Archive | January, 2008

Ups and downs of buying a car

29 Jan

Travis and I got our new Pathfinder today. We went to work around 7, then left at 9:30 to drive down to Colorado Springs, where the seller lives. We got to usbank around 11:00 and quickly found out that the bank had just been expecting that we would sign the papers and leave–no check cut, nothing. WHAT!?!? We drove all the way down to Colorado Springs for the specific purpose of getting the car and then we can’t get a check cut?

Turns out it was the banker in Boulder’s fault. He didn’t communicate enough and didn’t fax over the paperwork that was needed to complete the transaction. So the people at the Colorado Springs usbank had to pretty much start from scratch on our loan. We were at usbank for about 1 1/2 hours and the loan we took out is a 4-year loan, not 5 like we had been hoping for. So our monthly payment is a little more than ideal. What should’ve been a very easy process was a long and complicated one. And we felt bad because the seller, his wife, and their 3-month-old daughter were there waiting too! But we got everything squared away and now we have a second car! Oh the possibilities that have been opened…

I got back to work around 2:10 and went straight into a meeting with my boss. Whereas before I had been really looking for work to do (and not finding much), the workload has finally picked back up. Yay! I finally left at 6:10 to go home–it was weird going home without Travis, something that will happen more often, now that we have 2 cars.

Travis and I also talked a little more about the whole housing situation. We are thinking about continuing to move forward with the house hunt. While it would be nice to have more money for a down payment, we realized that we would be spending $9,600 (conservatively) on rent for a year and have nothing to show for it. So spending an extra $15,000 on interest because of a smaller down payment probably isn’t that big of a deal. The thing that will make or break our buying a house, however, is if we can really afford it month to month. With a house comes more costs–not only is a mortgage payment more than rent but you also have utilities and all that jazz.

I’m not sure what will happen but it’s exciting to think of the possibilities!

Sad day just got better!

28 Jan

Travis called about 1 hour ago and said that we did get approved for the car loan! YAY! Prayer definitely paid off. We are going to drive down to Colorado Springs tomorrow morning around 10:00 to go to the bank and do what we gotta do. I’m so happy that we’re going to have 2 cars at this time tomorrow!

Sad day in the neighborhood

28 Jan

I know that God is sovereign and good. He is able and willing to provide for His children and He does provide. So I’m trying to not be too upset.

But Travis and I balanced our budget the other night, refiguring how much money we need for all of our different categories so that we can start putting $500 in savings every month for buying a house. As we looked at the budget, we started to realize that maybe buying a house this spring/summer isn’t possible for us. Well, it’s possible if we don’t want to put much or any down and we want a higher interest rate on our mortgage (turns out my credit might not be so hot because of stupid mistakes I made in college). We might just have to move into another apartment in Arvada/Wheat Ridge. At least that way, we would be closer to work and our friends, even if it’s still not a permanent residence.

Adding insult to injury, Travis found out this morning that our car loan was denied. “What?!?!?” I said. The guy at the bank did NOT say that this happening was even a possibility. He said that we had been approved for “x” at y% for a 2000 or older and approved for “z” at q% for a 2001 or newer. We were buying a 2001 so we thought we were good to go. Nope! I guess the bank sends some paperwork to someone else saying “We’re going to give these people this much money. Okay?” To which those people said, “NOT okay!” Travis said that the guy at the bank resubmitted the loan request, trying to appeal the denial. We find out this afternoon what happens.

God is sovereign and if He wants us to get this car, we will get it–of that I am sure. And if we don’t get the car, I have to trust that God knows what He is doing by not letting us have a car. He’s working something out and it is positively for our good and joy in Him. It just makes me a little frustrated at myself because I’M the reason why we’re having this trouble. I paid my car loan late just one time but it’s still a “discrepancy” in the eyes of the lenders. And since the car we want to buy is “borderline,” meaning it is right on the cutoff between the loan rates and amounts, the lenders denied it.

I’m praying every minute that God is delighting to give us the Pathfinder… it would be so amazing to have 2 cars again!

Not black diamond material…

26 Jan

Travis and I went skiing at Keystone today. The bank couldn’t pull together the loan paperwork for the Pathfinder in time so we didn’t get the car thing accomplished today. But we got to go skiing instead!

We left at 6:00 AM to beat traffic, which meant that I had to get up by 4:30. It was an early morning and I am beat–a nap is definitely in order this evening. We got up to Keystone by 8:30 (even though we left early, the traffic was still bad for a while). By the time we got all our gear on, went to the bathroom and walked to the ski lift, it was 9:00–just in time for opening.

We were a little self-conscious about our ski gear–our skis and poles (as well as my boots) are from the early 90s. Since we just moved out to CO and don’t really have tons of extra cash lying around (have you seen the prices of ski equipment?!?!), we got the ski stuff my parents used back in the day when my whole family used to ski together (a long time ago).

My boots are this nasty yellow-white color with aqua writing on the outside and aqua/purple lining on the inside. Travis got new boots but our skis have flourescent colors and the worst part–they’re pointy at the end. All the skis nowadays are rounded on the end and edges. Back when our skis were made, they were majorly pointy, as in witch’s shoe pointy.

And when you’re standing in line waiting for the ski lift, all you really have to do is talk to whoever you’re with and look at everyone else’s skis/snowboards. I’ve been in ski shops recently and seen all the cute designs. Everyone had them. As Travis said, we had everyone beat by at least 10 years on the age of their ski equipment. It’s interesting to see the culture of skiing/snowboarding. I bet about 90% of the people out there have bought their winter clothes within the past 2 years. I bet 75% have bought their ski/snowboard equipment within the past 3 years. It’s a rich sport. You don’t see people from the ghetto going skiing. Because you need money for the lift ticket, the equipment, and the clothes, as well as money to just get near a ski resort.

At least nobody turned their noses up at us. But Travis did hear a couple guys’ comments: “Hey Bill! Do you remember when those skis came out?” and “Wait, are those PREs [my skis]? I thought those would be hanging up in a museum somewhere.” Nope, they’re here and I’m using them to get down that hill.

Since this was Travis’ first time skiing in 10 years and my first time in about 5, we didn’t really know what to expect. Add to that, the last time we were skiing, we were skiing in Minnesota. We quickly found out that a green circle hill in Minnesota doesn’t exist in Colorado. A “green” in CO is like a MN “blue” or possibly even “black”–which led us to the realization that all ski run coding is completely relative.

Needless to say, we stuck to the greens and blues. I was going to stay the h— away from those black diamonds. The black diamonds, however, did not stay away from me.

Keystone is a big place. There are two sides to many mountains and countless runs that cross, parallel, and merge with other runs. For the first part of the day, we stayed on the front side of the main mountain. So many people! But I’ll get to that… So after lunch, we decided to test the back side of the mountain. There were blues and blacks back there and 2 really short greens.

We were going on one of the short greens called Scout. We figured, “It’s a short run. We’ll just go down it quick, get back on the lift and then go on another run.” Travis was really catering to me because I wanted to stick to the milder runs. So we went down Scout. About 300 yards down the slope, it got really steep. I cut to the left, my ski caught, and down I went onto my left hip, in a cloud of snow. I got back up, a little shaken, and looked down the hill.

My heart stopped. It was a LONG way to the bottom and to me, it looked like a complete dropoff. I felt like I was going to drop off the face of the earth if I skied down that hill. I started to mentally hyperventilate and I couldn’t move.

I looked up at Travis and whimpered, “I don’t want to go down this hill. I don’t like this hill. It’s sooooo steep.”

Being the sweet husband that he is, Travis skied down to me and tried to reassure me, “No babe, you can do this. Just take it slow and cut from the left to the right. We can make it down.”

“I’m just going to take my skis off and walk down.” That seemed the safest option but it was a long way to walk.

“No babe, you can do this. We’ll just take it in sections and go slow.”

I had to will myself to move my skis. I saw younger kids and other women going down the slope like it was no big deal. I knew I could do it; I just didn’t want to. I was scared.

But with Travis leading, I carved to the left and then the right. I couldn’t get my skis straight when I cut to the left. I tried to straighten them but down I went onto my hip again, spraying snow and sliding 5 ft down the icy hill. One time I slid into Travis. I knew I was going too slow cutting to the left but I didn’t want to go fast because it freaked me out. So my strategy became to cut to the right and snowplow to the left. Cut to the right, snowplow to the left. Little by little, I reluctantly inched my way down the hill. Slowly, I built up confidence and by the end, I was cutting back and forth with ease.

But when we got to the bottom of that hill, I told Travis “We aren’t skiing the back of the mountain. There is no way I’m going on another run like that.” When we got on the ski lift and took out the map, we discovered that lo and behold, we had just skied down a black diamond called Diamond Back. I felt better about my fright–at least I wasn’t that paranoid about a blue square! Seems that we had overestimated the length of that short green–it was only about 100 yards long and we had blown right by that ski lift–to continue on to the connecting black diamond.

We went down the front of the mountain a couple more times after that. I fell over a few more times. Seemed like I had lost all my confidence by going down that black diamond. And the people whizzing by me on both sides didn’t help. I wasn’t used to so many people on the slopes, not to mention people really good at skiing/snowboarding. I kept losing my concentration, scared I was going to cut in front of someone and they were going to plow right into me.

Because of that, I stuck to a nice, steady pace. Travis liked speed and adrenaline. So for those last few runs, he went on ahead of me and we met at the bottom. We finally decided to call it quits when our quads were so tired that we could barely stand up. (That and I had started making a fool of myself by dropping things, falling over trying to get up to the line for the ski lift, etc.–all signals that I was ready to leave.)

I like to consider myself in pretty good shape. I run, use the elliptical, do squats and lunges and wall sits. But man, none of that prepared me for that leg workout! I hope that I can walk tomorrow. All in all, it was a really fun day. It was warm, in the lower 30s–we actually were sweating. Such a change from MN, where we often skied in 10 degree weather! I was worried my feet would be freezing (they almost always are) but amazingly, they also were sweating. It’s so much more enjoyable to be outside when you’re not freezing your arse off.

Skiing day #1– down!!

The Wild Rules!

25 Jan

Last night, Travis and I went to the Y and I did intervals on the treadmill. I walked for 1 minute at a 15-minute pace, ran for 2 minutes at a 10-minute pace, and ran for 1 minute at a 8.34-minute pace; then repeated that cycle. It was a good workout and I was definitely ready to be done after 30 minutes!

Then we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and ate back all the calories we had burned off. 🙂 I keep reminding myself that exercise is just as much about physical fitness as weight maintenance. My new guilty pleasure is boneless wings with Honey BBQ sauce. Usually I don’t like spicy things because of the mouth tingle they give you. But I love these wings! They are especially good with ranch and the tingle is just enough–any more and I wouldn’t be able to eat them.

We went to BWW to watch the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Minnesota Wild. It was such a good game. So many times the Avs got close to scoring but didn’t–sigh of relief. Minnesota won 3 to 2. Yay! It’s so fun to watch a really good game and then have your team win.

Now for the Superbowl, Travis and I are going to be cheering for different teams. I don’t really care about professional football enough to follow teams all the way through the season or even know what’s going on. But amazingly, I am aware that as of right now, the Patriots have a perfect record for the season. If they won the Superbowl, it would be a major record. So I’m cheering for the Patriots. Travis, on the other hand, is cheering for the Giants because, as he says, he doesn’t “like a dynasty.” He doesn’t want the Patriots to set that record. I think it would be cool!

We found a car!

24 Jan

We looked at a car this morning at 7:15. It is a 2001 silver Nissan Pathfinder with 80,000 miles. Travis found out about the SUV on craig’s list. The owner, Bill (we think), lives in Colorado Springs but was in Boulder for an audit (he’s a CPA). We looked at the car and engine–looked great. We drove it around–drove great. We took it to a mechanic to get checked out–it checked out. So we’re going to buy it! We’re so excited!

The bank wasn’t open this morning (usbank doesn’t open until 9:00 AM–grrrr…) so we’re hopefully going to finalize the sale with the bank this weekend. We gave Bill $100 in cash as a “We’re really going to buy this” promise so that he would hold the vehicle. Travis and I had been planning on going skiing at Keystone on Saturday but we may either have to leave later in the day or go on Sunday instead. I vote for going later on Saturday but we’ll see how it works out.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! We prayed for a quick deal and He delivered!

Here’s a picture of our (almost) new ride:

 pathfinder.jpg

Pictures that I like

23 Jan

monkey2.jpg 

Monkey!!

 travandme2.jpg 

Trav and me on our way up to Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

global-warming-rejoice-e.jpg 

A funny ad from once upon a time

housework.jpg 

The picture in my siggy on The Nest–I think it’s funny and I love the 50s era.

Baby fever

23 Jan

So yesterday, I was almost convinced that I was pregnant. I have been having major mood swings, craving comfort food, my period hadn’t come when it was supposed to, and I got a major cold sore on my lip. But then I did get Aunt Flo so it turns out that I’m just an emotional and hormonal wreck who loves to eat! How ’bout that?

The thought of me being pregnant was really exciting though and I’m kind of sad that it’s not real. It’s so weird that I am so anxious to have a baby. Before I became a Christian in college, I wasn’t sure I even wanted kids at all. After I became a Christian, I knew that I definitely wanted kids but not until I was in my late 20s. Then I got married and thought maybe after 5 years or so, kids would be a possibility. Now here I am, married for 8 months, and I want a baby NOW!

But the thing keeping me from talking to Travis about the real possibility of having kids right now is that it just isn’t practical at this point. We are hopefully buying a second car this week and then a house this summer. Travis is still planning on going back to grad school in the fall and I just found out yesterday that I owe my parents $8,000 that I borrowed from them while I was in college. Add to that, I want to be a stay-at-home mom after having kids. So financially, a baby right now would really throw us for a loop.

That’s not to say, though, that if God were to make me pregnant by His sovereign will, I wouldn’t be completely estatic…

A car, a house, and a marriage

22 Jan

Lots of stuff in the works in the Kluthe household–buying a second car and buying a house. We spent almost all day last Saturday looking at cars. It was fun and exciting for a few hours but then around 5:00, I hit a wall and just wanted to go home. I am the kind of person who looks until I find something I like that I think is a good deal. Then I just go for it. Travis, on the other hand, is the kind of person who wants to research and inspect every little detail. I was in a bratty mood for a while when we were car shopping but finally, it was over! We’ve narrowed it down to about 2 cars but Travis is making the call. I’m pretty indifferent to which one we get–he can decide as long as I don’t have to go shopping for them again!

We’re also wanting to buy a house. For it to work, we have to have one lined up by the beginning of June because our apartment lease ends August 6 and we have to give 60 days notice about what we plan on doing. I’ve found some cute houses online but you can only tell so much from 2-D pictures! I’m anxious to contact a realtor and get out there and see some properties! But that is another thing Travis and I differ on–he’s not sure about getting a realtor. I am reminding myself daily that God is in charge and He has the perfect house and timing already chosen. I am called to lift my requests up to Him and trust Him and the peace of Christ will guard my heart from having an emotional meltdown. I really like our apartment in Boulder. But it’s small and so far away from work and everyone we know! AND I am very excited to decorate our first house (and be able to enjoy it for more than a year at a time!)

Marriage is hard lately. I’ve been in a weird, cold, heartless funk. A lot of times I feel so indifferent toward Travis. I condemn myself for not feeling the way a newlywed is “supposed” to feel: giddy and in love. All I feel is reality–my life. It’s not floating in the clouds, everything’s coming up roses. It’s messy, chaotic, and busy. I started teaching English to a woman named Alma and we meet twice a week at her house in Erie. That has stretched the whole one-car thing to a new limit. We are more anxious than ever to get another car. I’m a little sad to get another car because it means less time that Travis and I will get to spend together. But it also means that we get some time apart, which I think will strengthen our marriage. You know the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I take Travis for granted a lot because I hardly ever experience his not being right next to me. It will be good to have some space so that we can appreciate our togetherness more.

Another weird thing: I woke up this morning with a huge cold blister thingy on my lip. It completely developed overnight–what the heck? It’s more annoying than anything… 

By Grace Alone

17 Jan

I was talking to one my co-workers the other day about her two-year relationship with her ex-boyfriend of a year and a half. She talked about the heartache of thinking he had been “the one” and then going through their breakup. My heart went out to her.  I, too, have known what it feels like to be heartbroken over the man you love.

And I am so glad that I never have to experience that again. I just re-started writing my memoir of redemption, after a one and 1/2 year hiatus (read my story). Walking down memory lane this morning, I have been reminded of the struggles I went through and all the time I spent on my knees in tears before the Lord. Sometimes I look back on those times and wish I had something in my life right now to drive me to my knees like that. Most of the time, though, I praise the Lord for His faithfulness during drought and during plenty. I know that I don’t have to wish for hard circumstances in my life. They will happen, of this I can be sure. I also don’t have to wish for God to support and sustain me during those times. He will be there, of this I can also be sure.

It is during the times of plenty that we have to build our strength for the times of drought. We have to learn daily what it means to move through life in dependence upon God. I love what Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest: “If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character. A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness.” I am still learning (and often failing) to live in moment-by-moment dependence on God. Are you?