Sunday, October 28, 2007

The House Hunt

Well, here it is a day early, but nevertheless the time for an Update is upon us.

Yesterday, Clare and I made our bi-weekly trip to Richmond to visit with her Uncle Mike for the purpose of exchanging post cards and checking out a house or two.

Uncle Mike sends us a list every day of what's coming on and going off the market. So it is that I found a foreclosure that looked promising from the outside to check out for under a 100k.

What we found was a pleasant shock. A craftsman style bungalow replete with newly finished hardwood floors, French doors that lead into a finished tile kitchen, and thick, early twentieth century trim. Yes, the home is rough around the edges, but most of those issues are cosemetic. Clearly, it looked as if someone had done a fair deal of updating, but fell on hard times.

So Clare and I are in the process of purchasing this home, not as a keeper, but as an investment. With a thorough bit of cleaning, some paint and a lot of elbow grease, the optimist in me believes it will significantly increase in value.

In a way, it's very much a tragedy in our day that home prices are so out of control. Real estate is a wonderful investment all in all, but I would rather be purchasing a nice house to live in for a long time and make a home then to purchase a house, enhance it's attractiveness and then flip it so I can simply do the former.

Planting roots is a huge part of taking our place in the world, at least for some of us. I like Richmond, though it is not my first choice for a home. It is a good choice for a market to invest in I think, since there are areas in which house prices are fairly reasonable.

Again, I'd rather hang out and live the crunchy-con way, but in this day and age, it seems you must first possess the entreprunurial spirit to be a crunchy-con.

The irony, eh?

Over and out.


Monday, October 22, 2007

My Monday Feeling...

All in all I had a good weekend. Clare, Anastasia and I visited the 18th Annual Harvest Fest in Bowling Green this Saturday and it was great! There was a fleet of classic cars to gawk at, along with live music, a tractor show and street vendors, all combining with Bowling Green's small Main Street to make for a fun and lively atmosphere. It was a supremely nice occasion and I definitely feel like I got my dose of classic car show action for the season.

Speaking of automobiles, we got the Jeep back and it's back to laying the smack down to VDOT, pavement or not. The Wrangler is driving like new. The clutch is extremely smooth thus far and makes for a fine driving experience. Major props to our Hartwood mechanic, Kenny, who put everything together. He's a cool master mechanic good ol' boy type who works for Jeep out in Centreville.

As for me, work continues to be a whirlwind for all of you who monitor my travails. I received my EPA 608 Certification Study Guide in the mail today and have begun the process of slogging through it in hopes for testing for my certification in two weeks or so.

Also in 2 weeks, Clare and I will be attending the Nickelcreek concert at the 9:30 Club downtown. I hope it will be a sweet event. The last concert I went to was Tull at Wolf-Trap. They are coming again to Bethesda to Strathmore, but the tickets are way expensive for the seats that are available. Another Tull concert would be cool, but I'll catch them in 2008, if they tour.

So, despite the fact that it is the off-non-holiday season, our schedule continues to be packed on and off the clock. It's wierd how that goes, but alas, that's the way it is, I guess.

I am just looking forward to getting my HVAC Certification in a hurry, so I can start working in the trade and become a refrigerent bad-ass. Hopefully, everything will work out and I'll be able to find flexible side work where I can learn and be paid.

Next week, I'll endeavor to be more contemplative in my post, but there seems to be so much stuff going on.

Keep the Juice. Over and out.


Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, ok. I--we--have survived this long without it, but I miss driving and riding in our Jeep Wrangler. I love this vehicle. It is very fun, especially with a soft top--which I don't have in the first place, but it would be supremely cool if I did.

Anyway, it's been outta commission now for over a month. I brought it to the mechanic's last weekend and he, of course, discovered that it needed another part in addition to a clutch kit and pinion bearing. Ok great, just fix it and give me back my JEEP!!!!

Recently, I was driving back from a foray into town but was in my Mustang. While driving my Jeep I have become accustomed to wave at other Jeep drivers. It's called the Jeep wave, which Wrangler people customarily give to other Wrangler people. It's a Jeep thing. Anyway, I love the commardie of the "Jeep Wave" because it's total respect for one thingmand keeps you excited about your Jeep for another. So now when I am driving other vehicles, sometimes I wave.

Anyway, I was driving the Mustang and saw another Mustang and did the chill-I'm-cool-wave and the other driver waved back. It was so great. This is the second time I can recall waving from the Mustang and getting a response. Most Mustang drivers are not that tuned in to waving, but the ones who are are usually pretty cool.

So that's the story in these parts. I should also add that I have chosen HVAC as my new path for professional and personal development. So instead of Latin and Dawson for now, I am reading Black & Decker's Guide to Home Wiring and the Esco Institute's EPA 608 Exam study guide for the CFC Universal test. The translation to that last part is that I am pursuing my license to do HVAC stuff.

The main reason for this alteration in reading is that the latter works will hopefully lead to an increase in income. It will also make me more valuable at my job, or so I'd like to think.

Anyway, that's the story Gee's. Until next post, over and out.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Richmond, VA

I know it's a little early for the Monday Update, being only Sunday afternoon, but I am trying to get ahead a bit for tomorrow's adventures.

As you may recall if you come here semi-regularly, Clare and I are in the market for an affordable place. We have found the Richmond area to be a source of sanely-priced smaller homes that are not located near or close to BFE.

So manana we are heading that way for a look at some properties. The good thing is that her Uncle is a realtor in that area and has been doing it for many years.

I have looked at lots of homes and ideas for us, and while our attention is presently drawn to this area, I know that nothing is certain until the close.

So this is basically a shout out to all of you who follow our fortunes and wonder from time to time about our home purchasing direction. Depending on the circumstances, I will endeavor to keep my job as long as possible. Despite occasional difficulties, I love working for Holy Family parish and the Church. It's good experience and work for the Lord.

So that's basically it for now. My dream is to find a really cool and affordable fixer-upper, make it sweet and keep it. I would like to build a small but impressive personal library one day, so I will need some space for that and all my other junk.

And you know, I don't keep a lot of junk, or try not to. It weighs you down. When I had two Mustangs, I remember it felt good to sell the old one, like it was a burden off my shoulders, even though it was a very cool car.

Ok, that's really it. I'll check you all later. If I find something, I will post.

Best to all. Over and out.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Williamsburg Revisited

Well, it was nice to visit Williamsburg, finally, and now I am re-visiting this wonderful town in my post.

Let me first say that I was pleasantly reminded of how important it is for a historian to visit and touch, if possible, those things he reads about. Such adventures take one's musings about a place and time out of the imagination and make them tangible. One can not only retrace the footsteps of our nation's founding fathers, but also re-live their past, see what they saw and smell what they smelled.

And in all my smelling this weekend, several matters became abunduntly clear and real for me. No man who joined the American War for Independence did so because he didn't have much to lose. His predicament was very real. Win or die. Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry laid it all on the line. Had their attempts failed, they would undoubtedly have met their end at the gallows. As patriots, we should reflect on their sacrifices and be better for it.

And this leads me to my second personal revelation. What if, on an ideological level, you disagree with the American project, or at least parts of it?

Well, I suppose this could be the subject of a small library, but basically I have this to say. The founders of this country were educated in the Enlightenment, which may be objectionable on its own, but as men they took grave risks to establish our nation. For that we must respect them. They had backbone. They put their lives on the line no matter how you cut it, and so their valorous deeds ring true.

As far as the Enlightenment part goes, well, this was certainly a part of who the founding fathers were as educated men. Notwithstanding their personal piety, organized religion--as far as the Enlightenment is concerned--goes to the back of the bus when confronted with the general "progress" of mankind.

That said, the founding fathers, Jefferson most notable among them, were often fine humanists, and their contributions to our cultural patrimony are central to our identity as Americans. Whatever their ideologies may have been, places like Monticello and procedures like our practice of Law were established with noble intentions and stand as a testimony to their greatness.

So in a word I believe it is best to judge these men by their positive merits and actions rather, perhaps, than by their education alone. America's founding fathers stood up and were counted when their time came and when their countrymen needed them the most.

We should be so good to do so as well.

Over and out.