Saturday, April 30, 2011

Migration to Utah

This week it’s been a year since we moved to Utah.  I can hardly believe it.  I might write another reflective post but right now in the spirit of Utah and their Pioneer Days in July where they reenact that great move to Utah, I think this family might need to reenact our migration.  It would require an Icelandic volcano and a 10 x 10 British hotel room, the same clothes for about 30 hours, several F bombs in the Denver airport while wading through the security line once again, A delirious from lack of sleep deciding as we eat horrible airport pizza that we don’t love her anymore, and our bags beating us to the SLC airport.  Would people line the streets to watch that reenactment in parade form as they do in July?  I think not, but only now is it truly making me laugh as it didn’t when it was happening.

My B&B Housemate Comes to Visit

Before visiting Phoenix my British friend H came to visit for the weekend. She was vacationing in San Francisco with a friend but flew over to see us for the weekend. H and I work together but we also lived across the hall from one another at the B&B for a few months while she was waiting for the paperwork on her flat purchase to get sorted out. 

We had a great time catching up and it was a proper spring weekend with the sun gleaming across the snow-capped mountains. She thought it looked pretty spectacular, and in fact we had a laugh most of the weekend about our colleague who thinks the mountains are depressing. On Saturday we did the grand tour, driving over to Park City and checking out Main Street and then driving to Salt Lake City, taking in the view of the city from the top of the main library, walking all over the place including up to the capitol building, through Temple Square and then drove out to the Great Salt Lake and watched some crazy person wade in the water. Throughout our little journey we counted up four brides on their own getting pictures taken, three wedding parties, and one engagement photo in the works. H’s comment, “They’re all so young”. Yes, that’s how they do it here in Utah! We even found a bride on the banks of the Great Salt Lake.

On our way home Saturday evening as I stopped to fill up the car, I asked H if we should pick up a film at the Redbox. This concept absolutely thrilled her. The Redbox seriously needs to find its way across the Atlantic.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The view from the plane
Finally warm sun on my skin!  Had to go to Phoenix this week.  Hadn't realized that I haven't been on a plane since we moved back from England.
Sitting on the porch of the local British pub

Phoenix's first Catholic Church
A Downtown Park
Downtown Phoenix from the Hotel

Movie and Entertainment

Took A to see Scream 4 the other night.  Definitely not my pick!  As we were sitting in our seats three teenage boys started walking towards our row.  One of them had on a full length bathrobe over a pair of jeans.  I pointed this out to A who thought it was so cool.  My comeback, “You wouldn’t think it was so cool if I was the one in the robe, now would you?”  He must have been ailing from gastro-intestinal distress because he treated us to a belch every five minutes during the film.

Snow and My Chemical Romance

Not only is Seb wondering why the neighbors haven’t cleaned their back patio but he’s also sick of the snow like I was a few weeks ago.  A was desperate to get right up in front of the stage at the MCR show as sell as meet the singer, Gerard Way.  We went there at 3pm in the afternoon so she could get in line.  I sat in the car and read a book.  She stood in line as it snowed outside and made some new friends.  While she did push her way all the way to the front as I watched nervously from the sane 21 and older section, there was no meeting Gerard.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Looking at Houses

We’ve probably looked at about 15 houses now and drawn a few conclusions. To live as close as we currently do to A’s school and be in our price range we’d have to buy a house that needs about $20-50K’s worth of repairs. We’re not in the mood. We have started working with an agent that we met in the process. Interesting fact, he says right now the private sellers are having a difficult time competing with the bank owned properties on the market. The private sellers can’t drop their prices usually because they can’t afford to lose what they’ve put into a house.

In our search yesterday we looked at a house obviously owned by someone older who has passed. A & I had a good laugh with the agent looking at these curtains. He said he’s sure he had those in his bedroom growing up, in fact he thinks his mom made him a neckerchief out of that material.

I’d be tempted to put an offer in ONLY if this painting was part of the sale. Now the house is completely empty but they leave this painting up in the living room. What a lady, huh? Looks like she’s wearing a negligee with floral accents and that signature in the corner of the painting makes it look like mom’s hiding an upper arm tattoo under the gauziness of the nightgown.

My New Shoes...

Feel great but aren't as motivating as I'd hoped.  I still have to put them on and march my butt outside the house.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

House Hunting

I don’t watch HGTV. In fact when I go to the gym and it’s on one of the televisions it makes me anxious. Maybe if I didn’t have champagne taste on beer pocket I’d feel differently about it all. So it’s with that attitude that we start dipping our toe back into the real estate market. One of my colleagues in Sydney, Australia was asking me recently what the housing market was like because there had been a news story where houses were selling for a dollar in the States. I laughed and said, yeah maybe in places where no one wants to live! After the first week of research I can firmly say that in desirable places here prices haven’t dipped significantly. The cheap houses are still in bad locations and in terrible shape.

In our first week we made a rookie mistake, we looked at a house that’s probably about $75K more than what we want to spend and it ticked all of the boxes. The house has been very well-maintained; it’s in a beautiful neighborhood close to where we live now. It has a great yard including a wraparound patio with a mountain view. I want to cry when I think about it.

So now back to reality, looking at properties in our range. Somehow I’m even less excited.

One funny thing about the whole process that seems universal is the realtor pictures on their websites and business cards. Now I’m all for capturing your best self on film. Look at Elizabeth Taylor. I still want to think about her in the arms of Monty Clift in A Place in the Sun when she was at her most beautiful. But a woman who showed us a house this week gave me her business card that had her picture on it and I had to do a double take. The pic must have been taken in the early 80’s. It was comical. When you’ve gained at least 50 pounds or aged at least 20 years and you aren’t Liz Taylor, it’s time to update the pic.