Friday, February 12, 2016

Choosing Everything!

I try to write the blog everyday, but it seems remembering to post it gets away from me all the time! Wait! What? It's been two weeks since I posted? No way! Yes way!

Wednesday 1/27

Got going fairly early in the AM. Nancy spoke to a couple of people at Fidelity about setting up the house purchase. A quick stop at Tom’s office to sign a couple more papers on the lot purchase.

Then Nancy andI drove down to the Farmer’s Market in Green Valley to pick up some frozen salmon for dinner. A guy who sells there, White Cane Sockeye Salmon, has some of the best salmon we ever tasted. Also looked at some cactus and natural plantings at place there. Starting to look at things for landscaping on the new lot.

Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch, Joan was meeting a friend in town for lunch.

Back home we relaxed and I paid some bills. Then we cooked the salmon on the grill for dinner.

Thursday 1/28

Nancy and Joan went up to the Desert Museum first thing in the AM. I did a few maintenance items on the trailer. They came back for lunch, I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Later Nancy & Joan went over to visit Karen, I got a haircut here in the park. 

We went to Cushing Street Bar & Grille for dinner, one of our favorite places!

Friday 1/29

Joan is getting ready to head home on Saturday so she is bringing things over here to leave with us. We made a couple of stops at the shops in Tucson Estates, drove around the new neighborhood looking at house colors and landscaping.

The surveyor called and gave us the all clear on the lot, we wanted to make sure there were no encroachments since there are houses built on both sides. That was the last potential issue, so everything is a go for the new house!

Later in the afternoon we drove across to the far NE side of Tucson where Joan had to return her cable box to Comcast. Our friends from Florida, Margie and Peter are in town for a legal conference and they are staying in that area. So we made arrangements to meet them for dinner and tie it in with the cable box drop off. Turns out the restaurant we picked, Harvest on the River, was about 100 feet from the Comcast office!  

Since we had time to spare we drove over to Lowe’s Ventana Canyon where Margie and Peter were staying and had a drink while they were getting ready. Beautiful views out over the city in the valley. Back at Harvest on the River we had an excellent dinner and a good time getting up to date with our friends. 

Saturday 1/30

Joan’s last day here, she is packing up and getting rid of things she won’t be taking home. Nancy will miss her. We drove by our lot and met a couple more of the neighbors. Looks like a really friendly neighborhood - think we made a good choice! Later in the morning we went back over to the “cowboy house” model to look at things they had done there since Joan had not seen it. Lots of good ideas, we have locked in a few things we want and a few of the finishes.

The three of us had lunch at Beyond Bread and Joan headed for the airport. We made a quick stop at the grocery store and then headed home. Another turn by the lot and through the neighborhood. Stopped in the rec center to look at permitted color samples. The guy across the street had told us they had them on display there. We were expecting maybe 20; there must have been over 120 choices! Picked out five or six that we liked, will see how they match up with the current wall material. 

Our heads are spinning from all the choices we are facing! It should be a lot of fun though and none of the inevitable compromises you run into when you are purchasing an existing home.

Back home and watched the NHL All-Star skills event.

Sunday 1/31

First real walk in the desert of the season! Had not been able to do it before due to my foot surgery. Back to about 97% of normal now. Heard and saw our first mocking bird out in the BLM land. We knew they were around here, but had not heard any. Really refreshing to get back out there in the early morning!

Pretty quiet day, laid out part of our schedule for next summer since we will be temporary full timers and we don’t really want to experience the summer heat in Tucson in the trailer - even if it is a “dry heat!”

Made reservations at Fool Hollow Lake Sate Park in Show Low, AZ for the first two weeks in May and at Cherry Creek in Denver for two weeks in early July. The rest we will play by ear. Plan on being back here at Desert Trails for August and September, hoping the new house will be ready in October.

Watched the NHL All-Star game on the DVR in the evening and of course Downton Abby.

Monday 2/1

February already! Seems like a short winter when we start out in mid-December! Cold & blustery this morning. Wind started mid-afternoon yesterday and continued most of the night with a fair amount of rain during the night. Barely into the high forties today and supposed to be a hard freeze tonight.

We went to the morning meeting and then huddled up at home until it was time to head into town for the lecture at the University. Met Karen and Gary at a Pelio Greek Tavern right near Centennial Hall, pretty good meal. We were close enough that we could watch for when the doors opened and the crowd started in, so we did not have to wait out in the cold.

Another excellent lecture! A bit scary as it was about the growing need for food around the world and the negative effects that increasing temps have on food production. All the way through I’m thinking “OK that’s 30 years (or 50 years) in the future, I won’t be around to worry about it.”

Tuesday 2/2

Still cold this AM, but at least the wind has died down. No walk this morning as it is cold! Took us a while to get going,  we received e-mails from Fidelity Title with paperwork on the lot and Nancy wanted to review it. Sure am glad she has the experience to handle this stuff! Finally headed out and drove by the house like ours that is under construction to take another look around. We almost always see something to ask about or that we night want to change. My list of notes is getting longer all the time! Drove around the neighborhood once again to look at colors.

Stopped by the model in Starr Ridge so Tom could scan the docs we have to send back to the title company. Spoke with Paulette and set up an appointment for Wednesday afternoon to start selecting colors and finishes.

Stopped at Best Buy to pick up an adapter for my laptop. Up until mid-January I was able to use our WiFi Ranger to connect to the RV park WiFi. With WiFi Ranger I can encrypt my transmission when I am doing banking on WiFI. Unfortunately the park has now restricted access to two registered devices to try to limit band width hogs. A good thing to do, but it means we cannot use the WiFi Ranger. Previously I could walk over to the pool hall and make a hard wired connection. However, my new Mac Book Pro does not have an ethernet connection! Isn’t progress wonderful? So I needed a $25 adapter to connect the ethernet cable to a usb port.

Hit BK Tacos for lunch, then a quick stop for groceries and back home so Nancy could go to her Spanish study group. 

Blackhawks game tonight! First one in a week. And they won, looked a lot better than they did before the break.

Wednesday 2/3

Cold again this AM, 28 degrees. A beautiful morning though, not a cloud in the sky. A bit warmer than yesterday, got into the 50’s with a cool wind holding down the temps.

Nancy had her Spanish class this morning. I made a run to get a propane tank filled. After lunch we went over to the model at Starr Pass to meet with Paulette and start making selections for the new house. Spent an hour and a half, made a lot of progress and made a lot of decisions. Next step is to go with her to a couple of vendors to make selections of materials for tile, cabinets, etc. A lot of their standard materials are quite nice so we won’t need to do a lot of upgrades.

There are however, several things that we will want to purchase ourselves: upgraded ceiling fans, dining area chandelier, vanity lamps in master bath, etc. Then those items will be installed during the build. So we plan on doing some shopping tomorrow.

Stopped at the dentist here in Tucson Estates to get our records transferred and make appointments. We had both visited her for emergency repairs in the last few years and we liked her. Nice and close as well. Then we drove by the house like the one we are planning to check out a few more details, and then back home.

Dinner at home and a quiet evening.

Thursday 2/4

Another night below freezing in the desert, but it warmed up nicely during the day. We headed out mid-morning, stopped at a Lowes on N Oracle to look at lighting and appliances. Found some acceptable lights for the dining area and master bath. Got some Ideas on refrigerators. So far we like the Kitchen Aide French door the best. 

A stop at Trader Joe’s, then Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner.) Head up North to Ferguson Enterprises to check out ceiling fans. Found two that we like. Progress! 
This is the fan that will go in the great room. 60" diameter, stainless blades.

We will probably be back here with Paulette to look at plumbing and appliance options.

On the way home we got to discussing the oven in the new house. It comes with a standard range, but my thought is for something that Nancy will use almost every day it should be something better that she likes. We have decided to go with a built in oven and separate cook top rather than a free standing range.

Blackhawks won tonight in spite of the worst officiating job we have seen all year.

Friday 2/5

A little bit warmer last night, out of the freezing mornings anyway. Nancy had a massage from Angel this morning. After lunch at home we made a quick trip down to the Lowes on Valencia, a bit closer and I wanted to stop at the Radio Shack there. Looked at ovens, cook tops and refrigerators. Not as big a selection as the Lowes up North, not as affluent a neighborhood. We had been thinking of a double oven, but we saw a Kitchen Aide here with a single convection oven and a micro-wave in one unit. Might be a better way to go.

On the way home we went by the house like ours under construction and ran into the couple who are building it. Karen and Gary also came by to look at the house. Then we stopped back at their house and had a glass of wine while we picked their brains about their house and landscaping. They had been shopping for trees today.

Back home for dinner and relaxed.

Saturday 2/6

Out first thing and made a quick stop at H. F. Coors for the first Saturday sale. Very crowded, more cars than I have ever seen there, maybe due to Gem Show.

Then I dropped Nancy off at the airport. She is headed for Denver to help her sister with the kids while their folks go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

Saturday through Tuesday

Not much to tell about. Did not really go anywhere except a run to the hardware store. Got a few repairs done and some cleaning; cleaned floors, shampooed the carpet, washed windows, etc.  

Nancy got home 11:30 Tuesday evening.

Wednesday 2/10

Nancy was off to her Spanish class first thing in the AM and then she did some laundry. After lunch we made a run to the grocery store and that was about it.

Thursday 2/11

Well we made up for a slow day yesterday with a full day today! First thing out into the desert for our morning walk right at dawn, a lot nicer in the AM now, low last night was 48. I love the desert in the dawn light, the cactus seem to come to life as the sun hits them and the mountains really stand out with the low sun creating shadows that you don’t get later in the day.

After breakfast Nancy went to the yoga class here at Desert Trails. 

Later in the morning we went into town to meet Paulette Herder at Arizona Cabinets & Countertops. Up to this point, even though we have picked out our model and floor plan, placed it on the lot, and made a lot of tweaks, that was all in the abstract. Today we actually had hands on a lot of materials and that makes the process seem much more real.

Really nice quality cabinets. We picked out cabinets, chose Rustic Alder with Midnight stain, then Lew helped us lay out the kitchen cabinets and appliances on the computer, we came away with a line drawing of the kitchen layout which we are really happy about.  During that process we decided to eliminate the West facing window over the sink in favor of more cabinets. We have also locked in on a built-in oven and separate cooktop instead of the standard range. We looked at a Kitchen Aide convection oven/convection micro-wave combo the other day that we liked.

This will be the Southwest corner of the great room, with an island. There will be a walk-in pantry around the corner behind the refrigerator. Oven/microwave will go in space on the right, with a 60/40 stainless sink to the left of the oven.

Next step, out into the storage yard to pick out a slab of granite for our countertops. Who knew we would actually be picking huge slab of granite! I was expecting to look at small samples. Really happy with the choice we made from three or four slabs that we liked. This one goes nice with the cabinets and has a  bit of color that will work well with our cherry drop-leaf table, a Murphy family heirloom.

Then we picked out sink styles and colors for both bathrooms and a 60/40 stainless sink for the kitchen. The standard faucets seem acceptable to us. Herder’s standard hardware is several steps above builder grade. Still a few cabinet options that we need to decide on.

From there we want to Emser Tile Tucson to make A LOT of choices! We took a sample of our granite (about 4” X 8” and it was heavy!) and a sample panel of our cabinets. Rebecca at Emser was a big help as was Paulette. Actually Paulette really helped us clarify what we wanted and was a tremendous help in working our way through the process all day!

First we picked our floor tile that will be in the great room, kitchen, hallway and bathrooms, then the grout. The tile for the walls in the showers came next - and the pattern for placement of those tiles - and a different tile for the shower floors. 

Sounds simple, but there was a lot of back and forth trying this combo and that combo until we came up with the combinations that we liked. The floor and wall tile in the bathrooms had to look good with the main floor tile, the granite and the cabinets. These will be the same as the granite and cabinets in the kitchen.

This is the combo for the kitchen:

From the bottom of pic up: floor tile, countertop, backsplash, cabinets.

We had been debating about what we wanted for the floor in the bedroom - carpeting is standard, but we were leaning toward wood. Investigation has shown that real wood floors are not very practical in this climate, the need to maintain 30% humidity is a deal killer for real wood! Options become laminate, engineered or tile.

One option for the bedroom was wood patterned tile and when we saw what was available we immediately decided to go that way. Picked out a wood patterned tile for the master bedroom and a different wood pattern for the den. 

Of course each of those tile choices required choosing the grout color as well as sizes! Floor tiles will be 18” X 18”.  Various sizes on the other tiles.

Finally we chose a light colored stone for the kitchen backsplash. Should keep things from being too dark under the cabinets.

Monday we will meet with Paulette again to pick out paint colors - inside and out! That should be a real treat! Then we will go to the carpet store to pick carpeting for the guest bedroom. From there on it will be mostly details. We should be closing on the lot purchase next week, then we will really be on the way!

We will make an appointment next week with Paulette’s regular sales person at Ferguson Enterprises to pick out appliances. We already have picked the two ceiling fans we like for the great room and the master bedroom. The two standard ceiling fans will go in the guest room and den. The fans are important features in Tucson! 

By the time we finished at Emser it was about 3:30 and we had not had any lunch, so naturally we headed on over to Beyond Bread for a late lunch/early dinner and made it home in time for the Blackhawks game, which so far is not going well - 4 zip Dallas at the end of the 2nd! And they lost!

Friday 2/12

Nice walk in the desert again this morning, really feels good to get out walking after being laid up for so long!

Nancy studied her Spanish this AM. I went down to Ajo-KInney Storage to set up a storage place for this summer. We will off load a lot of the extra stuff we brought with us only because it could not go into storage in Illinois.

After lunch we made a run to Costco for some meds with a stop at Walmart, then back home for dinner.

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