a very, very, very long time!!!  We sure hope this is the end of all the crazy and we can relax a little and enjoy our new place!  Whew!  What a ride!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I don't have strong feelings about this book one way or the other.  It was a good read, but not great.  I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  I know it is being turned into a movie, but I don't have a strong desire to go see it.  You can skip this one and be just fine. :)

Goodreads summary:
 Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Country Living Dreams Part 4

So...it was settled.  We decided to move forward after the barn issue.  Closing was set for Thursday.  Once again, we didn't make closing.  The bank blamed the title company and the title company blamed the bank.  Good times!  But, Friday was the day.  It was supposed to be first thing that morning but actually happened around 1 o'clock.  We were getting used to hiccups in the road.  No idea the road bumps ahead though!  Whew!
We closed.  Finally!!!  And, in good news, we wrote a much smaller closing cost check than we originally expected. It was time for a "happy".  
So, now we own two homes.  For the next two days, I feel like we kind of spun in circles not knowing where to start!!  Since closing kept getting moved, it was hard to schedule utilities so we had no electricity over the weekend at the new place.  We pretty much changed the locks and packed and moved the stuff in our shed over.  Then it went like this: 
Monday: Kevin's parents came to help & thank God they were here!!  Kevin's car broke down.  He basically spent that day at the shop and $900 later, we have a new front end on Kevin's Tahoe.
Tuesday: Kevin gets sick and is in bed with a fever all day.  (Good news is Kevin's parents got new place cleaned, all blinds installed and the brush cleared out for the fence people!!!)
Wednesday: Kevin has to work and I'm on my own all day moving stuff.
Thursday:  I have to go to work since I haven't been all week. :)  While I'm in a meeting, fence people are starting on the fence at the new place.
Friday:  Kevin has 2 caterings and has to work at golf course, so dad & I move EVERYTHING but the garage stuff at the old place.  This is our first night to sleep in the new place!!! Yay!!!  
After that, it was an endless series of small trips back and forth EVERYDAY!!  It got old quick!  We had no refrigerator since we left ours for future renters.  Fast forward to Thursday and Lowe's is delivering all our new appliances.  They called to confirm the night before and would be here between 8 and noon.  Kevin had a lunch catering so once again I had to take off work.  I'm not happy about it but I figure it will be worth it.  Lowe's calls at noon and says they won't be here until 4!!!  I was NOT happy!!!  I could've gone to work and I told them that.  Then they get here and the guy tells me he can't install the dishwasher OR the microwave above the range.  Needless to say, I had words with Lowe's because this wasn't what we were told.  FYI - delivery guy said this happens all the time but they don't want to miss the sale so they don't tell you.  I did get a $100 gift card for my "troubles" though.
In the end, my friend, Jennifer installed our dishwasher and my dad installed the microwave.  We may have flooded the kitchen a bit in the dishwasher install but it's all good.
THEN, it got REAL interesting!  Next disaster was the sewer back up!!!  I'll save THAT for tomorrow...oh, and did I mention in the midst of it all, we got renters.  They looked on Saturday and wanted to move in on Wednesday!!  We had a deadline and needed to get the rest of our stuff OUT, get the rent house cleaned and ready...good times! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Country Living Dreams Part 3

And then came the barn drama...long 2 day saga cut short is basically the appraiser found in his research on the property that the barn was too close to our one neighbor to legally have animals (with a hoof) in it.  Hmmm...did we have those animals yet?  No.  Were we planning to someday?  Yes.  Did we give the barn value in our offer? Yes.  Does it have value to us if we can't use it for its intended purpose?  Not really.  So, the research began.  For two days - us, both realtors & the owners of the property (who HAD horses and HAD horses in the barn) called everyone we could think of.  We were basically ran in a circle.  In the end, we had to decide how important this was to us.  Was it a deal breaker?  Turns out, it was a great chance to meet our one neighbor.  They assumed we had horses.  Because either horses or cattle have been on this property for over 20 years!!!  We can HAVE animals, but if the neighbor complains about them in the barn, we have to follow the city ordinance of keeping them 300 feet away from nearest neighbor.  After the run around we were given, I doubt this is ever an issue.  BUT, if it is, we will turn the barn into a shop and build a lean-to.  For now, it is the source of where every bit of junk in the garage has gone to until we get organized.  No animals yet. :)  Maybe in the spring...although some of the drama of the past two months will have to seriously die down before I bring anything else home!!! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Country Living Dreams Part 2

(Delayed due to all my lunches being filled with calls to utility companies and running ads to rent house!!)

So...we are officially under contract on a house with 10 acres.  Closing was set for October 15th. I immediately have the Book Fair (my busiest week at work) and Kevin leaves for a Mission Trip.  People behind the scenes are supposedly doing their stuff.  We have turned in all our numerous financial papers.  Now, since we are borrowing from the equity in our current home, we have to get it ready for appraisal.  So we focus on power washing house, cleaning, fixing a few minor repairs and in the midst of that, a small tornado rips through our neighborhood.  Seriously?!?  I had to miss my Donuts with Dad event at school because we were trapped behind downed power lines.  We literally had our appraisal AND an insurance adjustor both in the same day.  We were super blessed to have minor damage and just some tree clean up.

Meanwhile the process gets slowed down because no one is picking up the appraisal on the new property.  Here are a few things I learned during this whole ordeal.  1) Anytime you buy anything over 5 acres, it gets complicated.  The types of loans and the appraisals, everything gets complicated. 2) If you have properties in two different counties (which we were doing), it gets complicated.  There was a lot of frustration between all the parties that be in one of these deals.  You have realtors (ours were AWESOME), title company people and the bankers.  I think the main source of our frustrations all the way around was that our bankers were lacking in the communication department.  Half the time no one but them knew what was going on, just that things were moving slow.  Needless to say, we missed the first closing date.  In the end, I think closing moved 4 times.  We were originally to close on October 15th and ended up closing on October 31st.  Tomorrow...the drama that held up the deal and how it almost fell through. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Country Living Dreams Part 1

I have to journal this roller coaster journey as much as possible while I still remember the ride we've been on the past two months trying to make our dream of having land a reality.  What a ride!  Not much is ever simple in BensonLand! :)
First, I was browsing Zillow and saw a house with real potential that came with 5 acres and had 5 additional acres next door.  Kevin was gone to play in a golf tournament and I called asked him if he cared if I just went to "check it out."  After church, I drove on over and couldn't tell much because there was a gate that had the realtor lock on it, but as soon as I pulled in the drive, my heart kind of skipped a beat.  It was the first house I had seen on land that was actually CUTE!  Trust me when I say it is NOT easy to find a house on land that has been well maintained.  (especially in our budget...now if we had several hundred thousands to spend, totally different ballgame.)
September 9th is the day this all officially started.  That was the day we went with our realtor to seriously look at it.  Keeping in mind that they had it priced WAY above market value.  I thought the price seemed out of whack and my realtor looked up comps to confirm it.  It had only been on the market for two weeks at this point, so we figured it might take awhile for them to come down on the price.  Honestly, I took more pictures of the barn than the house that night.  I wanted my Mom to see the awesome barn, and I truly wasn't sure we would make an offer until it had sat on the market a little longer and they lowered their price, or if we did make an offer, I didn't think they would accept...little did I know, I was standing in line for a wild roller coaster ride that was going to last two months!!  And, then I'd be sleeping in this cute country house sitting on 10 acres!
 Needless to say, we did some research and got some comps and made an offer.  An offer we didn't think would be accepted but we played ball back and forth a bit and settled on a price.  A total God thing!  Now we were under contract and due to close on October 15th.  Meanwhile, Kevin leaves on a Mission trip to the Dominican and I host a week long Book Fair at school.  Behind the scenes, there are papers being gathered, appraisals getting scheduled...all that good stuff!

More to come...I have no internet yet, so I must blog this story when I can during my lunch hour. :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

I actually finished this before we closed on the house, but life has been so hectic with the move, I haven't had time to post.  This is the first trilogy I have read that I liked the 2nd and 3rd books better than the first.  Usually the first is the best one, but I thought it started out slow.  I recommend this series for any teenager or adult who enjoys dystopia type series.  Enjoy!

Summary from goodreads.com
 Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.