Archive | April, 2013

house hunt

26 Apr

Now that the whole brain tumor thing is over I say it’s appropriate to move on. A few posts ago I mentioned that we started looking at houses… Being cooped up at home with the tv keeping us occupied, we began watching HGTV. Bad idea if you weren’t planning on buying a house. The weekend before I went back to work we went out for fun to look at houses. Mostly houses we probably couldn’t afford but a few that we could. It was really meant to be just something fun to do on a Sunday to get out of the house. So lets keep track here… Mistake #1: Watched HGTV. Mistake #2: Pretend looking at houses on a Sunday is “just something to do.”

By Monday we had scheduled two showings (Mistake #3) for houses in the area that we were interested in. Not just fun and games anymore. Britton and I were in a debate about whether we wanted a real fixer upper or a move in ready home so we looked at one of each. As most of you know, Britton travels for work so to me, a real fixer upper would be one that I would spend more time being annoyed over than it was worth. Britton on the other hand could see the $$ in his eyes whenever he looked at a fixer upper so it was a real debate.

By the next weekend we were actually planning our weekends around open houses (Mistake #4). I have every open house scheduled into my phone so we could keep track of when they all were. This is the weekend we started looking at realistic house options. This weekend we sort of decided on a realtor as well so I guess we got pretty serious about it.

schedule

The next few weeks we were scheduling showings as fast as there was an MLS on a property (Mistake #5) as long as it was in an area that we were interested in and a house that fit our basic requirements, 2+ rooms with 2+ baths and at least a partially finished basement. I fell in love with a little cottage with all new updates but Britton hated the area. Britton would lean towards a bigger house with little character. We needed to find something in the middle and it was tough. In February people were just beginning to put their houses on the market so the selection wasn’t too great.

Outside of our realtor we were also looking at some brand new places being built in various places across the Sioux City area. We almost went in that direction and considered a town house but ultimately we decided they weren’t worth the price tag.

Britton and I had no intention of buying a house until we moved to Florida, and anticipated doing that in the next year. However, when I was offered my DREAM JOB working at the Salvation Army of Siouxland as their newly created (just for me) Volunteer and Development Director, we decided Florida could wait and purchasing a house was a reality. So while we were making the mistakes, the job offer turned our mistakes into great research opportunity because one night in February we found the one.

house

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and it’s over!

24 Apr

This week was the big reveal for Britton having post opp appointments to clear him following surgery. It was an adventure to say the least. We had moved his appointments around to accommodate closing on our house that was supposed to happen last week but didn’t (much more on that later as i transition to blogging about the entire experience). The weather up here has been bizarre this “spring” and Monday’s forecast was no exception. It rained all morning and snow was predicted that afternoon. As we waited around to hear about our supposed close on the house I began to get anxious with the impending bad weather. Finally, around 3 pm we heard from our loan officer that we wouldn’t be able to close (she knew at about 1 pm) and so we decided to ditch Sioux City and head back up to Rochester.

After taking a pit stop at home to take care of the cat we were on the road by about 3:30.  About 30 minutes into the drive we realized it was going to be one heck of a trek as sleet began piling up on the highway causing a weird slush to form on the road.

snow

We made it to the Minnesota line with little issue but that’s about as far as we went before our 4 hour trip became a 7 hour nightmare.  About 5 miles east of Jackson, MN and at about 5:30 pm, we hit a slick patch of road that sent us into a slow and steady spin resulting in us sliding into a ditch in the median.  Surprisingly, I didn’t panic.  We were spinning so slowly into that ditch that Britton just told me to relax as he reached over to calm my nerves and so I did.  Once we were in said ditch Britton immediately started to get us out of it, rocking the car forward and backwards to get some traction.  It didn’t work.  I was already reaching for the AAA card while he attempted the save.  Mud spewed all over my car.  Our back left tire was in about 8 inches of water and mud and there was no way we were going to make it out ourselves.

ditch

After I had AAA set up with a tow a Highway Patrol showed up to make sure we were alright.  He waited on the side of the road with us with lights flashing while we waited for our tow.  We were in the ditch for about an hour before our saviors, Danver Towing, showed up to get us out of the ditch.  Just a simple pull and we were out.  We had hoped to get ahead of this storm just east of where we landed in the ditch… That was before we were stuck there for an hour.

towing

Once we were on our way again the storm got worse instead of better.  Visibility was WAY down and we were driving an average of 45 mph for about the next 90 miles.  There were even a few times that our car began to slide but going so slow (often as low as 30 mph) we were able to remain in control.  Once we hit Albert Lea the snow turned to rain again and the roads were warm enough that there wasn’t any ice!  Thank goodness!

We pulled into Rochester at around 10 pm and had to stop for fast food for dinner (barf!)  I think we were asleep by 11/11:30 only to have to wake up at 5:15 to make it to Britton’s MRI by 6:15 am.  It was a long night of tossing and turning.  We hadn’t thought much about his appointments since we have been so wrapped up in the house situation but it was hitting me that night.  We would finally get to see how he has progressed with actual documentation, not just our belief of progress.

After his early morning MRI we had an audiogram at 10 am and then our appointment with the neurosurgeon at 11.  We got a print out of Britton’s audiogram results right away and had his last one to compare it to.  It was amazing.  His last audiogram showed he had only 80% word recognition in his right ear.  That was the issue from the start, not being able to discern speech.  This time he had 100% recognition.  One Hundred Percent.  All his doctors said he wouldn’t gain hearing back but he proved them all wrong.  He is a miracle.  Immediately following surgery his surgeon said he would probably have no hearing in that ear.  And now we have proof it IMPROVED!  Britton said they did the entire test through the right ear so he even received instructions through his right ear and he could understand everything!

audiogram

The appointment with the neurosurgeon was next and our trip just got better and better.  We talked with Dr. Link about Britton’s progress and he did a few minor tests to see how his balance was and everything was awesome!  He was as shocked as we were with his audiogram results and had nothing but good things to say about his progress.  We got to look at Britton’s MRI’s side by side to see the change and it was amazing.  Where there was once a bright white tumor (that’s how it shows up in the MRI) now there was black space and brain!  Just as it should be.  There was one bright speck of white that he said we will need to watch over the next few years but nothing of major concern!  Next year we will get another MRI done in Sioux City and have the results sent up to Dr. Link to review.  That process will probably go like that for the rest of his life to make sure nothing grows back but that’s something we can definitely live with!

Our drive home was beautifully uneventful  and we closed on the house this morning.  So what started out as a miserable week has already turned right around!  Thanks to our friends and family for all of their support over the last six months.  We couldn’t have done it without you!