Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good & Bad

Thursday was both a good and bad day for us. Good because we got an offer on our flip, bad because we had to go to the funeral for Ben's grandma.

Ben's Grandma Dottie was an amazing woman. I did not get to know her very well because since Ben & I have been together, her health has been failing & her memory was pretty much gone. But over the past few weeks I learned so much about her & wish that I had known her better. Dottie was a pioneer for women in the real estate market back in the 60's. She owned her own brokerage when most companies would not even hire women. Every time Ben meets an agent that worked back in the 70's & 80's, as soon as they hear his last name, most will ask if he is related to Dottie.

Knowing how much his grandmother accomplished as an agent and how much she love it, it is no wonder that Ben is such a natural at what he does. It's like he was born to be doing this.

In the midst of all the sadness of the past week, we got a little bit of happiness too. And appropriately so, it came in the form of real estate. On Thursday we got an offer on our flip. And after a little negotiating, it is now under contract. The last couple of weeks have been stressful with it because of the contractor. But in the end it is all good & we will be closing on 7/29. I need to take some final pictures & then I will post them with all of the gory details of what worked & what did not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


So Cade has been here for 10 days & I realized that I had not posted a single picture yet. I know, I'm bad.

This picture was taken on Father's Day in Roxborough State Park. We went for a short 1 1/2 mile hike. Cade had a great time, except he was very worried about rattlesnakes. Every time grasshopper made noise, he thought that it was a rattlesnake. After our hike, we headed up to Idaho Springs for buffalo burgers & buffalo dogs.

Ben & Cade also have gotten to go see the Rockies play since he got here. This picture was taken without any zoom. We got the tickets from one of the title companies that Ben works with. Apparently the seats were very close. Too bad the Rockies suck & lost the game.

Cade has also been working very hard on riding his bike. Over spring break we took off his training wheels but he was having a very hard time getting his balance right. Not this time, he got right on & after only an hour or so figured it out. We're working on riding in somewhat of a straight line so that I don't freak out when he is riding down the street.

This video was taken on Father's Day when it finally "clicked" for him. You can't see very well from it, but he has the biggest grin ever. He gets better & better every day.

Monday, June 23, 2008


So I went in 2 weeks ago to see my doctor for a checkup. Turns out that I am not in as good of health as I was just a few short months ago. I have managed to gain 13 lbs in 6 months (!), my blood pressure has also gotten higher & my thyroid is enlarged. See, not so good. Not horrible-life-threatening, but not good either.

They ran some blood work to check my thyroid levels and other stuff that can be affected by an off thyroid. Of course, everything came back normal. Even the thyroid levels were normal. On the high end of normal, but normal none the less. So there is nothing "wrong" with me.

What I love is that my new doctor actually talked to me & took the time to help me. She's actually a midwife, not a typical doctor. Normally, a doctor's visit takes what, 15-20 min max. Not mine; she spent over an hour talking to me, finding out what has been going on in my life & then offering real suggestions. She treated me like a real person & used her own experiences to show that she can relate to what I am going through.

In the end, she suggested a plan of action for me that included:
- some lemon balm & Chaste tree to help with my mood swings. So I take a tincture a couple of times a day that has these in it. It tastes pretty nasty, but I can tell a slight difference already only 2 weeks later
- working with a therapist to find better ways to deal with the stress in life. So I have started that too. It's only been a couple of sessions & it is interesting to say the least.
- and then there is the obvious, diet & exercise. But she did not do the one-size-fits-all answer of limit your calories, yada, yada, yada. She listened to what I eat, where my weakness tends to be (starchy carbs) and that I tend to get dizzy sometimes. Then suggested the Zone diet because it limits the carbs & works to keep you on a balanced blood sugar level which will help with the chips/muffins/bread cravings and with the dizziness.

So even though, she was the bearer of some bad news, she helped me see the best of it & give me the tools I need to get back on track. Now, I just have to do it... EEK!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Week 5 of our 4 week flip

OK so I know it has been awhile since I posted. Ben had to go and have surgery again so that kind of threw a wrench in our lives momentarily. He is recovering nicely. We had a new surgeon & a new hospital do the repair. The new doctor said basically there is nothing that Ben could do to Tear it apart now.

But enough about that. I'm sure you are wondering how our flip is going.

· scrap popcorn ceiling off of living/dining room ceiling DONE

· re-texture living room, dining room, bedrooms & study DONE

· gut the existing bathroom IN PROGRESS- grout & finishing touches are all that is left

· gut the kitchen IN PROGRESS- still needs outlets, grout on granite, old gas pipes cut out, door for water shut-off, upper cabinet above stove, and appliances

· re-finish the hardwood floors

· new windows

· new roof DONE, well sort of done. The original roof guy did a crappy job & refuses to certify his work. Which is a big problem. He won’t be getting paid & we have to get another company out to re-do the work.

· paint the exterior of the house IN PROGRESS- brick is primed

· remove front fence DONE! Rest of fence still needs to get painted

· tear down existing sheds DONE

· move the washer/dryer hook-ups & hot water heater to new closet DONE!

· build master bedroom with closet & master bath on the existing patio foundation

· build family room on rest of patio foundation with french doors to backyard

· and, maybe, a little bit of yardwork IN PROGRESS- yard is being watered & mowed. After calculating how much it will cost in gas & time to maintain the yard from the time the contractors finish to the time it closes, we decided not to do any yardwork. If needed we will offer a concession but considering the yard looks as nice as the rest of the block, we are not too concerned.

We ran into a few snags along the way over the past 3 weeks.

Snag 1: The contractor let his Denver license expire and did not get the proper permits before he started the addition because he was trying to save money. Since the house was vacant for so long, it was on the vacant/abandoned list. All that means, is that there is a city official that drives by a couple of times a month to check on the house. He of course saw the work going on & saw that it was being done without permits & shut the job down until the inspector could come by. The inspector came by, told the contractor to get a valid license, and what permits he would need as well.

After a week and a half delay, the contractor had a valid license & permits. The permits cost a grand total of $85. Yes, $85. Seems like a HUGE amount to be concerned about, right. Before the city would approve the permits for the addition, they needed to see a floor plan.

Snag 2: While Home Depot was creating the plan, work was able to continue on the rest of the house. We had the furnace guy come out to certify the furnace. The furnace was shot. It was original to the house & had never been cleaned. So we needed to replace it. Not too big of a deal because we had planned this into the budget.

Well at this same time, the city came back & said we could not use the original patio foundation & we needed to increase the pitch of the roof for the addition. This added about $6000 work which was not budgeted for. So the addition had to go bye-bye :(

But this freed up a little money so we are able to put in air conditioning along with the new furnace, so it was not all bad.

Snag 3: Over Memorial weekend, someone kicked in the back door & stole a bunch of materials & tools. They took off with the tub, sink, toilet, shower tile and other misc things. Basically all of the materials for the new bathroom to the tune of about $1500. The contractor for some reason did not call the police or let us know until this past weekend. So we are trying work with the insurance company & see what we can do at this point to file a claim. If that is even possible.

But all in all, it is coming along nicely. And it is set to be done by Saturday! We already have it on the market & the feedback has been very good. It won't be long before it is under contract.

I have updated the photo gallery with some pictures from the past 3 weeks. Or you can see a slide show of the photos here. What do you think so far?