Sunday, July 2, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

This year for Memorial Day my sister and her family decided to come out and roast in Arizona. The Saturday before Memorial Day we rented a boat and a tube and spent the day on Lake Pleasant. The real heat hadn't kicked in yet but it was around 100 degrees that weekend. 

When we got to the boat Zach started throwing one of his epic tantrums because he didn't want to wear his life jacket. He eventually cried himself to sleep. When he woke up, again a tantrum ensued when we tried to put on the life jacket. This time I wasn't giving in and I forced it on him and let him cry it out. I tried to distract the kid by letting him drive the boat but he didn't want any part of it.

We spent a few hours riding on a tube around the lake. The plan was to setup the bbq for lunch but they didn't allow us to take the rental with 300 feet of shore so lunch plans were ruined. The lake was really high, so high that there were a couple saguaros on an island that looked like they were on the water. Eventually Zach calmed down but neither Zach nor Natalie wanted to get off the boat and try out the tube. Zach was pretty good at following my instructions on turns and speed and driving the boat was no doubt his favorite part of the day.

The day before our lake day Natalie and Cass went to a concert and we got pizza. This is the best pizza I have ever bought, no exaggeration. 
We took the kids swimming the night before we went to the lake. Zach said he needed to poop. I told him not in the pool and pulled him out. I got him to the fake turf and told him no pooping and looked down and there was a turd.
Adri and Ryder were scared at first but eventually they let me get the boat up to full speed. There was one wipe out that made them cry because they thought we were going to leave them.

The twin and me, twinning.

Zach finally decided it was time to drive.






The day after our lake day we decided to check out this creek in New River. Natalie went there a few months ago and it looked really cool. Well this weekend the water was stagnant and gross so we made lunch then left after an hour. We found these gigantic frogs making baby frogs in the creek. They didn't want to leave.

Tried out my smoker that weekend. Made the best smoked beer but chicken.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Easter in Vegas

Easter weekend we decided to go to Vegas. April 17th was 10 years since Natalie and I first decided to meet in person at Shark Valley. She claims that wasn't a date but the other two people that were with us left around 2PM and went we to lunch, and dinner, and hung out on the beach until midnight. I don't know what else you would call that. So I thought it would be a good time to have someone watch the kids while we have a night out. 

For our date we decided to go to Fremont Street. A couple years ago I had no idea what Fremont Street was about I just knew that there are a lot of lights so I thought we should take the kids. It ended up not happening and it's a good thing it didn't. Fremont Street is not for kids! There were girls dancing on the bars in their underwear, people of all ages (including senior citizens) running around wearing nothing but stickies, and people who have absolutely no shame telling people FU I need weed. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun people watching, but this is no place for kids. While we were there they were filming Little People Atlanta so I video bombed the show. If unedited I might end up in an episode for a second walking in the background. 

At a playground by my sister in law's house. Zach calls these "The Chips".


Fremont Street date night
No class.

A lot of people really liked my shirt.

We are finally real Arizona residents

After four years in Arizona we finally decided to buy a house. In late January I contacted my realtor and told her that we were looking to buy a house around summertime. So we started looking right away and on our first trip out we saw a house that I knew I wanted before I even walked in. The house is in the right area, has great curb appeal, it's big, and everything just kept getting better once we opened the front door.

We had a few road bumps, the biggest being that the seller is living in Florida, the house was vacant, and he wanted to sell immediately. His wife had died a little over a year ago and he just decided one day to pick up and move without even selling the house first. So this pushed up our timeline and I had to come up with a down payment really fast. So the next few months were extremely busy. I don't think I've had a hunting trip in almost 6 months now. Between school, work, side work, and a move it has been busy 24X7 around the house. 

We closed on March 30th. I can't believe it's already been 2.5 months. My family came out on moving day in the evening and I tried to get as much done as I could before they got there. I picked up a U-haul and managed to get 2.5 truck loads done on my own. Natalie was afraid that Zach would have trouble adapting to the new house but he went with me to drop off the first truck load and didn't want to leave. By the end of the night I had walked 47,000 steps that day (21.5 miles) and burned over 7,100 calories. A very busy day. Zachy was following me the entire day and didn't even get a nap. He probably walked 15 miles himself and by midnight he was still awake, sitting in our closet, playing with the door. When we tried to get him to go to sleep he threw a major tantrum for a few minutes then quickly fell asleep. 

The  rest of the weekend with the family was busy. We spent the weekend getting the bigger items out of the rental house and cleaning it up. That didn't stop us from taking a few breaks and playing with the kids though. The kids love the new backyard and they let the neighbors know it. They were up before 7 Saturday morning jumping on the trampoline. Even my dad got out on the trampoline and jumped with the kids.

This move was one of the best things that has happened since we left Florida. Living in the rental house I was miserable. Now we have over twice as much space, we have a pool right in our back yard, we have misters all over the yard to keep it cool, and there is a lot to keep the kids occupied. I no longer have to take the kids to the park to let them get their energy out. Now I just take them out back and let them play.

The first two months after the move were crazy around the house. We got a lot of new furniture, Natalie painted the house, and I tore apart the entire yard. I did my own irrigation and landscaping in the back, fixed all the electrical and irrigation in the front, added shelves to the garage, etc. It's been non-stop work around the house. By June it was crunch time trying to get all the irrigation perfected before leaving for vacation while the triple digit heat moves in.

Of course what would a move be without some drama. We had the greediest landlord who wanted to make money off a house and put nothing into it. He had come by for the initial walk through a month before we moved out. He told us to our face that everything looked good and thanked us for being such good tenants. Then he went home and wrote up an e-mail about how we might not get any of our $1,750 deposit back because the walls were dirty and went on to say how he noticed "Zach braced himself against the wall while opening the front door and that is why it is dirty". The guy came off as a complete ass and I knew we were going to have drama. He somehow convinced Natalie that the walls need to be the same as when we moved in so she spent over a week painting them to remove any dirty spots. The only reason they were even dirty in the first place is because the landlord, who claims he used to be a painter, used a flat paint. I later read over the lease and there was nothing in it that states they have to be perfect and according to state law wall painting is up to the landlord unless we were to destroy them, which we didn't.

So after we moved out we went through and cleaned everything. The day of the final walk through he cancelled on us because his daughter attempted suicide with some pills. So he rescheduled for the next day last minute, scheduled during my works hours, and told me if I couldn't make it in the morning he would do it without me. Everything about it was illegal and I knew he was going to try and get stupid. We did a final walk through and he said that everything looked great and signed everything off. Then he sent us our refund two weeks later and took out  an extra $125 for cleaning on top of the $250 non-refundable cleaning portion of our deposit. His reasoning was that he had to touch up the walls, change light bulbs, and clean up the debris from the tree he hacked to death. This guy was such a joke that he actually stated in the lease that the tenant is responsible for trimming the trees. What landlord would want their tenants to cut the trees? I had bought a chainsaw and trimmed the trees but that wasn't good enough for him. He figured the next tenant wouldn't take care of the tree so he gave it a hurricane cut, left a mess, and tried to charge me for not cleaning it up and accused me of neglecting his tree. The guy is a complete moron.

Well when I saw that he kept $125 extra out of my deposit I immediately went into black out rage mode. I wrote him an e-mail telling him I would expect more honesty out of a Christian (he's a former pastor) and told him give me my money or I'll see him in court. His response was ridiculous. First he said he wouldn't compromise his integrity over $125 even though he just had. He claimed he had 14 days after the walk through to find more issues because it's common to find stuff that doesn't come up in the walk through (lies and he knows it), went on to use his daughter for sympathy, and then tried to tell us that we were bad tenants. He also tried to tell us he saved us money but not breaking the law and letting the house sit empty for 2 months. Yes after 3 years there we broke the lease early. Arizona law says he is allowed to charge us to break the lease, which he did for $300, that he can charge us until the house is rented, and that he can charge us for advertising and loses. He made some ridiculous claim that he saved us thousands of dollars by renting out the house right away, at fair market value which is higher than we had been paying, instead of letting it sit there for 2 months while he tries to get more money with no concern to get a quick lease since we are paying. He also tried to demand we pay utilities until the new tenant moves in and told us we need to read the lease and our laziness to understand it doesn't void our responsibilities.

 My response was that his family issues do not void my right for a honest walk through, he intentionally left out items on the walk through because he didn't have the balls to mention anything to our face and he wanted to find things to rape us on later, what he did to his tree was a hack job and no sane person would ever do that, and he lied about the having 14 days to find more issues . He spent a whole 6.5 hours doing maintenance before the new tenant moved in and the $250 non-refundable portion of the deposit more than covers that. You can't charge people executive wages for doing janitor's work. I also pointed out the fact that if he wants to continue being a landlord he needs to read and understand the laws. I read and re-read the lease terms and state laws. State law says that I have 14 days to remediate any issues marked on the final walk through or pay to fix them. No where did it say he can pile on stuff after the fact or that he can change the walk through time last minute and demand I be there during work hours or miss out. State law and the lease both said that if I take him to court and win he has to pay all my legal fees plus double whatever he held that belongs to me. I told him he is dishonest and trying to double dip. We already paid $300 to break the lease and were paying every day the house was empty (6 days) including the day he did maintenance. I would never have charged someone rent on a day that I am doing maintenance getting a house ready for a new tenant. You'll never have a tenant in the day after one moves out so to expect me to pay his maintenance day after paying to break the lease is dishonest. I also made sure he knows that he didn't save me a dime by not breaking the law. The fact that he even tried to bring that one up shows he lacks integrity.

We went back and forth for about a week and finally I told him stop with the stupidity. I get my paycheck next week or I'm suing. There will be no further responses from me. He'll end up owing me double plus legal fees and I'm not getting a cheap lawyer. His next e-mail made me laugh. He is disappointed in us and our dishonesty but in light of the Easter holiday he will forgive us and send the check. All I could do is nod my head and say what an ass. I am not the one that was dishonest and tried to play someone to make money for doing nothing. If you want to try to hold people to the law you better understand the law. I had the upper hand and he knew it. He was so full of himself though that he couldn't even humble himself to admit he was wrong. He had to try to throw it on us while throwing in the towel.

I got my check the next week and the moron wrote on it something to the effect that by cashing the check I agree there will be no further action against Blue Eagle LLC. Not only is that not legally binding but it can be taken as extortion.

Well now this drama done with but there was more to come. The day before Mother's day I spent the day cleaning out the garage. I put in shelving and got it all cleaned up so we could park both cars out of the sun. A lady from down the street was walking by and decided to say hi and gossip a little bit with me. She asked me "You want to know how the lady here died"? Of course I said yes and she went through a couple rounds of "You sure, you sure"? "Yes I want to know". So she tells me this lady hung herself, in my closet. I had just bought closet shelving that day too but now this project would be on hold because I wanted to tear the closet up first. 

Well that was an unpleasant surprise. I knew the woman died but wouldn't have even suspected suicide. I had looked into it online before we bought the house but found nothing. I knew she was a cop that died off duty. There were a couple articles about her helping people off the street with her own money but nothing about how she died. So after this I had to find answers so I started digging up stuff online. I found out she was on an episode of Cops and she received "Patrol Cop of The Year" award about a year before her suicide. Then I found out the most disturbing part of it all. She had killed herself on Christmas day. 

I found out that one of my friends is cousins with one of this lady's in-laws, this lady's entire family are either Mormon or Ex-Mormon, and her sister is an Ex-Mo that is friends with two public figure Ex-Mo's that I am friends with on Facebook. I found one or two comments about suicide on her family member's pages but they really did a good job to sweep this under the rug. No news articles and police forums that mentioned her death asked people to private message them for details. 

Well after a couple weeks I started to doubt the whole suicide story. I thought maybe that was a nicer version of what really happened. Then one day i was in the bathroom and saw some stuff on the door and got this weird feeling that maybe she shot herself in the bathroom. My suspicions grew when I thought about how dark the brown pain on the wall behind the toilet was.  Then a couple weeks ago I was talking to the neighbor. Turns out my hunch was right. On Christmas night swat team showed up at my neighbor's house and told him to leave. They evacuated everyone around and said they had a hostile situation. Turns out she had gone into the bathroom while her husband and three kids were in the house and blew her brains out. The police cleaned it all up and a couple hours later let everyone return home. 

I'm thinking the guy that sold us the house probably never used the bathroom after that. The ceiling above the toilet lit up like a Christmas tree, the baseboards still had blood spatter around where her feet would have been, and the door had blood spatter moving at a downward angle away from the toilet. 

Well now that I confirmed what happened I could put my closet together. Now I have a project underway to clean up the bathroom and change out the toilet. Again I had a few sleepless nights thinking about this. I did a lot of searching online and this just isn't the type of person you would expect to do this. She was well liked in the community and seemed like a nice charitable person.  I don't understand what would make a person like that blow out their brains with their kids in the house, on Christmas of all days. 

Our house the day of the move in
I bought these big pots for the pool deck
The kids didn't even wait for me to get the water tested. They jumped right in.

Even my dad jumped in and had some fun with the kids
Zach's favorite new game is crack the egg.


This planter was empty. I made several trips with my Honda and filled in the plants with 125 or so bags of dirt.
Some of my new cacti

Took Zachy for a walk around the park down the street.

An octopus cactus in one of the neighbor's yard

Peruvian pear cactus



One afternoon Zachy wanted to sleep in my office while I worked.


Lizards in my garage. Don't know if they were fighting or making more lizards.
In mid April we had a fire down the street.

















The Willow from the rental house that the landlord gave a hurricane cut. Who in their right mind would think this looks good? He's the same loon that also cut his bouganvilla 3 inches from the ground.