Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cheers...

The year-end is now upon us & I guess I could consider 2015 to be a pretty banner year for myself. I took care of some very old debt, purchased my first home & for the very first time in my life, successfully maintained a fully-monogamous (adult) relationship for more than an entire calendar year. I pray the lord continues to bless me throughout the next year of my life as well. There will be no vision boards completed this go-round, but don't get it twisted, there are most definitely plenty of images for 2016 swimming around in this head of mine!

Unfortunately, I did lose some connections with some really great folk between this year & last, but that happens... people lead very busy, separate lives in this day & age, so I've definitely learned that there's no need to take anyone's absence personally, it's just life & business of course.

Following a wonderful Christmas holiday with my family, I plan to spend New Year's Eve at home this year. 

After briefly entertaining the idea of attending yet another ball, dressed to the nines, I decided I'd simply prefer a safe, quiet & CHEAP (lol) evening in my humble abode.

I'll simply experience NYE vicariously through the various Facebook & Instagram posts that I see from my friends & family this year. Yea, I'm definitely cool wit that.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Home Automation 101

Ok, so for pretty much the entire fall, my tape measure & I were attached at the hip (& quite literally too).

"Will this fit here? How much room do I need there?" - I imagine all new homeowners probably remember the drill well. 

But now that the furniture buying, moving & assembly is done, I've been busy upgrading my home with all sorts of residential tech toys.


Yunno, completely unnecessary sh!t like a wifi thermostat, smart controlled entertainment hub, room-to-room audio, remote home security services, security webcam network, wireless lighting system, smartphone commanded garage door controller, remotely operated deadbolt, so-on & so fourth.

Hmmm... ok, perhaps it's not all so unnecessary after-all. For the sake of argument in this post, let's just call 'em all pieces convenience tech, yea - we'll go with that for now, lol.

Simply put, I've now become obsessed with controlling even the most mundane of activities even when I'm miles away from home - all in an attempt to make my new spot a smarter one. 

So while I no longer need to pull-out the hammer or paint brush nearly as often, I now live in front of my computer & pretty much know my 16-character wireless network WEP key by heart after performing so many initial setups to get my smart devices & components to play with one another. But I'd say the optional upgrades have all been well worth it thus far.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a challenge, trying to limit my purchases to pieces of tech that I thought were likely to catch-on, or would soon become the standard versus those trendy fly-by-night tech ideas that simply aren't practical in real-world application.

But I think I managed to make a lot of right choices in that regard & I've even been saving a few coins when it comes to my monthly utility payments, as a result, so I'm most definitely glad I decided to make the place a more efficient one.

For the spring, I've got my eye on a remote controlled window shading system for the living room (who's got time to get off their ass just to open & draw-back window shades, lol). But seriously, as with my previous tech investments, it's just a matter of researching my options before settling on the right manufacturer & product.

By next winter, I'd really like to get my hands on some sexier, newer & (most importantly) more energy efficient appliances for the home. Help me Lord, I've clearly got myself a bit of a problem here.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Yup, Still Here...

Just wanted to make a really quick post to let folk know I'm still blogging, just been VERY busy this year & never imagined I'd have such difficulty carving-out time to blog, but if I'm lucky, maybe I'll still get 10 posts published by the year's end, fingers crossed on that, considering it's now the start of what will be a bustling holiday season for me.

But as far as what's been happening in my world lately... I've been very poor - point-blank, period, the end. Lol, I've been pouring every cent earned right back into my new home. Though I've very much enjoyed watching the transition from just a new home to my home, it's been a challenge accomplishing the many tasks, while maintaining continuity in other areas of my life as well.

All & all, I'd like to think I've managed to sustain the quality of life I expect for myself fairly well, but boy... I'd be a liar if I said I hadn't coasted into the past few paydays on fumes alone, lol. 

But it's a sacrifice I'm voluntarily making in order to get some things accomplished ahead of schedule, plus it's definitely a satisfying feeling to know you're managing a difficult situation. And now that I've completed my budget for 2016, I can see the light at the end of the credit debt tunnel & for me, that works just fine.

Monday, August 3, 2015

So Much to Do...

Over the past two weeks I’ve become a frequent visitor at Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Lowe's & also The Home Depot. As you might expect, I've been purchasing new cookware, appliances as well as furniture to make the place mine. I also got myself a taste of my very 1st home repair bill just days after moving in, as the existing washing machine needed immediate repair! So it didn’t take long at all for me to realize both the joys AND pit-falls of home-ownership, lol.

I got the security, water, gas, electric, Internet & television services all up & running rather quickly & care packages containing many necessities from close friends & family continue to roll-in as well - I really couldn’t be more blessed. Each day, something new gets bought, installed or assembled - it's looking more & more like a home.

I'm hoping to throw some sort of a Super Bowl party/housewarming in February (though I'm not at all a huge party thrower) - that should give me the time I need to finish decorating & without going broke to do so! Should everything continue to go according to plan, I'll have the spot looking the way I want it to by year's end.

So far, I've very much enjoyed coming home to my place daily, right now, it gives me a new sense of purpose... I don't even hate going to work (so much) now, lol.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mr. Crewe's Neighborhood...

Let me tell you, the devil was busy at work over the past 24 hours, but I’ve got an awesome God. It took some magic & prayer to get-around some last minute procedural issues standing between me & settlement, but I successfully completed the closing process earlier this evening - so I'm now a homeowner! Some of the features I really like about the area include the many accessible running trails, the fact that it's both a child & pet friendly community & also the well-maintained structures & surrounding landscapes.

It was my intention to find a home very close to my previous residence. But after months of research, I realized that if I really wanted to live in a more modern home, located in a pleasant community with lower crime rates - I'd need to expand my search area a bit.

Upon broadening my search, I began to see just the types of 3-level, townhouse style condos I'd been looking for all along. Sure, the location of my new home adds about 6 miles to my commute to & from work, but to me it's well worth it.

Plus, I'm still just a 10-minute drive from my brother & parents' homes, respectively, so very few of my daily or weekly routines will need to change as a result of my new address. Now I can begin to get back to life as normal financially speaking, might even be able to start eating lunch at work again next week, lol.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dog Days...

Ughhh... now that July is here, we've officially hit those dog days of summer. 

It's the hottest time of the year, here in the east & on top of that, there aren't any in-season sports on television to occupy my addiction for organized chaos, corruption & greed. Still, I absolutely love summer & the illusion of freedom that often accompanies it, lol. It's the traditional time of year for graduations, vacations, weddings & other such celebratory events, so folks' attitudes tend to be a 'bit' more relaxed.

Even though my financial transactions have been HEAVILY monitored by the budget police, I've still managed to fit-in a couple of getaways & for that, I'm quite thankful... another roadtrip or two before the fall hits & I'll be more than satisfied.

I can hardly believe half the year is gone already... before you know it, we'll be making plans for the holiday season. But I'll definitely make it my business to enjoy what remains of summer, I'm not ready to start wrestling with heavy coats, scarves & hats just yet.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Instant Equity...

Earlier today, my agent called to inform me that my contract offer on a recently viewed property, had been acccepted by the seller! Now I just have to pay for it… lol. 

But seriously, my financing is already in place & my closing costs are all lined-up as well. The sale is now contingent upon the property passing inspection & appraising for a specified amount. It's not a done deal just yet, but the hardest part is over - finding the right home & getting a contract offer accepted by the seller. Now I can shift my focus toward maintaining (or even increasing) my current credit score between now & settlement, so that I can try & lock-in an even better interest rate at closing.

After months of preparing myself financially & searching for homes, I'm so very excited to finally put down the listings & start pricing home furnishings, electronic components, so on & so fourth. I've got some great ideas for what I'd like to do with the place - I'm SO very blessed & happy to have finally reached this milestone. Nothing but smiles around here today...

Friday, June 12, 2015

First Time Home-Buyer...

I'm well into my 30s & for years, I've simply put-off buying a home of my own for various reasons - chiefly, I just didn't want to deal with the painstaking process of securing financing & then of course, there's finding that perfect home. But one day I woke-up this past February & for no reason at all, decided this would be the year I finally put myself on-track toward homeownership.

Since that time, I've taken several home buying & competitive market courses, selected a real estate agent, secured pre-approval from a lender, set aside money for estimated closing costs & have recently been touring properties that have grabbed my attention. I don't have a whole lot of amenities or features on my must-have list, but the few I've come-up with have significantly lowered the number of viable properties available to me.

Still, I've indeed been seeing the types of homes I'm looking for hit the market over the spring & summer, so I'm fairly confident I'll get an offer accepted & be able to close by the fall or early winter, when the market is a little less competitive. Early on, I was discouraged by what I saw out there, but things have definitely picked-up in terms of inventory, so I'm certainly gonna hold-out for the perfect home, not just settle for something with an attractive list price.

I'd be a liar if I said this entire process hasn't been entirely consuming though... no matter what I'm doing, home shopping never seems to be far from my mind. Quite frequently, I find myself immersed in online home listings at work, watching house hunting shows on HGTV at home & driving through desirable neighborhoods while out & about.


One thing's for certain, I'm gonna breathe SUCH a sigh of relief once I'm done with the forthcoming inspections, appraisals & document signings - just put the house keys in my hand already & be done with it, lol.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mem'l Day Shenanigans...

On Saturday, I replaced what would have been my 5th annual MCVET 5k race with the Color Run in Baltimore, MD. It was a fun event – race participants ranged from the little ones to senior citizens… some running, some walking & some just flat-out in the way, lol.

The cluttered field indeed turned what should have been a race into more of an obstacle course, but I wasn’t out there to break any personal records, I simply needed to complete my annual Memorial Day weekend race tradition & that, I accomplished!

After running through the many color stations, I definitely finished the race in vibrant style. Even got myself a medal :-) I didn’t stay for any of the post-race activities (& there were plenty of them), but the duration of my holiday weekend was fun as well.

On Sunday, I hit the beach in Ocean City, MD, along with my girlfriend & others. We enjoyed the day on the beach. A tad windy & cool for our collective liking, but the drive to & from the beach was traffic-free, scenic & relaxing. Perhaps next time I’ll stay a night on the beach, versus driving back the same day, as I always do.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Hello, Who's This?

It's Friday!!! But a pretty long one for me - so I've been sitting here at work, impatiently awaiting the start of the weekend.

To help kill some time, I decided to audit my phone contacts & weed-out all those who haven't contacted me in well over a year & visa versa. 


In doing so, I was rather amazed to discover just how many people I've fallen completely out of touch with over the past year or so. My list of contacts, once an endless trove of email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates & such, has been on the steady decline.

After this official audit, I fear it'll soon be reduced to a mere list of emergency contacts, lol. But I guess that's to be expected... I've come to learn that as we grow, our circle of trust shrinks, rather than expand, but I'm completely ok with that.

Besides, I've become somewhat of a minimalist in recent years, so the more clutter I'm able to eliminate from my life (both literally & figuratively speaking), the better I tend to feel. But I do miss those I'm no longer in contact with on a regular basis.

I have many great memories of wonderful (& admittedly, not so wonderful) people, so I'm happy to access archived files whenever I find time to reflect. I may not recognize the number the next time you call, but know you're not far from mind.