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30 September 2005
  Hooked #2
While cruising around Microcenter tonight we found some home design software for sale. James snagged it and has been getting used to it tonight himself. I'm still playing with my "Easy Bake" version. :-)

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28 September 2005
  Started
Well, I contacted two of the three preferred lenders via e-mail and one responded. I sent some info back and they say we qualify as long as we have that down payment from the sale of the house. Great. Cross fingers!!!

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24 September 2005
  We Go For It
(Reprint with additions from "Yet Another Journal.")

We have decided to try for the house. Since we found the place we have been at the development every weekend. Elizabeth now knows us when we come in for water and to use the bathroom. The main thing, though, is when we go through the house we can imagine living there. I can envision getting up in the morning and using that bathroom, or going into the kitchen for breakfast and perhaps stepping out onto the deck to check the weather.

Next week we'll contact some of the preferred lenders and see if we can get prequalified for a mortgage.

I seem to have made a slight mistake. The prospectus from the development doesn't tell you where it actually is. Because it was so near to the store where James used to work, I assumed it was in Smyrna. But apparently it's still in Marietta (if we're reading the maps correctly, the mailing address is Marietta, but Trellis Oaks is not within the city limits; it's just in Cobb County). Oh, well, we'll just have to walk around the mall instead of a walking track.

(Oddly, if you look at a Marietta zoning map, we aren't in the city of Marietta here, either, at least not for most tax purposes. We're surrounded by the city, but not in it. Marietta sanitation picks up our trash and we pay a school tax, but if we call the police or the fire we get Cobb County respondents, not city of Marietta. Weird, eh, considering we're three miles from downtown!)

We will, if we get in, be able to pick things our way. This means no nasty dusty wall-to-wall carpeting and no nasty burning fluorescent light in the kitchen. James thinks there is a network connection throughout the house (we didn't have a Cat5 cable to test it with) and the agent says she thinks it's not just a gas starter in the fireplace but a gas log (which is nice, but we can always buy a gas log if not).

We had a slight pause when we ran the address through Earthlink's online gizmo that tells you if DSL is available. It said no. Just as a joke, however, I ran our present address through it. It says DSL isn't available here. Um...what is it I'm talking here on, then? Ooooh, it's magic!

So we actually don't know if it's available in that area or not. Hm. The development is so new the street isn't on Google or MapQuest.

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23 September 2005
  A Seed Planted
In the fall and winter (at least at Christmas), I like to get copies of a magazine called Country Sampler. It's a mixed bag: the first 30 or so pages are articles about how different homes are decorated and also a "how much is my old ____________ worth" type column, but most of the magazine is country like crafts and furniture you can send for. This back part is usually great inspiration for crafts.

I bought the autumn issue today and there is one article about a woman who has her home decorated for autumn all year long, as I have the living room. She likes that old, beat-up looking furniture, which isn't really my style, but the house looks quite pretty that way.

stay tuned...


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16 September 2005
  Hooked
I am well and truly into the idea of buying this house. This evening I downloaded a shareware program for laying out floor plans of houses and have been busy working on setups since. It took a bit to get used to how to rearrange the blocks that are furniture and how to reproportion them, but soon I was twirling them about expertly.

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14 September 2005
  House Chatter
(Partial reprint from "Yet Another Journal" on September 14.)

My mom's house appraised for an astonishing amount considering the attic is unfinished and there is only one bathroom, but then I don't know how people afford to buy a house in New England. I'd really love to work and live there, but wow. Heck, I don't know how people afford to live down here either without living somewhere that's more than an hour's commute from work. Folks must be making six-figure salaries (or a cohabitating couple must be making that together); James and I together fall very short of that mark. That's one of the reasons we were attracted to the homes in Trellis Oaks; they were actually of what is now around here at a "reasonable price" and they're a few miles closer to work (although to get to the freeway there are more surface roads, which would probably make the commute the same or even longer). Plus the benefits of living in Smyrna.

I would love to live somewhere around Perimeter Mall, or in that same area south of the Perimeter (I-285, which circles Atlanta), to be "between things" and closer to work, our vet and trivia. But the property rates are $$$$ in that area. (I have a house in Brookhaven that I'm just crazy about: it's done in stonework and is roomy without being a McMansion—and, I confess, one of the reasons I love it is because it would look fabulous being decorated for autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas... But knowing that neighborhood it's probably at least in the $500,000s.)

Speaking of Trellis Oaks, I was looking at the floor plans again last night and I did notice that none of the kitchens are very big; they're certainly not for gourmet cooks, that's for sure. If we were to move there all of James' kitchen gadgets would have to be pared down. Of course we have some we can already get rid of, like the two hand food mills he doesn't use anymore since we got the Magic Bullet food processor. If nothing else, we could do as my mom always did and keep extra supplies downstairs. Certainly the turkey roaster and other holiday things could be stored elsewhere.

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11 September 2005
  Other Pastures #2
(This is a partial repeat of the September 11 "Yet Another Journal" post.)

We stopped back at Trellis Oaks today to see the Stonemont model, which had been locked yesterday. It's basically a bigger main floor version of the Dubois we saw yesterday; the bonus room downstairs is also huge, but the bedroom with it is smaller and doesn't have a walk-in closet, and the laundry room is smaller. The master bedroom is a tiny bit bigger but ironically the en suite bathroom is a tiny bit smaller. The dining room has a trey ceiling. Big deal. The kitchen did have a few more cabinets. And it didn't have the little front porch.

We also went back into the Dubois and had fun pretending to lay it out.

We had to stop at Lowe's, so on our way home from there we stopped at something called Brookwood Park, which the sign said was "from the mid-200s." When we actually got to the place, the sign out front said "from the 290s" (and when we went in the model home, the cheapest house they had for sale was $333,000). It was kind of a neat complex, in that it had its own private park, with a gazebo and a playground; it was big enough to look like a park in a little town. And also its own private walking trail.

The model house looked like something out of Designer's Challenge, which is the HGTV series where people actually have spent $35,000 to redecorate their teenage daughter's room. You walked in this huge foyer and to your left was a little office bedroom where the salesperson was and a small bathroom. To your right was a formal dining room with wainscoting. In front of you was a big living room/den with a cathedral ceiling. (Let me say that I consider cathedral ceilings a waste of good space which can be used for another room.)

I had to admit the kitchen was stunning: big tall cherry-finish cabinets with four shelves instead of three, an island in the middle, room for a huge fridge, double ovens. And there was room for a tall bar table with two stools and a small breakfast nook table with four chairs with lots of floor space left over. Needless to say, James the chef drooled over that kitchen.

The master bedroom was huge. Our whole upper floor would fit in it. Then there was the master bathroom, which looked like a bathroom in an expensive hotel suite. The shower was big enough for two {nudge, nudge, wink, wink} and the garden tub was a jacuzzi.

Upstairs there were two bedrooms, a smaller [male] child's room, and a bigger room that was evidently for the daughter of the house: it was decorated in hideous pink and lime green and had a walk-in closet big enough to have a window in it. There was also an extra bedroom/office, and a bathroom. At the top of the stairs was an open spot to the upper part of the living room, lined with a railing. I had to laugh. I could see Pidgie flying around and perching up on that railing while I bellowed "Pigwidgeon Errol Young! Get down from there! Willow! Go get Brother!"

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10 September 2005
  A House to Be a Home
(This is a repeat of my September 10 "Yet Another Journal" entry with some corrections.)

After we finished errands today, we went following house signs again. Again, it was difficult to find the $200,000 and under places as opposed to the groves of $300,000 and up places. One of the developments had houses for $800,000. There are some signs that say $150,000 to $170,000 but these are condos, not houses.

We tracked all the way out on Dallas Highway out to Paulding County (for those in the know, behind the Hardy Chevrolet dealership) and there was a very nice development out there with mostly brick homes with bay windows, but we didn't stop. Heck, it takes me 45 minutes to get to work now; this would add an extra half hour to my commute (at least).

A little further down on Macland Road (to friends: just before the turn for Ron and Lin's house) we found another promising development; we went through one house that actually had a partial basement and another that for some reason had a two-car garage and then another one car garage at a 90 degree angle from it. This one was more finished and we were looking around with a bit of interest until we saw the kitchen. Electric stove! We hightailed it out of there without another word. Ewwww. Apparently the entire place was all electric. Holy cow, think of the bills.

We ended up back at Trellis Oaks. The place is so darn convenient. And I would love to live in Smyrna again. In addition to being able to use the Cobb County library you can also use the Smyrna library and there is an indoor walking track and gym at the community complex free to all residents of the city.

Today we went into a house we had not gone into last time (across the street from the "Springfield C"). I think we like this one almost as well or even better. Its layout name is "the Dubois" (which tickles me because that is the married name of my cousin Linda) and it actually has a tiny bit of a front porch; well, maybe two people could sit out there in small chairs. But it has an entryway where you could actually do something novel like leave coats, hats, boots, umbrellas and walking sticks rather than having them hung up in the corner of your den because there's no other place for them to go (what a novelty). You go downstairs, where there's a nice size hallway leading to the door to the garage. (It's a two car garage with a room in the back for the water heater—the HVAC unit is in the attic—and a little bit of storage as well.) Also off this hall is a laundry room, a big closet, a small coat closet, a nice size room with a small walk in closet ("For my unbuilt models," said James instantly), a little full bath, and a "bonus" room with no closet. ("For the books!" I said, equally instantly.)

Upstairs it's a combo living-dining (with fireplace) and a compact kitchen with a nice-size pantry closet. (Note: there's enough room downstairs in the laundry room that we might also have a small freezer we could stock with meat on sale.) Door from the dining room leads out to a nice size deck. Master bedroom has a walk in closet and the master bath has double sinks, a separate shower, and a "garden tub" (which my perpetually aching right shoulder would love to replace with a jacuzzi tub, thank you). Then there are two other bedrooms as well (guest room and craft room for me).

But they expect that one to be finished by the end of October and certainly someone will claim it soon. It is already scheduled to be "finished" anyway, so even if we had the money for it now, it wouldn't be the way we wanted it. They're putting wall-to-wall carpet in it. Pale beige. Ugh. If we can do this, I want to do it right and I don't want a speck of freaking, dusty, dirty carpeting in the house. When I want to clean the floor I just want to pull out the dustmop and do it. No dragging a heavy vacuum cleaner everywhere. It can be hardwood or it can be Pergo (and vinyl in the kitchen and baths), but carpet...pffft!

And the %@#!$#@$!!$! fluorescent light in the kitchen would have to go. Not to mention the big, heavy, awkward black iron chandelier they've seen fit to weigh down the dining area with. Yuck. We want ceiling fans in all the bedrooms, too; little ones with "schoolhouse light" fixtures.

The agent there did have some hopeful news: there are still some empty lots that the construction company hasn't decided what model will go on which. The county inspector apparently has to approve it based on how much room there is. There is a good chance that another Dubois will go up on another lot. If things would just work out...

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04 September 2005
  Quick Visit
Ann stayed over last night so she did not have to drive back to Warner Robins in the dark, and this morning we took her by the house we'd been looking at at Trellis Oaks, not the half-finished one in the cul-de-sac, but one a lot up further. I didn't realize it the day we looked at it, but the siding is pale yellow. When I was a little girl, our house was painted the same pale yellow. Made me feel right at home.

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03 September 2005
  Other Pastures
We stopped by another development (Hampton Terrace, or something like that) by Red Oak Construction (the folks who are doing Trellis Oaks). We'd tried to find it last weekend but those little pasteboard signs for housing developments had us going the wrong way. These are more traditional designs, with the kitchen, living, and dining rooms on the ground floor and bedrooms upstairs. We didn't like them as much: not as much room although the square footage was the same, glass in the area that was designated as a breakfast nook with no room for extra kitchen supplies, very small pantries, and the open kitchen plan. Neither of us likes an open kitchen plan much. It's nice if you are entertaining, or don't want to be separated from your guests, but it makes the kitchen so exposed and there isn't as much storage in it.

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