We dove back into househunting today driving around and looking at a few properties in Santa Ana and Anaheim. Found one we really liked in Anaheim that definitely bears further investigation. Unfortunately they already have an offer so we may have missed this one.
Saw some truly horrifying things. One house was so dark you practically needed a flashlight to navigate it. Another was equally dark and was infested with some sort of rank smell that you'd have to tent the house with Lysol and probably recarpet to get rid of it. In one house we were walking through and my aunt casually said "Do you want to see the back yard?" and we were like "No, I think we're good here."
I did release a vicious hound at one house though. The owners weren't there but there was a lockbox on the door and a note to the effect of "please don't let the dog out of the laundry room." Okay, no problem. In we go and there's the dog, a little chihuahua puppy, behind a baby gate in the laundry room. He was very excited to see us, wagging his tail and barking. So we're touring the house and I come to a back bedroom and there's a door. Thinking it was a closet, I opened it and the dog came barreling out.
Apparently the laundry room has two doors.
I screamed "Oh Shit!" because I was so startled. Luckily the dog was super-friendly and wanted nothing more than to kiss us and play. Kevin came in quickly and closed the bedroom door so we had him contained in one room, and then managed to scoop him up and kind of tossed/shoved him back into the laundry room. I think we made his entire day. It was funny but it sure scared the heck out of me when he came shooting out.
The house deal has fallen through. Kevin has some more details here but the bottom line is that despite serious urging from their agent otherwise, the sellers steadfastly maintain a price that is not reasonable for the property and square footage.
We have to hit the pavement again tomorrow. I guess this one just wasn't meant to be.
I'm not sure why this is funny but it totally cracks me up every time I see it!
Yes, it's a bunny with pancakes on its head.
Back to the doctor for my ear. He said it seems that the bacteria is resistant to the first antibiotics I was given as the ear still looks nasty and fluid-filled. He said he wanted to "nuke it with the atomic antibiotics" as well as Flonase and Claritin. He gave me a painful shot in the butt and sent me on my way. He thinks my hearing may come back in 3 days and I have a recheck next week.
We've encountered a glitch in the escrow process. Something actually pretty major too--the kind that might make the whole deal fall through. We're putting together a revised offer to be presented tonight and we'll see where it goes from there. This has been very upsetting and nerve-wracking so please send us good thoughts. We still want the house and we want to make this work, however this new setback is a big deal. I don't want to go into detail here on the blog (I'm sure you understand) but any good mojo coming our way would be appreciated.
In other news, my ear is not any better despite a week of antibiotics, and my hearing is still completely kaput. I'm off to the doctor again right now. I'm hoping to get something to help it drain (over the counter cold medicine just hasn't been doing the trick). It's probably an overreaction, but I just fear doing permanent damage to my hearing, so I think it's safer to go back again just to be sure.
If you're planning on watching the Olympics tonight, don't click below. Otherwise...
The "Dream Team" (a phrase that makes me gag every time) goes DOWN BABY! Knocked out of the gold medal running, the best they can do now is get a bronze. I can't tell you how thrilled I am about this. Here's an article:
Argentina 89, United States 81
We had our house inspection at 8:30 this morning. We had to leave the house at 7:00 am. I have heard about this thing people call "morning" but it really is not in my realm of experience, so today was a challenge. However, we made it in time and the inspection was very interesting. Kevin has the scoop--including pictures! It went well. The roof needs more work (read: replacement) than we thought but aside from a couple of other minor issues there aren't too many things wrong with a house. Impressive for a place built in 1928 (or 29 depending on who you ask).
Anyone want a Gmail account? I've got a few to give away. First come, first served. Email me at email@example.com with your first and last names and email address.
Here's a long one
last cigarette: um, 1993? One of the three I've ever smoked in my life
last car ride: ?? I think it was when we went out to dinner on Friday
last kiss: not too long ago from my hubby
last good cry: watching the Olympics--although that was more teary-eyed than a good cry
last library book checked out: Vernon God Little
last movie seen: The Bourne Identity (for the second time--not that it was good, but it was what my dad was watching and I watched it too)
last book read: The Sky So Big and Black for bookclub
last cuss word uttered: Shit, as in "I still can't hear shit" in answer to my mother in law's asking about my ear
last beverage drank: water
last food consumed: chocolate chip cookie--and I was mean and ate the last one--after I made Kevin make them because I was still sick and I didn't want to be Typhoid Mary with my cookies (they were Pillsbury so it wasn't a whole lot of effort)
last phone call: about 3 minutes ago talking to my mother in law
last tv show watched: the Olympics
last time showered: yesterday morning (I haven't gotten around to it yet)
last shoes worn: My Tevas
last cd played: Something in the car--The Green World by Dar Williams I think
last item bought: ? Kevin is the money man. He doesn't let me have any money of my own because he's controlling like that.
last annoyance: This stupid ear infection. It's better but as I mentioned I can't hear shit
last disappointment: Not getting the Pasadena house, which was quickly made up for by getting the Santa Ana house which is an even better place
last soda drank: Thomas Kemper root beer
last thing written: a comment on a blog wishing Buzz a happy anniversary
last key used: the key to my parent's house
last words spoken: "It's your mom" while handing the phone to Kevin
last sleep: This morning
last im: 2002? While I was still working at IBM
last sexual fantasy: That's classified
last weird encounter: can't think of one
last ice cream eaten: Sweet Cream with Butterfinger at Cold Stone Creamery
last time amused: the last time I looked at the dog
last time wanting to die: ?? Probably when I was in the hospital in 2002 with a Swan Ganz catheter hanging out of my neck and the doctors telling me my only chance left was a heart transplant. Although I didn't really want to die--I just wanted to not be sick anymore. And I have to say that I'd just had a hair cut before those pictures were taken and I loved that style, so if I did die it would have been with great hair.
last time in love: every day
last time hugged: yesterday from Kevin
last time scolded: Scout gave me a reproachful look for stopping my petting
last time resentful: I can't think of one
last chair sat in: This threadbare office chair
last underwear worn: tighty whities
last shirt worn: An Eeyore shirt I got at Disney World
last time dancing: Hai-Nhu's wedding in June
last poster looked at: The one hanging over my dad's desk right now
last show attended: Concerts in the Park in Long Beach
last webpage visited: Burlap Soul (where I got this meme from--thanks Staz!)
Could they possibly have used that phrase one more time on tonight's Olympic coverage??? I was ready to scream.
At about 4 am this morning as I lay awake with my throbbing ear, I decided to take myself to the doctor when it got light. Every time I rested on that side of my head I got that creepy tingly sensation you get when something is draining out of your ear. I thought oh, maybe my infection is draining. Nope, it was blood.
I still can't hear a thing and am driving myself and everyone around me crazy with my "I can't hear you"s. Luckily my left ear is still pretty clear or I'd be a basket case.
We headed to the local urgent care center and I braced myself for the worst news. The doctor came in and took a look and I asked "did I rupture my eardrum?" and he said "No, but this baby could blow any minute now." So, um, I think that's good news. Sort of. He went on to explain that not only did I have an inner and middle ear infection (which he described as "nasty"), but the ear canal itself was also infected, which was causing the bleeding. So in addition to oral antibiotics for the inner/middle ear, I also have antibiotic drops for the outer canal. The good news is that he thought the antibiotics would kick in pretty quickly to relieve the pain and pressure and hopefully my hearing will come back soon.
The doctor also seemed really interested in my sleep apnea surgery. The conversation went like this:
(peering into throat) "You've had your uvula removed."
"And your tonsils and adenoids too. Why?"
"Yeah. I had my tongue and chin done as well."
"Where did you get that done?"
"Did it help?"
"Oh yeah, cleared it right up"
"Did you snore a lot?"
"Yes, but not really anymore."
and it went on in that vein. With my litany of problems, I really am a medical oddity. After the sleep apnea discussion I wasn't about to bring up the story of how my heart condition came about.
Things are moving right along with the house. Tom (our agent) is doing a great job of keeping us informed and up to date. We've set up the inspection that will take place Tuesday morning at 8:30. I haven't decided if I'll be going or not. We've also made initial contact with our appraiser. I'm very glad we're able to get these things done quickly. I really thought it would drag on forever but people seem to be available.
We signed the disclosure statement yesterday. Talk about a piece of cake. There was practically nothing to disclose. We did put in a repair order for two things--a leaky bathtub fixture and a doorknob--but really it seems like the house is in excellent shape. We'll know for sure after the inspection so hopefully there won't be any surprises but I doubt it.
The ear is still out of commission. It's driving me crazy because it hurts and I can't hear anything. We went out to dinner and the whole time I was like "What? What? I can't hear you!" And I'm still feeling slightly dizzy and off-balance. Hope it clears up soon.
My right ear has completely lost contact with the Mother Ship.
I've been battling this cold I got from my mom and it really hasn't been too bad. Day one was a little stuffiness which I attributed to allergies (nope). Day two was rotten and lousy when the cold took up residence in my throat. Day three perked up--the throat became much better and I just had a stuffy feeling in my head. Was finally able to drink some wine on day three (yesterday). And then came last night. While blowing my nose, I popped my ear (like you do on the plane) and it got permanently stuck there. Then the cold moved in. Just in my ear. It throbbed and ached all night despite Nyquil, and it was so bad I couldn't even sleep on my right side because the pressure was too much. Finally some ibuprofen took the edge off and I got some sleep. I'd hoped it would drain but no luck.
I can't hear a freakin' thing.
And I have that weird kind of off balance feeling you get when one of your ears has gone out of commission. I guess I should be thankful that my left ear is unaffected, but this single side thing is driving me crazy. And it still hurts a lot. Hopefully being upright will help it out today.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Count me among the Americans who hopes this "Dream Team" gets their comeuppance.
Those sweet, sweet words. Here's the listing for our house--visit it soon before it disappears. I noticed this morning the "Status" had been upgraded from Active to Pending Sale. That's us! Thanks everyone for your emails and messages. It's so much fun to share our joy with our friends and family.
Our offer was accepted. I can hardly believe it! They added a few items which both agents described as "housekeeping," but other than that they accepted our offer as written. Escrow will begin tomorrow or Thursday, and 33 days from then we should be moving in to our very first home.
Tom called to update us. He presented the offer and things are on the right track. He said that their realtor wants to use a different title company than the one we specified in the offer. I'm taking that as a very good sign, if he's talking specifics like that. It also appears that the woman who made the original offer has been "taken care of." Let's hope he's not speaking in mafia terms. Anyway, things seem to be going in the right direction. Hopefully we may hear very soon.
We signed the offer last night and celebrated by eating buffalo wings. It was presented this morning and the owners have until tomorrow night at 8 pm to respond. Things are looking very good. There was a discrepency in some of the information we got from the title company and our agent had to talk to the owners again yesterday, which delayed our offer a bit, but it turned out to be (as we suspected) a paperwork error and nothing to worry about. Tom, our agent, also found out that the owners are as anxious to move out as we are to move in. When he spoke to their agent, the agent said, "How soon do they want to close?" and Tom said, "Tomorrow morning" and the agent was extremely pleased and they quickly agreed on a 30 day escrow. Both of us are ready to move so I think it's a good match and that fact will make our offer very competitive.
We ended up offering $4,000 over the asking price because we wanted them to throw in some appliances--a brand new washer/dryer, a portable air conditioner, a microwave that actually fits on the shelf built for it (ours would be too big), and a completely refurbished antique oven. I love these kinds of ovens and they are very pricey to have done. As soon as I saw this oven I knew it had to be mine (mainly because we would probably never spend the money later to get ourselves one). And the best part is--they've never used it! The owner said to me very casually, "we only got it a few months ago and we've never used it. We just use the microwave." This was confirmed by both the contents of the freezer, and my aunt who said later, "Did you look inside the oven? I don't think they've ever used it!" Very cool.
So we're tapping our fingers here hoping to hear soon. The price we offered is commensurate with the value of the house and we don't feel we've overpayed, and while we didn't lowball them we know from a previous offer they've had (which they very kindly showed us) that they weren't going to accept less than the full asking price. I would not be surprised at all if they accepted our offer straightaway, although I would not be opposed to a counter. We offered next to no contingencies--just the standard inspections--and our financing is 100% qualified and pre-approved, so I think we make an attractive offer. I feel much better about this one than the last one. So light a candle to Saint Century 21, the patron saint of home buying, and put in a good word for us.
In other news, despite my assiduous use of echinacea, it looks like I've picked up the cold my mom picked up on a plane trip last week. Ugh. Yesterday my nose was starting to get plugged but I attributed it to worsening allergies, but this morning my throat was on fire and my ears are stopped tight--always a bad sign. Let's hope I can weather this one through. Summer colds for me tend to be really mild, so let's hope we follow the trend here.
Another educational day of house-hunting, and we found another house we fell in love with. This one is in Santa Ana and we'll be making an offer tomorrow. I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to jinx it, but I think we have a good chance at this one. There's another offer we're competing with so let's hope she doesn't have a secret stash of cash somewhere to trump us. Keep your fingers crossed and I'll update you as soon as we hear anything.
So I've returned from a short visit to the bay area with a renewed sense of purpose. Or something like that. We left on Tuesday afternoon rolling into Jennifer and Tim's just in time for Book Club. That was a lot of fun and it was nice to see everyone again after our 6 month absence. We were picking books for the upcoming 9 months or so and they agreed that Kevin and I could maintain our places as Remote Members, perhaps trying a conference call next month and coming up every few months or so to participate in person.
Wednesday Hai-Nhu came down from San Francisco to meet us in Palo Alto for dinner. It was a comedy of sorts. Kevin took Caltrain up from Adobe while Dorothy and I drove, all converging on Zao restaurant...which was closed. Kevin arrived first and waited around. There was another guy standing there too, as if waiting for someone, and Kevin asked, "Are you a friend of Dorothy's?" Nope, but he was in the same situation--supposed to meet someone there for dinner only to find it closed. Dot and I arrived and we stood wondering what to do and waiting for Hai-Nhu, who shortly drove up the other side of the street. "It's closed!" we shouted. "We're going to Pluto's!" "Where's Pluto's?" Hai-Nhu screams back, trying to drive slowly. "It's that way! By Borders!" After this little interaction another woman standing near us said "I'm in the same situation. I was supposed to meet someone here and if it doesn't open in 1/2 an hour, I don't know what I'm going to do." The sign on the door said they were supposed to reopen on August 12th--and it was August 11th. Pretty funny.
Anyway, I went through a round of appointments. Got my hair cut, saw 3 different doctors (well, actually 4 but two were in one visit), got good news all around. My heart is doing really well. My ICD has been completely dormant. I'm only averaging 7 PVCs a day (a huge improvement). Mental health is good. I got referrals for doctors in LA, and all looks good.
I also got to meet an Internet friend. I'm on a discussion board for people with ICDs and Guin also goes to Stanford for her care. She met me for lunch in between two of my appointments and it was really a lot of fun to meet her in person and talk tech speak (we were talking about bad doctors who ignore symptoms and blow people off and our conversation sounded like, "...so it turns out he had Marfan's!" "No way! He was having an aortic dissection* and they let him go?"). We had a great time.
Now it's back to househunting. Still coming up with many possibilities on the web and we plan to go out tomorrow and Sunday to check things out again.
Marfan Syndrome is a disease of the connective tissue that affects the heart. An aortic dissection is where the aorta literally splits apart. It is extremely painful and 100% fatal if not treated within hours by open heart surgery. The guy in question survived after being blown off by two rural ERs and finally coming to Stanford.
Our verbal offer was summarily rejected. This is very discouraging.
We've decided to make an offer on The House! We went back to look at it one more time, this time with our real estate agent (who conveniently is a family member) and we still loved it. We feel that their asking price is too high, so we're making a lowball bid. The selling agent mentioned that someone else had made an offer and the owner (an investment company) countered but the buyer wasn't willing to negotiate. This is good news for us as it means that they'll be likely to be willing to negotiate with us and we're leaving some (well, lots actually) room to move around on our offer. The house has been on the market for 60 days so they may be good and ready to get rid of it. Unfortunately we have to go up to the bay area Tuesday-Thursday so we won't be able to get the paperwork in until Friday at the earliest, but I don't think this house is going to sell in the next 5 days anyway.
We also saw the most incredible Craftsman in a historic neighborhood. It was being sold by the owner and this house just made you want to cry it was so beautiful. They must have put hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours into the painstaking restoration and detail. Unfortunately (you guessed it) it wasn't even close to our price range (they were asking $798,000). If it had been even near our range, it would have sold in the first 5 minutes. Still, it was great to walk through it and see what a real restored house could be like. This house could easily have been featured in Sunset or on some television show. It was gorgeous. *sigh*
Anyway, we're keeping our options open. We intend to make an offer on the house we love (click below to see some more about it) and to continue looking around. With each house we visit we get more and more insight, and while it's still exciting I can see how it could quickly get demoralizing and frustrating. Still, I know the perfect house is out there for us and one day we'll find it.
The house we're putting on offer on is located in Pasadena, not far from Colorado Blvd., which is the very cute downtown shopping and eating district (and also the street that the Rose Parade goes down). The house is:
*Craftsman built in 1925--many original details, built ins, French doors, and windows still there and working
*2,106 sq. feet (compared to the 1,200 sq. ft. houses we've been looking at, this one is like "what would you do with all of this room?")
*4 Bedrooms--3 downstairs and 1 in a converted attic
*1.75 Bathrooms--that's 1 downstairs with shower and tub and one upstairs with just a shower (plus sink and toilet)
*Nice sized kitchen with room for an island, unfortunately no dishwasher
*Enclosed sun room off of the front bedroom (actually it would be really hard to use that "bedroom" as a bedroom--we're thinking TV room)
*Very cozy breakfast nook off of the kitchen with built in china cabinet--very cute and could be converted to a small office (or writer's nook) if we needed the other bedroom for kiddies
*California cellar just waiting for wine racks
*2+ car garage, detached but accessible from the street
*Fenced in yard with nice doggy space
*Redone landscaping, but not so overdone you'd need to hire a gardener
*Refinished hardwood floor
*Lots of renovations like new paint inside and out and new garage door(s)
*Terraced patio, perfect for that hot tub we plan to buy one day
It's a great house, so be sure to send some good karma our way.
Kevin has already written about this house on his blog but I had to comment here. If you click on the link you'll notice the prominent banner saying, "Little Lambs Christian Preschool." In the description it says, "PROPERTY HAS BACK BUILDING THAT HAS BEEN LEASED OUT RETURNING A POSITIVE INCOME."* So buy the house and live in front of the preschool.
As many of you know, our wonderful house in the Japantown area of San Jose was located next-door to an at-home daycare. We knew this going into it but didn't realize how horribly agonizing that was going to be. I considered putting "preschools and daycares" on the "Absolutely Not" section of our housing needs, but thought how common can that be?
Apparently more common than you'd think. And it wouldn't even be next door, but in the back of your own freakin' house! Feel The Fear.
*For some reason many realtors like to put house descriptions in all capital letters. This is the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard.
So things are moving right along for us. We got approved for the loan, so we are all set to make an offer on a house whenever we want to now. Yesterday we drove around Fullerton and Anaheim and were pretty unimpressed. Just not enough going on around there to justify the prices. We still need to check out Long Beach. Kevin went back up to Pasadena to check out the house we really liked last week and got some more information on the neighborhood and area. We've contacted our real estate agent (who conveniently happens to be in the family) and he's gathering info on what comparable houses go for and will make an appointment with the agent to see the house again and evaluate it. We all think it's way overpriced so we'll have to see what happens. It's all been very informative.
Two days ago was my dad's birthday (happy belated birthday, Pop!)--and the day before that was my brother's birthday (happy belated birthday, Brad!). Our good friends Marc and Wendy came over after dinner--they live in Denver but were visiting Wendy's folks who conveniently live quite close to mine. It was great to see them again. Yesterday while we were traveling through The OC we stopped by Kevin's grandparents and had dinner with them. My folks are out of town for the weekend and Tuesday Kevin and I are going up to the bay area for a couple of days, so it's a little bit crazy around here. Scout doesn't quite know what to think.
So we got a response from our chosen mortgage lender and it was very positive. In fact, Kevin said he could hear her practically having an orgasm as she ran his credit report. She then came back to say "This credit is as good as it gets!" Now we're digging through 6 months worth of mail to find our last 3 bank statements as well as some other paperwork they need. Once we get that in, we could be approved in 48 hours. Wow. This is all happening quite quickly but it's very exciting. The call was a nice change from a call Kevin had with ATT Wireless about their idiotic cell phone policies in trying to get us phones.
So house hunting was exhausting, informative, fun, frustrating, and at the end, satisfying. We saw the 5 houses we'd planned to see (culled from the LA Times ads) and then just drove around the neighborhoods stopping in at other houses who happened to have signs up. All in all we saw 10 houses, and boy did we run the gamut of dump to darling. We saw one where there was literally piles of trash strewn throughout the house. It was horrifying. And we saw one advertised as "Cute! Cute! Cute!" (but they left out "Small! Small! Small!"). We saw a variety of price ranges as well and while I thought I was prepared for some of the prices, I couldn't believe the audacity some people had to ask what they were asking for. It was like yeah, give me a call when your asking price drops a hundred thousand or so.
We spent our time mostly in Pasadena and Altadena, both cities that we really liked. There were multiple cute houses in each. We saw a great house in Eagle Rock but I'm quite sure it was sold at 7 am this morning. We had to practically take a number to get in, and there were tons of yuppies there with their parents (can you say "well funded") who drove up in their BMWs. So pretty much that house was a goner.
Then we found a great house that we fell in love with in Pasadena. 4 bedrooms, 1.75 ba. Craftsman that had obviously been loved and cared for. It had tons of those little historic details that we love and was in great shape. Plus it had some of those features that fall under the "Would really like to have" category (as opposed to the "Must have" and the "Must NOT have")--2 car garage, hardwood floors (recently refinished), corner lot, and a fireplace to name a few. The only thing it didn't have that was a big priority for us is a dishwasher (and it wasn't clear if there was room to install one), and it was lacking some counter space in the kitchen. But really, we were awed as soon as we walked in. The problem? It's at the very very very tippy-top of our price range--so much so that it may not even BE in our price range. We're not sure.
Today we started the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Once we run the numbers and see what we qualify for, we're definitely taking a closer look at this house if it's still available.
Mostly the house shopping was exciting. It reminds me of when we had a house in Palm Desert (we being my parents and brother) and there was a huge construction explosion there with these fancy developments. And for fun we'd go look at model homes (there wasn't a lot to do in the desert at that time aside from swimming). It's easy to pick out your room and imagine how you'd decorate it and what you'd do with the space. And when that one strikes you--what a rush.
I've been taking a crash course in home buying these last few days. I think I have a handle on the different types of mortgages and due to a real effort to pay off our long term debts and clean up
our my credit, I think we're in a good position to qualify for a really good mortgage. Today we're off to open houses. We stopped by one yesterday (cute house, rotten neighborhood) and today we plan to hit 5. We're trying to get a feel for the different cities we're considering (which are pretty widespread). We then plan to narrow down the area and do real research on neighborhoods. And we still need to meet with my uncle, a real estate agent who has been collecting a lot of information for us. There's so much to learn! I'm amazed anyone is able to buy a house these days. It seems so daunting, but the more I learn the better I feel about the process.