Sunday, June 27, 2010

House Hunting (part 5)

Inspections on a new house this Tuesday! We made an offer that was accepted immediately with no changes... which kinda made me nervous.

But back to the good story:
We walked on the other house because of the mold issue. Smart move by all accounts. We requested that our earnest money be returned to us because of the mold, and are still in "negotiations" with the seller about if we can in fact get our money back.

In the process of preparing to close for that house, our lender made it explicitly clear to us that they would not let us close until some very specific work was done to the house to fix the major duct damage. Part of that work required us to have an irrigation study and have a French drain installed. So we did. And then we had rain of seemingly biblical proportions.

And if you remember, faithful reader(s), that's when we discovered the mold.

The seller is of the opinion that the French drain was installed incorrectly and that during the rains it actually contributed to some water coming into the garage. Fact of the matter is, that the side door off of the garage was severely damaged due to repeated and continued water exposure, which was due to poor drainage on that side of the house. hence the need for the french drain (not to mention the damage to the duct fittings). This door was to be replaced by a metal exterior door according to our agreed upon and signed contract that dated May 5th.

Interestingly enough, the door was to be replaced by the seller's agents husband. But it never happened. Our final opportunity for closing was going to be June 21st, and as of that date the door had still not been replaced.

So now we're probably not getting the earnest money back because the seller wants to hold US liable for damages caused by the water that got into her garage due to the incorrectly installed French drain (not the bad door or lack of a replacement, or the 11.5 inches of water we got in 4 hours.)

Damages to what? The seller was supposed to have moved out!

Fun Times! Stay tuned!


I had the opportunity to drive our church bus for a special program called S.O.A.R., which is an acronym for Supporting Offenders Achieving Reintegration. As a part of this program, mothers who are incarcerated are allowed to participate in a "Play Day" with their kids, 4 times a year. A group of women from Church Women United organize vans and buses to take kids to the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center near Taft, OK. Taft is near Muskogee.

This is a ministry that has been going on for at least 20 years, according to one volunteer I spoke with.

The kids on my bus were super excited about seeing their mothers. And when we turned on the gravel road to the prison, one yelled out-
"Hey ya'll, we're here! I get to see my mom!"

The joy in his voice was a pleasant change of pace, as for a long part of the trip 2 boys sat behind me making "yo momma" jokes.
"Yo momma so fat, she makes the groundhog think it's winter." "Yo momma so dumb, she tried to paint chalk."
"Yo momma so stupid, she in prison."

Finally, a much older youth piped up to the others -
"Don't you get it? The joke is on us. ALL our mom's are in prison. You need to respect."

And with that, the 2 boys fell silent.

View from bus of main yard where children entered.

The kids got 3 hours with their moms. Seems pretty short. One child traveled from west Texas to OKC just to hitch a ride. She spent more time traveling to get there than she did with her mom. One volunteer suggested that this is because Oklahoma has one of the highest incrimination rates among women that other states. That, and Oklahoma has a higher number of privately-owned prisons per capita than other states, so we get lots of out of state transfers, i was told. Additionally, many women face harsher and longer sentences than their male counterparts do for the same crime.

After the volunteers had lunch at Golden Corral, we went back to pick up the kids, ALL of whom had red cheeks, puffy eyes and runny noses. Even the tough older teenage boys. The silence as they loaded the bus was unbearable...

--- haiku ---
A still, hard silence
penetrates deep inside
longing for some love.

The silence was shattered by the wail of a 4 year old who, for the first time, was able to MEET her mother. You see, the child was the product of a violent assault, that left the mother in the midst of a drug deal gone bad, a dead lover and the criminal system for being an "accessory". The child was born in the system, removed from the mother and placed in the care of a relative.

4 years old, 3 hours to meet your mother. This is harder on the child, or the mother?

So after such a spectacle, I have a distinct new taste in my mouth. A distaste actually, for the profiteers and fat cats that make money off of a corrupt legal, criminal and judicial system that encourages incarceration rather than treatment and separation of families rather than systemic therapy and monitored involvement.

Because remember folks, like it or not we live in a society where "family values" and the benefits of a moral society are only for those who play by the rules. Everybody else gets the shaft, children included. But these children are victims themselves, of an overly punitive and unjust criminal system that is sold out to corporate prison firms. Inmates are just "products" that the taxpayers "buy" in order to keep the prison (store) open for business. The more products, the more opportunity for sales and income.

I was told on this trip that former Oklahoma First Lady Keating owned or part owned or somehow benefited from the larger than normal prison complex in the state, and that the state's prison population grew dramatically under Gov. Keating's watch. I do like a good conspiracy!

Jr. High Drama (6)

As the summer slips away and you need internet entertainment, your faithful blog-master once again provides a fresh insight to the daily grind of the Middle School Educator.


Shanna- Mrs. __________, can you call my mom and tell how much money I will need for when we go to McDonalds... please and thank you.
PS. Also can you tell her I'm not getting in trouble anymore.
PS. Write me bakk please.

Mrs. ___________ - I will call her and give her the good news. I am very proud of your hard work!

Shauna - Okay, thanx Mrs. __________ and I want to know how I been doing through out these few months so far? I'm glad that you are glad of my hard work like I am too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

House Hunting Part 4: A Suckerpunch Haiku

Pull out the rug please,
we are falling anyway.
Sitting for a while.

The house we are trying to buy has lots of mold in the duct-work, according to the guy who came to suck out the water from the recent rain storms. This is news that has punched us in the collective gut, considering that the 3 people before him who looked into the ducts with cameras didn't mention it at all.

So we're now thinking about how we can negotiate walking away from it, because the cost of containing the mold or treating it - or flipping the HVAC system - is not something that we wanted to expense before or after we bought the house.

We are going to step carefully, and probably take a few leaps - and hopefully we're going to land somewhere upright.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hosue Hunting Part 3

Things are progressing, albeit super slowly. To bring everyone up to speed, we've made (back in mid-May) an offer and have had a solid contract with the seller. This house is in the Chimney Hill addition in Edmond, just off of 15th street and Coltrane. We had originally set up our closing date for the 1st of June, which came and went. We're currently trying to get the work done that our lending bank is requireing us to do:

1) irrigation/french drain installed on west side of house to divert water runoff to the street. The uphill neighbor doesn't have gutters and all their rainwater flows right over the retaining wall and in the past has flooded the garage on the house we're interested in, and damaged an exterior door. Additionally, the retaining wall is pretty damaged/rotted. It's the standard railroad-tie retaining wall, that 30 years later is falling apart.

2) the seller is responsible for replacing a window (DONE!) and an exterior door. Interestingly enough, the selling realtor's husband is responsible for installing the new door, and it hasnt been accomplished yet, even a month after we had a contract and nearly 5 weeks after our banks appraisal of the property.

3) We're having the duct work (which is set in the concrete foundation) cleaned. This was supposed to happen on the 14th, but with the super heavy rain we've had to punt to the 16th. Which leads to...

4) having 7 of the vent boots/sleeves replaced. This actually was finished last Monday the 7th, and with aluminum (no rust!).

5) Some (a few) of the metal connections for the plastic (PVC) duct work have rusted through due to the water coming under the house from the lack of drainage on the west side. (See, it all comes full circle.) So we have to have some parts of the system coated with a safe, and permanent spray-on sealant. Interestingly, in 1981 PCV was available for the straight sections of the duct-work, but was not available for the fittings and connections, so they used metal - which rusts. And that guy cannot come do his work until the system gets vacuumed, which is on hold because of the new water in the ducts from the recent rain.

6) Then an HVAC repair guy is coming to replace/repair the plenum (which is the hub of the central heat/air duct system).

And all this needs to happen before the bank will let us close, which is re-rescheduled for Monday the 21st. So here we are...

Oh, and by the way - the seller is super nice. We inadvertently dropped in on her while meeting the duct spray guy. But her Realtor is quite a difficult person to work with.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and we want to close

Water Water Everywhere...

Early Monday morning we had some pretty heavy rainstorms in Edmond. They started at 4:00 am, and by 7 am we already had about 5 inches. I left to head up to Tulsa for my concentrated course and drove through super heavy rain at a snails pace. Driving 35 MPH on the Turnpike is killer.

Overall we got about 12" of rain from 4 am to about 7 pm. There were over 20 emergency rescues from vehicles that drove into deep water, from houses and business that were filling up with water, and from creeks and drainage ditches. Amazingly, no one was hospitalized and there were no fatalities.

Here are a few pics some friends have put up on facebook of the flooding:

Here's 2nd Street and Coltrane in Edmond, about 3/4 mile from our new house:

Here's Covell & Western in NW Edmond.

Here's 122nd & Penn - check the TOPS of the SUV's!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ghost of President's Past

Got this via email today.

I couldn't get past the first sentence. Not because of the topic of the piece, but because of the amateur lead-in. Get a thesaurus. Anyway, click the pic for the bigger picture.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Rundown

1) had a repair estimate appointment cancel on us, forcing a few other appointments to also be canceled.
2) took some headache medicine.
3) ran past the bank, dollar tree, post office, Old Navy and the new house to see if the exterior door had been replaced yet.
4) shook fist in anger at the yet to be replaced door.
5) had half of a left over Chik Fil-A chicken salad sandwich.
6) learned how to send email from my phone as a text message.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Yay! Something political/moral to rant about!

Here's an awesome bumper sticker I saw recently.

Don't strain your eyes.... here's a closeup:

You can get your own here, or here!

But why would you? Sure you're pro life, I mean who wants to kill unborn babies and death row criminals. Or terminally ill patients, or people only alive because of machines, or enemy soldiers? Killing is killing, right??

And we're all pro-God. Because Jesus said so. Who wants to be on the other side of that argument? No thanks. Besides, Jesus was really saying this because he and the disciples were about to go up against their biggest rival in the Judean Boccie-Ball tournament, and he was trying to pump up his team. I'm in seminary. I know these things.

And sure you're pro-gun. We have the right under the Constitution to bear arms and assemble a militia. Hey, I like a good Rambo movie as much as the next guy. But that doesn't mean that I want that happening in my front yard or even at the park down the street from my house...during a peace rally.

But my main concern with the bumper sticker, (and various other garments) is how can anybody claim to be pro life and pro gun in the same sentence? The gun is made for one thing: killing. And before we get off on a "guns are good for hunting" tirade, I agree. It sure beats the bow and arrow or the oh so popular spear. Merit Badges? Got 'em.

However, the gun pictured is designed not for hunting, but for killing at a short range, and usually that means people.

So I wonder how that puzzle gets put together. Being pro life and pro gun?? Maybe it should say "Anti-Abortion" "Pro-God" "Pro-Second Amendment".

Nah, that's too hard to read on a bumper sticker, and too many words to write on a hand.

House Hunting Part 2

So it's been quite the journey selling our old house, and buying a new house. As noted earlier, our first choice of house fell through. But our second choice seemed to be a hole-in-one. As I've learned, there is no such thing as an easy deal when dealing with Realtor, bankers and stubborn sellers.

Our old home sold in 2 showings, in 6 days. This was good. But it forced us into finding a new house super quick because we were quickly approaching homelessness.

Enter Chimney Hill edition in Edmond. We looked at a sweet house and just thought it was great. The only drawback is it's a small-ish lot and we like to have some space to roam. But the timing was working out great and we made a good offer.

Long story short (again), we're currently trying to get some HVAC ducts repaired so that the bank will allow us to close. We're already 3 days past our original closing date. Oh, and the seller is dragging her feet on doing some REQUIRED repairs to an exterior door and a large window.

You can see all the public access info about this property at the Oklahoma County Assessors website.

Stay Tuned!

This Old House

Here's Doug (father in-law) and I trying to get the fridge out of the house. we had to take off a door and nearly took off the other by accident.

And a final shot of the front of the house before we drove away for the last time. Sad? Not really. Sentimental? Sure.

Jr High Drama (5)

Now that the school year is over, and things have settled down for a certain Middle School teacher, we here at "BecksBytes" HQ are bringing back one of our favorite segments. We don't care if you hate it. We like it and it's our blog.

In this installment of Jr. High Drama, Fawne discovers Ellen's secret crushes, and we get a lesson in definition through context.

Hey Ellen

Hey Fawne, what's ya doing?

[ed. note: There is a conversation break here that isn't recorded]

Yup, and 0-0- stalker!!!

I love anime [Japanese action cartoons] especially blood and there is this really hot anime guy I dont know his name but he is smexy

Wow Ellen, your involve with a cartoon person. .... O.O

He is not just a cartoon person, he is the hottest anime guy i've ever seen - i like to....... with him if you know what i mean.

It's just a cartoon Ellen are you running into the TV just to get with him?

Maybe, you dont know! God I cant get him out of my mind ever since i saw him! They have this one episode where he is shirtless!

*sigh* My little confuzed cyco friend of mine...

So anyways, he is so hot and why are you looking at my pictures?

'cause i like to emberress you!!


Oh, okay them... weird...

I really dont know what appalled means, i just like using it.

Oh i can tell. Dont you like Joey?

I DONT LIKE JOEY! I AM APPALED (again whatever that means)

you DO like Joey!