Expect some delays

I finally got around to writing the next story in The Stormsworn Saga. It was a bit delayed because our weekend was 1) very relaxing and 2) surprisingly busy.

April and I started attending open houses (where a Realtor is at a house and it is open for just anyone to walk in and look around, ask questions, and check out the house) a few months ago, just for fun. We weren’t planning on buying anything until next spring because the lease on our apartment isn’t up until May, 2009.

Then we walked into a house I absolutely loved. It was too expensive, too big, and the utilities were ridiculous, but we got bit by the house-bug. We started looking more, and I thought I might go ahead and talk to a bank, see what our options might be.

So I visited my mom’s old boss, who is now a lending agent at Great Southern bank, and we discussed our (mine and April’s) financial state, what price of house were looking for, etc. The meeting was somewhat comical because when I told him what price of home we were considering, he practically laughed at me. “That’s all you want?” he asked, and showed me how very much money he was willing to give us. Of course, as these things tend to go, if I took that amount we’d be bankrupt in a year because we’d never be able to make the payments and still eat food. But his reaction was somewhat comforting. The payments were reasonable for the price of house we were considering.

When I told my mom that I was meeting with Dave to discuss a loan, she told me she was going to call Scott and refer us to him. I told her that we weren’t necessarily going to buy a house right now, but she thought it prudent to get the referral in now, and since Scott had been highly recommended to us (first by our pastor, and then by my mom who had apparently trained him back in the day), I acquiesced.

April had found a house online she wanted to look at, so we did. Then we got together with Scott and looked at some more houses. And then even more. All told, between open houses and what Scott has shown us, we’ve probably been to about 25 houses in the last few months.

But last Saturday, we found one we really liked. I’m not one to throw around words like “love” too freely, so I’ll avoid that term for now, but we really, really liked this house. It was a bit further from campus than we wanted, and not exactly what we were looking for, but at the same time it was almost perfect. And it had some features we hadn’t been looking for, but which were definite perks and, if we had thought about them in advance, we definitely would have had them on the “preferred” list of features.

We decided that it was a great house, easily the best we had seen (even compared to more expensive ones we’d visited) and that we wanted it. So, we bought it.

That’s still sinking in for me. Our closing won’t be until early September, at which time there will be a move-in party with a 6-foot sub sandwich. Housewarming party to follow on my birthday. I’ve been making calls pretty much all day to set up the home inspection and get my insurance agent out to take a look, rescheduling a meeting with a financial consultant, talking to our lending agent so I can meet with him later this week, going to our savings account and transferring money around… my vacation has certainly started with a bang.

To make a long story short, I was later getting today’s story up than I had intended. This won’t be the last time; my mind has been elsewhere 😉

If you’d like to see perhaps-too-detailed pictures of the house, there are some on my photo gallery I took so I could send them to my mom (who has been in real estate for probably 30 years now). Also so I could remember what the house looks like and gaze at them for long periods of time. April and I rode our bikes up there yesterday morning to discover that it will only be about a 15 minute ride to work (depending on traffic; might be a bit longer), and began making plans for finishing/remodeling the basement and what furniture we wanted to buy.

It’s all pretty exciting. Nothing’s definite and done until the closing in September, so if the home inspection turns up some really serious flaws in the foundation or something, this might all fall through. But we’re pretty hopeful; the house has been lovingly cared for and is in fantastic condition, and it has been completely updated as well. It’s 90 years old but, except for the styling, it looks almost brand new.

April and I will be in Branson with her parents pretty much all day tomorrow, so Wednesday’s story will be late in the day as well. Still, I’m hopeful that you will forgive me 😉

The Joy of Being Volunteered

About five years ago, my niece Alizabeth came to Springfield with her church on a mission trip. While this blew my mind–Springfield has probably 700+ churches, rivaling our count of Chinese restaurants–it also meant that I could spend some time with her. Or, at least, it would have meant that, except I didn’t find out about the trip until about a week after her group returned to Kansas.

Now my niece Alicia, her younger sister, is traveling with their youth group to Springfield for a similar mission trip, and I have been warned in advance. I asked my sister if it would be possible for me to take Alicia out for dinner or something; spend some time with her while she was in town. The next thing I heard, my name had been given to the youth director and she was told to call me for assistance with her mission trip because I had extensive ministry experience.

Not that I mind helping of course, but it was quite a translation Sis made from, “Hey, can I take my niece out to dinner?” to her statement of, “My brother’s awesome and he can help run your trip!” Thankfully, the youth director isn’t expecting much, so when we talked earlier today on the phone, it turned out that my involvement will be fairly minimal.

Though the kids arrive in just a week, the director hasn’t yet planned hardly anything about the trip. We have nailed down that I’m going to lead a devotional some night, and I’ve begun mulling over topics, but nothing is really solid yet. She’s going to call me when they get into Springfield and we’ll go from there.

As for taking Alicia out to dinner, I couldn’t get a committment on that score, but it looks like I might join them an evening or two for their activities. Thankfully, I happen to be on vacation next week, so that will work out well.

In the meantime, I spent all of yesterday in meetings at work to discuss Luminis as we kick this project off, and it looks like similar discussions will fill… oh, about the next six to seven months of my life. Therefore, I’m definitely going to be pressed when it comes to getting stories and the like written… especially when the semester begins and I have to start taking real classes again.

Regardless, I did manage to reframe an old story and get that posted, and I’ve also decided to finally follow through and begin updating some of my poetry so I can post it to the new site. I think my new organization on the site is going to create a lot more motivation for me in the poetry category, so my goal is going to be posting at least two pieces a week. I think two is reasonable.

Speaking of the new site, what do you think? Both the story and the poetry blogs have themes that I think lend themselves better to those mediums, and while I’m fairly happy with the result, I’d be curious about your thoughts. Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are always welcome here.