Project Buy A House

More house. This time with a winner. (We think.)

You know you think you may have found The House when you open up your laptop in the morning and see that your husband has been shopping for Giant Televisions. 

Last night's house tour did not quite go as planned, but was pretty exciting anyway. The thing was, we saw a 3300 sf house built in the 80s before going to my top choice house, 2600 sf built in 1947. With a large chunk of that square footage down in a basement with poor light and leopard print carpet. It looked... a little different. 

For one thing, it was abundantly clear how 1) old and 2) need of fixing up it was. I mean, I LIKE old houses and none of the fixing up was crucial. But it was so clear how much work would need to be done to get it all NICE one day, and after seeing the newer house it was a little bit overwhelming. 

PLUS, Phillip just did not FIT in that house. I'm not saying he couldn't fit through the doorways (which is what my MOTHER assumed when I said this) but he just... like he probably would have to hunch over in the shower, and two of us in the kitchen would be annoying, and the basement ceilings were lower than I realized. 

For the record, the backyard is still pretty kick ass. 

Rejectedhouse

Please don't sue me, Redfin!

However. The 3300 sf house? RATHER TEMPTING.

The biggest thing it has going for it is space. And I know a lot of people are all, "More to clean!" But for us it means hosting giant parties, having my entire family over for Christmas, having lots of kids over to play, places to KEEP ALL THE TOYS, room for people to stay when they visit, maybe more kids! (JUST JOKING, PHILLIP CHEUNG!) What I'm saying is: we like hosting things. We like being able to offer our space when someone else needs it. It's possibilities and options and flexibility and room to grow. For us it's a big fat huge plus, even if it makes us sound like big fat huge spoiled Americans. 

The other things I like: it's on a very quiet cul-de-sac with lots of trees and other big houses. It's not the fanciest/most expensive and definitely not the oldest/ugliest/cheapest on the street. It has a backyard big enough for a swingset, gardening and a patio, but not so big we have to buy a riding mower. It has ginormous windows and balconies and a giant deck in the back. The living space is super bright and super open. It's got the 80s kitchen and bathrooms, but obviously we don't have to DO anything to use them - it's all cosmetic stuff - and the kitchen has TONS of workspace and floorspace. (It also has a big cabinet with sliding trays/drawers like I had in my townhouse, probably the number one thing I miss!) It's in a better part of the older house's neighborhood - on a quiet neighborly street, but SUPER close to a main drag and the freeway. Also a brand new Safeway. It's also (and this is just something to CONSIDER) within walking distance of a Catholic church and Catholic school. 

The biggest drawback is the layout. There are two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs. It's like a split level where you have to go upstairs to the living space, but NOT like a split level in that you don't go downstairs and the entry way is huge. So I've spent most of my House Considering Time wondering how we would do bedrooms. Because the two bedrooms downstairs have difficulties: one has a door to a patio in the front - cute, but NO WAY am I putting two kids in that room - and the other is in the far back corner of the house. So if we were sleeping upstairs I'd feel like my kid is way far away. Right now of course we could have the master bedroom and put two kids in the definitely large enough second bedroom upstairs, but what about Third Baby. EVENTUALLY Third Baby needs a room. 

Right now the way I've worked this out is: Phillip and I would take the bedroom with a door downstairs. It's just as big, has a bathroom, and is actually a little more private than the bedrooms upstairs. We'd put J and M in the master bedroom and also make that a playroom. And Third Baby could have the second bedroom upstairs, whenever Third Baby gets around to needing it. Years later I see the two girls or two boys sharing, the one boy or one girl with his own room, and later on I won't feel so weird about a kid in that back room. I just think there are different options and we may have to move around as the years go by. Problematic, but not a deal breaker? 

The other thing is this bizarro fireplace that's in the middle of the room. As in, it sticks out two to three feet from the wall, and you can walk around it. I have no idea what you do with that space/wall behind the fireplace. And the chimney goes all the way up, so you have this big wall/post making the back wall of the living room sort of confusing. Right now I see us lining that back wall with bookshelves. Still not a dealbreaker, but definitely weird. 

The bathrooms - one up, one down - have doors into certain bedrooms AND the hallway. So even the master bedroom bathroom upstairs is the bathroom for the whole living space. 

But it has a great dining room, an extra little space on the other side of the kitchen for a breakfast table or toys, a flex space downstairs that'd be great for Phillip's office and my treadmill, and a giant laundry room. 

Except for the layout, all the things we don't like are cosmetic. It's also the most space I've seen in Seattle proper at this price - the same price as the older house. So. 

I'm going to see one more house this morning, mostly to tell my FIL I saw it, and then, barring anything new on the market, we will probably put an offer on the big house. And then hire a painter to get rid of the minty fresh pistachio green the owners slathered all over the living room because WHO WANTS THEIR LIVING ROOM TO BE THE INSIDE OF A TOOTHPASTE TUBE???

I can't believe we "found" a house. I HAVE been praying for a house for TWO YEARS, so it shouldn't be SURPRISING that we found a house when we needed to find a house, but we're still sort of "do we LIKE it or are we talking ourselves into it?" Right now we both think we like it . A lot. 

P.S. I have not forgotten those of you who asked about Disney - just no time to write the email yet!

P.P.S. I wrote about house stuff and SHARING ROOMS OMG at Parenting. It's insane! My kids are sleeping in the same room! It's a HOUSE MIRACLE!


For the three of you who aren't bored out of your minds by now

Do you want more house talk? DO YOU?

First things first: our architect friend came over tonight and after spending God knows how long traipsing around the dark backyard with Phillip finally said, "You only want to do this if you REALLY want to do this. And it sounds like you don't really want to do this." And he was right. We knew that. We had already pretty much decided. But it was still nice to get Professional Affirmation. 

But I've been waking up needing a full body massage because there is just NOTHING OUT THERE we like. Everything is too far away or too old or too expensive. And yes, we've only been serious about this for a few months, but I have been looking for over a year now. I feel pretty familiar with what's out there, what things are going for, and how long a house will last on the market. SIGH.

This morning I met Agent at a house in the LFP (that's a reference for you locals and DUDES, every time I go up there I get lost. EVERY TIME.) It looked nice in the listing but OH. This was the sort of house you take pictures of to put on your blog. Which I would do if my phone pictures weren't so DARK. It was hilarious. It was so outdated, but then downstairs? There was a bar. A full wooden bar, with a carved wooden post in the middle of the room and a giant beam across the wall with a German phrase carved into it and a shelf full of STEINS and... yeah. Not quite what I'm looking for. I don't want my house to come with a Bavarian serving wench. 

But all the other houses? I WOULD LIVE IN. And this is what turned my whole day around. It was just SO NICE to see that there are OPTIONS! Livable workable OPTIONS! The next house was your typical big suburban house on a ginormous lot, right on a creek. Which was pretty cool, I have to say. But it was also in the LFP and I'm not totally SOLD on the LFP. Possibly because of all the getting lost. 

The rest were city houses. One was sort of... grandma-ish. Like, the house was nice, but you could only really see grandchildren hanging out there, not YOUR children. And one house had a view, was really close to my current house, had TONS of space, but it was bank owned which means all the repairs (and there were a lot, plus a butt ugly kitchen remodel) would be on us. 

But the other two... Okay, so I fell in love with one of them. I did. I am trying to be objective about this, because 1) just because I am now in a time crunch, I am not REQUIRED to fall in love with anything and 2) the owners had a sense of style I totally covet and I'm sure that swayed me on the house BUT STILL. It's an older (1947) quirky house, nothing special from the outside (though it has a 2 car attached garage which is a prize in the city). The street seems nice, but has no sidewalks. I was not planning on being impressed. But this house has a great living room, a totally big enough dining room, three bedrooms on the main floor and a gigantic basement with a huge family room, another bedroom and bath, and all these little nooks and crannies that would work for storage and possibly treadmills. And the outside was awesome. It's a two-tiered yard - the first tier is a paved patio with an outdoor fireplace and plenty of room for outdoor dinner parties, the second tier has a SWINGSET, a little path to ride a tricycle on, space for a garden and a shop/potting shed/PERHAPS A WRITING STUDIO.  

The drawbacks - the kitchen and bathrooms are pretty outdated (we're talking turquoise toilets and cabinets similar to the ones in my 1921 house) but TOTALLY livable and doable and I really liked how the current owners created bathroom storage. (And there are THREE bathrooms!) Eventually we'd want to remodel those, but there's no burning need to do it soon. Besides, I kind of like turquoise. Also the neighborhood isn't one of my favorites, but I actually really liked the feel of the street, and it's a half block away from an elementary school. I don't know WHY the idea of walking distance school is so attractive to me, but it just is. Also it's just old. The basement is finished, but not particularly nicely (and you guys, there is LEOPARD PRINT CARPET!) (although I sort of think that's way awesome) and the basement bedroom doesn't get a lot of light and one of the bedrooms upstairs is pretty small... BUT I LIKE IT ANYWAY WANT WANT WANT. 

Okay, then the other house, only a few blocks away, was just huge. Like over 3000 sf huge. HUUUUUGE. And recently remodeled. It had a nice little kitchen and a decent size dining room, but the rest of it was just rooms. Three upstairs, three downstairs, I think there were 4 bathrooms, then a gigantic family room downstairs and 2 little extra rooms, like maybe office and treadmill or something. I don't know. SO MANY ROOMS. The huge drawback with this place is that the yard is pretty nonexistent. There's a sloping patch of grass and that's it. A big nice deck, but after living in our current house with it's fully fenced and awesome back yard, it's hard to think about having barely any yard. OH. And it's currently being rented by 4 or 5 of the most disgusting 20-something men on the planet. Like I would show you pictures, except they'd all be photos of X-rated art. Also big ass televisions, which were in EVERY SINGLE BEDROOM. What the house had going for it was that you could tell it was still a NEWISH and NICE house, even though these guys were TOTAL SLOBS and their rooms SMELLED and I believe an IGUANA was living in one of them. 

Agent opened the door to the, ah, abode of the most offensive roommate and said, "This will be Molly's room!" HAR HAR. Seriously, I'd have to have a priest come in and douse the place with holy water if we bought that one. 

TOMORROW afternoon Phillip, his parents, Agent, myself and two shorties who LOVE open houses will visit my favorite house, then check out a new one that just popped up this afternoon, and then maybe the House of God Knows What They Watch On Those Individual Televisions The Size Of My Bed. 

I don't want to rush into things. At the same time, we have to make a decision EVENTUALLY. Preferably SOON-ish. And things we like do not tend to last long on the market. So. That's where we are tonight. 

And do you know why I'm writing so late? Because I fell asleep in the chair in the living room after barking at Jack to "GO SLEEP ON MY BED IF YOU'RE SO TIRED AND CRABBY". I think he must have done so! Because the next thing I know he's waking me up all whiny-like, and I'm all, "shoot! We better go get Molly" and then I look at the clock to see when I should start making dinner and IT IS SIX-THIRTY. How did that happen?!?! So the kids? Were up till nearly 10. OMG. 

I should tell you how smashingly the room sharing is going. But that just means I'll be up all night with sobbing children. So I won't. 

The End!


House Update, and more Disney than you care to read

I just LOVE that you guys are so ENCOURAGING about what is, I've decided, an Officially Bat@*#$ Crazy Idea! YOU ARE SO CUTE! Well, all of you except my friend Dan down there who was a major downer. First comment on my website and he's gotta be all DEPRECIATION and MARKET VALUE BLAH BLAH BLAH. 

So yeah. It was this Very! Exciting! Thought! and then I woke up with a huge stomachache and a general sense of what-the-hell-are-we-thinking. How did we go from wanting to buy a fixed up turn-key house to considering rehabbing a super quirky 1921 house on a busy street next to a funky duplex and - I forgot to mention this part - a cemetery? HMMM? That said, we're still waiting on our architect friend to drop by and give us some educated opinions, but after talking to our agent last night (who herself was encouraging while also being completely honest and way helpful) I kind of feel like this sort of project is way out of our sphere. It's not just a kitchen remodel, it'd be a WHOLE HOUSE REMODEL. Did I mention that I'm supposed to have a new baby in October? OH YEAH RIGHT.

Anyway. Agent and I are off to see something like 10 houses tomorrow morning and I have kicked the House Prayer into high gear. 

So now I'm going to write about our trip. Because I need to think about something else. Also: MY WEBSITE. 

Disney! The happiest place on earth! I love it, I just love it and I don't care what you say. I will admit, however, that this trip was harder than the first. Here are the reasons why: 

1. Spring Break. At least I THINK the reason it seemed SO VERY CROWDED (compared to our post-Labor Day trip a year and a half ago) was Spring Break and also (I heard) 3 conventions going on in Anaheim. (The Religious Education Congress was staying in our hotel, as evidenced by the giant "Welcome Religious Education Congress! Happy Hour at 2:30!" sign on the wall.) On our first trip we had a relatively easy time riding every ride we wanted, when we wanted. This time we didn't manage Peter Pan or Dumbo or Alice in Wonderland or the tea cups until three days into the trip, our first chance to arrive way super early, and even THEN Peter Pan was mobbed a half hour into opening. Like, an hour long wait. On our previous trip we felt like we had the run of the park for that first hour, so it was a little frustrating. (I should say that Friday, our last day, felt a lot different. Either the crowds were smaller or we were used to it!) 

2. The Weather. I am not COMPLAINING about the weather, which was mostly in the low seventies/high sixties and SUNSHINEY the entire time. But it was in the fifties when we left the hotel in the morning, fairly warm by the time we headed back to the hotel for naps, and chilly again in the evenings. So I was constantly stressed about what everyone was wearing. I know that's the stupidest thing in the world, but I spent a ton of time deciding what everyone was going to wear and what layers we were going to pack in the stroller and whether they'd be warm/cool enough and... yeah, major source of mental exhaustion for me. Our first trip was easy: shorts! And maybe a sweatshirt if we stayed out late. This time I was not at all sorry I packed everything from down vests to sundresses. 

3. Our Hotel. If this had been our first Disneyland hotel experience it would have been just fine. But I was TOTALLY SPOILED by the HoJo's giant kid suite rooms, their fancy spraypark (which we wouldn't have used anyway, but still) and crazy expensive but fully stocked convenience store. Our hotel, the Anabella, was great - separate room with bunk beds, ANOTHER separate room with a daybed and a TV (great for Molly's nap) - but lacking in space over all, with no microwave, no good breakfast eating space, a window that looked right out on the balcony walkway (motel style) and shades that didn't fully close AND curtains that didn't fully close. So you couldn't open the shades and curtains for sunlight, unless you wanted to give the world a full view, but you couldn't close them either to make it nice and dark at night. Annoying. Obvs not the end of the world, and we sort of liked the walk to Disneyland better from the Anabella than from the HoJo (and I'm sure it was cheaper too, have to look), but I had a hard time not letting a few things bug me. 

4. My Children. On our first trip to Disneyland, Jack was TWO and Molly was ONE. Molly wasn't even WALKING. The first thing we discovered in Disneyland this time is that we had a runner on our hands. After the second or third time Molly disappeared on us, we became super vigilant and adamant about hand holding. They also decided to have Opinions, Jack especially. The first two days we couldn't get him to nap, and he was a TOTAL PILL in the afternoons. He kept asking to go to HAWAII. He wanted to go to the BEACH. Like THAT is a proper vacation. What are we doing in this BEAUTIFUL LAND OF MANUFACTURED JOY?!? I lost my patience a few times, I was tempted to give lectures on being ungrateful, I occasionally wondered why we even BOTHERED. Then the last two days he napped freakishly long in the afternoons and was, of course, an Absolute Delight. Cheered and excited by everything, willing to do whatever, totally happy to BE ALIVE. That's more like it. 

ALL OF THAT SAID. I think we had a pretty awesome time. I feel like we did a lot more. Since the kids were older and also slept till nearly five or six in the evening, we stayed out pretty late which meant we got to see some fireworks and the World of Color fountain show, plus hit up some rides with super short lines before closing. Some of their opinions were fun - last time, no one gave a rip if we saw Mickey or not. NOW it was IMPERATIVE. 

They didn't have any parades this time, which was a total bummer (since that's what the kids loved most last time). But we did get to see World of Color which was pretty spectacular, the fireworks, and a handful of live performances around the park. We also did a handful of not-rides: the dream house inside the Innoventions building was pretty interesting for a couple of computer dorks like Phillip and me, and I have to give five stars to Turtle Talk with Crush in DCA. FREAKING AMAZING. It's "live" animation. Seriously. You are having a conversation with Crush. I have no idea how they do that. 

I guess the other thing that was different was food. I made sure to bring a TON of food with us - peanut butter and cereal and juice boxes - but we ended up just dropping a ton of cash on food in the park. I had to think about this for a while, and I think it's because we had a different schedule. We could stay in the park later, so we ended up buying lunch. Of course I could have brought lunch with us, and I did once or twice, but we always supplemented with something snacky from the park. And we ended up eating dinner there nearly every night. Part of it, of course, is that Phillip and I are totally those people who treat ourselves with food, so we are inclined to be spending way too much on things like mid morning snacks anyway. The good thing is that we'd decided ahead of time that it was okay to spend money, that this was Our Vacation and we weren't going to worry too much. 

And I have to say that was the best part. I napped every day, even when Jack didn't. I slept GREAT. When both kids were sleeping Phillip and I just lazed around, and since the internet connection was so horrible we were forced to interact! It was just SO NICE to do NOTHING and do our nothingness in the same place. Molly wanted nearly nothing to do with me, and was always reaching for Phillip and I was just happy for her that he was around to hold her, you know? And on the last day when we could have stuck it out a little longer and crammed in a few more rides, we were both in agreement about heading home, turning on a DVD for the kids and calling it a night. It was low stress all around. Well, except for what everyone was wearing. I couldn't help that. 

Besides, on the last day we got to hang out with Sydney InsideDog

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Jack likes blonds

(Chasing the three kids around Tom Sawyer's Island that morning was an unexpected blast for me. I can't believe we didn't go there on our first trip!)

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I like her mom

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Molly likes Dumbo

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They ALL liked making me sick in the spinning cup

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Jack liked the 20-second Heimlich Chew Chew Train ride in DCA, for which we spent an eternity in line (SKIP THIS!)

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I THINK they like each other

P.S. If you would like excruciating detail about any aspect of Disney-With-Two-Shorties, I would LOVE to pontificate further. FYI. I had a really hard time finding reviews that fit our type of family, so email if you're interested!


Welcome home, Cheungs!

I know I'm supposed to tell you ALL about our Disney trip and then I could probably write another week of blog posts about moving the kids into one room today and the subsequent disaster area that is my house. But right now all I can think about is that our landlord wants to sell our house, preferably as soon as possible, and I have already eaten all the chocolate. 

Last week sometime the landlord called about bringing an appraiser over. I decided not to think too much into this. Then while we were standing in line for the Storybook Land Canal Boats (cute!) Phillip took a call (not cute!) from the landlord who asked if we were going to be gone long enough for him to install new countertops. UM, YES? Except I was pretty disappointed to come home and see countertops that looked exactly the same, just minus some bubbling and peeling. 

And then today he called to tell us that he wants to put the house on the market. According to Phillip he sounded like he felt pretty bad about springing it on us, and was surprisingly forthright about why - he's losing three thousand dollars a month on his three rental properties and he's afraid of losing HIS house. I suppose I could begrudge him the lack of notice and all that, but the truth is that we're looking to buy anyway and he's been awesome to us so far and dude, it sucks to be losing that much money PER MONTH. Phillip said, "Well, we're looking to buy a house anyway" and the landlord instantly said, "Do you want to buy the house?" and Phillip said, "Well how much are you selling it for?" and while we are not ENTIRELY clear on this, as in, nothing is in writing and he could change his mind and who knows what he'll come back with if we say we want to discuss it further, but he produced a number about the same as what we paid for our townhouse. 

Which... see, this is where my mind gets blown a tiny bit. It is a number so low that it seems incredibly foolish not to say YES WHERE DO I SIGN? The houses we've been looking at are priced significantly higher. Of course, we've been looking at updated four-bedroom houses with over 2000 square feet and this house is... not that. We actually have no idea what the square footage is - maybe 1600? And there are only three bedrooms. And no dining room. And a really old, outdated kitchen. And two bathrooms that could use some remodeling. And slopey floors. And a hideous, unfinished laundry "area". And dingy blue carpet. And ancient windows. On a busy street and right next to an odd-looking duplex building - no fence between us at all. 

Still, it's kind of an amazing price. So amazing that we could definitely do some remodeling. A LOT of remodeling. 

Because we also kind of love this house. We LOVE the neighborhood and how close it is to pretty much everything. The schools are excellent. I'm always thinking about how awesome the backyard would be if I OWNED the house and felt that the work and money would be worth it. It's got a playroom downstairs. It has cool skylights and a wall of windows in the kitchen. I have spent extensive time daydreaming about how I would remodel this house (but never seriously, since I never thought we'd have the option to buy it). It's light, it has character, it has that 1920s craftsman look. We've been really happy here. 

But I never wanted to remodel anything. Phillip and are not DIY types at all. We're not into that kind of thing, have no talent in it, and if we ever attempted a bathroom remodel we'd probably end up getting divorced. That's why we're not looking at houses that need serious work. It's just not an option for us. 

SO WHAT ARE WE THINKING? I'll tell you. First of all, if we buy this house for what the landlord owes, which is the number he gave us when we asked what he'd sell for, we could hire an architect and contractors. We'd still be living in a construction zone, but we wouldn't be doing any of the work ourselves. And the second thing is that I'm really drawn to the idea of making all the decisions. That house I went to see before we went on vacation put a lot of dreams into my head. It was beautiful and modern without being the same old same old you see in every suburban development house. It was creative and beautiful and I really admired the imagination that went into planning it. It TOTALLY EXCITES me that we could have the same opportunity. 

The scariest thing is that we'd want to add at least two bedrooms, and we have no idea if that's even possible. One of the first things I'd want to do if we owned the house is knock out the walls of Jack's former bedroom (now Phillip's office) and make space for a dining room. Which means losing one of the three bedrooms. Which means we'd definitely need more. So we're not just talking a kitchen remodel, we're talking about MAJOR WORK. Additions, build outs (I'd LOVE to bump out the front and create an entry way), who knows what else. 

Our real estate agent is coming over in about 20 minutes because we want her opinion. We want to know if the estimated selling price is as awesome a deal as we think it is. We want to know her opinion about resale value, given the busy street and rental next door. We've also left a message with our architect friend, to see if it's even possible to add on to this house (and if it would bankrupt us). And I think after we talk to those two people we'll have a much better idea of what we want to do. 

Because if we don't buy this place, we're looking to buy a house within the next several weeks. And this makes me ill. 

Let's look at pictures of happy!

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Here is what Molly looked like when I finally took that lollipop away:

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I seriously have a thousand things to say about this trip (you = on tenterhooks), but right now let's think cheery thoughts for my husband who is stomping around saying things like, "We're RIGHT back where we were a year ago!" and perusing (and CALLING) rental listings. 

ETA: 

Realtor said the only real way to expand is to add a second story, which would most likely blow through our remodel cash pretty quickly. Hmm. Now to talk to the architect...


Your weekly dose of house angst

This strange thing happened today where two really nice/big enough/updated/super cute houses went on the market and while they're at the very upper end of our price range, it's not completely out of the question that we could buy them AND they're in a "desirable neighborhood" and I am feeling all MEH. ???? What does that mean?!

I think PART of it is that even though we are Serious and Have An Actual Agent and we are Pre-Approved and all that good stuff, moving any time... soon... is sort of frightening. Like we've just been ASSUMING it won't happen until Phillip is done with school, even though we COULD do it before. The houses out there are so blah, the prices are still sort of high, we just thought we'd HAVE to wait. 

And another part is that I've been putting a lot of thought into making THIS house work, like we're definitely going to move Jack and Molly into the same room. (Although we're not sure whether we'll bunk them in Jack's current room, or fill up Molly's entire room with two unbunked twin beds - major pros and cons for each scenario and we have to have more than five minutes to discuss it before we make a decision.) But I'm just sort of excited about that, and while the house isn't completely perfect I love love love WHERE it is and I don't know. Maybe I'm just not READY! Even though I totally thought I WAS! 

Also there's the whole part about engaging an agent only to not feel ready. Even though SHE said in her email about the two new houses that we might not be ready to move on them. Even though she is AWESOME. People pleasing much?

I think another part of it, a part I sort of hate to admit because it just sounds RIDICULOUS, is that this particular 'desirable neighborhood', while being, yes, SUPER desirable and one of my favorites, is just sort of FAR. Not far out of town, just sort of far away from the main arteries and the places I've become familiar with this year. I think I've really grown to like my CURRENT part of town. Ie: I LOVE OUR PRESCHOOL. Christiana left a comment on my last house post about drive times and wouldn't it be worth it, but actually, I don't think it would be. Not with three kids. It's not just a fifteen minute drive down a main drag, but a zig zaggy, neighborhoody cross-town trek. More like 30 or 40 minutes. In Seattle you're either stuck in a north/south traffic jam or a long, stoplight-filled east/west slog. Desirable neighborhood to preschool would be a MAJOR slog, twice a day, with three car seats, three days a week. No good. 

Now I KNOW that that's possibly one of the dumbest reasons to cross out a neighborhood, especially a NICE neighborhood with GOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS, which is why I have every intention of visiting the open houses this weekend. But I just don't feel all that excited about it. I'm wondering if I have made our search even more difficult and temperamental by locking us into a particular part of town, or if I just need time to dwell in the possibility. OMG I SOUND LIKE SUCH A SPOILED DORKFACE.

BESIDES. These houses are just as cute as the one I looked at last week, with new everything, and they will probably go pending before their open houses. Which is the other problem with thinking we would wait. We can't. If we find something, the way the market in Seattle is right now, chances are a dozen other people are excited about it too and we'll have to claim it quick. I've been watching the listings for a year now, and these types of houses are few and far between. I can't be the only one waiting for them. 

BLEARGH. 

In other news my pharmacist bff came over this morning (Iike ALL MORNING while the kids played DOWNSTAIRS and it was the BEST THING EVER) and she was all, "Dude. Tell them you will only talk to your doctor. Skip this explaining to the nurse stuff. You don't have to talk to them." And I was all, "I CAN DO THAT?!" Sometimes, honestly, it's a wonder how I've made it to thirty-one. 

And also I made it through Ash Wednesday Mass with the two kids by myself, and they were actually wonderful, and the lady who sat behind us, who I casually think of as Crazy Cat Lady, said, "YOUR CHILDREN ARE BEAUTIFUL" and now she is Sainted Crazy Cat Lady. 

And ALSO I emailed our priest about how I just don't think we can keep on taking our former 95-year-old neighbor to church, which feels right but also very sad, and could he please fix this for us because I can't fix it and this morning he winked at me and said, "We'll take care of it." Which is a HUGE RELIEF, you guys. I know we've gone out of our way, but we WANT to, she's sort of FAMILY now, and I've just been so nervous about FIXING IT. Whew. 

I think that's everything. Oh wait. I wrote about Jack totally embarrassing me at Parenting for Thursday. Except it turns out he was not as bad as I was thinking he was, and I was Jumping To Conclusions, but still. Shudder. 

ALL RIGHT. THE END. P.S. Thanks for all the nice things you said yesterday. Group hug!


It would help if I titled this before I hit publish. HAAAA

Here are the things you need to know about today. 

Today is the day I could no longer button my pants. I think we'll save the Getting Fat All Over Again discussion for another day, perhaps one where I did not eat an apple fritter the size of my face for breakfast. 

Today is March 1st, which: dude! March already! That was my first thought. My second thought was: WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND IN TWO WEEKS. Now this is going to sound horrible, but I haven't given a lot of thought to Disneyland since the Third Baby discovery. And now I'm a little, well, fatigued. Suddenly the ten minute walk from our hotel to the front gate sounds downright exhausting. The double stroller seems to have doubled its weight. Riding Dumbo nine times in a row sounds a little barfy, and let's not even talk about the spinning tea cups. I KNOW this is most first worldy problem you've ever heard and I AM ashamed. I am. And I am trying to drum up some enthusiasm. I'm sure we'll have a great time, and I always do really well when I have tons and tons of distractions and PHILLIP likes the spinning tea cups. So yeah. I need to go to Target and buy a weeks' worth of yoga pants and it'll all be good. 

Today is also the day I saw the first house I really liked. Phillip and I have this problem I may have mentioned once or twice on this website, where we can't decide if we want a smaller, older, in-city house or a bigger, newer, suburbs house. We are (stupidly) hoping for something biggish, newish-or-at-least-super-updated in the city, but so is everyone else who is looking to buy a house right now. DUH. So I've been READING about stale inventory ie: the junky, yucky, weirdo houses languishing on the market for months on end, and how as soon as something good pops up at a particular price point ie: OUR PRICE POINT it's gone in a flash. 

My agent warned me this house would go fast, so I arranged to meet her there this morning when she went to preview it. And you guys: SUPER CUTE. Super old, but adorable. I love old houses. It was big enough and bright enough and had my required playroom/basement area and yeah, the kitchen and bathrooms would need remodeling eventually, but not immediately, and did I mention ADORABLE? And within the boundaries of an excellent elementary school? On a cute street with other cute houses? It wasn't my first choice neighborhood and I knew Phillip is generally anti-old house, but I thought: hey, might as well drag him along to look at it. Maybe tomorrow morning? 

Except when I got home I had an email from my agent saying that the sellers would be reviewing multiple offers that night, and it would probably go $25K above asking price, which was already out of our range. This house went on the market YESTERDAY. 

I wasn't crushed, if you're wondering. I didn't have The Feeling when I walked into that house. And when I picked up Jack at preschool I spent some time hanging out in the school and talking to the teachers and you guys, they already all know Molly, we met her teacher for next year and everything. And Jack's teacher went ON AND ON about how wonderful he is (while he TOTALLY put on this huge show of smooching and hugging and playing with his sister, SUCK UP) and Molly was totally getting in line with Jack's class and helping put away the toys and I was just all: WE CAN'T MOVE AWAY FROM THIS PRESCHOOL! 

I mean, I know that's one of the top stupidest reasons to cross a house off a list, but whatever, when I heard that house was already taken I just felt sort of relieved. Like I didn't have to CHOOSE. At least not right THEN. 

Today was also the day when Jack allowed me to sleep an hour on the couch without shouting for snacks or water or to "come look!" Thank God. 

And just now Phillip was showing the kids video clips from our last trip to Disneyland and you know what? The enthusiasm level just increased a little bit. Everything is so bright and fun and sing songy! I love sing songy! And the kids on the couch were nearly as delighted as the kids on the screen! If only those clips weren't of me at my Skinniest. I believe I'll be enforcing a No Video ban on this trip. Gah.