Tuesday, July 20, 2010

summer hasn't been so bad.

not nearly as hard as i thought. kids have only been making me a tiny bit crazy. we've stayed busy with camps, elks, bbq's, friends, camping. you know the drill. your basic summatime.
since we were out of town last weekend and are leaving in a couple days for yosemite, i thought i'd grace y'all with the best part of my summer-- these faces.

holy crap, i'm cute y'all!

i finally got my blue eyed beauty

you didn't know i had 3 girls huh?

teaching tali to read. cuz we're genius's

fernwood camp trip May 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

my house is a very, very, very fine house

when b and i heard the news from his ever so generous parents that owning a home could become a reality for us, we immediately began our search.
first, we found the best realtor in the county (we didn't have to look far!) and began pouring over the MLS. we knew immediately that slo wasn't gonna be an option. we tried to finagle a way to make it happen, but knew that if we did, we'd be at the high end of what we could afford and stuck in a tiny house. we decided on either arroyo grande or los osos. we had a lot of friends in AG and knew that the commute would be minor for b. in the back of our minds we also knew that AG would likely be a better investment in the long run, but in the end it came down to one thing.


yep, that's right. we basically chose los osos cuz the waves are better here. now before all you south countiers get up in arms, just know we don't hate the wrongboarders out in shell, or all of bakersfield that invades pismo all summer long-- its just we really like the idea that we could be contaminating our groundwater with our own s%*t.
nah, the reality is neither of them are perfect, but at the time osos is where we thought we would call home.

for those of you who know me, you know i love los osos. i could dedicate entire blogs to this town. sure its kooky, sandy, full of hippies and lacking a sewer or basic city planning, but the reality is, its also full of a lot of really awesome people parked in one of the most foggiest beautiful areas on the central coast. we got mountain biking, boating, surfing, trail running, hiking, literally all minutes from our door. and one of the raddest parts about it, is we have wonderful neighbors and friends to share it with.

yet, i digress once again. so began our search in los osos. we looked at a lot of houses. i was convinced that we couldn't be on a numbered street because no one would come visit us (this was before i moved all of my best friends here). i thank the lord b didn't listen to that crazy talk and convinced me that i couldn't discriminate against numbered streets. we found our way to a little part of osos called cuesta by the sea. our good friends had nothing but rave reviews about this little nook. heck- it was close to MDO and the seconds from the bay... how could we go wrong? we settled on a charming little (emphasis on little) house just two blocks from the bay. after much brilliant negotiation (thanks to our realtor) we still couldn't agree on a price. so one evening when we were hashing out whether or not we should go for it, we stumbled upon this....

we'd seen it a few times, but it was just a hair out of our price range. not to mention, it was a bit funky. but hey, its osos right? anyhow, we decided to at least check it out. i wish i could tell you it was love at first sight, but the massive rock fireplace wall, and cottage cheese ceilings were distracting me. we wandered around, and though it wasn't exactly hoarders material, there really was a lot of crap loaded in it. but it wasn't annoying crap. it was a desk in the living room, cuz there was no room for it in the kids rooms. it was surfboards and skateboards and bmx bikes hanging from the rafters in their crammed to the gils garage, it was their hand prints in the cement near the front door, it was the dining room table jammed into the corner of the kitchen with the light off-center just to be able to maximize the space and be able to fit 4 teenage kids around the dinner table. and then it was the owner of the house telling us how her son rides his bike to baywood for pizza, and her daughter rides horses up the street. and lastly, it was her telling us they already bought another house with the assurance that this house would sell a lot faster than it was. as much as i'd like to say it was my stellar negotiation skills, it really was their 'tight' situation that enabled us to reach an agreement. 30 days later we moved in two truckloads our stuff from our 750 sq ft studio on garden st. that first night we sat on the floor and ate pizza with some friends and marveled that we were now homeowners. when we went to bed that night, i laid there thinking about the baby in my tummy kicking and thought 'the house seems different than i remembered.'

sometimes i'll find myself coveting clean, new, big, shiny houses, or beautiful, old restored homes and think, 'why i am stuck in this semi-remodeled 1970's architectural experiment on a tiny lot on a street with no sidewalks?' and then i look around and can't find a matching pillowcase to save my life, or notice that our crown molding project is on two of three walls, or i see cobwebs under the eaves of our roof, or i drive up and just pray someone would please dump buckets of paint on it. but then when i walk inside and see this

and this

and this,

and of course, this

and i know.

i know that even though my house is definitely lacking refinement, and its scattered with kids artwork and hot wheels and polly pockets shoes, and no matter how much i clean it it never will smell like the new homes i used to sell, i know in my heart that this is my home, and i wouldn't have it any other way.

so with that said, i'd love to hear...

'what makes a house a home?'

Sunday, July 4, 2010

mo money, mo problems.

i grew up in the other side of the tracks.

that is, if slo had tracks.

i would have been on the other side. you know the ones... most of my friends were on the right side. i've written before about coveting white carpets and new appliances and a mom and dad under the same roof, and the smell of freshly baked cookies. and though i spent a significant part of my weekends at such houses, i always came home to one amazing mom and thursday nights at my dads. we never had a lot of money. we had just enough.
don't get me wrong, i can't tell you how thankful i was for those deep country club pockets that provided me experiences my parents never could have- third row seats to warrior games, trips to hawaii, and magic mountain. fun stuff for sure, all with someone else's family. i loved and treasured those trips cuz they were definitely not the norm for me. though they weren't something my parents could afford, i remember feeling satisfied, i was never scared, and never hungry. sure, i longed for presents and gifts and the immediate gratification i saw my friends provided, but it wasn't something that consumed me.
now that i'm all growed up with a family of my own, it got me thinking i could really be a consumer if i had the resources. to be honest, having *a lot* of money scares me. could i really be trusted? mo money, mo problems yo. i gotta admit there's a bit of romance in just squeaking by-- like well, if i want to get that, i got to sell this... there is a satisfaction that comes from actually wanting-- not just always getting. sounds crazy i know and b thinks i'm coo-coo, but honestly i guess i just know my carnal nature.

yet just when we began heading towards affluenza, something changed. that little bitch called the economy. everyone loves to blame everything on the economy. and really, rightly so. crappy economy=crappy jobs=zero dollars. for a lot of people our age-ish, this whole economy tanking has been a bit of a rude awakening. maybe some of us felt the effect of a similar time in the early 90's when the market crashed... but we were teenagers and so the stress of money was distant. for most of us, the hardest part meant we wouldn't be getting our subscription to seventeen renewed. we didn't have to worry so much about food and shelter, our parents shouldered that. and then we went to college and things were kinda crappy when we graduated, but then it quickly turned around. jobs! jobs! jobs! then a lot of us got married and guess what, it didn't matter how much money you made- 'no income, no assets' became our best friend. a lot of us got into houses we couldn't afford and popped out a few kids and then we woke up and were like, 'oh crap, we can't make our mortgage!' and suddenly the stakes were so much higher, cuz we had people we were responsible for. very little people.
i feel super fortunate to have escaped most of this. i mean really fortunate. b has had some pay cuts and my real estate career - wait what? your a realtor? like a broker? like you would love to help us find our dream home? or list our house for a 1% listing? yes, as a matter of fact i would. and the good news is, i will work my mother of 3 booty off for you, cuz you are probably my only client i care that much. ahem, as i was saying, my real estate career has tanked slowed downed considerably. however, we are fortunate to have that little bit of savings (from the good ol days) that continues to waste away as we nibble away at it each month to make up for the pay-cuts. with that said, i have so many friends that this has affected in a really, really real way. its so difficult to watch your friends gasping to stay afloat, and feeling too strapped yourself to help in a substantial way. i want to blame someone, like bush, or fox news, or hurricane katrina, or the j-holes on wall street, but nothing really helps. the fact of the matter is, whether you are loosing your home to foreclosure, or just barely squeaking by each month, times are tight.
so when b and i got to talking the other day about how few dollars we actually have, i told him if we just (just always being the operative word) had like $300 more a month, we could make it. and he said, 'with that extra money, would we be putting any into savings?'

yeah right.

it was then and there we decided that you were officially doing okay if you were able to save each month. the reality is, we live paycheck to paycheck, and so do almost all of our friends.
so with that said, i'd love to know...

'how much money do you need to make before it's enough?'

leave it to the wise woman...

comment of the day: I once heard "enough is a little bit more than you already have." so we never have enough. it's good that we are all in the boat together. the most generous people i know have next to nothing. just a reminder that this is not our home.
-Roxanne Foote