Sunday, August 29, 2010

600th post! And a Whirlwind Week!

I cannot believe this is my 600th post.  I obviously spend too much time on the internet when I could be doing other things.  And, since my life has changed a lot in 600 posts and three years, it's probably only fitting that this has been about the craziest week in those three years.  Let's recap, shall we?

Friday, August 20:  See a Facebook posting by our local newspaper with the open houses of the week.  Spy a cute, old house and show my husband.  We discuss how much we like it.

Saturday, August 21:  Still thinking about the house.  We talk about it off and on all day, but just in a "Hey I like that house" kind of way.

Sunday, August 22:  Wake up and tell my husband I want to drive by the house.  We pile everyone in the car, drive there, peek in the windows, and fall in love.  Bring everyone to my parents' house and drive back to go to the open house.  Go home and know we'll be making an offer.  WHAT?  We're not looking for a new house!  We talk about the house all. night.

Monday, August 23:  Talk to my dad more about the house, he goes to see it.  Go to the bank at lunch and apply for a mortgage.  3:00?  Approved for the mortgage.  3:15?  Call a realtor.  That night, review the comps he's run and talk about the house some more.

Tuesday, August 24:  Chris and the realtor go to the house, check it out inside and out, discuss prices.  Realtor calls other realtor, discusses house, blah blah.

Wednesday, August 25:  Make an offer.  And wait. . .

Thursday, August 26:  Get a counter-offer.  Counter back.  Finally reach an agreement, sign a contract.  YAHOO!  Get quotes for home owners insurance.

Friday, August 27:  More talking with the realtor, call some attorneys I'm friendly with to discuss closing costs, talk to the bank more, email the kids' teachers, email the new school.  Start making lists, because we've got a lot to do!  Also got some moving boxes from craigslist.

Saturday, August 28:  Go back to the new house with my parents and the realtor.  And our children.  That was big excitement for them.  They ran all through the house, inside and out.  David met the little boy who lives across the street (his family has 3 boys also).  Everyone loves the house.  Come home and start packing.

Sunday, August 29:  More packing, cleaning out the closet we don't even go into because it's a pit.  Re-paint the kitchen, sand the kitchen cabinets, make huge yard sale piles, do laundry, and go to Vanessa's birthday party.

This is going to be a quick month, I believe.  I will be out of town for 5 days for a wedding in Massachusetts, so I'm trying to get as much done as I can.  Up this week?  Home inspection on Tuesday and hopefully our appraisal at the end of the week.  Yikes!  We're really doing this!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Almost Home?

Mortgage pre-approval?  Check.  My dad has looked at the house?  Check.  Buyer's agent enlisted?  Check.  59 comps run?  Check.  Buyer's agent is ON it?  Check, check.  Worried that the house is probably rotting from the bottom up and too good to be true?  Triple Check.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Money Pit?

Remember this movie?  Love it, love it, love it. Unless I live it.  Chris and I looked at a house yesterday, which we love.  I saw an ad for it online on Friday, looked it up on the MLS, and we both really liked it.  Obviously we know that marketing can be creative, and the price is very low.  That piqued our interest even more.  There was an open house yesterday afternoon, but we drove by in the morning to see if it was even something we'd be interested in.  I totally expected the neighborhood to be ghetto, or the house to be a dump.  Neither were true.  We peeked in the windows too, and were still interested.

We brought the kids to my parents' house to swim in the afternoon and headed over.  And I mean headed, because it's about 35 minutes from our current house.  (Keep in mind, when we moved to the house we're in now, we moved from another house in the same subdivision.  Clearly we're fans of the area.)

Clearly it needs some work.  The house is 110 years old.  In a *city* that had, at last census count, 548 residents.  No, a zero isn't missing from the end of that number.  Five hundred forty-eight.  Total.  The motto of the place is "the town where time stands still."  I'm not sure how well I'd fit in there. . . 

The porch has been rebuilt, but obviously not repainted.  You're starting to see why the price is low.  The story we got from the realtor is that the current owner bought it as a foreclosure, started renovating, then got divorced.  Having some experience in the world of divorce, that equals to me that he ran out of money.  Hence, the half finished nature of some of the projects.  I love, love, love the walk though.  A little Roundup and that baby would be good as new.  

I hate the exterior color, and it needs to be repainted.  The realtor seemed to think there could be an allowance for that in the sale agreement.  (She kept discussing the price and saying "But there's definitely negotiation room.  There's lots of room for negotiating.)  I'm thinking yellow exterior with white trim and  red front doors.  Because there are two cute entrances.  

Are you kidding me with this kitchen?  Clearly a finished project, with the exception of a backsplash.  Great cabinets, a solid surface countertop, 5 burner gas stove, trivection gas oven, and tons of storage.

I heart this kitchen.  Big, pink, puffy hearts.  Plenty of room for an island too.  And nice, huge double windows over the sink, which overlook the backyard.

The big, flat, clean back yard.  A great space for the boys and the dogs.  A mark in the negative column?  We would have to fence it.  It's big, (about a half acre, right within "city limits".  Bigger than the yard we have now, which is a nice size.)  That would probably be at least $3,000 for just a basic privacy fence.

Off the kitchen is this breakfast area.  There's a back door in here too.  This would be a great eating/homework space for the kids, and good for a little mudroom storage area.

The other side of the kitchen has an enormous laundry/utility room.  This, I'm assuming, was a porch at one time.  The floor is a bit concerning to me, as we would have the washer and dryer, as well as our extra fridge and freezer in this space.  I would eventually want to add some cabinets and a utility sink I think.  It's really big.  That heater on the wall is the only heat for the space, and I see that as a hazard.  That would be changed at some point.   Also top on the list to change?

WTF is that?  A pump in the middle of the room.  The realtor said, "Isn't it charming?  I think it's a great conversation piece."  I don't think she was charmed when I told her I could tell a great story about cutting it out and capping it off.  Why the hell would you want that in the middle of the floor?  The house doesn't use well water - it's town sewer and water.  That puppy would be out, ASAP.

This would probably be our living room space.  Love the paneled molding, the windows, the trim detail, the door (exits to the porch).  And the FLOORS!  Original floors, newly refinished, all throughout the house.  The kitchen, laundry, and breakfast room are the only rooms with a different floor.  I would buy this house just for this room and the floors.  The whole house has been freshly painted inside with the same neutral color.  That would change in probably every room, but I'm glad it's newly painted and not some weird wallpaper or old lady colors.

Also on the quick to be removed list?  The few windows that have this stained glass stick on shit.  Like this one.  In the only bathroom in the house.  Oh yes, one bathroom.  For five people.

The entrance to what they're listing as the fourth bedroom, AKA the master.  Um, it's not a legal bedroom.

It does have one of the three gas fireplaces in the house though, which could be charming.  It doesn't however, have a closet.  Not charming.  Or practical.

It does, though, have great windows and all original trim detail.  And passes through to what could be converted into a closet but would probably not be for a while.  The single bathroom is certainly limiting, but not a deal breaker for us.

I really love the staircase.  Which was exceptionally sturdy, as was the handrail.  Which would need to be stripped and refinished.

 There's a great little nook at the top of the stairs.  I picture this to be either a sitting area or a desk space for the computers and homework.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms.  Sort of.  You have to walk through one to get to another.  They. are. enormous.  We're talking probably 18x18 for each of the three.

There are big window seats in two of them.  I picture all three boys in one room (the one you get to by walking through another) and using the walk through room as their playroom/tv room.  They would essentially have a suite.  They could be split eventually if they wanted to, but there would be plenty of room for all three in one room.

Nearly all of the rooms have transoms like this over the doors.  You can still see the tape on this one from the trim being painted.

One clear check in the negative column?  There are three closets in the whole house.  Three.  And not walk-in closets either.  TINY closets, about the size of a coat closet.  Or smaller.  I would be able to work with this, but it would be a challenge.
This is the largest closet in the house.  And I'm not kidding.

This would probably be our room.  You know, because it has the master closet.  

Things I love?  The floors, the architecture, THE PRICE, that it's walking distance to the center of the town where they have a cute ice cream place and a Saturday farmer's market, the neighborhood is cute, the yard is great, the porch could be fabulous.  I grew up in an old house, and this house makes me feel at home.  It's in a tiny town where my children would be safe and could have a very peaceful life.  It's close to a fabulous private school that is not out of the realm of possibility for us.  It's about 25 minutes from work, which is not bad at all.

The things I don't love?  That it's 110 years old and will always have something that needs to be done.  Always.  I'm nervous for what a home inspection could reveal, but obviously want to see what a home inspection could reveal.  The town is tiny.  I've worked by whole life to get away from a tiny town, and now I'm considering heading back to one.  And by tiny I mean the closest grocery store is 25 minutes away.  There are certainly advantages to being able to run over to Target in a five minute drive.  Not an option at this place.  It will  be about an hour from Nashville.  If/when I start law school (hopefully in the fall), that is an hour drive, three times a week, getting out of school at 10:00 and then having to drive home.  For four years.  But, again, it's only for four years.  For the right house at the right price, I am willing to do that.  We would have one bathroom.  One.  For five people.  The plans are drawn for the addition of a second full bath and a half bath, and there's even a toilet, sink, and mirror in the storage building.  However, that's a very disruptive renovation.  There's no garage.  There's this:

Yikes.  We don't park in our garage now, but we do use it for storage, bikes, Christmas decorations, and Chris' tools.  Again, plans for a garage but not any garage now.  My biggest concern?  The boys would have to change schools.  We love our school.  Love it.  If we seriously are going to consider this house, changing schools is a big issue for me.  Who knows if it will work out, or if we'll even want it to after I get some answers to questions I've emailed the realtor.  It was fun to go look though!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Renovation Reality

Here are my Christmas dishes and some crystal all packed up.  No, we're not moving.  We're having our own version of Renovation Realities.

Everything in the dining room got packed up.  Most got moved to the garage.  *To a high place in the garage so no little fingers can reach my grandmother's china to use for a picnic.*

Here's a before shot. . . we're going to kiss that disgusting carpet goodbye.

I brought the kids swimming and Chris ripped up the carpet and tack strips.  Helllooooooo sub-floor.  I've never been so happy to see a concrete floor in my life.

The downside?  I now have a china cabinet and dining room table in my living room. . .

And dining room chairs and another full china cabinet in my kitchen.  Oh yeah, and we're also testing paint colors in the kitchen.  Obviously.

Although it's MASS CHAOS right now, which makes me slightly really mental, it's temporary.  Chris is going to lay the floor while the boys are at school tomorrow.  And I. Can't. Wait.

Henry's First Day of Kindergarten!

Henry started Kindergarten this week.  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!  My sweet little thing is five years old already, reading, and riding a school bus.  It sounds so cliche, but time goes by so fast with them.  He  was so excited for his first day of school.  When I asked him if he was nervous he replied, "Heck no.  I've been waiting for this day all summer."

He has the most amazing teacher, Mrs. C.  We didn't technically *request* her, but I made it be known to everyone who matters (including her) that we wanted her.  I'm thrilled that he's got her, and he loves, loves, loves her.  He's got three friends from his pre-k class, one from his old preschool, and two friends he made last year who were not in his class.  As he said, he has "all his ladies" in his class.  I think he'll be the class Casanova.  

He had two half days, then one full day this week.  And he was tired!  

He and David are in the same hallway, and I'm sure will see each other pretty frequently.  They're also riding the bus home together, along with David's friend S.  Apparently they all three sat in the same seat on Friday and S. kissed them both.  Does anyone else see the potential for this to be a big problem later on?!

I can't believe how big they are all getting!

August Giveaway

Here's my Sunday morning. . . sitting at the kitchen table, catching up on my blogs and drinking coffee.  Run on over to my girl K.J.'s blog to sign up for her A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. August giveaway.  It's a $100 gift card to Sephora.  ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!  Tell her I sent you!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Day of First Grade!

Well, we survived!  More than survived - he had a FABULOUS day.  I was a little skeptical when I got there, because he was N.e.r.v.o.u.s.  With a capital N.  His teacher this year seems great - really organized, which I have a great appreciation for.  She seems firm, but very loving.  And several teachers have said that if they had a child they would want her, which makes me feel good.  The principal walked David to class this morning with his class because he was nervous.  Things like that make me so glad we're at the school we're in.

Before school, clearly excited to go.

David's best "little girl" Miss S. is in his class.  She lives in our neighborhood, and they've gone to school together since preschool.  And are in. love.  (You may remember this post from last year at his birthday party when they were together. . . )  Not only is she in his class, she sits at his little group of desks.  And she rides the bus with him.  Are you kidding me?  He has all the luck.

Seriously?  Mug shot?  Coming soon to TMZ. . . 
David was so brave at school when we got there.  He was so, so nervous, but he was trying so hard to be a big boy.  He held my hand tightly and his little voice would shake when he spoke.  But we waited in line and looked for friends from last year, teachers he knew, pretty much anything to get his mind off of what was going on.  As his class walked down the hallway I couldn't go down, the principal was walking toward us.  She saw David was pretty nervous and took his hand from me and walked him to his class.  He had such a great day.

He perked up a bit when told we could go to the Y after school.

He rode the bus home from school, and it was his favorite part of the whole day!  I'm glad we let him ride, because it made him feel so independent and proud of himself.  Chris waited at the bus stop for him, and David was so excited to peek out the window and wave he almost forgot to get off!

That's more like it!

After school we went swimming at the Y and David and Henry both passed their swimming tests.  It was pretty much David's best day ever.  I'm so excited for him and for a big first grade year!

'Twas the Night Before First Grade

'Twas the night before first grade
And all through the house
Everyone was stirring,
None quiet as a mouse.

The baby was restless
in his big boy bed,
while visions of M&Ms 
danced in his head.

The middle one Henry
claimed a nightmare,
all under the auspice
to enter Harry Potter's lair.

The big boy David, 
all full of nervous sleepless jitter
made Mommy wish
she had a drink and a sitter.

The lunch and backpack were packed
the clothes selected with care,
the breakfast table set
at each little chair.

Everyone finally all settled in bed
and the mama's bags all packed
for the big day ahead,

When what to my wondering ears 
did appear?
Another one up, 
nervous to start the school year.

This time it was MAMA 
who just couldn't sleep,
Nervous for the first boy
to take the big leap.

First grade is big time.
And mama expects him 
at school to make a big fuss.

"He'll be fine!" she kept saying,
all night in her head,
while she lay there restless
tossing and turning in bed.

And although they are nervous
and have some first day fear,
Mama will smile as she drives out of the school
and think, "Thank the LAWD it's a new school year!"

What the F?

I was perusing through the Gap Saturday evening while my husband patiently followed behind.  Look what I spotted, in section one (that's Gap-speak for the front of the damn store).

For the love of freaking God.  Stirrup pants.  And not just stirrup pants - denim stirrup pants.  I'm sorry, did I drive a time machine to the mall?  What the hell?  These were not a good idea in 1988 when my mother rocked them with some ankle boots, and they're not a good idea now.  This is hideous!  And, lest you think that they only come in this one beautiful look. . .

Clearly this woman is at an audition for some sort of dance performance, as determined by her footwear. And the fact that she's wearing STIRRUP PANTS!

And obviously this woman is headed to her professional job in her cute black stilettos.  And stirrup pants.  Because nothing says "I'm a professional" like stirrup pants.  That ever forgiving Lycra cotton blend hooked under your foot.  WTF?  Who thought these were a good idea again?

Once I got past my shock and indignation at the sight of the stirrup, I did recover enough to make some purchases.

Jack got some new, much needed polos.  Although I certainly have the benefit of some great hand-me-downs for the third child, he's also the third child to spill yogurt on his shirts, write on himself, and rub chocolate smeared fingers over the front of his shirt.  Thus, we need some freshening up.

Henry has a desperate need for some new shorts.  My boy has, I believe, been wearing shorts tight on his belly for a while now but hasn't said anything.  He typically gets a chubby belly when he's about to hit a growth spurt.  Or maybe it's because he's been having seconds each night at dinner. . . regardless, it's time for some new shorts for him.  I got the para shorts above in a 5-6 with elastic waist, but that's not going to cut it.  I love the shorts, and the smalls fit David, so I ordered some in the medium for Henry.  I hope they fit, because we're rapidly running out of options.  And he will. not. wear athletic shorts every day.  Or sweatpants.   I will find a fashionable option if it kills me.

And I got this cardigan.  Because I wear a cardigan nearly every day, and I love this style.