Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Nights

So tonight was the last installment of the mini-series Planet Earth. I managed to catch them all on the Discovery Channel, and just like I fell in love with Blue Planet, I have loved every minute of Planet Earth. The BBC outdid themselves this time. It's fun learning about the different environments, and I got to spend some quality time with my dad watching a couple of the episodes. This last episode tonight was a "behind the scenes" look. I'm amazed at the shots they were able to capture...of course the filmmakers endured some very harsh and interesting conditions to get the shots. Spending a year in Antarctica to film penguins in the most harsh winter on earth; spending 5 weeks in a cave with a 3oo meter high mountain of bat guano, which was crawling with cockroaches; sitting motionless in a hide 12 hours a day for weeks trying to catch the elusive birds of paradise; camping out in the high Himalayas for months at a time over 3 years to film the snow leopards, an endangered species; using new camera technologies mounted to a helicopter to get aerial views of African hunting dog skills and strategies. Some of the most intense and remote locations in the world were featured by these intrepid filmmakers. But it was worth it! Here's a look at what I've picked as the two most outstanding moments of the show.

Shark Attack

Birds of Paradise

During it's run, you could vote on what you thought was the best moment. They revealed tonight that the most popular was the shark attack. I'm not surprised. Discovery Channel does a whole shark week in June every year; the shark itself is such a powerful and agile predator; and the technology used to capture the moment was so cool--it slowed down a one second attack to over 40 seconds, so you can see every bubble and bite! I had seen it early on in the previews and had been saying to my dad (when I was convincing him to watch it with me)that it was incredible and we just had to watch because the whole show was going to be full of images like that. I wasn't disappointed. The show should still be airing off and on during the next few weeks on the Discovery Channel. If you have the time, I would definitely check it out!

Here's some random fun for you...

With all this very serious talk of growing up, buying a house, getting a mortgage, getting a job, etc., I felt it was time to lighten the mood. And what better way to do that than being totally juvenile.

Someone should really pass this on to my big Superman friend...I bet he'll laugh as hard as I doing...hee hee hee (Mark gives me a weird look from the couch) hee hee..oh, my goodness...I have to pee!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Crash landing into Grown-up Land

After looking at several houses in our whirlwind week-of-stress, we found one that was head and shoulders above the rest. This place looks like it should be a model on the showroom floor. It's a two year old house, but the lady who owns it has kept it in immaculate condition. The basement floor was so clean you could eat off of it...I kid you not! It's a small, but very nice ranch house in Washington. Perfect for two people! It has both a front and back porch, master bedroom suite with attached bathroom, 2nd bathroom with a very deep tub :), kitchen with breakfast nook, double living room, additional bedrooms that could be used as offices for each of us or used as a guest room, full roomy walk-out basement with a partitioned workshop (a perfect place for Mark to tinker with the motorcycle), and attached 2-car garage. All the appliances and equipment are essentially brand new so we wouldn't have to do any's turn-key ready. Perfect for the crazy schedules we'll be keeping. The house is set back from the road, surrounded by trees so as to be very private, and it even has a front yard! Being in Washington, it's just about equidistant between Camden and Augusta. We couldn't find anything wrong with this was just fantastic. What's more, Mark and I both, for once, agreed and absolutely fell in love with this place. So, we made an offer. And after a couple days of negotiation, she accepted it. Oh my god, we are going to be homeowners! When our broker called and gave us the news, I actually cried. I couldn't believe that this was really happening. Both sets of parents are excited for us, and my dad is strutting around, proud of the fact that he got to see it before the rest of the family did, as he went with us on a walk-through. Both my mom and Mark's mom have been looking at pictures of the house non-stop. In fact, my dad said he could blindfold my mom and she'd be able to find her way around the house! I'm glad that all of them are so happy and excited about it, and it will be nice to be so close to them all. Who would have thought we'd end up in Washington, ME...of all places. We've got a lot to do before we get there, however.
I've started packing up a bunch of stuff here in our apartment. It's amazing how much wall art and curtains can contribute to making a place feel homey. Our walls are bare and there are boxes piling up in the corners...this is all feeling very real, and happening very fast. We plan to close on the house on June 14th, and Mark starts work the 18th! Hopefully I'll have a job by then :) I'm also getting excited about all the "house stuff" we get to do. We want to screen in the back porch for the kitties, and I want to refinish an old bureau for the bedroom. We might need to buy a lawnmower and a rake for the yard! How grown-up! Truth be told, I actually like to rake leaves, and considering how many trees are around this place, I'm sure I'll get to do plenty of raking. The porch in front is wide enough to have a table and chairs...who knows, we might even get a grill and invite you all over to a barbecue! After all, Summer is fast approaching. Thank goodness for the end of all that rain!
The week we were trying to do all this housing stuff, it just poured. In fact, we were clearly able to see which houses had basement leaks, and which didn't. One place we couldn't even get into because they didn't have power. Roads were closed, power lines were down. My dad was out late every night (he works for the power company). The Union Fairgrounds were underwater, and Aire park in Union (which I probably have spelled incorrectly, oh well) was completely gone. The water was up so high, it almost washed out the road. Unreal! I went out the first day to check the damage around the house in Camden and decided to walk down to Laite Beach. The wind coming off the water was so intense that I could lean into it! Rain and spray was coming in horizontally and was stinging so much I had to stand behind a truck to protect myself. It was so cool! Mark thinks I should get a job as a weathergirl. Hmm, the idea has merit. :)
So, between now and June, we will be hustling and bustling...packing, cleaning, traveling to Maine to do an inspection on the new house, interviewing (fingers crossed),garage sale-ing, and signing lots of papers. Talk about growing-up...I can't believe we're going to have a house!!! Ahhh! :O Yeay!!! :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Housing update...the saga continues

I have learned more about houses this week than I ever thought possible. I feel like I'm becoming a real estate broker. I've been examining everything from furnace quality and quantity, flooring, basement conditions, kitchen cabinets, and room dimensions, to boundary lines, yard maintenance, town restrictions, road conditions, rodent population, roof ages, and neighborhoods. Every little minutiae that I had never thought about before. My head is swimming with mortgage rates, insurance policies, and legal jargon. We had a total of 10 houses for sale that we are looking at and a couple of rental properties. Luckily, some have been easier than others to cross off our list. We have our last place to look at tomorrow, as well as one rental. Then we need to decide the next step. I think right now I'm leaning toward buying. Mark feels it would be better to rent, and I agree that financially, we would save money that way, but the thought of buying a house and getting settled really appeals to me. Out of the houses we've looked at so far, there is one that really stands out as being quite a nice little spot. And I think it would retain its value for resale when it comes time for us to move on. I was talking to some family members about it, and all the things I was listing were good qualities, and things that will increase it's value. Like an insulated garage! We couldn't seem to find a downside to this cute little place. I get very excited about it and yes, there is some risk of loosing money 3 or 4 years down the road if we sell it, but I really think this could be a good investment. Anyway, tomorrow will be the last day we learn about our options so then we'll be able to really sit down and discuss. Knowing the two of us, we may come to a decision by the end of next year! :)
As for the job front, I won't know anything until after May 15th, so I'll just have to wait and see. That's another thing to be stressed about. I think it's time for me to go de-stress....time for some Chinese take-out with my folks, talking about anything but houses!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The hunt is on...

Man, what a crazy few days! After getting the new car (which I still can't believe), a totally new hairstyle (you'll all be so surprised :) it's very different), an awesome trip with mom to Disney on Ice (they had fireworks inside!!!), and a very filling Easter dinner (thanks Dad), I returned to New Hampshire to register the car. However, my title has apparently gotten lost in the Bermuda triangle of mail. I knew I had to be on the road again on Sunday and really needed to get it registered this week before leaving, plus the temp plates ran out today, but no title means no registration. Several terse calls and frustrated fist-shaking later, and they have guaranteed me overnight delivery on extended plates so that I can register it later. Grr. We have this next week packed with house showings in Maine since Mark has the week off from the hospital. I pulled images of just 5 so that you all can vote on your favorite! (Just scroll down the blog) Not that I was very helpful and included interiors, but let there be some surprise when people come to visit ;) It feels very surreal to be thinking about buying a house...I feel very grown up all of a sudden. New car, new job, new hair, new house...who knows, maybe we'll even get a place with a shed, and have to put lawn tools in it...then we'd really be adults! I'm learning that shopping for a house is a very exciting, anxiety-ridden process. And we're trying to cram everything in during one week. And get everything set up for June. Yikes. I find myself pacing the floors here in our apartment, while Mark is in Maine, living in a dorm room with no phone, pacing his floors. We've been coordinating with each other over email (with my cranky computer) and a borrowed phone to pick out a list of places we like (and we all know what similar tastes we both have...ha!) and when to schedule times with various Realtors. It reminds me of all the coordinating and calls and craziness we did to get our wedding together. Only we can't elope with a house. But as stressful as it can be, I'm so excited to be doing it. We're going to be closer to family and friends and we'll both have jobs we really love. I've turned in my application for a very cool job, my dream job actually, and am keeping my fingers crossed. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I'm staying positive.
As for other exciting things, let's see....I saw TMNT and was really impressed. The animation was incredible (especially the fight in the rain), the story stayed true to the characters and their history, and the music was very well done. I'm such a fan of movie music (I seriously want a soundtrack to my own life!) and I loved Klaus Badelt's latest achievement (and we all know he rocks...he composed for Pirates of the Caribbean!)
I had an awesome dinner and a movie with the upstairs neighbors. We watched Happy Feet, and let me tell somethin' to was very funny. I enjoy anything with Robin Williams. He is so funny..."it makes my tummy hurt, I have to pee!"
I've also gotten a lot accomplished in terms of cleaning. Who knew I had so many random papers and crap in my file cabinet. I don't need to cart this stuff to Maine...It's going to be so much worse when I get to Mark's office... ;)
So, I'll leave you with the reminder to Vote! And Vote often! As of right now we haven't seen any of these house in person, only online pictures. I do have a favorite, see if you can guess...but I'm keeping an open mind because it's a whole different story once you're walking around, seeing it up close. Who knows, maybe I'll be on top of things an actually post an update after we look at them next week! :) Hear the beat of the drums, and the blazing fire...the hunt is on...for a house!

Help us House Hunt!! Vote now on your favorite!

#1 Modern with a porch

#2 It has a pool!

#3 Old fashioned charm

#4 Quiet little house

#5 Brand New House!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm Freeeeeeee! Freeeeee!

Wheeew! What a week! Okay, where did we last leave off in the Adventures (for as arrogant and ridiculous as that sounds). My last day of work was Friday the 30th and I had a very nice send off. We had ice cream cookie sandwiches and I was touched at the nice comments parents and co-workers had to say. Mark and I had a very nice dinner that night with our upstairs neighbors (yeay Margaritias!!) and set off Saturday for Maine. We went straight to Charlie's Motor Mall in Augusta and a few hours later I drove away in my beautiful brand new car!! I'm so's so pretty! I had a used Subaru legacy sedan in high school and college, and then my mom's used subaru legacy wagon after I got this was my first brand new car, of my choosing. I loooove the Element! It's so quirky, full of personality as well as being safe and reliable. And it's green! I'll always be able to find it in a parking lot! We drove it up to my parents' house and they both are calling it the "Turtle Van." It does kind of look like a turtle. :) My mom and I have been having fun up here in Camden, giggling over the scrapbook and planning little jaunts to Augusta and Portland and Belfast while I'm here visiting. I'm also going to be visiting some old friends while I'm in town, and starting to look for a job and a house. There are some very pretty houses in Jefferson and China... some even have pools! How awesome would that be! I'll be in Maine until Monday and then it will be back to New Hampshire to register my car and check on the Kitties. I'll try to update once more while I'm here in Maine. After all, Friday is going to be very exciting...Maine Mall shopping and Disney on Ice! I can't wait!!! Until later....