Friday, September 12, 2014

Pictures and Plans

I just thought I'd give you a small tour of our new home and let you in on some of the ideas and plans I have.

This is the front of the house.  I am thinking window boxes to bring some color to the front of the house.

The back. We have a large screened porch. That's where the hot tub lives until we sell it.  Then we have plans to make it nice and cozy.

Bill has a huge shop. 1500 Sq ft.  That's bigger than the house we're moving out of.

The other out building. It needs a bit of work. We're not sure what we'll do with it exactly. A playhouse for the girls, a chicken coop, and garden shed have been tossed around.

I have a fire place =).   I want to whitewash it and paint the brass black.

The living room and dining room are a huge open space. I am planning on painting ALL the paneling. I hate wood paneling, but at least is fairly light, so since I can't paint before moving in, it's not sucking my soul out of me. ;) The corner on the right is going to be my little crafty corner. My chair, my yarn, my new antique sewing table. I'll show you that later. 

We haven't had carpet in a long time, as you can see, Isabelle is enjoying that. Also, in my corner... that grayish outlet thing... that's a central vac outlet. How cool is that? 

Other things I'm excited about?  The huge French door fridge with ice maker. Dishwasher. Glass top stove. Tons of counter space. More cabinets than I can probably fill. So many cabinets, in fact, that Bill wants to take out the cabinets over the bar. Nice blinds in the windows. 

I'll admit it. Everyone said it would be worth the nightmare in the end. I doubted that. But they were right. I'm stoked. =)


Whew....

Did I really think we'd get through without any more bumps? 

Thursday came and the mortgage company couldn't get everything ready in time to close. So we scheduled for Friday. Then my agent called Thursday with yet another bombshell.... the sellers wanted to contest the appraisal. Their agent neglected to pass that information along until then.

I was livid.

They contacted the appraiser to see if he would check a few more houses as comps, he promised to give them an answer Friday morning. I gave the ultimatum that we had to know what was going on that day. Period. I did not want to go through the weekend in limbo.

The appraiser never called Friday. They asked us to be patient. I wanted to walk away. Bill said we'd wait. I was so upset. I felt like I looked like an idiot for setting an ultimatum that he wouldn't back me up on.

By Monday, I decided to just stuck it up and let whatever would happen happen.  The appraiser finally called and denied their request to reconsider his appraisal. So the sellers gave us two options... go forward with the lower price but we had to buy the hot tub and air compressor (with 2 years to pay on them), or they were going to request a formal review of the appraisal with the VA (which would take weeks possibly). 

We weren't particularly happy and my agent felt like we were being blackmailed.  We seriously considered walking away then. We did not want the hot tub. But, as we discussed it, the girls were screaming and fighting, and we decided we just couldn't stay in this cramped house.  So we agreed to buy the extras and finally... FINALLY... closed on the house Tuesday!

Now comes the oh, so fun part.... moving. I've been off work this week, so I've moved smaller things over.  We plan on doing the major moving on Sunday and I'll finish up the smaller junk and cleaning over the next week or two after work. I had hoped to paint before we move but we just want to get in there.

We're ready to go home.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September

I know it's still summer for a few more weeks, and being in the South, it will feel like summer even longer, but it's September and my brain doesn't associate September with summer. So I'm excited.

Ollie is settling in. He's getting more comfortable, so he's more puppy-ish.  We actually left him home alone for a few hours today without crating him and nothing was destroyed or pooped on, so he's getting the hang of things.

Our closing date was this past Monday, but the appraisal report hadn't been turned in, so we had to postpone. When it did arrive, we had a problem. A pretty significant problem. The house appraised $25k lower than the sale price.

I freaked out.  I was sure that was it, it was over.  Everyone told me to relax and see if the seller would come down on the price. Honestly, they had no choice.  VA and FHA appraisals "stick" to a house for 6 months, so it was come down on the price or not relist it for 6 months. But with all we had been through, it was hard for me to be even a little optimistic.

They did come down, though. Which is fantastic. Only they asked us to pay our own closing costs and they were not going to include the hot tub or the air compressor in the shop.  They have offered to sell them to us, and we are going to buy the air compressor, but we didn't really want the hot tub to begin with. Call me crazy, but there's just too much maintenance involved and I doubt it would be used enough to justify having it. I'm not sure how they'll get it out of the screened porch without tearing up the porch, though. I guess we'll find out.

Coming up with the money for all the closing costs worried me though. We weren't expecting that and we were not prepared. But it worked out. We've been able to scrounge it up.

We close on Thursday. I'm hoping for no more bumps. I'm going to be so irritating in the meantime,  making sure everyone has everything they need, making sure we have everything we need...  3 days and this will be OVER.  Please.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Laws suck, too, sometimes

Yesterday we had a plan to go get things to prepare for Zio coming home to us. Then I read an article about a group trying to overturn the pit bull ban in our city.

Yeah. A pit bull ban in our city. I totally forgot about that. =(

I spent hours trying to figure a way around it. But it boiled down to this... we could keep her and run the risk of getting caught, at which point they'd take her away and likely euthanize her, or we could find her a home where she would be legal. Running the risk of getting caught just was not an option.

Finding another home, easier said than done. My sister called the humane society, pit rescue organizations... no one would help. They had offers to foster her until they could find a new home, but they really wanted to get her into a permanent home as soon as possible. Finally, my brother-in-law ' s cousin offered to take her. But there was a catch. She lives in Illinois. We're in Arkansas.

They checked into the Liberty Train and another transport organization and it was going to take too long and with one of them, they were going to have to get Zio spayed first. So they are driving her to IL themselves. (The cousin may meet them halfway but I am not positive)

My sister and brother-in-law have THE biggest hearts.  They could have just called animal control that first day and have been done with it.  But the time and energy they've put into this dog is beautiful. Not to mention money... diving to IL isn't cheap. I'm proud they're my people.

By the way, Zio is doing so much better. She's put on some weight, is more active, and today she actually let their dogs near her. Now she's about to go to her new home. Happy ending!

Obviously, the girls were crushed, though. I explained it to them, and they understood, but think it's a stupid law. But it's a life lesson: some rules are dumb, but you still have to obey.

We went to dinner, and in the middle of dinner, I got a message from a friend who found out that we couldn't have Zio.  She asked if we would consider taking in a dog that was dumped where she works that she had been trying to find a home for. I checked with Bill (who is just a big softie and would never say no anyway) and we drove out to see the dog.

The girls fell in love instantly.

He's just a puppy. My friend thinks probably 3 or 4 months old. Do you see how big he is? Still just a puppy. He's going to be huge. I don't mind... I prefer big dogs.

The girls wore him out. We arranged for him to stay one more night at the shop. Picked up some things for him and I went to get him today.

Meet Ollie.

He's not as hyper as I thought he would be. I'm hoping to get him house trained as much as possible before we move. We don't have carpet here, but will in the new house. He's mostly gone near the doors so far, so I think he knows he should go out, we just haven't gotten that far yet.

He's a sweetheart so far. He was so sad when the girls went to bed. He whined for a little bit and then went to lay down, looking like he lost his best friends forever. Imagine how excited he'll be in the morning!

He's curious about Killer, but Killer doesn't want the dog near. She's actually being a big meanie right now and is parked by Ollie ' s food dish and poor Ollie is afraid to get too close. She has hissed, but hasn't swatted. I'm going she'll learn to tolerate him.

We're supposed to close Monday, but it may be delayed a day or two due to people taking their sweet time getting things done. Seriously, don't they know we need to be their priority? ;)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

People suck

One thing we have wanted to do when we move is get a dog for the girls. We have a cat, Killer, a stray that adopted us a few years ago. But she's definitely a stray at heart, and mostly uses us for food. She will love on Bill, but doesn't bother much with the rest of us.

There is a program here called Paws In Prison, where shelter dogs are taken to the prisons to be trained by the inmates. My sister has a PIP dog. I thought that would be the perfect solution, a rescue dog that is already trained. But the adoption fee is steep, so we would have to save up and wait.

So that was the plan. Move, save up some money, then get a dog.

Today, my brother-in-law came home and found a dog in their carport. The dog chained to the pole. He isn't sure if someone thought it was their dog, they have a similar looking dog, or what. But there she was, a white pit bull, dirty, scrawny, and obviously having recently had a litter of pups.

She was scared, but he managed to get her to let him look at her, and give her food and water. Given the circumstances, he was pretty sure she had been dumped.
He posted about it in Facebook and my heart just went out to this poor dog. It's weird, but I instantly felt like this was meant to be our dog.

We did search the lost and found sites, and will continue to do so, but we don't think we'll be able to find an owner that is missing her. She's a pit bull... chances are she was kept for breeding and they felt she had had her last good litter and got rid of her. She doesn't appear to have been in fights herself, but she doesn't like other dogs at all. My sister has two dogs and she's not able to bring the stray inside because she's too aggressive towards them.

That worried me a bit. I have kids, obviously, I don't want to bring an aggressive dog near them. We went to go see the dog, and she couldn't have been more docile with the girls. Isabelle wasn't afraid of her at all, and she's usually nervous around dogs, if not terrified.

I talked to Bill and we're going to take the dog. She'll stay with my sister a few days while we prepare. We were going to wait until we move but it's very hot outside right now and I hate the idea of that poor dog being outside too long.

We'll probably name her Zio.  After the girls, it's the first letter from each of their names. Hopefully she'll adjust well and become a nice addition to the family!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to school 2014

Summer is OVER!

Dance with me.

Alrighty. Today was the first day of school for my munchkins. Normally I take a few hours off of work to see them off, but I couldn't today. I was kind of bummed about that. But, Mr. Bill made sure to get pictures for me.

Miss Olivia is in the 4th grade this year. Her teacher is new to the 4th grade as well. She used to be a 2nd grade teacher, so I'm vaguely familiar with her. Olivia seems to like her.

Miss Isabelle is in the 3rd grade. Our best surprise of the year is that she has the same teacher that she had last year! It's almost the whole same class, too. We love her teacher, so we are very excited for this year.

Miss Zoe is in the 1st grade this year. She has the same teacher Olivia had in the 1st grade, and I have to admit I'm pretty disappointed. I just am not fond of her at all. BUT, Zoe told me today that she's her second favorite teacher, so she's at least got a positive attitude about it. (And yes, we found it really amusing since she's only had 2 teachers! )

The first day went well.  Everyone was excited about their day. We went to have our traditional first day of school ice cream after school, Isabelle had her usual Monday Meltdown when we got home, Zoe whined through her homework (yes, homework on the first day... she's that kind of teacher), and Isabelle actually volunteered to do her spelling words.

Good day indeed.

We're not sure yet what we are going to do once we move. They are supposed to go to a different school, but we aren't sure we want to switch them, not yet anyway. We can apply for a permit to keep them at their school, if we chose to do so. I guess we'll see how the year goes.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 and 12

5...  days until school starts. This part of summer is like the end of a marathon. My kids are bored out of their skulls and I'm at my wits' end. I know the relief is only temporary. Soon we'll begin the homework battle, the whining over reading, the exhausted meltdowns. But at least they won't be home all day, changing clothes 100 times, dirtying every dish in the house and getting into everything they shouldn't.

12...  days until we close on our new house. Yes. That again. I really wanted to wait. But, as with most of this process, what I wanted didn't amount to much.

Do I sound bitter?

It's not that I don't like the house. I do. I think I'll feel perfectly at home. But it's not what I wanted. Trying to find what both of us wanted in our price range was impossible. I somehow ended up doing all the compromising.

You'll have to cut me a little slack. I'm so stressed. It's not over til it's over, and there's a week and a half for something to go wrong still. Everything has gone better than last time, far better. I should be happily packing and daydreaming about decorating. But I just can't. The last house traumatized me.

Anyway. It's a 3 bedroom house, 1800 Sq feet, on 6+acres.  It's roomy and peaceful. Once we are moved in, I'll be excited, I'm sure. It's close to where I work. It's an older house and will need some updates, but it's in very good shape. I wanted 4 bedrooms, but this will do. The bathrooms have been updated with a jetted tub in the main bathroom and a very roomy shower in the master bath. There's even a hot tub on a large screened in back porch. My husband will have a very large shop and there's an additional building that he wants to turn into a chicken coop.

I'll finally have a dishwasher. The fridge is huge. There's a central vac system, which is exciting. Carpet. I've missed carpet. Huge kitchen. Huge everything, really. Most of the house has wood paneling, which I detest, so I'll be painting walls for a while. Eventually we'll sheetrock the walls, but I do like the look of painted paneling so there is no rush. There is a big fireplace. I'll be painting, or rather white washing, that. Huge closets, lots of cabinets. Everything will have a place.

I'm ready to be out of this house. The walls seem to be closing in on me daily. There's no where for me to put boxes out of the way for me to even pack right now, so it will be a slow process moving out.

I'm sorry that I'm not peppier about all this. Like I said, I'm under so much stress and I probably am not dealing with it as best I could. I have always had the majority of the responsibilities on my shoulders, and the house buying process is a lot of work. Money is tight while we take care of all of this, and there is the added expense of back to school factored in, too, and it has highlighted the fact that I have three very spoiled children. And work...  everyone is taking turns going on vacation and guess who has to take up the slack.... Plus my coworkers are Mean Girls on a normal day, but when the boss is gone (like this week) is just nasty up there. I need a break.

Thanks for the vent. I hope to bring you more cheerful posts soon!

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