Monday, February 29, 2016

Moving On

Waaaaay back in January life was looking pretty grand.  We had found the house we wanted, made an offer, it was accepted, the mortgage was all set - we were looking at February 29th as closing day.

(Un?)Fortunately, the appraisal process threw a big ol' wrench in the whole thing.  It turned out the sellers had been less than honest about some aspects of the property - namely, that the "in-law suite" (with its giant bedroom, full bath, kitchen sink area, etc.) has not been used in 20 years, and so there actually isn't any heat or plumbing happening in a pretty big chunk of the house.

The mortgage broker gave it a big ol' "NOPE" on that, and we were sort of back to the drawing board.  Our Realtor approached the sellers with the opportunity to either take care of business, or accept a significantly lower offer, so we could include contracting out getting it taken care of.  No dice.

This led to a pretty darn bummed out me. 

However, like every story I ever tell, there is a silver lining.  The house we had decided on was actually the very first place we looked at.  It was perfect: it was inexpensive, and it had an entire separate suite for Dad, which were our only real requirements.  It turns out it doesn't technically have that suite, so off the list it goes.  I have noticed the property description on Zillow has changed to offering "potential" for a master/in-law suite, but the price hasn't changed.

Back to the drawing board we went!  We found an assortment of properties we wanted to check out, and sent the list to our Realtor; unfortunately, he wasn't able to schedule visits for 8 days, and by the time we got to check them out, only two of our 5 were still on the market (I had no idea real estate was such a fast moving business!). We found one more to check out, all the while slowly raising the max price we were willing to consider.  The three we looked at last Saturday were 100% dumpy slums.  Just trust me on this: they were super duper gross.  One had been my frontrunner, as it had a gorgeous and huge kitchen - all updated, beautifully painted, etc.  Unfortunately, that kitchen was what my lovely sister, Faith, referred to as "gilding the turd" - the house was literally falling apart - the floors were lumpy and bumpy because the foundation was so messed up, and we couldn't even check out the second floor apartment, because the stairs/balcony were falling off the side of the house.

We were looking at other options at home that night, and found what we both saw as *ZING* our dream house - late 1800s, huge, big yard, great neighborhood, etc.  We texted our guy right away - lo and behold, it had just gone under contract earlier that day, he still set us up an appointment to see it (which was good of him, as we were a bit sore over the fact that several properties had slipped through our fingers while he was eating sandwiches or something the previous week).  Luckily, the place wasn't as spectacular in person (I would like to write to my legislators to put a law in place that only allows photos that show a place in its actual condition be posted online).

I did mention one other spot we'd been looking at, and that we were really interested in checking it out AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  So - fast forward to Monday, and I left work a bit early, Dad and Azi met me at the place, and it was perfect.  Not only was all the plumbing working - but the house is in fantastic condition, comes with all appliances, and even a warranty.  There are currently tenants in one part, but they are relatives of the sellers, so shouldn't be too much of an issue.

We walked through - imagined our lives there, etc. etc. etc.

Then, we went and looked at a place that had just come on the market, and, you guessed it, total dump! It is the kind of place that will be really amazing if someone with enough money can fix it up.  Gorgeous huge old house, with some buckets collecting water leaking through the upstairs kitchen sealing, and parts of the building appearing to want to fall off. 

We told our guy we wanted to make an offer on place number one, and he said he'd write it up and we could sign in the morning.  We were like "NOPE" - let's do this now.  So, we got our offer in, and by the next evening, the counter offers and counter counter offers were all finished, and we've officially got a contract in place.

I'm a big flabbergasted that it's still going to take a damn month and a half for the whole process, but, for now we've got the thumbs up on the mortgage (that was all settled on the previous house), and the sellers are happy.  It's time to start packing, and imagining what I'm going to paint over the wood paneling throughout my floor!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pending

Never has the word "pending" excited me so much!  I was doing my daily stalking of the house we're hoping to buy on Zillow.  No big deal - except it IS a big deal!  It's gone from "for sale" to "this house has a pending offer."

Now, I know there are still loads of hoops to jump through, but, unless there is some crazy event that wreaks havoc on the property - I'm going to be a home owner in just over a month!

It's kind of cool - our projected closing date is February 29th.  We decided last night that we'll have to have a party every leap day (four years between parties should give me ample time to clean up and do all the baking for the next one) to celebrate our new house.

I need to do some online querying and find out when is the appropriate time to start crowing to everyone you know about your new house.  I know with pregnancy, you're supposed to wait until the second trimester, but I'm an impatient lass, and did not hold to that those eighteen years ago.

This is shaping up to be yet another wonderful day.  I think I must have known that when I put on my favorite butterfly earrings this morning.  They are adorable, and you should buy a pair.

For sale at http://beijobrasil.com/

Monday, January 25, 2016

Adulting

I'm in the midst of one of those pivotal moments in a person's life - when big changes are happening - working on buying a house!  We've met with the realtor, gone through a mortgage broker, made an offer, etc.  My take on all of it is that I feel like such a *grown up* - which is pretty incredible, when I consider the fact that I am thirty-six years old, and have officially been an adult for half of my life.

I am beyond excited about the house happening.  Of course, like all metaphorical chickens, I can't count it until it's hatched, but I feel pretty good.  That might just be my optimistic nature talking.

It's this whole adult concept that's throwing me for a bit of a loop.  I wonder if it's some "millennial" thing - where, despite the fact that I pay my bills, have had the same job for thirteen years, have raised another human being to the point that she is almost a legal adult, etc. etc., I still feel like I'm a twelve-year-old version of myself in a mid-thirties costume.  I've got my glasses, my cardigan and top that totally match (for real, they are a set), I'm wearing one of my four pairs of black 'office shoes' and my pants are wrinkled - due to a long standing belief that ironing is for losers, and people who make quilts (FYI - people who make quilts are NOT losers, I have counted myself among their ranks in the past).
Artist's Rendering of Me
Well world, get ready for grown up Jessy to come out and play!  I'm nervous at going "public" (read: posting it on facebook) about the house - and will most likely wait until we've actually got the keys in our hot little hands.  For now - the seller has verbally accepted our offer, and is signing paperwork with the realtor today. 

I'm planning on trying to document the whole process on here.  I will have to write up a big long explanation of the over two hour process of meeting with the mortgage broker, and the ridiculousness that meant we had to offer more than we wanted to because the amount of our mortgage was too SMALL for any lenders to consider us, but that's for another day.  Today, I will languish in the joy of being a REAL grown up. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Suddenly - it's Spring!

I love winter.  Don't think I'm one of those fickle Maine girls who likes snow until January 15th and yearns for hot beaches.  I am a 100% content with winter the way it is type of gal. 

However, if you've not been hiding under a rock with no wifi, you're most likely aware that winter has been mighty rough for us New Englanders this year.  2015 has not been kind thus far.

I'm ready to admit it - I've been aching for spring!  I'm tired of snow up above my waist for months, I'm tired of it being so cold that my nosehairs freeze, I'm tired of trying to calculate whether or not the oil in my tank will last, I'm tired of my car sliding around on ice.  It's gotten old.  Seeing as it's halfway through April, I consider this to be a perfectly reasonable opinion.

Incredibly, something amazing happened this week - Spring started!!!  Starting Sunday, the temperatures skyrocketed up to the high fifties and low sixties.  On Monday evening, I swear I saw seventy-one degrees on the thermometer in town - unfortunately, my phone was at home on my couch, so I don't have any proof - and the snow has been melting like.... like.... like a pair of edible panties in a sauna? Too crass? Just crass enough?

I've had my office window open all week, and with the exception of that one wretched spider I had to kill, it's been great!

My small windowsill garden seems to realize it's spring, and little blossoms  have begun - a couple of visual treats:

Shadows of Forsythia

My mystery succulent is making beautiful blossoms!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Unbucket List

It's that magical time of year again, when everyone is examining their plans and desires, and I have noticed a dramatic increase of the number of "bucket lists" I see when I'm scanning my Facebook feed.

I don't have an official bucket list - sure there are things I yearn to do before I leave the mortal coil: Skydiving, ride a mechanical bull, learn how to juggle, pull an awesome April Fools' prank, etc.

Honestly though, there are a lot of things I yearn to arrive at the pearly gates saying that I haven't done.  I have decided to name this list my "Unbucket List" - fitting title, no?

Things I wish not to do (and thus far haven't done - I can't include "lock my keys out of my car" because d'oh - I've done that one):

- Run out of gas
- Be kidnapped by a torture-obsessed serial killer
- Break a leg (in the metaphorical sense)
- Have someone overhear me describing how ugly their baby is
- Pass audible gas while making a speech
- Sever a finger or limb while using a table saw
- Become too PC for Cards Against Humanity

That's it for now - there are lots of other things I don't want to do, but I think that's a sufficient list for the start of 2015.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Who's That Messing with my Garden?

Yesterday, I went home in the afternoon to get some lunch, as my normal lunch (water and candy, or, lately, water and cigarettes) just wasn't doing it for me, and I wanted a sandwich.

This is my tiny garden prior to any mischief.

Walking past my tiny little garden, I saw what appeared to be a peanut.  Seeing as I live in Maine, which has never been known for a climate conducive to growing peanuts, I thought to myself "My, that looks out of place," then continued on my day, as I have an actual job that keeps me from dwelling on mystery legumes.

When I arrived home last night, I took a closer look, and discovered not one, not two, but THREE peanuts in with my strawberries, mint, and multiple basil plants.  If they had been out of their shells, I might have wondered what they were (eg "is it a seed? a bean?"), but because they were still fully dressed, I knew it was peanuts.

Artist's rendering of a fully dressed peanut
Now, you're probably thinking: "Why is Jessy complaining about such a great gift? She sure is a big jerk face!" But these are not GIFT peanuts, they are implements of destruction.  Someone or some THING has been digging up my lovely little basil seedlings (including the cinnamon basil which is the coolest thing I've ever even HEARD of), covering them with dirt, and putting peanuts in the depressions where basil used to live.

Seeing as it's 2014, I did what any thirty-something woman does when there's a mystery: I posted about it on Facebook, and immediately received the reply that it must be monkeys.  I already am less than a fan of monkeys, so the idea of them terrorizing my lovely spices just gets my goat (let's see how many animals I can name today!). 

The artist isn't very good at drawing monkeys 
Once I started thinking about monkeys, I thought - "Monkeys are more into bananas than peanuts" - because the mystery creature is not burying bananas - it must not be monkeys.

Now.... think hard here - what kind of animal loves peanuts? 

I'll tell you - it's ELEPHANTS!!!!


In all honesty, I wouldn't mind if it turned out that an elephant was using my little garden as its personal peanut storage area, but you'd think I'd find some other evidence, like giant piles of poop, or really big footsteps - and, I'll tell you, there has been not a sign of either.

And YES, I do happen to live in a neighborhood that is absolutely flush with squirrels.  I fricking love squirrels, and hate to think that they'd play me this way.  Look at this picture of a squirrel - how sweet is it???

Obviously, Squirrels are full of love
I'm not sure how squirrels feel about peanuts - but I do know they're pretty fond of being rascals.

So, I'm currently dealing with either monkeys, elephants, or squirrels - or some strange Dr. Moreau type hybrid. 

Never a dull moment in suburbia.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Dude!

Back in the early 1990s, when my sister Faith and I were at our very most awkward (I fervently hope that is the most awkward I will ever be!!) we displayed our intrinsic hipness by going from calling our Dad "Dad" to calling him "Dude" (keep in mind this was long before the Big Lebowski, although in my opinion, David Brainerd could give The Dude a run for his money in straight up coolness).  I remember feeling a bit of excitement whenever I'd yell "I love you Dude!" in a crowd, like I was a secret badass.

Here are the facts:
  1. My Dad is cooler than yours
  2. My Dad has the best hair, and had no problem letting us style his tight curls into "Bozo the Clown" (even when we didn't have a clue who Bozo was)
  3. Even though he hasn't had a mustache since I was a teenager, any time I see a man with a mustache, I immediately feel a bit of fondness toward him because of my Dad's old 'stache
  4. The same goes for men smoking pipes 
  5. Dad wore flannel shirts before they were cool in the nineties, and still wears them today (actually, they're the exact same shirts, and the elbows have pretty much disintegrated)
I have an amazing relationship with everyone in my family; we're a close bunch, and genuinely like each other (okay, I can only speak for myself, maybe there's an "I hate Jessy" club going on behind my back, but if there is - they're very good actors when we're hanging out).  

Some of my best memories are of doing regular old stuff with Dad/Dude.  I remember a particular trip to the dump (probably around 1987/1988), and Mom giving the usual warning of not bringing anything home.  Sure, I remember it smelling pretty bad at first, but I got used to it - and then I discovered all the treasures! I remember being baffled at what kind of person would throw away perfectly good furniture, books with the covers missing, wood that could be made into something, and more!  *I am pretty sure that we did not come home with less than we brought to the dump, but hopefully it was so super cool that Mom didn't mind.

Recently, my daughter asked me "Do you know what my favorite memory is?" I said "No," and she proceeded to reminisce about an awesome day at Dad's cabin a few years ago.  We drove up for the day, went for a walk in the woods, and Dad did his usual foraging for chives and other woodsy snacks that I would have walked right past.  I cooked up some chicken in the fire pit in his dooryard (this was before he had the chickens in the dooryard, so it wasn't a creepy thing to do), and we created art with our chicken - it was just a super chill, fun day - beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, all of that.

Three generations of cool

Dad showing off his creation, and his information source

It's memories like hers, and mine of the dump, that make me thankful I didn't grow up wealthy.  While I'm sure that folks with plenty of money have plenty of great experiences, I don't know if they are as capable of finding beauty in the little things.  Maybe that's way too judgey, I don't know.

The reason for all of my Dude-based-memories is that it's the big guy's birthday today!! He's a whopping sixty-one and seems to be improving with age.  Some day, I look forward to hearing my grandchildren talk about their fun times out in the woods with the Dude, too.