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!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The One In The Middle

Isabelle's birthday was way back in April, but I just finished her birthday present today. Bad Momma. My plan was to give her a copy of Judy Blume's book The One In The Middle Is A Green Kangaroo along with a green kangaroo. Because she's my green kangaroo.... my middle child. I didn't finish the doll in time, and then it hibernated half-finished while I dealt with the house fiasco. She finally reminded me with a sad little "Is my kangaroo finished? My birthday was a long time ago."  =(

But it is finally done!

This is not my design. It's a Lalylala pattern,  Kira.  She has a collection of similar adorable patterns. It's supposed to have a baby kangaroo in the pouch but I figure that would end up lost.

Not much else to report yet. Probable new house on the horizon, but I don't want to talk about it just yet. I'm ready to get out of here though. Looking at bigger houses makes this one feel so small. Because it is. =)

I appreciate those of you who still read me despite my slacking on updating! 

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Well, that was fun.

Long story short... that dream house?  It turned into a nightmare. The deal fell through, and the process had been so awful we were relieved instead of disappointed.

Usually, you never actually deal with the owner selling a house. But the owner of this house insisted on being around all the time. I thought she was fine the first time we met her, but she turned into over of the most unpleasant people I have ever met.

Our first bump in the road was the fact that the house was actually a manufactured home. It was so well maintained and had been remodeled to the point that you really wouldn't know if no one told you. Nice or not... most mortgage companies don't finance them. Period. Including the one we were pre-approved through. So we had to scramble to find someone who would. We eventually did but the requirements for financing manufactured homes are much stricter. Our "sure thing" turned into iffy.

We had to endure fits from the seller.  We had decided to self-inspect, because the VA would do their own inspection and appraisal. We were basically thrown off the property and told we had to have a licensed inspector or the deal was off. My agent said she couldn't actually do that but not wanting to cause problems, we did pay for an inspection. We tried to be very accommodating. We changed the closing date to make things easier for her to arrange her own move.  She asked us to take her dog, and we agreed as long as Isabelle could meet him but we were not allowed to bring the kids on the property.

She was awful. My agent told her agent we would not come back to the house without her agent present.

After weeks of dealing with the loan officer from Hell, we were finally told they would not approve the loan.

I do feel bad. Yes, she was a mean cranky woman but I don't believe that bad people deserve bad things.  She was in the process of planning a move to England, so I'm sure this is far more inconvenient than it would be for most people. That's not my fault and we tried EVERYTHING to make the loan work. My agent assures me there isn't anything the woman can do to us, but even she is somewhat concerned that the woman would try. We still haven't gotten the signed termination of contract back, either. I do wish I could just write it off to her bad karma and forget about it.

So we begin again. We can't make any offers until the termination is final, but we're starting the hunt again. A huge part of me doesn't want to. The past few months have been incredibly stressful and I don't want to go through it again. But we have to get into a bigger home. I feel so crowded and it's not going to get better. That is stressful in itself.  But it's tempting to put it off all the same.  Last time, I was always so excited to go look at houses. This time it feels like a chore.  Hopefully my attitude will improve.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Hunt has ended!

We have found our house!  I really wish I had pictures to show off, but I don't.  But trust me when I say this was honestly beyond my imagination.  I'm still a little blown away by how it all fell into place.

It started with The Monkey House.  I had tried to do a drive by before going to see the house and couldn't.  It was a little confusing getting out to it and I realized being discreet about it would have been impossible. But I had a pretty good idea of how to get to it.

Monday, we set out to look at houses. We had decided against seeing Boot Lick and The Guest House accepted an offer the day before so we only had The Other Log Cabin and The Monkey House. The Other Log Cabin was a definite No.  So we headed to The Monkey House. We were following our realtor and she turned down a road with a real estate sign, but I was 99% sure she made a wrong turn.  But we followed her anyway. I was right. We got turned around and made it to The Monkey House finally.

The house was OK.  Not perfect. The deck needed to be replaced and it was super high towards the back of the house. I'm a bad judge of distance but it had to have been about 15 feet high.  It made me really nervous. The acreage was mostly wooded and not particularly pretty.

So we were talking with the agent and Bill wanted me to look up a couple of houses we passed on our way, including the one down the Wrong Turn Road. The second he heard about that house, he wanted to see it. All he needed to hear were the first two words in the description. ... "10 acres".

Our agent tried to get us in to see it Monday but they wanted more notice. So we arranged to see it Tuesday.

I wasn't feeling good about it. That's a lot of land. And it was a mobile home. I'm not opposed to mobile homes, but if I'm buying one, I want it to be new, you know?  They don't usually hold up over the years like a house.  And the reason we hadn't found it on our searches was that it was $30k more than I was comfortable with.

I was so nervous all day Tuesday. I had no doubt Bill would fall in love with this place. And I didn't want to crush his hopes.  I ran some numbers through a mortgage calculator and after discovering how minimal the taxes were on the property, it seemed like it was actually in our price range payment - wise. I didn't get a chance to verify it with our mortgage lady though, so it was only slightly comforting.

We got there Tuesday and the realtor wad running late. We wanted around the yard a bit and a woman came out of the house. The owner was there. I wasn't sure how to feel about that but she was very nice. She is in her 60s and moving back home to England. She does remodeling and interior design for a living so the inside of the house was amazing. If I hadn't been told it was a mobile home, I would never have guessed.  And it was a triple - wide so it was enormous.

They raised horses and miniature donkeys so there are barns and pastures and an arena. Gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. There wasn't a single thing we could come up with that was even iffy.  Bill, who nit picked every took tiny aspect of every other house had nothing negative at all. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw him look so happy.

The owner was just hilarious. We talked to her for way too long. Don't think that she was some sweet British granny.  She was firey.  Bright artificial red hair, snappy and sarcastic. I loved her.

So we left. I promised Bill I would call the mortgage lady as soon as I got home. I did and my calculations were pretty accurate. We really could afford it and it was within our approved amount, so I called up our realtor and told her we were ready to make an offer.

Two excruciatingly long days later, they have accepted!  We asked for them to leave the really nice fridge (French doors, drawer freezer) and their gorgeous dining room set, making sure they knew it wasn't a deal breaker if they didn't want to, but they agreed. Then they negotiated a later closing date in return for also leaving us their top of the line front load washer and dryer. Plus they are putting in a new stove (because the oven handle is broken... their decision, not our request).

I feel like we won the lottery! We won't close until July but that's fine. I get a beautiful house that is bigger and nicer than I had hoped for and Bill has room to put cows in the future. This is what we hoped to be able to have SOMEDAY, but never thought we could have NOW. All because our real estate agent made a wrong turn.

I am so excited!  I can't wait to show off our new home!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Great Hunt

I think I mentioned before that we are in the process of buying a house. This is a brand new experience for us. We've been in our current rental house for 5 1/2 years and after getting the treadmill and having absolutely no where to put it but the living room, I realized we are so far past having outgrown this place it's ridiculous. I discovered our house is less than 1000 sq ft.  It's no wonder I have a constant feeling of claustrophobia.

So I mentioned to Bill that I wanted to look into buying our own home. We had talked about it for a while as a "in a few years" kind of thing. He said to start with the financial aspect first. We didn't want to find THE HOUSE and then have problems securing a loan. So I made a few calls and was immediately pre-approved for the amount we were looking at spending. It was kind of surreal. We've been through some tough financial times in years past, neither of us really were prepared to have an answer that quickly. Yes, things are much better for us now. And we have little debt since both our vehicles are paid off, but it was still a pleasant shock.

So the hunt has begun.

It's the most frustrating and fun experience. I take turns being insanely excited, horribly disappointed, and wanting to run over Bill with our car.

Due to our schedules, we can only look at houses once a week. Monday afternoon. So I spend all week obsessing over the houses we find until we get to see them in person. And we really can't decide if we want to sacrifice some of the things we are looking for in order to keep the girls in their current school. Bill wants a big yard, preferably more than a  acre. That's not going to happen in our current area so the girls stay in their school.

He wants land. A garage. I want 4 bedrooms and enough space to have my own craft area. It's not easy to find all of that.

Week 1, we lined up 5 houses. Bill had his favorite, which I wasn't thrilled about. But we found out the school district they'd be in had a reputation for being very racist and homophobic. Not ideals we want our kids to be exposed to more than necessary. So we cut that house out before we saw it.

House #1 looked very promising in pictures. Only 3 bedroom but had an attic that we could finish for a 4th. We got there and the yard was itty bitty.  The house was small. The kitchen was wrecked and our first thought upon seeing the garage was "meth lab".  We left.

House #2.  Dubbed "The Chicken Coop" (we seem to have started a habit of nicknaming houses).  3 bedroom.  Large yard with, you guessed it, a chicken coop. But the house felt cramped. Bill loved it. I talked him out of it because I can't go from one cramped house to another.

House #3. Huge house with a finished basement. Big yard. Tons of room. Stinky. Water damage in basement and it felt like a dungeon. Not well cared for. Disappointment.

House #4. 3 BR with a big yard and a pool. I loved the house. It was perfect. Bill hated it for no real reason. I was so mad at him.

Surprise house... "The Yellow House" We found a house in the midst of looking at the others. A very unique looking yellow house. I have always wanted a yellow house. The realtor managed to get us in to see it that day. I loved it. Bill found a million things wrong with it. Punk.

So, no luck. We spend another week combing through listings and lined up 3 more. One of which we both had very high hopes for.

House 1... The house we knew would be "the one"... Sucked. It had a lot of issues. I was crushed.

House 2... "The Secret Passage House" I didn't have high hopes for this one but it had everything we wanted. Large yard, garage, 4 BR, in the school zone. But it wasn't well cared for and needed a new floor in the kitchen. Not new flooring.... there was a spot that felt like it was going to send us crashing into the basement. But the house was a lot of fun to look at. It had a secret passage from the basement into the bathroom of the master bedroom. It just needed too much work for the price.

House 3... Nice house. Small yard. 4 BR. In the school zone. But for the square footage, it just felt tiny.

After talking to the realtor, we went to look at two more. The houses were perfect but the yards were tiny.  One house had a manhole cover in the middle of the back yard. The other was so close to the other houses around that you could practically look in their windows.

No luck again.

We have 4 lined up for tomorrow. I'm trying to keep a level head but I'm so in love with one of them. Have been from the start but we hadn't seen it yet because it's a longer commute to work for me. It's dubbed The Monkey House. 2.5 acres in the country. Beautiful A- frame 2 story log cabin. Only 3 bedrooms but it has an unfinished basement. It even has a yellow door. (The whole house has been decorated with a jungle theme and the realtor says they have a real live monkey... hence the nickname) I am beyond excited to see this house.  Then we also will see The Guest House (it really has a guest house),  Boot Lick (reminds me of Deliverance but Bill wants to go look), and That Other Log Cabin (self explanatory).

Cross your fingers for me. My nerves can't take months of house hunting. I'm ready to MOVE!


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