Oct 29, 2008

It Finally Happened

Well, it finally happened to us. Our credit card number was some how stolen last week. Thank goodness our credit card company, Citibank, noticed some suspicious activity on our account and froze it yesterday. I tried to make a purchase at a store and my card would not go through. The cashier's monitor told him to call the bank but he suggested trying it again. Three times later it still didn't work and I could tell he was not going to call the bank. Nice. As far as he knew, it could have been a stolen card. So I used my debit card and called Roger as soon as I left the store. He called Citibank since I was driving and sure enough there were several transactions they wanted us to verify. All of the suspicious transactions were made in San Antonio and the ones I remember the most because they were "interesting" were at fast food establishments for super large amounts of money. Who spends over $100 at McDonald's and Church's Chicken?! I couldn't tell you the last time we ate at McDonald's. We haven't been to San Antonio in months. I don't think I have ever eaten at Church's Chicken.

So our credit card account was closed and we shredded those cards when we got home. A new account was opened for us. It kind of sucks and we have to change our credit card number for all the accounts that drafted from it. I hope we remember them all. We are most interested in how a person gets someone else's credit card number. And also, how people can purchase items without having the actual card in hand. Don't stores have policies against just giving a credit card number without the actual card? Or do these people make a fake card somehow? I don't know how that works, but we had dinner with friends last night and prayed for the person who stole our credit card number. That's about all we can do.

And speaking of San Antonio, Roger and I are headed to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio this afternoon to attend a briefing so we can use his retirement move from the Army. It's kind of funny, this will be our one and only military move after 15 years. But it's free so we are going to use it. And it will help lessen the blow if we have to move twice because of the timing of the closings of both houses. They will pack our old house, put it into storage and when we are ready to move into the new house, bring all our stuff to it. Not bad. We hope we won't have to put anything into storage but I seriously doubt it will all work out perfectly as we'd like. But we can still hope.

As for the new house, I went by Monday and not much had been done since Saturday, that I could tell. All the windows were in and they had started putting the plywood on the roof. I'll drive by today and see what's new. Although we are excited about it going fast, we have to think about it being built correctly and the timing of the sale of our current home. We'd prefer building sound over fast and we hope to have our house sold before the new one is done. Most houses are selling fast in our neighborhood so we should be good, but we won't know until then. We will put it on the market next week. Please help us deal with all these concerns peacefully by praying for us. Thanks.

Oct 25, 2008

The Roof, The Roof...

The roof is up on our house! These guys work muy rapido. The entire roof is up. The whole house is framed. They even started putting up the material that goes under the brick and hardie board. And the brick is sitting on pallets beside the house. Check out the pics here. There are only a few things left before this crew moves on to another house and a new crew starts up. We took the framing crew some cold sodas Thursday afternoon. Today we're bringing them some chocolate macadamia nut cookies since they told us Friday they were going to be working today. We're finishing the last project on our house today so it's ready to put on the market. It's getting so exciting now that we can really see the house layout and how fast it's going up. We also realized yesterday that the house across the street and to the left of our new house is also the same floor plan, Anderson, as ours so we walked through it and since it is farther along than ours some of our questions were answered about when certain things will happen next. Three houses from us is another Anderson which is almost complete. You could pick any plan you want as long as it fit on the lot you wanted and there wasn't one already next to you. The floor plan we picked is obviously a popular plan.We know of four in the neighborhood, but we haven't looked extensively. I'm sure there's more. It really is a smart floor plan with no wasted space. So we are super excited!! No telling what they'll get done today. Have a great weekend!

Oct 24, 2008

Cold Front

A cold front came in this week. This is part of our usual fall weather. And one of the nicest parts of the year for us Texans. The temperatures have been down in the 40's at night and getting up between 70 and 80 during the day. So the days have been really nice. Our air conditioner has not turned on all week. We've been opening the windows in the afternoon to let the cool air in and air out the house. We've been grilling dinner a lot lately also. It's just too nice outside to be inside. The weather this weekend was beautiful and it made the events we attended so much better. The World War II battle reenactment we went to Saturday was so much fun and the weather was gorgeous. There's no way in the summer we'd be at an outdoor event from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Then we had dinner on the outside deck at Roadhouse in Bastrop. The food was great. I was glad we finally got to eat there. Roger's company had their 20th anniversary picnic on Sunday afternoon and it was amazing to be sitting in the sun for three hours and not be dying from the heat. The sun still made it warm but because of the temperature and the low humidity it was way more bearable than summer.

The other nice thing about this weather has been the new windows we had installed in June. Before it was cold around all the windows and it made it super cold in the house during the fall nights and all the time in winter. So it has actually been warm in the house when they are all closed and it's not cold near the windows at all. Normally I would be bundled up in flannel or fleece from head to toe in the evenings but I have been fine, except when we have all the windows open until 10:00 p.m. Even when I go to bed I'm still not cold. Before I would be freezing all the way up to the point of jumping in bed and have to be fully clothed and covered. So the windows are doing their job. When we put the earnest money down on the new house we thought, "And we just put all those new windows in the house." We were concerned we made a bad decision by getting the Cadillac of windows and we weren't going to be able to benefit from them at all. But at least we get one fall and winter out of them. It's better than nothing. And it should be great for resale. So we are looking forward to the nice weather this weekend as we finish one last project on the house before we put it on the market in a week or so.

There's only been one down side to this weather and that's been the 50 degree mornings at the pool. The heat is still not working this week and it might not be until after next week that it will be working. A lifeguard told us the plan to finish the electrical project for the pool first changed this week. I think it's starting to take a toll on all the swimmers. Everyone is griping about how cold it is in the pool and it's only getting colder now so it's not going to get better until the heat is working. I'm already a wimp about the cold so jumping into 50 degree water isn't helping me!

Oct 23, 2008

Framing The New House

Framing began on the new house yesterday morning. I drove by after I swam in the morning and wasn't as shocked to see them framing as I was when Roger and I drove by on our way to community group later that evening. The entire house was almost completely framed. Those guys work fast. And they were still working at 6:30 p.m. Roger talked with the guys a lot because his Spanish is great compared to mine. I could understand most of the questions Roger asked but couldn't understand all of their responses. They speak very fast. But they were super nice and I think they enjoyed meeting the family of a house they were building. They were all very young to me. It was so nice to see the walls up because we were having problems understanding the size of the house without the walls. We kept thinking it was too small. A family allowed us to walk through the same house about four streets over when we were deciding on this particular floor plan so we know how it should be and the size of the rooms. But without walls, it looked really small. Now that the walls are up we can see it is the same size as the house we walked through and just what we expected and wanted. It's all very exciting and we're sure everyday it will change. We took some pictures and we'll keep posting them as the house goes up so click on the Flickr link to the right and check back often.

Oct 22, 2008

Slab Poured

Yeah! The concrete slab on our new house was poured yesterday. I'm glad we have driven by each day this week or we might have missed it. Roger drove by on Monday and it didn't look much different. I drove by yesterday after leaving the museum from volunteering just to see if there was any change. We knew they were planning to pour the slab this week but were not sure which day. And as I got closer I could see the concrete slab was poured. So after I went to the grocery store, got home and unloaded, I went back by with my camera to take some pictures. I'm going to keep my camera in my purse from now on. And I'm glad I went back by and didn't wait until today because as I walked around the house I noticed pallets of 2x4's in the back yard. They are going to start framing any day now. I'm not sure how long they have to wait for the concrete to set before they start framing, but I will be driving by every day in my travels so I can keep up with it. It's going very fast right now and we're hoping they are able to close the house in before the rainy season starts so the construction is not slowed down by the weather. Once they are completely inside, the weather will not matter. Check out pictures by clicking on the Flickr link to the right.

Oct 15, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

I had huge plans for today but the rain that started last night has messed up my whole day and there's a chance for rain until Friday so it might mess up my whole week. I had plans to prime and paint 1" x 4" trim for the exterior of our house today so it would be ready to put up this weekend. It's the last item we have left to get our house ready to put on the market. I was hoping to be done with everything by next week. Looks like that will be pushed back by a week. I wasn't even able to swim this morning. Every time I think it's cleared up and the sun has been out a while so I can try to do something outside, it comes pouring down again. I did everything I could inside early this week so I would have time to be outside the rest of the week to paint the trim. So I'm spending today finishing my niece's Halloween costume so I can get up there to have her try it on so I can hem the sleeves and bottom before putting on all the trim. She's going to be an angel. I don't know what Roger and I will be for Halloween yet. Our community group is having a neighborhood cul-de-sac party so it's outdoors and if it's still warm here, which it most likely will be, I'd prefer a costume that's cooler. We are meeting tonight to go over the details of the Halloween party so we'll have to go check out costumes very soon. Although the rain has altered my plans for today, I am glad we are getting some good rain. We really need it.

Oct 14, 2008

Ground Breaking

We are so excited the builder broke ground on our house last Thursday, October 9th. We received an email from him Friday morning to schedule our first meeting. And you know I drove by the house during the day Friday. The slab forms were up and the dirt was being loaded in. Roger and I drove by together Friday after he got home from work and the trenches were being dug for all the utilities. We were able to confirm that our backyard is going to be a tad smaller than our current backyard. And we're cool with that. We use our patio more than we use our lawn and we'll be able to have a bigger and better patio at the new house so it will be fine.

Our first meeting with the builder was this morning. The construction manager Matt is really nice. It was a great meeting. He went over every option we added and we asked him about six or seven questions for clarification. He told us they are averaging four months to complete a house so that puts us closing around February 9th which is when we originally figured and they might even complete it sooner. We took a few pictures Friday and you can see them by clicking on the Flickr link to the right, but I forgot my camera this morning so I don't have any pictures. There wasn't a drastic difference from Friday except there are now pipes sticking up all over the foundation and they are getting ready to connect to the main utilities. Matt said the concrete will probably be poured mid-week next week. He will email us about once a week with progress and call us if they need anything from us. We will have a walk through before they dry wall so we can make sure every thing we added like Roger's surround sound speakers, additional outlets and switched outlets, boxes for future light fixtures over the island and the like are where we want them. I'm sure we will be driving by regularly so we'll take more pictures and keep the blog updated of the progress. I can't wait to watch it go up.

We spent most of this weekend completing a list of many small things to do around our current house to get it ready to go on the market. We got most of them done on Sunday and we only have one major project left and one or two small ones. We should have them all complete by next week and our house will be ready to put on the market in early November. Please keep the sale of our current house and the construction of our new house in your prayers to go smoothly and according to His will. Thanks and check back often or subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive posts by email.

Oct 10, 2008

Gasoline Prices

As we all know too well, gasoline prices have been a hot topic this summer. We all wondered how high it would get and when or if it would ever go down. Last Friday I was so excited to see gas was $3.17 at my local Super Wal-mart at Southpark Meadows. So I filled up my gas tank. Then this weekend gas was $3.11 at my local HEB on Manchaca Road at Slaughter Lane. Monday it went to $3.05 at my HEB. Roger kept saying he bet it was going to get under $3 again. I had to wonder if it would just get to $3.00 even and stay there but never get below $3 again. Then yesterday I noticed gas was $2.92 at my HEB and today it was $2.80 at the Super Wal-mart at Southpark Meadows. I know gas in my area is the cheapest for Austin, but I was just shocked that it actually went below $3. I really hope it stays this low for a while. I'm sure we all do.

On another high note...the water at the pool I have been swimming at since my neighborhood pool closed this summer has been really, really cold the last month or two. I thought it might have something to do with the 50-60 degree mornings we have been having lately. I met a friend for coffee last Friday morning which made me have to swim later in the morning and I noticed it was a little easier to swim since it was warmer. I got more sun than I usually do because it was above the top of the trees that surround the pool, but it was a tiny bit easier to swim being a little warmer outside. There's a lot less people swimming at this time. And I was able to meet my new friend Nick who I plan to swim in the 12 mile open water swim relay next year. So since then I have been swimming about the same time later in the morning until today. Roger and I were having lunch with an old friend at 11:30 a.m. so I had to go back to my old time to swim, 8:30 a.m. And boy was I glad I was there at that time. The water was super cold when you first jump in, but while I was swimming my main set and transitioning to start my next lap, I heard one of the lifeguards tell some ladies that the water would not be heated until after the construction on the pool house was completed which would be next week. So after next week, the water in the pool will be warm again! I'm so happy to hear that. Although the water is fine after you start swimming and especially when you are done, that first step in is super hard when you know it's going to be freezing cold. Especially since the mornings this week have been around 57 to 62 degrees at my old swimming time. And with winter coming, I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the water temperature as it got even colder outside. You know I'm a wimp when it comes to the cold. I was thinking I might have to get a gym membership this winter just for the pool. So now I know the water temperatures have not been normal and this will help me save money from a gym membership even longer than I thought. Bring on the heated pool!

Oct 9, 2008


I have begun the process of de-personalizing our home to get it ready to put on the market. All the experts say you should de-personalize your home so potential buyers can imagine themselves in your home. All I can say is I don't like it. I completely understand de-cluttering and cleaning up, but this sucks. I took all the magnets off the refrigerator yesterday and it looks like no one lives here. It's really sad looking. I think I'd rather have the magnets and pictures on the refrigerator than this. It was even suggested that we take down all the crosses I have been given over the eight years we've owned our home so as to not offend anyone. If you really know me, really know how I feel about political correctness, you know how I feel about taking all the crosses down. I'm not even a huge fan of the collection of crosses that have accumulated in my house over the years, but they were gifts and I appreciated them. I refuse to remove my art and most of my pictures. I still have to live in this home while it's on the market and I am not going to live in a boring, bland home. I need life, color, fun, representation of ourselves, etc. It's hard for me to understand people who can't see past wall colors, flooring choices and family pictures out. I know there are people out there who can't see past those things, but I just don't understand them. We're the kind of people who walk into a house and start thinking about the potential a house has and what walls we can knock down. I wonder what the woman who will come to our house to take the pictures and give us tips about putting it on the market will say about what I leave up and out in our home. Her advice will only be suggestion so we don't have to do it, but still it will be interesting.

Oct 8, 2008

New Volunteer Endeavor

I'm so excited! I know, again?! Hey, I excite easily. I receive joy from many, many things. And the latest item to bring me joy is a new volunteer endeavor I will be taking on starting next week. Since I am a history major and my dream job would be to work in a museum and I have not been able to find a position here in Austin as of late, I knew I wanted to volunteer at museums to get some experience and do my part. This summer I began researching volunteer positions at different museums here in Austin and actually submitted the required forms to one particular museum to begin the process of becoming a volunteer to which I have still not heard from at all. Maybe they have enough volunteers. I am more interested in archiving, artifacts, cataloging, preservation, conservation, stabilization and exhibit production and management than being a tour guide, docent or interpreter. Most of the museums in Austin seemed to want tour guides, docents and information desk volunteers rather than historical work until I came across the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry here in Austin. They need those public positions but need more help with the behind the scenes part of the museum. They are funded solely by donations and only have a small full time staff. They operate mainly through volunteers. So I was eager to get in touch with them about volunteering which I did recently. And boy did I feel like I could help. From the very first phone call, I was warmly welcomed and once they heard what I was interested in and when I could help, they were very eager to get me to come in to complete the required forms and begin working. So next week I will begin volunteering on a particular stabilization project now that they have received adequate storage that will prevent any future damage to the artifacts. I am so excited to get to use my passion for history and museums. Yeah!!

Also, if you are interested, their living history group will perform two battle reenactments soon. The first is Saturday, October 18th at Camp Swift near Bastrop and the next is November 8-9 at Camp Mabry. All events are free and open to the public. The October 18th event will also celebrate Oktoberfest events at the same location. So I don't think I'll have any problem convincing Roger to go. I know we aren't supposed to add anything new to the month of October, but I won't be able to make it to the November reenactment because I'll be out of town at a nephew's birthday party. And Roger really wanted to attend an Oktoberfest celebration. I would have loved to attend the November event since it will be reenacted through the eyes of the unit most Texans were sent to Europe with during World War II, the 36th Infantry Division. My grandfather, William "Buster" Jasper Wise Jr, served in World War II from Texas. I wish he was still around to ask him questions and listen to stories of his experiences there, but he didn't talk about it much when he was alive. I did a report on him and his WWII experience once in junior high or high school. I wish I could find it so I can read what he said about it. This was before computers were common in households so I wrote it the old fashioned way, on paper then used a typewriter to turn it in. So I doubt there's a copy lying around. If it had been done on a computer, there might be a copy still somewhere. Even though he was ornery, I still miss him.

Oct 7, 2008

Things I Forgot

So I forgot a few things yesterday. I had so many things to try to remember. At least it kept my post "short and sweet". :) Roger got a promotion at work two weeks ago. We are very happy about that. It's nice to know you are appreciated and to be compensated for it. His work is also starting a 10,000 steps a day program. They all received their pedometers yesterday. We went for a walk last night after dinner to see how many steps my typical cool down from race walking might be and it was sad. Roger is going to have to walk a lot, all day long to get 10,000 steps. I'll walk with him in the evenings to help. At least he's getting some exercise. He starts physical therapy again soon so that will add a little more exercise. And I made a new friend at the pool last Friday morning. He's a biology teacher and curriculum developer at Texas School for the Deaf. Yes, he's Deaf, but reads lips very well. Which is good because I think I used the wrong, but close, sign for "interesting". But he could read my lips and knew what I was saying instead of signing. And he was super excited to know I knew a lot of sign language plus I swim regularly because he tried talking me into swimming with him and his wife and three other teammates in a 12 mile open water swim relay this Saturday at Lake Travis. I had to decline because of previous engagements but it sounded really interesting. Remember we're not adding anything new to October so we have time to get the house ready for the market. He asked me if I might be interested in doing it next year and I am. So that will be three athletic events next year I already have planned. And this one I'll have to join the American Swimming Association. I had to join USA Triathlon to participate in triathlons. I don't think I'll be adding any more other athletic associations after this.

Oct 6, 2008

Week In Review

Okay, I haven't posted in over a week so I'm going to "try" to make this as short and sweet as possible. If you know me really well, I know you are laughing right now.

So I was finally able to volunteer at a Hurricane Ike shelter. It wasn't what I was expecting but interesting none the less. There were only 78 people at the shelter I volunteered at by the time I got there. And my shift was noon to 6:00 p.m. so most people were gone during the day and only a few people remained at the shelter. They encourage everyone to get out of the shelter and see the city so they aren't confined to the inside of the shelter too much. I spent five and a half hours of my six hour shift hanging out with kids, playing games, watching movies, drawing and doing crafts. We aren't supposed to be babysitters while we volunteer but there really wasn't anything else to do. I spoke with many adults at the beginning of my shift and they didn't need any help with paperwork or filling our forms and they had all the information they needed except I did find out for one man when the buses for Galveston County would be coming to return them. At that point Galveston Island had been opened for people to return but not the rest of the county. So he had to wait another day or two before he could go home. But I was able to use one of the computers at the shelter to see satellite images of Galveston after the hurricane and tell him his home was still standing. So he felt relieved he would have a home to return to. At almost 6:00 p.m. a meeting was announced for all adults so all children were sent back to us in the kid's area which had actually been closed because some parents were not staying with their children and leaving the shelter completely. I ended up staying about 45 minutes longer than my shift because I helped with dinner. Everyone shows back up at the end of the day for dinner. I enjoyed the time I spent there. I wish I could have been more helpful but many of the parents stuck at the shelter with their kids got to get a break and rest so it was helpful to them. I was excited about going back two days later for the same shift. I went home and dug through boxes in the garage and found a few VHS children's movies since they have a TV-VCR combo and gathered a bunch of coloring books and children's reading books we have in a toy box for visiting kids. But then I got really sick with a sore throat, congestion, headache and lovely green drainage the night before. I was hoping I would feel better that morning before my shift but I didn't so I had to cancel. I was very sure the evacuees wouldn't want me there. They have enough going on and I didn't want to add sickness to their troubles. I was disappointed but it took me almost a week before I felt better and getting lots of rest helped.

The next weekend was filled with Mommaerts family events from Friday through Monday. We took Roger's sister Cindy out to dinner for her birthday Friday night to Taverna on 2nd Street. We had a great time and the food was delicious. Saturday we window shopped for furniture ideas for the new house before we spent the night making homemade salsa for Roger's niece Cyrene's first birthday and baby dedication celebration the next day. We spent all Sunday up in Northwest Austin for that. And then on Monday, I took Roger's two aunts, Edita from Panama and Chela from Los Angeles, who have been visiting for several months, sightseeing around Austin. Thank goodness his aunt Chela speaks and understands English because Edita speaks no English at all. We had a lot of fun, took some good pictures, met Roger for lunch and they got to see a lot of the real Austin.

Our community group at church started meeting last month and we are really enjoying it. We meet twice a month on Wednesday nights for bible study and fellowship and the other two weeks we participate in an outreach with our respective neighbors and then the whole group participates in a community-/city-wide mission. This Saturday our whole group mission was to volunteer at our church's monthly homeless grillout in downtown Austin. We helped by bringing water and chips and then working the line in different positions as the burgers were grilled and passed out. I had a great time but I had an easy job. At least it was easy for me. I collected tickets from individuals and controlled the flow as the burgers were done. This kept the grillers from getting overwhelmed and kept the homeless from having to stand around waiting for burgers to be done. So I got to socialize a lot. Everyone was super nice. It really was the perfect position for me. Roger took lots of pictures and socialized while he was doing it. There were people who's sole responsibility was to socialize with people in line so I wasn't the only one talking the whole time. Even the trash collectors got to talk a lot too. I met some really wonderful people. This was my first time to work with homeless people so my fears, expectations and preconceived notions were blown out of the water. It was a really awesome experience and I can't wait to do it again.

We have been really busy, as usual. But we're going to try our hardest to not add any events to the month of October (except for the stuff we already have on our calendar) so we can get more stuff done to our house to make it ready to go on the market. We are excited to say we drove by the new house yesterday after church and the surveyors have been out and have marked the lot boundaries and the house corners. And the house to the right of ours is already up and almost closed in. They are putting the brick on the exterior this week which will close it in completely. That was super fast. It actually took less than a month. And the house to the left of ours is exactly at the same point as our house, only surveyed. We think we met the lady who purchased next to us, but we're not completely sure. You know we'll be meeting her as soon as possible regardless if she was there the same day we started the process. It won't be long before they break ground. We will know when that happens because we have to have a meeting with the builder before they do it. We still don't know if the permits are back from the city, but we'll find out this week. Everything is rolling along smoothly and we're getting more and more excited as time goes by.