Thursday, June 21, 2012

The not-so-neighborly neighbor

I have been living in my house for 3 years and I have never met my next door neighbor!
Of course, this is no biggie. I am told that he works night shifts so he is never up and about during the daytime. Ok, that is understandable.

Earlier this week, I had Caitlin strapped to my torso and we were going for a walk around the neighborhood. On my way back home, I passed by my next door neighbor's driveway and saw that my neighbor was in the driveway!  It appeared that maybe he just got home and decided to stop and pull a few weeds from his driveway before heading indoors.

In my head, I thought "Oh good!  I finally have the opportunity to introduce myself and Caitlin to the neighbor".  I stopped on the sidewalk at the end of his driveway and said "Hi!!".
The neighbor stopped pulling weeds, stood up, looked at me, crouched back down, and resumed plucking at his weeds.
I spoke a little louder "Hello??".
No response.
I resumed walking and went home.

I don't think anyone has ever been so rude to me.
It's one thing to ignore a person trying to strike up a conversation, but how in the world can a someone ignore a person wearing a tiny baby in a cute pink hat trying to strike up a conversation?  And if you are going to ignore a person, then just pretend that you didn't hear them!  Don't stand up, look the person in the eye, and then ignore them!!

I think now I know why I have never met my next door neighbor in the 3 years that I have lived here.  And it's NOT because he works night shifts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Want to see how big I got during my pregnancy?

When I was pregnant, I donned the same gray dress every month, stood in the same pose every month, and had Jeff take a couple of pictures of me.
What for?
So I can see how much my belly grew every month!

I put all the pictures onto one sheet so you can compare side by side. hehe

I would have really preferred the lighting to be the same in all the shots but I'm not that talented.

I gained a total of 25 pounds during my pregnancy, which is actually the amount I was supposed to gain for someone my size (I didn't go under or over the recommended amount). 

Despite gaining the optimal amount of weight, Caitlin's birth weight was 6 pounds 1oz, which is considered very small compared to the average birth weight in America (which is 8 pounds).
I think that goes to show how big (*ahem* fat) the average American person is, and people are gaining WAY too much weight during their pregnancy.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Brand new heating, a/c, and ducts!

We finally did it! After 2 years of no heat and no a/c in this house, we finally got brand new heat and air conditioning units and ducts.  It made sense to change all 3 since the central heat and air were so old, it made no sense to repair them, and the ducts were so old and torn that they had to be changed as well.

I was reluctant to get our central heat/air fixed since it is just so expensive!
Shortly after the central heat broke, we had a HVAC guy come see if he could repair it. He had some guesses on why it was broken but nothing concrete.  And he said that if he were to replace the entire heating unit, it would be $9,000.  He did not provide an estimate for a new a/c and ducts.

Last summer, after the gawd awful back and forth with Sears Outlet regarding our broken refrigerator, they offered to send out an HVAC guy to our house for free heat/ac consultation and 20% off the purchase, as a consolation.  The quote that Sears Outlet gave us for just the central heat was also around $9,000.  And if we also wanted new a/c and ducts, the grand total would be $15,000 for all 3 and they would take 20% off the price if we booked that same day. 

That seemed way to expensive so we decided to stick with no central heat and air, and the poor guineas endured through another warm summer and poor Jeff endured through another cold winter (me? I think West LA weather is awesome year round!!).

Spring of this year, Jeff decided that we should fix the central heat and air anyways since it would make the house difficult to sell.  And if we have to fix the heat and air before we sell the house, might as well do it now so we can enjoy it too.  I reluctantly agreed, mentally preparing myself for a gaping $15K hole in our bank account.

Jeff pulled up 5 HVAC places on Yelp with glowing reviews, and booked free consultations with 3 of the 5 places (the other 2 charged for the consultations! ridiculous!). 

The first guy came and said that it would cost $8,600 for the heat, a/c, and ducts.
My jaw dropped.  That is way less than $15K!

The second guy came and seemed more professional than the first guy, and kept talking about how their company's focus is on quality.  The thought that crossed my mind was "Quality? hmm... sounds expensive...".  His quote for new heat, a/c, and ducts? $8,750!
Wow!  That's not much more than the first guy AND you get quality.

The third guy forgot he had an appointment with us so we had to reschedule.  Hmm.. not very professional already... He did not wear booties upon entering our house (while guy #1 and guy #2 did)... Hmm, not very considerate either.  However, this guy was running his own mom & pop business and seemed like a honest and friendly guy.  +1 there. 
After he did a quick look around our house, his quote for new heat, a/c, and ducts was $4,975!

For ~$3,600 cheaper than the other folks, I don't care how dirty he gets the place!  Hire some cleaners and there will still be extra money in our pocket!
We booked him the same day and scheduled for the install the next day.

It was estimated to take 2 days to get the work done but it ended up taking 3 because the workers were 2-3 hours late  Being punctual is apparently not their thing.  This also meant 3 days of loud noises and banging around the attic, which meant 3 days that Caitlin couldn't get any rest.  And at the end of the 3 days, the house was indeed, very filthy.

But we now have brand new ducts and working central heat and air for 1/3 the cost that we would have paid 1 year ago (the benefits of a crappy economy? good timing? who knows...)! 
We also have additional vents cuts into the ceiling of some rooms for more effective cooling.  How lovely!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy 3rd Year House Anniversary

Today is the 3rd year anniversary of the day we got the keys to our house!

Ok.  It seriously feels like just the day before yesterday, I was reluctantly house hunting.  And it feels like just yesterday that I was blogging that it was the 2nd year house anniversary, complaining that it felt like just yesterday I was blogging about our 1st year house anniversary.

When we bought our house in 2009 , we qualified for the First Time Home Buyer Tax Rebate (I think it was $7K), but the catch was that we had to live in the house to for 3 years.  Glad to know that as of today, that $7K is officially ours to keep.  =D

We haven't done much to the house this year since I spent about half of 2011 being pregnant.  But also, since we got a lot of major work done on the house the first 2 years, it's smooth sailing from here on out!
Family photo in front of our house!
(Caitlin was 7 weeks old here)

What kind of stuff have we done to the house within the last year?

  1. Put up dry wall in the garage.
  2. Leveled out the grassy area in the backyard.  Previously, if you were frolicking in the grass in our backyard, a sprained ankle was guaranteed.  (We didn't buy the house like this.  When we hired some guys to run the electrical wiring underground in our backyard, those idiots failed to put back all the soil that they dug up!  Then grass grew over the trenches...) .
  3. Got a new front door.
What changes do I foresee for this upcoming year?
  1. Get a screen door for our front door, so mosquitoes and flies don't get into the house!
  2. Get brand new heating and air conditioning unit installed.  (We have HVAC guys coming over tomorrow for a consultation!).