Sunday, March 22, 2015

Drum Roll......

Today is the last day of the Sarasota County fair which meant that bright and early this morning the kids and I were picking up their projects and prizes (aka. ribbons and cash) and helping clean out the 4H mini building.  I know all you inquiring minds what to know how they did, so here's the breakdown:


Items submitted: 10 (canned goods, baked goods, photography, and a general craft)
Demonstrations given: 2
Participation in other activities: 1st place in consumer choices contest
Blue Ribbons: 9
Red Ribbons:3
Best in Show for a para-cord whip he made
Monetary awards received: $72


Items submitted: 9 (canned goods, baked goods, photography, a general craft, and creative writing)
Participation in other activities: 3rd place in consumer choices contest
Blue Ribbons: 7
Red Ribbons: 2
Best in Show for an original story she wrote
Monetary awards received: $52

And technically we aren't done yet.  In a few weeks, they are having an awards banquet where they will each be receiving a trophy for their best in show items as well as a trophy or ribbon for the consumer choices contest! 

It was a lot of work (for the kids and Mom).  And there was whining going as we were nearing the deadline to hand things in.  Yet, just like childbirth, my kids have already forgotten just how painful they thought it was at the time, and they are talking about participating again next year.  Now that we've been through the process, we have some ideas of how to handle it better next year as well as some of the other activities we may want to participate in next year.

What's first on the list for my kids for next year?  My daughter wants to sew and my son wants to compete in the whip cracking contest (maybe even with the whip that won him best in show this year).  But first, this Mama needs a little down time.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Saga Continues

Home ownership is not for the faint of heart. 

As a Realtor, I see how hard it is to find "the home" and then get all the paperwork done before you are given the keys to your new home.  Right now, I have a client that is supposed to close on a house on Monday, but their paperwork has still not been cleared because the bank is waiting to get the appraisal report back from the appraiser (who completed the appraisal last Friday!).  To say my buyers are on pins and needles is an understatement.  Especially since they have to travel here to get to closing and they have a child in middle school that either needs to skip school or find a friend's house to stay while they are gone. 

I've seen it time and time again, no matter the stress leading up to closing day, the buyers are so excited to have a place to call their own.  Once those keys are placed in their hands, the troubles they just overcame are forgotten.  After all, they have a home that someone else can't tell them what to do (except if they live in an HOA where they restrict what you can do to the outside of the property), right?

Last fall I learned that's a bit of a fallacy.  My insurance company was able to force me to replace my roof (or else they would drop my insurance).  If I didn't have insurance on the house, my mortgage company would have forced me to pay for their policy (which cost 3X as much and only covered the structure of the house and not any of our stuff).

We closed on our house almost 3 years ago.  Since then, we have repaired or replaced:
  • Pool pump
  • Kitchen sink (rusting and ruining counter) and kitchen faucet (leaking)
  • Roof
  • Air Conditioner
  • Carpet through pretty much the entire house
  • Washer & Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven element
  • "Storage Room" flooding with water when it rained heavily

And last night we had septic water start backing up into one of our showers.  We're praying it's a simple plugged pipe.  If it's not that, at a minimum we will need the septic pumped but we could also need to have our septic tank and or drain field replaced.  Add to that the fact that we have a detached pole barn that is beginning to fall apart and we've got more expenses on the horizon.

Like I said in the beginning... home ownership is not for the faint of heart.  We will get through this.  We always have.  But for those of you out there that think you'll get those keys and life will be easy after that.  Not necessarily true.  It takes work to keep the house in good shape.  It takes money (sometimes lots of it) to be able to sell your house a few years down the road and gain some equity (and that's not even guaranteed).  But it is nice being able to have a place that, for the most part, you can call your own and decorate it as you see fit.