October is going to be such a great month that it is over shadowing September! With things breaking down at home who wouldn’t dream about better times? October for me is going to have two big events! A trip to San Diego for a sales reward and then Big Bend!
San Diego comes first and I am excited to go with my colleague. We are going to do an Amazing Race style event for prize money. I’ve always liked that show, just wouldn’t eat anything weird. So here is my chance for a mock participation. I’m so excited!
Then comes a dream, Big Bend. I’m going with Hill Country Outdoors since I couldn’t get one family member or friend to go. We have a pre-trip meeting October 1, which is the day before I fly out to San Diego. They have currently scheduled a kayak trip on the Rio Grande, which I want to do for $59. So far, I see that there are 11 going on the Big Bend trip, maybe there are more. I’ve stalked their profiles to see that the majority are women. I’m happy with that. So I’ve probably mentioned my favorite TV show is Naked and Afraid. I know it’s just for entertainment. But to think about surviving is really cool. We live in a modern world with conveniences that we have built. It’s hard to imagine that we started with nothing and had to survive. And there could come a day where that happens again. Not to be crazy or anything, I do enjoy modern conveniences, however, there is a price to pay for it. And that price can be expensive and stressful. For a few days, I’m camping and for the record I won’t be naked. Not exactly my dream plan for visiting Big Bend, but do-able. I am a little concerned about being cold at night. I’ve discovered there is no electric hook up. So no electric heater fan…bummer! And there is a little concern about bears, so I might be a little afraid. Plenty of people camp at Big Bend, and I guess if it’s my time it is. I’d rather not get eaten by a bear though.
My plan is to rent an SUV and carry my stuff so I can escape if I need to. I plan to buy a new tent. That’s all I’ve got so far. And I really want to do the kayak trip. It says class 2 rapids, but I know that water conditions change. They are renting out two rooms at the lodge for showering. And they will be providing meals with a rotation of people participating in meal “delivery”. All stuff I’ve done with girl and boy scouts. I recently renewed my passport. Hope it gets here before the trip. We are right on the Mexico border so it’s good to have it in case there is a reason to go. So looking forward to view the beauty of the dessert, mountains and the stars at night.
Building with Toll Brothers has been an interesting experience. You need to schedule meetings to discuss anything related to the building project. Those meetings are in person and it takes 45 minutes one way to get there. The builder further designates some choices that you do directly through Toll Brothers and other choices go through the design center. The design center is available for other builders as well and it is the place where you choose flooring, cabinets, appliances, and fixtures. Keeping up with the upgrades between the design center and from the builder directly is rough. It helps to put together your own spreadsheet.
You have three one hour appointments with the design center. And with the builder, many more pre-construction meetings. With the builder so far we have had:
- Contract meeting
- Plan meeting
- Electrical meeting (for designating where plugs and lighting will go)
- Selections meeting (entry door, garage door, exterior paint choice, roof type as well as glass selections for the door and windows)
- Audio Visual meeting for designating where the TV/network/sound system outlets go.
We had to put down a deposit of about 5% of the house value then with upgrades after the selections meeting, they asked for more. I really wish they would have an agenda for building to follow along. It has been a surprise during the process of when and what the content of the meetings are. We selected the lot in March and chose to delay building for an April closing. It supposedly takes 8-10 months for the actual construction which is currently scheduled to commence in October.
One of the most difficult choices was the exterior paint selection. The house is mediterranean style with a stucco exterior. As we sat for the majority of the selections meeting appointment with 8×10 swatches of stucco I was completely discouraged. For some it is impossible to choose colors from a small swatch. Add to it the fact that this is a choice for outdoor paint and we are looking at it indoors. Also, the builder didn’t have the roof choice (there are only two composite roof choices) to view with the color scheme. We had driven around looking at others and even took a few pictures, but to match it exactly is impossible unless you have access to look up the actual selections. After choosing a charcoal roof with some taupe and white accent we finished the meeting and were told to go look at some houses in the neighborhood with the charcoal roof. From a distance it looks like a roof with just tarp paper. I quickly realized it was a bad decision. My husband rounded the corner and all of the sudden we found exactly what I had in mind. It has the dark roof with the variation of medium to light with contrast that I had imagined! This was another Toll Brothers house so the exact selections can be pulled.
I will say my husband wanted the charcoal roof with the house color grey with white trim. This is part of the negotiation process with your spouse! I’m happy we could agree with this color scheme.
It’s not a football thing. Even though this weekend is all about football. It’s a mulch thing. Three yards cost $120 delivered. And it took 20 hours of work to dispurse it. That is exactly what I did over labor day weekend. Again, with the prep for putting the house on the market, I tackled the biggest job. The outside. The stager said that curb appeals gets people in. I put this off because of the amount of time I knew it would take.
The stager said our yard looked overgrown. I’m guessing that a landscaper would charge about $500-$600 to remove some bushes, trim and mulch the yard. I really wish I would have taken a before picture. There were several bushes that were just crowded and webworm looks like it did some damage on Indian Hawthorn bushes. It took 40 minutes per bush to take out mini bottle brush. Indian Hawthorn were easier to remove.
The dump truck came and dumped the mulch. And I tried to protect the driveway from the stain. FYI that makes it harder to shovel the mulch into a wheelbarrel when you have it on something plastic like a tarp. I started Friday after work with the trimming. I took out plumbago which is a pretty blue flower that fills in like a weed. I cut it to the ground, so sadly, it will try to grow back. For now it looks fantastic. We just need to sell and get out of here. I am really tired of throwing out stuff and keeping the place looking pristine and it’s not even on the market yet.
Also, Google is awesome! The stager said I need to remove some rust stains from an iron door mat. I found that muratic acid removed those stains and it did! So I don’t have to buy a new mat.
I’m happy to have saved the money and wonder what I could have done with 20 extra hours. I did manage to go to a baseball game, play tennis, spend a little time with my daugher and go to a nice lunch with my husband. I’m thinking at this point camping is a great option. No upkeep! Speaking of which I can’t wait for Big Bend!!!!!!!!! I put in that lock by the way. The last lock got to the point that you had to shoulder in to get the door open. It was pretty easy to change the door hardware and I’ve been pleased with the results. Just picked that bad boy up at Home Depot and replaced it.