Project Sell The House

Seven Quick Things I'll Miss About My House

I've certainly spent enough time COMPLAINING about it, so herewith, the things I'll definitely miss:

1. My neighbors. The originals and the newbies, they're all awesome, all of them. My first neighbor experience was days after we moved in and we locked ourselves out - we had to introduce ourselves in one breath and beg to make a phone call with the next, then she let us hang out while we waited for the locksmith to come and break us in. We've sat in other houses during subsequent lock outs (we're bad at that) and borrowed and lent everything from eggs to paint to ladders to carpet cleaner recommendations. When you live so close that you can see what your neighbors are eating for dinner, it's great to be friends with them. Also, some of them are truly excellent party guests. 

2. I can walk to the lake. I probably won't go to the lake as often when we move, mainly because it will be on the opposite side of the freeway and I tend to have, like, a four block radius of Places I Like To Go. Jack and I spent nearly every day at the lake's wading pool the summer I was pregnant with Molly. We didn't go at all this past summer, mainly because I could not figure out how to manage a toddler and a not-yet-walking baby in a wading pool. I was looking forward to walking down there a lot this summer, but oh well. I'm sure we'll still go, but it won't be a throw-everything-into-the-stroller-and-walk-when-the-mood-strikes kind of deal . 

3. My gas range. I think this is funny, because my first memory of cooking with gas is from our house in The Island In The Middle Of The Atlantic - a VERY old house with MANY problems. (It was also gorgeous and the ocean was in our backyard - you make your concessions.) We kept the gas tanks in the kitchen (apparently you are not supposed to do this?) and the stove never worked correctly so it clicked the entire time you were using it. Therefore I was under the impression that cooking with gas was not what normal people in the United States (read: COOL PEOPLE) used - until all the new townhouses we were looking at came with stainless steel gas ranges. FAHNCY! And I love mine. Our new house has an old electric stove and while I'm not, you know, TEARING MY HAIR or anything, I may be slightly worried about the dinners I intend to serve. 

4. Having a designated Guest Bathroom. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to set up the bedrooms in our new house, but right now I'm leaning towards putting Jack in the upstairs bedroom with the full bathroom. I'm not sure if guests will hang out upstairs and use that bathroom, or if we'll hang out downstairs or if I'll just tell people to use the downstairs bathroom. Not that this is a big deal and not that I even particularly CARE, it's just that I'll have to be a little more on top of things, like the diaper pail stink. Sometimes I am not on top of things. SHOCKER.

5. A garage that's connected to the house. We'll have a detached one car garage with a bit of storage, which will be great. And I never thought I cared about garages. But we've been parking on the street ever since we listed the house (we started storing things in the garage) and WOW is it a pain hauling groceries from the street to the kitchen! 

6. My energy-efficient front loading washer. I checked out the rental house washer: not horrible, but pretty old school. I've just sort of forgotten how to soak and rinse things without all my pretty little buttons. SPOILED.

7. My plants. I've put a LOT of time and effort into my stupid postage stamp yard. It looked TOTALLY different when we moved in - the landscapers planted all these awful bushes and there was this big pointy rock in the corner, like some kind of Stonehengish SPECIAL WORSHIP ROCK and of course that had to go. I seriously dug up and moved/threw out every single plant that came with our house, EVEN THE TREE, and the hydrangea and the clematis vine and the peony and the camellia trees and the daisies - they're all mine. But I'm leaving my garden box and I'm leaving the plants. Except the peony. I'm pretty sure the peony is coming with me.

More quick takes here


In which I am STILL talking about houses I'M SORRY

We did it. The quirky house is ours. 

I went there twice today. Once to fill out the application and chat with the owner (who was waiting for someone to see the house; that someone never showed thereby giving the house to ME) and snoop around the house one more time. Once later in the afternoon with a friend to peek through the windows. 

It's a little strange to me that we went this route. I never really considered it - an older house in a closer-to-the-city neighborhood - simply because they were either 1) crazy expensive or 2) dumps. Most of my options were farther from the city center than my house, which meant less walkability, more driving, fewer bus routes. And bigger houses. I really liked the bigger houses. 

This house is probably the smallest house I looked at, and definitely the oldest. There were a few times today when I wondered if we were doing this all wrong. Sure it has the three bedrooms, the extra space to play, a fenced yard - but the other houses did all of these things better. This is the only house that made me think where will we put the dining room table? Where will we put the TV? Which room would I sleep in? What are we thinking?

What we're thinking is: holy crap we get to live in this neighborhood for a whole year!

Sometimes it feels like all the big things are decided. Know what I mean? Like sometimes we just sit on the couch and go, "Well, yeah, in a year or two maybe we'll have a new baby and a bigger house and then we'll just... DO THAT." 

So when we saw all those houses on Saturday it seemed really obvious. Move to the bigger, normal, kind-of-house-you-have-when-you-have-kids house. Duh. But I was kind of bummed out about moving to That Neighborhood (I am unreasonably biased against it, I have no idea why, I think because there are nine hundred car dealerships along the main drag.) And Phillip was having a hard time figuring out how he would get to work. And we kept thinking about the funny little house in the fantastic neighborhood. 

Maybe it's sad that THAT is what constitutes Fun! and Adventureness! for the Cheung family, but that's the way it is. Who knows if we'll get to live so close to so many things ever again? So let's do it NOW! I keep plugging the address into Google Maps and searching nearby for parks, libraries, preschools, grocery stores, restaurants. It's SO close to school. What will this BE like! That's what I keep thinking about. How many things we have at our fingertips. Oh, and decorating an old but pretty kitchen, a boy room and a girl room, a wide open stairwell. I made sure there's enough room for our patio furniture outside, and was granted permission to plant whatever I wanted to plant in the PERFECT garden space out back. I am so excited.

So yes, I'm giving up appliances from this century, a garage door opener, a dining room and, oh right, a floor plan that makes sense, but I get to live in that neighborhood! 

Well, until my buyers decide to bail the day before closing. SIGH.

For those of you who are sick to death of all this house stuff, I give you the most recent capture of The Molly Cheung Glower. Wardrobe by Elizabeth, Attitude by her mother. 

P1010437
Wait, this isn't glowery enough for you? 

Check THIS baby out.

P1010438
  


If it doesn't turn out, at least we know there's another house with an acceptable bathtub for rent

Per Emily's request, an In Depth Obsessing Over Rental Houses post. 

To celebrate Phillip's first day back on the West Coast, we visited four rental houses in one afternoon. You can bet that's EXACTLY how he wanted to spend his no-school Saturday! Even better, they were four houses in which I could picture us living. ALL OF THEM. After about two weeks of seeing nothing but mismatched ripped up carpet and yellowed sinks and horrifying bathtubs, this was the biggest relief in the world. 

We already crossed two off the list - a huge (HUGE!) 1980s-ish split level in a great location and my original first choice house. We ixnayed the split level because it just FELT like a rental house. It was enormous, but it wasn't in great condition (although the kitchen had been redone and was the best of the four kitchens we saw). And the yard was mostly a very dangerous-for-toddlers deck. What wasn't a deck wasn't fenced. So. The other house was just old. Not awful old, but next to the other houses it felt older and colder and smaller. That said, it had the best yard, by FAR. The yard is/was a big factor for me, but since we only really get to USE the yard three months out of the year, I decided it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. Bye bye awesome yard! 

That leaves the other two. Quirky House in a great location and Perfectly Normal House which is not. (For the locals: behind U Village and between Lake City and Sand Point Way, respectively. Am I right? I AM RIGHT.) 

We saw Quirky House first and WE LOVED IT. Which was a little weird, because my husband? Enjoys things like Extra Super Brand New Shiny Sparkly Everything and while this house was very well maintained and looked very nice, it was NOT NEW. It had new paint and new carpet and all that, but it's an Old Seattle House With Perhaps A Sloping Floor In The Kitchen. But for whatever reason, Phillip really liked it and could see us living there. I was... not as on board at first. You see, the floor plan, it is a little weird. (BEHOLD, A DIAGRAM!) (UNFORTUNATELY FAR FROM SCALE!)

Firstfloor 

The living room isn't very big. I know my drawing is terrible, so bear with me. Not teeny, but not big. Then there's this hallway/dining area. I can tell it was used as a dining area because there's a dining area-ish light fixture in the ceiling. But my dining table will not fit in that hallway. It's a little weird. And then to get to the bathroom on the first floor you have to go through a bedroom. WEIRD. Especially since I think it's supposed to be the master bedroom (the bathroom being inside it). Whatever. 

The kitchen, though. Oh, I loved the kitchen. This house has amazing windows and TONS of light. (There are two skylights over the open stairwell.) The kitchen was far from fabulous with its old appliances and linoleum floor and cabinets-without-doors and ancient countertops, but kind of in this Old Quirky House way that I didn't mind. And it was CLEAN, which is more important than NEW. My favorite part of the kitchen was the back, where there's room for a very large kitchen table and windows all along the walls. I immediately saw myself eating breakfast with the kids while watching birds in the trees outside. Then there's a door that leads to steps going down to the yard. 

Then there's the ground floor.
Groundfloor 

Kind of hard to explain... it's not a basement, I don't think. The windows are full size. But maybe the house is sunk into the ground a bit deeper? Because you don't feel like you're going up to a second story when you climb the stairs to the front door. ANYWAY. You go down the stairs and into this huuuuuge empty room. HELLO PLAYROOM! There are two more bedrooms down here, one much bigger than the other (or the bedroom upstairs), laundry and a 1.75 bathroom. Both bathrooms in this house were a frillion times nicer and cleaner than any I've seen in any rental. And then a door that leads to the yard, which I barely remember anything about. I know there are patches of grass in the front and terraced areas in the back, but it's not the "send the kids out to play and watch them through the kitchen window" kind of deal I was hoping for. 

And the NEIGHBORHOOD... well, let's just say it's close to everything. We can walk to a million things, we can drive two minutes to a million other things. It's as close to campus as you can get without living in student housing. It's a neighborhood we'll NEVER be able to afford, but an area we've always thought would be fun to live. 

Okay. NEXT HOUSE. Perfect Layout House Way Out In That Neighborhood I Never Liked Very Much.

Normalhouse
   

We really liked this house. (Again, NOT TO SCALE. I didn't have time to hire out, okay?) Even though a bunch of Young Twenty Somethings were inhabiting it, it was clean, it was large, it was SO easy to see us living there. The only weird thing about it was that the laundry was in the garage, and you had to go through a bedroom (or outside) to get there. Well, that and the giant cathedral ceiling-length wall of fireplace that's sort of intimidating when you walk into the house. But whatever. It has playroom space, two full (clean!) bathrooms, nicer and newer appliances and a big deck. What should have been grass was paved over for a basketball court, but I could see the kids riding their trikes around back there. Perfect. Exactly what we were looking for. 

BUT SO FAR AWAY. I mean, not REALLY far. Not that much farther than where I live right now, but kind of way off to the SIDE, so that it's a little harder to GET there. If that makes sense. Phillip's bus situation would be difficult up there. There are stores, restaurants, a library, all that good stuff not far away, but not necessarily walkable. There are no sidewalks. The houses are farther apart and set back. But we love the house. We really love the landlords. (I don't know what's with running to all these Reminiscent Of My In-Laws people in this house selling business, but these people are lovely and that makes us want to be their tenants all the more!) 

When we drive home we say, "Well OBVIOUSLY we are renting the Farther Away house." 

And then we think some more. 

And then we ask Twitter. 

And then we call my mom. 

And then we go out for Chinese food with my in-laws. 

And then we start to think that this seems like An Opportunity. 

Quirky house is OLD. There is no dining room, an absolute must-have in any house I buy in the future. The yard is not what I was looking for, and we'll have to toddler-proof it big time. I'm not sure whether we should use the upstairs or downstairs for the living room. We'll have to get a smaller table. The kitchen appliances are less than desirable. The closets are small. We're going back at one o'clock tomorrow to fill out an application. 


A totally random number of not very quick takes

Today was the first day I started to feel like: dude. I am ready for my husband to be home. 

It's not just the kids, although today was the first day I really struggled with them, it's the house stuff. I do not recommend being in two different states during the Inspection Negotiation Period. I have also developed some Rather Strong Opinions this week re: the process of selling one's house (and buying, I suppose), but upon further reflection I've decided that it might be wiser to share those after the deal goes through. Suffice to say that we're still batting the terms back and forth and St. Joseph remains in the garden box. 

In the meantime I think I've found a rental house. I think. The bathtub is mauve, but Mauve is better than Dirt. 

Two of my favorite girls just left my house. Eleven o'clock! On a school night! Conversation topics included Catholics, naked Korean spas and blogs. It was so awesome I forgot all about my dentist appointment tomorrow morning. And now that I've remembered I'm feeling all Oh Crap-ish.

Every night this week I've put Molly down in the pack 'n play in my room and then moved her to her crib whenever I decide it's time for me to go to bed. It's SO HARD. Molly's always been pretty reliable in the sleep department. I mean, yes, maybe she doesn't fall asleep when we want her to, or stay asleep as long as we want her to, but she falls asleep on her own and stays that way if you need to transfer her. I dread Jack falling asleep in the car, but Molly's almost always a snap. So it's not a big deal, really, that I have to pick her up and move her at night because she never wakes up. But I feel terrible doing it, because she looks so comfortable and then here comes her mother, totally lacking in the Upper Body Strength Department, bending into the portable crib to pick her up and I always do something awful, like lose my balance or half-drop her or something. It's so mean. And she gets all fidgety and gaspy like WHO IS DISTURBING MY PEACEFUL SLUMBER?! I hate it. She stays asleep, but it's still awful. This is so Phillip's job. 

I didn't do any of the things on my Stuff To Do While Phillip's Not Here list. Sad, huh? I just ate whatever was there, or brought to my house (thanks Liz!) and I hardly watched any TV at all. I was looking forward to New Moon, honest! But I watched all of three shows this week - one was The Good Wife (PEOPLE. WATCH THIS SHOW.) and the other two were old Veronica Mars episodes I found on On Demand. The Logan-Falls-For-Veronica episodes so (OBVS) the good ones. Swoon. 

I am GOING to watch New Moon. I don't care what you say. 

Sometimes I wonder what the next thing will be. The house, the travel, the sickness, school, the handful of Unbloggable Things. There's just a LOT. And it's all of our own doing, so I don't want to complain so much as, you know, ACKNOWLEDGE. That's a crapload of stuff right there. And right when you think something is going to resolve itself, it gets more complicated AND another Hard Thing is piled on top of the heap. 

That said, I think we're doing pretty well. This week was about a million times easier than I thought it would be - kid-wise, anyway. I'm ready for Phillip to be home (10pm-ish Friday night) and for some house stuff to get figured out already. And by the time Phillip goes on his next week-long trip I'll be installed in a new house with plenty of organizing and decorating to do. I'm looking forward to it. 


BLEARGH

Phillip is upstairs attempting to put the kids to bed. I am sitting on the couch contemplating the half of a French Silk pie in my refrigerator. 

I don't know if Molly was already awake when we went to move her out of the pack and play and into her crib last night, or if we woke her up by doing so. Either way, that was about eleven o'clock and Molly didn't really fully go back to sleep until sometime between five and six. And then guess who was up at six thirty. 

It's been a long time since we've had one of THOSE nights. And usually we're just as mad at each other as we are with whichever kid is keeping us up, but last night the culprit was obvious (damn you, Curse Of The Dripping Nostrils!) and we mostly just felt pathetic and helpless. When Molly's crazy tired or just plain upset she yells. Like, YELLS. It's sort of like crying, but it's really just yelling and she'll do this until you figure out the exact right position to hold her, or the one single thing in the refrigerator she wants. Last night she yelled until we found the right chair to sit in, and it wasn't until Phillip rocked her in front of the stove with the fan turned on - the same trick we were using LAST year at this time - that she quit this dozing on and off stuff and really fell asleep. Poor baby. Poor US. We feel wrecked

They took decent naps, which is good because Phillip and I needed that time to be despairing about things other than sleep and the speed with which we are running out of Kleenex. The house we saw this morning was kind of gross. Not TOTALLY gross. Not "Ew, this is OBVIOUSLY not for us" gross, but just enough gross that you're sitting in the car afterwards thinking, "Maybe we could just have it cleaned before we move in? Maybe we're being too picky? Maybe?" It had a decent layout and enough space, but the bathrooms were icky and the floors were sketchy and I don't understand why people can't wipe down the front of a refrigerator before they show it to strangers. (Says the girl whose bathroom window screens are so dusty you can't see out of them OMG I am STILL mortified.) 

Then we went to see The House We Thought Was A Scam But Isn't Except It Still Seems Too Good To Be True and YOU GUYS. This house. It's... well, it's totally the kind of house we cannot afford, ever, not in our lifetimes. But apparently we can afford to RENT it. It's huge. It's completely remodeled. It has an amazing deck in an amazing backyard. It is HUGE. The master bedroom is nearly the size of the entire main floor of my house. We were peeking through the windows when some guy came out of a house across the street and asked us if we wanted to go inside. And we were all, "Uh yeah?" because, I don't know, maybe everyone on the block gets a key to the vacant house? 

Actually he was a real estate agent (convenient!) and since the house is for sale it has a keybox and maybe we shouldn't have gone inside because now I am suffering from a case of The Wants. SIGH. I mean, it's 1) HUGE and 2) SHINY AND NEW. Phillip and I are total suckers for new. But we are also wary of the whole selling now renting situation (and the fact that the guy was supposed to call me tonight and he hasn't and obviously I am blogging about this FOR NO REASON). We don't want to rent it only to have the guy decide to try and sell it again six months later. We don't want to rent it and then have our rent jacked up the minute the guy realizes he could get WAY more money for this house. 

And then say we DID rent the house... I would never want to leave. I mean, it's not my perfect dream house, not at all, but we can't buy anything as big or new, not if we want to stay reasonably close to downtown. It seems... extravagant. It seems... unnecessary. It's within our means, but only technically.

Again, this worrying is mostly likely All For Naught, seeing as how this guy is never going to call me back ANYWAY. Probably because I sent him a passive aggressive Hey, Are You A Scammer email before I found out he wasn't. I'd be offended too. 

Okay, but THAT SAID. We haven't seen any other houses we like. We crossed a bunch off our list today and I plan to drive by a few more tomorrow and make some more appointments. We're supposed to find out how the inspection went no later than Monday night, which means we should know by Tuesday if we're really moving or not. And we hope to have The House or at least Some Decent Houses To Choose From lined up by the weekend, and then we'd like to sign a lease sometime next week. WE THINK. I am hopped up on Nyquil so it's entirely possible I am not thinking straight


Oh look, a whiny woe-is-me weekend post, JUST FOR YOU!

One thing I learned from my Anxious Twenties is that it's always a good idea to acknowledge when things are Difficult. This is probably no problem for a lot of you, and you might be surprised, what with all the complaining I do around here, that it is a problem for ME. But actually acknowledging things are HARD, admitting that I may not be handling everything WELL, asking for and accepting HELP, realizing that it's not just one bad day but a string of bad days... yeah, not my strong suit. My Eternal Optimism means I can crash pretty hard.

So! Friday morning kicked off with an emergency dentist appointment. I had a temporary crown put on last Friday and something wasn't right, like it was headed towards Dry Sockets territory. And what they did to FIX my temporary crown, which I must keep for another week, gave me about a full hour of Definitely Dry Sockets territory. I was using labor pain techniques at the DENTIST'S OFFICE. They were super concerned and apologetic, asking if I wanted to get numbed up, have the whole thing redone, but NO. I have stuff to DO. I had a rental house to see and my dad was picking us up because OMG the inspection might happen any minute even though no one is calling us to tell us WHAT minute and I cannot be dealing with Dry Sockets pain because my husband is going away for a week aaaaaaaand... when I got home, in slightly less pain but still enough pain that I burst into tears the minute I saw Phillip, I knew. Things were Hard. 

It's sort of pathetic that I have to get to That Point before I give up. Before I say: Okay, you can help me and you can help me and I'm just going to sit over here and have a good cry. Phillip immediately got on the phone with the dentist and I had to leave the room because I knew he was going to chew SOMEONE out and while I am not particularly impressed with their services thus far, they're NICE LADIES and I don't want my HUSBAND to YELL AT THEM. But yell he did, which is how I got myself a Vicodin prescription (which I couldn't pick up because there was no time GAAAHHH.) 

But thank God my tooth stopped aching enough for me to pack an overnight bag and shout directions at Phillip about the house and get to the rental house on time. Even though the agent herself was late, and had also invited two other families to what I thought was our personal appointment. Good thing I didn't like the house (and your comments about living next to a football field sealed the deal. NEXT!) 

The kids and I spent the night at my parents' last night. We just got home and oh wow, you guys. Having your house inspected (they called Friday afternoon to say the appointment was for Saturday at 10, GEE THANKS) makes you feel sort of violated. It's not just having potential buyers traipse through your home, judging your wealth corners. It's THE BUYER traipsing through your home looking through all your STUFF. Like I worked really hard to make the kids' closet acceptable looking, but it's the way you get to the attic area and when I poked my head in there tonight I could tell they'd taken everything off the shelf to get to the ceiling. Which makes SENSE. But still. They had to, like, refold my Moby wrap and this little baby outfit of Phillip's and deal with my torn paper bag full of tissue paper and gift bags. It's not like they were rifling through my underwear but ALMOST. Oh, and the window screens in the bathroom that are caked with dust but uniformly so that I almost never notice it? YEAH. It's a little EMBARRASSING when someone drags their hand across THAT.

The only thing they noticeably have an issue with, by which I mean a giant piece of red tape was stuck to the wall, is this scrape in the stairwell. It's from when we carried the couches upstairs, and I Magic Erasered most of the color out, but there's still a big indentation/scrape in the wall. I'm not entirely sure what they want us to do about it (again, NO ONE HAS CALLED US ABOUT ANYTHING) but I'll try and get the rest of the redness out. (I couldn't even tell there WAS red in it, but Phillip says he sees some color left.) Which makes me worry about the not-terribly-professional patching job Phillip did on the orange wall, which I'm guessing they didn't see because the bench is in front of it. It's patched and painted, but it is OBVIOUSLY patched and painted and the fact that I'm pretty sure they didn't see it makes me feel ten kinds of dishonest. But we're probably not going to do anything about it and hope that they don't hate us when they move in and see it. I feel so guilty. 

IN SUMMARY: my tooth is broken. I feel guilty. I'm tired. I'm nervous about single parenting. I don't know the results of the inspection ie: I don't know if this is a done deal or not. I think I have to start packing anyway. Oh, and I have the worst cold I've had all year and as soon as Phillip is done putting the kids to bed he's going out for Nyquil (and my Vicodin prescription!) And that means I can't play volleyball tomorrow, as you cannot play defense AND blow your nose at the same time. But that's okay, I think, since I made appointments to see rental houses tomorrow. I'm kind of excited about one of them. And it turns out the one I'm MOST excited about is NOT a scam after all (that is SO another post) but the house itself looks so nice that we're afraid we'd get kicked out as soon as the owner wanted to try selling again.

Oh, and then there's all the stuff I CAN'T WRITE ABOUT. You: Well, this has gone on long enough already!

So anyway. I admit defeat. I'm having a hard time with all this stuff. I can't do it all. I need someone to yell at the dentist for me and run my Nyquil errands. Unfortunately he's leaving on Monday. 


Seven Quick Stomachaches

1. Before we had our offer, no one came to see our house except on the weekends. Every day I ran around like a madwoman making it Picture Perfect and was the epitome of Crazed Anal Retentive every time we left the house. Every single time we left the house. Even when I went out for a 30 minute run at eight in the morning, I made sure the pillows were in the right place, the dishes put away, the entry way swept. No one called, no one came. 

The day we accepted the offer and every day thereafter (admittedly, not that many days) people have called to come see the house. And the agent who called five minutes ago said, "Oh, my buyers are going to be disappointed." 

THIS IS MAKING ME ALL RE-THINKY, INTERNET. Your job is now to say, "Yes, you did the right thing, that couple to whom you are somewhat emotionally attached is the couple who are supposed to have this house, there is no reason to think any of the other showings would lead to an offer, heck, half of those showings were just agents coming to check out the competition, maybe you didn't do the MOST right thing but you did the BEST right thing AT THE TIME and THAT IS OKAY." 

Thank you, Internet. You are SO much cheaper than a therapist. 

2. My kids are sick. Again. I think we had a two-week reprieve in between Monstrous Jack and this newer Pathetic, Sickly Jack Who Just Wants To Sit On The Couch With His Sippy Cup Watching Caillou. Who I will take, trust me, over Monstrous Jack, but is still sort of a bummer. 

3. I just used my father-in-law's Costco credit card to pay for our entire Hawaii vacation (airfare and hotel for seven nights). Unfortunately I will have to pay my share one of these days. On the other hand, you have no idea how thrilled I am that this whole house business will be finished LONG before we go on that trip. How we would manage things from three time zones away crossed my mind more than a few times.

4. Of course, IT'S NOT FOR SURE. We still have to have the inspection. And every time I tell one of these agents that, "Sure, you can come see the house, but I have to tell you we accepted an offer" they say, "Oh never mind" and WHAT THEN? I honestly can't think of what would come up in the inspection to make the deal go awry, but you never know, right? I am totally entitled to feel stomachachey about that. 

5. And then we have the issue of Rental Houses. DRAMATIC SIGH. I thought I found The House tonight. It's huge! New! Beautiful! Not super far away! And only (clears throat) $50 more than my mortgage payment! When the kids woke up I said, "Who wants to go look at houses!" and they both said, and I am not making this up, "YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!" (with an additional "Hooray!" from Jack) so I packed them up and drove them over and peeked in all the windows. LOVE. Then we called the number that was on the sign outside and the guy was all, "Rent? Um, it's for sale, but I'm sure you could rent it for $2500 a month." Which, COUGH!? When we got home I looked up the ad again because how could I have mixed up my information? But no, there is the ad, and the same address, and at a rent DECIDEDLY lower than $2500 a month. GOOD GRIEF. Stupid Craigslist. Stupid people who make you feel stupid on the phone.

6. So I don't know about rental houses. We are all (all!) going to look at one tomorrow morning. I really like the house. I am not so hot on the street/neighborhood. Then again, it also backs up right onto a high school football field/track which most people would probably not enjoy but when I saw that my brain flashed "RESEARCH!" Heh. We'll see. 

7. In other news, if you don't follow me on Twitter, I saw this posted on a Redfin forum: "...can comfortably hold a family of 4, the largest anyone should have nowadays..." Discuss amongst yourselves!


Twelve days

Eleven days to get an offer. Twelve days to accept.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. Well, that's putting it lightly, I think. I have feelings-that-have-been-squished-into-a-food-processor-and-pulsed-repeatedly. I've been praying for this very thing to happen - a quick offer, a quick acceptance, quick ending - and even though it went down pretty much the way I imagined it, I'm still sort of worried and unsure and sad. Usually when the kids play in the sandbox I'm sitting in one of our Cost Plus patio chairs reading a fresh-from-the-mailbox magazine. Today I paced up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, going over absolutely every detail. 

We are losing money on this deal - more money than we planned to lose, because we knew that was going to happen. That said, it's not a lot. It's a lot, but we can manage it. It's not a lot, but it's enough to dull the excitement. 

I put myself in our buyers' shoes and I would do the same thing. Actually, I would probably ask for more. They aren't asking for closing costs, which I thought was a given in this market. They offered less, but not unthinkably less. I know who they are - given what I've learned from the paperwork and the agent, they are pretty much exactly what I assumed when I saw them standing on the corner Saturday morning - and I want them to have this house. We wanted to make this work. 

We also think this offer is probably as good as it gets. It hasn't even been two weeks, but I told Phillip that if we rejected this offer and held out for breaking even, I sincerely doubted the next offer, if we got one, would be an improvement. At best it'd be similar, or a higher offer with a demand for closing costs, which would actually be worse. And how long would we hold out? It's not really an issue right now, but when I see a high number of days online in the Redfin listing I assume the buyers are getting anxious, that they'd accept a lowball offer. And what if we decided all the offers were too low, that we didn't want to lose this much money? We don't want to live in this house forever, and from everything I've read and everyone I've talked to, it doesn't sound like houses are going to magically rise in price over the next year. We'd most likely be in the same position.

If it sounds like I'm justifying our decision, I am. This whole time I've been the one who didn't want to hold out, who didn't think she could handle holding out, who didn't think that amount was such a horrible thing to lose. I felt irresponsible, because like every other gargantuan sum of money that I never actually see, it feels like Monopoly money. And it's not like we're paying it out - we're just not getting it back. I had to talk to so many people over the last several days to make sure I wasn't completely off base. And while most people thought that yes, it's a bummer to lose money when you sell your house, they also agreed with my perspective on the market. This might be as good as it gets. 

And once I break through all of that... I am so happy. I am so relieved. I am so... thankful. Today it occurred to me that we could get Jack a twin size bed, with little boy bedding. That we might have a playroom in April, a fenced yard. I can put girly things in Molly's room. That I don't have to worry about the neighbors hearing me yell at Jack to go up the stairs already, that I don't have to listen to my other neighbors' midweek late night outdoor parties, with their firepit smoke wafting into my bedroom. That this house is going to a couple who are buying it for the same reasons we did, who seem a little bit like us five years ago. That this whole process only lasted this long. In this market. That's... crazy.

And then... oh, I'm so sad. I love this house. It's my house. Molly slept in that closet. Jack fell down those stairs. The parties and fights and dancing and sleepovers and intense conversations. I love my kitchen. I love my windows. I can walk to the lake, to the Asian grocery store, to all kinds of parks. And today I finally met a neighborhood mom. I have my first and only instant-click with a neighborhood mom on the day I accept an offer on my house. I wanted to cry when she walked away, no need to exchange phone numbers and email addresses. And you guys, she's been living a block away from me for two years, and her kids are one year and two days apart. How come I did not meet her before today?  

I think there's still one more paper to sign. And then there's the inspection. And then more papers. But I'm pretty sure this is it. Craigslist better cough up some good rental houses in the next couple weeks. 


An offer? What offer?

We got an offer today. I can't talk about it. Not because I'm not SUPPOSED to, I just can't, it makes me all twitchy. Let's talk about cookies instead. Specifically, the cookies I've been making for our open houses (and then eating all the leftover cookie dough, no, I'm serious, ALL OF IT.)

From 'Chocolate Chocolate' by Lisa Yockelson. A friend gave me this all-chocolate cookbook for my birthday a few years ago and until just recently I hadn't tried any of the recipes. THEY ARE HARD. And if they aren't hard, they require Fancy or Expensive Ingredients, or they randomly spout things like, "The best texture is achieved by whipping the cream by hand." AS IF. I may enjoy baking, but not THAT much.

(I watched my cousin do this at our little family reunion this summer. But she is an Actual Pastry Chef, ie: a PROFESSIONAL. So, WHATEVER cookbook!) 

ANYWAY. One of my resolutions this year was to bake more often, which is why I have gained ninety-seven pounds since January. Mostly due to these cookies.

Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

3 cups bleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 pound plus 5 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons!) unsalted butter, softened (I used salted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 T vanilla (YES, TABLESPOONS)
13 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (I used a bag of Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)

Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. (HA.)

Cream the butter in the large bowl of freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 3 minutes. Add granulated sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add light brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla extract. 

On low speed, blend in the sifted (or unsifted!) ingredients in 3 additions, beating until the flour particles are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the dough even-textured. Blend in the chocolate chunks. 

Chill the dough for at least an hour. (This is a great time to snack on it.) 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place heaping 2 T size mounds of dough, spacing about 3 inches apart. Keep them high and plump. (Plump!)

Bake for 16 minutes or until set and light and golden on top. Mine are a little flatter than I think they should be, but let me assure you that this doesn't adversely affect the taste in any way.

Of course, mine don't always make it to the Baked stage. 

And okay okay, the Pertinent Details are: 1) we got an offer from the couple I wrote about on Saturday (and as far as I can tell, my assumptions about them are TRUE!) 2) it's $15K under the asking price 3) other than that it's a fairly decent offer and 4) we counter offered and expect to hear back tomorrow (Tuesday) hopefully. I am assuming we will counter that offer, if we get one, as well. So. It's not exciting YET.

In the meantime I have buried St. Joseph in the garden box. 


Quick kid story I don't want to forget

Today was going to kick my butt. I knew this when I went to bed, I knew it when I woke up, I could barely speak civilly to my husband because HE was going to be lounging about a classroom in a building of Higher Education while I took care of the kids, cleaned the house, cleaned up after the kids, took them out and KEPT them out until TWO FREAKING THIRTY when the last realtor was supposed to be gone. Useful information: my kids wake up at six, if I'm lucky, and I usually put them down for naps at twelve thirty. Two thirty is BEYOND pushing it.

The plan is basically to not HAVE the kids around on the weekends because it's IMPOSSIBLE to keep the house looking nice with them around. Well, I can deal with picking up the toys, it's the FLOORS. The crumbs and the footprints and the splatters and the play dough and spilled milk and oops, there goes the enormous spoonful of mac and cheese that was never going to fit in Molly's mouth anyway. 

But because I had a dentist appointment Friday morning and we have a dinner tonight and various other Schedule Issues, we decided it was best not to shove them off to grandparents and do our best on our own. 

So this morning I was hauling ASS. Cleaning bathrooms, hiding laundry, making beds, sweeping, swiffering, dusting, washing, running my gloved finger along the baseboard, not to mention picking up after the kids. I mean, when I'm scrubbing the kitchen, they have to be occupying themselves somehow, right? 

I'm running around, trying not to forget everything in the diaper bag or the flyers to leave out on the counter or the shoe covers, and are the lights on and the shades up, what about putting the jackets and the shoes away, do I have fruit snacks to keep them awake till two thirty... and we've finally gathered at the bottom of the stairs to put on our shoes and the door is open because THANK YOU GOD it was sixty freaking degrees out and Jack says, "Hey! Who's dat!"

I poke my head out the door and there is a familiar looking Chinese man standing in my neighbor's yard, but only familiar looking because he looks like he'd fit right in with FIL's crowd. And behind him are two very young Chinese kids. They look like the international students in my beloved NDCF. In a split second I've decided they're a very young and just married couple, their parents still live in Hong Kong, but the guy's father knows a local real estate agent - they probably went to junior high together, or he's some distant cousin - and THESE are the people who are going to buy my house. (My brain: leaping to conclusions in a single instant!)

But what are they doing here? As far as I know, no one is coming until the ultra convenient hour of TWO. 

I say hi, because I'm friendly. The agent (it's obvious he's an agent) says "Hello!" And, probably because I keep looking at him like, "Uh, so what are you doing here?" he launches into this loooong explanation about how he called my agent, but he didn't call me and honestly I barely understood a thing he said, which just cemented the FIL relationship even further. He was lucky I was 99% finished with my house and he only have to wait ten minutes, because then I'd be happy to let him and his buyers inside. 

I ducked back into the house to finish finding all the things I'd forgot, but we left the door open (sixty! degrees!) and they were still huddled on the corner and Jack was still anxiously hanging out on the door step and at one point he announced, loudly, to the neighborhood, "He looks like Ye Ye!" 

And the agent said, "What did he say?"

And I said, "He said you look like his grandfather!" which I thought was adorable, because I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING. And the agent laughed and I laughed and the very young couple tee heed into their hands and then I watched this very young and very adorable couple walk into my house while I strapped the kids into their car seats and I floated up a little prayer that they have a FIL who thinks this house is better than all the others, just like mine.