Thursday, October 25, 2007

Haunted Blog

As mentioned in the previous blog, I took Hannah to Bloomsbury Farm's haunted cornfield, Scream Acres. This was supposed to be a treat for her since she babysat Mary and her friend Shannon for me. She really wanted to do this. Really.

Well, we got there and stood in line. Not bad - we knew the people in front of us and became acquainted with the people behind us. They let us go through the haunted barn (very mild, no human haunters) and they saved our place in line since the line wasn't moving. And the weather was mild, so standing outside was actually pleasant. Finally, we got to the front of the line. Hannah and I were put in a group with the people behind us, and off into the cornfield we went.

Now, I like haunted houses. The scarier, the better, and this one was fabulous. However, it terrified Hannah, the poor kid. The first time someone jumped out at her she ran to me for protection, and by the time we left I had both arms around her and I was half carrying her. This is significant in the fact that Hannah is mildly autistic and doesn't like to be touched. In this case, though, she figured it was better to have Mom holding her than to be approached by a guy in a mask holding a running (but chainless) chain saw. The noise really set her off. I don't think she realized that the actors weren't allowed to touch her, but sometimes they got too close. They were very understanding, though, when I told them Hannah was autistic. They backed right off, usually with one hand in the air signifying retreat. But it was a great haunted cornfield, really well done. It was so good that my maternal protective instincts kicked in and at a couple points I considered decking one or two of the actors.

Anyway. Once we finished the maze (the haunted field was a maze...a really long maze, which added to its fabulousity) we went to the concession stand. Hannah said her throat hurt from screaming, and she needed a drink. So I bought her a bottle of water and some popcorn, and we sat and recovered. One nice thing she said - she appreciated my Mom reaction and the way I protected her. Usually, when I ask Hannah if she's OK (she's been coughing or she looks sick or upset or something) she snaps at me and says I'm over-reacting. This time she was grateful.

So after our snack, we went home and told Dad and Mary all about it. Mary was mad that she didn't get to go, but I reassured her that if she had gone she'd have been reduced to a sobbing ball of fourth grader and would have had to be carried out of the maze by her Dad. But I want to go back to the maze this weekend with Carl. We haven't gone to a haunted anything in years (at least, not together) and I really want him to experience this. I think I can get Hannah to babysit.

I wonder if this time she'll ask for "payment".

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Auction Update And Other News

I won't keep you in suspense - we didn't win the auction. Here's the long-story version of how it went:

Carl and I got to the auction site around 9:30. There were already lots of people there - we had to park along the road a fair ways away. Once we got on the property we started looking around. This place has alot of small, old, crummy buildings on it, most of which weren't worth saving. The house itself was, as I said in another blog, uninhabitable, and in my opinion it would be cost prohibitive to try and restore it. But since we weren't interested in saving the house anyway, we decided to stay and give bidding a try. At 10AM sharp they started the auction. The auctioneer first asked if someone would start the bidding at $100,000. No one said a word. Then he asked for $75,ooo. Again, silence. Then the auctioneer asked for someone to call out an opening bid. Just as I opened my mouth to say "$10,000" the guy next to Carl called "$25,000". Then the bidding went back and forth between the $25,000 guy and another guy who was on my side of the yard but a little ways away from me. The bidding went fast, from $25,000 to $80,000 in a matter of seconds. Carl and I had set a top threshold of $60,000 so we never even got to bid. Once the price hit $80,000 the auctioneer conferred with the landowner's family, and they were satisfied with getting at least $80,000. Then the auctioneer asked if anyone would give $81,000, and the bidding went up again, more slowly this time. But the final winner was the guy who initially called out $25,000. He was a younger man, maybe in his early 20's, and there was an older man with him who I assume was his father. Once the bidding on the property closed, the two men went with the auction staff to the trailer where they had to sign the contract and provide proof that they could pay. Since the rest of the stuff up for auction was junk, Carl and I saw no reason to stay, so we went home.

Once home, we picked up the girls and headed for Cedar Falls. Mary's friend Shannon had stayed overnight, so she went along, too. We were supposed to have had Mary's last soccer game today, but it rained alot, so this week's practices and games were postponed. Therefore, that which we were going to do next weekend we did this weekend. Thus, up to Cedar Falls we went, for the primary purpose of getting Mary's ears pierced. Why go all the way to Cedar Falls for that? Well, I have a friend and classmate who has several piercings, and I asked her to recommend a safe, clean place that wouldn't scare a ten year old, and she sent us to the Mohair Pear on "The Hill" a.k.a. Campustown for the University of Northern Iowa. The Mohair Pear sells vintage clothes, wigs, costumes and novelty stuff, and they'll pierce just about any place you like. They pierce with needles instead of a piercing gun, which is what I wanted since I don't trust piercing guns. I had one stuck in my ear when I got my ears pierced, and I didn't want the same thing to happen to Boo. But the guy who does their piercing did a nice job - he was wearing rubber gloves, used prepackaged sterile needles, antiseptics and all the other stuff I thought necessary. He was very patient considering Mary cried and howled so bad that all of The Hill heard her. But now it's done and she's happy. After we got Mary's ears pierced we went to Farm and Fleet, and I got some new jeans, a couple pairs of slacks, and three mock turtleneck tops. I like Farm and Fleet's clothes, but it's hard to find anything in Tall sizes except for jeans. They had some nice wool blazers, but the sleeves were way too short. I suppose that's what Penney's catalog is for.

Later this evening I'll be taking Hannah out to Bloomsbury Farms so we can go through Scream Acres, the haunted cornfield. This is her payment for babysitting Mary and Shannon after school yesterday and then again this morning. It should be fun.

Actually, it should be a scream!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random Jottings

My Mom made Hannah a sweatshirt in her school colors, blue and gold. On it is a picture of a trombone and the words "Proud To Be A Band Geek". Yesterday it was finally cold enough that she could wear it to school, and her teachers and classmates loved it. They thought it was cool! Not only that, but one of her pals told her that because it was in the school colors it was even cooler!! For once, being a geek is good.

We got 1.75 inches of rain last night. Everything is soaked, and the practice soccer field was partially flooded this morning. I wonder if they'll practice tonight. If she played rugby I wouldn't be wondering.

In 48 hours Carl and I will know if a new house is in our future or not. The auction starts at 10 AM and they're selling the property first. Did I already mention that somewhere? I forgot.

Team Moose Mutt is on top of the Eastview football fantasy league. Now I'm paranoid, like a pheasant in a clump of weeds surrounded by hunters and dogs.

I bought a bag of peanut butter taffy last night. You know, the chewy candy wrapped in black and orange waxed paper that's only available at Halloween. I love the stuff, but I can only have a piece or two a day since I'm still watching my weight. At this rate, it'll last until Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm disgusted by the fact that stores are putting out their Christmas stuff before Halloween, even before Boo-Boo's birthday (which was Monday - she's 10!!) I refuse to shop for Christmas before Thanksgiving, except for the occasional toy or clothing item that's on a special sale, or on clearance. And I have no clue what to get the girls for Christmas. Hannah is especially difficult because I don't know her size and she's not into alot of teenage "trendy" stuff. Maybe we'll do what we did last year, and give them money with the caveat that there's a limit on how much they can spend on toys. On the other hand, when we did that last year, we ended up with two cats in addition to our very large dog. Argh.

Speaking of pets, can someone send me a reminder e-mail saying that I need to give the dog a bath on Sunday? Saturday's too busy for his bath, and the poor mutt stinks to high heaven. It's supposed to be warm on Sunday, so I think that will be my best chance. I'd e-mail myself, but I'm at school and can't get to my e-mail, except for my school e-mail, and that's a major pain in the butt to access, so I'd rather have one of you nice readers e-mail my reminder to me. Thanks!

Meanwhile, speaking of school, that's going well. I'm only taking two classes, but I appear to be acing them. Plus, the instructor who's advising me on my Honors project is very pleased with my work, so I'd say things are moving along quite pleasantly.

And now, for my last random:

Diet Mountain Dew makes a wonderful appetite suppressant. Prosit!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Here We Go Again

Last Saturday, as the girls and I were returning home from a soccer game, I noticed what looked like a real estate sign in front of an old farmhouse on the Norway blacktop. Turns out that this old house, built in 1898, is up for auction along with the 2.33 acres it sits on. From what research I've done, I've discovered that the house in uninhabitable, but the acreage itself is primo, so Carl and I decided to see what it would take to attend the auction and bid on the property. To that end, we went to our bank today to see what they would do for us, and I was quite pleasantly surprised. They pre-approved a loan to buy the acreage should we win the auction, plus they extended our line-of-credit home equity loan to cover the 10% down that's required of the winner on auction day. We have a maximum bid price in mind; however, from what I've heard these acreages usually go for a lot more than we're willing to pay. But we're at least going to try.

Here's the thing, though - securing the financing went so well that I feel like God has something in store for us, and soon. Hopefully it's a good something and not a bad something we'll be spending money on, but nonetheless I feel like we're getting set up for a major event. Otherwise, I don't think we'd have gotten the loans.

If we should win the auction, here's what we have in mind to do: first, we'll take a really good look around the grounds and through the house to see if there's anything salvageable. My uncle Bob has a metal detector, so he'll scan the grounds to see if he can find anything useful. Once we're done salvaging, we'll contact the local volunteer fire departments and see if any of them want to burn our house down as a training exercise. If they don't, then we'll demolish the house manually. (This is something Carl's done before.) Once the old house is gone, we'll put up a new one. There's a rural water connection on the edge of the property so we won't have to dig a well, but we will need to put in a new septic system. I have alot of ideas of what I'd want in a new house. I figure I can at least dream big.

The auction is Saturday the 20th. I'll blog then to let y'all know what happened.