Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yes you're a fine mellow fellow, but you're stubborn as a mule

I'm sitting on the bare wood floor. I have no furniture but I still have wi-fi.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

You can't solve all your problems by shooting someone or setting a stranger on fire

Just about everything that can be in a box is in a box. Except for the stuff that makes coffee. I'm going to need that. And the TV. It's a big 33" thing from about ten years ago, back before they made them all flat and stuff. Where am I supposed to find a box for that? Oh well, if the movers break it it will be the excuse I need to go buy one that's all flat and stuff.

The movers will be here at 9 am tomorrow. Then we clean (my mom and I, that is), and Sunday night we sleep on air mattresses so we can make a quick exit before the buyer's final walk-through. Then I guess we'll have to kill time until my walk-through at 11:30, and then kill more time until I close at 2:30. Then sometime after that I get all my stuff in boxes back and get to start this whole process in reverse. Yay.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

meet me after school and I will beat you like gorilla

I just ate an organic/vegan/gluten-free dessert. Bleck. It was horrid. Why didn't I stop eating it halfway through when I realized it wasn't as good as it looked? The best thing I can say about it is it was nice and small. I wonder why vegans/gluten-free types even bother to make such stuff when it's obviously worse than eating no dessert at all.

What you need is automation, girl

Spending long nights in the lab makes it hard for your love to thrive. (Looks like some ad agency creatives have been watching Flight of the Conchords)

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's the best way to connect to the intertubes?

I need to figure out if I want to continue using Verizon DSL in my new home or go with a cable modem. Verizon would mean I'd have to have a land line, which I don't really feel like I need except for in that panicked moment when I call 911 and I want my actual address to pop up on their screen in case I can't talk or something. The cable modem would mean getting cable, which I also don't think I need because just about everything I watch is on DVD (sometimes I even watch stuff, like Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock and My name is Earl, on the web).

Isn't there a way to have high-speed internet access without paying for crap I don't need? There's Clearwire, I guess, but I've heard it sort of sucks. Verizon sort of sucks sometimes, too. I don't know about Roadrunner. Does it suck?

Somebody tell me what to do.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Son of a ...

I went to Sennet's Hole again this morning for doggie swim time (I swam, too). Now, I'm the kind of person who always, always locks her car. It's like an automatic compulsion--as soon as I'm out I click the little remote thingie twice so I hear the honk that tells me it's good and locked. You know what's coming, right? I must have neglected it when I got out of the car at West Point on the Eno. It's Pinky's fault. She was being a little wild girl and I was trying to wrangle her in so we could start the walk, and I guess that made me forget the click-click-honk ritual.

Anyway, so after a good time was had by all, I packed everyone back into the car and then the little dashboard thingie told me a door was still open. So I got out and double-checked all the doors I'd just closed, but the light was still on. That's when I saw that the passenger side front door wasn't closed properly, which was weird because I hadn't opened that one. That's when I noticed my agility gear bag was missing from the front seat. Bastards!

The good thing is that what was in the bag would be an extremely disappointing haul for a thief. Unless he really wanted a women's size small Marmot Mist rain jacket and a pair of women's size small REI breathable waterproof pants. Damn, that was really good rain gear. Other than that there was really nothing of value to anyone but me: a ziploc full of benadryl, a few other over-the counter remedies and maybe a Rimadyl tablet or two; one or two spare pairs of socks (most likely permanently stained orange from our clay soils); a ziploc full of, er, girl emergency stuff; a travel contact lens kit (no lenses included); a polycarbonate water bottle; a just-in-case Ace ankle brace; a spare leash, maybe a dog toy or two, and Lucy's slip-lead. The last thing is the only item that will be hard to replace, because it was handmade by a woman who's no longer making them. I'll just have to buy Lucy an ordinary, generic slip-lead, I guess. Dumbass crackhead's going to have a hard time selling any of that stuff. Unless he goes to an agility trial.

Fortunately the thief bastard left the most expensive thing in the car: my REI Alcove shelter.

I hope karma pops a cap in that lowlife thief's ass.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Commencing countdown, engines on

The inspection Monday went very well. The inspector pronounced my house-to-be a "really good 50-year-old house."

My loan has, in the words of the mortage broker, "received an approve designation." Does that mean it's approved or what? I'm not sure, but it sounds like a good sign.

Anyway, people want photos, so here (click to see 'em bigger or for more description/commentary):

my new home?porch & carportbackkitchenboomerang countertopliving roombathroom

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Did some Derm stuff ...

I took a break from stressing about selling/buying a house and getting rid of/packing up all my crap to do something Durham this morning. Pinky needed a swimming lesson, so we headed up to Sennet's Hole at West Point on the Eno. I needed a place where I could carry her into the water with me and then let her swim next to me. Since it was early Sunday morning there weren't a lot of people there, and except for one fisherman all the other folks had dogs. It's really a lovely place. I'd been there before, but I never swam. Now that I know what an awesome swimming hole it is I need to make a point of getting out there more often.

The swim lesson went pretty well--at least Pinky knows that she knows how to swim now. (Dogs pretty much instinctively swim, but unless they've done it before they don't always realize that they can). Pinky still doesn't seem like a big fan of the water, but maybe she just needs a few more lessons.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We're together everybody knows, and this is how the story goes

So I was already writing a post along the lines of "Dammit, would somebody please sell me a damn house, dammit?" I had reached a point yesterday where I thought maybe any slowdown in housing sales was due to crazy sellers not actually wanting to sell their damn houses to buyers who were offering damn full price. But never mind, because I'm now under contract to buy a damn house.

There was much gnashing of teeth involved in getting said contract. Here's a little tale about how to make a potential homebuyer cry. The seller (of House 3, the one I made the offer on yesterday morning), had been left at the alter by a previous buyer. The house had been listed a few weeks ago and went under contract in a couple of days, with a quick closing date. It went through inspection, had a requested repair made, and they were all set to close. Then at the very last minute, the buyer jumped ship, apparently for first-time-home-buyer cold feet.

The house was back on the market for a day or two when I saw it, liked it and made my (damn good) offer. We got word from the selling agent of another potential offer, and I decided I didn't want to wait for that offer to come in and than maybe get into a bidding war. (Especially considering that we could have been waiting for days ... if I had $5 for every time an agent told my agent that someone was going to make an offer on our house and then it never materialized I'd have, like maybe $15.) So I sweetened my offer and put a 1 pm deadline on it to prod the buyer into responding to me before the other offer came in (IF it even came in).

The seller, gun-shy from having just been ditched, was reluctant to take my offer so quickly without some insurance against getting jilted again. She countered that she wanted me to remove the home sale contingency (i.e. my "out" of the contract if for some reason the sale of my house falls through). Never mind that removing my home-sale contingency wouldn't keep me from quitting the deal for cold feet. All it would do would make me responsible for circumstances entirely out of my control, like some mortgage company that's been burned by a few years worth of crappy loans deciding not to lend my buyer money. There was no way I was going to take on that kind of risk when there's no way I can buy another house if ours doesn't close.

My agent went to work trying to convince the seller that I'm a motivated buyer and the contract on our house is about as solid as a contract on a house can be. The seller apparently also looked me up on the Durham tax records and started asking about our other house (the one that s.t.b.-ex Mr. Pants' mother lives in, which he is going to buy me out of ... or should that be "out of which he is going to buy me"?) and what's the deal with me buying a house without my husband, etc.

I was about to call my agent and say "Shut it down" when I had a flash of brilliance: Throw a little money at the problem! Specifically, offer a little bit more earnest money to assure the buyer I really want to buy her house. My agent said it's worth a try, and the seller's agent said it's not going to work but let's try it anyway. Damned if it didn't work. I added and extra grand, making my stake at this point $3,000. I'm going to buy this damn house, dammit. Inspection is Monday at 9 am.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The continuing saga of the saga that continues ...

I stopped by my agent's house at 8 am today to initial and sign all the things that must be initialed and signed to make an offer on the house. A little while later I got a call from her telling me that someone else is planning to put in an offer this afternoon. Damn! I knew I should have licked the doorknob to claim the house while I was there last night.

Anyway, so we revised the offer to take out the closing costs I was asking for, and submitted it with a 1 pm deadline for response. So now I'm offering full price, asking only for a home warranty, with a really quick closing. (The house is vacant and was just put back on the market after the buyer backed out--literally at the last minute so we think they're interested in a quick closing.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I suppose you're going to have to play it by ear, right here

So the house-buying saga continues ...

I countered the sellers' counter and then they countered my counter. But since they had already take three days to even respond to my initial offer, I was losing my will to buy their house. So I stood on my counter. I'll wipe the footprints off later. They haven't responded back, but technically the day isn't over yet. Still, I'm assuming they're not going to accept.

So there's still House #2, plus two new ones have come up since I put in my offer, so I went to look at them this evening ... let's call them Houses 3 and 4. I like house 3, a brick ranch on more than half an acre off Hope Valley Road, even though it has old crank windows that will need to be replaced and the laundry is in a half-basement that only has exterior access. The kitchen is dated but cute, spacious and well-arranged (it also has vintage boomerang-patterned formica countertops that are in great shape). So tomorrow morning, assuming I don't hear back from the proprietors of House 1, I'll put in an offer.

Dayyyuuummmm ...

Sellers just came back with an outrageously crappy counter offer ... and I was offering full price with some closing costs and a home warranty. I don't believe I shall be living in house #1 ...

There's a crazy rhythm, comin' from Puppetland

I made an offer on what has become known as "House 1" on Saturday. I'm still waiting ... part of the problem is that it's a For Sale By Owner, and the owners left town right after showing me the house. They acknowledged receipt of the offer on Sunday and that's all I know. Meanwhile, I'm packing all my crap because I've got to have it all out of my house on June 29th. Maybe the dogs and I will be living in the Honda Fit ...

In other, better, stronger, faster news, I sold a photo. Or rather, rights to use a photo. To a big famous ad agency, even! For a big famous client! It's this photo, which is Photoshop fake "tilt shift":

fake model nc state fair

Yay me!

Friday, June 06, 2008

How can I be sure when your intrusion's my illusion?

So the winner is ... House #1! Well, assuming our offer is accepted and whatnot. (See this post If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.) The possibility of living in this house makes me very happy.

And while I'm on the general topic of housing, I had no idea that something like this was going on in Raleigh. In on respect it's cool--preserving houses and keeping building materials out of landfills. But then again it's not necessarily so cool for people to destroy the character of neighborhoods by moving out the modest houses to make way for McMansions. Still, I'd like to see what Barrington Village looks like, but I have no idea where it is. Anyone have any idea?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The decisions are killing me!

I still haven't made the offer on a house yet, because of what my agent calls "a good kind of problem to have." Imagine you needed to choose between two houses: same neighborhood, same price, same above-grade square footage, same number of rooms/bedrooms/bathrooms, comparable lot sizes, and both have a fireplace.

House 1:
  • Has a full, partially finished basement with lots of usable space (washer/dryer are there), interior and exterior access and a fireplace with a wood stove.

  • The interior is in great condition with hardwood floors throughout and tile in kitchen and bathroom.

  • The kitchen is recently updated, lovely and well-arranged.

  • The bathroom is cute

  • Seems like it would be a really awesome house to live in and I would not have to do any work (barring unforseen maintenance) right away.

However:
  • It's roughly a quarter-mile from I-85, and although there are trees, a couple of streets and houses in between, if you look hard enough between the leaves you can see the highway and hear its noise.

  • It's the second house down from a traffic circle where cars maybe sometimes go a little too fast. Although it's not an incredibly busy street, it still gets enough traffic that backing out of the driveway might be fraught with a little anxiety.

  • Has no garage or carport

  • Doesn't have a front porch or a rear deck


House 2:
  • Is in the middle of a fairly quiet block.

  • Is a half-mile from I-85, and the noise isn't a big deal.

  • Has a garage of sorts ... really sort of like a shed at the end of the driveway that's just big enough to park a car in.

  • has a front porch and a big rear deck.

  • Is very close to a few taquerías

  • Seems like it could become a cute place to live with a little work (and a bit of money ... see below)


But:
  • The kitchen, while usable, cries out for a total remodel. It's badly arranged and looks like it would be inconvenient to use even for someone who doesn't cook a lot, so it's the kind of thing that needs to be done sooner rather than later.

  • The bathroom looks perfectly usable, but that's the best thing that can be said about it.

  • There is a small basement, but it's not really usable space and has exterior access only.


So my dilemma is, I love house #1 and want to live in it, but from a real-estate-marketing perspective it's got location issues, and we all know that location, location, location is supposed to be all that matters. I like House 2 well enough and it's in a great location, but the prospect of saving up enough to make the kitchen and bathroom decent (and then spending however many months in a construction zone) doesn't thrill me at all.

Ack.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I've seen the moon sitting on the road

If you don't get me, maybe it's because you have semantic dementia. Perhaps it's epidemic in Trinity Park.

In other news, I haven't made the offer on the house yet. We were waiting for the results of the inspection on our house to make sure there wasn't some awful thing that was going to make our contract disintegrate. There's not. Just some little pesky crap that we can fix fairly quickly (we think).

meanwhile, another house popped up on the MLS and I really think I should look at it before I make the offer, because it's more space, more land and a better kitchen for the same price. I'm just not in love with the street it's on, but it's in a "good" area, so I should consider it. So I think I'm going to see it today.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I think I heard the mariachis playing "El Cascabel"

I went out again with my agent yesterday evening after work. Today I may be making an offer on a house. I'm not even going to say where it is right now ... I've become a little superstitious about jinxing the whole thing. But I'll just say that it's cute (or it will be with some paint and a few tchotchkes), it's in one of the 'hoods that I call hip, and it has a fenced yard, albeit not the huge yard of my dreams. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one

I went out with my agent yesterday and I was going to write yet another post about looking for a house, but I'm just sick of the whole thing. I'm sick of worrying about resale value and what some future homebuyer might think of a place. I'm sick of looking at stuff I can't afford because my agent thinks I should want to live in that location, location, location. I want to say "Nice house--are you buying this for me? Because I certainly can't buy it myself." I'm sick of looking at stuff I CAN afford and thinking "Shit, who on earth would want to live here?" Or, seeing all the awesome stuff I can afford go under contract immediately. I'm sick of kitchens. I'm sick of bathrooms. I'm sick of discovering all the really strange places people put washers and dryers.

Maybe I should just buy an RV instead.