Friday, April 27, 2007

Financing GET!

Well Adam was getting kind of antsy about the whole commitment letter thing as we hadn’t received it in the mail by yesterday afternoon. So he called Kristie, our Mortgage Specialist, and left her a message last night about it. She called me this morning to tell me she had the letter in her hand and rather than dropping it in the mail, how would I like to stop by sometime today to sign it? This way it could be faxed to the realtors today and everything could be taken care of before our 4/30 deadline. So I stopped by at lunch, signed a harmless-looking letter that binds me to the bank for 30 years, and was on my way. I also dropped off our 60 day notice at the rental office of our apartment building on my way back to work so we’re all set. So we're right on track close 5/31. Woo!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Need a Cat

I know I’ve complained about this subject before but I just can’t seem to get past it. There has to be some kind of decent solution I’m just not thinking of.

So this is what I refer to as “the bad week.” It’s week 13 in the 13 week Seasonale cycle. I think we all know what I’m getting at here. Now it appears as though I have two choices: 1) Doing nothing and surviving through the indescribable cramps and headaches that make me dizzy and nauseous, or 2) taking OTC drugs that, while alleviating some of the problems in choice one temporarily, leave me with the same drowsy “head ten feet in the air” feeling that cold medicine does. Unfortunately normal pain relievers like Aleve are totally worthless in this battle.

I chose number two this morning and let’s just say it hasn’t been a very productive day. It’s hard to get anything done when my eyes won’t focus on the computer screen and I just want to put my head down on my desk and sleep. But if I hadn’t have taken the drugs this morning I would be stuck with what’s returning now.

So what can I do? I’ve considered skipping the sugar pills altogether and (hopefully) foregoing the misery completely. I know I read something somewhere that said that a period while on the pill is not necessary since it’s pretty much a “fake” one anyway. If that’s the case I’m all for leaving it behind. I will definitely be bringing this up at my doctor appointment in June. It’s gotten progressively worse (or I’ve gotten wussier about it) over the past couple years or so, so perhaps there’s more to it than just my body beating up on me. Who knows? It just totally sucks, feeling so crappy, stuck with no real reprieve. And no cat. Cats make wonderful heating pad-like companions when you plop them on your stomach and they purr…

House Progress

We had our mortgage appointment last Friday and it was pretty painless. I had already done some calculations to estimate our payment and I was frighteningly close. Even the mortgage specialist was impressed. Anyway, I signed a bunch of things, gave them $365, and it was sent on its merry way to be approved. Hopefully. I’m still spooked because of last Wednesday so I’m semi-holding my breath until we get the letter. The deadline for financing is the 30th so we’re hoping to get the letter for me to sign sometime this week (they even put a rush on it.) Then I can sign it, run it over to the bank, and have it faxed to the realtors so the SOLD sign can get hung. I’m waiting for that photo op! Anyway, while we were there I opened a savings account since I think they’d frown upon me borrowing tens of thousands of dollars without even having an account there. They never said it was a requirement but I figure it will be easier for direct withdrawals for the payments. We’re still trying to work out how we’ll get the money into that account but we’ve got until 7/1 to figure that out.

This past weekend we went to Lowe’s to pick out appliances and the other things we plan to buy there. We won’t actually make any purchases until we are solid as concrete on the financing. It would suck to go drop more than a grand on appliances and then have the financing not work out. Anyway, we found the things we wanted and managed to come pretty close to our original budget. We’re not completely sure about carpet yet since it ended up being a lot more expensive than we anticipated. We’re going to try and check out a few flooring/carpet outlet stores to compare pricing before making our decision.

I worked out a preliminary timeline for installations and moving. If things go as expected (which they never do) we should be moving the big stuff the weekend of June 16th. We should be completely moved in during that next week and plan to have a house-warming shin-dig on the 30th. If things go as expected. I think it’s possible. If we get the painting and kitchen floor done in the first week we should have no problem getting everything else to fall in place. The outdoor things might wait for a bit, but that’s ok according to Adam.


It’s been a rough couple of days. Not for us – we’re fine – but for those around us.

Sunday evening Adam got a call from his sister telling him one of their mutual friends had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Paul had been a groomsman in Katie and Chris’ wedding and was supposed to have been an usher in ours. What’s even worse is he and his wife, Stephanie, just had a baby. I’m talking less than a month ago. I didn’t know them too well as I had only met them twice but he seemed like a great guy. It’s tragic when these things happen to good people.

Then yesterday at bell practice I found out one of the ladies in the group was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Not a good situation in any case, but worse in this case as it has apparently already spread to her lymph nodes, lungs, and perhaps liver. I stand right next to her and she’s already had a rough time lately because her father died unexpectedly right before Christmas. Once again, so sad that these things happen to the nicest people.

As things tend to happen in threes, please stay safe everyone.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We will definitely get a "No Soliciting" sign...

So I was just caught by a proselytizer. I’m not sure which religion he was affiliated with. He was too old to be a Mormon on his mission. In any case, he wanted to share some magazines with me that tell that there’s an end in site to the cruelty in the world. He read some stuff out of Timothy and offered me a free bible. I declined. *sigh* I should have ignored the doorbell.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Appliance Adventure Part 1

Well it didn’t go exactly as planned yesterday at Lowe’s. Does it ever? I was approved for a line of credit at an interest rate I’m not crazy about. I mean, my credit card’s interest rate is lower that it is. *sigh* In any case, Adam and I walked through multiple scenarios to solve this quandary. We eventually decided to go ahead and use the Lowe’s line of credit because it has a “6 months no interest” deal. We’ll still make payments during those six months and if there’s a balance at the end of the term (which I’m almost positive there will be) we can decide what we want to do then. We have decided to take his parents’ old washer and dryer since they’re planning on getting new ones. We’ll wait to get a snow blower and doors for the fireplace until we actually need them in the fall. We should still be able to get everything we want/need at Lowe’s and that’s a good thing. Keep it simple, I say.

Also not going as planned is the financing part of the deal. But don’t worry, it’s not a bad thing. I got a call from the mortgage specialist this morning. She was concerned that we might be cutting it too close. We have to have the financing secured by the 30th and our appointment was for the 24th. So we just bumped the appointment up to tomorrow. Hopefully this will give them time for the appraisal and all the other things they charge us $1,700 to do. With the way things went yesterday I’m kind of nervous about tomorrow but I figure they pre-approved me for $150,000 less than a month ago and I’m only asking for $142,000 now. I don’t know why they wouldn’t give it to me…but you never know. I do have excellent credit and Lowe’s still gave me a shitty interest rate, you know. Maybe I need the Walmart version of Lowe’s and I’d be fine. I think it might have something to do with the fact that we still technically rent and we'd have had better luck if we'd waited until we could put down that we own the home... Oh well, live and learn.

Anyway… Perhaps we’ll step out on the town Saturday night and actually look around Lowe’s. Yesterday we headed straight to customer service to see what kind of deal we could get so we didn’t even look at anything. And I suppose I won’t have an excuse to not start packing stuff for much longer. Ugh.

I’m totally behind on my movie reviews and I’m even behind on my unofficial book reviews. I don’t even know what I do with my time. I have started to DVR Dawson’s Creek reruns though so that takes up some time. This house/wedding/being an adult thing is totally time consuming…

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

House Update...

So it looks as though a potential crisis was averted. The sellers had an HVAC person in yesterday morning to clean and inspect the furnace. There were no cracks – it was just condensation/water something or other. So the furnace is fine and we’re good to go. We have an appointment with the mortgage specialist on Tuesday afternoon to finalize the financing. I plan to stop by our apartment building’s management office this afternoon to see if they have a form for the 60 day notice or if I have to free-hand that.

The next big hurdle is all the stuff we need to buy before we move in. Mainly it’s the appliances but there are other things we want to take care of as well (hello pink room!) The bank made it very clear that we can only get the mortgage for the amount of our offer. I figure our other options include a signature loan or some kind of in-store credit line or card. I did some hunting around for rates and terms and right now it looks as though getting a “Project Card” from Lowe’s might be our best bet. Lowe’s will most likely carry everything on our list so we can buy everything from the same place. Their Project card is relatively new and seems to work like a line of credit. You apply for the card and then you can use it for whatever you need at Lowe’s within a 6-month time period. After the six months is up you start paying it back. The interest rate is fixed at (as low as) 7.99% for a period of 4 to 10 years with no prepayment penalties. Seeing as how the lowest personal loan rate I can find is 8.99%, this seems like a good choice. That said, it’s not guaranteed that I’ll get the lowest rate (although I don’t see why not since my credit is excellent) and we wouldn’t know what our repayment term would be until the application was approved. Even so, we plan to stop up at Lowe’s tonight and see if we can talk to someone about it and perhaps submit an application to see what we qualify for.

If anyone has other ideas that I might have forgotten, let me know. I believe in doing research and getting all the facts before making a decision. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bridesmaid Dress Success

Here's the wedding blog entry with a picture of Catherine in her dress.

Friday, April 13, 2007

There's always something...

The house inspection yesterday went well, generally. There were a few minor things the inspector recommended we get taken care of before we move in: grading around the house, a couple of electrical things (reverse polarity in one outlet, a faulty GFI in a bathroom, random live wires in the attic), power washing the deck and siding. The only major potential problem is the furnace. I wasn’t down in the basement with them when he was looking around but he says there’s a potential crack leading to potential leaking. He recommended we get an inspector in to take a look at it. We wrote up an amendment to our offer last night asking the seller to have the furnace cleaned and inspected. The seller has agreed to get that done.

Our next step will depend on what they find. If it turns out the house inspector was right and there’s a crack, we’ll have to do a notice of defect. If the seller refuses to fix it, our offer is dead and we have to move on. Hopefully if a new furnace is needed the seller will realize they’d have to fix it no matter what in order to sell the place so they agree to take care of it so we can forge on with the house-buying process. If it turns out there is no crack, we’re golden. We have the one-year home warranty already included in our offer so it if goes south after we’ve closed on the house, we can get it fixed/replaced for $60.

But for now, we wait. Again.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We are Homeowners!


I debated posting this considering it gives the address... but I figured the only people who really read this are friends and if some crazy stalker person REALLY wants to come get me, they'd figure out where I am no matter if I post this or not, right?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Today's "Get Fuzzy"

This is the only comic strip in today's paper that made me laugh... (click on it to see it normal sized)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Gah! I've been tagged!

5 Things You Don’t Know About Me

1) I currently wear a size 7 shoe but in high school I wore an 8 1/2 or 9. How is it that my feet have shrunk so much? Why can't the rest of me shrink? *sigh*

2) Speaking of feet, I hate feet. Your feet, my feet, any feet. Not because they smell or anything, but just because they creep me out. I don't like mine being touched and refuse to get near Adam's (although I did actually rub them with some lotion stuff last week because he was sore but I wore latex gloves so I'm not sure that counts.)

3) I don't like oranges either. Just the smell of them grosses me out. Unfortunately the two guinea pigs like them and we're supposed to give them some on a regular basis to make sure they get enough vitamin C. So I suffer for the furry dudes.

4) I do like the movie Spice World however, and am not ashamed to admit it. For such a lame musical group, the Spice Girls do have some surprising comedic talent...

5) I still keep pictures of my dog, Mandy, on the desk by my computer. Such a cute face, but such a dumb animal. I'm hoping eventually I can get a dog again, but we'll see how things turn out.

I'd tag some people if I knew anyone with a blog who hasn't already been tagged. Oh well. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

At the Risk of Jinxing it...

I've decided to post this blog entry anyway!

I was wandering aimlessly around the misses section of Kohl's looking for something to wear to Lori's wedding when Adam called me. I got some weird looks given the ring tone I have set for him [that would be George Michael's "I Want Your Sex." How's that for too much information? ;)] Anyway, he was calling to tell me that Jim called him to let him know that our offer was accepted. They also agreed to pay our closing costs and required escrows as well as a year of the home warranty program. Sweet deal.

But if you recall there's still the matter of the other offer out there. We had good timing in the real estate world. The seller's agent was going to try and have the paperwork to the other buyer by 7pm tonight. From that time of delivery they have 48 hours to release the contingency. Not business days. Hours. Tee hee. That means by 7pm on Sunday they have to have made a decision. We are a little bit evil, but it's a little fun too.

In any case, barring a rare occurance (although having a reasonable offer flat out rejected was supposedly rare too...) we should be the official future owners of the house. We'll know on Sunday, maybe Monday morning.

To stave off the jinxing gods I'm going to refrain from posting the address/listing details until we know for sure it's ours. Cross your fingers, pray, or do whatever else you do to send good luck in someone's direction!

The Great Critter Cover-Up

There was a note in our door earlier this week from our apartment complex management. They’re going to be doing apartment inspections next week, looking for leaky faucets, general disrepair, etc. They say they’ll be starting Tuesday morning and hopefully be done by Thursday or Friday. Now, we never asked permission to have our furry friends. I don’t think they’re contraband like cats and dogs are. I know that fish are allowed and hamsters are kind of like fish. Without the whole water thing.

In any case, we figured we should probably hide the crew when the manager wanders around our apartment. With three 10 gallon aquariums and two wire cages full of critters, that’s easier said than done. We decided it would probably be best to clean out the closet in the second bedroom and stow them in there during the day. We had also considered the garage (it’s still a bit too cold for that) and Adam’s parents’ house (I would miss them too much.) Wednesday night we took everything out of the closet, trashed about ¼, took about 1/3 to Goodwill, and put the rest back into the closet in an organized way. This should leave us with enough space to put the cages and all other pet-related articles out of eyesight. Hopefully we remember to remove their toys and they don’t squeak. I’m not sure what would happen if they found them and we weren’t allowed to have them. I suppose we could take them out to Greenville, but it might be a moot point anyway if a house works out soon.

Anyway, the great cover-up of 2007 starts Tuesday night. :)

Questionable Easter Greeting?

During lunch today when I ran to get my mail from my PO Box, I heard the DJ on the radio say “Happy Good Friday.” Is it just me or does that seem kind of inappropriate? Perhaps this is a strange comment, seeing as it’s coming from me and all, but it just seems wrong. Even though I don’t buy in to most of what it all stands for I still try to respect other peoples’ beliefs. It’s like saying “Happy anniversary of your mother’s death! Let’s go grab a beer!” While it’s true that lots of people are either not Christian or are not very good Christians, the serious ones are still out there and I can’t help but think they’d be offended by that kind of remark. Good Friday is not the day to celebrate. Easter Sunday, yes, go crazy. Good Friday, not so much.

Speaking of Easter, the handbells play at the 11:30am mass on Sunday. I plan on getting there plenty early since I’m told the crowd will be large. At least I know I won’t have to fight for a seat. Adam works 8-5 at Wal-mart and we’re supposed to go over to his parents’ house for dinner at 6. Rumor is we’re having spaghetti. I like it that they’re not very traditional when it comes to holiday fare. I mean we had Taco Bell the first time I went over there for Easter and lasagna for Thanksgiving the year before last.

And now, perhaps in a statement similar to that about which I opened this blog complaining:

The best thing about Easter is…

**Le sigh**

Ok, so on whatever day that was that we were supposed to hear back from the lawyer/bank/realtor, we did. They countered at $149,000 which was, well, basically the original listing price. (Ok, so they knocked off $900. How generous.) We thought they were being pretty ridiculous seeing as how the house wasn’t even done so we decided to reject the counter and just move on. In all honesty I’m glad it didn’t work out. Even though I wouldn’t have been doing the work, it was a big thing to take on and I would have been annoyed by the lack of grass.

In any case, last night we had two appointments. One was to look at the house over on Byrd that I had gone to the open house for a few weekends ago. The second was for another house over by the park that we had originally booted from the list because its taxes were relatively high. In general Adam liked the house on Byrd and saw much of the same potential that I had. Then we went down into the basement and discovered a puddle of water and crack in the wall. That wasn’t there when I looked at the place two weeks ago! Oh well. It was in a really random place and we figure the neighbor’s directing their downspout right at the yard and there’s a slope under the deck, leading to seepage.

Adam used Jill (our friendly GPS) to find the second house although I thought that was kind of unnecessary since it’s one block from where I lived that one summer in college. (Aah, memories…) We pulled into the driveway and Adam commented that it looked nice. After taking a look around he decided to call his parents in for some additional opinions and his dad’s eagle eyes for potential faults. We had some fun with the safety lock on the patio door (as in, we couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t lock, Jim, the realtor, tried to use some silicone stuff from the basement, and then Adam found the instructions printed on the door, locked it, and then pranked his dad when they arrived) while we waited. After his parents arrived they did the tour and spent some quality time in the basement. Adam and his dad proceeded to try and break the garage door. All in all, it’s a nice place with lots of good qualities. The only things Adam disliked were the fact that the master bedroom is painted pink (ok, ROSE) and there’s this awkward divider mini wall thing in the kitchen area. Other than that, no complaints. Good sized rooms, two bathrooms, nice fireplace, great back yard including a deck complete with a grill bump-out, room in the basement for a workshop area and plenty of space on the breaker thingamajig (whatever that means…)

So, I think by this time you can guess what we did. We invited the realtor to our apartment for some wine and had him write up the offer while he was there. Heh. We just didn’t feel like driving up to Appleton and since their systems are all web-based we could do it this way. He faxed it over this morning and the seller’s realtor said she’d be talking with them this afternoon. I’m getting to be a pro at the offer paperwork. Don’t even need to read most of it anymore. Just check some numbers and dates and we’re good.

There’s just one potential problem. Doesn’t there always seem to be a problem?

Ours is a secondary offer as there’s an offer already on the place with a contingency that the buyer sells their current home. There’s a 48 hours bump clause in the contract wording and it’s likely things might work out. If the seller accepts our offer (or counters, although I think our offer was reasonable…and then we accept it) the other people have 48 hours to remove the contingency from their offer or we get the house. Jim says it’s very unusual that people remove the selling contingency but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. In any case, we won’t know for sure about anything until next week.

We’re hoping that perhaps, for us, the third time is the charm.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

House Update. Again.

Jim, the realtor, says we might hear something back tomorrow morning from the lawyers/bank about the house we put an offer on last week. There's another offer out there but apparently they have a contingency that they sell their current property whereas we don't. We'll see what happens.

Some Easter Humor

Monday, April 02, 2007

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

I was introduced to The Great Gatsby in my 8th grade English class. During one quarter we had a choice of three books to read: the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, or John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. For some inexplicable reason I chose Siddhartha, a choice I regret to this day. That book was so boring I could barely get through it. Not quite a horrible as Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it nevertheless lies on the same level in my mind. I consider that book as my freshman hazing in college since I was required not only to read it but I also had to write numerous essays about it before classes even started as part of the freshmen honors seminar in which I was enrolled. Yay for the University Honors system. What a joke.

In any case, having realized my mistake too late I went back and read The Great Gatsby after the fact and liked it so much I read most of his other novels along with some short stories and the collection of letters he wrote his daughter (which is not surprisingly entitled Letters to His Daughter.) I suppose I should note that I did NOT go back and read Steinbeck’s contribution to the list. I think The Pearl put me off from Steinbeck forever just as The Old Man and the Sea made me very wary of Hemingway (yay for required reading!)

Man, I keep getting distracted! This is supposed to be a book review. So I re-read The Great Gatsby again this past week during my lunch hour. It’s very easy reading but I think it’s easier for me since I always picture a 1970’s Robert Redford as I read. (Yum.) Yes, I even own the movie. On video cassette. Granted the movie isn’t that great and I can’t stand Mia Farrow, but it’s still worth a watch every once in a while. It follows the book very closely to the point that Nick’s narrations are pretty much word for word at times. Anyway, this book is always touted as a glimpse into the sordid life of the rich 1920’s flappers crowd. Could be, but it’s still an entertaining way to pass a couple hours.