Thursday, January 23

Designing Woman

We tooled over to Orange County yesterday (2.5 hours each way!) to visit the design center and select a few options for our new house.

While I was there I took a photo of our lot. We couldn’t go up there because it’s a construction site and closed off during business hours, but I did get a photo from the street below:


Our house will sit where the black arrow is. I still can’t believe we were so lucky to score such a great spot.


The design center was fun but a little overwhelming. We spent about four hours during this session and will go back two more times. It is unbelievable the things we had to select. Very involved.

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Wiring. TV/cable/internet outlet locations. Can light (or not) locations. Ceiling fan prewires. Door handles. Speakers. Intercom. There are a plethora of sexy high tech options available today that you can operate with your phone. (We didn’t get any of that stuff.)

It’s good because you can get exactly what you want, but any upgrade at all costs extra. When we bought our last [new] house the only thing to select was flooring and countertops. And we bought it so late in the construction process that some construction worker made those choices before we bought the house.

We have yet to decide flooring and other surfaces, but we did choose cabinets. Below is the model of our plan.


We opted for a furniture island (vs. a sheetrock one) like in the above photo. We wanted vanilla kitchen cabinets and a brown island, but you cannot mix cabinets throughout the house and I knew I couldn’t live with that much white, so I opted for brown cabinets and a white island. It will look a little like the photo below:


Below are the things we did select. The square rocks on the right are the backsplash. They have them in the model (gray) and J fell in love with them.


The wood floor and carpet aren’t official, I was just goofing around while the designer wrapped up some paperwork. The carpet shows much lighter in the photo than it is. The wood is really pretty and has a lot of different subtle color shadings going on. We are keeping the background colors cool and neutral. We have enough warm wood furniture and a red sofa to pop some color.

Next is bathroom flooring and shower tiles, sinks and surfaces, mirror frames—more fun ahead!

Saturday, January 18

Same Stuff Different Week

I put that title so you'd know straight up that there was no real news.

They are playing the Humana Challenge here at PGA West this week. This event used to be called The Bob Hope Classic, but ol' Bob passed away and now Bill Clinton and his Clinton Foundation has taken it over, but it's not the same.

It used to be for fun and charity, and we'd get real star power out here. The major players of the day would all come to play, and celebrity golfers like Bill Murray, Alice Cooper, heck even Smokey Robinson, who is a very decent golfer. We watched him play a few years ago.

Now that the Clinton Foundation has taken it over it's all about promoting awareness about health and fitness, and it is sponsored by a health insurance company. And health insurance has been getting some not-so-great press lately. Anyway, it's not the fun romp it used to be. Above we have Gary Player and Bill Clinton. He (Bill) played the first year, but now he's only a spokesperson. Just between you and me, he's not a great golfer.

Did I tell you I met Gary Player? Shook his hand and talked to him for a while. What a peach of a guy. We ran into him (and Jack Nicklaus) coming out of a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia last year.

Incidentally, all the golf nobility is playing over in Dubai this week. For whatever reason, they're not playing here.

Meanwhile, on the home front, no news. We aren't having an open house this week because of the golf tournament, but we are having a showing today so we still have to be spiffed up and shiny. I spackled and painted all the nicks and nail holes--took me several tries to match the paint but I got it, and I polished up the cabinetry. I hope we get an offer soon so J can breathe again. He's on the verge of apoplexy.

The weather has been glorious (80s) and I've been getting back into golf. Man, it's great just to be out there.

Monday, January 13

Nibble Nibble Little Mouse

Won't you come and buy my house? You stinkin' louse...

Pardon while I grouse.

Hi! Happy Monday! It's a beautiful day out here in the desert, the sun is shining and temperatures are nice. We had a very productive weekend--actually, we're worn out. We had an open house on Saturday, and while that was taking place, we went to the cinema and saw American Hustle.

By now you know it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture in the comedy/musical category. Comedy? Maybe. There were some chuckles in the film. Most notably the hair. The men's hair. Christian Bale's elaborate comb-over and Bradley Cooper's home perm job were funny. Best picture? Maybe not.

Our agent said hoards of people tromped through our [open] house Saturday. Hoards! We did get some callbacks and one couple came on Sunday despite the fact we had just gotten home and were putting away groceries. They said "within the hour" and showed up eight minutes later. Sheesh, people! But at least they showed up.

By now (90 days but who's counting) we're getting weary of looky-loos and their shenanigans. Last week we spent an hour sitting in our car down the street and they didn't come. Okay, so I got to finish the Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle and J got to read the paper. But still. How rude. We busted our butts to get the house in order and open it up for them. And not even a phone call to say oops, sorry. That actually happened twice last week.

But we may have had a nibble. At least I think we might have. They called back on Sunday to ask about golf. I explained everything to our agent, who called their agent and relayed the information.

Then our agent never heard from them again. But maybe today. You never know. We can't give up now, so we mize well stay optimistic.

Meanwhile I have been "trying" to do some touch-up painting. Naturally the paint dried up years ago in the 120°+ temperatures and trying to match it is a never-ending puzzle...there is yet another trip to the paint store in my future. And I spiffed up the cabinets--the former residents did not have knobs on the cabinets (that was dumb) and the cabinets at the sink looked shabby. However, they might look a little worse since I "fixed" em...

I have a hunch--I think the snowbirds won't have a sense of urgency about buying a place until maybe the end of January, maybe even mid-February. They are already ensconced in their rentals until April/May, so what's the rush. Then there were the holidays. Now it's January, just about mid-season, they have a pretty good idea about what's out there, and if they're going to close escrow before they leave (not that they have to), it's time to start thinking about narrowing down the choices. Traffic has increased exponentially since January 1. So I'm thinking, "pretty soon."

Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, January 8

Winter Golf in the Desert

It’s truly glorious. I suppose it’s cruel of me to mention it when most of the country is experiencing Polar Vortex, but golf season has started and I am getting back to playing regularly again.


Actually golf season officially started around Thanksgiving, but I was sick and then there were the holidays. But I’m back now. And boy am I rusty! I haven’t played since August and my scores really show it. Look for the handicap to go up, up, up. But it comes back down. (We hope.)

You might think it’s delightful to be able to play golf in the winter—it is, but I’m here to tell you it’s freaking COLD when we tee it up at 7:00 AM. We wear layers upon layers upon layers, and it’s hard to swing the club when you are clad like a kid in a snowsuit. The sun is hot but the air is cold, so if you’re in the shade you’re cold. It’s weird. Jacket on, jacket off. Jacket on, jacket off.

We have already begun designing and personalizing our new house. They do things differently today when you buy a brand-new nest in California.

There are literally thousands of options and choices—it goes way beyond choosing flooring. It’s good because you get exactly what you want and you don’t have to pay for extras you don’t want. Like, for example, I opted not to have a sink in the laundry room because I don’t use one and I’d rather have the counter space. But it’s bad because every little thing costs extra and it really adds up. 


In addition to choosing a style of light fixtures, you can get a wiring package (above) so you can monitor and control security, lighting, temperature etc. from anywhere via the internet or your smart phone. You can adjust each room to a pre-set “scene” with just the right lighting and music. We passed—we can handle flipping a switch in real time. But some people might go bananas for this. Incidentally, it costs $1,400.

The design studio has provided a link to their virtual design studio and we can view every single item and save a wish list in advance of the session. It’s going to take a while to muddle through all the choices, but what a great way to go. The fun part begins!

Monday, January 6

Change of Luck?


We bought the new house. A little sooner than we were expecting, but when Agent Lisa called on New Year's Eve and said, "It's now or never, we have one house left and you are next up on the list. You want it?" Are you kidding? I was on the golf course at the time, but I said we'd get back to her later. So, on New Year's Eve, around 4:30 PM, we took the plunge. Talk about the eleventh hour!

We didn't tell a soul lest we jinx it, and we went to our New Year's Eve party with our friends and had a rip-roarin' time ringing in the new year.

We knew we had a little time to catch our breath--because until we signed anything and gave them a deposit we could bail, plus there was a holiday in the mix giving us an extra day to wrap our heads around it. We signed the papers Saturday, so now I can tell you. We not only got the last house, we got the style we wanted and the street we wanted. Unbelievable. Agent Lisa said, "Do you have any idea how lucky you are? There are a hundred people waiting behind you."

This is an artist's rendering--our house is a dirt lot--but it will look like this. It's a simple little house, but it's got everything we want, and it sits on a hillside with a view of the rolling hills beyond. It's about five or six miles inland from the Pacific, so the climate is perfect. It's so much fun to put a brand new house together, we're really looking forward to the process. 

What's the catch? Yes, there's a catch, we can't exhale just yet. We haven't sold our desert house yet. And if we don't, it's bye-bye Casa Dream house. But I'm not too scared yet--we lowered our price and we are getting a whole lot of activity--people are out looking in droves. So far they're just lookers, but buyers start out as lookers, and it only takes one.

Now I need to go spruce up the joint (again!) because we have more lookers coming tomorrow morning and I'll be golfing. 

Wednesday, January 1

Welcome 2014

2013 is gone. Done. The parties are over. It was a difficult year for a lot of people in my life. Me not so much, but still I'm ready to turn the page and start a brand new, shiny new year.

I had my camera in the kitchen, ready to take photos of the fabulous (I'm not conceited) food I prepared. But I didn't take a single photo. There was simply too much going on when it was time to dish up. At least Cheryl brought her camera to capture the moment for posterity and evidence that the extensive traveling we did this year took a toll on our waistlines.

Everything went off as planned, I didn't set off the smoke alarms, and we had a lot of fun.

Except it is really hard to play two rounds of 18 holes of golf in as many days and then dance the night away. Dancing Gangnam Style at 11: 45 PM is a killer. Just sayin'.

Taking down the tree today with tired legs was NOT fun. But it had to be done.

Wishing you the best of everything this year. Be good now, y'hear?