Monday, October 20, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

I'm sorry to keep everyone in the dark for so long but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a hectic couple of weeks but in the end, it all worked out.

The offer that we received on our house that was a complete joke was just a starting point. I should have known that in this market there would be a lowball offer but I was in a very negative state of mind. I assumed that we would be stuck with our house for the rest of our lives!! Well, we lowered our asking price by $1000 and they accepted our counteroffer. They wanted a quick closing and we were happy to oblige. The closing date was set for 10/20 (today) but was later changed to 10/17 so that they could close before the weekend. We were excited beyond belief but not yet ready to pop the champagne. Many things could go wrong in the interim.

While jumping through thousands of real estate hoops while getting ready for closing, Jon and I were trying to find a new home for the 4 of us and Smokey! It is important to mention Smokey in the equation because I had forgotten how difficult it was to find a rental where they allow cats. We also (as I mentioned previously) are not really excited to deal with the "shopping" process. We had an appointment to see an apartment shortly after my last posting. I wanted to avoid putting everything in one potential place that we hadn't seen yet but I was excited. The location was excellent and the listed amenities were right up our alley. The description is "Country setting. Large yard. 2 family home only five years old. Main floor has a kitchen, dining room, family rm. and a half bath,Washer/dryer hookups. Second floor has 2 large bedrooms a den and a full bath with double sinks." Sounds great, right? Yeah but we needed to wait a few more days before we could see it. I scheduled appointments to see two other places. The first place had more stairs than I ever could imagine. It was quite pricey for a 2nd floor and attic apartment. No thanks! The next place was $100 more than the one I was waiting to see but it was a full house and had a basement and garage. I was willing to see what they had to offer. We didn't even make it that far. We finally got to see the one I had been waiting for. It was pretty much love at first sight. Of course there are things that you'd wish it had but overall it was perfect. Jon and I talked it over for a while but we were sold. We agreed to sign a 1-year lease and the rest is history.

We agreed to take possession on 10/15 which unfortunately was a Wednesday. It isn't very easy to move in the middle of the week. The landlord agreed to let us move some things in before the 15th. I took off from work on Monday the 13th. My mom and Taryn wanted to get haircuts so I spent the day with the kids. Jon also took off from work and we decided to get a truck and load stuff in to the house. Thanks to Taryn helping with the truck and mom watching the kids (after the hair appointment), we were able to empty our storage unit! Unfortunately the apartment did not have electricity turned on so we finished unloading the truck in the dark. I don't recommend moving from a dark truck to a dark house after sunset in October! It got chilly and we had no clue where we were putting things. We literally dropped things everywhere just to get it inside. Tuesday, the 14th, came too quickly. I was exhausted from moving but at least we were making progress. The storage unit was empty! The electric company was turning on our lights and I had scheduled the gas service and the cable. We were getting there!

After a hectic week of trying to get things set for the move, we were also dealing with the closing on the house. The closing had been changed from Monday to Friday (the 17th) and there was a never ending chain of emails from the realtor with forms that needed signatures. Fortunately my step-father has a scanner at home so we were able to sign each form, scan it and email it back to the realtor pretty quickly. It is not easy to close on the sale of a property from 2000 miles away but we had to get it done. There was a lot of insanity that I will spare you. To put it mildly, I was very close to being committed to a mental hospital. Speed ahead to Friday (closing date), I was starting to think that we might make it through the process. Is it ever that easy? Nope, I needed some additional torture. I received a call from the closing agent an hour before closing to say "Hi Lisa, I received the FedEx package with all of the documents, thank you very much. So, did you confirm the wire?" I was dumbfounded for a few moments and managed to squeek out "what wire?" Oh, apparently there was a balance to close escrow. We needed to bring money to closing of which NO ONE had informed us!! After a pretty major meltdown on my part, I needed to scramble. I'll save the details but we were able to wait until today to close escrow and I was able to borrow the money we needed for little while. So.... it looks like we are free at last!! I kept saying that we had signed our life away and now we're signing it back.

This is the beginning! This is a new start for Jon, Lisa, Aidan, Amanda and, of course, Smokey. Jon and I finished moving most things out of my parents house yesterday(Thank you Mom and Oscar!!!) We were able to sleep at our new house last night. It has been an incredibly long path but now the future is starting to look bright again.

Aidan and Amanda love their new house. We all slept there on Saturday night to try to acclimate the kids to their new room. They transitioned well to my moms house so I was hoping it would be the same in our new house. Not very easy. They were super excited to sleep in the new house. They wanted to go to bed an hour early. I was happy to oblige since I was quite busy. We bought the kids mattresses and boxsprings (instead of toddler beds or something designed for kids). They've never slept in their own "real" beds. We didn't get frames to keep them relatively close to the floor in case they rolled. At mom's house, they have a trundle bed which means that they are next to each other. If Amanda rolls out of bed, she lands on Aidan (or his bed). If Aidan rolls, he has the trundle bed drawer front to keep him from dropping to the floor. They both roll around a bit but I haven't witnessed anything dangerous. Their new beds are on opposite walls. I bought all the linens they needed and new pillows. Pillows are a bit more difficult than I imagined. The kids didn't have pillows in Colorado. Babies in cribs usually don't use pillows. When we moved, my mom had pillows on the bed. There was no transition issue. Unfortunately, new pillows are more fluffy than the pillows that my mom had. I spent hours trying to comfort the kids in their new room. Since we had just moved in, there weren't any window coverings. I didn't make a big deal of it because I figured, hey, it's dark, they'll just wake up before the sun comes up (like usual). I didn't think about the headlights from the road which cast weird tree shadows on their wall. I got a nightlight and covered the window with a blanket. Then the pillows were too fluffy and too big for their heads. I rolled up towels to substitute. Then they were thirsty. It was one thing after another until they finally passed out at around 12:30. They did manage to sleep through the rest of the night and they were very happy when they woke up in the morning. It was hard to convince them that they slept in their new house one night and they were going to grandma's the next. It made the most sense. Jon and I were able to get some sleep and get up for work without extra hassel. Mom was watching the kids today anyway so it saved us a stop. Tonight will be interesting. They have school tomorrow so we have to be up and out very early. I'll try to update again soon with pictures...

Thank you for all of your good thoughts! It must have worked!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Damn this roller coaster, I want to get off!!!!

I hate roller coasters. I've never been fond of that nauseous feeling you get when you freefall from the top of a coaster. That is what my life was like yesterday and I'm not very happy about it.

I should have known that it was going to be a rough day when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and refused to get up for about 20 minutes. Of course that caused me to be behind schedule which I hate. It was a school day for Aidan and Amanda so I woke them and started them on oatmeal while I got dressed. I was able to pick up some of my lost time until about 5 minutes before leaving. I was rushing to get a bag out of the pantry when Aidan decided to help me and accidentally slammed my ring finger in the door. It hurt so badly that I crumbled to my knees. I tried to keep it together but the tears started flowing. Aidan was devastated and was obviously scared by my reaction. He thought he was helping mommy only to have this reaction. Jon explained to him why I was crying and holding my poor finger. He came and gave me a huge hug and apologized. He did make me feel better and other than the warm throbbing in my hand, I would survive. Unfortunately this mishap caused a delay in our departure. I was able to get the kids to school without further incident and I made it to work right around 8. I hate being late but it was only a few minutes.

After arriving at work late, I took a quick break at about 9:00 to make a phone call. Jon and I have been looking for a house/apartment to rent so that we can finally get out of my parents' way. It has been overwhelming and stressful lately but Jon and I were optimistic that we'd be able to manage a rental plus our mortgage. It would be tight but we had finally made a decision. We visited a ranch home in Marlboro last weekend which has some pros and cons but overall it is a really nice place. It is currently empty. We don't know how long it has been vacant but that means we could move right in! The oil heat is a huge expense but we decided that we'd manage. We had been playing with the numbers for a few days and we spoke with the landlord on Tuesday to ask some questions and tell him that we were interested. We made our decision on Wednesday and I wanted to call as soon as I could. I was super excited. I was a bit disappointed when I got his voicemail but I left a message.

It was time to refocus on work. A few hours went by waiting for the phone to ring. Nope, all quiet. I was getting worried but I figured he was a busy man and he'd get back to me when he could.

At 11:00 I received an email from our realtor with the subject line "Offer coming in!!!" I was almost knocked over by emotion. I could barely breathe... This was my lucky day. The tides were turning. The message said that they definitely wanted to make an offer and we'd have it by the end of the day (which in Colorado is 2 hours later than NY). I had to have patience to make it through the rest of the day. I could not focus. Work was not making sense. I had my brain on the "blur" setting.

click, click, click, click, click.... We're approaching the top of the coaster... This is the scary part... The part I don't like...

The phone rang at about 3. The voice on the other end did not sound good. It was the landlord. We were too late. He received a deposit from someone who just beat us to it. Crap!! I was so bummed. I had gotten myself so excited for the house and I DID NOT want to start searching again. I am not a huge shopper and I really dislike calling a gazillion people to schedule appointments to shop for a place to live. It was back to the drawing board... Yuck!!! Oh well, what can you do? I guess we just have to move on. Maybe this was a sign. Maybe we needed to keep looking for a better opportunity. After all, we didn't search for very long. This was one of the only places we looked at. Did I mention before?? I really dislike shopping.

At least we still had the offer, right?? I was able to keep moving through the rest of my day. I was mostly going through the motions because I was completely bummed and still anxious about the house. Finally it was 5:00. I was able to head out to pick up the kids.

I got to the kids' school and I was so happy to see Aidan and Amanda. Their smiles always make me feel better. Unfortunately Aidan had a rough afternoon. Amanda wanted to play with another little girl and Aidan felt left out. He cried and didn't want to talk to anyone. He just pouted and whined. Typical Aidan but I was hoping for happy children.

We got home and fortunately my mom was out so we had some time to ourselves to deal with the events of the day. Jon and I were both bummed about losing the rental and we discussed our game plan. We did have an appointment to see another place tomorrow which I never cancelled. I'm trying to get excited about that. I started making dinner and got the kids some juice. Aidan was upset that I put the juice in a cup rather than a cup with a lid. I explained that he was good with his cup and that he should enjoy the juice. He went in the livingroom and a few moments later he told Jon he spilled. We went in to clean up the mess and noticed that there was no mess. I questioned Aidan and asked him to please be careful. Amanda came in to the kitchen a few minutes later and said "mommy, mommy, please come here." I tried to put her off thinking that she was just fighting with Aidan and I was trying to cook. She wouldn't let it go so I finally went in the room to see what was going on. Well, Aidan did spill his juice this time. It was covering the table and quite a few puzzle pieces and toys that were laying around. I ran to the kitchen to get paper towels. When I returned the juice was dripping off of the table and on to Amanda's plush princess chair. Ugg, I was pissed. I sent both of the kids to their room while I cleaned up the mess and I was starting to lose my mind. I was anxious, upset and downright edgy. I went back to making dinner and tried to relax.

While dinner was cooking I went in to our bedroom to check the email to see if there was an update from the realtor. Finally, there it was!!!! Unfortunately, I was instantly crushed!!! It was sooooo low. I probably shouldn't go into too many details but I really don't care right now. I need to get this off of my chest and I guess this is the reason I started writing this blog to begin with. We started by asking $228K in March. Since the market has been so difficult, we kept lowering our price. We currently sit at $203K. I hated lowering it so much but we are getting desperate. We owe $192K on it. We've done so much work to this beautiful house and we've worked so hard to pay our mortgage on time and improve our credit rating. The buyer offered $189,900!! I couldn't believe my eyes. I went into a spiraling rage and couldn't control myself. I had to get outside. Jon and I just held each other for a few minutes in disbelief. What was happening to us??!? We sent a message to our realtor explaining that the offer was unacceptable and that we were not going to pay someone to take our house. It was pretty obvious that these people wanted to buy a house they couldn't afford. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Of course, we gave a counteroffer but it sounds like they only got approved for $182K and they were coming with cash for the rest. They wanted a quick closing which all would have been great if they could afford our house! They loved it and they are trying to go back to get more money but with the way lending is right now, I'm not optimistic!!

How could one day be so emotionally draining? We were able to get through dinner without too much turmoil. We put the kids to bed as quickly as possible and I curled up under the covers with my comfy jammies to watch the debate. I fell asleep about an hour in and I'm sure I needed the rest.