CSA Day 3 – veggie overload!

I’m starting to wonder if maaaybe the CSA wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. I guess when I pictured farm fresh vegetables every week, I had hoped for vegetables that I usually actually eat and enjoy. Bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, even parsnips, cucumber, and celery would be cool! But what have I been getting? Turnips. Kohlrabi. Napa cabbage. I’m all for adventure, but when I get stuck on how to use an item, it gets abused and discarded. I really hate wasting the food 😦

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Tonight’s CSA box includes:
– Brats from Von Hansen
– Broccoli
– String Beans
– Peas
– (unidentified root vegetables)
– Lettuce
– Potatoes
– (Unidentified leafy green)
– Purple Kohlrabi

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We still have from the LAST CSA:
– Strawberries
– Rhubarb
– Napa cabbage
– Lettuce
– Broccoli
– Kohlrabi
– Beets

Plus, from our standard groceries we have bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, and celery.

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This is decidedly a first world problem. I’m not complaining by any means–I’m thankful for the abundance–but I’m also worried about how to best make use of it.

Last night me and Jeff blanched 3/4 of the broccoli, and 3/4 of the string beans, and froze them. We’re giving the beets, some broccoli, and some peas to my parents. I’m hoping my sister wants one of the kohkrabi…

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Kohlrabi

The CSA is going to last at least another month, if not longer, so I’m going to use this as an opportunity to expand my veggie horizons and eat a lot more veggies… Even if I *do* have to Google them first 😛

I think dinner tonight will be the brats and a cole slaw of kohlrabi, Napa cabbage, and carrots. I can bring it to my brother’s house to share tomorrow afternoon for lunch ^_^

Chef salad for dinner!

I’ll make another pie!

Broccoli cheddar soup!

Uh… Other stuff!!

Okay, WordPress readers… What would you do? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Kick off to grilling season

When the in-laws were in town, one of the things we accomplished was to assemble the awesome grill that my parents had bought us as a house warming gift.  Kudos to Jeff and his dad for figuring THAT out!

Sunday had amazing weather. It was warm, sunny, and I guess the wind was a little strong, but alright!  Since the weather was what it was, we decided to break in the grill and cook some steaks!

Mother nature had other ideas and started spitting as soon as Jeff was back with the propane.  That’s okay, though! Mother Nature has got nothing on MY mom… So off to the garage we went.

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Mother Nature picked up the pace and brought roiling thunder and some lightening.  Jeff brought an umbrella and an extra place setting.

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Jeff manned the grill while I set up an impromptu dining room out of canvas chairs and a coffee table that I wanted to refinish.

When the steaks were done, the meal was served, and the thunder rolled.

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Consider grilling season officially started!

First Time Home Buying Experience

My last post was made before we closed on the house–I’m sorry to have been away for so long!! The month of October absolutely flew by.  We are only just now starting to really feel settled into our home.  The closing went really smoothly.  I took half a day off of work and met up with Jeff and our Realtor at the office where our closing was being hosted.  We met the previous owners who seemed like really kind people.  The woman was dismayed to find out that I didn’t like pugs as well as she does, and the man let us know that the electrical update was just a partial update.  The signing of the paperwork flew by–it took less than an hour to go over everything and then we were presented with our very own keys!  Just like that we were home-owners.

We knew going into it that there would be some things to fix around the house, and, being first time home-buyers meant that we didn’t have any of the essentials that we would need to take care of the property.  Off we went to the housing store to get the essentials.  Mom and Keith picked up a new lock set for us, and we picked up rakes, shovels, ice picks, a furnace filter, broom, push broom, dryer vent cleaning kit, extension cords, paint, rollers, edgers, etc.  Over the next few weeks we’d make so many more trips to the hardware store.  We had to buy joint compound and mesh tape, hammers, scrapers, chisels, wrenches, dryer vent kits (x2, one of the expandable semi-rigid metal, and another of straight pipe style aluminum).  Just when we thought we could afford it, we splurged in a snow blower and a couple of leaf blowers… half an acre isn’t going to take care of itself.

Then we moved in.  We had a ton of help and really appreciated all of our family and friends who came out to support us.  Our driveways were full of the cars from all of the volunteers.  Shout outs go to Eli, Nickola, Wes, Gloria, Mike, Mom, Keith, and Michael.  Steph had to work, but sent good vibes anyway 😀  And to our long distance friends who totally would’ve schlepped boxes on our behalf: Corine, Lori, Ross, Ray, Anne, et al. Thank you so much for sending us your happy vibes.

The first week, things started falling apart.  First, it was the water main.  The seller’s disclosure said that they had to snake the main every other year for roots… so, I don’t know why, but I expected to be able to wait to do that until next year.  Nope.  We had water in our basement on day one.  On Day 2, we went to clean the dryer vent only to find it so stuffed with lint that it really was better to replace it–and luckily we found it because it was burned through on the back.  On Day 3, I had a technician out for our stove which was irreparable, and the home warranty company decided not to cover it.  I blew up at my Realtor for misleading us, and she helped us to get a new one.  Since I was home, we also had the internet service provider out–who found wires to be chewed through and that’s outside of his scope.  When it finally came time to install the replacement stove, I ended up coiling the gas line in on itself because I was a schmuck who didn’t know that you had to use two wrenches.  Then we had to buy a new service door because we couldn’t get the new lock set to fit on the old one, which had been rigged.  Needless to say, being home-owners was stressful!

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We got all of those issues taken care of (thanks go to my very flexible employer for allowing me to work from home while figuring this crap out).  That brings us to today.  I am working from home because I have (yet another) contractor coming out to take a look at issues that we’re having with this house.  When the stove was replaced, it was discovered that the floor was sinking underneath it.  This rang alarm bells quite loudly in my head and I told Jeff that we need to prioritize the fix immediately.  We knew that there were structural issues with this house, but we didn’t appreciate just how extensive or expensive they would be.  The home inspection said that there were “missing or insufficient” supports in our basement, but that we probably wouldn’t have to repair it immediately.  The logic was that the house has stood this long, it’s not likely to just fall down tomorrow.  The previous owners had lived here for 28 years, and so we listened and thought that we’d eventually fix the structure, but we’d save up for it first.  Seeing the floor bowing under the weight of the old stove frightened me, though–what if the new stove falls right through?? And with it being a gas stove, that could cause an explosion on top of it! (I have a really active imagination…)

We brought in a structural engineer to take a look at the place, and he made a lot of recommendations.  He even made some thinly veiled suggestions that were outside of his paid scope on things we need to seriously consider for the future as well.  I’d say it was worth every penny paid to be able to talk to someone who knew what we would be in for.

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Here is one of the photos that was included in the engineer’s report for us.  It shows the I-beam (with surface rust), a 6×6 support beam that has been cut to make room for the duct work, and the (empty) masonry pocket that the beam should be sitting in.  This is all right below where my stove sits.  What adds to the crisis is the fact that there is another 4×4 post that supports a whole corner of my house that has recently been discovered to be splintering at the bottom.  And splitting in the middle.  And there are two other steel shores that are missing from this set-up.

Now, the United States is a very litigious society.  In fact, when Jeff originally moved here, his Canadian insurance provider advised him to seek greater than $1M in coverage in case someone sues him.  It’s well documented that our first instinct is to sue.  So when these issues became revealed to us, I started plotting my court case.  I called the city to get a history of permits pulled on this property, I called my Realtor to explain the situation that we’re now in, I studied both the seller’s disclosure and the inspection report to find problems.  I found that the sellers indicated that the structure to this house had *not* been changed.

So here I was, all rarin to go.  I was worked into a tissy and determined that the sellers were going to help us shoulder this burden, come hell or high water.  And then Jeff piped up.  Are we blind? (no.) Stupid? (no.) Naive? (well…)  He didn’t ask all of these questions to make his point, but he essentially said that we knew that this house had issues coming into it and that it’s our problem now.  We noticed ourselves that there were missing supports, I noticed myself that the beam was cut when we were doing the walk through.  Just because we didn’t appreciate how much it was going to cost at the time doesn’t mean that it’s not our fault for buying this house when we knew it had issues.  He is of the opinion, and I am in agreement with him, that we bought this house with eyes wide open.  We should have done our research before signing on the dotted line, and now it is our responsibility to make sure that it’s done right.  To take responsibility for these repairs is not to let the previous owners “walk all over us,” as I had argued, it is merely to own our mistakes and acknowledge that we made the decision to move in here.  We’re not stupid, we’re not blind, and we’re not incapable of research, and so there’s no reason for us to try to pin this issue on the sellers when we were aware of it before moving in.

This, dear reader, is where I’ve been all month.  I’ve been moving in and cleaning, but mostly fixing our new home.  The issues have made me just a tiny bit bitter about the experience, but I am trying to take it for what it is:  experience.  This is still a lovely home and it will be a great home for many years once we get these issues out of the way.  I love the peace and sophistication of my dining room.  I enjoyed taking our outdated bathroom and making it our own.  The rooms echo with our laughter already and the cats have really settled in–running amok all over the place as often as they like.

If I had a piece of advice to offer a 1st time home buyer (or any home buyer for that matter), it would be this:  Get an inspection report and pay close attention to it.  If there is no cost for remediation, or if it’s out of the scope of your inspector, take the time to look online (at the very least!) or call around to get an idea of how much a repair is going to cost.  It was $168 to have our drains cleared.  $120 to have our stove looked at.  $1000 to have it replaced.  It would’ve been $300 to have it installed if I hadn’t taken on that project.  I’m getting bids on it, but it’s going to be close to, if not upwards of $10,000 to have the structural issues fixed… and that doesn’t even begin to cover the electrical or the plumbing.  Will it be worth it?  Emotionally, sure!  It’s a great house that we can really make ours.  Financially?  Who knows.  These are issues that should’ve never been a problem in the first place, so I can’t say that we’ll see a return on our investment.  What I *can* say, though, is that fixing these issues will make sure that they don’t count against us if we ever go to sell this house, and having these issues fixed will make us that much more comfortable while we’re living here.

Sh-Boom! Life Could Be a Dream

 

The title is inspired by the track that is playing in the background as I write this post.  I am such a lucky person.  Gainfully employed, completing my degree, happily in love and married, and about to buy my own home…. what’s not to love?  Life really could be a dream.

This morning when I came to work, my mom was approaching my desk with a gift for me:  It’s a binder with copies of execises that she’s collected from her experience at the gym.  There are BOSU workouts, bootcamp style interval workouts, etc.  And on the cover: a Post-it note that says “Because you are loved!!”

I told Mom how I’m getting back into fitness and ready to really hit it hard, and this is her way to encourage me.  🙂 I definitely have the warm fuzzies at this point.

Yesterday, I signed up for The Academy with Nerd Fitness:

 

The premise seems to be that it will guide me back into the fitness lifestyle by enticing me with the opportunity to level up my real life person instead of a digital character.  It plays like an RPG, except you get experience by doing things in real life.  The quest lines that you see there (General, Academy, Warrior, etc.) correlate to the type of training that you want to be doing.  I want to get started with the basics, so I’ll pursue the general quests first, then progress to The Academy and eventually start tackling some of the Ranger class quests.

I got 25 exp points for taking my ‘before’ photos, and I’ll get 25 more for taking my measurements.  The general quests start with small, easily accomplished goals and then work up to more challenging ones.  It’s just the inspiration that I need to get going without diving into the deep end and getting injured again.

We move in 2 weeks (if I’m lucky) and I have been dreaming about setting up a basement gym.  I’ve got images of rubberized flooring, inspirational posters, and blaring music dancing in my head.  Jeff wants to burst my bubble by reminding me that we have low ceilings, but then I remember that I’m short and go back to dreaming 😉

Can I have it? Pretty please?

So that’s what we’re up to 🙂 I’ll be sure to keep you posted.  Stay classy!

We’re Moving!

 

wpid-imag1234.jpgWe found this lovely home within our budget… We had gone back and forth a couple times about actually buying it because there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done in the house.  We had actually rescinded our offer to purchase the home, except the sellers altered the terms of the purchase and we came around.  This gives us so much to actually be excited about…  I know where we’re going to put our Christmas tree, and how I’d like to arrange the dining room.  I can picture what our guest bedroom is going to look like, and I’m pinning up so many ideas for what to do with the unfinished basement.

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The real deciding factor was when we got our parents to do a walk-through of the house to get a feel for whether the problems that it has are insurmountable or not.  After seeing everything in person–including the pug room, and the spray-painted spare bedroom…

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They said that they didn’t see anything that tells them to actually walk away from the house.  I think that the males in the family were impressed with the 30′ x 30′ garage, and I think that no one could really pass up the half-acre yard that’s already fenced in for pupper-duppers:

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Even though we went back and forth a few times, we’re still trying to keep the same closing-date as before… so here’s hoping that we’ll be able to move the weekend of 9/27.  It’s going to be a flurry of packing and cleaning until then, and sadly, I have to revert the kitchen back to the brown/yellow/red mess that it was when we first moved in.  There was a term in the contract that said no contact paper, but apparently the office staff didn’t read it any closer than I did.  Thankfully, they’ll let me just remove it instead of keeping my security deposit..

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