Sunday, May 31, 2009

House Drama

Many of my friends have already heard this story, but I still have to share this crazy and somewhat sad coincidence related to our house search because it's pretty flipping amazing.

The back story is that almost two weeks ago I had a conversation with my friend and coworker Dan about the sale of their house in Olathe and their house search in Lawrence. A few days later when our agent was taking us out to see a bunch of houses, she mentioned meeting a couple at her open house earlier that day who lived in KC but both worked in Lawrence, and I soon realized that she was talking about Dan and his wife. This was the same day we went to see the one house that we really liked again (which is on Westfield), which had been under contract for a few weeks but then put back on the market when the contract had recently been canceled. We were considering making an offer on the Westfield house but were waiting until the CMA of our house was finished last week so that we had a better idea of how easy or difficult it would be to sell.

So crazily enough, even though the Westfield house had been empty since it was finished over a year ago, just two days after we'd gone to see it with our agent, someone else made an offer on it--which is exactly what happened the first time we went to see it! We decided that we'd wait and see how the CMA went and then decide if we wanted to try and beat the existing offer.

So that was Monday, and on Tuesday I went up to talk to my friend Dan to tell him that he'd met our agent, see what he thought of the house she was showing, congratulate him on the sale of his house, and see how their house search was going in general. We chatted about all the houses we'd seen and he mentioned that they'd finally found one they liked and made an offer on. Now you can probably see where this story is headed, but at the time, I totally didn't. We continued chatting about houses and a little while later I mentioned that there had been only one house that we'd seen that we'd really liked. Dan asked which house it was, and when I answered "it's over on Westfield" his eyes just about popped out of his head. THAT WAS THE HOUSE THAT THEY PUT THE OFFER ON. I couldn't believe it. The one house out of a hundred that we really liked! What are the odds? The even crazier thing was that Dan and his wife had already upped their offer once because apparently another party had made an offer after them!

So to make a long story a little shorter (my stories could never be considered short), Chad and I talked about it, and while part of Chad wanted the house even more knowing that someone else wanted it too (always the competitor), we decided that a) I would feel terrible trying to beat my friend's offer on this house and b) maybe this was God closing a door for us. We were definitely disappointed and sad, but we could deal with it. The good news is that the bank accepted Dan's offer and not the other buyer's--if we can't live there, I'm glad a friend is going to!

The other good news is that yesterday our agent took us to a few more houses, and we actually did find another that we liked. It's not our dream home, but it's really nice and we could certainly see ourselves living there. If we can get our house listed in the next couple of days, and if this one doesn't get snatched up before then, we just might make an offer. Hopefully I didn't just jinx us. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009


A couple of weeks ago Celtic started shedding clumps of his undercoat, and I knew he needed to be furminated, but seriously--this is ridiculous.

He looks happy to have all that extra hair gone!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I mentioned in my return post that life had been conspiring against us, thereby stealing any free time we had available. As promised, I wanted to elaborate on the things that have been keeping us busy for the last several weeks.

1. Illness. I mentioned that I was sick for several days right around Easter, but the following week Chad got sick as well. He'd gone to Salina to hunt turkeys at his parents house on the following Sunday, and after successfully bagging a bird his first evening there, he woke up the next morning with the same sore throat I'd had the week before. He ended up cutting his hunt short and coming home before getting his second bird, and then basically going straight to bed. You might wonder why I would be using Chad's illness as an excuse for not blogging, so let me explain. Chad is generally extraordinarily helpful around the house, so when he was in bed for 5 whole days, that left me to do all the cooking/cleaning/shopping/laundry/dog walking and even MOWING (which I hadn't done in years!) all by myself. This might not sound like a big deal to most people, but it was certainly enough to keep me super busy! Plus, because Chad was going to bed at 8:00 every night trying to get better, I was going to bed super early every night as well, trying just to STAY better. I was so afraid he was going to give my sickness germs right back to me!

The crazy thing about Chad's illness was that while mine cleared up in 3-4 days, his hung on way longer. On day five off work he finally went to the doctor, at which point he was given antibiotics and diagnosed with bronchitis, because the infection had settled into his chest. The doctor prescribed some cough medicine too, which did not help at all, so we both had several sleepness nights where I ended up on the couch because the coughing just wouldn't stop! It was terrible. Although Chad went back to work after the next weekend, he still didn't get his coughing under control for another week, after a second trip to the doctor for more meds. An illness of this magnitude is highly unusal for my hubby, as we could only remember one other time in our 15 year marriage (besides his hospital stay) that he's even taken antibiotics.

So basically, excuse number one was that I had to be the head chef/maid/driver/dogwalker/breadwinner/shopper/landscaper/nurse for an entire two weeks! It made me SO appreciate all that my husband does around the house when he's healthy!

2. House Hunting. Holy moly, I had no idea how much TIME it would take for us to find a new house we liked. I'm mean seriously, I cannot even explain how many hours we've spent sitting at the computer looking at houses online over the course of the last month. Since we realized that houses in the country on adequate acreage that are zoned the way we want them are very few and far between and might take years to find, we started actively looking within the city limits instead. For several weeks, every free evening we had was dedicated to reviewing the listings and discussing the pros/cons and rating them according our "must haves" and putting them into a spreadsheet to help track them (I'm not even kidding) and emailing real estate agents to make appointments and going to those appointments. The weekends were spent going to open house after open house after open house, which was fun yet incredibly time consuming! A couple of weeks ago we finally signed a buyer's agreement with an agent we liked, so now she's doing a lot of the legwork for us, which is incredibly helpful. Last weekend she took us to five or six houses in one afternoon and was slightly annoyed that we weren't really in love with any of them. That's the discouraging part about all of this searching--we've still only found one house that we really felt was a good fit for us without a whole lot of renovation. ONE out of what seems like hundreds! UGH! We haven't made a decision on said house because there are a whole lot of other factors we're still trying to consider, one of them being the fact that we don't know how "sellable" our house will be...which brings me to the next conspiracy.

3. House Primping. Since we are anticipating putting the house on the market as soon as we find a new house (or possibly sooner), we've been doing non-stop home improvement projects around our current house. Nothing really major, mind you, but the last few weekends have involved tons of planting/landscaping, painting a couple of sections outside that only had one coat of paint, staining woodwork, polishing cabinets, spackling/sanding spots on the walls, painting spackled spots (after finding the extremely old paint in the garage that matches and trying to salvage it or going to Home Depot to try and match what we can't find), recaulking sinks, and cleaning things that we don't normally clean very well (like the oven--yuck!). This morning we did the final last minute cleaning before all of that hard work finally paid off, as five real estate agents came for a tour of our house to complete a current market analysis. Thankfully, they all seemed very pleased about the condition and presentation of our house--one agent actually used the word "phenomenal"! They complimented our paint colors and decorating and yard and found only a couple of tiny things that they thought we should do before putting the house up for sale, which made us feel really good! We were so relieved and so excited to have the CMA done with--and so ready for a relaxing evening that didn't involve any work! Tomorrow we should find out the price at which they would suggest listing the house, and then we'll decide if and when to put it on the market. We're a little nervous about doing so before we find a house that we actually want to buy though--I'm scared of it selling and us having to move somewhere that we don't totally love! Moving is such a hassle to me I don't want to do it unless we find that perfect home, which I'm starting to think isn't even out there!

So there are my excuses in a nutshell--wait...what's the opposite of a nutshell?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Last week we said goodbye to someone very dear to us. Our wonderful canine friend Leo has gone to the rainbow bridge, and we will miss her terribly.

Leo was the 15 1/2 year old dog of our good friends Heather, Grant and Quillen--the friends who lost their dog Homer to an unusual illness just a few months ago. Leo's death was certainly more expected--planned, actually--because her health had been failing for many months. She was clearly in a lot of pain and her quality of life was not good, so her loving family made the difficult decision to let her go peacefully and painlessly. I know they're going to miss her tremendously as well, but her passing is a little easier because they know they gave her so many years of love and a very full, fun life.

I'll never forget the first time I spent an evening at Heather and Grant's house and met Leo for the first time. Before Leo came inside, I asked Heather what kind of dog she was. Heather's very matter-of-fact response? Brown. When they adopted her from the shelter a few years before as a puppy, they thought she was a chow mix because of her furry little mane. She turned out to be a very petite and agile little girl that looked more like a Chihuahua than a Chow, but they never really labeled her as any breed--they just called her a brown dog. She was completely unique and very special.

Just a couple of years after we met Leo, Chad and I adopted Steeler and Celtic, and Leo was by far their best friend during puppyhood. We spent lots of time together at Potter Lake (which was the unofficial dog park in town) watching Leo run circles around all the other dogs. We spent many evenings camping out with Leo's family in the woods near their home (before their home was built) where Leo and the boys explored the woods and fields for hours on end. We spent countless hours helping our friends build their current home while the dogs romped and played and chased around the building site, where Leo demonstrated her amazing agility by climbing ladders to the second floor and walked around on the scaffolding. She was very talented, and our boys loved her. When she came to our house to visit, this is the greeting she received from Steeler and Celtic. They would run around the house for 10-15 minutes with one boy glued to either side of their sweet little girlfriend.

Since we knew Leo would be leaving us late last week, we went out to Heather and Grant's on Wednesday to say our goodbyes. Leo trotted out happily yet slowly as we pulled up to their house, just like she did every time we came out for a visit. She greeted us with gentle kisses and seemed very happy to see her old friend Celtic, who she hadn't seen in the 3 1/2 years since we adopted Hope. We showered her with affection and reminisced about her younger days, and of course I took lots of pictures. Not all of them are great, but the series of her and Celtic together is just so touching to me. They were just such good friends, and I'm so glad they got to see each other one last time.

Goodbye, sweet Leo. You were such a wonderful dog. You will be missed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Duck Rescue

I promise I'll write in more detail very soon about the busyness that kept me from blogging, but right now I just have to share a news story that I saw this week on Good Morning America. I don't know why exactly, but this just brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. Unfortunately, ABC won't let me embed the video here, but you can see the GMA story here and another slightly longer version of the story from World News with Charlie here. I suggest you watch them both--so mesmerizing!

Seriously, I get all choked up when I think about this guy who cared enough to spend his whole day saving these baby ducks and about the mama duck who trusted this person enough to stand by while he caught her babies and the little babies who had enough courage to jump into the waiting hands of a strange human! How did they know to do that? Do you think they just jumped because their mom told them to? I really don't know, but it's just the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time!

Here's another story about the rescue from a local station in Spokane with additional info about how the whole thing transpired; however, I think you should watch one of the stories linked above first because they're much better!

Hooray for banker Joel Armstrong!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thanks, Friends

I was getting ready to leave a comment on my last post to thank you all for your very kind and warm-hearted support, but that just didn't seem like an adequate way to express my thanks! This is actually what came to mind:

A special shout out to Angela, who I can't thank personally since I don't have her email address. Hooray for people I've never met in person who read my blog! :)

Beth's comment about Chad's comment (confused yet?) was kind of funny because Chad and I have talked several times about him providing guest posts that consist of just one sentence, since (as all of our friends know) he's totally the opposite of me with regard to telling a story. He's incredibly concise to the point of being ridiculous while I can't leave out the smallest of details. Oh, and I think he's incredibly funny as well, although part of that funny comment he can't take credit for--it was actually a movie quote. Regardless, we were thinking today that maybe he should start his own ridiculously concise blog called "Skip to the End", which is, of course, a movie quote! Unfortunately, we'll have to think of a new name since that blogspot is already taken, but maybe I can still talk him into it. Wouldn't it be fun to also get the scoop on the Luces from the other much more concise point of view?

Anyway, I've obviously totally digressed here, since the point of this post was actually to say THANK YOU! I love you guys! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


Clearly I've been taking a little time off from blogging lately, and somehow I feel compelled to explain my absence before returning to regular posts. I guess my hiatus started the day before Easter when I got hit by the bug that's been going around town (and no, it wasn't the swine flu), which plopped me in bed for 3 straight days. Normally, I think I would have taken advantage of the days off work with no responsibilities around the house to blog my little heart out, but I felt so awful, even typing while in bed was laborious. Plus, missing Easter completely was a huge bummer, which contributed to a general mood of BLAH. To top it off, I'd been feeling slightly depressed about my lack of readership in general (note to self: don't post polls that will point out how few of your friends actually read your blog), so when I was gone for three days and no one really seemed to notice, I started feeling like maybe this whole blogging thing was just a colossal waste of time.

So for the next couple of weeks, I took a breather from blogging while pondering some "serious" questions. Is my blog worth writing at all if half the time it seems like I'm writing for myself? Should I continue to blog even if very few of my friends and family members actually check my blog regularly? Do I spend entirely too much time worrying about whether my posts are entertaining and informative? Does anyone actually care?

It took me a while to answer these questions and the many others I was asking myself, but ultimately, I answered yes, yes, yes, and yes. Yes, I think it's worth writing even if it's just for me, which means that yes, I should still do it even if no one ever checks it regularly! I love being able to go back and read about the important and not-so-important milestones of our mundane lives, even if it just means being able to definitively know when we resided our house or when we last visited my dad in Athens or when Celtic had his last surgery or when we actually adopted Fresco officially or when we rescued the stray dog in our neighborhood who now lives down the street from us. If I didn't write all this stuff down, I would seriously never remember when it actually happened! If for no other reason, I love keeping the blog just as a memory-jogger!

In my quest for answers I was also able to admit that yes, I do spend entirely too much time worrying about my writing skills and trying to be entertaining and worrying about posting regularly when that really shouldn't be the point. It's not like I'm ever going to make a living blogging like Dooce and Pioneer Woman, so why should it matter if every post is perfect and timely? I should just blog when I feel like blabbing and not worry about it if I don't. The perfectionist in me puts entirely to much pressure on the rest of me when it comes to blogging!

Finally, I also realized that yes, there are a few people who actually do care. After a few weeks off from posting I started getting messages from my friends about my absence, and let me just say that it was really nice to actually be missed. Thanks to all of you who continued to visit the Chatter faithfully even when I wasn't posting faithfully. Thanks to those of you who let me know you missed reading. Thanks to those of you who checked in to make sure I was okay. I appreciate you all so much!

So now that I've explained why I was gone for a few weeks, you might wonder what my excuse is for failing to blog for 38 days--yikes...has it really been that long? Let me just say that a few crazy life events have conspired against us, thereby taking up any free time previously allotted for blogging. Hopefully in the next few days I'll find the time to detail everything that's been going on!