Monthly Archives: January 2007

Midweek Already?

I guess I haven’t been real talkative this week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about, either.

Last weekend was busy: After doing some work around the house and some shopping, takaza and I headed down to Naperville for emrldgirrl‘s birthday party. Much fun was had by all! I made a couple of roasted chickens with potatoes (arr num num num!), which were quickly demolished, along with the ton of other food that was there (see what happens when you suggest a potluck to this lot?). Sunday was the Midwest FurFest kickoff meeting, with a little bit of recap from the past year thrown in (I just cheated and summarized my Registration report). Afterwards, we had some nice pizza-and-socializing, and ideas for guests of honor and themes were kicked around.

Since the weekend we’ve been working a bit on the house. Of the four blinds that I ordered from JC Penney’s, I mismeasured/misordered two of them. One was easy to take back to the Penney’s at Gurnee Mills, the other we’re not quite sure about. It annoys the heck out of me that the window openings are 70.5 inches wide but the only off-the-shelf blinds you can get are 72″ wide. If I can locate our Dremel set, I intend to try to cut down the one for the guest bedroom. We hung the blind in the stairwell and it looks really nice – I’m happy with the faux-wood horizontal blinds. I have re-ordered the shoji panels for the kitchen (at the proper length this time), and the blind in Dan’s office is going to have to wait until the window is repaired. We still need to figure out what to do with the living room window, though.

Tonight I need to hit the grocery store, and I’ll probably stop by Homo Depot and see what blinds they have in stock that can be cut down. Projects for tonight include clearing away the boxes in the master bedroom, and possibly getting the bookcases up in the guest bedroom. We’re having a few folks over this weekend, and I’m really hoping we can get the place 100% into shape by then. We’ll see what happens, I guess.

TGIF, Baby!

Friday’s here, and it’s just when I needed it! It hasn’t been too bad of a week, but I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting more stuff done.

On Wednesday, I picked up takaza from work. The blinds we ordered (for the stairwell, kitchen, guest bedroom, and Dan’s office) had come in and were too heavy and bulky to carry on the train. We loaded everything up and headed over to Mitsuwa Marketplace. See, we found our old rice cooker in all of the boxes and Dan made some rice with it. Which burned, the way it always had when we used it before. This is just completely unacceptable, particularly since we make rice two or three times a week. Having envied linnaeus his nifty rice cooker, we went to Mitsuwa and picked up a Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker We even double-checked the price on Amazon, which I didn’t realize offers a handy mobile interface. Surprisingly, Mitsuwa beat Amazon’s price by a good $50.00, so we bought it on the spot, along with a good supply of sushi rice. Afterwards we wandered up to Wauconda and found a lovely coffee shop there, Honey Hill Coffee Company. The guy who owns the place is very nice, makes a good cappuccino, and they sell Intelligentsia coffee beans at a reasonable price. Oh, and they’re open until 7 PM most nights. See ya Cafe’ Barista, I’ve got a new local favorite!

Last night, posicat stopped by after work and he, Dan and I caravanned up to our storage unit in Lake Villa (though we were delayed due to a train accident). We stumbled a bit on the icy pavement, but we managed to empty almost all of our stuff out of the storage unit; there’s just an office chair, a bicycle, and car ramps to be removed (both Elements and Posi’s van were stuffed, so they just wouldn’t fit). I’ll be going by tonight right after work and grabbing those last few items. Once we offloaded everything into the garage, Posi and I went out and, um, donated a few items we didn’t need anymore to the dumpster (Mom, remember that TV Dad got from a co-worker in Greenville? It’s finally gone!). We got to Charcoal Delight five minutes after it closed at 9 PM, so instead we detoured around to Long John Silver’s and got Dan the chicken planks that he loves. While we were gone, he was nice enough to move most of the stuff in from the garage and pull my car in off the street and into the garage. I love my husband! We ate at around 10 PM (ugh), and finally got to sleep sometime around 11. I’m dragging just a wee bit today because of that.

As for the weekend: I hope to put up some blinds tomorrow morning, then do a bit of shopping and prep for a party we’re attending. It’s a potluck, and I’m thinking making a couple of roast chickens. Sunday brings the Midwest FurFest post-mortem/staff meeting/what-have-you. I’ll probably try to finish putting up blinds on Sunday morning before that. We’re slowly getting the place together; Dan’s desk is now in place in his office (though it’s still frigid down there, and will be until the week of February 5, when they come to fix the window). Which reminds me, we need to find a way to seal up that window temporarily. I’m thinking a few more screws and some silicone sealant will do it. We still need drapes or blinds for the living room window, and to decide if we’re going to drop the large chunk of change necessary to get a true blackout shade for the master bedroom. Wow, I’d forgotten how expensive fun home ownership can be (even if you’re only renting).

Unearthing the Kitchen, Suburban Explorations, and Entertaining

As expected, the majority of the weekend was spent unpacking, cleaning, and sorting.

Saturday I worked on the kitchen for a bit, then takaza and I went out to run some errands. First we stopped by Cafe’ Barista in Lake Villa, one of the sources of Intelligentsia coffee beans in the area. I give them two stars out of five; Dan’s hot chocolate was watery, and my cappuccino was tepid and had too much milk. That, combined with the fact that they’re charging $13.99/pound for my favorite kind of beans, leads me to think that I’ll be seeking out other places to buy coffee beans. The next place I’ll try will be Honey Hill Coffee Company in Wauconda – we’ll see how that goes.

We then headed south to Garden Fresh Market – not the one in Round Lake Beach, which doesn’t open until Wednesday, but the one in Mundelein (which is scheduled to move to the bigger Cub Foods space next door next month). Before we went there, though, we were distracted by the shop next door, which had a large sign that read “Sausage and Deli”. Well, that sounded promising, so in we went.

It’s a very strange thing to walk out of the middle of suburbia into unfamiliar surroundings. I realized as I looked over the items on the shelves that I couldn’t read a dang one of the labels – they were all in Cyrillic! After walking around a bit, we realized that we may have been the only people in the shop speaking English. As we waited at the deli case to order (they have Irish bacon! woo!), the woman behind the counter repeated something we didn’t understand a few times, as people glanced at us, and eventually motioned us over to speak with her. She had been saying “Next!” in Russian. Once we established that we were ignorant monolingual Americans, though, we got things sorted out. After that adventure, we went nuts in Garden Fresh Market, picking up a lot of staples and some nice produce. I can see why they’re moving – their current store is tiny and since it was a busy Saturday afternoon, the place was packed!

Just as we got home, we passed Dan’s mom, who was calling us for directions. She helped us put away a few more things, then we relaxed while Dan made his wonderful homemade macaroni and cheese. It was an enjoyable evening all around.

Sunday was even crazier. I was bound and determined to finish off the kitchen, and got it about 95% complete when I had to run to Target for a few things…which turned into a trip to Home Depot as well, then a return to Target for a few things I forgot. While I was gone, Dan did a great job of hooking up the stereo (which is now tied into the TV, the TiVo, a DVD player, the PS2, and the Airport Express. The Slingbox is the last thing to be added, but that will take some configuring). Thank heavens I got him a Harmony all-in-one remote to control all this stuff.

We made a mad dash to get everything presentable by 4 PM (we were close – it took until 4:30), when roho and genet arrived, fortuitously arriving at 4:30 πŸ™‚ I got to use and abuse our new kitchen, and I was very happy. We had a lovely dinner consisting of two bottles of wine (a North Carolina sweet red as an apertif, and an Australian merlot), homemade buttermilk bread, herb-crusted roast pork, steamed broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes a la Buca di Beppo’s. For dessert, we had a chocolate-orange torte that Dan’s mom brought over from Le Vichyssoise. In between cooking and chatting, we watched both playoff games and had a good time cheering for the Bears. We had a great time, and I can’t wait to have friends over again so I can show off cook for them πŸ™‚

And here we are back to the work week. Tonight, I think we’re going to take it easy and enjoy the fruits of our weekend labors – perhaps enjoy some leftovers for dinner, and have a nice lazy evening.

Our Bedroom Smells Like Pine

Well, it does!

I’m getting frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m getting as much done as I’d like in unpacking everything. I’ve done this often enough – 31 times, to be exact. To update that list, add: 2003 – N. Troy, Chicago, IL and 2007 – Holiday Ln., Hainesville, IL. Unpacking and getting everything sorted is always frustrating, and this time it’s a bit worse since some of this stuff hasn’t seen the light of day in three and a half years. There’s a lot of “that should be here somewhere…but where?” going on.

Last night I alternated between doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, bringing up a few more kitchen boxes, fixing the Airport Express (took far longer than it should, and it’s still not quite right), and helping Dan put together our new Hemnes dresser, which explains the pine scent in our bedroom. It took longer than we expected, and we finished up at about 11:30 PM. We still need to fully tack the fiberboard onto the back, but that seemed a bit much hammering to do at that time of night. I mean, I’d like to meet our neighbors at some point, but preferably not while they’re shouting at me to keep the damn noise down.

I’d like to think that once we get a bit more of the kitchen straightened out the rest of the house will fall into place; with the TV unit in place, the living room is close to becoming better organized. That just leaves the upstairs bedrooms, which can be addressed next week, and Dan’s office, which is going to have to wait until the landlord fixes the window (something that was set into motion yesterday – yay!). With luck, maybe by the end of this weekend we can get the main level put away, cleaned, and presentable.

Bowing at the Swedish Altar

Slowly but surely, we’re assembling our house into a home. takaza worked half-days on Monday and Tuesday and put a little more work into unpacking; the guest bedroom is close to being usable, except for the lack of any window coverings, of course. That helps because it gives us a place to put stuff – the stuff we’re not sure why we’re carrying around, but it’s gotta go somewhere.

Yesterday Ameritech SBC AT&T hooked us up, so now we have not only local phone service, but zippy-fast DSL as well! Unfortunately, after checking around it appears that the phone plates in the walls around the house are just that – plates, no wiring behind them. Wha?! This means we have one and only one active phone outlet, and that is in the kitchen. It looks like we’ll be investing in a cordless phone jack so our TiVo can call out – the only reason we have a phone line, really, since we don’t plan to give out the number. That what our cell phones are for πŸ™‚ And speaking of the TiVo, it now works as well since the DirecTV installer came out and hooked that all up (never mind the stupidity involved in getting that done, something that required some new wiring, multiple trips, and lots of whinging on the installer’s part). It all works now, which is all I care about.

Last night after work, Dan suggested we go ahead and hit Ikea, since there’s a bunch of stuff that we needed. And so off we went to the Great Swedish Consumerism Temple, and we spent a heck of a lot more than I expected. On the bright side, we now have a light for the guest room nightstand, a replacement accent light to go over the kitchen sink (the replace “the pimple” contractor-grade light that’s there), a low cabinet for our TV and A/V equipment, a new dresser (we left our old one that was falling apart in the alley and it somehow went away), a few other knickknacks. We looked at some of the blinds and curtains there, but couldn’t find anything like what we were looking for, or that we couldn’t get cheaper elsewhere. Oh, and the Ikea Cafeteria? Maybe it’s good for breakfast, but for dinner? Bleah. Not recommended.

For tonight, we have our work cut out for us, as Dan is going to assemble the entertainment cabinet, I’m going to work on de-boxing more of the kitchen, and then we’re going to both work on assembling the dresser. We’ll continue our marathon of laundry, attempting to wash every blanket we own, and somewhere in there I’ll need to cook dinner. On the bright side, I’ll have more time to do all of this, since my commute has gone from 90+ minutes each day down to 10 minutes. The free extra time is a bit of a shock, and I’m still adjusting to it (“I’ve been home for an hour, we should be cooking dinner! Oh, wait, it’s only 5:30…”)

And one more bit of good news: I wrote to the kind folks at Intelligentsia Coffee, and they supplied me with a list of places in Lake County that I can buy my coffee beans. Life is good.

Well, that was fun

So, we were faced with a dilemma: Plan out our move, give a week’s notice, and go about things in a scheduled, orderly fashion, or move into our new place in a rush, with only one day’s notice to drum up assistance, and get as much done as we possibly can in one weekend. Because we are insane, we opted for the latter πŸ™‚

On Saturday, we met up with feren and lady_curmudgeon at our new place at around 10-ish. He had picked up a trailer (and therein lies quite a tale in itself) and I joined them in a ride back into Chicago. Takaza meanwhile was joined by posicat, tybis, roho, genet, colliedoc, nymphara, and Scott, and he led that contingent to our storage unit, where he had a rental truck waiting. Feren, linnaeus, and I emptied out the last of our furniture and 99.5% of our possessions from Paul’s place (there’s always those last few things you forget!), grabbed some lunch, then headed back up to Hainesville. Meanwhile, Dan and crew loaded about 75% of the storage locker into the truck, and met us back in Hainesville. There followed a massive unloading which took about three hours, slowed by the fact that both Feren and I had done bad things to our backs and Roho and Genet were still getting over the Creeping Martian Death Plague. Bless Tybis, Posi, and Scott – they shouldered the brunt of the heavy lifting and made sure we got everything into the house.

After we got the boxes put into the proper rooms, things kind of dissolved into a nice party. Dan whipped up some of the tasty garlic, mushroom, and butter mixture that wildmouse used to make (yum!), while Straif busied himself in our barely-unpacked kitchen making homemade pizza for everyone. Dinner was delicious, the booze did flow, Apples to Apples was played, and everyone had a great time. We got to bed at around 1 AM.

Today, Best Buy delivered our new washer, dryer, and (ginormous!) TV set. Everything was hooked up and tested, and! Posicat was kind enough to lend us the use of his van and his back (’cause my back is most certainly shot!) and we got the last of the “urgent” stuff out of the storage unit, mostly all of the kitchen boxes. We seem to have enough equipment for two kitchens, the result of slowly upgrading our kitchen over the years. This means there’s a lot of stuff that we need to get rid of one way or another. More on that later, I reckon. Anyway, we got the sofa and the boxes to our place and stowed, then Dan and I dashed out to Sam’s Club, Home Depot, and Jewel to stock the place with all of the things that a house should be stocked with. $400 later and we’re close to having all the stuff we need, though we haven’t yet touched important things like window treatments (the blanket tacked over the master bedroom window notwithstanding).

So where do we stand now? Well, we’ve got a hell of a lot of boxes to unpack. Dan’s office downstairs needs a lot of work, and we discovered today that the previous tenant (who, it turns out, was foreclosed on and they pretty much trashed the place, which explains all of the new carpet and paint) broke out the window and fixed it by screwing Plexiglas over it – poorly. So there’s quite a breeze coming in there, which explain why it’s freakin’ frigid down there. Our landlord (who bought the place from the bank and refurbished it) was unaware of this and will be taking a look at it tomorrow. There’s a few other small issues, but nothing insurmountable.

Thanks so much to all of our friends who helped us out yesterday – you’re all amazing, and we feel very lucky to have folks like you around us. To those who offered to help but couldn’t make it this weekend, thanks anyway, and maybe we’ll need you next time (may it be a long time coming!). And finally, many, many thinks to Linnaeus, who put up with us as tenants in his condo for over two years – your patience, generosity, and friendship were and are very much appreciated, and if there ever was a time there when it seemed that this wasn’t so, I am very sorry.

And us? We’re exhausted. My back is a mess, and Dan isn’t doing too much better. But even so, we’re glad to have our own place again. It’s going to take a lot of work to get this place arranged to our satisfaction, but it’ll be worth it. We’ll announce our housewarming soon, I’m sure πŸ™‚

Consumer Whoredom!

Well, I said we were gonna do it and we did it – we now have a shiny new washer, a shiny new dryer, and a shiny new TV. Yeah, High Definition would have been nice, but considering that the cost of HD only starts with the TV – then you have the extra fees for the satellite, the tuner, the extra-spiffy DVR – we decided we can wait a little while. The best part? They all get delivered and installed on Sunday! (barring any snowstorms, of course)

Quick Hits

Enough with all the seriousness and real estate and hand-wringing and the oy!

* Hey Feren – it turns out that you can do something else with all that gin around your house.

* Are you a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan? If so, I highly recommend you read Wil Wheaton’s recaps/review the series pilot, “Encounter at Farfetched Farpoint” (Part 1, Part 2). Besides being quite amusing (Wil feels that Wesley Crush was an annoying twit, too), the behind-the-scenes insights he adds are quite interesting and he’s a pretty good writer too. Oh, and fair warning: Wil uses some Bad Words in his writing.

* Oh yeah, Apple announced some phone or something. Unfortunately, since it’s Cingular-only, the iPhone is officially Dead To Me.

* Eclipsed in all the hoo-hah yesterday, Tivo TiVo announced that they’re going to start testing their software on Comcast’s existing DVR hardware this spring. Perhaps at some later date Comcast will not suck. Or at the very least, suck somewhat less. EDIT: Engadget scores some pics of the new TiVo software in action.

And now to get some work done…

House-Hunting, and The Product of Compromises

So, as I alluded to in a prior entry, takaza and I are on the hunt for new digs. Once New Year’s was past and we could focus more on finding something, we really started looking seriously. And what we’re finding is…well, it’s somewhat disheartening. A lot of it is just learning the realities of real estate in the Chicago suburbs.

Our original plan was to rent a house in the Wheeling/Buffalo Grove area. That would be reasonably halfway between employers for both of us (he works in Mount Prospect, I work in Round Lake). Unfortunately, in our price range in Wheeling and Buffalo Grove, a house is out of the question and the available townhouses are…underwhelming. Apartments are out of the question – neither of us wants an apartment. There’s an unfortunate gap between Buffalo Grove and the affordable areas of Mundelein (well, not a physical gap, more of an economic one – that would include Long Grove and Hawthorn Woods, two very affluent towns). Mundelein and points north starts to get into difficult commuting for Dan, until Dan suggested that maybe commuting by train would be a good option. The Prospect Heights train station is a mile and a half from his office – walkable in good weather, and in poor weather he can either take a bus most of the way there or hitch a ride from a co-worker (plus, if he ever transfers to his company’s HQ, they’re right on the Metra line). So, this opened up everything on the North Central Metra line, including Antioch, Lake Villa, Grayslake, and Vernon Hills.

A little more searching, and now we’ve narrowed things down to two townhouses in Hainesville, just west of Grayslake, and about five minutes from the Grayslake train station. The two units have an identical floor plan, but here’s the dilemma before us:
Property 1 – Nice upgrades, including some nicely-painted walls (not beige! yay!) and a Pergo “hardwood” floor in the living room/dining room. BUT…the owners want $3,000 deposit, in addition to first and last months of rent.
Property 2 – In the building next to Property 1. Completely beige, but newly repainted and recarpeted. $100/month less than Property 1. Possible to put in DirecTV, which is probably not possible at Property 1. A more reasonable security deposit, as well. BUT…the unit has no refrigerator, washer, or dryer (Property 1 has all these).

We have a call in to the Property 1 owners pointing out to them that their security deposit is way out of line, and would the consider coming down on it. They’re on vacation in Colorado, though, and we don’t know when we might hear back from them. In the meantime, we’ve put in applications for Property 2 and we’re told that it will take about a week to process. We figured that should the Property 1 owners decide to come down on the security deposit, we can always walk away during the course of the application processing period. As for the appliances, well…Best Buy is offering 18 months same as cash. And that way we actually walk away with our own appliances (and get better-quality appliances out of the deal!).

As for the units themselves: they’re cozy. The floor plan is three levels, with the top floor being the master bedroom and the guest bedroom, with a shared bathroom between them (the bathroom has both a shower and a tub/shower combo). The middle floor has a nice large kitchen and pantry as well as the combined living room/dining room. The ground floor is a two-car garage (with room for storage) and a small (10 x 10) office. After talking it over, Dan and I realized that the 2,050 square feet we had in North Carolina was far, far too much for us. Looking at how we live, this is a much better fit. And it’s not like we’re sacrificing that much space – it’s a 1,500 square foot unit.

So now we’re waiting to hear back from representatives from both properties to see what kind of timeline we’re looking at. We hope to move smaller stuff out of our storage space during the week, and if all goes well, we could be moving the furniture from the storage unit as early as the weekend of January 20th. Don’t mark anything on your calendars just yet, though – there’s still several uncertainties to be resolved. I’ll post more when we have something a bit more certain!

The Great Holiday Summary

So, it’s been quiet here lately, and I hope to post a bit more than I have over the last few months.

Things are going OK at work, though the project I’m on is the kind of thing that seems easy at first but then grows in complexity and volume. I swear, someone at $employer must have a military background, because in order to get anything done you must first fill out form DR-CQ-271, followed by DR-CQ-272, but in order to that you need to fill our form DR-CQ-877, 878, 879, and 890 (all of which require the signatures of at least three separate people). I find it truly astonishing that anything gets done here – it’s like work gets done in spite of the paperwork. That having been said, though, it’s not a bad gig overall. Still no idea when (or if) I’ll be hired on full time, but in the meantime, the pay is good.

When I get paid, that is. There was a bit of a screwaround a few weeks back when we found out that my contracting service sent my paycheck to the wrong address. That was followed by them having to FedEx my next two paychecks to me, plus my direct deposit was delayed by someone in their office mis-transcribing my checking account number. Theoretically, my next paycheck will be deposited tomorrow, if it isn’t delayed by the fact that I had to bug my manager this morning to approve my timesheet from two weeks ago. And this will be only half a paycheck, since I didn’t work last week due to the annual winter shutdown. Even with all that, though, our cash flow is good and bills will be paid on time.

Before I go any further I wanted to mention Christmas. Normally we would have been with my parents and my sister’s family down in South Carolina for the holiday. Unfortunately, since I was uncertain of my time off until right before Christmas (they may have called me in over shutdown) and Dan didn’t have any vacation to spare, we had to pass on the trip south this year. Instead, we spent Christmas Eve with

‘s mom, and Christmas Day with 

and

.

The Christmas Eve dinner is especially worthy of note. We took Dan’s mom to Le Vichyssoise, a noted French restaurant just outside of McHenry. She had worked at Le Vichysoisse for twenty years as a bartender before quitting six years ago to focus on nursing full-time. Fortunately, the parting was amicable, which afforded us the opportunity for an outstanding meal. Dan’s mom and I each had a couple of glasses of wine, an appetizer (my roasted-tomato-and-onion tart was excellent), and soup (my vichyssoise was also quite tasty). Following a tasty Poire William sorbet, compliments of the chef, they brought our entrees: steak au poivre for Dan, beef tourenados for me, and a scallops dish for Dan’s mom. We capped the meal with a collection of sumptuous desserts, including the “Floating Island”, a meringue floating in a vanilla crΓ¨me Anglais drizzled with caramel, and I had a cappuccino.

I knew going in that this was not going to be a cheap meal; this is a highly-rated restaurant, the prices reflect that. Then they brought the bill: $365.00. I probably blanched a bit, but to my credit Dan said he didn’t notice anything was wrong. I just calmly put my debit card back into my wallet and pulled out the credit card. When the receipt was brought, I swallowed hard and added a 15% tip (alas, the service waned a bit towards the end of the meal), bringing the total to $415. I was somewhat shell-shocked as we drove to Dan’s brother’s house to visit, and I’m sure the quiet hand signals between Dan and I as Dan found out how much the meal cost were probably quite amusing to see.

As we chatted with Dan’s brother’s family, Dan got a phone call (he was the one who had made the reservation). Apparently, they had double-charged us for the meal, and the final bill was only $183. Whew. That was more like I was expecting. I was chided by Dan’s mom for not speaking up, but hey – that’s not how I am. (“Oh my GOD! Look how expensive this meal is! This can’t be right!” Yeah, that’s real smooth). And yeah, pride probably played into it a bit too. Either way, though, I’m just glad that that things worked out. We left Dan’s brother’s late and headed up to Antioch, where we found Roho and Genet, remarkably, still awake. We chatted a bit then all headed off to bed.

Christmas Day was wonderfully lazy. We had a tasty breakfast, then watched some TV, chatted, and poked at our computers a bit. Genet and Roho had started a turkey brining the night before (yay for Alton Brown!) and I was able to help provide a few tips on cooking it. Genet did most of the cooking, but all of us helped out a little bit. The finished dinner was absolutely delicious, and it was really nice to spend the time with friends.

The following week was spent putting together the New Year’s Eve party, which I already mentioned. That pretty much brings me up to date, except to mention what’s going on right now. Dan and I are hot on the trail of a new place to live, with the goal of moving by the end of the month. We have a couple of places lined up to look at on Saturday, in Wauconda, Hainesville (Grayslake), and Antioch, and will probably be looking at more places on Sunday. The idea is that Dan could take the train in to work from Hainesville or Antioch, or have about a 40-minute drive from Wauconda. I feel kind of bad, because all of these put me at most 20 minutes from my work (and about 5 minutes in the case of Hainesville). That’s the reality of what we can afford, though – things in our price range further south are either apartments (not what we want) or…unacceptable. Our hope is that we can find a place to live for a year and then, once we have a little more savings and better financial security, buy a place next year.

Oh, and a note to locals: yeah, expect that call for help moving something in the next few weeks πŸ™‚ We’ll give as much notice as we possibly can. And now, back to work!