Tuesday, January 25, 2005
House, but what about the dream?
A house finally went for sale in the neighborhood we've been keeping an eye on. The sign was put up on Sunday. We went by to see it and peaked in the windows. After that, we went home and found the property online. The price is totally ridiculous (but just a bit high for Miami). Most people that know me would die that I am excited over such a horrible little house for such a high price. First, the house is ONLY 701 sq ft. That is smaller than the townhouse we are living in. We'll have to put lots of our stuff in storage. Second, the house was built in 1958 and hasn’t been updated. Third, there are no appliances. Fourth, there is really no kitchen. It has one little 4 foot cabinet with a sink & a stove (ok one yucky appliance). The place for the refrigerator is insane. It would block at least half of a door that leads outside. Speaking of where it leads, fifth, there is a little slab outside the kitchen that has the washer & dryer hookups. Outside? Sixth, it still has a fuse box, which has to be updated to get home owner's insurance. Seventh, the bathroom (oh yeah only ONE) is horrendous. I could go on & on, but you get the idea.
Guess how much it is listed for .... $175,000
So, why are we considering it??? First, it is in a great location (the little neighborhood is BAD), but the surrounding neighborhoods are great. House prices in the surrounding neighborhood start at $350,000. Second, it is in the best school district in Miami (one of the only that people actually send their kids to public schools). Third, it is about 4 blocks from where we live now (I guess that is location too). Fourth, there is definitely room for expansion, which we'd probably start within a year. Sixth, I think when it is all said & done we can probably get it for about $150,000.
It is sad to pay that much & not get what you want. We'd be living in very tight quarters for at least a year. Then, we'd be living in construction for probably at least another year or lots more. What happened to the dream of buying a home? It is supposed to be better than this. All things considered, I am very excited. What can I say? - Everyone knows I’m crazy.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Sex In the City
A re-run of Sex in the City was on last night and it reminded me of the first moments alone that Steve & I shared. It all began on the Island of Cococay where we met. We were both working there. I worked for the developer and he worked for a subcontractor. There were very few females on the island, basically only one or two locals. Despite the tropical name, it wasn't very pleasant for the most part. I like to refer to the conditions there as camping (not too comfortable). I had a lot of work to do that began early in the morning and lasted late into the night. After a few months of this, I felt a real need for girly things.
On one of my short trips back to the US, I bought the first two DVD seasons of Sex in the City. When I got back to the island, I showed the discs to Steve. I guess either the testosterone was getting to him too or he was hitting on me, because he wanted to watch them with me. Every evening, he came to my trailer to watch an episode or two. After the shows, we talked about life & friends. It was a great way to get to know each other. During one of those evenings, he leaned over & gave me a sweet kiss. I enjoyed it, but I told him that I did not want a relationship over there. When we came back to the US and actually started dating, we didn't miss one show. It was the highlight of our Sunday evenings. I like that Steve is a man that can freely admit that he likes watching it. --By the way, why are some men ashamed of admitting they like a show about sexy women?--
Unfortunately, the show ended. Now, I always smile when Steve is flipping through the channels & stops to catch a re-run. If I am in the other room, he calls out my name to let me know it is on. He actually ends up watching it more often than I do.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Last night, Steve & I went bowling with two couples. I never thought bowling was so fun. Not to be rude, but they were horrible. We totally smoked them & neither of us had one of our better games. Steve got a 145 & I got 101. The next highest score was in the 80s and the lowest was in the 40s. Obviously, it wasn't some big competition, but it is kind of fun to win. Plus, when did smoking in bowling alleys end? Maybe it only happened in Florida when the law went into affect for restaurants. Anyway - that is a HUGE improvement. Bowling just went up on my list of fun activities.
I have been pretty good friends with one of the guys from last night for about 4 years. He got married this past summer to a really cute and nice girl (about 24 years old). I was shocked to find out that she doesn't know how to drive. Most of us can't even imagine that. Maybe it would be normal if they lived in Europe or Manhattan, but not here. Public transportation in Miami is a joke. She must feel so trapped at times. I want to teach her, but my car is a stick shift.
Speaking of being surprised by women, Steve's friend is dating a woman that is 39 years old. She is quite cute and has been a single mom for over 10 years. She has two daughters in high school. The thing that shocks me about her is that she has NEVER had a savings or checking account, not to mention credit card. I didn't know anyone could function in the modern world like this, so I asked her a million questions. She cashes her check at a check cashing store. She pays her bills (like the electricity, phone, water, etc.) in cash at the headquarters. She bought a used car from a regular (she is a waitress at a restaurant) and was able to pay cash every week for a year. Groceries, clothes, and everything is paid in cash. It is kind of refreshing & amazing to meet someone that really surprises you.
Ok- enough rambling for today....
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
My brother, Clayton, read my blog Saturday afternoon & said it made him laugh. He also said I must be bored. His comments weren't negative just funny observations... But I have to admit that my life has slowed significantly. I realized that in December. -Don't even think I am complaining though! After 5 crazy years, I am finally glad to take a little breather.
My career is finally at a place where I am not clawing my way up the corporate ladder. I no longer work insane hours on impossible projects (just long hours on manageable projects). I still have a lot of deadlines, but things are organized & running fairly smoothly. Steve has started his evening class, is coaching 11 & 12 year olds in basketball and has happily settled into work. He now has health insurance and 401k. Basically, I'm less worried about our financial future.
I completely realize that it is ALWAYS calm before the storm. Things will get hectic again, but for now I am going to enjoy every last minute of this. So - I guess this is a warning that my blog will contain mindless rambling entries while I am in this beautiful lull. Sorry for all of you who take a moment out of your precious time to read it, but I'm happy like this.
It all sounds wonderful, but I still have to get back to work. I have a proposal due on Thursday and a pedicure scheduled for tomorrow after work so I can't stay too late. See I am Happy!
Saturday, January 08, 2005
I can't believe I woke up before 6 am on a Saturday. Steve is still sound asleep and probably will be until 9 or 10. - Lucky him
Yesterday, I complained about salons being filled with only Spanish speaking people. I forgot to mention that there is one good thing about that. It keeps the price low. I don't mind shaping & painting my nails, but there is nothing like the look of a great French Manicure or Pedicure. Manicures are nice once in a while, but they only last about week. I prefer pedicures, because they are so relaxing & they last about a month. The place I like to go has special chairs just for pedicures. They are big soft chairs with mini hot tubs for your feet. They have little smooth stones in the water, which is filled with aromatherapy and message oils. The girls oil & massage your feet and calves for about 10 - 15 minutes. Then, they shape and paint your toenails. That little thin white line at the end with the pale pink coat is so cute. I forgot to mention that they have a girl there that walks around offering red wine and espressos for free (I don't drink either of those, but it is a nice touch). This sounds like an expensive ordeal, but it only costs about $18 (plus tip). I think it is only $15 if you don't get the French Manicure, but for that I would just stay home & paint my own toenails. Now that I have written all about it, I am even more inclined to set an appointment. Can you believe I only had one last year and that was because I got a free gift certificate?
This weekend, we plan to work on minimizing our junk and cleaning. I don't know how we got all of this stuff. With all my crafts, Steve's tools, miscellaneous stuff, and clothes our place is being overrun. Anyway, getting rid of some of it will also help us when we move. Once we purge the house, we need to do a deep cleaning. Someday, I want a maid. Not a live in one or one that comes all the time. I'd just like the bathrooms & tile floors deep cleaned twice a month & not by me. By the way, that is another good thing about living in a place where most people don't speak English - it is cheaper. Still, I feel guilty spending money on that, so for now I'll keep dreaming...
Friday, January 07, 2005
I am hiding out in my office today. We have been remodeling & now they are shifting us around so they can paint. I even had to pack all of my stuff yesterday. That is no fun. I can't complain too much, because eventually (after a week & a half) I'll be making my home in a bigger office with a beautiful view of a lake. I guess I can handle temporary suffering for the greater good. :) - See what a selfless person??
So far this year, I have been focusing on my main list of New Year's Resolutions, which are:
1 - Go Jogging at least 4 mornings a week
2 - Cut out refined sugar & white flour from my diet (mostly)
3 - Get a pedicure once a month (we wear a lot of sandals in Florida)
4 - Scan all of our photos
5 - Create photo albums similar to scrapbooks, but using graphic software
By the way, number three is harder than it sounds. Besides finding the time, I hate calling salons to make appointments because they never speak English. I also have to work at getting my hair trimmed more often (same problem). Who wants to get their haircut by someone that has no idea what you are asking??? My worst experience was three years ago when I went in for a little trim & walked out with a short bob. Most of my mono-lingual English speaking friends experience the same thing here. Ok - enough of this tangent. I just need to work on my Spanish. That should be resolution #6. Good thing Steve bought me one of those Learn Spanish CD sets.
I guess I should cut this off. They are eyeballing my furniture. Soon, we'll all be crammed into a few rooms for a week. We'll see if anyone ends up dead. Good thing I grew up in a large family & can ignore lots of noise.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Steve & Steph
This is my first time creating a blog. Some of my friends and relatives have blogs, but I have been avoiding getting my own. I can't promise that I'll be good at keeping it up, but I'll try.
I guess I should begin my first entry by explaining why I chose the name Artemis-Gaia. I combined the names of two Greek Goddesses. (--By the way, I in no way consider myself a Greek Goddess, nor do I really believe in them.) However, I like some of the things they stand for & would like some extra luck in these areas. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness and fertility. Gaia is known as Earth or Mother Earth. Despite the fact that I have a LONG list of New Years Resolutions, I basically have two major dreams/goals for this year:
1. Buy a house (this is difficult, because we live in a city where even the tiny little houses in horrible neighborhoods are ridiculously expensive) - Hoping for luck from Gaia
2. Get some good news about a stork visiting us in the future - Hoping for help from Artemis
I guess that is a good start for my first time. Maybe I'll really get into this and develop something quite interesting. We'll see...