Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Everyone thinks Buying A House is the Best Thing Ever. (Yes, capitalization required.) No noisy people upstairs or downstairs! Don't have to pay for laundry! Your own yard!
Yes, all of those things are wonder-wonder-wonderful, however, there are some pitfalls (hmmm… strangely, most are related to… MONEY!) that, had I truly thought about, might have changed my mind to buy a house.
Note: since talking about money and junk is supposedly taboo, and I strictly conform to social norms (ha-ha), I will round up numbers to nice-and-even figures, to keep from being tacky.
Here are some of the LAME aspects of owning a home:
· Not-so-hidden "hidden" fees – I like to think of these as "oh yeah, I knew about that, but I truly didn't get it until I was like "OMG WHERE DID MY MONEY GO?"
o Taxes – ahem. Okay, yeah, I knew I had to pay taxes on my house. I got it. I knew there were charts somewhere with lines and lines of size 6 font showing different percentages and millages (still don't know what that means) and what not. Being an out-of-practice engineer, I shouldn't have been afraid of those charts, but oh, I was.
§ Taxes suck. We pay over 2% of the value of our house in taxes. That sounds so lame and puny, little old 2%, until you multiply that by a couple hundred thousand dollars. That's an extra (rounding!) $5000 a year that we weren't paying last year. Heartburn!
o Insurance. Alright, I understand the need for insurance. I have no problem paying insurance. I love insurance. Insurance loves me. Technically, that's only because I (THANK GOD) haven't had to file a claim yet, only to be denied, but ahh, let's not get ahead of ourselves. But, insurance is another one of those things that, when meeting with a realtor, they never include in their pricing. For instance, you walk into a realtor's office, and say "I want to spend $x a month on a house. Show me houses I can afford." Well, the realtor will show you houses whose house payment will be $x, not including house payment + insurance + taxes. I know those are all different things, but they usually get rolled into the mortgage payment. For instance, on top of my house payment, it's another $1500 a year to insure my house, but this I will gladly pay.
§ PMI taxes – omg this suckkkksssss so much. Basically I pay $1500 a year for my mortgage company to be insured against me, should I decide to stop paying them. SAH-WEET. SIKE! Heartburn.
o Home-Owners Association
§ Some bullshit about "snow removal" and "uniform mailboxes" – whatever! There goes $750 a year I could have spent on a new wardrobe – thanks to you, I'm wearing sweaters from the Old Navy 2003 line (so vogue!) and pants that are, ahem, tight (of the muffin-top variety – there, I said it!)
o A lawn to mow? No thanks.
o Sprinklers to maintain? Wait, I have to PAY SOMEONE twice a year to "turn them on" and "turn them off"? BULLSCHNITZ.
o That thing I drive up every day – I have to SHOVEL IT when it snows? Gross. Also, rude!
· If it's big, you have to clean it. Dust WILL magically appear on every surface, and yes, you WILL find random weird stains in bathrooms that are never even used. Perhaps it's from the ghosts of past owners, but don't tell Nick that because I have the feeling he's not too keen on having ghosts in our house. I'm kinda okay with it, but I digress.
· If it's small, you might as well live in an apartment.
· Total annual "not-so-hidden" costs: $8750 a year (about 0.35% of my heart just died) – amazing! Amazingly disgusting.
So, in an effort to not have this be 100% negative, I will list a couple of pros for my gentle readers:
· Supposedly you get money back come tax season? I don't know the deets, but, like, someone PLEASE tell me Uncle Sam is going to give me thousands of dollars in February. That would make for an AWESOME Valentine's Day.
· You can decorate however you want. For instance, tacky brass light fixtures? (All throughout my house… shudder.) AWAY WITH THEIR HEADS! Oh wait, that costs MONEY. Anyone have $8750 I can borrow?
· You can do laundry in your skivvies. This is a stretch in terms of a pro. But – since you have laundry in your own home, you can do it (or, do it) without clothes on. Oh wait, this is getting a tad too dirty for my tastes… nevermind.
· You will lose a TON of weight on your new diet consisting of rice, half-off meatballs, and tap-water.
Happy House-Hunting, My Friends!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Gah! I’m always late. I wrote this on Dec. 1 but forgot to “publish”. So here it is, a woeful eight days late. Better late than never…
Dec. 1 is a big day for a few reasons:
It’s the day Rosa Parks remained seated in her seat after a day’s work, and got up for no one. Wow. Think about that. While most of us weren’t living at this time, the fact that we lived in a time when Rosa was still alive is even huge. When we learned about her in social studies, she wasn’t like most of the other people we learned about because she was still around. There wasn’t a whole lot of modern day history that I can remember learning about where the subjects were still alive, and even as a school kid I found that to be really interesting.
It’s also World Aids Day. So, here’s something to think about, taken from www.statenews.com on a story about World Aids Day:
According to data from LAAN (Lansing Area AIDS Network), half of new HIV infections happen to people 25 years old or younger. Estimates say there are about 18,000 people in Michigan with HIV or AIDS.
That number is way too high. 50% of infections are happening in my age bracket? I know it shouldn’t be happening in ANY age bracket, but it’s just astounding to me because we’re the generation that grew up learning about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. I think kids don’t even consider it, to be honest. My guess is people worry more about pregnancy or other STDs when they are unprotected. The number is just frightening to me, and I really hope it resonates to the people who read it in the State News. It’s just not worth the risk!!!! Yes, four exclamation points!!!!
Monday, December 8, 2008
I've read through all of the nienie dialogues, which are inspiring to say the least. Which has also pointed me to cjane's website, which is equally a treat to read. They've both been added to my daily blog readings, and give good inspiration for making a festive home.
So, for one, I'm thankful for good reads on the internet.
Secondly, going along with the house-wife theme, I'm thankful for my kitchen goodie drawer.
In it contains all that is needed for a weekend (and Monday day-off) of gluttony. I made a lot of recipes from my favorite websites... such as Nie Nie's Whole Wheat Pizza, this awesome salsa from Mighty Girl's suggestion, in addition to The Pioneer Woman's cheese muffins (omg), and (okay, a little embarassed to admit this one) Dottie's baked french toast (she's a Weight Watcher site guru, I wouldn't necessarily call her a blogger... but surfer beware: that site is full of ads and isn't aesthitically pleasing to the eye...)
Anyway, back to the goody drawer. Among my favorites: citrus zester, cheese grater, potato peeler, and my #1Fav: the mojito masher. Ah. Bliss.
I'm also thankful to Mr. Murphy, who has been a complete gentleman on my day off. I had visions of my pup running around ferally, wreaking havoc in the house, humping my leg, and all around annoying me on my day off. I considered taking him to Puppy Day Care, but in the end, Recession Lindsay won and I didn't justify the $25. He's been so mellow today, so I thank him!
Here's a recent picture of our little guy. We bought that little bed for him when he was a wee one, and at the time it was the perfect size for him. He could snuggle up right in it and have room to wiggle. The best part is that he still balls up into position and lays on it... but looks like a fat guy in a little coat. You know what I mean? No offense, little guy, but you're totally reminding me of Farley.
Now I'm going to finish lounging around on my day off... I'm watching wedding shows on the style channel, wishing I could get married again! Ahhh, to dream... (to Nick of course!)