Hells Dentists

Before I start the entry today, I feel I should mention our flight out here.

We were prepared for a VERY long wait, so we arrived at 5:30 for our 7:20 am flight. It may have been the time of day, or the luck of the draw, or the fact that our driver dropped us (intentionally) at the very last Continental curbside check-in point, but we had our bags checked and were on our way to the security gate in short order. I did notice, though, as we were triumphantly heading up to the gate that the short line we’d been in had grown to about 40 people in 10 minutes. Timing is EVERYTHING!

When we got up to security we got in what seemed to be the right line, and the guy who sent us through grumbled a little about “folks getting in the wrong line” but he let us pass (yay!) Apparently we’d wandered into the Elite Access line – the sign was askew and it wasn’t clear which line it was pointing to – so we got through security in, at least for me, record time.

Before we left we made a conscious effort to pack as little carry on as possible (just 2 bags between us, plus fanny packs for the kids) with no liquids, etc. Jacqui’s clear Woolwinders bag was also key to us getting through – at least that’s what I think!

The kids were fascinated by the moving sidewalk, there were cartoons on the TV monitor in our small downstairs waiting area, and once on the plane it was not totally filled so we were able to spread out a bit. The food was remarkably good because it was so simple (cheerios & a banana, juice, tea – just a nice breakfast!) and we arrived in MN feeling healthy and pretty calm for such an early morning flight.

It Had To Happen
From the time we got here everyone’s been SO nice, the kids remarked that when someone finally WAS rude it would be really noticable!

It happened yesterday. A guy on a motorcycle (hey, what is it with no helmets here in MN? I mean, I understand the whole ‘helmet laws suck’ culture, but do you really want to be riding a donorcycle?) and I approached a merge about the same time. He was going a little slower than me, and it didn’t seem like a bit deal, so I merged in ahead of him. Not cut in, not cut him off, not anything bad – just safely maintained my speed. To let him in first I would have had to come to a complete stop, and to be honest I REALLY didn’t want some guy on a souped up hog with no helmet in front of me – I don’t need the responsibility for someone else’s Freedom over Sanity attitude.

But this really, REALLY, pissed off the middle aged, balding, eye-glass wearing, paunchy dentist on a souped up Harley. He tailed us for quite a while, buzzing up close, at one point he drove right alongside of us and yelled in the window, “It’s not a *&$^ing race, lady!” Okay, then why are you right next to me??! Oy. As if that would rattle me. Piker. I slowed down to let him go all the way around me, but apparently either he lost his nerve or he just liked the view from behind the sky-blue PT Cruiser.

He was more annoying than anything else, but it wasn’t fun for the kids. I made it fun by asking Hannah to take a picture of the guy, and she pondered for quite a while whether he deserved to be called a “dude”, or whether that was too good for him. He was no dude, he was just an a*$hole.

Pretty Homes, High Expectations
We saw 3 homes yesterday, we’re going to go for about 6 today. What we saw were nice, but of course none were right. The one we liked the best had the same feeling, color scheme, architecture of our home in NJ, but at about 3/4 the size. Gerry and I are BOTH amazed at the general small size of homes here (he thinks it has to do with the price of heating a house) and I have to admit that so far we’ve seen more things we like in St. Paul (for some reason there’s a lot of gardening there – perhaps it’s because the yards seem slightly bigger? This is after a week in April and a day, so don’t be too hard on my first observations!)

What’s amazing to me – well, maybe not so amazing given the real estate boom in the past few years – is the prices that some of these folks are asking for their homes! I had mentioned to several folks who commented that we’d find houses SO much cheaper out here that on my last trip I’d noticed that the houses we’d be interested in were going for roughly what we expect – hope – to get for our house in NJ. Having said that, we’d like to get at least the same rough size of our home in NJ (which is NOT big, but it’s well designed with big bedrooms and lots of usable space.

In our box of tools are tax information sheets on many of the homes we’re looking at (the internet is a wonderous thing…) so we can see what the current land and building assessments are, and also when the house last sold and what the price was. This gives us a rough – also taking the taxes into account – of what the house might be worth in a less volatile market. Since it’s pretty obvious – to me at least- that the market isn’t going to stay strong forever, we need to keep all of this in mind so we can find a home that will retain value and not be a bubble house.

The worth of a home can only be determined when someone’s willing to pay a certain price for it. You can ask $340K all day long; but if the house is assessed at $270K, the taxes reflect $260K and the house was purchased 2 years ago for $148K, I’M, not going to be the one to pay $340K. Of course, I could be wrong (and folks are going to be making the same value judgements about our house when it’s on the market in a month!) and if someone will pay $340 for a 1,200 sq ft house, then good on the seller!

So with this attitude we sally forth to look at more homes today – and the SUN IS OUT!! Here’s what greeted me as I drove to Creative Fibers the other day – ah, it’s just like my childhood in Toledo!

Alert! Are there any MN physicians who can write me a scrip for albuterol? I can’t find my replacement inhaler and I’m getting low. Not an emergency, but I don’t have a doctor out here and might need to get a rescue inhaler before I end up at an emergency room Thanks.

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