Dec 29

I’ve been cleaning the house all week. Currently I’m Organizing candles by seasonal scents. Can you tell we like Yankee Candle?


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May 29

We moved into our house on the 20th, and life has been a bit chaotic as we start to move everything in and get things settled.  However, waking up this morning, I looked at the furniture, pictures, and all our belongings, and it really started to feel like a home.

8am, May 20.  Movers arrive, and help us move our belongings to our new house.  We say goodbye to our tri-level townhome (which I loved) of two and a half years.  We pack up our furniture, clothes, washer/dryer, glass statues, Disney figurines, kitchen appliances, and much more.  It was so strange staring at the North Star moving truck, and realizing that a large portion of our lives was in that truck.  True, they were only belongings, but many of those belongings carry along special memories with it.  One can point to any object and I can tell you where I got it from and what it represents.

We then arrive to a freshly painted house, new flooring, new light fixtures, and nothing else.  It’s been a very busy time as we do everything from placing liners in the kitchen cabinets, to setting up our home theater surround sound system, to getting new furniture installed.  However, its finally starting to feel like home, and its exciting!

I have to say, I also am learning so much about being more “handy” around the home.  Those that know me know that I am good with computers, technology, etc, and I’m not handy with my hands at all.  I have been learning so much lately about so many things I never thought I’d ever know, and to be honest, once I do work on the house, it really feels rewarding.  It’s this feeling I haven’t had before, but it feels good to say that I installed our new toilets, and I replaced this light fixture, and I did this.  Mike and I have been an excellent team, and I can only wait a few more weeks until the rest of our rooms are finished.  For now, only our living room is ready to go, but its getting there.

The other night, we were laying in bed falling asleep, and Mike turned over to me and said, “Kyle, can you believe it, we really did it.  We bought a house and we’re living in it.”  At that point, it really sunk in.  All the weekends we spent looking at homes and writing up offers, we were finally in our home, and it was such a powerful feeling.

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May 09

It’s been about a week since I last updated, and I have to say its been an adventurous one at that. We officially closed escrow on the 4th of May, and we are homeowners. It’s an exciting time, but we didn’t have much time to enjoy that feeling because we are now focusing on getting the house move-in-ready.

I picked up new flooring, picked up paint, sorted through many choices of light fixtures, and our remodel is underway in less than 24 hours. We are having painters re-paint the entire house, we tore our the carpet and are having new flooring put in, we had a new front door replaced, we changed the locks, and much much more.

It’s been a bit chaotic, but its finally starting to get exciting as our move in date quickly approaches. The most difficult part of moving is the packing. Over the years, Michael and I have collected many items, each carrying its own special significance to us. Packing is not only very frustrating, but very time consuming. We’ve had many long and late nights trying to finish a particular task up, and it’s a bit difficult when you have to get up early to let the painters in, and then go for a full day of work.

Our move in date is the 20th, so we have about a week and a half to go. We’ve only been homeowners for a few days, and have already learned a few of the many things we will learn as new homeowners. Many of our friends are also new homeowners as well, so its exciting to learn from their experiences and maybe we’ll get to teach them a few tricks too. 😉

I’ll post an update shortly, so keep those fingers crossed and let’s all hope that the move goes smoothly.

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May 01

As I eagerly wait the close of escrow, I completed my purchase of a home alarm system.  As with any major purchase, I have done my share of homework and have researched alarm systems fully.  I’ve checked the major alarm companies, the smaller “small business” ones, and a few online providers.  After comparing everything, I know that Front Point was the choice for me.

I checked out the large companies, mainly ADT and Brinks (now Broadview security.  They frequently advertise specials such as $99 installation, etc.  However, when you delve in the fine print, this usually includes 2 sensors.  By the time you add everything up, you are looking at around $1,000.00.  In addition, it requires a phone line, which is difficult since Mike and I are a cell-phone only household.  Even if we did have a landline, they charge extra for cell phone backup.  So the monthly price is somewhere around $45-$55 or so.  Also, I’ve seen hundreds of negative reviews scattered all across the web.

I’ve checked out a few small local businesses, but unfortunately they just can’t compare with some of the bigger retailers. While their customer service can sometimes be superb due to the extra personal touch, they also don’t have the flexibility of having a large workforce with greater support hours.

Then I began checking out several on-line companies.  I found some, but there was always a catch.  Their equipment was cheap but monitoring was high.  Their customer service received horrible ratings, or their service required a phone line.  I found one that used one’s Internet, but what if a burglar cuts my Internet connection or cable line?  I needed a solution that was far superior.

I found Front Point Security, which uses the monitoring center for its service.  Not only is it perfect for cell-phone only households, but it never needs a landline.  It is cell only and uses both AT&T and T-Mobile for its backbone.  The benefit is that I don’t have to have a landline that could be cut by an intruder, and its always active.  Another benefit is that any time a door or window is opened, it sends a signal to the main monitoring station.  With traditional alarm systems, a signal is only sent to the central monitoring station after 30-60 seconds, meaning a burglar could quickly cut the line rending a system useless.  With Front Point, it sends a signal as soon as it is tripped, and unless you enter your code and the bypass signal is sent to the monitoring station, the alarm is tripped even if the burglar “cuts the cord.”

I know that people will be skeptical because it is cell based and we all know how well ATT is, but it uses data, not voice.  Data is much more reliable, which is why text messages usually go through when a network is overloaded and you cannot make a phone call- data uses almost no bandwidth and is easy for the network to handle.

In addition the having a strong backbone, the equipment pricing is fair and the customer service so far has been superb.  I am pleased with how friendly each interaction has been with their sales department.  I’ll give it a test in a few weeks once I’m a customer and see how their technical support is.  However, I”m almost positive that my experience will be pleasant and I’ve seen nothing buy positive reviews about them online.

Here is my favorite part, there is an iPhone application that allows me to control virturally any aspect of my system from my device.  I can arm, disarm, receive alerts, receive text messages, and find out the current status of my alarm from anywhere in the world.  If I forget to arm my system, I can open the iPhone application from work and turn it on.

I finally placed my order yesterday and I’ll have it next week.  I probably won’t install it for about two weeks or so until our house is fully painted and our new flooring is installed, but I’ll definitely post a review once I’ve had the system for a few months.

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