it’s always sunny in santorini

Our last leg of our European adventure was Santorini (a small island of the coast of Greece).  I’ve wanted to visit Santorini for a long time but knew for sure I had to go after watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

 

True story.

 

So in true Cale and Megan fashion we decided to go for it without giving it much of a second thought.  After purchasing the tickets (and second thinking things) we realized lounging on the beach for 4 days would probably be what we were craving after scrambling around to catch all of the sights in Rome and Athens.

We stayed at a hotel right on Perissa beach, which is the black sand beach of Santorini (compared to the red or white sand beaches that exist elsewhere).  The most famous city, Oia, is where the iconic blue domed buildings are usually photographed although they also exist in other cities across the island.

This was also the only stop where we booked an activity before we left the states.  On the last day we took a catamaran tour around the island.  So much fun!  Although it was the most expensive part of the entire trip we would take the exact same catamaran tour again if we ever go back.

 

The weather was warm but not hot and the water was cold.  The surf on days 1-3 was quite high but it made for a beautiful couple of days of walking around and laying on the beach.  Of our entire trip to Europe this would be one stop that we would go back to just to relax.

And eat Greek food.

 

I’m telling you people, we couldn’t get enough.

 

That, in short, wraps up our dream vacation to Europe.  I told Cale I feel old now since that has been my dream vacation since… I don’t even know when, and now it’s over.  And I’m old.

 

Time to start dreaming our our next grand adventure….

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it’s all greek to me!

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 The second part of our European vacation was Athens.

We left Rome around 9 o’clock in the morning, had a layover in Serbia (!), and arrived in Athens around 4.  While we were brave enough to navigate the public transportation in Rome, Athens didn’t appear to be quite as straight forward.  Combined with some (unnecessary) concerns about safety and the fact that it was equal in price, we booked our transportation directly through our hotel.  Oh, and have a mentioned the fact that Greek is definitely not English?  And knowing what the Greek symbols are in math actually don’t help you out at all when trying to figure out signage or language.

I knew that subject was worthless.

Joking but not joking.  Calculators people

Oh, and sorry about that one long sentence up there.  Whew.

I have one thing to say about Athens.

Food.

Okay two.

Food. Acropolis.

yum, wow, yum, wow, yum, wow, yum, wow.

That is all you need to know about Athens. While we planned our trip to have 3 days per location, based on travel and flight times it ended up to be more like 3 days in Rome, 2 days in Athens, and 4 days in Santorini.  And that was almost perfect.

Athens as a city is not too spectacular.  Sorry, had to say it.  It’s modern-ish, clean-ish… you get the point.

But the food.  When we talk about the food we ate on the trip we talk about Athens.  Maybe not the most gorgeous to look at but amazing.

And then the Acropolis.  No words.  Really.

If you’ve never wanted to go to Athens I wouldn’t recommend it as a must see.  But if you’ve ever had any desire to see the Acropolis in person.  Go.  Totally worth it.  No regrets.

Since I can’t really describe the food, and anything we were to say about the Acropolis wouldn’t do it justice.. the pictures are below.  Not that the pictures really do it justice either but… better than words.  :)

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[unexpected] apartment life

In case you were wondering how apartment living was going….

3 months in to living in an apartment and more than ready to sign a contract on a house.

Let us first get to the unexpected benefits of apartment life…

Sinks drain slowly.  Don’t care.

Dishwasher has a wicked tilt from being installed incorrectly.  Don’t care.

Apartment is set at whatever temperature we want because heating and cooling bills are next to nothing. Don’t care.

Bathroom may not get cleaned that often. Don’t care.

No decoration.. anywhere really.. in the entire apartment. Don’t care.

Starbucks within walking distance.  Care. And it’s awesome! 

We really expected just to hop right back into apartment life without really having any growing.. I should say shrinking pains… which for the most part is true.  But let me tell you..

After getting used to a full sized kitchen and 3 bathrooms.  Whew.

I would say 80% of the time when once person is using the restroom the other person is outside of the door ready to use it as soon as the bathroom is open.  I honestly don’t remember this.  But when you had 2 open bathrooms at any time in the house you don’t ever have to worry about it.

Also, let’s talk about the kitchen for 2 clicks.

I have a total of 2 feet of counter space. TOTAL.  Not even exaggerating.  We are now used to hardly ever eating out and making almost everything at home.  I’m a pretty patient person but 2 feet of counter space when trying to have a cutting board for raw meat and separate cutting board for vegetables is next to impossible (don’t worry, I don’t use the same one- it just equals a ton of dishes).  Also, we seem to have a slight problem with bugs.  Spiders in particular.  Uggh!

Combine seeing spiders while trying to cook a dinner that includes meat and vegetables after a long day of work might result in a melt down.  Might.  Don’t ask Cale.

And not that we ever really watched a ton of T.V. but I’m really starting to miss the evening news and weather.

And the Bachelorette.

Honesty is the best policy my friends.

We are frantically house shopping house shopping with purpose.  Our plan is to build (we think) and be out of our apartment by next spring.

We decided this apartment is cultivating good habits of doing dishes and cleaning up immediately after dinner and we’re getting more together time than we ever thought possible.  Hey, when there’s only one room of your apartment you only have one choice!

 

rome wasn’t built in 3 days

But we only had 3 days to visit it!

 

For our 5th anniversary we decided to take a trip to Europe.  We had never been before and there were 3 specific places that I really wanted to see… Rome, Athens, and Santorini. We combined them into our dream vacation and had an amazing time.

Rome was the first stop on our journey.  I magically managed to get a nasty case of strep throat and a horrible cold the week before we left.  Which of course meant that Cale had the worst cold of his life for the first 3 days of vacation.  Day one happened to be a travel day which was great, but the cold medicine was in the checked baggage.

Wife fail.

His attitude was surprisingly upbeat (minus the part where there was a screaming, kicking child for an entire 9 hour overnight plane trip… can you say not ready for kids?? :) ) but combine a cold with a massive time change and I’m not exactly sure how he managed to stay awake.

The most amazing part of our Roman adventure was seeing the Colosseum (or maybe the fountains, so hard to choose) but Rome as a whole was an absolutely gorgeous city.

With amazing gelato.

And pasta.

And pizza.

We navigated through the Roman public transportation system and wandered through a large part of the city by foot.  We were warned by almost everyone about petty theft but never felt threatened in any way.  We would highly recommend Rome to anyone!

While the photos below are  a very brief snap shot… from top to bottom you have:

The City Skyline

St. Peter’s Basilica

Outside of the Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum

Trevi Fountain and

Us in Front of the Trevi Fountain

 

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tuesday thoughts

I seriously never understood as a child while adults said time went by so quickly.

Ohmygosh.  If time could stand still, or at least move at half the pace it is currently going the Schweitz house would be forever grateful.  But then some things that just happened seem like so long ago.

For instance, one year ago today I was sitting with my dad in the hospital as he was recovering from one of the most terrifying moments of my life.  A year later, he’s out running laps around the lake.  And as long as you don’t look down at the massive ankle scar you’d hardly know he ruptured his Achilles’.

We’re finding ourselves in late-June with nary a trip to our pool.

Nary is a great word and I shall use it more often.  Just channeling my inner Jane Austen.

I feel like we’ve almost recovered from our trip to Europe. So long yet only 3 weeks ago.

Back to the random thoughts of the week:

Crows or ravens.. ravens or crows.  Down here we call them BLACK BIRDS.  They are terrifying and while I thought they only feasted on dead animals, we grow them so big that I’ve witnessed live rabbit attacks… and  apparently human attacks too?

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Where does one find such a sign? Outside my Dr’s office!!!

The best and worst drink of my entire life.  How they ever thought I ordered my drink with 5 shots of espresso is beyond me but made the drive through western Nebraska exciting!

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Surprise first class upgrade to Montreal.  We didn’t even know what to do with ourselves.  Great vacation kick start!IMG_0893

 

Cooking in a kitchen this small has been………..                a special treat.

IMG_0774Our couch for the first 2 months of apartment life.  While we tried, we realized that having only one place for a person to sit wasn’t going to cut it.

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how to sell a house in 30 days- the sale

The sale of the house may have been the easiest part of the whole process.  We expected that it might take some time but I don’t think we were ready for how tense we would be as we were waiting to see if there was any interest.

Maybe 30 minutes after putting it up on Zillow we had our first phone call.  It was actually a realtor who was really demeaning… talk about frustrating!  And it was another blow to our lack of confidence that we had any idea what we were really doing.

At that point we also made the decision that we would work with a buyer’s realtor since we realized that anyone that was probably really serious about buying a house was most likely using a realtor.

We got more phone calls from realtors interested in representing us as sellers than people interested in buying.

In the end, due to scheduling we actually only showed our house to the couple who bought it.  They offered a lower price than we were willing to go the day after the showing.  After debating what we should respond with (counter offer vs. just saying the offer was too low) Cale called and said that since we were under no pressure to sell we weren’t really interested in their offer.

Their realtor called back within 5 minutes asking us if we’d take it off the market and not show it to any other interested parties if they offered us the asking price.

SOLD!  We were so surprised!  Their realtor ended up being extremely easy to work with basically telling us what paperwork we needed to get them by what day.  We gave the realtor our garage code to get in whenever they needed to for inspection, etc.

Almost exactly 30 days from listing our house we were at the title company signing the closing papers.

We had approximately 3 weeks from signing the contract to be out of our house and into our pint sized apartment.

A month and a half after moving we finally got a couch (sold our sectional when we moved) and are figuring out how to cook with 2 feet of counter space.  We’re planning on starting to look at houses to buy this fall but are ready for a relaxed summer by the apartment pool!

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One last picture inside our empty house!

5 years… one day late

Happy 5 years to the love of my life…

Can’t wait to see what the next year of this crazy, beautiful ride will bring us.

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Last year…

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This year!

 

proud big sister

Jenny's walk

The littlest graduated on Friday and the gang was all there (minus Cale, that dang work).  We were so proud to watch our beautiful sister walk across the stage with lots of ‘fancies’ around her neck. I got to road trip the rest of the way back to Colorado with her for most likely one of the last trips from Colorado to Minnesota. She’s headed to Seattle for the next couple of years and Cale and I can’t wait to crash her new place!

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Also, I can’t fail to mention my other favorite ‘little’.  My younger brother is getting promoted to Captain this week.  We all feel terrible that we’ve yet to make it a promotion ceremony (other than his graduation.. does that even count?) but are still so proud of him.  He lives in Philadelphia and has the cutest little row house in one of the best hipster neighborhoods in town.  He just remodeled his kitchen and to say I have kitchen jealousy would be an understatement.  He is the absolute best at keeping in touch on a weekly basis and I couldn’t be more thankful to him for our Sunday afternoon phone calls.

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Needless to say, these two owe me a lot since I graciously let Mom and Dad give great genes to the oldest, skip a child (that would be me) and then pass more smarty genes off to the youngest two.

Good thing my husband is a genius.  Someone’s got to earn the keep around here.

how to sell a house in 30 days- The Prep

Since we had already talked about selling our house the summer before, we/I had been watching sale prices for our townhouse like a hawk. Because all of the townhouses have almost the exact same layout we knew that we had to price ours if we wanted it to sell. We actually debated for a little bit on the exact price to list it and ended up listing it for significantly more than we hoped to get out of it because there were other townhouses selling well.

We ‘spring cleaned’ like crazy, emptying all closets and throwing away anything that we didn’t think was necessary. We are both minimalists by nature so by the end of the cleaning phase we had two mostly empty closets. Also, since our townhouse was smaller sized we wanted to create the illusion of space. During this time we put away almost every appliance that we had on kitchen counters, cleaned and organized all spices, etc., and had our main room carpets cleaned.

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Clean carpets!

 

 

 

living room mess

Spring cleaning/packing/madness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This step, while time-consuming, actually ended up saving us lots of time during the packing stage.

During January and February, Cale was taking lots of classes plus working so I made it my personal mission to find out as much as possible about selling a house by owner. Interestingly, many of the books I ended up checking out from the library had a couple of chapters dedicated to why you shouldn’t do it.

Ignored them

Continued down the path of selling our house on our own with a little [more] self-doubt on whether it would actually be possible.

As I was looking at listing options, a person can actually list it on the MLS website (where all realtors look) for a couple hundred dollars. By the time we got around to the actual sale we decided we didn’t want to put any more money into selling it than absolutely necessary because as we cleaned and fixed small things we were liking our house more and more. The only ‘listing’ thing we ended up buying was a printed sign since we thought hand written signs looked a little unprofessional for such a big ticket item. (We bought a sign online for about $30.)

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In the end, we only ended up listing it on Zillow and owners.com (the free option). While the pictures we used on the website definitely weren’t professional, we felt that they looked better than a simple snapshot and showed the house well. It ended generating enough interest, obviously, without spending additional money listing it on other places.

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Finally, around this time I called a couple of law offices to find out how much it would cost to have legal representation in the actual sale. I think for about a thousand bucks we found a law office that would take care of all paperwork which we thought was really reasonable. However, we discovered that A) We most likely could have figured out all the paperwork ourselves and B) Since we agreed to work with the buyer’s agent he basically informed us of all documentation we needed to provide at each step of the process. Therefore, we ended up not using a lawyer in the end.

Yay prep work! It seemed a little daunting and scary but definitely paid off in the long run.

how to sell a house in 30 days- Part 1 The Idea is Formed

I really wanted to recap the whole house selling project as we use this as a journal and look back and laugh often.  I realize that the posts have been rather scarce this year but Cale is finally done with his class and won’t start again until September.

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We talked very seriously about selling our house last summer when the interest rates were really low but we would have had to have waited until August to sell it to avoid paying short term capital gains on the profit.  Therefore weended up refinancing it into a shorter term loan with a really low interest rate knowing that any money that we put into building equity in it would end up back in our pockets when we sold it… well, that’s what we hoped at least.  We bought our house when prices were really low back in 2011 and the housing prices have been slowing increasing over the past couple of years.

Fast forward to around Octoberish of this past year.  I’d been contemplating a faster way to pay off our student loans than the slow (but steady) pace we were moving at.  Just to clarify, neither one of us would choose a different college experience even if we had the choice but unfortunately neither one of us was on a full ride nor picked the cheapest possible education.  Combine that we our very nice, but very average salaries and paying off our house rather quickly… the student loan balance wasn’t moving down as fast as I wanted.

I suppose my healthy Starbucks habit didn’t help matters either.

Anyways.

So when I told Cale of my idea in October I told him he couldn’t give an answer for 5 days so we made sure we weren’t acting on some crazy whim.  He immediately agreed with the plan. 

There were a couple of reasons that sealed the deal for us to attempt to sell our house without a realtor:

  • We didn’t [and still don't] have an offer in another house that would be contingent upon the sale of our house which put us in total control of the sale.  No pressure at all to negotiate a price we weren’t comfortable with.
  • It’s just the two of us without a ton of stuff so downsizing into a tiny space didn’t take too much effort
  • At the time that the idea was hatched, we were thinking Cale would be looking for a new job during this year and living in an apartment giving us better mobility…
  • By the time we sold it, we were thinking that if his new job was absolutely horrible it would be the perfect opportunity for him to go back to school full time because we wouldn’t need his salary [by the way, he loves his new job!]

 

Fast forward, we feel like we were blessed with the perfect buyers for our situation.  We’re not sure if we were working with other people if the whole process would have been as effortless.  Thank you Jesus!