RANDOM REVIEW: 2013 A.D.

2013As the final hours of the year tick away, I have to say that 2013 was a really good one for me.

After years of dealing with apartments and all that malarkey, I broke down and bought a house.  Home ownership has been pretty awesome so far: I went from one-bedroom apartments to a two-bedroom house with a garage and a huge backyard and rabbits and I can barbeque and have friends over and I love it.  Given the age of the house, home repairs and replacing things will eventually come but for now its been smooth sailing.

On the e-book front, I decided to try to sell printed copies of my work at a few conventions and events and failed spectacularly, at least from a business standpoint.  I can count my total sales on my hands.  People just don’t read much anymore, or at least not the types of folks that go to anime or furry conventions.  On the plus side, I did get to talk to lots of folks, present some panels and if nothing else, hopefully inspire some folks to ‘go it alone’ themselves.  I only published one new e-book (should have been two, but life and all that) and definitely need to up my output next year.

2013 was a fun year of conventions, camping, writing, video games, furries, cookies, home maintenance and most importantly, friends and family. I am optimistic that 2014 will be even better; my goal is to compete at least two story collections as well as the follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support,” which is my best-seller so far.  I am also hoping to attend some new conventions, make new friends, and well, get some work done on the house.  So without any further ado:

MISSION START!

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In Soviet Russia, house occupies you!

homeYou know, I can never resist a good ‘in Soviet Russia’ joke.  Actually, I can’t resist a bad one, either.

Buying a house has all but consumed my life for these last two months.  Nearly everything that I have been thinking about or doing (or blogging) since early March has been house-related.  Finding a house, negotiating for it, digging up all the documents for the bank, shopping for insurance, finding a storage unit, moving all of my stuff out of my apartment into the storage unit, moving in with my cousins, closing, moving out of my cousin’s, then getting all my stuff from storage into the house and now I’m taking things out of boxes and putting things in their place and buying appliances.

Along the way, I missed out on quite a few things due to either poor planning, bad luck, or fatigue: Wild Nights, the St. Phillips Anime Club Bubblehead Tea event, Free Comic Book Day, the Central Texas Toy and Comic Expo and the Anthrocon conbook deadline.  My stress level got pretty high and I even got sent to the “principal’s office” at work for getting a little too rowdy with a customer.  My aggravation got to the point that I went from “this will be totally worth it” to “this had better be worth it.”

It has been just over a week after I got the keys, and the number of moving boxes cluttering up the living room is gradually decreasing.  I am hoping to be at some semblance of ‘normal’ (or at least as normal as it gets for me) by week’s end, especially after the new refrigerator is delivered later this week.  I ask myself, was this worth all the bother and stress and money and time and missed fun?

Without hesitation, I think:  Yeah.  Totally worth it.

27 Things I Noticed In My Just-Bought Home

homeAfter about 2 months of looking, negotiating, gathering money and signing a metric crapton of papers, I am finally in my new (to me) home. Of course, I noticed a few things:

  1. As mentioned previously, we didn’t discuss which, if any, appliances were going to be left. They left behind the one thing I didn’t want: the electric range.
  2. I took a peek inside the oven and wished I hadn’t. I don’t think it has EVER been cleaned.
  3. On the plus side, there appears to be a gas line present. Time for an upgrade!
  4. Well, after I buy a refrigerator, first.
  5. and get the utility guys to make sure the gas line is good…guess it might be a while. :/
  6. Seriously, it looks like it was never used, some people just don’t know what they’re missing
  7. No refrigerator, but there’s a water line so I can get an ice maker.  Woo!
  8. There is a general air of uncleanliness around the place. The oven, the tub needs scrubbing, the floors need sweeping, and the carpet is shag-nasty!
  9. I even had to sweep some webs and stuff from a few walls…ew.
  10. Speaking of the carpet, there’s this weird red-pink fuzz all over the master bedroom floor??
  11. Checking the keys, I found one that didn’t work in the outside locks…it was for the master bedroom. Oh-kaay.
  12. …and the second bedroom door doesn’t lock.  I’m sensing some trust issues here.
  13. The doorbell doesn’t work, and I thought I was antisocial.
  14. It’s only temporary anyway; I want a doorbell that sounds like the one from the Jetsons…seriously!
  15. Finding bug traps everywhere…well, maybe if they cleaned up a little.
  16. First major upgrade (after a gas stove) will be a new shower/tub, but for now some bleach and a good scrubbing will have to do.
  17. People have gotten smarter about their network security, no open hotspots nearby.
  18. Spent the first night vacuuming and filled up the machine’s dust canister after one bedroom…EW.
  19. I don’t think I’ve ever filled up the dust canister when vacuuming my whole apartment.
  20. Yeah, definitely going to need a new shower head, I like to feel the water bouncing off my chest like I’m Superman
  21. I’ve never had a garage before, its nice.
  22. Scratch that, having a garage is AWESOME.  Yes, it has rained recently, why do you ask?
  23. I found what appear to be used plastic bags and aluminum foil in a kitchen drawer…I wonder if the previous owner was also Mexican.
  24. I didn’t think I was going to need a lawn mower anytime soon and then heavy rain came down the day I got the keys.  Nuts.
  25. Once again, I get to pick between the duopoly of suck for internet: Time Warner and AT&T 😦
  26. Actually, I think I’ll go with Clear
  27. Damn, it feels good to be able to walk around in my boxers again!!

Minor Details

homeI don’t know when the light finally came on, but when it did, I’m pretty sure I did a facepalm. After weeks of negotiating prices, repairs, dates and all that yadda yadda yadda on the house I want to buy, I realized that I had overlooked one important little thing:

Appliances.

You know, those little things that make life more convenient: a refrigerator to store food in, a stove to cook that food on, and a washer and dryer to wash clothes that have gotten dirty after cooking and eating said food.  Since the disposition of the appliances is not in the home purchase contract, I could open up the door on Thursday to find the aforementioned modern conveniences waiting for me….or I’ll be making an emergency trip to Ye Olde Electronics or Department Store for a new refrigerator and stove.

It’s not as bad as it seems:   If there is no washer and dryer, then its back to hanging out with the freakos at the laundromat.  As far as the stove goes, I plan on replacing the it anyway because the home has an electric stove, something which I have learned to loathe during my many years of apartment living.  Things might get a little dicey without a refrigerator, though, because I really like cold sodas and dairy.

Oh well, just as long as they leave the hot water heater.  Then again, I’ve gone without hot water, too! 😉

How Home Sweet Home It Is!

homeAfter years of dealing with annoying neighbors one wall (or floor) over, lousy parking, poor management, constantly increasing rents and not being able to own a cat without a big deposit and paying ‘pet rent.’ I am finally going to take the plunge and buy a house.  I’m almost there, too:  if all goes well I’ll be a homeowner within a few weeks.

Its a big step for me and more than a little bit scary.  For better or for worse, I am setting down roots here in San Antonio.  There’s also the whole ‘what happens if I lose my job’ bit, but these days, that cloud is constantly hovering over everyone’s head, so that’s nothing new.  Instead, I choose to focus on the Good Things associated with having my own home:

It’s my house, and if you don’t like it… – On a philosophical level, an apartment is never ‘really’ yours, and it will be nice to do whatever I want without having to ask myself whether I’ll be dinged for something when I move out.  Also, there is the whole ‘investment’ angle, but I don’t care too much about that.  In my opinion, the mentality of the home one lives in being an ‘asset’ instead of a ‘home’ is partially to blame for the nutzoid homeowner’s associations I always hear about in the news.

More room! – I have always lived in one-bedroom apartments and even lived in a efficiency once when things got tight.  Unless I get a Unabomber special (i.e. an isolated shack)  I’ll be getting a 2-bedroom house at the bare minimum and it will more than likely have a garage, too.  That’s going to be a LOT of extra space that I’m not sure I know what to do with.  I might rent out the extra room and I hear garages are great places to store things.  I’m also looking forward to hosting parties again, it has been way too long since I’ve hosted a Super Bowl or New Year’s Eve gathering.

Do What I Want – One of the crappier parts of living in apartments is you have to be careful with your noise level lest you arouse the ire of your neighbors.  While I am not a very noisy person, I do like to turn up the sound when I play video games and movies and have occasionally been ‘that guy’ that has had his stereo or surround sound system up too loud.  Conversely, I have also had to bang on a few doors and tell neighbors to tone it down.

WOW a Garage! – My parent’s house does not have a garage and so I have never had the pleasure of having one.  Based on what I have seen from friends, I understand it is a storage space.  I might go nuts and actually keep my vehicle in mine.

KITTEH! – I have wanted to have a cat for some time, but as I mentioned in the intro, certain things about apartments have kept me from getting one.  I can now acquire a cat and hug him and pet him and hold him and call him George. 🙂

Good Old Gas – My parents have a gas stove, and it is awesome.  I have not lived in a place that has had a gas stove since I moved out, and cooking food has royally sucked since.  One of my requirements for a home is that it have a gas connection so that I can once again experience the joy of heating up tortillas and hot dogs the way God intended.

House Party – When I had a bigger apartment a few years ago, I loved having friends over for games and even Super Bowl and New Year’s parties or two.  It won’t be too long before I’ll be hosting get-togethers and this time we can crank up the tunes! 😀

Buying a house is big and scary and fraught with pitfalls, but I’ll take the hits as they come and look forward to the good things that come with owning a home, like freshly-warmed tortillas!