This is something Madison drew from scratch, and then colored in. She likes cats, and this one would be quite a unique cat to have around the house, certainly.
So Madison has been taking practice tests for the Milestone testing that is upcoming. This testing is all important to the school, the state, the teachers. It's testing season, a tool used to measure a child's intelligence or growth or whatever. Of course, they're all timed, so it's not about how smart your child is entirely as it is more about how they react to timed tests with a limited amount of time to put down a correct answer. Madison did well on her testing last year, despite the fact that she was doing a make-up test after being sick for about a week.
The other season that is fully upon us is Pollen Season. Daddy is more affected this year, more than usual. Madison is really affected too. We both take allergy medication each morning, and it helps a little. Madison has this runny nose, and Daddy's been wheezing a little. Thankfully, Mommy hasn't really been as affected as the two of us.
Service went well tonight, although Daddy was able to come home early to read to Madison and Mommy. We continued with our story from the pages of Jack Sparrow's adventures, continued our Bible, and continued our Neverland devotional.
It is always so good to read each night, pray, and give a little kiss on the cheek.
Our friend is moving down in Atlanta. He was asking for a bit of advice about buying a home, and we thought it would be good to put that here, for future reference. As we close out for the day, here it is, the official home buyer's advice list, from Mommy and Daddy:
* I know you’ve probably already considered this, but the elementary school your child would be going to is actually very important. One school does not fit all. This was first on our list when looking for a place to move to.
* Get pre-qualified so you know your price range of what you’re pre-approved for. It’s useful, and it is so you don’t get your hopes up for something that’s just out of range.
* Be willing to walk away. We saved $10,000 on this house walking away. An offer was given to us, and we were good to go. And then the inspection revealed about $10,000 in renovations needed. It’s not that I’m an expert negotiator. It’s just that despite the fact that we really did want this house, we also know that a house is a big investment. They threw a new offer at us immediately, and we’re here to this day.
* Are there any reported clown-sightings in the neighborhood? While some people don’t have any problems with clowns, others develop a deep fear of them lurking in the woods. Ask neighbors if they’ve seen any clowns in wooded areas nearby.
* Laundry room. The location of the laundry room is something to consider. It’s actually a bigger deal than many realize. That’s Zena’s input there.
* Local taxes. This might be something to look into ahead of time.
* Location, location, location. I’m sure you’re thinking about distances away from certain places like work. In some cases, even if it is further away, that time spent driving is negated by traffic quantity. So perhaps further away isn’t as much of a problem. It all depends though - there are so many variables.
* If there were clowns sited in the neighborhood, what kind of clowns were they? Don’t be afraid to pry. Ask neighbors if they were circus clowns, rodeo clowns, street mimes, or standard birthday party clowns. A simple question like this could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
* Certain websites will give you an idea what houses you’re interested are estimated to be worth, and what the taxes run. You can compare prices, find out an estimated market value based on neighborhood sales. You also get an idea of resale value.
* Real estate agents are human beings. We had to let one go because she wasn’t doing as much as we wanted. The truth is, you and your wife are excited about buying a house, and you’ll probably be doing more work than a real estate agent in finding and looking for something. My wife clearly did in finding this house. Tell your agent all that is needed, but I think I know you two well enough to know that you’ll be doing more work. It’s a lot, but the internet is there with pictures that can help eliminate pointless visits to locations.
* A neighborhood HOA can carry a reputation similar to North Korea. There’s costs to consider, but also the heavy hand of the HOA is ever present. Kiss those garden gnomes goodbye!
* How old is the roof? Will it need to be replaced soon? That’s a big expense either immediately, or down the road.
* Just because a clown has been spotted in the woods, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is a viable threat. Consider if anyone in the neighborhood is a professional clown. Perhaps you can turn this into a learning experience for the family about acceptance of others and their belief systems.
* AC/Heating are also issues to look into. Do you have to replace anything up front? These costs add up, of course.
* Water damage. The inspector will point these things out, but you want to look for those wet patches in ceilings or basements. Those are signs that water has been coming in somewhere. And if it is a consistent problem, that could lead to toxic mold.
* The driveway. Holy cow, we’ve seen some bad ones. Just try to picture some worst-case scenarios with weather or traffic or your children, and factor that into your ultimate decision.
* Bradford Pears. Builders planted them all over neighborhoods in the South. And they have a well-deserved reputation. They will eventually break. And they stink for two solid weeks each year with such a repulsive fragrance that you’ll avoid frolicking in your own front yard. This is way down there on the bottom of this list for a reason. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just something to be aware of. They have a lovely bloom. But we have two in our front yard, and two weeks ago, the smell was awful.
* Playroom. We made such a big deal out of the playroom upstairs for Madison, and she never goes in there unless it is to get something and bring it out to the living room/kitchen. It’s an entire room, and yet we don’t get much use out of it right now. We’ll be repurposing it soon, but the idea of a little nursery/play room area was lost a long time ago, because she just wants to be around Mommy more. You may not need a playroom for your child.
* People with coulrophobia, a fear of clowns, may be more unsettled by the “uncanny valley” effect, where something looks almost, but not quite human. Just keep in mind that clowns live by a code of conduct, something they call the “clown commandments.” These rules apply to conduct and appearance, and are fairly detailed to remind everyone of the goal of clowns: to spread laughter and joy.
Those were off the top of our heads here, but one important thing to do is this: enjoy the process. Sure, it’s a lot of work. And there’s the heartbreak of telling a house “no” because of one issue or another. But like with any relationship, that “Mr. Right” is out there, the perfect fit for you, with or without clowns.