House

Further proof that I am beyond ridiculous with this Redfin stuff

It was another pointless afternoon of Open Housing and I've decided to share my confusing, non-linear, nonsensical, possibly idiotic Thoughts On Finding Our New Place To Live. What else is a blog for if not to bore your readers to death with talk of square footage and updated bathrooms!

We are not looking to actively buy a house right this second. That's not to say that if we found The House, we would not move heaven and earth to make it ours. It's just that I am beginning to understand that The House probably doesn't exist, and we are now in the position of figuring out the next best option. Which is incredibly confusing.

First I should say that The House does too exist, we just can't afford it. Not even with all the price drops. It used to be a Galaxy away from our price range, now it's more like a Solar System. And my best way of describing The House is: a completely gutted and overhauled early 1900s Seattle craftsman, in one of a handful of neighborhoods that are close to our church, close to our friends, close to a handful of schools I'm told are half decent, within walking distance of libraries and parks and coffee shops, and - here's the kicker - with four bedrooms. ALAS. The House exists, but not in our price range. The price range buys us a NOT totally remodeled house, but we are not Fixer Uppers and lack the funds to hire contractors, buy a new Ikea kitchen, finish the basement, etc. The price range gets us a two bedroom house with a finished basement or a den or a teeny tiny third bedroom, but I'm terrified of buying a house that will feel too small six months after we move in. And the price range gets us a ginormous house WAY FAR AWAY, which, despite my growing love of browsing floor plans, I am not ready to do either. 

So we are looking at the options. We are looking everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. Holla West Seattle! Shoreline! Seward Park! Places I originally vetoed, but now think: but maybe it could work? We looked at new construction far away but near a main artery. We looked at old old old and in the middle of town. We looked at houses in parts of town we've only seen on maps. The research we're doing now isn't pointless, if only to cement the fact that we're not going to get it all, and we'll have to figure out what the deal breakers are. 

Today, for example, we saw two old houses, the kind that I love. The style, the charm, the character, the porches and trim and hardwoods and SIGH, ADORABLE. Except that MAN are those suckers creaky and dusty and the built in drawers stick and the bathrooms are cramped and there's wood paneling in unfortunate places and the basement ceilings are low and that fourth bedroom is only a sorry excuse for a fourth bedroom. So today I feel like, unless prices drop considerably lower, we are not going to swing the Old Seattle Craftsman I love so much. Today I feel like Space and Not Fixing Anything Up are much bigger priorities. 

But then we also saw an affordable, brand new gigando house. Not necessarily in the suburbs and actually a decent ways away from the city, but in a neighborhood that was SO subdivisiony and not within walking distance of anything fun and I couldn't see us doing that either. Not right now. 

Somewhere in the middle is a mid-century house in one of my not-as-favorite neighborhoods. It's got the space, the yard, the close to the city. It's within walking distance of some things, but not anything really awesome, and the neighborhood isn't very cute and the house itself is kind of ugly and yeah it's at a price where we could spend a little more to update some things, but it'd still be The House I Don't Particularly Love. And because I'm not in any rush and I don't have to settle, I'm not willing to go there. Not yet. 

So I don't know. It's so hard to figure out what we want. All these realtors see us traipse into their houses and then want to know who we're working with and what we're looking for and the answers to those questions are 1) not you and 2) WE HAVE NO IDEA. We are researching researching researching. That's all. 

Sometimes all I want is four bedrooms upstairs with an office for Phillip and a formal dining room and a breakfast nook and a huge backyard and a fancy bathroom and a play area and an excellent school district and those days I totally don't care about the stupid city, who wants to live in the CITY, who wants a Thai restaurant on the corner?! 

Sometimes all I want is to live in Such and Such Neighborhood and have kids who know the bus system and walk to the Catholic school because the public school is so terrible and go on dates with my husband to the Thai restaurant on the corner and decide how to finish the ancient basement and enjoy my peekaboo view of downtown and those days I cannot imagine driving more than two minutes to get to a grocery store or a half hour to visit a friend. 

Sometimes I look at school ratings online and panic, because the public schools don't seem so awesome and Catholic schools seem too expensive when we're also paying a city-house mortgage and we HAVE to move out. Sometimes I think that's what's obviously best for our kids, so what am I even doing entertaining living in The School District Everyone Knows Is Rotten? 

Sometimes I think about how our priest says they have yet to turn away anyone who can't pay for school and there are ways to work around it and I'd like to send them to Catholic school no matter WHAT, I mean if we're talking IDEALLY, and everyone has nice things to say about nearly ALL the Catholic schools and maybe it's NOT the worst thing to stay in the city. 

Then I think about holidays and I want the huge house again. No wait, I want the huge house in the great neighborhood and yes we'll have to update the kitchen and the plumbing, but we'll be there FOREVER so we can wait on that and it'll be WORTH it and ---

OMG MAKE IT STOP. This is getting ridiculous. I have to go to a volleyball game. Pray for my knees. BYE.


If you can figure out what this is about you get a pony

In one and a half weeks of 75% Throttle Potty Training, Molly has informed me that she needs to go potty BEFORE she actually GOES potty exactly, oh, NONE TIMES. If I am taking her to sit on the potty, by which I mean bribing her to sit on the potty, every fifteen to twenty minutes, all is well. She goes. No one has to do any laundry or Resolve a carpet. Everyone is happy. And she'll go anywhere, even if you don't have a sticker or a cookie in your purse. But if I have to make dinner? Or I forget? Or it just doesn't cross my mind in time? Yeah. Laundry. Moaning and groaning. A cheery little girl with wet pants chirping, "I go POTTY Mommy!" 

So my question to you is: do I keep going? Or do I go back to diapers and try again later? If you suggest I go 100% Full Speed Potty Training Ahead, then I will suggest that you haven't been reading that long and have yet to understand the true depths of my laziness. In other words: 100% for longer than, say, an afternoon, is unlikely to happen. I'M JUST BEING HONEST. We have to leave the house on occasion! And I often get sucked into the internet and forget where I AM!

Okay. Whatever. That's out of my system. Now I will tell you about how we drove to The Suburbs tonight to check out a Ginormous House that costs the same as a two bedroom hovel in my current neighborhood AND IT WASN'T THERE. Either the address is wrong or it hasn't been built yet or SOMETHING. But it was annoying. If I'm going to Hem and Haw over Ginormous Brand New House vs. Living In The City And Being My Most Authentic Self, I need tangible evidence for both realities. BAH. 

And you are saying to yourselves: wait, her lease isn't up till APRIL! And they were going to wait until Phillip was done with school! And decide on a neighborhood THEN! But I say to you: YOU try not refreshing Redfin every hour when you are in the position of Picking Anywhere You Want For Your New Place To Live. 

Oh, let's not go there either, that is one enormous post, no, a SERIES of enormous posts that I am disinclined to write at the moment. Most of my energies are currently being tasked with Not Microwaving The Microwave Popcorn because (EYE ROLL) I reverted back to the South Beach Diet at the beginning of the week and mini bag 100 calorie popcorn, which is only one Weight Watcher point, is not allowed if you are low carbing it. LAME. But you know what? I've already lost two pounds this week and Weight Watchers points can suck it. 

No, let's divert my energies to explaining what I think is My Weight Loss Rule of Thumb, which is: Stop Cramming So Much In Your Mouth For The Love of Grilled Cheese. Because DUDE. Just because the brownies were made with whole wheat flour and applesauce does not mean you are allowed to eat the entire pan. (WHICH I DID. THAT ONE TIME. FOR SERIOUS.)

SO ANYWAY. TECHNICALLY I've been doing Weight Watchers in my attempts to Maintain, but whatever, I am just breezing over those point values and paying for features I never use and blah blah blah. So I cancelled my account and dug out my South Beach book and TWO POUNDS, people. But it's not because Weight Watchers = doesn't work and South Beach = works, it's because 1) you gain weight when you eat too much and 2) the only things I really eat too much of are BREAD and COOKIES. I did my best with the cookies, but you may have heard my endeavors with baking bread this summer. YEEEEEEEAH. (Oh, also pasta. Pasta is low fat! Eat a lot! Wait! Not THAT much! Hey! Slow down! Aaaaauuuggghhh!)

I have a feeling this post would be a lot more interesting and coherent if I'd actually seen the house I was interested in tonight. LAME.

No really. Would you still love me if I moved to the suburbs? Mom? Anyone? SIGH.


It occurs to me, too late, that this party would be greatly improved by mimosas

My contacts are sticking to my eyes. Don't you hate that? It used to be nightly torture until I started using this. [Dudes, that link is so against Blog Policy. I do not shill. And yet! I highly recommend!] ANYWAY. Now my contacts only stick to my eyes and blind me at night when I am Flat Out Exhausted. LIKE NOW. I just cut up a pineapple, a canteloupe, two bricks of cheese and hacked up an entire vine of grapes. I've made a list of all the bakey things I must accomplish in the morning, I've laid out all the appropriate dishes, I came up with an Activity for the preschool/toddler set and I've decided who will eat where, kind of an important detail for having a party in my strange little house. And that was just the last two hours! You have no idea what all I did during nap time! 

I love having people over. I really really do. So why don't I start preparing and planning BEFORE the night-before-the-party? Honestly. People have been asking me if I have a THEME or how I'll DECORATE and yes, I may have written a doughnut birthday party post for Style Lush but you KNOW I just had to come up with Post Material, right? 

When my in-laws came over this afternoon I dashed to the mall to figure out what I was going to do for napkins and plates and decorations. I had NO IDEAS. There are no doughnut-themed napkins/plates/decor, in case you are wondering. Cupcakes - yes. Princesses and fairies and Hello Kitty (that was last year) and endless Nick Jr. characters - yes. Doughnuts - no. So. Hmm. 

When it comes to Themes or Decor or whatever, I rarely sit at home and decide that the baby shower I'm throwing will have an aqua and orange color scheme, with onesies pinned to the mantel and baby bottles as flower vases. No, I'm usually out in Target or wherever and I see orange napkins sitting next to the aqua napkins and I think THAT'S IT. 

So I'm in this cute little kitchen store at the mall and I'm looking at these super cute oilcloth tablecloths which OHMYSTARS cost seventy dollars and I think: but I have a table runner that looks almost EXACTLY like this! And that's when I decided I didn't need matching paper plates and napkins and blah blah blah, I have everything I need at home and SCREW YOU seventy dollar tablecloth! 

Now that the decisions have been made, the food as prepared as it can be the night before, and all the friends who've offered to help politely turned down (oh, except for the friend who is BRINGING THE DOUGHNUTS, the one and only link to my original Doughnut Birthday Party Idea, GAH), I'm in the This Party Is Probably Going To Suck Stage. Ah, the small and ridiculous miseries of the girl who owns twenty-seven different sets of place mats, candlesticks, napkin rings and champagne glasses. 

Keep in mind this is a glorified PLAYDATE. With TWO-YEAR-OLDS. We have not invited the Queen. These are people we see all the time, who come over all the time, who have been to numerous soirees at the Cheung house, who have seen this particular table runner at least ten times. AND YET. I am still worried that it will be a Lame Time. A Lame Time can be divided into sub-worries, as follows: 

  • not enough food
  • awkward seating arrangements 
  • no one eating the food
  • accidental destruction of the food by the hostess, ie: burning, dropping, forgetting key ingredient
  • children not going along with my timeline
  • children hating my Planned Activity
  • food tasting terrible

The other night our good friend came by for dessert and I was all flustered, in AUGUST, about whether or not I should have a Christmas party, and I made our poor friend fall all over himself assuring me that our Christmas party is certainly not the MOST lame social event he attends during the year. I am a piece of work, you guys. 

And then we're doing this all again on Saturday, only for family and at dinnertime and somehow that feels different. I am not worried about THEM. It's a compliment, even though it doesn't sound like it. 

When I look at houses online, the first thing I look at is square footage, then I want to see what the living/dining/kitchen areas look like. If I can't picture my entire family there for Christmas, if I can't picture a dinner party with two or three other families, if I can't picture summer barbecues or a murder mystery party or a book club or the neighbors or, yes, a future Blathering, it's out. OUT! I love our old rental house, I really do. If it were mine I'd completely remodel the downstairs bathroom, I'd buy new appliances, I'd get a new front door and take a backhoe to the yard and figure out why the kitchen floor slopes down in the southeast corner, but it would never BE mine, even if it were a possibility, because: THERE IS NO DINING ROOM. And that kills me. I can live with it for a year, maybe a year and a few months, but my future as-forever-as-it-can-be house will! have! a dining room! 

Of course, even if we had a dining room I would still be worried about the stupid PARTY. Wait - GLORIFIED PLAYDATE. 

And you know what all this fretting over food and dishes and decor means, right? That the kitchen floor, not to mention both bathrooms, have been completely neglected. That's just a small warning for those of you coming over tomorrow morning. Maybe you'll want to make an extra stop at your own bathroom before you head out to the car. I'm just saying. 


Oh goody, another week is starting

Well, it's always uncomfortable when one of your real life besties calls you because she read on the blog that you aren't doing well. I mean, normally I'm the Champion of Blogging and all that, but such a circumstance really does put a socially awkward lonely-girl-in-her-underwear-in-the-dark-with-her-laptop spin on things. Especially when you tell your friend, "Oh, I just write it out and then I feel much better! The end! Or at least until we go out for a restorative cocktail because I haven't seen you in weeks AND I NEED HUMAN INTERACTION." 

ANYWAY. 

How was YOUR weekend? Mine was weird. As I briefly alluded last week I got all bee in my bonnety about a house - new construction in our price range, we must be dreaming. So we drove down there on Saturday, but not before I googled the everloving you know what out of the house, the builder, the area, the amenities. I did my homework, people. And by the time I finished I was convinced that if only the house was the right kind of house, we would be breaking our lease and moving. 

Well, I TOLD myself that that was ridiculous, do not get emotionally invested, you are so bad at these things, YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF INTO TROUBLE. So it was probably a good thing that it was not the right kind of house. It was a pretty house, brand new, and prewired for surround sound so that I would never have to argue with Phillip about exposed speaker wire again in my life, but... no. These houses were SO squished together. There was no yard whatsoever. And yes, one of them looked out on a huge park with a huge playground, but even then, NO YARD. Barely enough patio for a tiny table. 

There were other Slightly Wrong things about the house and the neighborhood, so I drove home not so much disappointed as annoyed with myself for wasting so much time. Everyone I've talked to about this says that I'm not wasting time, I'm just doing research so I'll be super informed when we do find The Right House, but whatever. My "research" always comes with a huge helping of "neuroses". ANNOYING. 

Then YESTERDAY we went back to the exact same area and looked at another house, only this one was about three hundred years old. I have to say, if we were the types who liked to flip or work on houses, this one would have been awesome. It was GRAND, you know? But no, we are not those types. AT ALL.

Blah blah blah new house SNORE.

It also just occurred to me that Molly turns two on Wednesday. Her kid party is Tuesday, her family party is on Saturday. That's TWO PARTIES. I am a big fan of party-throwing, but 1) it's going to rain on Kid Party Day and 2) this house has nowhere to eat. We crammed our table into the kitchen and it works for just our family (or two kids visiting for a playdate) but other than that it's a little... tight. I've already warned a few partygoers that I plan to put newspaper down in the playroom, maybe a tarp? I'll put out the pan of mac and cheese, hand out spoons, lock the door and then go upstairs to drink mimosas with the mothers. I THINK this will work. I THINK it could be an excellent way to spend a morning. I THINK.

IN OTHER NEWS. When you start a writing group? You sort of have to WRITE STUFF. And if you are in CHARGE of said writing group and you tell everyone the assignment is due Friday, it looks really bad if you don't turn it in until very late Sunday night. I'm just saying that maybe this wasn't such a great idea. 

Oh, and remember when I bought Molly underpants? It appears that underpants signaled the end of Potty Training Interest. I am trying to care. 

HAPPY MONDAY!


The color of this blog post is Shipwreck Gray

Molly woke us up, right on time, at 4:30 am. I was rudely awakened from a dream about the Blathering. I'd brought two real-life not-blogger friends with me and was SUPER ANNOYED with them the whole time, for being extra clingy and shy and I was all, "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, I SEE THEM ONCE A YEAR, BUZZ OFF." I think I am much nicer than that in person. (Oh, AND we brought our kids, which, NO.) (AND AB Chao was there. I don't know. I'm a dork.)

And then, when I was really and truly good and awake, I couldn't go back to sleep because I was obsessing over these houses I found last night. Big, beautiful, new construction, affordable. (This is not a dream.) But what would it be like to move pretty far across town? To not randomly get together with friends? To go to a different church? To live in what is pretty much a development (albeit a small one) in an area that is mostly definitely in the process of gentrification? To give up my cutesy stores and trendy cupcake shops and walkability? To have a completely different city experience? It was very stressful and I never went back to sleep. 

I loved your stories. I wish you would write more. The best thing is that my story is rural - or, at least, much more rural than I ever have personally experienced. I am making it up as I go, but it helps to hear the real life stuff. Fortunately I have the drinking in the back of pickup trucks totally down. 

Also, I am super glad to hear I am not the only one who missed out on the party scene. It was a little different in my high school, but I've sort of stopped feeling like missing out was a bad thing. More an "oh thank GOD" thing. 

Last week I randomly applied for a freelance writing job which, judging from several factors I won't explain here, I'm 99.9% sure I didn't get. This is totally bumming me out. Kind of a lot. Ugh. 

It's just been a weird week you guys. Hard and sort of dark around the edges. I can tell I haven't been doing that great, because I want to stay home and crawl into myself the same way the kids want to stay home and inside and smear Play Doh into the carpet. Usually I'm all gung ho to see friends and get out and attack this and do that! But last night I had an opportunity to go play volleyball and I went, even though I didn't really feel like it. And then, when it turned out the gym was closed for some reason and everyone decided to relocate to a park, because THEY are all friends and THEY all want to spend time together, I ditched. I guess so I could go home and obsess about houses I won't buy on the internet. 

I need my routine back, I really do. Sometimes I think I need that schedule more than the kids. I want to get all jazzed up for my weekend and get back on track and ready for next week which includes TWO BIRTHDAY PARTIES. But I kind of feel like next week will be just like this week and before I know it Phillip will be back in school and that will just be... it. 

I tried to catch up on Mad Men last night. Maybe that's why I'm all doom and gloom. 

In other news, I bought Molly some underpants. I thought this would be a fun thing, you know. Letting her pick out her own? But OH THE DRAMA. Because she wanted MICKEY Mouse not MINNIE. And then she wanted Thomas. Get these Disney princesses away from her! And I was standing in the middle of Target trying to talk myself into buying my little girl BOY underwear (THERE IS A DIFFERENCE) but then (THANK GOD) we saw Ni Hao Kai Lan underpants on the opposite side of the aisle and peace was found. She's still verrrry interested in the Potty Process, but it finally dawned on me that I can't just ask her if she needs to go. I have to stick her on every twenty minutes, regardless of what she says. I know this is common sense for most of you, but see: six months to train Jack. Sigh. I'm getting bummed out again.

Anyway. Go find something cheerier to read. Off you go!


And we haven't even listed it yet, folks

It was one of those Sunday mornings when I wonder why I bother going to church. Even though the kids slept later than they have all week (six thirty!) (I KNOW!) one of them (MOLLY) was in A Mood and spent at least 75% of the Mass in the vestibule with one of her parents. We've known Molly to be a particular, demanding sort, ever since we brought her home from the hospital. We've always told each other that she'll be A Handful when she's older. At almost eighteen months she is crazy adorable and shmoopy cute, but if she throws her pacifier (or a crayon, or a coloring book, or a BOARD book, or the pocketbook of the innocent lady sitting next to us) in a display of How Dare You Tell ME What To Do! I am signing her up for permanent residence in the vestibule janitor's closet. 

And afterwards we dashed back to the house for ANOTHER realtor visit. 

(Oh wait. First Phillip took Jack to coffee hour to snag a doughnut, because JACK was an ANGEL, I KNOW, and I threw four dollars at the high school student selling fundraiser candy bars because obvs I NEEDED CANDY.)

So I ran upstairs and threw on my volleyball clothes (I'm playing again! And this time I'm, like, the third tallest person on the team! Which means they expect me to hit! Which is CRAZY TALK!) and then scurried around picking up toys and emptying trash and picking up more toys and wiping counters and picking up THOUSANDS OF TOYS and stuffing the unattractive pile of too small clothes next to the crib to a more invisible spot UNDER the crib. Phillip is all, "Um, it's just an agent coming over. Is it okay to dirty a dish for lunch?"

I loved our Original Agent, but when we called to ask more questions, he was on vacation. I know! Harrumph. And while we waited for him to return, we researched Redfin. And then a friend of mine recommended another internet-based agency, which I am not quite prepared to share here since we're still undecided. So that agent came out today and again, I loved her. Meet me and my compulsion to hope that everyone I meet will be my BFF, especially if they are wearing cute sweaters and awesome boots like today's agent. 

And we STILL don't know what we're going to do. Today's agent told us that our house would most likely end up selling for exactly what we paid for it. Which, quite honestly, would be FINE, if it weren't for pesky items like commissions and taxes and closing costs. Her listing price recommendation was similar to Original Agent, but her opinion on actual selling price was lower than we'd like to go and that has thrown us into yet Another Tizzy. GAH.

These conversations are hard for me because I am not (blawg spoiler!) a very rational person when it comes to stuff like this. I don't often make Big Life Decisions based on REASON. (Again with the INFJ!) I feel like we have made the decision to sell, I have crossed that emotional and mental line, so let's just DO IT. We are not going to get all of our down payment back, but we probably won't get it all back if we wait another year. And how long do we want to live in this house? NOT LONG! 

Phillip, on the other hand, is Mr. Super Rational and has a fancy spreadsheet to support his annoying rationality. How do I argue with the numbers? I can't. And I don't really want to. I WANT to be a grown up. But it's hard when I feel like WE'VE ALREADY DECIDED. 

The one thing that Rational Phillip agrees with is that things might not change (or not change much) between now and next year. A totally reasonable point to consider, yes?

The good news is that Original Agent "wants to work with us" which we think is code for "commission is negotiable". He's coming over tomorrow night (when Phillip's parents are here with the kids, and how is THAT going to go I wonder?) and Phillip will bust out the fancy spreadsheet and I will want to die like I always do when anything resembling Bargaining and/or Haggling is involved. 

I'm not THAT stressed about it - yet. I'm stressed about not having a DECISION. I hate limbo of any kind and it's completely irritating to me that I have to wait yet another 24 hours and even THEN we might not be decided. I think my big fear at this point is that we'll realize we can't sell (AGAIN) and I will feel stupid on the internet (AGAIN) and in front of all the people I've told that we're selling our house (AGAIN) because of course THIS is the thing to be fearful about. LOOKING STUPID. 

I am getting awfully teary about leaving this house, BUT I WANT TO LEAVE. I am ready to do this. I want it to happen. I want the money stuff to work out. I am tired of thinking about it. I want to go to the part where I am hating the world because the world wants to look at my house during nap time. Well, ideally, I want to go to the part where I am all moved into to my super cute rental house with three bedrooms and a fenced backyard and a library down the street, but I'm trying to be realistic here. And if this post has taught us anything, it's that REALISTIC IS HARD FOR ME. 


If I can't fret about this, I'll fret about that

So you know that four-day business trip I was all "Ack!" about a few days ago? Canceled! Now that's what I call a big waste of FRET. 

Bummer for Phillip but good news for me, right? Definitely. Except I am now wondering what to do with all the fun plans I rushed out and made while in the throes of feeling sorry for myself. And by "rushed out and made" I mean "conned my friends into thinking up and doing for me". Can I still keep those? What about the I'm Going To Be Alone For Four Nights, I Don't Need To Cook Dinner, Why Don't I Just Eat This Giant Bag Of Leftover Valentine Candy plan?

I wrote about staging my kitchen at Style Lush today and DUDE. People have IDEAS. I wouldn't say I am a TOTAL idiot about prettying up my house, but it's not something I feel like I have any IDEAS about. I know what I like when I see it, but I'm definitely lacking in the Things That Would Look Nice In This Spot department, hence the "blegging". (Shut up. I love that word.) 

Anyway. There were a lot of ideas and I'm a little bit overwhelmed. I went to Target this afternoon and bought a giant jar with hopes of filling it with colorful candy (THAT I WILL NOT EAT) because it was my favorite suggestion. But then, when I set it up (candy-less) in the corner I got all second guessy. The other ideas were all so good! And doesn't this giant jar of candy thing perpetuate my questionable "style", which I classify as Primary Colors Threw Up All Over My Living Room? I'm not a sophisticated, grown up, Pottery Barn kind of housewares purchaser and isn't that what your house is supposed to look like when it's staged? 

(This is a lot of what I meant to do while Phillip was gone. Clear out and set up my house in preparation for putting it on the market. Now I'm going to have to do all this Neurotic Insecure Freakout stuff in front of Phillip. Phillip: "What's new?")

AAAAAAAAANYWAY. Not that this is even IMPORTANT right now, since when Phillip called the realtor yesterday HE WAS ON VACATION. I mean, how dare he?! Fired! 

Actually, we just felt like we should talk to him first before we leap on over to Redfin. I would really really really like to have a Real Agent. I know we could do it without one, and I think Redfin is an awesome option, but with Phillip's head either in schoolwork or work work, I just really feel like I need a lot of hand holding. It will be fine either way, I know it will, but if there's a chance he'll work with us, I want that option. 

And I wonder how firm we are - I mean, we haven't settled on a price, we don't really know what all we have to do to make it official... I'm nervous we'll discover another piece of this process and have to decide all over again. I'm getting all sniffly about our house - we brought our BABIES to this house! - and sad about potentially giving up the awesome location and awesome neighbors and waaaahhhh HOW RIDICULOUS CAN I GET?

Apparently a lot - I am staging my house before we've even figured out how to put it on the market! Woo!

Also, for those of you who are all, "Her stupid house AGAIN? But I only visit this lame-o blog to hear her whine about her KIDS!" I am whining at Parenting, of course. In summary: when do you take away the pacifier?


At least I'll be busy

I forgot one thing: Morgan S! You win my bag of Chinese New Year goodies! LUCKY YOU! Now if you'll email me your address I'll make sure Jack doesn't eat ALL the Pocky...

IN OTHER NEWS

1. We have decided to put our house on the market. You can't see it from your computer, but I am barfing into the trash can over here. 

2. Phillip is going on a business trip next week. A real! live! business trip! Monday morning to Thursday night! Who wants to come over and babysit me?

Okay, before I get into all that I have to see if there are any good Olympics on. Oh yes, MORE figure skating. And just so you know, I QUITE enjoy figure skating and I do NOT root for them to fall nor do I get any ENJOYMENT out of the falling. I get all my enjoyment out of the OUTFITS. Also: the snippy incomprehensible commentating. 

Back when we were Young Marrieds and I was realizing that one of us was Rather Into His Work and one of us thought of her paycheck as something to fund thrice-yearly trips to Europe, I freaked out a tiny bit. Some of the jobs Phillip was interested in were, like, TRAVELING jobs. And I would stand atop the coffee table and throw out my arms and shout about how if I wanted to marry someone who was never home I would have broken into the barracks on one of my trips home to visit my parents and shacked up with an airman because you KNOW he was getting shipped off to Iraq and BLAH BLAH BLAH. 

I just don't LIKE to be away from Phillip. Ever! I think it has happened exactly four times: once when I went to visit my dad in San Antonio when he was helping arrange my aunt's cancer treatment, once when I went to visit my new nephew, once when I went on a girls' wine tasting weekend with friends (and he flew to Boston to hang out with HIS friends) and once when I went to Sacramento to hang out with a bunch of BLOGGERS. I guess four times isn't exactly NEVER, but still, they were big deals. I had to seriously talk myself into leaving my husband every time. I DON'T LIKE IT. 

I think Phillip got it, because usually he just acts like I'm a moron if I'm being moronic about something, but I guess the, ah, sincerity in my voice was affecting since he just shut up and agreed. 

But fast forward six years and here I am, IT and Grad School Widow, exceptionally grateful that at least ONE of us was rather into his work. And when he timidly mentioned there was an opportunity... well, what am I going to say? NO, IF YOU DON'T PUT THE KIDS TO BED EVERY NIGHT WHO IS GOING TO DEAL WITH THE NIGHTTIME POOPING?

There was also the little issue of a trip to Chicago in November, about which he gave me no hassle whatsoever. WHATEVER.

I love what I do and I want Phillip to love what he does. And if that means flying to Headquarters and meeting with Bigwigs and staying in a hotel all by himself, FINE. I'm not going to complain about it either. I am just letting you KNOW. Phillip is going away for four days, but no worries, I have plenty to do - we have an awful lot of marks on the walls that need painting over. 


Did I forget to mention the sequins?

Phillip and I are splitting the rest of what's in the vodka bottle and watching the Olympics. I think there is figure skating? I half watch this stuff and Phillip is channel surfing anyway. We are both wondering why there are no Olympics on Canada TV. (That's how I think of it: Canada TV.) Also! The kids are singing to each other upstairs - so much for the curtain.

Oh yes. Ice dancing. Snore.

We threw a party Saturday night: sequins, poker chips, gin. I think my favorite part was turning our garage (!) into a speakeasy card room, with blacked over walls and Christmas lights strung across the garage door rails. I think a good time was had? Props to my new brother-in-law who appears to have missed his calling in the casino industry. Without him, the rest of us would have stood stupidly around the craps table scratching our chins. I talked Phillip and two other friends into "working" the other games so all I had to do was walk around in my sequin dress, drinking my g & t and passing out extra chips to anyone looking especially desperate.

Phillip just said, "No one's falling," in a very disappointed voice. 

But I think I'm not going to send real invitations anymore. No one RSVPs and because I am who I am, I go around in a Neurotic Funk for weeks, worried that 1) no one is going to come and 2) no one wants to come. WOE. It's stupid, because I have a fabulous group of committed Party Attendees who always show up AND dress the part AND rent 'The Sting' in preparation for calling fake horse races. It shouldn't bum me out, but it does. 

Phillip just asked, "Could we participate in a competitive sport together?" The answer, we agree, is OMG ARE YOU KIDDING.

So I give up. You win, Evite.

Phillip just looked over my shoulder and said, "That wasn't ice dancing. Ice dancing is when there's no jumping at all, so there are even fewer opportunities to fall. Ice dancing would be: 'SNOORRRRRRRRRRRE'." 

Pairs skating? Is that what it is? WHATEVER. Okay, now we're watching skiers going over those little bumpy things. MUCH more interesting. MUCH more falling. We are happy. 

Anyway, we had flappers galore, a cop, homemade spats and mustaches grown especially for the occasion. I wore a sequin dress with a sequin headband. Phillip piped a 20s and 30s music station he found online into the garage. You can drum up a surprising amount of excitement for a "horse race" run by Jack's plastic barnyard animals. There are, as per usual, no pictures of Phillip and none of us together. And I still don't know how to play craps. 

There's always next year!

And you know what we did today? With the kids gone? For Valentine's Day? We drove around town dropping into open houses. Because, you know, there's nothing like ramping up your House Fever with open houses when you're still deciding whether or not you can sell your CURRENT house and have ALREADY decided you are not going to BUY for at LEAST another YEAR. 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? (We needed to finish off the vodka, OBVS.)

Oh, AND! We are ALL! SICK! Before I sign off, do I have any other tales of woe? OH! I DO! You will have to wait until tomorrow for THAT whinefest, but I'll give you a hint. It involves the dreaded phrase, "Business Trip." YIPPY SKIPPY!


Now that we know THAT won't work...

Okay, so, the house. Let's tackle that one. 

If you didn't catch it (AND WHY DIDN'T YOU?) I wrote about what happened when the real estate agent came to my house last week. It's embarrassing. Go read it. I'll wait. 

Back? Shaking your head at me? Alrighty then.

If we sell our house at the top of the agent's recommended price range, we will lose about $20K. Not an insignificant amount. So here are the options, as we see them:

  • Price our house higher. I vote no. All this means to me is that our house will be on the market for God knows how long, maybe it won't even sell, and that is something I cannot handle. We could try it and "see what happens!" like everyone keeps saying, but I can't do that for very long. So no. I could price it a teeny bit higher, but not as high as we'd need to go to break even.  
  • Negotiate commissions. I don't like this. I am fully aware that this is because of my Nice Girl tendencies, which, I admit, do not always serve me well. It drives Phillip around the bend that I am so icked out by the thought, but I pointed out that even if we negotiated our agent down to zero, we still wouldn't break even. So that's out. It also means we can't sell by ourselves or use Redfin, since we'd still have to pay another agent's commission (right?)
  • Rent the house. Ummmm. I was super duper extremely against this idea, which came up long before we ever talked about selling. I don't have any particular rational reason for this, except that it sounds like great way to make my life more complicated. Do I want to be a landlord? What if our renters mess up the house? What if we have to fix stuff all the time? What if they don't pay rent? I am LAZY. I want a CLEAN BREAK. However, I'm more open to it this time around, especially since, after a bit of Google research, it looks like we could get what we want (or more) in rent. Also, Phillip's dad has a lot of experience in the landlord department and with him in the mix I wouldn't feel so blind going into a rental situation.
  • Staying put. This is probably what we'll end up doing. Phillip and I are spectacularly awesome at maintaining the status quo.

On one hand, I feel fine about the whole thing. If I haven't made it abundantly clear, I really love this house and I really love how close it is to absolutely everywhere I want to be. I'm kind of in the middle of all the people I like to see, I can walk to the lake, it takes me two minutes to get anywhere and we're right on an easy and quick busline - a big deal when you're dying for your husband to get home at night. I have been thinking (A LOT) about the kids' sleeping situations and my options for musical beds. It's nap time that worries me - Molly can't sleep in the pack 'n play in my bedroom forever, and one of these days Jack will stop taking an afternoon nap - but I have an idea or two. Nothing perfect, but things that could work. I have to figure out what to do about storage, but I have an imagination and I can put it to work! I'm even realizing that a small living space hasn't ever stopped me from having company. Yes, it's frustrating to have friends for dinner and the kids are practically playing under the table, but we still have parties and people for holidays. It's tight, but it works. 

That's the mantra - it will work. 

On the other hand, I'm nervous. I'd gotten kind of used to the idea of living in a rental and taking my sweet time to find The Next Perfect House. Where I wouldn't have to worry about timing closing dates or having to live with our parents for a week or two while we're in between houses. I know that's borrowing a HUGE amount of trouble, but I can't help but think about it. And it's likely we won't break even next year either. We're not stuck here by any means, but it'd be nice to get all our money back, right? 

So... yeah. That's that. 

In this whole process I'm realizing how much easier my life is now that both of my kids are toddlers. Jack will be three in May and Molly is walking and going up and down stairs by herself. They eat the same food, they play with the same toys, they use the same cups, they even fit into the same size diaper (in a pinch!) They're not on the same sleeping track, but putting them down at night is getting a lot easier - we're able to put them down at the same time now. I feel really grateful for this, and that I can see it and know that we can stay in this house. If we got pregnant again we'd have to move. Immediately. We could put a third baby in our closet, but I'm pretty sure Phillip and I would book ourselves into the crazy bin before it came to that. 

Any thoughts on renting out your house?