Sunday, November 30, 2008

Death to Ticketmaster

Had a mentioned that we were planning on seeing Robin Williams this next weekend?

Emphasis on the "were". Past tense.

I have been looking forward to this for so long. The six of us (me, Stephen, Jen, Phil, Mike and Heather) got tickets 2+ months ago and paid a few nice shiny pennies for them.

Then I checked my account yesterday. There's 2 separate refunds from Ticketmaster. I freaked because I originally thought that the show had been cancelled. That would be horrible.

I was wrong. It was worse.

I called them, furious of course. Ticketmaster cancelled both orders for our tickets. 8 days before the event. Without warning, without questioning.

OK, so I know there's a 4 ticket per household rule. I purchased 4 tickets on one order and 2 on the other. But it let me complete both transactions. I even got the tickets in my hands. If they weren't going to let me do it, they shouldn't have let me process that second transaction. I wouldn't have been surprised to see an error message pop up "you have passed your ticket limit". That would have been inconvient, but no big deal. I would have called one of the other guys and barked at them to get the tickets NOW so that we could still go together. But to let me purchase and pick up the tickets and then cancel both orders just days before the event. Totally, utterly, indisputably ridiculous.

The gal that I talked with was even baffled because she knows this happens, but she couldn't understand why both orders were cancelled. They should have let us keep at least the 4 tickets. But there's nothing they can do to reverse it because both shows are sold out. As soon as our tickets became "available" they were gone within minutes. She apologized, but offered me absolutely nothing in return.

I kept my cool with her, but I was audibly crying by the time I got off the phone. It took me over an hour to calm down, and I still feel like jumping in front of a bus when I think about it.

So we aren't going. Death to Ticketmaster.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day one

So we're into our new house. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of help, but we made it. We painted and fixed some basic things Thursday and Friday. And Saturday we and a small army moved our stuff into our new home.

Catherine is doing OK with the transition so far, though it's hard to tell because she's sick again... this time with a pretty bad upper respiratory infection. She's fine of course, but that means that she's up frequently during the night because she's coughing.

Thanks again to all of our happy helpers. Seriously, we could not have done everything in such a short time without your help and generousity.

After moving yesterday, we had our concert today, and I have an exam tomorrow morning. Yikes.

Also, FYI: we don't have internet set up at our new place yet, but we will hopefully soon. So if you don't hear from me in a couple of days, that would be why.

And when we get back online I will hopefully have tons of pictures to share!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pinch me

I keep thinking that we're dreaming, but apparently we haven't woken up yet. We're still homeowners. Huh. I wonder if this dream is real? This picture might confirm it:

We got the keys on Tuesday. Last night we spent a *lot* of money at Home Depot, which from now on will likely be our home away from home. Top on our Christmas list (in case you want to or need to know) is gift cards to Home Depot. And now I need to go because I have a ton of work to do! But I really wanted to share this beautiful picture with you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Say hello to the home owners!

It happened! We finally signed closing papers on our house last night. We are officially home owners! After all of the problems that we had this week with it being delayed (we still won't get keys until next week), I still feel very grateful for how well the process came off. Our one problem- the loan officer. He dragged his feet. I don't even think it's really the bank. It's him. So, he won't be getting a referral. But everyone else that stepped in to assist us deserves a world of thanks.

And it all comes down to one person - Jaime, our realtor.

How do I love our realtor, let me count the ways:

1. Everyone that we loved came as a referral from her. We had a home insurance rep that did a house call. We had a title rep that helped us close papers on the house come into the office on 5pm on a Friday night... and he had the day off because he was *sick*. He came in as a favor to Jaime because he likes her and trusts her that much. We also now have recommendations for a roof guy and a different loan officer to help refinance when the time comes. Awesome.

2. She did everything in her power to help when things were dragging with the bank, including calling the bank every other day to get them rolling.

3. She was available nearly any time of the day when we were choosing which houses to see (Seriously - I remember some email conversations that went past midnight).

4. She was honest about everything that came into our path and did whatever was best for us, not anyone else.

5. When the delays with the bank made it so that we weren't able to get into our house this weekend, she agreed to let us into the house to make choices on paint, do measurements, and make an overall "to do" list. She's already sold us the house, but she's still taking time out for us.

6. Not only did she bring in wine and flowers for us last night for the closing as a "congratulations!", she is throwing us a house warming party. No kidding. She said pick the date and let me know who you want to invite and I'll take it from there. Holy cow!

7. She's simply a cool person. If we would have met her otherwise, she still would be someone that we would like to hang out with.

OK, enough boasting about our realtor, I know. I can't help it.

Over the next week we will be packing, cleaning, painting, planning, and moving. I'm making sure to take pictures during the whole process, so you'll definitely see more. Since it's finally official I can show you some pictures of our house!

Exterior, from the front

Kitchen - wow, a lot of wood panneling. It's not all staying.

Dining room with built in buffet.

Upstairs bathroom. No, we are *not* keeping the wallpaper!

Upstairs spare bedroom, which will be an office (for now), and that's Catherine's room across the hall. The closets are awesome - very deep, with additional storage cabinets above.
That's all for now... more to come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Super crappy news

It's a strange day. I had an exam a couple of hours ago, which is always preceded by 24 hours of straight stress and craziness. This time was no exception - probably a bit more stress and insanity than normal. And we've been waiting on news for what's going on with our house - we were supposed to hear by today. Heck, we were told that we would be closing by today. It wasn't until 2pm that our loan officer called Stephen to say "yeah, it's not going to happen today, maybe tomorrow or Friday".

The super crappy part about this news is that means that there is no possible way that we will have the keys by this weekend. This weekend was the *only* weekend that we had enough time to do some decent work. The cleaning, the painting, the fixing. And now an entire weekend is going to be wasted. The only other chance that we have to be able to do *any*thing before the end of the month (as that's when we need to be out) is next Saturday, and because of our freakin' dress rehearsal that morning we can't start anything until 2pm. That gives us like, what, 4 hours? 4 hours to move, I wasn't all together TOO stressed about, but now it's 4 hours to do everything. And that Sunday is totally out because our concert will take up the entire freakin' day.

Sorry for the bitchy whining. I'm just in a really really pissy mood right now. I'm stressed enough as it is, you know?

But now I get to go to work and be all happy-smiley for 5 hours. Oh joy, oh rapture.

PS -- happy birthday to my dear "baby" sister, Valerie Joy. I promise I have a more heartfelt and positive birthday message for you. But I'll have to do that later. Sorry, sis.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's so hard to say goodbye

The time is coming, and I know it. I've been working on it for months, trying to find another option. But nothing has worked.

It's time that I need to say goodbye to my two feline friends.

We made the decision long ago that toddlers and cats don't mix - especially our cats. Catherine gets way too excited seeing them, chasing them and is aggressive with them, never letting down. And they freak out. They began acting out, showing their stress and their unhappiness. It's too much stress for them, and they deserve better than that.

So we separated them, and the cats have found a peaceful home downstairs, where Catherine doesn't go. It works, but I can't give them the love and attention that they need. They deserve better.

But our new home doesn't have a place like that. The cats would be everywhere. Catherine will be everywhere. There's not a peaceful place for them. And they deserve better than that.

I've tried placing ads, asking around... I've been doing it for a long time. Now that we're moving... and soon... my time is up. I need to find a no-kill shelter that can take them and find a good home for them (thinking about a non no-kill shelter just depresses me).

If anyone does know of someone that would be willing to take my two beautiful cats (or even just one), please let me know. I would be able to handle this so much better if they can go straight to a good home.

On top of everything, I don't want to deal with the sadness and depression that this brings on.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The term "progress" means so much more now that we as a country have accomplished something so historic and... wonderful! Progress seems imminent now. I sense it around the corner. Maybe not right away - we have to give the guy some credit, especially when you take into consideration the mess that he is inheriting. But the possibilities of what he can accomplish, and what we can accomplish with him, is enormous. And I feel the warmth of hope around me.

President Obama. Mr. President. It sounds so good.

So there is progress in Washington, and I'm feeling progress at home, too. A big update on our country house: we should be signing the closing papers this week and getting the keys this Friday! I still use the word "should" because let's face it, we're dealing with banks here. I'm in the mind set of "I'll believe it when I see it". But I'm still being hopeful, and we have plans in place if (I mean when) we will be moving over the next couple of weekends. Prayers and good thoughts at this point are needed and would be appreciated. I don't know what to expect, and I'm dreading the news that it will be delayed.

I was feeling completely hopeless about everything that needs to be done with the packing and cleaning. I was already feeling stressed enough not having time for anything. But then my mom graced us with a few hours of her time over the weekend - and suddenly we have things done! I'm seeing lots of packed boxes and empty shelves. What a relief! Thanks again, mom.

So progress... it's on the way. I'm hoping that I will only have good news to share. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Impending hope

Did you think I was going to say impending doom? That's the saying of course. But today it's a different feeling. Today, the day that we, the people of the United States of America, put forth our ballots and elect a new president of our country. I do have mixed feelings, but not quite doom. Anxiousness, excitement, satisfaction, exasperation. What a day! But the feeling more than anything is hope.
But for me it's a cautious hope. I got my hopes up the last 2 elections, only to be devestated and shocked the next day with the results. Everything I'm hearing so far sounds like good news. But...
If the results are the way that I am hoping and praying, it is hopeful times. Still hard times, of course. And either way I feel sorry for the person inheriting the mess that is currently in the White House. The next president will enter the White House not knowing peace nor prosperity. But hope! What a great feeling! We have so much to worry about right now. Even thinking about hope for better things in the future is such a relief.
Did I vote? Heck yes! I was happy to see long lines - wow! Did you vote?
And one more thing I'll say about this crazy day - I am looking forward to something else that tomorrow will bring. No more campaign ads! I have never been so excited to see commercials for sugary snacks and male enhancements in my life!

Catherine and I getting ready this morning, proudly wearing the shirts that I made for us. Well, I was proud. She was upset that I was interupting her play time to take a picture. ;)

Cute thing about Catherine's shirt: if you asked her who's on her shirt, she would look down, point to her shirt and emphatically say "OBAMA!". And every once in while she would run around the room chanting in her little sing song voice "Obama, Obama, Obama!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

nostalgic drive

Driving by yourself has a way of making your mind wander. On my drive to Vancouver yesterday with only Catherine asleep in the backseat, I found myself admiring the colorful view. Trees line both sides of the freeway, a stream of gold dotted with green. That's one of the beauties of living in the Evergreen State - fall foliage will always include green.

I think to myself that I've always liked making the drive in the fall. Then I start to think about all of the times that I've made this drive. In the 11 years since I moved from Vancouver to Tacoma, I estimate that I've made this drive about 100 times. No, it must be more than that. 200 maybe? Well, a lot of times. Driving from school to visit my family, then once I graduated it was visiting my family from where I call home.

And driving in the fall... I think it most reminds me of driving home the first few times after I became a student at PLU. I was a freshman, uncertain in the world of where I was going or who I was. But I knew one thing for sure: my family loved me and they were always there for me to go home to. And they still are. Many, many changes have happened in the last 11 years. But it's still home, and there is still plenty of love to come home to.

This trip had a couple of special things in mind: seeing my mom's new house for the first time (which is so cute and perfect for her), and an early birthday dinner for my sister (she's turning 25 next Wednesday - holy cow!). The trip was full of reminders of the past, and feelings of the future. Here's some great pictures of the trip:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or treat!

Halloween is finally fun again! We took Toby and Catherine trick or treating for the first time! Jen was able to find little China outfits for each of them and they were so cute.

I wasn't going to dress up, but I decided it would be fun and put together an old lady outfit - complete with wig, glasses, and a truly old lady dress. When I walked in to Theresa's to pick up Catherine, Stephen didn't recognize me at first. Even cuter was Catherine - she didn't even take notice of me coming in the room. I said hi to her and she looked at me like "who is this weird lady and why does she sound like my mommy?". I took off my glasses and she uncertainly said "mommy?". Then I took off the wig, and she ran over to me and gave me a big hug. I don't think I really frightened her, but I think I really confused her. It was really cute.

We took part in the trick or treating event that the Proctor District in North Tacoma does every year. All of the businesses shut down for two hours, and the kids can come trick or treating door to door there. They shut down the whole streets and everything, it's amazing. It's only about a mile from Jen and Phil's house so we walked there.

Catherine was pretty shy about saying "trick or treat", but she caught on really quickly that if she held up her bucket she would be given something. So I would encourage "say trick or treat Catherine" and she would just hold up her bucket. But she still said "thank you" when someone gave her a treat. And even though she doesn't get candy at all, she somehow knew that the stuff in the bucket was really good. She kept putting down her bucket in the middle of everyone walking to try to eat some of the candy. But she would take a bite with the wrapper then make a funny face and put it back in the bucket. And every time we would say "yeah, that doesn't taste very good, huh?". Silly girl.


Catherine and I trick or treating. If you don't see me in the picture, I'm the old lady on the right. ;)
Toby in his uber-cute Chinese costume

Catherine in her equally uber-cute costume.

The kids strapped in the stroller on our way there.

Jen, in her inifite motherhood wisdom, blowing bubbles to keep the kids entertained on the walk there.