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Updates – New House, New Studio, and a Crawling Kid…

Someone asked what I am up to on Facebook – Hi Matt! – and I have not written much in quite a while about what is happening in my life so here’s a little catch up for everyone. I am sure that there is more than this, pills but this is all that I can remember for now.

Uliana

We will be celebrating her 1st birthday here in a little bit. She is a good little girl and officially started to crawl on Fathers Day! =) This is of course a mixed blessing. It is great that she is crawling, symptoms but that now means she has another method to find stuff to put in her mouth. =O

New House in Baraboo

We bought a second house in Baraboo which is twice the size (1300 sq ft) of our first house (700 sq ft). We closed on it on May 21, food and finished moving in on Friday and Saturday – June 18th and 19th. Two days ago we finally got Charter installed so now I have internet! Yea! I have moved up from a 768/128 DSL up to 8 meg Cable. Happy Days! =) Our first, fortunately, shall be rented by Tanya’s brother and his wife.

Baby sitters: We are looking for a few baby sitters in Baraboo that either occasional or fairly steady as options. We are set for now, but are looking for more baby sitting options.

New Yoga Studio

New Classes and New Studio: Tanya (and a few others) will be teaching Yoga out of our new house. We have a grand opening on Saturday, June 26 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, with classes starting there on July 1. Classes will be free to all through the entire month of July, so come and bring your friends and family and give it a try. We have 18 classes scheduled for every one young and old. We have some children’s classes, beginners, intermediate, and advanced classes, as well as relaxation classes.

You can check our website for our new schedule and  more information. We also have an article about us and the new studio opening in the Baraboo News Republic too. We were quite nervous for this interview.

Candles: We are looking for any spare candles that you may have for some of our studio classes. Feel free to drop them by or let us know so we can pick them up.

Peacock on the Roof?

What is nice about living out in a wooded area is that you get to see all sorts of wild animals that you will never see while you are in the city. My neighbor called me tonight and said I am not sure, no rx but I think that you have a peacock on your roof. and I was like There’s no way.

Low and behold, we go out side and there’s a peacock on my roof. I think it is a female, and yes, our roof needs some work.

The Belarussian people are very superstitious, as is my wife. She says that it is there belief that a peacocks feather bring about bad luck. =( I countered with the Chinese believe that it is good luck!

Some Superstitions About Peacocks

  • Just as the eagle was the sacred bird of Jupiter, so the peacock was associated by the ancients with Juno, queen of the heavens.
  • To meet a peacock is a happy omen, as might be imagined. If he spreads his tail before one’s eyes, happiness and prosperity are promised.
  • On the other hand, to bring a peacock’s tail feathers into the house is considered unlucky by superstitious people, for they are considered to be representative of the evil eye.

More Peacock Reading

Landscaping

My wife and I spent some cash buying soil, page bricks, plants, bushes, weed guard, mulch and flowers to do some landscaping for the house. We finished the first part of our project which is a small are with lilys, silver wormwood (I think), and pansies surrounded with a circular red brick, and covered with a lighter wood-chip mulch. That took us quite a while to finish, but we did get it done.

The last thing that I need to do is finish digging the holes for the two honeysuckle bushes next to the porch. The land around our house sucks! we have about 4-5 inches of soil and then shale or sandstone. I am trying to follow the rule of thumb that I was told for the hole which is 2 1/2 times as wide and 3 times as deep as the plant’s pot is wide. =( This makes for a very large and deep hole. I am almost done digging the first hole. It is not as deep as this rule of thumb would indicate but it is close. I will spend one more day on digging the first hole and then I will plant the sucker and then on to the next one. Ugghhhh!!

I will be glad when this is all done. We just have to make sure that we are able to keep the plants watered or they will die. Not a good thing especially with all of the money and time that we have invest in it. If you have any suggestions for first time landscaper/home owner for this sort of a thing, please let me know.

One thing to mention about all of this is that we have had fun trying to decide on the process. We are quite different in our approaches. I being a geek and not minding measure and following directions have rules of thumb that I want to follow and they seem to make some sense to me especially for the crappy soil that we have.

Tanya on the other hand, having done a lot of similar stuff with her family’s Dacha (Like a vacation/country house that is often times used to grow plants for eating), at least in my perception, wants to just dig a whole and whip them in the ground, which quite contrary to my sensibilities. We have spent enough money on this process that I am willing to spend some extra time to measure distances between plants, follow rules of thumb, and take some extra time to potentially safe-guard our investment. So, this has been an interesting process. I will admit, that of the two of us, she is the only person to have any experience with sort of stuff, and I am sure that she has done a lot of it. I guess I am just a little leery and over cautious because I have no experience and there is quite a lot of money invested! =)

Have I told you that I love my wife? I do! She rocks!

Home, Sweet Home!

We have been in the new house for a while. I have fixed a pipe that was not sealed and changed the air filter. Not really big accomplishments in and of themselves, medicine but then again I’m a first time home owner that knows next to nothing about fixing stuff unless it is a computer. So I am happy with these achievements. It is the little things in life! =)

The dryer was venting into the basement while there was elephant hose just hanging from the basement wall. There was material to catch the lint and dust from the dryer that had not been changed in a very, cheap very long time! Fire hazard! I was not a happy camper to see this. I ripped out the old elephant ventilation hose stuff as well as the tape that attached it to the wall. I bought some new silvery ventilation ducting and ran it from the wall ventilation to the Dryer exhaust and now, no more basement dryer exhaust! Yea! The basement is really, really dusty and I imagine it is because of this little craziness. Problem three fixed.

The humidity in the basement was down to 40% and it is oscilating between 40% and 50% which is OK. At theses levels mold and dustmites cannot survive. I will try to keep it down for a while to kill these bad things in the house. Once we finish cleaning the basement and making it really ready for living/ storage we may turn off the dehumidifier, or atleast run it less. I have found one more pipe that leaks and that is the pipe that runs from the Washer to the drain. That needs to be taken care of as well. Ugghhh!!!

I have put up some mirrors and pictures. I have installed Karatea (wood blind thingy’s). That was quite the project even with the appropriate tools! I have put together an over the toilet shelf unit as well. we have been busy. The wife and our friend has painted and arranged everything. We have moved 2 couches to the basement once we got the humidity down and we have so much more room now! Tanya is sooooo happy with this. =)

We have had our family over for barabaque, yoga and yard games a few times to break in the new house. It has been fun and a hell of an experience. I am just waiting for the mortgage to start! Gulp! =) It is nice to come home to my own house. All of it is mine (I mean ours) when I say mine =) ). If there are things that need to be done we can just take care of it, and the result of it is a direct result of what I have done. If you are living in an apartment you have to ask someone else and you do not feel truly free to live how you want.

I’m just babbling now so I will close this update! I won’t go into the expense and haveing to mow a really large lawn. Ending on a positive note is a good thing! =)

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Just Over Half-way Done

Saturday (May 13) I had Badger
Basements
take a look at the basement for an estimate. The Seller gave
me the key and told me to keep it since we knew the closing was coming soon.
Monday (May 15) I purchased an industrial Walmart fan and brought over a
friend’s Dehumidifier and set that up. The humidity levels in the basement
are 75% – not good. After about 2 days of running the fan and dehumidifier
continuously the levels have dropped 5%. At this rate it will take us a bout
2 1/2 months to get the level down to about %40 or so. Uggghhhh!

We received word on Tuesday (May 16) that we can set the closing date for
our house, resuscitator which will be Friday (May 19) at 16:00 (4:00pm) in town here. We
have moved in some stuff that we do not need right now: the new silverware
and dishes, visit web stuffed animals and books and so on. We even brought over the couch
and got ahold of another one. Katia are Tania looked at it today and have
decided that we need to paint the walls to cover the spackling and other discolorations.They are doing some cleaning today as well.

I have a list of things that I need to do like changing the air filter, find a leak in the bathroom sink, sealing a pipe and a few other things that will keep me busy as well as moving. I will also have to mow the lawn – that will be fun – not! We are also planning on staining the deck this summer. I do not know why they did not stain it before. It would make sense that you would want to protect the deck after you put the work or money in to installing it.

We are hoping to have a House Warming/1 Year Wedding Anniversary party at the same time so we can get both over with. Even with all of this craziness going on we still feel a large part of us is missing. We are not able to share this with our girls who are home in Belarus: Banania, Ania, and
Lena. We miss them so very much and wish we could share these moments with them. =(.

In retrospect my previous post on our home buying process titled "Half-way There" was incorrectly titled.It should have been titled "A Quarter of the Way There". Our work in home ownership is really just beginning. The first half is finding the home you like, have your bid accepted, getting the financing and then close. Once that is done you start the second half by setting up water, electricity, internet, cleaning, painting, staining, and moving and rearranging. Oh, you also have to change you address for your magazines, credit card bills, drivers license, insurances and a bunch of other things. So now, we truly embark on the second half of the home ownership journey…

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Half-way There

Last night we made an offer on a house and it was accepted so we are half-way done with our new foray into the realm of home ownership. At this point we have our financing approved it is just a matter of getting the interest rate locked in, gerontologist getting a VA assessor out there to get and appraisal and we should be close to done, look and home-owners insurance. I will arrange to have the septic system inspected and a home inspection this week or early next week, myocarditis hopefully.

Description of the Hizzouse

It is 700 square-feet which is about 300 less than I want. In truth, if they
would have put the square-footage in the advertisement I would not have wanted
to even looked at it. I am happy that they didn’t do this. The redeeming factor
for the lack of space is that the basement is very usable and could be used
for a bedroom/office and such – not quite making up for the missing 300 square-feet,
but it works. All in all it is smaller than the apartment, but yet better.
Currently the house is being rented and the current occupants have put a Bar
and entertainment room in the basement which we will have as well. The tenants
have until June 1 to move out so we have plenty of time to pack and save money
for new things for the house such as: dishes, silverware, washer and dryer,
lawn mower and such.

It is a 2 bedroom, 12 year old house with an attached garage. It has a about
3/4 an acre of land. We will have plenty of land to build if we want to, and
plenty of a yard to have barbeques and parties as well. The downside with so
much land is that….. I will have to mow a very large lawn. That will be fun
– not. I will have to purchase a riding lawn mower so that it will be easy
and quick to mow. The cabinets are all Oak and there is one moveable Island
(a moveable counter/cabinet) for our convenience. I really like that idea.
I have thought that this is something that I would want if I were to build
a house.

In Closing

We have looked a wide variety homes in various conditions. From “Holey Crap!
shouldn’t this be condemned” to “I need another job so we can do this!”. We
have looked at duplexes and 2 bedroom houses. We have looked a a commercial
property, the old Baraboo News Republic building, which is a gold mine waiting
to be bought up. I just wish I had the money available to snatch it up. They
are asking about $99,000, but it needs about $60,000 in work to make it rentable.
If you could get it for about $60 or 70k it would be a great deal. Unfortunately,
my VA loan does not cover commercial
properties. If it did we might still be considering it. The potential that
this building has made my heart race. This house was priced to sell and I am
glad that we got to it before someone else did.

Other Notes

I am still trying to find time to work on a post detailing our trip to Belarus.
A good portion of the post is done, but their is still a lot to go. After the
house buying is done I will have more time for posting and other things that
I have been putting off until we get settled in..

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So We’ve Been Busy

Tanya and I have been quite busy over the last few weeks. We have been looking at houses and mortgages; preparing documents for our INS interview on February 1; preparing for eventual problems that Tanya may have with immigration/customs as we leave from Moscow. I have also done 2 full reinstalls: one for Katia’s laptop, anorexia and one for my mother’s insurance business – Freedom Insurance; and of course, page working on mom’s website.

House Hunting

We have been looking for houses in the Baraboo, Dells, Delton, Delonna areas primarily. We have been looking in Reedsburg as well even though it is not our preferred city to live in. I work in and have friends in Baraboo and Tanya works in Lake Delton. My family lives in Lake Delton. Reedsburg is really out of the way for both of us. Ughh!

Property prices and property taxes are higher in Baraboo and lower in Reedsburg. We have 2 or 3 potentials in Reedsburg – 2 for about $100k and one for about $85k. We have found one in Baraboo for about $100k that we really like. Now the only problem that we have is that after Taxes, Title, License, and small furry animals I do not want more than a $80-90K mortgage. Any more than that and we will be living tight. I have tried to budget everything so that I can pay for pretty much everything and Tanya can concentrate on school and what ever else she needs to do, and still have some free money to save and to fix up the house. Finding a house that is not a shit-hole for about $80k seems to be almost impossible. So our search continues and so does the impending fear that we will have to get a house that is going to be too much work for us to have any chance to enjoy.

Other Stuff

We are definitely stressing over the possibility of having problems leaving Russia/Belarus. We will be calling the Moscow Airport (Sheremetyevo II) to see what they think we should do and hopefully we can fix the real issue here via the consulate later in the US instead of in Belarus. We really do not want to correct the problems in Belarus as we would have to deal with the corrupt and taciturn bureaucracy there. Not a good prospect. Here is better.

I really do not enjoy doing full reinstalls as they take forever. Installing Windows is not so bad. Downloading and installing the service packs and security fixes takes over half of the time. I have one more to do and then I will be done for quite a while. Ugh!!

I have been quiet because we have been busy! Nothing personal! =) I have even cancelled one of my gaming groups until we get back from Belarus to ensure that we have enough time for everything. Oi! They were not happy, but it had to be done!