October 14, 2010: New House!

We ended up being up way too late last night.  It was around one thirty when Dominica and I finally turned in.  Liesl was the culprit, she was up using her Tag Junior and reading her Curious George book on colours and having a really good time so we decided that as she was reading that she should be allowed to stay up.  So it was between twelve thirty and one when she finally went to bed.

Sometime around four thirty, I am guessing as I did not look at a clock, Liesl had problems sleeping and came into bed with us.  This happens only once a month, or so, now that she is older.  She likes sleeping on her own in her own room normally.  She does not sleep well when we have to share a room.

At five thirty I was paged out for a server that should not have been alerting but due to several systems at work not working properly the suppression of the alerts failed and I got paged – as did support around the world.  So, since I was already awake, I just showered, walked Oreo and headed on into the office.

It was a brisk morning, maybe fifty five degrees as I walked to the office.  This is when the Texas weather is really awesome.

CNN Money Magazine ran an article recently on the Best Jobs in America.  Not surprising, a very large percentage of the top jobs are in IT including number one!

Dominica and I are still waiting to hear any news about the house on which we put an offer four days ago.  We are really hoping to have this resolved today.  It is quite crappy to just wait and wait to find out about something like this.

Big news in the world today that the Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for over two months have been freed!  This is major world news as this is the longest known human entrapment underground in history in which the people in question survived.  Truly amazing that they were able to save these miners stuck for so long beneath the desert.

Ancestry.com has reported that US President Obama is distantly related to a number of odd people.  Somehow this makes news in the US but this should come as no surprise to anyone.  The relationship level goes back ten generations in most of these cases.  For most Americans, especially those who come from families which have been in the Americans for a significant amount of time and even moreso for those who come from highly affluent backgrounds such as major political figures, there should be no surprise at all that they share relations going back to early settlements.  America only had so many people in it in the sixteen hundreds and those people’s decedents number in massive figures today.  Most Americans can trace themselves back to early settlements – often through many different paths.

In this particular base, Obama’s family history was traced back ten generations.  If you have two parents, four grandparents and eight great grandparents (which you do) then at the tenth generation you have one thousand and twenty four ancestors to choose from.  When you consider the tiny American population that long ago and then take over one thousand predecessors of Obama and one thousand predecessors of someone else there is a decent chance that you will have one of them overlap.  If you then look for hundreds or thousands of famous people in America today, each with over a thousand relatives against whom to compare, you will find seemingly highly coincidental matches for just about anyone – but when you do the math this is completely expected.

For Dominica and I, both of us having been in America for around fourteen generations, the numbers get astronomic with sixteen thousand early ancestors coming from a very tiny pool (first colonial generations) which suggests a very high likelihood of being distantly related to almost anyone with a few generations of American heritage.

You don’t really realize how likely you are to share American heritage until you realize that there is a single couple from the New Netherlands Colony (they came on the very first boat, in fact) who were newlyweds when they left Holland and today are believed to be direct progenitors of roughly one out of every ten Americans!  That means that one of every ten people is related to one out of every ten other people through just one of sixteen thousand optional fourteenth generation ancestors.  Do the math and that means that it is highly unlikely that any two people with any significant American heritage to not be related to each other!

It’s amazing how different the world seems when one applies math to it.

At ten o’clock this morning Dominica called to tell me that we had gotten the house.  They accepted our initial offer too!  We had made a really good offer – we offered the asking price asking them to pay the closing and to hold off on the closing until November 30th.  They were pretty happy with that deal – which in reality they should be as the house has been on the market since July and we are rock solid buyers which you don’t seem to get too often down here.

We are very excited to have plans now.  And Dominica is relieved that she now has a plan for where to hold Liesl’s birthday party.  We had no idea what we were going to do if we did not have the house in time to use it for the party.  Now we have to plan a house warming party too.

At eleven Dominica, Liesl and I went to lunch at Panera and from there went over to sign some documents and turn over some funds for the house.  That went pretty quickly.  Not too much to do.  Between all the stress, excitement and lack of sleep I was barely able to keep myself awake at that point.

After dealing with the paperwork we drove up to Carrollton to take a look at the house again.  We could not get into the house but we did manage to take some pics of the yard so that we could do some planning.  The yard is smaller than we had remembered and it is going to be tough to put the shed in the yard that we had been hoping.  We are considering a partial garage conversion which are pretty popular here to put a storage space and an office into one of the garage bays.

There is a lot of work that is going to need to be done on the outside of the house.  Part of the yard appears to have been treated as a dog run and it is just small rocks and no grass.  It looks awful but is easy to fix.  The middle of the main yard is just plain dirt so we will need to get grass growing there too.

The back yard as a really awful, old jungle gym thing that needs to be removed, and I think that we need to plant another tree in the back and one in the front of the house.  There is an abundance of sunlight and very little shade.

We also discovered that there is a generous amount of decorative flora in the front of the house that will require our attention.  Having a yard, garden and other areas that we need to keep up with is new for us as both of our previous homes were townhomes and had the outdoors managed by the homeowners’ associations.  So now we have to learn about that stuff.

We need to do fence work too.  Already just on our first trip through the house we are racking up the things that need more or less immediate attention.  December is going to be a very busy month as we attempt to fix everything on the outside of the house.  Most of it is pretty minor but there is definitely a lot of stuff.  I’ve never had to do all this type of stuff so it feels a little daunting although it will probably be fun to work in the garden some.

This is the first time that we will own a place where we have the right to make pretty much any changes that we want.  We actually own the whole house, not just the inside of it, so we get to screw all that stuff up now.

We could not get into the house or even into the yard today so I took the iPod and took as many pictures as I could to get a feel for the yard space.  We walked around the block getting a feel for the neighbourhood and down the alley behind the houses to see what our approach was like.  With the iPod I was able to take pictures over the fence in the back which helped us to get an idea of how much space there is there.  Not much is the basic idea but it should be enough.

I think that our focus in the yard will be in shoring up the fencing for safety and cosmetic reasons.  If we don’t take good care of the fencing then Oreo could hurt himself being blind.  There didn’t appear to be able places where he could get out but there were some spots of concern for safety.  Mostly we will be working on making the lawn healthy and getting some garden plants going.  There isn’t enough space to do too much.  Maybe we can get a water feature in at some point.  We both love water features.

After finishing with the house we drove back to Las Colinas and Dominica dropped me at the office.  I wasn’t at work for even an hour before our agent needed to stop back by with additional paperwork for us to sign again.  So I took care of that and, in theory, we are all set.  We did not get a chance to sit down with the bank and get everything straightened out today because our banker had a baby today!

This evening was just a quiet evening at home.  We are very excited and obviously spent a lot of time discussing plans for the new house.  We ordered in Italian and just ate at home.  We watched some 30 Rock and it was time for bed.

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