Monday, December 15, 2014

A major life event

Now this is really deserving of a blog post. I got married.
Lynn and I have been dating and/or living together for four years. We are simpatico. Neither of us smokes, drinks excessively, swears too much, gambles, is extreme politically, or impossible to live with and we both like to ride.

We met, realized our mutual attraction, fell in love and waited for the right time to get married.

Meet-up. Yes, we did meet through a Meet-Up group on-line. A motorcycle riding group called the East Side Road Rascals (how's that for a badass motorcycle club name?). She was looking for an empty back seat to a gathering and I was looking for a riding companion. I met her husband when I picked her up. I didn't know they were already working on their divorce. We had dinner, I took her home. Then we went on another, longer ride and I learned a bit more about her situation.

Eventually, she moved to Flagstaff and I went to Washington for the summer. When I returned to Apache Junction, I asked her to join me. We managed Superstition Lookout RV Resort one summer, lived for a year and a half in 400 square feet. We still enjoyed each other's company after that and decided to do something to make things permanent.

Last April, we moved to Fallon, Nevada (because I didn't want to be a resident of Arizona), bought a house and on December 13, 2014 (12-13-14) we got married. It was a very small gathering in front of a Justice of the Peace - just six of us. Erica and Thom were able to attend and our good friends Pat and Craig Green made the trip up from AJ to be with us.

It was a good day.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Moved in

It has been a long tiring week. I think I will die here as I don't intend to ever move again. I am not as young as I think I am and my body can't do what my brain envisions any longer.

The house had been sitting vacant for about 6 months. We have been pulling lots of weeds. There is no landscaping - just gravel. We will win that battle eventually.

This manufactured home was built in 2004, so the carpets and linoleum (which probably weren't top of the line to begin with) are a little tough in spots, but we can live with it for a while. The cabinets are "Knotty Alder" and in decent shape. The house was not abused, but at one point there must have been a dog in the house. I think they used to lock it in the guest bath as the bottom edge of the door is scarred.

There used to be a stick built house here, built in 1962. Talking to the neighbors that have been here 45 years, the guy used to build metal boats in the shop/garage which are still here. The house eventually became a rental, drug dive and was torn down.

I've been working in my shop the last few days. Every bench was covered in steel. Before I knew about the boat building, I figured it was a weld shop. I've torn down almost everything, cut a doorway between the garage and shop so I can roll the bike through, and am building a barn door out of a couple old interior doors I found in the shop attic.

Lynn has set up a sewing room/office that she seems tickled with. I found an old library table at a junk shop and cut the legs down for her. She has a nice big work surface for all of her fabric. I'm not really a quilt guy, but she sure enjoys making them.

To get the VA loan for the place, I had to replace the stove. One igniter on the gas stove didn't work and that almost killed the deal on the last day. So, before I got possession of the house, I put a stove in it. The previous owner had come down $5,000 on the price and agreed to pay the extra costs associated with selling VA, but had said he would do no repairs. That included the swamp cooler. We were told it worked. The squirrel cage was frozen and the motor burnt out as soon as I plugged it in. I don't like swamp coolers anyway, so I tossed in in the scrap heap that went to the dump. Of course we will have a week of 90 degrees temps now. Guess I'll be shopping for an air conditioner.

90 here seems hotter or more oppressive than 110 in Apache Junction. Could be humidity or elevation or a combination of the two.

Fallon is a nice little town, similar to Ellensburg, friendly people. The valley is green near the river, the desert isn't far away. The economy seems to be recovering here. There is a new Dairy Farmers of America dry milk product plant in town, Big 5 sporting goods is opening a store, and there is talk of a new cineplex.

We've tried most of the restaurants in town, nothing special, but there are a few we like. There is a Super Walmart, Safeway, Ace Hardware and my favorite, the Big R farm and ranch store. 30 miles away in Fernley is a Lowe's, but I haven't had to go there yet. We've made a couple trips to Reno just to explore. The bike hasn't been out much. The Washington plates have expired and I have to get a Nevada insurance agent before I can register it here.

I guess I've rambled enough. Guess I didn't feel like going out and being productive today.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Not a patient man

I remember a cartoon of two vultures in the desert. One says to the other "Patience my ass, I'm going to kill something.".

That's me. I hate waiting. If this was a used car, it would be in my garage already. The seller and I have have agreed on a price, the house passed inspection, let's move!

Lynn has started looking for work. She doesn't have to make a lot of money, enough to pay for affordable health care insurance and money for fabric. It would be great if she got hired at the Naval Air Station, got benefits and earned some sort of retirement. The economy here (like just about everywhere we've been lately) is picking up. Lots of new construction and new stores opening. We are hopeful.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Moving is complicated

Sometimes, a person wishes that seemingly simple things could be done simply - then government bureaucracy gets involved.

Nevada has some restrictions that may prove difficult. Of course, I may have made things a little tougher by trying to skip a few steps.

To obtain a drivers license you need several forms of identification. Okay, I can handle that: my Washington drivers license, passport, DD-214, social security card, birth certificate should do. Lynn, on the other hand, has to have a certified copy of her marriage and divorce papers to document her name change. Okay, the marriage certificate I understand. She didn't change her name when she got divorced.

Registering vehicles is another problem. Joseph Heller wrote a whole book on the subject "Catch 22". I have to have insurance issued by an insurance agency licensed in the state of Nevada. Doesn't matter that I have active insurance policies issued by an insurance company that does business in Nevada. So I went looking for insurance. It will cost a bit more than my policy issued in Washington. I can handle that. They will not insure my 12 foot box van that I bought for the move. Here's where it gets tricky and I caused some of the problems. They consider a box van to be a business vehicle. I'm not running a business - I can't get business insurance. Hence the "Catch 22" reference: I have to have insurance, but I can't have insurance.

When I bought the box van in Arizona, I got an out-of-state resident 90 day trip pass for the truck, thinking that I would license it in Nevada after we got settled. Now it appears I may have to license it in Washington, keep my Washington issued insurance for a while and just sell the truck as soon as I can.

On the brighter side, we met with the mortgage loan officer and it appears that the VA loan is moving forward nicely and that the payment will be less than the rent on the apartment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Exterior photos of 690 Cleveland Street, Fallon, NV

We waited all day Thursday to hear if our offer had been accepted - and Friday, and Saturday and Sunday. When our real estate agent called Monday to ask when we could meet the inspector to do a walk through of the house, we were a bit surprised. Pleasantly so. There will be pictures taken of the inside today, but I took some pictures of the exterior yesterday.

It is a manufactured home, converted to real property by placing it on a full foundation, built in 2005. The garage and shop are much older. We have been told the original house was torn down and the manufactured home brought in to replace it. To us it is huge - 1225 square feet (remember we were in just 400 square feet for the last few years). 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. It has a split floor plan with the master bedroom on the end away from the street and the sewing room and guest room at the other end. No sense calling it a third bedroom.

The first time we saw the house, we drove on by. It is so nondescript from the street we didn't think we'd like it. Once we looked at some other (poorly maintained) homes in the same area with higher asking prices, we went back to take a closer look - and liked what we saw. It has been on the market and empty for about five months. It has zero landscaping, so that will keep us busy for a while. We won't be able to do anything major until the park model in Apache Junction sells.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oasis of Nevada

Lynn and I have been in Fallon, NV, for a week now. The days have rushed by in a blur. We rented an apartment, looked at houses, got utilities started, looked at houses, started the process for changing credit unions, looked at houses, found out what we have to do to get Nevada drivers licenses, looked at houses, made arrangements for a Nevada insurance agent and made an offer on a house.

First, about the apartment, it was not move in ready. While it had new paint, new carpet and new linoleum, the new appliances were not scheduled to be delivered for four days. We took it anyway. Cheaper than living in a motel and we would have to buy meals anyway. Gave us an excuse to go to Burger King in the morning for free wi-fi.

Looking at houses. We have been looking at houses on-line since last October. Turned out we should have bought last October. There was a serious run on homes in our price range. Bought up by investors for use as rentals. All of those 3 bedroom, 2 bath houses on acreage seem to have septic or well water problems. It is the sandy, alkali soil. Arsenic is a problem in the drinking water here. We decided we want to be in old town with city services. I want to walk to the coffee shop and library.

Getting a drivers license. Be prepared to show eighteen different forms of identification to get a Nevada drivers license. Okay, maybe not 18, but they want to see your birth certificate, passport, social security card, marriage/divorce papers that show a name change and DD-214 for vets. All of these must be original or certified copies. Lynn has to gt a copy of her marriage and divorce papers, the copies she has are not certified. Additionally, we will have to take a written exam. Good thing I want to be able to walk to the coffee shop...

Switching credit unions. Kitsap Community Credit Union has been good to me over the years - but they are in Kitsap county, 800 miles away. I decided to join Navy Federal CU since there is a branch here on the Naval Air Station. Have to get a pass to get on the base to visit the branch office, but that's okay. Had to get a new ID card at Pass and ID, but that was okay, too. NFCU (specifically Debbie) was very courteous and helpful. They refinanced the car, gave me a VISA card with a higher limit and lower interest rate and made me feel good about the decision. They even gave us coffee mugs!

Switching insurance agents. I've worked with Aaron and Sue Beck of A G Beck Insurance in Silverdale for a long time. I like them. They are facebook friends. Nevada state law requires that I have an insurance agent based in Nevada before I can register a vehicle here. I found a Safeco agent in Sparks, she seems nice and helpful. Hope the transition goes smoothly.

On my birthday, we made an offer on a house. I'll tell you more after the offer is accepted and the deal moves on a bit further. Hard to not get excited about the possibility.