April 16, 2006

small progress- house and hound

So, things are progressing... a bit.

House: Yesterday I drove to Maricopa to check out the house, and there are roof trusses at the site!!! (I'm pretty sure they are for our house... there's tons of wood everywhere on our part of the street.) They also delivered the tub surround for the 2nd bath, and the shower stall for the master bath.

I also did a little driving, to find an alternate route into/out of our subdivision... there is only one main road going west from Tortosa to the highway in Maricopa, with one big dip that goes through a wash area. There's a sign: "do not enter when flooded." (Which will probably happen at some point during the summer monsoon season.) So, I headed out to see what's what and to find other ways back and forth. There are a couple other ways back to Maricopa, but right now, they are unpaved... it's so weird to see so much empty space, unpaved roads, and roads that don't really go anywhere, and to think about what it will look like 6 months or a year from now.

Hound: Sedona spent most of the day yesterday at Doggie Day Care. She did much better when we waited in the lobby to drop her off- they were amazingly busy, but she really didn't bark too much, and the barking she did wasn't near as frantic as it was the first time. She sniffed a couple other dogs, and was pretty friendly overall. I stayed to check out the beginning of the morning play period, and felt very guilty; when she was let into the room, she immediately hid underneath a chair, and ran around following the Pet Guardian... it was so hard to leave her after seeing that! (I shouldn't have stayed at all, I know!)

But, when I picked her up, she was so much better! Her report card was good- playful, wrestling, and tag/chase were underlined. She made a friend!! She played all day with an English bulldog named Larry... her report card comments, from Gale, the pet guardian: "Sedona did so great today!! A new guy came in today. He is an English Bulldog by the name of Larry. They wrestled and chased each other around the whole daycare area. It was such a great day for me to see her finally socializing better with the others." LOL! that is so cute! I'm so glad she's socializing better... She was pooped when we got home, too! (she did poop, too, and pee, the minute I let her out of my car- I think she must have held it all day long; not like some of those dogs, who do it right on the floor at the day care... she's got manners, at least sometimes!)

Today, we spent some time at the dog park, then when we got home she got a much-needed bath, to get rid of all the dog smell and slobber from the dog park. Now instead of smelling doggish, she smells like shampoo and conditioner, and is much fluffier. She's also pooped again- we both took a nap this afternoon!

April 14, 2006

Pics of the (soon-to-be) house

you can check out pics of the new house (slab!) here:


this link is to the builder's website, where you can find a floorplan of our model, to better orient the pictures...


Scroll partway down the page and click on The Remington- this will open up the floor plan. We get elevation B (only the garage will be on the right) with a bay window in front, and the optional bay window in the master bedroom.

Our lot "faces" south, so the bedrooms will be on the east side of the house, with the living space on the west side of the house. This is nice, although there's only about 5 feet of clearance on either side of the house to the cement wall that will separate our lot from our next door neighbors... we will have to buy sunshades for the west windows, and make sure we have good miniblinds, though!!

The house price includes landscaping the front yard, but the back will just be dirt... we're on our own for that. We know that eventually we want a jacuzzi and some desert landscaping back there, possibly some palm trees and/or cactus, and most likely a storage shed, but we won't be able to afford it for a while. We don't really want to take care of a tiny patch of grass (sprinklers, mowing, etc), but having just gravel would be too hot on Sedona's paws in the summer... so, we're thinking about synthetic turf, depending on the price. Don't laugh! They have it at the Doggie Day Care, and you can't really tell the difference- it only needs hosing off once in a while- no mowing, watering, or fertilizing!

April 12, 2006

House Hunt Update- it's over!

Well, the house hunt is over- except there's not a house yet!

After looking at resale houses in the east valley suburbs (too much $$ for what we wanted!), and looking at resale houses in Maricopa (too much $$ required to fix them up!), we made the decision to build a house. We are building in the town of Maricopa, about 15 miles south of Phoenix, just like tens of thousands of other people are doing, and will continue do over the course of the next 10 - 15 years, to reach a projected population of over 300,000.

The development is about 5 miles east of Maricopa "proper" although in a few years, it will all be built up, I'm sure. The entire development, which is called "Tortosa" (a town in Spain, so the internet tells me), will have over 3000 houses when it's complete; our subdivision is one of the first ones you come to when you enter the development... Our subdivision is "Milano" and our street is "El Greco" (a Spanish painter, I think). I just can't believe some of the names they come up with! The next street over is Bilbao (a Spanish explorer, maybe?), so I guess El Greco is okay by me... although it's still kind of funny, in my opinion!

The house we bought is a spec home- someone else ordered it, then backed out- the slab is already poured, some upgrades are included, and the exterior color has been picked, so we're ahead of the game in the whole timeline... and, the upgrades included are costing less than if we'd chosen them ourselves. (and who wouldn't want, among other things, a bay window in the living room, a bay window in the master BR, and a gas line to the range? I can't wait to cook with gas again! Electric is too touchy for me- I either burn things, or they take forever to cook.)

They haven't dropped off the lumber yet, but once they start framing, we've been told that it will be about 90 days till it's completed. So, we'll be moving in the heat of summer!! (ick- we'll just have to have plenty of water, beer, and pizza available, and hopefully we'll be able to recruit some help for the moving part of it!)

Building a home sure is different than buying a resale one, though- even more so because it's a spec home- like, the kitchen cabinets were already picked out, which we found out about at the last minute, but luckily we snuck a change to that in just under the wire... (apparently they custom build them instead of buying stock cabinets, and the order goes in when the framing is dropped off- who knew?) And, the exterior color scheme is dependent on the color of the roof tile, so we're stuck with a color scheme we don't exactly like, since the tile is already ordered... but, we live on the inside, right? I also got to pick between three landscaping plans (which basically means they plant 9 tiny plants and a stick of a tree in our front yard...) For $350 extra, we could have added a tiny patch of grass to the whole thing! (needless to say, we passed on that!)

Since it's a subdivision, there's a Homeowner's Association, which we will pay monthly dues to so they can tell us what to do and what not to do inside and out of our own home! (@*&!) Not that we'd park three cars in the yard, but it's the principle of the thing, darn it... the bylaws, or whatever you call them, are over a half-inch thick, I swear!

But, it will be ours- the rest of our stuff can come out of storage, Tom will get a music room, I will get a craft room, we will both enjoy the family room, the covered patio, the walk-in pantry, my piano can finally have a home, etc. etc. The process of getting there, however, I'm sure will at times leave a lot to be desired!

Sedona needs to go outside, so I've got to end this for now, but I promise, the next post will have pictures of the slab (and of the model, so you can get an idea of what it will look like- minus all the upgrades they add to suck in the buyers, of course!)

Animal Kingdom Antics

  • a couple pics of the pets (well, two of them, anyway)...

The picture of Sedona was taken a couple weeks ago, the first time we took her to the dog park. She loves to run flat-out!!! We took her again last Sunday (the great danes were there again, darn it!), and got her worn out. It was warmer, and it was about noon, so she definitely expended more energy. When we got home, she parked herself on the kitchen floor, and only got up long enough to walk the three steps to her water bowl and back... LOL!

Then, the picture of Cleo: Yesterday afternoon, Tom cleaned the bathroom, which included vacuuming. And, the vacuuming ended up including Cleo!! When he yelled at me to come look and I saw what he was doing, I couldn't believe it- then, I figured, "well, she's less terrified of the vacuum cleaner than of the dog, which is why she didn't jump down from the counter." But then, I realized that she was actually sort of relaxed! She seemed to like it, actually!! Maybe we've actually found a way to keep her from shedding so much- except that I hate vacuuming- lol!

April 03, 2006

Bad, Blogger, Bad!!

I am a bad blogger... it's been ages since I've written on here! So, here goes with an update. It's the condensed version, but a lot has been going on, so get ready!

We found a fenced dog park in Mesa... Sedona liked doggie park a LOT! We went last Sunday (not yesterday) morning for the first time- the other dogs liked her too... the minute we got inside the fence and let her off her leash, she was surrounded by at least 8 dogs, all doing their sniffing thing. There were a couple great danes- they were sniffing, and also slobbering! (We had no idea dogs could slobber so much!) By the time we got Sedona out from under the doggie pile, she was soaked with slobber! (okay, maybe not soaked, but it was icky!) The dog park is only about 3 acres, but there's room to run, which she hasn't really ever had. Our yard in Crystal Lake wasn't really big enough for her to run full out- which she did- a lot! She chased other dogs' tennis balls, and other dogs, and checked out the other owners, but she always came back to us, which is a good thing. They also had a doggie drinking fountain which she finally figured out how to use- she was so tired at one point that she plopped down right next to it to drink laying down! (there's a pic of that, but Tom has the camera at work, I think). Amazingly enough, she still wanted to play when we got home- we were kind of thinking (hoping) that she would sleep for the rest of the day- no such luck!

We also found a Doggie Day Care facility in Gilbert- it's a Pete and Mac's franchise, which Jackie will probably recognize, since they have three facilities in the KC area. She went to Day Care Saturday (2 days ago), for all-day day care. They sell dog stuff in the lobby, so they have some props inside- right inside the door, there's a pretty big stuffed Rottweiler, which Sedona actually barked at when we walked in (LOL!). It was kinda hard to leave her there for the day (I'll admit, I did call once and check up on her), but we know it's good experience for her to get more socialization. She hung out all day in the small-dog area, got a treat in the afternoon, and even got a report card grading her visit. According to her report card, she didn't meet a "doggie buddy" while she was there, though- apparently she was a bit timid, and hung around all day with the "Pet Guardian" (the guy who kept an eye on the dogs and cleaned up all the doggie messes). Hopefully she'll socialize more next time!

We're holding off on more all-out dog park exercise for a bit, since her paws aren't quite used to it yet- the vet checked her out before we took her to the day care, and found a few cuts and raw spots on her pads, which will toughen up eventually.

Now, to switch gears totally:

We found out last Monday that our apartment complex has been sold, and the new management is turning it condo. It's nice for an apartment, I guess, but needless to say, we do NOT want to buy this place. So, the house hunt has begun- again! We were stunned when we read the letter; we had no idea of the pending sale, and were really hoping to stay here at least a couple years, to wait out the housing market and also to save up some more down payment. But, now our plan is a BIT accelerated, because we really don't want to make another temporary move to a different apartment complex if we can help it.

So, this last weekend, we started house hunting. We have an agent (our agent is the sister of the agent who sold our house in Illinois- it's a small world, right?), and have been trying to figure out what we can afford, and where we want to live. Right now, the plan seems to be SOUTH... the east valley is just TOO built up, and TOO expensive for what we want- which is 4 BR for all our stuff, a formal space for the piano, a family room/kitchen for the entertainment area, and a fenced backyard for the dog. Where we're looking is a smallish (for the moment, anyway) town named Maricopa, which is about 15 miles south of Phoenix a few miles west of I-10. This will give both Tom and me good access to the interstate to head north- his office is in Chandler, which is just SE of Phoenix, and I work near the airport, which is also off I-10. Maricopa is BOOMING right now- the town was incorporated in 2003: the population is about 30,000 right now, but the long range plan through the year 2025 is for it to top out at about 350,000. (Lots of people are moving to the Phoenix area, if you haven't guessed that!) It is situated between the Gila River Indian Reservation and a smaller one called the Ak-Chin reservation, so there is only so much space for the town to grow. More to come as we progress with whichever decision we make!!!

Tom is in town for the moment- he took last week off (comp time) to recover and catch up on some badly needed rest. The plan (right now, anyway) is for him to be in town until the 12th, when he will probably head back to Baltimore for at least a week.

And, last but not least, the first hummingbird nest is empty, and there is another nest in the pine tree right outside our front door- the nest is pretty much right over our head when we stand on our front patio! (It's a good thing sugar isn't all that expensive, because we're filling the feeder up quite often!)

Love to everyone in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Minneapolis, and Happy Belated Birthday to Jeff!!!