Friday, January 30, 2009

Good Bye Rental House. Hello, Er... New Rental House

As many of you know from my constant bitching and whining, the house we’re currently living in is a rental, and far from my ideal home. Not that it’s horrible or anything; the layout is just complete crap. It’s 2,400 square feet, has three bedrooms plus an enormous bonus room upstairs with a full bathroom. As for the kitchen, the architect was surely drunk when he designed it. Sure, it’s got your working triangle, but I don’t think he/she was meant to take the word triangle and interpret it into a kitchen that’s actually that shape.

Why have we been renting for the past two years? Because when Jimmy accepted a great job offer here in Jacksonville, we put our house in Tampa on the market and nothing happened. It’s been on and off the market more times than I can count, each time with a lowered price, but still, it doesn’t sell. There’s just too much inventory and too many new construction homes going up that are priced competitively with our 11- year- old sub-standard, bare-bones-basic home.

Carrying the mortgage there, plus the rent here, for two years, has been a struggle. Not to mention having to pay electric and lawn maintenance on a house we no longer live in.

And then a few weeks ago our neighbor approached us about renting his house, which is only 4 doors down and across the street, right in the heart of the cul-de-sac. I knew the layout of their house from being in John and Tracey’s, which is the same, and also knew it had some nice upgrades that we certainly don’t have here. My mind whirled with thoughts of more space, a bigger kitchen, a screened-in patio!!! Still not the house of my dreams, but that will have to wait for a time when we actually have some money in our pockets. Right now I’m willing to settle for “better”.

My house lust was shot down within days. Our friend was asking $300 more than we’re paying in rent now, and the house is only 200 square feet larger. It just wasn’t doable.

Then a few days ago our friend contacted Jimmy again, and was willing to come down in price to a figure we can manage. Still a little more than we’re paying now, but to me, totally worth it! Jimmy has plans of finally putting the Tampa house up for rent, and once that happens the financial strain will let up quite a bit.

If you had asked me ten years ago if I would have pictured myself renting a house instead of owning at this point in my life, I would have scoffed. But you know what? We’re one of the lucky ones. Jimmy still has a job that pays really well, and we have a roof over our heads. We live in a beautiful part of Florida, and our neighborhood is absolutely gorgeous, with a golf course and many other amenities. Not to mention we’ve got terrific neighbors. And guess what? When we move (about 200 feet down the block… LOL) we’ll be only two houses away from Chuck and Larry! I can accost him on his way to work and demand driveway haircuts! Okay, I doubt that’s going to happen, but I’ll find some other way to nag the shit out of him.

It makes absolutely no financial sense to move from here to there…. none whatsoever, but we’re doing it anyway! Within the next few weeks we’ll start moving our stuff into the new house and will officially move in March 1st. We’re going from a really ugly house (both inside and out) to a much nicer looking one. Yippeee!

Now tell me this is not the most fugly house design you've ever seen!

Wanna see some pictures of our new digs? When I walked over there weeks ago to look over the house, I took my camera with me. Huge surprise, eh? None of these shots were well thought-out because my battery was dying, so I just pointed and snapped, but you’ll get the general idea.

My new kitchen!
Oh, the beautiful cherry cabinets, the sheen of stainless steel, the glow of beautiful granite. I want to lie naked on your cold, hard surface... Er, ahem. I seem to have gotten carried away. Kitchen, although you're still not as large as I'd like, I think I love you.

When you walk in the front door, these two rooms are directly to your right. They have used the dining area as their play room, and the living room area as, well, their living room. But, they moved the chandy from the play area over to the living area. Confused yet?

The family room, adjacent to the kitchen. Unfortunately, our furniture isn't half as nice as theirs. Hmmmm... wonder if they'd like to leave that entertainment center behind? Hey, a girl can dream!

I didn't take any pictures of the bedrooms (there are 4), because it would have seemed to like an invasion of private space. But, they're quite a bit larger than what we have in this house, and each one has a walk-in closet. The master closet actually has two separate sections. Way cool!

This is the view from the upstairs landing.

Looking down on the entryway.

This is probably my favorite part of the house. No more skeeter bites while sitting outside blogging! No more Rocky either :o ( Jill thinks I should trap him and release him in the woods behind the new house. Uh, no!

See the pretty pavers they've put down? Gee, wonder if they'd like to leave that cool fire-pit table behind? Nope, don't think so. Hey, I'm still dreamin'!

Let us recap, shall we?

We're going from this...

To this...

Wouldn't you do it if you had the choice?

Until Next Time, Tiney

Thursday, January 29, 2009

He's Back and He Knows His Name!!!

My Rocky is so damn smart! I know you've probably heard enough of my blathering on about my stupid raccoon, but tonight was so exciting for me, I just had to share. If you read the post before this, you know that Rocky has still been visiting me. But tonight was extra cool because...

I came out here with a cup of coffee, my camera and some Ritz crackers. Sat down, threw some crackers on the patio and called out, "Rockyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Come here boy!!!!!!!" I then started to read an email. I wasn't even two lines into it when I heard crunching. I looked down and there he was!

He grabbed his cracker and ran back into the woods, but I had to test my theory that he was actually remembering his name and now trusting my voice. I called him again, and again he came back, the went back into the woods.

Then Madison came out here to say goodnight and I told her to stand behind my chair and be very still and quiet. I began calling him again, and told her where to look in the woods to see his face pop out. My desk light doesn't reach quite that far, but when he's there if you look very closely you can see his cute little face. It took a good minute this time, with Madison squirming behind me, but then... there he was! Madison gasped and couldn't believe he was responding to me. When he came right next to me to eat his Ritz I thought her face was going to split from smiling so hard.

Rocky resumed his place in the woods and Madison went to bed. Then I put the camera on video mode and called him again. You won't be able to see much at first, but just watch. You'll even see me wiggle my foot a couple of times so you could tell how close he was to me.

Now I know this isn't very exciting for those of you that grew up in the country, or even had a baby pet raccoon. But for me, this is bliss. I didn't get to meet him as a baby, so for him to trust me enough to get this close is pretty darn cool. Yeah, I know it's really the food that keeps him coming back, but I have to believe that he likes me, even if it's just a little bit.

Totally off topic here, but spider webs are cool too!

Until Next Time, Tiney

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gimme More of That Coonie Love

I said Coonie, not Clooney! You people and your love of George just puzzle me. He does absolutely nothing for me, doesn't even give me a tiny twinge anywhere. You know what did though? Nikki Crumpet's spandex picture here. Definitely a twinge from that. A couple of funky twitches too.

So, back to my coonie love. Several of you liked my Rocky Raccoon post called Backyard Critters and have since asked to hear more about Rocky and if he's still been visiting me.

He sure has! Not every night how I'd like, but just when I'm least expecting him, there he is! He's so darn quiet I rarely hear him before he's right next to me, twitching his little black nose in hopes of scoring some food.

One such night I was totally prepared with my leftovers from dinner. First, I have to tell you why I had so much left over. Ever buy those Gorton's crunchy fish fillets? Well, I love them, and that's what I made this particular night. Got them all nice and crispy on the outside, made my own tartar sauce, and sat down to dive in. Well, all I can say is, "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww". I think I may have exclaimed, "What the fuck is that?" when I put my fork through the first piece.

This is what my "fish" looked like.

Looks more like something that shoots out of your nose when you've got a bad cold, don't you think?

Just in case that shot wasn't close up enough for ya, here's another.

I know it's hard to believe, but I actually didn't grab my camera thinking, "Blog picture!" Nope, these were taken for the sole purpose of complaining to Gorton's. I was totally bummed when they had an online form and nowhere to upload a picture, so they never did get to see my fish goo.

But back to Rocky. He must have smelled that nasty fish, 'cause here he comes!

Time to sniff the offerings.

Poor bean. Even Rocky wouldn't touch the fish. He put one piece in his mouth and gently deposited it on the ground.

It amazes me that he will let me take picture after picture of him, with the flash exploding in his eyes, but he never flinches. Doesn't seem to mind at all really. As per Donna's request, I even took some video. The plate of brown crud you'll see on the left is beef-flavored cat food that all three cats turned their nose up to. So did Rocky, but later that night one of the strays around here had no such qualms.

I think you may be able to hear me talking to him in this clip.

Tell me he's not cute!

The coolest thing happened two nights ago. I heard him behind the fish tank (those are the huge crates you see behind him. Took them out of storage and need to get them sold) and called him over to me. Would you believe he came right up to me and bumped his little nose into my slipper? Then he ran away. I was so sad, because I wanted to take more pictures of him! It was a very cool experience to have him actually touch me, especially because I didn't have food out for him. I guess that's why he nose-bumped me then left.

I'll be sure to keep you all updated on any more critter encounters here in my backyard, and beyond. But let me ask you this: What is your favorite wild animal? What is your favorite domestic animal?

Until Next Time, Tiney

Monday, January 26, 2009

Honest Scrapper --Tiney Style

Bom Chicka

You all know about the Honest Scrapper award, correct? It's been floating around for quite a while now, and I've just been tagged with it yet again, by Rhea from Texas Word Tangle. I told her I wasn't going to do it because I've already listed 10 honest things about myself about 10 billion times for y'all. But then an idea came to me. An idea so profound, so completely bare-bones honest, that I just had to fly with it. So, here we go, fly with me...

I once boinked on a metal slide in a public neighborhood park. In fairly full view of the highway.

I once boinked on a bench which was on an outdoor deck in a backyard.

I once boinked, half hanging out of a car at the Smith's Point beach parking lot.

I once boinked on a high floor hotel balcony on the beach, with people walking below, totally unaware. At least, I think they were unaware.

I once boinked in a neighbor's jacuzzi while they were away on vacation and we were dog sitting. We later told them to add extra chlorine.

I once boinked loud enough that my next door neighbor thought she heard a wild animal in the woods behind our houses. And then told my parents the story during a family birthday party. She was drunk. Unfortunately, I was not.

I once boinked in a bed that was so infested with fleas you could see them bouncing all over the place. No, it was not my bed, thank goodness!

I once several times boinked in a room occupied by others who had no idea I was boinking. Or maybe they did.

I once...

No, wait...

I have not boinked since the since the year of our Lord, two thousand and seven.

I once had a lot of Froggy Bloggy followers, but figure after this post it's going to be questionable.

Until Next Time, Tiney

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tales (And Tails) from the Toilet

It's a rare occurrence in this house if I'm able to sit my butt down on the potty and just have some me time. And of all the times of day that a person deserves to be on their own, shouldn't it be while on the can? For me, even if there are no humans present, I still get no privacy. Sure, I could lock the door but what happens when I do that? Either a kid is knocking to ask me a question, or one of the cats is sticking her paws under the crack of the door to play try and catch me, Mommy! May as well just keep the door open, don't you think?

A couple of months ago while sitting down to do my thing, I had not one, but two kids at the door talking to me, and then, horror of horrors, Jimmy pokes his head in the door to have a word too! By now a couple of cats are curious, so not only are there three rude idiots people talking to me, now I've got a cat or two doing figure eights between my legs. As friends and family have commonly said to me, "Is there nothing sacred to you?" Well, sure, lots of things, but it just so happens that potty time is not one of them.

My very favorite is when Madison comes to visit while eating something, and then offers me a bite. Hello!?! Do you see what I'm doing here? Do you think I want to eat right this minute?

Now, not many people have a camera at the ready while they're doing potty time. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for me. This is a true testament to just how addicted I am to blogging. The fact that I stop to pick up my camera on the way to the loo is all the proof I need that I've completely lost my ever-lovin' bloggin' mind.

The photos kind of speak for themselves.

Zoe, the kitty terror.

Different potty, different cat, probably same day, knowing my constitution. Meet Simmie.

They're not all bad though. There's always Poo.

And they sure are cute when they're like this.

And this...

Now if only I could get them to stop shedding on my sheets and blankets.

Believe it or not, these sheets have been on the bed for less than a week. I'm just glad they pick that one spot for most of their naps, and it's not where I sleep!

Now I'll leave you with a little song that Madison and her bff Amrita made up.

I'm go-o-ing pottttttttttttttty
Onnnn the looooooooooooooooo
I'm go-o-ing pee peeeeeeeeeeeeee
And maybe some poooooooooooooooooo

Until Next Time, Tiney