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Weekend Fun: Childhood in Action

Dear Diary,

I feel I capture some of the best images of my kids while they're playing.

Children are not meant to be still. And mine especially, are wild. They must see, explore, uncover and touch. Fill a laundry basket with water balloons, and they'll cool off the old-fashioned way.

This past weekend was no exception. In between rain showers, we went outside. With a random assortment of things (mainly a volleyball and bubbles), imaginations took flight and I had my camera ready.

The volleyball served as a decent stand-in for a soccer ball.

But then came the bubbles.

We could take a cue from children, and start finding joy in the simple things in life.

MN Twins v. KC Royals - JDRF ONE Walk Appreciation Day

Dear Diary,
Yesterday was an overcast, somewhat chilly but oh so much fun day.

We spent the afternoon at one of my favorite baseball stadiums, Target Field, to watch our first place (AL Central) Twins play a portion of their double header against the KC Royals.

I wore my Brewers t-shirt, my hometown team, who are in first place in the NL Central. This is a fun rivalry.

The highlight for Landen, naturally, is the food.

Waiting on the nachos he sent Dad to bring him ...

(As you can see, the weather factored heavily into the attendance. There is some excitement in the Twin Cities regarding how well the team has performed lately.)

Target Field opened with a capacity of 39,504 in April 2010 and is considered an "open air" ball park that is ideal for events beyond baseball. In fact, plenty of concerts are played here during the summer months.

In 2010, ESPN The Magazine ranked Target Field as the #1 baseball stadium experience in North America.

I can see it. I absolutely love its downtown city skyline views.

Unfortunately, the Twins lost their first game but won the second - they maintained their first place standing!

Once a year, we've been able to attend a Twins game as a guest of JDRF. We always look forward to it, and it's so nice that the organization empowers Madelyn to experience things like this.

As you know our family is involved with the fundraising initiatives to raise money for research. We all dream of a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, and it's comforting to know we're contributing a small portion to that endeavor.

I'm sure we'll find ourselves at Target Field as the summer heats up. 

How I See The City of Chicago

Dear Diary,
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take a walking tour around downtown Chicago. 

Spring has blossomed in the city.

The iconic Chicago Theater ...

Opened in 1921, The Chicago Theater was the first large, lavish movie parlor in America and soon became the prototype for those that followed. I did not venture inside, but if the interior is anything like the grandeur of its exterior, then I'm convinced it's left its visitors breathless.

Can you imagine how many movies were set in this city? While You Were Sleeping, The Blues Brothers ... I mean, there are so many recognizable places around Chicago that were the backdrops for many a movie scene.

I had to Google who Father John Misty was - he's a folk singer.

I watched one of the bridges across the River rise to accommodate a passing Schooner. It was cool!

Here's my takeaway - Chicago is the third largest city in America, yet seems to maintain more of a "hometown" feel than New York City. I suppose that's because Midwestern values of hospitality are the norm. I appreciated the fact that the city's history stood proud alongside the mirrored, contemporary skyscrapers that propel its skyline into the current era.

I hate it when cities tear down their longstanding buildings to make room for parking lots, etc.

You can kind of see this delightful mix in the photo above. The ornate architecture shines just as bright as the contemporary glass-paneled buildings.

Street view at night ...

I love a sparkling skyline. However, I'm pretty biased in that I feel Minneapolis is the most photogenic ...

We were in town for my SIL's wedding at Trump Tower. I didn't take many pictures at the event (they requested their guests be unplugged, which I thought was a great idea).

You just don't see craftsmanship like this anymore. I sure hope there are others that appreciate it as much as I do.

Even so, Chicago - thank you for serving as host to a lovely weekend.

This Particular South Carolina Real Estate Listing Does Surprise Me

Dear Diary,

I wasn't expecting there to be a Part II to my "surprising" real estate post, but that's life.

Perhaps you've seen the Internet break over what one Twitter user has called, The Nightmare House. (To see the listing for yourself, click on 'The Nightmare House' to be directed to the page.)

If not, then let's first observe the listing photos:

The ceiling in what I assume is the kitchen. Talk about your all-time Fixer Upper. 

The exterior is oddly charming ...  

Kitchen ... 

Oh hello. 

This is really creepy. Did the home's former occupant just get up and leave? 
Is that a suitcase on the chair? What is going on here?

When the description's opening line is -
Please read carefully before scheduling showings. May not qualify for financing. 
... I'm equal parts intrigued and terrified. But wait, there's more -
Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances. Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs apartment. Occupant has never paid, and no security deposit is being held, but there is a lease in place. (Yes, it does not make sense, please don't bother asking.)
Further research on this property suggests a professional artist lives in the upstairs apartment, and if so, this could be one of the most spectacular performance art pieces I've ever encountered.

Now, whether this listing is serious or not likely depends upon the courage of the potential buyer and the cooperation of the tenant. But for the bargain price of $130,000, you could be the proud owner of this 2,656-square foot (only 1,742-square feet is yours to inhabit though) sensational sh!tstorm.

Buyer beware?

New York Real Estate No Longer Surprises Me

Dear Diary,
New York City.

I fully appreciate the irony that is admitting I love NYC while simultaneously signing papers to purchase a 10-acre property in a rural area within the Twin Cities. But what I can't appreciate, is the design aesthetic of a newly renovated studio apartment in Chelsea.

So in today's episode of "crazy ass real estate," let's explore this listing.

First reported here, we're going to examine the floor plan. With the bargain sale price of $469,000 buyers don't even have the luxury of knowing how much square feet they're throwing down for. Apparently that's a rule. Unless you have a million dollars to start, square footage isn't revealed.

Or something. What do I know?
The studio is tucked into a building built in 1899, and the listing is sure to add that you'll have to climb "three easy flights" to get to it. Umm. I've climbed stairs in New York City. They're not what I would call "easy," especially when it's a part of the subway system and you're pulling a giant suitcase stuffed with clogs. I digress (story for another day!) The floor plan appeared to show some storage space, and the Murphy bed was a convenient choice. I was curious about the renovations though.

To the pictures we go!

Here we have the library/living room/dining room. I actually like the floors, and the light walls and ceiling were a wise design decision.

Another angle - I love the white-painted brick and the rustic floating shelves. The thick baseboards are nice and simple, and though I wouldn't choose a mirrored dresser for myself, the reflective surface helps to visually expand the space. And if we're being honest here, I really love the view from the windows.

Ahh, city skylines.

To live here, one must embrace minimalism.

The bathroom is updated ...


This picture was taken in the studio's doorway.

Where are the f&%$ing bathroom walls?! And the sunken tub is in the ... kitchen?

(Apparently Homey is minimal in all areas except shoes.)

Since it's being marketed as a "renovated" studio apartment (for $469,000), this was a conscious choice.

Someone opted not to add A WALL to the bathroom, that is just off the kitchen and fully visible to the rest of the dwelling.

You can see that sink in the picture of the kitchen.

Look, I'm sure high-quality materials were selected and it looks like the work was done with skill and expertise. I also get New Yorkers desire their tiny closet-sized apartments to be open and airy.

But this is just too much.

The definition of "airy" took a giant leap into the realm of ...

I don't even know. Thoughts?

Full credit goes to Apartment Therapy. I had to share my WTF reaction!

UPDATE: I FOUND THE LISTING ON REALTOR.COM - they dropped the price to $449,000! ... Almost half a million dollars for an open concept bathroom.

Virtual Staging? Pretty decor though.