Growing Pains: House Hunt Part 1

We’ve officially outgrown our house. The kids are getting bigger and 3 kids in a 3 bedroom house won’t be sustainable much longer. Plus, this mama that loves to cook needs a bigger (better) kitchen that’s more centrally located.

With that in mind, we began our very precarious house hunt this weekend. We hooked up with a new realtor (the old one wasn’t getting back to us) and we set out to view 4 properties; 2 that my husband liked and 2 that I liked.

House #1 was an old farm house. There were some dilapidated areas over the barn, but the main structure didn’t leak or anything. It was your basic old house. The person tried on the inside, but it was a little funky – after all, it was built before indoor plumbing was a thing. Unfortunately, the yard was not kid-friendly at all and that was one of our top considerations. The lack of heat on the 2nd floor was also a deal-breaker for me since we live in New England. It’s on 4 acres, but only 1/4 of an acre was usable and even that would take some work to make happen.

House #2 was love at first sight. It is a 10-year old colonial with a farmer’s porch on 6 acres in a right-to-farm town. It’s well-maintained and the layout is perfect. The kids fell in love with it and the yard is nice and flat, perfect for them to run and play. A big tree in the middle of the front yard provides plenty of shade. The drawback is essentially the location. With a 30-minute drive to the nearest grocery store, it’s a far cry from what we’re used to. Also, there’s an old landfill not far down the road and the street in front of the house isn’t paved. My husband’s commute would be 1.5 hours each way on a good day. Not awesome. The property is being subdivided and it’s a wild card what would be going in next door (or where) even though we know it would be another house of some sort.

House #3 looked great on paper, but not in person. Again, it was in the middle of nowhere at the end of a very long “driveway”, which was more like an unpaved road since there were other houses off of it. The house was the newest of the ones we had seen, but it lived a rough life. There had been some interesting renovations made since the owner was now wheelchair bound. On the bright side, it had a 1-car garage and the schools in that area are great. It also had a lot of land in a regular shape.

House #4 looked bad on paper and worse in person. The husband wanted to look because it’s 7 bedrooms and on 14+ acres, but boy was it bad. The siding was falling down, the bedrooms each had an interesting feature (like exposed wires) and the bathrooms (all 1.5 of them) had NO storage. Actually, the entire house was pretty void of closets which was amazing since it was built in the 50’s. The homeowner or listing agent had left out a map of the property for us and several areas around the home were suspiciously blocked out. The realtor made some calls and found out it was a proposed solar farm, only about 100 feet beyond the back door. And a proposed solar farm just 200 feet from the side of the house. And a proposed solar farm across the street. Nope, no thanks, good luck with that!

We parted ways with the realtor with him promising to find more homes to look at and us contemplating #2 a little more. Two days later and I’m still thinking about it – if it were closer to the husband’s job it might be worth it. Unfortunately, it’s not.

Why I’m Giving Up On Keurig

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My Keurig has sat untouched in my pantry for over 6 months. I think I’m finally ready to part with it, even thought the piece of me that desperately wants to conform is screaming to slap that puppy back on the counter and look trendy.

Convenience they say. Great taste they say. Lies. All lies.

There is nothing convenient or particularly wonderful about Keurig. First, it makes a sub-par cup of coffee. There, I said it and I’m sure in about 10 minutes the Keurig police will arrive at my door. Maybe the lackluster performance is due to the fact that I have the Keurig mini and not one of the fancier (more expensive) models, but I can’t justify shelling out more money for a Keurig with more features when I’m so unimpressed with the one I have.

The not-so-great taste could potentially be offset by the convenience factor, except it’s not all that convenient. You still have to put coffee in, and sure it’s just a pod, but it’s not all that much less work than putting ground coffee in a filter. With my model, you still have to add water. Then there’s the sequence of opening, closing and turning on that you have to do to get it to even start.

Once the coffee is brewed, you have trash. Plastic trash. Trash that will go into a landfill. With my drip coffee maker the used grounds go into the compost. No trash.

The other thing that bothers me is the temperature of the coffee. It’s somewhere between hotter than hell and the surface of the sun. Temperatures that hot plus plastic pods really don’t make for good coffee. Heck, even without the plastic pod using water that hot would make the coffee pretty gross.

The final nail in Keurig’s coffin is the cost. Those pods are expensive! I thought they would get cheaper as they became more popular, but that’s not the case at all.

Between the taste, the waste and the expense, this (former) Keurig user will stick with her drip maker and save the leftover coffee for iced coffee later in the day.
(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjinomaha/2568044692/in/photolist-4UVUdC-v7oYo1-v5zX4G-aNhPTT-qkSQJ4-qkRn1T-fE52ky-dTQ1PU-qimgnY-qxCMPm-pCVmPJ-qiuUdp-ECtQN3-qzUXgn-97L4Wv-qxCMW5-ECtQXb-9VruVq-EukPGA-dtWutW-dHQA4A-9jX18z-8WoVdE-7Ksxsa-4oq9EA-dtR6Mi-rQwH2r-mrDx55-4jvvsr-4jzyuq-9k1gDo-ozkTK-o5DmwS-9jXirP-6gZKdM-iAVAzb-5HxPn3-5scuFS-mrDBUL-mrDCYQ-mrBHka-mrCh5B-s91Yur-kn2PVe-hARe4D-iVvhHy-v7oXYy-v7Ua4p-uaTwfo-v8ci5B)

The Bachelorette: JoJo Fletcher

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It’s not a huge secret that I’m a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, so I feel pretty secure announcing my excitement for the upcoming season featuring JoJo Fletcher.

While she wasn’t my favorite contender for Ben’s heart, I did enjoy her as a person. I’m glad he picked Lauren not only because they’re a better couple in my opinion, but because JoJo is going to be way more interesting to watch as the bachelorette than Lauren (or Caila) would have been.

JoJo is less filtered than the other 2 women and much less “proper”. I think she has the unfiltered fun that Kaitlyn had, but with a little bit more class. I hope. We’ll see how she winds up being (or at least how ABC chooses to edit her). So fellow bachelorette fans, here’s to the new season!

Host a Generation Good Healthy Baby Home Party

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Exciting news for my readers – Seventh Generation’s Generation Good is offering interested moms and dads a chance to host a house party to try out some amazing goodies and share their favorite products with their friends. Best of all – it doesn’t cost a thing!

So what is a Health Baby Home Party? A Healthy Baby Home Party is a chance for like-minded parents to gather together and explore ways to create a healthy environment for their littles. If you’re selected to host a house party, you’ll be sent a kit that contains educational information, helpful tips, a fun game, great samples and valuable coupons from brands like Seventh Generation, Bobble, American Meadows and Zarbee’s Naturals. Then, you just pick a date, invite your friends over and bring your kit out to experience with them.

House parties are a great way for you – and your friends – to learn more about products that can enhance your home and family. I love hosting house parties because it’s such a fun way to explore new brands, share tips and bond with my friends. I love seeing how other people react to new products and I enjoy sharing things that I’m passionate about with my friends.

Sound like fun? Here’s a quick run-down of the application process:

  • Sign up atgenerationgood.net to join the Generation Good community, or log in if already a member.
  • Accept the Healthy Baby Home Party Application offer on your Generation Good dashboard and complete the application.
  • Applicants will be notified by mid-June if they have been selected to host a party, via an email to the email address assigned to their Generation Good member profile.
  • All selected applicants will then need to confirm their participation by accepting the Healthy Baby Home Party Mission in Generation Good and confirming their shipping address.
  • Hosting spots are open to US residents only at this time. Canadian parties are planned for later in 2016!
  • Full terms and conditions are available within Generation Good in the “Healthy Baby Home Party Application” offer.

Review: Banfield Pet Hospital

Banfield Pet Hospital is a chain of veterinary clinics located inside of Petsmart stores. They offer a host of services for animals from routine checkups to surgeries and emergency care. Most Banfield locations are also open on weekends, offering a convenient alternative for those that work Monday through Friday.

I first encountered Banfield 8 years ago when I moved into a new town. They offered wellness clinics for pets where the doctor fee would be waived if you were just there for vaccines. That meant you could get in and out for well under $100. It was a great deal, but you had to go on Tuesday or Thursday. I took a 1/2 day and brought my dog in and I remember being a little sad that they didn’t really offer routine care. No reminders for vaccinations or anything like that. I wanted more of a full-service vet than an a-la-carte option so I went elsewhere.

Fast forward 8 years and the wellness clinics are gone. There’s only 1 vet there and it’s run more like a traditional practice. I had heard some good things about them and decided to bring my dog in again since she had a skin problem and was in need of vaccines.

The skin problem turned out to be a simple skin infection caused by scratching caused by allergies. They gave me a bunch of completely overpriced and unnecessary items, to the tune of $240 total. I was asked to come back for a follow-up in 2 weeks.

I went back in 2 weeks for the follow-up and left $130 poorer, with some ear medications. Apparently they missed an ear infection the time before. Again I was asked to come back in 2 weeks for a follow-up appointment.

Not being made of money and already having sunk nearly $400 into this animal, I had to say no. I went online to look for the heartworm medication my dog was now using and found that the vet charged 2 times what it is online. I looked up the other medication I had gotten for her ears and found that was also 2 times the cost. Shampoo? Times 2. Fish oil? You guessed it. So they are charging twice the online cost for all medications and supplements… that’s insane! So now I’ve spent almost $400 when I could have spent closer to $250 by buying everything online instead.

THIS is why people wait forever to take their pets to the vet. I get that there’s overhead, staff, etc., but these websites are making profit off of the medications, so even if the vet sold for the same price they would make a profit too. Even if they charged a little more, people would probably still get it from the vet for the convenience factor. Charging twice as much seems a bit ridiculous though.

What really annoys me is that I was never given a choice. I was simply handed stuff at the checkout and charged for it. They didn’t say hey, she needs antibiotics. Do you want to fill that here or somewhere else? They don’t give you the option of shopping around and saving money, which in today’s economic climate is always important.

So overall, the vet knows her stuff, but the pricing is crazy. I’ll probably find a different vet… again.

Verizon FIOS: Why You So Shady?

Dear Verizon FIOS,

WTF? No, seriously – What the actual fuck is wrong with you? Your employees are striking and I’m about ready to stand out there with them. Your customer service is abysmal and I’m not talking about the people working the online chat (though truthfully, WHY DO THEY TYPE SO SLOWLY?). I’m talking about how you, the company, has decided to treat your customers.

Take my most recent bill as an example. I’m enrolled on auto pay and all that happy bullshit, probably because I had to be in order to a $1 discount off my bill. This month I log-in on the day the payment is scheduled to be deducted and see that it has jumped to $84.99 for internet.

Last month it was $39.99.

What gives? Apparently some promotional offer I had ran out. Without warning. And since services are paid for after they are rendered, I can’t disagree with the charge and quit before I rack up a bill that’s more than twice what I’m used to.

I immediately got online and used your chat system. After waiting what felt like an eternity for your associate to type her response to my first question – Can you get my price back to what it was before I jump ship to Comcast? – I was told yes, I can choose this new plan at $34.99/month for months 1-12 and $44.99/month for months 12-13.

So I said sure, sign me up. Meanwhile I’m wondering WHY DID YOU MESS WITH MY SHIT?! Why not just leave it at $40/month instead of dicking me around and then making me pay $35 for 12 months and then $45 for 12 months? It still averages out to $40/month, asshole!

So now I’m paying basically the same amount as before, you’re getting basically the same amount as before and save for the 1 weird month where you’re gouging me for twice my normal payment, we’re right where we were… except I hate you. And I will spread my hate for you far and wide all over the internet… which I’m accessing through your company.

I hope the striking workers win and I hope Verizon has to pay dearly. Assholes.