Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So, its been a while...

and I'm very sorry for that.  But things have been crazy.  I mean we left Germany, got to Texas, immediately started our house hunt, found a house, didn't have internet, had internet, have no furniture...its just been nuts, this way.  So I'm going to be probably doing this in sections.  I'll tell you about coming back to the states, and what we have been up to since we got here, but like I said, sections will be done.

So we finally left Germany on the 4th of June.  We took the train early in the morning from Idar Oberstein to Frankfurt.  It was actually a really nice train ride, the girls enjoyed it, and all four of us slept a little bit on the way.  We got to the airport, and besides lugging around all of our baggage and animals, it was okay to get through the airport.  Then we were able to check in our bags, and animals, and it was a nice transaction, no suprises, and no extra fees, other than the 150 euro per pet, but we knew that was coming.  I will have to say that Lufthansa was more than accomidating.  At first, it was a little hectic, the flight was slightly delayed, we had to take a bus to get onto the plane, which was a little weird, and then we didn't get on through a covered aisle, but we actually had to go outside, climb the stairs and get on the plane that way.  Still, not a big deal.  It was a little bothersome though because we had the first people to get on, which included us because of the kids, and then everyone else.  We were all let off the bus at the same time, so there really was no first come first serve type of thing.  But they more than made up for that little weirdness.  We got settled in, put bags away, and were off.  They brought the girls some little crafts and coloring books, and they had a special meal for them, which was more kid friendly than our meals, and they almost always included a little kiddie suprise.  We were able to watch movies, tv, listen to radio, watch the screen, sleep, whatever we wanted.  The flight also had more than enough bathrooms, and I don't recall having to wait a single time to use the restroom which was beyond nice.  Overall, the flight was uneventful, and while long, it was a good flight.  We arrived, about 10 hours later in Dallas.  Then the real fun got to start.  Getting our bags, was not fun.  We had two bags per person, plus both animals.  And after almost being the last people to get our bags, (we got the animals before all of our bags), we had to wait in line to go through customs.  Luckily the guy was a pretty nice guy and basically let us go through and we didn't have to jump through hoops to get out of there.  Now, this was almost two hours after we arrived in Dallas, we finally got outside, and waited for my Mom to pick us up.  We loaded up the car and headed to her house.  Exhausted, but we made it.  We were going to try to pick up the van as soon as we got here, but we actually didn't have time, the place was set to close soon after we were all settled, so instead, we had to rent a car.  That was actually a little hectic as well.  We had to call a few places, before we found somewhere that we could rent a car, then when we did find a place, it was the last car and we had to get there by a certain time.  We managed to make it though, and got this little Kia, that was falling apart like no other car I've seen, but hey, we had a vehicle.  (It was a good thing too, because our van, wasn't even here yet).

Finally we relaxed and settled down.  We all went out to eat, and kind of relaxed for the rest of the evening.  We hashed out what was to be done the next day and so on.  We also reserved our hotel for in Killeen.
Phew!  The next morning, Paul and I woke up early, and headed down to Killeen.  As I was driving down here, I was noticing my speed going up and up, darn autobahn does that to a person, lol.  I was watching it though.  I did manage to get pulled over, aparently, the officer said I wasn't wearing my seat belt.  I actually was, but it was under my arm, because it was bothering me.  I explained to him that we just got back, and I had no idea that there was this new law or something that required you to have your seatbelt on the right way at all times.  I mean I still had it on.  Needless to say that jerk gave me a ticket.  Talk about an ass!  I realize he's just doing his job, but HELLO, I just got off of a plane from GERMANY, give me a BREAK!  Or how about a WARNING??  Okay, off my soapbox.  So I felt that the day started off a little badly.
We made it to our realtors office, and looked at probably 15 houses that day.  We saw ONE that we were interested in.  The rest weren't great, in a bad area, or too expensive.  We finished up around dinner time, Paul and I went out to eat at Texas Land and Cattle company.  Let me just say that from what I remember of our dinner, it was great, but I was so jet lagged at this point, that I could barely keep my eyes open.  We made it to our hotel, we stayed at The Days Inn near the mall, and we were out.  It was probably the best sleep we'd gotten since getting rid of our furniture though, so that was a plus.  We also got free breakfast, and it was a hot breakfast, not just the cereal and all, so that was great.  I enjoyed our time in that hotel.
Then we started to look at more houses.  We probably saw another 10-15 again.  We didn't see another one that really matched up to the first house we were interested in, until the last two.  One that was on a busy street, not a highway, just a main street in a housing area, and the other that was out of the way, and didn't have a complete fence.  We talked it over, and decided to go with the latter of the two.  I've learned that when looking at houses, you can't find something perfect most of the time.  If you do, well then you better snatch it up.  But we found three houses that would have been fine for us.

Let me tell you about the three houses that we saw.  The first house was a really nice house, but not in a great location, the neighborhood seemed fine, but the school was surrounded by houses that were falling apart, and I wasn't sure I wanted my kids to go to that school.  Plus the house didn't have a seperate shower, or double vanity.  It also had a sloped backyard that sloped down quite drastically.  Otherwise, it was a great house, and it was also at a great price.

House number two, the people were in the process of moving, so boxes were everywhere.  I loved the paint, and the crown molding, and was a little blinded by the things that I really liked.  The house was out of the way, on a culdesac, had a large yard, and four bedrooms with paint that was perfect for our family.  One major issue was the fence, the fence isn't completed, there are three surrounding fences, but it just needs to be closed off, which really isn't a huge major issue.  But its still an added expense.

The third house that I fell in love with, was beautiful, very clean inside and out, but it had a small yard, it also had this weird pantry/laundry room.  I don't know how I'd feel about that later on.  It had a gorgeous kitchen, high ceilings, fenced in yard.  The house didn't have double vanities, or a seperate shower though, so that was another drawback.  And this house was on a main street in a housing area.  Basically everyone goes down this one street to get home.  Being that we lived basically on a culdesac in Germany where people didn't go down our street very often, it made me a little more than nervous, and with the yard being smaller, the kids couldn't really play in the front, or the back very well.

We decided to go with house number two.  Of all the houses, I really believe that we made the best choice.  We decided to put in an offer on the house.  The house was on the market for 139,900, we offered 136,000, they pay closing costs, leave the fridge in the kitchen, and leave the big shed in the back yard.  We waited and waited, and voila, they took our offer.  I was completely expecting them to re-negotiate and counter, but they didn't.  We had our inspector come out, and look at the house.  Everything looks to be the norm.  The only issues were that some of the tiles in the kitchen are cracked, which to me is an issue.  So we hashed that detail out and they are going to pay for those to be fixed at closing.  Overall, a great deal, and a great house.

It did take a few days after that until we could move in, and so we stayed with my Mom and I scoped out craigslist to find some furniture that we could use until ours got here.  Then 11 days after we arrived in Texas, we were able to move into our new house.  We are renting it for a month, while we wait for our loan to go through.  I was lucky enough to get some things from my Dad and my stepmom.  So we have a two recliner chairs, a tv, a bar height bistro type table with two bar stools, and some patio furniture.  We also bought a few little things along the way.  Both girls now have dressers, one we bought for 50, the other for 20.  We got Autumn a book case for her room for 20 from Target, we found some bar stools for our little bar area for 80, we found two end tables that we are using as a tv holder, and a table for random things for 20 from goodwill, and we got a futon for 80.  The futon mattress is in two so the girls are sleeping on that little section of the mattress with a sleeping bag for now.  Oh and my Mom let us borrow the air mattress for us to sleep on.  So we have made it pretty well.  I'm proud of us, and our deals, lol.  We also found a few other little things, I found a kitchenaid stand mixer that we got for 160.00, its a beautiful color blue, and I can't wait to use it.  We also got two lamps for 15 for our bedroom, perfect size for our room, we got a steam cleaner for pretty cheap, a swiffer duster basically for free, and a swiffer sweeper vac for 10.  I also found a vacuum, but it smelled like cat pee or something, so its an outside vacuum now.  The rest of the things that we've needed we bought at Walmart.  Those were some major expenses too.  Just the little things that you need to survive, not even talking about food necessarily.  But we needed towels, kitchen supplies, and a few other minor things that just really added up.  Its been crazy to say the least.
We also managed to buy Paul a new grill with smoker.  He LOVES it, so thats a good thing.  We got the girls a little blow up pool to play in, and all kinds of other little things to do here and there.  Luckily we set up the tv so the girls are able to at least watch tv, they get tired of their toys since they only have a few right now.
There is the update for now, I will update more later!!