Wednesday, August 27

Almost there

My goodness Mr. Lina and I have been working our asses off.

Tomorrow the photographer is coming to take pictures of our house which (if all goes as planned) will be listed for sale on Tuesday, Sept 2nd.  We've moved:

  • two book shelves
  • one wardrobe
  • one expidit desk (the kind that attaches to the shelves)
  • a crapton of boxes
  • $11 worth of empty beer/liquor bottles
  • multiple bags of garbage (which is challenging with a 2 bag limit)
  • multiple boxes/bags of recycling (which is fortunately not limited)
  • multiple bags of clothing and stuff to Goodwill
What furniture has been left has largely been moved around to make the house look bigger.  

It works, it does look bigger.  More like the mansion I thought I was moving into compared to our 1 bedroom apartment.  It's not quite done and I'm rather sure the agent and photographer are going to do more moving of stuff, but I am pleased with what we've done.  I really hope that after all this effort the house sells fairly quickly.  

I have been thinking at times about pitching things as a skill set.  One I sadly lack.  I'm still probably packing stuff that I should be pitching, but I'd like to think that at least I'm feeling more positive about it.  I think less and pitch faster and honestly feel better.  The overwhelmed feeling is gone because I can see what's already been done.  That's something for me to remember.

Possibly related to that is that I am still a bit forgetful but not teary and I've managed to keep my purse and phone with me all this week.  Shiny gold star.

I also had a conversation with my manager about my career and what my work arrangement will be like when we move further from the office.  Our house will now be a full 100 km from my employer and while my current client is closer, 78 km isn't exactly close.  As I have pointed out to my newest team mate, being an "on site" analyst means you actually go to the client office.  That means less flexibility for working from home.  And I'm bored.  I am dragging my feet on a lot of projects and I think it's because I'm just not interested in doing the same thing over and over.  So we're going to change that.  Not today, this is a domino that will impact others, but it's also good for my manager as he can offload more responsibilities on me.  Win-win.  I felt a bit scared asking for what I want, I've just bobbed along with my career so far, but it felt pretty good.  

Okay, time to get going on that last bit of decluttering.  Time to be sure every flat surface is empty... 

Tuesday, August 19

Dot the I's and Cross the T's

The home inspection was yesterday and for a 29 year old house, it's in great shape.  A few things need dealing with, some sooner than others, but nothing is really all that bad.  All of our conditions on sale have now been met so the house is definitively ours on the 28th of November.

One odd thing the home inspection pointed out is that there isn't a heat vent into my sewing room.  It wouldn't be hard to add one because the furnace is on the other side of the wall.  I am not all that concerned.  I can leave the door open (there is a vent just outside the room) for air to circulate and once the iron is turned on, the room will warm up enough.  How often have I ended up sewing nearly naked with my hair pulled up because I was too hot?

Lately I am quick to tear up and terribly forgetful (like not taking sleeping bags, pillows, chairs or Mr.Lina's camera with us for Summerfolk).  Some of it is probably because this is a lot of change all at once.  Some of it is because I'm tired.  I didn't realize we would be buying a car and house when we got tickets for the Argo game and our usual Summerfolk weekend.  Some of the tears make complete sense, but it's still flowing a little easier than it should.

Small picture hides the slightly puffy eyes.
We bought a new (to us) car last week, 2012 Nissan Murano.  We bought it on Saturday after seeing our house the first time, picked it up on Thursday.  I loved my old Alero.  12 years and 341,000 km of memories.  It was the first car I purchased, 100% mine.  Mr. Lina was with me when I bought it, but he had no involvement in payments or picking it out.  I was either the driver or in the car for more than 300,000 km.  As excited as I was to buy a new car, it was hard leaving the Alero behind and I cried at the dealership (which shouldn't surprise me, I cried when I signed the purchasing papers for the Alero).  I forgot to bring my cheque book which made making the down payment more difficult than it needed to be.  Let's just say that I was a bit of a mess and the dealership probably thinks I'm a complete flake.  Even driving away, the Murano felt foreign, rather than exciting new, I felt insecure initially and resistant to the changes.

It crossed my mind as my eyes were welling up and spilling over about how hard any change is and that this is a moment to remember when I adopt.  When I am matched with my kids, it's going to be such a happy event for Mr. Lina and I.  But it's not quite the same happy event for the kids, it's just one more change in a life of uncertainty.  I don't think they are going to believe us (or the social workers) when we say it is their forever home, that kind of trust and attachment takes time.  The happy part of being told they will live with us will likely be a suspicious happy.  It is okay to be sad about the good byes, good even.  If I'm confused enough to have tears and complicated feelings over a car, imagine how hard that turmoil is to express when you are 6, or 4 or 2.  I'm not sure there is enough crayons out there to express and explore those complicated feelings - where to put the sad part while everyone around you seems to be so very happy and appear to expect you to be happy too.

Now for more change.  It's time to do the last bit of work to list our house.

Wednesday, August 13

We Got It

Assuming there are no horror stories uncovered in the home inspection, the house will be ours.  :)  A bit of drama came with it yesterday (and what good story doesn't have drama?)



As I posted yesterday, we were waiting to hear the sellers response to our offer on the house.  The offer expired at 7pm.  Late afternoon, our agent calls.  He got word that another offer was being prepared for the house - did we want to revise our offer since we were not the only one?  

At this point, you have to put your best foot forward.  Our offer of less than listing was based on the premise we would negotiate up, it wasn't going to stack up to another offer.  We told our agent we'd go to full listing, but that was it.  We would walk away from a bidding war, as much as I love the house, there are others.  Our agent agreed and said he would wait to submit the revised offer until he knew the second offer was in writing.  

We had tickets to see the Toronto Argos play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL football, the older but less financially viable version of the NFL).  Mr. Lina bought these months ago, a conflicting game to cheer for when it's his current home vs childhood home playing.  Given the highway construction going on in Toronto, we chose to take the subway in.  

6:45 we get above ground, waiting for the call.  7pm we grab some food, I'm dealing with the food and money in case Mr. Lina's phone rings...  7:05 passes....

Just as I'm having my purse checked by security to go into the stadium, his phone rings.  And it freezes, so we didn't answer the call.  We got as far out of the way as we could between security and scanning our tickets to call our agent back on my phone.

It seems the other offer never happened.  They didn't want to get into a bidding war and walked away.  He had a counter offer from the sellers, accepting all of our conditions (which were pretty standard - home inspection, financing) and closing date but a price below asking, just not as low as we offered.

I suppose we could have done a little more back and forth on price, but it was fair and we had enough drama already.  It's so strange arriving to a football game with FABULOUS seats and I really couldn't care about how close the players were because I bought a house.


So here is a sneak peek of what will be my sewing room as of Nov 28th.  It's a bit of an odd shape and the closet/door are behind the photographer, it should do quite nicely.


Tuesday, August 12

Home

Home is often a feeling more than a space.  Every time I've looked for somewhere to live - be it renting, buying or even picking a university - I've felt that connection to the space.  I swear, three steps off the bus when touring my university, I knew it was home even if I couldn't explain why.

We've seen oh, 6 houses so far.  Not so many to be tired of the process, just enough to have a good sense of what is available.  There were houses I liked, houses Mr. Lina liked, aspects of every house we liked... but none said home.

Saturday, we found a house I could see my kids running around in, playing tag or catch in the back yard.  I could see me cooking and entertaining, talking to friends while the last appetizers were coming out of the oven.  Mr. Lina could see where his desk would go, where he could move from bottling home brew to storing kegs and building a bar, my non-team sport playing husband even mentioned that the back yard was big enough for a football game.  I would claim the basement office as my sewing room - laminate flooring, HUGE closet, a window and good lights.  My mom sews in the basement, I see the advantage of kids playing within ear shot.

But it was more expensive than what we had seen.  While I knew it was within reason, it was enough we wanted to sit with a calculator and double check.  Fortunately, the market we're going to is cooler than what we're leaving so not all decisions have to be made the day of listing.  We arranged to go back last night.  We also asked to see other houses of a similar size and price to see what the competitive set was like.

First house was lovely.  On paper, better even.  Newer windows, very well cared for, finished basement, beautiful gardens, $20K less...  and yet I wasn't happy.

Second house was the same floor plan as Saturday but 190 sq ft smaller - slightly smaller living room and master bedroom but still big enough.  I didn't like it at all.  Honestly, their real estate agent is not doing them any favours letting them show the house with lights missing or out, finger prints on the walls, furniture blocking traffic flow...  Where the first house was well maintained and loved, this one wasn't cared for and it showed.

And then we went back to our Saturday house and it felt like home.

From the minute we pulled into the driveway, I felt comfortable.

Happy.

Home.

So I'm now in the limbo where we put in an offer and are waiting for their response.  I figure there will be some back and forth on price and while I'm okay with that, we can't get into a bidding war that goes above asking.

But my heart feels good about this.

Tuesday, August 5

Blink!

When we drove through small towns, my mom would always say "Don't blink or you'll miss it".  I kind of feel like every time I blink, time is flying by.

Let's see...

  • Had someone come and clean my house.  
  • I can pack or clean, not both.  
  • Best money I've spent in a long time, selling the house now seems feasible.
  • I had no idea how many patterns I actually had.  
  • The box I thought might be half full of patterns and have space for notions was overflowing.
  • Real estate agent says houses in my area sell on average in 14 days, many sell in 4 days.
  • We're going to buy the house we want, have a 75-90 day close, then list our house.
  • We looked at 4 houses last week, they were all good but not quite right for us. 
  • Side rant on floor plans.  How can a house can have 1,000 sq ft more than my house and I am not sure where I'd fit some of my furniture?  Why would two of three bedrooms need walk in closets?  And come to think of it, the second closet touches the third bedroom wall, they could have made smaller (yet still walk in - yes it's that big but perhaps too narrow for a 4th bedroom) closets for both rooms.
  • Still haven't bought a car, but we've narrowed down what we're looking for.  We set aside Sunday to look at cars and then found out the dealerships that we wanted to go to were closed.  Oops.
  • So we had my parents, brother, SIL and nephew over for dinner instead of looking at cars.  It all worked out well, nice impromptu dinner party.
  • We've gone to two 40th birthday parties in two weeks.  Those milestone years are just one party after another, and you find out which friends are a year older than you.  :)
  • I've also had strep throat.  I thought I had a cold courtesy of my two sick co-workers.  Clearly I'm not a doctor.
  • Lots of time with Mr. Lina.  
August 21st will be our 10th anniversary.  Talk about blink and you'll miss it.  I feel like it was a couple of years ago that I was putting on my big white dress and dancing our first dance.  Maybe last year that we celebrated 5 years.  And yet, the days pre-Mr. Lina seem a bit faded and distant.  The past oh... month I guess, it's been a bit of a throw back to our dating days.  I suspect part of it is knowing that with moving to another community and kids to follow after that, our "family of two" time is coming to an end.  We've gone out dancing, we've been on real dates in new locations, we've been talking a lot.  I've found myself telling stories about when we were dating, some of the silly things we did in that rush of a new relationship.  Even at one of the 40th birthday parties, I was telling the birthday-wife our "how we met" story since she's only known us as a couple.  Even in Manitoba we were talking about how it will be different - from the practicalities of where do we sleep to how we'll visit with friends.  When we're in Brandon, we often go to a friends place or a pub and enjoy a tipsy walk home at 2am.

It is going to be different, not to say bad, just different.  We are appreciating the good parts of being a couple at the moment, the benefits of our current home, and it's like that new relationship excitement over the changes to come.