Thursday, April 29, 2010

New home sweet home

What else happened last week?

Well, as soon as Todd decided not to pursue Wisconsin we decided in the very next breath to put an offer in on that "Big Tree Area" house we were stressing out about. 

They accepted our offer!

So, since then we've signed a contract with Rod, the owner, and have been finishing up the finance process.  Our hope is to be in by the end of May!

The house is amazing, but it's going to take some work: It's covered in 60s fab carpet that we're going to take out so we can enjoy the awesome hardwood floors; it needs some fresh paint to liven it up; and the backyard - which is quite small and covered nearly completely with slabs of concrete - needs some help. 

Those are our first projects.  There are others, but the above will really make a major difference!

We have no idea yet what we're going to do with our beloved Cheyenne 'stead.  Rent it out?  Sell it off?  Not sure.

Want a peek at the new place...?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knock out!

We have a winner in the Great State Debate!

Last week Wyoming finally got the KO.

Todd called for some final information from Wisconsin and they just couldn't give him the assurances he wanted/needed.

So, Wyoming it is!  Time to hunker down and move forward!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Acquiring Zen

Last night, my stress took a turn - for the better.

After months of worrying, strategizing, and making plans and preparations that would get overturned the next hour or day, I reached my limit.

You know about the move to Casper: Todd's job stationed him there effective April 1.  The other part, that I haven't shared here, is that Todd has also been going through the interview process for a game warden job in his home state of Wisconsin.  The Great "W" State Debate (WI versus WY) has been going on since December and last month it looked like Wisconsin was going down.

But Wisconsin is a fighter.  Just when you think Wyoming's delivered the final blow Wisconsin jumps up with another swing.

If it were a boxing match it would be something like this:

Wyoming: "Take that Wisconsin! Here's a raise for Todd to make it more difficult for you to use 'better pay' as a reason to go back!" Jab, jab! Uppercut!

Wisconsin, after a brief rest on the side: "Oh yeah...?!  Well, Todd's mom wants to sell the property!"  Right cross.

Wyoming, reeling from this particular blow, comes back:  "Ok.  Ok.  What about your sorry excuse for a pension and the elderly age Todd will be when he's vested!" Left hook.

This sends Wisconsin to the corner for a squirt of water and a towel down.  "Whew. Almost had me, Wyoming.  But take this - the family neighbor has passed away and Todd's always hoped to add to his parents' land!  The wife's putting it up for sale!!!"

Wyoming: "WHY won't you just go down for the count already??  Ok.  Kim's got a job here.  Todd's got a now good-paying job here.  Todd gets a Game and Fish-supplied home if he stays here.  You can't beat these numbers, Wisconsin!"

But Wisconsin doesn't cave.  Wisconsin knows how to mess with your head.  It's not just uppercuts and right crosses, oh no.  Wisconsin gets inside, playing on heartstrings and taking you for an emotional ride.

And that's where we've been.

We had no choice but for Todd to go to Casper, so we've been doing our best to make that work: I've been telecommuting two days a week from there, we've been living in our little apartment with Rigby, and have been trying to figure out which W state would win.

To top it all off we've been looking at homes in Casper, many of which are overpriced dumps that leave much to be desired.

One house, in "The Big Tree Area" really caught our eye, and for the last three days Todd has been going through the place and talking with the owner, all while we try to get pre-qualified before another person we know of makes an offer.  

And last night was it.  My breaking point.

I could feel the stress sitting in my chest.  I drank a (large) glass of wine, took Rigby for a walk and then Todd called.

He'd talked to his mom.  There was discussion of selling the property.  I could sense he was torn.

It was in that moment, somehow, I found clarity.  I told him he needs to get all his remaining questions and concerns about Wisconsin answered.  If it means going there, we'd figure it out.  The house we were trying to get pre-qualified for just didn't matter.  If Wyoming won and we missed this opportunity, we'd have another.  I have friends whose parents are realtors up there - we'd regroup with them.

In an instant my chest cleared up.  I had reached a point where I knew we couldn't control it anymore.  The only thing we could control was how we dealt with the decision.  I truly gave the bigger decision - where we go - over to God.

I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.  And since I had that realization I have felt very...Zen.

I also don't think it's coincidence that Alison Krauss' song Jesus Help Me to Stand suddenly came on my as I am typing this...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Man of the house

Rigby usually sleeps in the living room on his mat, but with Todd gone he's started something new: he follows me into the bedroom at bedtime and curls up on the floor next to the bed. 

Maybe, since we've started camping in the Casper apartment, he's used to sleeping with us in the same room.

But I also wonder if the lil' boy is being kind of like a protector.  Without the regular man of the house around, he's steppin' up! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy birthday weekend to me! And, oh yeah, Casper weekend #3

Saturday was the big day...the big 3-3.

But, because of Todd's schedule, we decided to have a birthday dinner on Thursday night.  I have been craving sushi, so invited a very eclectic group of Casper friends to have dinner downtown at House of Sushi

I want to take this moment to say: Casper restaurants are good.  They're open to new foods; and Asian cuisine abounds.  To boot?  Casper seems to "get" the idea of downtown shopping/eating and the importance - yes, importance - of dining outdoors. 

House of Sushi didn't disappoint.  And it was fun catching up with folks!

Friday night, we kind of celebrated again with a trip to the wine/martini bar Vintage.  I have been curious about this place for a long while and it was well worth the visit.  They have good wines, good martinis, good food, and a good atmosphere - and outdoor seating.  What the heck more could you want?  Oh, how about knowing the manager? That's nice too.  She was one of my lil' helpers when I worked at Casper College after graduating from UW and we spent some time catching up.

The inside of the bar...

Our hummus plate.  Delicious...

A wine flight - which I highly suggest doing...

And Todd's final drink - a bloody Mary.  Look at that presentation!

Saturday - the actual day - I treated myself to an iced coffee at the Metro coffee shop I discovered  downtown.  I'm rather obsessed with this place... 

Then Todd and I went out looking at houses.  We ended the night with a burger and beer at the old Wonderbar downtown... 

Talk about a happenin' place that night!  Funny story: When I lived in Casper after graduation some friends - a couple from the sushi dinner - and I went to a Halloween party at this bar dressed as the Gang from Scooby Doo. We took first place and won a decent-sized bar tab!

Then tonight Linds H. and Jonna came over from Laramie to take me to dinner!  We had a right nice meal at the Capitol Grille downtown Cheyenne.

And my birthday present...?  You'll recall this book from this post... 

All in all it was a great birthday weekend with lots of new discoveries and lots of friends!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What neighbors are for

Last night I had to do the most cliche neighbor thing ever: ask to borrow a cup of sugar.

I was in the middle of making The Pioneer Woman's cobbler for Todd who had a bummer of a morning and discovered I didn't have enough sugar to finish.  

The annoying part?  I had just returned from the grocery store!

I grabbed a bowl and went over to Gary and Betty's (a.k.a. Gare and Betts as we call them secretly) to see if they would mind helping their poor neighbor 

Betty was most accommodating.

I'll repay them with some cobbler.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy birthday Todd!

Thursday was Todd's birthday!

I know, I know.  My blog is still under construction and I haven't updated since last week.  But I am now!

So, let's get started by wishing Todd a happy belated birthday!

We began the night with dinner at the Fire Rock Steak House in Casper, Wyo.  I have really enjoyed this place.  It's a nice restaurant with pretty good food - and a place Todd hasn't been to yet.  We rounded up a nice group of his friends and colleagues and had a very tasty meal.  Todd opening the birthday present I gave him...

A knife made of antler and inlaid turquoise in the shape of a deer track.  It's by Barto Collectibles, a company out of Dubois, Wyo. 

Todd turned 31 making him, according to one colleague, an old man.  So, his colleague gave him a box of Iraqi Viagra...

 Ok, the good stuff!  Todd's dinner: the ol' 96er.  Just kidding, it was only 20 ounces...

Mine. A slab of fish (can't remember what kind) topped with tomatoes, capers, basil and a lemon sauce.  Um...delicious!

Todd's birthday dessert: a strawberry rhubarb tart.  I had a bite and it was good too!  I love strawberry rhubarb!  And check out the globe of ice cream on top...

Todd wanted to do karaoke after dinner, so we ended up at this random place called Taylor's that housed several random people.  This girl's name is Aline and she and her significant other were from Oklahoma.  And get this: she lives about four miles from my old boss Cong. Hefley!  She actually feeds their horses for them when they're gone!  How crazy small world is THAT?? She and KJ had just run a load of bulls up to Thermopolis, Wyo., and were on their way back.  I know she was telling the truth too because I saw Mr. Hefley's home number in her phone.  We were both floored...!

The birthday boy singing it up.  He was certainly on a roll...!

Happy birthday Todd!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm under construction!

My blog looks a little jacked right now, but it's only because I'm playing around with it hoping to update it's look.

It's a constant quest.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Casper weekend

So, the first weekend in Casper wasn't too bad.  I mean, the apartment is crap and Rigby has to live like a captive while we basically camp, but beyond that - I could do Casper.

Here are some pics from the weekend...

I took Rigby up to Casper Mountain to get him - and me - out of the apartment and car...

 Look how blue the sky is! No photoshopping...

 The woods were alive (you have to sing this like it's from The Sound of Music) with people!  Snowmobilers, cross country skiers, and dogsledders.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do this...

Once, many moons ago when I lived in Casper, my friends Jeff and Linda and I went to breakfast at this place.  It's still there!  Saturday morning I took Todd and Rigby up there for breakfast...

 How cozy, huh...?

Afterward we decided to do some exploring, so we headed up to Jonna's parent's ranch outside Kaycee, Wyo.  They live out by the Hole in the Wall...

They're real deal ranchers and have lots of working ranch dogs like this lil' guy.  His name is Ox...

 Jonna's dad and Ox.  Look at the way that puppy gazes up at Wayne!

 He was so gosh darn cuddly!  He just softly pawed at you, and snuggled, and sniffed your hair...

Todd and Wayne...

 I'm bottle feeding a calf, something I've never done before...Her name is Jemima. 

Yeah, Casper's alright.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rigby Frank's diary...

We are not under any circumstances supposed to have any animals of any kind in the apartment we're renting in Casper, Wyo.

The actual threat as we were signing the lease went more like, "If I even hear someone visited with a pet for even one second there will be a $300 fine!"

That should make most people reconsider the apartment.  But we needed a place secured and we didn't have time to mess around looking for a month-to-month apartment that allows dogs and, oh, isn't $800 a month.  Those places just aren't in abundance. So, we decided to go along with the Apartment Nazi and just smuggle Rigby in later.

We've started calling the poor lil' pup Rigby Frank in the vein of Anne Frank.  Their plights are really very similar: Our apartment is upstairs like Anne's attic; he's being persecuted for something he can't help; he's hiding from an Apartment Nazi; and he's not allowed to make any noise - only unlike Anne, Rigby has to be quiet at night when the neighbors come home.

We've spent the last two days trying to make sure he doesn't wag his tail too loudly, doing recon before he goes outside, and literally covering his tracks in the snow so there's no evidence of him being there.

Todd has even taken to carrying him up and down the stairs to keep him from running like a crazy, pent up animal - which he is - and making all kinds of noise.

We smuggled him out for a bathroom break and a trip to Wal-mart this morning, taking such care to make sure he wasn't detected.

When we got home I ran in first and Todd and Rigby were supposed to follow. I heard the car door shut and Todd appeared at the bottom of the stairs empty handed.

Apparently, the downstairs neighbor was watching out his window, so Todd stuffed Riggs back in the car and came in.

OMG. Harboring a refugee is stressful!  We haven't received a fine yet and fingers are crossed we won't.  We still have hope Rigby Frank will make it through this war...

Rigby Frank being carried to his hide out after being discovered this morning...