Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beyond Repair

That was the sad note I found on the receipt for my camera this week after it was returned from the Nikon service center. My DSLR, a Nikon D50, was already a few years old when I bought it 2 years ago, but it came highly recommended as one of the best cameras Nikon had made in that generation. Pre-'bells and whistles', it was just a good, sturdy little camera, that did what you needed, nothing more. No live-view screen, no video, nothing fancy.

But at the zoo a month or so ago, it started acting up. Suddenly all my pictures were coming out overexposed, and blurred, even in auto mode. I futzed around with it and ended up making most of my shots in manual mode, and got a few good shots, but something was not right that day.  Many of them were coming out looking like this, which is only cool when it's a bird, not so nice when it's a bear!

A week or so later I grabbed it and ran outside to take pictures of a spectacular sunset, and they all came out black. Well, that wasn't a good sign. I searched around on the net for a solution (first I grabbed my old Canon SX10IS and got those sunset pictures) but couldn't find a solution beyond sending it in for repair. I tried resetting the menu, using the magic button reset on the bottom, things like that. Everything on the camera seemed to be working except the images were black. I boxed it up and sent it away.

Nikon sent me a bill for $150 to take a look at it. I waited a couple weeks until I had the money and paid up, and entirely too quickly it was on it's way back to me, and the receipt said Beyond Repair! They refunded my money so it cost me nothing, except now I have no DSLR at all! Oh no! So I'm pretty bummed about that.

For the past week I've been researching the different Nikon DSLRs available. $500 will get me a newer one with live-view flip out screen on the back, and movie capability, but $200 will get me another old D50. I liked the D50 just fine, it was doing everything I needed. But what if I spend $200 and it only lasts 2 years like this one did? Decisions, decisions! Not what I wanted to worry about in the middle of our moving adventure. I guess I'll use the Canon for a couple more weeks until we settle down, and then go searching for the D50's replacement. I'm spoiled by the sharpness of the high quality images I got from the D50, but the Canon is a pretty good little camera too. I'm just going to have to be patient!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rancho Relaxo

Big big changes going on around here. After only two weeks on the market we got a full price offer on our little farm and it is in the process of being sold. Since the folks buying it have already sold and moved out of their home, things are happening fast!

Just before we got the offer, we were shopping around on Redfin for houses in the area we wanted to live in near my work, but not finding anything that really excited us. We were looking in a particularly frugal price range, and not finding anything, so I had to keep looking at more and more expensive homes, thinking I'd never find anything nice that wasn't a fixer-upper in the price range I was looking at. Nice houses sell fast, and without the money from our house we couldn't make a move on anything nice we saw, and it would be pending a few days later (who says the economy isn't recovering?)

Then on Dave's birthday we were going over to have lunch with his Dad in Portland, and I was browsing CL that morning, looking in the real estate section. I was searching for mobile homes, wondering how much it would cost to just get a piece of land and put a mobile home on it, when I saw an ad that said 'Vancouver's most Beautiful Backyard'. It wasn't a mobile home at all, and I don't know why it came up in the search.

It was a 1971 single level ranch, about ten minutes North of where I work. For Sale By Owner, and the price was squarely in our price range. And they were having an open house, at just the right time that we could go by and see it on our way to Dad's. So what the heck, why not?

So we dropped by and WOW! The place was absolutely immaculate! The last house we had looked at looked like a little crack house compared to this. This place was neat and well cared for, inviting, and cozy. The backyard was spectacular, with terraces, seating areas, gardens, fountains, and a firepit. There is even a covered patio. Just what I always wanted! All in all, it has a quarter acre of space, and backs up to the city's well water source, which is essentially a big park that is fenced off for security, so the backyard has an expansive view of fields and trees instead of neighboring houses. It's just a wonderful little place, and we immediately had a name for it - 'Rancho Relaxo"

Here are the pictures from the listing: Kitchen, front porch, back yard fountain and firepit in the background, and backyard seating area.

We were so excited, we went on to lunch with his Dad and told him about it, and he wanted to see it too. We went back with him and went through it again. This time we decided it was too nice to wait on, this house would be gone in no time. His Dad agreed to buy it for us and let us buy it back from him once we got our finances settled from our own sale!

So the inspections are done, title company stuff is in progress, the appraisals are underway (for both the house we are selling AND the one we are buying).Things are moving fast. In about two weeks the new house will close, and we'll be moving away from our little farm. A week after that the current house closes, and it will all be done. It's been a long mental trip to get my head around giving up my life in the country, but I think it's the best thing for us, and I'm really excited about this adorable little house. I'm so grateful Dave's Dad is helping us get it! I think this is going to be a good place for us!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yellow sky


This afternoon we had hail, followed by thunder, and then it all cleared up and the sky turned this amazing yellow! I was shocked when I glanced out the window to see everything bathed in this strange hue. It looked like the someone had thrown a yellow filter over the sun!






Soon it started raining again. Of course the eskimos have heavy coats on, so it didn’t bother them.






They just ran out in the field and had a ball hunting mice while the rain came down.





After about a half hour it was all  over, and you never would have guessed the world looked like this for a little bit.