house hunting

Still in disbelief

File under: house hunting

Things are progressing with the house and are definitely feeling much more real now. Today we got our mortgage stuff all set (minor detail) and had the inspection. So far so good!

I can't believe I'm going to live someplace this beautiful.

I had to document this one weird little area in the basement under the stairs, which Pat announced will be Greta's new timeout area (joking).

UPDATE: Our awesome realtor Mary put together a fantastic slide show of pictures of the house! (If Pat and I look like a mixture of stressed and bored, it's because we were - a three hour inspection with lots of waiting!)


Fabulous weekend


This weekend we headed out to Cape Vincent to visit Pat's parents at their camp. Rain was predicted for the entire weekend, but we decided to throw caution to the wind and still go. We are very glad we did because other than Friday night (when we were still home), we didn't see a drop of rain, and it was sunny the entire time. One of the highlights was that we went to a huge petting zoo called Old MacDonald's, where we fed goats (there were many, many goats), bunnies, alpacas, pigs, and the BIGGEST COWS EVER. I have so many pictures from the farm that I will let them tell the tale.

We also had a really nice fire in the evening and did some fishing this morning. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of Greta and her Grandma Kathy snuggling near the fire or pictures of Greta and her Grandpa Dick fishing because I took 500 pictures of goats and then our camera battery died [kicking myself]. Amazingly, during Greta's first attempt at fishing, she caught three fish total (and it was definitely three different fish because they were of three different genera). She seemed skeptical about the fish torture, but she sure was good at it.

I feel like there was something else I wanted to mention. What was it? Hmmm. Wait, I remember. WE FOUND A MOFO HOUSE WE ALL LOVE. And more importantly, we made an offer and it was accepted (after some good old-fashioned negotiating, something we have never had the opportunity to do while house hunting and are not usually so skilled at [we both drive Saturns, after all]). I will just say that we all knew this was the house for us - the only time that happened during our 6-month search. Because there is still room for this whole thing to turn pear shaped, I don't want to gush too much; I will just say that I will give more details later and will post pictures when we get in for the inspection. And HOLY CRAP, we have to get our house ready to put on the market post haste, and do about 5,000 other things before moving. Woot!


UPDATE: Here's a link to some of the pictures. Awesome, right???



If you drink slowly enough, your celebratory wine can become consolatory wine...

...and then just regular ol' drinkin' wine while watching Tori and Dean. We opened a fancy bottle of wine Saturday night to celebrate putting the offer in on the house. Pat and I both had a glass. I was too stressed to drink wine Sunday (is that possible?), but Pat did have a glass. And then I had some more last night in which to drown my sorrows. This seems to be some never-ending fancy bottle of wine, so now I'm just settling down with a glass.
I am happy to say that, although I started the day feeling quite dismayed with the house situation, at some point this morning I started actually feeling okay with it. First, the house itself had some obvious idiosyncrasies (eg, there was no place to put the kitty litter box, there was really no storage), but whenever I would think about those things I would immediately think about how awesome the bathrooms were, or how beautiful the windows were, or how gorgeous the gardens were. But then I had a bit of a breakthrough. This was a historic house in an an actual neighborhood-neighborhood. I Google'd the neighborhood this morning to see if I could find out its history, and I found the neighborhood association's website and, HOLY CRAP, those neighbors would be all up in our grill - in the nicest way possible, but still. They expect you to do neighborly activities, and pay dues, and help "support" your neighbors, and keep your yard super well maintained. I mean, sometimes we don't mow our lawn for a month, and our lawn still looks way the heck nicer than many of our current neighbors' lawns. I don't think I am ready to be the slacker neighbor. When my mom and I went to the open house on Sunday, there were a bunch of obnoxious women in the dining room all kibitzing about the sellers and their house and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, and they all seemed to know an awful lot about the couple. Now I understand why, and I sure wouldn't want to be forced to hang out with those women and then have them standing in someone else's dining room kibitzing about me.  
Call it self-preservation or whatever you like, but I guess I'm okay with how things worked out. While I highly, highly doubt we will find another house as aestheically pleasing, I am almost certain we'll find another that suits our family better.
And yes, I realize I'm talking about the house a lot. It was just a lot of energy and hope in one thing (and in a short amount of time - hey, I'm on the same bottle of wine!). But now, on to other things*.
For example, Greta is a bit danger prone and often has multiple cuts and scrapes and whatnot. At this very moment she is wearing three (count 'em, three) Band-Aids. And tonight I was reading her a book, and it asked a bunch of questions that she was answering. One such question was, "What makes you feel happy?" and she gleefully exclaimed, "Band-Aids!" Hehe.
*Although I just saw a commercial that showed the same washer and dryer that were in the house, and I actually stuck my lower lip out, in some sort of immature, yet involuntary reaction...I'm still healing. (Send more wine.)

A banner day...for crap

File under: house hunting

In case you haven't heard the news, after waiting approximately 38 hours after we submitted our offer and after biting my finger nails into even smaller nubs than they already were, we found out that they did not accept our offer. The competition was quite hefty, and three other people submitted offers for the house this weekend (which went on the market only on Friday). We thought we were safe offering a couple thousand dollars extra than asking price, but someone ended up offering more than $11K more than asking price AND they/he/she/it paid in cash. WTH? My friend Sarah and I had a pretty hilarious conversation after I told her that, involving a fictional couple, Muffy and Sebastian, who own many homes. They bought this home to store their wine, golf clubs, rare coins, and furs. Muffy and Sebastian are not very nice people, and I hope they find out the house was built on an ancient Indian burial ground and that their master bath is oozing with ghosts. Is that mean? I can't help how I don't judge me.
This entire day was just crappy, ranging in severity of it being Monday to getting the bad news about the house. But my personal favorite crappy thing that happened today is that I got an impromptu call from day care telling me Greta was upset that it was nap time and she didn't have her green blanket (a blanket she usually couldn't care less about). The woman who called asked me if she could put Greta on the phone, and I said, "Of course." Then, for the next five minutes (or at least it felt that long), Greta whimpered things like, "I want my green blanket." and "I really, really want my green blanket." To which nothing I said was even remotely helpful to her. Nothing makes a mom feel like more worthless than a conversation like that, when she wants nothing more than to hug her child.
Because I've already reached my quota of how many times I allow myself to say "crap" in one post, I will give the highlight of today: Greta cleaned her plate (ie, she ate all her dinner) for the first time ever while in my care. My only real goal for the meal was to use up a cup of ricotta that I had left over from another meal and to feed my family something semi healthy. I really wasn't expecting the entire family to become members of the "clean plate club." Because this seems notable, I thought I should document it. Here is what Greta ate:
A bunch of green grapes
Ziti with broccoli and ricotta sauce
Italian bread with butter
She even sopped up all of the sauce with her bread - mommy's little nonItalian.
In case you're interested, I've posted the recipe for the pasta dish in the comments section. Perhaps you will have similar results with your toddler.
Here's to Monday 6/8/09 being almost over!

Adventures in house hunting

Wow, this weekend has been sort of a whirlwind. At the end of the work day Friday, I told my friend Margaux that we weren't going to see any houses this weekend and that we had only one measly planned activity. I was looking forward to a nice low-key weekend, and then it turned into a rather stressful and action-packed one, in a good way, though. Our realtor, Mary, knowing how aggressive the housing market is in Brighton, has been checking the listings for us multiple times a day to let us know right away if anything promising comes up. She sent us a listing Friday night that looked great, and I asked her right away to get us an appointment. She did and we were the first ones in the house to see it. It is a gorgeous old farm house (built circa 1870) that has been completely renovated (um, except for the dirt basement) and is probably the most charming house I've ever seen. It is in pristine condition, has a beautiful yard (.55 acres, which is actually large in Brighton) with the most gorgeous perennials and mature trees, it made my heart race with excitement like no other house has done, and most importantly, it's in our price range. Holy crap, I love this house. Oh, and when walking down the hallway there were some old pictures and things, and there was one that said Whitacre on it, which is my mom's maiden name. THIS HOUSE IS MEANT FOR US, (says me).
We made a handsome offer last night that technically expired today at 1 PM. See, this house is the bee's knees, and they had an open house scheduled today, so I guess they want to see who all would throw their hats in the ring. So now we wait. I have been a nervous wreck all day, and Pat is busy with some work stuff this weekend, so my mom - probably sensing my need for company - offered to come out today. We went out to lunch and then we actually went to the open house for THE house so she could see and, secondarily, try to dissuade the collectively smitten masses by saying things in front of people like, "There sure is a lot to weed in this yard; that's a deal-breaker," and, "A basement with a dirt floor?? Deal-breaker!" from competing with us. Greta, my mom, and I then went to the zoo to walk around and kill some time. I can't tell you how nice it was to have my mom here to distract me. It made my day.
Now we wait. Writing this has actually been quite therapeutic. Also therapeutic is that one of my high school classmates sent me a link to a commercial that my first best friend, Randy, is in (he's the cool iPod dude). It is impossible for me to watch this and not crack up. For those readers who graduated from Marcellus HS in mid 90s, YOU'RE WELCOME.

If it weren't for guilt, you'd get no update at all

Soooooo, where were we?
The weather has been super cruddy. Pfft. That's all I have to say about that.
We looked at 7 houses in the last week and got nothin'. We even opened up our search to more expensive houses (Pat has big plans to make low-ball offers on expensive houses), which maybe seems like a exercise in futility with the way the housing market in Rochester is part of some housing loophole, especially in the highly sought-after neighborhood of Brighton, but, hey, you never know. Even the houses above our price range are kind of, um, sucky from what we've seen so far, so we're just keeping our eyes open and being patient and, oh, enjoying looking through other people's hideously decorated houses.
Um, we ate at this place, a little gem in the ghetto. We have gotten meat in there for barbeques, but this was the first time we ever sat down to eat. We got a couple sample platters and ate way too much food. It was tasty, but it almost turned me vegetarian again (but not quite). If you ever want to kill, like, 5 or 6 animals with one meal, this is the place to go.
Things are good with Greta, aside from her pretty much constantly trying to test the boundaries and forgetting her manners on a regular basis. I have to say that I sort of expected the worst for age 3 because quite a few people told me 3 was way worse than 2, but Beanie has been a gem. She really is quite a smart, funny, sweet little thing, which brings me to the biggest thing weighing in my mind right now: Operation Spend More Time with Greta. I don't know how it's going to happen just yet, or if it will just fizzle out like all of my other grand plans, but it's hitting me that Greta is going to be in school before we know it, and the thought of shipping her off to after-school programs bums me out. Don't ask me why having her in day care for 8 hours a day is a-ok but school and an after-school thing seems just does. If you have any ideas for how I can clone myself, let me know!
This took me a record amount of time to write. Ugh, I'm sluggish.

Condolences and Neko-fan commentary welcome here

File under: house hunting | music

Yesterday we were eagerly awaiting our news regarding the offer we put in on the house. We offered the asking price, and we knew there was at least one other offer that had been submitted. We ended up finding out three hours after we asked them to respond by that they had accepted another offer, one that was "significantly higher" than the asking price. If someone else likes it that much (even with the small-@$$ kitchen ;-)), all I can really do is shrug my shoulders and say, "That's fair." I admit I'm disappointed that things didn't work out with the house, but neither Pat or I thought the house was perfect, so I'm sure I'll be over it soon. Part of me wonders if my disappointment has more to do with me hating to lose than anything else. I'm staying positive about the whole thing, and to show how happy I am for the new potential owners, I've written the following open letter to them:
Dear new owners of the house I really liked:
I hope you like your new house. Good luck in that toy kitchen of yours. I hope you really, really like take-out.
Frances Q. Reed
Okay, I should probably polish that up a bit more...and maybe wait until I stop feeling bitter.
We didn't let the news put a damper on the fun evening we had planned, luckily. We dropped Greta off at my parents' house and went to Ithaca for dinner/drinks with friends and the Neko Case show (on a Monday night no less - we're coo-coo-crazy!). It was our friend Todd's birthday, and he wanted to get a couple pre-dinner drinks at Chapter House, where he spent his 21st birthday many moons ago, and then we went to the Nines for pizza, wings, and corn nuggets (the latter of which taste way better than they sound). Crooked Fingers (a band we also like!) opened for Neko. I admit I'm not a huge Neko Case fan, but Pat went to last year's show and hasn't stopped talking about it since. Pretty much everyone I know who has seen her live feels the sudden urge to propose to her (man or woman), and I have been intrigued by the hype. I will say that the show far exceeded my expectations, and I get "it" now. She is great live. Everything was perfect. You can consider me a fan, but I think I'll skip the proposal...I can only take so much rejection this week.


File under: house hunting

We didn't get the house. Full update to follow.

Why don't you just go ahead and consider your advice meaningless?

File under: house hunting

So, Pat and I decided to put an offer in on the house I've been ruminating about for the last 4 days. We should find out tomorrow afternoonish if they've accepted our offer or not. While I don't 100% love the house, I love parts of it, and hey, I didn't realize I loved Pat for a good month or two after I met him, and he's clearly my life partner. So there. Take that, naysayers. ;-)
Wish us luck. Or, hey, don't - because if this doesn't work out I'm taking it as a sign from the house gods that this one wasn't meant to be.
Thanks to those of you who did offer advice! I was all ready to take it, but then I couldn't stop thinking about how much potential it has, and we went back today to an open house, and I kept getting all defensive about the house, looking at other people who were there and thinking things like, "Ew, you're too ugly to own this cute house," and "Ew, you are way too douchey to own this house," and "Ew, you reek of smoke and you are going to fill this lovely house with your cigarette stench," etc. Okay, apparently I'm not a very nice person...But then again we've talked about how house hunting turns me crazy.

Buying a house is not like buying a pair of shoes...or is it?

File under: house hunting

I'm an indecisive person and I also don't like spending money unless I think something is really worth it. When I go shopping and I'm not sure I really like something, I won't buy it. The next day, if I can't stop thinking about the item, I go back and buy it. Often, I forget about whatever it was and have some more money in my bank account. I'm not sure if that's brilliant or crazy. Either way, it works for me!
We've been house hunting for a few months, and we haven't really seen anything even remotely exciting in our price range in the neighborhoods we like. Well, there was that one I really liked, but it was too expensive, too small, and, oh yeah, in the WRONG school district. Details, details. And then yesterday we saw a really great house for 20K less than most of the other houses we've seen, and it had the most key items we want of all the houses we've seen. The house was by no means perfect, though, but we would have a nice chunk of money to put into it to do some improvements right off the bat. It has a ton of redeeming qualities, Pat and I both really liked it, Greta proclaimed the basement "stinky," but, whatever. For all I know they have already accepted an offer from someone who isn't ridiculously indecisive, but all day today I couldn't stop thinking about the house. Per my Fran's Rule of Shopping, that means we should buy it, right? Does it matter that we're not giddy-in-love with the house? Will we grow to love this really nice house? I just fear that we are never going to find anything we love in our price range and we will be kicking ourselves. Should we make an offer to buy the shoes house?
In other news, I like drinking wine, eating generic cheetos, and watching this on repeat.

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