Prepping for the annual Holiday Card picture
For a couple of years now, Tina and I have been casually searching for a larger home in the area - this year we took that search more seriously. With Gavin changing schools over the summer from Elementary to Middle and Elyce doing the same with High School, we saw it as the perfect time to make the leap. We wanted to stay in Rio Rancho and get a little closer to Cleveland High School. There is too much crime in Albuquerque (car thefts in ABQ last year: 10,011. Rio Rancho: 194) and the schools are not that great. Rio Rancho has proven to be a great place for the family, so it was important that we stay in the area. We narrowed down our search parameters and contacted an agent.
I think the biggest flag after my search for an agent and that I had maybe made a mistake was that agent had an AOL email address. There were multiple other flags during the process and our 3 month odysey, but hindsight surely is 20/20.
We began the search in earnest (actually searching listings regularly and making weekend drives in the area) in February. At first, we weren't having any luck and I was actually thinking we were being too selective; however, in March we found it. It is difficult to say what specifically makes one latch on to a home once you find 'it', but we had a list a important qualities. It hit on all. Tina found it (um, not our agent), and we went to view it a few times to ensure it was what we wanted. Here are the pics.
Okay - so we made the offer. After the typical back-and-forth, it was accepted ... Inspected, ready, signed. Now the real hell started during this process: selling our old home.
Now - keep in mind this was our second home. Our first was in Portland - which we sold back in 2005. We sold it in 4 hours and had multiple bids. We also got well over what we asked for, with no inspection required (see 2005 update). So ... we went in with no real memories of the true challenges of selling a home in the real world. I will say that we sold more quickly than the local market had as the average-days-listed mark; however, it certainly was a painful process (the agony of hope and the game of showmanship).
Every year we plan on a Spring Break Trip. This year we were going to drive to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, etc. I had the road trip all planned (complete with goofy side-stops, ie ...). But we made the offer on our new home just weeks prior to departure, and after signing we realized that Spring Break would be spent at home, cleaning and repairing and getting the home ready for listing. We wanted to have an offer wrapped up withing 30-40 days to prevent double-mortgages; however, if it went longer we would be okay. Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst, right?
It was amazing just how many things we needed to do. Our house was in great shape, but it's all the little crap: recaulking, paint touch-ups, polishing, etc. It was a long week - but the house looked beautiful. Here are our listing pics.
Moving. Friggin' boxes everywhere (which we are still unpacking)
In preperation of the listing, one of the areas I had on my list was the garage door. After about 5 years of no maintenance after we replaced it, I re-varnished it. The effect blew me away - instantly making me regret (like many of the things we did to the house to get it ready for market) not doing it sooner. Days before closing, the tiles popped in the living room due to the heat in the house (we had moved into our new home, turned off all utilities in the old house). It was a nightmare that night - that cost me over $1,000 to repair (tileguy came in that night and next day and retiled a good portion of the living room floor).
Years ago in our area, many homes went up very quickly. And many of those homes had cheap, polytube - specifically PEX. During the inspection, there was worry created by the inspector that we had PEX. If we did, it would cost us 10s of thousands potentially to replace - and we definitely would have lost the sale. It was a stressful few nights as we ripped open walls, inspected, confirmed we were good, then repaired the walls. My watch posted a few records during this time as everything was put together for closing. One of the pics of Gavin and Tina as we roamed the area during one of our open houses.
Once we sold and moved, we began putting everything back together. The views out back are pretty amazing in the morning (and night). One of those things you have to see in person.
Elyce turned 14 this year, Gavin is now 12. Work kept me busy with my area opening 4 new stores throughout TX and New Mexico. Work with PetSmart has been incredible - it is a great company with a great culture. I still pinch myself every week on just how fortunate I am and how great it is to work for such a company and culture.
We met Gordon and Stacey half way between Austin and Albuquerque in September in Lubbock, Texas. Left to Right: Dave and Grandpa Fox [Gpa Fox eating a Cheese Stick, yo], Gavin the big winner with game tickets during lunch [he got like 200 tickets and I think he was able to trade them in for a pack of gum, if memory serves], There is not a lot to do in Lubbock Texas. Here we are in the local Antique Mall [which showed up on Google as one of the top sites to see while visiting Lubbock].
Congrats Gavin - made it out of elementary school! Really fortunate to have Gavin and Elyce both doing so well in school. Happy Birthday Grandma Suina!
Lucy graduated her first level of Pet Training this year. I signed her up for private lessons back in October, and was taking her every Friday evening. She learned the basics: Sit, Stay, Leave It, Drop It, etc. She did know most of the commands prior, but doing them consistently and in a displined manner weren't always happening. Even though she is 6 years old (we rescued her when she was about a year and a half), she learned with gusto. I will say, the string cheeze treats and hotdogs helped in that effort. Here she is on graduation day.
We did adopt a new kitten this year, after we moved into our new home: Ozzy. Ozzy continues the tradition that Wally began ... taking Lucy's bed. As you can see above, Lucy just takes that cats' bed (she's very polite). Lucy has been spoiled this year with Grooming at PetSmart ... I take her in every 6-8 weeks to have her nails done. Seriously.
So - after we settled into the house, we drove up to Denver to purchase furniture to make Elyce's room. We arrived in our SUV -- but ended up having to rent a van to join us back home as we really loaded up. Put it all together over the next weekend. The house has a little more space, so we are really busy these days with 'making it our own'. Fun, but a little spendy.
Once we moved in, Tina and I spent an afternoon clearing the rocks off of the main driveway to clear room for the cement trucks which arrived the next day. With the new house, we finally have room for Gavin's Goalrilla Basketball system. This has been great since it's been in place, as the other neighborhood kids have been migrating over to shoot hoops with Gavin.
Driving across the state: Currently drive about 3,000 miles/month in new role. The best part is I have my own car instead of a company Malibu (ugh). Was finally able to get my MIH (Make It Happen) plates I've been wanting for years. This incredible photograph is of the eclipse that happened this year (as seen through my moonroof).
On the tech front with the site ... I promised last year I would take/post more pictures. I think with all of my devices, I am getting a lot closer to having my multiple picture clouds working together. My next step will be working to get our online photo archive here at efoxley to sync with the clouds, rather than uploading and organizing myself. And I've been using html/dreamweaver for years ... I think I will be trying Muse this year- which is an Adobe product that is a little more of a modern website publisher. I pretty much neglected /dope this year, too. It's not a lost cause or abandoned blog - time has just been crazy short this year. Now that things have settled down, I may have a little more time to actually do things besides moving, cleaning, packing, and unpacking. We may even be able to head to Rushmore this year.
Have a great 2018!
Dave, Tina, Elyce, Gavin ... Wally, Lucy, Ozzy