Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer in the south

Last Thursday we had to be out of the house for Gary and the real estate posse to assess the product. So we went to Umsted and rode the bikes and then went out to lunch. It was a delightful time for all. There is a small fishing lake, and one may rent these boats. Very bucolic.
The posse rearranged the furniture, Jim and I decided it looked ridiculous and put it back the way it was. We got some criticism about our furniture being out dated - remember, the furniture is not for sale. I guess they feel like they have to say something. And of course, we simply must do granite. I dunno.

The mimosa trees are blooming. They smell wonderful.

Wild turkeys in the hood. We spotted two of them at the far end of the neighborhood.

So, tomorrow we will be flying to Seattle for a visit. I am looking forward to seeing friends, but man I hate flying. DC to Seattle is 5 hours, and we both have middle seats. Urk.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A review of an interesting book- the review was deleted, sorry.

It's hot, we're bored. The RV is still not fixed, there's nothing to do, the house won't sell. Wah. Ok, enough.

Well, time to go stage the house, remove any signs of human habitation, and then go get some exercise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Other people's content

Well, today I'm going to follow in the steps of Instapundit and include a photo from the paper which I really like. There's not enough definition in the picture to see what's attached to her feet, but it's another dancer. I think it's a really striking image. These two are with the American Dance Federation. 

Revealed in today's paper was the role of speculation in driving up the cost of oil. Also discussed, the complete and total lack of attention to this matter on the part of our elected officials. I personally wonder why neither of our presidential candidates are talking about this. 
Have a good one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


OK, I'm going to quit whining about the real estate market. Things could be worse. We could be in Afghanistan, for example. Or in one of those neighborhoods where they build two houses out of 120 and the developer goes broke. Or in foreclosure. We're in none of those places, so I'm just going to shut the heck up. So for your viewing pleasure today, we have photos. This is a New Guinea impatiens. They're really pretty and fairly heat tolerant.

In the moist, hot South, Calladiums (calladia?) and their relatives thrive. Last year we had the 5 foot tall Elephant ear, this year we went for their smaller relatives. They thrive in total shade here. There is enough indirect light.

A skink on the yard art.

Last night we had a big thunder and lightening pouring down rain thunderstorm. This is up the street from us. We think it's a lightening strike. It was a fearsome storm. Note the color of the dirt around here. It's red.

Well, that's all from here. We're off to program the timers for the sprinklers for when we are gone next week. Carry on.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fauna and the agony of real estate

This is a bug that was on the deck railing. The bugs here are quite colorful. There's some species of something with legs that is a brilliant turquoise. If they weren't moving you'd swear they were plastic and came out of a cereal box.
The real estate market here just sucks. We are talking vacuum enabled. On Craig's list for the range of $300k to $350k there are over 800 listings. That's pretty amazing. We are being hampered, nay crippled, by the fact that our house was built the year before granite became widely available. It's interesting. Granite used to be a high-end, expensive material. Then more quarries opened up, and the price dropped and it became readily available. However, in this market, if you don't have granite and stainless steel appliances, you're untouchable. But the thing of it is, it's now a commodity. Why does granite continue to have any cache' what so ever? The rich people have moved on to quartz composites. No less than the New York Times has declared granite to be passe'. But, in this market, they won't even look at you without it. So, we are now officially despondent. Gary (real estate agent) is coming in with his posse on Thursday to look at it. I really and truly do not want to do the kitchen. I have been there, and done that with remodeling. No mas!
We rode today, it was way cooler. The evil dog did not chase us, so that was good. We rescued another turtle from the road and that was good, too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More from the bucolic South

Yesterday we took the road bikes out early in the morning, for what was to have been a pleasant spin in the bucolic country. While pedaling down New Light on the way to the boonies, we were chased by a 70 pound bundle of mean-ness from this house. See the cage on the far right side of the yard, way in the back? That's where the dog usually is, but on this occasion he was out lose in the yard. I was able to get the Trek up to 22 mph running away (while screaming) from the monster. He had more staying power in the sprint than I would have expected. Rotten dog, I hate dogs that chase bikes.

We've been watching this garden. It's very nice, stuff has really come up lately. I made two passes by it with the camera, I'm certain the guy that lives there is wondering why he's getting so much attention.

Today was the 3 and 3/4 mile walk. We got off to a late start, so decided not to ride. It's really sunny and hot. We've switched to hats with brims. I got mine at Food Lion for $4. Jim got his in Italy. But I have a better brim. This is one of those pictures where you hold the camera at arm's length. I never know where to look.

Well, absolutely nothing of interest to report. No house showings today. Bummer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A change in the wind direction bodes badly

Today we are being held prisoner in the house by a shift in the wind. There is a huge wild fire in the Eastern part of the state, about 120 miles from here. Smoke is drifting into the Raleigh area. The smell is just unbelievable. So, there will be no bicycle ride or forced march walkies. Quelle dommage.

Yesterday we dropped off the cardboard from Jim's new barbee at the dump. Transfer stations are free here. Free! They have a pet rooster there. The guys that work at the dump are always checking out what's being dumped. It they see something good, they'll grab it. We contributed a Makita saws-all to them.

Well, this is my report for today. Five showings so far, no offers. Oh - we did drop the price. Perhaps that will help.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Sound of the South

I took this AVI last night about 10:30. Those are tree frogs, hollering for sex. They were particularly vocal last night. Hit the little play button. This is my first AVI upload. It's 32 meg, well it filled up a 32 meg card, and it took forever to load to blogspot.

The heat has broken somewhat here. It doesn't have that feeling of having one's head microwaved anymore. It's still hot, but bearable. We are happy about that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh, it's always something

It has been a long day in the truck. We drove to Greensboro to pick up the travel trailer, which has been there for repairs since mid-April. Good thing we have an alternate place to live. Anyway, they wrote everything off to warranty work which was pretty unexpected, seeing as how it was no one's fault but my own for closing the slide with the bathroom door open, which resulted in the door being ripped from the hinges. On the way out, however, we noticed that the plastic fender skirting had been ripped from its support and broken. It'll be covered since it happened on their lot, but it's another trip to pick up the travel trailer. After that, on to Raleigh to have the canopy seal on the pickup redone. Six hours in the truck. My hiney is hurtin! I'm typing standing up.

There are a lot of original inhabitants of the area on the road leading to our house. They have fields next to the houses, and they grow hay. They've been haying recently. Big hay.

Jim ordered a new barbee in anticipation of being gone in the RV. It's a Weber, it's very nice. Now the trick is to find the proper hoses so we can hook it to the quick disconnect gas thingy on the RV and run off the big tanks. You'd think that this would be a popular thing to do and an easy item to obtain. But noooooooooooooooooooooooo. Propane tanks on the east coast do not have the quick disconnect fittings that people in Puget Sound enjoy. They have something else. The hose selection available here supports the something else option. So, while we're in Puget Sound, perhaps we can find something.

So, I have nothing much else to offer. We had the 4th house showing today. No offers, no one clamoring to live here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Aieeeeeeeeeee! HOT HOT HOT!

From today's weather section in the paper.
Today: Mostly sunny with extreme heat.
Sunday: Mostly sunny with almost unbearable heat.
Monday: A continuation of very hot temperatures.

Something to look forward to! Sunday should be a brute.

We did walk for 3.75 miles this morning, taking 52 minutes to complete the course, at which point we were soaking wet. After we returned from the walk, we had to depart so some unidentified realtor could show the house. Our real estate agent FINALLY got the little arrow signs up so people know we're for sale, several cars drove through the cul de sac, one took a flyer, but so far, no one is waving money at us. We're not totally despondent yet. My brother's house isn't finished, so if we did sell it we wouldn't have anywhere to go. We'll get despondent later.

I believe I will go drink more water.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Historic Wake Forest and a small rant

Friday afternoon we went to the library in downtown Wake Forest. Great invention, libraries, free books. Pick and choose with abandon, if you don't like the book, take it back. Anyway, then we drove through historic WF. Those houses are so beautiful. One was open, it's for sale. Here are some pictures.

Birthplace of Wake Forest University.

Blogspot is apparently completely random in how it places multiple pictures. I have not lost all sense of design and placement, I am just completely and totally frustrated by an inability to tell it to put the picture HERE.
Anyway, we went to the open, it was being hosted by the owners. We got to talking to the guy owner, they have a boat, they're gone a lot, and they can't understand how it came to be that they own a 4,000 square foot house that they aren't using. The house was a complete basket case before they bought it. It had to be jacked up so the supporting piers could be replaced, all the plaster and lathe came down, they added a garage and office to the house, lots of new wood trim. It's just beautiful, it's everything you would think of when you think of old Southern charming house. Fireplaces everywhere, I think most of them have been converted to gas. On the downside, it's a small historic district, there's a gas station and minimart 3/4 of a mile up the street, and the level of preservation on the street is uneven. But that house is something special.

So, anyway, it did make us feel a little bit better that we are not the only people buying more house than they actually needed.

So - today gas went up $10.50 a barrel because some Israeli defense minister said he thought war with Iraq is inevitable. The speculators responded by driving up the cost of oil, although NOTHING HAS CHANGED, because something might happen. Well to quote Wayne's world, monkeys might fly out of my butt, too, but should that drive up oil prices. When did this start? This is making me crazy.

That is all. It's the cocktail hour.

Turtle rescue, climbing temperatures

It's too dang hot. The east coast is gripped by a heat wave of biblical proportions. They're saying 101 on Sunday, with the humidity that's a heat index of 110. This is not fair, it's not supposed to do this until August!!!!!
Yesterday we rode the trail at Umsted Park. It was nice, there was shade and we were there early. The park is huge and it's unusual in that they do allow bikes. Technically it is not challenging in the least, but there are no cars and very few people. So, it's very pleasant and relaxing, with few fears of catastrophe or maiming.

On the way back we saw this guy in the road. I think he's a box turtle. He's about 11 to 12 inches front to back, which is a pretty good sized turtle. We performed turtle rescue and took him down to the creek. When we were out Wednesday, we took two young ones off the road. They need to stay off the road, it's not good for them.

Other than that, we have nothing of note to report. It's too dang hot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Aye it's a hot and sultry day

I think this may be the NC state bird. Actually, I just made that up. There are vultures EVERYWHERE here. It's just amazing. They're excellent fliers. They ride the thermals and wait for something to die. They're very cautious, because once on the ground it's hard to get back into the air, so they want to make sure it's really dead. These were photographed at a vulture-fest in someone's front yard. A deer was hit by a car and they were congregating.

This is the NC state reptile, no wait, made that up, too. We have lizards in the front yard and in the garage. Lizard poop looks a lot like bird poop. This is one of the largest we have seen. He lost his tail, it will grow back. They're fun to watch. We have tera cotta yard art and they enjoy laying on it and soaking up the heat. Although after today they probably will be down at the pool instead.

No, this is not the NC state mammal. Isn't he cuuuuuuuuuute? Yes, I know, not everyone enjoys squirrels. I've been putting out corn for them. They insist on burying it in the "natural area", that would be bark under the trees. There are now lots of little holes where they've been digging. People in NC buy 50 pound bags of deer corn, and load it into feeders. The deer become accustomed to receiving food at the feeder. Then comes hunting season. I'm not morally opposed to hunting, it's just that doesn't seem to be sporting.

These are growing wild across from the fire station. When we lived in Seattle, growing anything was so often a struggle. Here, you throw it in the ground and it pretty much grows. It's amazing what copious amounts of sunlight will do for plants. New Guinea Impatiens are full sun plants in Puget Sound, here they have to be sheltered from the afternoon sun. It's too hot! Their little leaf edges were turning brown.

Today we have the August weather pattern, there's a high sitting off the coast shepherding hot moist air in. It was 96 and 99% humidity. Air conditioning is our friend.
No action on the house, I think patience and a jaw dropping price cut will be required. Even then, who knows. The articles in the paper about the market picking up in two years are dismal. I don't know why we read the newspaper. Is it just me or is it really really depressing? Between the economy and the rest, I'm opting for the comics and the advertising circulars.
When we were in Sedona, I found the March 2008 issue of dwell in the laundromat. The editor had done a really good piece on the lack of good design in this country. This was something Jim and I had become aware of driving across country, that it's become impossible to look around and know where you are. Every 25 miles there's a retail clot with Borders, Target, Chili's and a Walmart. Downtowns and the areas that made places unique and special are just dying out. Anyway, someone else had included this on their blog, so I'm stealing it and pasting it here since I don't have to retype it. It was very thought provoking for me.

"Undesign, as I will call it, is a national virus. I am not talking about a dearth of starchitect structures and Eames chairs or a simple lack of style. I am talking about a vital carelessness, both programmatic and aesthetic. I am talking about a passive willingness to allow poor decisions to invade and govern our enviroment at every turn. Undesign is fed by America's all-you-can-eat-for-less mentality--another trip to the buffet even though we are stuffed--and too few question it, because why turn down another plate of popcorn shrimp when there is so much?"
-Sam Grawe

March 2008 Dwell magazine editor’s notes

And further, now that the economy is tanking and people aren't driving as much or shopping, since all their money is now going for gas, what happens to China and the countries that were pinning their hopes on the American consumer? One wonders if the entire planetary economy is going to auger in. It gives me a headache.

So, on that happy thought, we're going to go pack up the mountain bikes and head out to Umsted park EARLY in the morning. There is a 14 mile trail there that's fun to ride, and there will be shade.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The First Post

Greetings and salutations.

I'm blogging. Once again I have been dragged into the current century. Today I'm going to practice adding pictures. As most of you know, we've listed our house. Wake Forest is not what we thought it would be. We still don't know what it is we want, but we're slowly ruling out states. After awhile, we'll move on to the European Union and start ruling them out. Check out the apples. As part of selling one's home, one must make it look as if it's a model home, ie., no one lives there. We use lots of fake greenery and fake fruit. Those are fake Granny Smith apples from Walmart. Are they not lovely? Our real estate agent loaned them to us, along with patio furniture and are for the staging. So far, we're getting a lot of attention on the web, but only 1 showing. It's fairly depressing.

We're also riding early in the morning. It's has been humid, more so than last year. We don't have the high pressure system holding the Gulf moisture at bay like we did last year. Of course, we don't have the drought, either. I think I preferred the drought.
So, I plan to use this as my bully pulpit to put up pictures and stuff. It should be easier than the Costco uploads.

Last week we went to the Outer Banks. We met my Step-Mom Pat and her husband Clark for dinner and breakfast in Rocky Mount. They are going to spend some time with family in Virginia and then they are off to the West Coast.

We went on to the outer banks of North Carolina, we saw the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Wright brothers memorial and lots and lots of rental properties. It's an interesting beach community. There are the locals, and then there are hundreds of HUGE houses on the beach for rent. They range from $2,000 a week and up. It's another childhood memory dashed - we used to go to Nag's Head when I was a child (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and stay at teeny tiny motels with kitchenettes and there was nothing there. Those days are over. Anyway, the Kitty Hawk museum is really worth seeing. Orville lived until 1948. Think about it. He saw first flight of anything, Hiroshima and jets. What an age he lived in and helped shape. If you're out there, it's definately worth seeing. The other amazing thing is the fact that the Hatteras light house is 208 feet tall, made out of bricks, and it was moved about a half a mile without breaking it. It was going to be washed into the sea.
Anyway, posting we are.