Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Author: betsy (page 1 of 29)

Another Update! It’s Crazy!

What a week! You’d think a bunch of my time was taken up driving rich people around the city this week or something. Wait. It was. Yeah money! It’s nice to like my job, honestly. I hope it works out for me for some time to come. Just sayin’.

On the other hand, the whole job thing puts a rather large wrinkle in my lovely normal way of organizing my week. As in, nothing is the same and I don’t have the time I used to and I got spoiled and now I have to do everything in less time and I’m going out of town this weekend so the week is even shorter and OH MY GOODNESS I’M GOING TO EXPLODE.

Okay, I think I’m better.

Mostly.

By popular vote (And by “popular vote” I mean one person bothered to respond. Thanks, Mom.) I am posting photos of the progress on the master bathroom project, highlighting the rather wonderful sink/vanity unit we installed.

In case you missed it, or needed a reminder, here’s what it looked like before:
Master Vanity

And after taking out one wall and putting another in, and doing a lot of drywall work and painting, here’s what it looks like now:
New vanity

If you click the photos it should take you to my flickr photostream and a set of photos where I will be adding more pictures of the changes to the house as time goes by.

In other news, some of you may remember my post last year about buying an enormous amount of popcorn. I’m happy to announce that although we have not finished absolutely all of the 31 pounds of popcorn I ordered (though I’d say we’re within 5 pounds of it), we’ve polished off the 15-pound bucket of our favorite flavor and identified one or two other varieties that we’re planning to have around 3 pounds at a time.

In just over a year.

Yeah.

So if you’re looking for good popcorn, I recommend Fireworks Popcorn, especially their High Mountain Midnight variety. Go! Buy it now!

I really need to take the time to talk about my job. There are so many wonderful things about it. Like my Men In Black suit (sadly, sans flashy-thing). And my mafia car that could fit at least three bodies in the trunk, and feels like I’m driving four Laz-Y-Boy recliners around town. And my FBI security clearance to deliver people to the airport. Because it’s awesome.

This weekend I’ll be up in the mountains outside Colorado Springs on a women’s retreat. I think it will be lovely, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to relax and unwind my soul a bit.

Finally, I just have to say one thing about American Idol tonight: WHAT?!?! Pia went home?!?! WHAT! Not that she won’t have a really solid career taking off at this point anyway, but seriously. Unexpected. I was flabbergasted.

Gasted.

By.

Flabbers.

It was quite unpleasant, if you must know.

More later. Maybe I’ll introduce you to Mr. Prickles! That sounds like a great idea.

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Um… Happy New Year!

Holy cow! It’s been almost 5 months since I posted an entry here!

In my defense (I always have a defense) I have been really really busy. Really! First there was the cross-country driving, which included visits to both my family and Matt’s family for Thanksgiving and also for pilfering various items from their houses–some of which we had left behind to be collected later and some of which were donated to the cause of furnishing our new house. We drove back with a big U-Haul trailer which, thankfully, did NOT try to kill us in Kansas like the last one did. In fact, this trailer behaved so well compared to the last one we pulled on the same route that any lingering doubts or guilt I might have carried about taking U-Haul’s money five years ago to repair our truck after their trailer tried to kill us have been laid to rest. Their trailer had a problem. A big problem. And it damaged our car and threatened our safety. And I do not regret taking their money to pay for the necessary repairs. So there.

So we returned with our bellies full of turkey and our car and trailer full of boxes and furniture, and promptly unloaded those latter items into our apartment’s garage, because we had not yet closed on the house. In fact, while we were gone another complication came up to delay things for *another* couple of weeks. In the beginning of December we threw common sense to the wind and cleaned up the leaves in the back yard even though we had no claim to the house yet, because we didn’t want them to be matted down over the grass by incoming snow in case we *did* close. At the most, it would be a few hours of free labor given to a good cause. We raked up 41 big bags of leaves and piled them on the back patio, just in time for a big snowfall to justify our actions. We also cleaned out as many roof gutters as we could reach with our apartment-sized ladder–most were entirely full, and some had plants almost two feet tall growing in them.

Luckily for us, we DID close on the house just after Matt’s finals week in December. We signed all the paperwork on Friday the 17th, I painted and cleaned like a crazy person all weekend, and we moved the bulk of our belongings in on Monday the 20th. In true Whitt fashion, we unpacked and decorated for Christmas in record time, and were entirely out of the old apartment before the end of the year.

After our housewarming party in mid-January, we started in on remodeling the master bathroom. That project is still in process, but it’s closer than ever to being finished. Right now, all we need are trim (baseboards, etc.), tile in the shower stall, and a shower door. The tiling is holding things up at present, because it takes a big chunk of time at once, and we haven’t had a whole lot of that.

The next project will be the half-bath and laundry room downstairs. And the garage doors (only one currently works). And the retaining wall in the back yard. And pulling out the enormo-bush out front. And the dead bushes. And… well, I’ll be sure to keep the photos coming.

Shiloh does, in fact, love her new house and back yard. She’s not too sure about all the service people who’ve come over to work on things and make sure our systems are up to par.

It’s probably worth mentioning that now that we have extra room even after designating a guest room and an office for me, we’re renting our spare room to a college student. His name is Kevin, and I’ll probably mention him from time to time. So now you know who this random Kevin person is.

In other news, I bit the bullet and got a new job. I’m driving for a car service here in Denver, mostly Town Cars with the occasional SUV, van, or stretch limo thrown in. It’s a good job, and I like it thus far. Flexible, good people, decent money. Can’t complain. So if you’re coming to Denver and you need a driver, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll give you the company’s contact info.

Matt is on schedule to graduate this May, barring a sudden descent into insanity as a result of his crazy schedule this semester to get everything done. So May will be busy, as we host several family members for his graduation ceremony, then throw a party, then head out for a week of vacation with some of those family members.

I don’t remember all the other things that have happened in the last five months, but I’m sure things will come to mind as I return to regular updatery.

So? How are things with you? What have I missed? What should I post photos of first? Talk to me, people!

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House Update

I had hoped to be able to squee and cheer and otherwise be ridiculously happy when I updated on the house situation but alas, it is not to be.

We’ve run into some complications on the seller’s side as we move toward closing, which is drawing out the process rather longer than we had hoped. In the moments when I’m sympathetic, I remember that these poor people have tanked financially, gotten a divorce, declared bankruptcy, and keep having people back out of buying their house over the last two years. In the moments when I’m not so sympathetic, I steam a bit at the ears and wonder why the heck their bank won’t just take our money and take a load of trouble off everyone’s plate.

So we don’t have the house yet, but we’re not backing out of the deal either. Not for a while, anyway. Even if they did indicate that we might have been able to close by last weekend. And then couldn’t follow through. Sigh. I should stop talking, because the impatience is only going to get worse the more I type.

Since I didn’t figure I had enough to worry and plan about, Shiloh and I are leaving in a few days to drive across the country in search of adventure. Actually, we’ll be driving to my parents’ house, where I will help my mother clean out the garage loft, which is as close as they get to an attic. And by “we” I mean I will be driving and Shiloh will be riding in the back, looking adorable for passing cars. Also by “we” I mean that my mom took pity on my overwhelmed stressed-out-ness last week and found a cheap plane ticket to come out and drive back with me, so at least I have company and another driver. Last time Matt and I drove, it was 22 hours in the car including rest stops. I’m totally okay with not having to do that on my own, no matter how many days I was going to take to do it.

So unless we get word today that everything got cleared up and we can close on the house Tuesday or Wednesday (my estimate of the likelihood there is about 2%), my task for the next few days will be to pack for all the varied aspects of the trip (no I’m not telling everything, you Nosy Nancy), making sure things are set here when I leave, and not forgetting anything. Hah.

Wish me luck. Pretty sure I’ll need it.

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Random Thought

I was listening to the radio while driving today, and “Bye Bye” by JoDee Messina (sp?) came on–it’s one of those songs I love to sing along to, which makes it rather remarkable that I’ve never noticed that the line is “Got my left foot down on my accelerator…”

Because I don’t know about you, but I’ve never, ever stepped on the accelerator with my left foot. The clutch pedal? Yes. Accelerator? That’s my right foot, thanks.

Maybe she’s in Britain? Singing American country songs? The world may never know.

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Super Sekrit Project Revealed!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are my facebook friends have most likely already seen this news, but we have finally reached a watershed point, and the Super Sekrit Project can be de-sekrit-ized.

Drumroll!
…….

We are buying a house!

Woohoo!

Those paying attention to the duration of the Super Sekrit Project thus far have probably noticed that this has encompassed a fair amount of time and energy in the last few months. We found quite a few homes with listings that looked promising enough for us to see them in person; we debated back and forth between several; we took a very deep breath and offered on a short sale property (this does not refer to the length of time it takes; it’s a type of pre-foreclosure, which complicates things); we waited several weeks for the seller’s bank to get some things together so they could decide whether to accept our offer or not; we looked at more houses before we decided to extend the deadline for our offer; we waited for some more wrangling between the sellers and their bank (remember how I said the short sale status complicated things?); and then we scheduled a home inspection to do everything we could to ensure that the property is in the condition we expected, that we most likely won’t run into something like a cracked foundation or leaky roof in the near future. Any one of those steps encompassed many ways the deal could break apart, so we have refrained from talking about it much in any public format.

Of course, as with anything, nothing is set in stone until after the closing–we haven’t set a date for that yet, but we’re prepared to move quickly and hoping everything will come together so that we can take possession early enough to do some cleaning and catch up on general maintenance before it comes time for us to move. The house has been vacant for almost two years, so there’s plenty to clean, lots of leaves to clear out of the yard, etc. Just to add a bit of an obstacle, we’ll be taking a road trip out east to spend Thanksgiving with our families, so we’ll be working around all of that.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten quotes for various home-owning-related things like carpet cleaning, repainting siding, and servicing the HVAC system; I’ve researched costs for home improvement projects like remodeling bathrooms and pulling out juniper bushes; and I’ve combed craigslist for moving boxes, since we’ve finally reached a stage at which packing up items we don’t need everyday actually makes sense.

It’s a crazy kind of thing, buying a house. It takes up all your mental energy, and a fair amount of the physical energy as well. I have a ridiculous number of bookmarks, and it’s hard not to tumble things over and over in my mind, trying to find the perfect solution to any number of challenges.

As a result of everything that’s going on, I have officially decided to NOT participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I will, of course, write as much as I can amid all the other activity, and I remain committed to my goal of querying actively this month. (I did finish my query letter. Huzzah!) And then there’s the packing and the cleaning and the finalizing a home purchase and the driving across the country and back. I think all that should keep me plenty busy without adding the pressure of 50k more words, and the guilt of being behind on my word count all month, as I know I would be.

Since I know everyone really reads the blog for news on Shiloh, you will be disappointed to hear that she remains completely baffled in the face of my house-related excitement. I try to tell her she’s getting a yard–with a fence!–but she just tilts her head to one side and looks at me rather blankly. No response. No enthusiasm. It’s really very disappointing, but I suspect she’ll catch on quickly after she sees the place.

So that’s the Super Sekrit Project, no longer a secret. See? I told you it wasn’t a book deal, a baby, or another dog. But it’s cool!

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Quick Update

At the moment, the gym situation has tanked. I haven’t been in over a week, and thanks to a very close look at finances earlier this week I’m reevaluating our extra cash situation which would allow for a gym membership cost. As in, there very well might not be extra cash, resulting in no gym membership money. This is not entirely certain yet, but it seems likely. I am reluctant to tell my gym buddy about the potentially impending decision, as then I will not be her gym buddy. Fortunately, I have good reason to believe that we will still be general buddies otherwise.

I have, however, been working on my query letter. I intend to finalize it and start querying on the novel during November, while I write my NaNovel and travel across the country and back with the dog in our SUV. Whee!

Pretty much everything else that’s been occupying my time and energy is related to the much-vaunted Super Sekrit Project, but I have good news!

It is not that I can reveal the nature of the Super Sekrit Project to the general public.

Boooo.

However, I CAN promise that an announcement revealing the Sekrit is not far away!

YAY!!!

It is still not a baby, a book deal, or another dog.

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Milk and Exercise

I promised last time to tell about adventures in milk. Through an acquaintance, we have had a supply of raw milk lately–lovely full-of-fat, cream-rises-to-the-top-to-skim-off-and-put-in-my-coffee, straight-from-the-cow milk. That’s really all the adventure has been, but it’s been wonderful. I do love milk.

In other news, you may remember that I joined a gym last week. This is in part because it’s the cheapest way for me to have access to a lap pool all year round, since the condo complex’s pool is only open between Memorial and Labor Days, and I do like swimming. Also, I tend to be more motivated to follow through on goals if I’m paying something for them–so paying for a gym membership significantly increases the likelihood that I will actually exercise. Nine days in, the theory holds. We’ll see how it does over the course of the next few months. I am doing cardio and I used my free introductory hour with a personal trainer to set up some weight training to help me reach my goals, which I admit is mostly to feel less like a lazy slug. Maybe not the most noble goal, but a goal nonetheless.

Most of the rest of what’s going on isn’t ready for public announcement yet, but it’s taking up a lot of brain space and it’s hard to not talk about. No, it’s not a book deal. No, it’s not a baby. Sadly enough, it’s not even another dog. But it’s cool!

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Oh My Goodness October Is Halfway Gone

How did that happen? This is craziness. Give me back my year!

Needless to say, life has continued on its “busy” trend. As I told a friend earlier today, I am alternately awash in activity and then entirely free, wondering what I’m behind on since surely I should be doing something. That pretty much sums up the last few months.

So, how are things going? Well, Matt has a stable job that we have every reason to believe will continue beyond his graduation from seminary, which will happen (fingers crossed) this coming May. I finished my manuscript and have made progress on writing a really lovely query letter, but it’s not quite there yet and I keep getting bowled over by things that Need Doing Now, so it’s not quite ready to send out on its own yet. My goal is to get it there by November 1.

Also, I’m pretty sure of what I’m going to be working on for NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve signed up for despite the fact that I will be out of the state for at least half the month, given the current schedule.

I am a creature of habit, and recently I’ve realized that several of my habits of late are not as productive or constructive as they should be, though it’s better than it could be. Nonetheless I am endeavoring to improve, and on that note I have joined a gym and committed to a regular exercise schedule, thus far with widely varied results. Not varied results as regards working out regularly–there’s only been a chance for two workouts yet, and I’ve done both of them–but varied results in the level of extreme pain I experienced in the hours following said workouts. My hope is that more exercise will lessen the pain factor considerably, which would be good if I mean to continue with the exercising.

Shiloh is doing very well lately, especially since as a result of both Matt and I returning to more beneficial schedules, we’ve re-instituted our former habit of taking nightly walks, and Matt has returned to his habit of getting up early and taking a long walk in the morning as well. She’s loving it. We’re not displeased, either.

In other news, the library had its annual book sale, and then I found a used bookstore that was going out of business, so I bought a bunch of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have acquired because they were cheap! Yay books! Also, I’ve been really enjoying some nonfiction reading that I stacked up for myself alongside my usual fiction consumption.

Last but not least, I’ve been meaning to talk about milk, but I’m out of time for now, so that will have to wait until next time, which I full intend to be much sooner than the middle of November.

Oh yeah, I turned 28 about a week and a half ago; had a lovely quiet day and thus far my 29th year of life is treating me tolerably well. Can’t complain.

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This Post is Full of Lameness

Earlier today I had a brilliant idea for something to write about here.

Naturally, I completely forget what it was.

So, no brilliant discourse for you today. Or even moderately amusing discourse.

Life seems to be rolling along at a rather high speed, so I’m trying to keep up. I’ve been reading more non-fiction than usual lately, but I’ve given up on trying to keep track of all my reading this year, so you’re out of luck if you want me to recall them all. The house has almost entirely recovered from our recent parental visits, with the notable exception (as usual) of the kitchen. It’s still a bit of a disaster.

There are also several potential Things in the hopper, which would be rather big Things if I could talk about them, but they’re in such embryonic stages that it would do all of us a disservice if I started squeeing about them here.

Having let myself revel in Being Done with revisions on my manuscript for a few days (and also visiting with my parents, who flew thousands of miles to see us), I have officially begun moving forward with the next steps, which are updating my short synopsis and writing a query letter that isn’t horrible. The former is in good shape, I think, but the latter is one of my personal weak spots, and I am dreading revisiting it. My last attempt was truly terrible. It made my book sound boring. My book is not boring! It’s exciting! Thus, inherently a bad letter.

Shiloh seems to have made a full recovery from her tummy unpleasantness, and has returned to full cuteness. Lately, she spends her afternoons out on the porch sleeping in the sun and watching the birds on the feeder, and chasing off the braver squirrels who venture near the porch railing. A few neighborhood cats have also seemed to hone in on our porch as a good bird-hunting location, so Shiloh does what she can to save her birdy friends from annihilation. The birds are completely accustomed to her presence and are unconcerned with her proximity. They know she just likes watching them. It’s quite endearing to watch.

That’s all I’ve got. Hope all you masses of people who read my blog are doing well. :)

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It Is Finished

My big deadline? The super secret goal? Completed, with 6 hours to spare. It’s amazing what one can get done, amidst distractions, when one has resolved to do it anyway. We’ve had multiple visitors, a sick dog (she’s doing much better now, thanks for asking), car troubles (new clutch, and it’s making a HUGE difference, thanks), all my kids going off to college (no, not my biological kids, but they’re still mine, and they still all left to save the world), and the various other bits of craziness that normally make up life in the Whitt house.

My novel is done. The novel that I finished a long, long time ago, and then pulled apart a big section of because I figured out what was bugging me, and it was a big enough problem to warrant the pulling apart and putting back together. The novel that got rather abandoned because Real Life Took Over And Exploded this year.

That novel.
It’s done.
Again.
Finally.

That was my goal: to finally complete all the revisions needed to make it a whole story again, worth submitting.

There are, of course, always things I *could* keep fiddling with. But I will not. I am backing away slowly, with my hands in plain sight, leaving this manuscript just as it is, because it is finished.

I’m not even going to talk about the next steps until tomorrow, at least. Tonight, I get to enjoy the fact that my manuscript is complete.

Take that, August!

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