Countdown until November 22nd

That’s our closing date: November 22nd, 2013. The Friday before Thanksgiving. Yes, I know. We’re insane. Did I mention that we’re going to Pennsylvania this year for Thanksgiving? Got to love rotational holidays, they don’t care about huge life changes like moving into your first house! It’s going to be stressful, but we’ll make it work. We’ll get maybe three days or so to settle in before heading to Pennsylvania.

Today we had our home inspection and the inspector found a lot of stuff we didn’t notice. All of the sinks are leaking. There’s water standing in the dish washer and the garbage disposal doesn’t function. The porch they built onto the house is awful, they didn’t pour the concrete over the bricks, so the seal has broken and now the water just runs underneath and into the bottom floor. That’s going to be something we have to fix fairly quickly…

There’s also the huge issue of exposed power wires being near metal siding to the right (pictured above.) The seller will be fixing that as part of our contract. We’ll hopefully get the three windows replaced, the plumbing fixed, and the outside wiring done all on their dime. The rest is up to us. Whew.

The French doors leading out to the deck from the kitchen need replaced as they’re rotting. I won’t cry over this one little bit. I wanted to replace them as soon as I saw them! It’s mostly a faux French door, with only one actual door, the other is a window. I found some much prettier (and cost effective) ones I plan on nestling into that spot.

The deck requires some TLC, as well. The previous owners of this house fancied themselves DIY-ers, but they didn’t have the skill and they were incredibly lazy. Anyone with some sense of construction can glance at this deck and tell you two things: one, it would never pass inspection as there are gaps in the stairs with one side railing (needs both) and two, the deck isn’t supported in the center. Yikes. There needs to be a beam coming down from where the stairs meet the deck itself at the top.

The fencing in the yard makes me want to weep. The old west might be to some people’s fancy, but not mine. Ugh. There’s an entire section missing. You can see it in the shaded area towards the right. The yard is overgrown, overrun with weeds and clover, and just needs completely redone. Should be a fun undertaking. One we’d do come Spring. It’ll have to languish until then! The fencing doesn’t even cover the entire property line, which is just odd.

There’s a lot of work to be done in this house, but it’s kind of exciting. It will take us some time, but we’ll get to mold and shape the house into something we love. I’m sure it’s going to be stressful, though. Home projects are expensive and we’re already being forced to buy a washer and dryer right out of the gate. That’s around $900-1,400 right there. The porch also needs redone ASAP… I don’t even want to estimate the cost of that!

It was kind of weird leaving the house. The next time we see it, we’ll be moving in. We can’t re-enter the property again after this. I’ll be excited to see the fixes. I’m already making a blueprint in Photoshop with an attempt to situate our gigantic couch and bits of furniture. It’s going to be very sparse at first.

The next thirty days are going to prove interesting…

Lots and Lots and Lots

Lots and Lots and Lots

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My dad got married in Atlantic City at the end of August. I am… on the fence about it. There are numerous reasons as to why few are pleased about this circumstance, most of it revolving around just wanting my dad to be happy. My dad always told me he’d never get married. Then again, he proposed to my mother two or three times. This time, however, it wasn’t him that did it. It was her. And it was… ‘special’. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well with text.

I don’t really want to talk about it. I love my dad, for all his failings. I love him and I’m fiercely protective of him. We’ve been through a lot together, more than most parent-child relationships. In the end, he is married and I am his daughter, and nothing nor anyone can change that, no matter how much they try.

The trip to Atlantic City was an experience, to be sure. From the nine hour drive, to checking into a hotel for the first time by ourselves, and then thrown into the chaos of a city that centers around gambling… it was an experience. My aunt (dad’s side) was there, and thank goodness she was, because she’s the reason we had such an amazing experience there. It was a very short and exhausting trip, but it was an experience I’m grateful for.

We were up until 4am both nights. Whew. Also, I don’t like gambling (and no one is surprised by this.) Also, also, I married Rain Man. Continue lack of surprise.

In even sadder news, both of our respective grandparents’ health is failing. My grandma is not doing well and the husband’s grandpa is doing worse and worse with his Alzheimer’s. He’s in the end stages for sure now. It’s such a shame and a painful thing to watch.

My mother went to rehab… for a full four days. Yeah. So glad I took time off of work and hauled my ass up there. For nothing. At least I got to see my grandparents and my cousin with her kiddos. They’re getting so big!

We’re looking at houses. Seriously looking. In fact, we’re considering putting an offer on one of them. We started looking at houses with a realtor and found one we fell in love with, though it had a few things we didn’t like. Still, it was a foreclosure and had 2,100 square feet and a kitchen I adored.

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It’s incredibly close to work and in a small neighborhood. The issues: it has next to no yard, I hate the exterior, and all you can hear is noise from the interstate. It’s loud. Deafening, almost, when you’re outside. But the inside? Is gorgeous. Brilliant, even. And the fact that it’s a foreclosure means that we could get it for cheap. Unfortunately, someone was placing an offer on it. We’re not sure if it’s been accepted or not… so we found another house that we liked.

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This one is a distance from work (twenty minute commute), but nestled into a perfect suburb at the end of a cul-de-sac. It’s a corner lot with an okay yard. My husband was instantly in love with the neighborhood, as being a boy raised in the country (but a city boy at heart), he yearns for neighbors, community, and all those things. Silly man. I’ve tried to tell him that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s a higher price than the other and it needs some work on the inside. It doesn’t have an awesome kitchen and the master bedroom isn’t even big enough to fit our current bed in. For reference, our apartment is fairly large, at around 900 sq ft with CONSIDERABLE closets. Seriously. None of these houses can touch the closets in this place! So our expectations are, understandably, high.

The interior isn’t bad and I do like the thought of turning the downstairs room they already started (it used to be a part of the garage) into a huge master bedroom… the price concerns me.

Either way, we’re going to a bank ASAP next week. We’ll see what happens from there.

Frustration

I haven’t touched my camera in months. Well, I took pictures during my last visit home, but I don’t consider that utilizing it as I had intended. I had all these hopes and dreams that, once I acquired it, everything would just fall into place. It didn’t. I forgot that cameras are not only expensive by themselves, but for true flexibility, they require lenses. You can’t do everything in photoshop. Well, okay, you can, but it isn’t as fun/good/etc. I love editing photos, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something real and raw about an unedited photo that is perfect on its own.

As with everything I do, I got frustrated. Frustration and me go hand in hand. I’m always getting frustrated and I’m never, ever satisfied. All my hobbies end in frustration, even the things I enjoy like gaming? Oh yeah, frustration. I’m frustrated that I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough money to do this, or I don’t have the mindset for that. It’s annoying. I’m frustrated right now just thinking about it.

The worst part of it all is, I know exactly what I need to do. I have to buckle down and make do with what I have and, more importantly, be patient. I was never very good at patience.

I’m running into the same issue as we look at houses. It all just makes me frustrated. The houses we like are out of our budget and the ones in our budget are, honestly, quite terrible…. and our budget isn’t even that bad! We haven’t officially gone to a bank or anything yet, but my father-in-law is a financial guy and we both estimated around $180,000 for us. Here, in the capital of our state, that don’t mean shit. Especially when we only really want to spend $130-150k.

In an ideal world where land is readily available not in the middle of nowhere, we’d purchase an acre and put a house on it. We’ve looked into it, but the only pieces of land available are super small, super expensive, or super horrible sheer cliffs. Woo!

Patience is key here. It isn’t an instantaneous process like I want it to be. The stars and planets are not going to just magically align and lead us to our perfect dream house where everything falls neatly into place. This is an unrealistic expectation–I know this, but I don’t care. I still want it to happen anyway.

As I ease into getting used to this new work schedule (I know it’s been four months, but it takes me a long while to adjust to something outside of my comfort zone), I’m hoping I can find a place again for my hobbies that have gathered dust… like photography. I don’t expect I’ll ever be famous or well-paid for it, but that’s never why I did it in the first place. Much like writing, it’s simply a means of expression and a way to exercise my crazy brain.

I need to force myself to do one of those ‘pictures a day’… but honestly, we don’t really do anything noteworthy on a daily basis. We work, we come home, we sleep, we work. That’s kind of it. Which is why I get frustrated when I try those things, sigh!