Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter cuteness

We now break from home repair updates to show you the CUTEST baby ever.

Yes, my nephew Justus had his Easter pics made, and isn't he so precious? He's four months old now. I think he's a perfect hybrid of my bro & SIL. He has his cleft chin and her eyes. Okay, here's just a couple more.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Twenty-two feet

So the drywall guy has finished blowing the 80s "blobs" onto the walls once covered with wallpaper. I'm not crazy about the 80s blob texture, but our realtor suggested we have the same wall texture throughout the house, so we continued the stuff already established.

Now on to paint. I originally selected a lovely color at Lowe's called "Cincinnatian Hotel Hannaford," which is basically a light khaki. Until I went back to Lowe's to price it and discovered 5 gallons cost $110. After that, I priced paint all over town. So if you're thinking about painting a room in your house, get out a pen and paper because I'm about to share my notes:
  • Lowe's is the most expensive around. That color I liked was their best quality paint, but even going "cheap" there still cost $94 for 5 gallons.
  • Next up was Home Depot. Their cheapest paint was $75 for 5 gallons.
  • I also checked Sears but was scared off, not only that they had no 5-gallon buckets, but also that nobody, I mean nobody, was around. I don't think they've used that paint-mixer machine in like, 15 years, judging by its looks.
  • And finally, a winner: Wal-Mart. A 5-gallon bucket was $55 dollars, my friends. Sure, it's their lowest-quality paint, but we're moving, right?
So I chose a new color at Wal-Mart called Cottonwood. Again, just a light khaki.

Next up, how much paint to buy? Here's a handy calculator to use. This is much easier than my math, which got me the crazy number of 94 gallons. Uh, no. More like 9 gallons and 2 quarts. Thank God for the Internet.

To estimate the amount of paint to buy, I had to measure the walls throughout my house. In the process, I finally learned the height of our vaulted ceiling in our living room.

There are vaulted ceilings, and then there are vaulted ceilings on drugs. And the latter is ours.

It has major heating/cooling struggles. It has cobwebs in its corners that I can't clean, even with a handy expandable stick from Home Depot. Mustang never used the overhead light in fear that it'd burn out without a solution to change it, until I found the handy stick.

So, officially: It's 22 feet tall, kids. Average ceiling height is 8 feet. So yes, it's almost 3 stories tall. We're still wondering how to paint up that high. Existing ladder VS. renting scaffolding VS. hiring labor just for that room.

Anyway, I better go prime. My goal is to finish priming the bathrooms today, and paint the light fixture areas so we can install our new lights and have real light in there again, instead of using lamps. Lamps in bathrooms=not good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Found a realtor - wait, a Realtor®

Sweet! Meeting with realtor #2 last night surpassed all expectations.

First, though, I have to go on a tangent...how in the world did realtors get that word to be officially capitalized & trademarked? Seriously, spell check wants me to capitalize it. Upon consulting Merriam-Webster, it is indeed capitalized and trademarked, as in a brand name. A Realtor® is a real estate agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors, like Band-Aid is a adhesive bandage manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. I wish I could consult my AP style book to see what it says about realtor, but it's packed. Dang.

That is just so weird to me. How did the realtors go about this? Is there some application or petition process? Who thought of trademarking your profession? What if a bunch of teachers decided to be called Teachers®?

My friend C used to joke about how entries in the AP style book were decided. She wondered if there was some committee or just this crusty old man who decided that Web site is spelled that way instead of website, and once "they" decided, we just all take it at face value.

Anyway, back to the real reason for the post - we LOVED realtor #2. He was detailed, friendly, and has a much more aggressive advertising plan than realtor #1's "we print out fliers" plan. He's even doing targeted marketing: for empty nesters, listings in three real estate booklets at the grocery store, and for first-time buyers, listings on seven Web sites. So of course, as a PR person, I was in love. And, best of all, he estimated our house will sell $4,000 above market value. That's more like it.

BUT, I need some advice, readers: Tomorrow we have a previously-scheduled appointment with realtor #3. Should we keep it, just to see what she says? Or should we cancel, since I can't imagine liking her more?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My temp job: operation sell

Today marks a new trend: posts not created during work break. That's right, kids, I'm at home now. I resigned from my job last Friday.

Monday, as I was loading laundry, a little voice in my head said, "I'm a housewife." NO!! NO! It's not true! I must view this new phase of my life as a temporary job. My job is to sell this house. Remodel, clean, pack and stage. We must sell it by June 1. Time is ticking.

I must tell myself the above mantra everyday or I will wind up sleeping until 9 and spending the day watching Rachel Ray, Golden Girls, Food Network, etc.

I will allow myself to watch some pre-approved HGTV - "Designed to Sell" and "Get it Sold" because it's homework/research. I will also watch an episode of The Electric Company a day because we've had it from Netflix forever and Mustang's bugging me to return it.

But seriously, I have already been productive. The drywall man came yesterday to start fixing the walls formerly covered with navy, mauve and salmon wallpaper. I should have photographed the former wallpaper as a documentary.

Tonight, realtor #2 is coming over. Realtor #1 was vetoed because, although nice, they seemed out of our league, as in they were slumming with us 2-bedroom-homeowners. I don't know real estate and I've heard the market is bad, but they estimated our house will sell for about $5,000 below its market value. Ouch. After they left, I looked at their website. "Specializing in North OKC and Nichols Hills." All houses listed on their site were above $200,000. Alrighty then. Perhaps we were out of their comfort zone. Let's hope that's why they gave us such a low quote.

Anyway, my goal is to blog more often the adventures of selling, and to take more photos. I wonder if any of that dead wallpaper is still around...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lighter (and wackier) news story

I'll miss many things about Oklahoma, but the Crosstown is not one of them.


Stretch of I-40 Crosstown Closed

Westbound Interstate 40 in downtown Oklahoma City is narrowed this afternoon while state Transportation Department crews make repairs to the highway.

Only the north lane of I-40 is open between I-235 and Classen Boulevard. The left lane of southbound Classen under I-40 has also been closed.

A hole measuring 4 feet wide by 18 inches deep is in the center lane of the overpass near Classen, said Brenda Perry, Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Repairs could last through today's rush-hour drive, Perry said.

Sad news story

This really breaks my heart.

1 in 4 teen girls has sexually transmitted disease

How is this happening? Girls think birth control is all they need? Blurred boundaries - a la Monica Lewinsky?

Ugh, times like these make me think how freakin' hard it would be if I were a mom.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cue the theme to Dallas

Because we're moving there.

Big news, kids, we're moving to Texas. Mustang got a fellowship position at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. Yes, this is confusing because Baylor University is in Waco. Even more confusing is that Baylor Medical School is in Houston. Whatever.

Anyway, Baylor Med Center is often named one the nation's best hospitals in U.S. News & World Report. And Mustang competed against lots of other doctors to get the one fellowship position. So I am very proud of him, but not at all surprised. =)

What will Mustang be studying? Boobs. Yes, he's going to study Breast Imaging....not only diagnosing mammograms, but also doing biopsies. Apparently this is a field within radiology that's in high demand and not enough doctors do it. After Mustangs' own mama having breast cancer last year (which she's all good now), he noticed this void and decided to help.

With the aging Baby Boomer population, plus women being more proactive with breast cancer than ever, I think Mustang has made a good career choice. And he'll never have to work on weekends again. Yay!

One note of clarification: I've had several women (squished & scorned by the mammography, I assume) ask if Mustang will be the one who'd actually do the mammography - as in, do the squishing. No. So don't hate on him, ladies. The squishers are techs. Doctors determine the results from the squish.

Anyway....I'm just realizing this post has taken a strange turn from "big news: we're moving" to squishing. I better end this thing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oklahoma Opera (no, not Oklahoma Opry)

Who knew? There is opera in Oklahoma. Well, it's in Tulsa. Go figure. Sometimes I think Tulsans who brag their city is better than OKC may really be onto something...

Anyway, Mustang & I attended our first opera yesterday. It was mere coincidence - I happened to be reading the Tulsa World for work on President's Day and noticed this lovely full-page, full-color ad on a section back. It had the image of an Indian woman's hand, decorated with mehndi and wearing lots of bangles while she's holding a flower. Hmm. Interesting.

The star role is played by Oklahoma native Sarah Coburn in her home-state professional premiere. And yes, that Coburn, as in daughter of Senator Dr. Tom Coburn. Huh, Tom Coburn, the self-proclaimed "pork buster" and seemingly no-nonsense kind of guy, has a 30-year-old daughter who's an opera singer. Very interesting.

The opera was Lakmé, a French opera set in British Colonial India (confusing, isn't that?). Lakmé is the daughter of a Hindu priest and falls in love with a British soldier. The opera was written in 1883 and first performed in the U.S. in 1886. And then first performed in Oklahoma 201 years later. =)

The cool thing about the opera itself, aside from it being set in India, was that it featured a very famous piece of music, "The Flower Duet," known in today's pop culture as "the British Airways theme song." So it was very fun to recognize a song.

Other interesting observations:
  1. We sang the national anthem before the opera started (yeah, the whole crowd standing & singing, just like before a football game).
  2. There were two intermissions, not just one.
  3. They served a full bar (which seemed odd to me at a Sunday 2:30 p.m. matinée). But it was indeed popular.
  4. Much to Mustang's delight, they also served M&Ms at another stand.
  5. There are no microphones. So it's pretty darn amazing to realize the strength of the singers' voices are entirely on their own.
  6. Considering the opera was set in India, the roles were cast with no regard to race, and no performers wore makeup to look otherwise. So people of all colors (including Caucasians & African-Americans) were playing Indians. In addition to the couple of native Indian performers.
  7. There were more young people attending than I expected. In fact, a nice couple about our age sat next to us, and they were season ticket holders.
  8. Still, the audience was largely silver-haired and VERY heavily perfumed. No wonder the Tulsa Opera's website recommends to "use perfume with moderation."
  9. At the end of the performance, they announced Senator Coburn was indeed there with the family, watching Sarah (who was very good, BTW). The bummer was, in addition to this being Sarah's debut performance in Oklahoma, I guess it was also the final performance for the conductor. So a lot of hoopla was geared to the conductor's farewell. Which, in my mind, I felt like poor Sarah got her spotlight stolen while Mom & Dad were there (no pun intended).
Overall, it was OK. I wouldn't say the opera is for everyone. Personally, I'd rather see a musical because there's often dancing involved. But it was a good experience and I can say I supported a fellow Okie and OSU grad who was brave enough to break the mold and enter the un-Oklahoma career of opera singer. Props to her.