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Archive for November, 2009

How the Newly-Expanded Tax Credit Works for Existing Homeowners

by Michael Scheffe | November 17th, 2009

Here is a quick and excellent explanantion of the newly expanded Homebuyer Tax Credit that now applies to Exisiting Homeowners in addition to 1st-timers.

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Fall Injury Edition: Or, Boot is Beautiful

by celeste.nunn | November 17th, 2009

bootMy wardrobe has a stylish new addition…the lovely robotic-looking boot you see at left (insert your best Transformers, Lego, or skiing joke here.) Yes, I’m injured; I was walking my dog on Saturday when I fell into a booby trap. Well, OK, it was a hole–but a deep, grass-covered, perfectly foot-sized hole! I heard (and felt) two pops, and then I was on the ground, fully expecting a broken ankle. However, after dusting myself off, I realized that the damage wasn’t as bad as I’d initially thought, and I misguidedly tried to “walk it off”–that is, until a misstep onto the outside of my foot induced nausea.

I practiced the RICE method over the weekend (for you non-athletes, that’s Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and on Monday I saw the very nice, super-professional, accommodating folks at Texas Orthopedics (who, by the way, got me in within about 4 hours’ notice and out in 40 minutes, almost none of which was spent waiting alone in a diagnostic room) and was diagnosed with an inversion sprain and subsequently fitted with the aforementioned robo-boot.

As my husband can heartily attest, I am a terrible patient. In fact, you might call me an impatient, because I’m sick of this boot already. However, this being the season of giving thanks, I’m trying to keep my mind on the positive, and I figured what better way to do that than publicly? So here goes…my list of “boot benefits.”

It’s a conversation starter. Everyone, from neighbors to agents in our office, to the cashier at HEB who always rings me up, wants to know what happened. Although initially this was a little disconcerting, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to meet and greet a whole bunch of people I didn’t know, or didn’t know well, with the boot as conversational fodder. Who knew that an injury would make me so approachable?

It’s a good deterrent to holiday indulgence. As you may know from my previous posts, I love the outdoors, and hiking is one of my favorite ways to exercise. This boot will prevent that for 3 weeks, and I have to be careful on the ankle for an additional couple of months, so that doesn’t bode well for strenuous hikes this winter. Therefore, I can’t justify that extra slice of pecan pie or spoonful of mashed potatoes (or tankard of eggnog, for that matter!) by saying I will exercise harder later. Darn it! But also, way to avoid the seemingly inevitable holiday scale creep.

The sympathy factor. Chivalry abounds, it seems…being the independent woman of the 21st century that I clearly am, I certainly don’t expect special treatment from the opposite sex. Except, of course, when I’m injured and therefore at a distinct disadvantage. Want to open that door for me? Thank you kindly.

And the whole less fortunate thing… Speaking of holidays, it’s a great time to remember, injured or not, that I’m very lucky to have a job with a great company, and insurance to help with the costs of the robo-boot. So what if I have to clump around for a few weeks, dogged at the heels, literally, by the rasp of Velcro? Really, who am I to complain? Except about the unfashionable ensembles I may have to sport in the weeks to come…I reserve the right to be a baby about that.

Posted in: Uncategorized | 193 Comments »

Hiking In and Around Austin: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

by celeste.nunn | November 9th, 2009

fallsThis week I re-visited a favorite from my summer hiking adventures, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. That I enjoyed this hike even in the height of our recent mid-July drought says a lot about how enjoyable Wild Basin is! However, visiting in the fall, with cooler temperatures and an active creek and waterfall, was the best way to see this little slice of wilderness preserve just off of Capital of Texas Highway. I won’t recap the history of how this property came to be preserved–that’s available to read on the organization’s website–but suffice it to say that I’m so glad its founders believed in the importance of keeping Wild Basin wild; it is truly a treasure and I am always happy to deposit my $3 entrance fee in their collection box.

Getting there? You’ll take either 2222 (if you’re coming from North Austin) to Capital of Texas/360 South, or 2244/Bee Cave Road (if you’re coming from South Austin) to Capital of Texas/360 North. Regardless, once you get on Capital of Texas, the preserve is located to the east of 360, at 805 N. Capital of Texas Highway. (map)

When did we go? On a Saturday morning, around 10 AM. Moderate to cool temps, overcast when we started out and sunny on the return trip.

berriesPros: Recent rains made the falls and creek gorgeous! There are over 3 miles of trail, from the quick and simple trek to the falls (less than a mile) to the more moderate Madrone and Triknee trails (up to 3+ miles and some climbing.) Easy to drive to and pretty easy to find.  More accessible than some other trails. Experienced hikers can get a fairly good workout quickly–we were back at the car in about an hour and twenty minutes, having hiked a little over 3 miles. The trails appear well-maintained.

Cons: Some traffic noise at certain points in the trail, can be buggy during drought season if the water is stagnant. Don’t expect solitude, particularly during cooler weather months. The parking lot was fairly full and we encountered several groups, including a girl scout troop on a nature hike. No pets allowed–which could be a “pro” for some hikers. Watch out for slippery rocks and mud around the creek area, as I learned the hard way!

Summary: Wild Basin is definitely a favorite, and one which I plan to return to many times. A go-to hike for me because of its location and topography–quick to get to, quick to hike but still feels like a workout at some points. A great place to take out of town guests for a surefire enjoyable Austin hike!

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Posted in: Austin Outdoors | 2,792 Comments »

$6,500 Tax Credit for Non-First-Time Buyers

by Michael Scheffe | November 5th, 2009

us-capitol-1Unbelievable! Congress signed the bill today creating a $6,500 credit for people who buy a home now after living in their current home at least five years. Friends, you combine that with 5% interest rates and negotiable sellers and this is an opportunity to buy a home we will likely never see again. It’s for a limited time though. Call or email me and I’ll give you the scoop.

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Posted in: Austin Businesses, Austin Texas Homes | No Comments »

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