Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not homeless.

So.  We own a house.

Rather, we own 20% of a house, and The Bank from Hell owns the rest of it, and we are paying them in increments to slowly own it.  It is the dirtiest, grimiest thing anyone has ever laid eyes on.  (The two Mexican families that inhabited it now rent ... two doors down, and my pity for them decreases with every piece of gum or bird poop I scrape off of the floor.)  We have way more stuff than we ever imagined, but unpacking takes a back seat to cleaning and remodeling, so that adds a new reality to "living out of boxes."  It is an intricate shuffle between unpacking, cleaning, and moving.  You need to move in order to clean, you should unpack in order to move... it's like that farmer and rowboat problem. 

We adorably realized that the house is to Justin (slash, dudes in general) what the wedding was to me (ladies)!  I am happy and chill, I mean, I know it's super great and all.  But Justin.  Justin!  Justin is thrilled to pieces every moment.  Our roles have even fallen similarly into place!  Justin is in charge of the whole thing in general, and of overseeing most of the aspects, and I have claimed/been delegated certain areas too.  It is the wedding reverse!  Or, reflection!  Also in the same way, we are divvying up fees and charges ("I'll take DJ, you take cake" has turned into "I'll take mortgage, you take bills," "Alright, fine, but you're doing Netflix"), not that it matters.

Now that we're not begging for a single blade of grass anymore -- now that it has all worked out for real -- we can sit back and fume at the whole process even more.  I saw Citibank's mortgage page today, if you don't sign papers when they predict you'll close, they give you $1500!  We would be so rich right now if "Prosperity Mortgage" had employed such a tactic!  We try to minimize our outrage and maximize our joy.  Rar has set to work replacing doors and rewiring plumbing and electricity.  I have set to work cleaning floors, and Justin has set to work mowing his meadow and grilling.  We realize it a little bit more every day -- we have a house!

this land is my land, this land is Justin's land

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Night of homelessness

Friends.  Romans.  Countrymen. 

If you read this blog, we are probably facebook friends.  I probably then don't have to go into how Friday was NOT actually closing, that we were told of totally new (and, incidentally, nonexistent) problems that canceled the whole ordeal, that we started investigating lawyers, that we had to have a new letter from a contractor issued over the weekend for this all to start again on Monday.  Needless to say.  Friday was basically the worst day.  Also, Verizon had also cancelled itself despite my (at the time) successful phone call to extend the service til Tuesday.  So we've been to Panera a whole bunch the last couple of days, and here we are at our friend Eric's so we have a roof to sleep under tonight.  Thanks, Eric!  All of our earthly possessions are currently in our (old) living room, and Justin's going in to work super early to take care of business things while we wait for drama to unfold our mortgage to happen and then he'll come get me from my station in Panera when the A-Team over there gets all our housing documents together, and we will sign all sorts of closing papers and move all our items from old house to new house.  I'll then be home to field appliance and Verizon delivery on Tuesday.  Someday I'll go back to work!

Before all this ish hit the fan, I went to Camp Schmidt.  And boy did I love it!  I learned how to use a compass and hung out with all sorts of fifth graders.  I also hiked many miles of trails!  I leave you with a picture of our campfire at which I told the Greatest Scary Story.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

House reflections

Another post, so soon?  What is this, Gawker?  I know.  I'm feeling crazy, okay??

I am just, like, brimming with excitement.  For James Tate.  For Camp Schmidt.  For closing on Friday (!!!) and move-in on Saturday (!!!!!!!).  For summer.  For my ceramics class.  For my last seminar class, EVER (for now).

I've really been thinking about The House and This Process in so many different ways.  I will start with the awful way and then end with the delightful and romantic way.  In the depressing and terrible way I've been considering this whole ordeal, I'm comparing it to the most similar journey I've undertaken so far: wedding!  Now.  Both involve so much money, you're kind of in denial about the whole thing ("Monopoly money," Justin termed it.  Where $3,000 is a ridiculous sum any other day, but not when you're about to get hitched OR purchase a place to live!).  Both involve many, many people and professionals.  Both industries are known for being a little shady.  Both involve updating all your friends, family and coworkers about the hilarious and/or horrendous stories for their entertainment and sympathy!  Both involve plenty of advice, solicited and otherwise.  But they differ in drastic ways.  In one, everyone is catering to your every whim.  Your opinion can change on a dime, and the people you have working for you will accommodate.  Everyone who's a part of it wants everything to be perfect and fairytale.  Your team of recruited friends get to throw parties and wear (usually) pretty dresses.  Here's probably the most important one: If the people you are paying are not totally awesome AND amazingly competent, you get to pick other ones.  Everyone is at your mercy and super nice.  Now to describe the wedding industry.  Ha!  That was a joke.  The house-buying industry.  The house-buying industry is the opposite in every one of those ways.  You're at everyone else's mercy, and, in our situation, they have been the least competent people I have ever heard of (with the exception of our termite guy!  Thanks, termite guy!).  You can't change your realtor or your mortgage people.  Once you're knee deep, you can't change your house or the bank or anything they say.  The rules in the contracts everyone signs apply to you and you alone -- everyone else who signs them can do whatever they want.  You have to accommodate their every whim, even if it's 10:30 pm on a school night, those papers or that check needs to be somewhere NOW.  And then you get to wait five or six business days while someone does something necessary with it.  Your team of recruited friends now have to do physical labor for at least a full day, and if you can trick them, more than that.  And in the end, only you care if you actually get the house or not!  Sigh.  When you look at it that way... yikes.  But then, but then!  You remember that it's (going to be) YOUR HOUSE.

In a practical and imminent way, The New House (especially with its summer timing!) represents such newness, such possibility!  It's a crazy feeling knowing that we're going to redo the whole thing to our exact specifications.  Kitchen, living room, bathrooms -- they are ours!  I can't grasp that yet!  Of course, I'm probably most excited about the decor and paint and the return of a basil plant, but those are details compared to everything else we're fixing too!  Those would be a huge fun deal in any other circumstance, but in this situation, they are the icing on the enormous cake!  I'm going to be at Michaels every other day, I can feel it.  Everything is going to be so beautiful!  Such a refreshing chance!  And this is just getting added to my fantasies of being super healthy over the summer.  P90X!  Whole Living recipes!  LivingSocial-provided CSA shares!  And Justin and I -- we'll be married and by ourselves for the first time ever!  We've been talking recently about how everything's going to be so quiet.  I'll probably have a lot of music to drown out the silence this summer, I'm not gonna lie.  Dog will add some activity, but certainly not at the level of three housemates and their friends (hopefully)!  Our own refrigerator.  I am so, I don't even.

etsy, by way of regretsy

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another roller coaster week.

Guys.  There were seriously days this past week where the house was not going to happen at all and I had to sit and think about how I was going to break this atrocious news to all of you.  I don't mean, like, Justin and I were preparing for the worst -- I mean that for hours and days at a time, it had legit fallen through.  But by the skin of our teeth, sanity prevailed.  Recently we've had to rush-order a termite treatment and pray like crazy that the rain held out (it did), prove that shelves were not, in fact, load-bearing (they weren't), buy appliances and have them scheduled for delivery on closing day or after (they will be), and get all our friends to come out and help us that day (some are).  (Stay tuned for the world premiere of the Move-In Day 2011 Music Video.)

Rar and a notice to PLEASE cut the grass

Thanks for the windows and doorknobs, Rar!
Drawing I, check!  The last class I basically spent on my portfolio -- ironically, on the other portfolio than the one I spent the rest of the classes drawing for.  Paul was so nice all semester but pretty adamant that we show up, even if we'd already had our portfolio review (I had mine last Thursday.  It went well.).  So I showed up, hung out with my drawing friends, ate cookies and analyzed teaching then drew a super old typewriter just in case he checked up on us.  (It's not that great, so I won't waste your time posting it :/ But my painting final is now up! :) )  I totally loved a few people from drawing, but none of us went through the motions of being facebook friends or getting numbers or anything.  Sigh!  Sometimes it's a relief of reality but also a spark of sadness that you're not even going to pretend to want to read sporadic or constant updates about their vacations and their cousins.  Even though I do want to read those!  I totally do.  Up next, Parks and Rec ceramics. 

Also, in celebration of having finished this gargantuan teaching portfolio, let me take a moment to reflect on my reflections.  I turned a corner at some point with this crazy thing and actually got excited to make it all fancy and thorough.  It's really reminded me that even though there's all kinds of things wrong at that school, there's all kinds of things right too.  It's been an inspiring reminder.  Whenever I've done assignments for it at school (meaning, there's been tons of things I have to do in the classroom before I write about it and submit student work samples for the portfolio), I feel so ... sound.  Doing those things made me feel like such a good teacher.  Sigh!  Someday I'll teach in the right capacity.  Certificate available 7/1!

Today we stopped at an Open Barn.  We drive past this stable all the time and wave to these happy horses who wear coats too far into the year.  The lady was so animal-intuitive!  She talked to us for a solid 45 minutes about her horses.  She said, "I can tell the kind of day you're having by the way my horse reacts when you're on it."  Isn't that incredible!  I know animals know auras and storms and cancer and everything else but to hear such evidence (she provided examples!) was so astounding.  I was astounded! 

I leave you tonight with Braeden's reflections on how he has grown in the subject of reading:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It was the best of times, etc.

Well hello friends!  I'm sure many three of you are wondering what in the world is going on with Our House (in the middle of the street).  To explain, let me start with The Worst of Times and copy and paste a portion of an email I had to write to our realtor, mysterious mortgage lady #1, and mysterious mortgage lady #2 (believe it or not, in the middle of the gmail conversation, we were informed that MML #2 would not be working with us anymore because we're switching loan types from Man's Worst Nightmare Loan to Conventional); enter MML #3):
"3. Anyone, please, please please tell us if we can buy appliances and get termite extermination to install/service before whenever closing happens.  We are more than happy to pay for them out of our own pocket.  The logistics of installation/termite service are what seem to be the problem -- can someone open the door for Lowe's to put in a refrigerator and oven?  Can someone let the termite guy in?  These problems seem far too simple to solve to prevent us from purchasing a house.  In case it matters, the homeowner's insurance that I have already paid for is starting on Thursday. 

4. And MML #1 and MML #2, please tell me if these conditions happen before closing, if we can just for goodness' sake have a conventional loan. 

I expect answers to these four items before the close of business today.  We have been more than compliant, and these problems are way too last-minute for my taste.  The fact that closing needs to be pushed back should have been brought up weeks ago.  The lack of communication here is profoundly disturbing, and we still want in plain English, a straight and reasonable answer about the status of our purchase of this house.  I've noticed throughout this process that we will ask a question, and in the response emails, it hasn't been answered -- hedged, if anything.  That is so not acceptable, it's not even funny.

Keep in mind that these aren't numbers and issues to us, this is our
house.  We need to move.  We've already made and broken plans with each other, friends, and family to pack, renovate the kitchen counters, and move in and clean the whole place this Saturday.  One of our housemates has taken to smoking inside the house despite emails to her and the landlord, and it gets vented literally into my face all night long.  We're relying on the kindness of our current landlord to put up with these back-and-forth issues on are-we-aren't-we, and when.  We haven't gotten the sense from you that you appreciate what this is to us.  This is your job, and this is our life."
This email sent a swift kick in the pants to the various ladies involved, and better approximations at answers were sent.  So that morning (Tuesday morning, no less), we pretty much gave up on the whole endeavor whatsoever.  I was thinking about how to gracefully and embarrassingly end it on here, and resign myself to staying in this house or finding an apartment or whatever.  It was a pretty awful, dire situation.  But now, now!  Now we have people vaguely making things happen.  Unfortunately, Someone Important didn't get back to Someone Else Important and then took most of Friday off, so we don't have actual permission to do anything yet.  But we are expecting this permission, and the necessary changes are so reasonable!  Wish us luck, three readers.  And keep your fingers crossed for May 22.

Now.  The best of times.  I went to my first (!) lindy exchange and almost died of love and joy.  Made so many friends, was such a better dancer.  Someone please tell me how to get Justin to start dancing (read: please hook him up with private lessons), and my life will be even more complete than it already is.