Wednesday, April 16, 2014


While shopping around for a refinance loan, Lender#4 quoted me $6800 for closing costs.

Incredulous, I repeated, "$6800 ???"

He replied, "Let me explain what goes into that cost... I know you didn't mean to offend me."

Duh ? I offended him ? Nakakapikon. 

If anything, I should be the offended party - especially when the next highest closing cost estimate I've received so far is only $2800 (and I thought that was high!).

Saturday, April 12, 2014


We had the fence put up today and we are loving it!

The installers came in bright and early this morning, they started around 8 and finished the project by noon. By then, they left the gate unhung and had to come back again later because the latch they brought was not the one that we agreed on.

I asked if installations typically go this fast or was ours just much faster because we were getting fewer sections installed ?

We were told that we got lucky today because they were not busy and were able to get double the crew (typical crew = 2 people, we got 4!).

 We had to have picket fences installed in the side and front part of the house due to city codes. Any fencing installed from the back houseline towards the front has to be no more the 4 ft high and has to be 50% open.

We chose the basic design (classic!) with a framed top and a New England style post topper.

And here is a picture of the privacy fence that was installed starting from the rear house line. We're glad we splurged a little bit and went for the privacy fence. It looks really nice.

In fact, we like it so much that Hubs is even talking about replacing the chain link fencing that goes behind the evergreens in our lot's back perimeter. I am saying "no" to that, of course. Why spend to replace the fence that is already there when it will be covered by trees anyway ?
We chose not to fence in the other side of the house. It wasn't much space anyway and has poor visibility from the patio - we didn't want Swe-cha running and hiding in that area and us not knowing where he is.

The installers came back in the afternoon to hang the fencing and install the child-proof locks, we were happy because they initially said they'd come back first thing Monday morning.  Apparently they finished another job early and were able to drop by again.

We took a break for lunch and afterwards, we started setting up the patio furniture. We got it last March and have been storing it in the garage since we don't have the fencing yet.

Guess who was so excited and wanted to have a picnic right away - even though we weren't done yet ?

Swe-cha went inside the house, grabbed his favorite black soy bean milk drink and a glass and came out saying "picnic".

... and when he woke up from his nap this afternoon, the first thing he wanted to do was to put on his shoes and come out to the yard.

Super sulit ang fence :)

And if I haven't said it before, I'll say it again. We love love love our yard and most especially, the covered patio. It's perfect for us and during our discussions, hubs and I agreed that it's probably not something I would've willingly spent money on building (if we had extra money, I'd rather pay extra on the mortgage) so we're really glad that we already have one.

Oh...and on a side note, hubs locked himself in the garage today (not really a big deal as he can just open the garage door and walk out), he got saved by "swe-cha" who opened the door and let him back in the house.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Message Center

Our message center is finally up.

It only took 3 Ikea trips - the first time was when we looked at it and took measurements, the 2nd time was when we decided to buy it but it was out of stock and the 3rd time was when we actually bought it - and another 2 weeks spent sitting on our counter because hubby decided that since our Craftsman drill charger is broken, we could not install it.

Today, I decided to just go ahead and screw it in myself. How hard could it be to drive screws into drywall ? Not hard, apparently. MEN! (roll eyes) - so helpless without their power tools.

Now, am happy that we have a place to post school calendars and note down appointments and reminders.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Answered Prayer

Ang galing ni Lord.

As always, all we had to do was ask.

As you know, we moved late last year. We had been house-hunting on and off for a while and didn't really have a timeline. We were just waiting until we find the one house that we really liked so we couldn't really put our condo up on the market as we didn't know when we'd find THE house.

We did buy THE house in mid-2013 and took our time moving. We had the new house painted, mold-remediation on the basement and some work done (i.e. attic stairs) before we moved in. It took us weeks and weeks to pack and when moving day came, we still weren't done. We would find ourselves "still packing" weeks later.

We set a target of January 2014 for ourselves, we wanted the condo to be market-ready by then. By December, we feared that we wouldn't make it as we were already very exhausted. Our realtor told us that the condo didn't really have to be empty, it just had to be neat. So we boxed and bagged the remaining stuff and put them in the hall closet - and they have been sitting there since.

It's been quiet all this time, we've had visits and inquiries. The slew of snowstorms we've had since putting the condo up on the market didn't help. A lot of weekends were snow-storm weekends and those were, obviously, quiet days. There was some interest and several said they would "think about it" but nobody got interested enough to make an offer.

Last week, I realized that aside from that prayer of thanks (that we were finally able to get the place show-ready) in January, I didn't really ask God to help us sell it and when that realization hit me, I prayed. "Lord, please don't forget the condo. Please let someone who will appreciate/love it find their way to us."

We got an excited call from our realtor on Friday. We got two offers. Yes, two! On the same day! God rocks! On Saturday morning, we countered one offer and got a response back within hours. The buyer has accepted. We signed the contract on Sunday afternoon and we go into attorney review for the next 3 days.

Praise Him! We are so thankful for the following:
- that we got not just one, but two, offers. It certainly made us think and helped us decide much quicker
- that the buyer accepted our counter-offer right away
- that the buyer is a cash buyer - no need to worry about appraisals and loans not pushing through and delaying things
- that the buyer can and wants to close in 30 days or less (saves us from having to come up with the next quarter of taxes which are due on May 1 *whew*)

I would say that our realtor is a very lucky one too. She pulled off being BOTH the buyer & seller's agent for our house purchase and it looks like she's going to pull off being that again for our condo sale :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Shoe-drying tip

So we've been potty training, right ?

Yesterday, Swe-cha had a pee-pee accident in school. He came home with his shoes soaked (he did have spare shoes in school), I washed his shoes that night.

Now, normally, when we wash shoes back home in the Philippines, we'd wait for a time when we'd be a couple of consecutive bright, sunny days so that we could set the shoes out to dry under the sun. Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury now - given that it's winter and we're experiencing frigid temperatures. If I set wet shoes out to dry, they'd just turn hard with ice and the shoes would be wet again as soon as the ice thaws.

The other alternative I could think of was the clothes dryer. I've heard of some sort of contraption you could get which lets you hang your shoes in the middle of the dryer so it won't be tumbled about. I was concerned about the adhesives and the material being damaged and when I googled it, sure enough, it was a concern.

I kept googling for toilet-training-friendly shoes and it turns out that jelly shoes (or crocs!) are a good option - it would've been nice to time toilet training with a nice & warm season.

Anyway, as I was about to give up, I came across an article on on how to dry shoes with newspaper. I tried it and it does work! I did change the newspapers a few times, I did this last night and 24 hrs later, Swe-cha's shoes were dry!

Ayos :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Potty Training - Day 1

Today is the BIG day. We started potty training.

Kinda late, I know.

But if you think about it, we've kinda-sorta been potty training a while since we have been bringing Swe-cha to the toilet to pee every now and then and he has no problems going in the toilet. We just weren't doing this 100% till now. Now, we are coordinating this with his school so you could say that *this* is a team effort.

We've only been home half an hour and I am so nervous because I realize that this house is so not potty-training-friendly. We have a new sofa and loveseat, hardwood floors and we no longer have the plastic wraps on our dining seat upholstery.

I dropped by the home improvement store to pick up one of these - a toilet seat that has an integrated child-sized seat.

How cool is that ? I didn't even realize that there were contraptions like these until I saw this at Swe-cha's Ninang's house. No unsightly potty seats hanging beside the toilet bowl.

Installation was a breeze. I did get over the ewww factor of taking off the old seat by using disposable latex gloves.

Now, if only I can get Swe-cha to stop flushing every so often. We've only sat on the toilet thrice and he probably flushed more than 10x already. Boy, I'm not looking forward to this quarter's water bill.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Winter Storm Titan

We cleaned the garage today, in anticipation of Winter Storm Titan. We parked the Tribeca inside the garage so there would be 1 less car to clean afterwards.

Okay.... when I said "we cleaned", I really meant "hubby moved the bikes to the basement, swept the garage, threw away the garbage and moved the rest of the moving boxes into the family room". Swe-cha and I supervised :)

This is probably the most prep-work we've done all winter, labor-wise. As of last Friday, we expected to have between 4-8 or 6-12 inches of snow this weekend, depending on where you looked. I've been watching progress on all day yesterday and when I went to bed, the forecast was that we'd have snow from 8a Sunday morning.

Things seems to have gotten delayed as it is already 2:30p and while the skies are dark, we have yet to see a single snowflake. I just checked the weather again and seems like Titan has shifted south and we are only expected to have 1-3 inches.