Now that I have grey hair it’s obviously time to buy a house.
When Naomi and I became espoused, we lived in a cute little old house near Friends University, but since the school owned the house we actually used part of our tuition to cover housing, which was super convenient and also one of the things that makes me want to go back in time and falcon-punch myself in the throat.
After a while we moved into a second-story condo near the airport. I actually super-liked this place because it was elevated (which I’ve always loved, for some reason), over some garages (which kept neighbor-noise at bay), and was surprisingly well laid out, if a bit small. After a while though, that place was changing ownership so we had to bail.
We found this cool old house in Riverside and moved in. We’ve been there ever since. It’s great, got a cool layout, has a few bedrooms upstairs (rad), and has a full unfinished basement. But it’s not ours. Every time I’ve asked our landlord if we can paint, he’s ignored my text, and our backyard isn’t really a backyard so much as a communal playground/spray paint-booth.
So Naomi and I have been itching for our own space. Something we can improve, make our own, and also hang out in our own back yard and let the kids go run around without having to watch over them constantly.
We started looking at houses in January, not so much to find one, but rather to figure out what we liked and what we wanted in a place.
So, here’s out list of house-things we want to have, in rough-order of importance:
Basement (lol tornadoes)
Back yard, fenced in if possible (lol toddlers)
Garage or car-port (lol hail)
Piano included in purchase
Either in the city or outside of it, non-negotiable
And, believe it or not, we actually found that our price-point is full of homes that match many of these criteria.
A wise man once (probably) imparted these words. The meaning is mostly lost to time, but I think it can be construed to apply to our situation with trying to buy a house this year.
“Well, money is a thing, and that thing…is a thing that is important.”
– Perd Hapley
Good words. Despite the fact that we’re getting a tax refund soon, and the fact that we’re itching to own a place, we’ve elected to be smart about this. We’re actually going to take most of our return and pay off a few lingering small debts and then put the remainder in a standalone account we can contribute to. Hopefully we’ll be able to put together a decent deposit by May.
One of the super-positive side-effects of paying very close attention to my extra-curricular commitments is that I now feel like I have my time back under control.
Only took two years.
Anyway, as a direct result of this, my evenings feel a lot calmer. So the other night, I was thinking “man, it’s beautiful outside, I’m going to go take some pictures.”
So I go outside, set up my camera on my tripod, set the exposure for 5 seconds, and point the camera at Venus and Mars. I took the following shot.
When I reviewed the photo I saw the light streak in the top left. I figured it was an airplane so I looked up. It wasn’t an airplane. It was a single point of bright light moving across the sky. I googled “wichita space station view times” and found out that I had accidentally nearly-perfectly timed my photo and captured the space station. Which is awesome.
Holy crap. 2016 was a year. A notable one, at that. Kind of a lot happened. Let’s start with the cool stuff.
So after a pretty lengthy process of contribution and assistance with the project to re-open Lake Afton Public Observatory, I was voted in as an official board member. It’s my first board-spot ever, and it’s involving science and space, so it’s safe to say that young Seth would be pretty dang excited to have heard about this.
I also started regularly volunteering out there so a couple nights a month you can come visit me and I’ll show you how amazing space is with a huge telescope. Unless it’s cloudy, then I’ll just tell you how cool it is and you’ll get 50% off your next visit. Shameless plug.
Just scraping in under the deadline, I bought my first real synthesizer in December. Over the last couple years my musical interests have shifted a bit as the band was finished and I took on a bit less of a role musically at church. I started looking at what I could do to keep growing and decided to focus on piano and keys for a while.
Plus, for some reason 2016 was the year of Synthwave music for me. Holy crap do I love that genre. It all started with this music video:
Anyway, I picked up my synth and have basically been in love with it. It’s my favorite instrument by a long shot. I have a list of other synths I’d love to have someday and most of them are from the 80’s.
I swear, something about that decade’s music is just better. And now with the resurgance of synthwave we’re getting a huge push of modern-instrumented and better-mixed 80’s music and it’s basically my favorite thing ever.
Back in April the VW broke down again and I about had a mental breakdown to coincide with it. The VW is literally the worst thing I’ve ever owned. Naomi describes it as our dysfunctional relationship. We spent over $4500 in the last two years in repairs, all the while hoping that this time it’ll be great and new.
Spoiler alert: it never was. I snapped.
I rage-traded-in our two cars and we bought a 4Runner and holy crap it’s fantastic. It’s by far my favorite car I’ve ever owned and not because it’s boring. It’s just so good at everything it does. It’s smooth, has great power, lots of room, great speakers. It’s the nicest car I’ve owned for sure, and it’s only second in mileage to my Mercedes.
210,000 miles, my friend.
This thing is a tank. I love it.
An EVEn 10
In March I hit the grand, ridiculous milestone of having played EVE Online for ten years. Look, I love the game a lot, but even I realize this is hilarious.
However, I truly have made friends, at least one of which I talk to near-daily, and many I consider close enough to crash on their couches whenever I finally make it to their respective corners of the planet someday.
But yeah, it’s been fun to see the game evolve over that time. In fact, a historian found the game history so interesting he actually wrote a book about the big wars between players that have taken place over the years. Naomi bought me that book for my birthday and it’s awesome. I actually personally know many of the people involved in the book. It’s neat.
Plus, there is genuinely a real life monument in Iceland with my character name on it. For all time, the names “MrTiddles” will be emblazoned in stone for all to see. Or until a volcano erupts outside Reykjavík and melts it.
2016 went down as one of those weird years that was super bad for celebrities dying. However, 2016 didn’t feel like that was enough and decided, for good measure, it was going to be the year my other Grandpa died.
We sort of knew he’d been super sick, but weren’t sure how long things were going to last. I was oddly-affected by his passing. I got the call while doing rehearsal for a big production of Handel’s Messiah so I sort of had to push it into the back of my mind until afterward to process.
Here’s a video of my family when I was real young hanging out at Grandpa Duncan’s house. The part around the 10:00 mark is where you see him teaching me how to shoot a blow-gun. I still have that blow-gun.
In a weird turn of events, a friend of mine actually bought this house from my Grandma a few years back so I still spend a lot of time over there.
I wasn’t nearly as close with Grandpa Duncan as I had been with Grandpa Bolen, especially in the last ten years, but the two of them had been friends since childhood so in a way it was sort of like another part of Grandpa Bolen died too.
End of the Year
And, you know, since so many good things happened in 2016, it really packed in the crappy things for the end of the year. We were all riddled will illness the final two weeks of the year and had to skip birthday and some Christmas festivities we had planned.
On the other hand, some people claim that a new year is a fresh start, but I don’t really dig the artificial deadline of years because I’m a time-minimalist, not a chrono-consumerist. 2017 is going to be rad, not because it’s 2017, but because I’m going to do a lot of stuff to make it cool.
So, in the immortal words of Mario, “here we goooooo”
Editor’s note: I realize this post is two weeks late. I got busy.