15 days and counting!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

During the past 15 days, Bethany and I have labored late into the night after work hours and on weekends priming wood trim, painting walls, ripping up floor, laying floor, ripping out cabinetry to fit a fridge, soldering a leaky copper pipe, packing our things, moving our things, signing checks, …

Did I mention we bought a house?

Meanwhile, Bethany has worked during the day to get 20-some 3rd graders to stop thinking about summer break and focus on passing a poorly construed standardized test that does little to track learning but is still for some reason the sole, official measuring stick for her success. Talk about stress. (She did a great job, by the way!)

And get this. I’m one of only three reporters remaining at the Telegram right now, (No, we haven’t had layoffs. Just slow on the draw replacing a few staff writers.) and therefore have been writing about 12 stories a week. In a single day last week, I wrote about a police standoff with an armed criminal, a county-government budget work session, an update about that wounded soldier and boating safety tips.


That’s why we’re both so excited that 15 days from today …

… it’s beach time!

And check this out. It’ll take us about two hours on the road to get to that ocean sunset. TWO HOURS!

We live a charmed life.


Look ma, we own a house!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

We understand your disappointment with the two month gap since our last post. But this should explain everything:

Since our last communication, Bethany and I STARTED looking at houses, lined up financing and insurance and all that stuff, made bids on two homes, purchased a house — thanks, Obama! — near North Raleigh, stripped carpeting, primed, painted and touched up a lot of trim and walls, packed everything we own, ripped out a counter (to make room for the fridge we thought would fit), laid 600 square feet of laminate flooring, moved ALL of our stuff on a giant 27-foot truck, fixed a leaky pipe, bought a kitchen table, unpacked most everything we own and, somehow, still found time to watch 27 replays of Lebron James hitting the most amazing 3-pointer in Cavs history.

These are exciting times indeed. The below photos should help you understand how tired — and overjoyed — we are


Not to shabby for first-time homeowners, eh?


The living room right after I ripped the carpet out.


Snap your fingers: The living room, one week later.


The kitchen right after we closed.


Amazing what Bethany can do with a little elbow grease!


We knew we were going to like this eat-in kitchen.


But who knew it would look this nice?! Table was $18 on Craigslist, by the way.


This guy, along with several of our good North Carolina friends helped a lot! We are so blessed.


And Bowie keeps asking when we’re going to stop …


Never probably. We have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a stairwell yet to go. We’ll keep you posted on the progress. I’m sure it will be a work-in-progress well into the next decade! More pictures will follow.

So when you going to come visit?!

Ohio here we come (again)!

Posted in By Bethany on April 9, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh


Bags packed—check

Papers to grade (yuck) —check

Book to read when I’m avoiding the papers to grade—check

Blanket( maybe a raincoat since the passenger side window is broken) –check

Everything that has Bowie’s name on it (we will be leaving him with some unsuspecting soul)—check

Now I just have to prepare myself to sit in a car for 9 hours with my dumb dog.  I’m mad at him today.  Not only did I wake up to find him sleeping on our nice pillows in the chair that is off-limits, but then I found that he had pulled EVERYTHING  out of the garbage and decorated the dining room with it.  AFTER  I spent all day yesterday cleaning.   This dog is BEGGING  for me to open the door and let him go.

I’m looking forward to holding my best friend’s fat baby that looks like her husband’s clone (I’m not kidding, its kinda scary, I’ll post pics) and spending the day with my mama.  Its been way too long since we have had a girl’s day so I’m guessing we are going all out.  Shopping, lunch, more shopping, maybe a movie or a pedicure, hot tub and gossip magazines!  I can’t wait.  And NOT talking about buying a house cuz I feel like I’ve reached my limit of talking mortgages and offers. Yay!

The license plate from hell

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

This is why Mike loves his job:

Veteran wants state to replace ‘devil’s’ license plate

By Mike H.

A Nash County man is pleading with state motor vehicle officials to take back his newly minted North Carolina license plate and swap it for another.

The wellbeing of his soul could depend on it, he said.

“I’m Catholic, and I’m sorry,” Lenny Ruiz said this week, “but my momma would come out of her grave and beat on me if I put that on my vehicle. I mean, seriously.”

Ruiz, 59, said he was shocked – if not a little disturbed – when he picked up his new plate at the Rocky Mount license agency off Stone Rose Drive. The special Vietnam War veteran tag was wrapped in plastic and shining, Ruiz said. But there was a problem.

The number on the plate read, A666.

“I’m not the world’s most religious person,” Ruiz said, “but common sense tells you that’s the devil’s call number.”

Click here to continue reading

Less than an hour after the story was posted online, a state official with the DMV in Raleigh called Mr. Ruiz, apologized and offered free plates.

It’ll be a sad day if newspapers die.

Anyway, so we’re thinking about buying a house again. Interest rates are nearing 4 percent and the federal government wants to give us $8,000 to do it. Did we mention homes in Raleigh are selling for 20 percent under tax value?

More on this in a later posting.

A muscician named Meatloaf lifts spirits

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

I learned last night that a friend and former co-worker was killed Thursday in a Randolph house fire. She had two young children. I’ll talk more about that in a future post.

Needless to say, I was more than happy to see a fat, T-shirt wearing, keyboard playing, slobbering bulldog when I came into work this morning. I needed the pick-me-up. [On a side, what does it say about the newspaper business if a local nonprofit sends a therapy dog to visit our staff every week or two?]

Meet Meatloaf:

I’ll take that over the other fat, T-shirt wearing musical artist named Meatloaf  any day.

By the way, I’m pretty sure it’s possible to sing these lyrics along to the video:

Some days it don’t come easy
Some days it don’t come hard
Some days it don’t come at all, and these are the days that never end
Some nights you’re breathing fire
Some nights you’re carved in ice
Some nights you’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before or will again

Yes, I tried it.

Stunning photographic proof: Mike is a real man!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

Contrary to popular belief – such as the view held by the eye doctor who wondered this week if my mom and dad had helped me pick out my new glasses – I am an adult man.

And although I sit at a desk and write all day for a living, I am at least capable of looking real manly when I do it. You should see the face I’m making as I type this.

Bad. Ass.

And if that is not enough, here’s more evidence:


Oh yeah, that’s a Bobcat. And I’m driving it. Real man like.


It was so ridiculous, I burst into a spat of giggles! Hehe!

Long story short, I was working on an article about a local guy who lost his dream home when the interest rate on his mortgage surged and his tree removal business tanked (see video on right). I was getting some footage of him and his crew cutting trees, when he decided I should drive heavy machinery around his client’s yard. He started the Bobcat, showed me the controls, then said “have fun” and left. Later he had me rev up an industrial chainsaw so I could feel the torque and sent me home with a stack of wood so I could start a fire.

My man-stock soared several hundred points that day.

Tomorrow, I think I might sit down and scrapbook the entire event!

This blog has slipped into recession

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 by mikehixenbaugh

We took a one-month vacation. Blogging is tough work. Especially when the main blog author spends the majority of his non-leisure life writing. But check out the new video panel on the right to see what I’ve been up to —->>>>

Some of the higher-ups at work have been upset with this series of stories I’ve been working on titled “Faces of the Recession.” Check it out if you get a chance. I’ve written stories about a rehab home shutting down, an upscale sandwich joint closing, a woman who lost her “domestic partner” and might lose her home, and a logger whose dream retirement home went into foreclosure this year.

Anyway, my bosses’ boss thinks the series might be too negative. My editor said to keep up the good work.

Right. Otherwise, life is great in the NC. When I get a moment this weekend, I’ll update ya’ll in more detail. Crazy stuff happens in our lives.

For example, I drove a bobcat yesterday. And today an eye doctor asked me if my “mom and dad” had helped me pick out my new glasses.

And earlier this week, my teacher wife made a kid pee his pants.

Good times.