Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In happier news

I got my first "Happy Thanksgiving" from a co-worker!! (He's part-time and won't be in the office again until the end of the month.) I LOVE Thanksgiving. We'll be on the road to Pittsburgh this time next week, and I had the Nelson's lunch special today of a hot turkey sandwich with a side of stuffing.

I also found out that a friend's dad is a head balloonist for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and there is a chance that, with those connections, come 2010 I can be a balloon holder in the parade. [Too giddy to finish typing.]

No house...

It's for the best. It was ours for the taking, if we wanted it, and I think that was what pushed us to finally make a decison. Not about do we want this house but do we want a house at all?

Yes, it would still be a smart investment. Yes, the $8000 tax credit and low interest rates make it unbelievably irresistible for first-time home owners to buy. But, when it came down to the wire, we weren't ready. We don't NEED a house. And, that was it. Cold feet- the timing wasn't right. Sure, there will be other houses, and sure, we'll find a great one someday. Adam says he won't regret passing this one up, but I'm saying goodbye to the dream that I'll see ALL my wishlist items again in one house.

Thanks to everyone who gave us support along the emotional rollercoaster ride of the last 4 days! (I'll rephrase: it was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I've been informed Adam doesn't get "nervous" or "devastated." Lucky for me that he balances me out!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We put in an offer...

Who in their right mind buys the first house they see?! I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach, not so much from cold feet, but nerves about what will happen.Will she accept our offer? Will we get out-bid? Or what happens if all of a sudden we find ourselves home-owners and then-ohmygod-we bought a house?!

I'll report soon if a congratulations is in order. ;-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Milestones: First Engaged and Now First Time Home-Buyers!

Ok, ok, I know I can't get carried away or emotionally attached to the first house we see BUT I am falling in love with the idea of becoming a home-owner! We looked at this house in the Uptown neighborhood, where we live now, for only $150,000 at 1,600 SF. When I first saw the listing online, I thought "too good to be true," so Adam and I swung by for the open house today.

Once we began chatting with the agent, we realized she actually owns the house. She is a full-time real estate agent who also specializes in flipping properties. I was totally buying into her pitch: she lives in the neighborhood and cares passionately about saving old homes from disrepair by restoring them. She did a wonderful job with the house and retained so much of the great character and craftsmanship in the period details that Adam and I are looking for. The house even has a fireplace!! [non-working :-(]

The price reflects the agent/owner's desire to have a quick turn over and that it is located in somewhat of a "transitional" neighborhood. It's by no means rough, but the block has a little ways to go before we could see a huge appreciation. Either way, this house is not staying on the market for long.

Timing-wise, we are about 4-6 months from really wanting to make a move pending our current lease on the apartment. Although, we do have the aritificial deadline of April 30 because we'd love to take advantage of the extended $8000 tax credit. I'm going to give myself tonight to "sleep on it" but I'm already planning where the furniture will go!

Reality check time: we applied online for a loan pre-approval.

I love when we win!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

How is it already mid-November?!

I'm woefully far behind in my blogging, and since no one's been banging down my door to beg for more, I'll just provide an update. (The alternative being post-dating all my past blog-worthy musings. Ugh, back log.)

  • The holidays have started! We kicked it off, unknowingly, at a comedy show at the Brave New Workshop. I thought we were seeing improv when, in fact, it was the previews for their Christmas Spectacular, Brett Favre: The Immaculate Interception show. Even though they made jokes about the audience attending a Christmas show the week after Halloween, it was seriously funny and made me want to dust off the Christmas records. Johnny Mathis, anyone?

  • Weather-wise, November has been better than October! Adam and I first visited Minneapolis a year ago this weekend (crazy, right?) and I remember it being a bitter 20 degrees. And, no, I don't think it "felt like" 20--there is a thermometer in the car.

  • The movie An Education is a must-see. Much more than a coming of age piece set in 1960s England, the movie was sensational. The acting, in particular, was terrific. I won't say more except that I highly recommend it!

  • We are driving to Pittsburgh in less than two weeks... turkey, here I come! Adam and I agree: it's our favorite holiday. The 30 hour round trip drive should be plenty of time to write new blog posts.

  • I'm going to Atlanta for Christmas and DC for New Year's. SO. EXCITED.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eeeek! I think I found my wedding dress!

On a lark, my mom and I made an appointment in a bridal shop in this old house that was once one of my mom and dad's favorite restaurants.

Sort of serendipitous then that I think I found my wedding dress on the first outing! The shop was so cute, the staff was so friendly and helpful, and for goodness sake they had all dressed up for Halloween in old, re-purposed bridesmaid dresses!

I can't describe the dress here in case Adam should read it, but contact me for a link to the bridal shop's web site!

Now that I've found the dress, we ought to set the date, right?

Steelers Love: I'm not alone.

A love story at Heinz Field
Steelers show appreciation for female fans
Monday, November 02, 2009
It's Ladies' Night

Some drove for hours and rearranged schedules to be part of it. Some left the children at home in the care of their spouses. Wearing team colors was the order of the day, and none seemed to mind waiting in line under drizzly skies well before Heinz Field opened its doors.

This was not, however, a queue of men showing up for a football game. The line was part of the record turnout for the fifth annual Ladies Night Out sponsored by the Steelers as a way of catering to the NFL's largest female fan base.

In one group of eight that motored by van from St. Clairsville, Ohio, was Cindy Broadwater, undeterred at having to use crutches because of a fractured bone in her right foot.

"I wasn't going to let it stop me," she said.

To which Carol Jones, also in the party and wearing a Steelers tiara, chimed in: "Broken foot? You would have had to embalm me to keep me from being here. I was so excited I didn't sleep all night."

This type of passion was evident throughout the Wednesday night affair at Heinz Field. For $95, nearly 500 women of all ages and from all walks of life got the chance to eat dinner, ask questions of Steelers, visit the inner sanctum of the locker room and attempt field goals while their images were shown on the scoreboard.

In a figurative sense, it was a Cinderella-like outing. But instead of dancing at a ball with a handsome prince, they got to kick a ball and become immersed in football. And a Steelerella never has to worry about glass slippers.

Speakers for the evening were rookie defensive lineman Ziggy Hood and backup quarterback Charlie Batch. They fielded questions ranging from the adjustment from college to pro ball and why the Steelers don't use the wildcat formation more ("It would take our best player off the field," Batch noted, referring to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)

But there also were questions never asked by the football writers, like this inquiry from Devona Edmond of the North Side.

"Ziggy, do you have a girlfriend?"

"Yes, she's seated right over there."

"Do you want another one?"

The exchange produced a playful laugh, but it also showed the depth of passion by a segment of the fan base that brings its own unique charm to following the Steelers.

Ms. Edmond has the team logo tattooed on her back along with her date of birth -- June 2, 1986.

"I have literally been a Steelers fan since birth. I'm a die-hard," she laughed. "I watch games with my great-grandmother. We're all part of the same family. It's in our blood."

That the Steelers have women fans is hardly news. When the franchise adopted its name in 1940, one of the 21 winning contest entries was submitted by Margaret O'Donnell. Yes, a woman named the Steelers.

Two years ago, a survey by Scarborough Sports Marketing noted that the Steelers have a larger female fan base than any other NFL city.

Women love the Steelers for a variety of reasons. Everybody loves a winner. Families get together to watch and talk football. The uniforms and the color scheme make a bold fashion statement. Team loyalty spans generations, and offspring are born into it. Hines Ward has an infectious smile, and Troy Polamalu has a magnetic personality. And the Steelers are all about football, not the sizzle.

"The Steelers officially don't have cheerleaders. They don't need them," said Robin Thomas of St. Clairsville. "They have a million of them."

As a quick aside, she is formerly from Texas and had an epiphany about the Steelers when her relationship with a Pittsburgh fan started to get serious.

"He said his mother had a problem with us getting married because I wasn't a Catholic. He didn't have a problem with that, but he did have a problem with me wearing a Cowboys jersey. Once I took that thing off and converted to being a Steelers fan, things worked out fine. That was over 20 years ago," Ms. Thomas said.

Of course, every sports team in the area has its female side. The Penguins have Hockey 'n Heels events for their fans, the Pirates have ladies nights and the Pitt Panthers have a Football University for Women with Jan Wannstedt. The late Howard Cosell captured the essence of the sports following here when he noted that when you play Pittsburgh, you play the entire community. He said it nearly 30 years ago, and he didn't make any gender distinctions.

There were a few of the pink jerseys in the audience, but the overwhelming majority of women prefer to wear black and gold.

Not surprisingly, however, support of the Steelers is inextricably linked to family and relationships.

Cindy Molinick of the Johnstown area was at the event with two of her four daughters.

"My husband got me interested in the Steelers during the '70s, and I passed it on to my daughters," she said. "He's home by himself tonight."

Some franchises might have football widows. With the Steelers, there are football widowers.

Two Greensburg women whose husbands have passed away keep up their friendship through the Steelers.

"My daughter got me a ticket for my first Ladies Night Out as a birthday gift, and this year, I bought my friend a ticket as a birthday present. We went to Tampa for the Super Bowl," said Maryann Popovich, 69.

Her friend, Rae Martchek, was having a grand time.

"Why do women love the Steelers? It's fun. How many things in life do you get to do that are fun? When the Steelers lose, everybody's in a bad mood. When they win, everybody wins with them. I can't explain it."

There was more than one mother/daughter team in attendance.

Cheryl and Allison Reinhard of Charleroi wore matching Troy Polamalu jerseys.

"Being a Steeler fan truly does span generations," Mrs. Reinhard said. "It's bred into you."

Kasey West, who was with her mother in the St. Clairsville group, explained how the Steelers keep families together even if some members are thousands of miles away.

"My dad works for U.S. Steel in Kosice, Slovakia, so I text message him with the highlights during the games so he knows what's going on. I watch every game religiously," she said. "Some Slovakian kids don't know how to speak English, but they wear Steelers stuff."

Steelermania also has the ability to overcome.

Consider the plight of Lynn Kelley, originally from Upper St. Clair. She married a man from Sandusky, Ohio, and they had two sons. But when the marriage soured, he wanted the boys to follow the Browns. To rescue them from such a bleak future, she sought the intercession of Ziggy Hood.

"Would you autograph these two Steeler hats so my sons won't have to follow the Browns?" she said.

Having secured the healing objects, she later explained, half-jokingly: "We got divorced around the time of Super Bowl in Detroit. It was then that the boys began to see the error of their dad's ways, because he was a Cleveland fan. I want them to grow up with the Steelers."

On the other hand, the Steelers can help identify a suitable life partner.

Cori Cheairs, who drove in with two friends from Frederick, Md., was studying architecture at the University of Houston when she spotted a man in a Steelers jersey in a Texas bar.

"I said to myself, 'I'm going to marry that guy.' I did, and he took my three kids to the dentist today so I could be here," she laughed.

"I grew up in Morgantown. And my dad and my uncles raised me to watch the Steelers on Sunday. We were watching together when the Steelers won their first Super Bowl, and my dad told me that if they could win a championship, I could do anything. I want my kids to have that, too," said Mrs. Cheairs, who is president of a consulting company.

"We go to an informal church, so on Sundays, we wear our Steelers clothes to church before we go to watch the games," she added. "The Steelers are a Sunday religion."

Read more: http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com/pg/09306/1010100-66.stm#ixzz0ViUzViIh